It is a tremendous honour to be taking over the publisher’s role for both The Valley Echo and Pioneer. Thank you to past publishers Sheila Tutty, Marilyn Berry, Bob and Lisa Ede, Elinor Florence and Rose-Marie Fagerholm for providing the vision and leadership necessary to produce our beloved, high quality weeklies. I certainly have big shoes to fill.
While my family and I have lived in the Columbia Valley for almost 20 years, I was an off-and-on resident for the 15 years prior to that. One of my first jobs was bussing tables for Tim and Tony at Strand’s Restaurant over 30 years ago. In between local jobs and post-secondary studies, I’ve resided in Calgary and Altario in Alberta, Toronto, Whistler and Mexico, but it was the beauty of this area and the people that made my family decide to make our home here.
Over the next few weeks you will see some staff changes, with the departures of Rose-Marie to Kamloops and Dan Walton to Penticton. What you won’t see are any major changes to our newspapers. Last year our editor and production staff took six weeks to remake The Valley Echo. It now has an updated look and the reporting has never been better. We are also regularly posting breaking news stories to our websites; visit them regularly to stay current.
No changes will be made to our editorial guidelines and our newspapers will remain a mirror of our communities. We will continue with our professional, objective, balanced reporting with an eye on promoting respectful dialogue amongst community members. At times we will be accused of bias, but I know that when people from both sides of a contentious issue make that accusation, we are doing our best work.
My final words go out to our business owners. Over the past three years you have opened your doors to me and shared your challenges and successes. You are an amazing group, providing the lion’s share of the local jobs and supporting the many worthy endeavours undertaken by our local service groups.
I spoke with a business owner recently who told me that during a typical week she is approached 10 times for donations. The next time you run into one of our entrepreneurs, please take a moment to thank them for their continuing service to our community.
I look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions with an eye on making our highly respected newspapers even better.