Friday, March 1, 2024

The Ottawa Citizen’s ‘underneath the radar’ newsmakers of 2023

Gabriela Dabrowski, Sindy Hooper, Wendy Stephanson, Alex Silas and Khalid Farchoukh made headlines.

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Trying again at 2023, there are newsmakers who dominated the headlines — the brand new proprietor of the Ottawa Senators, the brand new mayor, the leaders of the convoy protest on trial — however as a substitute of writing about those that garnered essentially the most ink, listed below are 5 “underneath the radar” newsmakers who made a mark this yr.

Gabriela Dabrowski

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Solely 5 Canadians have gained Grand Slam tennis titles. Most of them have solely gained one. Gabriela Dabrowski has three.

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A blended doubles champion within the 2017 French Open (with Rohan Bopanna) and 2018 Australian Open (with Mate Pavic), the 31-year-old from Ottawa added her third by claiming the U.S. Open girls’s doubles title with Erin Routliffe. Their profitable New York run concluded with a 7-6, 6-3 victory towards Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva.

Dabrowski’s prize of roughly $474,000 was her largest ever, greater than double the $221,000 she obtained for reaching Wimbledon’s 2019 remaining with Yifan Xu.

Redemption for that “super-tough” Wimbledon loss 4 years later was sweetened by satisfaction. Dabrowski solely teamed with Routliffe, who represents New Zealand internationally, however grew up in Toronto and lives in Montreal, in mid-summer.

“I really feel very fortunate to have been within the place that I used to be, preventing for a Grand Slam title and to have really dealt with the second very well. I used to be actually pleased with how Erin and I dealt with it as a result of it was Erin’s first time enjoying on Arthur Ashe (Stadium). I had performed on that courtroom a few occasions earlier than, which in all probability helped me,” Dabrowski mentioned in an interview in December.

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“However total, it’s simply plenty of delight and possibly a little bit sense of reduction, as nicely. I’m 31 now, so to have had a girls’s Grand Slam doubles underneath my belt feels nice.”

Erin Routliffe Gabriela Dabrowski
Erin Routliffe, left, and Gabriela Dabrowski show the winners’ trophy after profitable the U.S. Open girls’s doubles remaining on Sept. 10. Picture by Al Bello /Getty Photos

Extra success adopted. Dabrowski and Routliffe reached one other event remaining in Mexico in late September, gained an occasion in China a month later, and reached the WTA Finals semifinals at Cancun, Mexico in November.

Dabrowski then jetted to Seville, Spain, and helped Canada take the Billie Jean King Cup. By far crucial doubles match was within the semifinals, when Dabrowski and Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., upset Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. Fernandez and Marina Stakusic of Mississauga beat Italian opponents in singles to clinch the world crew championship with out the necessity for the potential decider in doubles.

“On one hand you are feeling fairly a little bit of strain, however, on the identical time, it’s very thrilling as a result of, actually, there’s no higher feeling than profitable as a crew,” Dabrowski mentioned. “It’s one thing that I want tennis had extra of. It’s in all probability why I get pleasure from enjoying doubles greater than singles as a result of, once you do win collectively, you’re problem-solving collectively, it’s much more enjoyable.”

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Her mantra for what comes subsequent is, “Maintain your expectations low and your requirements excessive.” After coaching in Florida in December, she’s heading to Australia in January for 2024’s first Grand Slam.

“We’ll have some wins, we’ll have some losses. We’re going to study from the losses and, hopefully, we’ll as soon as once more be able to battle for a Slam title,” she mentioned.

“Successful a Slam isn’t straightforward and it is advisable to play very well, have a little bit little bit of luck, and produce your A Recreation, so we’ll simply must see. I simply say we’ll hold working and we’ll see what occurs. If we do the suitable issues, the outcomes will communicate for themselves.”

Sindy Hooper

The Ottawa chapter of the Affiliation of Fundraising Professionals introduced Sindy Hooper with its 2023 Inspiration Award in November, recognizing decade-long efforts which have raised greater than $500,000 for pancreatic most cancers analysis, together with about 90 per cent of that for analysis at The Ottawa Hospital.

That is the purpose the place it’s crucial to notice Hooper has battled pancreatic most cancers since January 2013.

These recognized with pancreatic most cancers survive for a median of six months for the reason that illness is often solely found in a complicated state. Three-quarters of sufferers die inside the first yr, and the five-year survival charge is 10 per cent.

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Sindy Hooper isn’t most individuals. Following the preliminary prognosis and surgical procedure to take away half her pancreas and abdomen, a part of her small gut and her gallbladder, she resumed endurance coaching and accomplished two Ironman races and 15 triathlons, plus the Ottawa (2014) and Boston (2015) marathons.

In September 2022, Hooper discovered the illness had unfold to her lung, backbone and rib. Eight months later, she accomplished the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend five-kilometre occasion in 37 minutes 43 seconds.

Sindy Hooper
An skilled and achieved triathlete, Sindy Hooper has stage 4 pancreatic most cancers. Picture by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Now 61, Hooper was informed in November she had solely 4 months to stay.

There are medical trials for pancreatic most cancers remedies in Canada, however they don’t goal Hooper’s superior stage of illness, a November story by Postmedia’s Andrew Duffy reported, however she has been accepted by a stage-one medical trial in Virginia.

That trial is testing the security and medical exercise of RMC-6236, a focused remedy designed to deal with superior pancreatic most cancers pushed by a mutated KRAS gene accountable for most of its circumstances. Hooper has this altered model of the KRAS gene.

“We had been shocked: We actually weren’t anticipating to listen to something till January, so it was unbelievable information,” Hooper mentioned in a Dec. 18 interview.

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Hooper posted a social media attraction for assist in gaining admittance to a U.S. medical trial in November. One other pancreatic most cancers affected person in Toronto noticed it and provided recommendation and contacts. Different social media contacts put her in contact with officers from Revolution Drugs, the corporate behind the RMC-6236 medical trial.

If all goes nicely, Hooper will begin the brand new drug in early January.

Wendy Stephanson

Wendy Stephanson known as a “bowtie” an apt description for the town supervisor’s position.

“You are taking the bowtie and also you flip it sideways,” she informed Postmedia’s Joanne Laucius. “You’ve the highest triangle, and that’s metropolis council. And you’ve got the knot within the center, and the underside triangle, which is the administration, all of the workers delivering these companies. Metropolis council units its priorities. They set the route for the town. I’m the individual within the center that makes positive the administration is implementing these selections of council and people council priorities. These term-of-council priorities drive our four-year plan. However selections come out of each committee and council assembly and we have now to reply to implementing these issues.”

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Wendy Stephanson City of Ottawa manager
Wendy Stephanson was appointed metropolis supervisor for the Metropolis of Ottawa in August. She had served within the place on an interim foundation since November 2022. Picture by Julie Oliver /Postmedia

A graduate of the College of Ottawa’s Telfer Faculty of Administration and a former Carleton College commerce pupil, Stephanson’s appointment to a five-year time period as metropolis supervisor was introduced in August, although she had held the submit on an interim foundation following predecessor Steve Kanellakos’s resignation in November 2022.

The Metropolis of Ottawa describes the town supervisor as council’s chief administrator, “main the group to ship companies throughout greater than 100 distinct traces of enterprise by way of 10 departments and 17,000 staff.”

In different phrases, it’s a very huge job.

Khalid Farchoukh

He’s a newsmaker for each his success and what he couldn’t do.

As chef de delicacies at Carben Meals + Drink in Hintonburg, Khalid Farchoukh gained Canada’s Nice Kitchen Social gathering in Ottawa with what Postmedia reviewer Peter Hum wrote was “a humble but elevated dish”: a slab of grilled corn on a crisp slice of beef-fat brioche, dusted with smoked, shaved beef coronary heart and accompanied by lime gel, fermented romesco sauce, corn husk emulsion, bone marrow, corn miso glaze and puffed sorghum.

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“This was sudden. I really feel nice!” Farchoukh mentioned after being hailed as champion on the Fairmont Château Laurier. “It was a very tight race, as I attempted lots of the different dishes, and I’m shocked that I gained contemplating the expertise that was right here tonight.”

There was additionally a tinge of disappointment, although, as Carben’s impending closure had already been introduced and, certainly, that restaurant had its final service days later in late September.

Khalid Farchoukh
Khalid Farchoukh on the evening of Canada’s Nice Kitchen Social gathering on the Fairmont Château Laurier on Sept. 21. Picture by Julie Oliver /Postmedia

As a result of Farchoukh was not working as a chef at a restaurant by mid-November, he can’t signify Ottawa within the 2024 Canadian Culinary Championship in February.

That alternative goes to Aiana’s Raghav Chaudhary, who positioned second within the qualifier.

Chris Johns, one of many Ottawa occasion’s seven judges, mentioned that Farchoukh “created the one most inventive, compelling and scrumptious dish … There was solely a one-per-cent distinction between the first- and second-place finishers. The scoring was extremely shut.”

There was no public replace on Farchoukh for the reason that fall. He didn’t reply to an electronic mail request for remark.

Alex Silas

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“Hype man” and “cheerleader” had been how Alex Silas described his duties throughout the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s multi-week strike, one of many yr’s most vital information tales within the Ottawa space.

Formally listed as regional government vice-president for the Nationwide Capital Area, the labour activist initially from Barachois, N.B. has adopted a household path.

One grandfather was president of the Communications, Power and Paperworkers Union native at a Dalhousie paper mill, and mom Linda Silas served as president of each the New Brunswick Nurses Union and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

“Her workplace on the NBNU constructing had been transformed into an condo in order that she might stay there with me as a child and care for me whereas she was working,” Silas mentioned in a narrative by Postmedia’s Catherine Morrison in April.

In Ottawa, Silas studied police foundations at Collège La Cité, then labored for a small safety firm earlier than touchdown a Financial institution of Canada safety place in 2010.

Alex Silas
A file photograph exhibits Alex Silas, with megaphone, on the PSAC picket line on April 21. Picture by Jean Levac /Postmedia

He grew to become PSAC regional government vice-president for the nationwide capital area in 2020, and final yr was elected alternate nationwide government vice-president.

“I ended up on this place the place I get to do work that I’m extremely keen about and that’s extremely fulfilling and it’s an honour,” he mentioned. “I typically say I’m only a safety guard.”

The PSAC strike ended after the union and authorities negotiated collective agreements operating till between June 20 and Oct. 31, 2025.

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