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October 2009 issue

October 2009

>> This entire issue is available as a 13MB PDF download


Table of Contents

Seeing it in a different light
Business matters
Living the dream
Staying Power
Safeway's diverse hiring reflects the community
Explore Powell River: Toba River project
Uncovering the past
For Art's Sake
Business Connections
Pardon My Pen
Growing stronger
Fire prevention week
Seven best jobs
Coming up!
Little Curry Hut shares roof with Bemused Bistro
Family Matters


Seeing it in a different light
Praise for our First Responders
By Anisha Caton, Age 14

On the weekend of September 5th and 6th, 2009, I joined my mom and a few other St. John Ambulance Brigade members at the Sunshine Music Festival.

I have spent my summer watching this group of people apply bandages and deal with sunburns or broken arms and for a while I thought that was really the extent of it, until the night of September 6th—a night when they were called on to jump into a situation that could have potentially been life threatening, and without thinking twice they helped make a difference in a life.

That's when I realized that being involved in the field of emergency medicine is a calling; you either have it or you don't. The St. John Ambulance Brigade is a group of nurses, moms, paramedics, dads, doctors, grandmas and grandpas, and volunteer fire fighters that have a calling and regardless of their levels of training they work together to help make this world a better place, one life at a time.

To look at what they do in any other way is looking but not really seeing.

So I just want to thank the Emergency Medical Services like St. John Ambulance and other First Responders for volunteering their time to be there when someone is in trouble, and I know that if I was ever hurt and needed help I would be glad to have these people there to help me.

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Oops! We made a mistake (or two). Sorry about that. Here is the correct info.

Carole McCormick is not retiring from Westview Pharmacy, says new owner Rozina Somji. Rozina is delighted to report that Carole will continue to work at Westview Pharmacy despite the fact that she sold it to Rozina and her husband Shehzad in August.

In the August issue of Powell River Living Magazine we said that Dave Formosa donated $1,000 to the trades welding program for a flagpole at the Lund Hotel. In fact, Dave Formosa donated $1,000 to the Brooks High School metalwork program—the two programs are entirely different programs.



Both Westview Baptist Church and the St David and St Paul Anglican Church have new leaders.

Senior Pastor Oskar Arajs and his wife Arta moved to Powell River in September from Ontario to join the Westview Baptist Church. Oskar was born in Brazil but has a Latvian ethnic background.

Adela Torchia is the new minister at St David and St Paul's Anglican Church. Adela moved to Powell River this summer and was inducted in July. Although she spent most of her life in Winnipeg, Adela is most recently from Jasper. Adela has two children and one grandchild.

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Business matters

"Showcasing the best of Powell River." That's what it says on the front cover of each issue of Powell River Living. And we try to live up to the slogan by bringing you stories and photos about the best things about our community. It's not an easy task, because there are lots of great things about Powell River, and everyone's list of "best" things is different.

Occasionally, we feature the physical things that are great about this community—the mountains, the lakes and oceans, the scenic vistas. But more often our stories are about the people. This month, we have special focus on business, and the people who make it work. It seems particularly appropriate with Small Business Week running from October 18-24.

We'll take some criticism for this, and have in the past. There are some who believe that "Showcasing the best of Powell River" means we should focus exclusively on the efforts on the arts community, sports and recreation groups, or non-profit agencies. Those groups do get a lot of attention in the pages of this magazine, and rightly so. They do amazing things in and for our community. But to ignore the efforts of the local business community in making Powell River the best place to live would be extremely myopic.

Without local business, none of those groups would be able to do the things they do. However, the contribution of businesses to this community goes beyond the donations or contributions they make to sports, arts or good causes. In themselves, these businesses make this a better place to live.

For example, for me, as an avid scuba diver, having a high-quality dive store in town is one of the best things about Powell River. For a quilter, one of the best things may be the wide selection of good fabrics available here. For decades, one of the best things about Cranberry has been the service and well-loved wooden floors at Mitchell Brothers. We could go on, but you get the picture. Businesses are an integral part of Powell River. And some of them have been playing that vital role for a quarter century, half a century, or even more. Our feature on the staying power of some businesses, which starts on Page 11, examines what it takes to keep a business successful over the decades.

For some people, too, their own business is what's best about Powell River. We examine that idea in two articles, starting on the next page, with "Living the Dream" and on Page 28, where we ask seven locals who have great jobs, what they like best, and worst, about their careers.

Sean Percy, Associate Publisher ¥ sean@prliving.ca

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Living the dream
The perfect job in the perfect place
By Isabelle Southcott

Who doesn't dream of the perfect life? One where you combine a job custom made for you while living in the community of your choosing?

Unfortunately, not all of us feel we have the dream job in our dream location, so we continue to chase the dream. But for more than a few Powell Riverites, they are already living the dream. Here, we talk to some of those lucky ones.

SEA DREAM: Scott and Kathy Friesen are living their dream—running a business that feeds their love of the ocean.When Kathy and Scott Friesen heard there was a diving business for sale in Powell River they decided to investigate further. "It was my first time visiting Powell River and I fell in love with the place. I loved the small town environment here," says Kathy.

The couple were living on Vancouver Island at the time and Scott, a navy clearance diver, had just retired and they were looking to change gears. The Friesens ended up buying Alpha Dive and Kayak.

In the beginning Alpha Dive and Kayak was strictly a scuba shop. Three years have passed and Alpha Dive and Kayak has expanded to offer children's scuba programs, summer camps, kayaks, lessons and equipment and most recently became the local dealer for Thule vehicle roofing systems.

"Neither of us had run a small business before," said Scott. "I had a diving background and Kathy has a business background and I figured the two us could stumble along."

As their business grew, the Friesens expanded their team to include more dive masters, kayak guides and instructors.

Scott and Kathy say the decision to move to Powell River and pursue their dream of owning a small business was easy. "Who wants to live in Vancouver?" says Scott. "You can't afford to buy a house in Vancouver with an ocean view," Kathy adds.

NO HURRICANES: It may not be everyone's dream, but life in pest control is perfect for Paul Hirst, who gave up corporate life for a slower pace. He and his wife, former residents of Florida, love that there are no hurricanes here.Paul Hirst came to Powell River in a roundabout way. He and his wife moved to Gibsons from the United States in 2006 where Paul had been working as director of merchandising and retail for North America for Del Monte Fresh Produce. The Hirsts moved around the United States with Paul's job and in 2005 were living in Miami. "We went through five hurricanes while living in the United States," says Paul. "We spent the last year in Miami and my wife said that was it, she did not want to go through another hurricane."

Paul landed a job in Gibsons but soon realized it wasn't what he wanted to do. Paul's wife Gerri had always loved Powell River and when they found out the local Dairy Queen was for sale they bought it. Paul had owned a Dairy Queen in Golden and so they thought it would be the right fit but it turned out to more demanding time wise than they thought it would be. The Hirsts sold Dairy Queen in April of this year but before they did, Paul started talking to Ron Dickinson, owner of Sunshine Coast Pest Control.

"Dairy Queen got us here which was awesome but we didn't want to leave the community. I wanted to continue to be self employed."

It so happened that Dickinson's other partner was leaving so Paul could buy into the business. It has been a good move. "Ron is a walking book. He has 35 years experience in the industry and has a degree in entomology and biology. I've learned a lot from him."

Instead of serving up ice cream sundaes Paul climbs through spider webs and crawl spaces. "It's quite a change," he admits, "but when you get out of that crawl space and shake all the spider webs off and look at where we live it's worth it."

Chasing pests may not seem the dream job for some, but Paul find it rewarding.

He enthusiastically tells a story about how he got rid of raccoons for a client. "They were tearing the shingles off the top of their house trying to get into their attic," says Paul. "I repaired the roof and the raccoons went away. Then the customer called me to say the raccoons were coming back. What could they do?"

Paul set up a bucket of sudsy ammonia and rags full of ammonia in the attic thinking the smell might keep them away but no, the raccoons tore off the shingles again trying to get in.

Then Paul set up a sprinkler system with a sensor on it that was activated by the raccoons. "When they'd go up the post of their home the sprinkler system was activated by the sensor."

That took care of the raccoons and they didn't come back.

In the end, Paul got his way, Gerri got her way and both are happy. Gerri is working at the government liquor store and has more leisure time. "We love the lifestyle here with the ocean being so close," says Paul. "The people are wonderful and real estate is affordable. Try and find a place with an ocean view in the $200,000 range anywhere else."

Paul also sees a positive future for Sunshine Coast Pest Control. "We have been very blessed. We did not want to leave here."

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Staying Power
Five local businesses that have stood the test of time
By Isabelle Southcott

Starting a business is hard; staying in business is even harder. With changes in technology, consumer demand, and the economy, surviving in business is increasingly difficult. Less than a third of small businesses survive beyond the first five years. What's the secret to longevity in business? We interviewed five business owners to find out how they did it.

Mitchell Brothers was started as Bosa and Mitchell's in 1946. Augusta Bosa began selling groceries from a cart in 1929 and then built a store down the road on Manson Avenue from where the present day Mitchell Brothers stands. In 1946, Marino "Babe" Mitchell (father of present day owner Peter) and Uncle Albert became partners with Mr. Bosa and it was called A Bosa and Mitchell Brothers. They carried meat, groceries, local produce, furniture, appliances, hot water tanks, TVs, radios (they were big back then), blinds, draperies, paint and work clothes. The present day store was built in 1950.

Peter worked in the store as a kid in the 1960s but then left. He returned to Powell River and bought the business from his father and uncle in 1981.

Peter Mitchell

Today Mitchell Brothers carries groceries, meat, furniture and appliances. This charming neighbourhood store has retained its unique hometown feel with well-worn hardwood floors and instead of numbered aisles; they're named after area streets such as Drake, Cranberry and Mowat Avenue.

"You have to adapt your product mix, says Peter when asked how his business has survived so long in a market dominated by big grocery store chains. "If you were to take a picture of what we had when I first started it would be considerably different than what we sell today."

"You hold on to the way some things were done in the early years," Peter continues. Like customer service.

Mitchell Brothers is a favourite with locals and seniors. "Some of our customers go back a long time. Some of them go through generations." Mitchell Brothers' association with Home Hardware, the furniture and appliance part of the store, also goes back a long way. "Home Hardware has a thousand individual stores. It's not a franchise—it's a dealership that is structured after a cooperative."

Another store that's been around for years is Pagani & Sons Shoe Repair Ltd. Owner Rob Pagani runs the Marine Avenue store these days but the business dates back more than 50 years when his father Luigi bought Vets Shoe Repair in 1956. The name was changed to Pagani and Sons in the 1970s.

"It has always been about sales and repairs," says Rob. Years ago the mix was about 50 per cent repairs and 50 per cent sales.

Rob PaganiRob began working in the store in the early 1980s and bought the store in 1993. He received on-the-job training as a cobbler from his father.

Responding to his customers' demands is one of the main reasons that Pagani's is still in business today. Instead of the 50-50 split between sales and repairs; the split is now 95 per cent sales and five per cent repairs. Twenty years ago Pagani's didn't carry ladies shoes; today ladies shoes are one of the store's biggest lines.

Pagani's offers products that no one else offers and these days Pagani and Sons is the only shoe store in town, although there are other stores that carry shoes as a sideline.

"We sell comfort casuals. I especially focus on the local market for certain things like work boots. I know what people in this town need and I'm not getting directions from people in head office."

In short, Rob says survival is being open to change. "If I carried the same inventory today that I carried 20 years ago, I'd be broke."

Paul Sian of Dundee Wealth is celebrating his 25th anniversary this year as a financial advisor. When he was first licensed as a financial advisor in August 1984 and began his business from scratch there were no other financial advisors in Powell River. "There were two people selling life insurance and at that time the banks were not into the investment or insurance business."

Paul SianPaul's first office was his bedroom in his parent's home. He'd meet clients at restaurants. "I can still remember my first client. That client is still a client of mine and is one of my larger clients," says Paul. "And he's not related to me!" he adds.

The cumbersome process of writing information manually on ledger cards and using a calculator and the Vancouver Sun's stock exchange listings have been streamlined. Today brokers are not allowed to make up statements, instead that is done by brokerage houses.

Paul has seen many changes over the years. "I watched the banks go from being non players to entering the mutual fund industry in the early nineties to becoming very diverse. The investment industry became one of the growth industries of the nineties."

Paul says his staying power secret is that the team at Dundee Wealth has always acted in their client's best interest. "I have always invested my client's money as if it were my parents' money."

Paul has also hired and surrounded himself with talented people and people who are very service oriented. "Our office is a team. I still have clients that have been with me for over 20 years."

Paul has also steered away from the "hottest stock of the week" syndrome and relied on word of mouth. "In Powell River word of mouth happens quickly. To stay in business for 25 years you have to avoid losing money in a significant way."

Paul has met some financial icons over the years including Sir John Templeton, the top money manager of the post-war era. "I never forget the lessons that guys like that conveyed to us and that is 'Do the right thing for your client.'"

Doug and Anna Hindle run another one of Powell River's long-standing businesses, Hindle's Camera & Stationery Ltd. The store dates back to June 4, 1949 when Doug's parents, Alma and Herb Hindle, opened the store. This year marks Hindle's 60th year in business.

Anna & Doug Hindle"Small business is the backbone of the economy and a lot of businesses do not survive," notes Doug, who joined the family business in 1973 and slowly bought it from his parents. "I've thought about why some survive and why some don't and one reason is hard work. You have to be willing in retail to work really, really hard. That is just the nature of the beast. You have to be on top of everything every day. You cannot be an absentee owner. You also have to cater to your customer's needs. You get a feeling for what your customer wants and needs."

Doug says Anna is very good with customers and is always willing to go the extra mile for them. "I love helping people," says Anna adding that she is always happy to place special orders for their customers.

Resiliency and adaptability in business are also musts. "It's not always the strong that survive, it's the flexible."

Hindle's has also adapted their product line over the years. When Doug was a child, the store used to sell fireworks and it was his job to make sure no one snitched them. Today the fireworks are gone and they sell more jewellery than ever. They specialize in cameras, stationery and unique gifts and offer personal customer service that is hard to beat.

"We have survived because of our customers. You have to establish a rapport with your customers and be able to connect with them. It's about service and that personal touch," says Doug.

The community has supported Hindle's and Doug and Anna have supported the community. "I'm involved in Kiwanis, COPS, Marine Area Business Association and other fundraisers."

Elaine and Ed Thoma have been running Seabreeze Resort Cottages and Campsites south of town for almost 25 years but the business itself was started in the 1950s by Stubby Fuller.

Elaine and Ed ThomaThe Thomas first came to Powell River on a camping trip in the early 1980s with their young children. They were new to camping and borrowed all the gear from a friend. They came back the following year and the Clarkes who owned Seabreeze at the time asked them if they'd like to buy the place. They said no; they'd just bought camping gear; they didn't want to buy a campground. The Thomas returned for the third year in a row and by the end of the evening over a bottle of wine, they'd bought the place.

Many changes have taken place since they bought Seabreeze. They've renovated, added, replaced cabins, refurnished and landscaped. The beautiful sandy beach, animals and country-like setting make this campground a favourite with people from near and far. Seabreeze rents cabins by the day or by the week.

Elaine says people who visit Seabreeze fall in love with it. "We have had people come back here time and time again. Some for 14, 15 and 16 years. They book their cabin a year in advance and we always have new people finding us."

People who live in the city love the safeness of the area and the fact that they do not have to watch their children every single second. They love the fact that they can take their children to the beach and they find enough to do in amongst the tidal pools to keep them busy all day.

"You can see the men unwind when they come here," says Elaine. "They'll build a fire on the beach and just relax."

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Award "for doing our job"
Safeway's diverse hiring reflects the community
by Linda Wegner

When it comes to brand recognition, Safeway is probably one of the best known in North America. Managers and staff of Powell River's location are proud of the company's reputation for service and quality but they're equally proud to be known as an employer with a heart. Backing up their claim is a Community Living BC (CLBC) Widening Our World (WOW!clbc) community recognition award they received this spring from the BC Provincial government for their participation in the company's DIVERSITY program.

In his presentation speech, Kamloops MLA Claude Richmond remarked, "As a private sector employer, Canada Safeway serves as an exemplary role models to others. The Powell River store is one example of how the parent company employs and develops people with developmental disabilitiesÉ[they] hired and trained five self-advocates with very little outside support, one of whom works on a full-time basis."

TEAM EFFORT: Safeway manager Dave Tessman with the Community Living award andemployees Erika McBride, Chris Leekie and Brian McLeod.In conversation with Powell River Living, Tessman was more reserved: "The award we received was just for doing our job," he said.

Without downplaying the importance of the award or of the combined commitment of staff and management, Tessman was correct. According to information found on the Safeway website, the purpose of the DIVERSITY program is to have their employment hiring practices "reflect the diversity of the people who shop in their stores." That includes hiring persons of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds.

"The goal is to make sure we don't just hire the typical young, white, female. There are a lot more people out there that we need to discover," Tessman told Powell River Living. "Managers are given a goal that is based on the population of the community. Right now Powell River's goal is 6.7% and we're just touching 12% so that's nearly double our goal."

Determining the percentage goal for hiring individuals fitting into the category of "diverse" is no randomly chosen number; it is a precise calculation based on a population-based formula.

Translated into people, Tessman explained, the store currently employs six employees with physical or intellectual challenges. Duties performed by these employees vary from work in the on-site bakery department, night-time work "facing" of the store and responsibilities as a service clerk.

Speaking of the two employees working in the bakery, Tessman says, "They've found the area where they fit in and we just work everyone else in around them."

The ability to find suitable places for challenged employees has been a valuable learning experience for Tessman. Although he'd already had experience as manager in eight other Safeway stores, no persons had been hired under the DIVERSITY program during his tenure in those management positions. When asked what he had learned from the experience, Tessman cited two principles: not to jump to too many conclusions and not to make too many assumptions.

"From both an employer and an employee point of view, everyone must be treated equally as employees. You try to go that route and stick to it but there are places where you have to tweak it a bit because there are challenges that you have to overcome. As long as the employee can tell you, 'these are my abilities' you grasp that and you run with it. You don't focus on what they can't do. That's a growing experience for me as a manager, my employees and for the person who has disabilities," he said.

Growing to understand and accommodate the abilities, as well as the disabilities, of each employee may require modification of job descriptions. For example, Tessman added, "For hearing impaired persons, you may have to write things down for them or if they are visually challenged, show them how to do things. Some people learn by doing it; others by hearing it."

The fallacy of some assumptions also presented a learning curve for the staff and management. By meeting with the parents of Erica, the first person with disabilities hired after Tessman's arrival, he says he learned a lot about what she was capable of doing—and discovered she could "do more than she couldn't do."

"I had already assumed that this couldn't be done and in the meantime, it could be done. We just had to vary our approach," he said.

"The goal is to see each person blossom and become a great employee rather than having them say, 'I can't do that.' We want to help to give the courage and opportunities to make sure they succeed."

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Explore Powell River

Not many people know exactly what the Toba River run-of-the-river project entails. These photos, courtesy of Plutonic Power and PR Living photographer Sean Percy, hint at the extent of the work, and the number of jobs involved.

Click to enlarge

October 2009
Photos by Sean Percy



Uncovering the past
Dirt hides a rich history at Scuttle Bay
by Emma Levez Larocque

Archaeologists working in Scuttle Bay, or Kleh Kwa Num, have been painting a picture over the last two years. It is a picture of the past, one that shows that this little pocket in North America has an ancient history similar in scale to parts of Europe or Asia.

When wandering from room to room in some 1500-year-old building in Italy, or taking in the ruins of forgotten civilizations in Cambodia, North Americans have been known to remark that our part of the world has "no history." But the project that Dana Lepofsky and John Welch have been leading in Scuttle Bay is a peek into what the area around Powell River was like up to 2000 years ago—vibrant, colourful, and busy.

TIDE'S OUT: Scuttle Bay, known to the Sliammon people as Kleh Kwa Num, or "Tide Waters Rush In," was once a favourite fishing ground dueto the abundant fish and shellfish found on the shallow flats. Photo by Emma Levez Larocque.

Layers of dirt hold secrets that the trained eye can read. "It's an intact story super-imposed in time," Lepofsky says. From what would seem to be nothing to the average lay person, this group has started to re-construct a picture of a village.

"We can tell a fair bit about people's lives from what looks like just dirt," Lepofsky says. "We can tell what their social structure was, as well as what they were eating. The size of the houses indicates whether they were rich or poor, and how may people lived there. The placement of the hearth in the homes tells us something about what their social relationships were."

If someone were to stumble upon the main work site at Scuttle Bay, not knowing anything about it, and with no one around to give them a tour, it might look like a site with a haphazard series of holes and trenches where construction is about to take place. But as Lepofsky points out different layers in the soil, and says things like, "We can tell that this was the original corner post of the home, and then it burnt down, and then it was re-built," an image of the past begins to form.

Scuttle Bay is just one of thousands of historical sites in the traditional territory of the Sliammon people. According to Michelle Washington, the Sliammon Treaty Society Land Use Planning Coordinator, some other sites have been dated at more than 7600 years. "It is evidence that even an area heavily disturbed by the logging industry can still be of value to our history," she says.

Julia Jackley is an archaeology student who is working on her master's thesis. She spent the summer in Sliammon working under Lepofsky and Welch. Her goal is to tell the story of the history of Scuttle Bay from information revealed by the archaeological dig. She will also use oral history interviews that Lepofsky and Welch have been conducting with Sliammon elders, as well as historical documents about the area. The history sessions that have been recorded with local elders provide a crucial part of the puzzle. The groups' knowledge about the area has increased exponentially as a result of this summer's work.

"Last year we knew that people came here temporarily to fish," Jackley says, looking out at the water. Scuttle Bay, whose Sliammon name translates to "Tide Waters Rush In," is a flat, shallow area where herring and roe were plentiful until 1984 when commercial fishing wiped out populations. "The point [of the land] had smokehouses and drying racks for processing the fish—we can tell that because of the soil layers we found there. When we worked in that spot we found tens of thousands of herring vertebrae." But they hadn't yet found any indication of permanent structures.

"This year we wanted to figure out what else was going on here, and we started finding plank houses." By the end of July the group had found five definite plank houses. "These are permanent structures that people would have been living in for generations. You can see multiple renovation events, and we realized then that it had been more of a permanent settling place." Oral history of the Sliammon people concurs with this version of the past. The findings of this year's dig, however, have surpassed the memories of the oldest living Sliammon residents.

IN THE HOLE: Dana Lepofsky goes over the findings of an excavation site with her archaeology team. Photo by Emma Levez Larocque."We think people have probably been living here for 1,000 years or more," Jackley says. "There were two main settlements that faced each other. One here [close to what is now the highway] and one on the other side of the bay. There were likely a couple of hundred people [in both spots]. At the head of the bay there was some activity, but not as much."

Scuttle Bay would have made a logical place for people to settle. "There was plenty of food—cockles, clams, layers of urchins, and mussels. There was also a source of freshwater... and if you stood on the point you could look to the North and get early warning of any unwelcome visitors." One mystery that continues to elude the archaeologists is an underground house where people reportedly hid from raiders. Ethnographer Homer Barnett described the house in his 1955 book, The Coast Salish of British Columbia (based on work done in the 1920s and 30s) and some Sliammon elders remember playing in the house as children. "The house has been covered over, and we haven't been able to find it," Jackley says.

The Scuttle Bay project has been an exciting one for the archaeologists. Their partnership and information sharing with the Sliammon Nation has made it even more successful and rewarding. Throughout they have received a lot of support from the Sliammon and Powell River communities. "There has been huge interest in what we are doing," Lepofsky says. "And it's growing all the time." Lisa Wilson is a young Sliammon woman who has been working as a liaison between the archaeology crew and the Sliammon band.

"We've had a lot of community events," Wilson says. "We're eager to share this information, and to show people around." She takes pride in the fact that she is a part of a project that is piecing together the history of her people. "A lot of history has already been lost," she says. It is important to her that the stories of the community's elder are being recorded now. "The other thing that's great is that it's getting some younger people interested in preserving their own history."

After analysis by the team, the artefacts that have been found during the Scuttle Bay project will be housed at the Powell River Historical Museum and Archives where they will be available for public viewing. Jackley's paper will be available to the public upon completion, and she, Lepofsky, and Washington will be presenting a summary of the project's results at a talk to be held at Vancouver Island University on November 3.

"It's a rich story that has started to unfold before us," Jackley smiles.

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For Art's Sake
Musical theatre class puts kids on centre stage
By Jessica Colasanto

It seems creative folks never stop coming up with good ideas. Here's a new one: with the obvious love our community has for on-stage spectacles (what a turn-out for last May's Far Off Broadway production of Chicago!), why not have a musical theatre program for our youth?

That's exactly what Carma Sacree and Megan Skidmore have decided to do. A brand new Musical Theatre class will be held on Thursdays from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Powell River Academy of Music, with auditions taking place the first week in October.

The class will work toward a production at the end of April. The pair have chosen a junior theatre version of Alice in Wonderland, filled with lots of fabulous music.

Carma is the director of the Theatre-Acting-Speech Arts program at the Academy, and she often teaches drama and speech arts workshops in the local schools. "Oh no, we never have any fun here," she says, trying to keep a straight face as her eyes sparkle. "This is all very serious," she continues, as her students shriek with laughter behind her. The zaniness of the rabbit hole seems right up her alley.

Megan began giving voice lessons at the Academy while commuting from the Comox Valley, but demand for her talent helped convince her to make the move to Powell River. (You may have had a chance to hear her as the Soprano Soloist at the Chorfest 2009 Grand Concert in a stunning performance of Dona Nobis Pacem by Vaughan Williams held here in town.) She has a Masters Degree in Solo Song from McGill and recently attended the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria, and she's got many operatic roles under her belt.

The Musical Theatre class is open to students in all grades; phone 604-485-9633 or email info@powellriveracademy.org for more details. "It will be so much fun to do," Carma promises—and this time she's serious.

If you're wondering why the kids get all the fun things to do, don't forget about the adult classes and workshops at ArtReach. Coming up on October 24 and 25 from 10 am-4 pm is a Pencil to Paint Weekend Workshop with Rick Cepella entitled "Learn to draw for painting." Cepella is an award-winning painter, illustrator, and political cartoonist.

There's also an ongoing Life Drawing drop-in every Saturday at 11am. For $10 you can draw, paint, or sculpt from a live model for two hours. Because it's a drop-in, there's no registration—just join whenever you can. Coming up in November is a weekend workshop called "Tools and Techniques of Acrylic Painting." For more information about any of the ArtReach programs, phone 604 414-7020. ArtReach is housed at the Academy of Music at 7280 Kemano Street.

Also in October, be sure to stop by the Community Resource Centre at 4752 Joyce Avenue for an exhibition of works by local artist Vi Isaac. Vi's works reflect the beauty of our local landscape and wildlife. An opening reception is tentatively scheduled for October 5.

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

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Business Connections
By Kim Miller

Ken's Personal Touch Floor & Window Fashions has changed ownership. Ken Pritchard recently sold his business, after 15 years in operation, to Don Bilodeau, formally from Invermere, BC. Don and his wife Heather have been visiting and living part time in the Powell River area since the mid 1990s and they have a cottage on Savary. Don is a former general manager of Fairmont Hot Springs Hotel/Resort with an extensive background in business management and entrepreneurial projects. Ken Pritchard will continue working at Personal Touch with Don for at least the next year. Ken will also do more interior design consulting as well as more fishing. Still located at 4683 Marine Avenue, Don welcomes past and new customers into the store. They can be reached at 604 485-5356

After three years, Alofi! Graphic Design is changing its name into Massive Graphic. Massive Graphic founders are Nancy de Brouwer, who is an all round graphic designer, and Hans Kaptein, who is a web designer, 2D and 3D artist. Alofi! still exists, but Nancy and Hans are operating under a new name with a strong 'Massive' creative team. They offer all graphic design solutions and printing, and also web design and hosting. Follow them on www.massivegraphic.ca or call 604 485-3091.

Fighting Fit, Zee's Personal Training Company based in Powell River, is unique to say the least. Starting with training most of the RCMP detachment in Powell River, Zee has made a name for himself within the community as a fresh, new and exciting way of getting fit. Zee has designed programs for teens to 70 year olds no matter the gender, strength or ability. A combination of muscle confusion training, fatigue, stamina and endurance training, EDT (Escalated Density Training), cardio-vascular strengthening and isometrics training, are all designed around the Navy Special Forces system. Zia Salehian is a helicopter pilot who worked with Special Forces of the Royal Navy—the British equivalent of the Navy Seals. Average weight loss of Zee's clients is approx 15 to 20 pounds in three weeks. He has also helped those who have injuries and weakness of joints and muscles. Zee mainly trains his clients out of the Beach Gardens Hotel gym, but does take clients and groups on road runs and beach workouts. He can also work with teams and in homes. For more information contact Zee on 604 483 5376 or email fightingfit@gmail.com.

Do you have any changes within your business you want Powell River to know about? New managers/owners or are you moving locations? Starting a new business? Call Kim at 604 485-4051 and I will get your info into the next issue of Powell River Living.

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Pardon My Pen
By George Campbell

Beautiful BC, as seen through the windshield wipers

The province of British Columbia is situated in Canada and stretches from the Rocky Mountains in the east, to the Pacific Ocean in the west. Although these Rocky Mountains are high, formidable, rugged and plagued with fierce storms, people on the east side still manage to cross them.

This is of great concern to the people that dwell in BC because they believe they live in Paradise, God's chosen land, and anybody who wants to come and live in their Province should check with them first.

This phenomenon, often referred to by people who don't live in BC as 'the west coast attitude', is prevalent throughout the province. Whereas people who live in other parts of Canada will say, "I live in Alberta" or "I live in Saskatchewan (or Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, etc.)" folks from British Columbia will say, "I live in Beautiful BC."

It's a phrase they are taught early in their infancy, right after they learn to say 'mama' and 'dada'. It's a motto that is used repeatedly in their tourist brochures, and British Columbians not only believe it, they pay daily homage to it. This is part of what makes them insufferable to people living in other parts of Canada, particularly Ontario.

British Columbia is famous for many things, including, scenery, climate, pristine wilderness, homeless people, drug addiction, and the town of Sorry (oops, that should read, 'Surrey') BC, the car theft capital of Canada. BC is also famous for strikes and protests.

Visitors to BC can expect to take home some spectacular photos of crowds protesting and/or striking, as well as some fairly decent shots of remote beaches, lakes, and mountaintops. And if they visit Sorry (oops, I mean Surrey) they may even have their car stolen. This, plus being hit up for spare change by the homeless people in BC's two major cities, Vancouver and Victoria, is what the tourist brochures mean when they say—"Experience BC."

BC is also known for its temperate climate. The Province has four distinct seasons: the damp, followed by the moist, after which comes the wet—and then finally, there is the rainy season. People who live in the province will tell you different, but the fact is that it rains somewhere in BC every day of the year.

The history of BC is about logging and fishing along the coast and mining and ranching in the interior. In present day BC there are annual carnivals that show off the feats of the old time logger with events like tree climbing and log rolling. In the interior similar shows called 'rodeos' show off the attributes of the cowboy and rancher, such as bronc riding and throwing the bull. One does not, however, have to be a cowboy or a rancher to throw the bull. Almost all British Columbians are adept at this endeavor, particularly when talking about their weather.

The future of BC is full of promise and good things, not the least of which is the Olympic Winter Games due to take place in 2010. The games will undoubtedly bring many people to the province, and a lot of them are bound to like what they see and decide to stay.

Before long they'll be bragging to their relatives on the prairies and back east that they live in Beautiful BC and start exaggerating about the weather. They will have adopted 'the west coast attitude'.

I think it's the rain that does it.

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Growing stronger
Exercise group helps breast cancer survivors get fit
By Terri Beck

About 10 years ago I was approached to provide training for a few breast cancer survivors who were interested in one day paddling a dragon boat. They knew they needed better upper body strength, range of motion and stamina and wanted some guidance for training. And that's where it all began...

STRETCH FIRST: Breast cancer survivors test out the stretch bands used in the exercise classes.Although the idea began with a view to dragon boat paddling, the emphasis has always been on the physical recovery process after breast cancer. All breast cancer survivors are welcome and encouraged to attend whether they are interested in paddling or not. The group has grown over the years and all participants encourage each other in their training goals, be they big or small, on the water or in daily life.

The work-outs are held at Grief Point Elementary School gym on Monday afternoons from 4:45 p.m. to approximately 6:15 p.m. They include a walking warm-up, strength and core exercises and finish with a stretch session. All levels of fitness are welcome and each participant is encouraged to keep all exercises and stretches at their own level of comfort and range. I am a certified personal trainer, have completed a Breast Cancer Recovery Exercise Program and continue to grow and learn from the participants to help them regain strength and range of motion and to reach their full potential. Correct exercise technique and good posture are emphasized. Questions are always encouraged and training advice and tips are provided each week. Our Powell River Reach for Recovery leaders participate in the exercise program and also have lots of great advice to share with new members.

This is a fun way for any breast cancer survivor, whether recently diagnosed or fully recovered, to elevate their general fitness level and meet new people in a very cheerful, comfortable setting. Our first session will be held on Monday, October 5 at 4:45 pm. If you are interested in attending you may drop in at any time. There is no charge for the sessions. If you would like more information, please contact Terri Beck 604 485-5876, Lorna Clark 604 485-3795 or Lynda Miller at 604 485-7909.

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Fire prevention week
What you can to do keep your family safe

October 4 to 10 is Fire Prevention Week in Canada.

Being prepared is the first line of defense in fire prevention, says Tom Ellis, Powell River Fire Rescue's Deputy Fire Chief. Here are some things you need to know to keep your family safe.

Do you know your fire department's emergency number? Your fire escape plan? Your designated meeting place in the event of a fire?

Statistics reveal that 78% of deaths from fire occur in the home with the most fatalities taking place between 2 am and 4 am while occupants are asleep. It is important to develop an escape plan so you can react quickly.

When there is a fire the smoke is black and very thick and it is impossible to see. There is no time for indecision as an entire home can be engulfed within five minutes.

Ellis says that most people are killed by smoke inhalation and not the flames of the fire. It is important to develop and practice a fire escape plan.

"Install smoke alarms on every level. Keep smoke alarms clean and dust-free, check them monthly and replace batteries yearly and alarms every 10 years."

Where possible, plan two exits: a main route and an alternate route from each room.

Since the majority of fire deaths occur while you are sleeping, you should practice your plan at night as well, getting down on your hands and knees with a flashlight while crawling to safety. Heavy smoke impairs breathing which is why staying close to the floor increases chances of escape.

Make certain that everyone understands that if they hear the smoke alarm, or someone shouting "Fire!" they should immediately evacuate the home.

Sleep with doors closed.

Purchase a multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher labelled ABC. This will put out most types of small fires.

Make sure your babysitter understands your escape plan and practice your escape plan regularly.

In the event of an emergency, call 911.

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Seven best jobs
Or, what do you want to do when you grow up?
By Alexander Southcott

We asked a group of local youngsters what they think the best jobs in Powell River would be. Then we sent rookie reporter Alexander Southcott to find out if the jobs were all they were cracked up to be. Here's what he found.

DJ Bobby Fields

Bobby Fields ¥ Radio DJ and music director

Years in the business: 16, plus a degree in broadcasting

Best thing about the job: "Every time I go on the air my heart beats faster, my hands get sweaty and my throat gets dry. I get the rush every single time. I get paid to talk and make a connection with people."

Worst thing about the job: "I really like to sleep in so getting up early is tough. The worst thing about radio is that the industry is volatile, you are only as good as your last show."






Vet Brian Barnes

Brian Barnes ¥ Veterinarian

Years in business: 25

Best thing: "Seeing animals get better. I like to work with animals and I also like medicine and surgery and helping animals."

Worst thing: "When we have to deal with abused animals. We have three cats at the clinic and they are all rescue cats."







Fire Chief Tom Ellis

Tom Ellis ¥ Deputy Fire Chief

Years in business: 35

Best thing: "I think being a firefighter is the best job in the world. I like educating people on fire safety. I find it really rewarding when you talk to a younger person or an older person and educate them on fire safety"

Worst thing:"I think it's when I have to go to a tragedy where a person has been killed. That is the hardest part of my job."






Teedie Kagume at the Museum

Teedie Kagume ¥ Coordinator, Powell River Museum

Years in the business: 18

Best thing: "It's everything. There is not one thing I don't like about it. I like learning every day about our history. I like working with original records and I like listening to the people's stories. I love that!"

Worst thing: "Not enough hours in the day to do it all."







Graphic Designer Nancy deBrouwer


Nancy deBrouwer ¥ Graphic Designer

Years in business: 17

Best thing: "Creating something completely new. I am still surprised that I can do it."

Worst thing:"I miss the challenge of working for National Geographic (where she was the art director in the Netherlands) and doing design work for such a high quality magazine."






Coach Kent Lewis

Kent Lewis ¥ General Manager/Head Coach, Powell River Kings

Years in business: 15

Best thing: "The fact that it is a game. We have to remind ourselves of that—it's a very competitive business. I get to work with a great group of people and have a little bit to do with the development of young men. I feel pretty blessed to have this job."

Worst thing: "I have to be careful that I do not eat like the players on the road or else I'll balloon up! The hardest part of the job is breaking hearts. It's having to tell a player he is not good enough to play for The Kings or dealing with tough injuries when players get hurt badly."





Christine Hollman

Christine Hollmann ¥ Outdoor adventure guide for Terracentric Coastal Adventures who provide recreational tours and educational programs aimed at connecting people with nature and each other.

Years in business: 8

Best thing: "Taking people out into my back yard, Lund and Desolation Sound and hiking. Sharing what I know about the history of the area, the flora and fauna and learning at the same time."

Worst thing: "The challenge of having to balance my life. Juggling all the roles required of a small business owner."


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Coming up!

PRACL hosting special events

Join Powell River Association for Community Living this month to hear the powerful story "Love at Second Sight" with inspirational humorist and motivational speaker David Roche and partner, Marlena Blavin. Their presentation, a powerful tribute to the impact of embracing differences, is one of several Community Living Month events hosted by PRACL. It takes place at 7 pm on October 20 at Community Living Place. Visit www.pracl.ca for more info.

"I have always pictured my hero to be strong and beautiful, but this week I have found two new heroes! And they are both strong and beautiful, not just on the outside."
- Chara Krangle, student at Roberts CreekElementary School.

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Little Curry Hut shares roof with Bemused Bistro
Shared restaurant satisfies the soul and the palate
by Linda Wegner

Sharing a deck, and the kitchen: Bemused Bistro owners Jeffrey Renn and his sister Andrea at left, are pleased that Janmeet Kaur and Mohinder Singh, of the Little Curry Hut joined them on Marine Avenue.The distance from Marine Avenue to the doors of Bemused/Little Curry Hut is deceptively short but to transverse the wooden bridge and pass through the entry way to this unique eating establishment is to cross the threshold into a blend of many different worlds. East, west, engineering, acting, delicate greens and spicy curry—these elements are all included, all part of what makes this experiment in culinary cooperation so successful.

The roof over Bemused Bistro and Little Curry Hut restaurants covers a unique combination of dining experiences, cooking styles and personal backgrounds. From Monday to Thursday patrons enjoy the tastes and fragrances of Northern India cuisine, prepared by Mohinder Singh and his wife, Janmeet Kaur; from Friday through Sunday, Jeffrey Renn serves up a whole set of alternate menu options, including organic greens and local seafood.

Jeffrey Renn is a professional actor who came from Ontario in order to find his father; Mohinder Singh is a chemical engineer who came with his family to Powell River from Singapore via Saskatchewan to find a new life in Canada. Both parties found what they were looking for and decided to become residents of this community.

Jeffrey's quest to meet his father led him from Stratford where he worked as a professional actor in the Stratford Festival.

"I came here to find my father who has been an organic farmer south of town for 30 years. I found a glorious hippie who had a glorious life. He loves what he does and he touches the earth gently and graciously. I fell in love with that lifestyle and I stayed," Jeffrey says.

The Singh family, Mohinder, Janmeet and their nine-year-old daughter, Asees Kaur, came to visit family as well and they also fell in love with Powell River.

"After we came to Canada I was hired by a company in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. I worked there for one month before asking if I could work from home. My wife's health was compromised by the cold weather," he says, then explains that while visiting in BC they decided to make a side trip to visit his wife's uncle who lived in Powell River.

"We fell in love with it instantly—we spent a week and decided to move the family here," he explains.

After their move Janmeet, who earned a Master of Science degree in Home Science while still living in India, began preparing curries for sale in the Open Air Market. Customers loved the product, he says, and they encouraged the couple to sell it in events such as Sea Fair, Blackberry Festival and Folkfest.

"That gave us lots of advertising. We soon decided that there was a niche here for authentic North India food."

It was while Janmeet and Mohinder were tending their booth at the Open Air Market that they met Jeffrey. Their friendship grew until eventually they discussed the possibility of operating Bemused Bistro as a joint venture.

"Jeff came up with the idea [of sharing the restaurant]. We now had an opportunity [and a customer base] and I just had to come in without having to invest a lot of money—everything was here; I just had to subsidize operating expenses. I call this a win-win situation."

According to Mohinder, the most satisfying aspect of the arrangement, though, is the pleasure and satisfaction the couple have found in pooling their skills and abilities.

"The most important and most satisfying thing is that my wife, who has a degree in cooking, now has an avenue to do what she really enjoys. The next [most satisfying] thing is that customers come and appreciate her cooking. We are getting to know the community more and more. My background includes marketing. I'm the guy that talks," he said with a smile in his voice.

There is no doubt that this unique sharing of space and resources has worked out for a lot of people: the community has increased options for dining out; both Jeffrey and the Singh family have found a home they love; Janmeet has found an appreciative audience for her cooking skills, to say nothing of the reprieve from bitter Saskatchewan winters; Jeffrey has connected with his father and the restaurant is thriving. It could be called a visible example of how cooperation can satisfy both body and soul.

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Family Matters
Kids and business
By Isabelle Southcott

Some kids are born savers; others born spenders. How do you teach your children about money? How do you make them understand how hard you have to work to pay the mortgage, to pay registration fees for hockey or gymnastics, to buy that new computer the kids think they desperately need?

We use piggy banks and savings accounts to teach them to save. We encourage them to get babysitting jobs, paper routes, and mow lawns. Jobs that pay real money instil pride in children and help develop a sense of responsibility.

Not long ago we had a yard sale. Between our household and my mother's, we had a lot of stuff we no longer needed. Pots, pans, garden equipment, bit of furniture and so forth. The kids tacked up several posters along Joyce and Marine and we gathered the stuff together in the front room. We didn't have any tables so when the time came; we just hauled everything out onto the front lawn.

The early birds showed up an hour before we were officially open and the buying began. The children did the wheeling and dealing, priced everything, handled the money and had a lot of fun doing it! When all was said and done they made $80 each, pretty good for a morning's work. Both boys kept $20 for fun money and put the rest in the bank. My youngest son has been saving carefully for a long time and that last $60 helped him reach his goal of $1,000. You see, Alexander had a goal. He wanted to save $1,000 so he could invest it and have his money collect interest. He made an appointment with a financial advisor to talk about how to best begin his journey to becoming a millionaire.

Learning about money and business begins at a young age. Both my children help out with the magazine. They help with deliveries and 10-year-old Alexander has written his first article this month; featuring seven best jobs. We did the interviews together (he's too young to drive the car) and I helped him when he needed a bit of support. You see, kids are never too young to start learning about business and the value of money.

Your attitude towards money begins at a young age. Remember, it's not how much you make but how much you spend.