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Morning Brew: Rob Ford back in Toronto, Idle No More plans a flash mob, grumpy auto emails, report lambasts TTC, Kromer Radio project is dead, and bugs in books

Rob Ford (remember him?) is back from his "private time" Hallandale Beach in South Florida, his office has confirmed. The week-long trip was customarily not advertised but several travelers at Pearson noticed the mayor preparing to board a flight. While he was gone Ford missed a budget debate about the ailing Gardiner Expressway.

"Idle No More," a grassroots campaign against a controversial federal omnibus bill, is organizing a flashmob at Yonge-Dundas Square this Friday. Bill C-45 proposes changes to the Indian Act that would make it easier for First Nations groups to surrender lands. Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation is currently on hunger strike, vowing to die unless the government alters its stance on aboriginal rights.

Curmudgeonly councillor Mike Del Grande has a rather grumpy message for people trying to reach him online: "Assume I am not going to read your e-mail. Send it after the 6th of January otherwise it will find it's [sic] way in the trash bin." The temporary auto-response also advises that the budget chief has "left downtown and dashed to get my private jet and fly off to Rio in Brazil." It does manage a "Merry Christmas" though, so that's something.

The TTC was "arrogant" and "patronizing" to residents near Donlands and Greenwood stations during a consultation process over second exit projects, according to a report by the city's ombudsman. Fiona Crean found the Commission made serious mis-steps in its conversations with the community, including threatening to demolish several homes. Commissioner Glenn De Baeremaeker said it was a "dark day for the TTC."

A TTC driver could face charges after a collision at Yonge and Finch last night, says CP24. Police say a female pedestrian had the right of way when she was struck by a bus just before 8 p.m., suffering non-life threatening injuries to her head and face.

A development on the west side of Bathurst Street between Dundas and College looks like it's dead in the water. RioCan had hoped to develop the strip that includes the Kromer Radio building into a 3-storey retail site but were cut down by Toronto's committee of adjustment in May. An appeal verdict handed down by the Ontario Municipal Board that was released earlier this week upheld the decision to nix the proposal.

That horror novel might be a little scarier than you thought. Bed bugs found in a Toronto library book mean another public space in the city isn't safe from the parasitic creeps.

Batten down the hatches - it looks like Toronto's about to get its first blast of frigid weather. A winter storm has prompted Environment Canada to issue a special weather statement warning of snow, freezing rain, and hazardous driving conditions today through Friday. Stay safe.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Yellow Line" by Aband1d_Urbex (rockandrollfreak) from the blogTO Flickr pool.

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