Flashback: Teddy bears, dinosaurs, cougars, oh my!

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

“Jason Haney, 10, of Youbou, with a teddy bear he saved from the Cowichan River during the second annual River Cleanup, Saturday, Sept. 11.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette/Sept. 15, 2010)

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

What a breath of fresh air the Sept. 15, 2010 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette was following what seemed like months of awful news around the lake.

The top headline: “Boy saves drowning teddy bear!”

Jason Haney, 10, of Youbou, posed for the front page photo with a teddy bear he saved from the Cowichan River during the second annual River Cleanup, Saturday, Sept. 11.

Other great headlines on the Gazette’s front page that week were: “Local cancer survivor Matthew Kercher plans on lopping his mop during the local Tour de Rock cancer fundraiser,” and “A mother-daughter duo is organizing a local craft group” and “The Great Lake Walk is this weekend!”

It wasn’t all such pleasant news, though.

“Residents of Youbou don’t want to look out to Billy Goat Island to see anything but nature. The fate of Billy Goat Island was discussed by Youbou’s Advisory Planning Commission (APC), Tuesday, Sept. 7, with the commission rejecting the island owner’s request to build a second building on the island.”

“Dix said that he could empathize with the concerns of Youbou residents about the island, as they’ve been using the island for years as a free park. ‘They want it as a park, without having to fund it as a park,” he said.

The Island has made headlines recently for being for sale yet again.

25 years ago

“No dinosaurs in Cowichan Lake”. That was a legitimate headline in the Sept. 20, 1995 edition of the Lake News.

Let’s read on.

“Hog wash,” said Trevor Green, Lake Cowichan’s local historian, when asked by his wife Yvonne if he knew anything about a dinosaur being sighted in Cowichan Lake.

“That is Caddy, which belong to Cadboro Bay,” Yvonne told the Lake News. “There is no way such a creature could get up Skutz Falls,” said Trevor.

“Recently a local paper reported on a new book Cadborosaurus, Survivor of the Deep by Ed Bousfield and Dr. Paul LeBlond. The book reports that the creature was sighted in Cowichan Lake and Cowichan River among other places. It was supposed to be a fish and bird eating dinosaur, with two humps with a small head on a long neck.”

It’s been suggested it could be a sturgeon, as they are massive fish.

“Whether it be elamosaurus, plesiosaur, cadborosaurus or sturgeon it makes for a big fish story!”

In the same edition, “Ambulance hits a cougar” was a big, bold headline.

“Ambulance attendant, Tammy Buskey has always wanted to see a cougar in the wild but never imagined it would happen by accident — by hitting a cougar with the ambulance.

“Buskey, along with partner, Lynn Wardrope, both of Lake Cowichan, were returning from Duncan when they encountered a cougar on Highway 18 near the Village entrance last Wednesday at 4 a.m. The cougar reportedly ran in front of the lights of the ambulance and was nicked by the bumper.”

The paramedics didn’t transport the animal in the back of their rig, though.

“I don’t think it was hurt too badly, it ran off, but there was hair on the bumper,” Buskey said.

40 years ago

Well, Lake News staff writer Lexi Bainas didn’t mince words with her headline “Lack of nutrition fear as elderly face cutback in service” in the Sept. 17, 1980 edition.

The front page story was about the local Meals on Wheels program folding.

“It’s an absolute wash out,” Lois Longfield said Thursday.

“Longfield has been involved in the program for about eight years, she said, first with Evelyn Anderson, and then alone. Originally the meals were cooked at the Activity Centre and taken to the customers by volunteer drivers. The customers paid $1.50 for each meal and meals were cooked twice a week. Longfield’s wages came out of the Activity Centre’s funds for seniors programs, but no money was provided for food. The program was cut off when it was discovered that the Activity Centre money couldn’t be used for that purpose, and no other funding has been available.”

Isn’t that awful?

In other 1980 news, it was a big week for Lake Cowichan’s Lailah Shah.

“A Lake Cowichan two year old has joined the ranks of the professional models whose faces smile out of department store advertisements. Lailah Shah was one of the children chosen to model clothes for Woodward’s in their fall sale flyer, which came out Saturday, Sept. 13.

“When she was chosen the winner among 71 other children in a Lake Cowichan photo contest, her parents Ayaz and Crystal began to wonder if she might have a future in modelling. She followed up that promising start by winning more contests.”

That ultimately led her to the Woodward’s gig.

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