December 2003 — The office staff at the Valley Echo has seen at least one full turnover

December 2003 — The office staff at the Valley Echo has seen at least one full turnover

Remember When? (Week of December 11)

A look back at what happened this week in the valley over the past 50 years

10 years ago (2003): The Echo’s editor, Ian Cobb, was happy to hear that the U.S. Army had captured Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, who had been charged with Human Rights violations.

“Maybe all those weapons of mass destruction are on Saddam’s fuzzy person,” he joked. “Poor stupid, greedy Saddam. Had he only realized that the true art of disappearance is in plain sight, he wouldn’t have been caught fouling up a hole in the Earth.”

15 years ago (1998): An uncommon lead story forecasted reduced crude oil prices would result in lower gasoline rate for consumers. Esso in Radium Hot Springs was selling unleaded regular gas for 55.9 cents per litre.

“It was about time to lower the price,” the owner said. “Crude prices have gone down enough and I think we’ll see an adjustment in our cost. We probably were a little high,” he said, adding that Esso’s head office suggested the price drop.

20 years ago (1993): A retired couple from Radium Hot Springs were discussing the sale of their snowblower with a potential buyer, who then inquired about the seller’s property. The man of the house arbitrarily decided that the house was worth $55,000, and the buyer was happy to agree to a deal. Once the deal was finalized, the elderly couple, hoping to move closer to a hospital with the money from their home, learned that the housing market expanded more than they thought since buying the home in 1977. The $55,000 price tag appeared to be a rip-off when they realized there were no adequate properties for sale in that price range. The couple tried to cancel the deal, but the papers had been signed. The new owner then offered to rent the house to the seniors for $400 to $450 per month. 25 years ago (1988): Anne Picton from Windermere (who is currently a proofreader for The Pioneer), penned a letter titled, ” The “X” in “Xmas” is Legitimate.” She assured readers that the “X”, according to “any good unabridged dictionary,” the letter holds the meaning of “Christ,” and that the symbol is of Greek origin, and can be used to abbreviate many forms of the word “Christ.”

“P.S. I don’t like it either, and agree with you that for most people it is a lazy was to write “Christmas,” she added in her letter. “Have a merry one!”

30 years ago (1983): Gordon Lake retired as a bus driver for the Windermere School District after 20 years of service. He recalled kicking problem children off the bus in his early years, but said that the students had straightened out by his third year.


The graduating class of 1983 at David Thompson Secondary School upset some of the local grown-ups after designing a T-shirt which depicted a student holding an open beer while driving a hot rod.

“Is this what out local grads stand for?” one letter to the editor asked.

A follow-up to that letter by the grad president was published, rebutting that the designs are in good taste, and said the T-shirts reflect the sentiments of that year’s grads, not their parents.

40 years ago (1973): The Grade 13 volleyball team from Canal Flats had to deal with harsh weather on their way to Sparwood, where they competed in the East Kootenay Grade 13 Girl’s Volleyball Tournament. Many parents from Canal Flats kept their children at home because of the weather, leaving the team with only six players, which meant they couldn’t substitute any player on the court. The team was still able to win 12 consecutive games which won them the title. In addition to the tournament, the team’s regular season record was “splendid.”

50 years ago (1963): Valley inventor Jack Fleck created the Unitarian Twin Trunk, which takes the top half of a pine tree, along with a thick-branched bottom half, and nails and staples the two tree trunks together, with the branches interwoven to appear as one extremely healthy tree.


In upgrading the municipal water system, Invermere residents were four votes shy of reaching approval for a $89,000 financing program, which required 60 per cent support. The upgrades would have provided emergency water storage and adequate fire protection.