We asked new Alberni Valley News reporter Katya Slepian, who joined the News in July, what her top 5 stories for 2014 were. In no particular order:
1. Infrastructure deficit
Hours spent in the basement of city hall watching sewer videos, looking over pages and pages of budgets and hours upon hours of city staff’s time resulted in an enormous cover story and a deep appreciation for all 261 kms of sewers running underneath the city’s crumbling streets.
2. 10th Avenue bridge
All good stories start with texts from your mayor asking if you’d like to trek around a ravine with a bunch of men you’ve never met and the 10th Avenue crossing cover story was no different. Multiple trips down to Roger Creek and many conversations with engineers later, we had ourselves a brand new proposal for an age old question.
3. December floods
It’s not everyday someone compares you to Anderson Cooper, much less a Transport Canada employee. While Cooper’s got a few (hundred) stories on me, being out on the front lines of the floods was an experience I’m unlikely to forget.
4. Municipal elections
Nothing completes an election season with close to 50 candidates quite like an in-depth 77 minute interview with the new mayor.
5. Dave Jansma
For a man only in his 40s, Dave Jansma has a lot of spare parts. The two-time organ recipient, along with wife Colleen and donor Allison Dupuis, also has a lot of courage and humour in the face of adversity.
The fight to keep the city’s drinking water safe made the front page in August and has remained a hot topic since. While it’s been a long road, locals haven’t lost their spirit yet.