In Good News: September 2020

  • Jan. 3, 2021 9:00 a.m.
Tiernen O’Keefe, 15, has studied dance in Lake Country, Vernon and Kelowna, and now she’s headed to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet mid pandemic. (Carousel Studios)Tiernen O’Keefe, 15, has studied dance in Lake Country, Vernon and Kelowna, and now she’s headed to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet mid pandemic. (Carousel Studios)
Coldstream’s Thomas Haslinger won first place in the Backyard Habitats category in the BC SPCA’s annual Wildlife-in-Focus photography contest held Sept. 17, 2020. (Contributed)Coldstream’s Thomas Haslinger won first place in the Backyard Habitats category in the BC SPCA’s annual Wildlife-in-Focus photography contest held Sept. 17, 2020. (Contributed)

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 September that show some of the positive work, activities and accomplishments in our community:

Teen dances on air after Royal Winnipeg Ballet invite

Local ballerina Tiernen O’Keefe, 15, accepted an invitation to the prestigious Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Tiernen has been studying dance since she was three years old, but when she started to concentrate on ballet, she knew this was her path.

She is the first of her four siblings to move away from home.

COVID-19 changed everything about the auditioning process for RWB this year, Tiernen said.

What would normally be done in a month-long in-person intensive, was moved online. And this was not free of its challenges.

The O’Keefe family rigged up a makeshift studio in the family’s bonus room.

With some plastic flooring taped onto the carpet and mirrors and ballet bar already in place, Tiernen followed along with the exercises and required routines via webcam for two weeks.

“I was super grateful to have an in-house studio,” Tiernen said.

Tiernen said you can follow her along on her journey in Winnipeg by following her Instagram @O_Tiernen.

Vernon Fire Rescue Services personnel examine the remnants of a house fire put out by a Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP officer on Mission Hill Sunday afternoon, Sept. 13. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Vernon Fire Rescue Services personnel examine the remnants of a house fire put out by a Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP officer on Mission Hill Sunday afternoon, Sept. 13. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Mountie hailed as hero for snuffing fire

A Vernon RCMP officer became a firefighter briefly Sept. 13, after a fire broke out in a Mission Hill home.

Const. David Brovold was only a few blocks away on a call when he noticed smoke coming from a home on 31st Street.

He thought the smoke was a different contrast to the wildfire haze that’s been covering the Okanagan over the weekend, so he went closer to investigate.

“I got out and met the homeowner, who came out of his house excitedly saying ‘my house is on fire,’” said Brovold.

“I grabbed the extinguisher out of my car and extinguished the fire at the back of the house with the help of the neighbour, who came out with a hose. We managed to snuff it out before it consumed his house.

“A couple of minutes more and it might have been a different outcome. I was in the right place at the right time. Happy to be here.”

A 21-foot dinosaur made a special appearance at 91-year-old Marie Schnare’s birthday party Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (Graham Schnare - Contributed)

A 21-foot dinosaur made a special appearance at 91-year-old Marie Schnare’s birthday party Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (Graham Schnare - Contributed)

Jurrasic Bash for 91st birthday

The pandemic prevented many from celebrating their birthdays the way they wanted to, but Marie Schnare celebrated in a way unlike any other.

Graham Schnare went above and beyond to ensure his mother had a celebration to remember.

On Sept. 8, equipped with a 21-foot dinosaur, a computer set up with Zoom and the North Okanagan Pipes and Drums, Schnare surprised his mother at her residence in Heaton Place in Armstrong.

“It was a total surprise right down to the cupcake bouquets and the drums and bagpipers,” Schnare said.

The party was a huge hit.

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