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New home for llama on lam

A llama that went on the lam before it could be auctioned off has a new home after his antics stopped traffic on a highway in Armstrong.

Bert, as he came to be known, escaped from a truck before he could be delivered to Valley Auctions.

He ran across Highway 97 as police tried to corral him and then strolled into a sawmill before lazing away in a backyard.

Auctioneer Don Raffan eventually got Bert back and put out the word that money from the highest bidder for the llama would be donated to B.C. Children's Hospital.

Traci Evans says she was driving along when she saw police pursuing a "crazy" llama and decided to offer $250 for him.

Evans says she doesn't know a thing about llamas but has met "standoffish" Bert, who she says will be living in an unoccupied pig pen and getting lots of love on her three-acre farm. 

The Canadian Press


Blood splattered on road

UDATE 12:30 P.M. 

Vernon RCMP have now confirmed their suspicion that a blood splatter found near Ellison Elementary School on Wednesday was tied to a stabbing victim in hospital.

RCMP spokesman Gord Molendyk says officers from the Vernon North Okanagan Detachment spent most of their day investigating the two incidents.

“Their investigation has determined that the two reports were in fact linked together,” says Molendyk.

“The 32-year-old man who was taken to hospital suffered stab wounds, he underwent surgery yesterday and remains in hospital today.”

The man is expected to make a full recovery.

Molendyk says their investigation led them to a 32-year-old suspect, who was arrested and is expected in court Thursday afternoon.

According to court documents, Corey James Sweet was scheduled to appear in Vernon court on one count of aggravated assault in the incident. 


Police are piecing together details this morning after a significant amount of blood was found on the street near Ellison Elementary School in Vernon.

RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says police cordoned off the area after they received a call about the blood on the road at Fulton Road and Okanagan Landing Road.

“We are trying to determine exactly what we have,” explains Molendyk.

“We also have another file being investigated where an injured person came to the hospital and we are trying to determine if the two files are connected.”

Although police will not comment on what they think may have happened, Molendyk says they do not believe a car was involved, or that someone was struck in the intersection.

RCMP say there is no danger to the public and the school remains open at this time, with access available to students and staff around the back of the school.

Police are expected to release further details later today. 

Winning ticket full of love

A Coldstream woman fell to the floor with tears of joy, after the shock of winning the lottery.

Caroline Longval was the $500,000 winner of last Friday's Lotto Max Extra.

As it turns out, Longval received the winning Lotto Max ticket as an impromptu “I love you gift” from her husband.

Surprisingly, he doesn’t normally purchase the Extra, but on this occasion, his decision to add it on and it proved to be the best time to do so.

Longval had no idea she had won when she went to the Go Mart in Coldstream. There she discovered her lucky ticket matched all four numbers on the May 22, 2015, Lotto Max Extra draw.

“This was a very nice and unexpected moment,” exclaims Longval. “I am very grateful.”

With the new cash, Longval and her family are now looking forward to the prospect of purchasing a home in Coldstream without the burden of a mortgage, having recently relocated from Coquitlam.

Before she starts house hunting, Longval plans on hosting a large dinner party to celebrate the win with friends and family.

“It feels great to be a lottery winner,” she laughs. “We will definitely keep playing to see if we can keep the momentum going.”

The winning ticket was purchased at the Coldstream Market.

That special Lotto Max draw also proved prosperous for Enderby's Tanya Williams, who was one of 12 Maxmillions million-dollar winners from last Friday's draw. 


A historic injustice

The city will pay for seven new grave markers in Pleasant Valley Cemetery for men who died while interned during the First World War.

A rededication ceremony was held over the weekend, with members of the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund in attendance.

More than 8,500 people of European descent (primarily from the Austro-Hungarian Empire) were interned in 24 camps across Canada as “Enemy Aliens.” 

Most of the interned were poor, unemployed single men, although 81 women and 156 children had no choice but to accompany their menfolk to two of the camps, in Spirit Lake, Que., and Vernon.

The Vernon camp opened Sept. 18, 1914, on what are now the grounds of W.L. Seaton Secondary School.

Prior to the camp’s existence, the location served as a jail site from 1902 to 1904 and as a hospital for the insane from 1904 to 1913.

Additional camps were located in the region, and men were shipped to these locations and forced to work on road construction. This included Highway 6 from Cherryville to Edgewood and the road from Sicamous to the Okanagan.

“We gathered ... to recall Canada’s first national internment operations, when thousands of men, women and children were rounded up and transported to 24 camps across our country, including one of the longest operating camps, that at Vernon, whose gates did not close until 1920," said Endowment Council chairman Ivan Grbesic.  

"We have also provided a voice to those who perished at the Vernon Internment Camp. This was a historic injustice and one that forms an integral part of the historical narrative of Canada."

During the camp's operation, 11 men lost their lives there. Seven of their graves have been located in Pleasant Valley Cemetery.

They died from tuberculosis, dysentery, pneumonia and influenza. One was killed after a conflict with a fellow prisoner.

“It’s a small gesture from the city,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“They were used for free labour, their property was never returned to them, most were released with just their clothes on their back.”

The men who are buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery are:

  • Mile Heimovi  (d. 1917)
  • Ivan Jugo (d. 1917)
  • Timoti Korejczuk (d. 1919)
  • Stipan Šapina (d. 1917)
  • Wasyl Shapka (d. 1918)
  • Jure Vukorepa (d. 1916)
  • Samuel Vulovi  (d. 1918)

Arts advocate remembered

A longtime Vernon resident and stalwart of local theatre who died last week in an accident at the Vernon Yacht Club was lauded by members of city council, Monday.

David Jones, 82, was repairing a mast on a sailboat Thursday morning when he was witnessed to fall from the ladder he was using.

“He struck the rigging and parts of the boat, and then fell into the lake. He was able to swim to the dock, but became unresponsive as he arrived there,” said Larry Marzinzik, regional coroner.

Bystanders rescued him from the water, but he was not able to be resuscitated.

"It’s quite a loss for the community," said Coun. Catherine Lord. "He served on many committees and was instrumental in developing the tax break policy for not for profit organizations."  

Jones was a Vernon councillor in 1987, a realtor, actively involved in Vernon’s arts and cultural scene, including a long tenure with Powerhouse Theatre, including 30 acting and directing roles. He also supervised two theatre expansions and renovations and was awarded with a life membership to the theatre.  

Jones also won the 1996 Eric Hamber trophy for service to theatre in B.C. 

Car crashes into office

Staff at a downtown Vernon business had a shocking experience when a car drove right through their front window on Tuesday.

Vernon RCMP spokesman Gord Molendyk says a woman driving a Dodge Dart compact sedan mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brakes and went through the large, plate glass window at Abakhan & Associates.

The storefront is located at the corner of 29th Street and 31st Avenue. The business handles personal and corporate debt restructuring and was closed for the rest of the day.

The answering machine said the business was "closed due to emergency."

Molendyk said the office was full at the time of the crash, but no one inside was hurt. One of the staff was temporarily trapped at their desk, however.

The driver complained of "bumps and bruises" and was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital to be checked out.

City gets into bike biz

Vernon Tourism is getting into the bicycle rental business – but not everyone on Vernon council is happy about it.

Starting June 12, tourists will be able to rent bikes from the tourist information centre on 39th Avenue. 

The city is taking 15 per cent of the revenue in lieu of rent for the additional space being used for the pilot project. 

“I don’t think the city should be giving a competitive advantage for this when we have existing bike shops that may want to do this,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.

"If it gets more people out and into the downtown, it will ultimately be a good thing," said Coun. Brian Quiring.

Read more Vernon News


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