Year In Review: March, April

An avalanche has taken the life of a yet another snowmobiler – the second in one week.

Airlift: The lone occupant of a vehicle involved in a head-on collision on the Salmon River Bridge is rushed to the air ambulance on Saturday


• Dani and David Jacobsen are the parents of Cohen, 5, and Grady, 2. In 2013, when Cohen was two, Dani was getting ready to have a bath with him so she took off her jewelry – a pair of diamond earrings, her wedding band, her engagement ring and a pendant necklace. The jewelry went down the toilet, with help from Grady. They enlisted the help of Reliable Septic Services and co-owner Jacob Starnyski but to no avail.

In March, 2016, the couple got an offer on their Salmon Valley house. Part of the preparation for selling was to re-pump the septic tank. They called Reliable Septic. Starnyski went out to do the job.

“I knew the story, so in the back of my mind I thought, I bet that ring’s still in there,” Starnyski told the Observer, explaining it probably got stuck in the line but finally got pushed into the tank. He started on the opposite end of the tank and, sure enough, he saw something shiny. It was the  ring entangled in the pendant.

• A Calgary man  died and a Salmon Arm resident was in hospital with serious injuries following a motor-vehicle collision on the Trans-Canada Highway on March 5. The incident occurred about 7:45 a.m. at the Salmon River Bridge. Police report a westbound Chevy Impala driven by a 24-year-old Calgary man encroached on the eastbound lane and collided head-on with a Dodge pickup truck driven by a 51-year-old Salmon Arm man. The Calgary man was pronounced dead at the scene while the Salmon Arm driver was airlifted to Kamloops hospital with serious injuries. Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper said her heart goes out to the family of the deceased. She said the incident highlights the pressing need for the province to proceed with the proposed upgrades that would provide a safer alternative to the Salmon River Bridge.

• An avalanche has taken the life of a yet another snowmobiler – the second in one week.

Chase RCMP confirmed a 38-year-old male sledder from Celista died as a result of an avalanche in the Crowfoot Mountain recreational area, March 13. Around 11:30 a.m., police received a report of an overdue snowmobiler possibly being involved in an avalanche, said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. The Shuswap Search and Rescue (SAR) team was immediately activated.

SAR manager John Schut says his team was called out at about 11:45 and had concerns about getting two of the members with AVI 1 initial avalanche training out to the area quickly to make sure it was safe for others to head into the area.

• Asbestos was discovered at the SASCU Indoor Memorial Complex and the  Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association took time to investigate the issue.

Phil Wright, president of the association which owns and operates the facility, said they retained a firm to conduct sample testing and do a complete survey of the building for asbestos-related problems, and offer recommendations for what remediation work will need to take place.

Wright said the issue appears to be with the cinder blocks in the facility. Deterioration has caused crumbling and this has exposed some asbestos.



• A student pilot surprised his rescuers by walking away from a plane crash on Mt. Ida, April 1. The Kelowna student was doing his night rating in a rented aircraft, said  Shuswap Search and Rescue (SAR) search manager John Schut.

“His flight path was from Salmon Arm, over Armstrong, Fintree to Kelowna but whatever happened to put him into Ida I have no idea,” Schut said, noting that shortly after takeoff from Salmon Arm Airport, the Cessna 152 went down into heavily treed, rocky terrain. “He was climbing up and getting ready to join the flight circuit at 3,000 feet, but his plane was at 2,900 feet.”

• With her face bright red and holding back tears, school board chair Bobbi Johnson acknowledged on Thursday, April 7, failure over the school district’s transfer of more than $10.5 million in operating funds into capital funding projects in the past five years.

The money was used, in part, to fund the new $9 million District Education Support Centre and a $1 million building at the school district operational works yard in the Industrial Park.

• Salmon River Road residents Regan and Jennifer Canuel got a hefty surprise April 20.

The couple returned home from shopping and Regan went around to the side of the house where he noticed something amiss – a boulder about nine feet in diameter was sitting in his shed.

While the roar the huge boulder made as it tore a path down the steep western slope of Mt. Ida was heard across the valley about 11:30 a.m., Regan says the residents underneath the cliff were not at home. “If I had been home I probably would have run and never come back,” he said.

• Death can be found in something as small as a single grain of sand. This is the message RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West would like everyone to hear.

As the death toll from Fentanyl rises across the province, West says, so far, the drug has not been found in Salmon Arm. But he believes it is only a matter of time and cautions that W-18, a new “designer drug,” is even deadlier.

• Don’t cut services to students. That was the essence of the School District #83 public budget meeting held Apr. 21 at the Jackson campus gymnasium. Roughly 100 people attended the meeting, which was designed to collect input and ideas on how the school district should cut $1.6 million from the 2016/2017 budget year.

The budget situation is currently fraught with controversy after it was revealed that for the past five years, the school board approved the transfer of $10.5 million from the operating budget into a capital fund. This means money for programs and services to students was used, in part, to pay for the construction of a new $9.3 million building for school administration.

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