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Dec 30, 2008  |  Vote 0    0

What a year!

St. Marys Journal Argus

It seems fitting that 2008 would close with a raging flood in St. Marys ' the waters, quickly rising and receding, are uncannily indicative of the kind of year it's been, both in St. Marys and abroad. Where to begin? St. Marys began this year in tumult over what a new elementary school could look like in town, and ended it with an additional $2.3 million to build a kindergarten-to-Grade 6 school at the Pyramid Centre. And, speaking of the Pyramid Centre, its grand opening in May certainly was grand ' and not marred by controversy, like the rest of the project was. Now that Canada's in a full recession, some would surely like to have that $14 million still in the town coffers, however, no one can say that it's not a beautiful facility, and not being used as much as possible.Local industry was in the news this year .. and that news, in some cases, was not good. The idea of St. Marys Cement using old plastic bags to fuel its kiln caused great interest ' and, honestly, some confusion ' this fall, and it remains to be seen if they'll get the go-ahead to even do the test burn. And then there's the blood spill that literally painted the town red in November. Even though the mess was sopped up fairly quickly, for some residents, it just highlighted the problems of truck traffic moving through our quaint downtown, plus, the idea that business can do what it wants and get away with a mere slap on the wrist.But business as we know it has stalled. While warnings of economic collapse were even mentioned in this paper as early as February, the stunning drop in the stock markets, insolvency of banks and auto manufacturers, and multitude of housing foreclosures that took place south of the boarder ' and have steadily crept north (with layoffs at Intertec, and the closure of Dana)  ' have surprised us all. We are rethinking our buying habits ' and our savings habits. Easy credit, which once seemed to offer boundless potential, has only put us into a bind. At least gas is half the price is was just six months ago, but, while that may seem like a welcome discount, it causes unease at the same time ' what is next on the roller coaster?At least we have some kind of idea, politically, what to expect in 2009. After a pointless federal election in October, our delicate minority government reached a critical point in November; and now we lie in wait for Parliament to resume in January. At least new Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff seems more willing to play nice with Stephen Harper ' let's hope that Harper's self imposed time-out means the sandbox that is the House of Commons will be a little friendlier.But there are the crests of 2008 ' US Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps' stunning gold medal haul in Beijing, Barack Obama's inspirational victory in the US election, the outpouring of support for our troops in Afghanistan ' and their honourable return ' along the Highway of Heroes.But back to that first flood, the one that happened, curiously enough, on April Fool's Day. Was the joke on us? It's certainly been a heck of a year ... and sure to be a heck of a ride to see if 2009 can top it.  

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