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.

 

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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.”

Nanny state prevents students from strengthening gene pool

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In another example of state intrusion into the activities of citizens, three Queen’s University students were hauled ashore by fire crews, after attempting an afternoon paddle aboard their canoe.

As reported by the Whig Standard, the students left shore west of Kingston Yacht Club wearing sports attire and PFD’s. Their initial progress was slow, as the water proved rather solid for the first few hundred feet. Undeterred, the students managed a frigid portage to open water, where their journey continued.

Ashore, onlookers waved and gestured at the students attempting to gain their attention, failing to understand the purpose of the trip. The students, dimly unaware of the doom that natural selection had in store, smiled and waved back to the observers, who perceived this as a cry for help.

Just as the journey was beginning to approach its dangerous conclusion, Kingston Fire Rescue arrived on scene and proceeded to execute their ice water rescue training. The students realized that their practical application of Darwinism may be halted, and tried to indicate to the rescue personnel that they were in fact there on purpose, and did not require assistance.

Using persuasion skills not normally required of rescue workers, Kingston Fire was able to explain to the students the situation they were in, and convince them that returning to shore would be the safest option for everyone involved.

The students reluctantly obliged, and while clearly in contradiction with the premise of self-preservation, the students were found to not have violated any known legal requirements, and were told they were free to go.

It is hoped that their journey will not be a complete loss, as many others may learn to plan their suicidally dangerous activities more carefully, or out of the public eye, lest these helicopter-parenting onlookers ruin another perfectly good attempt at becoming a cautionary tale.

Local bicyclist survives winter

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At the risk of jinxing the recent mild temperatures, one local cyclist is declaring himself a survivor of the cold winter commute made daily on his bicycle.

“I tell ya, this was probably the toughest winter I’ve ever cycled through.” Stated the man through a balaclava face mask and ski goggles crusted with salt and sand. “Most winters here you can get away without much worry, but this year was an almost constant hazard to myself just being out there, and I’m really thankful I survived.”

Winter cycling has seen moderate growth in recent years, no doubt due to the extreme sports crowd seeking more and more adrenaline-based activities to keep themselves entertained. While considered a healthy and exciting alternative to commuting via traditional vehicle, or public transit, others think that the practice borders on lunacy.

“These guys are nuts,” ranted a city bus driver, on the condition of anonymity. “You’re driving around a bus with all the windows caked in dirt, there’s snow falling, banks everywhere are reducing the lane widths, and you’ve got a mad man in a helmet cruising down the street on his bike, skidding around corners and shaking all over the place. It’s dangerous, and not just to themselves. If I have to move quickly to avoid running him over, I might crush some parked cars, or sideswipe a minivan. Are their thrills worth that kind of risk?”

The survivor however, feels that everything has a risk, and it is a matter of keeping things in balance with each other.

“If I was driving a car, I could spin out and run over a crowd, or drive into a storefront. On a bicycle, it’s just me and mother nature, and I’m hoping that everyone else will take care of themselves.”

When asked about more traditional, seasonal cyclists, the man shook his head with a laugh.

“Those losers. They don’t even know what they’re missing.”

 

Gambling addict haunted by “Roll up the Rim” promotion

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A local man has come out in opposition to the popular Tim Horton’s “Roll up the Rim” promotion, saying that the combination of caffeine and adrenaline it provides is a health risk to people like himself.

“Woo! That feeling you get when you roll up a winner!” The man exclaimed, eyes wide and hands shaking. “You tie that into a jolt of caffeine, man that’s a rush and a half. Bit of nicotine to keep things from going too wiggly and then it’s time to play again!”

Indeed playing again has been a problem for the man, who admits that he can’t resist the urge to immediately trade in any winners for the chance to “double down on his double double” by chaining together successive winners.

“Best streak I got was a 4-banger last weekend. Couldn’t believe it when the last one was a donut and not another drink. I guess it could have been worse but I got lucky riding that one as far as it would go.” However, the man admits that the health effects were considerable.

“Didn’t sleep a wink. Just kept goin’ around in my head, thinking of the sleeves of cups they’ve got behind the counter. Trying to figure out the odds, the best time of day, or which stores were the best to go to and when. I’m getting a system in place, but I can’t tell you too much about that.”

Friends of the man have always known there was a possibility for things like this to happen.

“I hear people say ‘addictive personality’ and he’s the one I think of,” admitted a friend. “Caffeine, nicotine, dopamine, right? He gets a rush from something, and he’ll just keep going until he burns out or hurts himself.”

Tim Horton’s wouldn’t comment on the though of their promotion as “gambling” but admitted that there is a tangible promotional aspect to making people believe they could be winners.

“Our promotion fits within all legal guidelines, and is designed in such a way to reward those who enjoy our beverages.” Remarked a spokesperson. “We encourage our customers to exercise moderation in all parts of their life, and to ensure that they are coming in for our excellent service and not for the prizes on the poster.”

 

Church leaders “totally not mad” as millions wake up early on Sunday to watch sports

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Across Canada this morning, religious leaders are trying to hide their irritation behind patriotic smiles as millions woke up early to watch multimillionaire celebrities play a game for national pride.

“We’re all praying that they bring home the gold,” remarked a local priest, “however I will admit that we are amazed at the ability of a sport to generate such a response in our followers.”

“We’re not mad,” he was quick to add, “just disappointed.”

Many locals sheepishly admitted that this was the most exciting thing to happen on a Sunday morning for years.

“It’s not every week you’ve got an olympic gold medal final,” remarked a man, his coffee smelling of cream and liqueur. “There’s drama and excitement, national pride, cultural identity. It’s practically a religion in itself, and way more attention grabbing than stories about people written millions of years ago.”

Local fitness initiative turns sidewalks into obstacle courses

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In a bid to ensure that citizens make the most of their limit outdoor activity time, the city has begun an initiative to transform local sidewalks and paths into a winter obstacle course for everyone to enjoy.

With ample snow material provided by a harsh winter, the city plan has created areas with banks, twists, ice patches, deep powder, and unstable terrain, all meant to get hearts racing when citizens are out for a walk.

“It’s great!” Exclaimed a local citizen, “to walk from my house to my bus stop I’ve got to make it down a sheet of ice, along an area with big crumbled snow chunks, cross the street and jump at least two large snowbanks, and then trudge through about eight inches of snow for another half-block. By the time I make it to my stop I’ve worked up a sweat, and that without running to catch the bus!”

Downtown sidewalks continue the initiative, with local businesses combining to make a patchwork of obstacles that challenges all sorts. Some will clear their areas completely, leaving the way open for thin sheets of ice, while others let snow pile high to be compacted by pedestrians for a tricky snow/ice combination.

In a progressive move, this initiative is also highly effective for people with disabilities, particularly those in wheelchairs or using mobility devices.

“I’m already pretty buff,” jokes a local paraplegic, “but rolling through all this snow and slush is a pretty hardcore workout. There are days where I have to pump myself up to make the effort, because it’s like trying to drive through sand out there and it takes all my effort.”

It is hoped that the results from this first attempt will see increased health and lower cholesterol among participants. While the program is not without risk, coordinators say that some of the injuries already seen, including sprains, strains, and broken bones sustained from falls, are to be expected when people are becoming active, and should dissipate as citizens get more used to the course.