Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Monday, March 29, 2010)

The sheriff came for a year and stayed many more, a new brand for Tourism Prince Rupert and Burns Lake leads the way in energy conservation on Earth Day, some of the items of interest for Monday

Daily News, front page, headline story
LOCAL SHERRIFF RECEIVES RECOGNITION FOR HONOURABLE LONG-TIME SERVICE -- The Daily News reviews the career of local sherriff Jesse Gale, who recently was awarded the Peace Officer Exemplary award, in recognition of his 22 years of service to the province.

The old president has move on to other adventures and the Chamber of Commerce has named her replacement, as they feted Deb Stava for her years of work on behalf of the Chamber, the organization dedicated to helping business thrive in Prince Rupert welcomed Maynard Angus aboard as the new Chamber President.

A cougar sighting has been received by the RCMP for the east side of the city, as a resident on that side of town called in the report of a cougar in the Frederick Street in the wooded area near Hays Cove Avenue, RCMP have increased patrols in the area and the Terrace based conservation officer has been updated on the sighting.

We're inviting the world to come Discover our Nature, as Tourism Prince Rupert launches a new image campaign that features a new branding of the community. The process which took three years to complete provides the imagery of rain drops, and eagle and leaves as it sells the merits of our natural environment, the new brand will soon appear on all Tourism Prince Rupert offerings from tourist pamphlets and Visitor Guides to Tourism advertising.

Port Edward council is taking a breath of relief at the turn of events at last week's School District closure vote, which saw the Port Edward school decision put off by three to six months. That time is providing the District of Port Ed to put together a Community School model for the School District to consider in the hope that what they have to offer in that three to six months will result in schooling to continue in Port Edward.

The Sports page featured a review of the Prince Rupert Rampage wrap up banquet for the 2009-10 season.

(Daily News archive items for March 29, 2010 )

Local sherriff receives recognition for honourable long-time service
Chamber has a new president
Enbridge band wagon getting full as more pile aboard
Branding for Prince Rupert
Port Edward relieved by their temporary reprieve
Cougar sighting in Prince Rupert confirmed

The Northern View
MPs call for tanker ban -- Three NDP MP's including Skeena Bulkley Valley's Nathan Cullen have called for a tanker ban in the waters off the north coast (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Burns Lake Leads The Province In Earth Hour Reductions-- Details of Burns Lake's success on Saturday night as they led the way for energy conservation across the province (see article here)

Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
Back to back storms disrupt power -- A weekend of wild weather on Haida Gwaii left more than afew Island residents in the dark (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the CBC website for Monday

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items for this week can be found on the weekly archive for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
Local sherriff receives recognition for honourable long-time service
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Monday, March 29, 2010

In love with his city, challenged by his job and full of good humour, Jesse Gale was lacking only one crowning moment.

That moment came on March 17 when Gale, a sheriff at the Prince Rupert courthouse, was awarded a prestigious medal for his long service in the provincial correctional services.

Gale became the first sheriff in Prince Rupert – only the third in the North – to receive the Peace Officer Exemplary Medal in recognition of his 22 years serving to the province as a sheriff. It seemed a little odd that it took so long, but Gale said he never expected it.

 “You don’t expect to get anything for doing your job,” said an understated Gale on Monday. “All I expected was to get a paycheck. But for an employer to recognize someone in a higher-risk profession it feels good – overwhelming to a point.”

 Jesse Gale, husband and father of one, moved to Prince Rupert 18 years ago. He’s been caught in a Prince Rupert cliché ever since.

“I came here for one year,” Gale told the Daily News. “I don’t know if there is something magnetic about this town – perhaps we are closer to the moon, I don’t know, but we never left.”

In fact, Gale can pinpoint one of the reasons he decided to stick around. It had everything to do with the way locals are treated and treat visitors.

Having just moved to Prince Rupert with his wife, the newbies were looking for a bite to eat. They decided to give the Fairview Restaurant a try. After finishing a delightful meal, Fairview owner Amy Wong asked how they liked the meal and what they were doing during their stay in Prince Rupert.

 “I told her that I was the new sheriff in town,” recounted Gale.

 Wong took the comment to heart and offered the Gales a dinner on the house. It was that type of generosity that typified Gale’s experience in town and symbolized the generosity he’s found here. “We really have the best of all worlds here.”

It also speaks to the balance Gale has to find in his life. Normally, his days are filled with fairly dark matters involving crime and criminals. As one of the men in charge of securing those charged with crimes, Gale has seen his share of troubling events. But he was well prepared for the work.

Before he moved to Prince Rupert, Gale spent time as a worker with mentally challenged teenagers in Ontario. That work laid the groundwork for his eventual career as a correctional officer. It taught him to be more understanding, but to also be firm with prisoners.

 “[Here] I am dealing with a lot of mentally challenged people who are also criminals,” explained Gale on Monday. 

“But I love the challenge – I love the challenge to try to relate to people who are out of control. And every job I have held has made me a better person along the way.”

 When Gale spoke to the Daily News, it was a manic Monday. It is always a manic Monday in the Prince Rupert courthouse, where first appearance for those charged with serious offences is the order of the day.

Gale’s job is to manage the situation whether it is the quiet surroundings of the Prince Rupert courthouse, the tough surroundings of the Okalla prison in Burnaby or the logistically difficult transportation of criminals.

Gale had been part of a correctional services team that moved prisoners through the inter-provincial escort air service – ‘Air Criminal’. He had also been involved in moving prisoners to and from work sites.

 So, he began to learn the tricky ways in which criminals look to deceive their keepers and enable their escape plans.

“You had to remain vigilant. It was always the ones you thought would not try who were usually the one who did,” said Gale,

At a work site, Gale had struck up a conversation with a prisoner who had noticed there was a gaping hole in the wall that kept the prisoners inside and the public safely on the outside.

 “He said to me ‘hey boss, do you think that hole is kind of big?’ I told him that I thought it was. He asked me ‘don’t you think one of us could escape through the hole?’ I said sure. He then asked me what if he ran through the hole, ‘would you chase me?’ I said probably not. He asked, “aren’t you afraid that I might run away?’ I told him that my .38 caliber gun could go a lot faster than I could.”

 Of course it was a joke, but guarding prisoners is serious business. There is little time to fraternize with prisoners and you don’t get many thank-yous from the prisoners for doing a good job. Which is why Gale was extremely pleased his employers recognized him for his service.

The medal was introduced in 2004 and is awarded to recipients who have completed 20 years of exemplary service, including at least 10 years that involve risk.

The honour recognizes people who work in high-risk jobs and dedicate themselves to public safety. Up until recently, it had been awarded to Police officers and firefighters, but sheriffs were not eligible, even though it was obvious to Gale that their work was just as risky as any other protective service.

That changed this year when Governor General Michaelle Jean announced that B.C. Sheriffs would now be included in the Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal program.

Not that it changed anything for Gale. He is just as happy today to do his job as he was before. He’s just a little more honoured to do it.

No comments: