February was Heart Month. For me, this year, that was a big deal. I had great plans to mark it throughout the month and compose some interesting posts for social media showing how well I’ve been doing and keeping the theme of Heart Month front and centre. It started almost as I had planned it and I was getting a lot of traction out of the first few posts. Then Heart Month sort of turned on me. The details are below, but before I get to those, here is a quick look at my meeting schedule from February 2021.
Half Of My Meetings Were Missed
Due to a health issue, I ended up missing half of the meetings I had on my schedule for the month. Out of ten meetings, one was canceled and four I could not attend. This is a complete list of those events.
February 1 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council, Town Hall
February 16 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council, Town Hall (Attended via video conference)
February 25 - 3:00 PM - Special Meeting of Town Council, Town Hall
February 9 - 12 Noon - South Okanagan Similkameen Primary Care Network Planning Meeting (Zoom).
February 16 - 3:00 PM - Princeton Health Care Steering Committee - CANCELLED
February 17 - 9:30 AM - Okanagan Regional Library - DID NOT ATTEND
February 17 - 5:30 PM - Princeton Arts Council - DID NOT ATTEND
February 18 - 10:00 AM - Interagency - DID NOT ATTEND
February 18 - 5:30 PM - Princeton Museum Society - DID NOT ATTEND
February 23 - 7:00 PM - PXA AGM, PXA Indoor Arena (ran the Election of Officers for 2021 Executive)
Some Details From The Town Council Meetings
The biggest item on the agenda from the February 1, 2021, Regular meeting of the Town Council was a grant application for funding to cover a portion of the costs of CCTV inspection of 8.9-kilometres of gravity sewer pipe. The results of which would then be evaluated and used to adjust asset management planning strategies and update current asset management documents and provide data to assist with the revision of goals. The Town also committed $12,500 from the Sewer System Maintenance Budget towards the cost of this initiative.
The majority of the February 16, 2021, Regular Meeting of Town Council was filled by two lengthy video conference reports. The first one was presented by Tracy Wall, Deputy Assessor for the Thompson Okanagan Region. She provided an overview of property assessment and the 2021 assessment roll. The second presentation was made by Jim Zaffino, Manager of Finance for the RDOS (Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen). His presentation covered the RDOS budget. I attended this meeting via video conference simply because I started feeling ill late in the morning and did not think it was wise to be at the meeting if I was sick. Town Staff quickly acted to provide me access so I could still be part of the meeting from the comfort of home and not put anyone else at risk.
The Special Meeting of Town Council on February 25, 2021, centred primarily on the 2021 Grant-In-Aid requests. A total of nine requests were received totaling $50,964.35. The budget for this year’s Grant-In-Aid program is $25,000. As you can imagine, it was not easy to either turn down or reduce some of the requests that were made as each of them represented worthy causes. Town Council, working with Town Staff, was able to whittle the asks down and come up with a list that met the needs of most of the requests.
It was sort of a good news/bad news month for me. A phone appointment with my local doctor early in the morning f February 16 brought me a great deal of good news. The results of my ECG late last month in Penticton revealed that my heart function has moved up to 30%. It had been down to 10% almost a year ago and 15-20% six months ago. The doctor indicated that I have made significant progress over the past few months. Then later that morning I started to feel ill. I skipped going for my daily walk and lifting weights. At one point I had to lay down. Then I started vomiting.
I chose to pass on attending the Regular Meeting of Town Council scheduled for later than evening. Provisions were made for me to attend it electronically. By the evening, I felt a little better but during the meeting, I got sick again. Before the meeting had concluded, I was on my way to the Princeton Hospital ER. I ended up spending a night and the issue was my sodium level. As we have been keeping it low during my congestive heart failure recovery, we went too low. It took me a week to get back on track to where I was feeling better and missed some meetings as a result. Not exactly how I wanted to end Heart Month, but it was a good reminder to me about the delicate balance required to move forward. Thanks, everyone for your kind words and concern.
I think it had something to do with the weather. With January 2021 being so nice and mild, it just sort of flew by, didn’t it? For what is typically a quiet and cold month, I remember Januarys as seeming to last forever. Well, for me, it was still somewhat quiet but not nearly as cold as I remember previous Januarys to be. That being said, there were still some meetings to attend and decisions that needed to be made as part of my role on Princeton Town Council.
The Meeting Round-Up
My calendar had only five meetings scheduled for the month. One of those got canceled the day before it was to be held and another one I could not attend due to a time conflict. However, I did manage to be at the remaining three meetings. This is a short review of what those meetings were:
Monday, January 18 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council - Town Hall
Wednesday, January 20 - 5:30 PM - Monthly meeting of Princeton Arts Council - Zoom (*)
Thursday, January 21 - 5:30 PM - Monthly meeting of Princeton Museum Society - Zoom
* - denotes meetings attended as the only member of Town Council present)
Some Details From The Town Council Meeting
At the regular meeting of Town Council, I brought up the Town Hall operating hours as an item of New Business. The weekend before the meeting I had been fielding questions online regarding the closure. Town Hall was open by appointment, phone, or e-mail only. Considering that several other municipal halls in the region had reverted to regular hours, I felt ours should as well and started that conversation with staff via e-mail in the days before the Town Council meeting. I was pleased to learn during my presentation that Town Hall was re-opening a couple of days later. Naturally, COVID protocols are in place including hand sanitizing, mask-wearing, social distancing, and capacity limits.
Again, not a lot to report regarding my health. I can tell you that I was beginning to get bored and disinterested in my daily exercise routine. Typically I go for a walk four days a week, climb the stairs at Miners Climb twice a week, lift light weights on my walk days and take one day off each week. My walks in the first part of January were getting shorter - anywhere between 35 and 45-minutes in length. My stair climbing was in the 4 or 5 trips up and down Miners Climb. I just didn’t feel challenged enough anymore so I took almost a week off. When I got back on track, my walks had extended to just under an hour each and I found myself energized in a new way looking forward to getting outside.
I also had an echocardiogram scheduled for January 29 in Penticton Hospital. While I won’t know the results until I speak with my doctor again, the lab tech who did the test indicated that all three doctors (my family doctor and two specialists) working on my recovery plan would be getting the information. I can tell you that compared to the last ECG I had several months ago things sounded pretty good to me. With atrial fibrillation (AFib) the heart doesn’t properly pump blood out of its chambers and can sometimes sound like “flopping fish.” That was the case with my last ECG. The one on January 29 sounded much stronger to me. Hopefully, the work I’ve been putting into my recovery is paying off.
Aside from passing by quickly, December 2020 was full of Zoom meetings for me. Typically I have one or two Zoom meetings a month but the higher COVID-19 restrictions that came into play in November forced many of the committees I sit on to switch their meeting styles to Zoom access. I’m quite happy that this has happened as I find it easier for me to participate in a Zoom meeting from the comfort of my home office rather than having to bundle up, warm the car and drive somewhere for a physical meeting. Although I still prefer face-to-face physical meetings, in the colder months, Zoom meetings work for me.
My Meeting Schedule
In the month of December 2020, my calendar had a total of 11 events on it. I (so far) have not missed any (two are scheduled for after the date I am writing this blog). However, there was one meeting scheduled I was not aware of for one of my committee appointments, which I missed. Hopefully, that won’t happen again. Here is a closer look at my meetings for the month.
Town Council Meetings
Wednesday, December 2 - 9:00 AM - Special Meeting of Town Council
Monday, December 7 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council
Monday, December 21 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council
Regular Monthly Committee Meetings
Thursday, December 3 - 5:30 PM - Princeton Museum Society (their first-ever Zoom meeting) *
Tuesday, December 15 - 3:00 PM - Princeton Healthcare Steering Committee (Zoom meeting)
Wednesday, December 16 - 5:30 PM Princeton Arts Council (their first-ever Zoom meeting) *
Thursday, December 17 - Interagency (Zoom meeting - called early due to no quorum) *
Tuesday, December 22 - COVID Parade of Light *
Thursday, December 24 - COVID Parade of Light *
Tuesday, December 29 - COVID Parade of Light
Thursday, December 31 - COVID Parade of Light
(These parades are to thank front line workers and to give residents of Ridgewood Lodge and Vermilion Court something to enjoy during the season. My wife, Brenda joins me at each of these).
* - denotes meetings attended alone. All others include other members of the Town Council and/or Town Staff.
A Closer Look At Town Council Meetings
It was during the December 7, 2020, Town Council meeting that we deferred the request for approvals and budget for the Business Facade Improvement Grant Program (Policy No. 003-2020) until January 18, 2021, Regular Meeting of Town Council. The Grant Program will permit local downtown businesses to access a fund that will help them offset some of the costs associated with building facade improvements. There are guidelines that have to be met and eligibility requirements are available through Town Hall. It’s one way Town Council is supporting beautification efforts undertaken by local business owners.
At the December 21, 2020, Town Council meeting a Development Permit (No. 2020-02 DP) was approved. It is for exterior and interior improvements currently underway at the Princeton Post Office building. In addition to changes to the box lobby entrance (including a new wheelchair ramp), there will be a new glassed-in entrance on the alley side of the building to permit access to apartments being built on the second floor. When I moved to Princeton in 1986, the second floor of the building housed various professional services including a lawyer's office. A small parking area will go in along the alley and roof access. All changes will fit into the existing visual look of the building.
It was at the end of November when I received notice from VGH that I am now sitting on a Wait List for my upcoming kidney operation (I have a tumour growing on the side of my right kidney). Although the urologist in Vancouver had told me a couple of months ago that the tumour is growing, it obviously isn’t urgent. I am also still waiting for dates from my cardiologist in Kelowna for a cardiac MRI and another CT scan. While I completely expected at least one of those to be scheduled sometime in December, that did not happen. As I have been doing for most of the delays in these procedures is that I have taken advantage of the extra time and continued to build my heart strength with my walking, stair climbing, and weightlifting routines. I am also working very hard on keeping my sodium intake as low as possible.
As you can see, it has been an active month for me and that doesn’t include the work I’ve been doing with my home-based business (www.looseink.ninja) and the home-based business I help Brenda with. I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and hopefully, 2021 will see changes in COVID-19 protocols where we can all get together more frequently to discuss matters of interest. It has been rather challenging to have reduced physical contact with people as we honour social/physical distancing and various closures to the public. It has not made our jobs as elected officials any easier and I thank those of you who have been patient and understanding of the guidelines issued provincially that we must follow.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.