By Kelsey Verboom

This editorial column will be my last at The Pioneer, where I have spent a wonderful few years learning and writing about the many newsworthy things that happen in our beautiful valley.

It has been a true pleasure working as editor in the same community in which I grew up. I have learned so much more than I thought possible about the valleys fascinating history, about the plethora of interesting people who live here, and about the issues that make residents passionate about local news.

I thank everyone who has contributed to the paper during my time here, whether it was by submitting a Letter to the Editor, stopping by the office with a story idea, or offering feedback. Those who encouraged me and those who made me grow tough skin have helped shape my world view invaluable lessons that I will carry with me as I move forward to the next adventure.

When looking back through the dozens of papers I helped with, the sheer number of amazing people and subjects I had the chance to write about overwhelms me. Thank you to everyone who agreed to share their stories with me and with the community. I will not forget the pure passion for honeybees that Karl and Jutta Krezdorn from Parson showed me, or the amazing long-distance love story of Wilmers Hermann and Ursel Mauthner, to name only two of many great stories. I will especially remember one particularly colourful Letter to the Editor, in which the letter writer suggested leaving me naked in the bush, rolled in honey and bacon fat, and tied to a tree so bears could feast on me.

As this, ahem, sticky example demonstrates, local people are extremely impassioned about issues that affect the Columbia Valley. So many residents have thoughtful, important opinions about new items, and I encourage everyone to actively participate in the news. Becoming involved in local issues can only make an already-wonderful community paper like The Pioneer that much better.

I would also like to thank everyone whom I worked with at The Pioneer, especially the reporters who so often type until late in the evening to make a great paper.

And so, people of the Columbia Valley, I reluctantly bid you adieu. Be kind to one another. Please feel free to keep in touch: kelseyverboom@gmail.com.