By Séamus Smyth
For the Reporter/Examiner

Considering I spent the better half of 2011 deep inside the nucleus of the tri-area, covering the Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County and the Village of Wabamun councils, I figured making a few obvious and potentially intriguing comments may help describe the year that was:

-On a global scale, 2011 will likely be remembered for an incredible string of devastating natural disasters and a global protest against the “1 per cent.” Both scenarios left many scrambling for answers and it seems that time may once again determine if this was just another whacky year, or a sign of consistent turbulence that society may have to unfortunately become accustomed to.

-The tri-area had a record dump of snow that had the City forming mountains upon mountains on the outskirts of the Grove to ensure residents could escape their own driveways. There is no doubt that council and administration are praying for a warm winter, as putting aside even more money for snow removal will not sit well with the financial team as a number of considerable projects on the horizon.

– The Village of Wabamun began what is intended to be massive direction change. Down came the smokestacks and in came ideas of transforming the once industrial area into a local hot spot, similar to Sylvan Lake a few hours south. However, heads butted early on during council meetings, as Mayor Bill Purdy and Coun. Joanne Hay feuded over allegations that she was violating certain job regulations. The lake waters seemed to have mellowed in the second half of 2011, however, the New Year may bring more changes which could inevitably lead to more bickering.

-Former Spruce Grove Ald. Randy Palivoda sadly passed away. The man was a pillar in the Spruce community and seems to have left a lasting impression on every member that had a chance to work alongside him.

Local artist Robert Bailey displayed some of his unbelievable Star Wars limited edition drawings at the Multi-Cultural Centre which was unquestionably an artistic highlight for the community. One question; where the hell was everyone? This sort of talent doesn’t come around too often folks.

A community cornerstone and certainly a local mover and shaker, MLA Fred Lindsay announces his retirement from politics.

Suddenly, the Alberta Winter Games no longer seem like a reincarnation away.

-The Rep/Ex team begins a Mo-vember tradition? Three staff members grew moustaches for the November fight against prostate cancer, but with lackluster funding results in the inaugural year.  As long as Rep/Ex reporter Jordan Wilkins keeps that hasty brown broom under control, I think it’s an excellent way to raise funds for a masculine cause.

-An endearing English dame gets dumped yet manages to churn out the undisputed album and single of the year. I am guessing she has a full name like the rest of us mortals, but the pop world knows her simply as Adele. On the flipside, a woman from the same island, Amy Winehouse, sadly passes away after years of drug and alcohol abuse; what a shame.

-Former Stony Plain head honcho Ken Lemke decides to up to the ante and run for the position of MLA. Local reporters salivate at the chance to cover multiple, enticing elections.

-The Grove Cruise was an incredible success in the middle of the summer with a record turnout and two skin-scorching hot days to accompany the annual showcase.