Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday, April 12, 2021.

We’re finally moving into spring. It’s been a tug-of-war as of late, with snowy mornings and frosty windshields yet again, some strong and cold winds too, but the days are getting brilliantly sunny and long enough to be able to fit enough in one with time to spare.

The sun is coaxing out more people, and there seem to be many more cars on the road because there’s much to do around here. The latter calls for some extra reminders for safety.

On my way around town, I often see drivers throwing their eyes towards their laps while waiting at a red light, and then checking to see if the traffic is moving.

Some people do it while driving, absolutely convinced that they can safely handle the rapid gaze switch between screen and road. If history and stats are any lesson, we know by now that such habits spell disaster.

Every week or so there’s news on car crashes and sometimes there’s a mention of one car veering across the centre line. It could be distracted driving due to screens, falling asleep or getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Unfortunately, warm weather tends to make a few of us break the rules but here’s a reminder to not do it. Sunny days are way better when everyone makes it home safe. That includes pedestrians too.

Take the person whom I saw jaywalking today, eyes glued on the phone while carrying a baby in a car seat. Adding a distracted driver to the mix can be deadly. A couple of little ones and the other parent jaywalked as well shortly after. Please don’t do it. Kids do as they are being taught and crossing a busy street by jaywalking is never a good lesson.

Also seen while on the road: cars speeding, and not just on a sunny day, and not just during the day. Once again, there are no good enough excuses given the possible awful consequences of driving above the speed limit. Please resist the temptation.

Same reminder for hiking on the no-go trails in Peterson Creek Park which then requires a Search and Rescue team to show up. We’ve already had two cases and it’s not even May.

Spring also comes with the urge to tidy up our homes and gardens, which often means piles of garden waste to take to the composting sites in town and, for our homes, heaps of unwanted items which ideally should not be sent to the landfill unless there’s no possibility to fix, reuse or repurpose.

In former columns I lamented the absence of a free store, which is something you often see in small communities including some on the gulf islands. A logical solution to disposing of stuff that’s too much for someone but just the right things for someone else.

Enter the Kamloops Free Store, a virtual store that popped up on Facebook courtesy of AnnMarie Aase (which you may know as the creator and admin of the Caremongering Kamloops page.) It’s exactly what it sounds like: used items in good shape that are offered for free and thus diverted from the landfill.

The rules could not be more straightforward: ‘You can’t sell it and you can’t buy it and you have to be nice.’

And speaking of being nice, let’s make that a blanket rule for all of Kamloops. Times are rocky enough and tragedies unfold every day, whether we learn of them or not.  

Here’s to heading into the new season with a renewed promise to treat each other better: from keeping each other safe, covid-19 and otherwise, to smiling a bit more and making someone’s day better with a few nice words. As a wise person once said… ‘in a world where you can be anything, be kind.’