I continue to scan back through a collection of thousands and thousands of photos I took throughout 2014 and realize it was a very full year. Although, without a little luck, this would not be possible given in September my laptop of 3.5 years decided to call it quits. The ACER certainly did its duty, given I purchased it with a printer for $350. I was able to temporary restore it until I packed up the data on an external hard drive, more than 40,000 photos saved :).
September when the students return to school brings lots of activity. I started September in the Gros Morne area to enjoy a nice Labour Day weekend. It was filled with music, pleasant surroundings, good food and good company. One couldn’t ask for much more than that. I returned to the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula to spend some time at St. Anthony Hospital, Grenfell Handicrafts, exploring Fishing Point, wildberry tasting at Dark Tickle and getting my java fill at Coffee in the Cove. I returned to St. John’s for meetings and to also participate with the the Mayor of Main Brook and Research and Development Corporation Member for the wharf divestiture, which saw $675,000 and ownership of this asset be given to the corporation.
There were new fire trucks and fire gear, more road work and many constituency tours, from the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve to Englee to St. Anthony and all places in between.
One other highlight that stands out for me, is my participation in the 1st Roddickton-Bide Arm Run/Walk. As a cross-country runner in high school, I decided to run the 5 KM race. It was a little more difficult that I imagined, but I made it in the end to place 6th overall and 1st in the male over 20. I think it gave me a realization how important physical fitness is in our daily lives, whether walking or running we should all strive to do more. Since it is a new year, I plan to lace up the new running shoes my sister gave me for Christmas. She must be confident I’ll need them, because she gave me two pairs!
October is always a favourite month of mine, it is my birthday, my sister’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Small Business Week and a host of other activities are well underway. I spent time during the month connecting with our fishery, health care and hosted a series of seniors forums. I saw new infrastructure develop in terms of a highway depot on the Northern Peninsula East, a watershed for Roddickton-Bide Arm, more roads got paved and redevelopments continued at Curtis Memorial. I engaged in conversation with Author Earl Pilgrim about this new book Josephine, which I just completed a couple of days ago. There were flat tires, volleyball tournaments, Municipalities NL conferences, firefighter appreciation dinners, Big Bike Rides, town hall meetings, Season Finales and tourism sessions. There were also receptions and campaign launches, three by-elections were looming. It provided an opportunity to visit Winterton, Whiteway, Bay de Verde and Conception Bay South.
There were haunted houses to tour at Flower’s Cove Youth Centre, church services with friends and family in St. Lunaire-Griquet. As well a major 50th celebration for the St. Anthony and Area Lions Club and for the first time Canon Richards hosted the Provincial Student Leadership Conference. All this happened, as I turned 29! I have never had more than 300 people sing me happy birthday before – thank you. It was an amazing week and I thoroughly enjoyed being a local tour guide. Also in October, I found time to make my very own glass art product at Glacier Glass in Englee and received a copy of Dale Jarvis’ book “Any Mummer’s ‘lowed in?”, which has a number of my photos and lines from an interview I did with him in January. It certainly was another highlight to have the Great Northern Peninsula included in part of this work!
Halloween was a wonderful holiday, as I handed our Steve Crocker Scaries and met lots of people. I toured the Town of Dildo and handed out treats in Paradise before the month came to a close.
November came with the gift of giving. I made the trek to Bay Roberts, as the Bay Robert’s Fire Department had donated two suits and a third jacket to the St. Lunaire-Griquet Fire Department. I was also given a wonderful tour of the town by Councillor and Mayor about their business park development planning, their tourism attractions, businesses, subdivisions and infrastructure. I was greatly impressed by this community and their spirit of giving. Thank you!
There was also more time visiting people at the door steps as the by-election in CBS came to a close and resulted in the election of our member, Rex Hillier to the team. I also attended the two-day NL Forum hosted by the Harris Centre. It is where I met Gerald Anderson, native of L’Anse aux Meadows who will be honoured with the Indspire Award, early in the new year. I attended remembrance day ceremonies in St. Lunaire-Griquet and in St. Anthony, as well the annual hockey tournament, Salvation Army dinner. The Mayflower Inn celebrated a milestone of 40 years in business. I spent time door knocking in Trinity-Bay de Verde and Humber East, which ultimately saw the election of MHA’s Steve Crocker and Stelman Flynn. There was also a Night with Dwight fundraiser, talks with craft producers with MHA Paul Lane at the Arts and Culture Centre and much happening in the House of Assembly.
I picked up my completed glass art poinsettia and coasters, visited residents at Richfell Place and closed off November by attending the Regional Community Youth Centre, Flowers Cove where I tied a ribbon for those who serve at the annual tree lighting.
December seems like only yesterday. I met Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, St. John’s South-Mount Pearl Liberal Candidate and former host of CTV’s Canada AM Seamus O’Regan, Miss Teen NL Alaina Joe, fundraisers in Mount Pearl and helped with the Community Food Sharing Association and their food drive efforts.
I visited the Mummer’s Festival Seminar by Dale Jarvis at the Rooms. As well, there were more firefighter appreciation dinners, firefighter schools and even ticket draws for Search and Rescue. I saw more caribou, laid a wreath at the cemetery to remember fallen soldiers, decorated my Christmas tree, rigged up the Christmas lights, put together a gingerbread house and wrapped presents. There was also parade, after parade, after parade. I was able to attend St. Anthony, Flower’s Cove, Conche, Main Brook, Roddickton, Bide Arm, Savage Cove and Anchor Point. I would have also taken in St. Lunaire-Griquet and Englee but their postponements made it impossible. Scheduling conflicted with my ability to attend L’Anse aux Meadows-Straitsview-Hay Cove and Noddy Bay’s parade. I also took in the visit from Santa at Green Island Cove. Visits were made with all the residents of Shirley’s Haven, Roddickton House and Ivy Durley Place. We took in the St. Anthony Hospital Tree Lighting, St. Lunaire-Griquet Tree Lighting, as well the grand opening of a reading room at Truman Eddison Memorial. There were visits to schools and celebrations for our Christmas card winners and their classes with more than 150 submissions there were 10 winners and visits to the Girl Guides, White Hills Academy, Truman Eddison Memorial, Mary Simms All-Grade, Cloud River Academy, HG Fillier and Canon RIchards.
Lion’s Members and Authors were recognized, there were visits to St. Anthony Bight, Raleigh and many communities in between. I attended the swearing-in of two more colleagues at Government House, attended a health care forum in St. Anthony and conducted the people’s work in the House of Assembly.
Residents of Pine’s Cove and Eddies Cove East are quite happy with the option now of high-speed Internet. All indications are more is to come in the very near future. Let’s keep working together to find solutions to advance our transportation and telecommunication needs in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. It will lead to a stronger economy and stronger communities.
It has been a very busy year, with many successes along the way. A few posts could not capture all the conversations or happenings on the Great Northern Peninsula. It does give one a glimpse of rural living and how busy were are as small communities, ensuring we do our part for a brighter tomorrow.
I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and friends. I finished Earl Pilgrim’s book Josephine and Michael Crummey’s Sweetland. As well, we celebrated our 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk in Sandy Cove! There was lots of feasting, music and happy times. Before the year closed though, I did catch a cold as I usually do. So I’ve been recovering and look forward to starting 2015 just like I did in 2014 with lots of hope and a plan for hard work!
I’ll do my best to keep you informed and keep my blog updated. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is alive! Full of culture, tradition and the Great Northern Peninsula is truly a place you will want to experience.
Happy New Year,
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)