Big budget for schools

It's got a ways to go before it is passed, but the Vernon District school board has given second reading to a $97.5 million 2017-18 budget.

“Once the money is earmarked for programs and services, we have a pot of money we can invest in our schools which is a delight for our trustees,” said board chairperson Kelly Smith. “We can add employee support, a mental health liaison person which was a pilot project last year but this will keep it going. We have money for an education summit and can improve technology use in the classrooms.”

Smith said $693,000 was going back into the school system.

According to the chair, teachers' salaries and benefits total $62.6 million. 


Une salle de classe

Beairsto Elementary will be bursting at the seams next September.

The Vernon District school board has approved an additional French immersion kindergarten class for the 2017-18 school year.

“The school will be very, very full, but we can cope for that year,” said board chairperson Kelly Smith.

Parents, many wrapped in blankets, lined up outside the school in the early morning hours on Jan. 17, hoping to register their children for the popular kindergarten French classes, but there were more students than spaces.

Apart from the new class, trustees have approved a recommendation to establish a round table of stakeholders to discuss the future of French immersion within the district.

Deer visit downtown

They're baaaaaack.

A herd of deer that was caught on video by Darrel Wihnon on April 18 as they wandered through the downtown core at around 8 a.m. on a Sunday appear to have returned to the city centre.

This time, a herd of half a dozen deer were spotted meandering down 30th Avenue in the middle of a Thursday afternoon.

The deer were seen on main street just after 1 p.m.


Support for mayor

Enderby Mayor Greg McCune said he's received some local support after the NDP's Shuswap district candidate accused him of a conflict of interest.

Provincial candidate Sylvia Lindgren's comment was made during an all-candidates forum in Enderby on Tuesday.

During the debate, candidates were asked what could be done to improve traffic safety on Highway 97A through the city.

Liberal candidate Greg Kyllo suggested converting part of the abandoned CPR rail to roadway by turning the highway into two lanes northbound and putting in two southbound lanes on the rail bed.

Conditional agreement to purchase the 43 kilometre rail line has been okayed by regional districts in the North Okanagan and the Columbia Shuswap.

Lindgren said the mayor would probably like the road to go past his own business.

“He shouldn’t be voting on it, “ said Lindgren, referring to McCune's directorship with NORD. “That is a conflict of interest.”

McCune owns Sutherlands Bakery which is flanked by Highway 97A and the rail bed.

“I think if you polled 99 per cent of the population of Enderby, they wouldn’t see it that way. So for someone to come in from outside, well that is just her idea of campaigning,” retorted McCune. “Being in politics in a small community actually costs your business revenue.

"I received several supportive calls from residents after the forum telling me that Lindgren was told not to come back to Enderby if she was going to act in that fashion.”

McCune said there had been talk for years about using the rail bed to alleviate traffic going through Enderby even when the railway was still operational.

“It’s a log jam and its starts earlier every year, especially with the improvements to the Trans Canada Highway.”

Cadet cops learn the ropes

Emergency crews made a frantic rescue at the Vernon military camp Thursday, but it was all part of the annual Jean Minguy RCMP Youth Academy.

The academy gives 40 area students a taste of what it is like to be be an RCMP officer through training and different scenarios.

Cadets from throughout the Valley are spending a week learning policing techniques from a team of volunteer RCMP members.

On Thursday, the cadets watched as first responders and paramedics worked to extricate a hit and run victim from her car during a mock accident.

The graduation ceremony for the cadets will be held Sunday.

Checking for sinkholes

Concerned that another sinkhole could appear on a Vernon street, the City of Vernon is taking measures in the hopes of preventing it.

After a sink hole appeared on 42 Avenue west of Highway 97 on April 15, crews determined that the cause was a failed sanitary sewer main.

“Although the sewer main has been repaired and the road has been re-opened to traffic, the city has scheduled video inspection of the remainder of the sewer main, from along 42 Avenue from 33 Street to Highway 97, to determine if further repairs are required and mitigate the risk of other sink holes,” said a city release.

The sink hole that opened was approximately 1.3 metres in diameter and 0.6 metres deep.

It was discovered when a white Toyota truck drove over the spot and got its front wheel stuck.

Too wet for ball

Spring rain has made it too wet to play slo pitch.

The City of Vernon says ball diamonds are closed today due to excessive water on the fields.

The affected ball diamonds include:

  • Alexis Stadium
  • Lakeview Park
  • Department of National Defense (DND grounds)
  • Kin Race Track

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