Here are the 10 stories you couldn't get enough of in 2022

Tiffany Elton is still living at her home on Summer Street as her lawyer attempts to save her home and her finances.  (Ariana Kelland/CBC - image credit)
Tiffany Elton is still living at her home on Summer Street as her lawyer attempts to save her home and her finances. (Ariana Kelland/CBC - image credit)

Whether it was stories about safety and security, or heartwarming tales of people finding their place in the world, one theme dominated the news you consumed the most in 2022.

Many of them centred around the word "home."

It may be a topic close to people's hearts after two years of a global pandemic, or maybe it's a sheer coincidence. But as you scan through the Top 10 stories of 2022 on CBC Newfoundland and Labrador's website, the pattern is obvious.

Here's the 10 stories that dominated the news this year.

1. When a house isn't a home

Ariana Kelland/CBC
Ariana Kelland/CBC

Tiffany Elton lived through every homeowner's worst nightmare this year — discovering the home she bought was a lemon. Or, in Elton's case, it was actually a former mechanic's garage that had been in a fire.

Since that discovery, Elton told CBC reporter Ariana Kelland that she's been sent down a frustrating fact-finding mission in an attempt to save her home, her finances and her jewelry and botanicals business. To make things worse, when she alerted the City of St. John's to her predicament, they began slapping her with fines for the issues she flagged.

"[The] more information that I get, the more and more it complicates everything because the structure is likely not safe, it's not what I bought," she said. "I didn't buy a burned-out house."

2. 'Total devastation' as Port aux Basques declares state of emergency due to post-tropical storm Fiona

Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

Communities in southwestern Newfoundland were rocked by one of the worst storms in recent memory. Homes were obliterated, entire neighbourhoods were destroyed, and one life was tragically lost.

The story dominated the national news for more than a week, but no story got more attention than the first one — diligently updated throughout the day by writers Darrell Roberts and Nick Ward in St. John's, with information from reporter Malone Mullin and meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler on scene in Port aux Basques.

The images were shocking. The personal stories that would follow were equally gripping. Fiona is a story that will carry over into 2023, as the people of southwestern Newfoundland continue to recover from the damage.

3. They lived in their Catalina home for 40 years. But it turns out they don't own it

Darrell Roberts/CBC
Darrell Roberts/CBC

About two years ago, the Pauline and Randy Diamond decided to sell the home they lived in since the early 1980s. They secured a buyer — family friends looking to move home — and proceeded with a quieting of titles, in order to clear any potential disputes over the land.

That's when the trouble started.

The provincial government told them Pauline and Randy's home is sitting on Crown land.

According to the government, the lawn where their kids played, the garden where Randy grew vegetables and the house where Pauline raised a family never belonged to the Diamonds.

"We don't know where we stand or where to go to next," Pauline said.

4. The power of love: Why a 96-year-old man sold his Ontario house and moved to rural Newfoundland

Melissa Tobin/CBC
Melissa Tobin/CBC

Charlie Comrie knows his story is unusual, and that some may think he's lost his senses.

But for Comrie, a 96-year-old veteran of the Second World War, it all made sense when he sold his house in Clinton, Ont., last December to move 3,000 kilometres east to a rural town on the island of Newfoundland.

Comrie now lives in Plate Cove West, a village of about 170 people who have welcomed him and his best friend Shiloh, a Nova Scotia retriever, with open arms.

You might wonder why an old man would move such a distance to live along the harsh coast along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

The answer, he told CBC reporter Melissa Tobin, is simple.


5. Their Mexican vacation was a dream. The voyage home, though, was a nightmare

Submitted by Michelle Barter
Submitted by Michelle Barter

Travel in 2022 was anything but ordinary, as this Port aux Basques couple could tell you.

As reporter James Grudic wrote, the couple's relaxing vacation to Cancun, Mexico, soon turned into a frustrating experience for Michelle and Paul Barter when their flight home was cancelled and delayed for an entire week.

What was supposed to be a two-hour flight ended up costing them a whole week of travel time. Their flight from Montreal to Deer Lake, in western Newfoundland, was cancelled not once, but four times in a row, and then delayed for another three days after that.

Michelle Barter said the fourth cancellation in as many days was too much for her to handle. They booked a flight to Nova Scotia and took the ferry home.

"I was in shock, disbelief. I was crying," said Barter. "Right now I have no desire to travel anywhere that requires a flight."

6. Senior says 'life was stolen' after her daughter and son-in-law cleared out her bank account

Dan Arsenault/CBC
Dan Arsenault/CBC

At 80 years old, Lillian Thomey said she never thought she'd be fighting in court with her own family.

"I can't believe it," she said, shaking her head while talking about her once-trusted caregivers — her daughter and son-in-law.

Jackie Puddister, 54, and her husband Christopher Puddister, 56, were sentenced in 2022, concluding a years-long saga over missing money, a home sold for $1, and a family torn apart.

Thomey's case highlighted the painful, long-term effects financial crime has on senior citizens. She was far from alone, as experts say reports of elder financial crimes are growing.

7. RCMP entered home while family slept, started questioning 11-year-old, says mother

Troy Turner/CBC
Troy Turner/CBC

In a story that dominated the news for days, a Mount Moriah family said their privacy was invaded by two RCMP officers who entered their home unannounced and questioned their young daughter about a missing girl in the early morning hours.

Cortney Pike told CBC News she and her partner, Andrew Dunphy, were awoken around 5:30 a.m. by the sound of steps at the top of their staircase.

"I said, 'Andrew, I think there's someone in our house," Pike said Tuesday.

Pike said the police, who she learned had entered the home through an unlocked door, started asking questions about a missing girl. The couple said they had no idea anyone was missing and asked the police why they were in their home, Pike said, but didn't get a clear answer.

The RCMP was adamant they had knocked, rang the door bell and called out for 45 minutes before entering the home. The family said they didn't believe that was true, saying their dog, Bear, didn't make a sound.

8. St. John's woman loses home after Phoenix pay fiasco

A St. John's woman says she lost everything — her home, her livelihood and stability — after years-long problems with the federal government's notorious Phoenix pay system, and had yet to receive a cent back in compensation.

Joanne Nemec Osmond started with the Canada Revenue Agency in 2006 as a contract worker. Each year, she was laid off only to be called back the following season, with the hope that one day she would become a permanent employee.

In 2017, she was offered a higher-paying position, but it came at a crippling price that would destroy her home, career and finances.

"They owe me cold, hard cash that I earned for working, but I'll never get back my credit, I'll never [get back] my home that I had to leave to my children, the change in life," Nemec Osmond said.

"They've taken years off my life."

9. How a quick-thinking doctor with a drill saved a man's life

Dr. Paul Patey knew a young man could lose his life unless he did something unusual.

It was July 16, 2010, and an ambulance was racing toward St. John's, carrying a teenager who desperately needed to have blood drained from his recently injured brain.

Armed with a scalpel and a drill he borrowed from a maintenance man at the William H. Newhook Community Health Centre in Whitbourne, Patey told the paramedic driving to find a safe spot to stop so he could try to bore a hole in the young man's skull.

"I took the drill and put it against the bone," Patey recalled in an interview with CBC's Jeremy Eaton.

He saved the boy's life.

10. Woof! St. John's shuts down illegal hair salon … that turns out to be a Hudson & Rex set

Zach Goudie/CBC
Zach Goudie/CBC

A television show about a dog detective managed to fool a St. John's neighbourhood — and even a city inspector.

The city said it received a complaint from a resident on Gower Street in the downtown core on Aug. 10 about what appeared to be an illegal hair salon — named Curl Up & Dye, according to the sign on the front window — based in a neighbouring home.

After an inspector investigated, the city sent a letter to the homeowners to say they needed to apply to the city for proper certification — or face fines and legal action.

But Curl Up & Dye doesn't actually exist — the painted "storefront" is actually part of a set for the CityTV television show Hudson & Rex, which films in and around St. John's.

Woof, indeed.

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