Recent History – 2000
2000 – The Year in Review
from the Peace River Block News
Dawson Creek enters the year 2000 virtually trouble-free. Police originally had 11 members on the street to keep an eye out for drunk drivers, but had already sent five of them home by 2 a.m. About 120 youth ring in the New Year with a night of activities organized through the Dawson Creek Alliance Church.
Dawson Hotel owner Jim Gibbs closes the coffee shop at his establishment because of the Worker’s Compensation Board’s (WCB) regulation against second-hand smoke in hotels, bars and restaurants. “We had 90 per cent and better smokers and with that law coming in, it would be empty, so I have now closed it,” he said. Other business owners are taking a wait-and-see attitude to the new regulation, which came into effect on Jan. 1 but many say they dislike the measure.
The Mile Zero City experiences its first major snowfall of the season .Public Works superintendent Shannon Anderson says it’ll take more than two days to even clear all the snow from downtown streets.
A tentative agreement is reached to end a week-old lockout at BC Rail. The railway and its unionized employees reached the agreement after 10 hours of bargaining. The news comes as relief to local grain elevator managers who rely on the trains to get their product to market.
The total assessed value of property in Dawson Creek has increased by $13.8 million or about 2.9 per cent over the previous year’s total according to numbers from the B.C. Assessment Authority. Although Dawson Creek has a banner year for construction, totaling about $32 million in 1999, Coun. Bob Gibbs, who holds the finance portfolio, says the effect of much of that work won’t be seen until next year.
Even though the start of a new millennium had some health officials predict a mini baby boom a couple of months ago, it took five days of waiting for Dawson Creek’s first baby to be born. Tyrai Chase Laughton, son of Tina Laforge and Ryan Laughton, is born at 11:55 a.m.. He weighed six pounds six ounces and measured in at 19 inches.
So-called “Rocky Mountain Doubles” will be allowed to cross the Alberta-B.C. border and travel as far as Dawson Creek on a year-long trial basis. Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce president Gus McLeod says the move to allow the extra-long combinations into the Peace is a step towards restoring the Mile Zero City’s status as a transportation hub.
Owners of the Pouce Coupe Hart Hotel believe they have found a loophole in the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) regulations against second-hand smoke — but at a cost of three jobs. Because the hotel is owned as a partnership between himself, his wife and another partner, Del Folk says that patrons can smoke all they want in the bar, so long as no employees are hired.
Louisiana-Pacific’s new thermal fluid heating system will allow the plant to consume on-site all the bark that it produces, which will reduce the OSB plant’s emissions by half, says plant manager Randy Johnston.
The Bear Mountain Bingo Hall is bracing itself for lower attendance because of the Worker’s Compensation Board’s regulation against second-hand smoke. Manager John Vetter says that thanks to large amounts of prize money, players have been flocking to the hall. But he’s worried about what will happen when those big sums are won.
The heated rivalry between AC-Yellow Cabs and Diamond Taxi is played out in front of a night spot where there was a collision between two rival taxi drivers vying for a parking spot. Diamond Taxi owner Rick Muir clipping the bumper of a Yellow Cab that happened to be driven by his nephew, but he said the incident was not as big as AC-Yellow owner Ron DeWinter made it out to be. It’s the latest incident in a dispute that began back when Muir managed AC-Yellow Cabs for DeWinter, who bought the business in 1996.
Meanwhile, after only eight months on the streets, Mile Zero Taxi closes for business. Owner Calvin Nedland says the financial crunch to start the business became overbearing and his company will be absorbed by AC-Yellow Cabs.
After initial reluctance, Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill embraces the United Alternative (UA) initiative. Hill expresses support for the initiative after Reform Party leader Preston Manning said he would step down if UA is not endorsed by the membership. “With all the media attention, I felt it was time to announce my own support,” Hill says.
The City decides it will be buying a new snowblower, albeit a used one. Council approves the purchase of a 1978 SMI model 8300 from a Montreal-based firm for $150,900.
A Parkland Apartments blaze is caught in time at 6:25 p.m. by firefighters after the fire department is first told that a small fire has been brought under control, but when they check it out, the fire appeared to have lit up again. The fire was confined to the lower level where two bedrooms are located.
Cross-border shopping is blamed for the closure of the Reitman’s clothing store at Dawson Mall. “It’s a amazing we’ve lasted this long,” says store manager Carolyn Bishop. “When people from here spend their money in Grande Prairie, this is what happens.”
The owners of the two largest real estate companies in town announce they have completed their merger. “We are very excited about this expansion of services,” say Tom Moran, president of Re/Max Realty, and Lloyd Smith, president of Peacelander. The new company is called Dawson Creak Realty Ltd.
Plenty of frustration is expressed about the state of agriculture in Canada when about 80 people show up at Farmington Hall for a town hall meeting hosted by the Reform Party. “The catastrophe is real,” says Reform agriculture critic Gerry Ritz after the meeting. “Some of what we heard fortifies us to go back to Ottawa and scream a little louder.”
The Hart of the North Cafe has found a way around the Worker’s Compensation Board regulation against second-hand smoke. A separate area, known as the bull pen, has been set aside where smokers can light up and enjoy a coffee or a meal at the same time. No employees are allowed in, except when they’re on a break, and smokers must carry their own food from the restaurant a few feet away to the bull pen.
A test run of a Rocky Mountain Double through the streets of Dawson Creek elicits no surprises. There was some over tracking at a few corners, in part because the lead trailer was the longest that can be used in this combination. “We expected to see a little bit of over tracking so it wasn’t anything we didn’t expect to see,” says David Conway of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
Well-known fiddler Howard Lizotte, and his son Kirby, die in a collision while driving to Grande Prairie. Howard was 63 and Kirby was 31. Howard won three times at the fiddler championships held annually in Camrose, Alberta. In the 1970s, he played for Queen Elizabeth when she visited Fort Providence, NWT.
A Pouce Coupe mother pulls her daughter out of Central Middle School after the girl’s head is shoved through the glass of a snack machine. “I don’t want my daughter going to school in fear,” says Rhonda Gauthier. She said the unprovoked attack on her daughter Janice was the second one that day and follows on a history of abuse by other Central students.
A Dawson Creek woman whose family appealed to the public for lung donors dies in an Edmonton hospital. Donna Chmelyk, 41, was suffering from the advance effected of cystic fibrosis and was on a life support system.
Farmer Nick Parson says he’ll drive his combine to Ottawa in two weeks time if it appears that all cash-strapped farmers will get is $1.50 per acre The 4,000 km. trip would be a step up from the 1,300 km. drive he took to Victoria two years before to raise awareness of the plight of farmers.
The City and insurance company Zurich Canada are in court again over the question who is to pay for the Memorial Arena roof that collapsed Jan. 8, 1997. Mayor Blair Lekstrom says he’s confident the City will come out the winner again this time at the B.C. Court of Appeal after Zurich appealed a B.C Supreme Court ruling that went in favour of the city.
Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh announces that B.C. municipal police will be the first in Canada to use Tasers, also known as electric rifles. But Dawson Creek RCMP Staff Sergeant Gerry Falk said it will be some time yet before they become standard issue for the Mounties.
About 80 Freedom of Choice supporters crowd the Silverado Inn to express opposition to the Worker’s Compensation Board’s (WCB) anti-smoking regulations. There is a general consensus to move quickly against the WCB to get a response. One suggests boycotting B.C. lotteries.
Sharon Holden wins the Start the Millennium Mortgage Free Contest, put on by the Peace River Block Daily News. Because her mortgage is already paid off, she is awarded $3,000.
A Dawson Creek couple are among the four people killed in a multi-vehicle accident on an icy road east of Debolt, Alta. James (Jimmy) Walker, 75, and Norma Walker, 74, died when a pickup truck was hit by two cars. The couple’s daughter, Lynda Walker, says her parents were in Edmonton so that Jimmy could undergo cancer treatment, but there was a booking error.
Council approves a new way to clear snow from city streets — one that will cost more but will also be faster. Rented graders will be used to plow all city streets, not just the main roads. The switch is expected to reduce by half the time it takes to clear all the streets but will increase the city’s snowplowing bill by about $15,000 for an average winter.
Dawson Creek will purchase a portion of the waterline that extends from Snake Pit Road from Pouce Coupe for $50,000. When Louisiana-Pacific decided to build a new plant near the corner of Highway 2 and Snake Pit Road, the city sat down with the village to hammer out a new agreement.
Nursing home workers in B.C. won’t face a penalty for refusing to take a flu vaccination, but they’re being encouraged to get the shot. “I’d rather get people voluntarily taking the vaccines,” says Peace Liard medical health officer Kay Wotton. “Our immunization programs work well when people appreciate them.”
The Dawson Creek Municipal Public Library will be the beneficiary of generosity from billionaire computer software magnate Bill Gates. The library will get four computers, Microsoft software images and multimedia applications, a server and a laser printer worth more than $23,000.
Nick Parsons announces that he’ll be driving his combine to the nation’s capital to raise awareness of the plight of family farms after waiting eight days for a response to a fax he sent to federal Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief. He’ll leave Feb. 1.
The Ministry of Health announces that the Peace Liard Community Health Services Society will receive $150,000 to provide semi-independent living units for 15 mental health patients.
The Mile Zero City becomes the launch pad for a cross-Canada trip for two Ontario snowmobilers. Pierre Lacasse, of Windsor, and Jake Kelly, of London, are riding to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Using the existing network of trails, they plan to reach the Atlantic by Feb. 19.
Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill is upbeat about the creation of the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, but he’s concerned about the acronym: CCRAP and brought the issue up during the founding convention in Ottawa, Jan. 29-30. He also notes that when the Bloc Quebecois, not Reform, was the official opposition, Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in his broken English, had trouble pronouncing “third” party. “So I made the comment that having had to endure three-and-half-years in the House of Commons of the prime minister referring to me as a member of the Ôturd’ party, I didn’t want to go into the next parliament being known as a member of the CCRAP party,” he says.
Dawson Creek housing sales look promising early in the year after a busy last quarter in 1999, said the B.C. Real Estate Association. BCREA president Dan Bennett says he predicts home sale numbers for 2000 will surpass those of last year.
Six students from Tremblay School are taken to hospital with stomach pains and nausea after falling ill while riding the school bus. All children are released shortly after and a definite cause for the incident isn’t found.
Farmington farmer Nick Parsons climbs his combine and embarks on the long road to Ottawa to make the Prime Minister Jean Chretien take the Canadian crisis in agriculture seriously. National media has caught on to his trip. “Yesterday, I had 40 stations phoning, from Ontario to Vancouver,” Parsons says.
Dawson Creek resident James Ward is upset with what he calls a lack of response to dealing with a stray dog that was found in his back yard at 4:45 in the morning. He said he had a tough time getting either the SPCA or the police to take the dog away. It was only when Ward told police he would then “dispose” of the dog himself that police responded within 10 minutes and with three RCMP members.
B.C. Finance Minister Paul Ramsey tells Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce members that things are looking up for the B.C. economy, predicting two to three per cent growth for the province.
Ramsey also says that the new Rotary Manor, a care facility in Dawson Creek, is in no danger. The project will continue, he says.
The Dawson Co-op board remains tight-lipped about rumours that spell out big plans for the co-op. Chair Myrna Gardner only says there’ll be an announcement in four days.
A 26-year-old local man is facing several charges after attacking two other men in the 300 block of 100A Avenue at about 5:30 a.m. The victims were hit with the base of a jack-all wielded by the attacker. One was transported to the University of Alberta hospital in Edmonton in serious but stable condition.
Dawson Creek Counselling Services announces it is planning to branch out into other areas besides alcohol and drugs. From DCCS’s new home on 103rd Avenue, regional manager Brent Neumann says help will be provided in the near future for youth and families, gambling addiction and even counselling through the Internet.
City council says it will help local hotel owners make their case for relaxing the Workers’ Compensation Board’s regulations against second-hand smoke by putting together a presentation that can be taken to the government.
Council also approves the installation of two-hour parking meters, in front of Black Art Tattoo at 925A-102nd Ave.
McLeod True Value Hardware and Pizzarama have closed their business doors in Dawson Creek, but the owners say the economy is not to blame. McLeod’s owner Allan Mah says a medical problem is to blame for the closing of his store, and Pizzarama owner Wayne Dyck says his adjacent Smitty’s Restaurant needs the space back presently occupied by the pizza outlet.
More than 200 people sign their name on the first day of a petition aimed at the Peace leaving B.C. and joining Alberta, part in protest of the Workers’ Compensation Board’s regulations against second-hand smoke in the work place.
The Dawson Co-op Home and Agro Centre will undergo a $1.5 million expansion to more than twice its current size, board chair Myrna Gardner announces. However, the board remains quiet about plans for the mall portion of the Co-op, but mall tenants say they include a brand new grocery building built by Federated Co-operatives Ltd. and leased back to the local co-op. Tenants have been given notice their leases will be terminated.
Area residents stage a protest at the Mile Zero Post, swapping the B.C. flag for an Alberta one and displaying signs saying ” NDP Sucks” and “Hey Ralph! If you like us, just smile…” They’re protesting the Workers’ Compensation Board’s regulations against second-hand smoke in the workplace.
After leaving Dawson Creek Feb. 1, farmer Nick Parsons reaches Saskatchewan in Lloydminster. Parsons is on his way to Ottawa on his combine Prairie Belle to tell Prime Minister Jean Chretien his government needs to support Western Canadian farmers financially.
The possibility that the City of Fort St. John may try to form its own regional district draws concern from the Peace River Regional District board. The board passes a motion to reaffirm support the Fair Share, a revenue-sharing agreement with Victoria over oil and gas royalty moneys. “Together we can do great things. Individually, if we try and branch out on our own, I think we’re going to not be as successful as we have been,” says Blair Lekstrom, Dawson Creek mayor and PRRD director.
At the same PRRD meeting, the manager of the Northern Rockies Alaska Highway Tourism Association, April Moi, says the Alaska Highway by itself may soon no longer be enough to attract tourists, in the face of competition from the Stewart-Cassiar Highway and the ferry service to Alaska. Moi says Northeastern B.C. needs to develop more tourism infrastructure.
A Day of Grace at the Dawson Creek hospital, for people to return medical equipment they’ve borrowed over the years but not returned, turns out to be a bit of a disappointment. Only one walker, a nebulizer and a set of crutches are returned.
Sex offender Mackenzie Setter’s improved behaviour aside, his underlying character remains in doubt, says forensic psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Semrau at Setter’s dangerous offender hearing. Setter has been convicted of bludgeoning a seven-year-old girl nearly to death in Tumbler Ridge on June 14, 1995.
While protesting farmer Nick Parsons approaches Regina, a letter to Parsons from the Prime Minister’s Office says Jean Chretien’s schedule doesn’t permit him to meet with Parsons.
Housing starts in Dawson Creek in 1999 almost doubled those of the year prior, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The 101 housing starts are a result of the economic optimism in the North, CMHC says, predicting continued strong growth, especially in the multi-family segment of the market.
The chances of the B.C. Peace becoming a part of Alberta are slim at best, according to a constitutional expert. Patrick Nugent, head of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Constitutional Studies, says there is a mechanism that would allow it, but it requires full cooperation between B.C. and Alberta, as well as the consent of the federal government.
Convicted sex offender Mackenzie Setter wins a break in B.C. Supreme Court when he is declared not a dangerous offender. Justice Eric Chamberlain rules the Crown has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the former 21-year-old Tumbler Ridge resident will likely offend again. Setter has been convicted of bludgeoning a seven-year-old girl nearly to death in Tumbler Ridge in 1995.
Bear Mountain Bingo Hall is hurting over the smoking ban in the work place, says manager John Vetter. The hall has been forced to cancel three nights of bingo in the past week and a half due to a lack of players.
Mackenzie Setter, who has been convicted of bludgeoning a seven-year-old girl nearly to death in Tumbler Ridge in 1995, is sentenced to nine years in prison. Justice Eric Chamberlain says it would have been 11 years, but Setter has already spent a year in custody since his conviction. Setter shows some remorse over what happened when he tells court “I do feel sorry for what happened to that little girl. I felt guilty.”
Organizers of a movement to make Northeastern B.C. part of Alberta have collected 1,700 signatures so far, they reveal at a press conference in Pouce Coupe. They’re aiming for 20,000.
City council debates what to do with the nearly 1,000 parking tickets issued between November 1998 and October 1999 that still haven’t been paid yet. The tickets and fines represent an outstanding amount of $24,050, which the city will continue to try to collect through a collection agency, but without court action.
User groups at the Fall Fair grounds have overcome enough of their differences to resurrect the goal of bring an agriplex to Dawson Creek, representatives from the Stables and Arena Association, the Rope and Saddle Club and the Dawson Creek and District Exhibition Association decide at a joint meeting.
Support Staff at Northern Lights College hit the picket line after their B.C. Government and Service Employees Union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees fails to come to an agreement with the Post Secondary Employers’ Association. The dispute continues over benefits and a fair wage increase. Classes at the college are cancelled.
The Dawson Co-op board of directors is asked to abstain from entering into any agreement with Federated Co-operative Ltd. regarding the Co-op shopping centre when 300 members meet to discuss plans and rumours. Because it is not an official Co-op member meeting, the motion is not binding, but it will send a clear direction to the board, members say.
School District 59 says in a press release it wants to expand services to kids younger than kindergarten age. The move comes from the understanding that the groundwork for children’s behaviour and social skills is laid in the early years of a child’s development.
Fort St. John wants to pull out of the Peace River Regional District’s Fair Share initiative in exchange for gaining a larger share of the industrial tax base, the regional district’s board is told. If unable to do so, Fort St. John aims to create a Greater Fort St. John Municipality, the Energetic City tells directors.
The $400 million farm aid announcement for Manitoba and Saskatchewan is a slap in the face to the two westernmost provinces, says B.C. Agriculture Minister Corky Evans. “… the federal government announced the ultimate insult to British Columbia and Alberta,” Evans said in an exclusive interview with the Peace River Block Daily News.
Dawson Creek police arrests 33-year-old Terrence Baduk at his home after the Dawson Creek man, upset over an account at the Royal Bank, proceeds to stab a bank employee in the left forearm, then leave the premises.
Protesting farmer Nick Parsons reaches Ontario with his combine. Parsons left Dawson Creek Feb. 1 on a trip to Ottawa to tell Prime Minister Jean Chretien that Western farm families are hurting badly.
Terrence Baduk, suspected of stabbing an employee at the Royal Bank on Feb. 29, is sent to the psychiatrist at his first court appearance.
Auto crime is on the rise in Dawson Creek, says the ICBC manager of operations for the South Peace, Glenn Olsen. While provincial rates dropped nine per cent overall, Dawson Creek saw in increase in the number of claims from 46 in 1998 to 58 in 1999.
Teck Corporation announces that the Quintette Coal Mine will be shut down in August, two-and-a-half years earlier than scheduled. Depressed coal prices and relatively high production costs are blamed for the decision which will mean that nearly 600 employees will lose their jobs. But residents remain steadfast that Tumbler Ridge will live on.
Mary-Lynne Miller, the Dawson Creek woman who was beaten into a coma by her boyfriend, dies in a Kelowna hospital three years after the beating. Miller’s mother, Carole, says a bill designed by Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill to protect abused women must be given serious consideration.
Peace River South MLA Jack Weisgerber is nominated for Speaker of the B.C. Legislature by B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell, largely because of his 14 years of experience in provincial politics. Weisgerber was close to being named speaker two years ago until charges of illegal hunting were laid against him in May 1998.
A petition in support of the Peace Country joining Alberta grows to nearly 3,000 signatures since it was launched Feb. 10. Proponents hope to attract 20,000 names in the effort sparked by the Workers’ Compensation Board regulations against second-hand smoke, but also in response to frustration with the B.C. government.
South Peace Health Council (SPHC) chief executive officer Rick Robinson announces that the Ministry of Health has given verbal approval to a plan to centralize food services at the new Rotary Manor. The move would save the SPHC an estimated $291,739 per year.
Revenues generated by the Rotary Television Auction are down slightly from the $80,000 raised in 1999, but the final figure is still being calculated. Sunny skies are seen as the cause for keeping Dawson Creek residents away from their television sets.
In a 3-0 decision, the B.C. Supreme Court strikes down Zurich Canada’s appeal over who should pay for the collapse of the Memorial Arena roof. “They made the right decision for the right reasons,” said city lawyer Wayne Plenert.
Mayor Blair Lekstrom is upset with the Ministry of Tourism over a map that depicts a circle tour bypassing Dawson Creek. The Ministry has issued 10,000 revised copies but that leaves 55,000 already printed. A map in the 1999 vacation planner, produced by Tourism B.C., identified only one northeast community, Fort St. John, and it was labeled only as Fort. “Two years in a row, that just doesn’t cut it with me,” he said.
The South Peace Health Council learns that a doctor working at Dawson Creek and District Hospital is facing a lawsuit over an operation he performed while still working in Lloydminster. Lisa Dawson is suing Dr. Kenneth Graham after her hands and both her legs below the knee were amputated because of complications suffered after a tubal ligation operation.
Governor General Adrienne Clarkson visits Chetwynd where she helps open a refurbished radio station.
In response to Fort St. John’s quest to include oil and gas assets from the outlying area in its tax base, Peace River Regional District directors vote to ask the province for more revenue over and above what’s being received through the Fair Share agreement.
The Salvation Army’s new family services centre, located next to the Thrift Store on 103rd Street, is opened. The new location gives the Salvation Army more room to operate the food bank and provide such services as helping people find jobs.
A Vancouver actor and playwright, Richard Side, uses his memories of growing up in Dawson Creek as inspiration for a comedy called A Town Called Hockey. “I remember the times when Dawson was in the playoffs and the civic arena was packed. You’re sitting on these wooden benches — it’s kind of rustic but at the same time the whole town turned out and it was very exciting,” he says.
Energy and Mines Minister Dan Miller visits Tumbler Ridge to meet with local politicians in the wake of the impending closure of the Quintette coal mine. Miller makes no promises: “There’s a myriad of issues and questions and the best approach is to be very systematic about what are the questions and try to develop answers to them.”
Five grade three students are winners of an essay contest, part of the Canadian Rotary Youth Stay in School Program (CYSIS): Arielle Mah from Tremblay Elementary, Caitlyn Graham from Ecole Frank Ross, Sydney Ireland from Pouce Coupe Elementary, Danny Michetti from Pouce Coupe Elementary, and Brittany Potratz from Ecole Frank Ross.
Nick Parsons, on a trip by combine to the nation’s capital, reaches Toronto. Originally, he had planned to bypass the city because of the heavy traffic, but he changes his mind and reaches the provincial legislature. Within an hour he is given four radio and television interviews about the state of farming in Canada.
The Dawson Co-op board of directors announce plans to replace the current 60,000 square-foot mall with a 28,000 square-foot food store and cafe. The venture means that several tenants will have to find new locations for their businesses and eventually leads to an uproar amongst the membership. “It is a very poor idea to expand the grocery department and compete against Safeway,” said tenant and shoe repair store owner Frank Ripley. “They should expand their shoe department, dry goods and offer better pricing so people wouldn’t shop out of town.”
The South Peace Health Council (SPHC) remains confident in the abilities of Dr. Kenneth Graham although he faces a malpractice suit in Saskatchewan from a tubal ligation that cost a young mother her hands and legs. Chairwoman Sheila Barnes says at a press conference that even if the SPHC had known that the legal action was being pursued, he still would have been hired. Graham, meanwhile, says he feels “heartfelt sympathy” for the plaintiff, Lisa Dawson, but also implies that he is not at fault. He acknowledges that there was a two millimetre perforation of Dawson’s bowel, but said such incisions “will often go unrecognized” and that small bowel injuries sometimes heal by themselves.
Two young women, aged 17 and 15, are arrested after a handgun is pulled on a cab driver. Police say that while one pulled the gun and demanded the driver’s money, the other cut the wire to the driver’s radio. They made off with between $150 and $200 but police track the youths down to an apartment. The driver was not hurt.
Protesting grain farmer Nick Parsons succeeds in his quest for a meeting with Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and has a couple drinks of whiskey to boot. “He had been following my trip and was very impressed with what I had been doing and said we ought to sit down and have a little take about things. And he got the bottle out and offered me a whiskey…and we just talked about things on the surface and my concerns about the future of agriculture, and the future today and the future tomorrow.” The meeting ended a seven-week odyssey by combine that started in Dawson Creek on Feb. 1.
The top vote-getter in the November local elections is also the top spender according to figures at city hall. Mayor Blair Lekstrom, who attracted 2,621 votes in his landslide victory, spent $2,571.67 according to his campaign financing disclosure statement. Bill Kusk, who finished a distant second in the race for mayor, spent $758, while David Twombly, the third candidate, spent $5.41.
The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) ban on second-hand smoke in bars and restaurants is lifted following a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that the regulation was enacted without proper consultation. Local bar owners are overjoyed: You should see how happy our employees are again. Finally they’ve got some money and can pay their bills,” said Alaska Hotel and Caf³ owner Charles Kux-Kardos.
The minister responsible for housing, Jan Pullinger, gives the go-ahead for an addition to the new Rotary Manor. In Dawson Creek to make the announcement, Pullinger says the province will finance a $3.4 million complex consisting of 31 units of supportive housing for seniors.
Peace River Regional District directors adopt a budget that includes tax cuts for property owners in Dawson Creek and Pouce Coupe. The owner of a home worth $50,000 in Dawson Creek will pay $52.69, down by $10.19 over 1999. A similar home in Pouce Coupe will mean a bill of $52.81, down by $26.12.
The B.C. Lions Club for Children with Disabilities announces that the Paradise Snowmobile Club is the top fundraiser for this year’s Snowarama effort, held Feb. 20. The group raised $22,600, which is donated to the Easter Seal Fund at Timmy’s Christmas Telethon.
Nick Parson returns home from his 53-day trip by combine to the nation’s capital. A small contingent of local community leaders, friends and family greets him at the George Dawson Inn. Despite the effort, Parsons fears that federal politicians still have no idea how bad it is for farmers. “They’re playing a very hard line, as if agriculture has to stand on its own feet. But how do you stand on your own feet when you’re competing in a subsidized world market?”
A least one restaurant remains non-smoking despite the lifting of a Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) regulation against second-hand smoke. In the time since the regulation took effect to the day it was struck down by a B.C. Supreme Court Justice, business at the Hug-A-Mug increased by about 20 per cent says Connie Schmakeit. The ban went into effect Jan. 1 and the ruling was made March 20.
It turns out that Dawson Creek residents may not have to say good-bye to the Co-op Mall yet — the new lease agreement with Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) is not yet signed says director Ross Ravelli. But Ravelli still maintains that replacing the mall with a smaller supermarket and then leasing it from FCL is the way to go. “If that can happen, we think it would be the best way to move the Dawson Co-op into the future given the financial constraints we’re having.”
Opponents of plans to replace the Co-op Mall with a supermarket threaten legal action after learning that they are unable to get the minutes from the February and March board of directors meetings. But Co-op manager Ken Hlus says the minutes will remain private. “Our solicitor will be delivering their solicitor a letter this morning,” he says.
Wiebo Ludwig gets a break during his trial on charges of oilpatch vandalism. Justice Sterling Sanderman throws out a charge of extortion that formed the central thesis of the Crown’s case. But Ludwig still faces 18 vandalism-related counts and his friend, Richard Boonstra, still faces 17.
The South Peace Community Resources Society takes over the Rainbow Colours Preschool. The transformation means the program will be eligible to receive more funding from the government.
The Dawson Co-op board receives a letter from the B.C. superintendent of cooperatives, outlining that members have the right to view the Co-op’s documents. The news aids disgruntled Co-op members who don’t like the rumoured plans the Co-op board has for its mall, but the board is not willing to share those plans before the April 5 annual general meeting. However, director meeting minutes can be kept confidential, Superintendent John Powell says. Including two incumbents, 10 people are running to fill four positions on the Co-op board.
Police say they are contemplating charging the Alaska Hotel bar, the Dew Drop Inn, with overserving after attending three fights at the bar involving drunk persons. RCMP say they’ll file a complaint with the liquor inspector, recommending a temporary licence suspension.
Council narrowly passes a billboard bylaw to allow billboards along Highway 2 and the Hart Highway on the outskirts of the city. The bylaw will allow single single-pedestal signs made of metal or plastic, only on land zoned heavy and light industrial.
Aboriginal women lend support to the New Identities Act, a private member’s bill from Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill. Bill C223 is to protect people in abusive relationships by allowing them to obtain a new identity to hide from their former partner if the victim fears for her or his life.
The former and the current mayor of Pouce Coupe join hands to cut the ribbon that opens the new village office. Joe Judge and Mayor Jill Wonnacott open the modern premises, built after it became clear that the old village office no longer met the building code for public buildings.
Dawson Co-op members come out in droves to the Co-op’s annual general meeting, which, because of the expected large turnout, is held at the Kin Arena. Almost 900 members cast their vote, electing four new directors to the board: Fred Lumnitzer, Reg Norman, Red Wagner and Allen Watson. Board chair Myrna Gardner and director Ross Ravelli lose the bids for their seats while directors Fern Hansen, Lawrence Millar and Dennis Mracek still have time left in their terms.
The new Dawson Co-op board puts a hold on plans to tear down the current 60,000 square-foot mall and replace it with a 28,000 square-foot grocery store, as well as reverse the eviction notices the old board sent to the mall’s tenants. Allen Watson is chosen as the chair of the new board.
A Dawson Creek doctor sued for malpractice in Saskatchewan, Dr. Kenneth Graham, files a statement of defence in which he denies liability for the misfortunes of a Saskatchewan woman treated by him while working in Lloydminster. Lisa Dawson, 22, had both her hands and both legs amputated after complications following a tubal ligation performed by Graham.
Peace region Internet surfers may soon be moving into the fast lane of the Information Super Highway, following an announcement that Total Telecom will be running a fibre optic cable from Edmonton to Fort St. John. Dawson Creek is to be included in the project, says Total Telecom president Craig Baker.
A sculpture by Rolla’s Emily Mattson sells for $2,800 at the annual art auction of the South Peace Art Society. Marilyn Boronowski buys “The Booth,” modeled after a scene at the Alaska CafŽ, bringing total proceeds of the auction to just under $15,000.
A few weeks after its owner Nick Parsons returned by plane from his trip to Ottawa, the combine Prairie Belle arrives back on the Farmington farm. Belle, who’s now made trips to Victoria and Ottawa, only suffered a broken windshield, on the return trip by truck.
The Tumbler Ridge Bullmoose coal mine receives four charges from the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks over a spill from the mine’s tailings line that runs from the plant to a secondary storage unit. The incident happened March 10, 1999, when a non-toxic sediment spilled into the Bullmoose Creek for up to an hour until it was discovered. The mine may be facing a fine as high as $100,000, but mine officials don’t expect that high an amount.
B.C. Health Minister Mike Farnworth announces the ministry will invest $300,000 for a new air conditioning system at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital. The system is to benefit people as well as equipment.
Susan Jeanette Strid, 36, of Grande Prairie is served with more than a dozen charges concerning her involvement in a crash that claimed the lives of Pouce Coupe resident Howard Lizotte and his son Kirby Lizotte of Dawson Creek. The Lizottes crashed into Strid’s swerving car while they and five other family members were travelling to Grande Prairie. Strid’s charges include impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death.
Dawson Creek’s Sharlene Gevatkoff is awarded a Northern Lights College scholarship to put together an Internet Web site featuring Dawson Creek. The 250-hour project is to include everything from the history of Dawson Creek to notable people and biographies.
Forest Renewal B.C. is providing 16 Omineca-Peace forest-sector partners with $37 million in funding as part of a long-term efficient approach to land-based investments. It’s part of FRBC’s $301-million investment in B.C. this year.
As the region reduces the waste heading to landfills by 15 per cent, the Dawson Creek landfill is trailing in waste reduction, says the Peace River Regional District director of field services. Harold Hansen says it’s due to the fact that the Dawson Creek landfill receives waste from a large surrounding area as well as the city, and growth in the area has resulted in a fair amount of construction garbage.
In order to re-occupy houses vacated by Tumbler Ridge miners after several reductions of the workforce at the town’s two mines, Dawson Creek Realty is contracted to sell 30 of them, currently owned by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The houses make excellent retirement homes or tele-commuters’ homes, says Dawson Creek Realty’s Blaine Nicholson.
Aided by a large number of friends, George and Elmina Hein celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary at the Co-op cafeteria where the Heins have been regulars for many years.
The South Peace Health Council mulls the idea for a treatment centre to be located in Tumbler Ridge. There will be plenty of cheap real estate available in the town following the closure of the Quintette mine in August this year.
A public walkway on Ravine Drive causes some debate at City council. Residents ask the city to close the walkway which is used rarely, except by vandals who have used the walkway as an escape route after several incidents of vandalism to neighbourhood homes.
Three local cowboy poets heading to the Cowboy Poet Gathering in Pincher Creek, Alta. gather for a practice session at a local ranch. Lona Sloane, Grant Hommey and Wayne Ezeard are members of the Dawson Creek chapter of the cowboy poets will represent Dawson Creek at the June 16-18 festival.
Hythe oil patch activist Wiebo Ludwig is convicted in an Alberta court on five charges related to oil patch vandalism. The charges carry a maximum of 14 years in prison.
School District 59 is pushing for changes to the school bus system which will set clearer rules for bus space for several classes of children. Some will have guaranteed space while others can ride the bus only depending on available space.
Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill releases the findings of the Action for Struggling Agricultural Producers’ (ASAP) final report, which contains 13 recommendations to help farmers survive in difficult times. The recommendations include provisions for immediate disaster assistance and safety net programs.
A fight to save the popular Bijoux Falls Provincial Park is going to the next level when the Peace River Regional District board sends a letter to B.C. Parks officials in Victoria. The region is protesting the closure of the park, which is to be a cost-cutting measure by B.C. Parks.
Northern Lights College receives a funding boost of $806,000, allowing the college to take on 80 more students. Currently, NLC is funded for 1,435 students, though more than 2,000 students are enrolled in the different college programs.
A letter to the Alaska Hotel pub wins a break after facing charges of overserving. Liquor inspector H.J. Zirnhelt writes pub owner Charles Kux-Kardos: “It was determined (that) some of the problems encountered in your establishment are caused by individuals entering your premise after they had been drinking elsewhere.” Kux-Kardos also promised to hire a bouncer to deal with rowdy patrons.
Budget crunches are looming for two local independent schools, thanks to a reduction of financial support from the NDP government. Notre Dame School and Mountain Christian School are facing government cutbacks which may force the schools to raise tuition fees.
The Peace River Block News holds a grand re-opening and celebrates its 70th anniversary. The local paper built an addition to its building and made major inside renovations, a total investment of more than $500,000. Dignitaries were on hand for the celebration.
A Calgary-based company presents a proposal to compost wood waste on a site near the Dawson Creek Airport to area residents. ECL Environmental Services Ltd. wants to turn the excess wood waste from the Louisiana-Pacific oriented strand board plant into compost, using about 120 acres of land leased from the City.
A cash infusion of $9.3 million by the Ministry of Highways will see a large number of improvements to Peace area roads, the ministry announces. Among the projects is the resurfacing of Alaska Avenue and modifying the alignment through the traffic circle.
Jane Harper and Dori Braun are two local women nominated for awards from the Ministry of Women’s Equality, the ministry announces. Harper manages South Peace Community Resources Society and is nominated for a rural community award, and Braun is nominated for an honouring diversity award thanks largely to her skills as a musician.
Robert Earl Murray, 48, dies after his car goes out of control while going down Alaska Avenue. Murray’s car seemed to have become uncontrolled as he swerves across the street, through parking lots, hitting a parked vehicle, finally coming to rest in a fence. Murray was unconscious in his vehicle and was pronounced dead at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital.
Federal Liberal MP Lou Sekora announces more than $2 million in funding to combat and prevent diabetes in British Columbia and the Yukon. Sekora is also presented with a proposal from the South Peace Health Council to rejuvenate the diabetic outreach program in the region.
Peace River South MLA Jack Weisgerber and Dawson Creek Mayor Blair Lekstrom both lend their support to B.C. Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell at the North Central Municipal Association convention. Both expect Campbell to become premier after the next provincial election.
Fewer people pass through the gates of the Kiwanis Trade Show, held April 28, 29 and 30, but the 8,450 visitors still make the show a success, says trade show chair Roger Anderson.
City council unveils a budget that features a slight decrease in property tax rates. The residential rate drops by two cents to $7.49 per $1,000 assessed value, while the business rate falls by 14 cents to $32.58 per $1,000. The announcement was made during a town hall meeting that drew about 30 people.
A development permit is approved for a Tim Hortons donut shop. The franchise of the popular chain is to be located at 11608-8th St. next to Inland Auto Centre.
Jay Hill’s private members bill to create a Witness and Spousal Protection Act passes second reading in the House of Commons by a slim margin. The MP for Prince George-Peace River, if passed, would allow abused women to assume new identities as a way to escape harassment. The bill goes to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for further study and possible amendment.
Peace River South MLA Jack Weisgerber says Tom Long would be the best person to lead the newly-formed Canadian Alliance. “I believe that if the Alliance is going to be a truly new party that embraces both Reformers and Conservatives, it needs to bring in those Ontario small-C conservative voters and clearly Tom Long is in the best position to do that,” says the Peace River South MLA.
CenAlta Futures Foundation donates $3,633 to The Ark Christian Youth Centre. The money will be used to pay for new siding on the building located on 17th St. in the northern part of town.
Swift action by Peace Region Internet Society (PRIS) staff helps prevent the “Love Bug” computer virus from wreaking havoc amongst its members. But before a block is put on, about 30 copies of the e-mail message had already passed through the mail server. Staff is able to delete 24 of those before the recipient download their mail, but six remaining PRIS members experience various levels of damage. “One guy lost about 3,000 files,” says Arvo Koppel, PRIS system administrator.
Any jubilation about winning an insurance settlement from Zurich Canada over the Jan. 8, 1997 collapse of Memorial Arena is put on hold. Zurich Canada files an argument for permission to appeal the conflict to the Supreme Court of Canada. City lawyer Wayne Plenert says Zurich Canada has abandoned the argument used in the lower courts that there was a latent defect in the roof. They now argue that the roof was subject to an extraordinary peril, and is pointing to a case that involved the University of Saskatchewan as a precedent.
Peter Marshall Gunville, also known as Peter Smith, is sentenced to three years in jail for attack another man with a jack-all. The charges stem from a Feb. 5 incident when a 21-year-old Dawson Creek man was struck in the back of the head and ended up being transported to the hospital at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
The Peace River Regional District’s (PRRD) request to reopen the Fair Share agreement ahead of schedule is turned down. Municipal Affairs Minister Kathy McGregor says the agreement will not be reopened until the 2002-03 fiscal year. PRRD directors had hoped to convince Victoria to index the pay-outs to the level of revenue that goes to the province from the oil and gas industry, based primarily in the Peace.
A 16-year-old girls is facing charges of prostitution and theft. Police said the girl allegedly approached a man and offered sexual acts for money, but when he gave the man $40, she ran off.
A 15-year-old Dawson Creek girls is sentenced to nine months in jail for her part in a March 18 robbery of a taxi driver. Her partner had already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail.
Dawson Creek Rotary Club member Ken Haverland and his partner, Orville Sleen, make a stop at the Mile Zero Post as they make progress on their coast-to-coast cycling trip that began in Alaska April 30. They plan to reach Newfoundland by June 25 in an effort to raise money to fight polio. “We’ve had very little patches of snow, none on the highway, and the scenery has been absolutely beautiful. We should have had more pictures but we thought our darned camera was no good and here it turned out the batteries were dead because we left one of the switches on.
Susan Rand is named assistant publisher of the Peace River Block Daily News. Appointed by publisher Bruce Lantz, Rand is responsible for the day-to-day operations at the Daily News, the Sunday Regional Advertiser, the Tumbler Ridge Observer and the Northern Horizon.
The Dawson Creek Society for Community Living (DCSCL) receives provisional approval from B.C. Housing to build a $3.6 million affordable housing development. The DCSCL wants to build 34 units over three sites on 102nd Avenue, catering to seniors, families and adults with developmental disabilities.
The annual year end show takes on an extra significance as it marks Wendy Cox’s 20th year of teaching dance in the Mile Zero City. Cox says the act of helping her students progress and achieve is what keeps her going. “Every kid develops differently,” she says.
It’s an even more memorable Mother’s Day for Barbara Scott. She gives birth to Marcus James Scott at 6:48 p.m. He weight seven pounds 1.9 ounces and is 20-and-a-half inches long. His father is Richard Scott and he has three brothers.
A 69-year-old local man dies in a head-on collision on Highway 49 at Briar Ridge Road. Police said the man had been attempting to make a left turn onto Briar Ridge Road from the westbound land of Highway 49 when an oncoming pickup struck his car.
A local taxi cab driver is attacked by a masked assailant. The driver escaped unharmed after he was confronted by the attacker in the Willowbrook area, who demanded money and then smashed out the window of the taxi.
A Pouce Coupe man is in custody after a taxi cab driver is forcibly confined. The culprit jumped the driver and forced him to drive to a remote location, threatening his life all the while. The driver managed to escape in the incident which was unrelated to one that occurred the day before.
SPSS teacher Mary Ellen Gaudet takes off on a 10-day, 879-kilometre cycling trip from Kelowna to Mackenzie to raise money to combat leukemia. But she’s ready for it, after spending about three weeks this summer cycling around the Himalayas, reaching 15,000 feet at one point.
A fire that’s started by two children comes close to taking hold of the ski lodge on Bear Mountain. But firefighters were able to get the blaze under control. “If the wind would have come up any more than what it was, it would have been a lot worse,” says acting shift officer Heinz Hess.
The Peace separation issue is not dead yet according to proponents. Hart Hotel co-owner Cheryl Volk says that she’s not putting much faith the Workers’ Compensation Board’s round of consultation on second-hand smoke and suspects that an outright ban on smoking in bars and restaurants will be the outcome. And if that happens, she says the quest to make the B.C. Peace part of Alberta will flare up again.
Three people are arrested following a home invasion that sent the homeowner to hospital. Police arrest two suspects near the scene and a third further away.
The Peace River Regional District unveils that a closer look will be taken at converting the Bessborough dump into a regional landfill to replace existing landfills in Dawson Creek and Progress. Bessborough leads a shortlist presented to the board of directors, and a public meeting is set for June 7.
A sudden and heavy hail storm is seen as a major factor in a fatal collision between a water truck and a pickup truck near Erbe Feed on Highway 49. The occupants of the pickup were trapped and the vehicle started to burn, leading to the death of a female passenger.
Council unanimously endorses the purchase of a new rescue truck for the fire department for about $45,000. Another $40,000 will be spent to outfit the truck, but that will be covered by the fundraising efforts of the Dawson Creek Elks and the Royal Purple.
Legislation to establish seven new parks and one ecological reserve in the South Peace is introduced in the Provincial Legislature. Introduced by Environment, Lands and Parks Minister Joan Sawicki, the legislation is based on the Dawson Creek Land and Resource Management Plan unveiled in March 1999.
Northern Lights College releases a book about its history. Called Highways of Learning: The Northern Lights College Story, the book, written by college registrar Paul Dampier, details the colourful history of the Dawson Creek campus, from the 1955 Mid Canada Line military base and the 1966 creation of the B.C. Vocational School, to the 1975 creation of Northern Lights College and the place of the learning institute today.
Speaking at a B.C. Liberal Party fundraising dinner in Vancouver, Peace River South MLA says B.C. Reform was a mistake and if Weisgerber could turn back time, he would not be running for the party again. Speaking of B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell, Weisgerber says: “I know he didn’t plan to be over there on the opposition side of the House for seven years and God knows if I could turn back the clock, I would change the role that I played last election.”
CBC Radio personality Arthur Black speaks at the Northern Lights College convocation ceremony at Unchagah Hall. The ceremony concludes another successful academic year for the 35-year-old college.
Hundreds of South Peace Secondary School students graduate in a ceremony at Unchagah Hall, followed by the grad celebrations. Grad Fest 2000, a dry grad event held at the Kin Arena, is a huge success with a peak attendance of 270 and many staying until the wrap-up at 5 a.m. the next morning. “I think the thing that really stands out is that we had the highest number of grads ever,” said organizer Dorothy Michiel.
The kidnapping and attempted robbery near the liquor store keeps local police busy. The victim is coaxed into giving the offender a ride just before 7 p.m., and, once inside the vehicle, the man attempts to rob him at knifepoint. The driver eventually succeeds in forcing the offender out of the vehicle.
A bush fire threatening a home 20 miles north of Dawson Creek are keeping forest fire staff on their toes. Air tankers, helicopters and a tractor are used to suppress the fire along the Kiskatinaw River, near the Alaska Highway, that started a day earlier.
A 58-year-old man is arrested following an assault in the 500 block of 100A Avenue. Police say the assailant, who was drunk, struck another man in the head with a metal bar. The victim is taken to hospital with injuries to his head and right arm that require surgery.
The NDP announcement that care for school-aged children will cost parents only $7 a day starting next January is a step in the right direction, say local child care operators.
More than 50 people attend an informational meeting regarding plans by the Peace River Regional District to turn the Bessborough dump into a regional waste facility.
The District of Tumbler Ridge will be taking over the ownership of nearly 1,000 houses and apartment units, currently owned by Quintette Coal and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The District is planning mass sale of houses at low prices to attract new residents following the exodus of mine workers after years of layoffs at the mines and the planned closing of Quintette in August.
An outcry by local residents regarding the closure of Bijoux Falls Provincial Park, in the Pine Pass, shows result as the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks announces it will reopen the popular park and rest stop. “We’ve listened to the wishes of the people who want this rest stop back. We’re responding by reopening and upgrading services to meet the needs of park visitors,” says MLA Paul Ramsey, on behalf of Minister Joan Sawicki.
City council hears that the fair grounds grandstand needs some major structural work before the Fall Fair in August to bring the structure up to building code standards. Engineer Brad Shipton from G.H. Cook and Associates outlines the guardrails and supporting structure need reinforcements to comply with the code.
The City will proceed with handing over about 14 acres of land to the South Peace Health Council for the new Rotary Manor. After $10.54 million in funding for the 44-bed multi-level care facility came through from Victoria in late-May, council approved transferring the lands to allow for a construction start this summer.
The Dawson Creek Rotary Club names Picture It! owner Audree Nelson Rotarian of the Year 2000 by being awarded the Ifor Jones Memorial Award.
A group of local bar owners express skepticism about public hearings regarding the Workers’ Compensation Board’s regulations regarding second-hand smoke in the workplace. “They may just be doing this as a lip service,” says George Dawson Inn owner Sam Mangalji. “Yes, we heard from you but we’re not interested in your comments.”
School district 59 trustees are told that the music program at South Peace Secondary School is back in business and a teacher has been hired. Students had lobbied the board to bring back the music program that was so popular in the 1980s. Alice Eagles will be the new music teacher.
Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill calls the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling upholding the federal gun control law one of “deep frustration and disappointment.” The ruling was sparked by a challenge of the Province of Alberta which argued Ottawa was encroaching onto provincial jurisdiction.
An outcry of local residents force LP to change its logging plan for an old stand of trees on Blockline Road. About 40 of the residents come to an information meeting regarding the future of the 240-hectare stand that they say is used as a park by the rural residents. LP offers to give up much of the trees in the area, limiting logging to 21.6 hectares only.
An accident at 8th Street and Watson Crescent sends two people to hospital. Police determines that a northbound vehicle waiting to turn left onto Watson Crescent is rear-ended by a truck travelling in the same direction. None of the injuries are life-threatening.
Dawson Creek’s new Provincial Court Judge Randy Walker is presented to the public in the newspaper. Walker, a long-time Prince George lawyer, was appointed six weeks earlier following the semi-retirement of Judge David Levis.
Five people end up in hospital after a two-vehicle collision at the junction of Highway 49 and Rolla Road. Police learn that a GMC Yukon driven by a Grande Prairie woman failed to come to a complete stop at the intersection and struck a west-bound pickup with three occupants from Wabasca, Alta. Airbags and seat belts limit the extent of the injuries.
The home-based businesses trade fair at Central Middle School attracts few visitors, but organizers say they’ve learned and will make improvements to future editions.
Gear-O-Rama holds an open house to celebrate the truck dealership’s 35th anniversary in Dawson Creek.
The 353 Mile Zero Air Cadets show their commitment at the annual review, winning awards and saying goodbye to F/Sgt. Loren Dagasso who will retire from the youth force on his 19th birthday in August after seven years of service.
Dawson Creek will study its water treatment process after receiving a $10,000 provincial grant, but the City’s director of operations, Don Howard, says it has nothing to do with the E-Coli disaster in Walkerton, Ont., which claimed seven lives.
With public events at the Nawican Friendship Centre and Pioneer Village, the local community celebrates National Aboriginal Day.
As a result of the continuing increases in the market price for natural gas, Pacific Northern Gas is given permission by the B.C. Utilities Commission to raise the gas rate by 39 per cent, effective July 1. PNG director of regulatory services, Craig Donohue, says: “People have a big misconception that the utility is making a whole pile of money on this and we’re not making any money on it.”
Police are investigating a rash of vandalism that occurred in the 800 and 900 blocks of 110th Avenue. A retaining wall at one home is toppled and several windows of a vehicle parked there are smashed. At another home, a window box is destroyed and garbage is strewn about several adjacent residences.
Peace ranchers will get some help to prevent wildlife from invading their haystacks after Victoria announces it will contribute up to $500,000 to the cost of materials for building stackyard fencing.
Existing psychiatric services in Dawson Creek will be complemented by a video-conferencing system, giving local residents access to sessions with psychiatrists elsewhere in the province. The announcement for the one-year pilot project TeleMentalHealth was made by Health Minister Mike Farnworth.
Ken Hlus resigns as general manager at the Dawson Co-op. No reason is given for his resignation. Following the Ôcoup’ by co-op members at the April 5 annual general meeting which saw the reversal of plans to build a new grocery store, the new board says now it “will be arranging for an interim manager to take over the duties of general manager, to enable the Co-op to meet our future challenges.”
An coroner’s inquest into the circumstances of the death of 15-month-old Kory Wade Wilson of Dawson Creek starts at the city’s court house. Wilson was found dead in his crib on April 30, 1997. A subsequent investigation found he choked on his vomit, but Prince George forensic pathologist Dr. Jennifer Rice tells the inquest jury she believes the vomiting was induced by a higher than normal cranial pressure, caused by brain damage possibly as a result from being shaken violently shortly before his death.
The death of 15-month-old Kory Wade Wilson on April 30, 1997 was not an accident, rules a coroner’s inquest jury on the second day of hearings in Dawson Creek. Without laying blame, the jury rules the toddler’s death was a homicide, possibly as the result from someone shaking the boy.
The BC 2000 Exhibit Tour arrives in Dawson Creek, setting up three tractor-trailers and a connecting show tent at the Dawson Creek Mall parking lot.
Speaking at a luncheon in Dawson Creek, Lieutenant Governor Garde Gardom urges residents to celebrate both Canada and British Columbia during the upcoming Canada Day. “It is no sin for us to energize our feeling for our country,” Gardom says.
A nursing shortage at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital will require service changes on the upcoming weekend, says the president of medical staff, Dr. Chris Gorton. During the Canada Day long weekend, surgical coverage will be provided for obstetrical emergencies only, and on an on-call basis. The four OR nurses at the hospital are close to being burnt out, Gorton says.
In keeping with tradition, Pouce Coupe once again plays the able host to the area’s Canada Day celebrations. Hundreds of people come out to enjoy the sunny weather and take in the Canada Day parade, followed by the barbecue at the regional park.
About $6,000 is raised by the 108 motorcycle riders who take part in the second annual Alaska Highway Thunder Ride. It is estimated that a “mile of iron” rolls from Dawson Creek to Fort St. John.
A cut in the small business tax rate will do little to improve the poor business situation in B.C., says Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce president Gus McLeod. “It’s nice that they are taking steps for small business again, but what they have done in the past has been so detrimental that even with this tax concession none of us are left making a profit,” he says. The rate is cut to 4.75 per cent from 5.5 per cent.
A Dawson Creek man is fined $3,000 for failing to file income tax returns over a three-year period. Daniel Herting pleads guilty in provincial court to failing to file returns for 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill is hopeful that Preston Manning will win the contest for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance. But he says that the race between Manning and Stockwell Day is so close that it’s “virtually impossible to tell who’s going to win.”
Northern Exposure, the gift marketing company, receives $50,000 in seed funding from the provincial government. “The gift division will help local artists by buying their products and promoting them in larger regional areas,” says Minister of Community Development Jenny Kwan in a news release.
The occupants of 25 railcars pass through Dawson Creek as part of an 11-day tour of the province. “It’s a nice track, some of the best I’ve ever ridden,” says tour leader Hank Brown of the North American Railcar Operators Association.
Back-to-back power outages hit the Mile Zero City, leaving parts of Dawson Creek without power for four hours.
An estimated $200,000 is raised by Rotarians Ken Haverland of Dawson Creek and Orville Sleen of Edmonton through their cycling tour from Alaska to Newfoundland. The trip took 54 days, with the pair reaching the Atlantic on June 24. They had hoped to raise $1 million to combat polio but are happy with what they’ve accomplished. “We’re not necessarily proud, but we realized we did the most we could,” Haverland says. “If it does get eradicated, something in our trip may have played a part.”
The fourth book in the wildly-popular Harry Potter series sells as briskly in Dawson Creek as it does elsewhere. Even before the book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is in bookstores, the two local book stores had already sold 80 copies in advance.
To the applause of a small group of supporters in front of Nightriders Cabaret, Randy Minchau begins his quest to break the world record for non-stop record playing. The record is 60 hours, held by a disk jockey in the Netherlands.
Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill is disappointed that Preston Manning failed to win the Canadian Alliance leadership race. But he’s still excited about the party with Stockwell Day at the helm.
Victoria announces that Northern Lights College will receive $80,000 to expand trades and technical training at the institution.
There are some changes at the Kiwanis Enterprise Centre. Director Rob Dennis moves to a new position at the school board, and his spot is filled in by a three-person management team. Doris Miedzinski oversees operations and contracts, Frances Armstrong becomes the program manager and Judy Pandachuck is the financial manager.
A deposit of a different kind is left at a local bank when a man defecates in front of the bank machine. The entire incident is captured on video surveillance.
A rash of daylight break-ins has broken out according to local police. “A tactic often used by suspects is to knock on the front door and if answered they will ask for a fictitious name, stating they must be at the wrong address,” says Corp. Doug Aird. If there is no one home, the house is targeted. Often the time lapse between entry and getting away with stolen items is less than two minutes.
After 62 hours, Randy Minchau calls an end to his attempt to break the world record for non-stop music-playing by a club disk jockey — not because he was tired but because of equipment trouble. “I felt that I had another good five hours left in me,” he says. “Unfortunately, the video camera, we thought it was going on the fritz so we decided to shut it down.” The duration is long enough to beat the old record by two hours, but Minchau’s attempt is put into doubt by another requirement — that there be people dancing to his tunes over the entire campaign.
A hail storm causes well over $1 million damage to area crops. About 20 sections of land are hit, about half of which are wiped out by the storm which cuts a two-mile-wide swath starting at the airport and heading east.
Louisiana-Pacific (LP) confirms that a laminated veneer lumber (LVL) plant originally slated for Fort St. John will be built in Dawson Creek instead. With a veneer mill already under construction in Dawson Creek, LP’s Len Pettman says it made sense to locate the LVL mill in Dawson Creek.
Prince George-Peace River Canadian Alliance members vote resoundingly in favour of naming incumbent MP Jay Hill their candidate for the next federal election. “I’m honoured to have received the overwhelming support of our membership for the fourth time since 1988,” says Hill.
The rain limited the number of entries, but the Mile Zero Cruisers’ Summer Cruise 2000 is still seen as a success. A total of 136 classic cars show up, down just slightly from 141 for the sun-filled version the year before.
Officials at the Dawson Creek weigh scale stop a bus full of tourists from Atlantic Canada, contending that it is carrying too much weight. The bus driver is ordered to reduce the weight by 2,170 kilograms although the bus is designed for 55 passengers and is carrying only 47. The order causes a five-hour delay as luggage is transferred to a school bus. Driver Paul Landry says normally a fine is paid and the bus proceeds, but ICBC regional manager of compliance, Howard Emslie, said it was a safety issue.
The B.C. Book arrives in the South Peace. With the help of a horse-drawn wagon, the book arrives in Pouce Coupe where local residents add their signatures. A similar event is held in Dawson Creek the next day for the book meant to preserve the names of B.C. residents for the next 1,000 years.
The process of turning a downtown alley into a work of art begins. Jeremy Beaulne and Missy Klassen start sketching out a scene reminiscent of what the Mile Zero City looked like in 1942 when the American army arrived to start work on the Alaska Highway. They hope to get the mural, located behind Bing’s Furniture, completed by the end of August.
Some great deals on homes are found in Tumbler Ridge where 750 houses and 250 condominiums are put on the block at about one-third of what it cost to build the homes 17 years ago. During the first three hours of business, about 40 units are sold at prices as low as $24,900 for a house and $9,900 for a condo.
The mother of a woman who died three years after she was beaten into a coma by her husband continues to fight for justice. With the help of 25,000 postcards she had printed, Carole Miller launches a campaign to make 10 years without parole the minimum sentence for abuse causing death. Bradley Nelson Neuman was sentenced to four years in jail for the incident involving Miller’s daughter, Mary Lynne, and is eligible for parole in July 2001.
A rash of cougar sightings continues with a report of a cat seen near Tubby’s RV Park. A cougar had been seen near the Dawson Townhouses the day before.
Agriculture Minister Corky Evans announces $1.4 million worth of help for Peace River grain and oilseed farmers. The money, billed as a transportation adjustment, will compensate area farmers for changing financial demands and matches support in other western provinces.
An Edmonton man who sent a bus ticket to a 13-year-old Dawson Creek girl he had met on a telephone chat line is fined $250. Lance Chebuk, 26, first contacted the girl in January when she left a message in his voice mail box saying she was 18 according to his lawyer. He added that Chebuk is mentally handicapped but was also “wilfully blind” about the girl’s age.
Conservation officer Shawn Brinsky says local residents should keep calm if they come across a cougar. His advice follows a spate of cougar sightings in the landfill area and behind Safeway two weeks before, and more recently, near the Dawson Townhouses, Tubby’s RV Park and Fas Gas. He suspects it’s a mother with two cubs who have moved out of the Bear Mountain area, with one of the cubs maturing to the point where it’s on its own.
A Robson Valley couple who are raising support for a separate disability program for the Canada Pension Program pass through Dawson Creek. With his wife Shannon in tow, Eric Teering has been cycling across Canada. Shannon suffers from multiple sclerosis, which has confined her to a wheelchair.
The annual hire-a-student campout, which saw two student employment officers atop the CJDC/NTV building, results in 30 job orders — exactly double the 15 jobs that they had hoped for.
The South Peace Health Council (SPHC) is angry at the Peace Liard Community Health Services Society (PLCHSS) because while the SPHC is struggling to make ends meet, the PLCHSS is looking for ways to spend a surplus $1.83 million. It particularly stings because the SPHC is running the home support program on behalf of the PLCHSS and the program is not adequately funded, says SPHC chair Sheila Barnes. PLCHSS CEO Kay Wotton says it’s the SPHC’s own fault “They’re not providing services efficiently and effectively and that needs to be done,” Wotton says.
Meanwhile the SPHC is facing a projected deficit of $1.7 million for the fiscal year 2000-01, mostly due to the orthopedic program which the council says is underfunded by $600,000.
A break in a pipeline results in about a million litres of oil spilling into the Pine River upstream from Chetwynd. The spill is threatening the water supply for the town.
Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill is named transportation critic by his Canadian Alliance party. “I was happy in my role as whip. I was enjoying the challenges of that role,” says Hill. “I had only been in that position for six months, so I was a bit disappointed, but that’s the way politics happen.”
An all-stars baseball game at Harry Morrow Ballpark is called a tie after it is cancelled due to excessive rain, resulting in a wet field that, according to umpire Day Roberts, is too dangerous to play.
The Dawson Co-op announces it has found an interim general manager after the resignation of Ken Hlus. Gregg Reiter will take on the position on loan from Federated Co-operatives Ltd. until a permanent manager is found.
Premier Ujjal Dosanjh visits the Chetwynd oil spill area and he believes the situation is controlled as best as possible. “We don’t believe that a provincial declaration of emergency is necessary at this time,” Dosanjh says after his tour.
Fall Fair president Larry Marchel outlines new plans for the August fair. The biggest addition is a show stage for live entertainment.
Stricter rules regarding the transportation of oil are necessary says Leona Green of Hill Spring Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility after she receives a golden eagle damaged by the oil slick. “Any industry that has the potential to pollute our environment should be under much stricter regulations than we’ve got if we’re going to entertain any idea of industrial exploration expanding,” Green says.
Meanwhile, officials say the oil spill is contained and investigators are turning to find out what caused the pipeline to fail.
The Dawson Creek airport hosts a group of 11 small airplanes on a tour to Alaska. Airport manager Ian Darling says this kind of tourism will become more important and Dawson Creek should develop the facilities necessary to receive the small planes on a more regular basis.
The Pembina pipeline that ruptured and spilled oil in the Pine River upstream from Chetwynd has been repaired, says Brian Clark of the Provincial Emergency Program.
Host families gather at the Dawson Creek Airport to welcome 19 Japanese students from Tezukayama Gakuin University in Osaka for a month-long stay in Dawson Creek while they study English at Northern Lights College.
A fire that gutted a mobile home at Mile Zero Mobile Home Park is being investigated as possible arson, Dawson Creek Fire Chief Peter Batchelor says. The empty home was completely gutted by the fire.
A one-year timber sale for 32,000 cubic metres of timber has been offered to A.J. Industries, providing job security for 45 jobs at the Dawson Creek value-added plant.
A chain-reaction accident three miles north of Tomslake blocks the southbound land of Highway 2 for about 15 minutes. Police say the accident began when the driver of a van failed to notice that the driver of a truck ahead was slowing and signaling to make a left turn into a residence driveway.
A day after a mobile home burnt out, firefighters are again called into action for a fire at a shed at a house at 356-100B Avenue. The shed at the empty house is almost completely destroyed, and the cause of the fire is being investigated.
At the start of the Dawson Creek Fall Fair, kids parade around town and enjoy a burger at the Silver Seven Barbecue, hosted by the mayor and councillors of Dawson Creek.
If she were the prime minister of Canada, Sharona Supernault knows exactly what to do. Her answer to the question, in the form of an essay on restorative justice, earned the Northern Lights College student a trip to Toronto and $500, with a chance to win thousands more.
A 17-year-old Dawson Creek resident, Danielle Lewis, correctly answers a contest in Ducks Unlimited’s Conservator magazine and earns an all-expenses paid week at Oak Hammock Marsh in Manitoba.
Golden-aged Cliff Pepper, 88, and Betty Bloder, 92, tie the knot and host a wedding reception amidst all their friends and family. “We just get along,” says Pepper in summing up why they took the vows.
The Dawson Creek Fall Fair received about 20 per cent more visitors than last year over a three-day period, Fall Fair president Larry Marchel says after the show. Good weather, more attractions and free admission for children under 10 are credited with bringing the number up.
Judges John Reinhart and David Boag tour Dawson Creek as part of the Communities in Bloom contest. They say that what’s so great about Dawson Creek is the community’s drive to make it a place worth living.
Five yearling horses die in a fire that broke out in the hay shed barn of a farm next to Brookside Cemetery. Fire Chief Peter Batchelor says fire fighters were unable to reach the scene on time to save the animals. “When we got the call, it was already a ball of fire inside.”
Four tourists wake up to find that the motorcycles they are riding to Alaska have been struck by vandals overnight. Wires are cut and covers ripped off two Honda Gold Wings parked overnight in front of the Alaska Hotel. One of the men, Richard Hanna, says the intent seemed to be strictly to vandalize “They were just destroying stuff apparently,” he says.
A earthquake registering 3.3 on the Richter scale shakes Fort St. John. The centre of the quake is 28 kilometres north of the city. No injuries or damages are reported.
Workers are busy milling off the old asphalt from Alaska Avenue to prepare it for a new surface. Work goes on schedule, but predicted rain may cause delays with the repaving.
A preliminary hearing for Susan Jeanette Strid of Grande Prairie sets a court date for Sept. 29. Strid is facing several charges with regards to a collision near Grande Prairie which cost the lives of Pouce Coupe’s Howard Lizotte and his son Kirby.
The Millionaires Club attends a workshop at the Kiwanis Enterprise Centre. The young entrepreneurs hear from local businesspeople what it takes to run a successful business. The young people have been getting a taste of entrepreneurship while running a small business of their choice over the summer.
A legislative committee is recommending some breaks for holders of agricultural leases in B.C. The committee is calling for a five-year extension of the lease without penalty, and a direct sale option.
About a dozen local people help in a car wash to raise money to help cover the costs of Melissa Dynna’s cancer-fighting drugs. The 17-year-old Dawson Creek girl is in Edmonton battling a rare form of bone cancer.
Despite an outflow of residents, Tumbler Ridge’s Grizzly Valley Days are a success, say organizers. As one of the main attractions, the duck race in the Murray River attract 300 plastic ducks. Tumbler’s Carson Hay’s duck wins first prize.
After four days in Toronto, Sharona Supernault learns she has become a finalist in Magna International’s “As Prime Minister Awards” contest, guaranteeing her to win $10,000 and a four-month internship with Canada’s largest supplier of automotive systems and components. Supernault also has a chance to win the contest, giving her an additional $10,000 and a full year internship with Magna.
The first condos in the massive Tumbler Ridge housing sale are going on the block. Starting at $9,900, 52 are up for sale at this time, 11 are sold by day’s end.
Northland Machine manager Dick Edinger tells city council the barking of dogs at the neighbouring SPCA shelter is bothering his workers and customers. South Peace SPCA president Meredith Thornton agrees barking dogs can be a problem, and moving the shelter to a less troublesome area is an option that will be looked at.
Some farmers voice their displeasure about the B.C. Grain Producers’ Association looking at their books to determine the farmers’ share of a $1.4 million transportation adjustment grant. Grain producers’ president Jim Smolik said having the BCGPA look at some parts of the farmers’ business papers is necessary but privacy rules prevent misuse of the information. In addition, he says that had the BCGPA not agreed to administer the program, farmers would not have been given the provincial grant.
Mayor Blair Lekstrom and other municipal politicians are fuming at the federal government’s plans to tighten up fire-rescue regulations at local airports. To reinstate a firefighter team at the airport is a reversal of an agreement made during the handover of the airport to the City of Dawson Creek and it would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, he says. “When we were negotiating with them, one of the real selling points that enabled us to take over our airport was downsizing the fire department out there,” Lekstrom says.
Area boaters are urged to be prepared when going on the local lakes. Two Canadian Coast Guard officials patrol Swan Lake and Charlie Lake over the weekend to educate boaters and make them aware of existing and new regulations in the water sport.
About 600 people attend the Homecoming 2000 party at Memorial Arena. They are treated to catering from a host of local restaurants and the musical performances of a large number of acts, including Kim Kuzma, C.T. Hall, Dori Braun, Barb Munroe, the Kiwanis Jazz Band, the Corvettes, among others.
Conservation officers are alarmed with the lack of compliance and hunter ethics in the area, after a sting enforcement operation on the Heritage Highway. Seven people are being sent to court with various Wildlife Act and Firearm Act charges.
Car enthusiasts have a last look at classic vehicles before the machines are stored away for the winter. The Last Blast Cruise of 2000 is organized by the Mile Zero Cruisers auto club.
Former Dawson Creek residents living in the Okanagan gather in Kelowna for the 14th annual reunion picnic.
Chetwynd RCMP is looking for clues in the killing of a dog at the Mt. Lemoray highway yard site, used by work crews to clean up the oil spill in the Pine River. The German Shepherd dog was killed by hanging him in a tree and police suspect the killing may have been an attack against certain employees working there or the company involved.
The number of tourists visiting the Mile Zero City is down from last year, reports Marilyn Howard of the Visitor Information Centre. About 10 per cent less tourists have visited over the summer, she says, a number consistent with tourism across northern B.C.
Child protection workers in the province are offered a bonus if they commit to working in the north, Children and Families Minister Gretchen Brewin says. The recruitment bonus amounts to $12,000 over two years and is offered to any child protection worker who makes a two-year commitment to working in the north.
Royal Bank announces that it will be moving out of Tumbler Ridge. With the closure of the Quintette coal mine, it’s expected that the town’s population will drop below 1,000 people, which is not enough to support a full-fledged bank an official says. The branch is to close on April 6, 2001.
Eric McCormack, who plays Will in the NBC sitcom Will and Grace, visits the Mile Zero City, where his wife, Janet Holden, was born. A snow storm also visits Dawson Creek, leaving McCormack unimpressed. “It’s unbelievable,” he says.
The snowstorm also reaps a toll on Peace crops.
A motorist narrowly escapes disaster on 17th Street when he crosses the railroad tracks and only hears the horn of an oncoming train at the very last moment. The 34-year-old man comes to a halt on the tracks, then backs up but not quite fast enough. The train clips the man’s truck’s front end, causing $1,000 in damage but no personal injury.
A 15-year-old local girl is stabbed eight times by a 14-year-old girl when a fight breaks out at the Fun City pool hall in the Silverado Hotel. The victim requires 30 to 35 stitches.
The heads of four Safeway employees are shaved as part of a fundraising effort for the Mizpah Transition House. The event caps a year’s worth of efforts that have raised more than $10,000 for the house.
The Bargain! Shop announces that it will be opening a store downtown in the old Zellers building. The retailer won’t be the only one to occupy the building that has been vacant since 1998 — both the Northern Toy Box and Simple Pleasures will move across 10th Street to the building.
A tanker truck and trailer carry a full load of flammable Frac Fluid rolls over on the Heritage Highway after the driver takes a corner at too high of a speed. The driver suffers a shoulder injury while the spill creates a minor mess in a nearby ditch.
Doctors announce that they will pursue job action beginning Sept. 18 to protest what they say is special preference given to doctors in Prince George.
Four-year-old Braylie Easingwood becomes a “little hero” by attending to her mother, Rochelle, who suffers a severe cut to her hand while chopping wood. Braylie puts to use the first aid knowledge she’s learned from her father, Damon, and from Trauma, a television show the family likes to watch.
The Rotary Autumn Fest draws a large crowd to Pioneer Village, where sun, food and music is enjoyed.
Local doctors tell city council that their planned withdrawal will mean that only life- and limb-threatening emergencies will be attended to at the local hospital. They also dispute government claims that physicians in rural and remote communities are being offered a $40 million deal.
Former city councillor Brent Neumann announces that he will be seeking the federal Liberal nomination in the run-up to the next election.
A 68-year-old local man suffers serious but non life-threatening injuries when he is hit by a speeding car while crossing 15th Street. David Henry was crossing at the crosswalk for the walking trail by the bridge when he was hit by a southbound car borrowed from a friend and driven by a 17-year-old SPSS student
Dawson Co-op announces that a full-time general manager has been hired. Jeff Ambrose, previously assigned to the Co-op in Rimbey, Alta., will take over on Oct. 16.
A 90-minute power outage hits parts of Dawson Creek in the afternoon. BC Hydro looks for the cause but comes up empty-handed.
An attempt to pass fake $100 bills leads to a wild chase across town as the culprits try to elude police. One persistent suspect hides in the bathroom of a local law office and steals a truck which he smashes into a boat parked in a yard and into two police cars. Despite his effort, he’s caught.
Local lawyer Rita Bowry is appointed to a provincial women’s health advisory group. She’s also elected chair of the South Peace Health Council’s women’s advisory committee.
The Northern Wood Forum begins. The three-day event highlights the value-added wood industry in the Peace and draws people from across northern B.C.
The federal government announces $915,500 in funding for safety improvement projects at the Dawson Creek Airport. The money will be used for a new runway sweeper and a 10-foot tall wildlife fence around the perimeter of the airport.
Arleene Thorpe announces her intention to seek the Liberal nomination for the next federal election. Flanked by Coquitlam-Port Moody MP Lou Sekora, Thorpe says it’s time Prince George-Peace River elect an MP who will sit on the governing side of the House.
True to their word, local doctors withdraw surgical services from Dawson Creek and District Hospital. They’re upset with how the province is treating physicians in rural and remote communities.
Local poet Donna Kane receives the Lina Chartrand award for poetry. Presented by Contemporary Verse 2, a literary magazine based in Winnipeg, the award recognizes a distinguished contribution by an emerging artist.
About 20 people show up at Peace Park at noon to acknowledge the United Nations’ International Day of Peace/Hear the Children Day.
A September Daily News report about the feud between the South Peace Health Council and the Peace Liard Community Health Services Society has resulted in PLCHSS pulling the home support contract from SPHC, the Daily News learns. “We feel that the public wrangling has a negative impact on delivery of services, undermines the public’s confidence in the health care system and is inappropriate behaviour on the part of a contractor,” says PLCHSS CEO Kay Wotton in a letter to the SPHC.
Meanwhile, the SPHC will be getting $2.6 million in extra funding, but council chair Sheila Barnes says most of that money has already been budgeted for and the SPHC is still facing a $550,000 deficit. Wotton says the $525,000 increase for PLCHSS, announced by the ministry, is only a modest increase, considering that $475,000 of that was already included in the March provincial budget.
The father of a youth killed in the school shooting in Taber, Alberta, speaks of forgiveness when he talks to students at South Peace Secondary School. “If I could say anything to the student that shot my son, I would probably say I forgive him, and I don’t hold what he did to my son against him, and that I hope he’s getting the help he needs,” says Rev. Dale Lang.
Local doctors reject a $1.3 million offer from the provincial government, saying that it includes so many qualifiers that few if any physicians will benefit.
The Canadian Half-Pints, a team of midget basketball players, draw plenty of people to South Peace Secondary School for two games against some local players. The event raises money for the South Peace Crime Prevention Association.
The Gold Wing Toy Run draws about 35 riders to Dawson Creek, where they ride through town and then donate toys to the Salvation Army. The toys will go to needy families at Christmas.
Tempers flare before city council votes 4-3 to do away with evening meetings. Coun. Paul Gevatkoff accuses Mayor Blair Lekstrom of getting up on a soapbox and of exaggerating the extra cost of holding evening meetings.
Members of the Elks and Royal Purple present Mayor Blair Lekstrom with a cheque for $40,000 to cover the cost of outfitting a new rescue vehicle purchased by the fire department.
The Royal Canadian Legion presents the city with 900 tulip bulbs that will be planted around Dawson Creek. The tulips mark the 75th anniversary of the Legion in 2001 and represent the close tie between the Dutch and the Canadian troops who helped liberate Holland during the Second World War.
Pierre Trudeau, the former prime minister of Canada, dies of prostate cancer. He is remembered for his sharp intellect but also for such unpopular initiatives as the National Energy Program.
Bill Luttrell, the recently-appointed Salvation Army Commander for Canada, visits the Peace as part of a tour of the more remote parts of the country. “Wherever we have people, I think you’ll find that needs exist and that’s a reality of life and that’s where the Salvation Army is,” he says.
A 55-year-old Dawson Creek resident, Alex Andrews, may be facing his 14th conviction for drunk driving after he is arrested just after midnight. Police say Andrews, who blew three-and-a-half times over the legal limit, is already prohibited from driving for life and if convicted, faces a lengthy jail term.
Local doctors end their service withdrawal after a mediation panel is appointed to address issues of recruitment and retention of physicians in B.C. “This is what we’ve been looking for,” says local physician Dr. Jim Hargreaves, “to sit down with the ministry at the negotiating table and find a constructive solution to the problems in rural health care.”
The number of residential break, enter and thefts is up 15 per cent over the same period last year, local RCMP say. To date, RCMP have attended 146 such incidents since January.
Courier Purolator is about to end one-day service to and from Dawson Creek, it is learned. Starting Nov. 11, Purolator will no longer fly parcels in and out of the Dawson Creek Airport, but instead will truck them from Prince George. Dawson Mall manager Bernice Leduc is upset about the move. “The bottom line is that it’s one more service that we’re losing in the north,” she says.
A two-day educational conference in Dawson Creek wraps up, hosting many dozens of workshops with local and out-of-town presenters for 900 participants. Teachers agreed it was an excellent conference covering virtually all aspects of the educational curriculum.
A health forum in Dawson Creek, organized by B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell, paints a bleak picture. Poor policy decisions, complacency and a lack of long-term planning have meant a shortage of doctors and nurses in rural communities, Campbell is told.
Speaking at the Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce, local doctors Chris and Pauline Gorton say the chronic underfunding of health care is causing much frustration to area doctors, to the point that they are increasingly leaving rural areas while replacements are becoming harder to find.
Louisiana-Pacific unveils its new logo, a stylized, three-dimensional image of building blocks forming the letters L and P.
An unusual crowd gathers for a service at St. Mark’s Anglican Church. Churchgoers bring their pets for the special service in which the animals are blessed by Rev. Alexis Saunders, on honour of St. Francis Day which was actually Oct. 4.
Dawson Creek’s Marcel Joseph Menard faces a charge of impaired driving causing death after a collision between a pickup and a small passenger car near Beaverlodge, Alta. The impact killed the female driver of the car.
Thieves and vandals are on a crime spree over the Thanksgiving long weekend. Hug-a-Mug, the Peace River Block News and homes in the area are targeted by thieves while several vehicles are stolen or tampered with.
RCMP make an arrest in the break, enter and theft of Hug-a-Mug. Police say 24-year-old George McConnell was apprehended at his home and is held in custody until his first court appearance.
Patience of Dawson Creek shoppers pays off when Canadian Tire opens its Dawson Creek store and customers take a run at the store on 8th Street. “We’re looking forward to providing our customers with top-notch customer service, a great line-up of products and a fun and unique shopping experience,” says Canadian Tire Associate Dealer Rick Siddon.
Just across the border, Dr. Abraham Cooper is sentenced to seven years in prison for murdering his colleague Dr. Doug Snider in Fairview, Alta. Snider disappeared May 5, 1999 after a visit with Cooper. Though his body was never found, Cooper was convicted a week earlier, though he maintains his innocence and claims Snider is still alive and staged his death to escape a lawsuit Cooper had launched against Snider and two other doctors.
Glenwood Terrace, a seniors’ condominium complex across from the hospital, is officially opened. The project is the first of the Peace Development Corporation, a group of about 70 local people who have each invested $10,000 in the corporation. PDC says 95 per cent of the work on Glenwood Terrace has been done by local contractors.
Peace River Regional District directors debate a plan for regional library funding. The plan sees rural residents, who make up about 40 per cent of the library users, pay more for the service than the current $3 per person per year. Dawson Creek residents currently pay an average $18.59 for library service. The new scheme is subject to a counter petition early next year which may force the issue to go to referendum.
Engine trouble forces local pilot Rick Lowcay to make an emergency landing with his Cessna 180 in a farmer’s field about two kilometres east of the Dawson Creek Airport. The plane suffered extensive damage while Lowcay needed more than 20 stitches across his nose while his wife, a passenger in the plane, went to hospital for a back injury caused by the belly landing.
Only four days after its opening, Canadian Tire catches its first shoplifter. Jason Grey, 22, of Dawson Creek is apprehended for stealing a telephone. He is arrested by police in a local hotel. He is sentenced the next day to 60 days in jail.
The Dawson Co-op officially opens its dry good section and introduces its new general manager. One of Jeff Ambrose first tasks at the Co-op is to cut the ribbon to the new section, which sells toys, work wear, decorations, greeting cards, housewares and other goods such as seasonal items.
The building report presented to city council shows September was a good month for construction. Nearly $4.5 million worth of permits was taken out, bringing the total year-to-date figure to $16.1 million, compared to $29.6 million for a year earlier. But Mayor Blair Lekstrom says 1999 was an exceptional year, and this year will probably still see the second-largest investment made in Dawson Creek in the past decade.
The Northern B.C. Truckers Association is asking city council for a walking path along the Dangerous Goods Route. The association’s Bob Rowe says when two wide loads meet each other on the bypass road, there is no room for pedestrians or in-line skaters on the highway. A recent close call where a logging truck blew off the hat of a walking woman sparked the request. Council voted to look into the matter.
A freight train derailment destroys about 500 feet of railroad track near Taylor. BC Rail says five cars on a southbound freight train out of Fort Nelson jumped the track just north of the Peace River bridge. There are no injuries and there’s no damage to the bridge.
The City opens its new water dispenser on 116th Avenue, which retires the old facility on 106th Avenue. The new system allows rural water users to buy water with a chip card rather than coins, while the dispensing is now measured by volume, rather than by time.
For the fourth time in October, someone wins the provincial SuperStar Bingo jackpot at the Bear Mountain Bingo Hall. Patricia Bottle of Dawson Creek wins a $10,000 share of the jackpot, just like a visiting Merritt resident did on Oct. 3. Dawson Creek residents Mary Graham and Elsie Patterson each won $20,000 on Oct. 5 and Oct. 16 respectively.
The Oil and Gas Commission is expecting a busy 2000-2001 drilling season, with a 30 per cent increase over last year’s peak season, wells manager James Gladysz says in OCG’s annual report. “The increased activity projected for this drilling season reinforces the need for the commission to regulate effectively while considering British Columbia’s environmental and social values, Gladysz says.
After two days of jailing bosses in a make-shift jail cell at the Dawson Mall, the Kidney Foundation reports the fundraising event netted just over $16,000. The amount, down from last year’s $20,000, will be used for research and patient services to fight kidney disease.
Dawson Creek’s Arleene Thorpe wins the nomination to represent the Federal Liberals in the Prince George-Peace River riding in the upcoming election. Thorpe won over another Dawson Creek resident, Brent Neumann.
A Human Resources Development Canada-sponsored youth employment program draws to a close. The program provided work experience and training this year for five youth who did most of their work outdoors over more than three months. They helped create two new community gardens in the city and planted a small orchard at the Northern Lights College garden. They also planted more than 100 trees along the walking path, did a clean-up of the creek, and helped with weeding and brushing at the community forest.
Rolla native Roy Forbes comes Ôhome’ for a concert at the Kiwanis Arts Centre. About 200 people take in the concert.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien calls federal elections for Nov. 27, sparking local riding associations to scramble for candidates. Only the Liberals and the Canadian Alliance have a candidate ready, Arleene Thorpe and Jay Hill respectively, but the Progressive Conservatives have a Prince George lawyer, Jan Christiansen, lined up also. The NDP and the Green Party say they both will field candidates but don’t have a person ready yet.
Nick Parsons, the Farmington farmer who drove his combine to Ottawa last winter, vows to repeat his protest feat if the federal government won’t come up with some meaningful help for farm families plagued by low commodity prices. Parsons has set a tentative departure date for Jan. 10, 2001.
Big Mike, a giant soil-turning machine, visits Dawson Creek to turn the wood waste from the Louisiana-Pacific OSB plant that is being composted by ECL Environmental Services near the airport. Because of the wet summer, Mike the composting is about a month behind schedule. It takes Mike four to five days to turn the 70, 335-metre long windrows at the composting site.
After 12 years in health governance, Sheila Barnes quits as the chair of the South Peace Health Council. “I’m just being really, really honest with you –it’s time,” Barnes tells the Daily News. She will continue as the chair for the Southview Housing Society, which is overseeing a supportive housing project at the site of the new Rotary Manor.
The Insurance Corporation of B.C. announces a new weapon in the fight against insurance fraud. Starting Nov. 1, customers who change their insurance coverage must get their vehicles inspected so that ICBC will have a record of the vehicle’s condition and added equipment. The measure is to reduce false or exaggerated claims.
Elections Canada has its hands full with the Nov. 27 election, and Returning Officer Holly Tryon says it’ll prove challenging working with an established but not necessarily up-to-date voter list.
Zurich Canada is forced to cover the roof of Memorial Arena that collapsed Jan. 8, 1997 after the Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear the insurer’s appeal over a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that Zurich should pay the cost for the replacement of the roof. “We always believed we were in the right, we never wavered on that, we never doubted it,” says Mayor Blair Lekstrom.
An airline based in Boundary Bay, B.C. announces it will start regular non-stop service from Vancouver to Dawson Creek with a 10-seat executive-style jet. Montair will be scheduling early morning departures with a return trip to Dawson Creek in the evenings.
Northern Toy Box and Simple Pleasures, two stores owned by Joe and Luella Judge, are moving across 10th Street into the old Zellers building as well, leaving only one spot open in the building vacated by Zellers after parent company Hudson Bay acquired Kmart Canada.
Two local firms have been awarded timber sale licences Oct. 30, it is announced. Emporium Investments Ltd. of Pouce Coupe won a 10-year sale for 400,000 cubic metres, allowing for an expansion of the company and many new jobs, and A.J. Industries is awarded a timber sale for 18,000 cubic metres of timber, providing job security for the people working there.
Central Middle School students examine their Ôecological footprint’ in a program by the environmental organization Destination Conservation. Students learn the average Canadian ‘needs’ 7.2 hectares of productive land to sustain their lifestyle.
Peace River South MLA Jack Weisgerber calls the cabinet appointment of Ed John as Children and Families minister “totally reckless,” while expressing doubt about the appointment of Glenn Robertson as minister of Energy and Mines. Weisgerber is happy about the appointment of Ed Conroy as minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
A one-year-old black Labrador retriever, names Fizzoo by its rescuers, is found in the Rolla area with wounds to his face. It is determined the dog was shot in the face with a shot gun, which lodged more than 30 pellets in the face and neck area. A veterinarian says Fizzoo will likely be blind for life.
Members of the South Peace Teen Town Society meet at a local restaurant to discuss plans to establish a “teen town” in the Mile Zero City. They envision a place for teens that may include a clothing store, a coffee house and a recording studio.
More than 30 people brave the cold waters of Rotary Lake for the annual Polar Bear Swim. Organizer Mike Nash says it’s the coldest issue to date for the event. Proceeds from the cold dip will go to the Salvation Army food bank. They raise more than $3,000.
Organizers of the Festival of the Sweetwater Moon in Rolla ask the City of Dawson Creek to name a street in honour of folk musician Roy Forbes. Forbes, a Rolla native, embarked on a musical career 30 years ago that earned him national acclaim.
School District 59 presents a plan to City Council to establish a fibre optic network in the city for the school districts computer network needs. The City is expected to be able to tap into the network for the City’s needs.
The Crown will appeal the seven-year sentence given to Dr. Abraham Cooper convicted of manslaughter in the slaying of colleague Dr. Doug Snider of Fairview, Alta.
Three representatives travel home from the 18th annual Entrepreneurship Education Forum in Chicago with an award for outstanding leadership in the field of business creativity and entrepreneurship. “I think it’s pretty impressive that Dawson Creek is up there with the big guys,” says Enterprise Centre director Doris Miedzinski after the forum that was held Nov. 2-5.
The newest airline flying out of the Dawson Creek Airport, Montair, shows of its executive jet that is to start regular service from Dawson Creek to Vancouver starting Nov. 20.
The slate of candidates for the Nov. 27 federal election is complete. In the Prince George-Peace River riding, six people will take on the incumbent, Canadian Alliance MP Jay Hill. They are: Henry Dunbar of the Canadian Action Party, Jan Christiansen of the Progressive Conservative Party, Hilary Crowley of the Green Party, Arleene Thorpe of the Liberal Party, Len Nelson of the New Democratic Party, and Colby Nicholson of the Marxist-Leninist Party.
The Canalta Elementary School choir has won the youth category of the B.C. AgriChoirs competition, it is announced. The win earns the choir a trip to Vancouver, to sing at the B.C. Agriculture Awareness Gala Nov. 14.
The start-up of the Alliance Pipeline has been delayed to the end of November, the company announces. “Periodic reductions in the flow of test gas due to debris (in the line) have complicated the required integration with concurrent commissioning activities at the Aux Sable Liquid Products processing facility near Chicago,” a press release says.
The city’s Nights Alive program is given continuity with a $16,000 grant by the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General. The program aims at reducing youth crime and violence by giving youth a safe and positive place for social and recreational opportunities.
Three local chefs are featured after they come home with gold, silver and bronze medals from Food Fest 2000, a celebration of Peace food products held in Grande Prairie on Oct. 29.
Pacific Northern Gas announces the layoff of a total of 10 customer service positions in the Peace, both in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, as the company is establishing a regional call centre in Terrace, B.C.
Dawson Creek honours the sacrifices of local veterans on Remembrance Day, with a ceremony at Unchagah Hall and at the cenotaph at city hall.
The Bargain! Shop opens its doors with a ribbon cutting by store manager Brenda Meen. The discount store occupies most of the space in the 10th Street building vacated when Zellers moved to the Dawson Mall.
The Dawson Mall starts a contest to help the local food bank. Shoppers can drop off a non-perishable food item to any of the participating stores and receive an entry form for a chance to win an in-store prize or discount.
South Peace Secondary School graduate James Brown is presented the Governor General’s Academic Medal by school principal Sandy McDowell after Brown earned the highest marks amongst the school’s students in the provincial exams last year. Brown is now an engineering student at the University of Alberta.
After a two-month, $600,000 renovation, the operating rooms at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital are re-opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The renovations bring the two operating rooms up to date, with more space for doctors and nurses to do their work.
About 100 people, mostly youths from Dawson Creek’s high schools, participate in the annual Sober Walk as part of National Addiction Awareness Week. They walk from the Dawson Co-op Mall to the Nawican Friendship Centre.
Doreen Hadland of Dawson Creek has been appointed to the B.C. Marketing Board, Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Ed Conroy announces. Hadland has been involved in farming for more than 20 years and was involved in creating the Peace River Farmers’ Market.
Driver training at Northern Lights College gets a boost by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. in the form of some salvaged equipment. The donation follows a financial commitment of $12,000 by ICBC for upgrading the training facility in Dawson Creek.
The RCMP raids a marijuana growing operation on Anderson Road in the Kilkerran area. Police seizes pot-growing equipment and about 500 marijuana plants in various stages of growth.
School District 59 partners with the RCMP, the City of Dawson Creek and crime prevention groups to establish drug-free zones around city schools. “The purpose of the partnership is to send a clear message from the community to the drug dealers that such activity does not belong in or near our schools,” says district principal Rob Dennis. Drug-related crimes committed in these zones can expect to be punished more severely than crimes committed elsewhere in the city.
On the way back from the B.C. Agriculture Awareness Gala in Vancouver, the Canalta Elementary School choir suffers a bus mishap south of Quesnel, B.C., when one of the buses they’re travelling veers off the road, then back onto the road, after the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel. There are only minor injuries and minor damage to the bus.
In a short ceremony, Dawson Creek Mayor Blair Lekstrom is acclaimed as the candidate for the B.C. Liberals in Peace River South, when provincial elections are called sometime next spring. Among Lekstrom’s supporters is the current MLA for the riding, Independent Jack Weisgerber.
The Festival of the Sweetwater Moon wraps up in Rolla after two days of arts performances including visual and performing arts. Co-hosted by CBC’s David Grierson and musician Roy Forbes, the festival gives the audience a taste of local musical talents, as well as a renewed appreciation for poetry following readings by acclaimed Canadian poets Susan Musgrave and Lorna Crozier.
Dawson Creek’s Sharona Supernault’s views on restorative justice are included in a book launched during the finals of the Magna International Ltd. essay contest: “As Prime Minister I Would…” Supernault is one of 10 finalists earning $10,000 and a four-month paid internship at Magna.
City council cans the Silver Seven Barbecue, traditionally held at the end of the Kiddie’s Parade preceding the Fall Fair weekend in August, in favour of a system where children participating in the parade will receive meal coupons for local restaurants.
Tempers that flared briefly among Dawson Creek Golf and Country Club members seem quelled at a meeting that attracts 150. Members, who alleged some improprieties by the club’s finance committee and directors seem satisfied with the explanations they’re given.
Five of the seven candidates in the Nov. 27 federal election square off in debate in front of a lively audience at the George Dawson Inn. Jan Christiansen, Arleene Thorpe, Jay Hill, Henry Dunbar and Hilary Crowley express their views and explain to potential voters why they should be the next Member of Parliament.
Residents in the Bessborough area remain not convinced their local landfill is the best spot for a new regional landfill for the Dawson Creek area. About 25 people take in a presentation by the Peace River Regional District, alleging that their views don’t matter much. “Right from the beginning, you’ve wanted to go to Bessborough,” area resident Garry Bourne tells PRRD directors.
Wembley, Alta. resident Jeanette Strid is sentenced to two years in jail for her role in the accident near Grande Prairie that claimed the life of Pouce Coupe residents Howard Lizotte and his son Kirby. The Lizotte family says two years in jail is not enough for the woman’s drunk driving causing two deaths. “Bottomline, she took two people’s lives and destroyed a family and received a two-year sentence for it,” says Braden Gauthier, Howard Lizotte’s son-in-law.
He’ll be blind for life, but veterinarians are hoping to safe the eyeballs of a black Labrador retriever dog found Nov. 3 with shotgun pellets in his face. Fizzoo, as he is named by his rescuers, is otherwise doing well and looking for a new home.
Accountant Tim Schilds is named Citizen of the Year at the President’s Ball of the Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce. Schilds is a long-time Dawson Creek Seal and Rotary Club member. DC Recycling is named Business of the Year, Charene Pratt of Grower’s Direct is named Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Dawson Creek Rotary Club is named Non-Profit Organization of the Year. The Alaska Hotel and CafŽ is named Business Supporter of the Arts, an award by the South Peace Arts Council.
At the same event, Jeremy Beaulne’s painting of the Dawson Creek farmers’ market wins a spot on the cover of the chamber of commerce magazine “Build Your Future Here.”
Northern B.C. Reformers attend a meeting in Abbotsford aimed at uniting the right in B.C. politics, but come away a little disillusioned. About a dozen Reform B.C. members walk out of the meeting, and disown party president Bill Vander Zalm. “We consider Mr. Vander Zalm to have effectively abdicated his responsibilities to the Reform Party of B.C.,” says Grant Mitton, vice president of Reform B.C.’s Peace River South Constituency Association.
The Canadian Alliance Party’s Jay Hill keeps his seat in the House of Commons in a landslide victory. Hill wins nearly 70 per cent of the popular vote in the Prince George-Peace River riding. An otherwise happy Hill expresses concerns about the party’s failure to win more than two seats in MP-rich Ontario. “It’s a bit of a bittersweet victory,” he says.
Only about 25 people show up at a Town Hall meeting in which Finance Councillor Bob Gibbs paints a gloomy financial picture for Dawson Creek, predicting a budget crunch next year, and a possible increase in taxes.
A downturn in the building supplies market has prompted Louisiana-Pacific to slow down construction of its veneer plant in Dawson Creek. The original start-up date of March 2001 has been delayed until about October next year, LP site manager Steve Langager says.
Minor injuries are sustained when two pickups collide at the intersection of 103rd Avenue and 12th Street. Police blame slippery conditions for the mishap, as well as a parked truck which limited visibility.
A dance held to raise money for a “teen town” is rated a success by organizers. Between 75 and 130 people are at the event, held at the Kiwanis Arts Centre, which featured drug and alcohol counsellor Craig Clark as the disk jockey. A teen town is a complex that would include a dance floor, a recording studio, a clothing store and a coffee house.
A fire breaks out at Hartech Products North, located in the old chopstick factory. But fire fighters are able to contain the blaze and limit the damage to one end of the building. It’s later determined that arson was the cause, and the case is handed over to the police.
Council expresses support for two projects that Westcoast Energy is planning for northeast B.C. The natural gas company wants to build a gas plant south of Chetwynd to compliment the main plant at Pine River, and to extend the existing Grizzly pipeline 45 km. into the Narraway and Grizzly gathering areas of northwest B.C. Coun. Mike Caisley casts a dissenting vote, saying that council should at least give a proposal from Central Alberta Midstream to extend a pipeline into Alberta due process before a decision is made.
The Ministry of Health injects $856,594 into the South Peace Health Council (SPHC) bank account as part of the NDP government’s recently-announced Health Action Plan. The money comes out of $1.2 billion in surplus revenues and is hailed as a “positive announcement” by SPHC chief executive officer Rick Robinson.
About 35 people show up for a parade and memorial service to remember the 14 women who were killed in the 1989 Montreal Massacre. During the service, 14 candles, one for each victim, was lit, plus an extra candle for every woman whose life has been taken from her in an act of violence.
Frank Speer celebrates his 100th birthday. The Rotary Manor resident reminisces about a life full of achievement, that has included stints as the manager of a McLeod’s department store and as a foreman during construction of the Alaska Highway. A special birthday party, that features a cake with 100 candles, is held later in the week.
A new executive and board of directors is installed for the Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce. Pat Mersereau is the president, Wayne Hiebert the vice president, Alvie Shearer the treasurer and Gus McLeod the past president. The board of directors consists of Rick Hall, Fern Hansen, Theresa Hunter, Amand Sandhu, Darcy Dober, Charles Kux-Kardos and Clayton Holland. All are in by acclamation.
Northern Lights College (NLC) will continue to expand, Cindy Lorincz tells those who attend a chamber luncheon. A new continuing education centre is in the works, as is a runway maintenance program and development of the oil and gas training program. NLC also plans to bring a nurse training program to the region.
The Kiwanis Arts Centre is packed for the annual Christmas concert. The show features solo performances by singers Wendy Dynna and Jackie Kutschinski and performances by members of the Wendy Cox School of Dancers, Kindermusic, Kiwanis Band, and the Group Therapy Ladies Choir. The evening ends with the audiences joining in a Christmas carol sing-a-long.
The Pouce Coupe water tower is put back in service 11 years and $130,000 after it broke down. The tower is repaired after engineers tell the village that there is not enough water to combat a major fire and still retain service to the rest of the community.
A painting by Suzanne Dixon is installed at the Alaska Cafe. The painting was awarded to Charles and Heidy Kux-Kardos during the Chamber of Commerce president’s ball as acknowledgement of their support of the arts community over the years.
Mediator Alan Hope gives doctors a small break in a report he issues on the dispute between Victoria and physicians in 14 rural and remote communities. He calls on the province to give doctors a bit more money over the short run, and to reach an agreement that will meet their needs over the long run.
Peace River South MLA Jack Weisgerber says the province should help seniors and low income families deal with rising home heating costs. With the cost of both natural gas and propane rising dramatically, he tells Premier Ujjal Dosanjh to use some of the $1.2 billion surplus to help them cover the rising bills.
Five weeks of ferocious post-election battle comes to an end when Al Gore concedes the U.S. presidency to George W. Bush, who must now find a way to heal deep wounds. “Our nation must rise above a house divided,” he says.
A board game invented by a former Dawson Creek resident is gaining popularity. A.J. Johnson, who grew up in the South Peace but now lives in Nanaimo, says he has ordered 10,000 more units of Lunker Lake. The object of the game is to catch two fish from six different areas. “It’s when you catch a lunker that the fun really begins,” he says.
Christmas has been an exceptionally busy time for members of the Kiwanis Kids Choir. They’ll have made nine appearances by the end of December, culminating in a candlelight Christmas service at Rotary Manor. In its 10th year, the choir continues to roll along strongly according to leader Judi McGowan.
Both the city and the school district brace themselves for impending hikes in the price of natural gas. An extra $30,000 has been put in the city’s budget for the increase while the school district will be looking to Victoria for some help to absorb the rise.
A total of $249.4 million is accumulated by the province over a year’s worth of oil and gas rights sales. That’s an improvement over $176 million reaped in 1999.
It won’t be such a contentious holiday season for BC Rail and its unionized employees after all. The sides reach a two-year agreement and union leadership recommends ratification. Last year, BC Rail locked out more than 1,600 workers for 10 days over Christmas.
A total of eight people face charges of drunk driving just two weeks into the Dawson Creek RCMP’s annual Christmas CounterAttack campaign. That surpasses the total of six for all of 1999.
Mild weather helps to bring out a large number of people to Pioneer Village for the first night of the Old Fashioned Family Christmas. The event, which features sleigh rides, roasted chestnuts and carol singing, proves just as popular the next evening as well.
Shoppers will still have to plug parking meters downtown after council votes 4-3 against giving them a break in the days leading up to Christmas. The majority of council members agree that the move would be unpopular with many downtown merchants.
Santa Claus says he’s ready to deliver presents to all the good girls and boys around the world. Scooters and Barbie dolls seem to be the most popular requests, he says in an exclusive interview.
Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) start scrambling after the system that delivers natural gas to Dawson Creek and Pouce Coupe suffers a break down. Personnel reroute the gas around a blockage in the main line, caused by frozen particles but must also go house-to-house to ensure that the system is back on-line.
A cheque for $2,850, representing money raised by those who attended the Louisiana-Pacific loggers ball puts the Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation over the top. The donation means that the goal of $10,000 has been surpassed well before the Jan. 6 end of the Christmas campaign.
Students get an extra couple of days off after the failure of the PNG natural gas line forces a closure of local schools. PNG asks customers to use as little natural gas as possible and to use a certified gas fitter to reactivate systems.
The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) gives PNG the go-ahead to boost the rate for natural gas by 32 per cent in northeast B.C. BCUC executive director Bill Grant says the hike is a function of market forces and that PNG will not be allowed to make a profit from the hike, only from the effort of transporting the gas.
Dawson Creek Co-op announces that work on a new Home and Agro Centre will begin in early January. The 18,000 square-foot facility will replace the 4,000 square-foot home and agro which will be torn down to make way for parking. The new location is scheduled to be open in the spring.
PNG’s natural gas line crisis comes to an end. “We have located and successfully removed a block to the main pipeline supplying natural gas to the Dawson Creek area,” says Greg Weeres, PNG vice president of operations and engineering.
Enough cocaine for 60 flaps is seized by police during a drug bust on a Dawson Creek home. Dennis Wood, 50, of Dawson Creek, and Douglas Wood, 37, of Chetwynd, face charges of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Local businesses enjoy brisk sales in the days leading up to Christmas. Among other things, they credit the opening of the new Canadian Tire with helping to encourage residents to shop locally.
The toll from the Christmas CounterAttack campaign rises to 12 driving while impaired charges. As well, 31 24-hour roadside suspensions have been issued, compared to 38 for all of 1999.
The Peace River Block Daily News names the Dawson Co-op controversy News Event of the Year 2000. Farmer Nick Parsons is named Newsmaker of the Year 2000, for the second time in three years.