Sunday, August 23, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Friday, August 21, 2009

A return of an artifact to Haida Gwaii, the Port prepares to welcome the transportaiton world and the city adds a few new bylaws to the books, some of the highlights of the news cycle for a Friday in Podunk.

DAILY NEWS Headline story, Friday, August 21, 2009
IT'S BEEN GONE A LONG TIME-- An anonymous caller sheds some light on an eight year mystery and with that call a once lost item is returned to Haida Gwaii (see story here) Article is also reprinted at the bottom of this post.

The transportation industry will gather in Prince Rupert next week, as Prince Rupert plays host to delegates from across Canada arriving for the conference for the Association of Canadian Ports, the delegates also will learn more about the Prince Rupert port as the PRPA hosts it's Annual General Meeting at this same time (see story here)

In a total vote of 5-1, Prince Rupert city council approbed bylaw changes to the zoning bylaw's terms of reference for lot development in the city. Only councillor Thorkelson held back her approval, concerned over potential change to the character of city neighbourhoods with the new bylaw in place (see story here)

The Sports page featured a look ahead to the upcoming action at the Houston Drags.

NORTHERN VIEW web updates
RIDERSHIP DOWN, REVENUE UP ON B. C. FERRIES NORTHERN ROUTES-- BC Ferries released its quarterly figures, which show a reduction in ridership in the first three months of this year, but thanks to an increase in transportation fees from the provincial government, revenues were up 45 per cent on the Northern routes (see story here)

Daily News, front page headline story:

It's been gone a long time
By Patrick Witwicki
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Friday, August 21, 2009
Pages one and five

It took eight years, but finally, the eagle has landed back on home soil in Haida Gwaii.
The carving, long believed lost to the Haida nation since it went missing back in May of 2001, was officially returned to its original home in Skidegate Wednesday afternoon.

Haida carver Dick Bellis may have been the most surprised individual on the North Coast last week when his wife received an anonymous phone call.

"(The caller) asked are you the one who wrote 'in memory of Ted Bellis" on the back of an eagle statue, and she said, yes, that's us," said Bellis.

The anonymous caller then had a bombshell to drop on the Bellis family - they knew where that eagle carving was located. And the surprise became even greater when Bellis was informed that the five-foot carving happened to be in someone's backyard in Prince George.

"We couldn't believe it," said Bellis. "I thought it probably went to Europe."

The anonymous caller went on to tell Bellis that they should contact the RCMP. So that's what they did, getting in touch with the Queen Charlotte City (and Skidegate) detachment, who then quickly made the call to Prince George.

"Prince George RCMP then went out and seized it," said Bellis. "That was very good, prompt work by the RCMP.

"The eagle landed in my yard one week later."

Once the carving was in the possession of the RCMP, arrangements were made to get the eagle back home to the islands.

"A very nice couple from Mackenzie offered to pick it up, and they dropped it off here [Wednesday]," said Bellis.

"Everybody on the island is coming by to see it. Everybody in B.C. knows the eagle."
Indeed, even as Bellis was conducting this interview, Haida Gwaii residents were dropping by the household to take a look at their returned property.

"They're so happy to see it," said Bellis. "Some of them are even crying."

Bellis added that back when the eagle resided on Haida Gwaii, Haida parents would use the carving as a measuring stick to see how tall their children were.

Bellis, who also completed a replica of his brother's statue of St. Mary's Spring in 2004 (located north of Skidegate), initially completed the eagle carving in 1993, dedicating it to his brother who had passed away one year earlier.

Ted Bellis already had his carving of the Bear out at Jungle Beach (17 miles north of Skidegate along Highway 16), so it made perfect sense for Ted to place his carving of the Eagle next to that of his brother's.

And there the eagle stood for the next eight years until suddenly, in May 2001, someone realized the eagle was missing.

"[They] would've had to use a 4x4 to get it out of there," said Bellis. "It was tied to a big stump with two spikes into it. But the guy didn't erase the engraving - otherwise we may never have found it."

As can be expected, a celebration to welcome the eagle home is in the works, although Bellis said that might have to wait while the issue "is still under investigation," he said.

But once everything is cleared up, Bellis has decided to give the eagle to Albert Myshrall, manager of the Hecate Inn in Queen Charlotte City.

Myshrall, a long-time resident of Haida Gwaii, was a good friend of Ted Bellis, and was officially "adopted" into the Bellis family at potlatch within the past decade.

So, putting the eagle on display in front of Myshrall's inn makes perfect sense to them.

"He was a dear friend of Ted," said Bellis.

"And the eagle … it's in amazing shape."
Prince George RCMP are still looking into the matter.

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