Last year, Brant News began an annual tradition of highlighting our community’s Newsmaker of the Year, as well as two impressive local residents with the Community Hero Award and Sports Person of the Year Award.
Our selections for 2012 are included in this week’s edition of Brant News.
Newsmaker of the Year highlights the event or individual that generated the most headlines in 2012. It also represents the issue most talked about in the community. Hockeyfest 2012, which reporter Sean Allen dubs “the three-day music festival that never was” in a story on this week’s front page, is the Brant News 2012 Newsmaker of the Year.
Thousands of Brant-area residents bought tickets to the concert – scheduled to take place from June 1 to June 3 at Brant Conservation Area – which was to include a stellar lineup of bands like Weezer, Hedley, Creed, The Trews, Marianas Trench and Down With Webster. The Grand River Conservation Authority withdrew use of the venue six days prior to the concert after Brantford police cited concerns with organizer Ralph Spoltore’s security plan for the show.
A flurry of activity began as Spoltore aimed to save the music festival. His attempts were unsuccessful and Hockeyfest Incorporated later launched a $12-million lawsuit against the GRCA, which remains before the courts in Windsor.
Although some tickets to the concert were refunded through www.ticketscene.ca, thousands still hold tickets to the cancelled show that have not yet been refunded. Brant residents have surely not heard the end of the story on Hockeyfest 2012.
The Brant News Community Hero Award goes to a person that has gone above and beyond to help people in need, either in the community or abroad, and has taken action to build bridges in our community. Although there are countless people making a difference in Brantford and the County of Brant, the Brant News 2012 Community Hero Award goes to Rev. Barry Pridham of Sydenham Street United Church.
In a story by reporter Colleen Toms on this week’s front page, Pridham says that fairness, justice, equality, safety, respect and integrity are what make a community livable. Pridham has worked tirelessly to break down barriers between races, cultures and religions. He was also the first minister to marry a gay couple in Brantford.
In addition to leading a church congregation, Pridham has organized meals for individuals in need, led vigils for victims of violence and helped plan events to bring local Muslims and Christians together with the goal of finding common ground between faiths.
The Sports Person of the Year Award is presented to the individual who has made an impact in athletics both inside and outside the Brant community. Canada’s top female marathon runner – Krista DuChene – is the recipient of this year’s award.
The 35-year-old – known as Brantford’s “marathon mom” – was the first woman to cross the finish line in eight races this year.
DuChene’s attempts to earn a spot on Canada’s 2012 Olympic team made headlines, as did her success at events like Hamilton’s Around the Bay Road Race and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. DuChene’s performances won her the prestigious 2012 Canada Running Series Women’s title.
Next week, Brant News will look back on 2012 with our annual year in review section, highlighting top stories from each month of the year that was. Until then, a very happy New Year from all of us at Brant News.