Year in Review: February’s top stories

Smoke billows from a home on Kalamalka Road in Coldstream as firefighters work to knock down the blaze Feb. 4. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)
Greater Vernon Recreation Services programmer Shayne Wright (third from left) asked Vernon’s A1 Machine and Welding staff to create a torch for the Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in Vernon, and the company – with help from a few other businesses – was happy to help. (Special Olympics B.C. photo)
A former Vernon Fire Rescue Services chief filed a civil claim against the City of Vernon Feb. 14 for wrongful termination of his employment. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
At just 27 years old, Logan Saunders broke free from his dark, yet comfortable, confines and set out on a bold adventure to travel the world in 180 days.

As we near 2020, we’re looking back at the stories that captured our attention throughout the past year. Here are a few of the headlines to remember from February 2019.

Former Vernon fire chief sues city after termination

A former Vernon Fire Rescue Services chief filed a civil claim against the City of Vernon Feb. 14 for wrongful termination of his employment.

Keith Green, 52, alleged that his employment as director, or fire chief, of Vernon Fire Rescue Services was wrongfully terminated after he “became disabled due to a work-related psychological disability, ceased working and began receiving banked sick pay” in September 2016.

Green filed his complaint in the Supreme Court of British Columbia Vancouver Registry on Feb. 14.

Heart-felt memories for Special Olympics athletes

Never before, in its long history, has Special Olympics B.C. had its own torch for its opening ceremonies.

That is until the Winter Games came to Vernon and a special torch was made by a handful of local businesses and with support from Greater Vernon Recreation Services. The torch was lit Feb. 21 to kick off the Games.

The eight-foot-tall torch was built in three components: a mobile base, centre pillar and the cauldron at top. It’s portable and can be broken down into pieces and stored in a three-foot box, making it easy to take to the Games’ host city.

Students protest for climate action

A group of about a dozen students took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday to show their support of climate action.

His small demonstration is one of several protests put on as part of a new movement titled Earth Strike. Since its inception in November 2018, the movement gained thousands of members in over 60 countries.

Demonstrators have said they want climate change to be recognized as a crisis and, according to their website, are “demanding immediate climate action from governments and corporations worldwide.”

Vernon man travels world in 180 days

Growing up with severe social anxiety and a fear of the unknown kept Logan Saunders confined to the basement, glued to video games and reality TV.

Underneath the seemingly shy exterior, Saunders, like many kids, was bursting with an overwhelming desire to see the world.

So at just 27 years old, he broke free from his dark, yet comfortable, confines and set out on a bold adventure to travel the world in 180 days.

“As we get older, especially going through adolescence and early adulthood, we let the negative experiences and the constant reminders of dangers lurking to discourage us from seeking adventure,” said Saunders.

“Prior to three years ago, I could talk myself out of doing anything. I didn’t bother to ‘attempt’ learning how to ride a bike. I once spent Christmas dinner either staying outside or eating dinner in a car because the congestion of people was way too much for me.”

The change in his attitude came three years ago when the very limited social circle Saunders had abandoned him.

“I stayed up all night thinking about my future and where it was leading me. I didn’t like the future. It looked lonely, empty, and void of anything interesting.

“The next day I booked a parasailing adventure in Kelowna.”

Landfill compactor fire extinguished

The Armstrong Spallumcheen Diversion and Disposal Facility was shut down Feb. 26 as firefighters battled a blazing compactor.

Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Chief Ian Cummings said his crew was joined by the BX Swan Lake Fire Department at the scene shortly after 2 p.m., Feb. 26.

“They had a compactor catch on fire. It was fully-involved when we got there,” Cummings said. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained as a result of the incident.

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