Cole Schisler, editor of the Chronicle signs off for the last time. (Submitted photo)

Cole Schisler, editor of the Chronicle signs off for the last time. (Submitted photo)

Coles Notes: It’s hard to leave Ladysmith

Chronicle editor Cole Schisler reflects on two years with the newspaper

My first day as editor of the Chronicle was May 1, 2019. That was a little over two years ago, but it feels like it could have been two lifetimes ago.

I came to Ladysmith at the perfect time. In my first few months at the Chronicle I got to experience some of Ladysmith’s greatest events: Ladysmith Days, the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run, Hill Dash, the Running of the Balls — I even spent some time volunteering at the dunk tank for Kid’s Pirate Day. I also got to experience my first Light Up in November 2019 before the pandemic turned the world on its head.

I’ve had the privilege of reporting on some remarkable stories here. I remember standing in the foyer at Ladysmith Secondary School when John Marston revealed the nutsamuut syaays welcome figure. I’ve watched as organizations like the Ladysmith Resource Centre Association, the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District, Ladysmith Family and Friends, the Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary and many others turn ideas into plans, then plans into completed projects.

I’ve spoken to high school graduates who leave Ladysmith and Stz’uminus with big dreams and aspirations for the future. I chatted up Ladysmith’s resident alien Harry Vanderspeigel at the Old Town Bakery when Resident Alien filmed here. I was even lucky enough to talk to Ladysmith’s most famous resident Pamela Anderson. I’ve met Ladysmith’s Turf Kitty and interviewed Moon Boot Man — stories you’ll only hear in Ladysmith.

Of course, I’ve told a fair share of stories about COVID-19 and how this community has dealt with the challenges of the pandemic. When times got hard, Ladysmith rallied together to support health care workers, neighbours, businesses, and service organizations. Now that the pandemic appears to be easing up, I’ve seen Ladysmith start to look like its old self again.

I didn’t know what to expect when I came to Ladysmith for the first time. I had just graduated from Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. I’d hardly spent any time in Ladysmith, and it was my first time working for a newspaper outside of VIU. What I found here in Ladysmith — and here at the Chronicle — is an amazing community filled with some of the most interesting people and stories that you can find anywhere.

Unfortunately, my last day at the Chronicle will be August 6. But I will be staying with Black Press. As of August 16, I’ll be working as a provincial reporter with the Black Press digital news desk in Surrey, so you’ll likely still be seeing my name around.

I want to take the time here to thank everyone who’s read the Chronicle over the last two years — even if you’ve just used it to house train pets, make art projects, or wrap fish. I also want to thank everyone who has ever spared time out of their busy schedules to speak with me for articles, everyone who’s ever sent in a story tip, a nice email, dropped off a card or shared a positive comment with me.

It’s hard to leave Ladysmith, but it’s time for me to go. Thank you all so much for supporting the Chronicle, it’s been an incredible honour to be your editor.