Letters to the Editor

Cross-border support, in memory of Joe Ciallella; Protection of Dogs; and more …

Cross-border help, in memory of Joe Ciallella

In light of all of the “crazy” and sad news that is going on in this world, I wanted to share a wonderful act of kindness, displayed by a couple of your community members recently.

Twenty-eight years ago, my brother Joe was killed in a motorcycle crash, hit by car. Missing the car in front of him, the driver in the other car hit my brother head-on, and my brother died instantly.

This crash happened between Cranbrook and Kimberley, just before the McPhee Bridge if you are heading toward Kimberley.

Joe and his girlfriend Debbie Lou were on their way to vacation in Kimberley to do some white water rafting, but tragically his life was cut short.

We miss my brother every day, and find comfort in the beautiful drive up to Canada yearly to lay flowers on his cross marker along side of the road. He could not have seen a more beautiful view of your country the last minutes leading up to his death.

On June 28, my brother Joe Ciallella had been gone just as long as he had been alive. That day marked 28 years. My sister Leah Zwanzig and I have made the drive up every year to Cranbrook to put flowers on the cross beside the road … except this year, due to COVID border closures. Adorned with our masks, we drove as far as we could on the U.S. side of the border. We found a pretty spot alongside of the last road Joe travelled on down here in the States, and left flowers there instead.

I know it seems silly to have been so sad not to be able to do it (because he is not there anyway — he is with Jesus), but up in Canada nobody knew how important he was to so many people here, or what that motorcycle accident caused for those who loved him.

It was so very sad for me to think about the cross alongside of the road being empty for the first time.

But this story has a wonderful and amazing turn to it. Two kind-hearted Canadian strangers who heard about a fellow fallen rider, and our predicament, and volunteered to pick up the flowers and place them along the road in memory of our brother. We still live in a wonderful world filled with kind people who care and choose to make a difference.

We would love to extend a huge “thank you” to Bob and Marie, for the gift of blessing our family so, it meant the world!

Attached is a picture of the cross marker that Bob and Marie weed-whacked around and placed the flowers at. I love that they left the wild rose bush that has grown up over the last few years.

I cannot begin to tell you how much this meant to me and my sister and mom and dad. I am thankful to God for their kind hearts and willing hands! We had hoped that on Sunday June 28, my sister Leah and myself would by some miracle be able to come through and place flowers on my brother’s cross ourselves. We were turned away at the Kingsgate border, so we were so very thankful that Bob and Marie saved the day.

This will be the 28th year now that we have placed flowers in remembrance of our brother Joe Ciallella. He was taken very suddenly, and died instantly right there on the road marked by the cross on the hill beside it. We always feel so blessed knowing that he saw the most breathtaking view on his last ride, this place truly is so very beautiful. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t miss him in our lives, he was just such a great fella! I know that everyone feels that way about their family, but there really was no one like him. He worked hard, and played just as hard too, he was kind-hearted, and still one of the funniest guys I’ve known. He really was an inspiration to so many people around him.

All of that to say, we sure love him and were feeling so depleted thinking about not being able to place flowers on the side of the road for him. We are so very thankful for the kindness of these selfless strangers.

Feeling blessed,

Heather Beedle, Washington State

Support and protection for dogs in the community

Dear Residents of Kimberley and Cranbrook;

My name is Pamela Ruby and I am a Kimberley resident, Registered Nurse and avid dog owner. My background as a humanitarian with Doctors Without Borders has given me experience in advocating for human rights causes and speaking out for some of the most vulnerable populations.

As a dog owner and a concerned local citizen, I have been worried about the numerous suspicious or suspected dog poisonings that have occurred in the Kimberley and Cranbrook area. Like so many others, I am worried about walking my dog in the nature trails and other recreational sites in the area. I am worried for the safety of everyone dogs and even their children. There has been so much discussion on social media platforms around this issue, in both positive and negative ways. The truth is that people are scared, and I’m sure like so many of you reading this now, we want to do something about it. But what?

With my background in organizing and advocating, I wanted to make a productive and positive effort to try and do something around this issue. Reviewing all of the articles written around so many suspected or suspicious dog poisonings in the area, I have decided to step up and try and work with relative parties and other concerned citizens to try and gather information and find some creative ideas to try to support our beloved animals and our community.

The motivation is simple, we all need to feel safe and comfortable walking our dogs in our local off leash and recreational areas. The objective is to do whatever we realistically can, as a community, to prevent this from happening and to look after those who are going through this. And to remind everyone that:

If your dog becomes ill after walking in one of our recreational areas please seek medical care for them at one of our local veterinary clinics, even after hours.

Please report any suspicious or confirmed poisonings to the RCMP — this is essential in order for them to do any sort of investigations.

Whether it is vet bills or paying for an autopsy, if your pet were to pass away, I am hopeful between our local vets and community engagement, costs can be covered. Don’t let the financial aspect of this deter you from seeking medical care or medical investigations that are necessary to get answers.

If you have any ideas or suggestions of what else we can do as a community I would love to hear from you. I am looking for creative solutions and/or realistic actions to try and prevent our dogs from getting sick and to help dog owners who have been victim to these suspicious events. Feel free to email me at: Kimberley.dog.poisonings@gmail.com

Our local RCMP detachment has told me they are concerned too and asked me again to remind everyone that they need to report any suspected or confirmed dog poisonings in the area. Please contact them directly at 250-427-4811 if this is the case.

With the power and strength of the community, we can look out for our dogs and take care of each other going forward. Thank you and if we put our heads and good intentions together, I am confident we can help prevent further incidents and support those who have.

Pamela Ruby, Kimberley

Thanks to Yme, and happy retirement

This reader thanks Pastor Yme for his years of service and dedication to his parishioners, to your paper’s readers and to the people of Cranbrook. May you retire well, friend.

Yme suggests that we “build moments of stillness into our lives.” I am reminded of that Kierkegaard quote: “Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.” Peace, Yme, now and forever.

Laird Siemens, Cranbrook

Seniors need medical tests at home

BC doctors should be able to order samples such as blood and urine for medical tests to be taken from seniors at their homes—thus eliminating the need for frail and barely mobile seniors and their elderly spouses/caregivers to struggle to get to a testing lab numerous times a year, especially in the winter. This situation is particularly acute in rural BC, where many seniors must go without help from their kids and grandkids, who have left the area in order to get good jobs.

Since testing is free at a lab, so should it be free at a senior’s home. Currently here in Cranbrook, it costs $60 for a private company’s lab tech to come to a home and take these samples. That’s too expensive for most seniors. But those tests are essential, which is why the doctors order them.

Jean Samis, Cranbrook

Cranbrook Strategic Plan is arriving at the right time. Now let’s build it for our times.

Calling Cranbrookers! Let’s make a strategic plan that sets us on course for the future from where we are today.

Developing a plan is a great start — thank you to Mayor and Council for doing this.

The Cranbrook Strategic Plan (see City website) was open to public input in June 2020, but was developed in February 2020 and does not consider recovery from the pandemic, nor the underpinnings of long term well being.

A plan that looks to long term health, economy and climate outcomes that we all depend on, would also have the added critical benefit of positioning us for federal and provincial funding.

If our plan doesn’t align with policy then we may be bypassed. This could seriously strand us when funding is so essential.

The Cranbrook Strategic Plan states it sets the direction for the future with a vision, mission and goals. Many excellent resources are available through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the B.C. Community Energy Association to assist us to achieve this.

Cities around the world are agreeing to seven guiding principles for recovery, recognizing that human health is hinged with the environment.

Mike Bloomberg, C40 board president says: “This taskforce is committed to helping city leaders as they work on recovery in ways that lead us forward into the future, not back into the past.”

Cranbrook Strategic Plan shouldn’t be finalized based on February 2020. It does need to be updated to reflect current recovery, and long term economic, health and climate outcomes that are essential to us all.

References:

Cranbrook Strategic Plan: http://docs.cranbrook.ca/downloads/corporate/2020-2024-Draft-Cranbrook-Strategic-Plan.pdf

BC Community Energy Association resources: eg. https://bcclimateleaders.ca/playbook/strategies/; http://www.toolkit.bc.ca/more-resources

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection https://fcm.ca/en/programs/partners-climate-protection

C40 Mayors guiding principles: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/01/city-leaders-aim-to-shape-green-recovery-from-coronavirus-crisis.

Sue Cairns, Cranbrook

Seniors giving back

Beginning on July 6, the federal government will be sending out $300, TAX-FREE, to 6.7 million seniors who receive Old Age Security (OAS) to help cover the added financial burden caused by Covid-19.

There are a great many seniors in the country who are financially impacted by several of the constraints placed on them by the pandemic and the measures put in place to cope with it. They will find the $300 to be a real benefit and for them this grant is entirely appropriate.

However, the financial impact of the pandemic has resulted in many of us spending less money than we would otherwise. We are not travelling, we are not eating out, we are not shopping, and we haven’t had a haircut in four months. So we don’t find ourselves in need of this $300.

The last thing we would like is to be financially rewarded for Covid-19. We should not, at this time, be taking advantage of the taxpayers’ money, especially when so many of our fellow citizens are in greater need of this assistance. What to do???

The first response is to donate the $300 to a charitable group that is suffering to deliver services at this time. And in return, get a tax credit. But really! That doesn’t seem right for us to still benefit from Covid-19. So then we did the math. If we donate MORE than the $300 so that the tax credit evens out, we can have a clear conscience. We invite you to check it out with your tax accountant.

Here in B.C. any taxpayer who has already made at least a $200 charitable donation can give $532 and receive a tax credit for $232.48. With the $300 from the government, this taxpayer evens out. For a couple, that can be $1,064 going to a good cause.

We are calling on all Canada’s elders who find themselves to not be in need of this $300 to accept the Great Canadian Seniors Break-Even Challenge and head to www.seniorsgivingback.org and make your donation. Then tell us how good you feel by email at seniorsgivingback@gmail.com. Giving should always make you feel good.

Kevin Higgins, Cranbrook, B.C.

Dave Ferguson, St. John, N.B.

Don Ferguson, Toronto, Ont.

John Hamblin, Halifax, N.S.

Patrick Martin, Westmount, Que.

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