More than a year ago, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the Lake Country beat.
Having moved from Salmon Arm, with a population of 20,000 people, and Vernon, with 40,000 I wanted the bigger, better, offerings of Kelowna, hailed as one of the most competitive news markets in B.C.
I was disappointed to be working, again, within a town of 12,000 people, something at the time I considered to be a detriment to my career.
Looking back on the past year, I’ve written stories about the Okanagan’s oldest mayor, a public battle to preserve waterfront access, what it meant for a community to lose its only golf course, a councillor’s concern with the retention of the natural environment as the district continues to grow, cannabis legalization and how a city grapples with regulations, the history behind a familiar Lake Country boat, a feature on a worm farm which relies on 7 million wiggling workers and so much more.
Little towns like Lake Country have many stories left untold were it not for the journalists, often working late nights to cover a council meeting, or when a crazy situation happens like the wildfire in Okanagan Centre.
As my final week as a reporter with The Calendar draws to a close and as a new door opens at UBC Okanagan, I would like to thank the community for sharing its stories with me, and although I will be writing elsewhere, I hope that continues with the newspaper.
Thank you to my editor Kathy Michaels, with whom I discovered that gossip often leads to good stories and for upgrading my leads, all my co-workers at the Capital News, for keeping it real; to the former editor of the Salmon Arm Observer Tracy Hughes, for providing me with examples of showing not telling, to Glenn Mitchell, who originally hired me for a summer gig at the Vernon Morning Star, whose patience knows no bounds, and to everyone else I’ve worked with in the Okanagan. They’re an interesting bunch of people who work hard to tell unique stories.
It’s a wonderful place, Lake Country, full of interesting stories I began to find once I started looking.