Year in Review: April – June

Looking back issue by issue for the stories of the day between April and June.

  • Jan. 4, 2017 5:00 a.m.
Premier Christy Clark and the Liberal cabinet held a retreat in Cranbrook

Premier Christy Clark and the Liberal cabinet held a retreat in Cranbrook

April 1

The Dynamiters had a heartbreaking finish to their season, as the 100 Mile House Wranglers won Game Five of the title series to take the league championship. The Wranglers won the series 4-1 and advanced to the provincial Jr. B championship — the Cyclone Taylor Cup.

April 4

Tristen Chernove was named Business Person of the Year at the annual Chamber of Commerce Evening of Excellence Business Awards. Chernove is the CEO of Elevate Airports, which manages the Canadian Rockies International Airport.

April 5

Tristen Chernove officially qualified for a spot on Canada’s Paralympic cycling team based on his performance at a recent Para-Cycling Track World Championship.

April 6

Hitchhikers had stolen a car from Tim Hortons in Creston, with Cranbrook RCMP, including the use of Police Dog Services, located three suspects out in Moyie and arrested them. The suspects were in possession of homemade explosives, prohibited firearms and drugs.

April 7

Rock and Blues legend George Thorogood spoke to the Townsman about a then-upcoming show at Western Financial place. Thorogood talked about the waning influence of blues music in the 21st century and how it seems to be continually shrinking.

April 8

Longtime Kimberley Dynamiters coach Jerry Bancks called it a career with the team. Bancks coached the team to a league championship, a berth in the following season title match and had been behind the bench when the club was in the Rocky Mountain Jr. A League.

April 11

The Symphony of the Kootenays wrapped up it’s 40th season with a final concert at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook. It was also a time of farewell, as the orchestra said goodbye to Vic Neufeld, Stephanie Judy and Wendy Herbison, three longtime members of the organization.

April 12

The East Kootenay Friends of Burma changed their name to the East Kootenay Friends of Refugees, as they transitioned into an umbrella organization to assist other groups in supporting refugees.

April 13

New City of Cranbrook CAO David Kim sat through his first city council meeting and spoke with the Townsman about adjusting to his new role. Kim replaced outgoing CAO Wayne Staudt, who retired after 14 years of service with the city.

April 14

The Cranbrook Daily Townsman adjusted operations, switching from a daily newspaper to publish three times a week. The Townsman also said goodbye to former publisher Karen Johnston, who retired after over 20 years in the newspaper industry.

April 15

Local Metis celebrated a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that the federal government must recognize Metis and ‘non-status Indians’ as Aboriginal groups on par with ‘Indians’ as defined in the Canadian constitution.

April 19

Longtime press operator Gord Askew called it a career after 41 years with the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, installing five different presses over his time with the local newspaper.

April 20

BC Education Minister Mike Bernier came to Cranbrook and met with local MLA Bill Bennett and school district staff and trustees, while also touring Mount Baker Secondary School — the number one priority for replacement in the area.

April 22

Mount Baker Secondary School robotics team struck gold and bronze at a provincial competition and earned a berth at nationals in Prince Edward Island.

April 26

George Thorogood brought his blues-infused rock to Western Financial Place and ran through a list of hits dating back to the 1980s with songs such as ‘Bad to the Bone’, ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer’, and ‘Who Do You Love?’

April 27

City council debated a draft outdoor seasonal patio bylaw as councillors pushed for a policy that would allow downtown businesses to set up outdoor patios during the summer.

April 29

The city lowered the asking price for the Cranbrook Fire Hall by $99,000 in a bid to make the property more attractive for a buyer. The new asking price, at $250,000, reflected structural, mechanical and electrical deficiencies with the heritage structure.

May 3

A two-year-old went missing from Premier Lake campground, but was found safe and sound next morning. Isaac Leuenberger went missing around 7 p.m., April 30, at Premier Lake Provincial Campgroundwhile walking with his Mom and siblings. #Family and others initially searched the area and then called police who activated Search and Rescue. He was found about midday Sunday by one of the volunteer searchers, bringing a huge sigh of relief to family,friends and Search and Rescue teams from around the Kootenays.

They may have been the smallest school represented at the province’s biggest music festival, but the musicians of Mount Baker Secondary School still stood out from the pack.The musical troupe of 71 players and five teachers got back to Cranbrook earlyMonday morning, May 2,  from the Cantando Festival in Whistler, a four-day event featuring 45 concert bands, 30 concert choirs, 25 jazz bands, and the best professional music ajudicators on the continent — more than 4,000 musicians all told.

May 4

It was reported that  due to low numbers, the kokanee fishery on the upper west arm of Kootenay Lake would be catch and release only in 2016. The closure was a precaution aimed to support longterm kokanee conservation efforts.” The kokanee fishery in the main part of the lake already was closed.

Legendary children’s entertainer Fred Penner spoke to the Townsman about his 44 years on the road, the state of the children’s entertainment industry today, and his upcoming concert at the Kootenay Children’s Festival.

May 6

A Kimberley couple were among the 80,000 people who fled the savage wildfire in Fort McMurray during the first week of May. Kyle Lomon, working as a firefighter at one of the oilfield sites, also from Kimberley, who works at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre as a nurse, evacuated Fort McMurray on Tuesday evening, May 3. They spoke to the Townsman/Bulletin about the craziness.

May 10

Multiple charges under the Motor Vehicle Act were laid against a Cranbrook man, who fled the scene of an accident after hitting a BC Hydro pole out near Wycliffe on May 5.

Long-time RDEK top administrator Lee-Anne Crane announced her retirement after leading the organization for the last dozen years. Crane, who started up in the front office back in 1979, rose through the RDEK ranks to take the top administrator role in 1998, managing staff and providing counsel to elected board directors ever since.

May 11

Cranbrook City Council announced it was seeking a wildlife permit from the provincial government that would give the city the option of conducting a deer cull in the 2016 calendar year if approved by council.

May 13 It was reported that Alison Gagne of the Elk Valley was the latest local woman to be a contestant in the prestigious hunting competition show “Extreme Huntress.”

It was reported that the snowpack in the East Kootenay was a record lows for May — 53 per cent of normal for this time of year. The new record low was 13 per cent below the previous record low of 66 per cent, recorded in 1980.

May 17

Kimberley Bulletin editor Carolyn Grant wrote a feature on the 10th anniversary of the Sullivan Mine disaster. On May 17, 2006, Teck Cominco employee Bob Newcombe, water sampling contractor Doug Erickson, and paramedics Kim Weitzel and Shawn Currier all died in an oxygen deprived atmosphere inside a water sampling shed near the top of the mine. Families of the victims spoke of how 10 years later, memories of the tragic event were crystal clear.

Mount Baker Secondary School announced that its prom reception was being moved to Rotary Park in Cranbrook, away from St. Eugene where it had been held in year’s past.

May 18

Kelsey and Janna Lutz — a couple originally from Cranbrook — spoke to the Townsman of how thankful they were to have escaped the wildfire that devastated Fort McMurray earlier in the month. The couple lost their home in the fire, after following a mandatory evacation order.

May 20

Cranbrook Community Theatre unveiled it’s 2016/17 season at a public event at the famous and historic Studio Stage Door. Plays to be produced were “Lucy” (which ran in October), “The Weir” (opening Jan. 20, 2017), “On Golden Pond” (opening in May, 2017), as well as Melodie Hull’s Chautauqua event for Sam Steele Days and “Spamalot,” which ran over the New Year weekend.

It was reported that for the second year in a row, the goat herd of Conrad and Donna Lindblom out of Kamloops were being deployed in the East Kootenay, to continue to battle invasive weeds — knapweed and sulphur cinquefoil in particular.

May 24

The Cranbrook Food Bank reported it was labouring under a surplus of gluten-free foodstuffs, donations that due to a lack of gluten knowledge were piling up at the Food Bank. The Food Bank was looking to get the word out, warning that if the foodstuffs passed their expiration dates they would have to been thrown out.

May 25

It was reported that local para-cyclist Tristen Chernove had torn up the Men’s C2 category at the second round of the Para-Cycling World Cup, winning the time trial by nearly 14 seconds and the Road Race by almost three minutes. Chernove, of course, had bigger adventures in store. See our Year in Review for September, 2016.

Long-time Columbia-River Revelstoke NDP MLA Norm Macdonald announced he would not be running again for the 2017 provincial election.

May 27

Big league birders arrived in Cranbrook for the Annual General Meeting of the B.C. Field Ornithologists, to talk about matters important to the organization and birds, and the mark the launch of the Breeding Bird Atlas of British Columbia.

Cranbrook resident Bud Abbott was honoured by the Provincial Government, receiving a new medal presented by MLA Bill Bennett — the Medal of Good Citizenship.

Joel Fenolio, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the Lake Koocanusa would likely be short of its preferred elevation of 2,454 by July 31, due to a low run-off following a record low snowpack.

May 31

Families of Jeffrey Taylor and Leanne MacFarlane marked the sixth anniversary of a murder in a house outside Cranbrook, in what police say was a case of mistaken identity. Though no arrests have been made in the case, police confirm that it is still very much an active case, under investigation and still at the forefront.

June 1

A member of the ?Aq’am band was named 2015 Sustainable Community Builder by the City of Cranbrook. Williams, a Ktunaxa elder, specializes in archeology and GIS, whose vision led to the creation of the Tipi Mountain Native Plants nursery. He has also spearheaded many events that bring healing and reconciliation to those around him.

June 3

Invermere mayor Gerry Taft announced he was seeking the NDP nomination for Columbia-River Revelstoke. With Doug Clovechuk as Liberal candidate, the stage was being set for an all-Invermere race in the upcoming Provincial election.

It was reported that an agreement between the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and the provincial government had been struck, which will go a long way to help preserve caribou habitat in the Lumberton area.

June 7

It was announced that Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal government cabinet would be coming to Cranbrook for an annual retreat, to talk policy for three days.

On the previous weekend, June 4, Ashlie Kleisdorff, 19, honourary chair of the 17th annual Relay for Life, led cancer survivors in the “survivors’ lap,” which launched the Canadian Cancer Society’s fundraising event in Rotary Park in Cranbrook. This year’s Relay for Life was to be the last, as the Cancer Society is moving on to new things.

It was announced the College of the Rockies would be removing its climbing wall.

June 8

The Sixth Annual Honda Fun Run was held in Moir Park on Sunday, June 5. This year’s fundraiser for the ALS Society of BC featured a “colour run,” with the hundreds of participants bombing each other with body paint prior to setting out on the run.

RCMP reported that two youth were caught in the Casino of the Rockies with stolen credit cards, and taken into custody.

June 10

East Kootenay Addiction Services expressed concern about the rise of a new ‘designer drug’ in the province — W-18, said to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

June 14

At its most recent monthly meeting, the Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors denied a special license for FozzyFest, the south country summer music festival, after the board debated its proposed expansion from 500 attendents to potentially 2,000.

A new fossil assemblage from the Burgess Shale and the flowering of complex life on earth was to be the subject of a lecture by Professor of Geology Bob Gaines at the Cranbrook History Centre on Wednesday, June 15. The lecture was part of the Centre ongoing series bring the Cambrian period to life.

June 15

The Cranbrook Heat stepped forward to host the U-16 Provincial Girls Championships after Softball BC found itself without a host community. The tournament was set for July 1-3.

A dirtbike accident claimed the life of a local youth on Monday, July 13, it was reported.

The Mount Baker Secondary School Robotics teamed appeared with their robots before Cranbrook City Council on Monday, June 13, after winning bronze at the recent Canada-wide Skills competition in Moncton, New Brunswick.

June 17

The Cranbrook History Centre announced a major fossil find in the area, a Triassic era fish discovered locally by Michel Plourde, which now resides at the History Centre.

June 21

Jelena Jensen and Brianna McWhirter were named Cranbrook youth ambassadors — Sma Steele Princess and Sweetheart respectively, at the annual Sam Steele Pageant on Friday, June 17. The pageant at the Key City Theatre kicks off the Sam Steele Days festival in Cranbrook.

Former Fernie Mayor Randal Macnair announced his intention to seek the Provincial NDP nomination for Kootenay East.

June 22

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett announced his retirement on Tuesday, June 21, saying he would not be seeking re-election in 2017. Bennett made the announcement at a special event at the Royal Alexandra Hall, in the company of B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who was in town for the B.C. Liberals’ cabinet retreat.

June 24

College of the Rockies announced that Nursing students would now be able to complete a four-year degree at the College in Cranbrook.

June 28

More than 200 Mount Baker Secondary School students graduated from Grade 12 at the weekend pre-prom reception in Rotary Park and Prom at COTR

Former MP David Wilks announced he was seeking the B.C. Liberal nomination for Kootenay East.

June 29

It was reported that Cranbrook City Council passed the new seasonal patio bylaw for downtown businesses.

Council gave third reading to the Capital Roads Program Loan Authorization Bylaw, which would allow the City to borrow $10 million to fix infrastructure, under the Alternative Approval Process.