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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 28, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Wednesday, August 26, 1974 LETHBRIDGE HERALD 39 Quiet street A single car moves down the dusty main street of faces continued population losses. Willow Bunch hard hit Willow Bunch, Sask., a community of 386 that Population erosion continues By GARRY FAIRBAIRN Last of three WILLOW BUNCH, Sask. (CP) not even wheat could keep the projector running in the Palace Theatre. For the 386 residents of this valley town in southern Saskatchewan, last winter's closing of the theatre was hardly remarkable, just a small addition to the long list of businesses that have vanished with a dwindling population. The tidy, well- maintained wooden houses spotted along the dirt streets haven't been joined by a new house since 1971. It seerns longer to the three councillors sitting talking in the small town someone looks in the records, the consen- sus is that five years have gone by since the last building. When the railway station agent goes in delayed recognition of the fact that only grain cars roll over the tracks now, there will be one less house needed. When the elderly dry cleaner retires, there will be one less business. Town bypassed The benefits of soaring farm income seem to have bypassed the town. "We have only one machinery agency and he can't get machines." said Coun. Francis Therrien, agent at one of the four grain elevators that form one of the main reasons for the fact Willow Bunch ex- ists at all. Larry Eger, Esso station operator and another coun- cillor, agreed that the farmers' new wealth isn't really helping the town: "I don't think that makes that much difference because they're going out of town to buy anyway." "People never seem to be happy shopping at Mr. Therrien added, prompting Mr. Eger to reflect on the effect of modern highways: "Miles don't mean too much anymore." However, there are fac- tors other than increased mobility. Gord Greene, a third councillor, electrician and the man who operated the Palace Theatre's projector for 29 years, said the fate of the theatre was sealed with the spread of color TV. He wondered whether he was wise to remain in the town instead of moving to a larger centre. "I was invited to Assiniboia 25 years ago. Maybe I made a mistake not going." Missed chance By not going, he was left out of the process of centralization of businesses and con- solidation of population that have benefited a few centres at the expense of smaller communities. The young people, however, show little hesitation in leaving and their elders don't blame them. "There's nothing for them said Mr. Eger. "There's no jobs." Last spring there was an unusually-large high-school graduation in- cluding some from neighboring communities. Few if any will stay. "They get their education, they're Mr. Eger said. Even while they are still town residents, the young people show little inclina- tion to remain in Willow Bunch. "Young people today, they go (74 miles one way) to Moose Jaw for said Mr. Therrien. Those that remain in the town are the the 386 residents, 110 are over 60. Five years ago, there were 527 townspeople. One government action that could help, Mr. Therrien said, is a restriction on the size of farms. Hits business When a farmer expands his ownings to include land which previously supported another seven families, he said, that takes away another business in town since on the average seven families are needed to sup- port one business. Some large farms, he said, have replaced 10 to 15 families. Mr. Therrien also contended that the large farms are inefficient since with the shortage of ex- perienced help the farmers cannot operate properly. "If you're farming along- side those guys, you're just feeding their hoppers and worms." The large farmers often miss substantial amounts of grain by harvesting too fast, he added. Both he and Mr. Eger said there are young people interested in ticularly at current there are few ways they can begin. "There's no way a young guy can start by said Mr. Eger. Even with available land, there would be the heavy expense of machinery. And, said Mr. Therrien, "there's no damn way you can borrow unless you don't need it." The Saskatchewan government operates a land-bank program which is supposed to rent government purchased land to new farmers, but the only person in the area renting such land had already been farming before and in fact stopped renting other land from a private owner when he got the government lease. Not all lost The prospects for Willow Bunch, however, are not hopeless. The councillors talk of a possible coal power plant in the area that govern- ment spokesmen have said would employ 200 people if and when it is built. Many of those, it is felt, might stay in Willow Bunch. But the three men dis- .cuss the proposed plant without excitement, as if unwilling to believe fully in such development until the first concrete steps are taken. They are also aware that Willow Bunch has not necessarily reached the lowest possible economic level. The biggest payroll in town is about a year for the 12 teachers at the high school, at a time when enrolments are fall- ing throughout rural Saskatchewan. Staying in Calgary? Stay with friends. Traditional Calgary hospitality starts with us. So the next time you're headed our way call Zenith 6-6014 from anywhere in Alberta for reservations. It's toll free. Or ask your travel agent to reserve a room. Isn't that friendly? Downtown. 9th Ave. and 1st St next to the Calgary Tower. Commission stands firm on deadline OTTAWA (CP) dian transport commission stood firm here in its refusal to extend the deadline for admission of affidavit evidence in CN-CP telecom- munication rate increase hearings. Last week the commission ruled to accept such testimony after hearing a re- quest from Martin Levinson, counsel for the United Telegraph Workers, com- plaining of difficulty in get- ting witnesses to appear at the hearings. The committee set Wednesday, Aug. 28 as the for- mal deadline. "At the time we understood that Levinson had already made contact with his witnesses and that affidavit testimony would be Howard Pye, counsel for Canadian Na- tional telecommunications, said in an interview here. At the hearings Friday, Mr. Levinson asked the commis- sion to extend the deadline by one week to assist him in gathering evidence. Piggy-backing prisoners Female prisoner at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham. Mass., gets a piggy back ride from a male counterpart, at U.S.'s first coed prison. In it the mingling of sexes is no longer regarded as an experiment but as an accepted way of life. King of the Mounted returns to North WHITEHORSE, Y.T. (CP) King of the Mounted has re- turned to the North. Alfred (Buns) King, the RCMP constable whose wounding by Albert Johnson, the mad trapper, 43 years ago started the North's most famous manhunt, is well and has been visiting friends in the Yukon. It was Dec. 26, 1931. in the northern community of Arctic Red River, that Constable King and Joe Bernard, a special con- stable, received orders to investigate a complaint that a man was springing Indians' traps and throwing them over tree branches. They set out with dog teams on a two-day journey in 40-below weather and reached Johnson's cabin near the junction of the Longstick and Rat Rivers. "I just wanted to tell him to leave the Indians alone and to get a trapping King said in an interview. "I called to him through the window." After waiting for more than an hour without getting a re- sponse. King decided to get a search decision that required an 80-mile trip down the Husky River to Aklavik. He returned Dec. 31 with reinforcements. When King pounded on the cabin door, a shot was fired and he was wounded. "I crawled over to (Constable R. G.) McDowell, and they loaded me into a toboggan and took me back to Aklavik. "I learned later that the gun had been loaded with a steel jacket and a soft nose. It was the steel jacket that went through me. and a good thing too. The other would have exploded." The bullet passed through King's left side and out his right. He recovered under the care of Dr. J. A. Urquhart in the Anglican hospital in Aklavik. Meanwhile, history was being made. A posse was formed to track down Johnson, who eluded his pursuers for six on snowshoes across valleys, frozen rivers and a mountain range. Johnson stopped long enough to shoot it out with his pursuers on three one Mountie and wounding another seriously. Johnson was finally run down on the Eagle River in the Yu- kon and was shot and killed Feb. 17. 1932. VLVANI George and Mas extend their invitation for you to visit them at their Model 4C6 119 26" COLOR TELEVISION Black Matrix picture tube Perma Lock automatic color Automatic fine tuning Solid state high voltage tripler (most reliable high voltage circuit) Powerful 3 stage IF amplifier (extra power for fringe area) 5 years protection plan ONE ONLY 26" REMOTE CONTROL 95 4S311S STEREO Early American Candlelight 90 watt amplifier 4. Garrard changer Diamond Needle 4T9128 COMPONENT STEREO Built in 8 track BSR automatic changer Diamond needle 4 air tutpention Head lack Stereo 95 MANY OTHER SPECIALS Berf Illack 708 3rd AVL SOUTH "WHERE SALES ARE BACKED BY SERVICE- PHONE 327-3232 ;