Jeremy Shantz and Jenn Wade work on a backyard mural on Tuesday September 12.-image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

2017 in review: September

A large group of local athletes compete in the 55+ B.C. Games, crews douse a wildfire on Kault Hill.

September

Fire crews were called out to a fire below the Trans-Canada Highway’s Kault Hill lookout, about 10 kilometres west of Salmon Arm. BC Wildfire crews, the Salmon Arm Fire Department as well as the Columbia Shuswap Regional District contingent of Tappen, Shuswap and Sunnybrae fire departments responded. A ground team, combined with air crews that provided a remarkable show for those watching, swooped in and went full-out fighting the fire. It didn’t take them long to have it well in hand.

Projections for this season’s Fraser River to Shuswap Lake sockeye salmon run are gloomy, although not unexpected during a low point in the four-year salmon cycle. But there is a bright spot. A little further east, there is reason to celebrate at Scotch Creek, where another group of sockeye have been arriving to spawn since August. Aaron Arnouse, Little Shuswap Indian Band fisheries co-ordinator, reported 2,372 salmon had passed through the fish fence on Scotch Creek as of August 31.

The age of athletes did nothing to slow down the competition at the annual 55+ BC Games. A large contingent from Salmon Arm are competing in the dragon boat races. The equestrian events will feature five participants from Salmon Arm. Local competitors will also be in the golfing, hockey, horseshoes, curling, pickleball, swimming, tennis, table tennis, track and field, and soccer.

It was smiles all around following the 120th Salmon Arm Fair.

“We had a lot to crow about and I think we did a good job at crowing,” said fair committee co-chair Star MacGregor. “We were up on Friday, down slightly Saturday after the parade and the rain, but Sunday made it up.”

The stats came in, the B.C. Interior came through the driest summer on record. Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said Salmon Arm got 12.4 mm of rain in June, 0.8 mm in July, 2.4 mm in August, for a ‘grand total’ of 15.6 when it should have been more like 149.3 mm.

Student numbers went up in the North Okanagan-Shuswp school district with enrolment up 83 students over the initial school district projections.

“For a third year in a row, our enrolment has increased,” said trustee Mike McKay. With the increased student numbers and changes to legislation around class size and composition, 44 new full-time equivalency teachers have been hired.

More than 150 people gathered for the lantern walk organized to remember those who have died by suicide and to raise awareness of the issue. For the second year people listened to music, messages of home from speakers and walked, lanterns in hand, around McGuire Lake. Due to the fire ban, candles were not permitted but organizers managed to secure battery-powered votive lights to ensure the lanterns were lit. Many of the lanterns were made by local children at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery’s Family Saturday program. They were labeled with comforting messages – Hope, Just breath, Dream big, Be someone’s sunshine when times are grey.

The Terry Fox Run, held on Sunday, September 17, was also a huge success. Participants walked, ran, and rode for two, five, and 10 kilometre routes to raise money for cancer. The run was especially important for Bronwyn Christison, a young cancer survivor. She rode her bike alongside her classmates, who sported tie-dye t-shirts in her honour.

Eva Tavares, daughter of a Notch Hill family, performed the lead role in Cameron Macintosh’s spectacular new touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Rehearsals began earlier in the summer.

“It’s definitely the biggest show I’ve been in,” said Eva. “It’s such a dream role and it means so much to so many people.”

Dancer Josie Weightman was selected for Team Canada Dance. The 17-year-old from Mara earned the coveted spot and will be competing at the World Championships in Riesa, Germany in November. Weightman studies at Salmon Arm’s Just For Kicks dance studio for 13 years.

When 17-month old Alice Wolter developed a fever, her parents, Jeff and Korinna, thought it was because she was teething. The doctor suspected something different, however, and her blood was sent away for diagnosis. The next thing the family knew, little Alice was in BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver suffering from a rare form of leukemia for a child, MDS, or Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

“Right now she’s not feeling too, too bad. She goes multiple times a week for blood transfusions and platelet transfusions. Every time she gets a transfusion she feels better,” said Alice’s aunt, Karla Ivany.

A friend set up a GoFundMe account for Alice’s family. It can be found at Help fight for baby Alice.

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