Year In Review: November, December

• Shuswap Theatre took a big project under its umbrella. The theatre is featuring Mary Poppins for the first time.

We remember: Cadet Daniel Zazzi of the 1787 Rocky Mountain Rangers stands at attention during the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Salmon Arm Cenotaph.

We remember: Cadet Daniel Zazzi of the 1787 Rocky Mountain Rangers stands at attention during the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Salmon Arm Cenotaph.


• Charges were laid in connection with a series of arson fires in Vernon in 2014, including the one that burned down the historic grandstand at Kin Race Track. William Murray Phelps Munton, born in 1961, was already facing four charges of intentionally or recklessly causing damage by fire or explosion to property. Munton was formerly a visual arts teacher at Salmon Arm Secondary School’s Sullivan campus, though the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District confirmed he has not worked in the school district since 2005.

Munton is also facing two counts of making or publishing child pornography and possession of child pornography, allegedly occurring between August 2011 and August 2015.

• Life is hectic in the Meeuwsen household as Mahalia and Mike’s rare, naturally conceived, identical triplets celebrate their first birthday Thursday, Nov. 3. The girls, who spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops immediately after birth, are healthy and growing – each one now weighs over 20 pounds.

• Part of the rock face broke free of the hillside and rolled to a stop at the entrance of the Trans-Canada Highway rest stop at the top of Kault Hill, west of Salmon Arm, on Nov. 4. The pullout is currently closed to traffic until Ministry of Transportation geo-technical engineers have deemed it safe to remove the material. A ministry spokesperson says due to the size of some of the boulders, typical excavation methods will not work and staff are determining options to reduce the size of the boulders so they can be hauled off site.

• Bigger, faster, stronger and smarter in the ring is how Bulldogs Boxing coach Peggy Maerz describes the change she has seen in Dominic Barbosa in three-and-a-half months. After being crowned the champion in the 60-kilogram novice junior C category at the Golden Gloves tournament in June, Barbosa, 15, confidently stated his desire to win provincials, make Team B.C., and box at nationals.

• A Shuswap artist is breaking into the country music scene with her debut album, claiming the top spot on iTunes.

Dani Strong, who graduated from Salmon Arm Secondary in 2000, had tears in her eyes when she saw the results on iTunes. Her album was #1 on the country charts after being released Oct. 20.

“It was never expected. Honestly it was like the furthest, furthest, thing from expected, not in a million years,” she said.

• The governance situation at the Adams Lake Indian Band is in a state of upheaval and confusion following a decision by the band’s community panel to remove three band councillors.

A notice dated Oct. 23 which was posted on the Adams Lake Indian Band website said band councillors Gina Johnny, Brandy Jules and Ronnie Jules were removed, leaving Chief Robin Billy and councillors Greg Witzky and Norma Manuel still in office. Repeated calls and emails to the band office as well as band councillors and other members were not returned.

• Shuswap Theatre took a big project under its umbrella. The theatre is featuring Mary Poppins for the first time and also casting children for the first time in lead roles. Molly Tudan, 12, and Griffin Webber, 11, play two naughty siblings, Michael and Jane Banks. The enthusiastic duo are natural stage stars, basking in the attention theatre provides. The play ran from Nov. 25 to Dec. 11.

• Family members of a Shuswap man who last week admitted to his deadly role in a 2011 turf war dabbed tears from their eyes in a packed Kamloops courtroom as Jordan Larry Barnes was ordered to spend a decade behind bars without parole eligibility.

The 30-year-old Blind Bay man pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder in connection with the June 1, 2011, shooting death of 24-year-old Nicholas Larsen. After the sentencing, Larsen’s friends and supporters could be seen hugging outside Courtroom 5C at the Kamloops Law Courts.

• From the first kickoff of the season until the last play of the year, Braidy Parkes did not leave the field.  At the Shuswap Minor Football’s awards ceremony, the tenacious 13-year-old was named the Junior Bantam’s most valuable player, becoming the first girl to be awarded the MVP in the association.

Parkes lined up on both sides of the ball throughout the season, playing up to five different positions in a game. Offensively, Parkes lined up as a slot back or tail back and quite literally ran away as the team’s leading rusher. Her offensive flair was topped off as she also led the team in touchdowns.



• More than 50 people packed a small Kamloops courtroom to witness the sentencing of a Salmon Arm woman who admitted to murder after arranging to have her teenaged lover shoot her other boyfriend in a schoolyard.

Monica Sikorski was handed a life sentence with seven years before parole eligibility for her role in the shooting death of Tyler Myers. Sikorski was 17 on Nov. 21, 2008, when Myers was killed in the schoolyard of Bastion Elementary.

• Classical music used to be treated like today’s rock and roll. When classical musicians performed, there was cheering, booing, drinking and tossing vegetables.

According to flutist Haley Marie, a classical concert wasn’t intended to be viewed with silence, and she plans to bring back elements of the 1700s. It was Marie’s second time in Salmon Arm and her first time performing her multimedia concert, O Holy Night: Five Centuries of Christmas Music at Marionette Winery, Dec. 16 and 17.

• The Silverbacks head into the Christmas break on a positive note as they downed the Vees, splitting their home-and-home series with the league’s top club.

The club seems to have found stability in goal with Nic Tallarico, a welcoming sign for the club that struggled early in the season to keep the puck out of their net.