Looking back at what made headlines in 2018 from the pages of the Salmon Arm Observer.
Here’s a glimpse from April 2018:
• A structure fire destroyed a home in 2800 block of Caen Road in Sorrento, near the Petro-Canada gas station on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Police, fire and ambulance crews were all dispatched to the scene of the fire. The occupants of the house had safely evacuated the building before the crews arrived and were not injured.
“The fire started in the garage area; the exact cause is currently under investigation,” said Sean Coubrough, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District fire services co-ordinator.
• A local senior presents strangers with his hand-crafted wooden rocking horses – for free. Don Felt, 81, keeps himself busy in his retirement while putting a smile on children’s faces. Over the years he has constructed a fair number of these horses for lucky toddlers throughout the community and farther afield.
“I’m up to over 300. I’ve put the numbers on the bottom of them…It’s all scrap wood, I named them all Old Scrap.”
• Salmon Arm boxers Jordyn Konrad and Dominic Barbosa went to Edmonton to take part in the 2018 Super Channel Championships as part of Team BC.
Barbosa, who held the 2017 title in his division, was knocked out of the running before finals, while Konrad earned a silver medal in her first national competition.
• Being asked how old her baby, Ruby, is can be a complicated question for Ali Becenko. Corrected age or actual age? Ruby was born at 24 weeks and six days of gestation, termed a micro-preemie. Ruby wasn’t stable enough to be held when she was born so it was about 11 days before Ali could hold her for the first time. She had to stay at BC Women’s Hospital for four-and- half months before she could come home.
• Construction of a proposed indoor tennis facility will continue this summer thanks to a $175,000 loan and $125,000 contribution from the City of Salmon Arm.
• Salmon Arm Council heard little resistance to the prospect of retail cannabis sales in the community during a forum-styled meeting at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort. The majority of the people who took the podium spoke in favour of the moderate approach, where retail sales might be allowed in commercial zones, limited by proximity to like businesses and liquor stores.
• Ongoing renovations on a Salmon Arm resident’s property on the corner of Second Street and Second Avenue SE, is undoubtedly turning heads as a 10-metre tower with battlement now stands connected to his family’s updated 1930s bungalow.
If all goes according to plan, in five years the little house will no longer be recognizable. In its place Lance Mihalick’s home will look like a two-storey castle, complete with concrete walls stamped to look like aged stone, arched doorways and windows, a faux portcullis and a waterfall that will feed into a little moat.
• Seven weeks after their son, Ryan Shtuka, was reported missing in the resort town of Sun Peaks, Feb. 17, Heather and Scott Shtuka are still scouring the area for any sign of him.
The family is following up on a lead which was previously deemed to not fit the timeline of when their son went missing.
• Cancer claimed the life of longtime Salmon Arm politician and former mayor Marty Bootsma. He was 69 years old. Bootsma was mayor of Salmon Arm for two terms, from 2005 to 2011, when he decided to take a break for family time. Prior to leading city council, Bootsma was a councillor for six years.
• The admitted gunman in the fatal shooting of a Shuswap drug dealer changed his story drastically in a Kamloops courtroom, a move a prosecutor said was made by the killer to protect himself behind bars.
Nick Larsen, 24, was shot to death on a quiet Blind Bay street on June 1, 2011. Jordan Barnes pleaded guilty in 2016 to second-degree murder in connection with Larsen’s death and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.
In court in February, Barnes said he asked Jeremy Davis for a ride, hoping to catch and “beat up” Larsen. During that testimony he said a gun slid out from under the passenger seat and he opened fire on Larsen. In this court appearance he said the gun was his, he took it knowingly and he was the sole person responsible for Larsen’s death.