Are newspapers still relevant? I certainly hope they still are. Awhile ago, I wrote a story about David and Shelly Burman - two retirees who survive in a trailer home on disability payments of $1,700 per month between the both of them. David suffers from leukemia, while his wife and primary caregiver is battling depression.
Last year, when I first visited them, they lived in this modified trailer home on the banks of the Muskoka River. The Town of Bracebridge was mounting a crackdown on illegally-modified properties, telling the couple they had to tear down their home because it was situated on a flood plain and that it was in violation of the Building Code.
For much of the past year, the Burmans have been worried the crackdown would leave them homeless by the time the snow falls. They complied with the town's demands by taking down other structures on their properties that were deemed not in compliance, but their hands were tied when it came to the main trailer they lived in.
Fortunately, on November 1, a generous reader who saw the story in the paper decided to lend a helping hand. The reader took the Burmans in as tenants, giving them a steep discount on the rent. They've since moved into a new home, and have a warm place to spend the winter.
The town has offered some help by contacting outside organizations that may be able to tear down their trailer for free. But at the moment, the Burmans are still wrapped up in the court system over their Building Code charges.
Regardless of what happens in the new year, it's great to know there are people in Bracebridge who do have a heart, and who are willing to help their fellow citizens.