Past and present meet

Penny Sakamoto returns to the pages of the Revelstoke Review

By Penny Sakamoto, Group Publisher

So, it’s been awhile…

If you need a reminder about a where we have met before, here’s a hint. For 12 years, I wrote a column in the Revelstoke Times, called “ Say it Ain’t So…” followed by the series “He Said, She Said…” co-written with Bill MacFarlane (teacher, city councilor, and now school board chair). It was a bit of banter and fun, where Bill and I were known for taking on a topic of the day, defending left and right stances and we sprinkled in some common sense. Depending on your politics, it’s not so surprising that many of the issues we tackled those years ago are oh, so relevant to Revelstoke today.

The foundations of Revelstoke are deep and notably complicated as generations past and present pulled together, made it happen and just kept going. So perhaps, I’m back to touch base and say thank you, in the most humble way. Like many, I still find Revelstoke THE best place on earth. Just ask any of the new young entrepreneurs who have landed here and are admirably making it.

I arrived here with $12 in my pocket in 1980 and if you want a true story of local entreprenuerism, I guess I helped write a few words in that book, along with the best co-authors in community leadership: Ken Magnes, The Beruschi family, the McKees, Lorraine Champagne, Steven and Dorothy Hui, Malcom and Debbie Bott, Albert Van Goor, the Hunter brothers, the Beerlings, Dr. Battersby, Lew Hendricksen, Carol Palladino, Cathy English, Roberta Bobicki and Alan Chell. And that’s just off the top of my head. To be sure there were many more, at the forefront and many behind the scenes.

During those days of the downtown revitalization project, when the streets were dug up and the mud was deep, we had to have a little vision. That Revelstoke drive and purpose is evident in the tremendous successes of Community Futures, the Revelstoke Forest Corporation and the reinvented lumber industry.

Our generation had no crystal ball of prediction, but I suppose we got a peak as to what this town could become, as we volunteered at our kids’ school, donated time and energy, or took five minutes to appreciate these incredible natural surroundings. Those moments created the dreams of the great proposed ski resort, indoor pool, rail museum and forward thinking organizations. It’s where the spark fired to create the food bank, the women’s shelter, licensed child care, fantastic theatre and arts, sports teams and loyal fans.

That’s a pretty good foundation. But that was then and this is now. So telling today is the fact that the next generation of community leaders own businesses, manage organizations, work for this town with the same “Spirit of Revelstoke” and it looks so good on them.

I’ve always said I got my MBA from the Revelstoke School of Business, a true hometown degree program. My two kids, Sarah and Zak Graham are Revelstoke born and credit this community as wonderful place to grow up. Nothing like fishing up the Akokolux River or learning to ski 10 minutes from our front door to frame a childhood.

My real mission to return to these pages of Revelstoke Review is introduce you to my friend, Shelley Westwood, as the new publisher of this fine community newspaper. I’ve known her for 30 years and she is one of the media people who get it. Shelley owned a newspaper in Souris, Manitoba, has DNA as a industry leader and community volunteer. A proud resident of B.C. for the past 10 years, she’ll add the next chapter in the Revelstoke Review story which includes not only the weekly print newspaper but breaking news and 24/7 content found on our digital platforms. Check out www.revelstokereview.com, Facebook and Twitter.

I invite you to adopt Shelley as Revelstoke adopted me, back in 1980. And I pledge to you, Shelley has more than $12 in her pocket!

Come to meet Shelley and the Review team at the public Open House in our new location 101 First Street E in Arlington Plaza (you know, across from the Regent Hotel…) on Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 2 – 4 p.m.

I’ll see you there, old friends and new.

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