On a personal note, here are some of the things that left an impression on me in 2017.
Every year we cover so many stories: some are devastating, some don’t end well, and some are just plain weird. I have my favourite kinds of beats, but being a news anchor means you’re seeing a lot of copy — and between the lines, there are people whose stories need to be told. It all leaves an impression! Here are the five stories sticking with me as we head into 2018.
The death and memorial of Abbotsford Constable John Davidson
It began to actually unfold just as I was finishing my day, and something didn’t sit right with me when I first heard this was happening. It came to a head with a sad ending hours later and left everyone in shock. But the juxtaposition of what came out of such ugliness when we found out when Davidson had died resonated with me: communities coming together on so many levels. People wanting to know where they could contribute their time and money. Municipalities blurred borders, and everyone mourned. We eventually learned more about who Davidson was to the City of Abbotsford, and it hurt us all even more. Watching his memorial was also an experience unlike no other. That one’s definitely going to sit with many of us for a long, long time.
The rescue of Coquitlam dog walker Annette Poitras
Search-and-rescue stories always have me going, “oh boy, I hope this ends well.” Sadly, there are a number that don’t but fortunately this one did. And to top it all off, the three dogs she’d been lost with were all also okay. She may have made it out with some injuries, and spent a few days in hospital, but I think we’re all happy she’s fine. AND she’s been able to share some really important lessons with the community when it comes to being out in the woods or going hiking.
B.C.’s weather/wildfires in 2017
The weather stories this year were all over the place, but I think it’s proven once again there needs to be a discussion and assessment of how ready we need to be. Sometimes you never know with the weather, and I think that this was the case here with what we saw unfold in the province. Hopefully, there’s more emergency preparedness as we head into the new year, and perhaps the government will be able to find better contingency solutions as it carries out its review. In the meantime, this year had me rethinking our emergency preparedness kit at home, which is a part of my list of goals and things to take care of heading into 2018. If you need help putting a kit together, start here.
The opioid crisis
No one is excluded from this; we are all impacted in some way shape or form. So when the most recent press release came down with the total number of overdose deaths — 1,013 — surpassing the year before (922), it was very sad. (And that 1,013 is not even the final number.) I’d like to think we all want to see the numbers go down — AND for the stigma to end, because it’s probably part of the reason why people aren’t getting help. If you or someone you know needs help, check this site out for more details.
The sunset bylaw that New Westminster only got rid of in 2017
I’ve got to put a fun one somewhere in here! (And something local for my neighbourhood.) Every once in a while there’s a silly by-law that pops up that not only manages to make it through decades of existence, but also has residents scratching their heads. So when Mayor Jonathan Cote and council finally got rid of the bylaw that required people to be home before sundown, everyone had to share a laugh. I remember chatting with him about it and he said the initial bylaw coming into play might have had something to do with St. Patrick’s Day…but even council and mayor couldn’t figure out how it had fallen through the cracks. Good call, Cote. Let’s leave that sucker in 2017. (Even though, let’s be honest — no one was following the bylaw!)
What are some of your favourite local stories? Drop a line below, or tweet them at me! And don’t forget to tune in in the New Year to AM 980 CKNW, where Niki Reitmayer and I will be hosting our year-end special as we take a look back at the big stories of 2017!