Bus passengers terrorized in 2003

Stories gleaned from past issues of the Red Deer Advocate

ONE YEAR AGO

• Brue Blackmore could only watch in shock as dozens of firefighters battled the massive blaze at his business. Bruce’s True Value Hardware in Ponoka went up in smoke at about noon. The fire also threatened to spread to the adjacent Royal Hotel.

• A Ponoka-area couple who discovered gas in their tap water quickly learned the Alberta government wasn’t about to take their side against oil companies. “(The provincial government) has all the power to do something about it, but they don’t act on it. They’re afraid,” said Ronalie Cambell after going public with her water problems.

FIVE YEARS AGO

• It only took two plebiscites and five years of court challenges, but VLTs were finally on their way out of Lacombe. Bar owners finally gave up their lengthy court battle that started after Lacombe residents voted on having VLTs removed from the town in 1997 and 1998.

• A bus driver was injured and nine special needs students “terrorized” when a dozen teenagers swarmed a small school bus in Red Deer. A mob of shouting teens began pounding on windows and rocking the bus after it stopped at an intersection.

10 YEARS AGO

• A training drill turned real as a Canadian Armed Forces search and rescue technician broke both legs in a training jump near Red Deer. The master corporal fell the last eight metres of his jump after failing to execute a turn.

• A haze settled in on Red Deer, providing beautiful sunsets but poor breathing, as smoke from forest fires drifted over vast tracts of the province.

25 YEARS AGO

• Days after Red Deer MLA Jim McPherson said he would oppose a prison being built in Red Deer but would support a small remand centre, the province announced it would build an $11-million, 100-bed remand centre and jail on the site of the downtown Red Deer liquor store.

• Allan Morse, manager of A Touch of Class Escort Agency of Medicine Hat, asserted he would open an agency in Red Deer without paying the $5,000 licence fee, or asking the escorts to pay the personal licensing fee. He said his legal advice was that the bylaw was invalid, and he would sue the city if it tried to stop him.

50 YEARS AGO

• Another busy construction season began on Hwy 2. Three companies started operations between Red Deer and Innisfail, and the highways department called for tenders for asphalt work to Lacombe and south of Innisfail.

• Five briefs covering a multitude of subjects ranging from driver education in schools and he advantage of composite and three-term system to a plea for decentralization were presented to the Cameron Royal Commission on Education during its one-day stop in Red Deer.

90 YEARS AGO

• A Boys’ and Girls’ Club for raising pigs was formed. Headed by the principal of the Olds School of Agriculture, 49 boys and girls aged 12 and older from country schools around Red Deer signed up to buy and raise two weanling pigs, with an insurance fund to cover any losses.

• In provincial court, George Wetzel was committed to trial for sedition, having spread the teachings of the International Association of Bible Students about the infidelity of Britain and France. Also, G.C. Laplante, “a half breed, of no particular place of residence,” pleaded guilty to stealing a team of horses and issuing bad cheques, and was sentenced to five years in the pen.

100 YEARS AGO

• The CPR removed all doubt that it intended to make Red Deer a divisional point. The railway company said it was planning to spend $130,000 to $150,000 to build the necessary terminal facilities and a new bridge.

• The Calgary Fair committee met in council chambers and it was evident that Red Deer could put up a crack exhibit focusing on mixed farming followed by building materials information. The advertising committee wanted 5,000, 32-page folders which it said would cost $1,000 to $1,200.

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