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April 2009 issue

April 2009

>> This entire issue is available as an 11MB PDF download


Table of Contents

It's easy being green
Following the plastic trail
Alien invasion
The future of green: Connecting with nature
Spring cleaning
Pardon My Pen
Building green is a way of life
Staging helps homes sell
Doing your best
Keep on top of your books
Easter Schedule
My Mom is the best!
Family Matters: Talking techno
For Art's Sake
End of an era: Powell River's Moose Lodge closes
Volunteers: compassion to action
A little change goes a long way
On her grandmother's loom
Ride to conquer cancer
RV Canada with "Boo, the Menopausal Van"
Celebrating Excellence in Education
Training for the Bruce Denniston Spirit Run
Swim like a fish
Faces of Education: Early primary teacher loves what she does
Coming up!

Bonus Web Content:

Active Health 230: Sustainable Health Can Be Ours


It's NOT easy being green

Being green is a smart thing to do, and not just because it's good for the planet and our health.

It can also be good for your pocket book.

In a presentation last month to Powell River's Women in Business group, marketing guru Mary Charleson revealed a Canadian survey that showed 75 per cent of female shoppers considered environmental factors when they shopped. Importantly, 55 per cent choose items with the environment in mind, and, even more importantly, 65 per cent have switched products because of environmental considerations. The figures for men were only slightly lower. Besides, she pointed out, women make or influence 80 per cent of buying decisions, so it's really what they think that matters to the economy.

Of course, businesses and manufacturers have also figured this out, and have packaged their products in an aura of green. However, that doesn't always mean the product is any better for the environment. Too often, environmentally friendly labels are slapped on decidedly unfriendly products. Therefore, it's important for the majority of us who are willing to factor environmental considerations into buying decisions to examine closely what we're buying. And perhaps, as Emma Levez Larocque points out in her article on plastics in this issue, we also begin to look at why we're buying.

Green is also a factor in the housing market these days, and with good reason. Ongoing utility costs can be dramatically reduced by building green. Learn more about that in Janet Alred's article. Even an older house can be greened up, especially with the tax incentives currently offered by the government. Several of our advertisers in this issue specialize in upgrading homes to be more energy efficient, and can help walk you through the incentive programs available to help you do so. And those upgrades pay off, both for the environment when you reduce your energy consumption, and for your bank account when your fuel and hydro bill arrive with much smaller balances.

Making a real, long-lasting change requires more than appealing to our pocketbooks, however. It requires a change in attitude, and our education leaders are taking steps to make sure the next generation does a better job caring for the planet. You can learn a little about that from the article titled Future of Green.

If all the talk of environmental action and economic quandaries puts you in the mood for a nap, then we invite you to read George Campbell's take on action. Maybe you can relate to the Prince of Procrastination. Or maybe you could read it later, if you get around to it.

Isabelle Southcott, Publisher




Following the plastic trail
Our sleuth digs deep into the morass of plastic
By Emma Levez Larocque

For the past couple of years I have been on a rampage against plastic. Why? you may ask. Well, it started when I began learning about cities around the world that were banning plastic bags. I questioned why they would ban such a useful thing. I was intrigued, so I did some research. I learned that there were lots of good reasons to ban the bag. These seemingly benign articles were filling our oceans and landfills, littering our landscapes, causing animals to starve, blocking sewers, and generally causing havoc around the globe! And so it began. One brave day I opened the closet where my massive collection of plastic bags had been ceremoniously stuffed (not without fear that I might be suffocated in the process), and moved them from that closet to my little blue car. I took them all to the recycling depot and vowed never to use plastic bags again.

But it didn't end there. Next I learned about Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, and how it was leaching into the bottled water I was drinking. Then I started thinking about the plastic Tupperware and "reusable" margarine containers I was storing my leftover food in. Thoughts of toxic chemicals permeating everything I touched and gave me goose bumps (which I feared might be early signs of some scary plastic disease). So I braved my Tupperware cupboard. There were containers of every imaginable size, shape and colour all precariously stacked, threatening to collapse into a heap, with me at the bottom. Who said you couldn't have too much Tupperware? I struggled, especially with no plastic bags in which to carry them, but I got them into my car and down to the recycling depot. Phew! What a relief!

Then I found out about the Great Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I watched video footage of Captain Charles Moore and members of the Algalita Foundation dragging tonnes of plastic garbage from this current-free zone in the ocean. Images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floated through my dreams, causing me to go, I admit, just a little bit crazy every time I saw another piece of plastic being carelessly tossed away. So now I knew where all the plastic was going. I thought of all my discarded plastic bags and Tupperware containers. But wait! What about the recycling depot?

I have been a fanatical recycler for many years, proud that my household produces only one bag of garbage per month. Most people I know recycle, so how can all this plastic garbage be in the ocean? I was on a mission; I wanted to know.

The movie "Addicted to Plastic," recently shown at the Powell River Film Festival, stated that only five per cent of manufactured plastic is actually recycled into new materials once it has served its useful purpose. Five per cent? There was one obvious reason I could think of: people aren't recycling. I had always known there was a certain amount of truth to that, but I wasn't prepared for what I found out.

I made a call to the Powell River Regional District to find local garbage and recycling statistics. In 2008 Powell River and area residents produced 5,045 tonnes of garbage. We recycled only 203 tonnes of soft and rigid plastics, but 713 tonnes of other recyclables, including paper, boxboard, etc. The low ratio of recyclables to garbage was disturbing, and showed that we, as a community, are not recycling enough. But there was something else that bugged me. Considering plastics are so pervasive in every aspect of our lives I wondered why plastic recyclables were such a small part of the recycling we were sending out.

Plastic SleuthI went down to Augusta Recyclers to talk to manager Bruce Long. I wanted to know what happened to the plastic I dropped off at the depot. He was helpful, giving me a tour of the facility and explaining that plastics are separated into two types of bales before they are shipped to Vancouver: soft plastics and rigid plastics.

"We put all the soft plastics into a holding area until we have enough to make a bale, then we ship it to Merlin Plastics in Vancouver," Long told me. Soft plastics include plastic bags or any kind of pliable plastic, except bags (like chip bags) that have a foil liner. And rigid plastics?

"We take everything except #3," he said. "That's PVC and it can't be recycled." PVC can't be recycled?! Knowing that PVC is one of the most common types of plastic, part of my answer was right there.

"All the other hard plastics get dumped into one big holding area and crushed into a bale and sent to Merlin Plastics." But I have read that plastics have to be sorted, and if they aren't, a contaminant can cause a whole batch of plastic to be thrown out. "Is that true," I asked?

"We don't have enough volume to sort it," Long answered. "We try to take dirty plastic out or remove plastics that aren't supposed to be in there, but Merlin allows us a certain amount of contaminant before the batch is considered unusable."

So all that plastic I take to Augusta gets barged to Vancouver in bales. But what happens to it once it gets to Merlin Plastics? I gave Tony Moucachen, one of the owners, a call to find out.

"We take plastics #1, #2, #4 and #5," Moucachen said. "The #3 [PVC] is a problem—that goes to the dump. We get an average 60 to 70 per cent yield from a bale." But I know that there are also #6 and #7 plastics. What happens to those?

"If there is a market for those kinds of plastics, we resell them; otherwise we dump them in the garbage."

And what about contamination due to food or non-usable plastics?

"We have big contamination problems," he said. "If we are getting a lot of contamination from one source, we might reject the bales, or stop buying them from that source. We have to separate the plastics once they get here, and that's difficult, so we pay more for plastics that are already properly sorted."

The plastics that Merlin is able to use get melted down into resin and made into pellets. The soft plastic pellets are sold to companies that make new garbage bags; rigid plastic pellets go to companies making things like shampoo or laundry detergent bottles. Merlin Plastics has two plants—one in Calgary, and one in Vancouver—and between them they process one million pounds of plastic every year.

But what about the millions upon millions of pounds of plastic that can't be recycled? I guess that's where overflowing landfill sites and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch come in.

So, what is the answer? Recycling as much as possible is part of it, but because recycling plastic involves toxic processes, it's much better to reduce consumption of even those things that can be recycled. Granted, it's nearly impossible to eliminate plastic from your life altogether—believe me, I have tried. But it is possible to reduce it. Plastic bags are easy because lots of alternatives are available. Many kitchen and bathroom items are available in wood or stainless steel when you do need to replace them, but there are things like cars, computers and appliances for which there are currently no non-plastic alternatives.

The best answer I have found is to be aware of the plastic items I bring into my life, and to consume consciously. I don't buy things I don't need, and when I do buy things, I try to choose things with little or no packaging from responsible companies. I recycle everything I can. I support alternatives whenever I find them so manufacturers will understand that consumers want alternatives. And I stay on the plastic trail, asking questions. Always asking questions.

Things to remember when recycling plastics




Coming up!

Outdoor Adventure & Wellness Show

Tourism Powell River hosts the Outdoor Adventure and Wellness Show April 25 - 26. Doors open 10 am - 5 pm Saturday, and 10 am - 4 pm on Sunday. Admission is free.

The event showcases local businesses and provides residents a chance to learn about the myriad activities to enjoy in our community.

"People will find new and fun things to do locally," said Mike Elvy, a volunteer with the Board of Tourism Powell River.

Expect to see lots of variety including kayaks, ATVs and more on display, plus tons of hands-on stuff to try out.


Health & business

How do health care and business relate to each other? What does health care and the business community have in common? When and why do they connect?

Health affects all of us. If you are not healthy, you cannot work.

The Chamber of Commerce is hosting a luncheon/workshop about Population Health coming up Friday, April 17, 11 am - 1 pm at the Town Center Hotel. Darryl Quantz from Vancouver Coastal Health leads the event.

Workshop is free; lunch is $15. To attend, please call 604 485-4051.

Spring Home Expo

Making a house a "home" is the theme of this year's 18th Annual Home Show which runs May 8-10, 2009 at the Complex. Doors are open 5 - 9 on Friday; 9:30 - 5:30 Saturday; and 10 - 4 Sunday. Admission is free.

Show manager, Trevor Harvey of Evergreen Exhibitions tells us to expect "the newest and the best of everything for your home, garden and outdoors."

Learn from the more than 100 exhibitors at the show, including decorators, builders, re-modellers, designers, suppliers and other professionals with expertise in home improvement and design.


Ceremony to honour veterans

A candlelight ceremony will honour veterans interred in the Cranberry cemetery. On June 6, the Powell River Legion is holding the special event, but it is hoping to find more fallen soldiers to honour.

The Commonwealth Graves Commission has installed markers for veterans who don't have graves with formal headstones. The Legion knows of 82 veteran graves. "We're certain there are more," said Legion branch president Bev Mansell.

The June 6 ceremony a short service at the cemetery, dinner and entertainment at the Legion Hall.

The Legion hopes anyone who knows of a veteran's grave site that doesn't have a good headstone will contact the branch. Call the Legion at 604 485-4870, Karen Crashley at 604 485-5176 or Mansell at 604 485-6920.


Every Woman day of activity

Looking for inspiration to get fit? The Every Woman day of activity coming up April 25 will inspire you through physical activity. The day offers back-to-back fitness-oriented and wellness workshops including yoga, belly dancing, running, cardio kickboxing, NIA, Nordic walking, aromatherapy, energy healing, nutrition and more. Register before April 15 at www.everywoman.ca.


Ceremony to honour veterans

A candlelight ceremony will honour veterans interred in the Cranberry cemetery. On June 6, the Powell River Legion is holding the special event, but it is hoping to find more fallen soldiers to honour.

The Commonwealth Graves Commission has installed markers for veterans who don't have graves with formal headstones. The Legion knows of 82 veteran graves. "We're certain there are more," said Legion branch president Bev Mansell.

The June 6 ceremony a short service at the cemetery, dinner and entertainment at the Legion Hall.

The Legion hopes anyone who knows of a veteran's grave site that doesn't have a good headstone will contact the branch. Call the Legion at 604 485-4870, Karen Crashley at 604 485-5176 or Mansell at 604 485-6920.


Every Woman day of activity

Looking for inspiration to get fit? The Every Woman day of activity coming up April 25 will inspire you through physical activity. The day offers back-to-back fitness-oriented and wellness workshops including yoga, belly dancing, running, cardio kickboxing, NIA, Nordic walking, aromatherapy, energy healing, nutrition and more. Register before April 15 at www.everywoman.ca.


Marathon Shuffle

The 16th Annual Marathon Shuffle gets underway at 8:30 am on Saturday, April 25 at the intersection of Malaspina Road and Sunshine Coast Trail, a mile east of the Lund Highway. A leisurely hike or challenging run, the event takes place along a 29 km long stretch of the Sunshine Coast Trail.

Carpooling arrangements and sign-in for the full marathon will be at the Shinglemill parking lot by 8 am with an 8:30 am start at the Malaspina trailhead. There will be water stations along the route. The hike is free and participants are advised to carry raingear, good footwear, snacks and water.

For full details or to register, visit www.sunshinecoast-trail.com.




Alien invasion
Stopping invasive species a challenging job
By Sean Percy

To the untrained eye, the clump of bushes looks like just another plant alongside upper Southview Road. But Blake Fougère recognizes it as the possible end of Powell River's plant life as we know it.

The alien invader is Japanese knotweed Fallopia japonica, an innocuous looking broad-leafed plant with bumps on the stalks that give it the appearance of bamboo, though it is not closely related.

The roots of Japanese Knotweed break easily, and even a small fragment can grow a whole new plant.Fougère, a professional forester and stewardship officer for the Ministry of Forests and Range, spotted a patch of the knotweed about 12 metres long by three metres deep growing alongside the road. Last month, with an excavator and a crew to spot any leftover chunks of root, the patch was dug up and buried deep in a nearby sand pit. The process cost about $1,000. Just up the road are several more patches. It will be more costly to remove these because there's no convenient sand pit.

But Fougère says something has to be done or the alien invader will take over and displace the native vegetation. In England, the plant has taken over vast areas and is now a banned substance.

Fougère has also spotted patches of knotweed along Willingdon Creek. It's particularly dangerous in riparian areas because it grows rapidly and spreads quickly as chunks of root break off and float downstream, begetting new plants that displace native vegetation. Worst of all, it's not a good stream bank stabilizer, leading to rapid erosion.

The knotweed has no natural predators or parasites in this part of the world to keep its rapid growth in check. The long-term solution is to find the right bug to introduce to control the weed, says Ernie Sellentin, the invasive alien plant technician with the ministry. But that takes years of research to ensure that it's the right bug that doesn't attack native plants and further throw the ecosystem out of kilter.

Eventually, says Sellentin, every species will turn up everywhere, but that may not be good for the planet, so he urges people not to plant species that could spread out of control.

Knotweed on Southview Road"If you plant something, it could be there for the next 400 years. Who's going to look after it when you're gone?"

Japanese knotweed is seen in a number of yards and gardens around Powell River. An unsuspecting gardener likely spread the Japanese knotweed by dumping clippings or roots alongside the road. Then it spread further when a few bits of root got caught in the blade of the road grader.

Powell River's infestation is small and might possibly be controlled. Along the Cowichan River, however, it has shown up in 88 sites in a 30-kilometre stretch. It will take hundreds of thousands of dollars and heavy herbicide use to kill it. But if that's not done soon, the size of the infestation and the cost to control it will double every five years, said Sellentin.

But there are success stories. At Carruthers Road in Okeover, Fougère attacked a small infestation of giant hogweed, a particularly heinous alien containing phototoxic sap that can cause third degree burns on human skin.

"We're hoping we've eliminated that," said Fougère.

What you can do:




The future of green: Connecting with nature
Sustainability includes many elements
By Emma Levez Larocque

There's a fundamental change happening in Powell River, and Ryan Barfoot and his partner Karin Westland are helping young people embrace that change.

Ryan directs the Sustainability and Eco-Education Department for School District 47, which fosters sustainability and provides students with outdoor educational opportunities that reinforce their connection to the natural world. It involves students from Powell River and across BC, and includes the Coast Mountain Academy during the school year, and summer programs such as the Leadership Ecology Adventure Program, Passion to Picture, and the Sustainability Toolbox.

These programs use a variety of methods to teach kids about their natural environment, how to be safe in it, and how to relate to it. With backgrounds in experiential education and a shared passion for the environment, Ryan and Karin (who helps run the summer programs) strive to inspire the young people they teach. "It's about reconnecting kids to the living world around them," Ryan says.

One of the goals of these programs is to teach environmental leadership. "We show students that even though society has one idea about what a leader is, there are different ways to be a leader," he says. "Being a good member of society and making good decisions is a big part of being a leader."

Ryan refers to a recent study showing that people who are leaders on environmental issues as adults had one of two things in common as children: a natural place they were deeply connected to, or a person who legitimized their exploration of wild spaces.

"If that's true, and we can connect these kids with a place that will become special to them, or be that encouraging figure for them, [then we will be helping to create environmental leaders for the future]."

The Sustainability and Eco-Education Department is not the only part of the school system that is focusing on green. Elementary schools throughout the district are developing programs and extra-curricular activities to teach kids about environmental issues and protection.

There is an exciting joint initiative between Students for Environmental Action (SEA) at Brooks Secondary School, the Sustainable Schools Committee (SSC), and the School Board to build a sustainable field house at Brooks. Ryan is the chair of SSC. "We want it to be gathering place, bringing the community together physically and symbolically," he explains. "It will be a model classroom. We want to incorporate as many aspects of conservation and sustainable energy production as we can. We'll have examples of wind power, solar power, and so on—so that people can see how these technologies work. We'll use green building practices." It's an important first step, he says, in demonstrating the practices they are trying to teach the students. And it goes farther than the school—the partners involved in this project are opening it to the community, hoping for more contributions of expertise, supplies and services. "The district wants this project to be owned by the community."

SEA has some exciting green initiatives happening as well. Julia Stride is the president of this student-led organization, and she says it helps to make students aware of environmental issues, and motivates them to make positive change. The students involved with SEA have several ambitious projects underway, including a proposal to ban the sale of plastic bottles in vending machines at their school. They have started a petition supporting this cause and are selling stainless steel water bottles as a fundraiser and alternative.

"We're going to do a presentation to [school] board members [to show them] what we've been doing, what we would like to see happen and how we can get it to actually happen," Julia says. Other projects SEA is working on include setting up a school garden for the cafeteria, and promoting ideas for getting students and their families outside more.

The Powell River area as a whole is crackling with energy right now, Ryan says. But it's most important to make good long-term decisions. "Sustainability is all the buzz right now," he cautions. "Search for what is authentic, everything else distracts from the work that needs to be done."





Spring cleaning
by Emma Levez Larocque

As warmer weather approaches, individuals and groups are hitting the streets and trails in Powell River to clean up roadside garbage and items that have been dumped illegally in the back trails and woods. The first organized clean-up of the year took place on Saturday, March 21. Members and supporters of Pebble in the Pond Environmental Society took to the streets and collected more than 500 kilograms of garbage.

"It felt good to see a difference in the areas that we targeted, but the amount of garbage we found was very disheartening," said CaroleAnn Leishman, one of the society's directors. On March 26, the Active Malaspina Mariculture Association (AMMA) held a cleanup in the Okeover area, and several schools are planning beach or community clean-ups on or near Earth Day (April 22).

GREEN UPS: Derek Johnson, Matt Larocque, Melany Hallam and CaroleAnn Leishman survey the garbage collected during the Pebble in the Pond clean-up on March 21.

On Sunday, May 3 the 2nd Annual Powell River Back Road Trash Bash takes place. This event is organized and supported by the Sustainable Schools Committee and the Powell River Regional District. Last year, the trash bash was a huge success, collecting six and a half tonnes! The Bash has been planned to coincide with 'Run for One Planet' and the Sustainability Fair in the lot behind A&W.

People are encouraged to join this fun, community-based outdoor event and give back to their community by getting a team together and signing up for an afternoon of reclamation.

Contact Graham Cocksedge (gcocksedge@sd47.bc.ca) for more information.

On Sunday, April 26 there will be a celebration at Kelly Creek Community School from 11 am to 3 pm. Everyone is welcome. Events will include:

For more information, or to get involved, please contact Kevin Austin at 604 487-9925.





Pardon My Pen
By George Campbell
The prince of procrastination

Procrastination: The fine art of putting off until tomorrow what you should have done yesterday. Everybody is guilty of it occasionally. I, myself, am guilty of it continually. I'm pretty good at it, too. I am, in fact, a 'specialist' when it comes to the postponement of jobs that I don't like doing. Such as cutting the grass, taking out the garbage, washing the car, sweeping the basement, cleaning the gutters, wearing a tie, polishing my shoes, shopping for clothes, getting my hair cut, going to bed, getting up early, and renovating the house; just to mention a few.

You'll notice I said I'm a 'specialist' as opposed to an 'expert.' This is because a good friend of mine once told me that an 'ex' is a has-been, and a 'spurt' is a drip under pressure. I have tended to avoid the term ever since. I have procrastinated in applying the title to myself, in any case.

I got an early start as a procrastinator. According to my mother, I was born late and I've been postponing things ever since. When I finally did arrive, I came so fast that Mom didn't make it all the way to the hospital before I was born. When my dad got the bill from the doctor, he disputed it. He claimed he shouldn't be charged 'delivery room fees' as I was born on the lawn in front of the hospital. The doctor, who happened to be an avid golfer, agreed. He crossed out the offending item and wrote 'green fees' in its place.

Ben Franklin said, "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today," and look what happened to him. He's dead. Besides, yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all one and the same to the true procrastinator. If you consider that yesterday today was tomorrow, and that tomorrow today will be yesterday, you'll be getting some idea of how the true procrastinator thinks. If you find the foregoing a bit confusing, don't be alarmed—the true procrastinator more or less operates in a state of confusion all of the time.

Most folks tend to think of procrastination as being a bad thing, and most of the time they are right. Consider the case of the guy who put off purchasing his ocean cruise ticket until the last minute. It was to be his and his wife's belated honeymoon trip on a ship making its maiden voyage but by the time he got around to booking passage the ship was full. "Serves him right for procrastinating," you might say. On the other hand, when you consider that the name of the ship was the Titanic, his procrastination appears in a different light entirely.

I have never had procrastination work for me in this way. Matter of fact, it usually works just the opposite. Like the time in high school when I handed in an essay entitled, 'The Results Of Procrastination' along with three sheets of blank paper. I thought I was being terribly clever and that the teacher would give me an A for 'Active Imagination.' Instead he gave me a D for 'Dysfunctional Thinking.'

I shall continue postponing things until the day I die, and that, too, I plan to postpone. I've done pretty well so far. According to the Bible, man's allotted time on earth is three-score and ten, and as I am now 79 this means I have managed to put off my funeral for nine years. Hey, it's not that I'm lazy; I just don't like to rush into things.

Besides, what more can you expect from the Prince of Procrastination?




Building green is a way of life
Eat, sleep and breathe...a sustainable lifestyle
By Janet Alred

We live in a place where local food is organically produced, where a few years ago local agriculture became GE (genetically engineered) free, and where we now have year round farmers' markets. With almost all the food we consume available at our back door, we have a choice—buy food of mass supply or eat the riches from the local land.

It follows that eating healthy food should lead to an awareness of breathing healthy air. We spend roughly half of every 24 hours within our own four walls and indoor air quality is just as important as organically grown GE-free produce.

As speaking from experience is quite often more beneficial than reading theory from a book, I interviewed two people who work within the housing industry and have pursued a passion of putting their knowledge into practice in their personal and business lives.

CaroleAnn Leishman is a Certified Built Green™ Builder with Agius Builders Ltd, co-founder of Powell River's Pebble in the Pond, and sits on the Sustainability Charter committee. Walking the talk has been her passion for the past 15 years. "Becoming certified as a Built Green™ Builder became an obvious direction in today's climate," she said. Building science is constantly changing with new innovations, new awareness about products, and the treatment of the home as a holistic system. "The continual learning, studying and finding out new information feeds my need to know. The more I learn the more I realize I have to learn."

SUSTAINABLE LIVING: CaroleAnn Leishman oversaw the construction of this home north of town by Agius Builders Ltd. The home was built with sustainability and many environmental initiatives in mind.

"Our whole idea about building a home needs to be seriously looked at and flipped around and started again." She believes that conscious thought needs to be put into purchasing the land that is suitable for the home, placing the home in the best location to benefit from the affect that shade and direct sunlight will have on the home's interior climate, choosing the neighbourhood and the town that are right for the owners and for the materials to be used in construction, and discussing the heating options for now and in the future. "This kind of planning needs to be done right from the start."

To emphasize this, when CaroleAnn bought property upon which to build, she put thought into siting the home appropriately to take advantage of solar gain possibilities, and to what kind of overhangs would be needed to shade the home in the summer and protect it from wet weather. Future ideas were also considered, such as the potential for solar power, rainwater collection, and being set up for a heat pump.

We can no longer judge a home by the look of its exterior. Compared side by side, one Built Green™ and one conventionally built home would show vast differences in heating and cooling bills, and testing of the air quality would give no doubt as to the benefits of living in a Built Green™ home where each element is seen as part of a system.

"Being involved from the start with a home built recently in Powell River, we put our education into practice and incorporated the green building practices we had been taught." The home received Built Green™ Gold designation and an Energuide* rating of 81—both testaments to the careful consideration that was put into the building of the home.

Audrey McLeish an interior decorator and principal of McLeish Redesign. She knows the importance of making eco friendly choices in design projects. "Clients are educating themselves about green products and how to incorporate them into their projects. Everything from roofing to flooring has green alternatives. The design community has been promoting green for quite sometime. Repurpose, reuse, recycle is also an important part of that philosophy. Even the smallest change is a start."

Being involved with Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society's proposed Oncology Unit remodel at Powell River General Hospital, Audrey learned how healing is impacted with design. "Our senses are affected by illness and our reactions to things like colour, texture, light all change. There is movement in health care design towards blending healing elements and green design within the high functioning standards of care facilities. Aesthetics need to blend with function. All aspects of design whether new or renovating, residential or commercial, need to work in harmony with the environment upon which it sits."

We all have the power to make our own decisions and choices about what we consume and the air that we breathe. Part of living in a community is thinking like a community, and nurturing each different facet to work together as a whole. Each one of us can make a difference. As you bite into your locally grown, organic, GE-free carrot, you may wish to take a moment to breathe the air inside your home.





Staging helps homes sell
"Wow" potential buyers with curb appeal
By Terri Glen

With the economy in the state it is, homeowners are increasingly in need of the extra edge a home stager can provide. Smart sellers stage their homes because they understand the importance of first impressions. Potential buyers are sophisticated and want value for their money. With the aid of a professional home stager, you can "WOW" buyers from the moment they walk through the door, helping them envision the property as their own.

Stagers work with the flow of the home, eliminate clutter, edit and arrange furniture, and even assist in enhancing curb appeal. The following are some questions people commonly ask about home staging:

What are the benefits of staging?

Staging your home before the realtor looks at it commands the price. It reveals a very serious seller and determines how much can or cannot be negotiated.

A staged home will get on the market faster meeting the deadline of going to print.

For the buyer, staging indicates the seller's pride in their home. If it isn't there, the house will sit on the market for months. Staged homes sell faster, because of the "wow factor." Stagers create feelings of harmony and tranquility in a home, by removing chaos and introducing functionality.

When do I use a Home Stager?

Staging needs to be done before putting your house on the market and before pictures are taken for the Internet.

Who is staging their properties?

Developers have staged show homes for years: people with high-end homes can't afford to have a home sit longer than six weeks. Today, however, staging is taking place among sellers of all income levels, all across Canada, in big and small cities alike.

How much does home staging cost?

Home staging is very affordable. The higher the asking price of a home the more staging it may take to bring it up to the asking price. Depending on the amount of updating a homeowner has done, it may require only a little tweaking here or there. Some brand-new homes look great from the outside but not inside. This is a total turn off and the seller is left wondering what's wrong and why it is not selling. People who are interested in buying your place are not interested in seeing your story. They want a place they can create their own story. The price of staging is recouped in the sale of the home. A consultation is an estimate of what it takes to stage your house. The pre-consultation price of $100 is all you need to go through your whole house before putting it on display for sale.

Staging isn't always the whole house. It could be the bedroom or a bathroom or a guest room. Wouldn't you like to feel the tranquility and harmony of a confident home that will sell instead of stress and chaos?

Best investments

What renovations will add the most to your home's resale value? According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, these are your best bets (the value they add compared to what they cost):

1. Bathrooms (75 - 100%)

2. Kitchens (75 - 100%)

3. Interior and exterior painting (50 - 100%)

Other renovations and their average rates of return:




Doing your best
Challenge yourself in track and field
By Sean Percy

The clock and the tape measure show no partiality.

That's one of the things that makes track and field events such great sports, says former Olympian Connie Polman Tuin.

She fondly remembers days spent training with Powell River's Track and Field Club, and says being able to set and achieve personal goals was a big attraction.

Decades later that remains a key part of the local track and field club.

The objectives of the club are to promote, encourage and develop the widest participation and highest proficiency possible in amateur track and field.

Hang around the Gordon Park field for any length of time, and you're sure to overhear the term "PB." It's track shorthand for "personal best" and it's a prime motivator for most athletes.

The coaches encourage each child to participate in all track and field events and strive for a personal best in each event.

Whether a child is first over the finish line or 15th, if they have achieved a PB—a best time or best distance in an event, they can be very proud.

The Track Club

That's different from team sports, where how good you may be or how well you played is, to a large degree, a matter of opinion, says Polman Tuin.

"Any team sport, it's not measured by distance or time. But you can't take someone's time away if they've run it or the distance they threw," she said.

"If I set a personal best, it's no one's opinion."

"We always celebrated personal bests. Wins and medals were always exciting, but it's also exciting to know you've improved," says Polman Tuin, who also coached with the club for a few years.

Polman Tuin had been involved in school sports, but didn't join track until going to watch her brother practice.

"Stu Ferguson was the coach then and he asked if I wanted to run. I ran two laps and that started it. Before that I was a figure skater, but I was going to be too tall. I was very, very shy. But once I started running, I really liked it."

"As an athlete, being able to compete for yourself is a lot different than competing as a team. You're just relying on yourself," she said. But being with the club still gives many of the advantages of team sports. "There are friendships, and good times on the roads and all the fun and the people you meet. There's more than just the competition."

Track and field stresses individual improvements in both physical and emotional well being, and the young athletes clearly have fun doing it.

Because it starts in April, it doesn't interfere with most school sports. Track and field is also a good support for other sports, training both strength and stamina.

"In winter I did school sports and in summer I did track."

"If the track club hadn't been there, I wouldn't have gone to the Olympics, because I probably would never have done track," said Polman Tuin.

The Track and Field season runs from early April into July. In April, May and June the Vancouver Island Athletics Association (VIAA) clubs host six track meets at various locations on Vancouver Island. Athletes, nine years and older, may compete. Athletes may also compete at meets on the mainland and throughout BC. In July or August, there are BC Summer Games held every two years. The next BC Summer Games will be held in 2010. Attending these track meets is optional.

Practices take place every Tuesday and Thursday at Gordon Park. Coaches for the 2009 season are Ron Hollingsworth and Alan Hernandez. Volunteer parents run the board, the executive, practices, fund raising events and help out at track meets. Track registration fees are deductible under the children's fitness amount on income tax returns.

2008 Highlights: The Track Club had two athletes compete in the BC Summer Games:Tori Westby placed 3rd in her heat in the 200-metre race; Milan Varma in high jump placed 5th and cleared a personal best. Powell River athletes also did very well at the Island Series meets.




Keep on top of your books
Tips from our bookkeeper

Tax time is just around the corner and if you're like many Canadians, you've already started working on your income tax return.

Lisa Beeching, of Lisa's Bookkeeping, has been a bookkeeper for 20 years. With personal income taxes due by April 30 and business taxes due by June 15 (balance payable by April 30), Beeching agreed to provide a few suggestions that will make it easier come time to file.

Minimum wage employees

Some people who earn minimum wage have three jobs in order to support themselves. Because they don't make enough money at Minimum wage job A, that employer doesn't deduct taxes from their pay cheque. This is a problem because when their income from all three jobs is added together they discover they owe a lot of money at tax time. Beeching says people who find themselves in this situation should ask their employers to deduct extra taxes from their pay cheque.

Sole proprietor

If you are a sole proprietor you are your business and any money your business makes is your income. You are required to keep all your business and all your personal information for six years.

Keep bookkeeping up to date

Don't leave your bookkeeping until the last minute and then show up with a year's worth of books one month before tax season is over. "You don't know what you will owe for taxes (during the year) because if your books are not up to date you don't know how much you have made," said Beeching.

If you can't do your own bookkeeping, Beeching recommends hiring someone who is qualified and knows what they are doing. "A lot of people who are self-employed and have a business insist on doing their own books. They are tired and they don't have the time at the end of the day and it is not their strong point so they put it off."





Easter Services

Many of Powell River's churches will be holding special services during Easter. This year, Good Friday falls on April 10; Easter Sunday is April 12.


Tell us why your mom is the best and you could win a great prize!

Do you think your mom is the best mom ever? We want to know why. Tell us why you think your mom is the best and you could win a $50 gift certificate to Manzanita Restaurant or a pedicure at Cream & Sugar. Send your letters by mail to 3932 Manitoba Ave, V8A 2W6 or email isabelle@prliving.ca.

Deadline is April 20, 2009 at 5 pm. The best entries will be published in Powell River Living.




Family Matters
Talking techno
By Isabelle Southcott

Do you ever feel like your children are light years ahead of you when it comes to understanding technology?

I am constantly amazed at how much my kids know when it comes to iPods, computers, DVD players, and anything else that blinks and needs to be plugged in.

It's almost as if children are born knowing how to do this stuff. My mom, who is almost 80, finds it all quite confusing. She can send a basic email and create a word document but beyond that, she's not interested.

The advent of today's social media—Facebook, Twitter and so on—lets you communicate with many people at one time. Although there are benefits to this, one should be cautious, especially when it comes to children, because photos and items posted could come back to haunt them (do you really want a potential employer seeing photos of you partying with your friends?) And if your kids have a Facebook account, make sure you are one of their friends so you can see who they are talking to. Social media also carries the risk of predators finding them.

I'm not the swiftest person when it comes to keeping up with my kids. In fact, it was only last year that I finally found out what LOL means in an email—laughing out loud. Or how about OBTW? (Oh, By The Way) or :) (A Happy Face) or BF (best friend) and the list goes on.

That's not all. How about kids with cell phones? We see them everywhere texting each other. I was in the mall just over a month ago and there were five young teenage girls standing in a group with their cell phones out. I don't know exactly what they were saying but it could have gone something like this:

"IDK about U (I don't know about you) but I think those are TSR (totally stupid rules). My GF said her BF is one of those PWCMCIA (people who can't memorize computer industry acronyms). BTW (by the way) I am going for a BIO break (washroom break) so I will TTYL. BFN (Bye for Now).

Confused? Me too! There's a whole new language out there that teens are learning and it's not a credit course in school, but they are learning it nevertheless.

For those of you who, like me, are challenged in net lingo, don't despair. Your kids probably know everything you need to know and I'm sure they'll be happy to teach you!

Oh, and MTFBWY (May the force be with you).




For Art's Sake
By Jessica Colasanto

Raku pottery is an art form that dates back to 16th century Japan. The word itself means "enjoyment," and it is tied to the Japanese tea ceremony; by serving tea in raku ware, emphasis is symbolically placed upon the idea that each meeting is unique and impermanent, thus a moment to be treasured.

Legend has it that the symbol "raku" was presented to the son of a potter under the patronage of Sen-No-Rikyu, possibly the most respected Japanese tea master, in 1598. That potter's unique style and the raku symbol have been passed down through his lineage, and there is still an active "Raku" family of potters.

In the 1960s, artist Paul Soldner introduced a Western raku technique, which involves using a reduction chamber at the end of the firing. Incidentally, Soldner and a member of the Raku family have argued over the ethics of outsiders using the term to describe their wares, as it was originally intended that "raku" refer to the potter, not the pottery. Despite this controversy, the term has made it into Webster's dictionary as both the process and the wares.

John Cogswell is bringing the enjoyment of Raku ware to Powell River, creating beautiful decorative pots following the Western technique.

The process of Raku produces stunning metallic glazes, as well as white pottery with a black crackle. Although he used to turn clay on a potter's wheel, John now prefers to roll a slab and shape it using a form. This is typical of raku—it guarantees unique qualities, as celebrated in the tea ceremony—but no doubt the most intriguing of John's works are those formed on a burl.

John is a retired woodworker, so it seems fitting that he has found this distinctive method using a local wood product. With the slab on the burl, he uses the potter's wheel to add a foot (a base) to the piece. It's then ready for the first firing. All of this is done at the Powell River Fine Arts Club at Timberlane Park, of which John is a member.

John is also a registered pyrotechnician, which probably explains his fondness of the next step in the process, which he does at his home. He fires the pots at 1800¡, then removes the red hot pieces with long iron tongs and places them into a metal container filled with sawdust. The heat from the clay ignites the sawdust in a burst of smoke and fire. The container is immediately covered until the pieces cool.

John Cogswell's Raku ArtJohn uses three different glazes: copper, blue cobalt, and white. Reduction firing turns the copper glaze a vibrant, metallic copper colour, but it can also produce a green glaze with oxidation. And because naked clay turns black from the smoke, raku wares can be created in a variety of colour combinations. Some prefer the metallic pieces, while others hold the white pottery infused with black crackle in high esteem. And because John takes his lead from nature when creating the pots—some use a smooth form with leaves, weeds, cat track stamps, and even barbed wire (a potent social symbol that offers a beautiful form) in the design—you may find it difficult to choose a favourite.

You can see John's raku wares at the Fine Arts Club shows, or email him at jcogs@shaw.ca.

Do you have an upcoming art event?Let us know at arts@prlving.ca.




End of an era: Powell River's Moose Lodge closes
By Gerry Gray

"Once a Moose Always a Moose," the ubiquitous rallying call of the Moose Lodge for decades, now has a hollow ring to it. The Moose are no longer functioning in Powell River.

If anyone had predicted its demise 15 years ago they would have been laughed right out of the Moose Hall.

Since the Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge was established here in 1925, members of the Moose were involved in nearly every major event that took place in the community. Membership topped 1,000 and every executive position in the Lodge was contended. International Governors came to Powell River to discover the Lodge's ability to have such an active membership in a town with a population of only 10,000. "We were a working man's club," former governor Dick Vernon said. "Our membership was made up mostly of mill workers. We had annual recruiting drive competitions with prizes awarded to the winner. One year Harry Hatch recruited 200 new members. Very few ever left the Lodge because of our motto and that kept the membership stable. To this day members still send in their $45 membership fee to the international body towards funding Mooseheart and Moosehaven. Active membership started to wane in the early 1990s when, because of changing priorities, people did not have the time for serving on boards.

"The new generation had more options for their leisure time in the prosperity of that decade," said Torger Johnson, another former governor. "It's sad to see this decline in public service but every organization such as ours suffered the same fate."

Finally, in October 2008, an executive meeting read the writing on the wall and passed a motion to withdraw the lodge charter. The Powell River Lodge was chartered in 1925. The first governor was Dr T.T. Fletcher and meetings were held in the lodge rooms at Dwight Hall. Charter members were Harry Hatch, Bertin Anderson, Dan McAuley and Arthur Rae.

In 1945 Brother Alphonse Devaud and his wife Olive made a gift of property on Joyce Avenue in Westview, by 1947 the first sod was turned for the first Moose Hall, and under the direction of Brother Eric McKela the building became a reality. By 1957, working under the Lodge "pay as you go" policy, the hall was completed.

Membership grew in conjunction with civic activities. The Moose sponsored the Red Cross Blood Donor Clinic; ran the March of Dimes; organized a PeeWee baseball league at D.A. Evans and Timberlane Parks; initiated the annual children's fishing derby; and helped with many other activities involving Powell River youngsters.

The Lodge was not active only in Powell River. Executive members attended many conventions throughout the province. In addition, this community hosted many other meetings.

Mooseheart, the flagship of the International Order, received funds from here, as did Moosehaven, a Florida facility for senior citizens. The men and women of the Moose raised funds for these through personal donations or hall rentals. At meetings, the hat was passed and everyone present threw a dollar into the fund. In this way the Lodge was kept debt-free.

However, the good old days eventually turned into the bad old days. "Executives were nominated and elected who were not as dedicated to the basic tenets of the Lodge and consequently older members stopped coming to meetings and younger citizens had other things to do."

The Moose fraternal organization was founded in the late 1800s with the modest goal of offering men an opportunity to gather socially. The organization never caught on and faded away until the first decade of the 20th century. Then a few far-seeing men got onto it and set their sights on building a city that would brighten the futures of thousands of children in need.

Where did the word "Moose" come from? This animal, one of the strongest and largest in the forest, was considered a non-predator and would only use its powers to help the herds' young and weak—a perfect fit for the tenets of the Order.

A young Welsh immigrant working in the iron mills of Pennsylvania got interested in the organization and took out a membership Oct. 27, 1906. He was a union organizer and used these skills to build up the Loyal Order of the Moose. He became "Supreme Organizer" and within the first decade of the 20th century, The Loyal Order of the Moose had multiplied from 2,147 members in two Lodges to nearly 500,000 in more than 1,000 Lodges.

By the time the organization came to Powell River in 1925 membership had soared to over a million and nearly every city and town had a Lodge. Signing up new members was a science practiced by the International Order. Resource towns were picked because most were blue collar, the working man the Lodge counted on. Powell River, with its huge paper mill, was a natural for the movement.

Many factors contributed to the demise of the lodge: mill cutbacks, more entertainment outlets in the community and internal executive disagreements. A new breed of member, business-orientated, and the old guard who wanted to hang on to the status quo, mainly caused these disputes.

This is not unique in many service clubs. Many have to fold their doors because of dissension. At the top, different attitudes and goals caused conflict and this soon trickled down to the general membership who just said "to hell with it" and stayed home or found some other way to help the community.

The Moose Club, currently proprietors of the Moose Hall, are in no way associated with the defunct Loyal Order of the Moose.

Women of the Moose

Women of the Moose came into being in 1950 with Florence Derosiers as Officer in Charge and Margith Fishleigh 1st Senior Regent. Charter members included Iona Lloyd, Julie Moretto, Vera Shelton, Iris McQuarie and Marie Miller.

As the group grew so did the commitments to the community. Standing committees were: Friendship, College of Regents, Star Recorder, Rep. Committee (Membership Retention) and Family Involvement.

In the summer of that year the fledgling group was ambitious enough to host a WOTM (Women of the Moose) Conference in conjunction with the BC Provincial Association.

The three-day conference was attended by representatives of lodges from Prince Rupert to Duncan and was one of the most successful conferences held in this province, according to the Vancouver Sun.

One thing the distaff side could do was raise funds. By organizing luncheons, dances, and recreational events, within 10 years the local WOTM were solvent enough to contribute to a $300,000 provincial donation to Mooseheart for a children's' hospital.

The WOTM catered a free Christmas Dinner for members of the Powell River Association for Community Living and another banquet for Senior Citizens. Cooking, serving and clean up were done by volunteers.

Changing times and dwindling membership caught up with group and the few remaining members voted to revoke the Charter on Feb. 19 of this year. Betty Vernon, a 20-year member, said: "No Board of Officers were willing to stand for office and the sitting executive were too discouraged to carry on."

The disbandment of the women's Lodge came just over three months after the Moose Lodge also disbanded.

Women of the Moose

Saying goodbye to an era: Members at wrap-up, from left, Trudy McCracken, Betty Fraser, Ruth Allen, Lois Rourke, Rhoda Auline and Nancy Lalonde. All were 50-year members of the Women of the Moose.




Volunteers: compassion to action
A celebration of people helping people!
By Gerry Gray

National Volunteer Week is April 19-25 and this year's theme, "From Compassion to Action," is particularly fitting when you think of the many volunteers who make Powell River a wonderful place to live. Powell River Living salutes people like the Powell River Association for Community Living's volunteer Lorraine Jee who spends her time volunteering for the Free Spirit program.

Lorraine JeeLorraine Jee first came to the Powell River Association for Community Living (PRACL) as a volunteer in 1989 to help out temporarily with secretarial work. This soon became a job and after 15 years employment she decided to step down and volunteer again, this time with PRACL's Free Spirit Program. This program is available for seniors 55 years and up and provides various activities catering to that particular age group.

"I enjoy helping out with this group and its fun planning recreational events. It's a little laid back program which suits me fine," Lorraine said. There are ten people participating in the program.

Lorraine also volunteers on committees, works with Jon Tyler, PRACL's Music Man and helped PRACL prepare for the Mount Kilimanjaro climb a few years ago.

Lila Tipton, Executive Director of PRACL says the organization depends on volunteers like Lorraine and appreciates all she does.

"She's always ready to lend a hand."




A little change goes a long way
Assumption helps Ghana school
By Sarah Barton-Bridges

Picture this: a small, crowded, one-class school with children sitting on dirty tires with few school supplies. That's what life was like at the Future Island School in Ghana, Africa. The school began with one room, six students, a tight budget of about $30, and two passionate founders: Beatrice Addae and Kwabena Ababio. Beginning in 2005, Powell River's Assumption School has been involved in the sponsorship of the Future Island School. A past Assumption student, Kersten Wuthrich, started this sponsorship program after spending eight weeks in Ghana. After speaking to the Assumption students about the program, she asked for help. In every small act of caring Assumption students create a brighter future for those children who can't themselves.

Brighter futureThe Future Island School was founded on the idea that no financial problems should come in the way of creating a future in which children can thrive. Fewer than half of the students can pay the school fee, about $15 per year. The one-class school lacked furniture and was in need of more space. The goals of the Future Island School are to complete construction of a 16-classroom, two-storey building for about 850 students, to buy two buses for transportation, and to drill a well for the school's water supply.

Assumption School has its own goal: to raise money for the Future Island School to help students in need. A sponsorship donation of $85 provides one year's tuition, uniform, and two meals a day for one child. Assumption's Student Council organizes dress-up days once a month where children are allowed to dress up, given they bring in a donation of a few dollars for the program. The Grade 5 class collects recycling throughout the school and puts the money towards Future Island School. As well, profits from a craft sale this year made $107. It's a good feeling to know what your donations can do for the world.

BRIGHTER FUTURE: Students of the Future Island School in Ghana are appreciative of the help they’ve received from Powell River.The first year of fundraising for the Future Island School raised a total of $2,053, and now, three years later, Assumption school has raised a total of $6,229! This money has accomplished many great things for Future Island School. As of October 2008, the first floor of the school was almost done, and windows and doors were being put in. Pillars and walls were being built on the second floor as well. As of 2006, 344 children were able to attend the Future Island School, partly because of what Assumption has contributed.

This goes to show that when everybody makes a small offering, big changes can happen. The Future Island School went from being a school of merely six students in one room, to a two-storey school in the making with over 344 students. And to think, the $6,000 Assumption School donated to this sponsorship program has given an education to a group of youth that may not have received such a blessing otherwise. Thanks to a school of caring Assumption students who collected bottles, sold crafts and perhaps brought in a loonie or toonie once a month, other students may have the opportunity to learn. The Future Island School is a perfect example that it takes one small offering to change the world, one bit at a time.





On her grandmother's loom
Local weaver experiments with colours
By Devon Hanley

Hélène Nissle is finally doing what she has always wanted to do: make things. A talented textile artist, Helene and her husband Rick arrived in Powell River three years ago. "Finally my passion is paying for itself, for the first time," chuckles Hélène. Once you see and feel the gorgeous yarn combinations and colors that Hélène uses in her projects, it's easy to see why they command attention.

"My mother made all our clothes, sweaters and home textiles," explains Hélène. "With five children, as soon as she could teach us how to make our own, she did."

On her grandmother's loomAs Hélène walks me through her bright and cosy home nestled into the mountainside at Mowat Bay, her enthusiasm and love for designing and creating works of art with wool and fabric are abundantly evident. "When we stepped into this house, I just knew it would work," says Hélène. "There were enough rooms for all my looms."

On the tapestry loom in the living room there are the beginnings of a Chilkat weaving, a traditional form of twined, west coast native weaving. Throughout the house there are baskets of brightly-coloured carded wool ready for spinning and almost every shelf or tabletop holds a basket containing a knitting project awaiting completion. The living room is home to a 60-inch loom, which Hélène is preparing for weaving one of her striking wool rugs.

In the dining room sits a 45-inch loom passed down from her grandmother. Hélène is completing a swatch of vibrant blue and yellow check cotton fabric to be used for making her popular tea towels. When this project is completed she will begin a commission to weave oatmeal-coloured silk blinds.

"I love to experiment with all types of yarn, and as much as possible source my wool from local or nearby sources." She brings a storage box up from the basement and pulls out samples of her work: a gorgeous plaid mohair blanket, a handsome black and white wool throw, thick cotton table mats and an elegant alpaca lace shawl. Hélène's philosophy is simple: "We are creative beings; creativity is what we are here to do."

This is an artist who has come home.




Ride to conquer cancer
Fundraiser honours cyclists' mom
By Cathy Pasion

It is hard to believe it has been almost three years since mom passed away from a rare form of cancer. Since then, the coming of spring has been bitter sweet for my brother, sister, and me. We welcome the warmth of longer days and sunnier skies. But this is accompanied by reflection and remembering. Spring reminds us of the garden in the backyard of our family house on Manson Avenue, near the old bird sanctuary. We remember Mom rising in the early hours of the morning to tend to her tomatoes, squash, potatoes, bitter melon and the beautiful flowers that were the envy of the neighbourhood. The garden was Mom's haven. It is with sadness that we remember the first spring that she was no longer well enough to spend her days here.

With spring we also remember Mom's last days in the Powell River General Hospital during the height of her sickness before she passed away. We fondly remember the extraordinary kindness, care, and support of the hospital staff and are comforted in knowing they are there for other cancer patients and their families in such difficult times.

BROTHER AND SISTER: Len and Cathy Pasion train for their upcoming bike ride to honour their mother’s memory and to conquer cancer.This year, as spring turns to summer, my brother Len, sister Stella and I will be celebrating the life of Estrella "Ely" Pasion in a special way. On June 20 we will be taking part in a two-day cycling event called a Ride to Conquer Cancer to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation. We are doing this because we know it will make a positive difference and is an opportunity to honour mom's extraordinary life.

My brother, sister, and I were all born and raised in Powell River. Mom lived here more than half of her life after immigrating from the Philippines with our father in the late 1960s. They moved in search of a better life for their family. The community welcomed our parents as newcomers, accepted them as members of the community, and showed support in nurturing us through our childhood. Our days at Cranberry Elementary School and Max Cameron Senior Secondary were some time ago, but the memories are vivid. We are fully aware that our upbringing in this town set the three of us on the paths we are on today.

We hope the Powell River community will support us in the celebration of our Mom's life and in support of our fundraising efforts. As an extra incentive for the cause, on May 16 my brother and I, and our team of dear friends, will be riding our bikes to from Vancouver to Powell River to help raise money for our Ride to Conquer Cancer. We would love to have your support!

Please visit www.conquercancer.ca or our team website at tiny.cc/offbroadway to make an online donation or call 1-888-771-BIKE. All proceeds benefit the BC Cancer Foundation.





RV Canada with "Boo, the Menopausal Van"
Have a fun working vacation
By Isabelle Southcott

What does a menopausal van do when it travels across Canada?

"Throw hissy fits," laughs author Barb Rees. "Boo, the menopausal van is like a woman going through menopause. She can't make up her mind, she hates the heat, she's moody and she doesn't want to be pushed."

In Barb's second book in the RV Canada series, RV Canada With Boo the Menopausal Van, she and her husband Dave, embarked on a four-month trip across Canada in their van, Boo. While telling tales about their fun working vacation, Barb tells us how to travel on a budget and to find tourism offices, boon docking spots and sani-dumps. It's a resource book but best of all, there are stories about the wonderful people Barb and Dave met on their trip and the adventures they had.

In 2003, "the geriatric gypsies" left Powell River loaded with brandied blackberry sauce and Barb's first book, Lessons From the Potholes of Life. "We left home and worked our way across Canada to PEI and back selling at farmers' markets."

TEMPERAMENTAL VAN: Barb and Dave Rees with Boo the menopausal van and Barb’s latest book about their travels across Canada.That trip was so much fun that Barb wrote a book about it and the couple set out again in 2007 on another trip. The result of that trip was RV Canada With Boo the Menopausal Van.

This time they worked their way across Canada to Cape Norman, the northern tip of Newfoundland. "It's an Arctic alpine climate with rare wildflowers. We took pictures of icebergs before breakfast."

Barb says her latest book is filled with adventures and factoids—both historical and informative facts about towns and places and about the hiss fits Boo threw along the way.

"She's a van with an attitude. She doesn't like going up hills and she broke down in front of the Farmers' Market in Prince George."

From Prince George to Glenboro, Manitoba, Dave had to climb underneath Boo and give her some tough love every time he wanted her to start. Finally, when Boo couldn't be coaxed or cajoled any longer, she died in front of a mechanics shop and they had a new starter installed.

The Reeses made many friends while traveling. "Strangers are just friends you've never met before," says Barb.

Barb and Dave head out again on June 1 on the Great Northern Adventure. Barb's new book was released at the Festival of Writers last month and is available locally at Breakwater Books.





Celebrating Excellence in Education
James Thomson Elementary School

Carving culture: A Sliammon elder shows how to carve traditional paddles.At James Thomson Elementary School we are focusing on creating a safe and caring school. Two staff members, Tamara Palmer and Glynis Romanica, have created an excellent resource of unit and lesson plans that teachers use in their classrooms. These are based on social responsibility performance standards and prescribed learning outcomes as outlined by the Ministry of Education. Topics covered include Exercising Rights and Responsibilities, Contributing to Classroom and School, and Solving Problems in Peaceful Ways. As well as following the unit and lesson plans, classes conduct classroom meetings to discuss the covered topics.

Another area of focus is the inclusion of the Sliammon culture. Close to 50 per cent of our students have First Nations heritage. All primary, and many intermediate students, participate in Sliammon language classes. The school displays posters depicting Sliammon elders and Sliammon life. We have recently received a 40-foot piece of artwork designed by local artist John Dominic. It is mounted in our gymnasium. At our assemblies speakers hold an eagle feather, beaded by Betty Wilson, and blessed by a Sliammon elder, Elsie Paul. Classrooms also use eagle feathers, beaded by local artisan, Sherry Bullock, for their discussions. This year our Grade 4/5 class is doing native carving and we have a group of students who drum and sing in the Sliammon tradition.

Some of the results.




Training for the Bruce Denniston Spirit Run
Local runner makes huge strides

The Bruce Denniston Spirit Run is a fun annual fundraiser for bone marrow related causes. It takes place on Sunday, May 31 with Start and Finish lines at Willingdon Beach. Walk or run the spectacular 5 km, 10 km or half-marathon routes, or get a group of four people together and cheer each other on for the 4x5 km relay. Registration is May 19 to 29, 8:30 to 4:30 at the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society office, 4484 Marine Avenue, and at Avid Fitness 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday, May 30. Call 604-485-8488 if you need more information.

Greg TaitIn running years, Greg Tait is but a young child of five, yet his accomplishments portray him as a well-seasoned ambassador. Greg started running in 2004 to be a better role model for his two sons and to compensate for his sedentary job as the Systems Administrator for the City of Powell River.

In 2007 and 2008, Greg won the Bruce Denniston Spirit Run half marathon. He plans to run it again this year. He likes to run the longer stuff, with much of his inspiration coming from ultra marathoner, Dean Karnazes. Greg's dream event is the Haney to Harrison 100K. But Greg is one of those runners with many hats. He can run well at any distance.

One of Greg's favourite local training runs is a 15 kilometre route from his house (near the track), out along the highway to Myrtle Rocks and back. He gets the famous "runner's high" a lot on this route and says 10 minutes will fly by and he does not even remember running. Peace of mind, meeting like-minded people and developing good friendships play a big part in his training.

Many other local runners have been fortunate to cross Greg's trails. He consistently shows up for group runs, helping new runners improve their running and encouraging everyone.

When asked about special foods for events, Greg's menu is tried and true. His pre-run meal is oatmeal. During shorter runs (anything under 15 km) he eats nothing and during longer runs he might eat a gel or sport bean. His all time favourite post-run meal by far is four scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese slices on top and sprinkled with Frank's RedHot Sauce with lime.

Always a smile on his face, you are bound to see Greg out on the trails or road, waving to folks as he runs by. Running makes him happy and he makes other runners feel good about themselves.

Greg's running tips

Here is some advice Greg shares with other runners.



Training tips for beginners

Trainer Stacey Causier from Avid Fitness talks about how to get started.

Regardless of your current fitness level, setting goals can make increasing your physical activity more fun and rewarding. If you are considering starting an exercise program talk to your doctor to make sure it's okay (it almost always is). The Bruce Denniston Spirit Run may offer the perfect goal for you. Remember, fitness is about a lifestyle that you maintain for the long-term, not for a single event. Start slowly and do activities you enjoy. If you can only walk one block today—do that! Build slowly. You'll be amazed how much better you'll feel by taking one step at a time.

Get active! How to keep moving all year long

Physical activity has far-reaching health benefits, both physically and mentally. To facilitate a healthy lifestyle after the Bruce Denniston Society's Donate the Weight campaign ended last month, the society wanted to encourage people to continue being active.

April through June could be a period of training for and participating in organized walks/runs/marathons, preferably for a charitable cause such as the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society Spirit Run.

During the summer months there are many outdoor activities including paddling a kayak or canoe, hiking up a scenic mountain path, or riding a bicycle around Inland Lake and getting together for a barbecue afterward.

During the months of October through December the focus might be on sharing ideas and recipes that will allow everyone to enjoy the holidays without abandoning the goals they set in the previous months.

The goal is Fitness Forever and the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society wants to help our community achieve it!




Swim like a fish
Aquatic Club offers fun and fitness
By Isabelle Southcott

Swimming, swimming in my swimming pool. When days are hot...

Days might not be hot yet but the Powell River Aquatic Club is accepting registrations for its spring season. Barbra Mohan's ten-year-old son Jasper joined the aquatic club three years ago and his mom can't believe how much he's learned.

"Before joining swim club Jasper had not progressed through three sets of swim lessons in a row. I really wanted him to learn how to swim and experience success. He joined swim club and within two weeks of joining he learned more in that time than in four years of lessons."

Mohan says one of the reasons was that in swim club, kids spend much more time in the pool. When Jasper was taking just lessons, he was swimming for half an hour a week and that wasn't enough time for him to build up his fitness and stamina. These days he still takes lessons but he is also in swim club. "There are things you learn in lessons that you don't in swim club," she says.

Swim club focuses on the athletic part of swimming.

Members swim two or three times a week, depending on age, for an hour at a time. There's also dry land training involved for the older kids.

Besides being a great workout, swim club provides a warm and inviting social atmosphere. There are barbecues, special movie nights and a banquet at the end of the year. There are swim meets for those who choose to compete. What Mohan likes best about the meets is that swimmers are competing against themselves.

"The focus is on personal bests, not on winning. My child is not a team sports guy but swim club allows him to be an individual competitor and learn all the aspects of being a part of a team.

"We hold a fun meet in May and this gives them the idea of how a meet is run." There are also meets in Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River, Nanaimo and Port Alberni for interested swimmers. Mohan also likes the fact that the coaches educate swimmers on proper nutrition for athletes.

"Last year they were not allowed to eat anything if one of the top three ingredients was sugar. Jasper was checking the labels of everything he ate."

Swim club is for anyone who can swim one length of the pool who is between the age of five and 18. Trial memberships are available for those who are not sure.

For more information, call Val Young at 604 485- 2380 or Angie Bailey at 604 485-8443 or Google Powell River Swim Club.

More than MAKING A SPLASH: Young swimmers learn more than the basic strokes in swim club.



Faces of Education: Early primary teacher loves what she does

Imagine looking forward to work every day. Imagine loving the people you work with. Imagine making a difference in someone's life.

Shireen Morton doesn't have to imagine. This is her life.

Morton teaches Grades 1 and 2 at Kelly Creek Community School. "I love my job; it's perfect," she says. "It's good to be where you want to be."

Morton began her teaching career when she moved to Powell River at the age of 20 but took a break to raise her own children. Although she is old enough to retire she hasn't considered that option. "Many of my colleagues who I began teaching with have retired and then they found hobbies to enjoy. Teaching is my hobby and I even get paid for it!"

Morton has always taught early primary (kindergarten and Grade 1). "That's my area of expertise," she explains.

Her eyes light up when she talks about her students. "I love their sense of wonder, their honesty, their enthusiasm and joy of life. They're so easy to motivate and it's exciting to be part of developing their creativity and potential."

She feels blessed that she's given the opportunity to make a difference in young lives. "By teaching the little ones I am able to give them the kind of start I feel is essential for growth, for life... and that is to help them develop living and learning skills."

On the first day of school Morton greets her new students and teaches them a new song: I'm Somebody Special. This is important because it helps build self-esteem and from there, they can learn about empathy and caring.

"I've always believed a child will not learn to read, write or do math unless they are feeling secure within themselves. Learning should be fun at this level. I often teach reading and writing skills through drama, music and self expression."

Morton focuses on creative thinking and problem solving so children understand what they do and why they do it.

They have three guidelines in her classroom that students are asked to follow:

Morton firmly believes that each child is an individual and develops at his or her own pace. "I tell them that, like a tree, we all grow at our own time and in our own way. It is essential that they feel good about themselves and know that they all have strengths."

But teaching isn't just a one-way street and Morton says her students keep her young.

"Working with children gives you a different approach to life," she laughs. "I go around singing fun songs such as 'Purple People Eater.' How many people in their senior years do that?"

She encourages imagination and creativity and making learning fun! Students take songs or poems and rewrite them, making them their own.

It is important to create a safe and loving environment for children and Morton wants her students to have happy, positive memories of their time spent in her classroom.

"Those memories will stay with us as adults."

She tells a story about a father who came to her school a few years ago with his son who was entering Grade 1. "His father brought him on the first day of school and I invited the father into the classroom. He said he didn't think he could come in because he had such bad memories of Grade 1."

Morton turned to the father and said: "I promise you your son won't have those unfortunate memories."

During the school year, that same father came in and helped out in the classroom and his son flourished.

The early years are so important in a child's life because they set the attitude of a person's educational career.

Although working with young children fills Morton's life with joy, there are times when she is frustrated because she wishes she could do more. "You see these innocent and precious little ones that have extreme challenges in their lives and there is only so much you can do," she says.

Morton loves Kelly Creek School and the surrounding community. It's the uniqueness of the school that makes it so special. "We have an intimate, respectful and happy environment. We are very inclusive and everybody is accepted as they are."

Because there are only five classrooms at the school it is easy for staff to know all the children. "We all support each other in dealing with all children regardless of whose class the child is in."

Loves what she does: Young students are an every day joy for this teacher.

Staff focuses on the Virtues Program with the primary grades. In the primary pod—an open area surrounded by seats, between classrooms—students meet once a week to discuss conflict or concerns and learn positive ways to resolve them. "My colleague Anne Howey and I will role play inappropriate behaviour and the kids will come up and show appropriate ways to solve a problem."

Morton says the kids love to see the teachers being bad and showing the teachers how to solve things!

Problem solving is a learning process and instead of coming down hard on a child when he or she is misbehaving, Morton usually talks to the child and asks if that was a good choice they made and if they can think of a better choice.

"Critical thinking's what education is about. It's not the content, it's the process."




Active Health 230: Sustainable Health Can Be Ours
Point of VIU
By Dawn Miller

Chris Bratseth, of Extreme Kindness fame, is poised to offer a university course open to all Powell Riverites this spring at Vancouver Island University. Active Health 230 is a unique three-credit course that will explore health from not only an individual perspective, but also raise awareness of how to contribute to our community in a sustainable way. Chris believes that sustainable person wellness is a key component of a sustainable planet. When people are well, they often choose to become stewards of their communities and the environment. He says, “I believe that all students have the potential to make a contribution to the health of their local, national, and global community.”

Chris Bratseth

If we can look at health promotion and prevention before we face disease, we can increase our knowledge of community wellness, environmental issues and consumer action. While the students will explore these concepts from a Canadian perspective, Chris intends to focus on Powell River in particular. “Students will be able to hear from the leaders and luminaries in our community regarding holistic health approaches, meditation, alcohol and drugs, nutrition, and community health. We will explore the amenities available here, including the outdoors. Connectedness to nature and other people allows for community building.”

Chris is excited about the variety of topics that he wants students to explore. Students will learn more about nutrition, longevity and ways for children to become better educated about their own health choices. Stress management, happiness, connectedness, social responsibility and contemporary issues in wellness are all up for discussion.

The course is a study of active and healthy lifestyles leading to an improved quality of life, with emphasis on physical activity and its relationship to health. “We have the potential to optimize our quality of life,” Chris explains, “by looking at our health multi-dimensionally: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and physically.” A variety of different types of learning will be used: informal conversation, group discussions, a personal change project, videos, and journals. The course will be a blend of theory and practice, with the goal of giving the participants the skills to research and implement changes they can make individually as well as for our community.

Devotion to the community is something that Chris is deeply committed to promoting. While still a student, he co-founded the Kindness Crew Society and went on a three-month tour across Canada to raise awareness of the value of community service. Chris met with people from schools, colleges, and businesses to promote the movement. They became well-known for their random acts of kindness.

The Active Health course runs from May 4th to June 19th scheduled from 4:30-7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursday. It even provides the opportunity for current Grade 12 students to take it. Chris says, “Taking this course would be a move to a first university experience. It will transfer to other universities and can help students gain confidence if they are uncertain about trying out a university course.” The course can be taken for credit, audited for a reduced fee, and is tuition-free for seniors 65 and over. No pre-requisites are required. Contact VIU for more information or visit www.pr.viu.ca.




Explore Powell River


Davie Bay, Texada Island

Davie Bay, Texada
Photos by Tom Scott

Look for more photos online: picasaweb.google.co.uk/tomnsharon/DavieBay#