Betsy Kline

EDITORIAL: Castlegar News editor looks back at the stories and conversations that made up 2021

Editor Betsy Kline talks about the stories that impacted the community last year

Every year when we start to compile our year-in-review paper, I am always amazed at the things I have so soon forgotten.

I generally start out thinking, “Did anything interesting happen this year?” But as I begin to flip through the pages of the year’s compilation of Castlegar News, I am quickly reminded that a lot of interesting, shocking, scary, dramatic, fun, sweet or just plain crazy things happen in this town.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dominate the daily news cycle and almost every aspect of our lives throughout the year, you will find it absent from the rest of this week’s edition. We’ve decided to give it a rest and focus on other things.

My favourite stories are usually those that spawn from an interview with an interesting person with a story to tell. That’s why I have included the story about the Kutasewich family saving their recreational property from the jaws of the Michaud Creek wildfire (page 6). It’s also why you will see the story about Blaine Penner surviving an avalanche (page 9) and Craig Luke putting out a wildfire with a plastic bag (page 9).

Then there are the stories that have impact beyond our region, such as the landmark Supreme Court decision on the Sinixt hunting rights case.

However, the two most-read stories of the year were not feel-good stories. They were the Merry Creek wildfire series (page 2) and the stories about the tragic stabbing of two local teens (page 3).

Although completely different tales, those stories affected the community in similar ways. They introduced the fear that things like this can happen in Castlegar. Seeing that a fire really could spread to our town in a matter of minutes, and that children are not always safe inside their grandmother’s home shook us to the core.

Probably the most dramatic conversation I had with someone this year was the victim of the stabbing attack. It was heart-wrenching to hear her tell about her ordeal. Some of the details from that conversation, including the victim’s identity, had to stay out of the pages of the newspaper due to court-ordered publication bans, but they are forever embedded in my mind.

RELATED: Castlegar teen recounts stabbing

As I reflect on 2021 and look forward to 2022, I want to thank our readers for picking up our papers, and visiting our web pages more than 2.9 million times during the last year.

Wishing you all a safe and happy 2022 from Castlegar News.

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