Year In Review: January, February

The new year was off to a rough start for the downtown Askew’s grocery store, which experienced unwanted excitement on Jan. 2.

Identical triplets come home: Mahalia and Mike Meeuwsen pose for a picture with their identical triplet daughters

Identical triplets come home: Mahalia and Mike Meeuwsen pose for a picture with their identical triplet daughters


• The new year was off to a rough start for the downtown Askew’s grocery store, which experienced unwanted excitement on Jan. 2.

About 8:10 a.m., just after the store opened, a car was reported to have travelled down Shuswap Street, crossed Lakeshore Drive without stopping and slammed into three vehicles in the Askew’s parking lot. One of the cars was pushed through the chain-link fence and onto the railway tracks. Steve Reid, manager at Askew’s, said he was amazed no people were struck.

• Midway through the season, the senior Golds basketball team started to live up to their potential. The team rallied for four wins in a row at the Valleyview tournament in Kamloops to take the title. In the opening game of the tournament, SAS defeated Fulton 77-46, led on offence by Josh Kujat, who scored 15 points.

• Salmon Arm’s first refugee, Mustafa Zakreet, had been in the area for a little more than a week. He was happy to be here, evidenced by the charming 24-year-old’s wide grins as he described his welcome to Salmon Arm and the group of about 35 residents who are supporting him.

“They saved my life,” he said simply of what coming to Salmon Arm from a refugee camp in Lebanon means to him. “I don’t know how to thank them.” Zakreet said he felt comfortable in Salmon Arm, a city that reminds him of his hometown in Syria.

• The Salmon Arm RCMP was investigating an armed robbery which occurred at a local Shell gas bar and Mac’s convenience store located on the Trans-Canada Highway on Saturday night, Jan. 16. Shortly before 7 p.m., two masked suspects entered the store located at 2800 10th Ave. NE. One suspect brandished what appeared to be a handgun and demanded cash and cigarettes from the clerk. The pair then fled the store with a few packages of cigarettes.

• A team of 30 searchers and a winch-equipped helicopter were involved with the rescue of two snowmobilers from Crowfoot Mountain on Saturday, Jan. 23. After two cold, wet nights on the mountain, 48-year-old Mike Griffiths of Moberly Lake and Chase resident Allan Dunk, 46, were hungry, thirsty and thankful for members of the Crowfoot Snowmobile Club, as well as Shuswap and Vernon Search and Rescue. The men lost their way because of the low cloud, fog and snow.

• An idea about greenhouses was germinating in the minds of a group in Salmon Arm. When cauliflower gained unexpected celebrity because of its cost, and other produce was getting pricey, the Plan 4 Prosperity group thought about ways to start growing local produce quickly. Spokesperson Jim Kimmerly explained that as the price of produce and the American dollar climbed, and with food imported from California, Mexico and sometimes South America, citizens in the Shuswap were left in a bind.

“There’s no reason why we can’t grow this ourselves but in a greenhouse format,” he said, quickly adding that the idea is still in its early stages and more research needs to be done.

His initial inquiries showed about 50 per cent of farmland in the area is unused.

“If you take an acre of land and look at the yield doing traditional farming, a greenhouse could do eight-to-10 times more yield than farmland, depending on the crop.”

• Cauliflower may have earned the reputation recently of being one of the priciest items at the grocery store, but that may soon be replaced by hamburger. While the price of produce has climbed this winter, the price of beef is on the rise and consumers are going to have to dig deeper for quite some time if they want to put a steak on the barbecue or a roast beef in their oven.

“Prices are up and supply is way down,” said Askew’s Uptown meat manager Karl Kreipe. “Customers can be expecting beef prices to stay high for the next six months at least.”



• Police indicated there was no foul play involved after the discovery of a body in the morning of Monday, Feb. 1 at the Jackson campus of Salmon Arm Secondary. The body of a 27-year-old man was discovered at 6 a.m. below the school’s tennis courts near the field house.

• Two Salmon Arm parents were convicted of assault with a weapon after spanking their 14-year-old daughter – one with a mini-hockey stick, the other a skipping rope – after learning she sent nude photos on the mobile app Snapchat.

• The return of late-run Adams River sockeye was only six per cent of its cycle average. And spawning success for the Adams River sockeye population was just under 66 per cent, the third lowest on record, reported Keri Benner, program head of Fraser Sockeye Stock Assessment at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Kamloops. This is the second year in a row Adams/Shuswap sockeye have had far fewer spawners than what were expected pre-season, and, more importantly, what the Pacific Salmon Commission estimated in-season.

• In the Bantam category one, at the Teck Okanagan Cup #2 event, Larch Hills skiers claimed all but one of the six podium positions.

• They may have been fighting the same battle for a second year in a row, but Silver Creek parents were not going to let their school be closed without a fight. At a Feb. 9 school board meeting, trustees discussed a motion to initiate a 60-day public consultation process for the proposed amalgamation of Silver Creek Elementary with Salmon Arm West Elementary. This would mean the closure of the Silver Creek school and re-routing its 46 students out of the area. Silver Creek had the lowest enrolment in the Salmon Arm area, as well as the highest education costs per student. In the end, trustees voted to keep the school open.

• The Salmon Arm Evangelical Free Church was the target of vandals overnight on Feb. 5 and 6. It was reported to Salmon Arm RCMP that designs and foul language were spray painted on the church building.

• Shuswap Middle School’s Grade 8 boys basketball team  cruised to an undefeated weekend, winning three tournament games and a regular season match-up, defeating Vernon Christian School 36-34.

• While their first choice was to keep Silver Creek Elementary open, a group of parents was looking into the possibility of opening an independent school should the school district decide to close the doors.

• School District #83 continued to make progress on a request from Shuswap-area First Nations bands to adopt recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action and to enhance aboriginal education for all students in the district.

• The legal action launched by Ray Sasseville, Joan Hansen and Sturgis North Entertainment Inc. involving motorcycle events they put on in the North Okanagan-Shuswap rolled to a stop. Salmon Arm lawyer Rod Chorneyko, who represented defendant Renée Charbonneau, the publisher of a blog and newspaper for the motorcycle community,  brought an application to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims against Charbonneau in a Vancouver courtroom.

• The Shuswap Trail Alliance was developing an international reputation for excellence. Jacob (Sutra) Brett, the trail alliance’s technical  trail designer, and operations manager Veda Roberge returned from a 16-day trail adventure in Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region.