News Briefs for March 2, 2016

Man charged in suspicious Cedar fires

A 54-year-old Nanaimo man has been charged in connection with a suspicious fire in Cedar Sunday, Feb. 14.

The fire happened at Cedar Memorial Gardens when natural gas lines supplying the buildings at the cemetery were allegedly broken and the gas ignited, causing heavy damage to the building.

Martin Taylor was arrested hours later under suspicion of starting the fire and appeared in Nanaimo provincial court Tuesday, Feb. 16, where he was formally charged with intentionally and recklessly causing damage by fire, mischief exceeding $5,000, mischief under $5,000 and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Taylor’s next court appearance is set for March 22.

Russell Farms Market to reopen Mar. 4

Russell Farms Market near Chemainus is set to reopen on March 4.

The open-air farmers’ market, which has been in operation since 1951, shut down on Feb. 1 after its longtime lessee decided not to continue with the business.

Now Russell Stewart, who has owned the market for decades, has partnered with local farmer France Bournazel to get the market on track again.

Bournazel said it “just didn’t work out” for the previous operators, so she and Stewart decided it was time to take the market back. She said the market is “going local” in that it will focus mainly on selling produce that is grown in the area.

“We’re also joining forces with Katie Farm (in Duncan) so there should be lots of local fruits and vegetables in the market, particularly in the summer growing months from May to December,” Bournazel said.