By Chad Ingram
Published March 22, 2018
During the weekend, the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce honoured members of the local business community during its annual achievement awards gala at the Pinestone.
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners, and to this year’s Highlander of the Year, outgoing Haliburton County Development Corporation executive director Andy Campbell, who is soon to retire and who, during his more than three decades with HCDC, helped get many local businesses up and running.
Entrepreneurs are the engine of the county’s economy. Large numbers of people are employed by its small business owners, by those willing to take a risk. Entrepreneurship anywhere is laden with risk, but even more so in a small community with a still largely seasonal economy. While the community has its share of successful business stories, there are also many small businesses and shops that just get by, that just manage to keep the lights on year after year.
In the age of the internet, local retailers also face fierce competition from online entities that are often able to offer a wider choice of product, often with a reduced price tag.
So, during this slow time of year in the county, as we inch our way toward the boom of the summer season, let’s all remember to vote with our feet and darken the doorways of local businesses.
What’s good for them is good for all of us.
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about the loss of the laughter-loving Lorraine McNeil and recalled the first time I ever met her and her pal Maureen James, known together then as comedy duo Lo and Mo.
Tragically, just two weeks after Lorraine, in an utterly heartbreaking turn of events, Maureen also passed away.
Maureen had a lightning-quick, acerbic wit and an ability to see humour in everything. She was hilarious. A veteran of Second City, in her life in Haliburton County, Maureen was part of a number of productions of the Highlands Summer Festival, including a side-splitting performance as Reverend Mother Mary Regina in the play Nunsense during the festival’s 2013 season. She should have been charged with theft, because she stole the show.
Community-minded, Maureen was a volunteer with community radio station Canoe FM, and also with Hyland Crest’s adult day program, as well as the local hospice.
It is heartbreaking that she and Lorraine are both gone, so soon, and within such a short time of one another. I hope they are laughing somewhere together.
Deepest condolences to Maureen’s family and friends.