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Airdrie City View's Top 10 Newsmakers of the Year

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  |  Posted: Thursday, Dec 26, 2013 06:00 am

Fourteen-year-old former bullying victim MacKenzie Murphy spearheaded the idea of an anti-bullying bylaw. The anti-bullying portion of the Public Behaviour Bylaw was approved by City council in September.
Fourteen-year-old former bullying victim MacKenzie Murphy spearheaded the idea of an anti-bullying bylaw. The anti-bullying portion of the Public Behaviour Bylaw was approved by City council in September.
File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

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1. Lori McRitchie

See story on page 1.

2. MacKenzie Murphy

The 14-year-old was the catalyst for Airdrie City council passing an anti-bullying provision in the Public Behaviour Bylaw, Sept. 16. The self-proclaimed bullying victim tried to commit suicide in December of 2012 after being bullied online and in person in schools in Calgary and Airdrie for more than two years. After her recovery, Murphy became an advocate to stop bullying early in the year when she spoke of her experience to the Boys and Girl Club for Pink Shirt Day in February. Murphy and her mom Tara brought the idea of an anti-bullying bylaw to Mayor Peter Brown’s attention in February.

3. Team Airdrie United

Four candidates for Airdrie City council made headlines by announcing they were forming a political slate called Airdrie Team United in September. Jane Anderson, Mike De Bokx, Kevin Hughes and Angela Pitt said they were “committed” to working towards three key initiatives for the City - a 24-hour healthcare facility, “sensible” growth and an Airdrie-first mentality that will make the interests of Airdrie residents a priority. Team members caused a stir when they suggested Airdrie may have to opt out of the Calgary Regional Partnership to avoid high housing density requirements. The team initiated about 1,400 robocalls to Airdrie residents inviting them to a telephone gathering for the slate, prompting residents to question where the team got the call list. Anderson went on record saying the numbers were not affiliated with her son and Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson. None of the members of Airdrie Team United were elected on Oct. 21.

4. Peter Brown

The mayor was acclaimed on Sept. 23 when no one stepped forward to run against the first-term politician. This will be Brown’s second term as mayor of Airdrie, after serving a three-year term following his 2010 election victory over Linda Bruce. Brown said the experience of being acclaimed was “surreal.”

5. Dani Polsom

The 27-year-old former Airdrie resident spoke publicly about her alleged sexual assault in April in an attempt to inspire others to do the same. Polsom alleges she suffered years of sexual abuse, between the ages of nine and 17. She came forward and released her name, despite it was under a publication ban, because she was a minor when the assaults occurred. In 2009, Polsom first reported the sexual assault. In October 2012, due to court delays, the trial was thrown out resulting in an internal review by Alberta Justice.

The provincial review included 17 recommendations to help make sure all cases involving serious and violent crimes reach trial. On April 15, Polsom travelled to Legislature with Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson to present a petition including 1,000 signatures.

6. John Christopher Miller

The former George McDougall High School teacher was sentenced to 28 months in jail for sexual exploitation on Nov. 29. Miller, 36, was arrested and charged in October 2012 after it was alleged that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student. He was arrested again in December for breach of recognizance after he went to the school in an attempt to contact the student. He entered a guilty plea to sexual exploitation charges and breach of probation at his trial on Oct. 10.

7. Garland Curtis

The 40-year-old was found dead in his Airdrie home on Jan. 12 following a welfare check. Dustin Piper, a 23-year-old Olds man was arrested on March 16 in Didsbury and charged with first degree murder. Police confirmed that Piper and Curtis were friends and had known each other for a number of years. Piper made a court appearance in Calgary on Nov. 29 where Crown lawyer Britta Kristensen requested the matter be put over until Dec. 13 when the Crown and defence tried to resolve the case without trial.

8. Dr. Julian Kyne

This Airdrie doctor is the chair of the Airdrie Regional Health Foundation’s (ARHF) attraction and retention subcommittee. He is assisting the committee in attracting doctors to Airdrie. Kyne, a doctor with Associate Medical Clinic, was also presented with the Recognition of Excellence Award from the Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP) in October.

9. Briane Tutt

The 21-year-old Airdrie speed skater suffered numerous injuries in a training accident at the Calgary Oval on Dec. 15, 2012 when a fellow skater collided with her during a practice session. That incident saw Tutt fly over the other skater before landing on her left shoulder and head on the ice, leaving her with a broken collarbone, ribs, a cracked vertebra, a skull fracture, a loss of hearing in her left ear and Bell’s Palsy. Despite these challenges, she competed in her first International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup event of this year in Calgary Nov. 8 to 10, where she earned a personal best time in two event. Tutt is gunning to make the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team in January.

10. Miss Rodeo Airdrie

Nicole Briggs, 21, of Gibbons, was crowned the 2014 Miss Rodeo Canada on Nov. 9 during the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Briggs’ win was the second straight at the Canadian Finals Rodeo for a former Miss Rodeo Airdrie winner, as Gillian Shields, Miss Rodeo Airdrie 2011, won the Miss Rodeo Canada crown last year.


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