• A spawning chinook salmon has earned renowned Salmon Arm nature and wildlife artist Valerie Rogers a prestigious honour. Her painting, Rapid Ascent, is the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s winner of its Salmon Conservation Stamp Art Competition for 2023-24. “I was very excited as I have definitely tried before but this is the first one that’s made it,” she said enthusiastically following the win. Fisheries and Oceans Canada issues the Salmon Conservation Stamp, which is purchased and affixed to the licence of tidal water anglers who wish to retain any species of salmon. Those who want to keep chinook purchase the chinook stamp. All revenue from the sale of the stamps is returned to B.C. to fund salmon restoration and enhancement projects through the foundation’s Community Salmon Program.
• Chris Emery slips in and out of his alter ego, Chris Kringle, when explaining his recent, ongoing frustrations with a Facebook hacker and support he’s received from friends. “I’ve been feeling the love but somebody is definitely on the naughty list,” said Emery. Well known in the Shuswap for his portrayal of Father Christmas in December at the Centenoka Park Mall, Emery said he was outside shovelling snow on the morning of Nov. 23 when someone took over his Facebook account. Soon after the hack, people on Emery’s extensive list of Facebook friends began receiving messages from his hacked account, with the hacker, pretending to be Emery, sharing stories of desperate financial need and asking for help. Emery said no one had fallen for the scammer’s stories, and he’d been humbled by the responses received from supportive friends.
• A large feral feline had been frequenting Jeff Michaud’s Shuswap property. Michaud said on Monday, Dec. 5, that a large cougar had appeared in the backyard of his Eagle Bay residence three days in a row. The appearances set off his motion-activated security camera, which has captured the animal as it walks by. “The first time we saw it, we couldn’t really believe it,” said Michaud. “It is a pretty incredible animal… It’s majestic.” Despite being impressed by the cougar, Michaud wants to let people know it’s in the area near Wild Rose Community Park.
• Shuswap baker Crystal Hedlund has been helping those less fortunate since the pandemic began, and this holiday season is no different. Hedlund is known throughout the Okanagan-Shuswap for baking wedding and birthday cakes for people who can’t afford them, donating them for free and often sponsoring the celebrations, asking the public and her social media community for monetary donations and gifts. She works out of her home as Crystal’s Baked Blessings, baking to fulfill personal orders from around the region. 2020 was her first year of collecting and delivering hampers, which include a full Christmas dinner as well as gifts for the whole family. Now a resident of Canoe. Hedlund was only going to sponsor three families but upped the amount after receiving overwhelming community support and requests from four smaller families.
• The steps leading up to a trial in BC Supreme Court in Kamloops involving a Shuswap man charged in the death of Ashley Simpson are slowly being completed. After a series of court appearances aimed at setting a date for the murder trial to proceed, on Dec. 12 a date was set for jury selection. Jury selection will begin on Sept. 4, 2023. Derek Lee Matthew Favell, 39, was charged in late 2021 with second-degree murder. Ashley Simpson was 32 when she went missing in April 2016 from the North Okanagan-Shuswap. Her remains were found in November 2021.
• The BC SPCA Shuswap branch received a $3,000 donation, benefiting from a partnership between AIM Roads, Canoe Forest Products and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). When Canoe Forest Products (CFR) was working on a road rejuvenation project and needed road barriers, the company got approval and help from the MOTI and AIM Roads and barriers were moved from another stretch of road, to be purchased by CFR for their project. There was an agreed-upon price that CFR would pay for the barriers and the agreement was unanimously made that the profits would be donated to the SPCA.
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