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From snow to works of art

Giant mounds of snow were turned into amazing works of art at Silver Star Mountain Resort this weekend.

The Star once again played host for the B.C. Snow Sculpture Championships. The championships are part of the Vernon Winter Carnival which kicked off Friday and runs through to Feb. 14.

First place went to the team of David Derault, Bruce Waugh and Roger Chaisson for their sculpture 'Posing.'

Second place – which also won the coveted people's choice award – was Armstrong's own Brian Rouble, Mahina Rose and Micheal Larner for their creation 'Harmony.'

Third place went to 'The Loudest Shadow' creators Alex Avelino, Spring Shine, Serjio Santos.


Carnival fun galore

It may not exactly be beach weather, but that did not stop a group brave souls from venturing into Kalamalka Lake Sunday.

Several dozen people splashed head long into the frigid waters during the annual Vernon Winter Carnival Polar Bear Swim.

The swim was also a fundraiser for the Vernon-based Zimbabwe Project Society.

The ZPS works with local Zimbabwean organizations. Projects vary per village as individual needs present themselves.
The goal is to help communities become self sustaining, through pig, poultry, tree, gardening, sewing, carpentry and other projects.

Working with the schools in the rural communities is essential for building up strong leadership for future generations.

Hundreds of spectators watched from the warmth of the beach, cheering on those who took the plunge.

The polar bear swim was just one of several events taking place during the 56th annual winter extravaganza.

Deb White, chairperson for the carnival, said “the weekend has gone amazing.”

The balloon fiesta once again filled the heavens with hot air balloons, to kick off carnival Friday.

The air behemoths were not able to take flight Saturday because of the wind, however, they did take to the skies on Sunday.

Birds of a feather were flocking together at the recreation centre for the long-running Feather Fancier Show and Antique and Collectibles Sale.

Dozens of chickens, roosters and pigeons were on display at the event that is in its 47th year.

At the Vernon Boys and Girls Club, they were dancing up a storm during the Kids Karnival event which featured games, dancing, face painting, crafts and more.

Carnival continue through the week.

Dare a dip at Carnival?

The annual polar bear swim takes place at Kalamalka Lake main beach Sunday, as part of the Vernon Winter Carnival. The chilly dip takes place at 1 p.m.

For those less inclined to swim in February, there are plenty of other Carnival events.

The Feather Fancier Show and the Antique and Collectibles sale take place at the recreation centre, 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Kids Karnival, a fun festival for children and families, takes place at the Okanagan Boys & Girls clubs at 3300 37th Avenue, from 12 - 3 p.m.

The Ruth McGrath dance studio at 3011 28th Street is offering free lessons at 4 p.m.

Additionally, Appetizers and Art takes place at the Village Green Hotel, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Some tickets may be available at the door.


Sun for Carnival parade

Sunshine brought thousands of people to the streets of Vernon Saturday to watch the annual Vernon Winter Carnival parade.

The newly-crowned Queen Silver Star Madison Catt and princess Sneha Suniara rode near the front of the parade, smiling and waving at the people who crammed both sides of the 30th Avenue.

The RCMP led the parade, followed by the army, navy and airforce colour guard.

One popular event was called off Saturday due to "bad winds," according to Carnival president Deb White.

The second day of the hot air balloon fiesta did not take place.

Day three, on Sunday, is still on the schedule.

Other Saturday events included:

  • B.C. championship snow sculpture competition continues at Silver Star Mountain Resort.
  • Pre-parade breakfast, sponsored by Silver Star Rotary, at White House Mortgage parking lot, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Roster's Wallyball Tourney at Roster's Sports Club, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Beer garden at Elks Hall on 30th Street, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Masquerade: Costumes through the ages with Kiki the Eco Elf at Okanagan Science Centre (starting right after the parade until 3 p.m.)
  • Bandarama, a free family variety show at the Rec Centre, 2-4 p.m.
  • Mardi Gras in Rio dance party at City Dance Studio on 29th Street, beginning at 8 p.m.
  • Irish pub night at Vernon Rec Centre auditorium, 8:30 p.m. Until midnight.

Mardi Gras at Bourbon Street was cancelled.

Options on the table

City council has released reams of formerly classified information on development options for Vernon Regional Airport.

The various options range in projected costs from $986,400 to $11,063,300.

Council has yet to make any decisions.

The analysis includes aviation demand forecasts, development cost projections and employment impact estimates.

The draft airport master plan is scheduled for further discussion at council's Feb. 22 meeting.

The newly-released documents can be found on the City of Vernon website.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Castanet, one Okanagan Landing resident called for information on the environmental impact of a longer air strip and the possibility of larger aircraft.

“Any expansion will be done at the cost of taxpayers and it will seal the fate of Okanagan Landing.” wrote Janice Misutka.

City staff have not recommended going ahead with an expansion of the runway but some council members have asked for further information.

Staff warned that an expansion would have to be approved soon, ahead of new Transport Canada regulations that could nix such development in the future.

“It should raise red flags to everyone,” said Misutka. “Why would you fast track any project when you know there are changes coming?”

Patagonia bound

Two technical support specialists from the Shuswap Trail Alliance are heading south this month to help their counterparts in Patagonia, Chile.

Torres del Paine, Patagonia is recognized as one of the top trekking and climbing destinations on the planet. It is visited annually by travellers from around the world.

A group known as the AMA Torres del Paine works with the Chilean National Parks service to provide conservation and educational programs. Part of its work includes maintaining the trail system.

"We have an internationally known trail system," said Mauricio Kusanovic, AMA president. "But many of the trails originate from old cattle trails, so we have significant issues with erosion and a need for restoration.”

“We don't have the technical trail building knowledge," said Kusanovic.

This is where the Shuswap Trail Alliance comes in.

Veda Roberge and Jacob (Sutra) Brett have volunteered two weeks of their time in February to visit Patagonia and share technical knowledge.

"We are super excited to be able to experience this beautiful part of the planet and also share with others who are trying to do similar work to the Trail Alliance," said Roberge.

Upon their return, the two will share insights from the visit at the Trail Alliance's annual general meeting on March 2, 7 pm, at Okanagan College Salmon Arm.

Five evacuated in gas leak

Five people were evacuated from a home in the 2900 block of 24th Street Friday morning after a “substantial” gas leak.

“It was a 3/4 inch line coming from underground into a residential gas meter,” said Cpt. Reinhard Mann of Vernon Fire Rescue. “The ground had settled pulling on the pipe and it broke off, this morning.”

“We had a substantial amount of gas leaking (between two houses),” said Mann, who's crew was called out at 8:11 a.m.

Those evacuated were all from one house, however, it was decided an elderly woman living next door could stay inside with the windows closed, while a team from FortisBC dealt with the leak.

Mann said the break was above a shut off valve and was quickly fixed, but the line will require further repair.


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