LOOKBACK: Industrial School students skip classes

Rocky Agricultural Stampede Association suffered a severe setback due to a fire at its rodeo grounds. The fire destroyed the only building on the grounds, containing the announcer’s booth, VIP seating, and storage space.

These children are just part of the 120-member cast waiting to perform in the spring musical Clowns at Normadeau Elementary School. The cast and choirs are drawn from the school choir.

ONE YEAR AGO

• Rocky Agricultural Stampede Association suffered a severe setback due to a fire at its rodeo grounds. The fire destroyed the only building on the grounds, containing the announcer’s booth, VIP seating, and storage space. The association’s annual event — Rocky Rodeo Pros Out West — was about a month away.

• Long-time environmental activist Martha Kostuch, who helped reduce air emissions in Alberta and changed the way government drafts environmental policy, died. The 58-year-old retired veterinarian from the Rocky Mountain House area had been suffering from a rare but fast-progressing neurological condition called multiple system atrophy.

FIVE YEARS AGO

• Red Deer Mayor Gail Surkan announced she would not seek a fifth consecutive term in the fall, ending an 18-year career in city politics. Surkan, 56, broke down as she thanked her husband Roger Surkan for supporting her through six years as councillor and 12 years as mayor.

• CollegeSide, a 110-bed extended care facility built on the grounds of Red Deer College, opened its doors to the public. The spacious $17-million facility included instructional space for college health-care students.

10 YEARS AGO

• The Phelan Block began its transformation from a cockroach-infested flop house to a modern office building. New owner Andy Buruma had the building gutted, fumigated and disinfected before proceeding with renovations.

• Work began on a new $21,000 shake roof for the Cronquist House, a major Red Deer historical landmark.

25 YEARS AGO

• A man suspected of numerous unsolved indecent exposure was believed to be back on the job again, RCMP said. Staff Sgt. Wayne Hutmacher said the same culprit was believed responsible for two indecent exposures in the Kin Canyon. Police were seeking the public’s assistance in tracking him down.

• Metric measurement took second billing in some food store displays and advertisements in the West as retailers appeared unsure about its future.

Woodward’s food floors in Alberta and B.C. began listing imperial ahead of metric in ads including its Red Deer store.

50 YEARS AGO

• One of the largest landscaping projects every undertaken by the city of Red Deer started along Spruce Drive hill and the adjoining Kinsmen’s club slide area above Rotary Park. An estimated 5,000 tons of dirt was spread in the area at the rate of about one hundred loads a day prior to the snow storm. In addition, the slopes around the large water reservoir at the top of the hill were to be landscaped and planted to grass.

• Continuing the steady increase noted each year, the population of the city of Red Deer stood at 17,593 according to the latest census completed. This total was announced by City Clerk F. A. Amy after tabulation of returns from 15 enumerators who had been covering the city since the first of April. The total was up 1,092 persons from the year before.

90 YEARS AGO

• Arthur Catkins, of Clive, was committed for trial by B.W. Allen, J.P., on a charge of stealing grain from J. Duncan, Rocky Mountain House. Catkins had been working with his team at one of the camps west of Rocky Mountain House, and in setting out for home, filled his wagon box with Duncan’s grain. The A.P.P. traced up the theft and found that the grain had been sold at Lacombe.

• Peter Dongean, Belgian miner, was committed for trial by B.W. Allen, J.P. at Rocky Mountain House, on a charge of seducing a girl of 17, who lived on an adjoining homestead, also owned by a miner. There appears to have been some trouble between the father and the prisoner over the girl, the father objecting to Dongean as a suitor for his daughter.

100 YEARS AGO

• Snow fell on Red Deer despite spring having arrived several weeks previously. Urban folks grumbled about it while farmers expressed appreciation for the moisture.

• A report from the principal of the local Indian Industrial School declared the operation of the institution a success in every way, except that students had a tendency not to show up for classes.

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