A 25-year-old man was charged with arson in connection with the fire that ravaged the Hornby Island Community School late last month. The blaze destroyed the gym and office area. Within days, residents united to support not only students, but the community as a whole. The non-profit Hornby Island Education Society, which supports lifelong learning for the entire community, started a School Renewal Fund to assist with financial gaps, both in the short- and long-term.
• Buckley Bay resident Saffina Welch had a surprise when she looked out her kitchen window one morning to see two juvenile cougars playing in her yard. The former biologist, who took a video of the cats, figures they were about a year old.
• In another animal incident, police assisted a Comox woman after she was pinned to the ground by a deer. She had approached the large male deer, and he turned on her, knocked her to the ground, and wouldn’t let her get up. Two attending police officers grabbed onto the deer and were able to free the woman so she could walk to a waiting ambulance. The BC Conservation Service attended, sedated the deer and untangled him. The woman sustained minor injuries.
• Town of Comox Coun. Russ Arnott announced his bid to run for mayor in the October municipal election. Newcomer Tom Diamond had declared his candidacy in July.
Frisch drops out of mayor race
David Frisch presented an early twist to the Courtenay election landscape when he announced he was stepping down from the mayoral race. He instead decided to seek a second term on council. His decision came on the heels of Mayor Larry Jangula filing his own nomination papers at City Hall. Couns. Bob Wells and Erik Eriksson were also seeking the mayor’s seat.
• Suspended Courtenay pharmacist Isidore ‘Rudy’ Sanchez was fined $115,000 by a discipline committee of the College of Pharmacists of B.C. But even if he pays, he is many years away from re-obtaining a licence to practice. Sanchez managed the Marigold Compounding Natural Pharmacy, which the college shut down in 2014. Results of an investigation showed a “blatant disregard for public safety and meeting pharmacy practice standards.” A group, Save Marigold Pharmacy, formed to support Rudy. A 2014 rally at the Courtenay Courthouse lawn drew a large crowd of Sanchez supporters.
The trial for a woman involved in a multi-vehicle collision two years ago, in which a pedestrian was killed, began at the Courtenay Courthouse. Serina Laliberte faced nine charges, including impaired driving causing death, causing an accident resulting in death, dangerous driving causing death, two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, two counts of causing an accident resulting in bodily harm and two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. She pleaded not guilty to all nine charges. The trial was to continue in October. Crown and defence lawyers agreed more time was needed.
• A 29-year-old man died after his motorcycle left the road and went down a steep embankment, coming down from Mount Washington on Strathcona Parkway.
Olympic snowboarder Spencer O’Brien was one of the featured athletes in a new Indigenous Sport Gallery unveiled at the BC Sports Hall of Fame in Vancouver. The exhibit recognizes Indigenous athletes who have made an impact on B.C.’s sport history.
• More than 100 participants braved the elements and the course at the inaugural PACE Multisport Dodge City X in Cumberland. The race featured a 1.5-km swim in Comox Lake, a 23-km mountain bike ride, and a 9.5-km trail run through the forest. The men’s winner in the standard race was local favourite Clay Ward in 2:33:47. On the women’s side, Squamish’s Zoe Dawson won in 2:53:05, beating out Cumberland’s Kelsey McCallan and Debbie Wright.
• Tyson McGuffin, one of the top pickleball players in the world, shared his expertise with some local players at a boot camp at the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay.