Former Saanich mayor Howard Sturrock will join an elite group Feb. 2 when he is named a freeman of the District of Saanich.
Freeman is the highest formal honour a municipality can bestow upon a person, and is akin to being given a ceremonial key to the city. Sturrock will become just the 12th person to be so honoured in the Saanich’s 106-year history.
The acknowledgment can also be given to an organization, and in Saanich it has gone to 11 (Victoria) Service Battalion and the 11 (Victoria) Medical Company. Other individuals holding the honour of freeman are George Pearkes, Constance Pearkes, Freeman King, Les Passmore, Hugh Keenleyside, Bruce Hutchison, Ken Middleton, Hugh Curtis, John Pendray, Ron Lou-Poy and Nancy Turner.
Sturrock was Saanich mayor from 1987-1990, during which time he also chaired the Capital Regional District board, and served on the boards of the Municipal Finance Authority and the B.C. Assessment Authority.
He said he is happy to be counted among the others who have come before him.
“I was very surprised when [Mayor Frank Leonard] phoned me to tell me council had decided to give me the honour.”
Leonard said Sturrock is very deserving.
“It’s just a way of recognizing someone who has made a difference in this community. We don’t do it very often.”
He said Sturrock came out of the community association in Cadboro Bay to win a seat as an alderman — what is now called a councillor — then won a byelection for mayor in January 1987 when Mel Couvelier stepped down to enter provincial politics.
Sturrock, who worked as a consulting engineer, also won another term before leaving municipal politics behind. Two aspiring young politicians, Murray Coell and Leonard, would take turns following him to the mayor’s chair.
“He was very good to me and to Murray,” Leonard said.
Leonard said Sturrock was always community-minded while serving on council.
Bankers association honours detectives
Two Victoria Police Department detectives have been recognized by the Canadian Bankers Association for their determination in bringing a serial bank robber to justice.
In the 2010 investigation, Staff Sgt. Scott McGregor and Det.-Const. Phil Richmond were able to put the brakes on a culprit who committed a string of four robberies around the capital region. Both received the association’s Law Enforcement Award at a recent ceremony.
The case had a number of twists and turns before it was finally solved. One unusual aspect had the suspect being described in media coverage as “androgynous,” due to a combination of disguise elements like sunglasses and a pinkish scarf.
The robber turned out to be Stacey Georgia Tlucko, a woman in her 40s. She began the robbery spree in Saanich by disguising herself as a male, McGregor said, but her general appearance and various characteristics suggested she was female.
As in the other crimes, no weapon was produced.
A second robbery followed in Victoria, which is when McGregor and Richmond joined the investigation. The pair proceeded under the assumption that the suspect was female, and methodically tracked down witnesses.
Tlucko emerged as a suspect, thanks in large part to the efforts of Laura Manning, a crime analyst with Saanich police. Manning came up with Tlucko’s name by plugging details and descriptions from the case into the police computer system and poring through mugshots.
The mugshot of Tlucko came from a shoplifting arrest after the second robbery. She was carrying $2,000 at the time, which, of course, raised questions.
Meanwhile, a third robbery took place on the West Shore.
Victoria, Saanich and West Shore officers got together and went over the details of the crimes, McGregor said. Tlucko was put under surveillance, and arrested at the scene of a fourth robbery.
Unknown to her, plainclothes officers were in the bank at the time.
“It all came together for us at the end,” McGregor said. “It really was a joint effort, it was a team effort.”
Reservist receives naval award
Victoria resident Rebecca Charlesworth has become the first navy reservist to receive the Canadian Navy Centennial Award.
The award, sponsored by the Navy League of Canada and Lockheed Martin Canada, was created in 2010 and is given out each year to a junior non-commissioned member who has made a major contribution to navy life.
Charlesworth’s nomination says the master seaman “consistently displays a deep interest in promoting the military at the grassroots level to those within her community, and inexhaustibly strives to improve the experiences of her shipmates.”
Two $1,500 cheques will be donated to the Military Family Resource Centre in Esquimalt and the Nanaimo branch of the Navy League of Canada in Charlesworth’s name.
Charlesworth, a member of the naval reserve with HMCS Malahat since 2002, has served in Afghanistan.
When not working at her civilian job as an oiler/deckhand at HMC Dockyard, she volunteers with cadet groups in Langford and Esquimalt, as well as with the Royal Canadian search-and-rescue station in Oak Bay.
SMUS student earns scholarship
A St. Michaels University School student is one of just two Canadians to earn a Blyth Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship for 2013.
Keiler Totz will be studying at the University of Cambridge’s Pembroke College for Engineering. His three-year scholarship is worth approximately $150,000.
Blyth Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarships are available annually to Canadians intent in pursuing an undergraduate degree. Winners can attend the undergraduate college of their choice at Cambridge.
Salvation Army serves meals to 300
Christmas spirit had one more chance to show itself with a post-Christmas Christmas meal served by the Salvation Army last week.
About 300 people attended the traditional turkey feast.
The Salvation Army has been serving its Christmas meal for people in need in mid-January for about the past five years. The move was made because there are many other community dinners held in December.
One more item of interest extending from the holidays is the final result from Bear Wear, an annual charitable effort for the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island held at the Hotel Grand Pacific. The 12th annual Bear Wear event, where sponsors dress up teddy bears in all sorts of finery, raised $25,296.75.
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