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Weekend Newsstand: August 17, 2013

Pack up and leave the week behind; it's weekend time. Kick it off with some news: police investigate Rob Ford's friends for links to crack video, cell service in TTC stalled, new priority neighbourhoods, Pape station closure, and snakes in a motel.

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The saga within a scandal within a police investigation within another thing that is the Rob Ford crack video story takes another turn. It seems the police are investigating some of Ford’s friends, some of whom allegedly tried to track down the alleged video, allegedly. The Star has the epic and detailed cast of characters that surround the mayor. Some live in their parents’ basements. Many have previous drug and assault charges. More than one have driven the mayor around.

The plan to get cell service in the tunnels of the TTC is not going according to plan, as none of the big three cell carriers are signed on. The company in charge of the project, BAI Canada Inc., has until December to get Rogers, Bell, and Telus to come around, at which time they’ll get a year-long extension. But as the Post reports, a similar project in Montreal’s metro didn’t get off the ground until the big three were able to control it themselves. In the meantime, we can still share that moment around Rosedale station when everyone eagerly refreshes Instagram.

The City is looking to choose new priority neighbourhoods by next year. The awkward program, started eight years ago, singles out areas in need of extra attention and focuses funds from city agencies and not-for-profits into the area. A new quantitative ranking system will help determine what the new neighbourhoods will be. And the city hopes the system doesn’t just spit out the same 13 they already have.

Pape Station will be closed for two weeks starting Monday. Customers voted to close the station in order to speed up work on a facelift that’s had the station covered in construction hoarding for a while now. Trains won’t stop there and buses will detour, but the Tim Hortons is staying open. Thank goodness.

And a bunch of pythons and python eggs (which are somehow creepier even if less lively), found in a Brantford motel room last week are under the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The snakes were in plastic storage bins and apparently accompanied by a couple and five young children. So this is probably better.

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