Looking back on a wild week in Red Deer

May 28, 2017 - 11:34am Updated: May 28, 2017 - 12:13pm

I’ve been in the news business for more than a decade.

Over that time, I’ve experienced the many high and lows that come with gathering facts and presenting them to listeners/readers/viewers in central Alberta.

I can’t recall many weeks that were as eventful in the news biz as the one I just experienced… and it was a short week, no less.

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Our city made national headlines for all the wrong reasons this week with Tuesday’s protest at Lindsay Thurber. On the heels of a fight at the school for which eight students, four of them Syrian, were suspended. When speculation came out that the Syrian students received lesser punishment (shorter suspensions) than the other students, controversy ensued and a few dozen protesters turned out to the school to voice their opinion.

School officials have repeatedly stated that all eight students received the same penalty, a five-day suspension, the maximum allowable under the School Act. Principal Dan Lower stood face-to-face with the protesters, telling them as much.

Still, people chose to believe their version of the truth. Lower and his colleagues were called “liars” and “traitors” as they walked away from the protest.

My thoughts:

- It hurts my heart seeing how easily misleading (false) information can fuel hatred;

- Social media has allowed those with an agenda to share their message, using whatever “facts” they see fit, with the masses, who consume it without hesitation;

- Ironically, many of those same people, no matter what they are told, simply do not trust authority figures;

- Principal Lower, Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School and the rest of Red Deer Public Schools handled the situation admirably, in my opinion. It’s not something they should’ve had to deal with, but they did so with composure and professionalism;

- In the end, I have faith that Red Deer’s true spirit as a welcoming, inclusive city will shine through.

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On Wednesday, any hope for a “normal” day was blown away when that wicked wind storm rolled through Red Deer and central Alberta.

Any time a quick-moving weather event strikes, it sends a newsroom into overdrive. Somehow Josh Hall and I managed to keep up with this one, thanks largely to rdnewsNOW readers and BIG 105 and 106.7 The Drive listeners.

The flood of reports and pictures we received made it possible to keep everyone informed of what was happening. In the end, no one was hurt, thankfully, and Red Deer was left with quite a mess that will take a few weeks to clean up.

Weather stories - never a dull moment.

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Thursday, I found myself at the Red Deer Courthouse covering the case of a mother who admitted to producing and sharing child pornography involving her four-year-old son.

I won’t say much about this other than it was uncomfortable, to say the least, to learn the disturbing details of this shocking case.

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Friday brought some relief as it was one of my favorite days of the year… Alberta Sports Hall of Fame induction day.

For many, Oilers great and local favorite Ryan Smyth was the headliner for the Class of 2017. But I think many opinions were changed once people learned about Betty Carveth Dunn.

Amazingly charming and witty at 92-years-old, Betty played for the legendary Rockford Peaches before moving on to have a decades-long impact on the baseball scene in our province. Her story is nothing short of inspiring and I encourage you to learn more about her.

(Kudos to the entire Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum crew for doing a wonderful job with their 60th anniversary Induction Banquet!)

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Well, that’s it for this week. Can’t wait to see what the next one brings!

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