• It was a wonderful Christmastime in Larch Hills and the Lantern Ski on Dec. 29 was a big success, thanks to the many volunteers, said Trail Tales columnist Marcia Beckner. And more than 100 skiers took part in the Fun Race on Jan 1.
• Assessed residential property values in the Shuswap continued their upward trend. In Salmon Arm and Sicamous, assessed property values for residential single detached homes increased by as much as 20 per cent, while strata units rose as much as 30 per cent.
• In its first season in the area, the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! map for the Thompson-Shuswap was a huge success, says Shayne Wright, co-ordinator of the Buy Local BC Initiative which produced the map. Almost all the maps printed in the past season had been distributed.
• The South Shuswap First Responders put out a call themselves – looking for additional volunteers. Donald Reed said the South Shuswap responders were called to help 288 patients from October 2015 to September 2016.
“It’s very rewarding knowing you have saved a life or intervened and prevented a bad situation from becoming a tragic situation.”
• In his column Shuswap Passion, Jim Cooperman said efforts are underway to rename Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park with a Secwepemc name. He said while it may be appropriate to recognize First Nations history of more than 9,000 years here, it is also disrespectful to reject the contributions of one of B.C.’s most respected conservationists whose efforts led to the creation of the park.
• Two people were injured in a two-vehicle accident on the Trans-Canada Highway in Tappen. The highway was closed at about 3:30 p.m. for approximately two hours on Jan. 9 while emergency vehicles responded to the collision near the Trickle Inn.
“Both drivers are residents of the Salmon Arm area and the sole occupants of their respective vehicles,” said Staff Sgt. Scott West. “They were both transported to Shuswap Lake General Hospital suffering from, what was believed to be at the time, non-life threatening but potentially serious injuries.”
• A sick swan was rescued from the frozen lake thanks to some quick-thinking Shuswap residents.
Fawn Herrington and her family were enjoying a family outing to Margaret Falls when they noticed a swan sitting immobile on the ice 50 feet offshore along Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road. After returning from the falls and seeing the swan had not moved, they tried to assess the bird’s situation.
Herrington called the RCMP, the fire department and a conservation officer, none of whom would help with the rescue. Others came to their aid and they eventually got the swan into Herringtons SUV and dropped it off at Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary. The next day the Herrington’s drove it to the Kamloops Wildlife Park for treatment.
• Everyone was gearing up for a music-filled Valentine’s Day with a Celtic twist. The popular Cod Gone Wild band was booked for two nights at Sorrento Memorial Hall, marking the debut of the band’s new lineup in the Shuswap.
Band founder and resident Newfoundlander Andrew Mercer said he was thrilled to introduce the new band members: David Mihal, Sean Bray and Martyn Jones.
• The Columbia Shuswap Regional District told Shuswap residents to recycle or pay more at the landfill. Tipping fees at the landfill and transfer stations were slated to increase in June, the biggest change being the minimum $5 user fee.
• The staff at the Chase Medical Clinic and Chase Health Centre were grateful to the Chase & District Health Services Foundation for its generous donations over the past two years.
The health centre is equipped with state-of-the-art wall-mounted cardiac monitor and tonometry device. The clinic has a new exam bed, liquid nitrogen dispenser, infant measuring mat and fetal Doppler with read-out and hand-held Oxymetry device.
Staff say these donations have greatly benefited both emergency and office care of people of Chase and enhanced the work performance by the physicians, nurse practitioner, nurses and other staff of both the health centre and medical clinic.
• The Chase Heat soared against the Kamloops Storm and then were stormed out of town by the Sicamous Eagles. It was a weekend of contrary actions and confusing results. However, the Heat continue their overall success, remaining atop their division with a three-point lead over 100 Mile House. They are currently sixth overall in the KIJHL standings.
• The Chase and District Curling Club was excited to announce they received a grant of $6,000 from Interior Savings’ Community Investment Fund to support youth curling programs in the community. The funds will be used to buy curling equipment for Chase youth.
• Universal health care doesn’t mean everyone in the Interior Health region has access to health care.
Rural communities in the South and North Shuswap areas are but two examples within IH where access to medical services is limited, causing affected residents to stand together in coalitions to advocate to maintain health-care access. A UBC Okanagan search project is undertaking an assessment of the successes and challenges faced by seven rural health citizen coalition groups with IH. The research team will gather for a meeting in April with study group participants.
• Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors are hoping a reduction in the speed limit on Blind Bay Road will improve safety this summer. Directors discussed their concerns about the 60-kilometre-per-hour speed limit; they would like it reduced to 50 km/h.
• The new year ushered in a number of traffic accidents. Sicamous resident, Richard Allen Davidson, 55, died after his pickup truck collided head-on with a transport truck on the Trans-Canada Highway near Canoe just before midnight on Monday, January 2. Four days later slippery roads were considered a factor in a collision as a man driving a Dodge Dakota pickup truck lost control and slid into the path of an eastbound semi between Sicamous and Salmon Arm. Two people were injured in a head-on collision in Tappen on January 9.
• A rear-end collision at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Ross Street on January 18 resulted in the death of baby Lexi. A pickup truck and car were stopped at the red light in the east-bound lane when a semi trailer, loaded with lumber, rear- ended the car which vaulted forward and hit the pickup. Inside the car was a woman, and her 20-year-old daughter, who was pregnant. Following the crash, the young woman had to undergo an emergency cesarean section, then both were airlifted to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
“Baby Lexi was born prematurely at 31 weeks and in serious condition,” wrote Sarah Payment, sister of the baby’s dad. “She was transported to Vancouver Children’s Hospital. On January 20th, Baby Lexi passed away peacefully and will always be in our hearts.”
• Twenty-four enthusiasts took part in the annual bird count. Although fewer species were spotted (70), there were a couple of notable sightings, including a yellow-billed loon near the Canoe boat launch. During count week a pair of canvasbacks were seen at the wharf in Canoe, making it first ever report of this species on the annual Christmas bird count.
• School District #83 received more than half a million dollars to spend on staffing over the remainder of the school year. The fund is a step towards the end of a lengthy legal battle between the B.C. Teachers Federation and the government. The Supreme Court ruled in the teachers’ favour in November 2016. Superintendent Glenn Borthistle said the school district’s share could amount to 10 additional teachers, and the North Okanagan Shuswap Teachers Association (NOSTA) and management were meeting to decide how best to allocate the funds.
• Revered Neskonlith leader Arthur Manuel died on January 11. Manuel served several terms as Neskonlith chief, as well as chair of the Shuswap Tribal Council, and long-time co-chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and former co-chair of the Global caucus. A statement from Grand Chief Stewart Philip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said: “Arthur Manuel was, without question, one of Canada’s strongest and most outspoken Indigenous leader…”
• A Salmon Arm grandpa got all sorts of attention and love online after his itty-bitty front-yard ice rink was noticed by passerby. For the past decade Bert Revel built a small rink for his grandson to use, and then he put out a welcome sign.
“I wanted people to know that if they wanted to come and bring their kids here, have some afternoon fun – they can come and do it,” said Revel.
• The Larch Hills racers did well at the Haywood Westerns, hosted by the Callaghan Valley Cross Country Club at Whistler. The Midget Girls dominated their category once again. In the Friday sprint race, the top four midget girls were all from Larch Hills: Claire Van Bergeyk, Zara Bucher, Julianne Moore, and Sophia Van Varseveld. Trond May topped the Midget Boys event, placing first. Throughout the weekend, Larch Hills continued to dominate bringing home several medals including: Samantha Vukadinovic, Dawson Bond, Rachel May, Rachel Bates, and the Masters Women’s Team made up of Abbi May,Alison Howatt and Lisa Wherry. Glenn Bond also brought home a medal in the Masters Men 7.5 Classic race.