A Few Thoughts and the Wednesday Wrap-Up

Joel's Journal - January 10, 2018 - Volume 3 - Entry #10

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I found myself standing out in the cold again today. Once more in front of the charred out skeleton that was once the home of two families. A place where two short days ago, four people lost their lives. I’ve since learned that one of the men who died was actually trying to save others. After fleeing the house and helping his pregnant daughter escape, this man ran back into the flames in an attempt to save the children he knew were inside. He never made it back out. Two children and their mother also perished in the fire. 

It’s tough to be standing outside taking pictures, knowing what happened inside those charred walls. As a journalist, there’s a wall you build up. Just like the caution tape that keeps people from entering the home, there’s tape strung up in your mind that prevents any real emotion from getting in the way of your job. 

However, the second you leave the scene, the job done, the pictures taken, quotes given, that tape blows away and you’re left to try and sort out how you feel and the gravity of what you’re reporting on. 

It’s tough. It really is. As much as news stories can seem like a cold and brutal statements of facts, that’s simply a reporter doing their job. It’s only through outlets like this blog, or by talking to a significant other or family member that reporters can really share how they feel. 

Plain and simple, it’s not easy, but someone has to be there to share the facts. 

With that said, I’ll move on to a brand new Wednesday tradition of breaking down my stories published this week. 


The Big Ones

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Four dead following early morning house fire

This was my first file, slightly updated, on the big fire that happened here Monday. As I explained above, it’s been a heavy one to handle


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Council decision to axe RRHL expansion under fire

This is a big story for the City of Oshawa, so I’ll lay it out for you simply. In the city’s north end, specifically in the areas around Durham College and UOIT, there is what the city calls a “Residential Rental Housing Licensing System” (RRHL). Now, stick with me here, I know that’s a wordy chunk to swallow. Basically, it’s a system that forces ALL landlords in that given space to register with the city. In that way, the city can inspect and ensure that everything is up to code and conditions are maintained and safe. 

The problem is, it only exists in that small swatch around the post-secondary institutions.

In early in 2017, advocates pushed to have that system expanded to the entire city. Councillors and staff himmed and hahhed and did a compromise by inspection a trio of problem apartments and coming back with positive results. However, all along the idea to expand the system was still on the table. 

That was, until council suddenly canned the idea last month. 

Advocates claim the system would force landlords across the city to maintain conditions suitable for living, and would solve a lot of the issues with slum landlords, pests, and unsafe living conditions. 

I tend to agree. 


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Airport manager to inform feds about resident concerns

In December, I attended a meeting at the airport where about 150 residents did everything but pull out the pitchforks and torches, demanding the airport manager and staff explain why air traffic was increasing SO MUCH in the years ahead. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t news, the data has been available for years, and it simply shows that as the region and the GTA continue to grow, so will the air traffic. 

Again, unfortunately, that’s not really what people wanted to here. 

Well, now the airport manager is taking some of the more serious safety concerns to the federal government. 

I talked with the airport manager about the decision. 


Joel Wittnebel