The Williams Lake Police Dog Services and detachment members visit Mountview Elementary School to discuss Pink Shirt Day in March. Photo submitted

YEAR IN REVIEW: March

Dark Times a bright light in the lakecity’s downtown

March 6

It was standing room only at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre Friday night, March 2, where music fans showed their love and appreciation for Drum and Bell Tower’s Brent Morton, who helped kick off the first-ever Dark Times Festival.

The festival, the vision of local musician and producer Brandon Hoffman, was hosted by the Arts on the Fly music festival as a way to beat the winter blues, and also to make up for the fact that the summer of 2017’s Arts on the Fly was cancelled due to wildfires.

As Morton gave what was expected to be his last local performance ever as Drum and Bell Tower at the event, he apologized for not having any dance music in his mix. No sooner had he said that, did the crowd jump up and gently toss aside their chairs and start dancing, unable to resist the beat of the music.

Anyone who was downtown during the event could see concert goers walking between the four downtown venues lit with live music; the Central Cariboo Arts Centre, the Limelight, the Bean Counter and the Gecko Tree.

The festival saw about 50 performers take part and 50 volunteers help out, supported by 260 ticket buyers.

Williams Lake’s only walk-in clinic opens doors

March 7

Williams Lake has a walk-in clinic after being without one for several years.

The brainchild of emergency doctor Johann Schreve and his wife Suzanne, the clinic opened its doors Monday, March 5, in a convenient location in the 400 block of Borland Street.

“I worked in Atwood Clinic and then gave up my practice and went to emergency last year,” he said, noting after his year in the emergency department he knew the community could benefit from having a walk-in clinic.

READ MORE: Williams Lake’s only walk-in clinic opens doors

There are three reasons they opened the clinic.

They wanted to give people another choice, waiting times in the emergency department are too long and he missed general practitioner work.

Community saddened by news of David Jeff’s death

March 13

It was the ending many people feared.

RCMP confirmed Tuesday, March 13, the body discovered last week at a pulp mill in Kamloops along the Thompson River was that of Williams Lake wildfire evacuee David Jeff, reported missing since August.

On Wednesday, March 7 at 3 p.m. ­— eight months after Jeff was last seen at the Kamloops emergency reception centre — Domtar pulp mill employees reported they found a body in one of the settling ponds on site at Mission Flats Road.

Police had launched a search for 67-year-old Jeff in the months following his disappearance, which was assisted by the community of Esk’etemc First Nation under the leadership of Chief Charlene Belleau in October.

Belleau and 60 others from the Cariboo Chilcotin did a mass search in Kamloops and then went on to look for Jeff in Kelowna, also, because there had been a possible sighting of him there.

Jeff was a member of the Alexis Creek First Nation but was a regular fixture in the city of Williams Lake for many years, often seen walking with his guitar.

Chief Otis Guichon Sr. said he heard of Jeff’s death just before midnight Monday when he received a text from Jeff’s sister Lila Casey letting him know the news.

“I was saddened to hear it, but for the family’s sake I know it’s important that he’s been found,” Guichon said.

Guichon was younger than Jeff but knew him growing up, he said.

“Ever since he went missing, I’ve been missing seeing him around Williams Lake,” he added. “If I was in town for business and I saw him, I’d stop and visit with him. I think he was fine in Williams Lake, but I guess not in another city.”

Williams Lake chief administrative officer Milo MacDonald said Jeff is the person he always thinks of when the City discusses the need for housing, the need to support mental health initiatives, the need to support seniors and the need to focus on giving youth the tools to avoid addiction.

“There are so many great groups in town both governmental and non-governmental that provide this safety net and although David’s story is a sad story, I feel like we are hearing fewer sad stories,” MacDonald added.

Funding talks on the agenda for Mt. Timothy Ski Area directors meeting

March 21

Despite raising $86,000 in crowdfunding prior to starting the season, the Mt. Timothy Ski Society board of directors were still seeking solutions to make ends meet moving forward.

“We’re scared stiff that the mountain’s on that very shaky foundation, and what we’d like to do is get it a foundation to sit on,” said MTSS president Michael Kidston, who recently stepped in to replace past president Ryan Wonnacott after he cited busy work and family commitments as his reasons for stepping down.

Kidston said the hill’s board of directors is meeting with local and provincial government officials this week, to look at consistent funding possibilities for the future.

“We’re looking to find some sort of base funding through the regional district recreation tax,” he said. “And since we’re outside the [100 Mile and Williams Lake] tax area we’re trying to figure out how do we make this happen.”

History made as Timberwolves win provincial championship on home ice

March 25

It couldn’t have ended a better way.

With 1:51 left in overtime, the Williams Lake Midget Female Timberwolves made history Sunday night, March 25 in the lakecity as Anya Levermann lit the lamp on a breakaway to give the T-wolves a 4-3 overtime victory over the Tri Cities Predators of the Lower Mainland in the gold-medal game of the BC Midget Female Provincial Championships.

The game winner sent the 750-plus in attendance bananas, while tears of joy from the Timberwolves flooded the ice in rink one at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex as they became the first female hockey team from Williams Lake to claim a provincial championship banner.

“Our motto heading in — whoever works the hardest, whoever works the longest,” Timberwolves head coach Roy Call said following the win. “Just an outstanding game. We started this Aug. 25, we finished March 25, and I’m just so proud of the kids. It’s been a great group, and it’s been a pleasure.”

READ MORE: Timberwolves claim provincial hockey gold

The provincial championship win was the first for a Williams Lake team since Carey Price and his Williams Lake Midget Timberwolves squad claimed the banner in 2003.

“We just can’t thank the community enough,” Call said. “From everything it’s been through, the wildfires, just a unbelievable effort by the whole town, and what a great year. I just can’t say enough.”

Prime Minister Trudeau formally exonerates Tsilhqot’in war chiefs

March 26

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially exonerated six Tsilhqot’in chiefs in the House of Commons Monday, March 26, in a historic apology to the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

“As much as it is in our power to do so we must right the wrongs of the past and so, as an important symbol of our reconciliation, we confirm, without reservation that Chief Lhats’as?in; Chief Biyil; Chief Tellot; Chief Tahpitt; Chief Chayses; and Chief Ahan are fully exonerated of any crime or wrongdoing,” said Trudeau, in a statement to the house and the delegation of Tsilhqot’in chiefs and leaders present.

“We recognize that these six chiefs were leaders of a nation; that they acted in accordance with their laws and traditions; and that they are well regarded as heroes of their people.”

The six chiefs defended the Tsilhqot’in territory in 1864 when a road crew, sent by the colonial government, entered the territory without permission of the Tsilhqot’in leadership.

Trudeau also announced that he was looking forward to visiting the declared title lands of the Tsilhqot’in Nation in the fall, to deliver the statement of exoneration directly to the Tsilhqot’in people “who have fought so long and so hard to have the commitment and sacrifice of their war chiefs recognized.”

Coy Cup opens in lakecity

March 27

The Williams Lake Stampeders began their quest for a fourth Coy Cup Senior Men’s AA Hockey Championship Tuesday, March 27 in the lakecity.

The Central Interior Hockey League Stamps hosted the CIHL playoff champions, the Terrace River Kings, the Dawson Creek Canucks and the Kelowna Sparta in the tournament, which began at 5 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex with the opener between the Sparta and the Canucks

The Stampeders won its first Coy Cup in 2009, followed by back-to-back victories of the storied trophy in 2013 and 2014.


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David Jeff, 67, seen here in September 2016 at Boitanio Park in Williams Lake is still reported missing. Angie Mindus photo

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