2012: The year in local news, Part III

Here is a recap of some of the area’s biggest stories in 2012 from September through December.

• A survey revealed in August that the popular Cranbrook Farmer’s Market has injected $1 million into the local economy. The local market earned itself the nickname of Million Dollar Market after the survey was released.

• The Cranbrook Legion made national headlines after its newsletter was found to contain a joke that offended readers. The newsletter, printed in August, contained a joke about two men shooting “Indians.” The joke was later removed, although the letter was re-distributed with a note from its editor. The complainant, secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary Shirley Green, wrote a letter to Legion president Edith LeClair. St. Mary’s Band Chief Cheryl Casimer was upset that the joke was published, and she too complained to the Legion president, saying it was disrespectful to Aboriginal veterans.

• Cranbrook welcomed the legendary Bob Dylan in August for a performance that will go down in Cranbrook history as one of its biggest. Tickets sold out in just hours when they went on sale, with fans lining up at the RecPlex overnight.

• Mainroad East Kootenay staff were locked out of their jobs on August 19. The workers took to the picket lines at their head office in Cranbrook to protest the lockout.

• The St. Mary’s Band had a big day in August, when they gathered to open the new Aqamnik Education Centre. The new school closed the door on the band’s small, out-of-date portable buildings that had been used to house students. The band celebrated with dancing, a feast, speeches, all under a bright blue sky.

• Kootenay residents began to be showered with Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals in August. Recipients included former members of city council, exceptional community volunteers and longtime engineers, among others.

• Integra Air pulled its fleet from Cranbrook in August, but promised it would be back after restructuring.  The airline cited declining occupancy as their reason, but said they would return with bigger aircraft and the ability to offer competitive pricing and more frequent flights.

• A young boy was left in critical condition after a sandbank he was playing in collapsed at Lake Koocanusa on September 1. The 11-year-old boy was playing with his brother at the time, who was able to get help. The boy later recovered.

• MLA for Kootenay East Bill Bennett was shuffled back into cabinet in September. He assumed the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development after a cabinet shuffle on September 5.

• The RCMP discovered 25 gas contracts in the area had been forged by a company contracted by Active Energy. Two suspects were identified, and the 25 contracts were confirmed to have forged signatures signing them up for gas service.

• A Clear View, the campaign that set a goal to raise $1 million in two years for a new stereotactic mammography machine, completed their campaign in just 11 months. The campaign, launched in October, 2011, officially finished in mid-September the Townsman reported on September 12 – 13 months ahead of schedule. Donna Grainger, executive director of the East Kootenay Foundation for health, was ecstatic, saying there were so many donors, and funds kept coming in.

• The Flathead became the next area in Southeast B.C. to be protected in September. A group of politicians, Ktunaxa Nation members and funding organizations gathered at the St. Eugene Mission Resort on September 13 to celebrate, before taking a helicopter trip to see the area that would now be safe from mining.

• The College of the Rockies announced it was losing a leader, after CEO and President Dr. Nick Rubidge announced his retirement on September 16. He will remain until the end of the 2012/13 school year as the college looks for a person to fill the vacancy.

• The NDP chose Norma Blissett as their candidate for the Kootenay East riding in the upcoming provincial election on September 22. Blissett was chosen over former mayor of Fernie, Randal Macnair.

• Dr. Jane Goodall kicked off the month of October with a whirlwind visit to Cranbrook. The world-renowned doctor made several presentations in the area and left an impression on the community that won’t soon be forgotten.

• A police-involved shooting rocked a quiet Cranbrook neighbourhood on October 2 after a suspect attempted to flee police after a carjacking. Nicholas Bullock and an unnamed youth were charged in the incident. Bullock remains in custody while the female youth is in the custody of her mother in Port Coquitlam. The Independent Investigations Office continue to investigate the file, as is customary when a death or serious injury occurs involving an RCMP officer.

• A mother was tragically killed in Canal Flats when a rock flung off of a semitruck and smashed through her car windshield. The woman, who was in the passenger seat was killed instantly while her husband and child were unharmed.

• A coroner’s inquest into the in-custody death of Collan Kohalyk was held in October and the jury returned with two recommendations. They suggested that any clothing that is removed while in custody should be taken from the cell, and that any blood or urine samples taken from patients admitted for an unnatural death or injury should be retained and frozen.

• The embattled caribou were back in the news again, the Townsman reported on October 16. Only four were left out of the 19 that were transplanted back in March.

• A local group qualified for the World’s Toughest Mudder competition after they finished in the top at gruelling endurance race in San Francisco. After proving they were indeed tough enough, Mike Honeyman, Joe Detta, Matt Johnson and Miles Chisholm headed to New Jersey for the next instalment, finishing third in a field of 25.

• The city of Cranbrook banded together with other regional municipalities to ask for a bigger piece of the tax pie, the Townsman reported on October 26. Kootenay politicians met in October to discuss the funding municipalities receive from tax dollars. That money generally goes to infrastructure.

• On October 25, the community finally got a glimpse into Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty negotiations that are ongoing between the province, federal government and Ktunaxa Nation. While no maps were released, they were shown at the public meeting. A total of 33,458 hectares of land are in the offering for the Ktunaxa Nation. Negotiations continue and at this time there are no firm details on the lands to be included in the treaty.

• Another fire tore through the former Tembec planer mill, reducing one of the buildings on the property to rubble. No one was injured, and the cause of the fire was later determined to be not suspicious.

• The St. Mary’s Band elected Jim Whitehead as their new chief, taking over from Cheryl Casimer with a margin of just one vote in October.

• The Townsman reported on November 13 that accidental drug overdoses in southeast B.C. have become alarmingly high. People are dying from accidental prescription opioid overdoses at the same rate they are dying in drunk driving accidents. The discovery was made by Interior Health after they partnered with the B.C. Coroner’s Service for a study.

• Cranbrook lost a legend when ManWoman passed away on November 13 at age 74. A celebration of life was heavily attended by many who paid their respects to the artist and spiritual visionary.

• An Amber Alert was issued on November 15 for three-year-old Alvin Barnett. The boy was taken from Sparwood and was later located safe in Montana. His father, Robert Barnett was charged and the case is currently in the Cranbrook Law Courts.

• The Jumbo Glacier Resort was granted mountain resort municipality status on November 20. The area will become a municipality on February 19, 2013 after the signing of a Letters Patent by the province. Greg Deck was appointed the new mayor, along with Nancy Hugunin and Steve Ostrander as council. In response, the Ktunaxa Nation planned a rally and the introduction of their judicial review.

• The Townsman reported November 21 that the City of Cranbrook would need $107 million to solve its infrastructure woes. Jamie Hodge, director of engineering for the city, presented to council the near unreachable tally during its council meeting on November 21.

• A couple of seasoned hikers survived a vicious grizzly bear attack in Kimberley, the Townsman reported on November 27. The pair survived the attack but were air lifted to Calgary’s Foothills Hospital. There was initially debate about whether it was a grizzly or black bear, but conservation officers at the scene determined it was in fact a grizzly bear sow and cubs that had been feeding on a deer kill when they were startled by the hikers.

• The Ktunaxa Nation gathered to protest the Jumbo Glacier Resort on November 30. Between 400 and 500 people from all walks of life paraded down the streets of Cranbrook from the Ktunaxa Nation headquarters to Rotary Park, where speeches were given and songs were performed. At the same time in Vancouver, Ktunaxa Nation chair Kathryn Teneese presented the application for judicial review.

• A group of six Cranbrook teachers who claim they were poisoned by mercury were vindicated in early December when they were granted a new Worker’s Compensation Appeal Tribunal hearing. School District 5 announced December 27 that they would not appeal the ruling because it concerned the WCAT board rather than the school board.

• The largest crowd in recent memory attended the public sign bylaw meeting on December 5 to hear about the proposed bylaw changes. Frustrations were high as business owners expressed their concern with the bylaw. The city set a deadline of December 31 for feedback, but later extended it to February. The Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce responded by forming an ad hoc committee to collect feedback and pour over the bylaw. They will present to council in the new year.

• The Regional District of East Kootenay voted on December 7 to purchase carbon offsets, although some directors expressed their displeasure at the idea. The funds would go to the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Darkwoods Project. The City of Kimberley followed that decision up a week later by voting against purchasing the offsets, instead putting the money in a fund to be used for a local project later on.

• Jason Wheeldon was named the citizen of the year, taking over from Chris Ayling. The new top citizen was named at the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce’s meeting on December 12. He will be feted in the new year at the Chamber’s January 16 luncheon.

• Kelowna General Hospital completed its first ever open heart surgery in early December, opening the door for many East Kootenay patients the Townsman reported on December 17.

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