Carol Martel, Patti Anderson, Tory Dillabough, Darlene Pohn, Maria Robins, and Tom Peters raised more than $50,000 by getting their heads shaved for Tour de Rock in 2009. (Lake Cowichan Gazette)

Lake Flashback: Tour de Rock, bear shot at Lake News, paper wins B.C.

The Lake News’s Sheila Kenyon describes her first shocking experience with a habituated bear

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas 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:

“Town ready for Tour de Rock” was the big headline on the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Sept. 30, 2009.

With the weather perfect and a good crowd in attendance, the Tour de Rock fundraiser held Sunday at Lake Cowichan Country Grocer was a real splash. There were also some new bald heads around town, as six people had their heads shaved and helped raise more than $5,000 for the Tour de Rock.

The full count isn’t in yet on how much was raised Sunday, but it will be known when a cheque is presented to the Tour de Rock cyclists when they arrive in town and stop at Lake Cowichan Secondary School.

It was fantastic,” said Darlene Pohn, one of the organizers.

The LCSS event will allow the community to meet the Tour de Rock cyclists as they get closer to their destination in Victoria. There will be other head shaves at the school, including Pauly verus Wally Baas in a fundraising competition.

25 years ago:

The Lake News’ Sheila Kenyon learned the hard way about the problem of habituated bears. In a front page story on Sept. 28, 1994, she shared her experience.

“I have never seen a bear before except in a zoo. No that’s not right, when we were in Turkey riding through the country in a bus a man had one on a chair at the side of the road. The big brown bear was standing up! He was about six feet tall.

“When we bought our property… [75 South Shore Rd. where The Lake News was located back then], Vera Soroka [one of the paper’s former owners] told me not to be surprised to find bears coming into the garden to get apples. She said nothing about immediately phoning the conservation officer to get the bear shot.

“When Georgie Clark [a neighbour] phoned us on Saturday at 10 a.m. to tell us that there was a black bear sitting in our Douglas fir tree in the back garden, I was not that surprised. I had been waiting 10 years for the event.

“Under the tree stood RCMP Const. Dennis Rizest and a couple of strangers. The bear, sitting on a branch 20 feet in the air, was looking out across the river. When he turned sideways his profile was magnificent.

“The constable warned us to be quiet. He indicated that if the bear came down out of the tree he would have to shoot it. He said he was waiting for the conservation officer to arrive to tranquilize it.

“It wasn’t long before Ken Broadland, district conservation officer, walked past the office window carrying a rifle. I told Ron [Kenyon, Sheila’s husband, who was editor of The Lake News] he had come.

“Neither of us realized that he was not carrying a tranquilizer gun.

“In ignorance of what was to take place, I walked down to the garden.

“Bang, bang went the rifle and the big black bear came falling down. Dead.

“I was stunned, I had believed that the bear would be tranquilized and removed to live somewhere else. So did a lot of other people now gathered on the sidewalk. They yelled at Broadland, one of them saying, ‘What the hell do you think you are doing?’ They, too, could not believe that it had been killed.

“Veterinarian Dr. Trish Henry, who had brought a tranquilizer pistol, had angry words for him.

“The previous time I had seen Broadland was in Gordon Bay provincial park. He was talking about cougars and black bears at one of their nature programs. He pointed out that as this area is developed humans should expect to see more of them as this is their home, too. he also spoke about tranquilizing cougars and taking them to an isolated area when it was advisable.

“Foolishly, I presumed he would do the same for a bear. How wrong I was! My understanding of conservation has been shattered.”

40 years ago:

Now for a little blowing of our own horn.

On the front page of the Sept. 26, 1979 issue of The Lake News we learn that the paper had just carried off the “Best in BC” award.

The Lake News has been acclaimed the best tabloid newspaper in B.C. among those with a paid circulation of under 3,000.”

The award was announced at a B.C. and Yukon Newspapers Assocation convention held in Vancouver last week. The Lake News was judged on the papers printed during this year.

The best overall newspaper award was based on general appearance of advertising and editorial content, quality of editorial and advertising content, including pictures and other visual devices, and the completeness of coverage of community affairs. The Aggasiz-Harrison Advance came in second in this group and The Osoyoos Times, third.

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