Friday, May 31, 2013

Community answers prayers of flood victims

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Go find some flood victims and interview them about their experience. Not one of my most favorite things to do as a reporter, right up there with tracking down families of victims of violence. But in the aftermath of recent floods in Muskoka, it was a job that needed to be done.

I headed out to the banks of the Muskoka river with the paper's photographer, Bev McMullen, on a sunny Monday morning in search of anyone who would share their pain. After some searching, we stumbled upon Robert "Woody" Bowers and his wife Theresa. It took some convincing, but they eventually agreed to speak about their experiences.

Their home had been completed wrecked when the Muskoka River overflowed, and they weren't covered under their home insurance policy. When we first met Robert, he struck me as a deeply religious man, who told us he had little more than their faith to rely on when it came to rebuilding.

Just one week later, I returned alone when his prayers were answered. The community had come together to raise funds to build them a new home.

The paper needed me to take a photo illustrating their ordeal, but there wasn't much to work with in their barren, flood-ravaged home. That is, except for a dramatic beam of light shining through a wrecked skylight in their roof. The directional lighting of the early morning sun work well. Hopefully, it will inspire others in the community to continue helping Robert and his wife as they continue picking up the pieces of their life.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two tragedies

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As the trial for one tragedy in Bracebridge draws to a close, early April saw the development of another in town.
In late March, murderer Ian Charles Borbely was convicted of the murder and dismemberment of Samantha Collins, a 29-year-old Bracebridge woman. Her family spoke to reporters outside the courthouse moments after the verdict was delivered.

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Throughout the trial, I was more than impressed at the strength that Collins' mother Dorothy Fowlie displayed. Aside from the company of a few social workers and reporters, Fowlie spent many hours in the courthouse alone. Her family was mostly a three-hour drive away, and couldn't be with her in court because they were to be called as witnesses.

Fowlie and Collins' sister, Nicole Fowlie-Smith, kept a variety of lucky charms by their side throughout the trial

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Not long after the verdict, a double shooting broke out on Curling Road in town. z-shooting(1)XB-LT

In what is being called a murder suicide, 26-year-old Lindsay Wilson was killed as she was packing up to go home to Ajax. I spoke at length with her grandfather about how the young woman lived, and the impression she left on those around her.