As much as anger can be great fuel for an opinion column, and excellent therapy, too, I am going to wait another week to express my displeasure about last week’s announcement from the so-called Kootenay Lake School District (let’s just rename it the Nelson School District and get it over with) that it remains committed to closing the Creston Education Centre and selling the property. Perhaps seven more days will make it easier to use language suitable to a family newspaper.
That issue aside, the last week has been a most pleasurable one for people in my line of work. After writing a piece about White Cane Week and blind golf champion Darren Douma last week it occurred to me that a feature story on another blind resident might be interesting. The name Ruth Bieber came to mind, and the result is featured elsewhere in this issue.
I was introduced to a woman named Ruth at an event in the PCSS Theatre a year or more ago by our mutual friend, Maureen Cameron. Then, late last year, I got an email inviting me to a play at Spectrum Farms that would include some of the clients of Creston & District Society for Community Living. I attended it, thoroughly enjoyed the short production and ran a photo on our front page. Only in subsequent emails did I make the connection between the Ruth I had met at the theatre with the Ruth Bieber who had invited me to the play.
I sent a message to Ruth’s email address, proposing to write a feature story about her in recognition of White Cane Week. I had no clue whatsoever about what an interesting story I was about to learn. We did the interview by email, as Ruth is in Calgary doing a series of one-woman performances in small venues and homes. With Maureen’s help I got copies of Ruth’s book about theatre and a lengthy article about a horseback trip she did in Patagonia. I also now have the script of a play she wrote. It is hard to describe the happiness this long-distance connection has brought me.
Last Thursday I couldn’t resist taking one last walk through the aisles on the final day of Overwaitea’s existence. Like so many others, I have always got a kick out of the quirky name and the story behind it. My close connection to the store goes back to the days when it was located on 10th Avenue North and Mike Seaton was the manager.
On Friday I did a follow-up visit to the new Save-On-Foods and had a brief chat with manager, Ron World, who happens to be one of my favourite people (right up, there, coincidentally, with Mike Seaton). His enthusiasm is boundless and he serves as a reminder of why Overwaitea has always been such a vital part of our community. That will not change under the store’s new branding.
Earlier last week I got an invitation from Chief Jason Louie to attend a meeting at the Lower Kootenay Band Complex on Friday, where an important announcement was made. I had an inkling about what the subject might be, having received a tip in confidence, but it still warmed my heart to see Pat Fleck standing outside the building as I walked in.
The announcement that the Lower Kootenay Band has purchased Morris Flowers is a good one in so many ways I can’t list them. When we moved to Creston, Edith Morris was running the downtown flower shop and writing a garden column for the Advance and her brother Don ran the greenhouse on Erickson Road. Within a few years, both moved away. Lloyd took over the greenhouse management and Pat Fleck, his sister, ran the flower shop. I am a great admirer of both. Their energy, skills and passion represent the best of what the Creston Valley business community has to offer. Pat and I are neighbours, but I was not aware that they had listed the property for sale last fall, expecting it to take as long as five years to sell.
She seemed a little bit in shock as I chatted briefly with her on that Friday morning. Spending most of one’s adult life in one business will do that, I suppose.
But many stars seemed to aligned in this acquisition by the LKB, and it is exciting to think that the band now becomes an important part of our Creston business community. Kudos to Chief Louie and the band’s council and staff for their determination to become self-sufficient. And congratulations to them for having the wisdom to hire Jen Comer to manage the business. She is one of our community’s brightest lights, and she has been given a great opportunity.
Considering the bad news about CEC, it turned out to be a darned good week in Creston.