Touch­ing sto­ries of 2015

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With ev­ery is­sue pub­lished and each day spent up­dat­ing our web­site, The Com­pass’ ed- ito­rial team strives to share sto­ries that en­gage our read­ers. Over the course of the last year, we’ve cov­ered sto­ries from all sorts of an­gles and in- tro­duced read­ers to peo­ple who might oth­er­wise not be on your radar.

Based on web traf­fic, we’ve put to­gether this list count­ing down the top-10 sto­ries of the past year that have touched read­ers in some way. As you’ll see, no two sto­ries are quite alike on this list.

1. Re­mem­ber­ing a team­mate (April)

The death of 17-year-old Bran­don Har­ris of Sibley’s Cove hit a lot of peo­ple hard. Ob­vi­ously, his un­ex­pected death just over a year ago was a shock for the fam­ily. As a young ath­lete in­volved in team sports, Bran­don also had plenty of young team­mates forced to come to terms with the tragedy.

Mem­bers of the CeeBees mi­nor mid­get rep 1 team ul­ti­mately per­se­vered, ded­i­cat­ing the re­main­der of the 2014-15 sea­son to Bran­don. At the open­ing cer­e­mony in Har­bour Grace for the mid­get D di­vi­sion provin­cial tour­na­ment, Bran­don’s No. 6 jer­sey was re­tired. They even­tu­ally won the tour­na­ment, and re­porter Ni­cholas Mercer cap­tured the drama well in a story that was among The Com­pass’ most-read on­line ar­ti­cles of 2015.

2. Teen mom can’t bring baby to grad (April)

The story of Jes­sica Ma­son, who in­tended to bring her four- month-old daugh­ter Iyla to her high school grad­u­a­tion, gar­nered a lot of feed­back. There were di­verse opin­ions on the ques­tion of whether As­cen­sion Col­le­giate should al­low Jes­sica to take her daugh­ter to the din­ner and grand march.

The school ini­tially told the girl from Cupids Iyla could go, then changed its mind. The Com­pass pub­lished re­porter Melissa Jenk­ins’ story mid­day on April 28, and be­fore the end of the day, As­cen­sion Col­le­giate re­versed its de­ci­sion.

3. Do­na­tion has ex­tra mean­ing for par­ents of still­born twins (Novem­ber)

Ni­c­hole Tut­tle and Robert Cal­la­han of Bay Roberts found a spe­cial way to hon­our the oneyear an­niver­sary of a rather un­for­tu­nate event. In Novem­ber of 2014, Ni­c­hole gave birth to still­born twins.

A year later, Robert and a very-preg­nant Ni­c­hole re­turned to Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal to do­nate a Cud­dleCot to the pe­di­atric unit. It cools the body and gives the fam­ily ex­tra time with the still­born baby. It was a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment for the couple, but they hoped the do­na­tion would help oth­ers fac­ing sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions. Re­porter Ni­cholas Mercer was among those on hand to wit­ness the do­na­tion.

4. Moms stand up to bul­ly­ing (Oc­to­ber)

School bul­lies seem to never go out of fash­ion, whether it’s the age of the chalk­board or the in­ter­ac­tive white­board. Early in the cur­rent school year, two moms liv­ing in the Con­cep­tion Bay North area reached out to The Com­pass to talk about their chil- dren’s strug­gles deal­ing with bul­lies.

Both par­ents sug­gest more needs to be done to com­bat bul­ly­ing. Melissa Jenk­ins’ re­port also in­cluded com­ments from a lo­cal com­mu­nity polic­ing of­fi­cer and a spokesman for the New­found­land and Labrador English School Dis­trict.

5. Char­lene John­son’s blog­ging ad­ven­ture (June)

Long-time Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive MHA Char­lene John­son said so long to po­lit­i­cal life in 2014, elect­ing to fol­low her fam­ily to South­east Asia, where her hus­band had a new job lined up. Co­in­cid­ing with the move, John­son cre­ated a blog to re­count her fam­ily’s trav­els in the re­gion.

The story at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion on­line, al­though it would ap­pear John­son’s own in­ter­est in the ven­ture wa­vered. She has posted three en­tries in to­tal, all made in June of this year.

6. Mur­der vic­tim’s fam­ily wants his mem­ory kept

alive (Septem­ber)

The shock­ing mur­der of North River res­i­dent Dale Porter in June of 2014 re­mains an un­solved mystery. In April of this year, RCMP said it was ready to act on DNA ev­i­dence linked to the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but no ar­rests were made.

Dale’s widow, Tammy Porter, spoke with re­porter Melissa Jenk­ins about how his death im­pacted the fam­ily. It was an emo­tional con­ver­sa­tion, and one that read­ers showed a great deal of in­ter­est in.

7. Ju­nior Stars goalie back af­ter can­cer scare (Oc­to­ber)

Jor­dan Dray was back on the ice this sea­son for the Con­cep­tion Bay North Ju­nior Stars. A year ear­lier, the goalie had a bit of a scare when his mom no­ticed a lump on his throat. A biopsy sug­gested it could be can­cer­ous, and doc­tors didn’t take any chances. Two surg­eries took place to re­move his thy­roid, and Jor­dan has been do­ing well ever since.

8. Vis­i­ble pain (March)

A young girl be­ing picked on chose to put on a brave face with fam­ily, but she found a way to deal with the emo­tional

9. Pla­cen­tia ral­lies around boy (June)

The fam­ily of 12-year-old Con­nor McGrath was fac­ing a ma­jor chal­lenge. Di­ag­nosed with leukemia in July of 2013, he was later con­sid­ered can­cer-free, but doc­tors iden­ti­fied a re­cur­rence this May. The fam­ily lived in Ed­mon­ton, but Con­nor’s treat­ment would take place in Calgary.

In Pla­cen­tia, lo­cal run­ner Mat­tie Fo­ley de­cided to help out the McGrath’s, who are orig­i­nally from the area. He ded­i­cated a 42-kilo­me­tre run from Dunville to Whit­bourne to the fam­ily and raised over $1,800. An on­line cam­paign raised thou­sands of dol­lars more. pain through cut­ting, a form of self-harm. The girl’s fam­ily reached out to The Com­pass to speak about her trou­bling sit­u­a­tion. Re­porter Melissa Jenk­ins sub­se­quently learned there were other sim­i­lar cases crop­ping up at schools in the Con­cep­tion Bay North area.

10. On the Green (June)

Re­becca Green of Green’s Har­bour rep­re­sents the sort of suc­cess story peo­ple tend to get be­hind. A smart stu­dent at­tend­ing McGill Univer­sity in Que­bec with as­pi­ra­tions of work­ing in sports medicine, Green is also an ace soc­cer player. This past year, she earned a spot on the women’s soc­cer team rep­re­sent­ing Canada at the World Univer­sity Games in South Korea. Prior to the games, she sat down with The Com­pass to talk about the sport and her goals in life.


Team­mates of the late Bran­don Har­ris ded­i­cated their per­for­mance at a provin­cial mid­get hockey tour­na­ment to the Sibley’s Cove na­tive. His No. 6 jer­sey was re­tired at the open­ing cer­e­mony.


Con­cep­tion Bay North Ju­nior Stars goalie Jor­dan Dray opened up this year about man­ag­ing to beat can­cer be­fore it could even get ahold of his body.


Char­lene John­son, right, and her daugh­ter Jorja.


Ni­c­hole Tut­tle (left) and Robert Cal­la­han stand next to the Cud­dleCot that they do­nated to Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in mem­ory of their sons.


Jes­sica Ma­son (left), Bran­don Bow­er­ing (right) and their daugh­ter Iyla.


North River res­i­dent Dale Porter was mur­dered in 2014.


Con­nor McGrath was di­ag­nosed with can­cer for the sec­ond time in his young life ear­lier this year. Friends of the fam­ily in Pla­cen­tia found ways to help out.


Re­becca Green rep­re­sented her coun­try as a mem­ber of the fe­male soc­cer team at the World Univer­sity Games in South Korea.

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