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Newsstand: August 16, 2013

Friday Friday Friday Friday FRIDDDAAAAAY! In the news: Ford calls council back early, not everyone is impressed with the TCHC's reward for crime tips, Exhibition Place is a moneymaker for the city, York Region is investing in bus rapid transit, some people are terrible, and some people are really great.

newsstand jeremy kai spring 5

Mayor Rob Ford has called a special council meeting on August 26 to address the vacancy left when former deputy mayor Doug Holyday won a provincial by-election. Holyday was elected MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore earlier this summer, and will be leaving his council seat empty when he’s sworn in on August 22. The mayor has made it clear that he strongly prefers holding a by-election to fill the council seat for Etobicoke Centre, as opposed to choosing a councillor by appointment, but has said either way that he doesn’t want to wait until the next scheduled council meeting in early October to get the process of replacing Holyday underway. The meeting is contingent on Ford getting enough councillors—at least 23—back from summer vacation.

Some people are not too pleased that residents of Toronto public housing were rewarded for providing tips in a murder investigation, saying it sets a bad precedent. Toronto Community Housing Corporation CEO Gene Jones awarded $150,000 for repairs—including a new fence, repairs to the laundry room, extra lighting, and a new security camera—at Swansea Mews after residents gave police a tip about three suspects in the murder earlier this month of Christopher Kotsopoulos. But some residents of public housing say that the incident could encourage people to snitch on their neighbours, especially considering the TCHC’s large repair backlog.

The Ex starts today! And good thing for Toronto: Exhibition Place will put $4.6 million in the city’s pocket this year, an increase of $1.5 million from last year’s number. Including this year’s number, Exhibition Place has netted Toronto $16.7 million since BMO Field opened in 2007. Imagine the money it could make if the Toronto FC were actually good!

Like so many other things that make transportation easier on non-drivers, dedicated bus lanes are popular in cities around the world that are not this one. York Region is hoping to change that, however, with the introduction of a 2.5-kilometre bus rapid transit lane on a stretch of Highway 7, running from Bayview to Highway 404. The lanes—expected to reduce transit travel times by 25 percent—don’t take road space away from cars, and give them the advantage of not having to share lanes with buses. The bus lane is just the start of York’s plan to improve public transportation—the dedicated lane will be expanded until it should reach from Unionville GO station to Warden, up to 7 and as far west as Yonge Street at the Richmond Hill Station. But, but…war on cars!

Here’s a downer story: two people injured in separate car accidents in Toronto this week were robbed as they waited for paramedics. On Saturday, a cyclist was struck by a car at Oxford Street and Spadina Avenue, and police told the Globe and Mail that a man rifled through her bag while she lay semi-conscious, eventually taking her cell phone and fleeing. And on Wednesday, a woman robbed a man of a roll of coins as he lay bleeding on the street after being struck by a car in the city’s east end. Bet you feel really good about humanity now, huh?

But here’s an article to make up for that last one: a woman had her stolen bike returned to her, thanks to a social media and postering campaign and the good heart of a local musician. Toronto musician Valery Gore purchased a bike for $100 from a woman who claimed to need the money to visit her sister. After checking out the brand of her new wheels online, she discovered that the bike actually retails for more like $1000, and realized it had probably been stolen. Turns out she was right—the bike had been stolen from Meg Norton, who had it pilfered the one time she locked it around the seat instead of the frame. Norton started a postering campaign to get her bike back, and had friend’s spread the word online with the hashtag #ReturnMegsBike. Gore’s husband noticed one of Norton’s posters, and his wife brought the ill-gotten cycle back to its rightful owner because it seemed to her to be the right thing to do. On that happy note, enjoy the weekend!

CORRECTION: August 16, 2013, 11:50 AM This post originally named Valery Gore as Lesley Gore.

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