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ANDREW PHILIPS/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES Orillia Zehrs store manager Rob Goulter, left, and Joe Fresh department manager Chris Harvey are working to help a longtime employee who lost everything in a Gravenhurst fire that killed her roommate. Harvey drove to Gravenhurst to help the woman after learning of the fire.

Fire victim 'in shock'

An Orillia store is rallying behind a longtime employee who lost everything during a fatal fire in Gravenhurst this week.

TRACY MCLAUGHLIN PHOTO Barrie Angela McLeod holds photographs showing her client’s badly bruised leg and aftermath of surgery. Maria “Tonie” Farrell was assaulted by an OPP officer in Orillia in 2013.

Officer should be charged: lawyer

The Barrie lawyer representing a woman who a judge found was karate-kicked and beaten by an OPP officer is crying out to the province’s police watchdog to launch a criminal investigation.

ROBERTA BELL/THE PACKET & TIMES The OPP’s Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) unit at general headquarters has donated $1,000 worth of toys to the Orillia Salvation Army. ViCLAS analytical assistant Angie Thurlow, centre, organized pizza days and bake sales to raise the money to buy the toys, which Salvation Army family services co-ordinator Peter Thomas, left, picked up Wednesday morning. Also pictured is Acting OPP Staff Sgt. Kelly Grubb.

Special delivery for Sally Ann

The OPP’s Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) unit at general headquarters has donated $1,000 worth of toys to the Orillia Salvation Army.

Laureen Harper to visit region

Laureen Harper will likely visit Orillia and Midland during her stop in the riding early next year, according to Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton.

Marie 'Tonie' Farrell is pictured here leaving the Orillia courthouse. A judge dropped charges against her of assaulting a police officer. Tracy McLaughlin photo

Woman attacked by officer: Judge

ORILLIA — A 48-year-old grandmother who was acting as a "Good Samaritan" was karate-kicked, sucker-punched, beaten and left with "catastrophic injuries" by a police officer, a judge found on Tuesday.

ANDREW PHILIPS/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES Orillia OPP Const. Bridget Laurin speaks to a driver during a RIDE check in the city’s core Tuesday afternoon. While police conduct RIDE stops throughout the year to look for and deter impaired driving, the force tends to set up more checkpoints during the holiday season as people attend Christmas functions.

Ensuring a safe RIDE

Orillia OPP Const. Bridget Laurin speaks to a driver during a RIDE check in the city’s core Tuesday afternoon.

QMI AGENCY PHOTO

Snow bylaw passes

Allowing large amounts of snow and ice pile up on rooftops is now an infraction under the city’s municipal code.

SUBMITTED PHOTO A seat-sponsorship program is underway at the Orillia Opera House.

Take your seat at the Opera House

The Orillia Opera House is providing the community with an opportunity to have a permanent place in the historic building with the new seat-naming program called Take Your Seat.

Ikran Said looks at a photo of her son, Kulmiye Aganeh, hamming it up with Santa. The 22-year-old died in 2007 while an inmate at the Oakridge psychiatric hospital, now called Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. An inquest into his death continues. Tracy McLaughlin Photo

'We didn’t know how to help him'

BARRIE — The sister of a man who died while he was in a psychiatric facility told of her family’s heartbreaking struggle with his “taboo” illness of schizophrenia and their frustration with “the system” that controlled him.