News

2012 — the year in review, May to August

Top : Fort Langley’s Marina Park was closed in June from excessive flooding of the Fraser River; middle left: Kayden Watson takes a tumble while mutton busting at the Langley Riders Society’s Little Britches Rodeo in June; bottom left: Many colourful performers took the stage at the 12th annual Langley International Festival in August; bottom right: Dancer William Visser Whitebuffalo Whiskeyjack takes part in Kwantlen First Nation’s second annual traditional powwow in August.     - Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times
Top : Fort Langley’s Marina Park was closed in June from excessive flooding of the Fraser River; middle left: Kayden Watson takes a tumble while mutton busting at the Langley Riders Society’s Little Britches Rodeo in June; bottom left: Many colourful performers took the stage at the 12th annual Langley International Festival in August; bottom right: Dancer William Visser Whitebuffalo Whiskeyjack takes part in Kwantlen First Nation’s second annual traditional powwow in August.
— image credit: Miranda GATHERCOLE/Langley Times

With the New Year 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 Times in 2012.

May

The streets and pathways of Langley were trod by thousands of walkers as residents celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Langley Walk on May 6. Organizers surpassed their goal of 2,012 walkers with more than 2,100 making either a five or seven km trek from McLeod Athletic Park, through the Derek Doubleday Arboretum and Nicomekl Park, and back to McLeod Park. The walk was created 50 years ago by Pete Swensson, the parks and recreation director of the Township at the time. He wanted to host a walk to promote healthy living and family fun. It was the first of its kind in North America, and remains one of the only free walks not attached to a fundraiser.

* * *

Dancer Lauren Tokiwa won the second annual Langley Has Talent competition. Tokiwa, who also took part in last year’s competition, earned the honour, along with a cheque for $2,500 and first choice from a series of prize packages for her jazz dance routine to Drive All Night by Need to Breathe. Second place (and $1,500) went to singer Jillian Mandy while Cassandra Cavalli took third place and a cash prize of $1,000. Proceeds from the competition will be used to help build a legacy fund toward the construction of a performing arts centre.

* * *

An agreement was signed for a new $13.8 million school on the northeast corner of 77A Avenue and 209 Street. The new school will accommodate up to 510 students from Kindergarten to Grade 7. It is scheduled to open in September, 2013. In December,  the Board of Education named the school after former teacher and superintendent Richard Bulpitt.

* * *

Dozens of protesters gathered on 200 Street outside the Langley Events Centre on May 11 in a boisterous two-hour protest of B.C. Hydro’s smart meter program. The protesters waved placards and banners and were shown support from hundreds of drivers who honked their horns and gave them thumbs up. The protestors believe the smart meters are hazardous to health and pollute homes.

* * *

It’s up to the provincial government and WorkSafe BC on whether it will implement some or all 15 recommendations a coroner’s jury made to help prevent future deaths of mushroom farm workers. The inquest examined a workplace accident in September 2008, when three mushroom composting farm workers were killed and two permanently injured while trying to unclog a pipe in a confined space.

Recommendations included requiring each farm worker to receive two days of health and safety training, posting signage about safety in the language of the workers and for the government to strengthen penalties to deter employers from putting workers at risk.

* * *

The Metro Vancouver board of directors wanted to quash a bylaw that rezoned land for Trinity Western University’s university district. They claim the bylaw didn’t conform to the Regional Growth Strategy and the bylaw does not comply with Langley’s own regional context statement. The bylaw, adopted in April, amends the Rural Plan by adding provisions for a ‘univeristy district’ at 7645 and 7679 Glover Rd., and 22423 Labonte Cres.

* * *

A Fort Langley sushi restaurant sustained $150,000 in damages from a fire which investigators believe was deliberately set. Iron Chef Sushi Ichi, at 9145 Glover Road, was temporarily closed following the blaze on May 27.

* * *

The Langley Board of Education selected acting superintendent Suzanne Hoffman to fill the vacant position of superintendent of schools and CEO. The board made the announcement on May 28, explaining that Hoffman impressed everybody since taking on the role of acting superintendent five months earlier, when Cheryle Beaumont was fired by the board.

June

Langley’s “Scooter Man,” 93-year-old Cliff Steele passed away on June 8. For the past five years the spry senior had been quietly buying used scooters and electric wheelchairs and fixing them up to give to people in need, for free, with no strings attached.

* * *

Langley’s ‘Dean of Art’ Al Colton passed away in his sleep on June 7 at Langley Memorial Hospital. The 90-year-old painter, whose images have hung everywhere from the Langley Centennial Museum to the National Gallery in Ottawa, found much of his inspiration in the history and natural beauty of the region, often painting local heritage buildings and landscapes in his distinctively colourful impressionist style.

Toots Tucker and David Esworthy were chosen as Langley’s Seniors of the Year in June. Tucker was chosen for her many contributions to the community, including service to the Langley Heritage Society, Fort Langley Museum, Langley Garden Club, blood donor clinic, the Cancer Society, Operation Red Nose, Langley Field Naturalists, Salvation Army, Emergency Social Services, and Sharon United Church.

Esworthy, who was later inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in September as a builder of equestrian sport, has also made many contributions to the community. He holds or has held positions with the Vancouver Board of Trade, World Trade Committee, B.C. Fire Chiefs Association, B.C. Transplant Society, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, and the Justice Institute of B.C. Foundation. He is a former president of Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and chaired the Langley Spirit of B.C. committee.

* * *

The Edmonton man accused of killing three armoured vehicle guards and critically injuring another was held in custody at the Langley RCMP detachment after being arrested at the Aldergrove border crossing on June 16. Travis Baumgartner, 21, was accused of shooting four of his co-workers who were putting cash into an ATM machine at the University of Alberta. He apparently had $330,000 cash with him when he was arrested.

* * *

A time capsule was buried in the earth beneath the entrance of the new Lee’s Market IGA building in Fort Langley on June 16. A copy of the Fort Langley Villager Magazine, printouts and newspaper clips documenting the IGA’s history, a badge from the fire department, a business card from Mayor Jack Froese and many other items were placed in the time capsule. Concrete for the floor was poured two days later, securely locking the time capsule away for possibly 100 years or more.

* * *

Two people were killed in a shooting at a rural home on Glover Road on June 23. Gordon Spencer, 27, was found dead at the scene and Bruce Mayo, 25, died in hospital the next day. Five people were arrested at the scene, all between the ages of 17 to 22.

Around 2:30 a.m. on June 23, Langley RCMP were called to a domestic dispute at the Milner home. When they arrived, five people were standing outside and the inside of the house was heavily doused with bear spray. The home later burned down in July.

* * *

The Township of Langley put 147 residences, farms and businesses in Glen Valley, Northwest Langley, Brae Island and McMillan Island on evacuation alert as high water levels in the Fraser River caused it to flood. No evacuation orders were issued, but many low-lying roads, Fort Langley’s Marina Park and the boat launch were all closed.

* * *

Glen Valley residents rallied to save 21 acres of forested property near 252 Street and 84 Avenue from being sold by the Township. The Township, which acquired the land in the 1930s, was selling the land to help pay for the Aldergrove Elementary School site on Fraser Highway for a future community centre. Residents argued that the land’s 80 to 100-year-old conifer trees was too precious to give up and should be reserved for future generations to enjoy.

* * *

Betty McClurg, longtime executive director of Langley Family Services, passed away on June 24 at the age of 80. She was a very active member of the Langley community in her 16 years as executive director of the social services agency from 1980 to 1996. She was also a school trustee in Surrey in the 1970s.

July

A 42-year-old Langley woman was taken to hospital in critical but stable condition  after being struck by a pickup truck while walking in a marked crosswalk on 200 Street at 53 Avenue. The driver of the truck stayed at the scene. The victim was transported via air ambulance and police said she suffered head injuries when she was hit.

*  *  *

A 35-year-old Langley man was in critical condition in hospital after crashing a mini-bike and sliding into a parked car. Police said the man wasn’t wearing a helmet and alcohol may have played a role in the crash.

*  *  *

A 22-year-old Aldergrove man faced extradition to Australia to face sentencing for his alleged part in smuggling thousands of ecstasy pills inside a Playstation console in 2008. According to Provincial Court documents, Tyson Saviro Santolla allegedly flew home to Canada a week before he was supposed to be sentenced in Brisbane, Australia.

*  *  *

Nearly 1,200 riders took part in the first Prospera Valley GranFondo mass cycling event on July 22. The event, which featured three different rides ranging from 3 km to 160 km, took participants through Fort Langley and the country roads of Langley and Abbotsford. The successful event will be held again on July 28, 2013.

*  *  *

Langley Olympic equestrian rider Hawley Bennett-Awad was recovering in a London hospital after being thrown from her horse, Gin & Juice, at the Olympic cross country event on July 30. The Murrayville native was taken to Royal London Hospital, where she was being treated for a concussion and a stable sacral fracture. Her horse wasn’t injured in the fall. Because of this, she was eliminated from the competition, ending her Olympic dreams in London.

*  *  *

Thieves stole more than 5,200 bottles of hand-crafted wine from Blackwood Lane Vineyeards in south Langley on July 19, amounting to a $200,000 loss for the owners.

*  *  *

An estimated 8,000 pounds of honey was stolen along with approxiately 500,000 bees from a bee farm on 0 Avenue on July 26. Almost 100 hive frames had been removed along with the bees and honey, costing the farm $100,000.

*  *  *

An equipment/storage shed containing sacks of dry fertilizer and pesticide went up in flames on July 31, lighting the night sky with flames that were visible for miles around. The storage shed, located at Coast Cranberries, opposite the entrance to Derby Reach Regional Park, was destroyed. The Canadian Transport Emergency Centre, which is part of the Transport of Dangerous Goods Directorate of Transport Canada, was called in to assist.

August

A large box with the words “Do Not Touch Highly Explosive” written on it shut down 204 Street, beside the IGA, on Aug. 3. The area was re-opened an hour later and no explosives were found. Police were considering calling in the bomb squad, but once they saw that the box, which once held a Colorado XT pontoon boat, was empty, they worked on the idea that the writing was a hoax.

*  *  *

A neighbourhood dispute was the stated  reason 20-year-old Slade Berggren shot at his neighbour and caused a police standoff in south Aldergrove on the night of Aug. 13. Dozens of police and the Emergency Response Team were called to the 1900 block of 269A Street after shots were fired.

The man wasn’t injured but Berggren barricaded himself inside a home around midnight and refused to come out. ERT was able to get him out and arrest him without incident around 6 a.m. on Aug. 14.

Berggren was charged with careless use of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unlawfully discharging a firearm and uttering threats.

*  *  *

A 45-year-old Langley man was arrested for the 1999 murder of a member of the Lytton First Nation band. William Robert Smith was arrested without incident in Langley on Aug. 15. He had been charged with manslaughter in the death of Sandy Charlie and interference with a dead body.

*  *  *

A Langley City neighbourhood was evacuated for more than an hour on Aug. 17 as police hunted for a man at 20679 Eastleigh Cres. Police blocked off the area as they searched for the man, who allegedly threatened his roommate and had a gun. The man eventually surrendered without incident.

*  *  *

Langley resident Braedon Dolfo represented Canada at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, which ran from Aug. 29 to Sept. 12. Suffering from glaucoma, he is unable to see what is on either side of him. Another local runner, Dylan Williamson, also went to London as the guide runner for Dustin Walsh, who is completely blind. Also at the games were Lauren Barwick, Ashley Gowanlock and Eleonore Elstone who all competed in para-dressage.

*  *  *

Nearly $30,000 raised by Langley residents to help a hospital in Zimbabwe had to be redirected into other projects after the main doctor, Paul Thistle, was abruptly fired and told to leave the country by the leadership of the Salvation Army there. Rotary was originally planning to raise more than $100,000 to buy new equipment for the hospital.

*  *  *

Langley RCMP brought in auxiliaries, had extra patrols and set up roadblocks to prevent a mega-party in a Walnut Grove cul-de-sac that had been promoted on Facebook. The party, dubbed Project X, had been expected to attract about 2,000 people.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Firebird is still like new
 
Walk on the wild side
 
Orchids on sale
Hikers rescued from Dewdney Mountain
 
Beer fest returns to Harrison Hot Springs
 
Plenty of Party for the Planet pix
Game on for Frank Hurt Secondary students
 
Peninsula patients have plenty to run for
 
Former longtime Peace Arch News staffer passes away

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 16 edition online now. Browse the archives.