Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old newspapers with the assistance of the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives so we can jog your memory, give you that nostalgic feeling, or just a chuckle, as we take a look at what was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by.
This week around the Cowichan Lake area…
10 years ago
According to the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Dec. 10, 2010, “A Victoria audience loved Honeymoon Bay six-year-old Stacy Farkas’ singing so much they voted her back into the Vancouver Island’s Got Talent talent show, after she was eliminated during the semi-finals, Nov. 28. During Stacy’s Nov. 28 performance, her father Sandor Farkas said that the young singer was feeling sick, and didn’t have enough voice left to sing the song well enough for the judges. After the performance, Stacy was included alongside nine other eliminated performers for a spot in the finals. Farkas received 23,856 votes, which is 47 per cent of total votes, making her one of only 11 participants from Vancouver Island to be invited to the finals.”
Farkas would be 16 nowadays. I wonder if she’s still singing?
From happy news on the cover to disturbing news on page two: “Attempted sex assault on Highway 18” was the headline.
“Mounties are on the lookout for a man who attempted to sexually assault a Lake Cowichan woman in his truck. The incident happened on Saturday night when the 45-year-old woman was hitchhiking from Lake Cowichan on Highway 18. She was picked up by her attacker in a black pick-up truck.”
25 year ago
It sounds like there was quite the ice storm this time 25 years ago but The Lake News of Dec. 13, 1995 reports there was “only one accident” as a result.
“Amazingly, only one accident was reported to Lake Cowichan RCMP as a result of the weekend’s ice storm. And although anybody who was anybody fell down on Saturday, no serious injuries were reported.”
(I’d wager it all that my former colleague Lexi Bainas wrote that sentence.)
The story continued: “That was in sharp contrast to other places in the province. Victoria reported more than 100 accidents as its streets turned to glass, and six people were killed as a result of the storm in Vancouver. ‘Some people around here are pretty good drivers,’ said Sgt. Ron Merchant, RCMP. He pointed out that loggers tend to be better than average drivers.”
Yikes. Well, with the news that winter storms are only becoming more frequent, let’s hope the Lake’s streak of safe winter drivers continues.
Also on the Lake News front page this week back in 1995 was more talk about amalgamation — this time whether it would mean the end of special education programs.
“Does the provincial government’s cost cutting plan to amalgamate school districts include pillaging the Special Education programs? Teachers say it does. Teachers say they held a meeting with the Minister of Education, Art Charbonneau, which revealed that ‘a large portion of the amalgamation cuts will actually come out of Special Education programs and not from administration.’”
That didn’t sit well with teachers, who thought combining forces was supposed to mean cuts to administration.
40 years ago
It was a very busy front page of the Dec. 10, 1980 Lake News but there sure was a lot to say. From the retirement of Alderman Ernie Burns to the federal government shuttering a program that would have helped pay for needed improvements to the local water system, there was no shortage of news.
First up, however, was the installation of 11-year veteran Jim Sidhu as the Lake Cowichan Volunteer Fire Department’s new chief following the retirement of Tom Gordon.
“Sidhu has previously served as deputy chief, and will act as assistant fire marshall in addition to his duties as chief,” the story noted.
Another front page story was headed with: “They’ll keep fighting for clean water”. Sounds serious. And it was.
“A group of Youbou homeowners who had complained in November that logging activities by Pacific Logging near Coon Creek were ruining their water system is continuing to press its case for a cessation of logging in the area. According to Jeff Abbott, one of the people spearheading the campaign, the group was scheduled to meet Dec. 9, to discuss their next move. The homeowners were also to hear from Howard Smith what MLA Barbara Wallace had to say when she saw the site last week and what, if anything, she plans to do.”
And finally, big news on the emergency services front: “Ambulance head named, service here improved”.
“Lake Cowichan’s ambulance service, totally voluntary since its inception in the late 1940s, has moved into a new phase with the appointment of a full-time…ambulance worker.
“Keith Chance, president of the Kinsmen Club of Lake Cowichan which has looked after the local ambulance and supplied the volunteers, was chosen from among three candidates Monday, Dec. 8.
“Chance has worked part-time on the ambulance for four years and has served as head of the local ambulance corps. He was interviewed in Lake Cowichan by Medical Service Commission personnel staff Monday and was hired the same day.”