Lena Johnston, who has since died, celebrates her 109th birthday. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

Year in Review: March 2018 from the pages of the Salmon Arm Observer

Looking back at what made headlines in 2018 from the pages of the Salmon Arm Observer.

Here’s a glimpse from March 2018:

•••••

March

• On March 6, Saskatchewan-born Lena Johnston celebrated her 109th birthday, becoming one of the Shuswap’s longest-lived residents. Asked if she made a 109th birthday wish, Johnston replied, “That everybody will be happy, happy and enjoy it because life is too short to be angry. You better be happy and accept what the future brings to you.”

Johnston remembered well the day she stepped from a boxcar to begin a new life in the Shuswap on Aug. 6, 1937, with her late husband Johnny and son Roy.

“That was an adventure…We had furniture, we had a little bit of machinery, we had four horses, a cow and a calf, and this crate with chickens…and one or two turkeys. When we got to B.C. we only ended up with one, and we had him for Christmas, our first Christmas in B.C.”

Related: Salmon Arm’s Lena Johnston celebrates 109

• Far from allowing an accident to sap her spirit to succeed, Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm has solidified her place as one of the most talented skiers in Canada and earned a spot on Team Canada for 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang.

The outstanding young skier, who lost most of her fingers on her left hand in 2016 after an accident in shop class, never gave up on her passion for skiing.

• When elections for a new North Okanagan-Shuswap Board of Education are held in October, there will be five positions for voters to fill as the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, concurred with Mike McKay, the appointed official trustee for the board, and changed the composition from nine to five trustees.

• A hearing with the volunteers who upgraded the Eagle Pass Summit fire lookout is being planned following a provincial investigation into the structure’s redevelopment. Volunteers with the project were told their actions could result in a fine of $10,000 and demolition of the structure.

• The Shuswap branch of the SPCA unveiled its new recycling centre to the public on March 8, the result of a $50,000 Canada 150 grant from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union (SASCU).

The new facility will make the volunteers’ work easier, who may spend many hours throughout the year sorting bottle donations which bring much-needed revenue to the SPCA.

• An enthusiastic reception greeted 17-year-old Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie at the Kelowna International Airport.

Exhausted from her long flight from Korea, Wilkie didn’t let it show as she hugged more than dozen friends and family who went to welcome her home.

As the youngest member of the Canadian Paralympic Team, Wilkie brought home three medals, a gold, silver and bronze, from the PyeongChang games.

“I went into the Games thinking it would be more of an experience and my big focus would be on Beijing 2022,” said Wilkie. “So I just went out and skied my best and I won three medals which is awesome.”

Related: Wilkie returns home with three medals in tow

• The City of Salmon Arm was looking for more funds for snow removal as the majority of this year’s budget was exhausted within the first two months. Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, estimated Salmon Arm received about 35 per cent more snow this winter than usual.

• It was a close race for top spot in the Optimist U18 Provincial Curling Championships at the Salmon Arm Curling Centre March 13 to18. The third-place spot in the boys’ division went to Team Colwell, a combined team from Vernon and Salmon Arm featuring Erik Colwell, Andrew Colwell, Adam Raber, Ben Morin, Gray Simms and coach Dale Hofer.

• The man who was shot by a police officer at a Salmon Arm car wash will serve three more months in jail after pleading guilty to 10 charges.

Kaymen Winter, 23, appeared in Provincial Court in Kamloops on March 22, where he faced charges originating in Nanaimo, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Sicamous and Salmon Arm. He received a total sentence of 104 days, after being credited for a total of 626 days already served.


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Marlene Alain (left), Wendy Mohr and Janet Enoch rally on the steps of Vernon Law Courts in support of missing and murdered indigenous women. Meanwhile, Curtis Wayne Sagmoen appeared via video in the courthouse to set upcoming appearance dates. (Parker Crook/Black Press)

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