Year in Review: December 2019

Illegal vaping products seized

Health Canada inspectors seized vaping products at specialty stores in Vernon and Kelowna in December.

The federal agency did not disclose the name of the specialty vaping business or offer estimates of the total retail value of the seized products, but Interior Health Tobacco Enforcement officer Emelia Gazsity estimated its value at $1 million.

“I made a call because I got a complaint about a business that was specifically honing in on kids and they had sent out 875 Facebook requests to kids,” Gazsity said at a public forum held Nov. 21 at the Vernon Library.

Stolen dog found many miles from home

Boo Boo was stolen from a home in Vernon in early December leaving owner Tamara Daley in shock and disbelief.

Her dog was returned to her in no time, thanks to social media.

A post was shared more than 11,000 times and all of Vernon was on the lookout for the three-year-old Bully pup.

Word spread and someone contacted the owner to report a dog matching Boo Boo’s description was sold in a Blue River diner.

Boo Boo was picked up his owner at a Grande Cache, Alta., RCMP detachment.

SilverStar sold to U.S. company

SilverStar Mountain Resort has been bought by Utah-based company POWDR.

The adventure lifestyle company will assume operations effective immediately, SilverStar Mountain Resort said in a statement.

POWDR owns 10 resorts across the United States in California, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, Oregon and Utah.

“I am thrilled to pass the torch to such a competent and qualified operator as POWDR, who shares the same mission and beliefs for the SilverStar resort community and is committed to delivering memorable experiences and enhancing people’s lives,” SilverStar owner Jane Cann said.

Falkland shootout shuts down highway

Two people are charged with attempted murder after firing shots at police on Dec. 3, near Westwold.

Darwyn Sellars, 31, and Jennifer Singleton, 38, face multiple charges including attempted murder, flight from police and possession of a firearm.

The two were arrested following a dramatic incident that unfolded between Falkland and Westwold which shut down Highway 97 for more than six hours.

Spike belts and tire deflation devices were used to stop the suspect vehicle east of Westwold.

Witnesses told the Morning Star more than 19 shots were heard during the incident.

Firefighters battle trailer blaze

A mobile home fire in a park on Elmwood Road in the BX was extinguished just before noon on Dec. 5.

BX-Swan Lake firefighters responded to reports of billowing smoke from a mobile home undergoing renovations in a park across from Swan Lake.

Four trucks, half a dozen firefighters and RCMP attended the scene. A cat was pulled from the home but did not survive after being treated with oxygen.

Cooper captures world championship buckle

Vernon’s Jaret Cooper, 16, rode Wyoming’s R and R Stocks’ horse, Cheerleader to a career-best 78 on Dec. 9, 2019, in Las Vegas.

He was declared the winner of the 2019 World Novice Saddle Bronc championships at the Junior World Finals, part of the National Finals Rodeo event.

“My dad, he gets nervous when I compete,” the Grade 11 Vernon Secondary Student said. “When I got off after the ride today, he was tearing up behind the trucks.”

Ex-Judo coach jailed for child porn

A former Vernon Judo coach was sentenced to a year in jail for producing and distributing child pornography following his sentencing on Dec. 5, 2019.

Bryan McLachlan, 49, who pleaded guilty, will serve two concurrent sentences — eight months for possessing and 12 months for importing and distributing child pornography.

Following his one year prison term, McLachlan will face two-year probation.

Enderby pilot to make second journey to Antarctica

Doug Sperlich, 24, of Enderby, will make his second trip to Antarctica in January.

The trip will take him around two weeks with a number of stops along the way.

When he gets to Chile, it’ll be time for the daunting flight over ocean waters.

Once the plane passes the halfway point between Chile and Rothera Research Station — a large British Base in Antarctica — there’s not enough fuel left to turn around.

“It’s a one-way trip,” Sperlich said. “They call it a point of no return.”Truck fire spreads to gated community property

A company truck caught fire in a gated community in Okanagan Landing on Dec. 10.

A machine in the bed of the work vehicle caught fire and around 30 minutes after firefighters arrived on scene, there was a loud bang the flames jumped to the property.

“We believe two tires blew as well as perhaps the vehicle’s fuel tank. We got it under control,” Capt. Michael Stoll said.

Firefighters quickly doused flames heading down the driveway and on to the neighbouring grass area.Barber still cutting along at 86

Barber Ten Enns is showing no signs of slowing down, even at the age of 86.

The longtime Vernon barber, half-owner of Country Squire Barbers and Stylists on 29th Street, said he’s cutting the hair of fourth generations now.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of amazing people come to my shop,” Enns said.

Downtown crime closes skate shop

Okanagan Skate Co. is closing its downtown Vernon store and heading online due to an uptick of crime, owner Steven (Bryce) Wach said in a video he posted to Facebook.

After experiencing several break-ins, a suspicious fire and losing more than $40,000 in merchandise, Wach said he’s had enough.

“How can anyone stay downtown and economically do business when these are things that are happening,” he said in the video.

The city, however, has taken steps to invest in extra security and safety measures in the core, communications manager Christy Poirier said.

“Council has approved funding for the continuation of the Bylaw Compliance Seasonal Enforcement Program, Folks on Spokes — with an added education component — and the downtown cleanup program,” she said.

“Funding for overnight seasonal security was also approved.”

Sagmoen found guilty, released with fine, probation

On Dec. 20, Curtis Sagmoen, 38, was found guilty of threatening a sex worker with a firearm, with his sentence based on time already served plus 36 months of probation.

Justice Alison Beames found Sagmoen, who lived near Falkland, guilty of disguising his face with intent to commit an indictable offence, use of a firearm during an indictable offence and possession of methamphetamine.

He was found not guilty of uttering threats and intentionally discharging a firearm.

Sagmoen has been sentenced to two years minus one day, but his time served since his September 2017 arrest credits him with three years and three months.

He is expected to return to court in February on a separate assault charge.

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