Lake Flashback: Abandoned chickens, back to school, kite skier dies

Local chicken rescuers Cole Eaton, 8, and his grandfather Frank Bath, with one of three abandoned chickens they found near Hill 60, while out on ATVs. (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette/Aug. 25, 2010)
“The LaMontagnes of Youbou arrived at the concert at Central Park with their wonderful exercise machine. The kids loved being turned upside down and then rightside up. (Lake News/Aug. 30, 1995)

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

“Abandoned chickens saved from starvation” was the front page headline of the Aug. 25, 2010 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

Well that’s a sad story with a happy ending!

“Three presumably abandoned, malnourished chickens are on the road to recovery, thanks to the compassion of local boy Cole Eaton, 8, and his grandfather Frank Bath.”

“They were just skin and bones. You can feel their breastbones,” Frank said, of the chickens.

“The thin chickens were discovered Saturday, Aug. 21, during an ATV ride on trails around the power lines near Hill 60, midway between Lake Cowichan and Duncan.”

“We wouldn’t have found them if we weren’t out on our ATV,” Frank said, of the isolated area.

“One dead chicken was found, having dropped dead not too far away from where the three thin, dehydrated, barely living chickens were found. Frank said that the chickens must have been deliberately abandoned, because they were nowhere near anyone’s property. He believes someone simply abandoned the chickens when they became tired of owning them. Having become domesticated, Frank said, ‘The chickens don’t know how to feed on their own.’ With no water source for the chickens near where they were found, Cole said the chickens looked desperate for water, their necks stretched out, and their mouths open, gagging for moisture.

“Frank has taken the chickens in as his own, housing them in a makeshift chicken coop on his Skutz Falls area property.”

25 years ago

With summer winding down 25 years ago, Lakers were warned in the Aug. 30, 1995 edition that “It’s back to school — watch out for radar”.

The reminder is a good one for these days too, whatever ‘back to school’ looks like with COVID-19.

“As the kids return to school next week, police warn they will be using radar to catch speeders, especially on Sahtlam Avenue. The Village has erected new 30 km hour signs near Sahtlam Park, which is heavily used by children.”

Also around now 25 years ago, a concert in Central Park raised roughly $1,500 for firefighters.

The concert featured five musical groups.

“The cash goes to the Jaws of Life fund of Lake Cowichan Volunteer Fire Department and the children’s ward at Duncan hospital,” said the story. “Many businesses around the Lake donated to the auction held in conjunction. The amount did not include whatever was raised by firemen selling tickets to their raffle for a new Jaws of Life due to be drawn Sept. 25.”

Want to know who played the show?

“The musical groups taking part were: Zambucca, Cosmic Alley, Payton Lewis, Lake Cowichan Rockers and Loose Tongues.”

40 years ago

It was not at all good news 40 years ago, according to the Aug. 27, 1980 report from the Lake News. “Horrified spectators watch” as “kite skier plunges 1,000 ft. to death”.

Patrick Adams, 35, of Campbell River lost his life in the incident.

“The kite turned itself inside out, like an umbrella.”

“That’s the description witnesses have to an accident which killed a waterskier Sunday as 200 horrified spectators watched him plummet 1,000 feet to his death when his kiteboard broke up in a tragic finale to a weekend of waterskiing competitions.”

Among the spectators were Adams’s wife and daughter.

“Adams had been a member of the Lake Cowichan Waterski Club and brought down his kite from his home in Campbell River for demonstrations on other occasions.

“The accident occurred shortly after a powerful boat —Adams’s own — lifted him and his kite out of the water. Spectators who saw the show say the pipe holding his kite together appeared to break up as the kite climbed skyward. According to waterski club president Bonnie Carson, Adams ‘took three tumble turns and then lost his skis and came down.’

Also in the Aug. 27, 1980 edition of the Lake News was the headline: “Island Shake unfazed by cedar competition”.

“The arrival of a new shake mill to compete for dwindling cedar stocks in the area is not going to face Island Shake and Shingle operators, according to one owner of the burned-out operation. Bert Rondenbush, president of the company which at present is under receiver-management, said that competition from a mill, construction of which is expected soon, will not kill plans to reconstruct his mill which burned last winter.

“Rondenbush commented ‘we’ve learned to live with competition,’ when asked to respond to the announcement of the Cadillac Cedar Products shake mill to be built at the Meade Creek industrial park by Winde Pacific Forest Products of Surrey.”

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