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2009 in review

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On Tuesday, January 4th, Saugeen Times will officially celebrate its second year birthday and begin its third year of bringing local news to the community, far and wide.

To say it's been a busy time, is putting it mildly, but it has also been an exciting new endeavour that has far surpassed any goals that were set at the beginning.

Now, with thousands of files, it has been difficult in the extreme to even begin to choose articles or feature stories over the past year, 2009, that may have been more meaningful than others.

Where does one start.

There are, of course, the numerous 'news' articles that evolve from things like Council meetings, covering presentations of financial donations by corporate entities and many others.  True, many are very important to community and some affect the lives of many but, 2009, also saw several major issues that had, and continue to have, an affect on the entire community.

For instance, there is, of course, the on-going issue of whether or not sewers will be installed to replace the many septic systems that exist on the north side of the Saugeen River.  We are still awaiting the outcome on this one.

Then, there was the 'parent revolution' in Bruce County surrounding the issue of the elimination of rotary education classes within the Bluewater Board of Education.  It appears as though the parents, by banding together in solidarity, may have affected change ... it remains to be seen.

Another issue that reared its head was the possible closure of the second busiest emergency room in Bruce County at Southampton Memorial Hospital in Saugeen Shores.  Given the geographic location of the area that the rural hospital serves and winter isolation due to weather, it was a situation that was seen as critical to the community.  While the matter was temporarily resolved ... it, too, is not over.

There were however, several good news stories.

The Rail Trail that provides cyclists, walkers and joggers with a recreational 'nature' route saw considerable expansion that continues into the new year.

The Town of Saugeen Shores has become a model for much-needed affordable housing in the region.  The project is a precedent-setting development by four levels of government  working in co-operation.

Of course, we can't forget the recent once-in-a-lifetime arrival of the Olympic Torch when the entire community came together to celebrate pride in being Canadian.

In sports, there was also much to celebrate.  Only a few of the highlights were:

Saugeen Track and Field Club's 'blind' runner and high-jumper, Rick Carr, recovered from what was thought to be a totally debilitating accident to go and win a World Gold Medal.

The local men's Winterhawks hockey team, went on to bring home the championship.

The hardworking Saugeen District Secondary School Royals (football team) also won the Bluewater championship for the fourth year in a row.

The coming together of a community was never more evident than in 2009.

From the Jeff Preston Golf Tournament that reached the $1million mark in funds raised for Muscular Dystrophy since its inception, to the $550,000 raised in support of the United Way that exceeded its goal of $350,000 and the over-the-top $97,000 of the Light the Way hospital equipment campaign.

While the news stories of 2009 were many, there were also those that reach out to the heart of a community.

Covering 'Special Olympic' events, means having had the opportunity to meet volunteers and parents who dedicate their lives to providing a better life for those who, without that dedication, would be living very differently.  Thanks to those volunteers, the Special Olympians have a quality of life that, only a few years ago, was not possible.   These Special Olympians now have the opportunity to compete world-wide and feel the same sense of accomplishment that all athletes do.

Then, you meet the 'Miracle Baby' born on Christmas day.  A baby that, in one year, has undergone more than most adults ever will in a lifetime.  A baby boy whose parents have such a positive outlook that you feel, "this is as good as it gets!" 

No year, however, is ever without its losses and, in 2009, Saugeen Times lost several good friends.

Among the many, were Lorne Shantz, who gave so much of his time with his wife Jeannie, to his community;  Hart Doran, a colourful, original 'gentleman' of Southampton; the too young, Patricia (Pat) Marcotte and young Bruce McDougall (Jr.), whose mother and father have been a mainstay in the community of Southampton.

Like every year, 2009 had its ups and downs ...  Saugeen Times has tried to be there for them all.

 

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Sunday, January 03, 2010