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Morning Brew: Snowplow death trial set to begin, bingo halls want e-bingo, council is against a casino, protesters block CP tracks, and saying goodbye to the penny

The trial of Richard Kachkar, the man accused of killing Sgt. Ryan Russell with a stolen snowplow, will begin today. It's alleged Kachkar led police on a chase through the streets of Toronto on the stolen vehicle before he hit Russell, an 11-year veteran of the force, near Avenue and Davenport in the winter of 2011. Russell was the first Toronto police officer killed on duty in more than a decade.

Bingo just ain't what it used to be. Toronto is down to just six struggling gaming halls that are being stymied by a serious image problem. E-bingo, a version of the game played on flat-screen computers, could be the way forward if city council backs the idea. The National Post has some great pictures from inside Delta Bingo near Downsview station (and the rest of the story too.)

The great casino debate has powerful activists on both sides of the coin, but perhaps where support matters most is at city hall, where an April vote will likely decide whether or not we allow a company to build a major gaming complex in the downtown core. According to a rough Toronto Star poll, the majority of our 44-member city council is against the idea, despite the benefits touted by gambling companies. Where do you stand?

A group of protesters blocked the CP tracks near Dupont and Dufferin yesterday, citing concerns over a uranium processing plant that's been operating in the neighbourhood for decades. The GE-Hitachi facility on Lansdowne Ave. processes uranium dioxide powder into pellets for use in nuclear reactors. The protestors say the mining of that material is harmful to the environment.

The Flatiron gift shop in the Village is no more, the latest casualty of the neighbourhood's shifting identity. The Toronto Star looks at the changing nature of the LGBT area and others with similarly strong identities in Toronto.

Finally, the humble penny is officially no more as of today. Sure, the little copper coins won't vanish immediately, but retailers will start collecting the coins and rounding cash totals to the nearest 5 cents. The CBC carries the 1-cent coin's obituary today.


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

Image: "Untitled" by francisLM/blogTO Flickr pool.

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