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Morning Brew: Ford lauds new staff, mayor was "close" to Windsor Rd. resident, Kouvalis keeps his distance, John Malkovich to the rescue, bike lanes, and rainbows

Rob Ford spent his Sunday radio show welcoming to his office the eight new staff he hired over the last week but once again avoided addressing any of the issues surrounding his alleged crack cocaine use. Ford called his new team "phenomenal." Ford told a caller who was worried about the cocaine accusations that he has "got it" and is "going to get through it."

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail reports Ford was "close" with Fabio Basso, a resident of the house on Windsor Road that appears in the background of the notorious Anthony Smith photograph. The home was the scene of a violent invasion roughly two weeks ago. A former hockey captain told the paper Ford and Basso were "buddies" growing up.

Also in Ford, the mayor's campaign manager that masterminded his 2010 election victory is reportedly avoiding making a return next year unless Ford enters rehab. The Globe cites sources close to Nick Kouvalis and the Ford family for the information. "I love the Ford family, and I will do everything I can to help them," Kouvalis said in a statement. Will it be hard for Ford to keep his political backers?

Actor John Malkovich is being hailed as a real life hero after helping tend to an injured man outside the King Edward Hotel. 77-year-old Jim Walpole, a visitor from Ohio, had tripped and cut his neck on scaffolding on Saturday when Malkovich swooped. The actor applied pressure to the wound until an ambulance arrived. "I thought he was a doctor," said Walpole's wife. No, he has just played one on TV.

The battle over the University of Toronto's back campus is attracting big historical names. Those fighting to protect the open area being covered in an artificial surface ahead of the 2015 Pan Am Games are recalling a history that includes author William Faulkner, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth. City council will decide this week whether to designate the natural surface a heritage landscape.

The Sherbourne bike lanes will be officially declared open later today, prompting discussion about where the next separated bike lanes should go in Toronto. The city lacks a protected east-west route but the wheels are in motion for a route similar to Sherbourne on Wellesley/Hoskin. Which roads are best suited to separated bike lanes?

Finally, the Don Valley's rainbow tunnel has received a colourful extension. Artists and volunteers painted rainbow stripes along the inside of the underpass located on the east side of the Don Valley Parkway. The artwork, which originally only covered the entrance and exit, was painted 40 years ago by B.C. (Berg) Johnson. The artwork got a facelift last year to restore fading paint and graffiti.



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

Image: Michael Leckman/blogTO Flickr pool.

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