• Wildfire officials will be keeping a close watch on the forests following a thunderstorm that launched more than 5,000 lightning strikes in the Kamloops Fire Centre. Most of the strikes took place in the Kamloops and Salmon Arm Fire zones, said Kelsey Winter, fire information officer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ BC Wildfire Service. Fortunately, the storm that swept through was accompanied by substantial rain – 11.8 millimetres were recorded at a station in Salmon Arm and 12.6 were measured at a station closer to Turtle Valley.
• Corruption derailed 12,500 rural property tax notices. “Approximately 12,500 rural property tax notices were automatically aborted due to a corrupt character in the printing file,” read an email from the Ministry of Finance. New tax notices with an extended deadline were mailed out. The system error affected property owners in Area C South Shuswap, Area D Falkland/Salmon Valley/Ranchero, Area E rural Sicamous and Area F North Shuswap.
• At the Prestige Harbourfront Resort, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) revealed the latest $120 million plans for upgrading the Trans-Canada Highway west of Salmon Arm. The project was to begin with pre-loading the site of a new elevated bridge, which will be built north of the current highway and connect back to the current highway at 10th Street SW, said project manager Dave Shibata.
• The prospect of getting more bus service in Salmon Arm in the near future didn’t look promising. Ryan Little, regional manager for BC Transit, addressed city council’s June 8 meeting where he said transit funding levels were forecast to “remain relatively flat” over the next three years.
• More than 250 people attended the Blind Bay Painters’ annual art show and sale on June 27 and 28. Several artworks were sold in the show that was a celebration of the group’s 50 years of painting together.
• Despite high to extreme conditions, smoke-filled skies and a fire ban, one Salmon Arm property owner up Parkhill Road near 60th Avenue and 35th Street NE set a fire to clean up his property. A passerby saw the smoke and flames and called 911. The Salmon Arm Fire Department’s halls 1, 2 and 3 responded and quickly doused the flames.
• Police responding to a report of a suspected impaired driver wound up arresting a man in possession of $70,000-worth of cocaine. Salmon Arm Staff Sgt. Scott West said approximately 1,500 doses of cocaine have been removed from the street as a result of the Tuesday, July 14 arrest of a 26-year-old male.
• Authorities continued to investigate the death of a 22-year-old Alberta woman who was killed in a boating accident July 10 on Shuswap Lake. The BC Coroners Service stated that Andrea Mary Jacura, 22, of Edmonton, Alta., died as a result of severe injuries sustained after she was caught in a houseboat’s propeller while in waters near the popular Neilson Beach.
• The July 22nd weekend saw the revitalization of the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts in Sorrento & Blind Bay. The Arts Council for the South Shuswap took the festival under its wing to ensure the 30-year history of hosting the festival continued.
•A storm that tracked north of Salmon Arm towards Seymour Arm Tuesday evening between 7 and 9 delivered about 40 lightning strikes, igniting seven new fires in the Salmon Arm Fire Zone.
• Sicamous RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating the death of a 24-year-old Saskatchewan man in Mara Lake. Police say the man died on Tuesday, Aug. 4, after he’d jumped from a houseboat into the water and did not resurface. His body was recovered by dive teams a short distance from the boat. Police report alcohol is believed to have been a factor.
• Are they late, or are they not coming? This was a quandary Fisheries and Oceans Canada was facing with the early summer sockeye stocks which spawn in Scotch Creek and Seymour River. On Friday, Aug. 7, the Pacific Salmon Commission and the Fraser River Panel reduced initial estimates of a probable run in the neighbourhood of 837,000 early summers to 424,000.
•The Arts Council for the South Shuswap announced they would move from Faces Studio to the lower level of the Carlin Hall. “We are very excited about the many possibilities a partnership with the arts council entails,” said Carlin & District Recreation Association president Larry Stephenson. “Bringing these two very like-minded non-profit associations together will not only help to preserve our community’s existing arts and cultural activities, it will also encourage growth as instructional programming becomes more accessible and opportunities for involvement from all age groups are provided.”
• An air of optimism followed Friday night’s electric start to the 23rd annual Roots and Blues Festival. This, despite the fact attendance was down by 2,000. Roots and Blues numbers were 6,500 people Friday night, 7,400 on Saturday and 6,900 Sunday for a total attendance of 21,000. Salmon Arm Folk Music Society chair Lody Kieken said Friday’s thunderstorm was believed to have been a big factor in the drop in overall sales.
• Unless the Sicamous channel is dredged, the community may see some of its tourism economy slip away. This was part of the message delivered to District of Sicamous Council by Mary-Ann Easton and Bill Anderson, who served as a delegation representing stratas for the Riverside and the Narrows.
• Quick action by the Tappen Sunnybrae Fire Department prevented the loss of a home and shop on Ford Road on Aug. 24. A tree had blown onto a hydro line and the resulting sparks ignited a forested area. Seventeen firefighters responded and were able to put water on the blaze right away; however, due to the gusty winds, other fire departments were called as back up.
• A member of Shuswap Search and Rescue said it was a miracle that two women survived after their vehicle went down an embankment on the Adams Lake Forestry Road. Sgt. Gary Heebner of the Chase RCMP explains the driver of a black Dodge Journey was headed southbound at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 31, when she lost control and went off the left side of the road. The vehicle came to rest on its roof, 30 feet down a steep embankment after striking a tree.
• Four-hundred-and-seventeen households representing 1,046 Area C residents completed an online survey on recreational practices and preferences.
• Chinook salmon were getting lots of support from their human backers. Fisheries staff and volunteers wearing hip waders and carrying sand bags have been helping to consolidate smaller channels in the Salmon River delta into one deeper one to help fish make it upriver to spawn. Ron Pederson, president of the Salmon Arm Fish & Game Club, said Fisheries and Oceans Canada contacted him in order to line up more help on the delta, should it be needed.
• Rumours about Safeway shutting down came true. The store in Centenoka Park Mall announced it would close its doors on Thursday, Nov. 5.
• At 84, Clay Lank doesn’t give too many hoots about bylaws or regulations. What he does care passionately about is McGuire Lake Park. For several years, Lank has taken it upon himself to tidy up the park – gathering up cigarette butts and other garbage, recycling cans and – herein lies the trouble – clipping nuisance willow branches, trimming the tops off stumps, and pulling burdocks and thistles and more. But after cutting off an 11-foot willow branch, about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, which he said was hanging over the sidewalk. He was given a $100 municipal ticket by the bylaw officer for “damage to park or public lands.”
• “It’s just a brand new world,” said Teri Hutchinson, mother of Baby Britton who underwent a heart transplant on Sept. 3. Britton was born on May 13 of this year with a rare congenital heart defect called pulmonary artesia, meaning the right ventricle of her heart did not develop normally.
• A fire destroyed a home in the 6700 block of Eagle Bay Road at Cinnemousin Narrows Properties. Columbia Shuswap Regional District Fire Services Co-ordinator Kenn Mount said the property is about two to three kilometres beyond the local fire suppression area, outside of CSRD’s response jurisdiction.
• Work began on a new roof of historic Notch Hill Hall, thanks to many volunteers, sponsors, tradespeople, politicians, and residents of Sorrento, Notch Hill and nearby communities.
• Left to the elements and birds under a Vancouver bridge, several tired-looking dragon boats were brought to Salmon Arm to be restored to their former beauty, thanks to the efforts of the Shuswap Association of Rowing and Paddling’s Ted Crouch. Crouch was browsing on a Dragon Boat West web forum and saw that the Chinese Cultural Dragon Boat Association was wanting someone to take the boats rather than have them go to the landfill.
• A phone call from her son’s elementary school left mom Jackie Graham ‘seeing red.’ On Thursday, Sept. 24, Graham received a call from South Broadview Elementary stating she should come and pick up her son. Deacon is seven, in Grade 2, and has Down Syndrome and had been put in a “quiet room” to deal with his behaviour. This sparked a controversial debate about the use of seclusion rooms for students in B.C. schools.
• Calling it huge progress, Sunnybrae residents are pleased by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s commitment to install some new interim safety measures at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road.
• Like the rest of the country, North Okanagan-Shuswap voters were turning out in force at advance polls. Elections Canada released preliminary numbers, showing that Canada-wide, 3.6 million electors had voted at the advance polls – a 71 per cent increase over the 2.1 million advance voters in 2011 during the last federal election. In the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding, 16,213 voters cast an advance ballot over the Thanksgiving weekend – about a 50 per cent increase over 2011 when the unofficial number was only 8,265.
• A Blind Bay resident was taking some heat for protesting new taxation for lake protection. The issue came to light when Sunnybrae resident Opal Hendrickson was angered that Darryl Chipman had posted an alternate approval form on some people’s Facebook pages (including hers) to make it easy to register opposition to funding the Shuswap Watershed Council through a proposed parcel tax.
• Mel Arnold hit the ground running following the Oct. 19 federal election. Arnold, who topped the polls in the federal election was getting ready to go to Ottawa for orientation and initial meetings.
• A fire that destroyed a large two-storey residence at 1546 Blind Bay Rd. on the night of Oct. 27 was deemed suspicious by Columbia Shuswap Regional District Regional Fire Chief Kenn Mount.
• Expectations were high, but the 2015 late South Thompson sockeye run was disastrous. A visual observation of late-run sockeye in the Adams River on Oct. 8 revealed only 2,925 fish in the lower Adams River. No late-run sockeye were observed in upper Adams River two days later on Oct. 10.
• The Sorrento Centre Anglican Church of Canada was fined $14,384 for allowing workers to be in an area where there was damaged and exposed asbestos without using adequate personal protective equipment or safe work procedures. “The firm should first have ensured that all friable (easily crumbled) asbestos-containing materials were removed or enclosed so as to prevent the release of asbestos fibres,” read a WorkSafe B.C. report.
• With one delivery, Salmon Arm gained three additions to its population. Identical triplets Hannah Marie, Rileigh Faith and Isabelle Grace Meeuwsen were delivered by cesarean section at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
• A Shuswap man died after he drove off the road and his truck struck a tree on Nov. 4. Chase RCMP responded to a report of a single-vehicle collision on Notch Hill Road, near the intersection with McKenzie Road.
• Two men were facing drug charges after police raided a hotel room on Nov. 5. Salmon Arm RCMP report that officers located and arrested two men who were alleged to be dealing drugs in the area of Third Street and First Avenue in Salmon Arm.
• Jason Bellows put his outrage into action on Saturday, Nov. 7. With the help of 10 friends, Bellows collected close to one ton of household garbage that had been dumped on a forestry road above Sunnybrae and at another site off Shaw Road near the Canoe Creek Golf Course.
• Salmon Arm taxpayers will be facing a 2.96 per cent tax increase in 2016. For a resident with what the city terms an average $288,000 home, that amounts to an approximate $40 increase over 2015. However, households will also see an $11.30 reduction in the solid waste and recycling levy, so, in total, the homeowner will be paying about $29 more on the 2016 tax bill. Added to that, in a separate bill in December, will be a 2.6 per cent or $7.20 rise in the sewer rate.
• Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors unanimously approved the establishment of a new parcel tax for residents within the designated Shuswap Watershed Council Service areas. At the Nov. 19 board meeting in Salmon Arm, directors voted to approve the additional tax, which is estimated to add between $10 to $11 to each property’s 2016 tax bill.
• A 63-year-old man from Salmon Arm has escaped a prison sentence for trafficking crystal meth after a joint submission was accepted by a B.C. Supreme Court justice. David May pleaded guilty this week to a single count of trafficking out of his home in Salmon Arm.
• Chase RCMP were appealing to the public for information about an armed robbery at the Royal Bank on Nov. 30. At approximately 1:20 p.m., a man walked into the Royal Bank of Canada branch in Chase, brandished a long-barrelled firearm and demanded money. After obtaining an undisclosed quantity of cash, the man departed the bank and got into the passenger side of a newer white GMC SUV. RCMP believe the suspects in the Chase bank robbery made a false call to police in an attempt to draw officers away from the area.
• The numbers just keep climbing. Salvation Army Community Care co-ordinator David Byers said, on average, the number of people being served by the food bank was 1,000 a month higher than 2014. “We have had a huge year at the Salvation Army, helping a record 3,300 people in May of this year,” he said, noting he only had statistics completed up to August because he was too busy making sure clients were getting support. “We had 3,200 people last December and we provided a record 725 hampers.”
•Washrooms will be going up in McGuire Lake Park. City council approved an expenditure of $15,000 in the 2016 budget, to be added to $25,000 in reserve, for a total cost of $40,000.
• Glynis Sim finished eighth at the Canadian National Cross-Country Championships in Kingston, Ont. on Saturday, Nov. 28.
• Mounties are still investigating death of a Lee Creek woman – and foul play has not been ruled out. RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said investigators were still treating the Nov. 28 death as suspicious. RCMP responded to a home in the 2500-block of Squilax Anglemont Road on the Shuswap’s north shore late on Saturday, Nov. 28 after a report of a shooting. A 47-year-old woman was found dead inside.
• One big-ticket item in the City of Salmon Arm’s future is the dredging of the Salmon Arm wharf and marina area. City council discussed the state of the bay during budget deliberations, because $30,000 was initially earmarked to add to the dredging reserve. The city has about $460,000 in reserve for the project, much less than is needed.
• Two Salmon Arm men were glad to be in from the cold. The pair left Salmon Arm at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14 heading to Owl Head Recreation Area with their snow bikes (modified dirt bikes). Five SAR members began searching about 2 a.m. but had not located the missing men by daylight. An RCMP Air Service helicopter was dispatched to the scene in the morning and the men were soon spotted as they were walking down a forestry road in the area.