By the numbers, community matters

A rambling roundup of the week’s top stories

It’s a bit of a cliche to say Canadians are obsessed with the weather, but usually stereotypes come from some kernel of reality.

Another cliche is the old saying, “Don’t like the weather? It’s the Bulkley Valley, wait five minutes.”

I can tell you, having lived from coast to coast, Canadians everywhere use that gag.

In fact, people all over the world are obsessed with weather because it impacts every aspect of our lives, and in a lot of cases, our very survival.

So, it came as no surprise our story about July being one of the wettest ever had a lot of instant traction, even though we put it up on a weekend when engagement is understandably lower. Of course, we all intuitively knew that already; you just don’t expect to have rain day after day after day in July. Still, it was a weather story and therefore compelling.

It also came as no surprise that the extremists on either side of the climate change debate would jump on it as an opportunity to entrench their agendas.

LAST WEEK: Would that we could shine so brightly

I have to give a shout out here to Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips. His enthusiasm for all things weather-related is contagious and he always has time for us in the media. It doesn’t matter if you are the Globe and Mail or the Smithers Interior News, whether you’re Peter Mansbridge or Trevor Hewitt. If you call him, he will answer. He will crunch the numbers for you and put them in context.

I also cannot say I was overly surprised our story about the local federal election candidates reacting to the ethics commissioner finding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau breached the Conflict of Interest Act did not have as much traction as the weather.

Perhaps the lack of political engagement is just a sure sign it is still summer—despite the fact I had to actually turn on the heat in my place this weekend and wear a jacket to work this morning. What up August?

We do tend tune out a bit in the summer, though, don’t we? And with good reason; they are pretty short.

As I used to tell my friends in Texas, “Of course we have summer, and, if it falls on a weekend, we have a barbecue.”


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Or perhaps it is a sure sign that we are collectively becoming a tad cynical about our leaders. Even my dear, sweet mom is starting to express sentiments such as being disgusted with all of them. I can’t say I blame her. A politician acting unethically is almost a non-story.

On a heartwarming note, one story that out-performed both the weather and Trudeau was 79-year-old Virginia Hoover from Telkwa. This woman is in South Korea right now competing in the Fina World Masters Championships in diving. Not only is it amazing to see someone defy age-constraints and follow their passion, but it is inspirational just to see someone who appears to be so comfortable in her own skin.

Kudos to you, Virginia.

Our other two top stories this week were also inspirational tales deserving of recognition. Kudos to Topley 4-H club for raising money to help the family of Landon Thiessen, a 15-year-old Houston teen who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.

Kudos to Debbie Wellwood and Lothar Schaefer, who rode their bicycles all the way from Smithers to the tip of South America.

The fact that these are the stories that engage our audience is a sure indication of how much community matters in our little corner of the world.

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