Morning Brew: Toronto girl places second in national spelling bee, Ford to skip Halifax meeting, Holyday wants to control panhandling, DVP and Gardiner closed this weekend, and Raptors look for Triano's replacement

So close. Out of 275 champion spellers, Toronto's Laura Newcombe placed second in the Scripps National Spelling Bee last night. She was hoping to become the first Canadian to win the competition. Unfortunately Newcombe is in grade eight so she is unable to compete next year for the $40,000 prize but for a thirteen year old who know how to spell words like, 'huipil' and 'ingberlach', she should be proud of herself. The word that got in the way of her dream? Sorites. Now 10 points to anyone who actually knows what it means.

Looks like Mayor Rob Ford won't be taking that midnight gravy train to Halifax this weekend. Civic leaders from across the country are meeting at the annual get-together of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to compare notes and schmooze, but Ford is staying put. His spokesman says the mayor is busy and doesn't want to spend the taxpayers' money when a phone call can do the same job. Mark Towhey, his director of policy and strategic planning, says Torontonians don't have to worry that Ford won't be at the event because Toronto is "a big city" and "people know where it is."

The National Post has an interesting Q&A with Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday about panhandling. Basically, Holyday thinks Toronto is too lenient with panhandling and wants to seek ways to control it and is looking at how other cities have managed to crackdown on their panhandlers. One thing he has his eye on is a potential by-law for panhandling with strict penalties.

The fight for Caribana's big name change, and the fight for control of the festival, continues. Now the group formerly responsible for running Caribana is contesting the name change (the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto) because leads to an unfair "appropriation" of the event. Caribbean Arts Group chair Henry Gomez says the festival has been stolen from those who created it, saying,"We've been mugged. We've been punked." Well, one thing's for certain: the new name sucks.

With all these sleazy businessmen being accused of assaulting maids, it's no wonder that Toronto housekeepers have launched a campaign against sexual assault and harassment in their workplace and are calling for greater security measures. They're also hoping the campaign will allow other workers to report such incidents. However, it's easier to report assaults if the workers are unionized; not so much for those who are not.


Photo by GBrydson Photography in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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