Friday, 30 October 2009

Be patient!

Residents of Leduc know very well that the Rep goes through a variety of staff changes. It seems you just get to know someone, and all of a sudden, they have moved on.
This week Laura Ring departed the Rep after being steady on the payroll for a year and a half. Laura was known to readers before she started here full time, as she spent one summer internship and two practicum's writing, attending events, and getting to know the players in the community.
I came to Leduc in September 2007 and have outlasted reporters Svetjlana, Bill, Chris, Nick, Sarah and Laura. Now Alexandra Pope, who started in December 2008, will be the one standing with me as we try and get the paper filled with as many community events as possible.
Even as stressful as this sounds, there is a little hope.
In January 2009, I took on the editor role at the Beaumont News and Devon Dispatch as well. The girls at those papers — Carole, Heather and Kate — have the same drive and standards Alex and I bring to the Rep, so that's a bonus. As Kate was the last hire in Beaumont, she will now be working at the Rep two days a week. Between myself and the four ladies, we will do the best we can in bringing our faithful readers the coverage they desire and deserve.
So be patient. We are trying to cover as much as we can with what we have. 
I started in Leduc working with some humorous fellas, and the daily chatter was about the NHL, NFL, NBA and what ever was on TV that required two opposing teams, equipment and trash talk. 
Now I am working with four awesome ladies who can talk a little Sex and the City, celebrity gossip and even a little hockey.
We're bringing you the news, trying to get to all the event requests and having a little fun in the process. 

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Laura's last day

Well, this is it — it's Laura's last day at the Rep.

She'll mostly be spending it cleaning out her desk and packing up her toys, so yesterday, we immortalized her final news assignment: photographing Mayor Greg Krischke getting pinned with the first memorial poppy of the season.

Afterward, Greg posed for a farewell pic. "We're going to miss you," he said. "You were always so smiley."

We are going to miss you, Laura — the Rep just won't be the same without ya.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A final goodbye to the Rep and Leduc

I am horrible at goodbyes. I am not that girl who starts bawling like a baby or the person who can just laugh it off and move on.

My goodbyes are usually awkward moments with long periods of silence as I try to figure out what to say next without sounding like a complete tool.

Seeing as my time in Leduc was filled with those awkward moments that have shaped my life in the past year and a half, I am just going to try to skip that with a final column to say one last adios before I leave the paper on Oct. 29. I learned a lot during my 18 months employment, one summer internship and two practicum’s at the Leduc Rep. But that is just the icing on the cake compared to the people I have met and interesting events I had the opportunity to take part in.

The first person I need to thank would have to be my editor Michelle. Not only did she teach me so much about journalism but she never hit me over the head with a stapler, even though I know for a fact that sometimes after a long day of working with me she had to have been tempted. It is also important for me to mention Neil, Anthony and Suzanne. These three people were the first ones to help me get my foot in the door and without them I probably would have never come to the Rep in the first place or stayed during the summer that I was the only reporter. 

During my time at the paper I have had the opportunity to work with some extremely talented reporters. 

From listening to the boys Bill, Chris and Nick talk about every professional sport from football to hot dog eating, to just Alex and I talking about our cute pets and interesting court cases, this newsroom has had every type of combination since I have started here.

One thing that never changed here was the fact that even at the slowest times my job stayed interesting and the days were never the same. I wish I had the time and the space to personally say thank you to everyone, but I don’t, so if you have ever helped me with a story, given me a good idea or posed for a picture I would like to say thanks. It was people like you who made my job easy. There are a few people I don’t think I could write this column without mentioning though.

Not only did Const. Jodi Heidinger help me almost weekly with work, but it was because I was scared she would see my name on file if I was arrested that I behaved so well when I was off the clock.

Jim, Darrell, Jason, Taylor, Rachel, and everyone else with the City of Leduc, I cannot count how many times you all went above and beyond while helping me with stories.

John Norton and the entire Boys and Girls Club’s staff and volunteers. Besides making me dance, you all are some of the kindest people I have ever met.

To Mr. Nosyk and all the other teachers and staff at the Comp, I am still a little disappointed I never won a car when I went to school there, but seeing as you always gave me stories I have forgiven you all for that (kind of).

From little kids raising money through shaving their heads or walking dogs to adults hosting major fundraisers, I have seen the best side of Leduc, proving to me that this really is a great community I am proud to be from.

From learning to shoot a gun, to meeting a few celebrities and having a buffalo suck on my hand, I will remember so many of my experiences here for the rest of my life. As people continuously ask me what’s next the only answer I can come up with is a quote from Lauren Conrad when asked what was next after her departure from The Hills last season: “For the first time in a long time, I really don’t know.”

All I know is my dog Zoey and I are moving back to Airdrie, to be closer to my family. I may go back to school, I may just find a new job. 

So thanks for the memories Leduc, goodbye for now.

Friday, 16 October 2009

A sojourn around the county

This afternoon, I went to New Sarepta and Thorsby to take photographs of "iconic" landmarks in each village for our upcoming 2010 calendar. Here are some of my snaps. What say you — are any of them calendar-worthy? Are they "iconic"? Click to enlarge.

New Sarepta — Yardley Jones Park

New Sarepta


Highway 39

(All photos Alexandra Pope/Sun Media)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Avert your eyes

Last week, my boyfriend took me to the movies.

This was remarkable for a few reasons, not least because we can rarely agree on what to see, assuming there’s anything we both think might be worth seeing.

We love watching movies, but lately there’s been a real dearth of things we feel like spending $25 to watch in the theatre, and the good folks at Blockbuster haven’t seen our faces for months.

I was optimistic about Jennifer’s Body, the Diablo Cody-penned horror comedy about a high school hottie-turned-flesh-eating demon who happens to have a taste for cute boys. I’m not usually a horror fan, but the reviews I read had led me to believe the “horror” would be more silly than scary; plus, my boyfriend likes Megan Fox. It was about the closest we get to perfect agreement on choice of film.

As it turned out, we did agree perfectly — that Jennifer’s Body was a pointless waste of cash.

We sat through the first hour and fifteen minutes in dumbfounded discomfort. I was ready to leave after watching Megan Fox vomit a voluminous stream of black ferromagnetic fluid; I can’t handle puke — even poorly computer-generated images of puke. But I stuck around to find out if the painfully drawn-out scenes of Fox’s one-dimensional victims walking into obvious and implausible traps might result in me feeling even slightly entertained.

As the fictional town’s token emo kid was being lured towards his gory death, my boyfriend leaned over and whispered the words that had been on the tip of my tongue for an hour: “We could always just leave.”

I nodded my agreement, but at first, we just sat there. Having never walked out of a movie before, we weren’t sure of the etiquette. Should we wait for a break in the action? Should we wait for the quiet dialogue to be over so we wouldn’t disturb our fellow moviegoers?

Finally, we stood to leave, crouching as low as possible as we moved between the seats.

There was no one else in our row to step over, but my boyfriend kicked a plastic bottle, which clattered noisily down the stairs.

For a moment, all eyes in the theatre were on us.

As we walked into the brightness of the lobby, we traded feeble jokes about how terrible the movie had been, as if trying to reassure each other that leaving had been the right decision. I felt awkward, almost guilty for not enjoying the movie.

A couple of days later, a friend who noticed my grumpy Facebook status about the flick asked if we had demanded a refund from the theatre. The truth was, it never even crossed our minds.

I’ve sent plates back at restaurants when the food was sub-par, and would never keep new clothes that didn’t fit properly, but I’d never considered my rights as a consumer of entertainment.

The problem is, as one celebrity blogger I enjoy puts it, paying admission at the movie theatre is like casting a vote for the type of films you want to see more of. All the times I stayed home while my boyfriend and his buddies went to see the latest high-octane action-thriller, I was quietly stating my preference for fewer explosions, more plot (not that my vote counts for much against the obvious appeal of watching sexy leather-clad actors blow stuff up in high definition for two hours).

Jennifer’s Body didn’t do well on its opening weekend and revenues have dropped steadily since, but it still made millions of dollars. Most people who go to movies and don’t enjoy them tell their friends to avoid them, but how many films have become moderate hits instead of major flops because those people shrugged and kissed their $25 goodbye?

There’s no accounting for some people’s taste in media — consider the television show The Hills, whose whiny, illiterate protagonists are preparing for a sixth season of fake catfights and breaking down in fake tears at their fake jobs. Perhaps if more of us tuned out, turned off and spoke up when presented with sub-par entertainment instead of sitting through it and laughing about it later, we’d be presented with less of it.

Money drives the entertainment business; I plan to be more discerning with mine in the future.

(Photo: Megan Fox in Jennifer's Body, from Flickr)