The most read story on the Now website this year was about two teenagers who were killed in a five-car crash along a Delta stretch of road between Highway 91 and Scott Road in October. Chantal MacLean and her boyfriend Cody Kehler, both 17, were Clayton Heights Secondary students and were on their way to Thanksgiving dinner when their vehicle lost control on a curve and went into oncoming traffic. Both died in the impact. An athletic scholarship has been created in MacLeanâ€™s name, to carry on the rugby starâ€™s memory.
A Newton business owner is haunted by the memory of a vicious acid attack. Tammy Sinclair and her husband Gordon own Sinclairâ€™s Motorsports. In September, a man posing as a customer chucked a glass jar filled with muriatic, or hydrochloric acid, at Tammyâ€™s face as she was standing out in front of the shop. She suffered scarring on her neck, and blistered gums and tongue. No arrests have been made.
Readers sure loved this feature on the Surrey man who starred in the well-known Bad Santa flick as a child. Brett Kellyâ€™s claim to fame is his role in the 2003 anti-Christmas comedy, starring Billy Bob Thornton as a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed mall Santa named Willie, with Tony Cox as his elfish dwarf sidekick named Marcus. Though this piece was published in 2013, it was the third most read story on our site this year.
Surreyâ€™s little club oasis in Guildford, the Mirage, shut down after 18 years in business this summer. The popular clubâ€™s closure elicited lots of attention from party-going Surreyites, who were eager to see the venue reopened as the Taphouse, marketed as an upscale pub with live music, by owner Wayne Ferguson.
A letter sent in by reader David Simonov was fifth on the most-read list this year. In it, he argued the BCTF engaged in destructive activity, and â€œblackmailed the rest of British Columbians into paying even more for public education, which is very expensive as it is.â€ He called for BCTF to receive a heavy fine for â€œabuse of power and spreading corrupting socialist ideology and immediate disbanding of the union and privatization of government schools across B.C.â€
The case of Balraj Singh Rattu, 19, is one of the older mysteries that Surrey RCMP has on the books. On the day he disappeared, Balraj had asked his dad if he could take his car to go see some friends. That was on Nov. 6, 1995, six weeks before his 20th birthday. He hasnâ€™t been seen since.
Three days later, the Chilliwack RCMP called the Rattus to report theyâ€™d found their car â€“ a silver Hyundai Stellar – burnt, in the Vedder Canal, not far from No. 3 Road. It had been driven off the dike. Balrajâ€™s jacket, undershirt, grey sweatshirt and jeans were found rolled up on the Stellarâ€™s front passenger floor. His shirt was partly burned and there was a spot of blood on the right collarbone area of his sweatshirt. A DNA test confirmed the blood to be his. A $20 bill had been tucked into his clothes.
â€œWeâ€™re open to any and all possible theories,â€ said Cpl. Mike Hall, in charge of the detachmentâ€™s Unsolved Homicides Unit. â€œWeâ€™ll treat this investigation as a missing persons investigation where foul play is suspected. Obviously, we have not found Mr. Rattuâ€™s body so, does the possibility exist that heâ€™s left and is still alive somewhere? That is a possibility. Thereâ€™s no evidence to support that at this time.â€
Balrajâ€™s family needs answers.
â€œItâ€™s hard for me to go through this life,â€ his dad Gurmukh Rattu said.
The Now broke a story in November that was picked up by Sports Illustrated, USA Today and European news media. The North Delta Minor Hockey Association fired local kidsâ€™ hockey coach Christopher Maximilian Sandau, 33, in November for posting Nazi propoganda on his personal Facebook page.
In September, during the teachersâ€™ strike, Keith Baldrey argued that whatever the outcome of the messy fight, itâ€™s likely the provincial education system wonâ€™t see significant improvement in the near future. He wrote both the government and the BC Teachersâ€™ Federation are to blame, having been locked in war for more than a decade. â€œEven a negotiated contract will not end the acrimony and bitterness that characterizes their relationship,â€ he stated, later adding, â€œIt is not about the kids and never has been. It is about control.â€
The Now received a lot of feedback following editor Beau Simpsonâ€™s opinion piece on his experience at the Cloverdale Rodeo this year, where he saw kids stumbling around blind drunk and acting inappropriately. â€œIf a day at the rodeo is any indication, we seriously need to step up our game as parents,â€ Simpson wrote. â€œOur community is depending on it.â€
Although a few people associated with the rodeo thought his column unfairly cast the event in a negative light, readers flooded the Now with letters to the editor agreeing with Simpsonâ€™s take on the experience at the Fair.
Sadness gripped Surrey when news broke that a beloved local father, little league coach and well-known realtor from South Surrey, John Mele, drowned while on vacation in the Okanagan this summer. Hundreds paid respects at his Celebration of Life service on Aug. 20 following emotional statements from friends and family to the media.
Compiled by the Now