Hutton House - It was reported earlier that Randsco had built a new, albeit temporary, maintenance storage facility on their main campus. In a later press release, Randsco announced that they had received a generous donation of a riding lawn mower, which became the first piece of equipment to be stored in the new facility.
"We are very thankful for the generous gift," wrote Scott Kimler, President and Editor-in-Chief, "The donors, Georgina and Richard, have given us their older mower, in favor of their new John Deere tractor/mower.
The new riding lawn mower is a 15 horsepower, rear-bagger model with electric start and night-operations capabilities.
"No more grass! No more grass!" shouted 5-and-a-half-year-old Alex with glee, riding atop the mower in the lap of the head of the Randsco maintenance department. The duo mowed the pasture in a third of the time it took staff to mow the pasture with the gas-powered, push mower.
Alex laughed going uphill, downhill, under branches, over bumps and around tight turns. She was even allowed to "drive" and managed to keep a straight track, in large part.
"Alex is a lot of fun," said the groomsman, after dumping a bag of grass into the poultry yard, "She loves riding the mower and helped me mow the whole pasture - staying up till 9 PM, which was way past her bedtime!"
"The "new" mower will be a welcome addition to the Randsco campus," said Rachel, "It means less time will be spent on mowing and they'll be more time for other projects!"
Nanaimo - Rachel dropped Alex and a friend off at the Nanaimo Aquatics Center for swimming lessons, then drove the short distance to the Buttertubs Marsh Bird Sanctuary parking lot. There, she locked the car and began jogging, following the nature trail that rims the marshy pond in the center of the sanctuary.
Her first hint that something might be awry, was when she spotted a man sitting on a rock near the parking lot area.
"He just looked suspicious," Rachel said, during her interview with the police, "but I wasn't paying much attention and don't remember much about his appearance."
When Rachel returned from her run, she discovered that the passenger window of her Subaru station wagon had been broken and that a thief - presumably the same suspicious-looking man - had stolen her canvas handbag. Inside was her jacket, wallet, hospital identification card and an envelope containing roughly $50 in coins (Alex's "Girl Guide" cookie sales money).
Rachel notified the police, but because she had moved the car (to pick up Alex and her friend from swimming lessons), they wouldn't "investigate".
Distraught and feeling violated, Rachel called Scott, to relay the news. Rachel returned home and began the process of canceling credit cards and taking inventory of all that was lost.
The car window was replaced the next day and the guy at the shop installed the window, free of charge. This helped to restore Rachel's faith in humanity, but still, the hassle and sting of the theft loomed large.
A couple days later, Rachel's hospital ID turned up - at the hospital and Rachel received a telephone call from a man who had found her bag, on a wooded trail near Vancouver Island University. The bag, her jacket and Alex's Girl Guide money were all intact. The only thing that was - ultimately - taken, was the wallet.
"The crazy thing," explained Rachel, "was that the back hatch to the car was open and there was a $250 depth sounder, in a box, sitting out in the open."
The smash & dash has shocked everyone at Randsco.
"Gee, we think of Nanaimo as being a small town and relatively insulated from this kind of crime," said one staff member.
The man who found Rachel's bag, declined comment, but did say that he routinely walks that particular path and has - on several occassions - found stolen belonging tossed into the woods.
"Someone is breaking into cars in the Buttertubs parking lot and has been, for some time," he said.
Hopefully, the RCMP is aware of the activity and will catch those responsible.
Aside from the major inconvenience, cost of repair and feelings of violation, the thief didn't manage to get much monetary gain.
"I had less than $20 in my wallet and none of the cards I'd canceled had any recent, illicit activity posted," said Rachel.