Top stories from Jan-March

The Daily Townsman looks at the top story of each issue throughout the 2015 calendar year.

January 2

Dalke takes on biathlon

The running wasn’t Nikita’s Dalke’s forte for the biathlon, but it was a different story when she has  a rifle in her hands. On the final episode of Extreme Huntress, Dalke and the rest of her competitors competed in the final challenge as part of the Extreme Huntress competition—a biathlon. Each of the ladies had to run a mile, stopping at two different points to shoot targets with a .22 calibre rifle, with a long-distance 200-yard shot at the end with a .270 calibre rifle. Dalke, of course, blew the 200-yard target away on her first shot.

January 6

Local climbers win gold in new international competition

Two local climbers were hoping to make it to the next level on the competitive side of their sport. And they had already begun to prove themselves in their first-ever competition. Noah Beek and Karlee Hall had returned to Cranbrook as youth champions following their efforts at the inaugural UIAA Youth Mixed Climbing International competition in Colorado.

January 8

Youth in custody after ‘knife incident’

Police responded to an incident involving a student being cut by a knife just after noon on Wednesday, Jan. 7. The investigation by Cranbrook RCMP found that two students had become involved in a physical altercation in a hallway at Mount Baker Secondary School. Staff Sgt Dave Dubnyk said that during the altercation, one student removed a knife from his pocket and swung it striking the other student in the face.

“The victim was taken to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries,” Dubnyk said. “The alleged suspect was located near the school and taken into custody without incident.”

January 9

Fluoridation bylaw readings rescinded

At the Monday meeting, city council rescinded the three readings that dealt removing fluoride from the drinking water. The Cease Fluoridation Bylaw was intended to authorize stopping the addition of fluoride to the public drinking water if the Nov. 15 referendum vote had succeeded. Since it hadn’t, the bylaw readings needed to be rescinded.

January 16

200 affected in Cranbrook when Target pulls out

Target went ahead with a plan to discontinue Canadian operations. The company announced the news after filing for creditor protection in Ontario Supreme Court. The company had 133 stores across the country, including a location in Cranbrook, which employed approximately 200 people.

January 19

Council looks into the deep well

City council authorized the City’s Public Works department to complete rehabilitation work on Cranbrook’s three deep groundwater wells at the Jan. 14 budget meeting.

January 20

Report shows SD5 grad rate above B.C. average

The Southeast Kootenay board of education approved a report on student achievement from the superintendent that will be sent to the Ministry of Education. The report is an annual document that takes an in-depth look at student achievement in schools across the district.

January 21

Council rezones property in spite of concerns

Despite concerns expressed by two residents regarding the proposed rezoning of a property located in the city’s industrial area, council went ahead with the third reading and adoption of the bylaw amendment. City staff recommended that council adopt the rezoning of the land located at 6th Street NW, which will enable consideration of subdivision and residential development of the property. The property is located just up the hill from Farbrook Auto Wrecking.

January 23

Cranbrook Williams Moving and Storage still in business

Williams Moving & Storage Ltd., which includes the Cranbrook and Lethbridge

branches, was not affected by the announcement that the B.C. and Alberta-wide business has gone bankrupt. Williams Moving & Storage filed for bankruptcy this week after 86 years in business. Cory Stepney, manager and owner of Williams Moving & Storage (Cranbrook) Ltd. said his business is not affected because it’s under separate ownership from the Vancouver-based company.

January 27

One arrested in theft of snowmobile

A police dog successfully tracked and apprehended a male subject after a snowmobile was stolen on Westview Road near Cranbrook. On Jan. 19 at 10:20 p.m., Cranbrook RCMP members responded to the call about a theft in progress. The owner of the sled had jumped in his vehicle and chased after the suspect. The subject fled on foot after hitting and damaging the owner’s truck with the snowmobile. Police learned there were three subjects involved. Police Dog Services responded to the scene and successfully tracked and apprehended one male.

January 28

Arts council eyeing up fire hall

With an eye on a permanent home, the Cranbrook and District Arts Council (CDAC) had received funding that would go towards the installation of an elevator at the old Fire Hall. The funding — a $50,000 Accessibility Grant — was one of many steps to help the old fire hall meet code for public use or access, as the CDAC plans to repurpose the building for a public arts and cultural centre while maintaining its historical integrity.

January 29

Dalke wraps up Extreme Huntress competition

After 13 episodes chronicling various hunts and challenges between six competitors, Sweden’s Erika Bergmark captured the title of Extreme Huntress, as the winner was unveiled earlier in January at a banquet in Texas. Despite her best efforts on the ranch, Kimberley resident Nikita Dalke came out as the runner-up, after all the points were totalled up

January 30

Break-in suspect leads police in daylong manhunt

A combined effort by a number of detachments and units including a helicopter resulted in the arrest of four individuals believed to be involved in a break and enter.


February 2

Salvation Army steps up after building evacuated

The Salvation Army was able to step in and provide emergency shelter services to roughly 16 people after they were displaced from an unsafe building earlier this week. Emergency services personnel had to remove residents of what was believed to be an unoccupied building on 11th Ave. due to fire safety concerns last Tuesday, according to Wayne Price, the director of Fire and Emergency Services with the city of Cranbrook.

February 3

A growth industry for Cranbrook

Cranbrook could be on the forefront of a burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Dycar Pharmaceuticals, a private B.C. incorporated company, recently announced its plans, well underway, to establish a licensed commercial facility in the city’s industrial zone. The proposed facility will be located in an existing 86,000 square foot building. The facility will house the growing operations and the head office. Dycar noted it will employ up to 200 people at full production and estimates the facility will be an $8 million investment.

February 4

Man shot by police near Castlegar was from Yahk

The BC Coroners Service confirmed the identity of a man who died following a police shooting in Castlegar on Jan. 29. The man was Waylon Jesse Edey, aged 39, of Yahk. Edey was shot following an encounter with RCMP officers which occurred during the evening of Jan. 29, near the east end of the Kinnaird Bridge on Highway 3 in Castlegar. He was transported to Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail, but succumbed to his injuries a short time after his arrival at hospital.

February 5

City plans to pay half of MBSS crosswalk signs

The City of Cranbrook was pursuing a cost-sharing agreement with School District 5 on crossing signs for the Mount Baker crosswalk on 14th Avenue. The signs will be high intensity, illuminated school zone signs that will cost an estimated $5,400. That means if the cost is shared 50/50 as planned the city would end up paying $2,700.

February 6

Million Acts of Kindness campaign underway

The BC SPCA started a province-wide campaign called the Million Acts of Kindness, which sought to bring awareness for the not-for-profit organization and the animals it cares for. On Feb. 5, three members of the Kootenay Ice visited the local shelter — the BC SPCA East Kootenay Branch — to get a look at a number of recently added puppies that are looking for a home.

February 10

Canfor cuts shift at Canal Flats mill

The Canal Flats saw mill will begin operating on one shift as of May 4, 2015, Canfor has confirmed. Corinne Stavness from the corporate head office in Toronto says that due to a lack of economically available fibre in the region, the saw mill will go from two shifts to one.

February 11

Cranbrook fraud case adjourned to March

A Cranbrook woman facing fraud charges had her case adjourned until March on Tuesday as she sought a private accountant. The charges, including Fraud over $5,000 and Theft of $5,000, were announced by the RCMP last October. It is alleged the accused defrauded her employer of approximately $360,000 over the course of her 14-year tenure with the company.

February 12

Rift splits Kimberley Search and Rescue

The City of Kimberley was trying to decide what to do about Kimberley

Search and Rescue. The Kimberley Search and Rescue Society was dissolved by the Province late last year, Coun. Kent Goodwin said, for failing to provide proper documentation.

“Two different groups are incorporating to provide search and rescue,” he said.

February 13

City okays cull of fifty urban deer

Cranbrook city council approved a 50 deer cull that would take place in the next few weeks. At the Feb. 11 budget meeting, The city’s permit expires March 15, 2015. Coun. Norma Blissett spoke in favour of going ahead with a cull.

“We need to act on that now before the spring fawns are born otherwise we’ve got a bigger problem come fall,” Blissett said.

February 16

Arts council fire hall plans still up in the air

The Cranbrook and District Arts Council’s proposal to take up residence in Fire Hall No. 1 — the old fire hall — was still up in the air. Council elected to not make any decisions on the matter until it hears from city staff on the feasibility of the proposal.

February 17

Union, CPR enter binding arbitration to end strike

After announcing strike action against Canadian Pacific Railway on Sunday, the Teamsters entered into binding arbitration with the Crown corporation on Monday afternoon. Members of the Teamsters Division 563 gathered at a railway crossing at Van Horne St. S and King St. in Cranbrook on Monday morning before the two sides entered into arbitration.

February 19

Council cans plan to borrow to fix old fire hall

At the budget meeting on Feb. 17, Cranbrook city council voted to remove a plan to borrow $500,000 to retrofit Firehall No. 1. The item was a part of the schedule of capital expenditures. When the item of business came up Mayor Lee Pratt asked that the item be removed. The funds were planned to be used to repair the building so that it could be used in the future.

February 20

Lawyers lobbying for full-time judge

With the looming retirement of Justice Tom Melnick, the Kootenay Bar Association was concerned with getting access to a judge to hear court cases. Andrew Mayes, president of the Kootenay Bar Association at the time, said  the Bar had been lobbying the chief justice in B.C. to replace Justice Melnick when he retired.

At the present, Melnick was only working half-time to complete a report for the Electoral Boundaries Commission before full retirement and was not sitting for any jury trials.

When Melnick fully retires, local lawyers fear that will impact the amount of judge time in Cranbrook Supreme Court, which will have a resulting effect on cases.

February 24

The home kitchen advantage

In some ways, Monday’s semifinal matchup of the Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge wasn’t fair. After all, Kathy Morey had home field advantage as she made her soup in her own kitchen at the Salvation Army. Morey received a bye from the first round, and managed to put herself into the final event, as her beef barley was voted as the top soup over a ginger chicken creation from Chef Rusty Cox of the Heidout Restaurant and Brewhouse.

February 25

Idlewild dam to be decommissioned

Cranbrook City Council had decided to decommission the Idlewild Dam.

At the regular council meeting on Feb. 23, Mayor Lee Pratt said that over the course of an in-camera session prior to the regular meeting, council had come to the decision. “We had a closed meeting before council and what came out of that is council has decided to decommission the Idlewild Dam,” Pratt said. “Basically what that means is that we’re going to draw the water out.”

February 26

Heid-Out makes Canada’s Top 11 Must Visit list

In what shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in Cranbrook or Kimberley, the Heidout Restaurant and Brewhouse was recently noticed by the Food Network in a list of the top brewpubs in Canada. The Heidout joins a list of 10 other brewpubs across the country from larger cities, such as the Big Rock Brewery in Calgary and the Canoe Brew Pub in Victoria.

March 2

Other fire starts found in area of suspicious fire

A home in the Northwood Estate—above the Kinsmen Quad Ball Park—burned down the morning of Feb. 27 in a fire that police determined was deliberately set. RCMP received the call at 5:30 a.m. and Fire and Emergency Services responded, removing four occupants from the balcony at the rear of the structure. With up to 16 firefighters and equipment working on the blaze, the fire was contained to the house of origin. During the on-scene investigation, police determined that there were multiple, other suspicious fire starts in the same residential area near the scene of the house fire that were deliberately set.

March 3

Kimberley skier killed in avalanche

A backcountry skier from Kimberley died as a result of an avalanche in the Meachan Creek area on Feb 28. Three experienced back country skiers were ascending Snow Crest Mountain when the incident occurred. They had skied up and were walking along a ridge when it gave way; the male fell approximately 700 metres and was initially reported missing by the other two.

March 4

Back in the ring

Former Cranbrook mayor and longtime public servant Wayne Stetski announced his intention to run for Member of Parliament for the NDP in the riding of Kootenay Columbia.

March 5

Shelby Schiller wins Stone Soup Challenge

Shelby Schiller reached back into her childhood to win the Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge.

A chef at BJ’s Restaurant and Creekside Pub in Kimberley, Schiller made a tomato beef soup that had been in the family since she was a little girl.

March 6

Local man to receive Medal of Bravery

On this day, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presented a Medal of Bravery to Mr. Peter Richard Moody. Moody was nominated for the award by his son and received it in recognition of his actions on November 25, 2012, when he and wife, Susan Bond, were attacked by a grizzly bear.

March 9

Cull called off after traps vandalized

The deer cull was put on hold indefinitely in Cranbrook after four provincially-owned clover traps were vandalized overnight Thursday.

Around 5:30 a.m. on the morning of March 6, City contractors making their early morning rounds discovered the four traps had the netting slashed making them unusable. All of the traps were located on private property. The RCMP was immediately notified and an investigation was underway.

March 10

RCMP arrest four in home invasion

Two males and one female were arrested after a home invasion early Monday morning. Three subjects forced their way into a home on King Street in Cranbrook around 2 am. Inside they assaulted a female and stole jewelry and a laptop. Within a short time, RCMP arrested the four subjects. Three of the subjects were from Cranbrook and were allegedly involved in the Cranbrook incident. A fourth subject from Kimberley was also arrested.

March 11

Free bus service of low income approved

Cranbrook would now have a free bus program for low income individuals. The new provision was approved at the Monday, March 9 council meeting as an additional benefit to the Leisure Access Program. Coun. Danielle Cardozo said it is an amazing initiative and matched perfectly with an earlier presentation.

“It goes perfectly with having Interior Health here today talking about healthy communities,” Cardozo said, adding that bus access, in particular for individuals in areas of the city far from grocery stores, would help many people in that situation.

March 16

City crews scramble on sinkhole Sunday

Four City of Cranbrook Public Works water crews were actively working to restore water service to approximately 100 residences on the afternoon of March 15 after a failure in a pressure reducing station overnight Saturday is believed to have caused up to eight water main breaks across the City.

March 17

Court says 12 years for Learn

A Cranbrook man convicted of second-degree murder December, 2014, will not be eligible for parole for another five years, ruled a judge in Cranbrook Supreme Court on March 16. Cheyenne Learn, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tammy Ellis, was in court for a hearing on parole eligibility. Justice Dev Dley, who presided over the trial, ruled that Learn, who received an automatic life sentence upon his conviction, won’t be eligible for parole for 12 years since he was taken into custody.

March 18

Local curlers win B.C. title

Winning a provincial championship is difficult. Imagine doing it twice in a row. That’s what a curling team with members from Cranbrook and the surrounding region did, repeating as Masters champions at a tournament in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The team, featuring Gerry Kent and Peter Sweetman of Cranbrook, along with Ralph Will of Fernie and Laddie Pavlis of Creston, played a near perfect round-robin and came out on top of a wild final to win the gold.

March 23

Cranbrook school gets civic forfeiture grant

Laurie Middle School received funding from the province’s civil forfeiture program toward its Violence Free BC program. “Education is the first step in preventing and eliminating violence,” Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett said. “This project will engage students with a wide range of issues and help them become leaders in making B.C. a violence-free place.”

March 24

Target shuts down

Target’s time in Cranbrook was officially over.

The department store closed it’s doors on March 22 after the U.S.-based company announced the closure of all Canadian locations back in January. The company had been in operation for less than two years after expanding across the U.S.-Canada border in 2013.

March 25

Arts council pitches fire hall plan to City

The Cranbrook and District Art Council outlined its proposal for a gallery at the old fire hall at the March 23 city council meeting. Sioban Staplin, current president, said the arts council’s plan is to repurpose the fire hall into a “vibrant arts and culture centre that would enrich the lives of the citizens of Cranbrook.”

March 27

Two-tier leisure fees end April 1

The new leisure services fee structure would take effect on April 1. Council passed a resolution earlier this month to eliminate the two-tier system and if it is adopted on March 31, the new fee structure will begin on the first of April.

March 30

New life in Canada for Nahom Teklemichael

Scanning the faces in the crowd of passengers heading into the arrival section of the Canadian Rockies International Airport, a local family began to wonder if their friend had missed his flight.

However, smiles broke out as one of the last travellers, a young man, descended down the stairs to make his way into the building.

His name was Nahom Teklemichael and he was a refugee from Eritrea.

After a long journey from South Sudan in Africa, Teklemichael had arrived in Vancouver on Wednesday and into Cranbrook on Thursday where he would begin a new life in Canada. Just in time for his 22nd birthday on Monday.