Colin John has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder. (file photo)

Presenting Ladysmith’s most-read stories of the past year

Remembering 2018: Here are the Chronicle stories you clicked on more than any other last year

Every year around this time, it is common practice for most news organizations to present you with the top stories of the previous year.

Sometimes they are the result of serious discussion and debate based on carefully considered criteria. Sometimes they are the personal opinions of a single editor.

And sometimes we leave the list up to you.

What follows is the list of the Chronicle’s top 10 local stories of 2018. They aren’t necessarily the “best,” or the “biggest,” or the “most important” stories (although most would be contenders). They are the most-read stories, as determined by the number of readers who clicked their link at ladysmithchronicle.com.

So without further ado:

10) Ladysmith firefighters save Saltair home (Jan. 4)

The quick work of Ladysmith firefighters on Thursday morning saved a two storey home from going up in flames.

The blaze occurred on Branksome Road off of Chemainus Road just before 10 a.m. Over a dozen firefighters responded to the scene as grey smoke billowed out of turquoise craftsman style home. Chemainus firefighters also responded as mutual aid to assist with directing traffic.

9) RCMP make arrest following standoff in rural Ladysmith (Jan. 8)

A police standoff in rural Ladysmith came to a peaceful conclusion after five hours on Saturday with one person taken into custody.

The incident began just after 2 p.m. when a male in his late 40s entered the Chuckwagon Market on Cedar Road and allegedly began verbally accosting the teenager behind the counter.

Ladysmith RCMP received multiple 9-1-1 calls regarding the behaviour of the man, who is described as 6’2 and 240 lbs.

8) Ladysmith’s historic Traveller’s Hotel sold to Vancouver investor (March 7)

The keys to a historic building in the heart of downtown Ladysmith are in the hands of new owners after the Traveller’s Hotel officially sold late last month.

RE/MAX Ocean Pointe realtor Wes Smith confirmed to the Chronicle on Wednesday that following weeks of negotiations a father and son from Vancouver will now work to revive the three-storey Edwardian era building.

“It’s very unique,” said Smith. “I’m just glad it’s going to be somebody who’s going to put it back to its original intention.”

7) ‘Love you to life’: Ladysmith family shares desperate fight to save teen with eating disorder (Feb. 7)

Wrapped in the warmth of a blanket as she lay still in bed, a then 14-year-old Hannah McDonnell barely had the energy to shiver, her skin blue to her elbows and knees and with a heart rate and blood pressure so low a doctor couldn’t even check her radial pulse without cutting off the circulation.

“For weeks at that point I slept with her every night with my hand on her chest to make sure she was still breathing,” said her mother Tara McDonnell.

Hannah had been diagnosed with an eating disorder months earlier and was being supported at home through family-based treatment while on a waitlist to see a team of experts at the BC Children’s Hospital.

But when Tara took Hannah to their family doctor on Feb. 8, 2013 it was in a state of desperation to save her daughter’s life.

6) Two people critically injured in Ladysmith highway crash (July 23)

Two people were airlifted to hospital with critical injures following a two-vehicle collision on the Trans-Canada Highway in Ladysmith on Monday morning.

The collision between the Hyundai Elantra and a water well drilling rig occurred at 6:19 a.m. where South Davis Road intersects with the highway.

Ladysmith RCMP said a preliminary investigation had found that the northbound semi-truck collided with the small vehicle, which was crossing over to the other side of the highway.

5) Ladysmith man saves dog from cougar attack on Holland Creek trail (Sept. 10)

A public alert has been issued by the Town of Ladysmith after a cougar was seen chasing down a dog Monday morning on a popular hiking and running trail.

The incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. as two women were walking their dogs about 1.5 kilometres south of the Holland Creek bridge.

Marty Steen was out for a run on the trail when he went past the women, who were walking one canine next to them while the other was off-leash 50 feet up the trail.

“As I’m running up the trail there’s a cougar chasing a dog towards me,” said Steen. “I probably got within five feet of it and the big cat saw me and slowly stopped and turned and went up the trail. That cat was probably six inches from that dog chasing it right on its tail.”

4) Ladysmith scooter crash leaves local man with critical injuries (April 23)

A local man in his early 60s was critically injured following a collision between a scooter and a pickup truck in Ladysmith on Monday morning.

The accident occurred before 11 a.m. at the intersection of North Davis Road and Chemainus Road in front of Coronation Mall.

3) Accused pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder (Nov. 20)

Thirty months after Derek Descoteau, a 20-year-old Chemainus man, was stabbed to death, the murder trial for the man accused of killing him has begun.

Colin John is facing a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Descoteau and a second count of attempted murder in connection with an attack on Janelle Guyatt, Descoteau’s girlfriend.

John was charged following a bloody attack in May of 2016 at a residence on Caswell Street. Descoteau and Guyatt were both stabbed several times with Descoteau dying en route to hospital.

2) RCMP seize fentanyl, weapons in Chemainus, Crofton drug raids (July 5)

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have seized drugs, including fentanyl, firearms and other items suspected of allegedly being used for trafficking after raiding three properties in Chemainus and Crofton over the weekend.

The subject properties were located in the 1500 and 1700 block of Chaplain Street in Crofton and 2800 block of Hillside Street in Chemainus.

1) Paramount budgets $7M for Sonic the Hedgehog movie shoot in ‘hero town’ Ladysmith (June 13)

Paramount Pictures is budgeting upwards of $7-million for a film shoot later this year that will set a computer-generated hedgehog with supersonic speed loose on the streets of Ladysmith.

The animation/live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie brings the video game icon created by Sega in the early 90s to the big screen and is anticipated to be in theatres Nov. 19 of next year.

“We searched all over B.C. and have chosen Ladysmith as our hero town for our movie,” said Abraham Fraser, the location manager for the film.

Filming will take place starting in mid-September for somewhere in the range of eight to 11 days along First Avenue, between Roberts Street and Gatacre Street.

A few stories have been omitted as being follow-ups to stories already on the list. To read each story in its entirety, log on to ladysmithchronicle.com.

 

Drugs and weapons seized by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP from Crofton and Chemainus residences. (Photo submitted)

BP photo The filming of the movie “Sonic The Hedgehog” is taking place on Vancouver Island next month in the Town of Ladysmith and portions of Highway 19 between Horne Lake Road and Cooke Creek Roady. Casting for extras was held in Ladysmith recently and it attracted a huge number of applicants.

A man is loaded onto a waiting Air Ambulance helicopter that landed on the southbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway just past the intersection at Coronation Mall on Monday morning. (Mike Gregory Photo)

Hannah McDonnell, 19, with mother Tara McDonnell are marking the fifth Living Day on Thursday. It was on Feb. 8, 2013 that Tara feared she was on the brink of losing her daughter to an eating disorder that had been diagnosed several months earlier. Through the support of their doctor, a family-based treatment program and later weekly visits to BC Children’s Hospital, Hannah is now in full recovery. (Mike Gregory Photo).

The Traveller’s Hotel, seen here on a morning last month, has been sold. (Mike Gregory Photo)

Fire Chief Ray Delcourt and Deputy Chief Al Delcourt examine the damage that was contained to the chimney.

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