YEAR IN REVIEW: Nelson’s most interesting people of 2019

Fridays for the Future
Aimee Watson
Stephen Fowler
Amy Bohigian
Terry Brennan
Alyx Graham-Taylor (left) and Mari Plamondon
Lucas McDonnell-Hoffert
Gail Higginbottom
Jordan Martin

Amy Bohigian, filmmaker, saw her 78-minute film Only in Nelson sell out three showings at the Civic Theatre this year. Produced for the Knowledge Network and soon to be available online, the film uses the 2018 municipal election as a framework for a deep and humourous look at some of the fascinating people who live here.

Terry Brennan is the heart and engine of the Capitol Theatre. Brennan has worked at the 92-year-old theatre for 18 years, and was promoted to technical director last year. Every production that runs at the theatre needs Brennan in a myriad of ways, and he always delivers.

Fridays for the Future: Nelson, a group of local high school and college students, took up Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg’s challenge this year and organized a number of school strikes demanding climate action from the federal and provincial governments, whom they said should provide international leadership. Their biggest strike was a 1,000-person march through the streets of Nelson in September.

Stephen Fowler and Warren Rich disarmed a very determined knife-wielding woman on Baker Street last summer. Fowler, who was stabbed in the leg during the struggle, gave a detailed interview to the Star about the experience of risking his life to protect a stranger on the street.

Alyx Graham-Taylor and Mari Plamondon made the best of a bad situation. Plamondon, the owner of Wait’s News, announced in March the diner was being evicted from its 81-year-old home on the corner of Baker and Ward Streets. Plamondon and new co-owner Graham-Taylor saved the Nelson institution by moving it to a new location on Nelson Avenue in September.

Gail Higginbottom has helped revive Indigenous education in School District 8. When Higginbottom was hired as the district principal of aboriginal education in 2017, just 58 per cent of ab-ed students were graduating within six years of enrolling in Grade 8. As of the end of the 2018-19 school year, that number is now 73 per cent. Higginbottom deserves credit for helping turn that around.

Jordan Martin has transformed the 22-year-old Nelson and District Youth Centre. As the centre’s manager, Martin oversaw construction of the largest indoor skate park in B.C. this summer. She’s also added programming and recreation options that make the centre Nelson’s one of the city’s best spots for kids young and old.

Lucas McDonnell-Hoffert, who was just 13 when he spoke with the Star in July, won a bronze medal and two other awards at the national science fair in May. His study of how road line visibility affects drivers influenced how local RCMP investigators assess accidents on Kootenay highways.

Aimee Watson was elected chair of the board of the Regional District of Central Kootenay in 2018, after representing North Kootenay Lake for the previous term as the board’s youngest member. This year she sufficiently distinguished herself as chair to be unanimously re-elected by her fellow board members to guide them again for another year.

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