2012 in review: K-W in the news

Carly McGlynn & Emilia Piskorski
CCE Social Media Coordinators

2012 wasn’t so bad. The world did not come to an end. 2013 is right around the corner. Let’s look back at some of the most interesting, compelling, and most talked-about issues in our community over the past 12 months.

Passenger Safety Becomes GRT priority

Smile! You’re on GRT camera. Until May 22, 190 GRT buses were equipped with security cameras. The purpose of these cameras is to help detect any kind of unsafe activities and to make people safer while riding the bus. Only the cameras closest to the driver detect audio and the videos will only be kept for three days. So yes, those little bubbles on the ceiling of the buses are apparently recording your every move and if you speak loud enough, every word. Will it really stop somebody from stealing your phone? Or from verbally offending you? Probably not. But for the next 72 hours after the incident, you can nicely ask GRT if you can watch it from a different angle.

NDP Claim K-W

It came as a surprise to many when the NDP party was elected for K-W for the first time. NDP candidate Catherine Fife, a Waterloo Region District School Board trustee before she was elected, led the NDP to victory with 40 per cent of the vote.

Many thought this sudden change in parties was a result of the Liberal’s implementation of the wage-freeze for teachers, but can teachers be counted as 40 per cent of the population? Being a city full of many university students, this was definitely good news to them, but what about everybody else? I guess we’ll have to wait see how well Ms.Fife will score on this test.

Ish and Chips goes into Flames

Many local Instagram and Twitter users put their camera skills to use on Aug. 23 when the beloved Ish and Chips burned to ashes. Pictures were all over the web, but it was definitely a sad day for the owners and lovers of one of the best fish and chips restaurants in town. Adding to the heartbreak was the fact that the owners relocated to their new up-town location after they apparently experienced a demolition scare. The cause of the fire is still unidentified but is by no means “fishy”. The estimated $500,000 in damages leaves a family heartbroken and many of us food-lovers hungry.

Kitchener turns 100

June marked the 100th birthday of Kitchener being a city. On Jun. 10, the city celebrated with an extravaganza called “Celebration of Cityhood.” Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Kitchener. There was a lot people could choose to do, from enjoying live musical performances to participating in interactive historic activities. Kitchener celebrated its exceptional cultural diversity and accessibility which helps put the city on the map.

Idle No More Movement

December brought the Idle No More movement to Kitchener. Local First Nations leaders and other members from the community joined together to demonstrate solidarity amongst other movements throughout Canada. A drum circle was led that attracted many people within the city with both positive and negative feedback. Bringing the movement to K-W definitely expanded the city’s diversity, but also brought awareness about the housing crisis within First Nation communities and other neglected issues.

Research In Motion

Waterloo based Research In Motion had some ups and downs this year, including local employee layoffs and the announcement of a new device coming soon. With a new CEO appointed in January, RIM has set its eye on the prize – BlackBerry 10, a re-engineered and re-invigorated BlackBerry device. Recently, BlackBerry maker’s stock has been on a roll, steadily rising and fluctuating throughout December.

Lydia Herrle

This story illustrates just how close and caring the Kitchener-Waterloo community is. Lydia Herrle, 13, was hit by a truck after getting off her school bus on May 17, 2012. She left in a coma and hospitalized at Sick Kids Hospital for two months. During this time, K-W and surrounding communities came together to pray for Lydia and fund raise for her care. Green ribbons became iconic and were pinned all around the community. In July, she was moved to Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. In October, five months after the crash, Lydia Herrle was home for the first time. She continues to recover with the support of family, friends and the community. To learn more about this wonderful story, visit the Herrle family’s blog about Lydia’s journey here.

Light Rail Transit

In May, Dalton McGuinty and the province of Ontario approved the City of Waterloo’s proposal for a rapid transit project. The Light Rail Transit project will consist of 36 kms of both light-rail and rapid bus lines that will link the regions’s three major cities — Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo. A 19-kilometre light-rail line will run from the Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. A 17-kilometre bus rapid transit route will also run from Kitchener’s Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street Terminal in Cambridge. To learn more about this project, visit www.rapidtransit.regionofwaterloo.ca.

Armed Robberies in Student Neighbourhoods

Early in January this year, three armed robberies occurred in one week in the area surrounding the Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo campuses. Similar situations in the exact location left students and community members suspicious and weary. Previous to these incidents, police made a number of arrests similar relating to this type of incident, but unfortunately they continued to occur not only in the Northdale area, but throughout the community. You can read a full story here, as published by The Cord on January 11, 2012.

Kitchener Rangers & their 50th Season

No need for the NHL lockout to affect hockey in l K-W. The Kitchener Rangers, Kitchener’s OHL team, continues to flourish into their 50th season. In early 1963, the Rangers were born, after the Guelph Royals were brought to Kitchener by businessmen that seized the opportunity to bring the team to Kitchener. Ever since, junior hockey has never been the same in the city. The Kitchener Citizen’s Carrie Debrone took a tour of the team’s newly refurbished home in November – a suitable home for the kings of local hockey.