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Column: New winter — Thaw tests systems, nerves

Dave White
Dave White - The Western Star

Some oldtimers claim they had not seen anything like his recent storm in 50 years.

Flash floods, landslides, even soggy avalanches resulted from the third unnamed storm of new winter. Few were left unscathed, though some places were hit harder than others. It all costs money.

It could have been worse. Luckily, there were no reports of serious injury or death through it all.

Authorities and residents looked responsibly prepared in dealing with the impacts of the fast moving weather system, a 36-hour wind and rain event that would wash out roads and shake down strips of forested hillside, among other things.

While public safety proved of utmost concern throughout, personal property in Benoit's Cove and along Highway 450 bore the brunt of heavy mountain runoff from 50 millimetres of rainy and the pervading snow melt.

Among others more seriously affected there were octogenarian Wally Jesso and wife Yvonne who were forced to evacuate as their homestead by the sea was inundated. Rapidly rising waters swamped adjacent outbuildings and overrode parked vehicles.

Family and friends are organizing fundraisers to the benefit the Jessos until determinations are made. Rooming with relatives, they are seen to be receiving financial assistance through an online gofundme page drawn in their support.

There were numerous flooded basements reported and driveways washed away into drains and basins. Fixed and getting fixed in some places. Some insured, some pending disaster relief.

Along the McIvers shore, remnants of trees belittled in the weight of rock and rubble meeting an equal and opposing force in a chill wall of churned ocean waves. Dramatic. Even in a slow motion slippage.

Safety begins at home. No storm chasing, please?

On the upside, ace chasing is allowed in good weather. The next round in the Cox’s Cove playing card lottery goes on Sunday with tickets on sale between 3-4 p.m.

The minimum jackpot is growing toward $1,500.

Game proceeds go in support of the Cox’s Cove Fire Department, Cox’s Cove Recreation and the Frenchman’s Pond Road Committee.

Another upside, as colder climes to which we’d grown accustomed have returned, so comes with the heated volunteer commitment it takes to keep a better life in focus among those who work and play in our ever-connected, socially-aware spaces like the Marshall Moores Arena.

Volunteers encouraged by community leaders like Coun. Perry Sheppard — otherwise known as coach Perry, recreation leader Perry, or iceman Perry, to name but a few of the hats he dons— keep the rink running season in and season out.

This week and last before the rain and snowmelt, he was hands on and directing available volunteer traffic helping him get the naturally-iced arena operating for another season of fun and fitness on the Bay of Islands north shore.

The ice already building to a four-ice thickness inside the dome, an active crew was working painting on the hockey lines as the week began. Sheppard is hopeful forecast temperatures hold to enable a weekend start.

Cox’s Cove Recreation, which is responsible for programming at the stadium, is getting ready to host the 2018 memorial hockey tournament named for two of the town's late hockey sons, Mark Baldwin and Tommy Buffett.

Recognized for their community involvement, the two are annually honoured in a weekend tournament that go to support local sports activity at the arena and to fun secondary school scholarships in their name at the north Bay of Islands regional all-grade school, Templeton Academy in Meadows.

Local teams from around Bay of Islands, and some players from as far away as Ontario, have accepted the open invitation and come annually to participate in the decade since its inception.

The tourney this year is set for the weekend Feb. 2-3.

This weekend, Bay of Islands, as anywhere else in this wintry wonderland we all call home, joins in the national celebration Hockey Day in Canada. Eight games on tap. Fantastic

Do be social.

Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at 660-5712, or email at:

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