Rae Oosthuizen selects a pumpkin from the Harpur family farm on Saturday, Oct. 7. -image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

2017 in review: October

Shuswap women survive the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the search of the Sagmoen farm begins

October

For Darcy Custeau from Bind Bay, Jacki Bluschke from Chase, Lenora Shipka from Lake Country, the Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas was to be the highlight of their second annual girls trip.

During the last act of the last night of the three-day festival they were having fun – dancing, singing, whooping and hollering. Then they heard the bangs.

“We just thought it was fireworks to do with the end of the show,” said an exhausted and emotional Custeau from Las Vegas. She and Shipka had been standing about 250 feet from the stage on Sunday night, pretty well in the centre of the huge field that accommodated 22,000 people at the event. Bluschke was about 10 feet in front of them. “Some people were saying ‘it’s a gun.’ Others were saying ‘it’s only fireworks.’ We were kind of hesitant and then we heard, ‘Get down, get down, it’s gunfire, it’s gunfire.’”

The three ladies made it out safely and ran four miles to their hotel room.

The shovels are in the ground, marking the launch of construction on an expansion to Mount Ida Mews residential care home – a project that will include an additional 60 new beds for people with complex-care needs who can no longer live at home with supports. The new beds are expected to open in winter 2018.

The people are wonderful but the system is broken. That is the opinion of Salmon Arm resident Ruben Taylor, who says the journey to getting his spouse, Josie Lofting, into a local health-care facility was a nightmarish ordeal.

“We had a nice life until three years ago when she started showing signs of dementia,” he said. “She became a wanderer and I didn’t have enough eyes.” He took her to Shuswap Lake General Hospital but she didn’t want treatment. On leaving the hospital Lofting refused to get into the car so he called 911. She was admitted under the Mental Health Act and put in a ‘safe room’ where she spent the next eight days.

“There was nothing to indicate it wasn’t a jail cell…I’ll never recover from it, let alone her; to walk into that hospital and see her fists banging on the windows and saying, ‘Help me, get me out of here.’”

Lofting was eventually transferred to Vernon Jubilee Hospital and then Hillside Village.

Shuswap resident conquers 100 km race in just over 11 hours, 30 minutes, taking the top spot in a Penticton trail event. Ron Ellis beat out 50 contestants in the Mighty Quail Trail run as he pushing the limits of his own endurance while taking in breathtaking scenery.

“There’s no other feeling like it. I’s definitely a magical feeling. It’s just great being on the trails and in the mountains,” he said.

The future portion of the Trans-Canada Highway through Salmon Arm came down to a 4-3 vote. It was a lengthy but respectful decision and in the end the majority of council voted to approve the 2013 TCH Corridor Safety Study which includes the recommendation to move the traffic light at Ross Street to Fourth Street. Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of public works and engineering, said the next step will be to set up a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). He said the work could potentially begin in March 2018.

Silver Creek residents were shocked with the news of the extensive search taking place at the Salmon River Road property and the discovery of human remains on the site.

“It’s like some TV crime show, except it’s happening right down the road. It’s pretty scary to think of what might have been taking place right under your nose,” said a neighbour who didn’t want to be identified.

There is one man in custody, Curtis Wayne Sagmoen, however, no specific charges have been laid against Sagmoen in relation to the search on the property.

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