Christmas is coming

Kal Tire Place was looking a lot like Christmas Friday and Saturday during the annual Vernon Presents Christmas a Festival of Crafts and Gifts.

Tanya Riznek, even organizer, said up to 8,000 people were expected to attend the 17th annual event that featured dozens of exhibitors.

“You can do all your Christmas shopping in one stop,” said Riznek of the event that continues until 4 p.m. today.


Life savers honoured

Bruce Roberts was given second lease on life thanks to a pair of complete strangers.

Roberts was playing golf at Predator Ridge earlier this year when he collapsed from a heart attack.

Beau Lucas, who is a volunteer firefighter in Vernon, and Stan Brooks, a former longtime member of the RCMP, began doing CPR on Roberts until paramedics arrived, saving his life.

At a ceremony Friday, Lucas and Brooks received the BC Emergency Health Services Vital Link award.

And of course, they also received the eternal gratitude of Roberts and his family.

“I find it's hard to find words,” Roberts said when asked what he would like to say to Lucas and Brooks.

“When you think about great moments in your life like when you were born, well I was re-born that's another great moment. But this award is really important to me because we struggle for ways to recognize life savers. It's just the greatest gift you can give somebody.”

Brooks said it was a “very humbling experience.

“There were a lot of factors that made that a successful day and I just happened to be one of them. I was certainly relieved when Beau and the paramedics arrived to take over from me. It was just a great moment for all of us and I'm just very happy Bruce survived the odds that day.

“There was a lot of people who played a role in that life-saving event and I just happened to be one of them.”

Looking for good citizens

The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Vernon Good Citizen Committee is looking for someone to reward for all their good deeds.

JCI is now accepting nominations for Vernon’s 2017 Good Citizen of the Year.

The award is given annually to celebrate and recognize an individual’s efforts in, and contributions to, the community.

Nominations can be emailed to jcivernongoodcitizen@gmail.com or dropped off at Okanagan Restoration Services Ltd., 6236 Pleasant Valley Rd.

The committee is asking all nominations include a letter describing why the person being nominated should receive the award, as well as the nominator’s contact information.

If someone has been nominated in the past, but did not win they can be nominated again.

Nomination Deadline is Jan. 5, 2018.

The recipient will be “surprised” with the award during the week of Jan. 15- 19.

The nominator will be contacted about this in advance.

JCI Vernon will escort the recipient in the Winter Carnival – Carnival in Wonderland Parade on Saturday, Feb. 3. The award will be officially handed out at the Winter Break-Out on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

For more information, call Sarah Moorhouse or Cera Brown at 250-542-3470 or email jcivernongoodcitizen@gmail.com.


Fined for workplace death

A Vernon business has been fined $2,500 by WorkSafe BC in relation to a workplace fatality last year.

Another Level Automotive & Offroad Ltd. was fined in the death of Christopher Marcel Emile Potvin, 32.

Potvin, of Vernon, was working on a pickup truck in an automotive shop on Dec. 9, 2016 at about 11:45 a.m. when something went wrong and he became trapped between the truck and the hoist ramps in the shop.

According to the WorkSafeBC report, “a worker was removing a fuel tank from a pickup truck parked on an automotive lift. The unrestrained vehicle rolled backward and partially off the lift, pinning the worker between the frame of the vehicle and the lift platform.

"The worker sustained fatal injuries. WorkSafeBC's investigation determined that the truck had not been secured on the lift with wheel chocks or by setting the parking brake. In addition, the investigation determined that the worker had not been adequately trained or supervised for this task.

"The firm's failure to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety was a high-risk violation.”


Flagger struck

UPDATE 4:13 p.m.

North Okanagan RCMP Traffic Services are continuing their investigation of a motor vehicle incident which resulted in a traffic control person being hit by a car.

The female flagger was flown to Kelowna General Hospital by air ambulance.

Cpl. Annie Linteau said on Nov. 17, shortly after 10 a.m., police attended a construction zone on Highway 6 in Lavington between School Road and Hill Drive after receiving a report that a traffic control person had been hit by a vehicle. 

“Early indications are that a west-bound vehicle approached the construction zone and was apparently stopped by the traffic control person in an area reduced to one-lane of traffic,” said Linteau. “It appears the driver of the vehicle involved was unable to stop in time and hit the traffic-control person.”

The flagger, aged 66, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. 

“The 75-year-old driver of the vehicle involved is co-operating with the investigation and a number of witnesses have been identified,” said Linteau.

Police are continuing their investigation and no further information is available at this time.

UPDATE 12:52 p.m.

Castanet has learned a female flagger was struck by a vehicle near School Road on Highway 6.

The extent of her injuries are not known, but she was flown to Kelowna General Hospital.

The accident happened at around 10 a.m. and as of 1 p.m. a section of the highway was still closed.

Highway 6 in Lavington is closed, following a serious crash at about 11 a.m. Friday.

The crash happened just north of the Lavington Superette.

At least one person was taken to Kelowna General Hospital by air ambulance, however, there are also unconfirmed reports the crash has claimed a life.

A section of the highway has been closed in both directions. Traffic is being rerouted.

An accident reconstructionist is on scene.

More details will be added when they become available.

Spooky maze breaks records

Thousands of people across the Okanagan were looking for a spook this Halloween season, with record attendance numbers at the annual Field of Screams in Vernon.

More than 18,000 people walked into a nightmare at the Historic O'Keefe Ranch this October, for the Field of Scream's Dante's Inferno: The Descent.

The annual haunted maze is widely known as one of the creepiest Halloween experiences in the valley.

This year's event brought in almost $120,000 to the ranch, a whopping 68 per cent increase over last year's numbers.

“No one can predict the outcome of these kinds of events and then for it to be such a success, it was a relief and kind of emotional to be honest, but that may have been from lack of sleep,” said Kelly MacIntosh, marketing and events co-ordinator for O'Keefe Ranch. “We are all just so thrilled and motivated by the support and for the future of the Ranch.”

The 150-year-old ranch is funded by the City of Vernon and the British Columbia Arts Council, but the money raised through the Field of Screams helps maintain the ranch, its buildings, grounds and animals.

“Museums are in the 'forever business,' and it comes at a high price,” MacIntosh said.

The huge success of this year's Field of Screams did not come overnight. Volunteers put in a collective 5,000 hours into preparing and running the event and several local companies helped sponsor it.

“The outcome of this event shows how much the Ranch is valued in our community and we would like to see this momentum continue for future generations,” said Max Russmann, president of O’Keefe Ranch and Interior Heritage Society.

The O'Keefe Ranch is now closed for the winter season, with the exception of the Victorian Christmas on Dec. 9 and 10, and will reopen in May 2018. 

Pioneer honoured with rose

The rose is already connected to pioneer Catherine O'Hare Schubert and now an Armstrong group is raising funds to have a bright pink rose named in her honour.

Schubert followed the Overlanders to B.C. in 1862, the only woman among 150 prospectors who made the grueling journey to the Interior.

“As they finished their journey coming through the Rockies, they existed on rosehips and berries,” said Janet Irving who is spearheading the drive. “When her baby came along, she named her Rose.”

Schubert is said to have gone into labour while on a raft on the Thompson River. She was taken ashore and delivered her baby with the help of a First Nations woman.

Schubert settled in Spallumcheen and later moved to Armstrong.

Armstrong's sister city is Rathfriland, Northern Ireland, which is also Schubert's hometown.

“The (rose) project grew out of our sister city ties....It is quite the process and involves quite a bit of money,” said Irving.

However, the breeder, Select Roses of Langley, “fell in love with the whole story” and has greatly reduced the price, she said.

The group has already been pledged $3,500 of the $5,000 needed to name the rose.

For those who would like to donate some funds, they can do so by going to the Armstrong Spalllumcheen Museum and Art Gallery on 3415 Pleasant Valley Road in Armstrong, Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. to make a donation and get an income tax receipt. Pledges are expected to end Nov. 30.

Irving said the funds are needed as soon as possible.

If all goes as planned, a limited number of Catherine Schubert roses will be available in the spring, with more following a year later.

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