The North Thompson Star/Journal can trace its origin back to 1974 and Barriere’s first newspaper, the Barriere Bulletin. A handful of transitions later, in 1994 the Star/Journal became a Cariboo Press publication, and then Cariboo Press became Black Press.
We serve the Lower North Thompson Valley, and our sister newspaper, the North Thompson Times in Clearwater, serves the Upper North Thompson Valley.
The staff at both newspapers work closely together to provide our readership and advertisers with informative and award winning publications produced right here in our own communities.
I have worked at the Star/Journal for 23 years. I started in the mail room and have moved up the ladder to now sitting in the editor’s chair since 2004. Our staff has changed over the years; there have been turnovers, retirements and restructuring. But we are survivors and are here for the long haul.
On Oct. 4, the BC Integrated Child Exploitation unit, along with the assistance of numerous other RCMP units and jurisdictions, executed search warrants at four locations in the Barriere and Clearwater areas. Two of these locations were the Star/Journal and the The Times offices.
As reported in our last issue, Al Kirkwood, the former publisher of both newspapers, and also the former Barriere fire chief, has been charged with distribution and possession of child pornography.
The execution of search warrants at our two offices both shocked and emotionally dismayed our staff. However, we remained mindful of our legal and ethical responsibilities pertaining to the due process of the criminal justice system, and were unable to comment on these searches until the due process of the law had been followed and charges laid against Kirkwood.
We have been asked if the Star/Journal will be closing its doors? I can personally tell you that we are far from it.
During the past few weeks we have moved our office from the second floor of our building to another office at ground level. We are now situated in the old Chamber of Commerce office next to Integrity Realty and Yvonne’s Flowers and Gifts Dollar Store.
This move was made to accommodate our customers – no more stairs to climb to the second floor, and we are now just a few dozen feet from the parking lot.
Our staff have new computers, a new telephone system and new ideas to provide quality service to our advertisers, subscribers and constant readers. We are open 9-5 Monday and Tuesday, and 9-3 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
On a final note, I would like to ask those who feel a need to strike back at Kirkwood (such as the recent attempt to torch a building at the family’s property in Barriere) to rethink your actions before you carry them out. This type of vandalism and malicious intent makes no statement other than one that takes away from all the good people who live and work in this community. Retaliation is pointless, and we expect better from our residents. Don’t let your distaste, anger, revulsion or even fear lead you to doing something that can place you in front of a judge as well. Let the legal system do its job.
While we get back to business as usual at the Star/Journal.