December 16, 2005
Heli-logging in Walker Valley - story and pictures
For older reports, go to 2004 ARCHIVES
October 5, 2005
When Colleen Whidden left 108 Mile this summer to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Calgary, there was a great outpouring of thanks from a grateful community for her considerable contribution to the arts scene. This recognition continues in the form of an Honourable Mention in Canadian Living magazine's Me To We awards, presented to individuals who have provided exceptional service to their communities. Whidden was nominated bytwo 100 Mile residents. The citation reads: "To Colleen Whidden, of 100 Mile House BC, for producing community musicals and encouraginginclusion of diverse talent in working towards a common goal." Only 30 such awards were given for all of Canada. The full list appears in the magazine's October 2005 edition.
Theatre expert gone but not forgotten
Dump and drive
From the sublime to the subversive. Was it a political statement - someone angered over the impending sale of Terasen Gas to an American company or just plain boorishness ? Whatever was on the mind of the individual who dumped a pile of rubbish at either end of the pipeline on Block Drivelast Friday, it was left to others to clean up the bed, speakers, sporting equipment and other assorted trash,and cart it off to the dump. Geordie Patterson along with Wes Friesen cleaned up the mess "Very disconcerting," Patterson noted. Unfortunately, the two were unable to locate any papers indicating the name or address of the dumper.
108 Greenbelt Commission Chair Graham Allison advised that the cutting crew is nearing the end of its work on the Ranch for this year. The Chilcotin Crescent / Kitwanga Drive area will be among the last to be thinned out and cleaned up before the workers stow their saws for the season Removal of trees felled on the east side of Walker Valley, Allison states, likely will be done utilizing ahelicopter to lessen the impact of their removal The odd pile of gravel around the 108 Lake trail is slated to be distributed along some consistent wet spots on the path. This is a much finer crushed gravel than used in the past and should pack better, posing less of an obstacle to bicycles, strollers and the tender of foot.
VFD news: Nothing to report on the fire scene.
It has been a mercifully quiet summer on the fire front locally. Chief Ian Henderson does remind residents to have chimneys cleaned out, and to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors at this time of year.
September 21, 2005
The matter of injured wildlife invariably presents a dilemma: whether one should become involved and conduct a "rescue," or in the words of the Beattles, "let it be." This was the dilemma facing a group of concerned 108 Mile residents, in deciding whether to become involved in "rescuing" the injured juvenile loon on 108 Lake, or to let nature takes its inevitable course. The juvenile loon has either a broken wing or a dislocated shoulder (can a loon be said to have shoulders?) and is likely doomed come freeze-up, if it hasn't been munched by a predator by then. Following a phone conversation Sept. 7, with the operators of a wildlife rescue facility in Quesnel, the group decided to attempt a capture and, equipped with a net large enough to snag a water bufallo, canoed out, aiming to nab the bird, stabilize it for the night and take it to Quesnel for possible rehabilitation. In the end, all the questioning as to whether Operation Loony Tunes was in the creature's best interests was for naught: the loon, which earlier appeared unable to dive, suddenly turned into a torpedo, diving and staying well out of reach of its "rescuers." That strange sound the paddlers heard as they headed back to shore might have been the loon chuckling, but more likely came from the resident eagle smacking his lips in anticipation of an exotic entree.
Injured loon avoids his rescuers
Wendy Foster (left) and Bev Lund helped out on the barbecue assembly line Sept. 16.
CRD visitAround 100 area citizens dropped by the 108 Heritage Site, Friday, Sept. 16 to meet the Cariboo Regional District directors and partake in a CRD-sponsored barbecue served up by members of the Friends of the Games BC Northern Winter Games Committee. The sunny, casual affair gave taxpayers an opportunity to discuss issues with the directors and take part in a tour of the heritage site.
September 7, 2005
While most of the larger tracts of beetle-killed trees around 108 Ranch have been cleaned out, one crew remains to thin out smaller pockets at various locations and will continue to do so for the next two months. The controversial removal of trees in a section of Walker valley has been completed, and the Greenbelt chairman, Graham Allison, reported that the debris will be cleaned up this weekend and the grass seeded later.
Logging continues at 108 Mile
Peg Rosen, the hard-working volunteer with the Ranch Community Association who looks after maintenance of the area beaches, has had an up and down summer attempting to keep the beaches and their surroundings clean and tidy. On the negative side, some of the duller-witted youth (they sharpen as they get older, most of them) have frustrated her with their beer-swilling, bottle-smashing and petty vandalism antics. On the positive side, Peg has received many compliments from visitors and locals alike for the cleanliness of the outhouses and general appearance of the beach areas. At the main beach, Peg has been aided by a resident who took it upon himself to rake the sand each day of the little gifts left by the geese. Closing the access road to the main beach an hour earlier this summer has helped somewhat to curtail some of the mischief, Rosen acknowledged.
The score in the annual eagles vs loons survival derby stands at eagles 1: loons zero. One of this year"s juvenile loons on 108 Lake has a broken wing, apparantly the result of an eagle dive-bombing attack. While it may be able to wing it through the remaining weeks of summer and fall, the unfortunate bird hasn"t got a prayer when winter sets in. It will be interesting to note whether the mother will hang around past her migration date or fly off when nature calls. Conservation Officer Colin Nivison noted that there have been no bear incidents so far this summer, in contrast to last year which saw a number of bruins ruined as a result of incursions into the Ranch. While things have been quiet to date, Nivison encouraged residents who have crabapple trees to pick the fruit, as the bears will be fueling up for the winter and can smell a rotting crabapple for miles.
Wildlife score card
August 17, 2005
Could this be what is meant when we read that one out of every two marriages is history? Work has yet to commence on the construction of a church at the 108 Heritage Site, but already there have been a number of requests to hold weddings there.
Site becoming a wedding mecca?
Maryanne Rutledge, of the 100 Mile and District Historical Society, said that the society has applied for a Northern Development Initiatives grant to enable the building of a small church on the site and to install a new roof on the museum. If successful, the aim is to have a contractor commence work at the end of August.
The society has not given up hope of acquiring an unused or abandoned church from elsewhere, Rutledge said. Two unsuccessful attempts have been made to purchase unused churches from First Nations bands. Currently the group is looking into obtaining an abandoned church in Sorrento. If they do not succeed this time, the plan is to build a replica log church on site matching the existing buildings, and to use coal oil lanterns for lighting. The society is already in possession of furnishings: pews and a baptismal font, from St. John the Baptist Church in Merritt. The furnishings date from around 1900.
In addition to the grant, if it is received, the historical society was the recipient of a $10,000 bequest from the late Al Duncan specifically for the purpose of locating a church at the site. On another note, visitors and donations are up over last year with the bulk of the visitors being Canadian, followed by American, Swiss, German and British. A first for the site was a visit this summer from a family from Greenland.
August 10 - Free Press reports
A 105 Mile resident's attempt at turning a gravel pit into an aviation base was grounded in response to local concerns.
Development idea sinks under opposition
Beetle battle takes to the highways
More than 70 signs have been put up at rest stops along 13 B.C. highways to explain devastation wrought by the mountain pine beetle. The South Cariboo signs are at the rest stop about 10 kilometres north of Clinton and at the 108 Rest Stop.
August 3, 2005
Greenbelt cleaned up
The tranquility of 108 Ranch greenbelt areas has been punctuated of late by the rattle of chainsaws, the buzzing of weed whackers and the trundle of graders as work crews clear out thistle, beetle-infested trees and improve access to the Main Beach. While one crew took on the thistle patches around 108 and Sepa lakes in an attempt to at least control their spread, another crew was busy cutting and clearing out areas of dead and dying pines and firs, including a large swath in the area of the West Beach.
Trail users will notice some debris by the path and some gouged out sections of trail, but the crew assures that this will be cleaned up as part of the contract. Grading of the access road to the main beach was necessitated by the poor condition of the road that had come to resemble a WW1 battlefield with its challenging potholes. The 108 Greenbelt Commission has some reservations about smoothing the way for drivers, their concern being that it may encourage speeding. If indeed this should be the result, then the commission will consider the installation of speed bumps.
One other greenbelt commission project, the controversial cutting of dead and dying pines in Walker Valley by Tatton Road, is close to being resolved. A contract has been let to a broker, Westwood Fibre, which will hire someone to do the logging. In answer to concerns raised at a recent meeting, a feller-buncher will be utilized to take out the timber.
The attempt by the 108 Lions Club to establish a regular monthly vehicle buy and sell hit a bit of a speed bump when the second such event attracted only 11 sale vehicles - half as many as were on display at the inaugural event. The club will continue to try to establish the project, but is considering skipping August and holding the next one in September.
It is with sadness we report the death of long-time resident Len Kellogg. Those of us who were acquainted with Len recall a talented musician and photographer, a raconteur and a real Cariboo character who battled and overcame cancer, and whose drive, energy and curiosity to learn saw him working on advanced computer projects at an age when most of us have trouble recalling our passwords. He will be missed by members of the "mailbox mafia" and others who had the privilege of knowing him.
July 20, 2005
Camps encourage kids to be fitter
Looking for ways to keep the kids active and out from under your feet this summer? You don't have to look far. A series of fitness-oriented Exploration camps for youngsters is being offered right here on 108 Ranch. In the latter part of the school year, Murray Helmer, a teacher at Mile 108 Elementary School, applied to the Ministry of Education for a 2010 Olympic LegaciesNow grant, aimed at improving fitness levels for kids in Grades 4-7. The school has partnered with Action Fitness to initially assess the participants' fitness levels and provide staffers to teach sports skills, accompany the children on jogging, and cycling trips, and conduct co-operative games. At the end of the ten-day camps, participants will again have their fitness levels tested to measure improvement. So far, two groups have completed the camps, another commenced July 18 and may still have spots available. The final camp begins Aug. 1 and goes to the 12th. The cost is $50 for ten six-hour days. Murray Helmer can be reached at 395-5216.
The Cariboo Regional District re-zoning application public hearing that was to have taken place June 12 had to be cancelled and is rescheduled for Thursday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the 108 Community Hall. The initial hearing, regarding property on Watson Lake, was cancelled when it was learned that notices had not been sent out within the required time-frame to property owners affected by the zoning application.
Skills put to use
It has been a quiet summer so far on the fire scene. A series of nasty road mishaps has seen the 108 Volunteer Fire Department members utilize their First Responder training to good effect. Only one day after receiving their course certifications in the mail, local firefighters attending the Canada Day celebrations at the 108 Heritage Site were "thrown into the deep end in front of 200 people," Fire Chief Ian Henderson said. They raced to administer medical assistance at a highway crash nearby. Since then, the 108 VFD has attended two other crashes where the members' newly-acquired training has been utilized.
Tennis appears to be making a comeback at 108 Mile, following a few lean years. Shirley Carter reported that "a very informal club" has started a mixed doubles night Wednesdays commencing at 5 p.m. and a ladies' evening Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. Carter can be reached at 791-6220 with questions.
July 6, 2005
The 108 Lions Club's first venture into the vehicle buy-and-sell business June 26 was deemed a success, even though sellers outnumbered buyers and not a lot of transactions took place. Some 26 vehicles, ranging from trailers to motorcycles, cars, motorhomes and a dune buggy lined the 108 Comunity Hall parking lot waitng to be adopted out to good homes. The club was not discouraged by the slowish start, Lions members acknowledging that it will take time for the event to establish itself. The members expect to proceed with another buy-and-sell this month, and are confident the numbers attending will increase as word gets around.
Lions pleased with vehicle sale results
All sorts of speculation lately about possible business moves on the ranch. We have been asked not to write anything yet about one such enterprise that may or may not have a golf course attached, but we can report that the restaurant on the lake is not about to hoof it out of there. Not at this time anyway, but this could change. How's that for in-depth reporting?
Surprisingly, with all that precip, the lake levels have only nudged up slightly, according to Ann Swan, who monitors these things. Another reading is due in a few days, and that may be more reflective of the soggy days since, but it appears that snowpack and not rain is what determines the water level.
Many pairs of binoculars are being focused on 108 Lake, following the progress of the mother loon and her baby. Historically, just as it has appeared the nipper was going to make it to adulthood, he/she has disappeared in a rush of wings and a flurry of talons, borne aloft by the resident bald eagle. There appears to be a notable increase in nesting woodpeckers of various kinds, likely the result of the amount of lunch available in the form of pine beetles. Also more abundant this spring/summer, killdeer are scuttling neurotically along the greenbelt paths and performing that fake broken wing business to deflect attention from their nests. When will you realise we're on to that, ladies? Ever thought of just attacking us? Works for bears.
A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12 at the community hall for a rezoning request affecting property on Tatton Station Road owned by Scott Lang. According to the notice published in last week's Free Press, the hearing is "for the purpose of hearing all persons who beleive their interest is affected by the proposed bylaws." The request includes an application to allow commercial uses on the property such as storage and repair of planes and helicopters, a floatplane base and helicopter pad and aviation fuel service. [Update]
June 22, 2005
One of the liveliest, best attended 108 Greenbelt Commission meetings in recent memory June 13, ended with the commissioners being accorded a vote of confidence to proceed with their fuel modification plan aimed at reducing the fire hazard risk on 108 Ranch. Some 85 residents were at the 108 Community Hall to hear Chris Betuzzi (left), from the Ministry of Forests, explain the fire danger to the community while illustrating the Ministry's FireSmart Program outlining ways in which homes and properties might be made fire safe. Commission Chair Graham Allison, and Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Director, Al Richmond outlined the fuel modification plan, and Fire Chief Ian Henderson explained the 108 Volunteer Fire Department role in the program. The meeting began with an overview of the current work being done by a crew hired under a $75,000 HRDC grant to take out dead trees, thin and clean up underbrush, and generally reduce the fuel available to fire at various locations around 108 Mile. Richmond announced that application had been made for an additional grant of $10,000 to update the community fire plan which had been prepared prior to the pine beetle infestation. A number of questions directed at the various speakers throughout the evening related to wildlife concerns, the impact on the environment and wildlife resulting from burning, and the removal of apparently healthy trees, among other issues. On occasion the atmosphere became a trifle testy. Moderation prevailed and speaker after speaker, while acknowledging that these legitimate concerns should be taken into consideration by the commission in formulating its plans, thanked the commissioners for their hard work, and recommended that they continue with the plan as outlined.
Greenbelt meeting was a lively affair
The grant-starved 108 Heritage Site received some good news in the form of an HRDC grant to hire one First Nations student for the summer to undertake grounds maintenance. Applications are currently being solicited. The student must be returning to an educational institution next year.
June 8, 2005
108 Ranch beaches burnished
The Ranch Community Association director, Peg Rosen, along with other volunteer helpers, has been readying the 108 Mile beaches for the tanning season. Dale Bummer, Rick Jones, Doug Hicks, Barney Pallen and Frederic Bleidistel have all helped in one way or another to spruce up the recreation areas: grass has been trimmed, sand swept, new garbage cans installed. Rosen asks that the latter not be used for household garbage as apparently happens from time to time, and reminds owners that the beach area is off limits to dogs since fangs and excrement tend to make life unpleasant for children and other picnicking life forms. Bonfires are another issue. Given that the cool conditions are not likely to last, bonfires are out of the question illegal in fact. For this and other reasons, the main gate at the beach road off Telqua Road will be opened at 8 a.m. and closed at 9 p.m., an hour earlier than in past years.
The 108 Lions Club are hoping to move a lot of wheeled merchandise at their first ever Buy and Sell venture Sunday June 26 at 10 a.m. at the 108 Community Hall. The club is selling space in the parking lot for a nominal fee of $10 per vehicle for sellers. The term "vehicle" includes just about anything that moves and has an engine including: cars, trucks, garden tractors, motorcycles, ATVs , boats and even horse trailers. Anyone interested in booking space should contact Chris Nickless at 791-6616.
The Lions first flea market of the year, held Sunday, May 29, was "one of the best ever," according to Lion Graham Allison. The nice weather brought out a large crowd who pumped about $2,500 into the club's bank account to be used for community projects and scholarships.
No final decision yet on when and how logging will be conducted in Walker Valley, but the commission has received two bids from feller-buncher operators and has agreed to delay the cutting until after the nesting season.
Editor's note: The Free Press apologizes for inadvertantly omitting the 108 Greenbelt Commission fire meeting June 13.
May 25, 2005
The proposed logging of pine beetle killed trees at the southwest end of Walker Valley is on hold for now while the 108 Greenbelt Commission examines how it might accommodate public objections raised at a recent commission meeting. The first public meeting at the 108 Community Hall Feb. 24 saw no objections raised, and it was thought the logging would proceed as planned.
Valley logging plans on hold
(From left) Bonnie Winter, Mike Broadworth and Bob Bergen recently reviewed plans for Walker Valley logging that has been proposed by the 108 Greenbelt Commission.
Since then, however, a few individuals, who missed or were not aware of the earlier meeting, have come forward to express concerns over the way the logging was to be carried out. At the most recent commission meeting, questions were raised about the impact of logging on wildlife, including the sandhill cranes that return to the area year after year to raise their young. A suggestion was made that the logging be delayed until after the nesting season. The manner of the logging itself was queried, with suggestions that horse logging or the use of a feller-buncher be considered as ways to lesson the impact on the land. Various committee members offered their views on the proposed alternatives, while CRD Area G Director Al Richmond stressed the urgency for proceeding with the logging, noting that the area in question has been designated by the Forest Services as a high risk area in the event of fire. Mike Broadworth, Logging supervisor with West Fraser Timber, offered to lead attendees on a walk through the block in question, and on the evening of Monday, May 16, toured a group around that part of the forest. The commission is now reviewing the process in light of the objections. Another public meeting on the issue is a possibility.
While so much talk these days is of cutting trees down, the district Scouts were busy doing the opposite and planting trees. The lads planted a total of 2,000 lodgepole pine on a cutblock for West Fraser seven kilometres up Archie Meadow Road. Nice to know that what comes down also grows up.
108 Volunteer Fire Dept. practtice burn, clearing brush at West Beach
May 11, 2005
Skiers arrive, musicians depart
If the surname Buchar doesn't mean anything to you, then you're likely not a cross-country skier. Joe and Helena Buchar are North Vancouver residents who have garnered many Cariboo Marathon trophies over the years. They, and four-month-old daughter Nela are temporarily residing here while Helena completes her internship at the 100 Mile District General Hospital. Over the years, Joe has placed first overall in four Cariboo Marathons, while Helena has twice been runner-up for the fastest woman. The Buchars are greatly enjoying 108 Mile, especially the many kilometers of trails.
Todd Nickel has been busy felling trees as residents remove the beetle-infested trees from their properties
The announcement by John and Colleen Whidden that they will be leaving the community for pastures new is certainly a blow to their many friends and to the arts community in particular. The Whidden family is leaving for Alberta some time in July with Colleen enrolling in a Doctor of Music program at the University of Calgary. Colleen had her choice of universities, having been accepted at McGill and the University of Toronto among others, but opted for Calgary to be closer to family. The Whiddens have greatly enriched the local music and theatrical scene over the years, with productions such as The Mikado and the recent Trial by Jury and Joseph. In addition, Colleen has directed the hugely popular community choirs and orchestra version of Handel's Messiah. John and Colleen acknowledge that while they are looking forward to being nearer family and to accepting new challenges, "leaving our beautiful home on the 108 and our friends here will not be easy."
It's a zoo
The Brownies and their precious cargo of cookies have nothing to fear, the cougar reported a few weeks ago by a Donsleequa Road resident "was likely following the deer and has moved on," said Conservation Officer Colin Nivison. Cougar sightings are rare on the ranch, although a skier reported one on The Hills' trails a few years back. Nivison cautioned residents to reign in their dogs, making sure that they do not chase the deer. "Many of the does are pregnant at this time and do not need the added stress of being chased by dogs." There have been rumblings of a black bear sniffing around the subdivision - surely the first of many rumblings to come as the days warm. Tree stumps in some yards have been shredded by something obviously much larger and hungrier than your average termite.
Because of technical problems at the Free Press, a couple of reports were not available.
April 13, 2005
Interesting traveller stops by 108
Recently, Iditarod competitor Bill Pinkham made a brief stop at the 108 Heritage Site to water his team of Alaskan Huskies before continuing south to his home in Glenwood Springs, Colo. Pinkham, who has a dogsled business in his hometown and has competed in the race previously, completed the grueling trek in 12 days, finishing in 42nd place. The Coloradan was trying to place much higher. The exceptionally wet and soft trail conditions took its toll on the dog team, and he finished with only nine of the 16 starters. The others had to be dropped at various checkpoints suffering from exhaustion and in one case, pneumonia.
Rancher Rita Monical will tell you that she gets a kick out of herding cattle, but this was one kick she could have done without. Monical was attempting to direct a cow into the sick pen at the Monical corrals on Back Valley Road, when the cowardly beast hoofed her into a fencepost resulting in deep lacerations and a popped kneecap. Needless to say, she will not be back in the saddle anytime soon. You try to help the sick and this is the thanks you get.
Ship slidin' away
The good ship MV Lion, which looked like it had been torpedoed, has been towed ashore and is being examined by the Leos to determine what caused her to separate and to take on water. Meantime, the club has calculated that the ice went out at 5.41.24 p.m., April 1, which makes Tom Auld the winner of this year¹s Lions Ice Out competition for which he receives $100. More than 200 tickets were sold this year.
While 100 Mile has imposed a ban on all burning due in part to pollution and health concerns, there are no known plans to restrict burning on 108 Ranch. There are, however, Ministry of Forests regulations to follow regarding the size of the area to be burned, and residents are supposed to determine the smoke index for the day by calling the ministry toll-free number (1-888-797-1717) prior to burning.
If you feel that any part of the 108 Greenbelt presents a fire hazard and should be looked at, whether it be adjacent to your property or not, you may contact the Greenbelt Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org, and a commissioner will follow up on your concern.
March 30, 2005
It looks as though one of the two artistic ventures at the 108 Mall is closing down. Tucked away at the back end across from the post office, the Artist Studio and Gallery that opened in November last year to sell arts and crafts is selling off its stock. At the other end of the building, Anita Edwards' Artists' Co-operative appears to be holding its own.
It appears that the young ATV rider mentioned in the last column has chosen not to heed warnings to stay off the greenbelt, and will be receiving a visit from the bylaw enforcement officer and likely a fine. The rider was confronted on the lake trail again and apparently did not take kindly to being asked to remove himself.
Show and Sell
The 108 Lions Club are considering a fundraising project called Show and Sell wherein residents bring cars they wish to sell to a parking lot location such as at the 108 Community Hall. A number of details, such as available drivers¹ insurance, would have to be worked out before the project gets under way, but the scheme is popular elsewhere, said Lion Graham Allison. It could be a great source of revenue for the club.
Reports from dock owners indicate that the 108 and Sepa lake water levels have risen as much as six inches over the winter, which is surprising since there wasn¹t much in the way of precipitation. We won't know for sure until the ice goes out and more official measurements can be taken.
The 108's "unofficial" tennis club has been active for a few weeks now with a break here and there to shovel snow. There is no "official" club, i.e. one that enters competitions, but anyone interested is welcome to take part. Steve Neufeld is the individual to call at 791-9215.
March 16, 2005
108 Mile resident is progressing
School District No. 27 trustee and 108 resident Phil Gabel is "Doing well, his spirits are good and plans are for him to return to the community in the summer," said his wife, Dana. Gabel, who was seriously injured in an automobile crash last year, is off oxygen, no longer requires a feeding tube and has progressed to rehabilitation at the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. The family has even been able to take him outside for up to two hours to visit a small park and a nearby mall. For Gabel, the road back involves considerable re-learning, including learning to breathe with his diaphragm muscles and using different muscles in hopes of obtaining a measure of arm movement "With a spinal injury there is no clear idea of prognosis," noted Dana. The Gabel family are "amazed and impressed" by the amount of caring and support from the community. "I have seen others going through the same thing without this (support), and people are awed by the support we have received." All going well and Gabel returning here as planned this summer, he intends to remain involved with the school board, communicating with his fellow trustees via technology.
Was it plain vandalism, or does someone hold a big grudge against this community? Either way, the cutting down of the attractive 108 Ranch signs at the north and south ends of the ranch was a nasty bit of work, and the police are still seeking the perpetrator. The event, which occured overnight on Saturday, March 5, was discovered by 108 Lions Club members the following morning. It appeared that a small chainsaw had been used to do the deed. The Lions intend to re-install the signs, this time using steel.
At press time, there was still room to submit your estimates as to when the ice will go out on 108 Lake. Submissions should be made at the 108 Mall stores or the Race Trac gas station. Given the current temperatures, however, the good ship MV LION could easily be bobbing on the waves as you read. If you're still not convinced of global warming, the ice-out figures for the past three years read as follows: May, 1, 2002; April 12, 2003; April 6, 2004. Could 2005 be in March?
Twyla Whidden (left) and Aleida Whidden gave a cheer for the mild spring weather
A dogged bit of detective work by 108 Greenbelt Commission member Robbin Edwards put an end to the activities of a young ATV rider who had been ignoring the signage and ripping around the lakes trail and Walker Valley for a week or more. Bad enough that the rider left ruts on the still thawing trail, but he almost ran down a 70-year-old woman out walking who reportedly was left quite shaken by the incident. Unable to collar the driver, Edwards decided to follow his tracks around 108 Lake, eventually as far as Walker Valley, and finally to a 108 Mile residence where notice was given that there would be charges if there were a next time. Walkers, horseback riders, runners, cyclists and motorized vehicles of any kind just don't mix. That's one reason the greenbelt is off limits to the latter, other than in the winter when snowmobiles are permitted.
The local volunteers were roused from their beds early Sunday, March 6 to assist 100 Mile Fire-Rescue in fighting a barn fire at 104 Mile. Two 108 trucks were dispatched. The fire was confined to the structure itself. Fire Chief Ian Henderson reported that 11 of his crew members will be taking a first responders course at the 108 Firehall beginning next month. The firefighters will be giving up 32 hours of their weekend time to the course and are required to upgrade to CPR Level C as a prerequisite. Currently, the 108 department is in the process of re-configuiring its equipment to prepare for fighting brush fires. The ground is exceptionally dry for this time of year, noted Henderson. He reminded residents to do any yard work involving burning early and to have equipment on hand to contain it.
Peg Rosen, the Beach Committee chairperson, said that the gate by Telkwa Drive near the Main Beach will be locked until April 30 so vehicles can't use the short road leading to the beach. This is done annually to prevent the road from being torn up during spring thaw.
Cross-country skiers have been finding great conditions on area lakes and ponds. Local resident Wanda Wallace (right) and Pam Clark, from Vancouver, enjoyed 108 Lake.
Beetle wood will be logged
A few Block Drive residents attended last Wednesday's special meeting of the 108 Greenbelt Commission to learn the details of the proposed logging at the southwest corner of Walker Valley. Greenbelt Commission Chairman Graham Allison opened the proceedings by assuring residents that the cutting was necessary to stop the spread of the mountain pine beetle infestation in the area, and at the same time reduce the fire hazard potential now and in years to come. The parcel to be logged covers 13.8 hectares and will see about 20-25 logging truckloads taken out. In answer to a question from the floor, Allison said that there were no plans to log further along the valley, although there were some beetle-killed trees there. "It's mostly fir and spruce in that part of the valley, and it wouldn't be feasible to go take out any pine," he said. Mike Broadworth, logging superintendent for West Fraser Timber, explained how the logging and the cleanup afterwards would be conducted. "Because it is Greenbelt land, some of the money (from timber sales) will be used to tidy up the site afterwards," Broadworth said. Block Drive residents and other valley users will not see or hear any activity untill summer "when the ground is dry and the loggers less busy, then things will get noisy," Broadworth said.
The good ship MV (Motorless Vessel) Lion, is at its berth atop the ice on 108 Lake where it awaits your guesses as to when the ice will give way under it. Tickets are available at 108 Mall businesses. The Lions are considering utilizing some of the funds collected to provide a scholarship for a local student.
The 108 Lions Club's recent Valentine's Spaghetti Dinner was well attended. About 75 ranch pastaphiles enjoyed a fine evening of dining with entertainment provided by Cariboo Idol runner-up Candace Thibeault and Nice'n Easy.
The Ranch Community Association newsletter has a new editor. Maddi Newman has taken over from Jack Witty who initiated the publication and so ably edited it over the past three years. Newman welcomes your input, suggestions, photos.
Drivers no go
The area firefighters ice driving sessions which were to have taken place February 26 and 27th at the 108 Airport had to be cancelled because of a lack of ice on which to drive. The organizers thought they'd be pretty safe planning such an event for February, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
Mile 108 students in the Grade 7 band conducted their bottle drive Feb. 12, however they were not able to call at every residence. If anyone has bottles they would like to donate, phone Marie Allison at 791-1977 to arrange pick up.
After weeks of complaints about late or non-existent pickup service, the CRD has decided to revoke the services of Clearway Disposal and return the service to the former contractor, Central Cariboo Disposal, effective last Thursday. Phew. It was a tense standoff while it lasted. I jest.
Plans subject of meeting
The 108 Greenbelt Commission has mailed letters to some residents of Block and Gloinnzun drives and Gloinnzun Crescent inviting them to attend a special meeting of the commission Feb. 24 at the 108 Community Hall. The meeting is being held to explain plans for the logging of pine beetle-killed trees in a section of Walker Valley. The letter was sent to residents whose properties overlook the valley. According to the commission chair, Graham Allison, the area in question covers about 13.8 hectares at the southwest end of the valley near Tatton Station Road.
A Squamish-based photographer with 108 Ranch connections has had one of his photos featured in the January edition of the ski magazine Powder, showcasing 's finest photography. The photo of the Coast Mountains appears in a double page spread. Bryn Hughes is the son of Mike and Doreen Hughes of Gloinnzun Drive. He has just returned from Aspen, Colo. where he was presented with a trophy for his work.
The saga continues as the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) is still monitoring the collection situation following the Feb. 3 pickup, which saw some residences missed and the truck arrive too early for others. The contractor has been informed that the current level of service is not acceptable. Residents are asked to call Mitch Minchau, the CRD supervisor of Environmental Services, at 1-800-665-1636, or CRD Area G Director Al Richmond at 791-5477 if garbage has not been picked up by the 8 p.m.Thursday deadline.
Don't be alarmed if you see a number of fire trucks parked on the 108 Airport runway Saturday, Feb. 26 and Sunday, Feb. 27. It will only be the area firefighters taking part in winter driving practice. The session is open to all South Cariboo fire departments. A total of six trucks, three in the morning and three in the afternoon, will be maneuvering around the apron. Fire Chief Ian Henderson announced that two new volunteers have joined his squad, bringing his roster up to 27 members. While this is currently a full complement, the 108 Volunteer Fire Department encourages new applications.
The Ranch dogs were probably the only ones sorry to see two weeks accumulation of garbage off to the dump, as Clearway Disposal were finally able to negotiate roads that had been treacherous to impassable the week before. As of Friday morning Jan. 28, some streets, including Block and Eeszee drives were still awaiting collection.The reason for the delay could not be determined at press time. The decision to cancel the Jan. 20 pickup was made by Cariboo Regional District supervisory staff following inspection of area roads. "The roads were too icy and the risk too great," said CRD Director Al Richmond. School buses remained off the roads for three days, and the community bus did not operate on some days either. As to why so many side roads remained unsanded for so long, Interior Roads is the one to call, either by phone, or as mentioned previously, via the CRD Web site. It should be noted, however, that while the company was attempting to respond to luge-like road conditions all over the region, it also had to deal with flooded roads in Lac la Hache and elsewhere.
Icy roads hamper collection
Mile 108 Elementary students who are part of the area Grade 7 band will be calling at homes around the ranch Feb. 12 to relieve you of your bottles. The students are raising funds for a trip to Vancouver at the end of April to attend a performance of The Music Man. The 108ers and their counterparts from Horse Lake and 100 Mile House will themselves give a performance at a Vancouver middle school.
There is a change to the previously announced time of the 108 Lion's Club Valentine's Spaghetti Dinner Feb. 12 at the community hall. Instead of inhaling pasta at 6:30 p.m., dinner will be served an hour earlier, at 5:30 p.m. To become a Lions member, call Graham at 791-1977.
The new contractor handling refuse pickup for the 108 Ranch has been experiencing some start-up glitches. Clearway Disposal was recently awarded the contract for garbage pickup in the area when the bid came up for renewal. Unfortunately, the company experienced mechanical glitches on two different occasions, leading to delayed pickup for half the residents on the first day of operation and for everyone this past Thursday. The most recent delay resulted from hydraulics freezing. This problem has been corrected, and Clearway expects to resume regular Thursday service.
Disposal firm dealing with glitches
Nothing like the old days on the ranch when we would see as many as a half dozen creosote fires at this time of year, but the 108 Mile Volunteer Fire Department was called to attend one chimney fire on Block Drive Dec. 30 in -20 C weather. Minimal damage was done to the chimney, reported Fire Chief Ian Henderson. The 108 Mile firefighters were called out on two other occasions recently. Once to provide support for 100 Mile Fire-Rescue attending a fire in the Blackstock subdivision. It resulted in the death of a man. The temperature on that occasion was -30. A wonky smoke alarm at a Block Drive residence triggered the other call out. A quick check determined there was no fire.
The 108 Lions Club is offering a spaghetti dinner evening with entertainment Saturday, Feb. 12 at the 108 Community Hall. The evening is in honour of St. Valentine's Day which follows Monday, the 14th. Tickets are $7 at the door. Dinner gets under way at 6:30 p.m. There will be door prizes.
Area Venturers are off on another winter campout within the next two weeks. This time the boys will hike from Simon Lake, through Express Meadows to Succour Lake, where they will construct shelters using snow and if need be, tarps. Leader Mark Seilis said that the boys will overnight in the shelters provided the temperaure is not expected to drop below -20.
Interior Roads is inviting the public to comment on road conditions via the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Web site. You can compliment or complain directly to Interior Roads and they will respond.
January 5, 2005
2004: a busy year for 108 Ranch
From a 108 Mile community standpoint, 2004 was much like any year with its highs and lows, its comings and goings: a year that saw some things change and some accepted constants, such as the beauty of our surroundings under threat from fire and insect (and man, to put things in perspective.) Highs of the year included the ranch population that reportedly has climbed beyond the 3,000 mark, although it's difficult to nail down the exact figure. The real estate market picked up after a few static years resulting in quite an inflow and outflow of homeowners. A high point of the year was the recognition of the 108 Mile's Al Blannin as Citizen of the Year. Lows included the levels of the two lakes, which fell to around five centimetres off the benchmark low, recorded in November 2003.
The various 108 Mile clubs and committees had an active year. A busy pride of Lions helped move the bandstand at the 108 Heritage Site to its new location, constructed a covered bridge on the lake trail, admitted its first female member, Janet Herrick, and performed all sorts of community good deeds. Hard working member Chris Nickless was recognized as Lion of the Year by his compatriots. The Greenbelt Commission devoted much of its efforts to reducing the fire hazard, through the cutting of trees infected by pine beetle and spruce budworm, and the clearing of debris on the greenbelt. A principal role of the Ranch Community Association is the running of the community hall, a function that the members carry out with aplomb. Funds raised by Friday night bingos provide most of the money needed to keep the hall operable. A shortage of volunteers on Friday evenings is a concern, though.
While there were mercifully few house fires on the ranch, the 108 Volunteer Fire Department, headed by Chief Ian Henderson, had to be on constant alert during the exceptionally dry summer to monitor grass fires and attend some that "got away" in and around the area. The potential for a serious wildfire here was, and remains, cause for real concern. A highlight for the local VFD was the presentation of a 25-year medal and pin to the deputy fire chief, Steve Fouchier.
The Heritage Site, under the auspices of the 100 Mile and District Historical Society saw the number of visitors to the site fall by about five per cent with the drop mainly attributed to fewer U.S. travellers. On the plus side, the annual membership drive earlier in the year saw an encouraging number of new members join the society, and with the 2005 appeal going out in a few weeks to residents, the society is hoping to increase the numbers even more. Dennis Wicks, who has carried out much of the restoration work on site buildings over the years, has been awarded the contract for the log work on the chapel to be constructed on the Telqua Drive side of the acreage.
On a sadder note, the community lost some stalwart citizens over the year, including physician Dr. John McGregor, former Peter Skene Ogden Senior Secondary School principal, Joe Lewis, and retired educator and enthusiastic curler Doug MacLeod.
With the print edition of the newsletter discontinued (as a cost-saving measure), we thank Maddi Newman of KeyBoard Graphic Design for her many years' work as editor, producing a newsletter we were all proud of.
The Winter 2005 issue is now available at the following locations:
- 108 Supermarket
- 108 Post Office
- Hair Flair
- Heritage Site Gift Store
- 108 Cafe
- Hair Flair
- Hoof & Harness
- The Post House
- Rac Trac Gas
- The Hills
- Wheel Room
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