LOOKBACK: ‘House of ill fame’ busted

A piece of sand at Sylvan Lake Provincial Park beach was hard to come by. The lake level had risen to 937.09 metres above sea level, eliminating most of the beach.

Shaun Behuncik poses with life-sized cardboard cut-out of Bernie

ONE YEAR AGO

• A piece of sand at Sylvan Lake Provincial Park beach was hard to come by. The lake level had risen to 937.09 metres above sea level, eliminating most of the beach. “For a year that was actually higher (than today), we’d have to go all the way back to 1955,” said hydrologist Terry Chamulak of Alberta Environment.

• A former police officer was offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of vandals who damaged at least three vehicles his Deer Park neighbourhood. “I know it’s really difficult for police to do anything about it,” said John Van Mulligen, a former member of the Red Deer RCMP Forensic Identification Section. Van Mulligen was working in his front yard on Friday morning, but moved to the backyard briefly around 10:30 a.m.

He returned to find the back window of his truck smashed.

FIVE YEARS AGO

• Red Deer officials unveiled a mural mounted on the side of the Central Block (5000 Gaetz Avenue). Designed by artist David More and painted by Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School students, the mural was a rendition of a 1912 photograph of ladies shopping on Gaetz Avenue.

• The Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary celebrated its 80th birthday. It was Alberta’s oldest federal migratory bird sanctuary where 188 species of birds had been documented. Fowl nest there in the spring and stop to refuel during their fall migration.

10 YEARS AGO

• At a time when public schools were closing, the Red Deer Catholic system was desperately looking for more space. Consultants reported the school system needed room for about 1,000 more students.

• Plans were finally unveiled for the proposed leisure centre in the southeast corner of the city. The facility was proposed to contain two soccer pitches that could also be used for other sports, an NHL-sized ice surface and a gymnastics centre.

25 YEARS AGO

• Tardy book borrowers might have found themselves in court if a bylaw considered by the Red Deer Public Library gained approval. The recommended bylaw would allow the library to take people with more than $50 in overdue fines to small claims court. “Other libraries are in the process of passing bylaws like this in order to be able to take legal action,” said director John Gishler.

• On the Chinese calendar it was the Year of the Rat. But in Red Deer, it was the Year of the Bowler. That point was driven home when Canadian bowling champion Bev Meyer was named winner of The Advocate’s athlete of the year award. The award, presented annually since 1961, was based on a person’s accomplishments from May to May each year. “One simply couldn’t overlook her accomplishment on the national level,” said Advocate Sports editor Don Drummond in making the announcement.

50 YEARS AGO

• Red Deer city and rural telephone subscribers were the first in Alberta to be placed on the automatic long-distance dialling system, members in the Red Deer Mutual Telephone Company were told at a special meeting in the IOOF Hall on Friday. About 50 of the company’s shareholders met to hear details at the proposed change-over and authorize their directors to proceed with the plan.

• Red Deer was no exception in the election blitz Thursday that swept the Social Credit party back into power with a record landslide of votes that all but wiped out the Opposition. Elected in Red Deer was William Ure, Social Credit who defeated J.C. Kirby, Progressive Conservative party leader, and Red Deer member since 1954.

90 YEARS AGO

• The directors of the Red Deer Agricultural Society spent five hours at the Fair grounds pushing ahead arrangements for the Red Deer “Victory” Fair of 1919. It was decided that no entry fees would be charged in the children’s classes and that special tickets for free entrance to the Fair for boys and girls under 12 be sent out to the schools of the district and city. It was decided that general admission to the grandstand and padlock enclosure would be 50 cents and 25 cents for boys and girls under 14. The charge for parking cars would be 50 cents.

100 YEARS AGO

• Police charged a man named Jessie Shepherd with selling liquor without a licence and keeping “a house of ill fame.” They also charged a woman named Lilian St. Clair with being an inmate of that house. Both admitted their guilt in court. He was fined $55. She was fined $5.

• A Calgary Albertan reporter described Red Deer as “beautiful, picturesque and strategic.” He lauded the community’s agricultural and industrial prospects, and its “superior municipal methods.”

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