West Shore News Through the Decades: Week of Sept. 2

From marijuana plants to other brush fires to domestic abuse cases making the news the week of Sept. 2

Through the Decades

Week of Sept. 2

A brush fire consuming marijuana plants, vandalism to signs in Metchosin, a Langford man who beat his wife, a 57-year-old power lifter coming out of retirement and two separate incidents of public nudity are among the headlines pulled from the files of past Goldstream News Gazette articles going back three decades.


Colwood Fire Department responded to a brush fire near Esquimalt Lagoon, only to discover that blackberries when’t the only plants going up in smoke. Firefighters arrived at the scene to discover the charred remnants of marijuana. The grow operation was a small one, just enough for personal consumption, but the investigation continues.

Also in the news in 2005

A family of a Langford man shot and killed by West Shore RCMP are seeking damages. A civil suit was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria in response to  the death of Joseph Pagnotta, who was shot while police responded to what was thought to be a domestic dispute. Upon arrival four officers found a distraught Pagnotta brandishing a knife. Police shot him when he continued to move towards them.

Teachers throughout the province will vote on a teachers strike just weeks after heading back to class in September. Teachers charge “increasingly difficult classroom conditions” as a reason for job action and have been bargaining for a return of class-size limits and a salary increase.


Vandalism to street signs has cost the municipality of Metchosin thousands of dollars. On top of vandalism to signs, fires are being set in newspaper recycling bins and mailboxes, effectively forcing volunteer firefighters into street patrol duty looking for the people responsible. On one particular night  $2,500 in damage to street signs was reported said mayor John Ranns.

Also making the news in 1995

A Langford man who beat his wife so badly it left six red welts on her back, will not spend any time in jail after the woman told the court she wanted to work things out. Leszek Mierwinski pleaded guilty in Western Communities provincial court last week to a charge of assaulting his wife. According to crown council he became angry after his wife came back from Poland and didn’t bring anything back for him. He will serve 18 months probation with counselling for alcoholism and aggression.

A man charged with threatening to kill his wife has been acquitted in Western Communities provincial court after the judge in the case said he simply didn’t know who to believe. Laurie Pritchard testified her husband Kenneth James Pritchard threatened to shoot her during a discussion about how the couple’s assets would be divided in a divorce.


In two separate incidents, one woman decided it was a good day to walk completely nude down Old Island Highway and another man decided to run backwards in the buff down Jacklin Road. Wearing nothing but a smile the woman told Colwood RCMP she simply enjoying the afternoon while passing motorists hocked their horns and shouted approval. The man, whose clothes were later found near an antique shop on Sooke Road said, “Isn’t that the natural thing to do?”

Also making the news in 1985

A campfire ban from B.C. Forestry officials have put a stop to the fires until there has been significant rainfall to help mitigate “explosive” fire conditions in southern Vancouver Island.

57-year-old power lifter Ron Caplan, a senior security officer at William Head Prison comes out of retirement to compete again. Caplan lifted 331 lbs in the dead lift, 307 in the squat and 260 in the Bench Press for a total of 908 lbs during his last competition but felts his competitive spirit will take him further if he continues.

Complied by Arnold Lim