Top news sto­ries of 2016

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE -

2016 was a re­mark­ably busy one for ma­jor news events in the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­centa area. There were some happy sto­ries scat­tered about, but by and large the big ones tended to re­volve around tragic events and con­flict. Ed­i­tor An­drew Robin­son and for­mer re­porter Ni­cholas Mercer re­viewed the big­gest sto­ries The Com­pass cov­ered in 2016 and came up with this list.

1. Bay de Verde fish plant fire: April 11, 2016 will be a mem­o­rable date for years to come in the Trin­ity Bay com­mu­nity of Bay de Verde. The Quin­lan Brothers plant was de­stroyed that day by a mas­sive fire. Com­ing at a par­tic­u­larly awk­ward time given it was the start of the fish­ing sea­son, the com­pany man­aged to make tem­po­rary ar­range­ments for most of its plant work­ers. Re­mark­ably, Quin­lan Brothers ex­pects to have a new plant ready to op­er­ate this spring.

2. Quinn Butt mur­der case: The call to re­spond to a fire on Hay­den Heights in Car­bon­ear proved to be a par­tic­u­larly hard one last April. The dis­cov­ery in­side trig­gered a chain of events lead­ing to a charge of first-de­gree mur­der against Trent Spencer Butt in the death of his five-year-old daugh­ter Quinn. The girl’s death shocked peo­ple across the prov­ince. A pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry is sched­uled to begin later this month at Har­bour Grace Provin­cial Court.

3. Spa­niard’s Bay fire­fight­ers re­signs: More than half of Spa­niard’s Bay’s vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers re­signed at a coun­cil meet­ing last Jan­uary to show sup­port for Sheri Collins, coun­cil’s li­ai­son to the de­part­ment who re­signed at the same meet­ing. Ear­lier that day, Coun. Brenda Sey­mour gave an in­ter­view to CBC al­leg­ing ha­rass­ment within the fire de­part­ment. Protests en­sued, the Bay de Grave fire chief was de­moted, and Bay Roberts pro­vided tem­po­rary fire pro­tec­tion ser­vices un­til new fire­fight­ers in Spa­niard’s Bay were trained and ready to fill out the lo­cal brigade. Coun­cil is set to vote on a ha­rass­ment pol­icy early in the New Year.

4. (tie) Bay de Verde Chase the Ace: As- sump­tion Par­ish of Bay de Verde couldn’t have imag­ined how fruit­ful its Chase the Ace fundraiser would turn out to be. Week af­ter week, the cov­eted ace re­mained in the deck. Down to three cards by late Septem­ber, a group of 10 from the Con­cep­tion Bay South area fi­nally man­aged to claim the mas­sive $733,000 prize.

(tie) New Har­bour teen killed in crash: The tragic death of 18-year-old Han­nah Thorne in a two-ve­hi­cle ac- cident will likely re­main in the news for months to come. Just over two months af­ter her death in July, two men were charged with street rac­ing caus­ing death. Steven Mercer and Brian King have not en­tered any pleas, and their next court date is Jan. 4.

5. Ar­rests made in 2014 mur­der: For more than two years, peo­ple waited for po­lice to make an ar­rest in the mys­te­ri­ous mur­der of North River res­i­dent Dale Porter. In late Septem­ber, RCMP ar­rested two sus­pects with ties to an out­law mo­tor­cy­cle gang. Their case re­turns to court Feb. 17.

6. Whit­bourne Ele­men­tary saga: There were too many twists and turns to keep track of for Whit­bourne Ele­men­tary. First the provin­cial board of trustees voted to close the K-6 school. Then a le­gal chal­lenge over­turned that re­sult. The trustees held an­other re­view and vote, once again elect­ing to close. A vo­cal op­po­nent of the de­ci­sion runs lo­cally for a seat on the board, is be­lieved to be the win­ner, and then learns of un­counted bal­lots that give the vic­tory to an­other can­di­date.

7. Har­bour Grace court­house clo­sure: To start off 2016, Har­bour Grace Provin­cial Court moved out of the his­toric court­house and into the Babb Build­ing. In the provin­cial bud­get, gov­ern­ment an­nounces the clo­sure of mul­ti­ple courts, in­clud­ing the one in Har­bour Grace. As a re­sult of lob­by­ing and a rul­ing from the Supreme Court of Canada, gov­ern­ment re­versed the de­ci­sion at the 11th hour in July.

8. (tie). Dol­larama em­ployee stabs woman at Bay Roberts Mall: Blood was vis­i­ble just out­side the main en­trance of the Dol­larama store at the Bay Roberts Mall in late March. Po­lice al­lege Ja­son King, who re­port­edly worked at the store, stabbed a woman in­side. King is charged with at­tempted mur­der. A one-day pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry is sched­uled for Jan. 23.

(tie) New Pla­cen­tia lift bridge opens: A sight that res­i­dents awaited with baited breath for years, the new lift bridge in Pla­cen­tia fi­nally came to be Sept. 23. It re­placed a tem­per­a­men­tal, ag­ing bridge that had given the com­mu­nity count­less trou­bles over the years. The fi­nal cost came in at nearly $50 mil­lion.

9. Judge finds Evan Fry guilty in home in­va­sion: Evan Fry chose not to go the same route of his al­leged ac­com­plice Josh Bur­ton, who was sen­tenced to over 6 years in prison af­ter plead­ing guilty to mul­ti­ple charges in re­la­tion to a 2015 home in­va­sion. Fol­low­ing a lengthy trial, the judge ul­ti­mately found Fry guilty. The Crown pros­e­cu­tor is look­ing for an eight-year sen­tence, while Fry’s lawyer wants 30 months. A de­ci­sion is due Jan. 20.

10. A date-gone-wrong in Car­bon­ear: A man from Win­ter­ton thought he was out on a typ­i­cal date one night this fall in Car­bon­ear. But po­lice be­lieve he was lured as bait for an armed rob­bery. Four peo­ple —Adam Stagg, Troy Dob­bin, Jen­nine Porter and a male youth who can­not be iden­ti­fied — face mul­ti­ple charges. Stagg has pleaded not guilty.


Quin­lan Brothers of­fi­cials and Bay de Verde coun­cil mem­bers as­sess the dam­age to the fish plant.


Quinn Butt died at the age of five.


For­mer mem­bers of the Spa­niard’s Bay fire de­part­ment join pro­test­ers out­side the town hall.


Han­nah Thorne was killed in a twove­hi­cle ac­ci­dent at the age of 18.


Vol­un­teer Alice Green dumps a new bin full of tick­ets into a basin.


Pro­test­ers gather out­side a meet­ing Whit­bourne.


An RCMP of­fi­cer leaves a crime scene at the Bay Roberts Mall.


Har­bour Grace Provin­cial Court.

Al­lan Pot­ter (left) and Daniel Leonard are ac­cused of mur­der­ing Dale Porter.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.