What a year it's been! Sit back, relax and join us for a trip through the second half of 2012, Tri-Cities style. If you missed the first six months of our year in review, which ran in Monday's paper, you'll also find them online at www. thenownews.com.
. Coquitlam residents are left disappointed after one of the year's most anticipated events, the Canada Day fireworks show, is rescheduled due to security concerns. Archangel Fireworks, which has presented shows in Coquitlam before, is forced to do an emergency shut down of its system when staff discover some party poopers have scaled an eight-foot-tall fence and entered a restricted fall zone on the east side of Lafarge Lake. The show is eventually rescheduled for one day later.
. A Burquitlam institution dating back to the 1960s falls victim to modern expansion. The area's drive-up-style Dairy Queen is forced to close due to Evergreen Line construction, though most of the employees are transferred over to Dairy Queen's Lougheed location. Dairy Queen first opened the Burquitlam location in the mid 1960s, though it floundered under its first two franchise owners. It wasn't until Ernie Dougherty and his cousin Gary Martinick bought it in 1967 that it flourished. At the time, a banana split was 45 cents and a Dilly Bar cost a dime.
. Members of the Morokhovich fam-ily convene on Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth's office for an emotional press conference to thank the local MLA and another passerby for saving the life of the family patriarch. Mikhail Morokhovich suffered a massive heart attack while walking along a Burke Mountain road in February, but Farnworth and James Smith helped to administer CPR - effectively saving Mikhail from possible brain damage or even death.
. Full moon or not, local police forces have a pair of highly unusual calls to contend with in a 24-hour span.
On July 15, Port Moody police are called to the corner of Moray Street and Portview Place on a report that a passerby saw someone dancing with, talking to and then fighting with a mailbox. Upon arriving at the scene, they find a 15-year-old teen reportedly high on LSD "literally talking to this mailbox and full-out fighting it," according to Port Moody police spokesman Const. Luke van Winkel. The incident turns serious when police try to take the teen into custody, and he turns his rage toward officers. It takes three officers to subdue the youth, who is taken to hospital and treated for cuts and bruises and released with no charges. The second incident occurs on July 16, as Coquitlam RCMP are called to a Wilson Avenue apartment in PoCo after a couple are heard screaming. The pair tells police they have seen two "non-human entities" on their patio. Several Mounties scour the area in search of the spirited suspects, but turn up nothing. RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung says there is no indication drugs or alcohol are involved in the incident.
. Coquitlam actress Daniela Bobadilla becomes part of cable TV history, as the 19year-old lands a co-starring role in the new Charlie Sheen sitcom, Anger Management.
The show debuts to a record audience of 5.7 million viewers when the premiere airs in the U.S. in late June. Cast as Sam Goodson, Bobadilla plays the part of Sheen's 13year-old daughter.
The Canadian premiere of Anger Management takes place in mid-August. 20
. A Douglas College student with mental challenges goes missing near Sasamat Lake, though she is found alive and well after an exhaustive 76-hour search. Joy Zhang, 21, is found in a dense and steep area by searchers some 600 metres from the Coquitlam Search and Rescue command centre, which is set up at White Pine Beach. RE The Coquitlam resident is described as being in "good condition" when she's found.
. Port Moody police issue an unusual warning to the public after a cougar is spotted in the Balmoral and Newport area of town. The warning comes after a jogger spots the big cat while out for a morning run, and the cougar reportedly follows the jogger for a short period of time. Police and conservation officers are called to the area, but the cougar is never found.
. During the storm of the summer, a Tri-Cities resident gets a front-row seat to the light show. Coquitlam's Armand Shafazand, 52, is hit by lightning during the storm while he's in his backyard putting a plywood cover on a rabbit hutch to protect it from the rain. With his left hand on the metal wire of the cage when it was struck, Shafazand feels the bolt of lightning travel through his hand and into the ground through his right foot. He spends the evening in hospital, but is discharged the next day. "It felt like a thousand punches fell right on top of my head, like I jumped a hundred feet and landed on my feet," he says.
. About $1,200 worth of items are stolen from a Port Coquitlam fire truck, including a few helmets worth $400, while firefighters respond to a complaint of a group of teens lighting a bonfire at Glenwood Avenue and Osborne Street. Within days, all of the items are accounted for - some of them are returned, while others are found strewn about in the community.
. Politicians, business people, residents and industry insiders all weigh in on the long-established tradition of full-serve gas in Coquitlam. Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart suggests he's heard from those on both sides of the argument, while Coun. Lou Sekora is steadfast in his insistence the status quo remain in place. Canadian Petroleum Products Institute spokesperson John Skowronski stops short of suggesting his group is asking for the city to change. Instead, he says market forces should dictate which businesses are allowed to set up shop in the city.
. Coquitlam RCMP issues its first warning around a serial robber who's targeting businesses throughout the
Austin Avenue area. The suspect targets a coffee shop and pharmacy, and continues with the robberies until the end of October. In early November, Coquitlam RCMP announce the arrest of Ryan Sheldon McClinton in relation to the incidents. The 28-yearold has a criminal history dating back to 2003 within the Tri-Cities and the Lower Mainland. Now he's facing 22 more charges: seven for robbery, seven for using an imitation firearm while committing an offence, seven for using a disguise with intent to commit an offence and one for possession of stolen property.
. One of Canada's most famous punk rockers gives it a go in the Tri-Cities arena of politics. DOA frontman Joey Keithley files his nomination papers with the NDP to run in the riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. The riding is currently held by Liberal Doug Horne, and Keithley is joined by other candidates: former Olympic wrestler Chris Wilson, and former Coquitlam councillor Barrie Lynch.
. Jane the falcon spreads her wings over Port Moody and takes flight over the Pacific Coast Terminals. Jane's primary job is to scare away other birds, as close to 400 seagulls call the terminal home and leave behind their signature calling cards - which turn into a constant source of complaint among workers and a potential health hazard.
. Port Moody police tape off an area around Suter Brook after getting a call about what appears to be a body being loaded into the trunk of a vehicle adjacent to 400 Capilano Rd. When police arrive, they find a small trail of blood leading to tire tracks in the dirt. While the search is underway, the owner of the vehicle returns and explains to police that he and his brother had been out walking when the brother had stepped on a piece of rebar and cut his foot fairly badly.
. Coquitlam firefighters celebrate the force's 100-year anniversary in grand fashion. A host of activities commemorate the momentous occasion, including ceremonial presentations, musical performances, interactive history displays, a barbecue and demonstrations of vehicle extractions and high angle rescues. "Our city today is in excess of 130,000 people and we've got 35 highrises and we've got 20 to 30 more coming in a number of years - we have to adapt to that as a fire service," Coquitlam fire chief Tony Delmonico says in looking ahead to the future of firefighting in the city.
. Reports of the zombie apocalypse unfolding in a Coquitlam neighbourhood turn out to be unfounded. Police respond to a call regarding a man running around the Harbour Drive neighbourhood without a shirt, yelling about zombies. When Mounties arrive, they reassure the man, who is in his 30s, there are no zombies, but he is taken into custody for being intoxicated. He is later released without any
charges. "It doesn't appear that there is any sign of the 2 zombie apocalypse at this time," RCMP Const. Jamie Phillipson tells The NOW. "I think we're safe."
. After two decades in politics and two terms as a member of the opposition in Victoria, Coquitlam-Maillardville NDP MLA Diane Thorne announces her retirement. Thorne says she wants to go out like the TV show Seinfeld, and doesn't want to wait until she's passed her "best before date." When her term is done, Thorne plans to take time off and travel with her husband Neil. Coquitlam Coun. Selina Robinson is later acclaimed as the NDP candidate for the riding.
. School District 43 officials begin weighing their options around selling a portion of properties at Parkland and Porter Street elementary schools in Coquitlam. The district proposes to sell a portion of excess fields at both schools to be used for single-family lots. District officials end up approving the sale of lands at Parkland, though widespread resident opposition nixes the sale of the Porter Street lands.
. Coquitlam RCMP investigate a possible hate crime after several piles of bacon and other meat products are left on the doorstep of the Masjid Al-Hidayah Islamic Centre in Port Coquitlam. According to mosque officials, roughly five piles of bacon are placed around the mosque's entrance and along a wall at the side of the building. The Islamic religion forbids the consumption of pork. The mosque was also vandalized by graffiti in 2011, but rather than punish the perpetrators behind the incident, Saad Bahr, the centre's president, invites them to come to the mosque and get information about the religion and culture. No suspects are apprehended in the case.
. Port Moody police officers arrest a Coquitlam resident after dispatchers receive calls about a possible drunk driver travelling the wrong way in traffic near Rocky Point Park. Officers pull the car over in the 2700 block of St. Johns Street and discover the driver has his two children, ages six and eight, in the car. A 52year-old Coquitlam man then allegedly fails two roadside tests. He's issued a 90-day driving prohibition and his vehicle is impounded for 30 days.
. The Coquitlam Express partner up with the immigrant settlement group SUCCESS to bridge cultural gaps through a program called Hockey 101, a simple, how-to class that covers the basics around Canada's national winter sport. Conceived in 2011, the program is offered a handful of times per year, and features a PowerPoint presentation that mixes simple English terminology with the most basic rules governing the sport. As part of the program, the two groups attend an Express game in early October to give those in the class first-hand knowledge of the game.
. The name Amanda Todd gets etched into the international consciousness. The Port Coquitlam teen commits suicide after posting a heartbreaking video on YouTube documenting her struggles with bullying. The world takes notice on every level possible, and the story attracts international headlines.
Candlelight vigils are held, and a made-in-Port Coquitlam anti-bullying campaign called "Be Someone" is launched by the city and Dominion Lending Centres CEO Gary Mauris. In December, PoCo council asks staff to prepare what could become B.C.'s first anti-bullying bylaw.
. Richard Dys, owner of the De Dutch Pannekoek House on Lougheed Highway, maintains his sense of humour after tragedy is narrowly averted at his PoCo eatery.
On Oct. 16, an elderly driver accidentally plows into his restaurant - driving right through a two-foot brick retaining wall, while taking out a window and door along the way. No one is injured, and a day after the incident Dys hangs a sign at the front of this store reading, "Yes, De Dutch is still open. Come in and check out our daily door crashing specials!"
. PoCo's Joel Dalgarno steps up at crunch time, although in this instance, it's not on the lacrosse floor. The former PoCo Saints star, who now works for Coquitlam Fire & Rescue, intervenes to help save the life of a drowning woman at the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre. Dalgarno has just finished playing a game of squash and is headed for the sauna when he hears the lifeguard whistle sounding - a sign that an emergency situation is unfolding. Along with the on-duty lifeguards, Dalgarno administers first aid and the woman makes a full recovery.
. B.C.'s largest earthquake in recent memory may have struck off the coast of Haida Gwaii, but residents across the Tri-Cities feel its effects. Port Moody resident Roccino Cerenzie and his wife feel the tremors at Coquitlam's SilverCity movie theatres, as do scores of other patrons. According to SFU geologist Brent Ward, people at SilverCity felt the quake because the theatres are built on a thick layer of loose sediment, which amplified the shock waves. According to Ward, a few areas in the Tri-Cities are more susceptible to prolonged shaking during an earthquake: areas along the Fraser River and near the floodplains of the Coquitlam and Pitt rivers, as well as a portion of Dewdney Trunk Road near the Coquitlam/Port Moody border. All of those areas feature the kind of thick buildup of loose sediments similar to the ground underneath SilverCity, Ward says.
. Dale Barron, the founder of Morningstar Homes, pleads guilty to making false or deceptive statements regarding the import of goods. According to court documents obtained by The NOW, Barron purchased a yacht in California and upon entry into Canada, didn't claim the entire value of the vessel to customs officials. As a result of the guilty plea, Barron is fined the maximum of $50,000. Along with the duties, he is assessed a civil penalty of $124,577. Altogether, he is ordered to pay $212,994 to get the boat back after it was seized by customs officials. It is noted in court that Barron donated another 2 $25,000 to the SHARE Family & Community Services Society as a voluntary gesture. It's an organization he has made donations to in the past.
. Port Moody's Charles "Chuck" Glover begins the process of selling several of his prized bonsai trees, and the 90-year-old plans to donate all of the proceeds to the Crossroads Hospice Society. Having gained an affinity for the trees during his service in the Second World War, Glover also hopes to find an apprentice he can help train to take over his second hobby in life - art restoration.
. A bevy of available food sources and an ever-increasing audience leave a two-year-old bear stranded and looking for refuge in a Port Coquitlam backyard for the better part of two days. Neighbours, onlookers and even TV crews are called to the scene as it unfolds on Raleigh Street, which frightens the bear as it tries to seek refuge in a tree estimated to be at least 100 feet high. However, the roughly two-year-old bear makes a break for it in the midst of the commotion, and escapes into a nearby greenbelt.
. Archeologists discover what appears to be an arrowhead that could date back thousands of years along a major BC Hydro project near Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam. The piece, which is no bigger than a quarter, is found on bedrock below the crest of a steep hill at a construction site for BC Hydro's Interior to Lower Mainland (ILM) Transmission Project near the park. Members of the Kwikwetlem First Nation claim the artifact is found within their territory, though they claim the Crown corporation did not notify any band members of the nature of work being done on the land.
. Coquitlam's new City Centre library branch opens its doors to the public at its new location at 1169 Pinetree Way. The new library boasts a myriad of features: an additional 24,000 square feet of space, 90 parking stalls and 20 more computer stations. Other additions include a raised fireplace lounge, three multipurpose rooms that can collapse into a singular conference room and a dedicated multilingual space.
. About a dozen actors and crew members test their limits, as the Second Storey Theatre troupe stages its inaugural Improvathon, a 50hour test of improv skill, will and endurance, over a three-day span. The format of the non-stop show allows each of the eight cast and crew members three 30-minute breaks over the 50-hour stretch. Billed as a fundraiser for the PoCo-based Learning Disabilities Association, the non-stop show raises about $300 for the local charity.
. Pubs and other businesses report varying degrees of success - or a lack thereof - in relation to the professional sports drought in the province. The B.C. Lions, expected to contend for the Grey Cup, are unceremoniously bounced from the CFL playoffs earlier than expected, and the NHL lockout continues into its second month. A handful of local bars begin to change what they offer patrons, though some businesses aren't so lucky. One Coquitlam-based sporting apparel store reports a 50-per-cent loss in sales that's directly tied to the NHL lockout.
. Anmore resident Kathy Richardson offers up a slice of feline heaven, in the form of her new business, the Phat Cat Inn. The inn is essentially a hotel for cats, and offers individual rooms with all the fixings to keep any feline feeling fine. Richardson begins fixing up an old barn on her property in 2011, transforming the facility into an 11-unit hotel with rooms offering nine-foot ceilings and an average of 26 square feet of floor space per cat. Every room has a window, with corner suites having two. Tile floors are installed to create a sterile environment with in-floor heating for cold winter months and a ventilation system in each room. Rooms, which are booked through January, go for $26 per night.
. A former Coquitlam substitute teacher is a free man after being acquitted on several sexual assault charges relating to allegations made by five former students dating back to 2008. A provincial court judge in Port Coquitlam finds Aleksandr Plehanov not guilty on a total of 11 charges, including five charges of sexual assault, five of sexual interference and one of criminal harassment. In his decision, Judge David St. Pierre says Crown failed to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The B.C. College of Teachers, which is now the Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB) under the Ministry of Education, suspended Plehanov's teaching certificate in 2010. A ministry spokesperson tells The NOW that just because Plehanov has been acquitted on all charges, it doesn't mean he automatically gets to teach again.
. Coquitlam Coun. Linda Reimer announces her intentions to run in next year's provincial election under the Liberal banner in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. A two-time councillor who was first elected in 2008, Reimer tells The NOW she's decided to run because she doesn't want to see another NDP government elected. Reimer is the first candidate to declare her intentions in the upcoming election for the Liberals in the Tri-Cities. She is acclaimed a few weeks later. The seat is currently held by former Port Moody mayor, and current NDP MLA, Joe Trasolini.
. For the second time in less than two years, a series of Coquitlam-based business owners are crying foul over what they feel are exorbitant and unjustified tax increases. Cynthia Aasen and her husband John, who head up 3D Golf Performance Centre on Schoolhouse Street, suggest their property taxes have shot up 70 per cent in one year.
They also claim at least six other nearby businesses are experiencing the same types of increases. Coquitlam council and staff are sympathetic to Aasen's case, but suggest there is little the city can do to adjust individual rates within its jurisdiction. Zina 2 Weston, deputy assessor for the North Fraser region of B.C Assessment, suggests recent revitalization in the area - work on the Port Mann Bridge and King Edward Overpass - likely played into that increased assessment.
. Emergency crews are called to Aspenwood Elementary due to reports of students and a teacher suffering from flu-like symptoms. In one instance, a child briefly passes out. The entire school is evacuated over concerns the symptoms were brought on by a gas leak or some type of fumes. Fire crews determine there was no gas leak or any other possible cause for the sickness. In all, six people are taken to hospital as a precaution, including two adults, and the school is re-opened the next day.
. Port Moody council projects a property tax increase of 6.65 per cent for 2013, to make up for a $1.9-million operating budget shortfall. Homeowners can expect to pay $2,837 in total property taxes in 2013 based on the average assessed property value of $531,600. If that figure stands, it's an extra $117 for the average Port Moody household, which includes an extra $3 in the utilities category for storm drainage services. A further breakdown of the numbers shows the bulk of the shortfall related to an increase in salaries worth $570,000, or 1.93 per cent, and $650,000 in policing costs worth another 2.21 per cent. Other items include $143,000 for the Inlet Centre fire hall debt levy, $192,000 for inflation and $444,000 for operational service priorities.
. Anmore council decides to move the municipality's operations out from the village hall to a temporary trailer because of an ongoing rodent infestation. Mayor Heather Anderson says the pest problems have been around for years, but got worse this fall after the heat in the nearly 100-year-old building was turned on. At one point, staff caught a half dozen squirrels and mice in the ceiling. The village plans to get a larger trailer in the new year that can house its operations for up to two years. The cost of the trailer, including the move, will set the village back $117,000 over the two-year period. But that would be small change compared to building a new village hall - somewhere in the range of $1.5 million to $2 million, according to Anderson.
. Twelve-year-old Jessica Merritt raises more than $600 from the sale of her own handmade arts and crafts to adopt two Tri-Cities families through SHARE's Caring Neighbour program. She creates hundreds of little crafts and knickknacks, from coasters to magnets, and sells them at a trio of events through the fall. Her crafts prove to be a hit, raising enough money to help two families at Christmastime - one in Port Moody and one in Coquitlam. Under the Caring Neighbour program, a donation of a minimum $50 per family member is required to purchase a hamper full of food.
. Tech-savvy Port Moody residents will always know when it's garbage day, thanks to a new solid-waste application rolled out by the city. The free app, which is available for Apple related products like iPhones and also Android phones, is essentially a calendar that will remind users of their garbage pick-up day. Those who sign up for the app can create their own reminder, whether it be through a text message, phone call, email or tweet.
. Port Moody council gives the initial OK to what could become a nine-storey office tower in the Suter Brook area that, if built, could generate between 630 and 780 jobs. The proposal, put forth by the Onni Development Corp., includes roughly 26,000 square feet of commercial space and another 141,000 square feet of office space. The tower's proposed location is set for 220 Brew St., on the south side of Suter Brook Way where it meets Ioco Road.