2016 Year in Review: January

January 5, 2017   ·   0 Comments

As far as years go, there aren’t too many people that are sorry to see 2016 come to a close. It has been a relentless 12 months jam packed with changes, challenges and controversy. From the residents of the United Kingdom voting in favour of ‘Brexit’ – a move that will see the country slowly remove itself from the European Union – to our friends south of the border shocking the world and electing Donald Trump as the 45th US President.

Right here in Canada, 2016 will go down as the year that uprooted an entire city with residents of Fort McMurray forced to evacuate their homes as a rampant wildfire took control of the northern Alberta community. The fire, which started outside of the city on May 1, spread across 1.5 million acres of land before it was declared to be under control on July 5. The wildfire has officially gone down as the costliest disaster in Canadian history, with damages estimated at $4.7 billion.

2016 was a big year locally, with numerous highs and lows hitting the community of Orangeville. As such, we will be separating our ‘Year in Review’ section into three pieces, appearing today, on Jan. 12 and again on Jan. 19. Without any further adieu, here’s a look at all the best headlines that appeared in the Citizen from January until April of 2016.

January 7, 2016

  Local police warned the public about a number of new Internet scams making the rounds as 2016 got underway. Dufferin OPP released details relating to a new scam that targeted residents via Facebook. Accoring to Dufferin OPP, scammers duplicate a person’s Facebook account and use it to get personal information and funds from friends of the original account. One Northumberland County resident was scammed out of $3,100 after she was contacted by the fraudulent account, informing her she had won a $100,000 Facebook lottery.

Another scam that surfaced in Orangeville early in the New Year involved counterfeit American money. The Orangeville Police Service reported that several purchases had been made throughout town with suspects using counterfeit $20 and $50 bills.

  Grand Valley resident and World War II veteran Tony Balch was awarded the French Legion of Honour medal at the Orangeville Legion on Jan. 2. The prestigious medal was established in 1802 and is the highest decoration in France. The medal was awarded to all living veterans that fought in France during World War II.

  New Canadians Emad and Razan Alhajali and their two children, eight-year-old Fatema and seven-year-old Hamoudi, settled into their new home in Orangeville. The first of several refugees from Syria expected to settle locally, the family arrived safely in Orangeville on Dec. 14.

January 14, 2016

  One of three reports Shelburne CAO John Telfer presented to Town Council in early January dealt with the water main break that put residents on alert two days before Christmas.

At the first council meeting of 2016, held on Jan. 9, CAO John Telfer told councilors the emergency operations office operated from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Dec. 23 and resumed Dec. 24 at 9 a.m., shutting down an hour later “with news of the break being managed.” Mr. Telfer said the break would be covered under the municipality’s operational repairs budget at an estimated cost of $12,000.

January 21, 2016

  Wayne Kalinski sees his first year as Orangeville’s new Chief of Police as a mostly positive one, with an increase in community engagement, as well as an added police presence on the streets in town listed as just two of his greatest successes.

Chief Kalinski met with the local media last week to discuss some of the achievements of the OPS in 2015, their annual statistics, and some of the detachment’s plans for the future.

“Engaging with the community and meeting community needs is a priority that the Orangeville Police has, as our motto reads ‘we’re focused on our community’, and that has to be paramount,” said Chief Kalinski. “Always considering that community safety is our number one concern, but focusing on our community is very important to not only the citizens of Orangeville, but to the Orangeville police as well.”

Statistics from 2015 include 3049 parking tickets (up 989 from 2014), 3982 Highway Traffic Act charges (up 415), 746 Criminal Code charges (down 26), 53 drug related charges (down 41) and 502 other arrests (up 47). In 2015, Orangeville Police Officers also logged a total of 2038 hours during ‘foot patrol’.

  A contingent of staff and students from Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon East spent ten days working in Nicaragua in late January and early February, helping a community in the impoverished Central American nation build an irrigation system to help agriculture in the region thrive. Nine students participated in the trip.

January 28, 2016

  Orangeville’s Believe Bags project, an annual collection held in Christmas by local resident Karen Ross-Smith, had another great year in 2015.

After founding the project in 2012, Ms. Ross-Smith has seen it grow exponentially, allowing her to touch the lives of others throughout the holiday season. The idea developed from recognizing how many people seemed to go without, or had less at that time of year, and became a way for Ms. Ross-Smith to bless single moms in the community with a little something for themselves.

With the help of the community, the Believe Bags project distributed 150 gift bags to single moms throughout Orangeville.

  The staff of the Orangeville and area Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) announced a new program for assisting working artists with the business aspects of their lives.

The Cultural Entrepreneurship Program is a pilot program designed to assist with mentoring and consultation on business guidelines and plan development for new and expanding arts and culture based programs.

The municipality’s Economic Development Manager Ruth Phillips explained the basics of the program. “We meet with new business entrepreneurs and existing business owners to help them as an information resource. They can come in and pick up information on commonly asked questions and problems that people struggle with.”

They also assist in such matters as registering a new or re-registering an existing business, where they provide the computer link to the relevant government office or actually go through the process on a person’s behalf.

  The Mono Nordic Ski Club hosted its annual invitational cross-country ski event on the grounds at Monora Park on Jan. 23. Around 220 cross country skiers turned out for the times races and participated in several different events over different length courses.

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