Posts Tagged ‘deaths’

Prince George Citizen staffer & family killed in crash

February 10, 2012 Comments off

This is really sad:

Prince George Citizen systems manager Matt Altizer, his wife, Leah,  and their two children Jonathan and Emily, were killed Wednesday in a head-on collision south of P.G. Thursday morning. Altizer was 40. His children, were in Grade 8 (Jonathan) and Grade 6 (Emily)

From the paper:

The family members were on their way to Vancouver to fulfill a lifelong dream of Altizer, a huge tennis enthusiast: attending a Davis Cup international match. Canada plays France in Vancouver this weekend.

At about 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, a few minutes north of McLeese Lake, the family’s SUV and a semi truck collided head on. The truck driver survived.


Kinda puts all this Osoyoos Times stuff into perspective.

Interim publisher Colleen Sparrow, who worked with Altizer for more than a decade, said the entire community has suffered a great loss.

“I know that I speak for everyone here at The Citizen, and across Glacier Media, when I say that we have not only lost a colleague but a great friend today,” she said. “He is someone who was dear to all of us. Matt was a kind and gentle man who would go out of his way to help anyone, and patience was his hallmark.

“We grieve over the loss of Matt and his family in this difficult time.”

Police say five people died, but it’s unclear who the fifth victim is.


News I missed: death, politics and transfers

October 21, 2011 1 comment

While I was away, I missed writing about the deaths of a couple prominent B.C. newspaper folk. Unfortunately it wasn’t all good stuff.

Black Press VP Jim Ainsley died last week at the age of 64 from complications linked to lung cancer.

From Black Press:

Ainsley moved to Abbotsford in the early 1980s and began working for Hacker Press [1] – a predecessor to Black Press. Later that decade, he became more involved in the human resources side, including union negotiations, labour issues and capital projects.

“Jim was known as gruff with a big heart, but at the end of the day he was a very level-headed guy who could bring parties together and find common ground,” said Bruce Tennant, Ainsley’s co-worker and friend.


[1] I love that there was a middle-of-the-road pre-Internet newspaper group called Hacker Press.

And last month Peace Arch News publisher Linda Klitch died suddenly after surgery to remove a benign tumor on her pancreas. Klitch—who was a longtime publisher of Kamloops This Week in the 90s— had been a board member of the B.C.-Yukon Community Newspaper Association.

From Kamloops This Week:

“We have lost a very loving women who will be sadly missed,” said KTW publisher Kelly Hall.

“Linda Hooton was a very compassionate lady who convinced me to climb into the newspaper industry back in the early 1990s. Linda’s commitment to our community and the people of our community was very evident each day she lived in Kamloops.


In less sad news, Nanaimo Daily News reporter Derek Spalding took a job at the Victoria Times-Colonist. Before he left, he wrote his last arts column, urging readers to attend a rap show in Nanaimo. Yep.

Also, Lake Cowichan Gazette editor Tyler Clarke has announced his departure. He’s moving onto a job at the Prince Albert Daily Herald [2] [3], a paper notable for its extraordinary high turnover rate (you may remember it as the paper that claimed it was in Alberta in its job posting). Maybe Tyler will help fix that. Anyways, his last Lake Cowichan comment is here. Of note, he answers the pressing question: “Why the hell would anybody move to Prince Albert?”

Why, then, am I leaving?

There are a number of reasons, including but not limited to the following: A desire to report on a larger centre; to work within a newsroom greater than one person; Saskatchewan housing prices 1/4 those of the Cowichan Lake area; much greater job availability for my partner (Tabatha); a general interest in returning to the prairies.

I guess that about covers it.


Tyler will be missed, if only because he penned one of the better ledes this year. “Fondly referred to as Pretty Boy, and not-so-fondly known as Stinky and a more expletive-filled nick-name, a well-known Youbou elk has been killed.”

[2] Prince Albert was the third most violent city in Canada last year. For a reporter, I guess that’s a good thing. For a reporter’s spouse, maybe not so much.

[3] Three of the top nine most violent cities in the country have “Prince” in their name. So yeah…

Finally, George Affleck, general manager of the B.C./Yukon Community Newspaper Association, is running for city council in Vancouver as a NPA candidate. George is currently president and CEO of Curve Communications, a Vancouver PR firm.

From the bio on his website:

Before launching his career in marketing, George worked as a journalist at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and reported for community newspapers across BC. His book “Paper Trails,” a history of newspapers in British Columbia was published in 1998. George’s work as a reporter has provided him with a healthy respect for government accountability and a desire to listen before taking action—convictions which he intends to bring to City Hall.


Mounties arrest, charge estranged husband of slain Salmon Arm Observer staffer

March 4, 2011 Comments off

The estranged husband of slain Salmon Arm Observer office manager Louise Phillips has been arrested and charged with second degree murder in connection with her death. For background click here and here.

The Observer story can be found here with some background and quotes from Phillips’s landlords.

Phillips, 52, had been renting a small apartment, which was attached to the main residence at 76 Timms Rd., while her husband was out-of-town doing employment training. He had returned to Salmon Arm on a reading week break.


Here’s the full RCMP release:

On Friday March 4th, 2011, the RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit arrested 55 yr old James Douglas Phillips in connection with the murder of his spouse 52 yr old Louise Phillips.

James Douglas Phillips who currently resides in Castlegar, BC, was arrested by RCMP investigators upon his release from hospital care at the Kelowna General Hospital Friday morning. RCMP Officers earlier this week forwarded a report to Crown Counsel, recommending consideration for a charge of second degree murder be approved along with seeking a warrant for his arrest.

With a charge approved under section 235 cc for second degree murder and arrest warrant obtained, investigators took James Douglas Phillips into custody without incident at KGH. Phillips had been hospitalized since the Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at the Salmon Arm residence of Louise Phillips back on Friday evening, February 18, 2011.

Uniformed officers who were first on the scene that evening, were faced with the somber discovery of Louise Phillips dead in her home with her estranged husband on the scene and both persons suffering from apparent stab wounds. After an extensive investigation, the SED MCU team were able to submit sufficient evidence and findings to crown and deem that they believe that the death of Louise Phillips is a homicide.

“Our investigation confirmed that this matter was a domestic related disturbance and our findings indicated that couple were legally separated. James Phillips had returned to reside at the home in Salmon Arm last year off and on. Historical police records checks of the couple did not uncover any previously reported domestic violence related incidents” stated Cpl Dan Moskaluk.

Salmon Arm Observer covers the sudden death of co-worker

February 28, 2011 Comments off

The family of Louise Phillips, the Salmon Arm Observer office manager who died under suspicious circumstances earlier this month, spoke to Barb Brouwer last week about their loss.

The story is unbelievably sad, but well written and compassionate.

In Salmon Arm now because of his mother’s death last Friday, 24-year-old Eli has two tickets left behind at his Calgary home — tickets that will never be used.

Eli and his mother planned to attend a concert by the band Heart, yesterday. Louise had bought the tickets last fall as a birthday gift to Eli and had planned to fly to Calgary for the event.


In a separate story, Barb writes about the deep sense of loss experienced by her co-workers at the Observer. There are quotes by numerous staffers. Barb writes:

There is a hole in the hearts of all of us who work at the Observer.

One of our own was taken from us suddenly Friday and all of us in the Observer family are trying to absorb the unimaginable.

To this reporter, Louise was a dear friend, confidante and walking buddy who was, like other members of the Observer family, a beneficiary of her loving kindness. I will miss her more than words can express. I loved her.


And editor Tracy Hughes pens a terrific and heart-wrenching column:

Shock, horror, disbelief.

When my phone rang on Saturday with the horrific news that one of our own staff members was killed, disbelief is the first thing that hit.

Louise Phillips, I thought. Is there another Louise Phillips in town? That simply can’t be our Louise.

No, not the sweet lady who greeted me at the door every morning, who never had a cross word, who hand-sewed picture frames for all three of my children so my oldest wouldn’t feel left out when the newborn twins were being showered with attention.

It just couldn’t be that lady.

And yet it was.


There has been no more news on how Phillips may have died since it was reported early last week.

Salmon Arm Observer staffer dies after “suspicious” incident

February 24, 2011 Comments off

Salmon Arm Observer office manager Louise Phillips died Friday “under suspicious circumstances” according to the Observer.

Mounties said they were called to the home last Friday night and found Phillips dead and her husband injured.

“We are progressing with the determination as to whether the death is of a criminal nature or not…” says Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, RCMP spokesperson, noting investigators are hoping a forensic autopsy, which took place Tuesday morning at Royal Inland Hospital, will provide more evidence.

Members of the Southeast District Major Crimes Unit interviewed Observer staff members this week, focusing on domestic relations between Louise and her husband Jim Phillips, which were known to have been strained. The couple had been separated for periods of time since the fall of 2009.


Former North Island Gazette editor dies

February 19, 2011 Comments off

The North Island Gazette reports that a former editor, Peter Paterson, died in his sleep last week at the age of 80.

Mr. Paterson was a man of many talents and worked in a variety of occupations but journalism was his passion, says his daughter Becky Deans, who worked by his side at the Gazette.


Peter edited the paper from 1975 to 1985, during which it was named the best all-round newspaper in the country. He left in the ’80s for Nova Scotia, where he worked for another community newspaper, but returned to Port Hardy at the start of the last decade and started a competing newspaper. The MidCoast Beacon, however, closed in 2002 but the Gazette reports that Peter kept writing.

“He was brilliant,” said Deans, who added her father loved literature, poetry, history, philosophy and the arts. “He never wrote his book; he wanted to. There are still tons of manuscripts that were never finished. He always had something on the go.”

Michelle Lang remembered

January 5, 2011 Comments off

I am, shamefully, a couple days late on this.

It deserves to be mentioned that last Thursday was the one-year anniversary of the death of Michelle Lang, a Calgary Herald reporter who previously worked for the Prince George Free Press.

The Herald had a nice story on her final day last week. Find it here….

From the story:

Lang was remembered last week by Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk during Team Canada’s Christmas Day tour of the front-line Canadian troops.

“I was here with Michelle last Christmas Eve,” Canada’s top soldier told Postmedia News.

“Boy, she gave me a tough interview . . . but what a wonderful person,” Natynczyk recalled.


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