The Littlest Hobo: London.

Bidding an emotional farewell to the Kootenays

They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

The executives at Black Press recently asked me if I would be interested in moving to Vernon to take over as editor of the venerable Vernon Morning Star newspaper and digital properties.

It’s an ultra-competitive market in a thriving area of the Okanagan and would bring with it many challenges and hurdles to clear. Naturally, I jumped at the chance given my penchant for challenge-accepting and hurdle-jumping.

I’ve always been a journalistic nomad, venturing from town to town in search of new mysteries to solve and wrongs to right. Really, I’m the Littlest Hobo of journalism.

Looking back on more than a year at the helm as the regional editor based in Castlegar, I realized I did a lot of crying, and, a lot of laughing and smiling.

I cried covering the peace vigil after Chrissy Archibald was killed in a London terror attack. I often cried when I had to write or edit stories about tragic accidents or opioid overdoses. I cried covering the Humboldt Broncos vigil last week. A lot.

This community really rallies when one of us is hurt or when they sense a coming together of energy and emotion is necessary for healing. The closest I’ve come previously to experiencing this level of emotional support is when I grew up in Winnipeg. In fact, Winnipeg is known as the charity capital of Canada. Us ‘Peggers really know how to rally.

But it wasn’t all tears, at least not all from pain.

I met several intensely interesting, open and warm people in my short time here. I crossed off several bucket list items including attempts at karaoke and yoga thanks to these new friends. I drank a lot of lattes. I covered the Rebels and really bonded with coach Bill and the players and felt a growing connection with the team as the season went on. I attended and reviewed many concerts and performances in Castlegar, Rossland, Trail and Nelson. I hiked. I even got back into hockey, briefly.

Thanks to these friends, the new activities and the stunning trails all around us, I was also able to reconnect with nature and spirituality and in the end, myself.

What I’ll miss from the professional side is the energy and passion that developed in our small newsroom, as Betsy, Chelsea, Pam and I worked tirelessly as a team to cover the community in ways that would both reflect what was happening, but also illustrate what was possible moving forward. They really lifted their game and exceeded my expectations, culminating in several investigative works capped by the Critical Condition series.

We demonstrated that a small newsroom can punch above its weight class and deliver meaningful journalism despite industry constriction and the pressures of expanded digital platforms. We had the full support of publisher Eric Lawson in our pursuit of in-depth investigative journalism, and from head office management.

I want to stress how important that is in the days of doing more with less. They let us take the time away from other possible stories to fully pursue this important work. It is so rewarding to be in an environment that is so supportive.

I thank you for your energy and I know that I will take all of the positives in my time here with me to Vernon, and I’ll hold a spot in my heart for Castlegar forever.

Just Posted

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmore Junction

Police bust drug operation in Castlegar

Man charged, will go to court in August

Vigil re-affirms belief in peace, acceptance in wake of New Zealand massacre

Nearly 100 show up for solemn event at Mir Centre for Peace

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Update: Bodies recovered from Pend d’Oreille River crash

To help support the family, a fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Rural Kootenay communities to receive high-speed internet upgrade

The provincial government is increasing internet connectivity to rural British Columbia

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Most Read