Back in Time

Back in Time

50 YEARS AGO: Motorists driving the six-mile stretch between Avola and Blue River became stuck


Many motorists attempting to drive the six-mile stretch of Avola and Blue River found themselves hopelessly stuck. Some attempted to steer their vehicles by sitting on top of them. The North Thompson River reportedly covered the road to a depth of 30 inches.

Jim Rhindress and another Blue River resident used water from Cayuse Creek to save an old wooden bridge they found going up in smoke. The fire was apparently caused by a discarded cigarette.


A photograph of floods at Birch Island by Clearwater’s Graham McDonnell occupied almost half of the front page of the Vancouver Sun. Premier W.A.C. Bennett promised flood relief.

Vavenby won Legion Branch 259’s first juvenile softball tournament. Members of the team were Mike Bayley, Wally Graffunder, John McCuish, Raymond Cederholm, Kirk Peebles, Murray Nestik, Steve Capostinsky, Carl Schuchardt, Nelson Gledhill, Steve Handbruk and Bernie Graffunder. Coaches were George Chesney and George Adams.


Bev Goyer was elected president of the newly organized Lionettes Club. Frank Kohlhauser was installed as president of the Clearwater Lions at their ninth annual charter night.


The ground search ended for Steve Miller, an 18-year-old deaf mute boy missing near Helmcken Falls. Volunteers had spent 5,000 man-hours covering 15 miles of terrain dotted with swamps and snow without success.


More than 60 people were on hand to bid farewell to Wells Gray Park manager Pat Rogers and his wife Diane. Emcee Bill Mattenley said, “He was always there giving 110 per cent.”

North Thompson Children’s Festival drew about 1,200 people to Little Fort. The theme was an epic poem, “The Ballads of Tellurium – Kingdom of Jewels” by local resident Byron Anderson.


A meeting with some top Weyerhaeuser Canada executives left Vavenby division manager Dave Hay feeling optimistic about the sawmill. The meeting approved a $4 million project to modernize the back end of the mill, including a trimmer optimizer and an 80-bin sorter.

The road up the west side of the Clearwater River was closed as the province considered whether to spend several hundred thousand dollars to make it safe. The delay was costing the local economy, said local kayaker Dr. Ifor Thomas.


Premier Glen Clark announced a $625 million FRBC initiative to restore the ailing B.C. forest industry. Silviculture contractors Chuck Emery of Clearwater and Jay Butcher of Barriere nevertheless expressed deep concern for their employees and their businesses’ future.


Garret Toma won gold at the B.C. Power-lifting Championships in Coquitlam. He competed in the 90 kg 18 years and under category.

Eliana Bromley, daughter of Monte and Tammy Bromley, was the first baby born in the new Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital.

Vavenby Community Hall was filled to capacity as residents voiced opposition to a sand-pit proposed for between the school and the highway.

North Thompson Community Skills Center took over handling the paperwork for welfare recipients.

There were 35 entries in North Thompson Rod and Kustom Car Club’s Show and Shine at the CSS parking lot. People’s choice winner was Danny Penso of Winfield.


Clearwater resident Elia Ganderski organized a public meeting to look into a fish kill in Dutch Lake. The problem appeared to be that the water in the lake had turned completely the previous fall – for the first time in living memory.

A new film that featured rock climbing, ice climbing and ski mountaineering in spectacular terrain included scenes shot near Blue River. Lisa Korthals, one of the mountain skiers featured in the film, formerly worked as a guide at Wiegele’s.


All-round student award at Clearwater Secondary School went to Baylee Sallenbach. She also won the Fred Allen Memorial Bursary of $500 plus had been one of the top recipients of scholarships at the school’s graduation ceremonies.

Katrina Link was presented with a Gold Medal of Merit during a Caribou-Thompson Guiding District weekend camp for the 35-plus years she had given to Guiding.

A petition calling on the National Parole Board to deny parole to convicted murderer David (Shearing) Ennis was getting a strong response. “Lots of people are signing this year,” said Judy Briggs, one of the organizers.

Rita Matthew was sworn in as chief of Simpcw First Nation in Chu Chua. “We must work together to make the community the way that we know it can be,” she said.


A Danish hiker died after a fall while hiking in the mountains near Azure Lake in Wells Gray Park. A male member of the group she was with paddled several hours to reach a satellite phone to call for help.

Borrow Enterprises of Clearwater won a $2.63 million contract to construct a passing lane and commercial truck pullout at Vinsulla. Construction was to begin in late June or early July.

A petition to end the Upper Clearwater Hall grant-in-aid received support from 48 per cent of property owners, just short of the 50 per cent needed.

Sorgente.e Hydro Canada announced that it had signed a 40-year standing offer agreement with BC Hydro for its proposed Serpentine Creek hydro project north of Blue River.

Keith Henry, president of the BC Metis Federation and chair of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, was a special guest during National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Clearwater.