In just under a month, we ring in the New Year. As we reflect back on the year that was, we have compiled a list of the top stories in Saskatchewan for 2015.
Our editorial team has whittled down the list to 10 and now we are turning to you for help in selecting the three top stories of 2015. Voting will close on Sunday, Dec. 13 and starting on Tuesday, Dec. 29, we will count down your top three stories on the Evening News.
Project Forseti/fentanyl deaths
READ MORE: Fake oxycontin seized in Saskatchewan, Alberta police raids
On Jan. 15, police raided 18 properties, including the Hells Angels clubhouse in Saskatoon, seizing over 3,000 fake Oxycontin pills (fentanyl) along with other drugs worth over $8-million, and 200 weapons. The pills were linked to three recent deaths in Saskatoon. Over the course of the year, more deaths in the province were linked to the sale and use of fentanyl.
READ MORE: Former Saskatchewan Huskie Cody Smuk loses battle with cancer
At the end of January, the Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team banded together to support former teammate Cody Smuk as he battled cancer. Smuk and his fiancée Stephanie Vause won a Dream Wedding Contest on Valentine’s Day after the couple were entered into the contest by friends. The story ended sadly in June when Smuk lost his battle with cancer.
READ MORE: Five people, including 3 children, dead in suspected murder suicide
Residents of a Saskatchewan community were shocked after Latasha Gosling and three of her children – Jenika, Landen and Janayah – were found dead inside their Tisdale home on April 22 in a murder-suicide. They had been reported missing to police the previous day. The accused killer was found dead at a Prince Albert home the same morning.
READ MORE: Three teens dead in multi-vehicle crash at Sask. construction zone
Three teens from Carrot River were killed on May 3 when the car they were in was struck from behind by a semi while they were stopped in a construction zone on Highway 6 near Spalding. The force of the collision forced their car into a truck, which then struck a flagperson, seriously injuring him. The semi driver from Winnipeg has been charged with criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Northern forest fires
READ MORE: Situation very critical as crews battle northern Sask. wildfires
The largest evacuation in the province’s history happened as wildfires raged across northern Saskatchewan. Over 13,000 people were forced from their homes in the La Ronge area and the Armed Forces were called in to help as forest fires threatened the community. Smoke from the fire caused air quality issues in many parts of the province.
Saskatoon smoking bylaw/e-cigarettes
READ MORE: Saskatoon city council bans smoking at outdoor city properties
Saskatoon city council made two moves on smoking in public places. In the first, councillors voted to ban the use of electronic cigarettes on city property by including them in the city’s definition of smoke/smoking. The second decision saw council voting in favour of banning smoking at all outdoor city properties.
Medical marijuana dispensary
READ MORE: Saskatoon police search marijuana dispensary
On Aug. 17, Saskatoon’s first medical marijuana dispensary – the Saskatchewan Compassion Club – opened its doors. At the time, police said they would be monitoring the situation. A month later, Health Canada sent a letter to the owner, Mark Hauk, ordering him to close his doors. At the end of October, Saskatoon police raided the shop, arresting Hauk and three others and charging them with drug possession. The case remains before the court.
911 response time review
READ MORE: Saskatoon police admit operators were in ‘neglect of duties’ on 911 call
Saskatoon police took over an hour on Aug. 28 to respond to a 911 call. The driver of a vehicle suffered a medical emergency and struck a parked car on 20th Street West. He was later pronounced dead at hospital. Saskatoon police undertook a review of their 911 response time and found that operators were in “neglect of duties,” should have asked more questions and ought to have erred on the side of caution.
READ MORE: Liberal tidal wave doesn’t reach Saskatoon
Canadians voted in a Liberal government on Oct. 19. Although the liberal tidal wave didn’t reach Saskatchewan, with most of the province remaining blue, the federal NDP had three candidates elected to parliament – the first NDP MPs elected in Saskatchewan since 2000.
Arrest in Karina Wolfe homicide
READ MORE: Man accused of killing Karina Wolfe to undergo assessment
Karina Wolfe was last seen in Saskatoon on the evening of July 20, 2010, setting off a five-year search for her whereabouts. The search came to an end on Nov. 27 when police announced human remains found in an area northwest of Saskatoon were those of Wolfe and a man had been charged in her death.
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