Flashback: Late Christmas card, toy tank used in assault, drama on Coronation Street

A look back in history at the Cowichan Lake area.

She’s among the best in the world, when it comes to playing the accordion. Sheila Miller Bower just began entering competitions two years ago after putting the accordion down for years. (Lake News, Aug. 28, 1996)

She’s among the best in the world, when it comes to playing the accordion. Sheila Miller Bower just began entering competitions two years ago after putting the accordion down for years. (Lake News, Aug. 28, 1996)

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old newspapers with the assistance of the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives so we can jog your memory, give you that nostalgic feeling, or just a chuckle, as we take a look at what was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by.

This week around the Cowichan Lake area…

10 years ago

It was not good news on the cover of the Aug. 24, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“Head injury results in youngster being airlifted to hospital” was the top story, a nightmare for many.

“A five-year-old boy was air-lifted to hospital in serious to critical condition last week, after taking a tumble at Gordon Bay Provincial Park. ‘Because the child was transported in BC Air Ambulance, that puts the situation in serious to critical,’ BC Ambulance spokesperson Kelsie Carwithen said. The call-out took place at about 6 p.m., Wednesday, August 17. The Lake Cowichan RCMP was not called out to the incident, but after learning about it after the fact, began an investigation. ‘We did start a preliminary investigation to eliminate foul play,’ Lake Cowichan RCMP Cpl. Warren Potter said. ‘It appears to be an accidental fall. He fell and hit the back of his head,’ Potter said, adding that the fall was about 10 feet.”

The boy and his family were visiting the area and were from Metchosin.

Also making headlines in the same newspaper edition, “Children’s toy used as weapon in Honeymoon Bay assault.”

The headline made me want more information but there wasn’t much to the police brief.

“Sometimes adults should leave children’s toys alone. During a Tuesday, August 16, appearance at the Duncan Law Courts, Christopher William Marsden (born 1983) was found guilty for assault with a weapon, after having hit his victim in the face with a children’s toy, March 10 of this year. ‘Anything can be a weapon, and in this case it was a tank engine toy,’ Lake Cowichan RCMP Cpl. Warren Potter said. The assault did not result in any emergency medical attention, implying that injuries were not serious.”

25 years ago

I only have the front page of the Aug. 28, 1996 edition and there’s only part of one story on it. “One way parking scrapped”.

“The one way street is out. As of the end of the week Coronation Street will return to a two way street. The decision was made in an emergency meeting called of council held at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning. Due to public response both by the questionnaire and by verbal comments, Ed Gilman, village clerk said Monday that council has decided to remove the one way street pattern. Instead council has decided to put angle parking on the post office side of Coronation Street and parallel parking on the Seniors’s Centre side of the street.”

There was also a teaser headline: “Head lice: Why is it such a problem this year?” I wish I had page 8 to learn more!

40 years ago

There was lots of news to catch up on in the Aug. 26, 1981 edition of the Lake News so that’ll help fill the gap left by the rather boring Aug. 28, 1996 paper.

First up long-time resident Lempi Johnson died at 81.

“Lempi Johnson, a long time resident of Lake Cowichan, died last week at the age of 81. Mrs. Johnson died in Cowichan District Hospital Aug. 20. Born Lempi Aina Enlund in Larsmo-Jakobstad, Finland, Aug. 30, 1899, Mrs. Johnson came to Lake Cowichan in 1930 and had lived here ever since with her husband Karl Johnson in Lake Cowichan.”

The next story was topped with “Postal strike provides Xmas surprise from far-off Ontario”.

“The return to work by the postal workers had unearthed some unusual letters from the vast, dark corners of the nation’s post office. One of these oddities came to light in Honeymoon Bay last week when Mrs. R. F. Gregson received a Christmas card from her friend in Ontario. Her friend has conscientiously mailed it in plenty of time to greet her Honeymoon Bay pal at Christmas. It was postmarked Dec. 12, 1980. It arrived Aug. 18, 1981.”

Also on the front, dates were set for two murder trials we’ve learned about during these Flashback columns.

“Paul Kocurek, formerly of Lake Cowichan, who has been charged with first degree murder following the death of Lisa Clausen of Duncan Aug. 2, will go on trial Dec. 7. John Carl Shirley of Lake Cowichan, charged with second degree murder following the death of Eric Erickson of Lake Cowichan Aug. 14 will stand trial Jan. 4, 1982.”

And finally, the strike may be over, but the woods were still silent around this time back in 1981.

“Dry forests and poor markets have combined to keep Cowichan Lake area woodworkers off work, even though a six-week industry-wide strike is over. In a ratification vote held last Thursday, 54 per cent of the 2,000 members of Local 1-80 of the International Woodworkers of America who participated in the vote approved a contract recommended by their negotiation team. Only the B.C. Forest Products sawmill at Youbou, which employs about 600 workers, has returned to operation.”

historyLake Cowichan

 

“In the dark, for a while anyway, blindfolded boy tries to knock the stuffing out of impromptu ‘pinata’ during Camp Participaction’s ‘International’ summer safari held here last week. Decorated box, following Mexican tradition, was filled with goodies and youngsters had to break it open before they could get them.” (Lake News, Aug. 26, 1981)

“In the dark, for a while anyway, blindfolded boy tries to knock the stuffing out of impromptu ‘pinata’ during Camp Participaction’s ‘International’ summer safari held here last week. Decorated box, following Mexican tradition, was filled with goodies and youngsters had to break it open before they could get them.” (Lake News, Aug. 26, 1981)