Corner Brook youth, city budget make waves on the web

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Best of the Web

Just in time for Christmas, Best of the Web is back from a hiatus, and there’s lots that happened since this feature last highlighted some of your comments on our most-read stories.

Perhaps the biggest change since the last Best of the Web was the way you view our stories on TheWesternStar.com. Yes, September ushered in a new design for our website, with what we think is a better looking and more user-friendly layout.

Of course change is not always welcomed by everyone, and we’ve had plenty of suggestions on things we can improve. Generally though, your feedback has been positive, and we’re doing our best here in the offices to better the site every day.

Keep sending us your comments about our new look, too — TheWesternStar.com is for you, our readers, after all.

Another big event that took place since the last BoW column was the provincewide municipal elections in September. We all know the results by now, so there’s no need to talk about who’s out and who’s in.  

One sure test of any new city council, however, is the reaction to its first budget. Corner Brook’s freshly elected council brought down its first one earlier this week and, as always, folks living in and around the area had plenty to say.

The most common talking point online was the elimination of the poll tax — or rather that the controversial fee wasn’t eliminated.

“Not impressed! The main reason I voted for Mayor Pender was his promise to abolish the outdated, double dipping poll tax,” said Paula in our comments section.

“The lowest income earners who do live here and rent get charged this ridiculous tax when the property owners have already paid tax on the residence in which we live! Time to get a petition on the go and put our foot down! Get rid of it or I will be one less voter in this city!”

But while Paula seemed to suggest she might pack up and leave, another commenter, “Time for a change,” is willing to give the new mayor and council the benefit of the doubt.

“They said they would work to eliminate the poll tax over time … they have been in office for 2 months. In my books they have another 46 months to get it done.”

Elsewhere, you had lots of positive comments for two local young people who are following their dreams, and accounted for two of our most-read stories over the past few weeks.

Nineteen-year-old Katie Barrow is in the running for the title of Miss Canada Globe. But while the judges in the competition will likely be tough, Barrow has had far more challenging experiences. The Corner Brook native was born with a cleft lip, or facial difference, that required several surgeries over the years, but also led to bullying through some of her younger years.

Bullying is certainly not the norm now, as readers offered lots of kind words and support for Barrow and her story.

“Katie, I think you are very beautiful on the outside and in after reading your story,” said Carla on our website. “I’m sure you will inspire a lot of people.”

Another commenter, Stephanie, said she was born with a curved spine and had to endure similar bullying when she was younger. Stephanie identified with Katie’s story, and her ability to move on from a difficult time.

“I applaud your courage!” Stephanie said. “I really hope you follow your gut and do what makes you happy. Respect people and live life to the fullest, despite the people who try and pull you down.You are the only person who knows how strong you really are.”

While Katie was earning respect for her courage, 10-year-old Corner Brook resident James Murphy was making waves with his music. The young musician earned praise for his talent on our website after our story was posted, along with a video of one of James’ performances.

“I am overwhelmed hearing your music and seeing your video,” said Debbie. “I cannot express enough how truly talented you are at such a young age and I look forward to hearing more of you in time to come. Can't wait to buy your CD one day!”

Ellen may have summed it up best: “This little guy is a true masterpiece from the rock.”

Speaking of videos, head on over to TheWesternStar.com for more lots of clips from events happening in the region.

As always, thanks for reading.

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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