A B.C. man was fired for breaking COVID-19 protocols after a case of chicken wing-induced diarrhea was mistaken for COVID-19 by his employer. (Scott Eckersley/Unsplash photo)

A B.C. man was fired for breaking COVID-19 protocols after a case of chicken wing-induced diarrhea was mistaken for COVID-19 by his employer. (Scott Eckersley/Unsplash photo)

Ladysmith Chronicle’s top 10 most-read news stories of 2021

Readers clicked on articles about COVID-19 symptoms, immigration complications and more

1. Man wins job back after diarrhea mistaken for COVID while working in Ladysmith, Sept. 15

When Jeremy Arnot ordered a bad plate of chicken wings to his Ladysmith hotel room while on a work trip, he had no idea it could cost him his job.

The wings allegedly induced a case of diarrhea for Arnot, whose employer then insisted he get tested for COVID-19. When Arnot failed to follow the company’s COVID-19 policies, he was fired, told to pay for his hotel room and find his own way home to Trail. But labour arbitrator Paul Love reinstated Arnot’s employment as an industrial cleaner, saying that companies need to establish clear COVID-19 safety protocols.

Arnot was awarded his job back with a five-day suspension for dishonesty in the investigation.

2. Canadian immigration application keeps Vancouver Island couple apart, Oct. 6

A Ladysmith woman is frustrated with government delays after starting a residency application for her husband more than three years ago.

Teresa Drumel is used to splitting her time between Ladysmith and Mexico with her husband Antonio Navarro Ochoa, who held a visa that allowed him six months in Canada at a time for the past six years.

The couple were common-law in 2018 when they started the application process for Ochoa to become a Canadian resident; since then, they were married in Canada but Ochoa is back in Mexico, waiting to hear from the Canadian government.

“It’s horrible being apart,” Drumel said. “People need each other when they get older.”

3. One person seriously injured in rollover crash in Ladysmith, July 20

One person sustained serious injuries in a rollover crash along the Trans-Canada Highway in Ladysmith.

Crews were called to a two-vehicle incident at Roberts Street and the highway in front of the Antique Mall. The Trans-Canada Highway was briefly shut down so a BCEHS Air Ambulance could land and transport one patient to hospital.

4. Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders, April 19

A restaurant near the Nanaimo Airport was ordered to shut down for failing to comply with COVID-19 public health orders.

According to an inspection report, Chakalaka Bar and Grill failed to create a written COVID-19 safety plan, post signs about mask-wearing or health checks, and place barriers between tables. The owner was ordered to address the failings, but a follow-up inspection found he did not comply.

Chakalaka owner Dick Deschamps told Black Press Media he refused to create a safety plan because he believes COVID-19 is “no more deadly” than the common cold.

Later in the year, construction equipment company Xtend Rentals purchased the property.

5. Stz’uminus artist designs new mask for Canucks goalie, Jan. 14

A Vancouver Canucks goalie sported a mask designed by Stz’uminus First Nation artist Luke Marston in collaboration with mask artist David Gunnarsson.

Braden Holtby, who played for the Canucks in 2020-21, courted controversy after previously donning a mask that featured an Indigenous thunderbird design. That mask was not created in collaboration with an Indigenous artist, which led to criticism around cultural appropriation. Holtby apologized and committed to working with a Coast Salish artist on a new mask.

Marston asked if Holtby wanted to revisit the thunderbird design, but the goalie wanted to start with something new. Holtby was hooked by the legend of the sea wolf, as it’s a fitting metaphor for the Canucks as a team.

“That’s what he liked about it. I told him ‘you guys are on the hunt this year,’” Marston said.

6. Lost Ladysmith dog found after 12 days in snowy wilderness, Feb. 8

After 12 days lost in the wilderness behind Ladysmith, Bono the king Doberman pinscher was found alive on the west side of Holland Lake.

“Seeing him again was so amazing,” owner Cyan Maretic said. “He looks really thin, and I was so happy to see him for the first time in 12 days.”

Bono’s absence sparked a search effort joined by 30 community volunteers who combed the trails behind Ladysmith every day since the dog went missing.

Avid backcountry explorer Shelley Meyers found Bono by coincidence while helping a friend fix their broken-down vehicle near Holland Lake.

7. Ladysmith residents facing renoviction concerned over zero per cent vacancy, Nov. 23

Residents of a Ladysmith apartment complex are stuck choosing between tenancy buyout offers in a zero per cent vacancy market, or digging in and fighting against a looming renoviction.

“I will have to leave this community because there is nothing available,” said Susan Burron, who lives at 110 Esplanade. “All I want to do is continue living here respectfully.”

The heritage building recently changed ownership and the new owner hopes to make significant upgrades, which he said cannot be done with tenants residing there.

“Our goal is to bring it back to its original structure and have nice rental units for the area and to bring back that heritage building to its original intention and make it as beautiful as we think it can be,” said Jan Frederik Ludvik.

8. Island Health apologizes after mom says Ladysmith urgent care treatment was racist, Feb. 1

Island Health issued an apology after an alleged racist incident at Ladysmith Community Health Centre.

A mother says that staff at LCHC discriminated against her and her 13-year-old daughter as they sought care for her daughter’s unexplained back pains and shortness of breath. The mother said she believes they were discriminated against because they are Indigenous.

When they arrived at LCHC, the mother said a nurse treated them more like a nuisance than a patient, and once they saw a doctor, the treatment got worse.

“He said, ‘You should be at home, think about your elders. You’re supposed to be isolating,’” the mother said.

The incident prompted a joint statement from Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris and Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone condemning racism.

Island Health’s apology included acknowledgement of systemic racism within the health authority.

9. Construction starts on Ladysmith community brewpub, May 19

It’s been a long road for Rod Alsop and Jon Ludtke, co-owners of Bayview Brewery, but they’re now in the home stretch of opening a community brewpub on Dogwood Drive.

Alsop and Ludtke started talking about opening a brewery back in 2017. Over time that idea morphed into a vision for a community brewpub. The duo obtained re-zoning for the pub under the name Shoot the Moon back in 2019. They opted to change the name to Bayview to avoid confusion with Moon Brewery in Victoria.

“If not for COVID we would potentially be open already because our mindset would have been different. It would have been pedal to the metal, whereas this has been a more natural fit,” Ludtke said.

10. Boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour, Jan. 27

A woman died in an early-morning boat fire at Ladysmith Marina.

RCMP officers arrived at the Gladden Road area marina to find a vessel fully engulfed in flames. One of two occupants aboard the boat were rescued by the operator of a small skiff.

“Tragically the second occupant of the boat, a woman in her 60s, was unable to escape the blaze,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the B.C. RCMP, in a press release.


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