Year in Review: A look at the Observer from 2015

Let it Snow quickly became a Christmas favourite tune, but the storm that dumped 46 centimetres of snow in the Shuswap…

  • Dec. 30, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Soccer continues to become one of Salmon Arm's most popular sports.

Soccer continues to become one of Salmon Arm's most popular sports.

• Let it Snow quickly became a Christmas favourite tune, but the storm that dumped 46 centimetres of snow in the Shuswap in less than 48 hours didn’t leave many people singing.

An Environment Canada update at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 5 revealed that 35 centimetres of the white stuff had fallen at the Salmon Arm Airport. “And it’s still snowing,” said warning preparedness meteorologist Lisa Coldwells. “It’s one heck of a snow day and we expect another 10 to 15 centimetres before it is snowed out by tomorrow morning.”

• Brenda Melmac presented her son Gavin Allan Melmac, who was the first baby born in Shuswap Lake General Hospital on Jan. 1 at 6:38 a.m.

• A Shuswap resident accused of piloting a ski boat that rammed into a houseboat after Canada Day weekend celebrations in 2010, killing its operator, was scheduled to stand trial in February, this time by judge alone. Leon Reinbrecht had re-elected to have his trial in front of a Supreme Court judge alone.

• That ever-present grin Curtis Lazar wears became familiar all over Canada. Just 20 days after recording his first NHL goal with the Ottawa Senators, Lazar received the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship trophy Jan. 5  before 19,014 delirious fans at the Air Canada Centre.

• Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival artistic director Peter North was the recipient of the Toronto Blues Society’s Blues Booster of the Year Award, a special Maple Blues Award honouring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry.

• Early in the year, school trustees were staring at another significant budget decline in the face for the upcoming budget year – but they weren’t sure how deep the cuts would be. Secretary-Treasurer Sterling Olson warned trustees of a projected budget shortfall of between $1.34 million and $2.79 million for the 2015-2016 budget.

• As the school district prepared to wrestle with the impending deficit for the upcoming budget year, school district staff expenses were also facing review. School board chair Bobbi Johnson said the school board took a close look at expense items in the previous budget deliberations, as trustees were looking at all areas of the budget in order to make reductions with the least impact on student services.

• The student responsible for a prank bomb threat at Shuswap Middle School was identified by police and school district officials just a few hours after the threat was made on Tuesday, Jan. 20. “Earlier today a false bomb threat was made towards Shuswap Middle. As a precaution, students were taken to South Broadview Elementary while RCMP investigated the incident.” said a statement from School District #83.

• Although it had been a no-go in the past, city council was considering allowing camping in Blackburn Park during the Roots and Blues Festival.  The proposal came from Coun. Alan Harrison, the city’s liaison with the festival, to allow camping on the southeast baseball diamond at the corner of 10th Avenue and Fifth Street SW from Aug. 13 to 15.

• Discussion was quick to flow when Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors were asked to support a request for a meeting and information on federal plans to upgrade the Trans-Canada Highway.

Newly elected Area A Rural Golden director Karen Cathcart’s Jan. 6 letter to Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilkes expressed “deep concern” about the five fatalities that occurred on Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke over the Christmas season.

• The Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association was investigating a fight that occurred during a  recent Midget Tier 2 game in Sicamous. On Saturday, Jan. 17, Sicamous RCMP responded to a report of an altercation at the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre, where a game was being played between Salmon Arm and Penticton. The skirmish wasn’t on the ice, however, but in the stands.

• Salmon Arm council said no – for now – to locating financial institutions at Piccadilly or Centenoka Park malls. The no vote came in response to an application from the owner of the Mall at Piccadilly, Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada, to add financial institution to the list of permitted uses in the C-7 shopping centre commercial zone. C-7 is the zone governing both malls.

• School District #83 trustees petitioned the B.C. government to remove a wage freeze and provide salary increases for their non-unionized administration employees.

• In an Oct. 20, 2014 letter provided  anonymously to the Observer, the board expressed concern to both the B.C. education and finance ministers about the compensation freeze for management and executive staff.

• Noah Paterson was crowned Boxing Canada’s 2015 Canadian Junior and Youth National Champion in the 66-kilogram junior C open category.

After winning the B.C. Golden Gloves the previous month in Cloverdale, Paterson was invited to compete with Team B.C. at the national championships.




• A Sorrento woman was identified as the person killed in a Feb. 1 collision between an SUV and a semi-truck on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Salmon Arm. Mary Gould, 55, died at the scene of the collision. She was a realtor in Sorrento for Royal LePage Access Real Estate. The collision, which occurred by the Trickle Inn in Tappen, involved a semi trailer with Alberta plates and Gould’s sport utility vehicle. The driver of the semi-truck suffered minor injuries.

• Council chambers were filled to overflowing Jan. 29 as about 120 citizens gathered to provide information and opinions on cell phone tower placement, cell phones and Wi-Fi – and urged council to protect citizens.

• No formal action was taken against adults involved in a skirmish in the stands during a minor hockey game involving teams from Salon Arm and Penticton.

• Warm weather, heavy rain and melting snow resulted in flooding in pockets of the Shuswap.

• Witnesses say a section of road at the upper end of Vickers Trail in Anglemont Estates gave way on Sunday, Feb. 8, destroying a seasonal home on Hudson Road. The house was pushed about 12 meters and turned sideways by the mud. Along with the house, power lines were downed by the landslide of debris.

• The numbers of salmon going through a Silver Creek fish fence in the fall were reason for cautious optimism. Volunteer Gene Puetz has been counting chinook, sockeye and coho on the Salmon River near his residence for 30 years. This year Puetz counted 863 chinook – up from 660 four years ago and 576 sockeye up from the brood year count of 327.

• The wet weather took its toll on a portion of Foothill Road, which was closed indefinitely. Tuesday morning city crews were called to a stretch of Foothill just west of Mount Ida Cemetery, when the lower edge of the road began sloughing down the bank. Crews blocked off the road to traffic from 14th Street SW to 30th Street SW, the two closest access points to the slide.

• The man accused of the murder of a Salmon Arm man, John Jerrett, a 48-year-old Barrhead, Alta. resident, pleaded not guilty to 10 charges, the most serious being murder, in relation to the death of a Salmon Arm man, Valentine Degenhardt. The other charges include robbery with a firearm, interfering with a dead body, break and enter, possession of a loaded restricted firearm, unlawful use of a firearm and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

On July 19, 2013, Degenhardt was reported missing when he failed to contact his wife after visiting family and friends in Barrhead, Alta.

• Concerns from the defence lawyer representing the man accused in a fatal 2010 Shuswap Lake boat crash delayed the trial by nearly two weeks. Leon Reinbrecht’s trial on one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm began in Kamloops on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The charges stem from a fatal crash on July 3, 2010, that left Ken Brown, who was at the helm of a houseboat, dead.

• Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors were committed to lobbying federal and provincial governments for the funding to improve the Trans-Canada Highway. In an unusual move, directors crafted and gave unanimous support to a resolution asking the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) to lobby both governments on their behalf.

• Not only did the Shuswap Society for Arts & Culture not get the support they were looking for, they fielded some tough questions when they appeared at Salmon Arm council on Monday. Speaking for the group, Doug Leatherdale sought help in finding $35,000 for a feasibility study for a multi-purpose performing arts centre. He explained the society has contacted 10 other communities who have similar facilities.

• While final numbers are pending, co-ordinator Chris Moore said some 200 walkers raised between $30,000 and $40,000 Saturday, Feb. 21 for the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter and Second Harvest Food Bank.

• More than 100 skiers from Larch Hills participated in the final 2015 Teck BC Championships in Kelowna, where the club earned the Championship Trophy for the 2014/2015 race season with 139 club points. Several Larch Hills Nordics were awarded aggregate awards for their overall achievement competing at BC Cup events this season.


• Kamloops firefighter Michael Wallace who was on vacation in the Shuswap on July 3, 2010, said he remarked to a friend that a speedboat was driving at “killing speed,” and that someone was going to die. Wallace was testifying at the trial of Leon Reinbrecht, who is charged with one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm stemming from a crash in Magna Bay that killed Ken Brown. A speedboat alleged to have been operated by Reinbrecht collided with a houseboat piloted by Brown, becoming fully lodged inside the houseboat’s main galley.

• Blink and you might have missed the playoffs. That’s how close the race for the final two post-season spots was in the Interior Division. One point was all that separated the Silverbacks from March hockey. A 5-1 loss to Merritt Feb. 27 and a 2-1 overtime loss to Penticton  the next day dashed the Silverbacks’ playoff hopes for the second consecutive year.

• School board trustees were considering plans that could see the closure of several elementary schools and the re-organization of others to deal with declining student enrolment and budget pressures. The long-term facility plan made a number of recommendations for the 2015 school year, including the closure of Silver Creek Elementary for September 2015 and reconfiguring the grade levels at Ranchero Elementary, Parkview Elementary in Sicamous, Falkland Elementary and North Shuswap Elementary.

• A Salmon Arm resident was convicted of indecent assault in a Yellowknife court. On March 5 in the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, David Button, now in his seventies, was found guilty of assaulting an adolescent boy in the 1970s.

• Grade 12 Salmon Arm Secondary student Maia Journeau captured a hotly contested bronze medal at the B.C. Secondary School Alpine Ski & Snowboard Championships in Revelstoke.

• From mid-February, the skatepark had been free of snow, and skateboarders, BMXers and scooter riders were taking full advantage of the warming weather.

• The voice, cultural lectures and experiences of Secwepemc elder Mary Thomas were to be preserved for future generations, thanks to a funding partnership between the Government of B.C. and the Voice of the Shuswap Broadcast Society (VSBS). Victoria is contributing more than $24,000 to a 33-week project that will provide Mary Arnouse with a variety of skills, including how to edit and create new digital materials from existing analogue media. Arnouse also will develop a catalogue system for Thomas’ lectures on First Nations history, culture and language.

• A former Barrhead resident was found guilty of murder in the death of a Salmon Arm man. A jury found Norman John Jerrett, 48, guilty of second-degree murder of Valentine Degenhardt on Thursday, March 5 at Court of Queens Bench in Edmonton after acquitting him on the more serious charge of first-degree murder.

• A woman died in a three-vehicle collision on the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Sorrento March 16.

Police report that the woman, a 55-year-old Sorrento resident, was fatally injured upon impact when one of two trucks in the crash collided with her small car. A man driving one of the trucks suffered minor injuries.

• In Division 3 of the Interior Okanagan Regional FUNale Short Track Championships, Bradley Hlina won all his races and set a new personal best in the 200-metre sprint.  The Salmon Arm Ice Breakers Speed Skating Club sent six other skaters to compete in the final event of the season, which took place in Kamloops March 14 to 15.

• City council gave the green light March 23 to a detailed design for the Ross Street Underpass estimated to cost $433,050 plus tax.

The design was awarded to RF Binnie & Associates Ltd., the same company working with the Ministry of Transportation on the preliminary design for the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway at the west end of town. Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering, said the engineering services contract means the city will have a shelf-ready project with an accurate cost estimate when the underpass goes to tender. He also emphasized safety.

• An 11th-hour decision by the province to veto George Abbott’s appointment as chief commissioner clouded the BC Treaty Commission with controversy. Six months previously, former Shuswap MLA and cabinet minister George Abbott was invited by John Rustad, minister for aboriginal relations, to take on the role of chief commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission upon the retirement of Sophie Pierre. But the week before and already in transition talks with the commission, Abbott received a call from Rustad informing him he had been unable to secure cabinet approval.

• Keeping the city’s roads clear during winter weather was melting away money as well as snow and ice. While the city’s 2014 budget saw surpluses in several areas, snow and ice removal was not one of them. And this year, the record snowfall that hit the Shuswap in early January significantly shrunk the snow removal budget for 2015.

• Well-known in the hockey community, Kevin “Chevy” Cheveldave announced he would be closing and selling Chevy Sports, located in the Shaw Centre. “It’s difficult to come to grips with it, but it’s time for a change,” said Cheveldave.




• Advancements in forensic science led RCMP to new and viable leads into the murders of Jeffrey Taylor and Leanne MacFarlane. Approximately three months before the murder, the couple, former owners of Shuswap Wireless Connections Ltd., had moved from Salmon Arm to Cranbrook to expand their business. They were shot at a rural home about 20 kilometres east of Cranbrook on May 29, 2010. MacFarlane died at the scene while Taylor died later in hospital.

• Norman “John” Jerrett, a Barrhead, Alta. resident was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years after shooting and killing his marijuana supplier, Valentine Degenhardt, of Salmon Arm and then disposing of his body in the woods in 2013.

• Repairs to the section of Foothill Road damaged by a mud slide were expected to total $300,000. Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, explained to city council’s March 23 meeting that the sloughing of the side of the road was initially expected to cost $400,000 to fix. However, savings were realized by factors such as BC Hydro assisting with the relocation of a power pole at an estimated cost of $50,000.

• Team BC skip Sandra Jenkins had to make room next to her Olympic bronze medal, as she led her team to a podium finish in the 2015 Canadian Senior Curling Championships. Jenkins’ rink claimed the bronze medal in a seesaw battle against the number-one seeded rink from Saskatchewan, led by Cathy Inglis.

• With lower than expected sockeye salmon returns in 2014, some scientists and environmentalists were criticizing the proposal of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to increase the catch of Fraser River sockeye in 2015. Jim Cooperman, Shuswap Environmental Action Society president, said final 2014 estimate totals of 2.3 million late sockeye spawners to the Adams River represented a decrease of 84,000 fish over the last dominant run in 2010. Overall, he said, the South Thompson run was 94.5 per cent of the average, but was just 30 per cent of the 2010 record run.

• School District #83 trustees were considering whether to move forward with the process to close Silver Creek Elementary School following a public meeting April 9 where residents appealed to the board to keep the school open. A last-minute addition to the April 14 agenda was done April 13 to give trustees enough time to have the required three readings prior to the May 12 meeting when a final decision was scheduled to be made.

• A 27-year-old man literally walked away with only minor injuries after being struck by a CP Rail train on April 12 at approximately 4 p.m. Salmon Arm RCMP officers were notified by CP Rail that a train had struck a male on the tracks near Narcisse Street.

• More than 70 Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association players received awards at their annual awards gala at the Fifth Avenue Seniors Centre Friday, April 10.

• The air was filled with the sound of music as the 15th annual Shuswap Music Festival played out from April 16 to May 1. Sponsored by the Shuswap branch of the Registered Music Teachers Association and the Rotary Clubs of Salmon Arm, the festival is produced by a not-for-profit society managed by a volunteer board of directors. The annual event provides an opportunity for amateur or young performing artists to demonstrate their achievements in music to their peers and to the community.

• A massive fire accompanied by several explosions levelled a Silver Creek barn that housed a legal marijuana grow operation and stored hay. Two adult residents, five full-grown horses, a week-old filly, a donkey and several chickens were unharmed. Columbia Shuswap Regional Fire Chief Kenn Mount said the first call reporting a fully involved structure fire in the 1100 block of Salmon River Road was sounded at 9:11 p.m. Monday, April 20.

Sixteen Silver Creek firefighters were on scene within 10 minutes and managed to prevent the fire from spreading to other nearby structures.

• The B.C. Supreme Court trial of a man accused of recklessly driving his speedboat into a houseboat on Shuswap Lake in 2010 ground to a halt to allow lawyers to investigate claims a police officer meddled in the defence case out of “loyalty to the Crown” — something the judge called “concerning.” Leon Reinbrecht’s trial on one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm had been ongoing since early February.

• Murder proceedings against a man and woman accused in a 2008 schoolyard shooting death in Salmon Arm began in a Kamloops courtroom. Tyler Myers was shot to death next to Bastion Elementary School on Nov. 21, 2008. The 22-year-old’s body was discovered the following day. Four years later, a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Because both accused were youths at the time of the alleged murder, neither could be named.

• Members of the District Parents Advisory Council came up with their own ideas for making the $1.8 million cuts needed to balance School District #83’s budget – and they were wielding sharp pencils and not shying away from controversial topics.

Upset about the school district’s proposed budget cuts, the DPAC decided to present its own version to school district trustees and administration at a meeting the previous week.




• A small helicopter owned by Kelowna’s Okanagan Mountain Helicopters crashed at the Salmon Arm Airport on May 4. The pilot escaped serious injury.

• A 56-year-old Clearwater man died on a May 2 fishing trip to Adams Lake after high winds caused the boat to capsize. The man’s 22-year-old grandson managed to swim to shore. Shuswap Search and Rescue warned boaters to always wear life jackets when on the water.

• Two-year-old Aumie Sato was declared cancer-free after surgery and a long series of chemotherapy. Many citizens and local businesses rallied to help the family after the diagnosis. Aumie’s parents, Yuko and Toshi Sato own the Sushi Kotan Restaurant on Alexander Street.

• It was confirmed that Winners and Dollarama stores would be the next two additions to the SmartCentres Shopping development.

• Alyssa Skaalid was honoured with the Salmar Community Associations’ Award of Excellence for her efforts in speed skating. Skaalid was one of five skaters who represented B.C. at the Canada Winter Games.

• An open burning ban was put in place a month earlier than usual due to hot, dry conditions and the forecast of lightning. The ban took effect May 15.

• A hydro malfunction caused a power outage for 12,000 hydro customers on May 11 including Salmon Arm, Canoe, Tappen and an area near Grindrod. The power grid was restored within the hour.

• The Salty Dog Enduro Race drew more than 700 cyclists to the area to do laps on the South Canoe course. More than 200 of the racers were children.

• Noah Paterson of Bulldog Boxing won the Junior C 152-pound class at the provincials. Other winners were Pam Wocknitz and Kali Gawley.

• Teacher Aaron Smith received a coaching award from Basketball BC for his skill and dedication in coaching teams for more than 30 years.

• Three Shuswap hunters who were reported missing in Northern B.C. were found safe. Enrico Mariosi, 34, Marcus Glass, 45 and Thomas Glass, 42 had headed out for grizzly bear hunting in the Omineca area and were late returning. It turned out the men had asked another hunter to pass along the message they would be staying longer, but it wasn’t passed along.

• Tappen Co-op marked 100 years of serving the public, with the Granite Trading Association officially forming on April 27, 1915. The highway business is well known for its hefty ice cream cones.

• The Green Party lost its candidate for the fall 2015 federal election when Dave Smith resigned due to “irreconcilable differences” with the party. The local riding association began a search for a replacement.

• Members of the Salmon Arm Secondary Mountain Bike team were crowned provincial champs after a series of races in Powell River.

Tomorrowland, a movie partially shot in Enderby and Grindrod and stars George Clooney, opened in theatres. The movie was shot in the summer of 2013.

• The theatre community mourned the loss of Patrick Allwood, who was a longtime member of the theatre society and was well known for his role as the Town Crier. He was also seen around the Christmas holidays as Saint Nick.




• Eight men were ordered extradited to the U.S. in connection with drug trafficking offences that involved filling logs with marijuana in North Okangan-Shuswap locations. A BC Supreme Court document ordered Shane Donald Fraser, Todd Ian Ferguson, Daniel James Joinson, Darrell Romano, Robert Romano, Ivan Djuracic, Aaron Randolph Anderson and Jamie Daniel Nenasheff to be remanded in custody to await surrender to the U.S. On at least nine occasions between March and September 2006, hollowed out logs filled with the drugs were imported into the U.S.

• A group of people at the Churches Thrift Shop participated in the rescue of nine ducklings who had fallen through a sewer grate. A number of people poked a fishing net through the openings to scoop the babies out of the sewer and return them to their anxious mother.

• Amanda Eastwood and Jamie Smith opened the city of Salmon Arm’s first winery. Marionette Winery is nestled in the North Broadview area and the couple hopes to bottle wine made from their own grapes following the fall harvest.

• Basketball players Noah Jansen, of Kings Christian School, and Alton Neid from Shuswap Middle School earned spots on  the U14 B.C. provincial basketball team.

• Dan Swanson and Rob Arthur made it two in a row after winning the Spalding Cup at the Salmon Arm golf course for the second consecutive time.

• Staff Sgt. Scott West was appointed the new head of the Salmon Arm RCMP detachment. His previous posting was detachment commandeer in Sicamous.

• Philip Wragg, a veteran of the Second World War, was honoured with the Légion d’Honneur from the French government for his participation in Operation Overlord in Normandy. It is that country’s highest honour.

• A study of palliative care in the Shuswap said care could be improved by better coordination of medical appointments, so patients could focus on doing the things they loved rather than spending time in a medical setting.

• Glynis Sim won gold in the women’s senior 1,500-metre steeplechase at the BC High School Track and Field Championships in Langley. She also nabbed fourth in the 1,500 run and bronze in the 3,000m.

• A flash fire inside a truck canopy sent a Deep Creek Farrier to hospital. The man had been shoeing horses in the morning and had stopped at the Co-op, Salmon Arm Gas Bar to refill a large propane tank mounted under the canopy. He was disconnecting the filling line from the propane tank, which was close to a small forge. The forge was still hot and ignited. No one else was injured.

• Ovino Winery won eight medals for all of its wine entered at the 2015 Northwest Wine Summit, including a gold for the 2014 Gewürztraminer.

• The Relay for Life event switched to an 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. format, rather than the previous all-night event, and the change paid off, with a total of $101,297 raised.

• Selkirk Swim Club swimmer Ethan Skofteby won seven medals including three gold at a meet in Kamloops. The Selkirks team tallied a total of 27 medals at the event.

• Soprano Eva Tavares, who is making waves in the theatre scene  in Vancouver, came to Salmon Arm for a special concert. Tavares’ parents live in Salmon Arm.

• Gordon Bose, a longtime volunteer with Shuswap Search and Rescue, had to be rescued himself after a storm hit Mount Logan, where he and two others were climbing. The trio summited the mountain but were forced to take refuge in a snow cave for three days, at which point frostbite forced the men to call for a helicopter rescue.

• The staff of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District moved into their new $7.8 million facility on the waterfront.

• The Shuswap girls U18 soccer team bested Penticton by a score of 2-1 to advance to the provincial tournament.




• The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) revealed the latest plans for public viewing and input for the Trans-Canada Highway improvement plans. Several politicians gave the project a big thumbs up, but Brad DeMille called it a death knell for his business that would no longer be directly on the highway.

• On Sunday, the temperature at the official Environment Canada weather station reached 37.3C, breaking the record of 35.6C set on the same day in 1937.

• TD Canada Trust is sponsoring the festival to the tune of $40,000 this year with a commitment of another  $40,000 next year and Shuswap Construction Industry Professionals (SCIP) have anted up $100,000 to renovate a future home for much-needed office and storage space.

• City council is supporting a proposal for the development of two 12-unit apartment buildings off 11th Avenue NE, west of the RCMP detachment.

• Local cheese maker Mira Schenkel was awarded the Best in Show at the 2015 Canadian Amateur Cheesemaking Awards for her Clover cheese.

• The Salmon Arm Bulldog Boxing Club hosted their first annual Boxing Bash Fundraiser  at the SASCU Recreation Centre. Boxers from B.C. and Alberta duked it out in the ring, including Salmon Arm’s own Noah Paterson, the Canadian champion.

• The Train Stopped Here, a new exhibition created by museum curator Deborah Chapman opened on the weekend in the museum at  R.J. Haney Heritage Village.

• A police pursuit of a suspect in a Sicamous armed robbery of a gas station Friday afternoon ended in gunshots on a property in Canoe. Police say the suspect fled the scene by vehicle – a compact blue SUV with Nova Scotia plates, reportedly stolen out of Saskatchewan.

• The Shuswap Outlaws Midget Lacrosse team were Prince George bound, to compete for the midget provincial title after defeating Merritt 2-0 in the best of three series.

• The BC Coroners Service stated Monday, July 13 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.

• A 22-year-old man who was seriously injured in an ATV accident on July 8 has since died. He was Brandon James Radnai of Mission.

• Seventeen-year-old Sage King was one of 54 players total to make the latest round of cuts for a spot on the U18 provincial roster, the first football player from Salmon Arm to do so.

• The National Hockey League Players Association Goals and Dreams program made a donation of $50,000, for 25 sets of new hockey equipment, to Salmon Arm, Greater Vernon and West Kelowna Minor Hockey Associations.

• Chances Salmon Arm officially opened its doors on Monday, July 20, providing the public its first taste of a full-fledged gaming centre in Salmon Arm.

• Representing Canada, Glynis Sim finished sixth in the 2,000-metre steeplechase final and shattered her personal best time by seven seconds with a time of 6:45:58.

• Dressed in a black balaclava, a long-sleeved, black cotton shirt and dark jeans that were equipped with a make-shift holster taped to his right leg, a man walked into the downtown branch of the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union at 4:15 Monday afternoon. Police report he approached the teller counter with what witnesses described as a sawed-off shotgun in hand and demanded money. An undisclosed amount of cash was turned over which he placed in a black sports bag. He then fled the area on an unusual getaway vehicle – a bicycle.

• Soaring temperatures and low river levels landed salmon in hot water. As there was no indication conditions would improve any time soon, a ban on salmon fishing imposed remained in effect for the foreseeable future.

• An entry based on a Box Trolls promotion held to celebrate Salmar’s 65th anniversary last September took top prize at Show Canada, an annual movie industry conference.

• Shuswap Theatre’s inaugural Theatre on the Edge event featuring seven plays over three days surpassed expectations according to co-ordinator Jaci Metivier.




• No arrest had been made in the case of a bicycle-riding man who held up the downtown Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union branch. Police released a photo of the suspect, with his face shielded by a black balaclava. An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen.

• Four candidates announced their intentions to run in the October federal election. These included Mel Arnold, Conservative Party, Cindy Derkaz for the Liberals, Jacqui Gingras for the NDP and Chris George for the Green Party.

• Following a fatal boating accident on Shuswap Lake, some citizens and groups were calling for additional safety measures on houseboats, including the idea of installing propeller guards. A 22-year-old Edmonton woman died in July after being caught in the propeller of a houseboat.

• Judy Wilson was reaffirmed as the chief of the Neskonlith band after an appeal from a band member in regards to the election in January sparked another ballot. Band councillors elected included Fay Ginther, Louis Thomas, Joan Manuel-Hooper, Art Anthony and Duane Manuel.

• The Salmon Arm Curling club received a $25,000 grant to help pay for the replacement of the water system and the installation of a new energy-efficient ceiling.

• The Shuswap and District Art’s Council opened their annual culture crawl, with 30 local businesses providing space for mini art displays.

• Warmer-than-normal temperatures created challenges for spawning sockeye. The Pacific Salmon Commission reduced the estimates of returning early run salmon by half to 424,000 fish.

• The Shuswap Lake Health Care Auxiliary donated more than $7,000 towards the purchase of a vein finder for Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

• Riley Hay, Ben Bannister and Andrew Olson were the victors at the Salmon Arm Junior Golf Championship.

• Old jeans were being collected like crazy for a new display at Roots and Blues, designed to add both shade and ambiance.

• Attendance was down by 2,000 people at the annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, but changes to the format and budget reductions left the festival in a break-even position. A thunderstorm on the Friday was said to be partly to blame for the lower numbers.

• Gary Wilkinson fended off a Black bear attack with is walking stick while hiking in the Larch Hills. Conservation officers posted warning signs in the area, but did not attempt to capture or kill the bear, as they would not be able to determine if it was the culprit.

• Plans to cut a high school bus route to Raven had parents worried about the safety of their children as they would have to walk along Lakeshore Road, which has no sidewalks and narrow corners. The parents started a petition to the school district to have the route reinstated.

• An outbreak of ugly nest caterpillars made many trees in the Shuswap look ghostly and web-covered. The caterpillars don’t kill the trees but can strip them bare of leaves. The caterpillars usually appear on a three to five year cycle and getting rid of them is difficult.

• Hockey fans turned out in droves to welcome former Salmon Arm Minor Hockey product Curtis Lazar, who now plays for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Lazar made an appearance at the hockey school, signed autographs and took to the ice to assist with some drills.

• Up-and coming singer-songwriter Jesse Mast had the chance to meet one of his idols, Marty Stewart, backstage at the Roots and Blues Festival.

• A Winners, Dollarama and a third Tim Hortons will be joining Walmart as the latest additions to the SmartCentres development. No opening date has been announced for the two retail stores, while the Tim Hortons is looking at an opening of October 2016. The popular restaurant chain will be smaller than the other two locations, but will feature a double-lane drive-thru.

• RCMP warned the public not to leave the arrests to them after a homeowner was pepper-sprayed after confronting a suspicious person near his home. The man was treated by paramedics and police were not able to locate the suspect.

• Salmon Arm celebrated 25 years of a twining relationship and exchange program with Inashiki, Japan.

• Driver Mike Gordon and his co-pilot Rose Koehler took the top placing at the Salmon Arm Demolition Derby.




• A stolen truck ended up leading the Salmon Arm RCMP to seize $420,000 worth of drugs and recover $300,000 in stolen property on Saturday.

• Fisheries and Oceans staff were working in the river delta, attempting to combine several small channels into a new, larger channel for spawning salmon to access the river.

• Wind caused problems in the Shuswap on Saturday, with downed power lines and uprooted trees causing power outages for more than 3,000 Shuswap residents.

• Five firefighters from the Shuswap went south to help protect structures that may be threatened by the Stickpin fire in Washington State.

• School District #83 is starting the school year with a new secretary-treasurer, Nicole Bittante.

• After many rumours about closing, the Safeway store in Centenoka Park Mall announced it will close its doors on Thursday, Nov. 5

• The Columbia-Shuswap Selkirks Swimming Club and Salmon Arm Waves Masters Swimming Club have found a new coach to take the reins, Barry Healey.

• Silver Creek Elementary School parents are left feeling their efforts have been negated by the school district, adding 17 new students to the school’s population this year, which is now forcing the transfer of Silver Creek’s six Grade 6 and 7 students to Shuswap Middle School.

• Askew’s and Salmon Arm Rotary Club’s partnership school lunch program for children in need of daily lunch assistance at elementary schools had pledged to help more students this year.

• The Silverbacks entertained the more than 1,700 fans at their season opener with an impressive 4-2 win over the Penticton Vees, the defending Fred Page Cup champions.

• Salmon Arm artist Justin Maas garnered 4,819 likes and 56 comments when he posted a sketch of a celebrity Howie Mandel on Twitter.

• The new School District #83 Education Support Centre opened its doors with a traditional cedar branch ceremony.

• Candidates in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding participated in an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce Thursday evening.

• Brenda M’Clellan, Roots & Blues secretary and member of the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society board, says that with a lot of hard work, it looks like the festival broke even this year – a far cry from the doom and gloom of a year ago.

• The SASCU Downtown Activity Centre, next to the new school board office, is destined for ‘disposal,’ but not everyone is pleased with the plan.

• Salmon Arm Staff Sgt. Scott West addressed city council recently and said Criminal Code cases and property crimes are down 19 per cent from 2013.

• Left to the elements and birds under a Vancouver bridge, several tired-looking dragon boats, donated by China for the Expo 86, will be restored to their former beauty here in Salmon Arm.

• Coun. Alan Harrison asked Staff Sgt. Scott West if there’s anything the detachment can do to dissuade the use of such cigar boats.

• Downtown Salmon Arm hosted the inaugural Applefest at Ross Street Plaza, complete with vendor, activities for kids and information booths.

• The Salmon Arm Curling Club kicked off its 75th year anniversary with its annual curling clinic this weekend.

• Salmon Arm’s big-hearted volunteers, businesses, community organizations and cyclists hosted the 18th annual Bike For Your Life Century Ride and raised more than $4,000.

• There will be no Spooktacular at R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum, as the board of directors are planning a community celebration for Canada’s 150th birthday on Canada Day 2017.

• Seal Skull Hammer released their third album, Hillbilly Hot Snakes, with concert at the Shuswap Theatre.




The North Canoe Hall was put up for sale, but for the land only as the building has become too run down to salvage. Estimates indicated it would take more than $250,000 to bring the building up to code. The North Canoe Community Association owned the hall and planned to use the proceeds of the sale to fund local charitable projects before dissolving the association.

• Appeals from parents of Grade 6 and 7 students at Silver Creek Elementary against the forced transfer of those students to Shuswap Middle School were denied by the school board. The elementary school’s enrolment increased, but not enough to justify the cost of another full time teacher.

• Darcy Calkins took over as the new literacy outreach coordinator for the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society. The previous coordinator, Jennifer Findlay, is moving into a different employment role with School District #83.

• A national controversy erupted when it was revealed that seven-year-old Deacon Graham, who has Down Syndrome, was being placed in a locked calming room at South Broadview School without the consent of his parents. His mother, Lori Graham, was pleased when the school district agreed to refrain from using the seclusion room. The school district said the rooms are used only as a last resort when student or staff safety is in question. They also said children are always monitored in such settings through a window. Not soon after the story broke, the provincial government issued new guidelines for the use of seclusion rooms in B.C. schools. School District #83 is working to ensure its policies are in compliance with the revised guidelines.

• A proliferation of polling data painted a few different pictures of the election results for the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding. A Leadnow poll put Jacqui Gingras of the NDP in the lead with Conservative Mel Arnold in second, while a Liberal-funded campaign put  Arnold in the lead with Cindy Derkaz in second.

• The Shuswap Community Foundation celebrated 20 years in operation and over that time has disbursed nearly $2 million to local community groups.

• Cross-country skier Alysson Marshall, 27,  announced her retirement from competitive racing after competing in two U23 World Championships, and Junior World Championships as well as more than 40 Word Cup races. She is currently attending university in Thunder Bay, Ont.

• Conservative Mel Arnold was declared the winner of the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding in the federal election, with 27,490 votes, followed by his closest challenger Liberal Cindy Derkaz at 20,951. NDP Jacqui Gingras had 17,903 and the Green’s Chris George tallied 3,609. Arnold would have to join the opposition side of government, as the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau swept across the country winning a majority government from the previous Stephen Harper-led Tories.

• Mahalia and Mike Meeuwsen prepared for the arrival of identical triplet girls, who were conceived naturally without the use of fertility drugs. Doctors say the odds of such a birth are one in 50 million.

• SABNES asked city council to formalize a ban on dogs along the city-owned foreshore trail. While signs currently say no dog, the city’s current bylaw does not prohibit them.

• Longtime Askew’s manager George Green retired from the store after 35 years. Heather Turner will take over the role.

• Speedboat driver Leon Reinbrecht, who was accused of criminal negligence causing death after a July, 2010 crash that killed Ken Brown, was found guilty after an extended trial. The trial took 30 days but was held over the course of six months. Defence lawyer Joe Doyle put the court on notice he may challenge the ruling based on unreasonable delays.

• Despite an appeal from parents, School District #83 upheld a decision to cancel  the bus route serving high school students in Raven and a portion of North Broadview. In its decision, the school board noted it is a parent’s responsibility to get their children to and from school.

The numbers of sockeye salmon returning to the Adams River were deemed to be shockingly low this year, with pre-run estimate of more than a million fish, dropping into the thousands.




• A Craigellachie landmark was no more. The Skyline Truck Stop, a popular hub among locals and travellers alike, burned down Monday, Nov. 2.

• The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure agreed to implement a fixed 3.0 second clearance interval at both the Ross and Alexander Street intersections on Highway 1, an idea put forward by Coun. Chad Eliason.

• Approximately 198 athletes from Merritt to Revelstoke to Penticton took part in the regional final at Larch Hills. A record number of runners from Salmon Arm Secondary and Shuswap Middle School qualified for the cross-country provincials at Jericho Beach on Nov. 7.

• Safeway closed its doors on Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., after operating in the community since 1980.

• Two men were facing drug charges after police raided a hotel room on Nov. 5. The Salmon Arm RCMP located and arrested two men who were alleged to be dealing drugs in the area of Third Street and First Avenue in Salmon Arm.

• Salmon Arm council’s refining of the city’s 2016 budget will see taxpayers facing a 2.96 per cent tax increase.

• City council voted to approve $40,000 towards the Shuswap Trail Alliance’s operational funding, and The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society received $50,000 of a $60,000 request for operational funding.

• Montessori programs won’t become part of School District #83 at least in the short term. Following a report from a committee designed to review the issue, the board voted not to move ahead with implementing a Montessori program at Silver Creek Elementary for September 2016.

• Led by Glynis Sim, the senior girls achieved their highest team placement in recent years as they finished in sixth position overall. In the hotly contested senior boys division, the SAS team placed a respectable 13 out of 28 teams.

• Members of the Shuswap Hospital Foundation knew the numbers are big, but they also knew area residents have always been generous. The goal for this year’s fall campaign was $250,000, with $112,000 of that dedicated to renovating the ICU and the chemotherapy units at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

• Following more than two hours of presentations Monday evening regarding dogs on the trail, Salmon Arm council agreed to make a decision at the Dec. 14 afternoon council meeting.

• First United, St. Joseph’s and several citizens were committed to take in a Syrian refugee family. The family will be coming from one of the refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon where they have been well-vetted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the UN High Commission for  Refugees in terms of criminal records and status.

• Staff Sgt. Scott West gave a lively presentation to members of the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce Thursday, which included collision statistics based on rough data from Jan. 1, 2013 to Oct. 27, 2015.

• A man in his 20s is in serious condition in hospital following a collision between the dirt bike he was riding and a vehicle travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway Saturday night. The collision took place at approximately 8:30 p.m. Nov. 21 on the Trans-Canada Highway at Bolton Road.

• The local Ice Breakers Speed Skating Club notched a total of nine medals and notched their highest number of skaters participating ever.

• The Silverbacks beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 10-1, their largest win of the season on


• The RCMP was investigating the death of a 47-year-old Lee Creek woman whose body was found in a residence in the North Shuswap. Police responded to a call of shots fired at the home and upon arrival found the woman dead inside. Investigators are treating the death as suspicious and had arrested a man, but later released him without charge.

• RCMP believed the suspects in the robbery at the Royal Bank branch in Chase made a false call to police to draw resources away from the area. A man in disguise walked into the branch and brandished a long-barrelled firearm, demanding money from an employee. After obtaining an undisclosed quantity of cash, the man left the bank and got into the passenger side of a white GMC SUV. No arrests have been made.

• Food bank use in the Shuswap continues to rise with the Salvation Army serving a record 3,300 people in May. Manager Dave Byers was encouraging people to donate for Christmas food hamper as demand was likely to be higher than last year, when 725 hampers went out.

• The Salmar Community Association contributed $100,000 towards the development of the Montebello Block project at Haney Heritage Park, as well as $50,000 to the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society to help with renovations to a building on Fifth Avenue to house their administrative offices.

• Citizens of Canoe were petitioning to have the CP Rail Holiday Train make a stop in their community as part of their trip through the Shuswap. Canoe citizens host an event in their area, but the train travels through before stopping for a holiday show in Salmon Arm. The train also stops in Sicamous, Notch Hill and Chase.

• The Silverbacks continued their winning ways agains their arch-rival Vernon Vipers. The home team took two wins in a home-and-home series against the Snakes.

• Glynis Sim finished eighth at the Canadian National Cross Country Championships in Kingston, Ont.

• The band Great Lake Swimmers was confirmed as the first signed act for the 2016 Roots and Blues Festival.

• After an extensive search, the body of 76-year-old Mildred Ekren was found in the waters of Shuswap Lake near the Salmon Arm wharf. The day-long search included members of the RCMP, a police service dog, Shuswap Search and Rescue and members of the public.

• Upgrades are coming to the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road after years of lobbying. While still described as interim measures until the highway is four-laned in that area, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure committed to creating a right-hand turn lane and moving the passing lanes away from the intersection. A flashing warning light is also to be installed. Work is to commence in the spring.

• A broken insulator knocked out power to more than 3,000 BC Hydro customers, some of whom were without power for nearly three hours. The incident originated at a power pole on Fifth Ave. SW.

• A groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the development of the Montebello Block at R.J. Haney Heritage Park. The $1.2 million project has already managed to raise $900,000 and will include locales from Salmon Arm’s history, including a dress shop, general mercantile, telephone exchange, ice cream shop, pharmacy and bank. Other displays will include a photography studio, butcher shop, a barber shop and the Salmon Arm Observer newspaper office. There will also be 6,000 square feet of archive space constructed.

• The Bantam Chargers football team became the first team from the Shuswap to win a provincial title. The Charges defeated the Westside Warriors by a score of 47-13 at McLeod Stadium in Langley.

• Shuswap Theatre’s production of Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale was well received by audiences, including some sold-out shows.