Car badly damaged in crash

There are no reported injuries following a two-vehicle crash that badly damaged a white sedan in Vernon, Saturday afternoon.

The collision occurred on 32 Street near 33 Avenue near Vernon's downtown, reportedly after 3 p.m.

Crews were finishing clearing up the accident just before 4:30 p.m., and RCMP at the scene said no one was seriously hurt.

It's not clear what caused the crash.


Air quality advisory ends

The air quality advisory in Lavington that was put into place Friday has ended.

The advisory in the North Okangan community was due to high concentrations of fine particulates in the air, possibly caused by open burning, emissions from industry, or emissions from vehicles.

Particulate matter has decreased since the advisory went into place, and weather conditions are expected to cause concentration levels to continue to drop.

Particulate matter concentrations, measured at the Lavington Baptist Church station, are at 8.2 micrograms per cubic metre, well below the provincial air quality objective of 25.  

Thieves steal mom's ashes

To the thief, it was just a necklace, but to Melissa Gauthier, it was so much more.

Last week, someone broke into Gauthier's truck on Cactus Drive in Coldstream and stole her necklace that contained her mom's ashes.

“It is a tear drop pendant that actually has my mom's ashes inside," Gauthier said. "If anyone sees someone trying to sell, or is gifted this necklace, please private message me."


Artsolutely awesome

Looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind gift idea?

Then look no farther than the Vernon Community Arts Centre.

Located next to the Okanagan Science Centre in Polson Park, the arts centre is holding its annual Arstolutely sales event.

“You will never find things like this at Walmart,” said Patricia Doyle, with the arts centre. “It's all locally made. We are mixing it up a bit this year, we have some new people who have never been in before.”

There are three rooms full of items for sale.

Artsolutely is also the Arts Council of the North Okanagan’s largest fundraiser of the year with 20 per cent of the proceeds going toward various programs.

Artsolutely features the Okanagan’s best artists selling their finest wares in different mediums such as paintings, drawings, glass, fibre, jewellery, ornaments, pottery, woodcarvings, natural products, and more.

The arts centre is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., except for Christmas Eve when it will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“When you support a local artist, you are not only giving back to your community, but you are also participating in a simple act of goodwill, which is something everyone wants to feel, especially this time of year,” said Doyle.

Immunization clinics today

Meningococcal immunization clinics will be held today throughout the Okanagan.

Interior Health declared an outbreak of meningococcal disease in the Okanagan on Thursday.

For teens 15-19, clinics will be set up at:

North Okanagan:

Vernon Health Unit, 1440 14 Ave. from noon to 5 p.m.

Central Okanagan

In Kelowna at Community Health & Services Centre, 505 Doyle Ave.10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

South Okanagan

Penticton Health Care, 740 Carmi Ave. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In 2017, 11 cases have appeared in the region, and one teenager has died. 

In Vernon, a young woman diagnosed is currently in a medically-induced coma at Vancouver General Hospital.

Tough time meeting goals

Experts call it donor burnout and it is making for a stressful Christmastime for several local charitable organizations.

There are so many groups seeking donations at this time of year, donations are being spread thin.

In Vernon, three longstanding annual campaigns are having a hard time reaching their goals.

The United Way, Vernon Salvation Army and the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation's Light A Bulb campaign have a combined goal of $1 million.

Light A Bulb has a target of $250,000, but with just nine days to go until the campaign ends, they are still $75,000 shy of their target.

“It’s a challenge to raise such a significant amount in a short time, but we are optimistic that our community will once again come through for this important campaign,” said campaign chairperson Dr. Curtis Mohamed.

That sentiment is echoed by Linda Yule with the North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap United Way that is also struggling to reach its target of $240,000.

The United Way is far from its goal, with only 41 per cent of its target in the bank.

“We have 30 programs that count on United Way funding to provide services for people in our area,” said Yule. “Last year, we were asked for 100 per cent more than we had available to distribute. We know that several of our funded agencies are being asked for more services and looking to United Way to fill that need in the community.”

The Vernon Salvation Army has set the most ambitious goal of $500,000.

The Sally Ann has a mail out campaign along with the kettle campaign that has raised almost half of the lofty target.

With just over a week to go, the Salvation Army has raised $219,000.

Money raised in the Christmas campaign will go toward a variety of Salvation Army programs.

“The food bank is always busy,” said Lt. Stefan Reid. “We do anywhere between 20 to 25 food hampers in a day and here at Christmas we've already surpassed 500 hamper interviews.”

But as agencies struggle to reach their targets, a recent campaign far exceeded previous efforts.

Every year, realtors in the North Okanagan hold a food drive which collected almost 40,000 pounds of food.

“The realtors always surpass our expectations with this food drive,” said Reid. “This food will last us until well into May and June of next year.”

Last year, the realtor food drive collected 24,000 pounds of food.

New Sagmoen allegations

CTV News in Vancouver has linked an alleged violent incident from January, 2013 to Curtis Wayne Sagmoen — the 36-year-old with family connections to the farm near Silver Creek where RCMP discovered the remains of Traci Genereaux.

RCMP documents — obtained by CTV News Vancouver — seem to back up witness reports that describe an altercation between a man and a women at a Maple Ridge townhouse, that at the time was owned by Sagmoen.

Neighbours recall hearing a woman yelling and calling for help while fighting with Sagmoen in a common area in the townhouse complex.

“We heard a bunch of screaming and there was a young lady there. She was lying on the ground, he was on top of her, and she was bleeding and screaming.

“He kept yelling that she had stolen something from him. He ran away, and she was left there bleeding,” recalled neighbour Kevin Robertson.

RCMP documents tell a similar story.

Police were called to the townhouse complex to a report that “there was a male chasing a female southbound on Gilker Hill Road and she was yelling for help. The female yelled the male hit her with a hammer.”

An officer searched the male’s residence but didn’t find a bloody hammer. And another officer tracked the woman down in a cab, but she refused to provide a statement or let the officer view her injuries.

“It appears (the male) was ripped off by a known Surrey prostitute,” the report says. “Neither want to pursue the matter.”

The event was marked “unfounded” and it wasn’t sent to crown counsel to consider the laying of any charges.

Sagmoen, who is currently in custody, has six counts against him in connection with an Aug. 28 incident near Falkland where a sex worker alleges she was threatened with a gun before escaping.

In October, RCMP found the remains of Vernon teenager Traci Genereaux buried at a Shuswap farm owned by Sagmoen's parents. No charges have been laid in connection to her death which is considered suspicious.

-With files from CTV Vancouver



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