Shalan Pozer checks out a few of Paul Zeegers’ tomato plants at the North Star Farms booth at the first Quesnel Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, May 2. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Shalan Pozer checks out a few of Paul Zeegers’ tomato plants at the North Star Farms booth at the first Quesnel Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, May 2. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Year in Review: May

The Observer looks back at May 2020

• Finding himself with the time to be creative after COVID-19 put a halt to his work at the Sunset Theatre and with the play Jake’s Gift, Wells artist Dirk Van Stralen began creating daily cartoons during the pandemic.

Van Stralen started publishing cartoons over 30 years ago, and he created cartoons for the Georgia Straight in Vancouver for 17 years.

• Foul play was suspected after human remains were discovered in a rural area west of Quesnel near the Nazko highway.

Police have been investigating the missing persons case of 33 year-old Louis Korkowski who was last seen Monday (May 4) on the west side of Quesnel. On Tuesday, RCMP issued a news release asking the public to assist them in locating Korkowski and what they referred to as “two vehicles of interest.”

“We are working closely with the BC Coroners Service to confirm the man’s identity,” RCMP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said. “We recognize there are many questions and wishes for us to confirm whether or not these are the remains of the man, recently reported missing to the Quesnel RCMP. Our priority at this time is to confirm identity and then to speak with the man’s family.”

• Residents learned municipal taxes in Quesnel are increasing 5.5 per cent this year.

Quesnel council approved the 2020 Tax Rates Bylaw and the 2020-2024 Five-Year Financial Plan at its May 5 electronic council meeting, setting the municipal tax rate for this year and putting into place budget decisions that had been previously approved by council, such as a move to set the light industry mill rate to be the same as the commercial business mill rate over the next three years in an attempt to attract potential future economic development.

• Myles Mattila, originally from Quesnel who is now living in Kelowna, was one of 25 recipients of this year’s prestigious B.C. Achievement Community Award for his mental health advocacy, concussion awareness and civic engagement.

Mattila became involved in mental health advocacy at the young age of 14 when he observed a hockey teammate was going through a rough time and in an effort to help his friend, reached out to their coach for help.

• The demolition of the old Quesnel Junior School (QJS) in North Quesnel began in early May.

Later in the month, School District 28 revealed the design of the new QJS during an online Zoom meeting. The new school will be built on the same property as the current Maple Drive Junior Secondary School in the Red Bluff area.

The design of the new school was created by CHP Architects with “21st-century learning” concepts in mind to improve student interaction with the facility and encourage learning through physical design.

READ MORE: School District previews new Quesnel Junior School

• Members of the ?Esdilagh First Nation (Alexandria) spent most of the day on May 4 planting potatoes in what will be the community’s new garden located in the field before the baseball diamond on the west side.

Band Councillor Chad Stump says this is the fourth year for the garden, which was previously located near the Chief Frank Joe Health Centre. It was moved to be closer to a water source which at this time is currently toted to the garden in pails.

Once harvested, the vegetables will be sorted and divided up between on-reserve members with any left overs distributed to off-reserve members.

• The Quesnel Flying Club (QFC) paid tribute to Canadian Forces Snowbirds Captain Jennifer Casey, who died in a plane crash May 17 while taking part in the Snowbirds’ Operation Inspiration, a series of flights across the country meant to boost the morale of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to pay tribute to Captain Casey who was killed and the other pilot who was injured quite badly in Kamloops — and maybe it will start a wave around the country of other flying clubs in other cities to do the same thing,” said QFC member Fred Taylor.

• A group of young musicians serenaded the residents and staff of Dunrovin Park Lodge in Quesnel on Sunday, May 24.

The idea to bring together the group of musical friends was devised by Natasha Lepine, who was inspired to share the musical message of hope as she struggles with not being able to spend time with members of her own family due to the CODID-19 pandemic.

The musical group took turns singing and playing various instruments, a set of bagpipes even made an appearance much to the delight of the residents and staff of Dunrovin who watched and listened to the performances from a safe distance. Most of the equipment used by the group was donated to them by Mark Heinzelman the owner of Quesnel Music in order to make the performance possible.

• Quesnel residents planned a rally as the City of Quesnel was preparing to relocate the gold pan from its current location on Highway 97 North, at the turnoff to Barkerville at Highway 26 where it has lived since 1987, to the B.C. Rail parking lot across from the Quesnel Visitor Centre and the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives.

The was spearheaded by Quesnel resident Debra McKelvie who feels passionately that the gold pan stay where it is as at its current location as it serves as an iconic and historic landmark.

READ MORE: Gold pan relocation causing pan-demonium

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