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Yukon Ho for paddlers

Two former graduates of Thompson Rivers University have signed up for what is one of the world’s toughest endurance races.

Sharman Learie and Matt Kellow will be taking part in the 715-kilometre Yukon River Quest paddle event from Whitehorse to Dawson City later this year. They will be racing in a tandem kayak, paddling both day and night down the winding Yukon River.

Both men were students in the adventure guide program at TRU in the mid-90’s and paddled from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy together shortly after graduation. They each spent a number of years as guides on the water and now Sharman teaches the white water programs at TRU, while Kellow works in the campus outdoor recreation program at Vancouver Island University.

“Both of us have extensive, I would say, outdoor backgrounds,” says Learie, while noting that neither one has paddled the Yukon River before and they’ve never competed together in an adventure race.

“I think it only has one Class2 rapid and it shouldn’t be a problem given our skill level. I think the big thing is the distance in such a short amount of time.”

Now that both men have settled down and recently turned 40, they were looking for a personal challenge that could also help lead future students down the same path they chose.

“Both of us had very positive experiences here, and being educators, we get to see a lot of young people come through outdoor programs. You see quite a profound change in how the kids arrive and how they leave.”

That’s why they’ve also decided to raise money along the way for a new bursary that will benefit an Adventure Studies student entering their second year. The goal is to raise $10,000.

“With living costs continuing to go up, this is our small way of helping students with educational and professional goals,” adds Kellow.

The award will be for those students demonstrating financial need and preference will be given to someone with a passion for paddle sports.

Anyone who wants to pledge money towards the bursary can click here and select “Specific Scholarship or Award” and then in “Award Name", enter “Kellow & Learie Adventure Bursary”.

Continue to follow the prompts to finish making your donation.

“And I have to say, while I’ve been training, I’m starting to get a bit intimidated. It’s 711 kilometres in about 50 hours so you push through pretty hard,” says Learie.

“While both of us have paddled long distances, it’s with reasonable rest periods in between and more taking our time. I think there will certainly be a challenge of just going that far in that short a time period with little rest.”

The race runs from June 25-29.


Hwy. 5 now reopened

Update -- 8 a.m.

The vehicle Incident 2 km south of Exit 336, at the  junction with Highway 97D to Logan Lake, is now clear.

Highway 5, the Coquihalla, is closed northbound, 2 km south of Exit 336 Junction with Highway 97D to Logan Lake, because of a vehicle Incident.

No detour is available, but there is an alternate route, for light vehicles only, via Highway 5A.

Commercial vehicles can re-route via Highways 8 and 1, travel time = 2.5 hours.

DriveBC reports the estimated time of opening will be from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. 

Send photos and video to [email protected]

Boy struck in crosswalk

A young boy was struck by a car on Tuesday afternoon while crossing a street in Kamloops.

The 13-year-old was taken to Royal Inland Hospital and treated for a possible broken ankle, according to Sgt. Lucas of the Kamloops RCMP.

Witnesses say the boy was inside an activated crosswalk at the intersection of Westsyde Road and Anderson Terrace when he was hit by an elderly driver.

The 89-year-old driver was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian.


Pup pelted with pellets

A four-month-old German shepherd puppy is recovering from multiple pellet-shot wounds after being found in a BC Provincial Park near Niskonlith Lake, close to Chase

The BC SPCA has launched an investigation and is hoping someone in the community has information about the person or persons responsible.

“Some individuals out walking their dogs earlier this month saw the puppy cowering under a bush,” said BC SPCA senior animal protection officer Kathy Woodward.

“They took him to a veterinary clinic in Salmon Arm, where the pellets were removed.”

She notes that one of the pellets that was surgically removed was only one millimetre from puppy’s aorta.

Cst. Woodward says the veterinarian caring for the puppy is covering the full costs of his medical care and one of the clinic staff plans to adopt the dog.

“Thankfully, the puppy will recover and will be adopted into a loving home, but the SPCA is seeking information leading to charges in the case,” said Woodward.

“It is important that people understand that animal cruelty is not acceptable and those who inflict pain and suffering on animals will be brought to justice.”

The BC SPCA is asking anyone with information about the incident to please contact the BC SPCA animal cruelty hotline at 1-855-622-7722.

In another case of animal cruelty a dog was found starved to death in a crate in Revelstoke.

Theft suspect deflated

A high-speed chase in Kamloops ended early this morning with flat tires and an arrest.

Members of the local RCMP were on the lookout for a pickup truck that had allegedly been involved in a previous police pursuit in Merritt. The vehicle had been reported to be travelling north on the Coquihalla towards Kamloops.

“Officers located the vehicle on Highway 5, however, the vehicle failed to stop for their emergency lights.  A tire deflation device was deployed and the vehicle was disabled,” said Cpl. Wayne Chung in a release.

“The driver subsequently abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. With the assistance of the Police Dog Service, the suspect driver was apprehended.”

The truck turned out to be stolen and a 29-year-old Penticton man is expected to be charged with dangerous driving,  flight from police and possession of stolen property.

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