Welcome to the first Headliner issue of 2014. I hope you’ve enjoyed the holiday season and are ready for what the new year will bring.
Looking back over the past year, certain local events and issues come to mind. I have certainly come to appreciate the community spirit and willingness to pitch in that so many people show through their local involvement.
I was impressed to discover some talented and dedicated artists in the Rosser area through the South of The Lakes Art Tour. Thanks to Dolly Dennis for sharing her passion for art, and dedication to shining a light on other local artists.
Headingley is becoming known for its authors, as Barbara Joyce-Hawryluk launched her first crime novel, Wounded, in September and veteran history writer Irene Ternier Gordon released The Laird of Fort William in November.
On a warm May morning, Les McCann, amateur birder and member of the Headingley Grand Trunk Trail Association, showed me the bluebird boxes that he and other volunteers built and placed along the trail that runs through the RM of Headingley. Improvements to the trail continue, thanks to the efforts of the association members.
I got up-close with one of Kari Hasselriis’ horses on her scenic property in the RM of St. Francois Xavier. The certified instructor with Equi-Health Canada explained how knowing basic first aid can save a horse’s life and possibly reduce vet bills.
I’m looking forward to seeing the final result of changes that Margaret Kentner and Rob Rose are making to the former Grey Nuns’ convent in the Village of St. Francois Xavier as they prepare to open their guest inn, Auberge Juliette, in the spring.
There’s also a big opening on Feb. 8 when the new La Salle Community Centre opens its doors to the public. The centre’s board members and recreation director Tom Cardinal are working hard to make sure the facility is properly equipped to offer programs and services to local residents.
Reverend Cathy Maxwell and longtime congregation member, church board chair and organist Jane Manness explained to me last June how Avonlea United Church in Domain is thriving thanks to their policy of welcoming all who wish to join the church no matter what their religious background might be. The fact that a church in a small rural community has a growing membership is impressive and a testament to the congregation’s openness.
I spent an enjoyable morning last April in Oak Bluff’s Early Years class watching the preschoolers interact with eight-month-old Mackenna Fraser and her mom, Kirsten Petz Fraser, in the Seeds of Empathy program. It’s amazing what a baby can teach others about positive social interaction.
Maggie and Jack Crompton, owners of Dawn Til Dusk Convenience Store in Starbuck, are examples of how business owners play a vital role in the life of a small community. I also felt this when interviewing Russ Mierke, who runs the Elie Grocery Store with his family. I want to go back to Elie and buy another batch of Rena’s Famous Sticky Buns.
In September, I met Jennifer McRae-King and her daughters Meguire, Piper-Prairie and Poet, who are sharing their love of books and reading by running a Little Free Library at the end of their driveway along scenic Lido Plage Road.
I look forward to meeting new people and seeing new sights throughout this paper’s coverage area as this year unfolds.
Wishing our readers all the best in 2014!