Through the years: Fake bank robberies and real crime

Snippets from March 15 and 16 Lakeside Leaders


The Slave Lake Lions bought a wheelchair for people to borrow on day and weekend passes from the Slave Lake Hospital. A photo of Greg Dorken (Lions) presenting the wheelchair to Niel Gibbs, hospital administrator, was on the front page.

Roland Michener Secondary School boys were basketball zone champions. They beat out Sexsmith, Donnelly and Peace River. They were going to provincials on March 18 and 19th in Picture Butte. Three Michener players were all-stars at zones – Dale Gillis, Terry Karst, and Brian Engebretson.

The High Prairie School Division met to refine a budget from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (described as almost 12 hours of deliberation). Some highlights were adding a long service award, bussing Grade 7 and 8 Joussard students to High Prairie schools, and making a committee to discuss with parents how Grade 12 would be handled in Kinuso. Also, HPSD signed a tuition agreement with Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council to educate treaty children who lived within the HPSD boundaries.

A provincial park was announced for the Hillard’s Bay area on the west side of Lesser Slave Lake.

Single Albertans with an earned income of up $5,700 (and families with income up to $11,000) would no longer have to pay Alberta Health Care Insurance Premiums.

The Slave Lake Childcare Society was looking at a new location for a day care, likely as an addition to Centennial Hall.

The ‘Smith News’ by Catherine Scratch included crime, a flea market, and a book recommendation.

The first paragraph described a crime spree including “there’s a gentleman who gets robbed at least twice a month” and “the last dance we had someone went around slashing tires and looting the backs of trucks.”

The second paragraph was also interesting. It was a recommendation for a book called ‘The Law Isn’t for Women,’ which was about things women could or couldn’t do.

Mary Karpa wrote the ‘Kinuso Update.’ This included the news that the year before Kim Tanasuik and David Jordan tied for the top mark in Grade 9, so received scholarships from the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary.

A hand-made Easter bunny was on display at Carol’s Confectionery and was to be raffled off along with an Easter hamper valued at $50 to raise funds for the Kinuso Library.

Also, the Kinuso preschool wanted to thank the Slave Lake preschool for the use of its skates.

Shyla Burkholder (Grade 8) won the E.G. Wahlstrom School science fair for a display on meat preservation. Susan Zigert placed second, with how plants reproduce. Jimmy Sparks placed third, with ‘tree crabs’ (whatever that is?)

The Slave Lake Recreation Association was trying to organize a men’s soccer league.

1989 – missing


Robert Spenard had proposed a youth drop-in centre in Slave Lake. However, the Interagency did not support the proposal for three major reasons – first it was duplicating existing programs, two it “re-invents” existing programs, and three “the financial feasibility is very weak.”

Spenard argued that a drop-in centre was needed because of “the youth crime rate, teen substance abuse, and large numbers of disenfranchised youth.”

St. Mary of the Lake Catholic School science teacher Vi Zuk was running for president of the Alberta Teacher’s Association. Part of her platform was to ensure that French Immersion didn’t fall victim to Premier Ralph Klein’s massive budget cuts.

Slave Lake Pioneers had an unusual fundraising scheme. They pretended to rob three Slave Lake banks with water pistols (with the RCMP and Citizens on Patrol in on the ruse). The culprits were Florence shot-on-both-sides Pearson-Thompson, Annie get-your-gun Bartlett, Sister Mary ‘Marushka’ Felt, Margaret baby doll Vanderwell, Tyja Lips Luttmer and Evelyn I’m-not-really-a-senior Belanger.

The targets were the Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank, and Treasury Branch.

They had the green light for a 20-bed lodge and had received generous donations, but still needed $1.1 million to get it off the ground.

The Pioneers were hosting a dinner and ‘trial’ on May 13, and hoped to raised $50,000.

A kid asking for donations for an Alberta Lung Association (anti smoking promotion) had a traumatizing experience. One man instead of donating or saying no, took the money and closed his door.

When the police arrived, they found the man intoxicated with the money in a jar. He gave the money back and said it was a misunderstanding. The man wasn’t charged.

Lee Tanghe was the coach of the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre Boxing Club.

Wabasca Youth Justice Committee was the second oldest community sentencing advisory group in Alberta. Members included Rita Auger (chair), Tom Auger, and Louise Yellowknee. The committee had been interviewing young offenders for five years and adults involved in domestic disputes for two years.

At the time, Slave Lake, Wabasca, Peerless Lake, Loon Lake and Atikameg all had youth justice committees. Efforts were being made to form them in Faust and High Prairie.


Town of Slave Lake councillors had different memories of what had happened at a council meeting regarding quad use in town. Some members agreed with coverage in the Feb. 25, 2006 Lakeside Leader that the council had “certainly inferred” that the RCMP should crack down on quad use. Others thought they decision had been to leave them alone as long as they were using the shortest route out of town. Still others thought it was a moot point as it is a provincial law which prohibits ATV use on roadways (both in and out of town).

Two people were taken to Slave Lake hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after a home invasion in Slave Lake on March 2 at around 11:40 a.m. Four people known to the people living in the home broke in armed with bats and knives. The police believed that the crime was drug related and an isolated incident.

Slave Lake Night of Artists was a success with over 200 people attending. Phil Alain (struggling artist and former Slave Lake bar manager) had started Night of Artists 10 years earlier in St. Albert. Shows were held across Canada and had a mix of local and Night of Artists regulars. The Slave Lake show included eight local artists: three musicians and five visual artists. Musicians were Dustin Cole, Wabasca band MEB, and Layna Sparks from Slave Lake. Local visual artists were Michelle Vekved, Julie Sparks, Amber Stirling, Lisa Lukan, and Alain.

Nikki St. Martin (16) from Widewater won gold, silver and bronze ulus in Inuit Games at the Arctic Winter Games in Fort McMurray. Because of these medals, she won gold as the best overall female at the games.

Megan Melnyczuk from Slave Lake was on the Team Alberta North’s female hockey team. They won gold. As did, the Team Alberta North Bantam hockey team, which included Slave Laker Ty Price.

Denise Potvin picked up a bronze in the junior female combined snowshoe race.

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