Returning student relieved to find home in same shambles he left it.

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A local student was pleased to see that, despite leaving his rented room in a six-room dwelling empty for the last four moths, not a single thing had been fixed or repaired by the landlord.

“What a relief!” exclaimed the male after a rousing game of front-lawn flip-cup. “You never know what can happen when you leave for the summer without a sublet. They could come in and make all kinds of changes, but thankfully we avoided that.”

In truth, many others in the city have returned aghast to find repairs of all nature completed over the holiday months. While aesthetically pleasing initially, household repairs can shift very subtle social dynamics and make some housing nearly unlivable.

“A friend of mine had their whole bathroom redone last year,” recalls the man, wincing. “What an ordeal. We went over there and there were all these house rules about trying to keep it from getting wrecked and it really put a downer on things. Eventually they had a big house party, and someone puked cherry kool-aid vodka over everything, which put things back to normal.”

While outsiders would assume that anything less than a perfectly maintained home would be troubling to many, the small damages, imperfections, and untidy corners of their homes, bring a sort of comfort during their hectic student schedules.

“It’s like, I have so much stress at school, so why should I stress about my place too?” asks a local renter. “The peeling paint, hole in the wall, and the faucet knob we replaced with vice-grips are just ways of coping. When suddenly the landlord paints a room, or repairs the drywall, all of a sudden I have to try and care about keeping the place tidy, and I can’t handle that burden on top of my workload.”

Many landlords in the city agree.

“Yeah, no point to doin’ anything.” admits one room renter. “In one of my places I tried fixing it up, and doin’ it right you know? Next thing happens is the kids have a goddamned potluck, which turns into a food fight, which turns into a real fight that damages nearly every wall in the place. After that I just threw up my hands and only did enough to keep the walls standing.”

Others have had varying degrees of success with overcrowding, poor maintenance, or questionable renting practices to keep the places in the comfy shambles expected by the students. As the density of housing continues to increase throughout the central student core, more creative means of degradation may be required.

“Some of these new ones are gonna take some outside-the-box thinkin’ to make sure they’re happy.” explained the landlord. “Otherwise they’re gonna show up to a place that looks brand new out of a magazine, and have themselves a breakdown.”

When pressed, he gave some examples of things which he thought could be coming to rental units in future.

“Well that fire was one of em’, according to the gossip,” He accused. “What better way to make shitty units than to rush construction on a project while also having huge bills to cover? And that same guy, now he’s building a new place that’s way over variance. Dollars to doughnuts he’ll ‘revise’ his plans due to pressure, and make these tiny little places that are so cramped you can’t help busting through the sheet rock.”

While wildly speculative, the man’s feelings were steadfast. “I don’t care if you think it’s bull. What’s true or not true doesn’t matter, what matters is that there’s a race to the bottom for housing in this city, and whoever gets there first is going to line their pockets with the tears of everyone who tried to ‘do it right’ and not cut corners.”

Music Festival dangerously close to losing hipster status

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After a few years of flying just below the radar and attracting only the most devoted of early-adopters, this year the Wolfe Island Music Festival is dangerously close to alienating one of their key demographics.

With camping passes quickly sold out, and headliners including some major Canadian artists, the festival has nearly achieved full on “cool” status, which could serve to deter the more dedicated fans.

“I mean, if it’s already cool, what am I doing there?” asked a conflicted hipster. “This festival used to be a place where I could come to feel better about my knowledge of the indie scene, and to name-drop artists with other like-minded musical explorers. But now, there are bands playing here that my brother even knows about, and he’s probably the most generic guy I know.”

While die-hard fans may be having a crisis of faith, the man on the street is beginning to see the appeal.

“Yeah I heard of a few of them bands,” admitted a local. “Might event have gone to see ‘em, if I wasn’t already busy that weekend at my cottage. Maybe next year I’ll give it a shot.”

However, others still see the festival as the domain of a niche demographic.

“Camping? Ew” replied one girl, when asked about the festivals popularity. “The last thing I wanna do is go out, stand around a field, get all muddy and sweaty and gross, and listen to dudes with beards argue about which one of their home-brew projects tasted ‘hoppier’ while people play songs I can’t even dance to. No thanks”

Regardless of opinions, this year’s festival is already expected to be wildly successful, and should lead to even bigger and better acts for future years. The choices of who will be invited will have to be done carefully to maintain the razor’s edge balance which exists between being good and being popular.

City regrets not consulting cyclists before creating bike lanes on unridable streets.

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After the much publicized removal of parking from arterial Brock and Johnson streets, city traffic engineers are backpeddling their expectations after finding out that cyclists have no intention of using their newly minted lanes.┬áLocal officials admitted that, while hindsight is 20/20, most bicycles don’t have rear-view mirrors at all.

“I guess it’s a problem of tabletop implementation,” admitted one source. “Everyone sitting around the table came up with this huge list of benefits and advantages that it would bring, so we just rolled with it.”

However, their planning failed to address one critical point. “We never asked anyone who actually cycles in the city whether it was worthwhile,” he admitted. “Once we started the process, we got feedback about how pointless it would be, and that got us worried.”

Local cyclists have admitted that the move will make little difference in their daily commutes.

“I guess it’s good to be bike friendly,” acknowledged one peddler “but I’m sure as hell not going to ride on that road. Even before you start looking at the bad pavement, potholes, uneven drainage grates, and awkward sightlines, the scariest part of the whole thing is still the way people drive along that road. Why would I put myself in that position when there are completely viable and safer alternatives?”

These concerns were echoed by other saddle-seaters.

“Why would I ride along Johnson and risk my neck, when I could go one block over to Earl street? There are lots of stop signs, minimal traffic, wide roads, and no lights. It just doesn’t make sense!”

Although sparking controversy, the eternally optimistic tourism industry believes this could be a big benefit.

“People from out of town will love it,” They beamed. “If they don’t know what dangers they’re facing, it will make for an adventure they’ll never forget. Soon we could be a hugely exciting extreme sports destination in the region!”

Local real estate agent shocked to discover they are polling third in MPP elections.

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As election road signs sprout like late-blooming perennials, one local agent has seen their ‘For Sale’ signs generating an unusual response in the local electorate.

“I guess any press is good press,” laughed the agent. “But I’ll be damned if I’d know what to do if they elected me.”

Indeed, the most recent poll of local voters had the agent running a strong third behind the two frontrunners whose parties are locked in a province-wide battle. This number is even more shocking given that, in every case, his name would have to have been essentially “written in” as a response.

When questioned about their choice, most respondents seemed to think that the signs featuring his face and picture were done at a much higher quality than traditionally┬ácheap and disposable signs, and their placement throughout the city was much more organic than the “spamlike” ways of the current contenders.

“It just seems confident, understated, and refined,” explained a resident who had been polled. “Just the kinds of things you’d want to see in leadership. The last thing I want is someone who’s all ‘me me me, look at me!’ and throwing all their money away on landfill. This guy has nice wooden poles, holding up colour printed signs. They are a feature in the landscape, not an eyesore.”

Other candidates were quick to dismiss his candidacy, saying that it was nothing more than a novelty. However, some of the smaller parties have admitted to reaching out for advice on how to generate such grass-roots interest.

Citizens begin seasonal transition from not going downtown, to avoiding downtown.

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As an unusually long and aggravating winter season finally eases its headlock on the region, many residents are finally able to change the reasons for staying away from the downtown core.

Throughout the winter, piles of snow, ice, and slush remained present and made both driving and walking conditions enough to keep many locals confined to the safely plowed suburban box stores and away from the urban core. Most traffic through the region was commuter, and those who did come into the close-packed downtown streets did so with great purpose, or at least begrudgingly.

Similarly, downtown summers are filled with enough vacationing families, school groups, road-closing festivals, and road trippers for locals to write it off as frustratingly busy enough to warrant complete avoidance.

Normally this transition from winter snowbanks and ice sheets into the summer influx of out-of-towners and bus tourists happens gradually with warmer weather. However this season they are happening nearly simultaneously due to the extended cold weather which persisted well into spring.

Those who live and work the area admit that this year is a strange one, with unique situations occurring throughout. Some even report rare sightings of tour busses and snow banks side-by-side, despite traditionally animosity. These natives of downtown life maintain that nature should be allowed to run it’s course.

“All things move in cycles,” explained one urbanite. “We must allow ourselves to be moved with them, and to live with what comes.”

“The students go, and the tourists come. The tourists leave, and the students return. Every year, this great migration changes our landscape and moulds our community, and we have learned the ways in which we can live within these fluctuations.” He continued to explain.

 

Furniture resellers scramble as local couch values plummet

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As the traditionally hectic season of student exodus reaches peak traffic, furniture values throughout the city are plummeting at a record rate.

“Even though we expect it at this time of year, the pace of devaluation today is staggering,” explained a local furniture day-trader. “By the time we opened, the weekend Kijiji numbers had already forced full couch prices down into the low hundreds. What’s worse is that there seems to be a huge amount of panic in the market, which will make things volatile.”

Indeed, the late arrival of spring this year meant that many couches which may have transitioned into being lawn couches, and subsequently landfill, have instead stayed inside, keeping their value and ripening for the moving season. However this widespread availability has caused an overall drop in the market value per piece.

“It’s like, supply and demand, brah.” explained a first-year economics student who paused his front-lawn beer pong game when asked for comment. “there’s like, everyone has all these couches they need to sell, but like since everyone is… uhh… selling already, then it’s like whoever is the lowest is gonna sell first right?”

Indeed this race to the bottom has seen some owners resorting to junking their investments, and listing the couches for the cost of transportation, or free if picked up. Even traditional last resorts of disposal including the salvation army, where one can at least recoup some good will, are turning these toxic assets away.

“Everyone’s trying to bail out in the middle of the meltdown,” explains the trader. “Those of us playing the long game have seen this before, so we’re out scouring the ads, looking for under-valued stuff that we can pick up and hold onto for a while. Come fall, a lot of this stuff will appreciate considerably, but you’ve got to be able to ride it for a while.”

It remains to be seen if playing the furniture market can be sustainable long-term, but the emergence of these kinds of industries in the city make it seem that, for now, they can become a sound investment.

City traffic engineers giddy as core asphyxiation nears completion.

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From a darkened control room within the depths of a municipal office, the traffic engineers for the City of Kingston have been carefully tracking their controlled choking of downtown traffic.

“It started as a brainstorm,” admits one employee, his face lit only in the blue-grey light of a computer screen. “We thought the potholes would be enough to make people go crazy, but they are more resilient than we imagined. We started thinking of other ways to demonstrate our powers, and this was what we came up with as a solution.”

Indeed their approach seems well thought out, as parts of the plan can be tracked back to previous years, and groundwork has been ongoing to ignite the “perfect storm” of road closures.

Beginning last year with the closure of Palace road, crews worked to the very end of fall with hastily laid pavement coming just before winter snows descended in October. This rushed patchwork, now being torn up and further worked on, forms the first prong of their attack.

The second, and most arterial, is the closure of Princess street through much of the Williamsville district, in an area inarguably in need of remedial repairs.

“That was the linchpin to the whole deal,” explains the mastermind of the plan. “Once you close the main artery, everything else falls into place. A few more tweaks, and you can cause some real damage with very little effort.”

Secondary tweaks, aside from the aforementioned construction, include the addition of a stop light on Concession street at MacDonnell, making an already over-taxed one lane road more obstructive. Further tightening the collar is the reduction of Johnson, previously a downtown-bound artery, from two full lanes to one, and the reduction of the re-opened lanes to nearly undrivable dips and holes.

“After that, it all came together,” offers the madman who conceived of the plan. “We managed to take five lanes, and reduce them to two without anyone batting an eye. It was almost as though people didn’t have any clue what we were doing, and by the time we were there they couldn’t stop it.”

When pressed to answer whether or not there were subsequent stages to the plan, only vague allusions could be produced.

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t comment on that,” he mused. “But wouldn’t it be a shame if, for instance, we had a water main break? Or some tree limbs fall on a power line? Goodness, what if there were a gas leak that closed off an entire block? Wouldn’t that be just crippling?

With an unsettling grin, he continued to say with a wink and a nod that “we are confident that our current situation is stable, and suitable for the needs of the city. We hope that construction will finish ahead of schedule, and we’ll be able to return to normal as soon as possible.”