In the never-ending year of COVID, when it seemed every news story had something to do with the pandemic, there was good news to be had.
From people and businesses doing extraordinary things to the comforts of food, these were the 10 most-read good-news stories on Huntsville Doppler from the past year.
As we put 2020 behind us, Doppler will also be launching a new feature: It’s All Good. Send us your good news—a birth, a milestone birthday or anniversary, an accomplishment—and the good deeds you witness in the Huntsville community that you think everyone should know about and we’ll share them on our It’s All Good page. (You can email us the details at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a photo if you’d like.)
In the meantime, enjoy these good news stories from the past 12 months. Click on the link in each title to read the original story.
In July 2019, at 92 years and 286 days old, lifelong Huntsville resident Bob Hutcheson broke the Guinness World Record for oldest male waterskier in the world. He officially received the title on December 16, via a Zoom call. He’s a downhill skier too, and next winter he hopes to return to his beloved mountains for some heli-skiing…at 95.
Ben Carlin was part of a virtual production team that won a Sports Emmy for outstanding digital innovation. “It’s good to know that just because you grow up in a small town doesn’t mean that you can’t do big things. This whole crazy ride I’ve been on started when I was 15 or 16 filming snowboard videos with my buddies and getting into trouble around Huntsville,” he said.
Nearly two years after discovering toxic mould in their newly purchased Port Sydney home, the Austin family watched that home get torn down in June, making way to rebuild. “I started crying at first, it’s bittersweet,” said Bridgette Austin, as she stood and watched an excavator tear through her house on June 15. “A lot of things to say goodbye to but new beginnings ahead.”
Huntsville High School students and visitors to the Canada Summit Centre could have a new way to satisfy their munchies in the new year: a sandwich shop next to Alberto Salon and Spa. “It’s going to be a basic sandwich shop, as in a hot table and a cold table. We’re not putting a hood in. We don’t want deep fryers or anything like that… very basic, just good wholesome food,” said owner John Pantaleo.
5. Local initiative creating face shields for PSWs, long-term care workers, essential business staff
Early in the pandemic when personal protective equipment was in short supply, Annie Dubé reached out to fellow medical student, Ryan Kirkby, and together they launched an initiative to create PPE for local workers. They teamed up with two local high school teachers, Ian McTavish and Thomas Morton, who have expertise in 3D printing and laser cutting, and set out to produce 1,000 face shields to provide to community members for free.
Huntsville was excited when Muskoka’s first BeaverTails shop opened at the corner of Brunel and Main this summer. The Canadian pastries, likened to a flat donut, are available with a variety of sweet and savoury toppings. “To me BeaverTails was the perfect fit—it’s so ‘Muskoka’,” said Michelle Hill, the location’s owner-operator. “We wanted to be a part of the downtown community.”
Even with restrictions in place due to COVID-19, postponing their wedding day was never in the cards for Dana and Colin Greenleaf. “There were many sacrifices, hard times, and decisions that had to be made that wouldn’t have been our first choice,” said Dana. “I will say that the support we received and the love that we felt was unparalleled. We couldn’t be more grateful for our friends and family and everything that each of them did to support us leading up to and during our wedding day. We couldn’t have pulled it off without them.”
This year the Town issued an RFP for the replacement of the weathered floating pods on the River Mill Park side of the Town Docks and local dock builder Pipefusion Services Inc. won the bid. “Pipefusion came in with an amazing offer for us. One, they were low bid on replacing the pods on the far end. Two, they said they would replace all the other finger docks that we have there with a better, wider dock free of charge—there’s like $100,000 worth of docks they basically gave the town,” noted Steve Hernen, the Town’s director of operations and protective services.
When staff at Huntsville Hospital reached out to MBRP earlier this year to see if their facility could help with efforts to protect staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, owner Martin Barkey said his first thought was, “we just build exhaust systems”. But through some creative thinking they were able to get to work that same day—after picking up some supplies from the local Home Hardware—and build a plexiglass safety shield to help protect hospital staff. They then extended that effort to include other local businesses, and provided the shields for free.
In April, Katherine Craine, executive director of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation (HHF), announced a significant gift of over $1 million to the hospital from The Dani Reiss Family Foundation. It wasn’t the only significant gift announced by HHF this year. Long-time Lake of Bays residents, Gerry and Paula Coleman, also made a $1 million gift to the Foundation.
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