Bob Swan

YEAR IN REVIEW: Nelson’s most interesting people

Our annual list of the community members who fascinated us in 2018

Nelson residents charmed, intrigued and took care of their community in 2018.

Among the hundreds of people the Nelson Star writes about every year, these were just some of the ones who fascinated us most.

Sydney Black, executive director of the Nelson and District Arts council, brought a much-needed splash of colour to the city. Black masterminded Nelson’s first annual International Mural Festival, which organized and funded 10 murals installed in downtown. The event was such a hit that the city has already approved $25,000 for its return next year.

Bernie Brown wasn’t clowning around this fall. In September, Brown wrote a letter published by the Star about mental health that went viral with readers around the province. The response led Brown, known locally as Bubbles the Clown, to run for mayor in the municipal election. She finished a distant third in votes, but her message was certainly heard.

Stephen Harris started CORE, a municipal political party that put forward a slate of five candidates in the October election. The group said its purpose was primarily to replace the current council for a variety of reasons, and also to support new candidates running their election campaigns. Only one of CORE’s candidates, Cal Renwick, was elected.

Paul Luck, a teacher at Trafalgar Middle School, started a project at the school to provide adult male mentorship to young boys. “The purpose of the Boys Club is to turn young boys into good men,” he said. Each meeting features an adult male role model who tells the boys about his life and its challenges and rewards.

Lee Reid led a series of group discussions between seniors and high school students this year at L.V. Rogers Secondary, with results that surprised both age groups. They found that seniors and young people tend to stereotype each other, but given half a chance, they can open up and become friends. Reid published a book, Growing Together, about the experience.

Jenny Robinson is on the front lines of Nelson’s affordable housing crisis. The Nelson CARES executive director announced in November that her organization was buying a planned private condo development at Hall and Front streets and converting it to 38 affordable units. She’s also behind the planned 47-unit site on Nelson Avenue for seniors and people with disabilities.

Bob Swan finally got his due in 2018. Swan was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in September at a local ceremony that included former teammates such as Nancy Green Raine. The former Olympic athlete competed for Canada’s national ski team in the 1960s and is still a regular at Whitewater Ski Resort.

Jesalyn Tremblay received the call of a lifetime in February. The then-Grade 12 student at Kaslo’s J.V. Humphries was one of just 34 people across Canada to receive a $100,000 scholarship from the prestigious Loran Scholars Foundation. Tremblay said she hopes to study law with the intention of becoming a human rights lawyer focused on rural health care.

Rob Wright had an idea so good that an entire community rallied around it. In the fall of 2017, Wright suggested the Nelson Tennis Club develop a new multi-sport complex behind L.V. Rogers. Wright was also among the most dedicated volunteers building the new complex, which opened in September in an unprecedented collaboration between the club, School District 8 and Columbia Basin Trust.

Jeff Yasinchuk, teacher-librarian at Trafalgar Middle School, kicked off our three-story series on smartphones in classrooms by admitting that he’d had a change of heart. Formerly a booster of all things tech in schools, he now had serious concerns about phones. “I have seen the distraction that it causes children and their learning,” he said.

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Stephen Harris

Lee Reid

Jeff Yasinchuk

Paul Luck

Bernie Brown

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