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Year in review: The strangest stories of 2013

Captain Gary Ramsbottom throws his arms up in victory when the crew he was working with successfully pumped water out of the hull and righted his pirate ship. - Sam Van Schie photo
Captain Gary Ramsbottom throws his arms up in victory when the crew he was working with successfully pumped water out of the hull and righted his pirate ship.
— image credit: Sam Van Schie photo

1) Pirate ship rescue: A favourite spectacle on the Nelson waterfront, Gary Ramsbottom’s pirate ship took on water this year and partly sank. He tried to pivot the 22-foot vessel upright and pump enough water out to float it to the Prestige marina, but that didn’t work. The second rescue attempt was more successful: ropes were tied around the ship and a barge crane set it straight. The Obsidian, built as a film prop but never used, has been moored in Kootenay Lake since 2010.

2) Kaslo’s cheetah debate: A proposal to bring a pair of cheetahs to Kaslo won the support of village council, but was roundly condemned outside the community.

Earl Pfeifer and Carol Plato, who own Kaslo’s Kane Manor, wanted to bring the endangered animals to town from Toronto, in a conservation effort with tourism benefits.

Despite the village’s blessing, the couple is now looking at moving their cheetahs to Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail, Alta.

3) Guilty conscience?: What began as an opportunistic crime took a weird but welcome turn. Someone broke into four homes hit by the deadly Johnsons Landing slide and stole tools, computers, and other items. But some items soon turned up along Highway 31, about 18 kilometers away, and later two pieces of computer equipment showed up on the front steps of a Kaslo church. Police speculated it was the sign of a guilty conscience.

4) Move those plants: Interior Health instructed Comment magazine publisher Michael Chesney to move tobacco plants from his Victoria Street window or face a fine.

Under legislation enacted in 2008, it’s illegal to display tobacco products anywhere where they can be seen by minors.

Chesney was advised he was welcome to grow the plants at home or in a back room, so long as they were out of the view of passersby.

5) Lucas Myers’ banned bum: Nelson’s cultural ambassador ran into problems in Grand Forks this year when he was prevented from performing his one-man show Deck in the high school auditorium because of a brief scene where he exposes his buttocks.

Myers, who said it had never been an issue before, offered to wear underwear, but the local arts council insisted he shouldn’t censor himself and moved the show to another venue.

6) Tallis comes home: Jim and Jean Simpson had all but given up hope of seeing their Welsh corgi Tallis again. After all, he’d been missing for two months after slipping his lead during a walk with a caretaker while the couple was away.

But then they got word that someone had found a dog on the Burlington Northern rail trail, starving and shivering in a creek. It was Tallis. He’d lost half his body weight and suffered liver damage, but everyone was overjoyed at his return.

7) Weird wedding No. 1: When Steve and Lorelei Sullivan set their wedding date, they didn’t realize it conflicted with Nelson’s Cyswog ‘n’ Fun triathlon. But Lorelei didn’t let it stop her from doing both.

During the race, she wore a hat with the word “bride” and a veil attached, plus a t-shirt with a to-do list: “swim, bike, run, hair, wedding party.”

Afterward, she changed into a wedding dress and said her vows in Gyro Park.

8) Weird wedding No. 2: Kristan Green and Brook Hoskins were looking for a unique place to take their wedding photos. So after their ceremony, they climbed the face of Pulpit Rock, still in full altar attire.

Green explained they’d wanted to scale the cliff since moving to Nelson in 2012, and it seemed a novel way to combine the two experiences.

She had to modify her dress to climb in it, and attached her veil to a helmet.

9) The Diefenbunker: For the first time, the public had a chance to explore a secret space in the basement of the Gray Building — a Cold War-era bunker that would have served as a regional fallout shelter for officials in the event of an atomic war or other catastrophe.

As part of a Touchstones fundraiser, members were given tours of the large, well-lit facility which only contained a few remaining hints of its original purpose. For decades, it hasn’t been used for anything more than storage.

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