Walking through the casino at the River Rock Saturday night, I marvelled at the fact that, at a time when we no longer use pennies in this country, there are still one-cent slot machines.
How, I wondered, do they pay out … in nickels if you win four cents, zero if you win two?
If you look at gambling as a way to make money, the penny slots can’t be much incentive – a thousand times payout nets a mere 10 bucks. If it’s for entertainment, life must be pretty boring otherwise.
However, I wasn’t there for gambling but to attend the annual British Columbia and Yukon Newspaper Awards being held in the River Rock’s theatre.
As usual, I was not there to accept an award, nor was I even nominated for one because I always forget to submit entries for judging. However, I enjoy attending to see some of those, who in years past I may have mentored, walk onto the stage. It’s also encouraging to see the new adaptations to technological changes that are affecting the print media, and how the industry will continue to prosper.
Yet this weekend wasn’t only about newspaper successes. In Regina on Sunday, Canada’s music industry and the talent this country produces held the Juno Awards.
And walking onto the prairie stage was a former Abbotsford News carrier who won a Juno as being part of the Group of The Year.
Back a couple of decades, Ian Casselman and his brother delivered my newspapers – both this one and the dailies that I consume to this day. I recall driving past their home on warm evenings, the truck window open, and hearing Ian banging away on a drum.
Years passed, Ian and sibling moved away for higher education and, up until just a couple of years ago, Mom took over the paper routes.
University didn’t diminish Ian’s love of music or talent, and eventually he and three other guys formed the band Marianas Trench (the deepest ocean trench in the world, by the way).
For the past while, Ian and the band have been touring the nation, the continent and the world – obviously achieving success and now national recognition as the best group in Canada!
Ian, however, hasn’t moved far from his roots in Abbotsford. I talk to him on the phone now and then, he attends the occasional community meeting in Straiton to hear about local issues, and a month or so ago returned permanently to the neighbourhood when he bought a house and acreage just a few hundred metres through the bush from my home.
I don’t know if being a News carrier had any influence on his life, but I do know that despite significant success in the music industry, it hasn’t taken the country and the community out of the boy.
Congratulations, Ian, the recognition and your Juno are well deserved, even if I’m not a screaming teenybopper.
And congratulations too to all those in the B.C. and Yukon community newspaper industry who won awards in Richmond Saturday night.
They may not be rock stars but they are dedicated to delivering to your doorstep, and your computer, information that has both quality and meaningful content.