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Looking back on 2014: Part III

A day by day look at the year past, through the top stories in the Cranbrook Daily Townsman
The teachers’ union and the B.C. government reached a settlement in September that saw schools reopen across the province after a three-month long strike.

Continued from Tuesday, Dec. 30

July 2

Cranbrook residents were called upon to form a jury panel, after a man accused in a series of home invasions elected a Supreme Court trial by judge and jury. Andrew Daryl James Monnette appeared via video in Cranbrook Provincial Court on June 30.

July 4

A Cranbrook woman who took part in the Miss B.C. pageant has come away with the title of Miss Rocky Mountains. Jacqueline Potter, 20, was the first person from Cranbrook ever to enter the pageant, and she said the event surpassed her expectations.

July 7

Get used to three-hour wait times at the Canadian side of the Roosville border crossing on long weekends, said Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks. The Flathead Beacon reported that at the end of the Victoria Day long weekend in May, a line of vehicles waiting to get through Canadian customs stretched back 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) and took three hours to get through.

July 8

Kimberley Search and Rescue members, assisted by numerous search and rescue teams around the East Kootenay, were actively searching ground and water in the St. Mary River area for 23-year old Alex Brown. Kimberley RCMP Cpl. Chris Newel says that Brown was reported to have jumped into the St. Mary River on Saturday, July 5 shortly after 7 p.m.

July 9

MP David Wilks met with local government leaders to explain changes to the federal government's temporary foreign workers program. The Kootenay-Columbia MP appeared at the Friday, July 4 board meeting for the Regional District of East Kootenay and answered questions about the local impact of changes to the temporary foreign workers program.

July 11

It was reported that a  new family doctor was moving to Cranbrook. Dr. Karen Fordham relocated from Moncton, New Brunswick to open a practice in Cranbrook, filling one of at least five vacant GP positions in the community.

July 14

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart signed an entry level contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, July 12. Reinhart, who was a second overall selection by the Sabres at the 2014 NHL Draft, is the club's highest pick since 1987.

July 16

BC Hydro was reporting a spike in electricity usage on Monday as the province battled an intense heat wave. BC Hydro registered a spike in electricty usage over the past week, which peaked on Monday, July 14, between 5 and 6 p.m. During that hour, electricity demand reached 7,302 megawatts, which is 433 megawatts higher than the same time a week before, on July 7.

July 17

Five bighorn sheep were discovered dead at Teck's Greenhills mine on Tuesday, July 15. The mining company sent out a news release Wednesday morning saying that it is looking into the incident at its mine near Elkford.

July 21

It was reported that the city's pothole budget was bottoming out, with only $9,733 remaining out of the $123,000 total for the year.  Cranbrook Public Works will be utilizing the remaining funds primarily for pothole patching, but as that will only tackle some of the city's road concerns, city staff may request additional funds.

July 22

It was reported that Tim Bozon was getting back into competitive hockey. The Kootenay Ice import was to represent France at an U23 tournament in the Czech Republic that began at the end of July. Bozon was hospitalized in March during a road trip through Saskatchewan where he was diagnosed with a severe form of meningitis.

July 23

The mechanism that runs the four clocks on the clock tower celebrated its 101st birthday this year and its 100th last, but it was reported that despite the momentous occasion it went uncelebrated.

July 24

Council granted the second Revitalization Taxation Exemption Agreement for Dr. W. Dean Nish Inc. The agreement, approved at the July 14 council meeting, provides a 100 per cent tax exemption of the municipal share of property tax due in relation to improvements on the parcels for a period of five years commencing in 2015. The HeidOut was the first business granted the exemption under the bylaw. The City of Cranbrook Downtown Revitalization Bylaw took effect in 2012.

July 25

Extensive damage was caused by a confused driver in the parking lot at Save-On on Thursday morning, July 24. According to RCMP, an 86-year-old male driver in a minivan initially crashed through the window at a tanning salon in the strip mall beside Save-On.  The driver then backed up, hitting five parked vehicles.

July 28

Brandon Ouilette made the third out in the final inning against the Medicine Hat Majestics, snagging a fly ball that clinched the district tournament title for the Cranbrook Bandits in Hamilton in Montana. After going undefeated in round-robin, the Bandits headed into the final against the Majestics, utilizing a monster fourth inning to post an 11-5 win that gave them the 'B' division championship.

July 29

The East Kootenay SPCA was working on a system to manage Cranbrook's cat population, according to the city council notes.   "On the matter of cat licensing, the Bylaw Services Manager advises that there is currently an extensive program preparing to launch which will deal with management of the cat population in the city," city staff noted in the council package.

July 30

A large forest fire was raging near Whiteswan Lake, southeast of Canal Flats. The 150-hectare Whitetail Brook fire was sparked by lightning during the prior week's storm, but wasn't detected until Sunday afternoon, July 27.

August 1

A lightning storm in the East Kootenay on Tuesday, July 29, sparked 31 new fires, on top of several other significant fires being fought by the Wildfire Management Branch. Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park was to remain closed for the long weekend as 63 firefighters continue to battle the now 650-hectare Whitetail Brook fire.

August 5

School trustees around the province were urging the government and the B.C. Teachers' Federation to work together to reach an agreement. The B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA) issued a "Back to School Action Plan," at the same time as the Ministry of Education announced that parents of students under 13 would receive $40 a day per child to offset childcare costs during the strike.

August 6

Thunderstorms over the long weekend  led to a cluster of new fires around Cranbrook and Kimberley. The Wildfire Management Branch  reported 14 fires in the area between Creston and Fernie, Koocanusa and Canal Flats. The most significant fire remained the Whitetail Brook fire, 10 kilometres east of Canal Flats.

August 7

A pilot project to keep back the scourge of aquatic invasive species was deemed a success by organizers. The initiative took place over the  past long weekend and saw members of the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Council (EKIPC) and conservation officers team up to educate people about aquatic invasive plants, like zebra and quagga mussels.

August 12

It was reported that the two little bear cubs, Jo and Fisher, that found themselves orphaned and starving back in May, were doing well up at the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter in Smithers, B.C.  "They're in the big group again, both of them," said Angelika Langen, manager at the wildlife shelter. "They are right in there, playing and bouncing around. We have no concerns with them whatsoever."

August 13

A 57-year-old Creston woman was killed in a two-vehicle collision, which occurred in the townsite of Yahk, B.C., at approximately 12:45 p.m. on Monday, August 11. The collision happened when an older model Nissan Sentra, being driven by the deceased and travelling southbound, crossed the double solid centre line into the path of a northbound, newer model Ford four-door station wagon.

August 14

A special prosecutor with the Criminal Justice Branch approved criminal charges against four individuals associated with Bountiful on Wednesday., August 13. The charges allege polygamy and the unlawful removal of children under the age of 16 years from Canada with the intention that an act committed outside Canada would be an offence against section 151 (sexual interference) or 152 (invitation to sexual touching) of the Criminal Code. Winston Blackmore and James Oler both face charges of polygamy, while Oler also faces a charge for the alleged unlawful removal of a child from Canada.

August 15

While in Cranbrook, Winston Blackmore  gave a statement for the Cranbrook Townsman. “Anyone who knows anything at all about the original doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, which is the doctrine I follow, knows good and well that the principle of plural marriage and congregational living, where people work together for the good of the whole with a common view of taking care of everybody is part of that doctrine. Those are basic foundations of my faith. There is really nothing more to be said.”

August 18

For the second time this week, swift response by neighbours and the volunteers of the Baynes Lake Fire Department quickly contained four small fires in the tiny rural community of Kragmont near Baynes Lake.

August 19

As part of the ramp up to the fluoride referendum set for November, the city announced it would be hosting an open house on Thursday, Oct. 23 at the Manual Training Centre. The topic of the open house will centre around informing the public on the potential benefits and dangers that ingesting fluoride can have. Cranbrook is one of a small minority of communities that still add fluoride to their water supplies.

August 20

On Monday, August 18, Kootenay Employment Services received more than $500,000 in federal funding to help people with disabilities in the region find gainful work, through KES’s Working Solutions program. The funding was announced by Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, at the Service Canada offices in downtown Cranbrook.

August 21

The Ktunaxa responded with disappointment to the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, which is challenging a treaty agreement between the Ktunaxa nation and the provincial government.  “The Ktunaxa Nation Council respects that the Okanagan do not wish to be a part of the treaty process,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Council chair. “However, the Ktunaxa are making progress in treaty negotiations and it is disappointing to have another Nation try to undermine our efforts.

August 22

Interior Health asked the public for patience, as the East Kootenay Regional Hospital ihad seen a marked increase in visits as a result of recent losses of family physicians in the community.  “We recognize that the emergency department may be the only option for local residents who do not have a family physician at this time,” said Grace Kucey, from Interior Health Communications.

August 26

The flag at Kimberley City Hall was lowered to half mast Monday, August 25, as a giant in Kimberley politics passed away on Sunday evening, September 24, 2014. Jim Ogilvie, former alderman, longtime Mayor and passionate advocate for Kimberley passed away.

August 27

Local teachers and members of CUPE were back on the picket lines, and with only a week before the time schools are supposed to open, a deal between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) had not been reached.

August 29

Country Star Lisa Brokop spoke to the Townsman from her home in Nashville, Tennessee, prior to hitting the road to Canada, on a tour celebrating 20 years asa a professional recordiing artist. Brokop was to take the stage the Key City Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2

Students locally and abroad flooded the hallways and classrooms at the College of the Rockies as the new fall semester began this week. Orientation started on Tuesday, as over 2,000 students new and returning students—domestic and international—headed to the Cranbrook campus to get a locker, ID cards and textbooks.

Sept. 3

Ktunaxa Nation will be appealing the Supreme Court decision relating to the ski resort approved for the Jumbo Valley. Ktunaxa Nation lawyers announced they have completed the next step in the process of appealing the court’s decision regarding Jumbo, which is known to the Ktunaxa as Qat’muk.

Sept. 4

A group of former forestry workers feel slighted in a move by the IWA Forest Industry Pension Plan. Stephen Thacker, one of those workers, said because of an amendment made by trustees, he and other workers will no longer be paid out the commuted value of their pension.

Sept. 8

Agriculture is very much a part of the East Kootenay region, and with that in mind, the RDEK had a chance to review a draft report for an agricultural plan on Thursday. Recommendations included enhancing institutional support for agriculture, improving the economic viability of agriculture, encouraging agriculture on Agriculture Land, increasing public knowledge and support of agriculture and setting up a regional agri-food system strategy.

Sept. 9

They may wander the streets hungry and looking for food, but do the right thing and avoid feeding those urban-dwelling deer. The city reminded both residents and visitors not to feed the deer, as intentional feeding of deer contravenes the Cranbrook’s Deer Feeding Prohibition Bylaw.

Sept. 10

The RDEK took another step to allowing medical marijuana production with a slew of proposed bylaw amendments at a monthly board meeting. However, don’t expect any medicinal operations to spring up overnight. The board gave each of the 13 bylaws a second reading and set up meetings across the region for public feedback.

Sept. 11

On time and on budget.  That was the message from Interior Health Authority CEO Dr. Robert Halpenny regarding the East Kootenay Regional Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit expansion. The $20 million dollar project won’t open until 2016, but Halpenny was encouraged by the progress.

Sept. 12

Three Cranbrook men convicted in a complex murder plot were sentenced in Kamloops to terms ranging from five and a half to 12 years. Lonnie Adams, Colin Correia, and Lorne Carry were all convicted by a jury in April of counselling to kill rival drug dealer Doug Mahon in 2009.

Sept. 16

The Columbia River Treaty celebrated it’s 50th anniversary on Tuesday, Sept. 16. It’s an important milestone based on the benefits to both the Canadian and U.S. governments since its creation and is also notable because its the first date that the two sides can terminate or amend the agreement.

Sept. 17

The teachers’ union and the B.C. government reached a tentative settlement that would see schools reopen across the province the next week, after a three-month long strike. The BC Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public Schools Employers’ Association reached an agreement in the early hours of Tuesday morning after negotiating a marathon session in the sixth day of talks involving veteran mediator Vince Ready in Richmond.

Sept. 19

The B.C. Coroners Service identified two men who died following an industrial motor vehicle incident near Cranbrook on Tuesday. Murray Neil Fadden, 36, of Dryden, Ontario, and Larry John Chorneyko, 58, of Arran, Saskatchewan, were pronounced dead at an accident scene 16 kilometres outside of the city after their Mini Mack truck crashed and overturned.

Sept. 23

A new concept would allow paramedics in the province to operate within communities. Lengthy ambulance response times in rural and remote areas of B.C. has been gaining attention, as well as recruitment and retention of paramedics.  The Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. noted that there are serious gaps in healthcare, in a letter to city council.

Sept. 25

The region’s first household hazardous waste roundup was a success over the weekend, as over 450 people utilized the occasion to get rid of toxins, poisons and other wastes. Organized by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), sites were held in Fernie and Invermere on Saturday and Cranbrook on Sunday, as RDEK staff and Newalta employees received all kinds of hazardous material for proper disposal.

Sept. 26

Cranbrook’s Scott Niedermayer added another accolade to a long list of achievements Thursday evening in Vancouver when he was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

Sept. 30

The Carlaw Clydes did it again, earning high honours at a recent event in California to wrap up the show season. The local clydes, owned and trained by the McGibbons family, represented Cranbrook at the 28th annual Draft Horse Classic in Grass Valley, California, where they placed 3rd in the six-horse hitch and 3rd in the team class.

Our Year in Review will continue on Friday, Jan. 2 Happy New Year, everyone!