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Year in Review: Top 5 news stories for Global Kitchener in 2018

Debris is shown following a house explosion in Kitchener, Ont., on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.
Debris is shown following a house explosion in Kitchener, Ont., on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Kitchener Fire Department

A house explosion, a brazen daylight shooting, municipal and provincial elections and the ION LRT delays were the biggest stories to emerge in Waterloo region in 2018.

Kitchener home blows up house, body found, man later charged with murder

On Aug. 22, a Kitchener neighbourhood was rocked by an early morning home explosion.

WATCH: Neighbour captures dramatic moments following explosion in Kitchener

Neighbour captures dramatic moments following explosion in Kitchener
Neighbour captures dramatic moments following explosion in Kitchener

A house on Sprucedale Crescent was destroyed and surrounding homes were also damaged.

READ MORE: Death of woman at scene of Kitchener house explosion ruled a homicide by police

The body of 58-year-old Edra Haan was found in the backyard while her husband, Udo Haan, 58, was airlifted to a hospital in Hamilton with critical injuries.

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Police later revealed that she was killed prior to the explosion.

WATCH: Residents in Kitchener return to their homes following house explosion

Residents in Kitchener return to their homes following house explosion
Residents in Kitchener return to their homes following house explosion

The following day, Waterloo Regional Police declared her death to be a homicide investigation and said they had no clear suspect although they were looking to speak with Udo Haan about the incident.

READ MORE: Udo Haan charged with murder, arson in connection to Kitchener home explosion

On Thanksgiving Day, police arrested Udo Haan at Grand River Hospital. He was charged with first-degree murder, arson with disregard for human life and two counts of arson with damage to property.

Provincial election brings four new MPPs to Waterloo Region

To no one’s surprise, the Liberals long reign of power in the province of Ontario finally came to an end on June 7.

On that night, four of the five ridings in Waterloo region saw new MPs elected.

READ MORE: Mike Harris Jr. wins tight race in Kitchener-Conestoga

A familiar name was elected in Kitchener-Conestoga although it was a different face.

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WATCH: Doug Ford’s PCs win majority government in Ontario; NDP in opposition

Doug Ford’s PCs win majority government in Ontario; NDP in opposition
Doug Ford’s PCs win majority government in Ontario; NDP in opposition

Mike Harris Jr., son of the former premier of the same name, narrowly won, filling a seat formerly held by PC MPP Michael Harris.

Harris Jr. was appointed as the candidate in the riding by party Leader Doug Ford on April 21, Michael Harris initially announced he would step down for health reasons but was later cut loose by the party on April 21 amid a texting scandal.

READ MORE: Belinda Karahalios returns PCs to power in heavily-eyed Cambridge riding

In other area ridings, NDP candidate Laura Mae Lindo came out on top in Kitchener-Centre while NDP incumbent Catherine Fife held on to her seat in Waterloo. PC candidate Belinda Karahalios won the Cambridge seat, unseating Liberal incumbent Kathryn McGarry while in Kitchener-Hespeler, Conservative Amy Fee won the night’s closest race in the area.

Man gunned down in downtown Kitchener, police chase ensues

Just over a month after the house exploded on Sprucedale Crescent, Kitchener was the scene of another high profile murder that would capture national attention.

On Sept. 20, 20-year-old Isaiah Macnab was gunned down at a picnic table in a parking lot near the New Directions halfway house.

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WATCH: Fatal shooting in downtown Kitchener leads police on high-speed pursuit

Fatal shooting in Kitchener leads to police chase into Mississauga
Fatal shooting in Kitchener leads to police chase into Mississauga

The shooting, which occurred in broad daylight near the intersection of Pandora Avenue and King Street, would be followed by a police chase.

It would run across several regions before police would lose sight of the vehicle in Mississauga.

READ MORE: Isaiah Macnab identified as victim of ‘targeted’ downtown Kitchener shooting

During the police chase, a Waterloo police SUV would collide with a civilian vehicle leaving the driver and the officer with minor injuries.

Municipal elections brings major change to local council

There were two elections that brought major changes through Waterloo region this year.

A few months after the provincial election, municipal elections were held across the province and there were a few major changes in the region.

READ MORE: Kathryn McGarry unseats Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig

In Cambridge, longtime mayor Doug Craig was ousted by Kathryn McGarry, a former Liberal MP in a move the surprised some. Craig had held the office for 18 years.

The other major change was at the regional level, as Waterloo regional chair Ken Seiling retired after 33 years at the helm.

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READ MORE: Karen Redman wins race to replace Ken Seiling as Waterloo regional chair

His replacement, Karen Redman, collected more than 60 per cent of the votes in her battle with former North Dumfries mayor Rob Deutschmann, former Waterloo councillor Jan d’Ailly and local business owner Jay Aissa.

In Kitchener, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic was easily re-elected as was Mayor Dave Jaworsky in Waterloo.

READ MORE: Berry Vrbanovic easily wins second term as Kitchener mayor

But there were also three new councillors elected in Kitchener and all were women.

The additions of Christine Michaud, Margaret Johnston and Debbie Chapman meant that the council is now made up of five woman and five men.

ION delayed yet again

Area residents were left exasperated once again when it was learned that the ION LRT system which was scheduled to launch in December, would be delayed until Spring 2019.

In April, it was announced that the ION trains would not be launched until December 2018.

READ MORE: ION trains delayed, now scheduled for Spring 2019

Initially scheduled to launch in July 2017, the launch is now expected to be almost two years off of the initial launch date.

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