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December 2009 issue

December 2009

>> This entire issue is available as a 18MB PDF download

Table of Contents

A Look at books
In this issue
Six ways to avoid the flu
In the skies above
Gift-giving on a budget
Discover your inner showgirl
Help Africa deal with AIDS
Cotton bag program to reduce plastics
Wanted: Festival Volunteers!
21 Ways to Beat Stress
Your best year yet
Square dancing at the Rancho
Decorating for Christmas
What to do on a dark and stormy night?
The Olympics are coming!
Helping hearts; caring hands
Point of VIU: Education opens new doors
Get out there! One chance to see Banff Mountain Film Festival
We Day: A shift in focus
Family Matters
Pardon my pen
Back in business: Silke’s Organic Market is up and running
For Art’s Sake
Business Connections
Shop locally
Model community, model mall
Six stress busters
Faces of Education: Mentorship program helps young teachers




Barbara Lambert’s new book
Barbara LambertKudos to local writer Barbara Lambert on her new book, Powell River 100, a celebration of the community’s first 100 years. This book features 360 pages of stories and pictures and is told in Lambert’s own conversational style. It is a great Christmas gift and is available at The Powell River Museum. Powell River 100 is Lambert’s sixth book on the history of the area. Previous titles still in print include: Chalkdust and Outhouses and Oldtime Stories (Billy Goat Smith). Lambert is a retired school teacher and long time Powell River resident.

Thanks for the donations!
A message from Al Bezanson who collects the bottles and cans at Safeway: Kudos to all the nice folks who donated and continue to donate their empty cans and drink containers to The Salvation Army (the Little Red Truck at the Safeway parking lot). Many thanks and Merry Christmas to all from The Powell River Salvation Army.

The Darien Gap nominated
Powell River author Martin Mitchinson has been named a finalist for the prestigious $10,000 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Martin’s nominated book is The Darien Gap: Travels in the Rainforest of Panama ($26.95, Harbour Publishing). Martin sailed into the heart of the province aboard his 36-foot ketch, moved in with a native family and spent the next 18 months traveling the province by foot and dugout canoe.



Dear Powell River Living,
I live in Fort St John. A co-worker gave me a copy of your October 2009 issue. I loved it! I felt like I was home. I have never liked living in Fort St John and reading your magazine just made feel like a part of your community. I have a two-year-old daughter and we are looking for a new start. My co-worker said that Powell River is a great place to raise children. Your community is beautiful. I was wondering if I could get copies of your future issues sent to me. Thank you.
Jan Christian

Dear Powell River Living,
On behalf of the Pat Thomson Memorial Cat Scan Campaign, we would like to thank you for the welcome support you have given us throughout the fundraising campaign. This huge project is unique in the history of Powell River and the people of our community have done an incredible job over the last two years with their creative fundraising ideas and their generous donations.
We believe that the CAT scan will have a significant impact on the medical care in Powell River. You can be proud of your contribution towards this achievement.
Powell River Living magazine did have quite an influence on the success of the project. Your human interest stories certainly touched many people. It made them really think about what this machine could do for our town. We also appreciated the updates you published which helped to keep the progress of the campaign up to date.
Thank you for your interest and your effort which helped to bring about the successful completion of the fundraising campaign.
Rod Tysdal, President
Dave Harper, CAT Scan Chair
Powell River General Hospital Foundation

Talia Hackett and Paris Hackett

A LOOK AT BOOKS: Students at James Thomson library got boxloads of new books thanks to the customers at Coles book store. Here, Talia Hackett and Paris Hackett (right) check out the selection, which ranged from Sponge Bob and Ripley's Believe it or Not to classics like Robin Hood and Kidnapped. The money raised by donations during a fundraising drive at Cole’s allowed school librarian Lucien Ervington to pick out 165 new books for the school.






In this issue
The happy, stressful season

There’s no denying that while this is supposed to be a time of cheer, joy, peace, and goodwill, it’s also a time when we tend to get really stressed out. We hope his issue of Powell River will help you beat the blues.

Shorter, darker days with colder, wetter weather; the pressure of shopping and finding gifts; the tension of family get-togethers; and the too-tightly packed holiday schedules can combine to suck the joy from the holiday season.

The opposite of stress, of course, is relaxation. So many of the tips you’ll find in the pages of this issue focus on ways to relax, from massage and accupressure to kicking back with a free movie from the library’s collection.

As promised on our cover, we deliver 21 tips on how to reduce stress on page 20. But for more in-depth suggestions, you can look at the ideas beginning on page 21 on how to improve your heart, mind, body and soul. Other stress-busting tips in this issue include helping others (pages 16, 18, 32 and 37), learning to dance (pages 22 and 25), or getting involved in the arts (page 42).

With cold and flu season upon us, it’s a good idea to exercise preventative measures such as washing your hands and keeping your distance from those who are visibly ill. Nothing adds to stress like getting sick, so we have a few practical suggestions on how to avoid getting the flu. Stella Gillies of Kelly’s Speciality Shop has provided Powell River Living with her special cold busting recipe of Garlic Soup which is sure to keep any colds (and vampires) at bay.

If you’re planning on entertaining this holiday season, spending a few minutes with etiquette guru Margaret Page on page 48 is an investment in stress reduction.

Another way to fight stress is to really get into the spirit of the season, and starting on page 9, Dagmar McKenzie brings us the heart-warming story of how one person’s idea has become a community tradition. It all results in a star that lights up the sky above Wildwood each Christmas. Watch for it!

In this month’s issue we also introduce a new photographer, Wendy Pulkrabek. If you’re lucky enough to have Wendy as a friend on Facebook, you won’t be surprised by what you find on page 41, but the rest of you will be wowed at the quality of the wildlife images Wendy has collected in just two years of photography. Expect to see a lot more from this budding artist.

And we couldn’t have our Winter issue go by without a mention of the Olympics. Powell River is all geared up to celebrate the visit of the Olympic torch, plus we have a few locals heading to Vancouver and Whistler to help out during the Games. For details, check out pages 12 and 29.

You’ll notice that many of our advertisers are promoting shopping locally in this issue (in part because we promised to have a draw for a free ad for all those who did so, but also because they believe it’s good for Powell River.) On Page 45 we give you solid reasons why you should shop here, and why, if you’re out of town and see what you think is a good deal, it is worth a call to a Powell River retailer before you leave your money somewhere else. If we all do a little more shopping locally, we can give Powell River the economic boost it needs.

This issue marks the end of Powell River Living’s fourth year, and I’d like to say thanks to the advertisers who have found this a good vehicle for their messages and thus made this publication a success, and to you, our readers, who have faithfully look forward to each and every new issue we publish.

All of us at Powell River Living wish you and yours all the best for the holidays and look forward to an exciting 2010.

Isabelle Southcott, Publisher




Six ways to avoid the flu
Holistic tips
By Kitty Clemens

With flu season well underway, here are some tips from Kitty Clemens, a local Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant and Wellness Coach with Vitality Wellness Clinic.

Avoid sugar

Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness, including the flu. It is especially imperative to avoid sugar if you feel you are coming down with something, but keeping sugar out of your diet for the long haul will do wonders for your health and make your body stronger, which will make it harder for the flu to bother you.

Get enough rest

Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu.

Eat garlic regularly

Garlic offers a triple-whammy: it’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day.

Don’t let stress become overwhelming

We all face some stress every day, bust if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. It has been estimated that up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related.


When you exercise you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has a chance to spread. In a sense, exercising helps your immune system to be more efficient in weeding out and acting upon viruses and diseases.

Wash your hands

Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection.



In the skies above
Angels keep Wildwood’s star lit
By Dagmar McKenzie

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.”

As Christmas approaches Bing Crosby’s voice starts to go round and round my head and a warm glow creeps into my heart. I hum this tune as my dog, Rupert, and I take our evening walks in the colourfully lit streets of Wildwood. I look up and smile because there really is a star shining in the night. I’m amazed at how happy it makes me feel.

When friends moved to Wildwood a few years ago, my husband, Neil, told them as Christmas approached to keep an eye out for “The Star of Wildwood.” They grinned and dismissed the comment as one of Neil’s jokes. That Christmas Eve they happened to glance towards the heavens and behold, there shone a large , bright star right over their home. I’ll never forget the excitement when they called to report “The Star of Wildwood.”

STAR POWER: A star lights up the night sky above Wildwood each year, thanks to the efforts of volunteers like these.Of what star do I speak? Why, the star that has appeared in the sky above Wildwood for over 20 years. I’ve been hearing stories about it since I became a Wildwoodian a decade ago and decided to research its history, perhaps a little afraid that this special tradition might disappear.

The idea of a star started when Bob and Freda Stutt lived on Lois Street. Looking at the nearby mountain through the kitchen window Freda and Bob thought it might be a good place for a Christmas Star. They would be able to see it from the house. On December 24, 1986 Bob Stutt, Peter Bird, Jim Brown and their kids hiked up the mountain with a chainsaw, a generator and lights. They built an almost 20 foot high star from the trees they found there. At 5 o’clock that evening Bob and grandson, Mark Ralco, hiked back up the mountain to light up the star. “It was perfect!” wrote Bob in his diary.

Bob and Frieda Stutt moved from Wildwood 14 years ago but neighbours have kept the tradition alive. In fact, each year more helpers make the trek. On the morning of December 24th people meet at Browns to gather the equipment and begin the trek up the mountain. Doreen Brown says they’ve had as many as 30 people gather to pick up the generator, gas and the lights which husband, Ken, maintains. “It’s hard work packing things up the hill,” says Doreen. At the site a campfire is lit to roast hot dogs and marshmallows while the star is being erected and the generator fired up.

Christmas Eve after dark and voila! A star shines over this proud little community. Doreen says that over the years surprises have appeared at the base of the star. People have left notes of thanks and even money to help pay for the gas. On rare occasions the star has been seen from the ocean and also from BC Ferries. Writes Sandra Perry in a letter to the editor (Powell River News, 1987), “We spotted a large bright star.... We tried to follow it, but we were unable to find its origin. We had an idea how the shepherds and wise men felt many years ago.”

Our star used to shine only on December 24 and 25 but now, thanks to dedicated neighbours it shines each night until New Year’s. Every evening they hike up the mountain in the dark, whatever the weather, fill up the gas tank and start up the generator. Found in the Roses and Raspberries section of the local paper this little gem, “Ginormous roses to the angels for keeping Wildwood’s star lit.” According to Doreen, last year was the first year it snowed and one year the fog kept people from enjoying it for several days.

I’ve heard that the men take the kids up the mountain so that the women have a few hours to wrap presents and finish Christmas baking. This turns out to be a rumour, an interesting story but true for only a few; everyone is welcome.

This December 24 I’m going to waterproof my hiking boots, grab my husband, a few cookies and a thermos of something hot to make this ritual a part of my holiday. I know I’ll love the star more than ever. I’m so happy to have found out that this wonderful tradition is not in danger of disappearing.

Look up if you’re in the neighbourhood. Do you see what I see?



Gift-giving on a budget
What will they really appreciate?
By Debbie Dee

As we’re all aware, the easiest time of the year to blow your budget is December. Advertising has been great at making us think that the more we spend, the more love we show, but with people getting nervous about the state of the economy, perhaps it’s time to reconsider this line of thought.

The best way to approach gift-giving is to try to figure out what the gift recipient would appreciate. Classic budget gifts involve making things yourself: cookies, fudge, candy, or jarred cookie, bread, or soup mixes. They’re not especially complicated to put together, but they’re enjoyed. If you plan ahead, you can even make and bottle your own liqueurs, which often taste better than the store-bought versions. (When giving sweets or liqueurs, be sure your recipient is someone who will have use for such products.) Recipes for all of these can be found at online recipe sites such as allrecipes.com or recipezaar.com.

Fun, artsy jewellery is another budget-friendly gift. A number of places in town carry such jewellery–including the not-for-profit Powell River Brain Injury Society. (The proceeds of the jewellery sold there will be put toward sending the creator to a jewellery-making college program.)

For one-stop shopping, try giving books. Even if there are people on your list who are not readers, there’s bound to be something that would be interesting for them. An online search should produce a number of suggested reading lists to help you make your list. There’s even a reader-created website dedicated to advice about book-giving: www.buybooksfortheholidays.com. Feel free to ask bookstore employees for suggestions.

Keep in mind the most important rule of gift-giving: don’t give someone a ho-hum gift just to give them a gift. Many special treasures can be afforded on a budget.

Other affordable gifts:

» Magazine or website subscription

» Charitable donation in the recipient’s name

» Office supplies like fun pens, Post-Its or stationery

» Whimsical or warm socks

» Prepaid long distance cards

» A variety of gift soaps

» A gas card



Discover your inner showgirl
Grab a feather boa and shake it!
By Isabelle Southcott

Women with names like Ruby, Frankie, Carlotta and Sister Mary Margarita sexily step out of their cars, placing one high-heeled pump after the other on the paved parking lot outside Sheridan Dance Academy. Beneath the soft glow of the street lamp they quietly disappear under the cover of darkness to discover a whole new world, one inhabited by cabaret and showgirls.

Powell River director and actress CaroleAnn Leishman launched a Cabaret and Showgirls class last fall designed to unleash your inner showgirl.

The women dance to great Broadway tunes. They do the salsa, the tango, and move to different types of Latin music. They groove to cabaret, jazz and big band. “We’ve done Big Spender, Sweet Charity and Cabaret from Cabaret.”

YES, THEY CAN-CAN: The girls from the Cabaret and Showgirls class escape into anotherhip-shakin’ world.It’s not all sultry and sexy dancing. CaroleAnn says they warm up with singing exercises as well as a physical warm-up. “It’s a good workout–especially the can-can–and we go through the routines over and over.”

CaroleAnn says the Cabaret and Showgirls class came out of producing the Broadway musical Chicago last year, which she directed and acted in. “The adults had such a good time I thought maybe some of them might like to tap into an area they hadn’t tapped into in public before!”

Producing Chicago was a rewarding experience for CaroleAnn because of the impact the experience had on the kids and adults involved in the show. “I don’t know how to do anything half-way; I have to go all out so it was quite something for people to see what the process is like and how it all comes together.

“When you believe in people whether they are kids or adults, they begin to believe in themselves and once they get a taste of the reaction from the audience there is no turning back. Something happens that transforms a person into a performer and they suddenly “get it.” At that point my work is essentially done and the performance takes over.”

The Cabaret and Showgirls classes for adult women was a result of the many requests from women who performed in Chicago and from parents who had children involved in the production.

“Being able to leave your worries aside for an hour and just concentrate on getting in touch with your sexy “showgirl” self and trying to memorize the words to the song and remember the dance steps and how many hip-bangs I have put into that number is a very healthy much-needed release. How often do you get to grab a feather boa and sing your guts out and shake it to “Big Spender” or learn a tango or mambo step or do a can-can kickline... or put on a fedora?” asked CaroleAnn.

Maybe what makes the Cabaret and Showgirls class so successful is that it is a fantasy, a total departure from real life.

“I have so much fun leading the classes I can’t believe it. For a few hours a week I get to do what I was meant to be doing and loving every hip-shakin’, shimmying, leg-kicking minute of it. Look out Powell River: the Showgirls have been unleashed!”



Help Africa deal with AIDS
Angel dolls support orphanages and hospitals
By Elizabeth Brach

“Nothing in my adult life prepared me for the carnage of HIV/AIDS.”

Stephen Lewis describes his reaction to his time in Africa as the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in his book “Race Against Time”. But you and a little doll can help make a difference.

Lewis is particularly moved by the plight of the children who are left to be raised by an older sibling or grandparent. Not all children are fortunate in having a family member to take care of them, so many are left alone, without security and a sense of place. Children, already traumatized by the death of their parents, are left reeling as they confront the void in the aftermath. To understand the scope of “the carnage” imagine: there are now 12 million orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa and it is not unusual for the head of a family to be eight years old!

Sales help: When you purchase an Angel doll your money helps people affected by AIDS.In 2000 a group of seven retired Canadians joined the race against time after attending an International Aids Conference in Durban. Upon seeing the devastation and extreme lack of funding in hospitals and orphanages, they returned to Victoria, determined to find a way to help.

Since that time, the group has raised over $215,000. Much of the money has been raised by small groups of volunteers who make and sell African Aids Angel dolls in their community. The Powell River group has raised over $500 a year for the last four years. The money has gone to support orphanages and hospitals in Africa and some of the money has also been sent to the Stephen Lewis Foundation which helps sponsor grandmothers supporting children in Africa.

These dolls can be purchased here in Powell River at Paperworks Gift Gallery and at Breakwater Books. For more information on this project go to: africanaidsangels.googlepages.com.



Cotton bag program to reduce plastics
Pebble in the Pond lands grant

Expect to start seeing a lot more cloth bags around Powell River.

Pebble in the Pond Environmental Society has been awarded a Job Creation Partnership Grant to carry out the Cloth Bag Program for Powell River. It will bring more than $100,000 into the local economy in wages and other business-related expenditures.

Three project coordinators have been hired: Dawn Holmen, Giovanni Spezzacatena, and Aron Strumecki. Cloth Bag Program Supervisor is Karen Skadsheim, one of the founding members of the society.

Over the next nine months, the staff will implement a Cloth Bag Program for Powell River. They’re hoping to coordinate a program that will provide cloth bags to retailers interested in offering affordable cotton shopping bags to their customers.

While the participants will increase their job skills, they’ll also be working towards a goal of Pebble in the Pond to reduce the number of plastic bags being used in the community.

Board members include Judi Tyabji Wilson, president; CaroleAnn Leishman, vice-president and communications chair; Melissa Call, special events coordinator; Tracey Ellis, secretary; and Karen Skadsheim, director.



Wanted: Festival Volunteers!
Support Powell River Performers
By Janet May

“The most horrifying thing I have ever done in my life was to get up on stage and sing.” Wendy Mann remembers a performance from her early teens. She describes the knee-high socks she was wearing. “My knee caps were quaking, and they bobbed up and down while I sang.”

Although the years have not mellowed her memory, Wendy recognizes that the chance to face such fear was a gift. And paradoxically, she has helped scores of youth get into the same horrifying position at the Powell River Festival of the Performing Arts. “I have vast admiration for the kids who perform.,” she says, “It takes courage to go on stage all by yourself. And it is hugely character building.”

The Powell River Festival of the Performing Arts is a series of amateur performances showcasing the talent in our town. The 66th Festival begins on February 15 this year, culminating in the Grand Concert on March 3.

BY THE NUMBERS: Volunteer Wendy Mann poses with one of her favourite volunteer jobs at the Festival of Performing Arts: changing the numbers on the board.Wendy is part of the silent and strong backbone of the Festival. In the past, she has served as the head Festival organizer, doing everything from accepting registration forms and creating the schedule, to hosting certificate-inscribing parties, which sound like a lot of fun. The Rotary Club of Powell River now undertakes the organization and Wendy remains as one of the spirited volunteers who support the Festival.

The Festival volunteers keep events running smoothly and to schedule. They are often unnoticed, because they do their jobs so well. But “there are never enough of them,” says Jill Ehgoetz, the 2010 Festival secretary treasurer. “We encourage people to sign up and help for a shift of two or three hours.” Jobs include selling programs, minding the door, helping the adjudicator and changing the numbers on the number board. “The number board is fun,” says Wendy. It is an icon of the festival, dating back to the Knights of Pythias who took over organizing the festival in 1948, when it was only three years old.

There are other community volunteers who build the Festival. Teachers put in hours of work at school and in lessons after school, preparing their students. The skills to play an instrument, or recite a poem, are just the beginning of the job. The students are also learning determination to polish a piece and confidence to perform in front of peers and an adjudicator.

“It is an important opportunity: a platform for our youth to develop.” Wendy adds “The festival is a magical thing in Powell River.”

Joining the festival volunteers is an easy way to get involved and witness the talent of Powell River. The festival will run from February 15 until March 3, 2010. More information is available at www.clubrunner.ca/powellriver. Click on the festival link on the left hand side of the Rotary Club web page. To sign up, e-mail musicfestival@shaw.ca and leave a contact telephone number.




21 Ways to Beat Stress

Throughout the pages of this issue, you’ll find a variety of stories and tips aimed at helping you reduce your stress level. Here, we have distilled it all into a simple list of 21 things you can do to avoid having a meltdown this holiday.

  1. Have a massage. All your pressures will still be there when you’re done, but you’ll be in a much better physical and emotional state to handle them.
  2. Get outside. Go hiking, golfing, diving, fishing or whatever outdoor sport you like. Sure, it’s not summer time, but you won’t melt; your stress will.
  3. Take a spa day.
  4. Buy yourself flowers.
  5. Buy someone else flowers.
  6. Try acupuncture or acupressure.
  7. Have a bowl of garlic soup.
  8. Go to a tanning salon. While there may be debate about the physical benefits, the mental health benefits to getting warm and toasty on a miserable winter day are irrefutable.
  9. Go for a run or walk.
  10. Learn a new dance.
  11. Eat chocolate. More than just psychological, this has physical benefits when you’re stressed.
  12. Read a book.
  13. Visit a friend.
  14. Help someone else.
  15. Pray. Whether or not you believe, talking it out is never a bad idea.
  16. Meditate.
  17. Watch a movie. Sometimes just zoning out with an escapist flick is the “reset” your mind needs.
  18. Get your hair done.
  19. Go shopping -- it’s called “retail therapy” for a reason.
  20. Enjoy a glass of wine.
  21. Read a magazine. You can already feel the stress easing, can’t you?



Your best year yet
A guide to your heart, mind, body and soul

The turkey’s been gobbled, the fruitcake gone and the Christmas wine drunk. Your trousers are too tight, there’s a credit card bill in the mail and there’s no tropical winter vacation in sight for you.

Sure it’s painful. But there are others in the same boat, so Powell River Living has put together some ideas to help through the winter and make 2010 your best year yet.

Health and Wellness

People come to the recreation complex for lifestyle changes and there are more and more opportunities for adult health and wellness there. Instructors at the complex have come up with several new ideas.

A chronic pain course was well attended as was Roché Rossouw’s “Better Backs” class. New in 2010 is a full-figure fitness class at the complex. New this year is water running, a cardio workout without stress on your joints.

Some men are now taking aquasize and yoga classes. The gym is also attracting more older people and many are discovering the joys of having their own personal trainer to keep them on track.

The complex also offers a great deal. “If you come in for the gym you can also use the pool and hot tub. You could go from aerobics to skating to the gym,” says recreation manager Sandra Clarke.

There’s water polo for kids and triathlon swim training. On January 17, there will be a mini triathlon for children at the complex. Kids will be expected to swim six laps, skate 32 laps and run three kilometers as an individual or a team.

Don’t forget the special “Get Active Powell River” means that children in Grades 5 and 6 can sign up for free swimming and skating.

Great Outdoors is a clam and oyster digging workshop and there’s a course called How to Avoid Getting Lost in the Woods and learn basic map reading skills. Check out “Here Fishy, Fishy” and catch the big one. Consider cooking classes and classes with tips for shopping for healthy food choices.

Vancouver Island University hosts a variety of classes to expand your mind and improve your health. Spring university courses start January 6, and there is also a plethora of community classes to check out. Pick up the Leisure Guide/VIU Course Calendar, which comes out December 4, for a full list of what’s available at VIU and the complex.

“It’s tough to get yourself moving when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Sometimes it’s best to commit yourself to a class in advance (whether it be swimming, dancing, or aerobics), so you know you’ll get off the couch and get moving,” says Mariah Sheridan of Sheridan Dance Academy. “You might even be thinking on the drive to your class “Why am I doing this? I’ve got more important things to be doing right now!” But what could be more important than getting some exercise, and socializing with other like-minded people? Not to mention that deep down you know you’ll feel better once you’ve completed the class.”

“Dancing is a fantastic way to let off some steam, and get your creative juices flowing. Dance classes are a great way to keep yourself motivated -- but remember you can do some free dancing anytime, any place, and I guarantee you’ll feel better after only a couple of minutes of letting loose,” says Mariah.

Gerrimae Sepkowski is also working hard to get Powell Riverites off the couch. She runs Thrive Fitness, training people to get stronger, with a special focus on running. Many of her students go on to compete in marathons or half-marathons.

“I love to see the strength build in each of my clients, but even more so, I love to see the confidence, the amazement and the joy starting to take hold as they watch their bodies and their minds accomplish goals they never thought imaginable,” says Gerrimae.

“I have a little studio in my basement where I lead small strength/core sessions as well as do personal training for those that feel too intimidated to go to a gym or a big workout class. But most people know me for my beginning running groups. So far it has been just women participating in these classes, but my goal is to see a men’s group find their running legs this spring as well! These sessions are usually 5-6 weeks, and we meet three times a week and the goal is that each client can run 5 km by the end of it.”

After proper stretching, they run through trails outdoors. “It’s the perfect way to keep up inspiration and it’s beautiful therapy to run through the bushes with a group of women, and brings a wonderful sense of safety as well as fun.”

There’s been a spike in yoga programs lately. Terry Sabine, administrator of the Powell River Academy of Music says Sondra Thom of The Yoga Garden put together a special class called “The Office Girls” which is restorative and fun. This class is perfect for the person who isn’t really athletic. Sabine had a knee replacement recently and she has been able to do it.

“Yoga is very relaxing and you come out of there feeling like a million bucks.”

Concerts are always a nice treat and spiritually uplifting. The Academy always has a good assortment of concerts scheduled for the winter months and these are always spiritually uplifting.

The community band rehearses at the Academy of Music on Thursday evenings and anyone who has a passion for playing is encouraged to look at this.

Men can join Chor Musica. There’s no pre requisite required. “You just have to be male and love to sing.” This choir has a great time and keeps getting better and better.

Edward and Miruh Sanderson, who operate Powell River Healthworks, offer information on preventative health practices. Edward’s blog, edshealthtips.com and Miruh’s blog, spiritualhealingjourney.com are rich resources for tips on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. They will be offering a series of free lectures on healthy living, beginning on Friday January 4th.

The health modalities offered are Acupuncture, Jin Shin Do Acupressure and Egoscue Method Postural Alignment. All are helpful for health maintenance, relaxation, correcting imbalances and giving symptomatic relief from a variety of conditions, including: neck, back and joint pain, tendonitis, menstrual and menopausal symptoms, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Jin Shin Do Acupressure is a traditional Oriental healing modality that is viewed as preventative and focuses on the maintenance of health, says Acupressure and Reflexology practitioner Ardith Beynon.

By applying gentle yet deep finger pressure on the acupoints, stuck energy or chi is encouraged to flow, thus stimulating one’s innate ability to heal. This touch therapy helps relieve a variety of symptoms, such as: back and shoulder pain, allergies, headaches, sinus pain, physical and emotional stress, fatigue and insomnia.

The client lies on a massage table and remains fully clothed except for shoes.

Gift certificates for acupressure and reflexology are available at Vitality Natural Wellness Clinic.

Acupuncture & Oriental Therapy today use energetic pathways and acupuncture points established, through observation, by a long line of practitioners over the course of centuries. The pathways and points are used to effect how a person’s body functions, says acupuncturist Patricia MacPherson.

An acupuncturist with knowledge of the points and energetic pathways can use these points and pathways to relieve and correct both musculoskeletal and organic dysfunction.

In North America acupuncture is most widely known for it’s ability to treat musculoskeletal and nerve pain relieving for example sore backs, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel, sore knees and sprained ankles. But acupuncture is also used to treat internal organ dysfunctions thus affecting things like asthma and stomach and intestine functions.

“No matter what a person is being treated for they will often notice that their energy level is better and that they have an improved sense of well-being,” said Patricia.

Sahaj Marg Meditation is a means to balance our two wings of existence, the spiritual and material. It is simple, direct and free of charge.

“With Meditation we train our mind to regulate itself; it leads us beyond the outer activity into the inner silence of our hearts. The regulated mind and connection with our inner peace develops in us a balanced state which is unaffected by the stress of everyday life. Our natural capacity for right action begins to manifest, allowing us to prioritize the conflicting demands of life,” says Jennifer Blampin, who trained in India and certified to facilitate this practice.

Sara McClinchey of Sara’s Hands Massage promotes good health as a balance between emotional, spiritual and physical self care. Taking quiet time daily to pray and meditate gives a person focus and peacefulness throughout their day. Using organic products and eating a vegetarian diet will reduce exposure to toxins, allow easier digestion and proper absorption of nutrients, she says. Daily exercise keeps the body fit and helps clear the mind.

“Massage is a great part of your self care routine. Massage increases blood flow, improves muscle tone, decreases muscle tightness, assists in detoxification, reduces emotional stress and promotes a sense of well-being. An environment with dimmed lights, soothing temperature, calming music, and pleasing aromas creates an atmosphere where the mind and body can truly unwind.”

It is impossible to feel your best when your body is out of alignment as this can cause many health problems, but the Health Centre above Kelly’s Speciality Shop on Willingdon Avenue offers services to help get you back in shape. Dr. Rahim is an Osteopath and he gives treatments once a month; Ghyslain Sarrazin does reflexology and reiki and Peter Morrow does blood cell analysis.

To help people stay healthy during our sunless winter, Kelly’s carries a wide variety of products that will keep you on track. A good quality multivitamin is needed with extra Vitamin D and it is available in liquid, capsules or tablets. Vitamin C, B, Complex or Echinacea will help build up the immune system. Kelly’s also has a great selection of homeopathic products to help combat the flu. Owner Stella Gillies is happy to give out recipes for a wonderful ginger, lemon and honey tea and an excellent garlic soup!

Don’t let a little unsteadiness on your feet stop you from getting out and about. At Drake Medox Health Services, they help you stay active longer. Home support workers, health care aides and housekeepers on staff that can make seniors life easier, and safer. Flexibility is their specialty! “We carry equipment such as bathroom safety products, walkers, compression stockings and diabetic socks. We have a foot care nurse on staff providing foot care for diabetics and seniors and we have the Footmaax custom orthotic line available,” says Michelle McIntosh.

And if you are planning to really get out, Drake Medox also offers a comprehensive travel consultation service. A travel nurse is on site to ask about vaccinations or other health advice you may need for your travel destination.

With all these great ideas there are no excuses left. Get moving and get going and get healthy now!

Stella’s Garlic Soup

Peel cloves of garlic, sauté in oil and butter for about 15 minutes, stirring over very low heat. Meanwhile, peel potatoes, chop them into quarters and add to large pot along with chicken stock. Cook until potatoes are cooked 15-20 min. At this time also add the garlic to the pot for 5 minutes then remove with slotted spoon both potatoes and garlic to food processor or blender, along with a little stock from the pot. Blend till smooth, pour this back into pot and stir to blend. You’ve just made the best soup for flu season; eat some and freeze some for later.

Courtesy Stella Gillies of Kelly’s Specialty Shop



Square dancing at the Rancho
Not your grandma’s pastime any more!
By Bonnie Krakalovich

As soon as you walk in the doors of the Rancho, home to the Star Dusters Square Dance group, you are struck by the warm welcome, camaraderie and the pride that this group takes in their building. First, I was shown the renovations that the club had made, which included knocking out walls and building a huge stage from which the callers direct the dancers. It is a far cry from the small corner stage they had been using. They also have a large dining area and kitchen. Adorning the walls of the dining area are framed member lists going back to 1964 for adults and 1969 for the teens. They currently have a membership of approximately 45 people.

SQUARE is hip: Members of the Star Dusters kick up their heels at the Rancho at Timberlane.Star Dusters hold dances every Thursday starting at 7:30 pm and ending at 10 pm, when they enjoy refreshments. They are looking for new members and will hold dance lessons starting in January on another week day evening from 7-9 pm, for anyone interested in learning.

This is a group of people who truly enjoy each other. They hold card parties, wine and cheese parties and a special Valentine’s Day dinner where everything is done by the men. You don’t have to be married or come with a partner of the opposite sex; there are a lot of singles who attend and everyone gets a chance to dance. And the music is not at all what you would expect. They dance to everything from Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” to Toby Keith’s “Not as Good as I Once Was” or the Pointer Sisters’ “Slow Hand.” So this is definitely not your grandma’s pastime anymore.

In 2004 they held their 40th anniversary and had guests and former dancers from the Lower Mainland, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and Alberta attend the festivities. It was a weekend full of dancing, remembering and catching up with old friends.

The club is proud to have two registered callers, Gordon Ruedig and Judy Alcock and claim that the other clubs are very envious of this. Star Dusters are hoping to hold Square Dance parties that will encourage people to come out and learn the basics to see if square dancing is an activity they would be interested in. The first of these will be an Open House on December 5 from 1 to 4 pm. In addition, former members are invited to attend the Christmas Party Potluck planned for December 19 at 6 pm.

In the hour that I watched the dancers weaving in and out and sashaying around the dance floor it became quite clear that this is a group that loves what they do. Not only do they enjoy the music and each other, but they also get a great workout in the process. So if aerobics or jazzercise is not your thing, square dancing might just be what you are looking for.

They are also planning on doing a Dance Affair in January, so keep an eye out for more info on this event. If you are interested in more information on square dancing or the Star Dusters call Susan Storry at 604 485-2133 or Gordon Ruedig at 604 487-9565.



Decorating for Christmas
Go with the flow
By Jessica Hutton

Ah Christmas. As a designer and decorator, I love the Christmas season. I love the colors, I love the textures, I love the smells and the tastes, the sounds and the smiles; I am so inspired by it all and my home undoubtedly reflects it! Regardless of one’s beliefs, Christmas is truly a spectacular time of year. It’s easy (and surprisingly cheap) to achieve a stunningly striking home during the festive season and there are a few very simple tricks to accomplishing it. The single factor that will make or break your holiday décor is how it flows; and color is central to that. Therefore, the very first thing to do is to pick a color scheme and stick to it. When we think of Christmas, we inevitably think of the long-established red and green but the color schemes available for the festive season now encompass everything from pastel pinks to electric blues, shiny blacks to the traditional barn door red. Every color scheme is spectacular in its own unique way but not every home supports every color palate. If your home currently carries a deep red color scheme, trying to decorate in pastels is working completely against the flow of the home. Work with your present décor; pick a color scheme that is going to compliment your home. If your home doesn’t support a traditional color scheme, an extremely attractive solution is to decorate with neutrals. Whites, creams, gold’s and silvers are classy, chic and festive and will enhance any décor.

If you are trying to achieve a more stylish look in your home, but still want to keep some holiday traditions, like children’s homemade ornaments, have more than one tree such as a large tree, and a smaller tree that can be covered with the traditional ornaments. When choosing ornaments, choose with timelessness in mind and when purchasing, take into account the following. In order to keep the flow, take into account purchasing enough to continue the flow through the Christmas tree, the mantels and any staircase banisters. Consider purchasing enough to make a wreath out of the same colored ornaments that can be placed on the front door of the home to begin the look.

Lighting is very important, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. Consider dimmer switches not only for their efficiency, but also for the ambiance they create. Use candles to fill darker corners with soft, flickering light. Place candles in deep glass vases or bowls for protection and refrain from using more than one scented candle in the home at a time.

With the bleakness of January comes the daunting task of taking the decorations all back down. The fun of putting it all up is replaced with the mess of undoing it all. Keep the boxes for decorations so they can be stowed away easily and carefully. Plastic totes are the easiest and most convenient. Wrap all the decorations safely and pack and label each box with its contents. Take pictures of the house during the season so that the following year, it’s easier to decorate.



What to do on a dark and stormy night?
Get on the couch and check out the library’s new DVD collection
By Deb Calderon

The rain is beating on the windows, the wind is howling and I am snuggled up on the couch at home watching a DVD of the recently released series The Number One Ladies Detective Agency. What better way to spend a winter night in Powell River? Now, thanks largely to the fund-raising efforts of the Friends of the Library, patrons can look forward to many more evenings with lots of brand spanking new DVDs to watch.

BUFFED MOVIES: Librarian Charlie Kregel and Friends of the Library volunteer Charlotte Shulz show off the new DVD collection at the Powell River Library.I recently took a behind-the-scenes tour of Powell River’s newest library collection. There, in a back room, taking up three whole shelves, I saw them, the new DVDs. As I ran my hand over the smooth, shiny little boxes that house the discs I couldn’t wait to see what titles the library had chosen.

Head Librarian Charlie Kregel explained, “Our DVD collection is now made up of a core collection that is based on a variety of juried lists of the `best of’ various categories over the years. For example, we bought the 100 best foreign documentaries of all time. As well there are lots of new Canadian Film Board offerings and great new collections of best indie and foreign feature films.”

He was right, I realized, as I pulled out classics like Dr. Strangelove, and Ben Hur, a foreign film called Romantico, as well as a documentary with the intriguing title of Devil’s Play.

The library chose to focus on increasing the DVD collection for a number of reasons, including space issues. DVDs are very heavily used by library borrowers, but they don’t take up much room. Even with more than 500 new DVDs, they all still fit on the shelves.

When I wondered why the library was buying any new collection at this time Charlie explained, “Most people in Powell River know that we’re working hard to get a new library facility and that this is badly needed by our community,” replied Charlie. “But folks shouldn’t think that this means we’ve thrown in the towel on improving the library we’ve already got–we’re making lots of changes every day that make our services better. Sprucing up our DVD collection is just one more example of this.”

I realized that there have been all kinds of changes around the library; maybe small ones, but each an improvement. I noticed that the new reading chairs are much better quality than the old ones that squeaked every time you moved, that a cluttered area of the library had been cleared to make a new study centre, and I hear that a couple of really comfy armchairs have been ordered for the reading area. Our little library somehow seems brighter, airier and more comfortable these days.

Excited by the possibility of movie night at the Calderon Home Cinema, I asked how soon I could start borrowing the DVDs. To my delight I found out that the new collection is hitting the shelves now and that I can borrow up to five at a time free of charge.

So now that I’ve had a look at this wonderful new very exciting collection, I know what I will be doing this winter; and it involves a couch, a DVD player and a big bowl of hot buttered popcorn.

If you would like to get involved with the Friends of the Library, call Charlotte Schulz at 604 483-3111.



The Olympics are coming!
Torch relay lights up Powell River February 3rd
By Isabelle Southcott

Powell River has a lot to celebrate.

We are one of 187 celebration communities in Canada to host the Olympic Torch Relay and one of more than 100 BC communities involved in the GamesTown 2010 contest that focuses on healthy living.

Kim Barrows of Tourism Powell River is the Powell River Ayjoomixw Spirit of BC Community Committee Coordinator and director of administration for the Torch Relay Task Force. The City of Powell River will host the “Light Your Spirit” Torch Relay Celebration in the upper parking lot at the Recreation Complex beginning at 6 pm on February 3. There will be no parking at the complex that night; people are asked to park at Town Centre Mall and use the shuttle service.

Beginning at 3 pm that day, a community arts mosaic will be on display inside the complex along with various performers and arts displays. Coca-Cola and RBC will have interactive displays set up for people to check out.

Abby Lloyd, Powell River’s 13-year-old Western judo champion, was chosen as the community torchbearer. She will be the final torchbearer on that evening and will have the honour of running on stage with her torch and lighting the cauldron during the celebration.

Due to privacy and security concerns, the organizing committee does not know all the local torchbearers. “We only know those who make themselves known to us,” said Kim.

It takes a lot of work to put together an event of this magnitude and although many people have already volunteered, more are needed. “We need hundreds of volunteers to help us pull off the Torch Relay Celebration,” said Kim. If you can help please email Sylvie Thomson, director of volunteers at sylvie.thomson@rbc.com or contact Volunteer Powell River at 604 485-2132.

Bearing the torch: Joyce Carlson and Kim Barrows hold an Olympic torch aloft in anticipation of the February 3 event.The Torch Relay Community Task Force is made up of many community volunteers who are helping with everything from special events to administration to security.

Some folks are volunteering locally, others are leaving town. Johny McDowell is a volunteer, so is torchbearer Andy Evans. Dave Murphy is a volunteer member of the Mobile Operations Support Team, Brenda Paquin is a host at the Olympic Family Hotel, and Cameron Reid has been named Press Tribune Supervisor at the Vancouver Olympic Centre where the curling will be held.

There will be several special events leading up to Powell River’s main celebration. Brooks Secondary School will hold its own torch relay while the students at Oceanview Middle School will participate in the Sport Fit Challenge–a program run through Sport Fit Canada through 2010 Legacies Now. “The kids participate in eight different activities and their results are recorded and entered into a data system. A certificate is printed out that says which Olympic sports they could excel at based on their results!” says Kim.

Elementary school students will participate in a torch making craft project. They will need over 3,000 toilet paper rolls so start saving those rolls now and drop them off at the Powell River Visitor’s Centre.

“Our goal is to get the kids excited so they will take their torches home and ask their parents to take them to the complex to see the torch arrive,” says Kim.

The actual route the torch will travel is top secret at this point but a special souvenir insert with all the details will be published in the Powell River Peak the week before the event.

Andy Evans has been chosen as a volunteer driver in the lower mainland and as one of Powell River’s torchbearers. He will be running somewhere along the route on February 4 as the torch travels from Powell River to Squamish. That morning, the torch leaves Vancouver Island University around 6 am in order to get onto the ferry to the Lower Mainland. Needless to say, Andy is pretty excited about the role he will be playing,

When Andy, who is the manager of the Town Centre Mall, found out he’d been chosen he purchased his own torch! It will be on display at the Town Centre Mall after the event.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When will I get another chance to do this?”

Andy will run his 300 metres with the torch and the following month he’ll go to Vancouver where he will volunteer as a driver for the Paralympics. Another Powell Riverite, Shannon Markham, is also a volunteer driver.

“Driving for the Paralympics is a big commitment but I am excited about doing it. I will meet people from all around the world; it’s a great opportunity. I feel honoured to be driving people who are involved in the Paralympics because I will meet people that have had challenges and have overcome those challenges,” said Andy.

Other torchbearers we have heard about are Barbara Behan, Sue Green, Jared Siminoff and Amanda Birtig.

CaroleAnn Leishman is the director of celebrations on the task force. “It’s my job to pull the production together from the local stand point and coordinate with the VANOC contingent who arrive a couple days before. I have been scouting talent and am pulling together an eclectic bunch of performances from our local talent pool as well as organizing a large group of choral singers, including students, to sing an original composition by Tobin Stokes specifically for this event. I am also choreographing a couple of pieces with local dancers and performers.”

Tod English will be involved in the 2010 Winter Olympics as the official Team Host for the Norway National Men’s team.

Tod’s journey began in 1995 when the Powell River Regals began competing at the international level. The Regals secured a berth to play as Team Canada in the Japanese Nagano Cup, a Olympic commemorative tournament. At that event Tod met Denis Hainault, a valuable ally and contact. Denis continued his rise in the world of hockey going from chairman for the World Junior Championship in Vancouver for 2006 and on to the head of Ice Hockey for the 2010 Olympics. In 2005 the Regals were asked to host a world junior team in Powell River and were awarded the Norway Team. The Regals won their third Allan Cup in 2006 and were awarded a berth in the Polese Cup in Belarus as Team Canada in 2007. There, Tod met with the Ice Hockey Federation presidents from Latvia and Denis asked Tod if he’d be interested in a volunteer position with the 2010 Olympic Hockey committee.

As it draws closer, Tod realizes what an opportunity it will be to have Team Norway in Powell River. “The job description is every waking moment, so once the team arrives in Canada for the Olympics my role is to oversee their itinerary and daily plan from meals to game times.”

Limited merchandise will be for available for sale before the celebration, including hats, scarves and jackets as well as a package containing a commemorative lapel pin, handheld flag and celebration candle to be lit when the torch arrives.

For more information, please visit www.carrythetorch.com.




Helping hearts; caring hands
Food Bank, Salvation Army and Christmas Cheer need your help
By Isabelle Southcott

It’s early December and the sanctuary at the Salvation Army’s citadel is strewn with winter coats and jackets. While the rain beats on the roof outside and the wind howls around the building volunteers hum and chat, warm and safe in the knowledge that the work they are doing will make a difference in someone’s life.

Salvation Army Captains Jennifer and Rick Robins don’t know who they will help today, tomorrow or next week, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they have been given the opportunity to help people, to change lives and to make a difference.

There are many ways you can help, says Jennifer, pointing out that volunteers are still needed to assist with their annual Christmas Kettle campaign.

The Salvation Army raises money to give back to the community. They help those who desperately need help with food, clothes, spiritual salvation and anything else they might need. They help those no one else will help.

Now you know what the Salvation Army does, what can you do?

“There is always some way that a person can contribute. Give people the opportunity to give and you will be amazed,” says Jennifer.

“We send out 9,500 letters at this time of year. They all have to be folded and this can be tedious but we have senior volunteers who are limited in what they can do to help but they can do this and so they do.”

Volunteers are needed to help pack Christmas hampers and Sunshine Bags (small bags that contain items like a pen, paper, fruit and tissues) that are taken to seniors homes and the hospital close to Christmas. “We give all the seniors who are associated with the Salvation Army a card made by a child that says we remembered.”

The Salvation Army is holding a Community Christmas Dinner on December 20 at 5 pm. If you can help serve, wash up or would like to play music or sing Christmas carols please call the Salvation Army at 604 485-6067.

Rick and Jennifer know that times are tough; they see it first hand. “We are not sure what will happen here in this down economy,” says Jennifer. “But when times are tough people are often willing to give more. You can always give of yourself if you can’t afford to donate money.”

In addition to the regulars, The Salvation Army has had many new clients this year. “People who just lost their jobs or are working and not making enough to pay the bills will come for help to make it through. Some people don’t want to come in when we are open and will drive by for two weeks and go hungry because they are embarrassed to come in,” said Rick. “Don’t think you have to live on the street or smell bad to come in here,” added Jennifer.

People who help people feel a sense of connectedness and a sense of purpose. “It is rewarding when you serve others and know that you are making a difference. It makes all the work that you do worthwhile,” says Jennifer.

Christmas Cheer has been helping the less fortunate at Christmas time since the 1950s when the late Burt and Augusta Long and Ruth and Frank Scott identified a need in this area.

Thirty-seven year volunteer Olga LaPlante isn’t able to do as much these days for health reasons but she is still very much involved. In 1973, when Olga first began volunteering with Christmas Cheer, they did 30 hampers. Last year, they filled more than 400 hampers with groceries and gifts.

The fact that they didn’t hold a Toy Run this year means the committee has fewer funds and toys to put in hampers. “A lot of our donations are down, I think it is just because of the economics of Powell River,” says LaPlante.

If you are able to help out there’s a Christmas tree at Wal-Mart where you can pick up a tag for a child of a specific age. You can purchase a gift or a gift certificate and leave it at the service counter for Christmas Cheer volunteers to pick up. If you would like to sponsor a family please call Sandy at 604 485-2142 or Olga at 604 483-9626.

Schools are always incredibly helpful in holding food drives for Christmas Cheer in December and churches put together their own hampers, said LaPlante. “Christmas Cheer is the umbrella group. We organize all the families and service clubs so they do not get duplicates.”

The Powell River and District Food Bank needs donations of food and cash. This time of year is particularly difficult for low-income people as they are faced with higher heating bills. That, coupled with tough economic conditions, make it challenging for those already struggling.

The Food Bank has lost grant money over the years. That coupled with tough economic times means that many have less to give yet more people are using the Food Bank.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church holds a Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day.

The need for food is overwhelming and smaller churches such as the Faith Lutheran are finding that the need for food outweighs what they are able to collect. They have had to reduce the days they are open, as they do not have enough to give.




Point of VIU: Education opens new doors
By Dawn McLean

Cheyenne Kowalyk at Career Link greets clients not only with her fabulous smile but with confidence. A graduate of the Applied Business Technology Office Assistant program at Vancouver Island University in Powell River, she is now part of Career Link’s administrative and resource support team. When asked why she chose the ABT program, Cheyenne responded enthusiastically. “Because it was close, I could still live in town and it was a lot easier to focus on the work. Also, it was less expensive than going away.”

Recent graduates: Grads from the Applied Business Technology program at VIU, from left: Kelly Hodgins, Jocelyn Walz, Jessica Hitt.Other graduates have gone on to the second level of the program to earn full certificates in Administrative Assistant, Legal Administrative Assistant, Accounting Assistant, or Medical Office Assistant. All of this can be done online if students choose to remain in Powell River. Here, they can receive support from staff on campus. Margaret Schiller has gone this route. “The teachers are great, they are there for you. It is a relaxed way of learning. You can even do tests according to your own schedule.”

Others, such as Jocelyn Walz, transferred to Nanaimo to finish their program in a classroom environment. “I feel like I already know a lot of the material we’re learning, so that’s a bonus. I think it will be a really good program and I’m excited to finish,” she says. Other students used this course as a stepping stone for other kinds of education. Kelly Hodgins is now a first year university student at VIU Powell River campus, and skills learned in this course are serving her well as she prepares essays and assignments.

Grade 12 students can access this program as dual credit students and get high school and post secondary credit at the same time. Information about a variety of funding options is available through Career Link and VIU.

Skills learned in this program are transferable to many jobs. Banks, insurance companies, municipalities, businesses, all require people with current computer skills as well as organizational abilities. Cheyenne says, “It prepared me knowing a lot of the information I learned would be used within my job at Career Link and that it was easier for my colleagues to work with me with my up-to-date knowledge.

Cheyenne’s advice to others interested in following a similar path: “Work hard, study hard and keep an eye out for a future job. Always apply to any job you would like because sometimes employers will wait if you’re the right person!”



Get out there! One chance to see Banff Mountain Film Festival

This year’s Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will definitely be a sell out so you’d better act quickly to get your tickets.

It is one night only, Friday, January 8, and it will be held at the Max Cameron Theatre at Brooks Secondary School.

“It is a nice social outing in the new year for family and friends to get together in Powell River,” says event organizer Jim Palm.

Doors open at 6 pm and as usual there will be an assortment of mouth-watering gourmet appetizers. “Our Culinary Arts Program will be doing the appetizers again,” said Palm.

This year’s lineup includes a great selection of following award-winning films. Finding Farley is about a family’s cross-country canoe trip. There are the requisite adrenaline-pumping mountain sport films such as Beyond the Summits and Solo. There’s also an up close look at one of the world’s most elusive creatures in Snow Leopard.

Be sure to get your tickets early this year, as there will only be one showing as opposed to two in past years.

Tickets are available at Taws, River City Coffee, Thunder Bay Store and Alpha Adventures. For more information, contact Palm at jpalm@sd47.bc.ca or 604 483-3171.




We Day: A shift in focus
By Arynn Keane

Grade 9 students from Assumption School recently attended “We Day” in Vancouver.

“We Day” is a conference/concert that shows young people that “We” can make a difference. “Me to We” is the motto. We want to stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on the rest of the world because there are many people out there that need our help.

Our world’s not perfect, we have many laws in every country, every city, and two in our world. Much of our world lives in a state of poverty. There are so many people on this planet without even a basic education, so many people being abused by child labour, and so many people calling out for help to those like us.

Craig and Marc Keilburger, founders of Free the Children, created “We Day” to spread the message to young people because we are the generation of “Change.”

This event had many great musicians and inspirational speakers there including the Dalai Lama.

Their words were unforgettable and completely inspirational. They spoke of the people we can help; the conditions some live in but also of the hope they still hold. It may seem like we’re too small or powerless to make a difference but anyone and everyone can help; it only takes one person to start the change.

Some words that I will never forget are, “Opportunity is not a chance, it’s a choice.” We have the choice to help and make a difference. One of the Keilburger’s main messages pertained to the idea of a 10 by 10 challenge. The 10 by 10 challenge is the 2010 way to help. You can donate ten dollars or ten hours of community service to help. Also try telling ten people about the 10 by 10 challenge.

We need to spread the word in order to make a big change. Although “We Day” only took place in two cities, Toronto and Vancouver, there were 30,000 students present plus a live webcast and it was broadcast on television. Everyone that was at “We Day” was to bring back the information to their community. We have brought back the information but now our whole community must take a stand and make a difference. And that chance could start in our own community.




Family Matters: I think mice are rather nice
By Isabelle Southcott


“Mom, can I get a mouse? Please Mom, I beg of you. I’ll do anything. Anything.”

At one time or another most parents will hear the same plea from their own children. It may not be for a mouse, it may be for a dog, a cat, a pony or a hamster but most will hear it. And most, will hold out. For a while. They will tell their child that ponies cost too much or dogs are too much of a commitment. They will stand firm but then one day something will happen. They will cave.

It is not something to be ashamed of. We all do it. It is human nature.

Alex had his plea down pat. He campaigned for an entire month. He did his research and learned that I had mice as a child. His grandmother told him about my mouse, Scampy Lynn. She told him how Scampy Lynn went to visit Heather Cudmore’s mouse one day and how, after that visit Scampy Lynn grew very fat. She told him how a few weeks later Scampy Lynn gave birth while Mommy and her three best friends crowded around the mouse cage to watch.

“Did Scampy Lynn really exercise on the wheel in between babies?” Alex asked. “Yes,” said Grandma.

And so the Scampy Lynn line began. Soon all my little friends had their own mice but more mice kept coming and coming.

“Mommy, I just want one mouse,” pleaded Alex. “You had 33.”

Ouch. Yes, I did have 33. Why did my mother have to tell that small insignificant detail?

I was cornered and so I gave in. I mean what else could I do? After all, mice don’t cost much, do they?

Like every pet, it is not the pet itself that is expensive. It is the gear that they have to have that costs money.

First the cage, then the shavings, the food, the wheel, the exercise ball, the log house, (I think it is a starter home, the mansion comes later), the mouse fluff, the mouse treats, the water bottle. A hundred dollars later and we were on our way, without the mice. They were on order.

Every day for the next week, we badgered Heather at Mother Nature to see when the mice were arriving. Alex was so excited, he couldn’t wait.

When the big day arrived Alex pedaled his bike to the pet shop to pick up his mice (did I tell you he got two?) One black mouse, which he called Shadow, and one gray and white mouse, which he named Scampy. Both females.

The mice had been transported from somewhere in the lower mainland and flown to Powell River on Pacific Coastal and then driven to Mother Nature. Minutes later, they were in a cardboard box, on the back of a bicycle being driven by a 10-year old to their new home.

All this, and they weren’t even a month old!

And so Scampy and Shadow began their new life in Powell River. They never remained in one spot long. Like the children, the mice live a divided life between my house and their father’s. When we went to Victoria to visit my father the mice went too (although my father hesitated because he’d just spent over $1,000 getting rid of rats and mice in his townhouse).

“Do you remember what happened to your mice in the end?” Dad asked me.

I did. Apparently my parents thought 33 mice was a few too many and so when I went to summer camp, they released them in the backyard.

“They’ve gone to visit all their country cousins,” my mother said a little too brightly.

I was devastated. I loved my mice.

I remembered all of this when Alex called me on my cell phone not long ago. He was at his father’s and very upset.

“Mom, do mice have periods?” he asked.

To tell you the truth, it wasn’t something I’d spent much time pondering so I had to think for a minute.

“Well honey, I guess they do but because they are so small you probably wouldn’t notice, why do you ask?”

It turns out that they don’t, but I didn’t know that at the time.

“Mom, Mattie (the cat) tried to get the mice,” said Alex, who was crying by this time.

“She got her paw inside the cage and Shadow is bleeding now and so I thought maybe she was just having her period. Should we take her to the vet?”

The vet? An emergency visit at 8 pm on a Friday night? For a mouse that cost $2.99? Are you crazy?

Of course I didn’t say that because there are times when one must edit their thoughts.

“Of course not honey,” I said in my most reassuring voice. “Shadow will be just fine. I don’t think it is her period; she’s probably just got a little cut by her tail. All she needs is a good night’s sleep. Why don’t you put her in a room and close the door so the cat can’t get in.”

Of course Shadow survived. And she survived without an emergency visit to the vet. She’s a mouse, after all and mice are survivors. And I survived too. Without a bill for an emergency visit to the vet. I am a mother, after all, and mothers are survivors.



Pardon my pen
By George M Campbell

A Christmas Rhyme

It’s Christmas time, it’s Christmas time,
Oh, let us all rejoice.
And rattle off a Christmas Rhyme
With loud and joyous voice.

Let’s sing a song of Santa Claus,
His merry eyes atwinkle.
His pipe clamped firmly in his jaws,
His little elves who finkle.

They finkle on the naughty child.
They hide behind the fence,
And squeal on children meek and mild
For disobedience.

“You naughy, naughty little kid,”
Scream Santa’s little elves.
“We’re telling Santa what you did.
We’ll keep your toys ourselves!”

Oh, sing and dance and shout for love,
For `tis that time of year
To loud proclaim the praises of
A crimson-snouted deer.

He led them through the foggy night.
His little nose aglow.
Hurray for Rudolph! He’s all right!
Let’s cover him with snow!

He’ll have no trouble getting out
From `neath that blanket, cosy.
He’ll merely shake his head about
And melt it with his nosy.

Let’s sing a song of Mr. Grinch,
That sneaky little thief!
He all of Christmas sought to pinch
To bring the children grief.

Let’s put old Grinchy into jail
And throw away the key.
Let’s tweak his nose and stomp his tail
And never set him free.

Old Dr Seuss, he thought him up
With concentrated frown;
More like a pussy than a pup--
I wish he’d thought him down!

Hey, Nonny, Nonny, Lally Loo!
The clown applies the rouge
To cheeks of white and eyes of blue--
It’s Ebenezer Scrooge!
It’s Ebenezer Scrooge, I say,
A Christmas Carol plus--
A miser, mean and gaunt and grey,
Who did not like the fuss
His clerk made over Christmas time,
So saw the spirits, three,
Who wised him up, and just in time
To make the sucker see!

And now let’s sing and dance of fame
Beneath the Christmas moon.
And laud the man of snow who came
To life one day at noon.

Oh, how he played, and how he ran,
That magic, wint’ry day,
Until the sun disturbed his plan
And melted him away.

Poor Frosty can no longer run,
No longer make a sound.
His life is over, finished, done!
A puddle on the ground.

Five Christmas characters of lore;
Claus, Scrooge, Grinch, Rudolph, Frost.
But say now–isn’t there one more?
Someone that we have lost?

Christmas contains his very name.
His word explains the way.
His life of love; His death of shame;
His birth proclaims the day.

The Virgin sits the manger by
And holds the babe at dawn.
The star shines brightly in the sky,
With shepherds looking on.

Oh, let us sing of Christmas time
And family festivity.
And let us end this Christmas rhyme
Upon the sweet nativity.



Back in business: Silke’s Organic Market is up and running
By Isabelle Southcott

Three months after a fire closed down Silke’s Organic Market, Volker and Silke Pfeifer are back in business.

The fire broke out on August 24 in the basement of the Marine Avenue business.

HAPPY AND HEALTHY: Volker and Silke Pfeifer have reopened their Marine Avenue health food store after an August fire forced them to close.“We thought we would be back in business in three weeks,” said Volker.

Over $50,000 worth of inventory had to be destroyed as well as the equipment located in the downstairs bakery.

“We had to rebuild all the walls downstairs, put in new plumbing and electrical to make sure there was no toxic debris. As well a company was brought in to purify the air and eliminate all the smoke damage,” said Volker

The couple made sure that by the time they reopened there was no contamination left from the fire.

“We cannot have any pollution on the healthiest product in town!” said Volker.

Silke’s realizes their customers have had to shop elsewhere during the time they were shut down but now they are reopened, they are inviting everyone to come back and check them out.

“We welcome our old and new customers. We have new lines of grains and flakes and flours,” says Volker.

“We also have a new line of Canadian vitamins and supplements.”

At Silke’s you can bring in your Earth Safe products for refills so you don’t have to use a new bottle each time.



For Art’s Sake
By Jessica Colasanto

The arts put the spirit back in the season

For many of us, December becomes the busiest time of the year. If all the hustle and bustle finds you muttering “Bah Humbug!” once too often this month, take advantage of some of Powell River’s holiday celebrations to recapture the spirit of the season.

On December 2, the powerful Powell River Chorus brings us their annual Christmas Concert and Carol Sing at 7 pm in the Evergreen Theatre. The public is invited to stay at the end for a Wassail; tickets are available from chorus members or at the door.

ILLUMINATING MUSIC: Walter Martella plays at last year’s Carols by Candlelight. This year’s event at Dwight Hall happens December 12 and 13. (Photo by Robert Colasanto.)Carols by Candlelight is an annual holiday tradition for so many in our community, and there may still be a few tickets available. This spectacular performance takes place at Dwight Hall on the evenings of the 12th and 13th, with a Saturday afternoon performance as well.Vancouver-based organist Ellen Wang joins the Academy Choirs as they fill the hall with the magic of Christmas, lit only by candles. Contact the Academy of Music for details at 604 485-9633 or visit www.powellriveracademy.org, and find out for yourself why this event, now in its 30th year, is a consistent sell-out.

The Powell River Community Band will present a Christmas concert on Thursday the 17th at the Music Academy at 7:30 pm; tickets are available from band members or at the door. While the program ranges from Benny Goodman to Gustav Holst, there does promise to be a selection of holiday tunes and a sing-along.

The charming gentlemen of Chor Musica bring us their annual Christmas concert on December 19 with Make we joy now in this fest, at 8 pm in the Academy Hall. The program will feature both sacred and secular carols–most will be familiar; all will be beautiful. A violin, organ, and bells will accompany some of the selections, and the program wraps up with an audience medley. Contact the Academy for details.

If you just want to treat yourself to something special, head to the Metropolitan Opera at 10 am on December 19 for Les contes d’Hoffmann, broadcast live from New York in high definition at the Max Cameron Theatre. Rolando Villazón plays the title role, a fictionalized character based on the German Romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffmann, as he recounts tales of the three women he has loved before swearing to never love again. Anna Netrebko is back in the tragic role of Antonia, the truest of Hoffmann’s loves, but even she is no match for the Muse. More information and sound clips from this fascinating psychological journey can be found at www.maxcamerontheatre.ca.

Looking ahead, the Malaspina Art Society has published a new calendar for 2010 with proceeds supporting and promoting the visual arts in Powell River. Featuring work from 13 different artists, it makes a perfect gift. Visit www.artpowellriver.ca to preview the images for each month and find details on obtaining a copy.

Support the arts in Powell River this month and revel in the spirit of the season!

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




Business Connections
By Kim Miller

This is a good time of year to remind everyone to shop locally. Local merchants are continuing to offer great prices and services, and with your support we all benefit. Help keep local businesses thriving in these challenging economic times.

Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Elaine Steiger just can’t sit still. Since selling Mountain Ash Farm’s process business to School District 47 she found herself with some time on her hands so she decided to start up a gift basket business. The name of her business? Elaine smiles, The Basket Case! If you would like a customized gift basket for the person who has everything, call Elaine at 604 483-9733.

Through an error with the Telus phone book, Tempco Refrigeration & Air Conditioning did not get included in the new book. Owner Tye Leishman is sending fridge magnets to all their past customers and is happy to send then to any potential new customers as well. Check out their website at www.tempcohvac.com or call them at 604 485-5352.

If you are seeking bookkeeping services, contact Melissa Leigh of Great Owl Bookkeeping at 604 485-2402. Melissa and her husband recently relocated to Powell River from Calgary. Melissa has years of experience helping to keep businesses on the right financial track.

Dr Lisa Strickland-Clark is a Registered Psychologist who has recently moved to Powell River. Lisa has experience in providing therapy and assessments for adults, children and families. She has worked in a mental health team in Nova Scotia and prior to that she worked in the National Health Service in the UK. She has a broad range of interests including working with people suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and relationship challenges. Lisa runs a course to help people manage persistent or chronic pain, and another which helps prevent relapse of depression. More information can be found on her website at www.psychologyinpowellriver.com

You have probably noticed the massive renovations happening at the corner of Duncan Street and Joyce Avenue. Capone’s Cellar, currently located on Glacier Street, will soon be re-opening in this high profile spot. I am sure you will agree that it is great to see some of our old commercial buildings being updated and put back into use.

Beyond Bliss Salon*Spa has added Suites to their name. Entrepreneur Sheona Scott is happy to be welcoming guests to her luxury hotel suites on Marine Avenue. Complete with king-size beds, full kitchens, Jacuzzi tubs, fluffy robes and awesome ocean views, Sheona hopes locals will take the opportunity to try a “stay-cation.” You don’t have to leave town to be pampered. Call 604 485-9521 for information on affordable hotel packages complete with spa treatments, meals at Limelight and welcome baskets.

Everyone is happy to see Silke’s Organic Market Place back in business after their ordeal with fire damage a few months ago. Drop in and see their new bakery, more selection and more inventory to choose from. They are again open Monday to Saturdays 9:30 am to 6 pm.

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

Kim Miller is the manager of the Powell River Chamber of Commerce.



Shop locally
Help yourself and the community
By Isabelle Southcott

Christmas is coming and Powell River merchants are doing their utmost to provide the widest selection of merchandise possible but they need your help.

In order for Powell River to prosper, those who live here must invest in their local economy. It doesn’t help the local economy if they take the money they earn while working at Powell River jobs and spend it out of town.

Dave Formosa, President of the Powell River Chamber of Commerce, wants everyone to shop locally.

“Without your support these stores will not be there in the future,” he said.

Often the reason people leave town to shop is they think that they’ll find better prices out of town. Sometimes that is true. Often, it’s not. Dean English at Taw’s recalls many occasions when people have come back from trips to the Island or Vancouver, and come back with skates or bikes, only to find they were sold at a better price here at home.

And local businesses also offer services that you won’t get from out-of-town suppliers, such as the free tune-ups at Taw’s.

By the time you spend the money on the ferry trip, it’s rare to actually save money on an out-of-town shopping trip.

With today’s economy, it is more important than ever to shop locally.

According to Civic Economics study on Grand Rapids, which runs a vibrant shop local program, for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 stays in the local economy compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain.

Other studies put the number at different levels, but one thing is sure in Powell River: if the money leaves town on the ferry, it’s not helping our community.

Local, independent businesses assist the community through a “multiplier effect”: one dollar spent at a locally owned business will return five times that amount within the community through city taxes, employees’ wages, and purchase of materials and supplies at other independent businesses. In addition, these businesses will turn that dollar back into the community through school funding, social services, and contributions to local non-profit organizations.

Local firms procure local goods and services at more than twice the rate of chains.

Most new jobs are provided by local businesses: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and locally they’re among the most stable employers.

“Especially when it comes to discretional spending such as jewellery, purses, and tanning salons, keep the money at home,” urges Formosa.

Powell River is a supportive community with a history of supporting its people.

“We need to rally around each other. If you are out of town and see a good deal, call home and ask for a price comparison,” Formosa suggests.

“We know everyone wants to get out of town for a break and while you are away there are always opportunities to shop but we want you to consider shopping locally where possible. If you see something that is available in Powell River give local merchants the opportunity to match it price wise or beat it.”

Top 10 Reasons to shop local

  1. Protect local character and prosperity: By choosing to support locally owned businesses, you help maintain Powell River’s diversity and distinctive flavour.
  2. Community well-being: Locally-owned businesses build strong neighbourhoods by sustaining communities, linking neighbours, and contributing more to local causes.
  3. Local decision-making: Local ownership means important decisions are made locally by people who live here and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
  4. Keeping dollars in the local economy: Your dollars spent in local businesses have more impact on your community than dollars outside. When shopping locally, you simultaneously create jobs, fund more city services, invest in neighbourhood improvement and promote community development.
  5. Job and wages: Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits.
  6. Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship fuels economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
  7. Public benefits and costs: Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services.
  8. Environmental sustainability: Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable shopping areas such as Marine Avenue and the Joyce-Alberni district, which in turn are essential to reducing vehicle use and air and water pollution.
  9. Competition: A marketplace of many small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
  10. Product diversity: A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of Powell Riverites, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.



Model community, model mall
Town Centre Mall renovations

Renovations at the Town Centre Mall are impossible to miss as major changes having been taking place both inside and outside.

Major RENOS: The face of the Town Centre Mall is quite different these days. Millions of dollars have been spent on upgrades and renovations. Mall owner Jack Barr stands in front of the new Shoppers Drug Mart with mall manager Andy Evans.Millions of dollars in renovations and upgrades have been invested in the 30-year-old mall. “It’s a huge upgrade,” said mall manager Andy Evans.

As well as expanded premises for Shoppers Drug Mart, The Source and Suzanne’s, many changes have been made to common areas and the parking lot.

“We’ve added tactile strips for visually impaired people,” explained Evans. These strips will have bumps on them so people can tell if they are about to go up or down a ramp.

“All our new sidewalks will have these,” he added.

The stairs have been painted to increase accessibility and the railings will be easier to use. “We’ve added many more handicapped parking spots as well,” said Evans, adding that the engineer on the job is well-known for his expertise in the area of accessibility.

The lighting in common areas will be upgraded and the ceilings will be lifted to give the mall a higher profile, said Evans. As well, the parking lot has been given a face-lift and is much easier to navigate with more pedestrian access.

Shoppers Drug Mart has a whole new store and will reopen in January. It goes from a 7,500 square foot selling area to 14,500 with a new and improved pharmacy that will have a consulting area, said Tammy Smitham, director of communications for Shoppers Drug Mart. There will be a pantry area with a grocery section plus a dry goods area and coolers for milk and dairy. “We focus on convenience items like milk, bread and eggs, pasta, cereal and snacks. Shoppers also has its own line of organic products called Nativa Organics.” There will also be an expanded cosmetics area. “We will have more brands to choose from and our unbiased beauty advisors can help you select from the cosmetic brands in the store,” said Smitham.

Former Powell River resident Mark Fromager, who already owns Shoppers in Sidney and Saanichton, is the Powell River store’s new pharmacist-owner.

The Source has expanded their premises. They have a new store look in keeping with that found in large malls with an improved layout. There are more hands-on areas in the store so the customer can interact with the product more easily.

Suzanne’s has been completely renovated with new flooring in keeping with their new company wide look. New colors and a new layout all are aimed at serving the customer better. Suzanne’s has also diversified their product line.

Iris will move back to their original location in early December. Their store has been freshened up and given a facelift so it looks just like new, said Evans.

And of course Armitage Men’s Wear moved to a new much larger location in the mall in September. Owner Ron Armitage now has more room to display his merchandise and the store looks fabulous!

The mall has been serving the community since 1981. Jack Barr, mall owner, said consumer studies indicate the demographics of Powell River will continue to grow in the retirement area. “We have focused on the ease of accessibility for the pedestrian. We are here for the long term. We have other things in Vancouver and Washington but this is probably our biggest investment.”

Tim Horton’s is next on the books. “They want to be open by April,” said Barr adding it will be located east of A&W.

“They believe in investing in the future and in supporting the community that supports them,” said Evans. The mall donates the space for the Community Policing office and Family Place. As well, the mall provides space for the Christmas Cheer Committee to organize their goods and pack hampers.



Six stress busters
Making it through the holidays
By Margaret Page

Christmas is just around the corner and you’re feeling overwhelmed. How will you ever manage to do everything? Here are some ideas that will make your Christmas merrier and brighter if you stop trying to do it all and learn to let go.

  1. This Christmas season only do the things you look forward to doing, delegate or hire the rest out. If you don’t have the heart to put the tree up–don’t put the tree up. A beautiful bouquet or a candle arrangement can also spread good cheer. Ask for help where and when needed such as asking the neighbour’s teenage daughter to wrap your gifts. Don’t act like a martyr and think you can do it all yourself. Even if you can, it’s more impressive to successfully delegate, organize and allow others to participate.
  2. Plan, shop and organize early to avoid the stress of long lines at the stores and post offices. For family and friends who live out of town consider buying on line. Chose several gifts from the same company to reduce the number of companies you buy from. Most companies now gift wrap and will send it out on time providing of course you purchased it on time. Suggestions: Wine stores or groups (sometimes a wine a month), gift basket companies, magazine subscriptions, tickets to events such as the ballet, opera, live performances, flowers, books, gourmet food items, gift certificates to restaurants.
  3. Book manicure, pedicures, massages, hairstylist and colourist in October for December bookings. That way you get the appointment you choose instead of accommodating your life to fit around your stylist or estheticians schedule.
  4. Take time to enjoy the season in quiet peaceful ways such as taking a walk to enjoy Christmas lights. Listen to carollers in the park or Christmas music on your own CD while you curl up in front of the fireplace. Just make sure it is a quiet time to give your self a minute to breathe and just be.
  5. Continue to follow your regular exercise routine. You will feel better because you did and you wouldn’t have to beat yourself up after for not exercising. Exercise is a great stress reducer.
  6. Find a way to be creative. Creativity helps reduce stress. Whether it is building a snow man, decorating tarts, creating an arrangement. Put a new twist or a new stamp on something. You will find your enthusiasm and excitement will begin to sore the more creative you become.

Hostess tips for the season

Determine the type and style of party you want–casual, formal, cocktail, theme, sit-down dinner or buffet, catered or not.

Consider the logistics of the room and what you want to achieve–something fun or more intimate.

Send out the invitation three weeks in advance. Make sure you supply all the details, time, location, theme and any other relevant information such as directions.

Select the menu. Choose items that can be prepared ahead of time and still create the effect you want.

Select the recipes. Create a list of items you need to prepare the recipes. Create a schedule of when you will prepare each item. Be sure to leave extra time for challenges that will no doubt arise. Stick to the schedule and the selected menu. Prepare the food and enjoy the task.

A day or two ahead of the event

Make sure you have cleared sufficient closet space in a closet close to the entrance. Have enough hangers to accommodate all your guest’s outer wear.

Select the music you would like to hear at your soiree and have it ready to go so all you have to do is press start.

Do the major clean up or have a cleaning service do it.

Day of the event

Set the table earlier in the day.

Place flower arrangements where desired.

Set up a beverage area if you don’t have a bar.

Do touch up cleaning of any areas that have been used.

Make sure the garbage has been emptied.

Put out food items just before guests arrive.

Make sure dishwasher is empty so that later in the evening you can quickly put soiled tableware away.

Greet guests at the door.

Spend as much time as possible mingling with allyour guests.

Recruit guests to help you when needed.

Have fun.



Faces of Education: Mentorship program helps young teachers

Lauren Cross is a science geek and proud of it.

Lauren CrossFor Lauren, who teaches science and physical education at Brooks Secondary School, it must be in her genes. One of her brothers is a microbiologist and the other a chemist. Lauren is an ecologist.

“I come from a major science geek family,” she laughs. “My parents just sit back and listen.”

Both Lauren’s parents are retired teachers. They were very impressed when they came to Powell River and their daughter took them on a tour of Brooks Secondary School. “Mom taught special needs and Dad was a principal in Nanaimo. They were both physical education (PE) teachers.

Lauren moved to Powell River three years ago. “It was my first year teaching; I came to replace someone on maternity leave and I have been lucky enough that there have been vacancies every year and so I’ve been able to stay.

She studied at Malaspina University College (now VIU) in Nanaimo. “They have the most amazing PE program there.” Later, she stayed at the Marine Science Centre in Bamfield to do a six week Conservation of Ecology Course that sparked her love of invertebrates.

Lauren says the advertisement she responded to for the job in Powell River seemed like it was written just for her. “They were looking for a biology teacher, which I love and someone to teach PE, which is my specialty.

Originally from Nanaimo, Lauren remembers her first visit to Powell River. “I drove up for the day. It was a beautiful summer day and I got to see how gorgeous it was here. I had an awesome interview; I met Kevin Morris and Kathy Rothwell and then I was offered the position.”

She speaks highly of School District 47’s mentorship program.”It is overwhelming when you move to a new community and are a new teacher. I’ve been able to work with Tony Rice and as a new person to the town and to the school it was so wonderful."

Lauren learned that Tony was originally from Nanaimo and he was a student teacher for her father. ”He met me when I was only eight years old!"

The mentorship program has been a positive experience for Lauren. Tony showed Lauren around the town and the school. He introduced her to colleagues and has helped her with resources. “Having him there was so helpful. It makes a world of difference having someone who is so generous with their resources."

Tony and Lauren spent a couple of days working on the new Science 10 curriculum that was introduced last year. “Along with other teachers we developed several science tool kits,” she said.

The school district provides young teachers like Lauren with up to eight days a year of time for the mentorship program.

Lauren says she is fortunate because her job is fun. “We did the amazing race at school. We made an intramural that was really positive involving some shenanigans and brought up the spirit of the school."

She loves soccer and ultimate Frisbee. Her students play rugby and football. “We use the turf field for almost everything. When it rains it does not hold the rain and get soaked the way a traditional field does and it makes it more enjoyable for us to be there."

When asked if she always wanted to be a teacher, Lauren looked pensive. “As a child I made up lesson plans and checked off imaginary students’ attendance but when I was in high school I explored other things. I’ve always liked science and PE. I entered the education program and discovered how much I like to work with students and other people. It’s just so much fun to be around teenagers!”

She says her energy matches their energy and she enjoys school life.

“All the things I loved in high school I get to experience again. I can bring them back to life and add some enthusiasm to these events."

Lauren says the students at Brooks are fantastic.

“They are very respectful. Like anyone, they have good days and they have bad days. As long as you treat them with the same respect they are willing to do the work."

Lauren looks forward to coming to work.

“You can’t help but be in a good mood. I’m paid to play, I’m paid to be fit."

Powell River has everything, she says.

“We have access to the forest down the hill from the school. We can go on beach walks and forest walks. We can look at how everything is connected and you do not have that opportunity in the city. Science is everywhere. It is not just in the classroom."

There are some aspects of science that some may consider boring.

“We do some chemical equations but you have to do these so you can do the fun stuff like explosions later on."

Lauren balances the many elements of her life with yoga.

“I do yoga every day. I also love walking and running with the kids. I do Running Club every Tuesday and I play on a women’s soccer team.”