Good article, Mel. Although the civic election did not make the cut, it certainly had an impact in my life. Since november 15, I truly have mustered within myself a tad more respect for politicians. Although I still believe a hefty amount of ego lies beneath their claims to serve “God and country”, I now know how difficult (and expensive) running for public office can be for them. I have taken up blogging again. It became a new addiction for me in 2008, and I have now fallen off the wagon. Your critique is always welcome. Have a great 2009. New blog site: http://www.thoughts.com/murphy/blog/murphy-kennedys-thoughts-206888/
Let’s not forget people like Kathleen Scherf, the bouncy new president of Thompson Rivers University; Tom Gaglardi, who carried out a remake of the Blazers during the year; and Zophia Cisowski, who continued all year long the quest for the truth of what happened to her son Robert Dziekanski when he died at Vancouver International Airport.
And there was Master Cpl. Erin Doyle, the 32-year-old killed in action in Afghanistan. If you want a pick from City Hall, it has to be Arjun Singh, the councillor who went in with high hopes and flamed out over his treatment of social planning council members and a highly public feud with fellow councillor John O’Fee over emails.
Newsmakers come in all types, from Michael Graydon, the debonaire new chief at the B.C. Lottery Corporation, to David Shearing, the mass-murderer from Clearwater who wants out of jail and forced us all to remember his dispicable crimes.
As for the big story, I lean towards the arrival of WestJet in Kamloops. After nine years of effort, we finally got the phenomenally successful airline to give us a sniff, and it might well lead to even better things at the airport.
In tandom with the WestJet story, of course, is the airport improvement project getting off the ground. And, for sheer silliness and stunning political incompetence, Natural Resources Minister Garry Lunn’s announcement of a $6.6 million federal grant for that project.
An announcement he later retracted, carving $600,000 off the amount and pretending as though that’s what he was talking about the whole time.
It’s said nothing gets our hackles up like an issue that hits us in the pocketbook or in our backyard. So if you want to get really local, the clear winner is the backyard burning bylaw that got residents so hot under the collar that City council backed down, at least a little.
Restrictions on backyard recreational fires raised the whole issue of over-regulation by local government, and even became a minor issue in the civic election.
The surprise announcement by long-time MLA Claude Richmond that he wouldn’t run again, the heart-warming but utimately tragic story of Chase youngster Jorye Yeung, and the approval of the big Tranquille development were, if not story of the year, certainly milestones in another year that further defined us as a region.
No, I haven’t forgotten about the economy. It’s impacting us here at home just like it does everyone around the world to various degrees. This is an ongoing story, carrying on throughout the next couple of years, and will centre on how we deal with it here in river city.
Any list would be incomplete, of course, without a couple of sports stories. Obviously, the local contingent of athletes that went to the Beijing Olympics and did us proud would top the charts.
And right here at home, the drawn-out scandal involving then-Kamloops Minor Hockey Association president Stan Burton’s lapse in jugment by allowing under-age drinking at his home proved adults don’t always act like adults.
So there you go — my picks for the big ones of 2008. I’m pretty sure 2009 will bring us another roster of stories worthy of topping lists a year from now.