Huron County Treasurer Michael Blumhagen began the process of setting a budget for 2023, beginning with a proposed year-over-year levy increase of just under 12.5 per cent.
The volunteers behind the Blyth Repository of History began the process of charting the next 50 years of the village’s history with a new book project. The book will pick up where the work of the Street family ended, chronicling the first 100 years of Blyth, ending in 1977. The new book, set to be released in 2027 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the village’s incorporation, will document Blyth’s history between 1977 and 2027.
Brussels’ Jamie Mitchell and John Groves sat down with The Citizen to reflect back on a daring and heroic rescue of a six-month-old Seaforth boy in need of life-saving emergency surgery during the massive Christmas snowstorm that closed roads and made driving impossible. The men drove from Brussels to Seaforth to pick up the boy, his mother and a nurse and transport them to Exeter via an Argo Centaur Sherp all-terrain vehicle before an ambulance took everyone the rest of the way to London for surgery.
The Citizen hired Scott Stephenson of Lucknow as a new reporter after Denny Scott’s departure in December of 2022. He came to the newspaper with over a decade of experience on the Rick Mercer Report before being welcomed to the North Huron Publishing team.
After North Huron Reeve Paul Heffer made no secret of the fact that he felt the township should not support two community centres, he asked for a review of both centres, Wingham and Blyth, which inspired fear of arena closure in Blyth from residents and user groups alike.
Furthermore, a North Huron staff proposal to consider closing the Blyth arena in the summer months was also met with pushback from the community, members of which thought the concept was both ill-advised and a potential first step to permanent closure.
Huron County Warden and Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Mayor Glen McNeil was acclaimed as the chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus.
The Brussels Agricultural Society held its annual general meeting at the Brussels Legion and 2023 Ontario Queen of the Furrow Maranda Klaver of the Seaforth area was the guest speaker.
North Huron Council was overwhelmed with support for the Blyth and Wingham community centres, receiving dozens of e-mails and phone calls as well as a number of in-person delegations to address the consideration of closure at council’s first meeting in February.
Huron County Council authorized a new, in-house service delivery review amid rising cost pressures and the potential for a high tax rate increase in the 2023 budget.
Blyth accessibility advisor Julie Sawchuk had just returned from Toronto as the subject of an episode of Mind Your Own Business, a Dragons’ Den-style program produced by Accessibility Media Inc.
Local church leaders and their families undertook a special Blyth-based Coldest Night of the Year walk to benefit the United Way - specifically the new North Huron Connection Centre, slated to open in Wingham later in the year.
Twelve-year-old Skylar Kemp of Walton returned to Huron County from the Ontario Winter Games with a kickboxing gold medal and a Sportsmanship Award.
A handful of newly-settled Ukrainian newcomers were welcomed to the Seaforth Curling Club to learn more about one of Canada’s most popular sports, in what was described as a heartwarming experience that helped the newcomers feel welcome in their new homes.
The Huron County budget process continued with staff cutting nearly $2 million from it to reduce the potential increase to the tax levy. The budget also included high reserve utilization.
The Brussels Homecoming Committee donated nearly $60,000 to various groups and initiatives from its proceeds from the wildly successful event, held in 2022.
The late Aubrey Toll of Blyth was inducted into the Clydesdale Horse Association of Canada Hall of Fame. Toll was the only Ontarian to be inducted in the year’s class.
The Wingham Ironmen won a thrilling game five in overtime to triumph over the Kincardine Bulldogs in their best-of-seven series, advancing the Ironmen to the next round of the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s North Pollock Division playoffs.
The U15 Rep Blyth Brussels Crusaders were onto the next chapter of their Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) playoff journey after earning four points and winning their series with the Hanover Falcons.
The North Huron budget process continued with drastic cuts proposed to bring the proposed tax levy just above seven per cent - a far cry from where the budget began.
Members of the OMHA Champion Blyth Bulldogs U15 and U18 teams from the 1997-1998 season got together to mark the 25th anniversary of those monumental, coinciding provincial victories.
Five Huron Heat teams were heading to the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association Provincial Championships in the weeks to follow.
Huron East Council was informed that the ongoing renovation and expansion of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre were running over cost and that the $280,000 contingency fund was going to be entirely depleted early in the project.
The Blyth Brussels U15 Rep Crusaders made it to the OMHA quarterfinals in Barrie, but came up short of the podium.
The North Huron budget passed on April 3, but councillors still had some major questions that went unanswered due to the absence of Director of Finance Chris Townes.
Jolande Oudshoorn of Auburn was elected the president of the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario - becoming just the third Huron County member to head up the provincial organization.
The Wingham Ironmen playoff journey came to a close with a seven-game series that went the distance against the Mount Forest Patriots, though, in the end, it was the Patriots who moved on.
The Blyth Festival Art Gallery kicked off its first full-fledged season in Memorial Hall’s Bainton Gallery since 2019 with the opening of the annual Student Show.
Huron County’s Rachel Gras was one of five people to be named a 4-H Ontario Ambassador.
Angela Cullen of The Blyth Inn came aboard to chair the Blyth Business Improvement Area (BIA) board of directors.
Keith Roulston, the founder of The Citizen, was inducted into the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) Hall of Fame thanks to an extensive career of journalism and community service.
The Senior C Huron Heat won provincial gold with a 5-1 victory over the Orillia Hawks in the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association provincial championships, held in mid-April in Toronto.
After 30 years as a local firefighter, Russell Nesbitt retired from his position as a captain in the Blyth division of the Fire Department of North Huron.
On Sunday, April 30, St. John’s Anglican Church in Brussels held its final service after serving the community’s Anglican congregation for 163 years.
The Blyth Kids Club - founded by husband-and-wife team Joe Gahan and Megan Lee-Gahan - promised expansion in the coming weeks and months. What started as a way for young Blyth residents to play soccer locally would be expanding to include indoor hockey, crafts, roller skating and more, keeping activity rolling at the Blyth and District Community Centre every night of the week.
Huron County Council reaffirmed its support for the supportive housing project on Gibbons Street in Goderich after some waffling earlier in the year. Some councillors balked at the $20.5 million projected cost, however, they were warned by the senior management team that the process had gone too far to pull the plug and, if the county sought to pull back, there could be legal consequences.
The Blyth Gritty’s baseball team had a special visitor when Canadian Olympic softball player Alison Bradley stopped by to speak with the team and lead its practice. Bradley represented Canada on its softball team in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Yvonne Knight was honoured with a 60-year pin from the Women’s Institute.
Blackberry, a film about the Canadian technology phenomenon directed by Matt Johnson, screened at Goderich’s Park Theatre as an ode to FauxPop - the Huron County-based production studio that did the editing for the film.
Hundreds were in Blyth for the 25th and final Barn Dance Jamboree and Camp Out Weekend in Blyth. The celebration was one for the ages, featuring performances that would keep people talking throughout the year.
The provincial government reversed course on a controversial planning proposal that would have allowed up to three additional residential severances per agricultural lot. It was decried by Dr. Wayne Caldwell, the Huron County Planning and Development Department and others as being potentially catastrophic for the farming community in Ontario.
Approximately 250 Wescast Industries employees feared for their future as their union, Unifor, said the company intended to close its Wingham site and centralize operations in China. The company insisted it wasn’t going to close, but the union remained unsure.
Howick Mutual Insurance Company marked its 150th anniversary with a special ceremony and celebration at its headquarters just east of Wingham.
For the second straight season, Marie-Beath Badian’s The Waltz was pulled from the Blyth Festival season. In 2022, COVID-19 impacted rehearsal and preparation for the production, forcing its eventual cancellation, while its place in the 2023 season was cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
Two people - a 32-year-old Bluewater resident and a 46-year-old volunteer from Bluewater - died in a fatal marine incident just north of Bayfield.
Goderich played host to the first-ever Huron County Pride celebration, which included musical performances, dancing and plenty to see and do at Courthouse Square.
Blyth native Jackie Falconer was honoured with the first-ever Unison Innovation Award for her work with Singing Out - Toronto’s 2SLGBTQQIA+ Choir, specifically her role in the creation of the choir’s Trans and Non-Binary Ensemble.
Lucknow-based photographer Hannah Dickie’s “Home Grown” exhibition became the first professional show produced by the Blyth Festival Art Gallery since 2019 with its mid-June opening gala.
Also for the first time since 2019, the Blyth Festival welcomed live theatre back to Memorial Hall with the opening of Sophia Fabiilli’s Liars at a Funeral.
Meanwhile, on the Blyth Festival’s Harvest Stage, The Donnellys: A Trilogy, an ambitious, summer-long, three-show project based on the works of James Reaney, began with Sticks and Stones.
The Huron County Immigration Partnership hosted a special cricket day in Wingham that featured food, fun and some live cricket action.
The Blyth and Brussels United Churches started the process of the Affirming Ministry Program as an effort to be more inclusive for anyone facing barriers to join the church, including those from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
The Wingham Ironmen hockey organization announced that the team would be engaging in a number of special events later in the year to mark the 50th anniversary of the team. Chief among the events would be an Alumni Day, set for Oct. 14 in Wingham.
Jurjen Weerman of Lucknow was halfway through his cross-country cycling journey to raise funds for two hospital foundations. He spoke with The Citizen about making his way from British Columbia back to his home of Lucknow and looked ahead to the journey out east, scheduled to end in St. John’s, Newfoundland in August sometime.
The Seaforth Business Improvement Area (BIA) celebrated the installation of a new plaque honouring the late Jan Hawley, an economic development officer with Huron East, who was said to have assisted the community greatly during her time with the municipality.
The Tanner Steffler Foundation brought back its famed Six String Music Fest in Seaforth, hosting many young, local bands outdoors in the town and then indoors at the Seaforth Legion.
The potential closure of Seaforth Manor Long-Term Care Home had many residents and members of Huron East Council concerned. A proposal made to the provincial government stated that the company that operates the home would close homes in both Seaforth and Hensall and open a new, bigger home in Exeter.
The Brussels Tigers hosted their annual fast pitch tournament for the 51st time and, once again, claimed victory in it, beating the Simcoe Rostock Braves in the final by a score of 7-0 to win the A Championship.
St. Nicholas Hotel opened at the Blyth Festival’s Harvest Stage as the second installment in James Reaney’s The Donnellys: A Trilogy.
After winning 12 games to open the Huron County Fastball League season, the Belmore Stingers lost the undefeated designation and stood with a record of 12-2 after first falling to the Mitchell Mets, which broke the Stingers’ undefeated season with an eight-inning, 5-4 victory on July 17 in Belmore.
A number of well-known faces from the Blyth Festival earned Dora Mavor Moore Awards, which celebrate the best and brightest in Toronto-based theatre.
Eric Coates, who served as the Festival’s Artistic Director for more than a decade, won the Best Direction Dora in the Theatre for Young Audiences category for directing Bentboy at the Young People’s Theatre.
The Village of Brussels was the site of a short, yet impactful standoff between a resident and armed Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers. He was eventually taken into custody without incident and charged with several offences.
The Citizen caught up with Jean Siertsema and Becky Garner. They were profiled in The Blyth Standard in 1977 as participants in a 4-H exchange that brought Garner to Blyth and Siertsema to Ohio. Nearly 50 years later, the pair remain the best of friends and have travelled to see one another or together in many of those years.
Handcuffs concluded the Blyth Festival’s Donnelly family trilogy on the Harvest Stage during the return of Bonanza Weekend.
Aug. 22 marked the 10th anniversary of the Goderich-to-Guelph Rail Trail. Though no special events or campaigns were planned as part of the anniversary, Chris Lee of Walton, who had been instrumental in the creation of the trail, spoke with The Citizen about its history, how far it’s come and its future.
The 95th annual Huron County Plowing Match took place at the home farm of Pete and Leisa Albers, just northeast of Brussels, and yielded plenty of success for local plowers and Queen of the Furrow and Princess contestants. Rachel Gras of the Winthrop area and Rachel Wilts from just south of Blyth earned the Queen and Princess crowns, respectively.
Huron County Council approved a plan that would fund the county’s new supportive housing development on Gibbons Street in Goderich. The plan to pay the hefty price tag was a combination of $13.5 million from reserves, a $5 million debenture and a rise in taxes in the coming years.
Goderich Mayor Myles Murdock became the second holder of the position in as many years to pass away. Murdock died after a brief battle with stomach cancer, while his predecessor, John Grace, had died tragically in a boating accident in the late summer of 2022.
Owen Riegling proved to be one of the hottest tickets at Lucknow’s annual Music in the Fields, thanks to his local roots and musical connection to the area.
Loretta Higgins, Paislee Ribey and Isla Fischer were all crowned Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador, Junior Ambassador and Little Ambassador, respectively, at a special celebration hosted by the Brussels Agricultural Society at the Brussels Legion.
Andrew Moodie’s The Real McCoy closed the Blyth Festival season in Memorial Hall. The show would, unfortunately, lose its final performances due to illness, but the show was lauded by critics and audiences alike.
A proposed battery storage project in Seaforth had residents concerned, with more than 200 people attending a public meeting for the concept, many of whom left with more questions than answers.
The Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association hosted its 62nd reunion in Blyth and the results were thrilling, with thousands making their way to the Blyth Campground over the course of the three days.
After months of domination from the Belmore Stingers in the Huron County Fastball League, the Brussels Tigers got hot at the right time and overtook the Stingers to finish in first place in the league standings heading into the year-end tournament, scheduled to be played in Goderich.
The Tigers would then impress in the tournament,not only winning Huron County Fastball League glory, but doing so by winning every game and not allowing a single run in the entire run.
The Brussels Terry Fox Run raised over $8,000 for cancer research by way of the Terry Fox Foundation.
The Wingham Ironmen opened their 50th anniversary season with a win and a loss, first beating the Goderich Flyers by a score of 4-1 and then falling to the Walkerton Capitals by a score of 4-2.
The 101st Elementary School Fair in Belgrave went ahead and brought hundreds of people to the community to celebrate the achievement of its school children.
The Brussels and Walton ladies’ slo-pitch league held its year-end tournament in Brussels, with teams playing in costume, as is tradition. This marked the end of the 30th season of the storied league.
A team featuring Seaforth residents Rick Wood, Murray Bennewies, along with Dave Johnson of London, claimed national lawn bowling gold in Edmonton, while the Walton Brewers - with an assist from Ty Sebastian of the Brussels Tigers - won the Ontario Challenge Cup in fast pitch.
The Brussels Fall Fair went ahead under sunny skies in the village, featuring a parade and plenty to see and do back at the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre.
Belgrave native Austin Chaffe won his second straight Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Award in recognition of his ever-expanding body of work with some of the country’s top country musicians.
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW) Councillor Curtis Blake had been cleared of any wrongdoing in regards to a conflict of interest. The municipality’s Integrity Commissioner cleared Blake of any wrongdoing in regards to his participation in discussion and votes pertaining to Wellington Street construction in July.
Bluevale United Church played host to its final service after 167 years. The church was full that day for a service that welcomed many past pastors and included special music to mark the end of an era.
Larry Robinson won the Jim McGee Award for volunteerism, handed out by the Belgrave Community Centre Board at its annual general meeting.
The Northern Huron Connection centre in Wingham officially opened its doors, though it had been operational for some time earlier.
“The Homeseekers: Fording the Credit River”, a painting by Huron County native George Agnew Reid, had found a new permanent home at the Huron County Museum after calling a school in Brampton home for many years.
Local author and photographer Bonnie Sitter began working with filmmaker Colin Field to create a documentary about the Farmerettes and they were actively seeking funds to help make the project happen.
A collision between a wayward tractor and a historic building in Seaforth resulted in a tragedy without a simple solution. There were no injuries as a result of the crash, but the tractor remained wedged under the building with officials fearing the collapse of the building if the tractor were to be removed.
The Wingham Ironmen officially marked their 50th anniversary season with Alumni Day, which included several alumni games and a 4-1 win by the current squad over the Mitchell Hawks.
A dozen games marked Huron Heat Day in Seaforth, which proved to be a celebration of all things girls’ hockey in Huron County.
Joe Gahan and Megan Lee-Gahan, founders of the Blyth Kids Club, were named co-winners of the Blyth Citizen of the Year Award, while Roxane Nicholson, co-chair of the Inspiring Our Future campaign, won the award for the Brussels community and Wayne Clausius won the Huron County award for his work with the volunteer tax-filer program.
A dramatic scene unfolded in Clinton and Seaforth that resulted in an automobile collision and shots being fired.
It began in Seaforth with the OPP in pursuit of a stolen vehicle. When officers interacted with a couple, police said, a 35-year-old man was shot and he and 34-year-old Karley Frayer fled, making their way to Clinton, where the man was dropped off at the hospital. Then, the woman fled in the car and smashed into another vehicle and made her way on foot. She remained at large at the end of the day.
Citizen Founder Keith Roulston was officially enshrined in the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual Independent Publishers Retreat, which was held near Orangeville.
Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt announced an ambitious 50th anniversary for the Festival in 2024, including a four-show season within Memorial Hall, The Farm Show: Then and Now and Onion Skins and Peach Fuzz: The Farmerettes on the Harvest Stage and a slate of 50 yet-unannounced events that will mark the anniversary in style.
Ty Sebastian of Brussels was named Softball Canada’s Men’s Fast Pitch Athlete of the Year thanks to tremendous seasons with the Brussels Tigers, Toronto Batmen and the Canadian Men’s National Team.
While Huron County Council had planned to spend over $20 million on a supportive housing project on Gibbons Street in Goderich, the tender for the project came in just over $13 million, marking a significant projected savings for the county.
A trail of murals throughout Clinton - some new, others revitalized - was unveiled through a special event and walk-through that featured the artists, politicians and others involved in the project.
On Nov. 22, Karley Frayer was arrested for her alleged role in a chase that made its way from Clinton to Seaforth and beyond. She was located in Stratford over a month after the incident on Oct. 18.
The Huron County 4-H Leaders’ Association handed out its year-end awards to many worthy recipients, including Rachel Gras, the winner of the 4-H Dedication Award, and Brook Hendriks, the winner of the Murray Cardiff Citizenship Award.
The Songs of Hope fundraiser at Trinity Anglican Church was a success thanks to the musical stylings of Darryn de Souza, Annie Sparling, Joe Gahan and Kathryn Peach, raising nearly $2,300 for the Huron Residential Hospice.
Huron Perth Public Health announced it would be closing its Wingham site at the end of the year.
The Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health officially launched its latest slate of S.H.E.D. Talks in Brussels at the Four Winds Barn, including addresses from Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson, Tom Melady and Kevin Bilyea.
Dozens were on hand for the great tractor extraction of 2023 as crews carefully and methodically removed a tractor from a historic main street building in Seaforth after months of it being wedged there, causing the closure of the town’s main street.
After the chaotic start to the year with a drastic budget proposal, North Huron Council was in the process of debating a 3.33 per cent increase to its municipal budget for 2024 in its first budget meeting of the year.