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November 2009 issue

November 2009

>> This entire issue is available as a 14MB PDF download

Table of Contents

Family Matters
Remembrance Day Feature
Remembrance Day
Busting the age barrier
Coming up!
Simplifying may not be so simple
Diggin' up bones
Find YOUR family online
Point of VIU
Agius reno wins gold
Contest winner waxes lyrical about Sunshine Coast
For Art's Sake
Angel Flight
What to do with your RRSP when you turn 71
Festival of Trees
Powell River Lions Club
From trees to mulch to earth
Business Connections
Blast from the Past
Help a child this Christmas
Changed by Alzheimer's
Pardon My Pen
Faces of Education




We welcome feedback from our readers. Letters may be edited for length. Email isabelle@prliving.ca, or mail letters to PR Living, 3932 Manitoba Avenue, Powell River, BC V8A 2W6.

Dear PR Living:

Over the past number of years our company, Country Woodworkers Ltd, has been busy marketing our line of "Mother Hubbard's Cupboards" throughout Western Canada. I have had the opportunity to visit, pass through and do business in many of the cities and small towns in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. I am a reader and as such will pick up any local newspaper or magazine to see what may be going on.

I must tell you that from Vancouver to Regina to Fort McMurray to Prince George and all places in between I have yet to discover a publication that compares with Powell River Living magazine.

This summer while in Edmonton I brought along a copy of the July 2009 issue and had it out for people to see--it attracted a lot of interest. If the people that had a look at it didn't know about Powell River previously they were surely intrigued after browsing through your magazine. As we here at CWW pride ourselves on building fine handcrafted furniture and cabinets you too create a fine handcrafted product. And just think, right here in little ol' Powell River.

Keep up the great work.

Rick Hopper

Powell River, BC



Dragon gold

Kudos to Lorraine Matheson for winning a gold medal at a Dragon Boat Festival held recently in Switzerland. Matheson was part of the International Pink Sisters Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team. The event raises funds for cancer.

Pink haired!

Kudos to Image I Salon and Spa for raising $1,500 to date for the fight against breast cancer. The Crossroads Village salon & spa is giving out free pink hair extensions to everyone who donates $10 to the fund to raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer. Drop by Image 1 to help the fight!

Locals win speaking contest

Kudos to Susan Young de Biagi for winning Toastmasters' most humorous speech contest at the area level with her speech, The Guerrilla Grammarian. Wearing a military uniform and wielding a sword, Biagi cut and hacked at the improper use of English. Susan also finished third in the division contest in Courtenay recently, while representing Powell River Sunshine Speakers Toastmasters. Congratulations are also in order for Sunshine Speaker Kevin Wilson for winning Table Topics at the area contest.

CAT's in the bag

Kudos to Powell River, and the Hospital Foundation in particular, for raising $1.8 million for the CatScan.

The design-build tender for construction has been awarded to Scott Construction Group of Vancouver. Design work has begun and construction is slated to begin in November. The completion date is Spring 2010.

The CT scanner project brings to a close the largest community fundraising campaign in Powell River's history. "Our whole town came together and embraced this fundraising campaign," said Dave Harper, chair, Pat Thomson CAT fundraising campaign. "Everyone had a creative way to raise money, and the entire community has worked tirelessly over the past two-and-a-half years to reach our goal. The effort and dedication put toward this project has made me proud to be a Powell Riverite."

CAT Scan Cans

Cat in the Hats off to the ladies auxiliary for helping the Hospital Foundation raise money for the CatScan.

Powell Riverites supported the Pass the Hat for the Cat Campaign in many ways, but one of the most visible was the constant reminders of "Cat Cans" at retailers, restaurants and offices.

The Powell River Health Care Auxiliary placed cans in 167 establishments in the area. When a can was picked up, another replaced it, so more than 300 cans were made. Since the group didn't have an auxiliary member on Texada Island, Linda Messmer offered to distribute the cans on the island and periodically sent them back via Don Gahan.

The Auxiliary also held raffles, selling tickets on a doll house made by Norm Hutton and on quilts at the gift shop in the hospital. Those projects raised over $41,000.

That was just the tip of the public's support of the auxiliary efforts. Thanks to the support of the Economy Shop and the Gift Shop, the auxiliary was able to donate $500,000 to the campaign, plus two separate donations to the Powell River Hospital Foundation: $5,000 for campaign advertising and $15,0000 to pay for the initial design and detailed costing assessment.


Family Matters: A community that cares
By Isabelle Southcott

They say old age isn't for sissies and boy are they right!

Many things happen as we age, some are positive, while other changes are not so welcome.

On the plus side with age comes wisdom. Thank heavens. I for one don't want to repeat some of the things I've done.

Other bonuses include the fact that you get to ride the ferry for free Monday to Thursday once you turn 65. There are also discount days at grocery stores and pharmacies. We age every day and though we try to fight it, it sure beats the alternative.

It often surprises us to discover that we've reached the next phase of our life. After all, we feel the same inside, but mirrors don't lie. You feel like you're 16 when you're 60 but you know you're older because of your achy back and the fact that your driver's license says you are.

It's those failing body parts that bother me the most. Sometime after the age of 40 the print became smaller in books and although I tried to deny the fact that my eyes were aging, I finally had to give in and wear reading glasses.

Aches and pains spring up overnight. Sometimes you'll ask an older person the standard: "So, how are you doing?" and they'll tell you their medical history. They don't mean to bore you; they're just answering the question you asked.

Another age-related change is hearing loss. It's frustrating for those who lose their hearing because it isolates them and it is difficult for those who communicate with them. Being isolated, whether due to hearing loss or mobility issues, can lead to a host of other issues such as depression and loneliness. It is important that family, friends and community members reach out and look after their seniors. Take the time to talk to them; they have more to offer than just years.

In this issue veteran Hayden Hughes shares his story about the Second World War and the quest to learn what happened to his brother the day his plane crashed during a training exercise. Writer Gerry Gray spoke to veteran Herb Hindle who reflects on his story during a Remembrance Day feature.

The contribution made by seniors is immeasurable. Not only do they enrich the community they live in but they give back in many ways. They volunteer with worthy causes including Operation Shoe Box and service clubs such as the Lions and a story about this very club tells us just how busy they are!

When someone asks you how old you are, tell them the truth. It depends on how I feel at the moment. Some days I feel six, other days, I feel sixty!


Remembrance Day Feature: Witness recounts accident 63 years later
By Isabelle Southcott

Families who lost loved ones during the war are often left with many unanswered questions. Some people spend the rest of their lives wondering what happened and never find the answers. Others, if they are lucky, piece the puzzle together and learn what happened.

AT PEACE: Powell River Veteran Hayden Hughes holds a photograph of his brother the late Gordon Booth Hughes who was killed while training during World War II.The Hughes family of Powell River had a tradition of serving their country. The late Vernon Hughes, a papermaker at the Powell River Mill, fought in the First World War along with his wife Helen's three brothers. The Hughes' son Hayden was in the Canadian Merchant Navy in World War II and son Gordon (deceased) was a member of the air force stationed in England; their daughter Patsy was in the Canadian air force but did not go overseas.

"I was on convoy duty in the North Atlantic and later in the Pacific during the war," recalled Hayden in the days leading up to Remembrance Day 2009. "It was during one of my convoy trips that we were in port at Glasgow and there was a longshoreman's strike. We were held up for 11 days. I thought I knew where my brother was stationed in Yeovilton, Southern England so I tried to see him."

Hayden made arrangements to go see his brother and sent him a telegram announcing his upcoming visit. "Two days later I received a cablegram from Canada from mother saying that Gordon was killed. His death was because of an air accident. They were training in formation and their wings clipped. Both planes crashed and Gordon was killed."

Sister Patsy investigated Gordon's death through the Canadian Legion Magazine in the 1990s and was told that because of the war, Gordon's training had been hurried up and he was killed in training.

They learned that a five-year-old boy had witnessed their brother's death as the accident had occurred over a farming area. "It really shocked the boy," said Hayden.

Dennis Rottenbury was the boy who witnessed the accident and he remained haunted by the vision of the planes coming crashing down on his family's field all his life.

In November 2008, Hayden received a letter from Dennis that answered many questions and brought about closure for him. Here is an excerpt from that letter.

Dear Mr. Hughes:

I feel this letter is long overdue, my name is Dennis Rottenbury and I am the person who saw the tragic accident in 1945 involving your brother Gordon. It happened over our farm at Bewitchen in North Devon. I was just five years old.

It's the first thing I remember in my life and it's so clear in my mind today some 63 years later.

Throughout this time I have often wondered who the young airman was and of course, now I know it's like a shadow has been lifted from my life.

Not long before Dennis Rottenbury wrote this letter a schoolteacher from Wales asked Dennis if he could pinpoint the spot of the accident. He could and so they got permission from the landowner and the Ministry and excavated the site. They recovered some metal fragments and rusty ammunition. The largest item they found was a valve from the aircraft of Gordon's "Corsair" engine.

"It was bent but still intact," said Hayden holding it up in the living room of his Powell River home. "They sent it to me with a commemorative plaque."

On October 16, 2008, Dennis Rottenbury visited the gravesite of Gordon Booth Hughes. It is located 80 miles away from his home yet he felt compelled to go. Dennis arranged some red carnations in a vase along with Gordon's photo, a wooden Remembrance cross and a poppy and took some photos of the gravesite to send to Hayden.

The simple white grave marker says:

GB Hughes
of Canada
Petty Officer Airman, RN
L/FX 754361 · HMS Heron

9 November 1945 · Age 21

the surly bonds of earth
Put out my hand
And touched
the face of God."

In his letter to Hayden, Dennis wrote: "Gordon's life was short but his name and memory lives on here in England as it does in his homeland of Canada and may it do so forever more."

Nothing can bring Gordon back for Hayden but the effort made by Dennis Rottenbury in England to contact him means a lot. It has given him a sense of closure after all these years. It has given him a sense of peace.

On November 11, take a moment and remember those who have served their country. Take a moment and give thanks for the many freedoms that we enjoy today because of them.

Answers: This collage shows the area where the plane of the late Gordon Hughes crashed during the Second World War. Fragments of his aircraft were found more than 60 years later. Gordon's grave and memorial stone are shown at left and right.


Remembrance Day

Lest we forget

On the 11th day,

of the 11th month,

at the 11th hour...


people all over the world stop whatever they are doing to pay tribute to the men and women who served their country so that we may enjoy the many freedoms that we do today. That date is chosen because it was the official end of the First World War, "the war to end all wars."

Since then, so many have paid the ultimate price to protect their country; they are no longer with us. Others came home but they were not untouched by the horrors of war. They lived with their memories, horrific as they were.

If you are in Powell River this November 11, visit the Cenotaph in the Townsite and remember those who have served our country, and give thanks to our fallen soldiers.



Busting the age barrier
Townsite Intergenerational Programs
By Devon Hanley

It's an amazing process: a dream becomes a plan, and then the plan becomes reality. But the magic question is where did the dream come from? For Heather Gordon, it was a crystal moment in a seniors centre. "I was attending a course and we were visiting a seniors' residence built in a centre which housed, amongst other things, a daycare," explains Heather. "It was mid-morning and children from the daycare were arriving to visit with seniors. Truthfully, I had my reservations about how this was going to work. Some of the seniors were bed and wheelchair ridden and these were very young children."

But in a heart-opening moment, Heather watched while a toddler tried in vain to pull on a pair of plastic dress shoes. A facilitator brought the little girl up close to a woman in a wheelchair. Heather describes the scene: "The senior seemed to wake up, it looked as if she was trying to remember something, and then she said quietly 'I used to do this. I had children. How many did I have?' Then she reached down and gently helped the little girl on with her shoes."

PICTURE PERFECT: Georgia Murphy shows off her creativity to TIPS volunteer Heather Gordon during the after school club.The power of connection, the strength of two generations reaching out to each other in a gesture of kindness--that was the magic moment which galvanized Heather's determination to spearhead a steering committee at St. David and St. Paul Anglican Church to make the Townsite Intergenerational Programs, (TIPs) a reality.

Many weeks of meetings, planning and revisions to a New Horizons for Seniors Program grant met with success. In the spring of 2009 a coordinator was hired, and the TIPs steering committee set to work executing the plan. September 2009 saw the launch of a Mother Goose program, a Seniors-Internet Drop In and an After School Club and these all take place in the church's comfortable and roomy community hall, with seniors facilitating the programs.

Church Minster Adela Torchia is pleased to report that all three programs - which are free of charge, are turning out to be quite popular. "We wanted to make our church a more open and welcoming place," explains Adela. "The TIPs steering committee recognized an opportunity to use seniors' experience and know-how to extend ourselves out to our immediate community."

A weekly Seniors Internet Drop-In offers coffee, tea and internet instruction. Specially trained seniors facilitate a weekly Mother Goose program, which provides a nurturing and supportive environment for parents/caregivers and their toddlers to learn age-appropriate stories, finger plays and songs. Mother Goose coordinator, Rose Marie Williams, notes that the program is a wonderful way for Townsite moms, dads and caregivers to meet in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

HOOKED ON FUN: Henderson School students are excited to take part the Townsite Intergenerational Program's after school club.Sue Warrington is an After School Club volunteer and facilitator. "I'm hooked," says Sue, "I wouldn't miss it for the world! The kids are enthusiastic, appreciative and a pleasure to be around." Coordinator Devon Hanley reports the program has a very dedicated volunteer core. "They bring home-baked cookies, do arts and crafts with the kids, read to them, play pool, make origami, build Lego space crafts and some of them are even trying to master the hula hoop!" laughs Devon. "It's a nice, relaxed atmosphere with lots of room to move. Some of the parents are starting to drop in for a cup of tea while their children play."

Jamie Burt, principal of Henderson Elementary, is a big supporter of the After School Club and turns up on a regular basis to see what his students are up to. "This is community at its best," states Burt. "We are connecting kids into their neighbourhood, building support for them and their families--it's a great program all round."

For more information about the Mother Goose program call 604 483-9838. For After School Club information call 604 414-9373. The Seniors Internet Drop-In takes place Thursdays, 2-3:30 pm. All programs take place at St. David and St. Paul Anglican Church Community Hall, 6310 Sycamore Street in the Townsite.



Coming up!

Winter Night Market is back

The Winter Night Market, now in its second year, is extending its hours. This year, it takes place on Thursday nights at 5:30-8:30 pm from November 12 to December 3. The Market is at the Complex upstairs outside the Evergreen Theatre. Organizers welcome new vendors so anyone interested should contact Karen at 604-344-0127, or Amber at 604-487-0868 or email them at prnightmarket@gmail.com. Fees and other market details are available on the website: www.prnightmarket.wordpress.com.



Simplifying may not be so simple
Tips from a professional designer
by Jessica Hutton

Downsizing is never easy. Whether it's from the family home to a smaller dwelling, or just organizing your current home, it is a difficult task.

The hardest question is what to keep and what to part with and how does one ever decide what goes into which category? To help with this often-complicated process, here are some ideas to help make the process of downsizing a little less about parting with treasured mementos and a little more about organization and making a house a home.

First, consider the size of the new, smaller home, or if the present home is too full and cluttered. Walk through the house with all sentimentality aside and determine what is needed--what is necessary to live comfortably (bed, dresser, etc.).

Once the needs have been determined, you should then be able to have a better idea of how much space is left for the extras. Years tend to add a wealth of photos, knick-knacks and trinkets given by friends, siblings, children, grandchildren and possibly great grand children. Each object, picture or drawing is special, but to avoid mass clutter, try the following measures.

Downsize all pictures to four by sixes and amass them into an album or albums. Leave only one picture of each person out on constant display. If pictures are larger than four by six, consider scrap booking the larger versions or downsizing them at your favourite photo shop. The albums can then be left as display pieces on a shelf or table for constant perusal.

Consider a bookshelf or curio cabinet for all objects of sentimental value. This will help to alleviate all clutter from tabletops, window ledges, pianos and any other surface areas.

Grandparents are often the recipients of copious amounts of drawings, cards, painting and other memorabilia from their grandchildren. Begin a large book to hold all these precious mementos. After the piece has been displayed on the fridge or wall for an allotted time, it can go into the book. This allows it to be easily accessible for showing off while not cluttering up space. Another option is to create tack boards for each grandchild that allows them to hang their art for Grandpa and Grandma and that also allows the children to make the decision as to what is removed from the board when the board gets too full.

Consider assigning a bedroom a number of jobs. Perhaps a hide-a-bed for when guests are over (yes, there are such things as comfortable hide-a-beds) and a large desk for sewing, crafting, building, or for whatever hobbies are enjoyed in the same room. This allows for downsizing while still keeping the options for guests and hobbies open.

If seasonal clothes or linens are cluttering up closets, consider storage bins for under the beds. They allow for the secure laying away of items while still being readily available.

In the end, one always finds that, unfortunately, there are some items that just haven't made the cut. To make the parting easier, take photos of the pieces, objects, art, whatever it may be and put them into albums. Although the objects are not longer tangibly there, they can be reflected upon at any time through a picture.

Although it isn't easy, it is possible to downsize without parting with your most treasured belongings. It is just all in the creativeness one uses to organize, store and display in the spaces we call home.


Diggin' up bones
Learning about our ancestors
By Isabelle Southcott

Ever wonder about your great, great, great, great grandfather? Ever wonder why he ended up in Australia? Ever wonder what he did that got him booted out of England?

If you're at all curious (and come on, most of us are) you've probably wondered about your family history. But if you haven't done anything about it because you weren't sure how to get started, keep reading because you're about to find out.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) provides a free service to help people research their family history (genealogy). All you have to do is walk into the downstairs of their church any Tuesday between 1 and 5 pm or Thursday between 1 and 9 pm and people there will help you get started.

WAY BACK: Ray Sketchley has researched his family tree on his father's side back to his fourth great grandfather. "You'd be surprised what you learn," says Ray.Ray Sketchley is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS and he knows a lot about diggin' up bones. He's gone back on his father's side to his fourth great grandfather and discovered that he was transported from England to Virginia in April 1767. "They were 13 colonies then; the United States wasn't even a country."

Sketchley found a piece of paper that said his great, great, great, great grandfather was transported because he committed a felony. "I don't know what that felony was though; I haven't been able to find out."

Back in England in those days when you committed a crime you were given three choices.

- You were given the lash (only 50 per cent survived the lash).

- You could have your hand burned (your hand would be useless forever after)

- You'd be shipped out of England for seven years.

Sketchley's ancestor chose the latter.

Sketchley's fourth great grandfather married and had four children with his first wife and one child, a daughter, with his second wife. All his children became teachers.

When Sketchley began researching his family history in 1973, his aunt was in the process of writing a family history. "That's what started me," he says. "It's so interesting. Finding family history is easy. Proving it is harder."

Over 30 years have passed since he began his explorations and he's still at it. Along the way he's discovered some inaccuracies.

FAMILY TREE: Many people who begin researching their family tree say it is addictive because there is always something more to learn."It's probably as addictive as cocaine once you start doing it; it's hard to quit," he admits.

Sketchley has the shoes his great, great grandmother, Sarah Justice, wore when she got married in June of 1829. They're faded and delicate but still in remarkable shape. Along with those shoes he has a pair of silk stockings she wore and a handcraft she made.

Because of researching his family history, he's learned some interesting tidbits about his family. For instance, Harriet, his fourth great grandfather's daughter who ran a School for Young Ladies in North Carolina, later married a Methodist Deacon in 1845. "Harriet smoked a pipe and her husband didn't like her smoking a pipe. When he wouldn't give her room to grow her own tobacco in his corn field, she cut down a patch of corn in the middle of the night." Because there was nothing growing in that spot, Harriet convinced her new husband to let her plant tobacco there!

Family history research is an important aspect of LDS tradition, stemming from a doctrinal mandate for church members to research their family tree and perform vicarious ordinances for their ancestors. LDS believe that these ordinances "seal" or link families together, with the goal being an unbroken chain back to Adam.

John Phillpott doesn't belong to the church but he uses the church's microfiche and orders transcripts (for a small fee) that he wants to look at. "It's a lot of fun," he says. He has traced his family tree back to 1796 but is determined to go back further.

"I've been working my family history for four years," he says.

Sketchley stresses the fact that they help people get started. "We don't do genealogy for people. If you want to do genealogy on your own computer, you can download a free genealogy program. We have a handout package we'll give people."

Powell River has a Genealogy Club, which is run out of the Seniors Centre. "We get people started and then encourage them to go to the Genealogy Club," said Sketchley.


Find YOUR family online

If you're interested in learning about your family's genealogy check out this website, www.familysearch.org.

This is the biggest free site in world and contains census, church and family history records from all around the world, some going back to 1500.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints created a specialized file format known as GEDCOM for storing and exchanging these records. Since then, GEDCOM has become the de facto standard that almost all genealogy programs support.

The program is updated every single day. Since its inception in 2007, over 150 million entries have been made.



Point of VIU
You're never too old to learn
by Dawn MacLean

ElderCollege is now in its third year at Vancouver Island University, and its members are raving about the benefits. Lorraine Parkinson has been enthusiastically taking courses from the onset: from Painting the Masters, Meditation, Dare to Write and Spanish, Lorraine enjoys them all.

"At this stage of my life, I still want to learn but not with the focus on academic learning, as in the past. Having fun, learning new ideas, exploring areas that are out of my comfort zone, in a friendly, accepting, no-pressure environment, have all been part of the experience I have had at ElderCollege. I've made new friends from diverse backgrounds, and received top-notch instruction from amazing teachers. And it's all been right on my doorstep!" says Lorraine.

Alison Barbour agrees. She appreciates how enthusiastic and passionate instructors are about their subjects. "Carmen Kuzcma, the Spanish instructor, is a perfect example. She makes learning fun and relevant. When we went to Mexico, we realized we really had learnt enough Spanish to make ourselves understood and at least we could order margaritas and tacos."

Some courses are only one class. Others are once a week for six weeks. In any case, there is no long term-commitment. There is no pressure regarding assignments or exams, so everyone is relaxed. With the influx of new and interesting people to our community, they are a real asset to Powell River. ElderCollege members can immerse themselves in a whole new realm of learning at bargain prices.


Agius reno wins gold
Planning makes perfect

A Powell River builder has been presented a coveted gold award for a renovation on his own house.

Agius Builders Ltd. won the Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC's Construction and Renovation Excellence (CARE) Awards for Vancouver Island in the Best Residential Renovation or Restoration $200,000 - $400,000 category.

The company has won four silver awards in the past, but this was the first time they've hit gold. The awards are usually dominated by Victoria and Nanaimo builders.

Jim and Tracy Agius's home on Hernando Avenue had not been updated since the 1970s, but has now been completely retrofitted with exterior rigid insulation, new high-efficiency windows, custom doors and architectural features including bump-outs in the dormers for added dimension; exposed rafter tails and knee-braces for a heritage appearance.

Another View: The water side of the renovated home includes lots of new windows to take in the stunning Grief Point view.The "Secret Garden" in front was torn down and completely re-built with tapered Douglas fir timber posts, fir beams and soffits. The siding was finished in a brilliant Caribbean Azure that contrasts boldly against the cedar shingles, fir timbers and ivory painted wood trim.

"The stone work by Malcolm Prentiss really finishes it off," said CaroleAnn Leishman who designs projects for Agius Builders Ltd.

In keeping with a heritage feel copper downspouts were installed ready to patina over time. The base of the "Secret Garden" and the front entry are elegantly crafted with BC Natural Ledgestone Veneer to enhance the Craftsman style but with a nudge into a more contemporary era.

"Jim and Tracy wanted it to be done right and they took their time," said Leishman.

"It's all about the planning."



Winner: Angie Davey, copy editor for The Peak, won the "So You Think You Can Write" contest.Contest winner waxes lyrical about Sunshine Coast
So you think you can write

Working in partnership with Tourism Powell River, Powell River Writers Conference hosted the first So You Think You Can Write contest. Entrants wrote about Powell River area with a view to it being used for promoting. Editors Isabelle Southcott and Corey Matsumoto ranked the entries before turning them over the conference's version of American Idol judges at the 6th annual fall workshop Oct 17. Simon Cowell alias Darren Robinson, Bobby Fields alias Paula Abdul, and Gary Grieco alias Randy Jackson judged and entertained the audience as entries were read. A poem by Amber Lynch took second place, while a story on The Pearl by Donna Koleszar took third. The winning entry by Angie Davey is described as brilliant and something tourism could use for marketing.


Come on home to the Sunshine Coast

There's a prevalent Sunshine Coast phenomenon: people often come for a visit and then leave only long enough to pack up their things and move here permanently.

Perhaps it's the endless array of outdoor activities, like golf, kayaking, fishing and rock climbing. Perhaps it's the sheltered inlets and luminous sunsets. Perhaps it's the eclectic assortment of restaurants serving local ingredients. Or, perhaps it's the easy pace, fresh air and lack of honking horns. These are all good reasons but ultimately, people come from all over the world and end up staying because of the people of the Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast, namely Gibsons, Sechelt, Powell River and all the smaller communities dispersed here and there, is a mecca for those who burst with artistic expression. Wordsmiths, potters, woodworkers and painters court their muses along the wooded paths and rocky shores of this region of British Columbia's coastline.

Crime is low and neighbourhoods are safe. Community spirit is strong and there's love for the planet. Sustainability is a high priority as is accessibility and respect for First Nations culture. People smile and say hello as you pass on the street and there's a real sense of embracing a simpler lifestyle where there's pride in growing and raising your own food.

Festivals and special events are plentiful. There are too many to list but Powell River's Blackberry Festival in August draws thousands of admirers of the somewhat invasive, yet versatile berry. The weeklong Sechelt Arts Festival provides a spotlight for dancers, photographers, sculptors, musicians and more. And for those who are tactile in nature, there's the Gibsons Landing Fibre Arts Festival.

They say home is where the heart is, and more and more people are discovering that their hearts belong to the Sunshine Coast. Come see for yourself.



For Art's Sake
By Jessica Colasanto

Picture a local prawn fisher singing a sea shanty. Did a young, willowy coloratura soprano come to mind?

Megan Skidmore will be performing with the Academy Chamber Choir on Saturday, November 7 at 8 pm--and while there may not be any shanties, there's sure to be at least one seafaring song on the program.

Skidmore grew up as a member of the Prawn Trap Family Singers (yes, she's really a prawn fisher). If you ask her, she'll tell you she prefers the soubrette roles over coloratura because of their comedic characters; given her spunky nature, this makes perfect sense.

In her teens she crossed paths with pianist Sarah Hagen, herself an accomplished soloist and chamber musician. Hagen will be accompanying Skidmore's solo pieces in the concert; the two have regularly performed an operatic and classical repertoire to sold-out crowds both in Montreal and on Vancouver Island.

For this performance, Skidmore has chosen a few English parlour songs, several works by Schubert, and four compositions from the early 1800s by Fanny Mendelssohn, sister of Felix (while she only lived to be 42 years old, she wrote some 466 pieces of music, including several books of solo piano pieces and songs.)

Skidmore will be joined by the Academy Chamber Choir for the remainder of the evening, along with their extremely talented accompanist, Maryna Gray. Details can be found at www.PowellRiverAcademy.org.

The Malaspina Writers' Association will be giving a public reading starting at 7 pm on Wednesday, November 12, at Breakwater Books. Members will read works on the theme of Memory, accompanied by the solo guitar stylings of MacLeod Cushing.

One featured writer will be Allan Brown; he'll be reading from his new poem sequence titled Excursions, a soon-to-be-released limited edition chapbook from the Alfred Gustav Press in North Vancouver. Several other writers will also read at the event, which typically lasts about an hour or so.

Coming up on November 27 is the Marine Avenue ArtWalk, from 7 to 9 pm. Many boutique shops stay open late for the event, offering lots of local art and cards for sale--including new Christmas creations. The Artique Artist Co-op will provide snacks and other activities, and many of the artists will be in attendance to chat about their work. Meandering along Marine is a fun way to kick off the holiday season, and local artwork makes for great (not to mention environmentally friendly) gifts.

For the film buffs, don't forget the Art Films 2009 series at the Patricia Theatre. November 4th and 5th will bring us Is Anybody There? starring Sir Michael Caine as a resident of an old folk's home in London and his young friend, played by Bill Milner, whose parents run the home. The following week is (tentatively) Jane Campion's Bright Star, an account of the romance between poet John Keats and his neighbor Fanny Brawne (played by Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish). Check www.PatriciaTheatre.com for details.

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


Angel Flight

Volunteers fly cancer patients to treatment centres

When Cameron Reid needed help getting to Victoria for cancer treatment, Angel Flight was there for him. Volunteer pilots flying their own airplanes would fly him down every Monday morning and then back home Friday afternoon for the seven weeks period he was undergoing radiation treatment.

"They would pick me up at 11 am at the airport and deliver me to the Victoria airport at 11:45," said Cameron.

The retired United Church minister was used to being the one to help those in need, but this time he found himself being the one helped.

When Cameron was back on his feet again he wanted to say thank you and give back, so he took on the job of helping organize flights for those who need to travel out of town for medical purposes.

ANGEL ORGANIZER: Cameron Reid was so thankful for the help provided by Angel Flight that he volunteered to help."Cameron is our man in Powell River," says Angel Flight CEO Jeff Morris.

Angel Flight is a charitable, non-profit organization that provides free, accessible air transportation for people living on Vancouver Island and Powell River who must travel for medical purposes. For the last two years, the bulk of Angel Flight's flying has been out of Powell River. "We've done 126 flights in the last year and 42 per cent of them have been out of Powell River," says Morris.

Angel Flight of British Columbia was founded in 2001 with the purpose of easing the burden of these individuals by utilizing a network of volunteer pilots, aircraft owners, and ground support. Angel Flight launched its service in April 2002 and transports ambulatory patients whose medical conditions make it difficult or impossible for them to travel by conventional means. Patients need to be ambulatory and must have a back up plan as Angel Flight only flies weather permitting. Since its launch, Angel Flight has made 785 flights and 109 have been to Powell River.

Not only do Powell Riverites benefit from Angel Flight's "mini airline" as Morris calls it, but locals like Powell River resident Selina Smith volunteer their services. Smith is one of Angel Flight's volunteer pilots.

Upon medical referral, people can be transported to treatment centers in Victoria and Vancouver quickly and comfortably so they can focus their energies on getting well. With immune systems that are often a critical consideration, Angel Flight can assure a contagion-free environment on a flight that is dedicated to only that individual and his or her escort. Morris says that 99 per cent of patients who use Angel Flight are receiving treatment for cancer.

"The classic client of ours is someone going through treatment who is totally ambulatory," says Morris. "We can fly them home for weekends."

Morris, a retired pilot, says the work is incredibly rewarding. When he hears back from some of the clients that they've transported to and from appointments he is happy that they are able to make a difference. "We had a young lady, who's a single mom, going through cancer treatment and we were able to fly her home so that she could spend Halloween (last year) with her child. Then we got an email from her saying that she'd graduated from the Cancer Agency and was now working part time and has rented an apartment with her little girl."

Although Morris was recently presented with a Caring Canadian Award from the Governor General of Canada, he says his work is far from finished. "My dream is to see Angel Flight in every major city across Canada."

Angel Flight is supported through corporate and private donations, as well as fundraising events. It is staffed entirely by volunteers. Learn more at www.angelflight.ca.

On the Road

Wheels for Wellness is another society that provides transportation to non-emergency medical appointments for those living on the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. The society was formed in 1997 and depends on donations. The Society will pick you up at your home, take you where you need to go, wait for you and return you to your home. For more information please visit wheelsforwellness.com.



What to do with your RRSP when you turn 71
By Barbara Cooper

There are a few things you need to know about your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) before you turn 71.

If you have a RRSP of your own or inherited one from your spouse or common-law partner, and haven't already converted it into an income stream, you need to select one of the following options before the end of the year you turn 71.

If you don't convert the RRSP you will be deemed to have taken all of the value out of the RRSP on December 31 of the year you turn age 71. That means you will have to add all of it to your income for that year. Likely you will lose about half the value of the RRSP to taxes.

Take cash·One option would be to take the value of the RRSP in cash. If you wait until age 71 to do this, it has the same effect, and tax consequences, as doing nothing: you may lose almost half the value of the RRSP to taxes. If the RRSP isn't very large (about $50,000 or less, for example) and if you started early enough (maybe by age 65 at the latest) you could take the money out in small annual instalments and only have to pay a modest amount of tax on the funds you take out each year.

Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)· This is the most flexible, and the most popular, option for RRSP funds. A RRIF keeps your money sheltered from tax until you withdraw it. The only stipulation is that you must withdraw at least a portion of the funds each year: about 5% when you are age 70, for example. You can take out as much as you want (you could withdraw all the money over the course of 10 years, for example) but you must take out this annual minimum amount set out under the Income Tax Act. In the meantime, your money can be invested in almost anything you want: term deposits, mutual funds, individual securities, etc.

Life Annuity·You could convert the value of the RRSP to a life annuity with a life insurance company. In return for your money the insurance company would guarantee you a set, regular income for as long as you live, whether you live to 75 or 120.

Annuity to age 90·Instead of an annuity for life, you could convert the RRSP money into an annuity (with a bank, Life Insurance Company or other financial institution) that would pay you a set, regular income until the year you turn age 90. At that point the income stops, even if you are still alive. The amount of income paid out each year is usually more than you would receive from a life annuity.

The right option for each person depends upon their income needs, their need for guarantees and their particular family situation. If you have an RRSP, the best thing to do is consult with a professional advisor to determine your best choice.

For more information, contact Barb at barb.cooper@westviewagencies.ca or call 604-485-7777.


Festival of Trees

The Christmas tradition continues!

The Powell River Association for Community Living is excited to host the 14th annual Festival of Trees and is looking forward to 17 beautifully decorated trees.

"We will have a great variety of themed trees with many new decorators as well as returning decorators who continue to show their support year after year. Putting a tree together is a lot of work; the creative process alone is incredible. All the decorations on the trees are donated by the business or individual and the amount of time it takes to create these trees doesn't go un noticed," says Festival of Trees Coordinator Staci van Hees.

The event will kick off on Tuesday, November 24 with the lighting of the trees in the lobby of the Town Centre Hotel. It's a free event where the Spirit of Community Choir will be singing carols and refreshments will be served.

Decorating a wreath is another way for people to be involved in the festival. "People have a lot of fun putting a wreath together. The winner of our "Most Unique" category last year was made from a bike spoke. We receive everything from the traditional to the whimsical," says van Hees.

Crafting at the Festival of TreesPreschools and elementary classes can enter a small tree decorated with crafts and trinkets made by the children. It's always so much fun for them to bring their family members to the hotel to vote for their tree. Another highlight is the Santa Claus brunch. Santa comes for a visit and children can get their picture taken with him. "We have crafts to keep them busy until he arrives."

Craft night is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. "It's become a tradition for a lot of ladies in town; they come out and make a wreath or centerpiece from fresh cedar boughs. All the supplies are included to create your own masterpiece to take home at the end of the night."

The Gala dinner and live auction will be as exciting as ever. "We have some great items up for bid this year. The local businesses have been so generous; the support we receive is amazing. We're also excited to have received some travel related donations from out of town."

It's not to late for any business to donate to this great cause; the Wish Fund allows PRACL participants to access the things they wouldn't otherwise be able to.

If anyone would like to donate, volunteer or purchase tickets to any of the events please call festival coordinators Staci van Hees at 604 483-1292 or Jen Vasseur, 604 414-4948.


Powell River Lions Club
Small but mighty club makes difference
By Isabelle Southcott

Most service clubs are having a tough go of it these days. They are finding it hard to attract new members to help with the important work they do for the community. But service clubs, like the Powell River Lions, fill in much-needed gaps and help people who most need it.

The original Powell River Lions Club began in 1946 but closed in 1984 for lack of members. It was re-chartered in 1992 and today has 13 active members. "Most are retired, only three are still working," says long-time member Marilyn Brooks. "People often have more time when they are retired and they want to give back. They feel most satisfied when they help someone else."

"We are touching people's lives and that is the part that gives us satisfaction," notes Brooks.

Over the years the Lions Club has done some pretty amazing things with a small group of people. The original club was responsible for installing the play equipment at Willingdon Beach in the 1940s. "This year we awarded five $2,000 scholarships for high school students and we assisted with the Aerospace Camp on Texada Island. We helped the Powell River Sailing Club with their Junior Sailing School by providing scholarships for children whose families could not afford to send them," said Brooks.

The Lions Club and the Kiwanis joined forces this year to help raise money for the CAT Scan at the Soapbox Derby.

HEAR THEM ROAR: Lions club members may be few, but they get a lot done for the community.It's been a busy year for the small but mighty Lions and their work is far from done. "We started our annual COATS for Kids Campaign with the Salvation Army," said Brooks. Gently used coats and jackets are collected, laundered and redistributed to those in need.

These coats will be distributed on Saturday, November 14 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Salvation Army on Joyce Avenue. Families that need coats can call ahead to reserve sizes or drop by on November 14 to try on coats. There are also some snow pants and lightweight jackets available.

Lions Club members are now busy decorating a tree to enter in the Powell River Festival of Trees. "Last year our tree raised $600 for PRACL," said Brooks.

At the same time, club members are busy preparing for the Santa Claus Parade, which takes place on Sunday, December-6 at 3 pm. "This year we have painted the sleigh and all the players are eagerly awaiting the parade. We also do "Coins For Kids" at the parade. We collect coins from kids along the parade route and that money goes to the BC Lions Society for children with disabilities and is helped summer camps, Easter Seal House and other medical facilities," she explained.

Lions Club members visit every patient in Acute Care and Extended Care at Christmas. "Santa" hands out personal care bags and cotton diabetic socks to patients.

December sees members putting together community food hampers and last year they did six.

The Lions and Kiwanis worked together recently to purchase a scooter for Paul, a mobility impaired man, who is paralyzed from the waist down. "This type of equipment is not covered by the government and there were no grants available to help with the purchase of this equipment," said Books noting how people without the financial means become housebound and isolated when they are unable to get around anymore.

Paul's plight was brought to their attention by the people (the Tremblay's) who own TMS Moving. Apparently Paul's old wheelchair kept breaking down in front of their business. "When they found out what we did they joined the club!"

The Lions Club is always helping. Whether it is helping students rent tuxedos for graduation, donating $5,000 to the new toilet facility at the Lang Creek Hatchery and Enviro-Learning Centre, or providing money for high schools students who need help with lunch money, the small but mighty Lions continue to roar in Powell River.

For more information about the Powell River Lions please call President John Carter at 604 485-0468 or Marilyn Brooks at 604 485-4631.



From trees to mulch to earth
Out on a Limb gives back to Mother Nature
by Isabelle Southcott

Since 1993, Out On A Limb Forestry, an environmental arboriculture business, has been delimbing, pruning and wind firming trees for private individuals and timber companies. Sixteen months ago, owner Zhenya Lewis, an arborist and certified tree risk assessor took his business one step further when he designed a track chipper.

"We saw our client base was changing because Powell River was changing," explained Zhenya. "We noticed that this was becoming a retirement community with higher density housing."

These days, people are less inclined to burn and those who live within the city limits are not allowed to burn debris from land clearing. That debris, said Powell River Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Tom Ellis, has to be hauled away or chipped.

FEELING CHIPPER: Zhenya Lewis turns tree waste into mulch, cleaning up debris and sequestering carbon.   FEELING CHIPPER: Zhenya Lewis turns tree waste into mulch, cleaning up debris and sequestering carbon.   FEELING CHIPPER: Zhenya Lewis turns tree waste into mulch, cleaning up debris and sequestering carbon.

"We used to just leave the mess behind (once they'd delimbed or cut down a tree) and contract it out or people would clean it up themselves," explained Zhenya.

Co-owner Jerri Ann Fiddler said it became obvious that they needed a way to clean up the debris effectively and efficiently. Zhenya designed a big chipper on tracks and had it built. Sixteen months ago they took delivery of the new machine. "Since then we've put it to task and it does an unbelievable job," Zhenya said.

Though other operators also use chippers, this unique piece of machinery can chip branches and entire trees up to 15 inches in diameter. "It has a boom on it and we have a log loader," said Zhenya. It is capable of cleaning up brush piles or whole trees."

With this chipper, Out On A Limb can restore your property to the state it was before the tree was removed. "It has simplified the cleaning up aspect of the business and changed the nature of our business."

The whole set up can be moved onto the job site as Out On A Limb has a dump/chip truck, the chipper and a trailer. Once on site they make mulch out of the tree waste.

The mulch is a wonderful soil builder. "We try to encourage people to keep their mulch," said Jerri Ann. Chipping wood waste into mulch to enrich soil addresses the issue of carbon sequestration by restoring carbon to the earth.

It is highly efficient at reducing forest fire fuel hazard loading, such as brush and trees close to homes in urban/rural interface settings.

Jerri Ann said that mulch reduces the need to water, as it remains moist beneath the surface. It also discourages weeds and reduces erosion.

There are not many wood chippers like this one. In fact, Zhenya said there is only one other that is similar to it in Canada.

"We have taken it over to Hardy and Nelson Islands, up Homfray Channel, Texada and Sechelt. Now we're looking at taking it up the Broughton Archipeligo because our clients are looking for an alternative to burning. It's instant landscaping in a way."

Zhenya said that returning the chips to the soil is beneficial to forest health. "All we do is take, take, take. We harvest trees, plant little trees but very little is done to embellish that soil."

Jerri Ann and Zhenya do a lot of reforestation work. They collect seeds and plant trees whenever and wherever possible. "We encourage people if they get rid of trees to replant."



Business Connections
By Kim Miller

Change is constant in business, and in life

Dan's Auto Performance is a father-son business operating out of 105-7105 Duncan. Father, Jay Pampu, is the owner operator and son Daniel, a second year apprentice, will become a full partner upon completion of his trade apprenticeship. With over 20 years experience in the auto and marine trade, the Pampus are a full service auto repair centre. They also manufacture custom bumpers, winch mounts, trailer hitches, engine builds, suspension and roll cages.

The Snackery in Town Centre Mall is under new management. It is now owned and operated by Simon Mithmuangneua and Crystal Parask. You can enjoy a filling meal or a quick bite because they serve a little of everything. They are the only place to serve bubble tea with pearls and have an abundance of flavours.

Garnet Rock Appliance welcomes Shane Banks to their staff this month. Shane was born and raised on Texada Island, has completed his nine-month course at Kwantlen College. Garnet Rock Appliances services all major appliance brands and is open Monday to Saturday. For more information contact 604-485-0074, or drop by the store at 4457 Joyce Ave, next to 7-11.

Powell River Custom Tile & Marble has a new operations manager, Fred Pannell. Owner Stephen Cantryn says Fred has a wealth of management experience which he will put to good use as he manages the day-to-day activities of the business. In turn, this will give Stephen more time to work directly with clients. The shop is open six days a week at 6797 Cranberry Street. Call them at 604 483-2012 or visit the website at www.powellrivertile.com.

Wilf's Special-T Shop has moved their unique sewing business to their new location at 6664 Drake Street. Wilf's specializes in unique sewing projects including boat & auto covers, tops & interiors, cushions, canvas repairs, and more. For more information call 604 483-2078.

95.7 SUN-FM radio welcomes their new morning show host and Assistant Program Director, Brittany King. Brittany is originally from Victoria, but arrives from Red Deer, Alberta where she was on-air for the past five years. One of Brittany's goals as morning host on Sun-FM is to make it totally local and highlight the events and the community. Contact her at 604 485-4207.

Blue Rose Organizing Company, owned and operated by Alison Entwisle, helps you with organizing, planning, researching, living and personal management. Alison will help you with downsizing and clearing out your clothes closet. Blue Rose can help with planning trips and organizing events along with personal or business research. They also offer a personal shopping service. Contact Alison at 604 413-0613.

Village Meats has a new owner. Brian MacDonald took over from Don and Judy Logan on November 1st. Brian and wife Miranda, along with Jacob, 10, and Abigail, 8, moved here from Calgary, where Brian was the meat manager for Calgary Co-op. But Brian is by no means a stranger to the community. He was born and raised here until he was 13. He's a brother to Mark MacDonald, owner of Business Vancouver Island magazine. "It was time for a smaller community that's better for raising a family," said Brian. "We're really happy to hand the store over to someone who's such a good fit," said Judy.

Correction · In last month's Business Connections, we printed the wrong email address for the new Fighting Fit, Zia Salehian's personal training company. The correct address is fightingft@gmail.com.

Do you have any business changes you want Powell River to know about? New managers, owners or are you moving? Starting a new business? Call the Chamber at 604-485-4051.


Blast from the Past: Herb Hindle
By Gerry Gray

It's not often a Canadian Governor-General comes to Powell River, but one did in 1948, thanks to the war-time efforts of a Powell River pilot.

Pilot's wings: Herb's pilot's wings from the Second World War, as well as the three medals he received: the Air Force Cross, the 1939-1945 Volunteer Medal and the WWII Service Medal.Former Squadron Leader Herb Hindle was awarded the Air Force Cross from Governor General Sir Harold Alexander, First Earl of Tunis and the former commanding officer, Allied forces in Europe.

The citation reads: "This officer for over 2 years, in several capacities of flying instructional work, has shown himself to be a pilot of high caliber. He has devoted much of his own time to the work of Air Cadets. His conscientious interest in the service and his exceptional enthusiasm and skill make him an outstanding flying instructor in all respects."

Herb's flying career started in his hometown of Moose Jaw where his first job was with Prairie Airlines. He earned his pilot's license in 1938 and soon enlisted in the RCAF as a flying instructor and Wing testing officer. He was promoted to Commanding Officer of the Wireless School Flying Squadron in Winnipeg.

While showing me his jam-packed log books (three of them) in which every minute of his flight time was listed, he spoke of the many postings he had while serving in England and Canada. "Sometimes I would be moved to stations where there wasn't even a job for me. Then I would apply for another station and another until I found a training establishment that needed an instructor."

Pilot's wings: Herb's pilot's wings from the Second World War, as well as the three medals he received: the Air Force Cross, the 1939-1945 Volunteer Medal and the WWII Service Medal."Things became a bit confused in the early days of the war. Pilots were needed badly to fly Spitfires, bombers and other types of aircraft. The pilots had to be trained well because after graduation they would be fighting the enemy. It was always a sense of pride to me when a class of young pilots got their wings and I saw them fly off to different airfields."

Herb trained pilots in just about every Service aircraft, from Harvards to Spitfires to bombers, helicopters and even gliders. Herb retired as a flying instructor at the rank of Squadron Leader in 1945 and came to Powell River with his wife Alma to join his parents and to raise a family. He has three children: Terry, Doug and Judy. In his office at the rear of his business premises, Hindle's Gifts and Stationery, was a wall full of pictures of those aircraft and Herb always had time to go into detail on any given plane.

About the medal, he said: "I got to Powell River in 1948 and I wasn't here three days before I got a call from Ottawa informing me the Governor-General was coming here to present a medal I never even knew I earned. I thought someone was playing a joke on me. However I confirmed it and later on that year, in September, I was awarded the AFC at a ceremony in Riverside Oval."

Lord Alexander pinned the medal on Hindle at the old ball field by the mill.

The Former Allied Forces (Europe) Commander gave permission for Branch No. 164 of the Royal Canadian Legion to name their building Alexander House and the street that runs past the building was also named Alexander, in honour of the visit by the Queen's representative.



Help a child this Christmas
Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in stores

Last year, Powell River residents sent 843 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to children in developing countries.

"You can imagine the joy a child gets from opening a shoebox filled with trinkets and items that will help them learn and be healthy," says Jill Buckley, project coordinator for Powell River. "We are so thankful to the people who filled a shoebox last year and for making our community donation the largest ever."

STACK 'EM UP: Operation Shoebox is under way, collecting items to send to children in developing countries. Boxes should be dropped off by Nov. 15.Shoeboxes are now available at two locally owned and operated businesses - Your Dollar Store with More in Crossroads Village and at Valley Building Supplies in Paradise Valley - as well at churches throughout the community.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this project again for the fifth year running and to offer customers discounted shoebox items such as toothbrushes, soap, notepads, pencils, and the usual toys that light up a child's face," says Eve Camenzind, local owner and operator of Your Dollar Store with More.

Sending your gift is simple: pick-up a shoebox at one of the above locations; choose the age of either a boy or girl to receive the shoebox; fill it with items that you think they could use (hint: a list of suggested items are available at www.samaritanspurse.ca), include $7 for shipping and drop it off at Your Dollar Store with More, Valley Building Supplies, or participating churches.

To get involved, contact project coordinators Jill Buckley at 604 483-3796 or Sharon Wright at 604 485-2329.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international aid organization. Canada is one of 11 countries that collect and distribute Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Since 1993, more than 68 million shoeboxes have been delivered to children in 138 countries.



Changed by Alzheimer's
Disease challenges whole family
By Bonnie Krakalovich

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired. It is the most common form of dementia. Today, half a million Canadians have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, with 71,000 of them under age 65. One in 11 of Canada's seniors has Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia and 50% more Canadians and their families could be facing Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia in just five years.

Bonnie Krakalovich's father has Alzheimer's; this is her story.

Where is the man that made popcorn balls with my brother and me, when my mom was working the afternoon shift? Where is the man that built a skating rink in our back yard on the prairies, flooded it one day and shovelled the snow from it the next day, when he could not stand my brother and me whining any longer? Where is the man that taught me to skate, to ride a bike, to appreciate all types of music and to treat everyone the way I wanted to be treated?

That man's body is still here, but his mind is in a place far, far away. When I go to visit him he talks about people that I don't know. I'm not even sure they exist or ever existed. It doesn't matter because they make for very interesting conversations.

When I take my sons with me I now just introduce them by their first names, I don't try to tell him they are his grandchildren. He doesn't remember that he has children, much less grandchildren.

The first time I visited him and he did not know me was the worst day of my life. Here was this man, my father, who had given me so much over the course of my life, and he didn't recognize me. I have gotten over that for the most part, mostly because I see that he is a much happier man than he has been for a long time.

His biological father was killed in a farming accident when he was just a boy. His mother remarried soon after and his stepfather was an abusive man. Needless to say, my father did not have very good parenting skills, but he did the best he could with what little knowledge he had. When he got older he had some health issues and was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain). He had a shunt put in and seemed to improve for a few years.

Then he started forgetting where things were in the house, whether he had read the paper or eaten breakfast and things that my mother had told him. This progressively got worse and then the hallucinations started. They came mostly in the middle of the night, when he would wake my mother and tell her that the tour bus was in the back yard and they should pack their stuff so they wouldn't be left behind. My mom was always afraid he would wander outside and get lost. When he had to have home support come in to make sure he showered, she decided it was time to put him on the waiting list at a nursing home.

He got in fairly quickly and was not very happy about being there, but it did not take long before he settled in. His memory seemed to go faster once he was in the home, but who's to say it wouldn't have anyway? There is a lot of guilt that goes with putting someone in a nursing home. I know my mother still struggles with it. I feel a lot of guilt because I live so far away. When he was still at home I would think, "If I lived closer I could do more to help my mother." Then when he went into the home I would think, "If I lived closer I could visit him more often."

The last time I visited him he was pretty tired so I didn't stay long. When I left I gave him a kiss and told him "I love you." To which he replied, "You better not take that too far; I'm a married man, you know." It was a bittersweet moment as it's sad to think that he doesn't know who I am, but if we don't take the opportunity to laugh at these moments we could spend our whole lives crying.

I miss the man who used to be my dad, but I've come to accept the man that occupies his body now. He seems to be in a much happier place than he was and for that I am thankful.


Pardon My Pen: Typos-the printer's foe
By George M Campbell

Typographical errors occur in all newspapers, and most magazines. They are the bane of professional journalists, an embarrassment to the printer, and an annoyance to the reader--unless they turn out to be funny. Often they change the entire meaning of what the writer intended.

For example: I once wrote in an article for the newspaper that Preston Manning should do something about his unmanly voice. Somehow the printer managed to leave out the "o" in voice, giving the reader the impression I was accusing the leader of the Reform Party of God knows what form of exotic immorality. It resulted in several angry letters to the editor, a couple of irate phone calls to myself, and a printed explanation and apology in the following week's paper.

Sometimes the error is not the printer's fault. Often the words chosen by the advertiser and passed by the employee taking the ad, are nothing short of hilarious. Here are a few such adverts that have appeared in newspapers across the country:

"Dog for sale. Eats anything and is fond of children."

"Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel."

"Dinner special--Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00."

"For sale: antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and big drawers."

"We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully, by hand."

The above are not typos in the real sense. Below are a few genuine typos where the printer put the wrong letter in the right place to change the meaning of the ad.

"Let our experienced Mom care for your child. Meals and smacks included."

"For sale: three canaries of undermined sex. Great Dames for sale."

Then there are the typos where the printer leaves out or adds a letter:

"Vacation special--have your home exterminated. Get rid of aunts. Zap does the job in 24 hours."

"For rent--6 room hated house."

And finally we have the example of just one space between words being omitted. One would think that such a small oversight would go unnoticed and be relatively harmless. But it didn't and it wasn't. In fact this typo occurred in a national display ad and resulted in hot words from the advertiser and a substantial rebate from the newspaper. Here's the ad:

"And now--the Superstore--unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience."

Let us hope there are no typos in this columnn.



Faces of Education
Small business program sweet for students

Students at Brooks Secondary School are getting a taste for running a small business.

But this is no academic exercise. They're actually running the business.

JAMMING: Jakob Zago stirs a concoction in a vat at the Brooks kitchen.The Powell River Educational Services Society (PRESS) recently bought Mountain Ash Farms processing business, and they're running the business in partnership with Brooks as a credit course.

The new business is called Mountain Ash Preserves. www.mountainashpreserves.com.

Under the guidance of chef Mike Austin and business teacher Anne Hutchings, students were recruited from business courses and the culinary arts program to participate in the pilot project.

The four-credit course is, quite simply, to run the business.

Students are learning all aspects of running the business, from finding and preparing the fruits and vegetables, to processing jams and salsa, to labelling jars, to marketing and sales, to delivering the products to stores, to invoicing and accounting. While PRESS also runs accounting for the business, the students mirror the accounting system for teaching purposes.

Anne says she expects some students will gravitate toward the production side, and some toward the marketing side, but "we still want everybody to be part of everything--to learn the whole thing, just like in a small business."

Students had to have FoodSafe certification; those who didn't were trained in the first couple of weeks of school.

"We're starting with a pilot group of six. Next year, we hope to open it to more students."

Elaine Steiger, the former owner of the business, created small batches and had over 300 recipes. Last year, business students took Elaine's 2008 invoices and analyzed them to pick the top 50 products. The recipes were then converted to metric and into larger batches.

JARRING: Justin Ostensen pours the mixture into jars while Sarah Griffiths and Emma-Lea Craig attach lids."Instead of making six or seven jars, we make 84 jars in a batch," said Mike.

Over the summer, Mike spent time at the school's kitchen, manufacturing pickles. They had to be canned as soon as the cucumbers were ripe. "We're one of two pickle manufacturers in BC," said Mike.

Elaine had an advantage in that most of the time she ran the business, she also had the Mountain Ash Farm on Nassichuk Road from which to harvest fruit, berries and vegetables. The new Mountain Ash Preserves has to find or buy its own produce, and in greater quantities. But that's all part of the training.

Justin Ostensen is a Grade 12 student in the program. He was invited into the program after completing Accounting 11.

"I thought it would be a pretty cool experience," he said. Although his interest lies on the business end of things, "I like having this kind of experience--what it's like to run a small business from day to day."

Though some of Elaine's products are still on shelves (until they sell out), new Brooks-made products have already been delivered to Ecossentials and Mitchell Brothers in Powell River and retailers on Vancouver Island. Edible BC at Granville Island Market is another major customer.

Having PRESS own the business gives the program the flexibility of hiring staff when necessary.

Because the kitchen is busy with the regular school cafeteria and cook training programs, students stay after school one day a week to process food.

During a recent visit to the kitchen at Brooks, they were mixing strawberries, raspberries, chocolate flavouring and lots of sugar into a large vat for "Sundae in a Jar." After heating it up, they poured it into small jars, added lids, then processed it in hot water to seal it up.

Of course, the real question is "How does it taste?" This writer was offered the chance to find out with a small jar to sample. The answer? Let's just say there's none left!



Explore Powell River


Click to enlarge

November 2009
Photos by Georgia Combes