Eighteen-month-old Malakai Andrew enjoys October fun at the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in 2020. (Tia Sauter-Ecks)

Eighteen-month-old Malakai Andrew enjoys October fun at the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in 2020. (Tia Sauter-Ecks)

In Good News: October 2020

Let’s remember the good things this holiday season, here’s a few stories that stood out to us in October

In a year unlike any other, the Vernon Morning Star is looking back at the bright side of 2020. Here are a few stories from October that show some of the positive work, activities and accomplishments in our community:

Youth put film skills to test

Matias Hartwig and Ryan Hudson are two young Vernon filmmakers who produced documentaries and films, despite the restrictions of the pandemic, through the Youth Community Stories program from Reel Youth and Telus Storyhive.

“With the restraints of COVID-19 we had to change our focus a bit,” said Hartwig, a Grade 12 W.L. Seaton student, originally from Golden. “It was over video calls and we had about two weeks to work on our video film idea, so we called pretty much every night and Dear Clare was born.”

Hartwig’s project Dear Clare visually re-imagines the impact of cyberbullying on modern teens, as the comments left on a photo of Clare start to become real and affect her physically. Hartwig and his team took inspiration from their own cyberbullying experiences and how it shapes their self-esteem and body image.

“It was actually filmmaking that actually got me through it (pandemic),” said Hartwig, who was supposed to take a trip to France during spring break, which got cancelled.

“But I’m thankful because it got cancelled it really helped Dear Claire become what it was.”

Tanis Marquette, right, and longtime friend Bree Gable of Prince George shaved their heads Oct. 4, 2020, at The Beauty Bar in Vernon, to support a mutual friend’s daughter, Harper Hanki, one, going through a challenging, expensive health battle. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Tanis Marquette, right, and longtime friend Bree Gable of Prince George shaved their heads Oct. 4, 2020, at The Beauty Bar in Vernon, to support a mutual friend’s daughter, Harper Hanki, one, going through a challenging, expensive health battle. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Heads shaved for Harper

Voluntarily going near bald at the beginning of October has paid off for a Vernon woman and her longtime friend.

Tanis Marquette and Bree Gable, from Prince George, shaved their heads at the Beauty Bar on 27th Street on Sunday, Oct. 4, as part of a fundraiser for an Edmonton toddler, the daughter of a mutual high school friend from Prince George. The event also included an online auction.

“Our head-shaving event itself raised more than $17,000, and the auction raised $12,896,” said an excited Marquette. “In total, we were able to raise $30,177 so we passed our goal of $30,000. It was a very successful event.”

The money raised will go to the family of one-year-old Harper Hanki, who is battling Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1. Hanki has been receiving doses of Spinraza, a drug that carries a price tag of $125,000 per shot which is administered via lumbar puncture. What the Hankis are aiming for is a one-time IV treatment with a drug called Zolgensma. The cost of the drug is $2.8 million and it will change Harper’s life.

“We are incredibly thankful to everyone who donated, to everyone who shared our story, and to all of our auction donors,” said Marquette.

Aiden Satterthwaite, 15, completed his 41-kilometre unicycle ride from his neighbourhood off Westside Road near Fintry Provincial Park to his Seaton Secondary school in Vernon in five hours Oct. 12, 2020. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Aiden Satterthwaite, 15, completed his 41-kilometre unicycle ride from his neighbourhood off Westside Road near Fintry Provincial Park to his Seaton Secondary school in Vernon in five hours Oct. 12, 2020. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Unicycle ride endurance test

In only five hours, 15-year-old Aiden Satterthwaite completed his 41-kilometre unicycle ride from a subdivision near Fintry to his high school in Vernon.

The Grade 10 W.L. Seaton Secondary student completed the lengthy route, the same his bus takes, around 1:15 p.m., Oct. 12, and he did it all to raise awareness of the importance of play while raising money to build a park to serve his community.

Satterthwaite had launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $5,000 toward building a new playground. The GoFundMe garnered more than $5,500 with more cash donations made in person.

“In the days of Snapchat, Fortnite and Zoom classrooms, I want everyone to remember how important it is to get out and play today,” said Satterthwaite.

Push for free birth control

The City of Vernon became the 10th municipality in British Columbia to endorse access to free birth control after council voted in favour to pen a letter during the Oct. 13 meeting.

“I’m so happy to see my hometown council supporting such an important issue,” said Marisa Levesque, a medical student at the UBC Southern Medical Program and member of the AccessBC Campaign for universal free prescription contraception.

Coun. Kelly Fehr brought the issue to the table, asking his council colleagues to back the writing of a letter to B.C.’s finance and health ministers, the premier and local MLA seeking support for universal access to all contraception under the provincial Medical Services Plan.

READ MORE: Vernon 10th in B.C. to endorse free birth control

Cheers to Okanagan Spring Brewery

Okanagan Spring Brewery celebrated the 35th anniversary of its first brew Oct. 19 — the Premium Lager, said head brewmaster Stefan Tobler.

“We don’t make that anymore. Our 1516 product took that over.”

That first brew, under the guidance of then-head brewmaster Raimund Kalinowski, took more than 12 hours to make, then needed another six weeks to ferment.

The Premium Lager was introduced to the public on New Year’s Eve, 1985.

The local brewery was also recently awarded five honours at the World Beer Awards including gold as the winner for its Porter, and silver for its King Eddy Pilsner and Pale Ale.

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