Huron, Perth and Bruce Counties were all shut down for a three-day span between Jan. 6 and Jan. 9 as relentless snowfall, extreme cold and high winds combined to produce the “polar vortex” that gripped the province in late 2013 and early 2014.
All roads in the three counties were closed for the better part of three days as road crews worked to dig the community out from under the snow.
Katie Cottrill of Belgrave, as part of Team Flaxey, a curling team out of the Listowel Curling Club, would soon be representing Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Over 50 people gathered at the Wingham Golf and Curling Club to watch the final game of the Ontario Scotties tournament in Sault Ste. Marie, which propelled Team Flaxey into the national tournament after a win over Team Hastings from Thornhill.
The first-ever John Pennington Memorial Award was presented by his grandchildren to Brussels firefighter Bill Aitchison, Pennington’s long-time friend, at the department’s annual Christmas banquet.
Pennington’s grandchildren claimed that Aitchison was the right person to win the award due to his dedication and his decades on the fire department.
A proposed merger between the Boards of Health of Huron and Perth Counties was rejected by Perth County Council.
“We were very disappointed that they didn’t at least sit down and discuss it,” said Huron County Warden Joe Steffler.
With a second case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) confirmed in Ontario, Bluevale’s Amy Cronin, Chair of Ontario Pork, worked day and night to come up with a solution to help contain the disease before it reached epidemic levels.
Brussels business iClipArt, owned by Charlie and Alison Hoy, became a worldwide powerhouse, acquiring a number of high-powered domains in the internet world.
The company then became Vital Imagery Ltd., the biggest provider of clipart in the world.
The Huron County Health Unit and its Public Health Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Clark were busy investigating a potential cancer cluster in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh.
The investigation began after the Health Unit received concerning information from a resident who, Clark said, had done an extensive amount of research into the potential of a cancer cluster.
As of February, Clark said the Health Unit was still in the midst of collecting information.
Huron East announced that it would be moving to internet-based voting for the Oct. 27 election later that year. Huron East shared costs with Central Huron, who also made the shift.
A joint meeting of North Huron and Morris-Turnberry Councils resulted in little being solved as the two parties were debating their cross-border servicing agreement.
Huron County Council decided to move onto the next step in the process of signing a lease with the Province of Ontario for the Huron portion of the proposed Guelph-to-Goderich Rail Trail.
Goderich Deputy-Mayor John Grace proposed the creation of a Huron County Economic Development Board. Grace said the board would be driven by private businesses, rather than the traditional approach to economic development.
Long-time Blyth Postmaster Faye Bolger retired from Canada Post after over 26 years with the company. Bolger said she would miss seeing community members every day and hearing their stories, but vowed to remain involved and remain a fixture at community events.
Blyth’s Paul Josling was awarded the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund’s highest honour: the Meritorious Service Cross, which was then coupled with the Fund’s Meritorious Service Medal, which Josling had already won in 2010.
Central Huron Council decided that the municipality would participate in a labour market study tied to local author Alice Munro’s win of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Council had originally deferred the decision until more information was received.
Those involved with Clinton’s famous Sloman School Car came to Central Huron Council to ask for help, saying the historical site was in financial dire straits and they wanted the municipality to take the school car over.
North Huron Reeve Neil Vincent and Avon Maitland District School Board Trustee Colleen Schenk announced they would both be running to be Huron-Bruce’s provincial Liberal Party representative.
North Huron Council did its part to help facilitate an ambitious plan to feed 1,419 people outdoors, on Blyth’s main street.
Council approved the road closures for the dinner, a fundraiser for Campaign 14/19 which would be catered by Jason Rutledge of The Blyth Inn and Peter Gusso of Part II Bistro.
The Blyth Brussels Midget AE Crusaders found themselves in a two-games-to-none hole as they battled a team from Caledonia in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) finals. They would come back, however, to win the next two games and send the series to a fifth and deciding game, in which Caledonia edged the Crusaders by a score of 3-2, ending the team’s season.
The logo and slogan (Huron Hosts on Ontario’s West Coast) for the 2017 International Plowing Match, set to be held in Walton, were both revealed at a meeting of Huron County Council in Goderich.
A large amount of frustration regarding the proposed Guelph-to-Goderich Rail Trail and the lack of consultation with adjacent landowners was aired at a meeting of Morris-Turnberry Council.
“The trail is a bad idea and I don’t know how it got as far as it did,” said Morris-Turnberry Councillor John Smuck.
Central Huron athlete Lexi Aitken won a pair of track and field gold medals at the U.S. Area Youth Olympic Selection Trails, held in Florida. She placed first in both the 100- and 400-metre hurdles, beating the second-place finisher by over a full second.
The Huron County Junior Farmers were named the top junior farmers club in Ontario at the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario’s annual conference, which was held in Cornwall.
Huron County hosted an open house in Brussels to educate citizens on the upcoming project for Turnberry Street that would work on both the road’s surface and the underground infrastructure.
Blyth Farm Cheese was named Canada’s best gouda cheese at the inaugural Canadian Cheese Awards held in Toronto.
Eleven cases of Porcine Episodemic Diarrhea were confirmed in Huron County as the disease continued to spread across Ontario.
Dr. Erica Clark, public health epidemiologist came to the conclusion that there was no cancer cluster in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, after investigating a resident’s research earlier in the year.
Years of negotiations and proposals ended with the Brussels Library’s grand opening after extensive renovations and expansion to make the building more accessible.
The milestone was marked by a large group of supporters cutting a ribbon in front of the library’s former corner entrance.
North Huron Council announced that it would be pledging $500,000 to Campaign 14/19. This came after the announcement that those involved with the campaign had raised over $1 million of its $6 million goal.
A late night fire devastated a chicken farm just north of Blyth on May 1. The blaze claimed 46,000 chickens, a manure storage building and caused a grand total of $1.3 million in damage.
Blyth NHL player Justin Peters was named to the Canadian National Team that would be heading to Belarus for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s world championships. He was the third goalie named to Team Canada.
With an abundance of fire activity in the area in the first four and a half months of the year, Fire Department of North Huron (FDNH) Chief David Sparling told North Huron Council that the department was closing in on an average year’s worth of calls just halfway through May. The announcement came just after the department was busy with four calls in a 48-hour period between May 7-9.
Organizer Lorna Fraser announced that the annual Blyth United Church Women (UCW) event Women’s Day Out would be discontinued after 2014, its 20th year.
Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn announced that he would seek a second term in the position as the Oct. 27 election approached.
Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador Kayla Bishop was on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the Brussels Farmers’ Market for another season. She was led into the ceremony by Don Martin, a member of the Brussels Legion Pipe Band.
Clarissa Gordon was named ambassador for the 2014 Elementary School Fair, held annually in Belgrave.
Provincial candidates Colleen Schenk of the Liberal Party, Jan Johnstone of the NDP and Dennis Valenta of the Equal Parenting Party, in addition to incumbent Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, all spoke at an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Huron County Federation of Agriculture in Holmesville where a number of issues, including the economy, agriculture and renewable energy were all covered ahead of the June 12 election.
Central Huron Council was busy brainstorming how to honour residents Will and Claire Fleming, who had just completed a cross-country cycling trip that raised over $32,000 for the Canadian Tire Jumpstart charity.
Incumbent Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson rolled to a second consecutive riding win, defeating her closest competitor, Colleen Schenk of the Liberal Party, by over 4,000 votes.
Two local companies, Howson and Howson in Blyth and Parrish and Heimbecker in Walton, joined forces to create Millstone Crop Services. The announcement was made at the company’s Walton Road location, which would serve to be its new headquarters.
Kitchen Radio, written by Blyth Festival Artistic Director Marion de Vries, opened the Festival’s 40th season, earning rave reviews for its humour and musicianship.
Blyth artist Kelly Stevenson was in the process of preparing for her first-ever exhibition at the Blyth Festival Art Gallery. Stevenson’s show “Who Heals You” was set to open at the gallery on July 18 and would run until mid-August.
The art, Stevenson said, would feature paper and found-object productions.
Lynda Wilson, a Guelph-based author, and her husband Doug had recently completed walking the proposed Guelph-to-Goderich Rail Trail. Wilson was preparing to write a book about the experience of the trail, which she hoped would be published by the end of the year.
Bluevale’s 160th anniversary and Homecoming was deemed a success by organizers who said it was a great time. The event brought out nearly 50 antique cars, a dozen antique tractors and over 100 floats for the parade.
North Huron Reeve Neil Vincent announced that he would run again in the Oct. 27 election for the position he had held for the previous two four-year terms.
Chefs Peter Gusso of the Part II Bistro and Jason Rutledge of the Blyth Inn were busy preparing for the biggest meal they would ever have to serve in Fare on Four, a Campaign 14/19 initiative that would see 1,419 people seated on Blyth’s main street and fed by the two men and their crews. At the time, just over half of the event’s tickets had been purchased.
Blyth played host to the first-ever National Cenotaph Day, an initiative that started at the Blyth Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. The day will now take place every year on July 28, the anniversary of the beginning of the First World War.
Blyth’s second annual Streetfest was deemed a success with hundreds attending.
Campaign 14/19’s large outdoor meal, Fare on 4, officially sold out of all 1,419 tickets, leaving over 150 people on the waiting list for tickets.
Jamee Johnston was crowned Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador for 2014/2015 by former Ambassador Kayla Bishop. She defeated three other girls for the honour.
Central Huron athlete Lexi Aitken was all set to participate in the Youth Olympics in China, making the trip and participating in the 400-metre hurdles.
While the 2014 season marked the Blyth Festival’s 40th, its actual anniversary was celebrated with a Homecoming weekend and a special cabaret at the Phillips Studio that attracted a who’s who of the Festival’s 40 seasons, including creator of The Farm Show Paul Thompson, Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro as well as members of the Festival’s inaugural 1975 company.
With tickets sold out, Campaign 14/19’s Fare on 4 worked to perfection as the food was met with a standing ovation from diners throughout Blyth.
Much of the talk in Brussels was about the ongoing construction of the village’s main street and its underground infrastructure.
Several businesses complained about flagging sales, while other residents viewed the construction headaches as a necessary struggle on the path to a much-improved downtown core.
George Underwood and his family were named Huron County Farm Family of the Year at the 2014 Huron County Ploughing Match in honour of their outstanding contribution to the world of agriculture.
At the International Plowing Match, a number of local participants were successful, leading Blyth’s Lucas Townsend to proclaim that Huron County “ruled” the match.
Townsend was named Class Two Group One Reserve Champion, while Walton’s Brian McGavin was named Class Five Group One Champion, while other locals like Jeff McGavin and Paul Dodds also performed well at the competition.
The terms of a proposed cross-border servicing agreement between North Huron and Morris-Turnberry began to cause discussion and debate at several council meetings.
The most serious crime committed on Huron County soil in a number of years took place on Sept. 13 as 70-year-old Donato Frigo, a resident of Caledon East, was shot dead in the Hullett Wildlife Conservation Area.
The area, as well as a number of surrounding blocks, was locked down for days as police officers from all over the province conducted their complex investigation.
Soon after, the OPP arrested 70-year-old Boris Panovski in connection with the murder of Frigo. Panovski was arrested without incident at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and charged with the murder of Frigo and attempted murder in the case of Frigo’s wife.
Amid complaints and ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed Guelph-to-Goderich Rail Trail, it was announced that a working committee would be struck. Those at the Huron County Planning Department said the committee would likely begin meeting in early 2015.
Morris-Turnberry rejected North Huron’s proposed cross-border servicing agreement, with Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing saying that the two needed a “positive” agreement and that it could work.
The voting periods for a number of local municipalities were set to begin as every municipality in The Citizen’s coverage area had moved to a new form of voting, whether it be mail-in, phone or internet-based voting.
The election was scheduled for Oct. 27, but for many, voting began around Thanksgiving.
Blyth’s Russell Nesbitt was named the winner of this year’s annual Warden’s Emergency Services Award for being Huron County’s top police officer.
A 16-year veteran of the Ontario Provincial Police, Nesbitt had recently been named to the position of acting sergeant.
Goderich Deputy-Mayor John Grace introduced a new form of economic development at the Huron County Council level; economic development driven by private business. Grace introduced the first people named to the board, which included Blyth’s Steven Sparling.
After years of preparation, discussion and work, renovations at the Brussels Library were expected to come in under budget.
The Brussels Leo Club was approved for its first-ever grant, from the Libro Credit Union for $7,500 that will go towards the club’s sports pad project, which began earlier in the year.
Huron OPP reported that a number of wind turbine project sites throughout the county had been vandalized. While some of the damage was minor in nature, there was a case of vandalism that took place in Huron East where a turbine’s circuit board was damaged, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Blyth artist Kelly Stevenson’s piece The Harvest: Cultivating Mechanisms received the top prize at the annual Huron County Art Show. Stevenson’s work had recently been on display at the Blyth Festival Art Gallery, in her exhibit called Who Heals You.
Despite a large number of hopefuls running in local wards for the Oct. 27 election, many councils looked very much the same after the election, with every reeve and mayor in The Citizen’s coverage area returning for another term.
With the topic of de-amalgamation back on the agenda, Central Huron Council announced that it stood by its original statement that it was not interested in allowing Goderich Township to remove itself from the municipality.
The issue was back in the news as Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren said he would present a “petition of right” at Queen’s Park to help the de-amalgamation take place.
The Blyth Festival Board of Directors announced that it had chosen not to renew the contract of Artistic Director Marion de Vries, despite the success of her play Kitchen Radio and the season she curated, the Festival’s 40th.
Those involved with Campaign 14/19 announced they would be hosting a creative forum at the former Blyth Public School, which had since been named the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC). The areas of focus for the evening would be photography, fashion arts, documentary filmmaking and technology.
With the Oct. 27 election now out of the way, three Huron County councillors announced their intention to seek the office of Huron County Warden. Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan, Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing and Howick Reeve Art Versteeg all put their names forward for the position.
Gil Garratt was named the new artistic director of the Blyth Festival.
Garratt, a long-time actor in Festival productions, as well as director and playwright and former associate artistic director, was announced by the Festival’s Board of Directors by way of a press release, issued Nov. 6.
Having been involved with the Festival for 14 of the previous 16 seasons, Garratt said he was honoured when he was chosen to fill the position and that he would be focusing on the stories waiting to be told in Blyth and Huron County in the coming years.
A study released by Health Canada claimed that there was no link between wind turbines and negative health effects. The study, however, was scrutinized by several local anti-wind turbine groups.
Central Huron track athlete Lexi Aitken decided to put pen to paper and accept a full scholarship from Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth. Aitken was offered a full scholarship by the school, the second one she visited. After visiting TCU, she cancelled the remainder of her university visits, saying she had made her decision.
Jason Rutledge of The Blyth Inn and Peter Gusso of Part II Bistro were both honoured at a soup fundraiser in Goderich. Rutledge’s creation was named the competition’s top soup, while Gusso’s soup was named the people’s choice.
A number of local people, including the Bishop family in Bluevale and Blyth Farm Cheese, were honoured at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
The cheese-making company was also named manufacturer of the year and Joost Van Dorp was named junior manufacturer of the year
The Majestic Women’s Institute celebrated its 75th anniversary with a special meeting and lunch at Melville Presbyterian Church in Brussels.
The Blyth Festival’s new Artistic Director Gil Garratt announced the 2015 Festival season, which would begin with Seeds, written by Annabel Soutar.
The Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (formerly Blyth Public School) held its first creative forum, providing a glimpse into what organizers hope the future of the centre will be.
New councillors elected throughout Huron County attended their first meetings as municipalities, and Huron County Council, all held their inaugural meetings of the 2014-2018 term.
With the new council in place in Huron East, Mayor Bernie MacLellan stated that he wanted to revisit a community vibrancy fund offered the previous year by St. Columban Wind Energy, which council had turned down at the time.
He said he felt the time was right to revisit the issue.
Cohen Lammerant, a Grade 1 student at Hullett Central Public School, donated all of his birthday presents to the Huron County Christmas Bureau, as his school was in the middle of a drive to collect food and toys for the Christmas Bureau.
Renovations to Memorial Hall proposed by Campaign 14/19 were pushed from 2015 to 2016 due to a number of factors. Those same renovations, and the loss of seats that would result, caused an uproar at the Festival’s annual general meeting.
Playwright and director Ted Johns also raised a number of questions at the meeting, many of which were centred around the Board of Directors’ choice to not renew the contract of former Artistic Director Marion de Vries.
Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing was named Huron County Warden for the 2015-2016 term. It is the first time in the amalgamated municipality’s history that it has produced a warden and the first time since the 1970s that a warden has hailed from Morris Township.