Whether it was Plan-It Calgary, the ring road, a visit from his Holiness or H1N1 — Calgary had no shortage of attention-grabbing headlines in 2009.

Unfortunately, tragedy produced the year’s first major headlines, with the New Year’s Day triple murder involving alleged gang members, and one innocent bystander, Kenny Su’a. By June, the Calgary police had nabbed three suspects in the crime.

The Brier swept into town, with provincial curling heavyweight and yet-to-be-crowned Canadian Olympic skip, Kevin Martin and his rink taking the crown.

Dubya and Condi come to the city — one in March and one in May, respectively — bringing a throng of protests to the city for each visit.

March, however, started a storyline with which Calgarians would become more familiar. The ring road. The northern portion, stretching from deep northwest Calgary across the city’s north boundary to the east, gave Calgarians a glimpse of what could be, while an ever-lengthening negotiation on the southwest portion began to boil over with Calgarians.

At the end of June, the Tsuu T’ina nation voted against a ring road proposal — signaling the start of a new direction by the city. Approval of an interchange at 37 St and Glenmore Trail set in motion a different agenda to get commuters moving in the city’s southwest.

Swine flu, or H1N1, made its first appearance in Alberta in April — and evolved into what some may argue as the biggest of Alberta Health Services’ 2009 debacles (and let’s face it, there were a few). Encouraging everyone to get out for the vaccination later in the year and having a deluge of Calgarians standing for hours in line eventually gave way to a graduated and pragmatic approach. Panic aside, thousands of headlines were made from swine-flu related stories.

The Calgary Flames are bounced from April play yet again and the city faces $184 million in cuts in early May.

With cuts on the table, the city is faced with no shortage of decisions --- and Calgarians have no shortage of opinions. Pedestrian bridges at $25 million in July continue to be scorned in December, and the implementation of fees for parking in city transit lots is a sure way to cause calamity at the water cooler.

And after the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth once again brought hundreds of thousands to Calgary in July, WorldSkills 2009 celebrated talented tradespeople from around the globe.

A minor political surprise began what some predict as the largest shift in Alberta’s provincial political history, as Wildrose Alliance Party candidate and interim leader, Paul Hinman, handily beat out the PC and Liberal candidates to snag a seat previously held for nearly 50 years by the Conservatives.

It seemed to pile up provincially from there: Bills 44 and 50 became magnets for opposition; Alberta Health Services goes from one controversy to the next; Premier Stelmach’s popularity appears to plummet and he fends off calls for his resignation by garnering 70-plus per cent support from party faithful

Plan-It Calgary passes in September with aldermen heralding their vision of Calgary’s future, while others feel it sold out — not dealing with the proposed increased density and the challenge of urban sprawl.

The arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama provided a moment for pause and reflection for thousands of Calgarians.

The Olympic torch is lit, and the world prepares for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver — with the last winter games in Canada held right here in Calgary 22 years earlier — can you feel it?

As the year draws to a close, aldermen pat themselves on the back for holding the projected tax hike to a “measly” 4.79 per cent, but set the stage for an interesting 2010. That’s right — it’s a civic election year.

The Grey Cup once again showcases the city’s success as we play host to an Alouettes win — but an ongoing storyline at the Calgary Zoo — animal deaths and the trespassing and mauling of one man by a tiger — showed there is still more work to do.

Of course, every year is filled with honourable headline mentions and this year was no different. Snow removal drew the ire of Calgarians (as it seems to annually).

Flames legend Theo Fleury announces his intentions to try out for the big club; stirs a frenzy of fan excitement, doesn’t make the team, announces retirement as a Flame … and then comes out with a book on his troubled past.

How could one forget the tabloid-style coverage of former Calgarian Ryan Jenkins and a gruesome murder and later suicide? The media loves a trashy tale — for better or worse.

The year 2010 will bring no shortage of successes and shortcomings in this great city — and while it’s impossible to tell what lies ahead, there is one certainty: Metro Calgary will remain committed to delivering the headlines that matter in your daily lives.

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