By Nikki Mantell
I’m just going to come out and say it: 2013 was a tough year.
Thirteen was not unlucky for only us, from conversations and overheard anecdotes it would seem many of you also found the Year of the Snake akin to sleeping next to an angry boa constrictor.
Speaking for us here at the Low Down, I would repeat from the Queen when she invoked a Latin phrase in her speech to commemorate the 40th anniversary of her Accession and call 2013 our “annus horribilis”, except that I think it’s rude to talk about anyone’s private anatomy, especially the Queen’s.
Getting this paper out every week has been a challenge: we’ve had the biggest staff turnover in memorable history. Of our five full-time positions, four left for various reasons, including both reporters, and we’ve gone through two editors on top of that. At the end of 2013 our office feels gutted. And all that while the publisher, yours truly, is on “maternity leave” – and I use the quotation marks because simultaneous nursing and typing is my new talent.
But of course, the worst of it is that 2013, the paper’s 40th anniversary, is also the year Art Mantell died.
Because he is the paper’s founder, who was still working with us right up to the end, and he was my dad, his loss and its impact simply can’t be put into words. That is ironic, not only because our business is exactly that – words – but because Art, himself, was never at a loss for words. It is discomfiting knowing he can’t have the last one anymore.
So for us, 2013 was a year of upheaval and change; which perhaps is only fitting since it reflects what’s going on in the community and all that we’ve been writing about. The area is going through lots of growing pains, just take a look at our Year in Review if you need reminding. But, of course, change always makes room for new and better things.
So here’s to 2014! Next year there will be fewer accidents and deaths when the new Hwy 5 extension opens; the doors to the brand new elementary school in Wakefield will (hopefully) open its doors; Chelsea Trails promises to continue its good work and make neighbouhoods even more walkable and enjoyable; and in Low, the tiny community that could, won the battle, yet again, to save its high school from being shut down.
So yes, some things change for the better, and some good things stick around. And for that, the Low Down is thankful. Throughout our “annus horribilis”, our readers, loyal, devoted, engaged and thankfully patient (with us and our quirky humour and, sigh, Canada Post), have not only stuck around but your numbers even grew this year! (And P.S. For all those of you who send in your encouraging messages and heartwarming pats on the back with your subscription renewals every November, thank you, they were, and always are, a highlight of our year). To our local business owners who tell us they’ve grown, evolved, even made a profit thanks to the advertisements they put in our paper – another huge thank you. (And by the way, some of our readers tell us the ads are the best reading in the paper, to which we smile and tell our reporters not to act miffed).
Thank you, Merry Christmas, and here’s to a better, nay, fantastic 2014!