James Palanio

James Palanio was born, raised and educated in Penticton. He is chair of the Okanagan Skaha School District No. 67.

The B.C. School Trustees held their annual December conference and this year it was a lot different. There wasn’t any Christmas shopping involved.

The event was virtual due to COVID-19. From all accounts, the conference was very successful and didn’t require any travel (at an average cost of $2,000 per delegate.) Although Moyra Baxter and Norah Bowman will disagree, this proves my point — you don’t need to fly everyone to Vancouver and put them up in five-star accommodation to have a successful conference.

It can be done online.

I was glad the Okanagan Skaha school board re-elected James Palanio as chairman for another year. He’s done an exceptional job. Best board chair since Bruce Johnson.

I was surprised by Shirley Bond’s critic shuffle. Norm Letnick has gone from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. Sounds like a demotion. I thought Norm was doing a great job. Was he too cooperative with the NDP on the COVID file?

This week there was press coverage across B.C. and Washington about a Penticton man whose death was confirmed after 11 years. I’d like to add that Jim Neufeld was a family man who loved Harley Davidsons and long rides, an individual proud to be from Saskatchewan and a family man who enjoyed tinkering and inventing things. By trade, he was a skilled heavy-equipment operator. Jim is dearly missed by his family and many friends.

The masked singer: Ivon Richardsen of Penticton loves to sing. Due to COVID, singing is not allowed indoors so, three times a week he heads downtown and performs pop standards in an effort to brighten people’s day. It’s also his way of thanking front-line workers. It’s all done safely. At a time when there’s incredible negativity and so many of us need cheering up, I’m glad there’s still people like Ivon.

James Miller is managing editor of The Penticton Herald.