Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 4, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
The freedom to choose The power to get there
Rhonda Martin • Kevin Martin
Story on Page Bl
Story on PageA8
What best prevents skeeters from biting?
July 4 2002
535 Princess Ave. www academy.fiorists.com
Als up on top of Argos
COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
By Dean Pritchard
Brandon SunSearch ends for boarders’
Bill Potter shows a smashed oar from his harrowing boating trip on Lake Wahtopanah last Saturday.
“Phantom Boater” endured scary experience on lake
By Dean PRITCHARD
The Phantom Boater has been found.
Five days after a ferocious squall on Lake Wahtopanah turned a relaxing fishing trip into a fight for survival, Bill Potter says he doesn’t know when he will get back in a boat again.
“This was by far the scariest moment of my life,” said Potter yesterday.
“I actually thought I was going to die. I haven’t prayed to God in I don’t know how many years but I prayed to God a couple of times that night... I know I’ll never go fishing again if there’s a cloud in the sky.”
Potter, 41, and son-in-law Jeremy Johnston, 27, were the subject of an intensive search and rescue effort involving three fire departments and two police forces late
Saturday after rain and IOO km winds touched down on Lake Wahtopanah near Rivers. Potter and Johnston managed to struggle to shore before being detected by rescue crews.
The search was called off after four hours, prompting rescue crews to dub the subject of their search “The Phantom Boat.”
Potter said he and Johnston were fishing on the north end of the lake in Potter’s 14-ft aluminum fishing boat when they noticed the sky grow dark at about 8:30 p.m.
The men were heading back to the boat launch on the east side of the lake when the sky blackened and high winds turned the lake into a churning cauldron.
“By the time we got our lines in the wind was so high that it was just throwing our boat all over the lake,” said Potter, a
Brandon carpenter. “We were still in the middle of the lake.”
What followed was a three-hour fight to reach land as the men were repeatedly thrown from their boat and pushed further from shore.
Their boat nearly submerged, and running aground on rocks, the men finally reached shore at 12:30 a.m. after following the headlights of several cars.
Potter said he had no idea anybody had been searching for them until reading about the storm in the Brandon Sun.
“By the time we got out of there we were driving towards the highway from the boat launch and we saw a couple of RCMP and ambulances going down toward the boat launch,” Potter said.
“I said to Jeremy, ‘Geez, I hope there isn’t anybody else on that lake.”
Often told to go home, Brandon skateboarders now have a home.
The long search for a permanent site for skateboarders is over.
The Wheat City Skateboard Association has a five-year lease agreement with the city for a skateboard park east of 26th Street near the Canada Games soccer pitch.
“It has dragged on but hopefully now everybody will appreciate there being a skateboard park in town and the kids won’t be in the places that they were before,” says skateboarder Jordan Ross.
“It’s great, we are all looking forward to the development of it.”
The lease agreement allows for the “construction and maintenance of an asphalt slab and associated skateboarding structures,” says Brian Brownlie, city director of community services.
Under the lease, the skateboard association agrees to pay for ail development on the site and comply with all municipal bylaws and provincial regula
The lease can be terminated with a year’s notice by either party or within 15 days if lease terms are violated.
“It’s a standard lease agreement that we do with our other recreation groups,” Brownlie said.
With a site finally secured, the skateboard association can now concentrate on raising funds.
The association has $20,000 from the city — proceeds from the sale of a mobile skateboard park — and plans to raise the project’s remaining $40,000.
“Most businesses don’t want to give money unless they know there is something more permanent,” says skateboard association secretary treasurer Marc Alain, who is also a police officer.
“Now that we have a location our fundraising will kick in big
The skateboard park could be open as early as August.
Area’s fertility rate remains constant
By Shelley Vivian
The birth rate in southwestern Manitoba appears to be holding steady as the overall fertility rate in Canada declines.
Between 1,000 and 1,100 babies are born each year at the Brandon Regional Health Centre, a number that has remained consistent over a decade.
“There really hasn’t been much of a change. We’ve been quite stable here in Westman, actually,” says Carol Manson McLeod, patient care co-ordina-tor at Brandon Regional Health Centre.
Across the country overall, however, the fertility rate is falling compared with that of the United States, Statistics Canada has reported.
“In 1999, Canadian fertility hit a record low of 1.52 children per woman, compared with the American rate of 2.08, a difference of more than half a child per woman,” according to the report’s authors. “Only 20 years ago, this gap was less than one-third of that size.”
In the year ending March, 2002, 1045 babies were born at Brandon hospital.
The year before, 1104 babies were born while in 1999-2000, 1079 babies were born at the hospital.
The average number of
babies born to each woman in the region was not available but the area serves a population of about 180,000 people across southwestern Manitoba.
Only half of the births at Brandon hospital involve women from the city.
David Foot, economics professor at the University of Toronto and co-author of the best-selling Boom, Bust and Echo, says Canada’s fertility rate is still well above other developed countries.
“If we are going to wring our hands over our low fertility rate, why do we compare ourselves to the only other developed country in the world that has a higher fertility rate?”
Foot cited Italy, Spain, Germany and Japan as having lower rates than Canada.
For a century, Canada’s fertility rate was higher than that of the United States, but that has changed sharply.
Canada’s growth is now about three-quarters of U.S. growth and projections indicate the American growth rate will continue to be higher. Foot says that is largely due to the Hispanic population in the U.S.
Most of the difference between the two countries is attributed to the declining birth rate of Canadian women aged 20 to 29, says Statistics Canada.
SEE MORE’ — PAGE A2
4-H club celebrates
See Page A3
Extra large Furrari dog kennel
Details under MOO
Summer brings special hazard for truckers
By Gurus Brown
To some truck drivers, summer vacationers heading out on the highway aren’t tourists, but something far worse.
“We call them terrorists,” Jeff Jackson, a trucker from Alberta, admits.
And it might be with good reason.
According to the Canada Safety Council, a lethal cocktail of alcohol, fatigue and bad driving means more Canadians die driving in the summer than during the snowy winter months.
Const. Ron Brassart of the Brandon Police Service says that with extra enforcement in the summer months, city cops are trying to keep more drunk drivers off the roads.
Jackson can understand why.
Summer drivers are terrible, he says dunng breakfast at the Husky on No. I. Highway.
“They’re inattendent, they don’t pay attention to the road because they’re too busy gawking around.”
“They seem to figure with fair weather and dry roads, they don’t need to pay attention.”
Mike McGinnis, another truck driver heading to Vancouver from Ontario, says that generally summer drivers aren’t that dangerous.
COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Don Bedard tightens the tethers on a motor scooter secured to the back of his RV yesterday afternoon along the TransCanada Highway.
But he’s noticed that vacationers pulling campers can be a hazard on the road.
“Sometimes campers are kind of dangerous,” he says.
“They slow down when they shouldn’t be, and I think many of them are inexperienced drivers when it comes to driving in a larger vehicle.”
The local manager for the Canadian Automobile
Association believes lead-footed dnvers lead to more accidents.
“I think it’s because people speed more. There’s more accidents in summer because people are driving faster,” says Shem McNicol of CAA.
“It’s because the roads are in better condition, and because there’s no snow or ice for people to worry about.”
Jackson says that when other dnvers go too fast in the summer, it makes his job much tougher.
SEE IMPAIRED’ — PAGE A2