Cranbrook 2013: The year in review: Part II

Our look back at the top stories of the year just passing continues, into the spring and early summer

  • Dec. 30, 2013 1:00 p.m.

Top: Cranbrook’s The Good Ol’ Goats made it to the very end of CBC Music’s Searchlight contest

From fire to flood, new construction and saved heritage buildings, 2013 was a busy year in Cranbrook and Kimberley.

From our viewpoint at the Townsman, we have picked the biggest stories of the year.

In Part Two, we look at the news from April through June.


A Kimberley man was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a drive-by shooting. Dustin Plourde, 28, fired at a home on Archibald Street where two women and a baby were living. No one was injured. Plourde said he mistakenly believed it was the home of members of a local drug gang.


Cranbrook’s The Good Ol’ Goats made it to the very end of CBC Music’s Searchlight contest, looking for up-and-coming new bands. The band, made up of Mount Baker Secondary School students, beat out almost 3,000 bands across the country to make the contest’s final round. In the end, they placed second to Newfoundland band Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case.


Volunteer Kootenays honoured the East Kootenay’s most dedicated volunteers in April at the annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Gala. Jeanne Davidson of the Cranbrook Kimberley Hospice Society was named Volunteer of the Year; Danika Reid was named Youth Volunteer of the Year; the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary was named Group Volunteers of the Year; the Beaulacs were named Family Volunteer of the Year.


Kimberley was hit by tragedy in April when Debbie Blais died after drowning in a retention pond at Bootleg Gap Golf Course. The Marysville woman had been walking her dog on the closed golf course. Passersby saw the dog struggling in the pond, rescued it and returned it home, not realizing that Blais had also gone into the pond.


The College of the Rockies announced that it ranked first in Canada and second in the world as an institution for international students, according to the International Student Barometer, put out by the International Graduate Insight Group.


In April, East Kootenay Crime Stoppers made public a last-ditch effort to save its anonymous tipline. With a depleted and exhausted board, the organization was on the verge of collapse and put out a plea for new volunteers to man the board. The community came through, with dozens of people coming forward to keep the tipline alive and help the RCMP stop crime in the East Kootenay.


A collection of portraits by Adolphus “Duffy” Burton kept at the Dr. F.W. Green home were up for grabs by family members. Duffy Burton painted the portraits of fellow residents while living at the Green Home in the ‘90s, and the home’s staff wanted to give the portraits to the families of those pictured. After the story ran in the Townsman and was picked up by CBC, almost all of the 48 portraits were given to family members, many of whom were touched by the artwork which brought up fond memories.


Premier Christy Clark visited Cranbrook and Kimberley as part of her campaign tour on April 30. Clark and an entourage of dozens of staff, reporters and senior officers took a tour of Fab Rite Services in Cranbrook followed by a press conference.


On May 1, MLA hopefuls faced off in the first of two all-candidates forums. The Chamber of Commerce hosted one and JCI Kootenay hosted the second on May 2. B.C. Liberal candidate and incumbent Bill Bennett faced off on policy against B.C. NDP candidate Norma Blissett.


School District 5 announced the hiring of new superintendent Lynn Hauptman. Before moving to Prince George, Hauptman had spent nearly 10 years working within School District 6 in Kimberley.


The Target department store opened May 7 after months of renovation work to the south end of the Tamarack Centre.


Victor Russell Gravelle, accused of of shooting into an apartment in Cranbrook in February pleaded not guilty.


City council decided to give a group intent on saving the brick building behind city hall time to look into options for saving it. A few weeks before the May 6 meeting, council had voted to have it dismantled at some point and the historic bricks repurposed.


The woman charged in connection with the death of a 19-month old Cranbrook girl pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death, on May 13. Tammy Bouvette, 29, was originally charged with second degree murder over the May 2011 drowning death of Iyanna Teeple. On May 16 Bouvette received her sentence of 12 months, plus 12 months for an unrelated charge. With time served, Bouvette would be out in six months.


Teck got an okay to continue drug and alcohol testing on its Elk Valley employees even as a grievance goes through arbitration. The United Steelworkers Local 9346 put forward a temporary order to stop the random testing, but it was denied.


Actor Jeremy Raymond, originally from Cranbrook, had a part in the summer blockbuster Star Trek: Into Darkness. Raymond was picked by director J.J. Abrams after the director saw him in an earlier film.


On May 24, CBC’s Grant Lawrence was in town filming local band The Good Ol’ Goats for a film a segment that would appear on national TV and radio. The segment was part of the Beetle Roadtrip Sessions.


A rupture in the wastewater pipe in the worst possible location forced the City of Cranbrook to pull $1 million out of its reserve fund. The burst pipe was located at the city’s spray irrigation field in Mayook, 20 feet beneath the newly renovated pump house building.



Kootenay East’s newly re-elected MLA Bill Bennett was given dual responsibilities of in the new cabinet of Premier Christy Clark on June 7. Bennett took the dual rolls as the new head of the Ministry of Energy and Mines as well as the chair of the Core Review committee.


Longtime Canadian Museum of Rail Travel director Garry Anderson retired from the position and Damon Colgan took on the role.


The truck of two men who went missing in the Findlay Creek area was found in a fast moving portion of the creek. The men went missing June 8, and the truck was sighted underwater June 18, after the family paid for a blasting permit. The truck was retrieved from the creek on June 25 but there was no sign of Stephen Thomson, 21, of Canal Flats, and Nicholas Hoefnagels, 19, of Carstairs, Alberta. The body of Thomson was retrieved July 10.


Heavy rainfall wrecked havoc around the East Kootenay, closing down many highways in the region. A local volunteer weather observer said he recorded 60 millimetres of rain in 24 hours between June 19 and 20. On June 26 Wasa was on high alert as water levels rose following the prior week’s heavy rainfall.


A desperate search began June 26 for a man and vehicle that went into the Bull River above the Aberfeldie Dam the night before. Police, search and rescue crews and family and friends were all part of the search up the Bull River Service Road. The body of Jaffray’s Zeke Fantuz was retrieved from the river on July 6.


Vandals caused an estimated $3,000 damage to Kinsmen Park trees on June 26. The trees were just planted in May as a part of Arbour Day.

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