Monday, March 17, 2008

More about St.Patrick's Day

St.Patrick died on March 17th, 493 AD and he was missionary in Ireland who was dedicated to converting the populace from Druidism to Christianity. During his conversion, he used the three leaf clover to show to the druids as an example of the Holy Trinity, making the shamrock and the color green the symbols of the day so dedicated to him. This means that St.Patrick's day began as a Catholic holiday.

Centuries later, the celebrations began to spread across the world and it became more than just a religious holiday. Soon parades of green filled with Irish culture drowned out the religious sentiment around the holiday and it became something that everyone can enjoy.

The drinking behind St.Patrick's was not started or endorsed by the Catholic church. It is still unknown where the this method of celebration came from, but some experts speculate that this comes from another holiday that falls on the same day as St.Patricks: the Roman festival of Bacchanalia which is a celebration for the Roman deity of wine, Bacchus.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Audrey L'Heureux: Photojournalism the Hard Way

By Deanna Proach

It began when I started to send copy to the Prince George Citizen,” Audrey L’Heureux said when talking about the beginning of her career as a writer.

“But it was a round-about road that got me there,” she explained.

Audrey was born in Springside, Saskatchewan, attended Chilliwack High School and then obtained a Commercial Radio Wireless Licence at Sprott Shaw in Vancouver to qualify her for wartime duties with the Dept. of Transport.

This lead her to being assigned to Vanderhoof Radio Range, controlling wartime air traffic. After her discharge from war duties, she married a returned soldier and pioneered farming in the Vanderhoof area, raising her family of three mostly without power or running water.

During the early 1960’s, the Vanderhoof community newspaper, the Nechako Chronicle, was struggling to make ends meet and answer to new technology.

“The Chronicle bought a carbon copy of the copy I was preparing for the Prince George Citizen, which meant I was making .50 cents a column inch for my literary efforts and $3 a photo. “ she could see the possibilities.

“$3 was a lot of money at that time, and it lead to establishing a fully equipped photo shop in downtown Vanderhoof thanks to a $300 loan from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.” states Audrey.

“Then the Chronicle owners asked me to edit the newspaper.”

“We had to go from hot lead linotype printing to offset press with The Citizen, in Prince George, doing the weekly printing.” She laughed.

“There was a big learning curve.”

In a few years Audrey left Vanderhoof for personal reasons, moving to Prince George, but within a year it was plain to see she should be running the newspaper, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce agreed. She returned to Vanderhoof, buying out the Nechako Chronicle Limited as the major shareholder, plus a used car, with the CIBC bankrolling her.

Within four years the Nechako Chronicle was out of debt. She sold the newspaper and moved to Victoria. There she purchased the Photo Shop in the Hillside Mall, enjoying the advantages of Victoria, but got bored with retail sales. She got a good price for the Photo Shop.

So, if Audrey loved Victoria, why did she come back up north? The answer is simple: “Smithers needed an editor, and I liked Smithers,”

She accepted the job of editor of the Smithers Interior News.

But a trip to Kitimat resulted in Audrey accepting the position of editor of The Ingot, the workplace newspaper at Alcan’s Smeltersite.

“I had to learn all about the aluminum smelter at Alcan in a hurry which included a quick trip to Montreal.” Her experience in reporting all about establishing the Molybdenum mine at Fraser Lake and the Mercury mine at Fort St. James held her in good stead.

When referring to her job at The Ingot newspaper Audrey says, “That was a very prestigious job. The wages were much better than community newspapers.”

In a couple of years, though, Audrey accepted a proposal of marriage from an old acquaintance, Ed L’Heureux. After the marriage they moved to Prince George for a couple of years, returning to Vanderhoof to be nearer friends and family.

“Ed had asked me not to edit newspapers any more and bought me a good typewriter, setting it up in his trailer so we could go game fishing.”

A Canada Council Grant allowed Audrey to prepare a manuscript called From Trail to Rail: from the first explorer to the completion of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, 1793-1914. She self-published two books from this manuscript: Settlement Begins, 1905-1914 and Surveys and Gold, 1862-1904. The second book, Settlement Begins was published in 1989, and Surveys and gold, in 1990. These books are non fiction, and are actually a compilation of first person accounts. Audrey researched this anthology, chose the excerpts, then wrote introductions to each.

According to Audrey, “the history here was so important and so new that I wanted to write about it. This is the Cradle of British Columbia History. BC started here. It is all very exciting.”

“Once a Writer, always a writer,” she says. “The computer makes it easy to research and express yourself.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

NUGSS Debate Pictures

Pictures taken by Haakon Sullivan

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