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February 2009

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Table of Contents

In this issue...
Literacy issues are major concern
Balancing work, life and hockey
You never know when a stroke or TIA will happen
Stay Safe at Work
Bob Blackmore
Buffet for feathered neighbours
Not Just For Women
For Art's Sake
Reaching out with paint: Megan Dulcie Dill
Explore Powell River
Great places to kiss
Business Connections
Keeping customers happy
Read on
Knitting for an international market
Saving Seeds
Calling all film buffs!
Gratitude is an attitude
Music provides opportunities and opens doors


In this issue...

This is a bittersweet issue for me. I’m happy because we’ve survived the terrible twos and are now celebrating our third anniversary. At the same time, I’m sad because Bob Blackmore, a dear friend, who wrote for Powell River Living and who encouraged me, recently passed away.

But life is like that isn’t it? Full of ups and downs, happy times, sad times. All good things come to an end sometime. It is the cycle of life.

This is our financial issue. It’s the time when we talk about RRSPs and investments. But this year, compared to last, we are doing so in an economic downturn.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2009. We have a vibrant arts community; a look at Jessica Colasanto’s column, For Art’s Sake, will tell you about many of the arts activities going on in the community. A great profile on artist Megan Dulcie Dill by new writer Aaramë Robillard puts another local artist in the spotlight.

The Film Festival, which takes place February 19 – 21, offers food for thought. With a variety of films, some will provoke discussion long after the screen goes dark.

Wendy Devlin’s important article on seed saving raises many interesting questions. We can’t depend on conglomerates to provide seeds for us; we must take care of ourselves. Fortunately, a small but dedicated group of individuals are way ahead of most of us and have created several initiatives to ensure that a variety of strains continue to exist.

The Powell River Kings are having a fantastic season. It’s the result of a conscious team building effort that began a few years ago when Kent Lewis rejoined the Kings. Associate publisher Sean Percy interviewed coach Lewis to learn more about the Kings and how Lewis manages to balance his life as a husband, father, employee and coach.

Powell River has many businesses and each month, we profile one of them. This issue, writer Devon Hanley drove north of town to the workshop of the Pollen Sweater Company to find out how these beautiful sweaters are created.

And last but not least, don’t forget your sweetie on Valentine’s Day! There are many ways to say I Love You. Some say it with roses, some with chocolates, some with a special dinner, and others with a card. Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year as lovers everywhere pledge undying love. The staff at Powell River Living had fun interviewing people and compiling a list of the best places to kiss. We may have left out one or two and if we did, let us know so we can do it better next year. If you want to do some research of your own, go ahead!

Isabelle Southcott, Publisher • isabelle@prliving.ca



Literacy issues are major concern
48 per cent of Canadians are non-readers or poor readers
By Deb Calderon and Linda Rosen

Greg just wanted to get a promotion at work. But to get the promotion he had to take a course and that had him worried. Although he could read the newspaper, he felt that his reading and writing skills were just not good enough to get him through the course. So Greg worked with a Volunteer Literacy Tutor who helped him upgrade his skills. Greg’s self-confidence grew and he applied to take the course.

Donna wanted to be able to read to her children. Story time had not been a part of her own life when she was a child, but she wanted to share this bedtime ritual with her own sons and daughters. When they were small she simply made up the words to go along with the pictures. But Donna wanted to be able to tackle the real words in the books so that she and her children could read together as they got older. Donna wasn’t confident that she could do this, but after working with a volunteer tutor for a while, bedtime became her favourite time of the day.

There is a serious literacy problem in Canada. Non-readers and poor readers make up 48% of Canadians and 43% of adult British Columbians. You might think that being literate means being able to read, but the definition goes beyond that. Being able to read and understand information and to be able to use it at home, at work and in the community are now considered essential literacy skills. Without these skills people get stuck. They get stuck at work in low paying jobs. They get stuck when they try to get into training and education programs, and they get stuck when they want to participate in community activities. Doors are closed to them and it costs our society a great deal.

Powell River has had a Volunteer Adult Literacy Program at Vancouver Island University for over 25 years. Last year the Powell River Literacy Council took another step to bring an extension of this program right into the community. As a result of a successful grant application, a new volunteer adult tutoring program will begin this spring at the Community Resource Centre. The resource centre is easy to reach and tutoring will be one to one, private and confidential.

Volunteer tutors who have been trained at VIU will meet weekly with learners to help them with their literacy skills. Learners will work with their tutor toward whatever goals the learners have in mind. Those may be reading the drivers’ test manual or a supermarket flyer, writing notes to a child’s teacher, reading notices that come in the mail, working on math skills or learning how to send emails. Each of these goals can make a huge difference in someone’s life. With a little time and a lot of encouragement from a volunteer tutor, learners can feel positive about their abilities and their lives can be changed forever.

Volunteer tutor Mike puts it like this, “At first I didn’t think it would work. I couldn’t believe that by just working at what my student needed and was interested in he would learn to read and write. That certainly wasn’t how I learned to read and write. But it really did happen.”

Tutors make the sessions lively and fun as they work with the learner to reach their goals. The emphasis is always on what the learner can do already and how to build on skills they have.

For learners, asking for a tutor is perhaps one of the biggest steps they have ever taken. If you know anyone who would benefit from help with reading, writing, basic math or basic computer skills talk to them about this confidential program. Once you have opened the door there is so much opportunity.

To find out more, contact Deb Calderon at call@prepsociety.org or 604 413-1021 or Linda Rosen at VIU, 604 485 2878 ext 8145, Linda.Rosen@viu.ca.

Two tutors: Linda Rosen at left, with Deb Calderon can help people who wish to improve their literacy skills.



Balancing work, life and hockey
Kings coach says he’s no busier than many
By Sean Percy

Kent Lewis is a tough interview.

When I was a young sports reporter with the Powell River News in the early 90s, Lewis and I use to joke that I could do the weekly Paper Kings coach’s interview without him because he would use so many clichés that I could predict what he would say.

As we watch his children skate at the arena, the musty smell of old hockey gear reminds me of years of hanging around the rink, trying to get more than a cliché out of the coach.

Coach Lewis: Ever attentive to the ebbs and flows of the game, Kent Lewis stands behind his team in many ways.As I listen to Lewis speak about the changes that have happened over the years to his team and the BC Hockey League, I notice that the clichés are fewer and further between. But it’s still tough to get Lewis to talk about Lewis.

I had come hoping to write a story about how Lewis balanced the busy schedule of a full-time shiftwork job with the City, being head coach of the Kings, husband and father of three boys. That’s exactly the story Lewis doesn’t want. He doesn’t want to stand out.

“There are a lot of people busier than me,” he says.

Because his City job is at the Recreation Complex, “it’s a lot of time at the rink,” he admits. All three of his sons are in hockey, plus he’s at the rink for Kings practices and games. “It’s a great environment. You see a lot of the same faces, between hockey and swimming lessons. The facility is fantastic and there are a lot of positive people in this building.”

Hockey has been Lewis’ career.

He spent his youth playing junior and major junior hockey. When the Delta Flyers club first moved to Powell River in 1988, Lewis came on as an assistant coach for two years, and then filled the vacancy left by Rick Hopper. He spent eight years as head coach, and then went on to short stints with the junior clubs in Nanaimo and Victoria before returning to Powell River. Then, during the 2005-06 season, management approached him to again help out. He turned around the struggling team. They had a good run down the final stretch of the regular season and squeaked into a playoff spot, which no one had dared hope. The next two years, they made the playoffs, but the focus was on building for this year. This season, four of the league’s top 10 scorers are Kings. They’ve cinched a playoff spot, and barring disaster, should finish first in the division and win a by through the first round.

During the 1994-95 season, he married Jennifer, who works as a practical nurse at the hospital. Or, as Lewis puts it, “I married a ‘71 right shot redhead.” Blake was born in 1995 on a night Lewis’ team beat Kelowna 3-1. Bo was born in 1996 on a night the Kings lost to Nanaimo. Joel was born in 2000, but it wasn’t a game day.

Lewis describes coaching hockey as “something I really took to and enjoyed it. It has been a big part of my life.”

But it’s also not a 9-to-5 September to March job. Much of the work happens in the off-season, when Lewis and his network search for the right players for Powell River.

“This is a small, tight-knit community and you have to find the right kind of players,” he says.

What’s it like having 25 extra kids in the family, I wonder.

“It’s not as much maintenance as people think if you have the right kids.”

So how does he fit coaching with work and family?

He sees as many of his sons’ games as possible, but not as many as he would like. Sometimes, the boys travel with the team, which gives him some good alone time with the boys.

“They’ve been good roommates on the road,” he said.

Technology also helps deal with a busy schedule.

“The Blackberry makes things a lot easier. I’ll never forget: I hadn’t spent a lot of time with Joel and we went down to Willingdon Beach so we could hang out at the beach and I didn’t want to be in the office. I had my Blackberry with me and that enabled me to get out and spend some time at Willingdon. I remember a lady came up and gave me a really nasty look about texting on a phone and not being with my son and I had to politely remind her, ‘Well, if it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t be here at all.’”

The real credit for the success he has had, on and off the ice, is due to his support network, says Lewis.

He has a full-time assistant coach in Shane Luckinchuk and full-time trainer in Rhett White. Pat Hurren, the assistant trainer, has a houseful of kids and a demanding day job. Lewis goes on to praise the rest of the Kings staff, the volunteers, sponsors, billeting families and fans.

He said he tries to delegate more now than he did in the early years of his coaching career.

“I have my hands in everything, but not to the extent that it used to be. Having quality people, you can do that. This business is 24/7. I don’t have that time, so we have to operate that way.

“The game can consume you. You can’t allow minor distractions to affect your daily routine. Three per cent of it can be a pain in the ass, but it can’t affect 97 per cent of your day. You have to properly keep it at three per cent and allow the other 97 per cent to be productive and effective and positive. You have to focus on tasks at hand. You have to trust those around you, and again, I point to our staff being fantastic.

“And at the end of the day, have a wife that can keep it all together for you. The glue to any home is the wife and mom and their tolerance to let us do this. And having grandparents that live in town is kind of handy, too.

“None of this is possible with any of us alone.”

“The last few years have been a blur,” he admits. “They’ve been busy; they’ve been fun.”

I wonder if I’m getting somewhere. He has, sort of, admitted he is a busy guy. So again, I ask about how being so busy affects him. His answer makes me suspect he may have blocked a lot of shots during his on-ice career. He’d rather take a puck to the body. He had at least five concussions during his hockey career, but he’s sharp. Again, he deflects the question.

“I’m not as busy as a lot of people. The only one really truly busy with us is my wife. Hockey has been part of my life forever so this is not something I really consider to be overly tough or demanding; it’s just been second nature a little bit. To have three kids on the go and have my wife going to school and working and putting up with us four and our schedules—I have it a lot easier than she does.”

“Yes the game is interesting and busy. But I see families come in with three kids or seven kids. There’s a whole whack of people who are as busy—people who own business and have twins and four kids. I’m no busier than a lot of people. I choose to do this and it’s fun.”

Achieving Balance

Tips from Kent Lewis for handling a busy life:

» Have a great wife.

» Have quality staff & trust them.

» Don’t let the small stuff take over.

» Don’t get distracted.

» Stay positive.



You never know when a stroke or TIA will happen
By Isabelle Southcott

Back in the gym: After having suffered stroke-like symptoms last spring, Joyce Percey is back coaching gymnastics. Here she spots Kendra Vizzutti on the beam.Joyce Percey doesn’t smoke. Her diet consists of little fat; she buys non-hydrogenated margarine and eats lots of vegetables. The slim, fit 46-year-old mother of two runs the Willingdon Beach trail three times a week, and cycles from her home near Crossroads Village to the old Max Cameron gym where she spends 20 hours on the floor each week coaching gymnastics.

Joyce Percey is the picture of health. She doesn’t fit the profile of a typical stroke victim. Yet last April she was medevacked to Vancouver following a series of what were later thought to be transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).

What happened

When Joyce Percey woke up on April 5, 2008 she didn’t feel well. “I thought I had the flu, I was disoriented and felt nauseous.”

Her husband David was worried but he was taking a course and had to leave.

Joyce got up and showered. She had difficulty standing up and had to use the walls to keep herself vertical. She went back to bed but set her alarm clock for an hour later so as not to be late for work.

An hour later, the couple’s 15-year-old son Connor checked on his mom. He was alarmed by what he saw.

“I was floppy. He asked me questions and I thought I was talking but I could not talk,” Joyce recalled. Later Connor told his mother she only smiled on one side of her face.

Connor called his father and told him something was really wrong. “I immediately said I’d come home,” said David.

Joyce knew she had to cancel her gymnastic classes but when she opened the phone book she couldn’t read the names and numbers. “I called out the names to Connor and he called them.”

Connor watched his mother, whose behaviour was erratic that at one point he asked her if she was drunk. When David arrived home he found his wife so out of it that he knew he had to take her to the hospital.

While being checked out, David saw Joyce have another attack. “I could see one side of her face was droopy. She became unresponsive and could barely squeeze my hand.”

Joyce dropped off to sleep and when she woke up she seemed fine. This happened more than three times before an air ambulance arrived and Joyce was flown to Vancouver. Although Joyce doesn’t remember much about that flight she remembers yelling (although no one heard her because she couldn’t talk at that point) at her own mother. “I said it’s not a holiday. This is not a good day to die.”

In Joyce’s mind April 5 would not have been a good day to die because no one would remember her. Joyce was remembering stories her mother, who spent many years working at Extended Care Unit and sitting with people when they left this world, told her. “She’d hold their hand and just talk to them. She always said if you died on a holiday you’d be remembered. I wanted to die on a holiday,” said Joyce.

Meanwhile David’s brain was whirling. “I thought that after having a stroke she’d be incapacitated. How would I care for her? How would the kids deal with it? We have a two-level house; how would we manage?”

David never left Joyce’s side. He observed at least six episodes where Joyce lost muscle control and her ability to speak and respond. She was unable to sit up or squeeze his hand. “It looked like a typical stroke,” he recalls.

In Vancouver Joyce was given a CAT scan. “It showed nothing.” She was taken to emergency and started talking to them. “I had no pain but felt a lot of pressure on my head.”

Her veins were checked and she was told they were “pristine.”

Because there was no clotting and no apparent damage, it was thought that Joyce might have a migraine so she was given aspirin. “I said to David, if I sit up it will happen again but I had to sit up to take the aspirin.” Within 20 minutes of sitting up, she had another episode.

The doctors returned, including Dr. Woolfenden, stroke specialist at Vancouver General Hospital, and told her she was having an “escalating stroke.” She was told if it continued for over one hour she would be injected with a blood clotting solution.

Joyce’s stroke lasted for 48 minutes and she had seven doctors watching over her.

For the next two days Joyce was kept flat on her back and given aspirin and fluids. She was gradually raised until she could sit in an upright position.

Four days later she was released.

As Joyce and David rode the bus back to Powell River they tried to understand what had happened. “No one could explain it,” said Joyce.

Results were inconclusive. “They figure it was a one shot deal and I have no reason to believe it will happen again,” said Joyce.

Was it a stroke? Was it a TIA? No one knows for sure. What they do know is that the CAT Scan showed nothing and that Joyce Percey was an unlikely candidate for a stroke in the first place.

Why would a fit, healthy, 45-year-old woman, with “pristine veins,” who runs and cycles regularly, who doesn’t carry an ounce of fat, have a stroke?

Why didn’t anything show up in the tests?

Joyce shakes her head. She knows it happened. Doctors saw it happen. Her husband and son saw it happen.

“Dr. Woolfenden said this just doesn’t fit, you are so healthy,” recalled Joyce. “They ruled out a migraine and said it was a TIA.”

There will always be that element of doubt hanging over Joyce because results were inconclusive. Joyce’s case will be used as a case study as doctors at the VGH had never seen a stroke present like that before.


Joyce seems fully recovered but she says her eyesight has never been the same since the episode last year. And when she writes something down she has trouble reading her own writing back. That was not the case before.

But she considers herself lucky. She’s back doing what she loves and is with people she loves.

Were there signs?

Looking back, Joyce Percey wonders if there were warning signs she did not pick up on.

“In December, when I was in church I started seeing double.” A few months later Joyce’s hands turned purple after clapping her hands. “It felt like they were covered in bee stings,” she said. Joyce went to her doctor and was sent for blood work. Everything came back fine.

Was Joyce’s stroke hereditary? Her mother had a stroke when she was 46 and suffered no side effects.


Signs of a stroke

Every February, the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation runs a campaign to increase awareness of heart disease and stroke, and to raise funds.

A stroke occurs if a blood clot blocks a narrowed artery in the brain. When the part of the brain beyond the clot doesn’t get the oxygen it needs, the brain tissue dies.

A severe stroke can cause death; a less severe stroke may cause brain damage which impairs certain body functions depending on what part of the brain was affected.

In both heart attack and stroke, hardening of the arteries is the main cause. Over time, the arteries become narrowed and finally a clot blocks a narrowed artery. The difference between a heart attack and a stroke is the final resting place of the clot.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is similar to a stroke. A TIA is triggered by a lack of oxygen to part of the brain and it has the same signs and symptoms of a stroke and usually lasts from a few minutes to 24 hours and leaves no permanent brain damage. A TIA by itself is not life threatening; it is a warning sign that a stroke may follow.

Signs and symptoms of a stroke/TIA

Signs and symptoms depend on what part of the brain is affected. FAST (see below) is a way to check for the signs of a stroke and to get immediate help.

Facial droop: One side of the face doesn’t move as well as the other.

Arm drift: Have person hold both arms out. One arm may not move or drifts down compared to the other arm.

Speech: Person slurs words, uses the incorrect words or is not able to speak.

Time: Get immediate medical help, the earlier a stroke is treated, the better the outcome.

The person may complain of sudden weakness, numbness or tingling in the face, arm or leg, vision problems, headaches, dizziness and sudden loss of balance.



Coming up!
Stay Safe at Work

Powell River’s first Safety Symposium takes place on February 11 at the Evergreen Theatre. Achieving the injury free workplace is everyone’s goal but how do you make it happen? This cross-industry education day will give Powell River access to information on injury prevention, commitment to safety and incident investigation. Speakers include Edmonton emergency room physician Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti; MaryAnne Arcand, Director Forestry TruckSafe Program & Northern Initiatives and Peter Lineen, Western Forest Products. To register visit: sites.google.com/site/2009safetysymposium/home or call 604 414-6266.



Bob Blackmore
Texada’s master storyteller has spun his last yarn
By Isabelle Southcott

He was an adventurer, a bushman, a marksman, a photographer, a journalist and a master storyteller. He wasn’t motivated by money but rather by a burning desire to see, learn and then tell others what he’d discovered.

When Texada Island’s Bob Blackmore died on December 9, 2008, he was 77 years old. He’d done most of what he wanted; he was a man with few thirsts left to quench.

As a newspaperman, Bob worked for the Calgary Albertan, The Nelson News and freelanced for several television stations. He was an award-winning photographer and the official photographer for the Calgary Stampede and several football and hockey teams. Bob photographed The Queen of England, movie stars and ordinary people. He was the official photographer of the first killer whale in captivity, Moby Doll, and was the first human to swim with a killer whale in a tank.

Bob Blackmore

Born in Rosetown, Saskatchewan, May 25, 1931, Bob was an only child. He moved around so much that as a young boy he went to three schools in one year. He loved the bush, and enjoyed hunting, shooting and fishing and had a trap line. He excelled in marksmanship.

Friend John Smith recalls a trip he made with Bob to bring a boat Bob had purchased called the Fort Ross from the east coast out to the west coast in 1969. The Fort Ross had been a Hudson Bay Company freight boat serving ports throughout the Arctic.

“The life of Bob Blackmore has been a source of constant amazement and interest for me,” writes John. In 1993 John told Bob he’d visited the Ninstints – Skang Gwai, Queen Charlotte Islands. “Bob told me of his first visit to Ninstints in the early 1950s. Almost everyone in the village had died of smallpox during the epidemic in the last few years of the 19th century. Bob told me that when he walked ashore no one had visited the village since the epidemic and he was walking knee deep in human bones.”

Bob’s life was one of adventure. It was a life of bear attacks, avalanches, forest fires, floods, snipers and sharks. He ran from bandits, bombs and Molotov cocktails.

People were always calling him to join their adventures. “One day I got a phone call from a guy while I was at work,” said his wife Bev. “This fellow said he was going to ski across the Arctic Circle, would Bob like to come?”

Bob met Bev on the Kettle Valley Railway on New Year’s Eve, 1949. “I saw this good-looking guy and I asked him if he’d like to play Canasta.”

Bev thought Bob was exciting and loved his sense of adventure. They married the following August and moved to the Kootenays in 1953. There they had to snowshoe 18 miles to town and back again to pick up their mail and supplies. One time they were nearly killed by an avalanche.

Around here, Bob was well-known for preserving the history of the Powell River area. His research was meticulous; he left no stone unturned. Teedie Kagume of the Powell River Historical Society says he went to infinite pain to make sure his research was absolutely perfect.

With his deep voice and captivating manner, Bob brought history to life. The Sinking of the Cheslakee, a video made by Bob and Bev, is a fascinating account of what happened to the Union Steamship the night it sunk in the frigid waters alongside the wharf at Van Anda on January 7, 1913.

Other videos, such as The Pochahontas Whiskey Still raid of the 1920s preserves the island’s history. In a Children’s Farm Video, he tells the story of life on the farm.

Bob was a humble man. In researching his life I came across an email he sent me after the first issue of Powell River Living rolled off the press in 2006. I’d asked him for a bio as he was writing a piece for a future issue. “I always wanted to write. In between heating our home with rejection slips I was a trapper, a guide, worked on ranches, in mines and in construction. I took up photography to illustrate my wildlife articles and eventually went to work full time as a reporter and then switched to news photographer and photojournalism,” he wrote.

In the early 1960s Bob’s father bought Blackmore Marine Services in Vancouver and Bob took to the boats like a duck to water. Father and son rebuilt the boats and ran a charter business. Bob and Bev (a school teacher) took timber cruisers and tree planters to the west side of Vancouver Island where there were no roads. The crew would get off and go to work but return at the end of the day and use the boat as a hotel. Bev would cook and Bob would run the boat. “Sometimes we’d carry a helicopter on deck,” Bev recalls.

It was tough work but it was fun. Finally, Bob and Bev got tired of the rainstorms, hurricanes and windstorms so they headed south. They met the owner of a big food chain who told them there was a great demand for protein and so the couple headed to Costa Rica and then to Nicaragua to fish sharks.

At first, sharks were plentiful and the Blackmores soon became the local experts on the shark fishery with professors from universities hunting them down and asking them questions.

Shark fishing was exciting. “You’d get a 17-foot shark on a huge hook on a long line. You’d have three or four of these animals on the same line at one time, writhing and bashing the boat,” said Bev.

The sharks had to be shot while in the water and Bev remembers how she had to take the wheel of the boat while Bob and the boys killed the sharks.

They fished for five years before quitting.

By this time, their boat, the Fort Ross, was in desperate need of repairs and there were no shipways large enough to take the 120-foot boat. “So we abandoned the boat and moved ashore to a little farm we bought in Nicaragua,” said Bev. They planted avocados, oranges, papayas and sorghum, raised chickens, cows and goats. Life was blissful.

“Then along came the revolution and it was obvious that things were getting quite bad and we had quite a few bombs dropped near us,” said Bev.

When the Communists came in it became dangerous for Bob and Bev to remain in the country. Because they’d been issued fishing permits by the president they were on a hit list and snipers were out to get them. Bob had a couple of close calls but when they were told Bob had been moved to the top of the list they knew they needed to get out immediately.

The airports and roads had been bombed and it was impossible to leave. The authorities had taken the Blackmore’s passports to renew and would not return them.

Many months earlier, Bev had stashed money in a bottle she’d wrapped in several layers of plastic and hidden it underneath the goat’s bed where she figured it would be safe from looters.

They retrieved their “very smelly” money from the goat’s bed and headed for Corinto, the nearest, biggest seaport, “A Swedish banana boat, the last boat the Communists were letting leave the country finally got permission to leave.”

“It was nip and tuck, telexes were flying asking for permission for two refugees to come and board,” said Bev describing their desperate bid to leave.

The Blackmores wanted on that boat but the stairs had already been pulled up by the time they’d been given the go ahead. They jumped on the conveyor belt that took the bananas on board; made it on the boat and left Nicaragua just two hours before the firing squad sent to “interview” them arrived.

The Blackmores returned to Vancouver and one day, Bob’s mom, who had early Alzheimer’s, announced out of the blue that she wanted to buy a newspaper. She bought a Buy and Sell and said: “Here Bobby, I think there is something in here for you.”

There in the middle of the Buy & Sell’s miscellaneous column was a farm. “We had been looking for a place but hadn’t found anything we liked. We drove up to see it and the minute we crossed the bridge and saw the creek and the privacy we said, ‘This is it,’” said Bev.

The Blackmores bought the 100-year-old homestead in 1979 and tried farming and butchering for a while. Bob worked on the ferry. After retiring, he kept busy doing more and more documentaries. He reported on Shelter Point’s “killer seal” attacks for TV stations.

When the bow hunters became a menace on Texada, Bob took up the cause. “One day our baby deer came home with an arrow through her head and Bob did a video. CTV came out with camera crews.”

Another time, frustrated with the “washboard roads” and the government’s lack of action, Bob did another video and sent it out to TV stations. “Soon after that they were fixed,” Bev said.

Bob had a hunger for life. He selected what he wanted from the smorgasbord and was quite well satisfied when he died. It was his time to go. It was his time for another adventure.



Buffet for feathered neighbours
How to build a basic birdfeeder

The birds that drop by birdhouses in our yards are migratory birds that arrive when the first snow falls, usually before Christmas, and stay until the end of March. Many people encourage birds into their yards by feeding them.

Gerry Lister, conservation officer for the Sunshine Coast, says bird seed acts as a attractant but he urges people to put out fresh birdseed, not mouldy seed they’ve had sitting in their shed for a year or more. Also, your birdfeeder should be taken down when the birds fly south or the remaining seed may attract bears.

One of the simplest birdfeeders to build is using a milk carton. It’s easy and fun to do with your children and it is also inexpensive. Be sure to clean regularly and to replace the milk carton often. You’ll need:

Small milk carton
Non-toxic poster paints
Stapler and staples
Hole punch
Yarn or string

Follow these steps and in no time, local birds will be rating your yard as the place to be for a good meal.
1. First, wash and thoroughly dry the milk carton.
2. Cut a small section from the carton and then staple the top opening closed.
3. If desired, paint the container and let dry.
4. Poke a hole in the middle of the top of the carton; thread a piece of yarn or string through it to use as a hanger. (The string should be long enough for the feeder to hang where the branches don’t rub against, but not so long that the feeder hangs too far away from the tree’s leaf cover. Birds like to have a hiding place to fly into quickly.)
5. Add birdseed and hang the feeder. A small milk carton feeder is just the right size for the tiny birds.
6. Then sit back and enjoy watching your new visitors at the buffet table.



Coming up!
Not Just For Women

Far Off Broadway & V-Day 2009 bring back the wildly popular and somewhat controversial presentation of The Vagina Monologues on February 26 to 28 at 8 pm at the Max Cameron Theatre. The Vagina Monologues will feature local actresses Christine Hollmann, Carma Sacree and CaroleAnn Leishman. Tickets are $20 for adults; $15 for students and seniors. They are available at Breakwater Books, The Patricia Theatre and at the door.

Proceeds will benefit the Powell River Transition House Society and The Women & Girls of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who suffer from terrible atrocities including rape and unthinkable forms of torture.



For Art's Sake
By Jessica Colasanto

Before the printing press made literacy available to the masses, artists were employed to depict biblical stories for worshippers. However, because the fundamental laws of Judaism, Christianity and Islam prohibit the worship of idols, this became a contentious issue. Jews and Muslims have always prohibited using images of God, thus ensuring such images won’t be venerated. The Christian stance varies: the Orthodox Church bans statues, but permits icons on small panels (which tend to have strong colours and lines, making them easier to see through incense and devotional candlelight) while Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t accept either. Protestants resist depicting Jesus in heaven, but will show him in human form; Roman Catholics are open to all depictions, as long as the images themselves are not worshipped.

A local show promises to be equally provocative. Faces of God is a community art exhibition held in the spirit of innocence, but local artists of all denominations (including atheists and agnostics) have been invited to express their spirituality through art—so we can expect to see images portraying God, a higher power, or the role spirituality has played in their lives. The submitted works range from representations of the Crucifixion of Christ to the Cosmos of Outerspace, promising to be a celebration of diversity. The show aims to “encourage a progression from a mere tolerance of religious freedom to a greater understanding of the varied spiritual natures within each of us,” says curator Aaramë Robillard. Poet Allan Brown will be reading from his book Biblical Sonatas on opening night (February 4th at 5 pm) and the show hangs throughout the month at the Community Resource Centre, located at 4752 Joyce Avenue.

FACES OF GOD: Barbara Langmaid's Angel Boat is just one of many pieces included in this month's Faces of God exhibition.

Another provocative event this February is the live HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lucia Di Lammermoor at the Max Cameron Theatre on Saturday the 7th at 10 am. Diva Anna Netrebko sings the title role in this tragic story of Lucia’s descent into madness. Visit www.maxcamerontheatre.ca for details.

The Powell River Film Festival takes place from the 19th through the 21st. Spiritual activism, wars over water, the healing power of art, homelessness, and our addiction to plastic are only some of the themes in this powerful line-up. For synopses, schedules, and trailers, visit www.prfilmfestival.ca.

On a lighter note, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra comes to Powell River on the 17th at Academy Hall. Recognized as a leading period instrument ensemble, their music is characterized by imaginative and innovative performances. They’ll be joined by the Academy Chamber Choir. Tickets are available at the Academy box office at 7280 Kemano Street.

And don’t forget Fusion Collusion, an exhibition of glassworks and paintings by Laura Kew and Meghan Hildebrand, on display throughout February in Bemused Bistro at 4623 Marine Avenue.

Whether you prefer art that appeases your spirit or provokes debate, you’ll find plenty of it offered this month in Powell River.




Reaching out with paint: Megan Dulcie Dill
By Aaramë Robillard

See the WoRKS: Megan Dulcie Dill’s paintings are on display at the Alchemist and Manzanita restaurants, and she has a new piece in the Detour group show at Vancouver Island University’s Powell River campus. You can also see her work online at www.mdill.com.

When artist Megan Dulcie Dill first moved to Powell River she was attracted to the industrial areas of the mill, situated among the idyllic and natural west coast setting. She used these industrial landscapes, as well as the architecture of the Townsite buildings, as inspiration for her paintings.

Megan DillDrawn to the architecture and deeply moved by the historical Townsite and stories, she created a body of work that reflected her new surroundings. Part of this series included a painting of the Patricia Theatre, which evolved over three years. This painting was finally completed in 2008 and Megan presented it to Ann Nelson in honour of the theatre’s 95th birthday last fall.

Vancouver-born Megan began her painting career 15 years ago. Her studies led her from one coast of Canada to the other, studying art at the University of Victoria, the University of Toronto and receiving a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2003. She is involved in several community based art initiatives including teaching art to children at the Academy of Music.

Megan continues to draw inspiration from Powell River’s natural landscape in her new series of work, The Art of the Tree. Powell Riverites can easily identify with Megan’s work considering their ongoing relationship with trees that they climb, cut, admire, plant, breathe, and in Megan’s case, paint. These semi-abstract paintings on wood feature images of different species of trees, showing them as living, organic structures in different colours, seasons, perspectives and light. The paintings capture the magical change of light between day and night, dusk, dawn, and twilight.

“I hope each painting is like a small dream and gives the viewer ideas of renewal and hope for the future,” says Megan.

Over and over again, trees are scraped, painted, and cut with a mixture of energetic gesture and meditative brush strokes. Megan uses layered oil paint, resins and beeswax encaustic to create a luminous quality in each painting.

“I admit, it is a long process for me to complete a painting. I try to find a place in between activity and passivity where I feel at peace with the work. When I do finally complete a painting it is like watching my son sleep; peace in the moment, joy from the day’s work, and gratitude that I get to do this,” says Megan.

Megan’s paintings are on display at The Alchemist and Manzanita Restaurants and of course, one at The Patricia Theatre. Visit www.mdill.com.




Explore Powell River


The Best Places to Kiss: Click to enlarge
February 2009
The Best Places to Kiss

Always ready for a challenge, our dedicated photographers
took this one to heart as they went in search of Powell River's
most romantic spots. Here is some of what they found.


Great places to kiss

Locking lips. Making out. Smooching. Kissing. Whatever you call it, Powell River has some great make-out locations.

The intrepid crew at Powell River Living has gone in search of the best places around our community for romantic encounters, interviewing lip lockers, spying on smoochers, and, yes, occasionally doing personal research.

For space, we had to keep the list short, and have chosen what we believe to be the nine best spots. No doubt you have your own list, but don’t knock our list until you’ve tried it.

1. Valentine Mountain
It has a great view, relative privacy is easy to find and it’s a short hike. But of course, what puts this spot on the list is its name. How could a spot named Valentine not be on the list?

2 Tin Hat Mountain
There’s something romantic about having the world at your feet. The top of Tin Hat is a heady place, with spectacular vistas in every direction. If you can ignore those and lock lips with your partner, you must truly be in love. On any given day, you’ll probably have the mountain to yourself. But don’t get carried away. There’s nowhere to hide on the bald peak.

3 The Viewpoint & Seawalk
Just a few steps off one of Powell River’s main thoroughfares, and you’re in your own world. It’s a great place to watch sunsets, which give your lover’s skin a beautiful glow that can be hard to resist.

4 Willingdon Beach
It’s beautiful and easy-to-get-to, with benches and tables. But this is a fun, family spot, so G-rated kissing only, okay? The trail’s a romantic walk, too. If you’re scaring the kids, head down to Second Beach for some more privacy.

5 Savary Island
Sun, sand, surf. It’s our own Jamaica.

6 Shelter Point
Spectacular sunsets, waves gently lapping on the beach, campfires, tents. Mmmm….

7 Pecker Point
Oldtimers might recognize the name of this traditional make-out spot. Development has changed the place, but nearby Myrtle Rocks will suffice. Especially if the planned park gets built.

8 Saltery Bay Campground
More great sunsets, beautiful arbutus trees on the point, and a park bench. It’s called Mermaid Cove. And you can camp nearby. What more do you need?

9 Patricia Theatre
Canada’s oldest continuously operating theatre has seen generations of kissers share romantic moments—both on screen and in the seats. Just try to keep it down. Some of us are trying to watch a movie.


The meaning of a kiss

Now that you have found the place, here are a few things you should know.

A kiss on... means

the hand  I adore you.
the cheek  I just want to be friends.
the chin  You are cute!
the neck  I want you.
the lips  I love you.
the ears  Let's have some fun.
And a kiss anywhere else  You’re the best!

 Butterfly Kiss: With your faces less than a breath away, open and close your eyelids against your partners. If done correctly, the fluttering sensation will match the one in your heart.

 Freeze or Melt Kiss: Experiment with this fun kiss. Put a small piece of ice in your mouth, then open mouth and kiss your partner, passing them the ice with your tongue.

 French Kiss: The kiss involving the tongue. It is also known as “soul kissing.”

 Talking Kiss: Whisper sweet nothings into your partner’s mouth. If caught in the act, simply say as Chico Marx, “I wasn’t kissing her. I was whispering into her mouth.”




Business Connections

As the Manager of the Powell River Chamber of Commerce, my new year’s resolution is to connect, promote and encourage new business start up. In a tough economy, it is important to be creative and innovative when marketing your business. 2009 will prove to be a difficult year for many; we have seen several businesses put up “closing out” signs and a few have already closed up shop. Powell River residents need to shop at home whenever possible to ensure a healthy, vibrant local economy.

Congratulations to Don Allan from Sunlife Financial for reaching a milestone representing the Chamber’s Group Plan. Don achieved over $115,000 in sales for 2008. In the Chamber’s history, Powell River sales never reached even close to $100,000. Don is also in the top 20 salespeople in the province, under the Chamber Group Plan. If you own a business and need group benefits contact Don at 604 485-2261.

Vancouver Island University, Powell River Campus has a new Custom Training Program that offers options for local employers who are interested in customized training for current and potential employees. For more information visit VIU’s website www.viu.ca and click on the Powell River campus.

Congratulations to Linda Wegner of Words of Worth, who recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of her business. Linda recently hired part time administrative assistant, Sue Eddy. You can reach Words of Worth at www.wordsofworth.ca or by calling 604 483-9210.

Shear Bliss recently opened Limelight, a new juice and lunch bar on Marine Avenue next to their new salon. Drop by and check it out.

Lisa’s Bookkeeping moved from the Rodmay Hotel to Marine Avenue. Lisa’s Bookkeeping offers bookkeeping of all kinds. Lisa Beeching and her friendly staff look forward to helping you. Call 604 485-9444.

Ignite Design is Leanne Penner’s new business. She does all aspects of graphic design: business cards, logos, magazines, newsletters, posters, book covers, brochures and illustrations. Leanne can be reached at 604 483-4074.

Shirley Martin has officially put a name to her new housekeeping business, Martin’s Housekeeping. She started years ago as a chambermaid and found it wasn’t challenging enough. Shirley says, “I do the best job I can, and my best asset is to always be honest, reliable and affordable and to always smile.” Shirley can be reached at 604 223-1749 or 604 483-4286.

Roger Pagani has sold Crystal Clear Engravers to Laura and John Passek. We will still see Roger in his capacity as a realtor with Coast Realty. You can call John and Laura at 604 485‑2678.

Lawyer Stacey McCausland has moved to Villani & Company at 604 485-6188 and lawyer Bill Whyard has moved to David Garling/Bill Whyard Law Offices at 604 485‑2818.

Quality Foods is now open. This is their first store off Vancouver Island. Owner/managing partner Bruce Robertson recently relocated to Powell River from Parksville and he invites everyone to “experience the difference that quality makes.”

Centsible-Too in the Rodmay Hotel has amalgamated with the Westview Centsibles Store at 4480 Marine Avenue. Owners Bill and Linda Fonseca found they were stretched too thin. The Fonesca’s look forward to seeing their loyal Townsite customers come into their location below the bowling alley. They can be reached at 604 485-4101.

The Chamber’s luncheon and Annual General Meeting will be held Friday, February 20 at the Town Center Hotel at noon with guest MLA Nicholas Simons. Everyone welcome. Must RSVP to 604 485-4051 or office@powellriverchamber.com

Do you have changes at your business you’d like Powell River to know about? Call me at 604 485-4051 and I will get your info into the next issue of Powell River Living.



Keeping customers happy
Modern Windows & Siding knows how

When the Sacree family needed new windows they asked Modern Windows for a quote. “Our original quote was done during a promotion,” Carma Sacree said. “Several months later when we decided to retire our old windows Modern honoured the original quote.”

But that was just the beginning of what Carma Sacree describes as incredible customer service. “They didn’t over-promise. They said it would take four to six weeks for the windows to be made and it did.”

The employees were well-informed and friendly. “They did an amazing job on the installation and left the place spotless. They even vacuumed and re-hung the blinds.”

The Sacrees were also given a voucher to have their windows cleaned.

“I’m a happy customer.” Carma said the first thing her family noticed with the new windows was how quiet it was inside. “And as the months have grown colder we have seen a significant decrease in our heating costs.”

Dan Agius, who, along with Gary Dietrich, owns Modern Windows, is always happy to hear when jobs go well.

“The toughest thing for us over the last couple of years, because it has been so crazy busy and we are dealing with a business that has so many variables, has been making sure every job goes right.”

Agius says there are many things that can go wrong when building and installing new windows. “Our business has always been built on supplying exceptional customer service and this has been a challenge for us over the last couple of years. Now that the economy has slowed down a bit it has allowed us more opportunity to get back to the basics of what Modern was built on.”

In Powell River alone, Modern did 2,400 installations and company-wide: 8,000!

“I’m happy everything aligned properly for Carma but unfortunately that has not happened for every single customer although we try,” said Agius.

Modern Windows was nominated for large business of the year for Vancouver Island in 2008.



Coming up...
Read on

A new reading club will focus exclusively on Mark Vonnegut’s early 1970s classic, The Eden Express that put Powell River on the international literary map.

The Eden Express chronicles the author’s attempts to establish a communal farm on 80 acres at Powell Lake and his subsequent mental breakdown. The author, son of the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut, broke new ground with his eloquent description of his own psychic unraveling, which fortunately proved to be short-lived.

MacLeod Cushing, who is organizing the reading club, says its purpose is to read the book as a group and discuss its enduring value.

“The Eden Express was important when it came out in 1975 and it is just as important today for its timeless descriptions of youthful idealism and mental illness. We can be proud that Powell River is immortalized in these pages.”

The first meeting of The Eden Express Reading Club is 7 pm, Thursday, Feb 26 at Vancouver Island University. Call MacLeod Cushing at 604-485-3842.



Knitting for an international market
Pollen Sweaters does it all from Lund
By Devon Hanley

I am driving up a misty road north of Powell River. Low-lying fog is twisting through the trees and the whole scene is one of dampness, quiet and green. I spot the little wooden sign, “Pollen Sweaters,” turn into the driveway and park. A friendly dog rouses himself to give a few half-hearted barks, interviewer has arrived. Evelyn Pollen comes to the front door and invites me into the cozy warmth of her home, and her sweater factory.

Lunch is not yet over; I sit down to tea and rhubarb pie with Evelyn and her staff, knitters Clara Montoya and Kassidy Sharanowski. We are joined by Carla Brosseau, Evelyn’s oldest daughter who assists with sewing, manages the Pollen Sweater store in Lund (located above Nancy’s Bakery), and keeps the books.

“Whose idea was it to start making sweaters?” I ask.

“It was Dave’s idea,” says Evelyn, “He bought me a knitting machine and taught me how to use it. He liked machines and he wanted to make pure cotton sweaters for himself. Dave had an entrepreneurial spirit,” continues Evelyn, “He was never afraid to invest money in something that he believed in, and supported the company (Pollen Sweaters) for almost ten years to get it to where it is today.”

Dave, a native of Chicago, and Evelyn, originally from Victoria, settled on Craig Road near Lund in 1982. It was there they raised three children and launched Pollen Sweaters in 1986. Inspired by the old-fashioned woollen work shirts worn by loggers and fishermen on the west coast of British Columbia, Dave wanted to make a handsome, machine washable sweater, without the itch.

“We set up a knitting machine in the garage and used a baby monitor so we could tell when the machine had shut off and would need re-starting,” laughs Evelyn. “Dave and I worked on the designs together, creating one piece of the sweater at a time. He came up with idea of a tighter knit around the neck and over the shoulders for shape and durability; it was trial and error until we got it just right.” I ask to see a picture of Dave as I won’t have the pleasure of meeting this man who, at the age of 50, quit his job as an ambulance paramedic and turned his hand to boat building, carpentry and starting a sweater company. Sadly, Dave passed away last summer.

Evelyn and Dave launched their sweater company with five basic colours; at last count, there were 29 gorgeous shades to choose from. With names such as Wasabi, Mulberry, Pond Scum, Fireweed and Granite, it’s safe to say that colour, along with superb design, warmth and fit have made Pollen Sweaters so popular. “We make approximately 1,000 sweaters every year, and employ as many as seven people during the pre-Christmas rush and the summer months,” says Evelyn. The wool is sheared from Australian sheep and shipped to Germany where it is turned into the highest quality superwash wool Dave and Evelyn could get their hands on.

“Our sweaters can be machine washed and machine dried for years and never lose their shape or texture,” notes Evelyn. Before I leave, she takes me on a tour of the lower level of her beautifully refinished country home.

“Over the years Dave pretty much rebuilt the entire house, creating extra space for the family and the knitting business,” says Evelyn. There is an abundance of natural light; the vibrant colors of the yarn come alive. Kassidy Sharanowski finishes setting up a pattern on one of the four knitting machines and then begins to pull vivid red sweater pieces from a dryer, folding them into a large woven basket. Clara Montoya is working on a rich indigo navy sweater, hands smoothing down the soft wool. The atmosphere is peaceful and productive. There is something magical about a sweater designed and created in the warmth of someone’s home. Maybe that is why wearing a garment designed and knitted down a misty country road in Lund is so pleasing.

WARM AND COZY: Clara Montoya folds sweaters at a table in the Pollen Sweater factory in Lund.

Where to find Pollen Sweaters

Pollen sweaters are sold in approximately a dozen stores in BC and one in Calgary. Customers can choose from cardigan and pullover styles, which offer a variety of neck and waist designs. This past summer Pollen bamboo ponchos wee introduced and for winter, snugly wool ponchos. The company also makes sweaters for children. On the Sunshine Coast, you can find Pollen sweaters at Pollen & Company in Lund, Marine Traders in Powell River, and The Sunshine Coast Slipper Factory in Sechelt. To find out more, visit www.pollensweaters.com or call 1-800-667-6603.



Saving seeds
A project to provide for the future
By Wendy Devlin

Where would we be without seeds?

From humble seeds, comes the world’s basic food supply. Like gardeners everywhere, I pore over seed catalogues and gardening magazines, deciding what to grow next season. As a dedicated seed saver, I also look for varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs, from which to save seed.

In recent years we have come to see that reliable, high-quality sources of seeds should not be taken for granted. Most flower and vegetable seed sold in Canada is grown elsewhere in the world. Crop failures happen; political and economic troubles can disrupt global supply and distribution.

I invite you to join a new community initiative: the Powell River Seed Saving Project 2009. Here’s how to participate:

First, join the Community Seed Saving blog at seedsavers.wordpress.com. The blog provides an electronic hub for exchanging information. Volunteer seed saving coaches contribute information and tips on growing vegetables for seed. Visit often, ask questions and share your own experience. The project also sponsors dedicated seed savers, committed to growing specific vegetables and collecting their seed to build a community seed network.

This project grew out of Seedy Saturday, Powell River’s annual garden fair and community seed and plant swap. The event has been held for the past four years, every March. Participants spend the day swapping seeds, plants and information. The Farmers’ Institute sponsors the event and encourages people to get involved.

Step two is to take part in the next Seedy Saturday coming up on March 14 at Community Living Place in Cranberry. Bring your seeds in dry, sealed envelopes and swap them with others. Or, you can buy packets of seeds for only 50 cents. People also exchange bedding plants, perennials, roots/tubers, berries, shrubs and trees.

Information tables offer useful tips and guides on topics like perma-culture, composting, beekeeping and more. Five free workshops are planned for the day.

You are also invited to enjoy a potluck dinner and seed packaging bee. Sponsored by Kale Force, a local grower’s support group, it takes place on February 11 at 5– 8 pm at the Community Resource Center on Joyce Avenue. Donated seeds are packaged at the bee to fund Seedy Saturday.

And finally, why not come and ‘Dig-it’ on Sunday, March 1 from 1– 3 pm in the heritage farming neighbourhood of Wildwood. This free workshop demonstrates the division and the digging up of berries and other food plants. Volunteers are invited to bring their boots and extra large pots to Helena Bird’s Hatch-a-Bird Farm at 6603 McMahon Avenue at 1 pm; and at 2 pm to Wendy Devlin’s farm at 6834 Smarge Avenue. The newly-potted plants will be donated to the Seedy Saturday plant exchange.

Whether you are new to gardening and seed saving or have experience to share, I hope to meet you at some or all of these events.

Wendy Devlin

Valuable work: Wendy Devlin is an enthusiast of seed-saving.
Here she collects beans for use in her garden or swapping at Seedy Saturday.

Seeds & Info

Seedy Saturday Community Gardening Fair & Seed Swap, Saturday March 14 from 10 am to 3 pm at Community Living Place, 6831 Artaban Street. Admission is just $1 and children under twelve get in free. Free gardening related workshops, information booths, children's corner and refreshments available all day at the Seedy Lounge.



Coming up…
Calling all film buffs!

Powell River Film Festival hits the big screen February 19–21 at the Evergreen Theatre. This year’s lineup includes Addicted to Plastic on Saturday morning followed by Blue Gold: World Water Wars. Other titles include Throw Down Your Heart, a film about renowned banjo player, Bela Fleck, as he travels through Africa; Necessities of Life, a movie inspired by a tuberculosis epidemic in the Inuit during the 1940s and 1950s; Carts of Darkness a documentary on North Vancouver’s homeless; Borealis, is a film about an inexperienced canoer who tackles a gruelling canoe trip through Canada’s Boreal Wilderness; and The Cats of Mirikitani, about a Japanese American artist.

Visit www.prfilmfestival.ca for a complete listing or call 604 485-0325.




Family Matters
Gratitude is an attitude
By Isabelle Southcott

Thank you.

Some of you might wonder what I am so grateful for, especially those who know me personally, but I am grateful for so many things.

This month we begin our fourth year of publishing Powell River Living magazine. That alone is something to be grateful for.

Some of you might be thinking, we’re in a recession, isn’t she worried?

Of course I’m worried! I’d be a fool not to worry but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful. I’m grateful for many things including my wonderful children, friends, family, community and oh yes, our Duck Toller. When I’m busy focusing on all that is good I have little time left to worry about the other stuff.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that we grow during times of adversity. It is during the times that my back was up against the wall that I’ve learned the most. When I was a child struggling with a problem and I’d talk to my dad, he’d tell me: “It’s character-building, Isabelle.” At the time I didn’t know what he meant; now I do.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see opportunities when they smack you in the face. But let’s be clear: there will always be opportunities, recession or no recession. It’s what we do with these opportunities that counts.

Life is all about choices. When we’re scared, we pull back. The same thing happens during difficult economic times. People are not going to stop buying groceries or gas; they won’t stop eating out, working out or going out but they will be more careful about how and on what they spend their money.

A couple of weeks ago, I started going to the spaghetti dinner at the United Church again. Not only is it the best deal in town, but it’s also a great way to connect with others. I ran into several people I hadn’t seen in ages and met some new people. When someone tells me they won’t go because they’re not that poor, I shake my head and tell them it is a community dinner. Yes, it is a great way to stretch an overstretched budget, but it’s also a community event. It is a coming together of people during a meal made and served by volunteers. It’s about giving mom (or dad) a break from cooking. Like other community dinners, it is about people helping people.

I recently read an article about Trading Down. During a recession people make choices to save money. For instance, if you normally buy coffee at Starbucks you might frequent A&W now. Traditionally, low cost providers do well during an economic downturn.

Trading down can be fun for consumers. They save money and discover a new experience and during a recession they do it without apology.

So instead of moaning about what was, change your attitude and check out what could be.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to have fun!




Claire GilhamThis month, kudos go to Claire Gilham for being invested into the Order of St John.

Claire has been the divisional superintendent of St John Ambulance and a volunteer with the organization since 2003.

“The Order of St John is a very prestigious award,” said Marie Rumley, branch manager, St John Ambulance, Powell River.

Claire is described as a very dedicated person. “She is one of those rare people who you meet in life who, when, she takes on a volunteer position does it to the best of her ability and beyond.”

Claire acted as a lifeguard at the orthopaedic pool at the Powell River General Hospital and carried out various brigade duties such as being on site and providing first aid at track and field meets, bazaars, and fairs and festivals.

“Whatever I have accomplished it is because I had the brigade behind me. I wouldn’t have been able to do half of it without the support of the brigade,” said Gilham.


If you know of an item that could be considered for Kudos-Powell River, please tell us about it by email to: isabelle@prliving.ca




Faces of Education

Music provides opportunities and opens doors

Music and travel, what could be better?

Add the element of teaching enthusiastic students into the mix and you have all the ingredients for a great career.

Paul Cummings teaches at Brooks Secondary School. He was born in Powell River and went through the music programs here, joining the band and choir and learning under the influence of Don James (Music Director and Founder of the Powell River Academy of Music). In fact, it was Don James whom Paul replaced when he moved back to Powell River in 2000 to teach for School District 47.

Paul began playing the trombone in Grade 6, but didn’t get serious about it until he attended music camp in Grades 9 and 10. “I’m a trombonist,” he says. “My trombone has guided me since Grade 10.”

At one point, Paul had aspirations of being a professional. “My trombone got me into university and the music program and that opened up the whole world of music to me.”

But what about the travel? Where did that love come from?

Paul laughs. “My parents are avid travelers. When I was eight they sold everything they owned, and we (Paul, his sister and brother) travelled around Europe for two years in a Volkswagen camper.”

When the family returned to Powell River, Paul was a different person. “I came home as a 10 year old and it was hard to sit still after that.”

Paul soon discovered Don James. “It was when he was just beginning to do his big trips with his choirs. One year we went to Montreal, one year we went to Mexico. Some people would say anyone can travel with a group, but it is very fulfilling when you have a good musical product that people appreciate. Doors open through music.”

Paul believes in providing the same opportunities for his students that were provided for him all those years ago. For the past two years, Paul and his band students have been planning a trip to Cuba, the seventh international trip that Paul will have taken his students on.

In April of this year, 50 band students will embark on a great musical adventure. “I’m so excited for them,” says Paul. “They’ll be performing in many Cuban schools, it will be a cultural exchange. We’ll perform for them and they’ll perform for us. We’ll also receive workshops from prominent Cuban musicians and attend performances.”

Travel and music provide an opportunity for growth. It will be the first big trip for some but all students who embark on trips like these come home as changed people.

Paul taught in Mission for 10 years before moving home to Powell River. “I took a year off from teaching in 1999 and did my Masters at Western Washington University and during that year I realized that I missed the ocean.” Paul put together a list of professional and personal needs and when he stepped back and looked at it he realized that he wanted to move home.

He called Don James to let him know that if a job came up in Powell River, he was interested. Don asked Paul to call him back in half an hour.

Paul did and learned that Don was looking to step back from teaching for the School District but he didn’t want to do so until he’d found a replacement.

“Timing,” he says.

Paul is like many music teachers in that he can teach a variety of music. “I love all music and like teaching all different kinds of music.”

He’s taught kindergarten to fourth year university and says he doesn’t have a favourite age group. “I like all age groups; that’s a tough question to answer.”

These days Paul is at Brooks full time, teaching two concert bands, two jazz bands, chamber choir, jazz choir and music composition.

“I also have a vocal quartet with three students and myself and I’m having a lot of fun with this!”

Paul also teaches the youth choir at the Powell River Academy of Music and every couple of years organizes a trip to Europe with them.

Paul says the students he teaches in the music program are socially advanced people in general. “By the time they come to me at Brooks they know how to work well as a team and they are very supportive of each other. They know when it is time to play and when it is time to get serious.”

Paul considers himself lucky to be able to explore and learn while teaching. “The beautiful thing about my job is if something inspires me, such as arranging songs for my class or learning more about the recording industry to make CDs, I can learn more. There’s a whole world in music and I have a whole list of things I’d still like to explore.”

Paul Cummings

Blowing his Horn:Music teacher Paul Cummings love his trombone and all the
places music has taken him, including his job with the School District.

Fundraiser concert

Former Brooks Secondary School musicians and students Carli and Julie Kennedy will perform at the Max Cameron Theatre at Brooks on March 28 to raise funds for this year’s band trip to Cuba.

The Kennedy twins, who were very involved in the music program at Brooks, have both graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Music.

These award-winning musicians play violin, guitar, oboe, flute and piano. They are both accomplished vocalists and plan to launch a joint career performing and recording.