Meeting Chris Hadfield at the Columbia Basin Trust Symposium was a highlight of the year.

Chelsea Novak: Looking back at 2017

Looking back at 2017, so much happened that it’s hard to keep it all straight.

Looking back at 2017, so much happened that it’s hard to keep it all straight.

A month into the year we got a new editor, who arrived just in time to answer my questions about whether or not I’d been fair in my coverage of a crash during the bobsled race at Rossland’s Winter Carnival.

Shortly after that, I interviewed the survivor of an avalanche near Rossland and then the Castlegar Rebels entered into the playoffs and I witnessed a game that came within about five minutes or so of being the longest game in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s history.

In April I attended a paint night put on by the Kootenay Gallery of Art — a first for me — and was able to tag along with a number of Rossland oldtimers on a historic trip up Grey Mountain in a snowcat.

Oh, and I was busy with the lead up to the provincial election on May 9 when B.C. saw its biggest political shake-up since I’ve been old enough to vote.

It was a spring full of downpours, slides and floods that led to a summer of blazing heat and forest fires, which then ended abruptly with the arrival of fall.

Over the summer I had my own excitement, as my husband Jordan Abel was nominated for and then won the Griffin Poetry Prize for his third book of poetry Injun.

While we were in Toronto for the award gala, the London attack happened, and it was over dinner with a friend, who told us she would actually be moving to London later in the year, that I learned a Castlegar woman had been killed in the attack.

I came back to a community of people determined to honour Chrissy Archibald in as many ways as they could imagine, and that has continued ever since.

This year Canada also celebrated 150 years since confederation and I struggled with being assigned to write pro-Canada-150 copy while feeling that the whole thing was effectively white-washing Canadian history.

The issue came to a head when I convinced my husband to accompany me to the premiere of the Gold Fever Follies performance on Canada Day, and we both wrote responses to what we felt was the erasure of the Sinixt from Rossland’s history.

This just a little over a week after attending the opening of a Sinixt exhibit at the Rossland Museum on National Aboriginal Day and hearing Judge Wynecoop talk about how important Red Mountain was as a huckleberry picking spot for the Sinixt.

At the end of the summer, my husband and I attended CannaFest for the first time, where we saw Loverboy and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. I agreed to review the evening’s performances after interviewing Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, CCR’s original drummer earlier in the summer.

The concert kicked off our week-long vacation at Christina Lake, where we swam, kayaked and enjoyed local food trucks.

In September, Rossland celebrated the grand opening of its rainbow crosswalk, as well as Golden City Days.

I was determined to participate in the Golden City Grind 5 km race this year, but plans changed when I found out Daphne Bramham was giving a talk on Bountiful in Nelson on the same day.

Bramham spoke powerfully about the need for intervention on behalf of the women and children of Bountiful and I bought her book, The Secret Lives of Saints, the same day.

Later in the year, I did have a chance to take on a 5 km race for the first time when I participated in the Rossland Turkey Trot.

October brought with it another violent attack — this time in Las Vegas — and I interviewed a Castlegar woman about her experience running from the gunfire.

That same month I attended the Columbia Basin Trust Symposium in Kimberley where I:

1. Met Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield;

2. Visited Kimberley’s adorable downtown for the first time;

3. Got to see Fernie band Shred Kelly live once again (always worth it);

4. Met a number of the CBT employees who I’d talked to over the years but never met in person;

5. Heard a wealth of ideas on how to improve life in the Columbia Basin.

I nearly got Cancelgared for the first time trying to get to Seattle to see my favourite band, American Murder Song, but managed to fly out only hours after covering Castlegar’s Remembrance Day celebration.

I also added a new band to my favourite list this year after reviewing The Royal Foundry’s Rossland show in October.

And finally, I attended more than one too many accident scenes this year.

So if I may, my greatest Christmas wish and hope for the new year is that everyone will slow down, be careful and be safe so we can go through another crazy year together in 2018.


My husband Jordan Abel (centre) and I celebrated his Griffin Poetry Prize win with his publisher Kevin Williams (left).

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