Rain and melting snow combine into a significant force across the North Okanagan. Reports of flooding were received throughout the region. (File photo)

Newsmakers of the year

A look at the top stories from May 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of a series highlighting the top stories of the year.

May

As the provincial election draws near, party leaders make campaign stops in Vernon as both Andrew Weaver (B.C. Greens) and John Horgan (NDP) talk issues with voters.

Frank Yanavicius, who died in 2015, leaves $1 million to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, the organization’s largest single donation to date. The funds will go toward expanded surgical services at VJH. Yanavicius, a lifelong bachelor whose Lithuanian parents settled in Lumby, retired in 1984 after a 33-year career as a metal sheet fabricator in Vancouver and Calgary. He moved to Vernon and helped found the Kalamalka Fly Fishers Club.

A victory for pickleball enthusisast as a move to a permanent home inches closer. Greater Vernon Advisory Committee agrees in principle to provide a $300,000 grant for construction and leased land at Marshall Field for 12 pickleball courts.

The Regional District of North Okanagan board approves an electoral approval process to borrow $2.17 million to purchase the former Canadian Pacific rail line from Spallumcheen to Sicamous.

Rain and melting snow combine into a significant force across the North Okanagan. Reports of flooding were received throughout the region. Extensive problems arose in Lumby as Duteau Creek began spilling its banks. A concerted effort was launched by emergency personnel and residents to prepare sandbags. Evacuation alerts were issued to a number of residents. The City of Armstrong declared a state of local emergency due to flooding. Fintry Provincial Park was evacuated.

Liberal candidates Eric Foster (Vernon-Monashee) and Greg Kyllo (Shuswap) are re-elected as MLAs in the provincial election.

Outgoing Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation director of development Sue Beaudry is named Woman of the Year at the annual Vernon Women In Business event at the Prestige Inn.

Morning Star photographer Lisa VanderVelde wins second place for Spot News Photo in her circulation category at the B.C. Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s annual Ma Murray Awards in Richmond. The Morning Star earned third place for best multimedia feature in its class in the Canadian Community Newspaper Association awards for a story, photo and video, compiled by reporters Richard Rolke and Jennifer Smith, on the low-income Blair Apartments.

Mike McKay, North Okanagan-Shuswap school trustee, announces that, beginning in September, Grade 7 students in Enderby will shift from M.V. Beattie Elementary to A.L. Fortune Secondary because of overcrowding.

Flooding remains a top priority. Crews in Lumby continue to bolster earthworks holding back the three creeks in the village. All eyes in Vernon are on Okanagan Lake as it’s climbing closer to full pool. Enderby is monitoring conditions as the Shuswap River continues to rise; high water is also creating challenges in Falkland.

Vernon RCMP investigate a stabbing at an apartment building in the 2900 block of 43rd Avenue. A 45-year-old man was taken to VJH in serious condition.

As the Victoria Day long weekend brings the official start of summer, local jurisdictions are shutting down boat launches on Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes because wave action could swamp waterfront property.

Vernon’s James Leigh, a security consultant, was held by North Korean authorities for two days while visiting the nation in April. Leigh believes he was suspected of being a U.S. spy to assigned to collect data.

The City of Vernon installs its first rainbow crosswalk on 30th Avenue.

The names of Ashley Simpson, Caitlin Potts and Deanna Wertz were on the minds of many as citizens participated in a First Nations-led, 118-kilometre walk for the three women who went missing last year. All three lived in the traditional territory of the Splatsin First Nation.

A BX resident was able to escape a burning house without any injuries. Firefighters were called to the corner of BX and East Vernon roads where they discovered three- or four-foot flames shooting out a bedroom window. Crews contained the fire to the master bedroom. The woman inside the home was able to get outside uninjured.

Students from Vernon and Kalamalka Secondary Schools converge on Kalamalka Road in Coldstream to fill and stack sandbags for residents coping with rising water levels. Many docks on Okanagan Lake suffer significant damage in the wake of a violent windstorm that swept through the region. The storm also claimed 29 chicks and one adult at the Vernon heronry rookery on 24th Street.

Already dealing with flood concerns, the Village of Lumby gets a double whammy as the Cooper Creek forest fire breaks out on the same night as the windstorm. The fire grew to 4.7 hectares in size and was tackled by firefighters, helicopters and air tankers.

The Oyama Community Club cancels Oyama Fun Day for the first time because of flooding.

Residents of Armstrong’s Meadow Creek Lane subdivision want help cleaning out Meighan Creek rain which, during May’s heavy rains, breached its banks and flooded three-quarters of the subdivision.

The Vernon ATV Club holds its fourth annual cleanup on King Edward Road and hauled out a substantial amount of trash collected from Highway 6 to King Edward Lake.

Coldstream’s Kalavista Lagoon won’t be diked to prevent flooding on adjacent properties. Some residents suggested damming the lagoon and pumping the water back into Kal Lake as a way of mitigating flooding on those properties in the area.


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The City of Vernon installs its first rainbow crosswalk on 30th Avenue. (File photo)

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