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The year in review – a look back at 2012, January to April

Top left: A house fire in Fernridge early in the year caused about $150,000 in damage to the home (Tricia Leslie photo); top right: Jenna Robson feeds a chickadee by hand at Campbell Valley Park last January, while (bottom left) another bird eyes a pile of seeds on the snowy ground; bottom right, from left to right: Vaughn Schenk, 7, and brothers Jeremy Roersma, 8, and Nicholas Roersma play in a pile of old Christmas trees brought to the Safeway parking lot New Year’s Day for the Scouts tree chipping event.   - Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times
Top left: A house fire in Fernridge early in the year caused about $150,000 in damage to the home (Tricia Leslie photo); top right: Jenna Robson feeds a chickadee by hand at Campbell Valley Park last January, while (bottom left) another bird eyes a pile of seeds on the snowy ground; bottom right, from left to right: Vaughn Schenk, 7, and brothers Jeremy Roersma, 8, and Nicholas Roersma play in a pile of old Christmas trees brought to the Safeway parking lot New Year’s Day for the Scouts tree chipping event.
— image credit: Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times

With the New Year almost upon us, it is time once again to take a look back at the year that was. Below is a selection of the top stories reported in the Langley Times in 2012.

January

The Albion ferries, made obsolete by the Goldens Ears Bridge, which had been languishing at a dock in Maple Ridge for more than two years were finally sold.

The MV Kulleet and the MV Klatawa were sold for $400,000 to Tidal Towing, a Port Coquitlam-based marine transport company.

The ferries crossed the Fraser River between Maple Ridge and Fort Langley for 50 years until 2009 when the Golden Ears Bridge opened.

•••

A derelict house located across the street from the Fort Langley Community Hall at 9166 Glover Road was demolished.

Although the house, built in the 1940s, was located in the Fort Langley Heritage Conservation Area, the Township granted a heritage alteration permit to have it taken down on the grounds that it was in need of significant repairs and did not represent the heritage of Fort Langley.

•••

Five paintings were stolen from Country Lane Antiques in Fort Langley during a break-in on Jan. 1. Someone smashed in a window to gain entry to the store and fled before police could arrive. The thief stole three Al Colton paintings, a piece by Jack Turpin and a limited-edtion Alan Wylie, one of 25 prints. This was the first break-in at Country Lane since it opened six years ago.

•••

The world’s best curlers battled it out at the Langley Events Centre for the eight annual World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling from Jan. 12 to 15. More than 20,000 spectators came out to watch six teams, both men’s and women’s, from North America versus six from the rest of the world compete in a unique curling format. Over four days the teams squared off in regular team games, mixed doubles, singles, mixed skins and skins games. Team World won the Cup 235-135.

•••

Two motorists, one of them a police officer, jumped out of their vehicles and ran to the aid of a young woman trapped in a white Honda Accord that was struck by a red Ford F350 pickup in the intersection of Fraser Highway and 203 Street.

The crash happened at about 3 p.m. on Jan. 10. Langley City firefighters used the Jaws of Life to lift away the buckled door and frame to free the trapped 19-year-old Langley woman, who police say suffered life-threatening injuries. She was transported to hospital by Air Ambulance.

•••

Two decades after he molested two young boys in Langley, 54-year-old Peter Littleboy received a conditional sentence of two years less a day plus another two years on parole. Both of the victims have struggled with the emotional fallout from what happened between 1989 and 1992, they said in Surrey Provincial Court. The two men were 11 and 12 at the time.

•••

Langley teen Kato Burgess, 16, died on Jan. 15 after taking ecstasy with friends the night before.

The Facebook page In Loving Memory of Kato Burgess mourned his death and was full of testimonials, tributes, links to songs, news stories and even advice about choosing your friends wisely and not doing drugs. Burgess was the sixth ecstasy-related death in B.C. in six months.

•••

Close to 7,000 residents of the City and Township signed petitions asking the two councils to commission a study about the merits and drawbacks of Langley reunification. The signed petitions were delivered to the respective city halls on Jan. 17. The petitions requested the two councils work together and commission “an independent study of the feasibility of reunification as one municipality.” The City of Langley dismissed the petition, saying when it comes to amalgamation, most often the bad outweighs the good. “I’ve said we don’t see a need (for a Langley-specific report) because a number of studies have already been done,” City Mayor Peter Fassbender said.

•••

Saying he didn’t believe the testimony of Brent Parent, a B.C. Supreme Court judge convicted the 42-year-old Langley man of three road-rage-related charges in the death of Silas O’Brien, 21, of Abbotsford on March 13, 2008. Parent, who was driving a diesel Ford F350, became enraged when he thought that the Chevy Silverado O’Brien was riding in had deliberately flashed its high beams at him.

He forced the pickup carrying O’Brien and his friends off the road and into a ditch, then returned to the scene where O’Brien was run down and killed. Parent was sentenced to five years in prison and a 12 year driving ban in May.

•••

The Langley All-Stars baseball team toured Uganda for a special tournament. Langley, the Canadian Little League champions, is made up of 11, 12 and 13-year-old baseball players. The team was supposed to face Uganda in the opener of the Little League World Series in August, 2011, but the Ugandan players were denied visas to enter the United States, due to discrepancies in their paperwork. After hearing about their plight, Vancouver’s Ruth Hoffman came up with the idea to send the Langley team to Uganda. It was organized by Right To Play, a humanitarian non-profit organization. Uganda beat Langley 2-1 when they played, and the other two games saw the teams mix their players.

February

On Feb. 3, Nico Pike was walking home from school on 29 Avenue in Aldergrove when he found himself in the path of a pickup truck driven by a local mother. He sustained several injuries and was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. There was an outpouring of financial and moral support for the Pike family in the community, along with a growling clamour for improvements to pedestrian safety on 29 Avenue.

•••

Surrey man Steven Fayant, 19, was charged with aggregated assault for the stabbing of a 41-year-old Langley man, who was getting off the bus near Aldergrove Centre Mall on Feb. 21. Fayant is also charged with assault in connection with strangling a Surrey bus driver on Feb. 18. He pleaded guilty to both incidents in October.

March

It was a cold and wet start for teachers who began striking outside Langley schools on the morning of March 5. Langley’s 1,500 teachers walked off the job after talks failed between B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government. On March 7, teachers donning placards and wearing the anti-bullying colour of pink, lined both sides of 200 Street in demonstration.

•••

Korey Kelly, 25, was shot multiple times while trying to rip off a marijuana grow op in rural Aldergrove on March 9. Several people were arrested for the cultivation of the grow operation. Kelly, a Surrey resident with an extensive criminal record, died on the way to hospital.

•••

A cold-blooded killer who hid out at a Fort Langley home in January 2008, was spared the death penalty because of a cross-border extradition deal that made the U.S. promise to spare his life from lethal injection. On March 15, a jury in Sacramento, California took less than three hours to find fugitive Arthur Carnes, 40, guilty of first degree murder in the dismembering death of Matthew Alan Seybert, 41. He was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison later in April.

•••

The campaign contributions for the November, 2011 municipal election were released, showing that the three-way race for the mayor’s chair on Township council was the most expensive mayor’s race in Township history. More than $240,000 was spent by candidates Jack Froese, Mel Kositsky and Rick Green.

The Vote Langley Now slate put together by incumbent Green spent $87,569, and Green himself spent another $8,800 on his own campaign.

He came third with 4,466 votes. Froese, the newcomer who won the election with 7,706 votes, spent $79,533, while longtime councillor Mel Kositsky, who finished second with 6,522 votes spent $70,246.

•••

Saying he had “extreme difficulty” with the testimony of former Langley vet Mark Marohn, Surrey Provincial Court Judge Reginald Harris ruled that Marohn was using an emaciated former racehorse to tow a car from a ditch on Dec. 10, 2008. Judge Harris found Marohn guilty of two animal abuse charges on March 28, one of neglect and one of permitting animals to be in distress.

He was sentenced to two years probation and 150 hours of community service in May.

•••

The father of Alvin Wright still had many unanswered questions after the four-day coroner’s inquest into the police shooting death of his 22-year-old son concluded with seven strong recommendations to the RCMP on how to precent future deaths.

A police shooting death took place in August, 2010, when Langley RCMP attended a “domestic” 911 call at the Wright townhome in Langley City. Some of the highlights of the verdict included recommending police involved in a shooting have to make a recorded or written statement within 24 hours of the incident and then again in 72 hours.

April

It was more than four years in the making, and on April 2 Township Mayor Jack Froese along with RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke inked a new 20-year contract with the federal policing agency. With the new contract, municipalities have more say about policing costs and budgeting. And if a municipality is really unhappy with RCMP services, there are easier ways to opt out.

•••

Walnut Grove’s Ashley Bull was honoured as the recipient of the 2012 Pete Swensson outstanding community youth award on April 5. She beat out six other outstanding nominees from high schools throughout Langley and Aldergrove. The award is in recognition of a student’s athletic, scholastic and community efforts.

•••

It promises to be a place where Jay Gatsby would have felt right at home. On April 19 the City of Langley unveiled plans for a new 15-storey mixed commercial/condominium development, designed on a 1920’s theme. Construction is scheduled to begin on Charleston Place in Spring, 2013, on what is currently the site of China Beach night club at 203 Street and Industrial Avenue. It will include six floors of commercial space, topped with a roof garden and 46 residential units.

•••

A 24-year-veteran of the RCMP was suspended from duty and faced a charge of careless use of a firearm, after Langley Mounties responded to a call of shots fired around 9 p.m. on March. 29. Const. Michael Roe, 46, was arrested without incident outside his Langley home and his duty pistol was siezed. Roe was off duty when a number of shots were fired from his duty pistol into the wall of his residence. His wife and children were home at the time, but no one was injured.

 

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