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INSIDE: Salmon farming fish fight finds its way to Eagle Landing Pg. 3 T U E S D A Y February 5, 2013 anniversary for Chilliwack Fraser 13 30th  N E W S , SPORTS, WEATHER & E N T E R T A I N M E N T  Changes to school calendar a risky business BY CORNELIA NAYLOR A Cornelia Naylor/TIMES Cascade resident Eleanor Ross shares a moment with miniature pet-therapy horse Thunder and his owner Michelle van der Vlis as Ross’s daughter Donna Hawkes looks on. A little Thunder therapy Miniature horse is the star and always welcome BY CORNELIA NAYLOR “I t’s all about being in the moment around here,” Cascade Lodge recreation assistant Sarah Laffin tells me as we wait for our elevator to reach the main floor. We’ve just been up to see a resi- dent to ask her about the lodge’s pet therapy program. Less than half an hour before, this lively elderly woman had been burying her hands in the thick chestnut coat and flaxen mane of a miniature horse named Thunder, a monthly visitor here. “All the rest is bullsh*t,” she had crooned cheerily to the animal while she caressed its velvety nose and braided its forelock. The experience had vanished from her mind by the time we visited her room less than half an hour later, but for Laffin, it’s the few moments of bliss that matter. “They’re animals. They don’t judge you. It doesn’t matter what you look like or whether you’re a young child or coming to death; they don’t care. They just want to love you.” Michelle van der Vlis “With Alzheimer’s and dementia,” she says, “sensory stimulation, the basic things, become important again. It’s not just the horse; it’s the feel of its fur. It’s just the basic sensory stimulation.” Of course, not everyone at the 110-bed residential care facility has Alzheimer’s or dementia, and Thunder—the star of the lodge’s pet therapy program—is a welcome visitor for a lot of different reasons. “A lot of people have grown up with pets,” says recreation manager Chanel Krossenger. “They’ve had pets all their lives, and a lot of them don’t have the means to go out and visit their farm that they left.” See THUNDER, Page 7 See SCHOOL, Page 21 Premium Pre-Owned Vehicles at Live Market Pricing 06198229 Plumbing Service Department 8645 Young Street, Chilliwack 604-792-5151 local businessman is worried educators and parents pushing for a year-round school calendar aren’t considering the impact such a move would have on seasonal businesses. Chris Steunenberg, owner and operator of the Cultus Lake Water Park, said having kids in school year round—an idea currently being considered by the Langley school district—could threaten the very existence of summer businesses like his. “Year-round schooling would have a huge and catastrophic effect on these businesses and on the tourism economy,” he said, “but attractions and summer season businesses have not been given a voice or any exposure in this ongoing debate. The Langley school board will decide next month whether to stay with a traditional calendar or move to a school year with three onemonth breaks, shrinking the summer holidays. Steunenberg estimates his business would lose 40 per cent of its revenue if all B.C. districts adopted a similar plan. “It would have such a huge impact, we wouldn’t be able to operate,” he said. He predicts the same would hold true for summer camps, tourist attractions, amusement parks, campgrounds, boat rentals and other seasonal businesses. Educators have long argued SHOP OUR ENTIRE PREOWNED INVENTORY NOW WITH DL 5952 Price 60¢

Chilliwack Times February 5 2013

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