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Newsstand: January 9, 2012

Got a case of the Mondays? No, no you don't. Because it's a day, not a disease. Today: more bad news for low-income Torontonians (spoiler alert: this time it's about the budget cuts); inspiration for a more beautiful city comes from an unlikely source; frozen (like, really frozen) chicken woes; and some practical advice from the Toronto police.

Oh great, first it was cardiac arrest and now it’s a whole host of health-related problems that low-income Toronto residents need to worry about. The City’s budget cuts are putting poor Torontonians at risk of increased health issues, say health professionals who came out to City Hall yesterday to express their opposition to the cuts. Specifically, the cuts to recreation programs, closure of pools, ending nutrition programs for youth and children, reduced funding for HIV and AIDS education, community service grants and elimination of the hardship fund that provides medical support for low-income households. But guys, don’t even worry, soon you likely won’t have to pay that pesky/profitable Land Transfer Tax. Surely that will help re-balance this inequality.

This won’t be the last that you hear about service cuts for a while, as the budget committee will debate $88 million in service cuts at City Hall today. Following today’s meeting, the proposals go to the executive committee on Thursday. Final cuts will be made at council next week. But according to the Toronto Sun, these cuts are just the tip of the iceberg. According to the paper, the City will need to come up with $174 million to balance the books in 2013, which may come in the form of an additional tax hike and TTC fare hike among other revenue increases. Ha! Seems the City doesn’t realize that the world is going to end by then…suckers!

Who would have thought that the TTC would provide inspiration for a more beautiful Toronto? The subway platform TVs are now airing 30-second clips in connection with the National Film Board of Canada that depict ideas for making the land around Toronto’s high-rises along Kipling Avenue between Finch and Steeles avenues in northwest Toronto more livable. Ideas include more gardens, farmer’s markets and places to dance. Now if only they could provide some ideas for sprucing up those subway station bathrooms.

If you are munching on chicken bacon for breakfast, or gnawing on a chicken leg while catching up on the news, you might want to skip this section. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has laid 60 criminal charges against the GTA’s Maple Lodge Farms, alleging violations of federal animal health regulations. According to the agency, between 2008 and 2010 thousands of chickens died from exposure to cold conditions during transportation from farm to slaughterhouse, often because they were too close to the floor or walls of the truck. That’s pretty clucking sad. So, who’s got a backyard big enough for a coop? Let’s set up shop!

Toronto police are asking the public to “Lock it before you pocket” in response to the large number of people (over 100,000!) that pocket-dialed 911 last year. In case the vaguely-STD-awareness-sounding tagline doesn’t sink it, perhaps watching the YouTube video of an ACTUAL 911 pocket dial will help. If you can’t spare a full 1:28, skip ahead to 0:50. That’s when it really gets good.

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