Through the Years: Fur buyer, yoga, Victim Services, etc.

March 11th papers

With 2020 being a leap year, some of the years which had the same publication date in January and February, no longer lined up.

1974 (March 12)
Long term Hudson’s Bay Company fur trader, Jim Smith passed away in Slave Lake. He was described as one of the last ‘real, old-time fur buyers.’ Born in 1906 in Scotland, he immigrated to Canada at age 19 to work for HBC. He worked in the Peace River Country from 1926 to 1971. He traveled by dog sled, canoe, and his first trip to Atikameg in 1939 by horse and wagon. Much of his career he and his wife lived in Atikameg.

At the Slave Lake and District Chamber of Commerce meeting, plans were under way for Riverboat Daze and ‘this year’s frolic’. Wendy Barton reported on an upcoming chamber survey of 100 residents in all four quadrants. There was some confusion about whether pay per month TV had been offered to the area.

Wendy Barton

There was a description of the much improved 1974 map of Alberta. This included a topographic map, with game distribution and coloured emblems showing such important locations as the Oil Sands, 12 Foot Davis (statue in Peace River), and Game Farm.

Yoga classes were set to start at E.G. Wahlstrom School. As was Ladies Dance and Keep Fit. The chess club, badminton, and men’s basketball were continuing. Keith Langille represented Slave Lake in the Peace Winter Games. He placed fifth in cross-country skiing.

Al Oeming (Canadian wildlife conservationist, zoologist, and wrestler) and his cheetah, Tawana, visited Slave Lake for various shows. They stopped by for coffee with the seniors at Slave Lake Pioneer Place.

Tawana licked a child’s face at another venue. (Today, Wildlife Day estimates there are only 7,100 cheetahs living in the wild, on less than nine per cent of their historic range).

Victim Services in the Slave Lake RCMP detachment was one step closer to opening. It hired a civilian coordinator and was looking for volunteers. (Today, Victim Services is active in Slave Lake and supports victims of crime as they navigate the criminal justice system).

A month earlier, E.G. Wahlstrom Grade 6 students toured the Lakeside Leader office to glean information about publishing a newspaper.

After their month long deadline, each student presented a four page newspaper to the class, their teacher and The Leader. Students interviewed found different parts the hardest to write. For some, it was the news articles. For others, coming up with horoscope predictions was the hardest.

Waycam curlers won the 28th annual Oilmen’s bonspiel.

1997 (March 12)
Crown prosecutors were quitting left right and centre and were threatening ‘job action’ if the government didn’t pay them more. The 150-member union wanted the Alberta government to bring their salaries in line with the rest of western Canada. It was common for prosecutors to work 50 hours a week while being paid for less than 40 hours.

Pearl Calahasen

Victim Services, women’s shelters and groups manning crisis phone lines were meeting to come up with a regional approach to help people on the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake and in Wabasca.

Jackie Payne, a Grade 11 student at Roland Michener School, was a published poet. The poem was one of 20 she wrote for English 20. The poem was a semi-finalist in the North American Open Poetry Contest.

2003 (March 12)
MLA Pearl Calahasen received a promise of $6 billion from the premier to respond to oilfield disputes. There had been lots of stress around the province about oilfield and Indigenous people’s consultation. The issue wasn’t settled by any means. Another front page article was about oilfield contractors pondering their future.

A community composting program had been proposed, but the higher than expected costs kiboshed the idea.

There was a six-hour endurance motorbike and quad race on Lesser Slave Lake.

Northern Haven Support Society presented its proposed women’s shelter at the Interagency Council meeting. The land was available, but the amount of work needed to raise the funds to build and operate it was daunting.

2014 (March 12)
There was an excerpt from the ‘Sawridge’ column of the Dec. 11, 1912 Grouard News. (The hamlet of Sawridge became Slave Lake in the 1923). In 1912, December felt like September, Mr. A. L’Hirondelle was adding a billiard room to his general store.

Mr. J.B. McKenzie, the local horseshoer and wheelwright, planned to build a blacksmith shop. L. Cobain & Co. were building a restaurant and bunkhouse to add to their feed barn.

Healthcare was a big concern. MLA Pearl Calahasen, the M.D. of Lesser Slave River council, and Alberta Health Services held a meeting at the M.D. office. As many as 70 to 80 people, including children stood out in the cold to protest the current situation of health care. Signs read ‘Our healthcare needs are not being met’ and such.

Around 60 people met to discuss challenges adult learners face in Slave Lake. The event was organized by Slave Lake Adult Education Committee at Northern Lakes College.

A study from the year before showed that 42 per cent of adults in Slave Lake had a reading level of Grade 8 or lower. For math, the percentage was slightly higher at 47 per cent. This was similar to trends from the previous 10 years.

In Interagency Council news, Northern Haven Support Society (the Slave Lake women’s shelter) and other agencies were hosting a ‘Guys night out’ to discuss family violence and anger education courses. (Today, Northern Haven Support Society runs both a women’s shelter and an outreach program in Slave Lake).

Proceeds from the book “The Sky Was on Fire”, about the 2011 Slave Lake fire, were being distributed to the community. The book committee chair MJ Munn-Kristoff handed over a $10,000 cheque to Slave Lake’s Stage North Association.

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