Change can be a wonderful thing. It can be as simple as the change between winter and spring, or as complex as the gradual changes over the years which transform a streetscape, as new buildings are constructed or old ones age; as sensible as the planned obsolescence of the penny, or as complex as the ever-shifting rules surrounding tax-free savings accounts.
Here at Beach Metro News, we’ve seen an almost unprecedented amount of change, considering the paper’s history. For decades Ward 9 News, now known as Beach Metro News, operated with minimal staff, and a level of staff turnover that would make Canadian senators envious (despite the refusal to change by some long-time residents, who still insist on calling us the Ward 9 News).
Change can also be difficult, and sometimes a little bit painful. In the space of the past two years, we’ve lost over a century’s worth of experience to retirement, in the form of past editor Carole Stimmell, advertising manager Dianne Marquardt and general manager Sheila Blinoff, although Sheila, unlike Elvis, hasn’t quite managed to leave the building just yet.
As of the publication of this issue, another longtime BMN staff member, my colleague and good friend Bill MacLean, has wandered off into the sunset, to take on what I originally heard him call a ‘honeydew list’. Apparently though, as Bill explained to me, it’s actually a ‘honey do’ list, as in ‘honey do this, honey do that …’
Parting jokes aside, I fully expect that Bill will find his amount of spare time is not greatly increased – most of the ‘retired’ people I know who have any sort of talent and ambition seem to very quickly discover they actually have less free time now than they had when they were still working.
Bill has filled many roles at the paper over his years here, starting part-time running the classifieds and working the front desk.
The job was intended to supplement his income as a professional calligrapher. While many things change – not the least of which is the employment prospects of a professional calligrapher – Bill has kept up with the art of visually pleasing letter forms. His is by far the most elegant, while illegible, handwriting I regularly must decipher, aside from the tags found in the vicinity of the Main Street bridge.
Bill is currently the art and entertainment department, restaurant and book reviewer, occasional feature writer, advertising representative, half of the production department and, as anyone calling into the paper may recognize, the literal voice of Beach Metro News. Not only are they big shoes to fill, they’re also well-worn shoes.
With all this change, of course, also comes opportunity. While we’ve lost some experience, we’ve also gained fresh perspective with the ‘new blood’ coming in. It is our hope that we can keep up with the times while staying true to our mandate: to provide unbiased, non-partisan news and features that matter to the Beach and surrounding area.
Our purpose is as simple as that, and it’s a mandate that we expect our readers to hold us accountable to – some things should never change.