Small plane makes emergency landing at Vernon Regional Airport

Plane does a belly flop

A single-engine plane has landed on its belly at Vernon Regional Airport.

Skydiver Rick Vanderhoek was at the airport and witnessed the plane come in.

“It looks like they either didn’t put the landing gear down or the landing gear failed.

“Nobody’s been hurt.”

Photos show skid marks on the runway and the propeller end of the plane facing into the middle of the runway.

Vanderhoek said because the plane is in the middle of the runway, other aircraft are being diverted to Kelowna International Airport for the time being.


Top cowboys and cowgirls are in Falkland this weekend for the 102nd stampede

Best cowpokes in the land

There's plenty of rodeo action to take in at the 102nd Falkland Stampede today and Monday.

And among the cowboys and cowgirls is Armstrong's very own Jaret Cooper.

The 18-year-old bronc rider is competing in Falkland for the first time.

“This is my first year doing the CPRA (Canadian Professional Rodeo Association). I'm pretty excited for sure,” said Cooper from rodeo grounds Saturday.

“It's my main goal to rodeo for a career. It's basically my life right now.”

And in typical cowboy fashion, the teen nonchalantly recaps a few incidents in his blossoming career.

“I've been pretty lucky. I've been stepped on and kicked a few times but nothing broken or pulled yet,” he said.

Melissa Seaman, with the stampede, said the event features some of the best athletes in the sport who are competing in bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and the fan favourite, bull riding.

The stampede continues today with cowboy church this morning and the stampede parade at 12:30 p.m., followed by more rodeo action starting at 2 p.m.

On Monday the final day of rodeo starts at 1 p.m.

“All of the cowboys competing here this weekend are collecting their money to make their way to the finals in Edmonton,” Seaman said. “These are the top cowboys and cowgirls in Canada.”

The Victoria Day Long Weekend is long-standing tribute to Queen Victoria and has been celebrated in Vernon for decades

Long live the queen

Although many of us now think of the May Long Weekend as the beginning of camping season in B.C., the history of Victoria Day is a bit more complicated.

In 1845, the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada decided to officially recognize the birthday of Queen Victoria on May 24 with public celebrations. But it wasn’t until 1901, following the Queen’s death, that May 24 became officially known as “Victoria Day” in her memory.

At the turn of the 20th century, the settler population in Vernon eagerly celebrated Queen Victoria’s birthday, as well as her reign in general.

On June 22, 1897, Vernon celebrated the Diamond Jubilee with a series of sporting events, including baseball, lacrosse, trap shootings and tug-of-war.

Other outlying communities, including Enderby, came to compete in the day’s activities, and it is noted that Vernon won all events except the tug-of-war.

May Long Weekends in Vernon were also marked with sporting events and special activities in celebration of the queen’s birthday. On May 24, 1895, a cricket match was held between Kelowna and Vernon, with the SS Fairview offering special trips between the two cities for individuals who wished to attend.

In 1900, Enderby hosted Vernon and other nearby communities for a series of foot, horse and canoe races. A football match was also held between the community of Lumby and employees of the Coldstream Ranch, followed by a grand ball in Morand’s Hall.

Queen Victoria’s passing in 1901 was announced in large font on the front page of the January 24th edition of the Vernon News, as the City mourned the loss of its “Most Respected Sovereign.” Later that year, Vernon officially celebrated “Victoria Day” for the first time, with — you guessed it — sporting events, including three-legged and ladies races.

Gwyn Evans is the research and communications co-ordinator with the Museum and Archives of Vernon.


Creative Chaos returns to the Vernon recreation centre after a two-year hiatus

Crafters causing Chaos

Crafty people will be creating chaos in Vernon next month.

After a two-year COVID cancellation, Creative Chaos is back June 3-5 in the Vernon recreation complex.

Organizer Ingrid Baron said Creative Chaos “is hailed as one of the major tourist events in Vernon,” attracting some 15,000 people “to the largest craft sale of its kind in western Canada.

“It showcases approximately 200 artisans and crafters from throughout B.C., the Pacific Northwest, and the rest of Canada.”

The hugely popular event will also feature specialty food products, wine tastings and local performers.
There will be a free shuttle bus leaving from Schubert Centre and Kal Tire Place North at regular intervals as well.

“There’s something for everyone to see, taste, or hear and of course, the shopping is great too,” said Baron.

Creative Chaos began in 1971 as a two-day art exhibition of porcelain and ceramics and was held at the Vernon Recreation Centre in the auditorium. The following year it expanded to three days and included food, demonstrations of weaving, arts, pottery, dance and singing. Local schools were approached to display their artwork.

In 1975, the Creative Chaos logo was designed by the Vernon Senior Secondary art class and the sale expanded into its second building in the curling rink.

Creative Chaos now includes the Priest Valley Arena.

Two Vernon men fined a total of $13,000 for illegally killing three moose near Kelowna

Moose poachers fined

Two Vernon men were handed fines totalling $13,000 for illegally poaching three moose.

Wayne Jopling of Vernon pleaded guilty to two counts of hunting without a limited entry hunting (LEH) authorization and one count of failing to remove edible portions of meat.

He received a $7,500 penalty payable to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and a three-year hunting prohibition.

Also convicted was Corey Jopling of Vernon on two counts of hunting without a LEH authorization and one count of failing to remove edible portions of meat.

Corey Jopling received a $5,500 penalty payable to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and a two-year hunting ban.

The court further ordered both men retake the hunter education program and they cannot accompany anyone hunting or be in a hunting camp during their prohibition.

According to court documents, on Nov. 12, 2019, witnesses observed the men hunting moose in a wilderness area northwest of Kelowna.

Neither man possessed an antlered-moose LEH authorization, therefore they could only hunt spike-fork antlered moose.

There are only five antlered bull moose authorizations given in this area.

Three antlered moose were spotted in a recently logged area. Both men fired numerous shots at the moose, killing all three. The moose killed all required an authorization to be harvested.

The men retrieved only one of the moose and left the other two to spoil.

As a result of public information, the Conservation Officer Service (COS) investigated and obtained search warrants for the suspects homes and vehicles where evidence was found that assisted in the conviction of the two suspects.

Anyone who witnesses what is believed to be a wildlife violation, is asked to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters 24-Hr Hotline at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).

BC Wildlife Federation pays rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the conviction of persons who have violated laws related to the protection of fish, wildlife or the environment.

Conservation officers will be out and about this weekend making sure the rules are followed and people are safe

Keeping watch outdoors

As people head to area hills and lakes to enjoy the May Long Weekend, they will not be alone.

Conservation officers will also be in the backcountry.

“Whether you’re camping, hunting, fishing, boating, off-roading or otherwise enjoying our beloved backcountry, please do so respectfully,” said a post on the Conservation Officers Service of BC Facebook page.

“Conservation Officers across B.C. will be out and about as well, to help keep the public safe and protect the environment, fish and wildlife for future generations.

People are reminded to be prepared when they head out "so the weekend is memorable for all the right reasons.”

The Voyager Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicle will be on display at the Lumby Fire Hall today

A tank that fights wildfires

It's like a tank that fights wildfires and it will be in Lumby this afternoon.

Montreal-based UTV International has developed a diesel-hybrid tracked vehicle and trailer built specifically to fight fires.

Erik Paldy said The Voyager Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicle was designed over several years in consultation with long-time firefighter and fire truck builder Tony Jumeau.

The tracked vehicles have many applications, but the fire-fighting version will be at the Lumby Fire Hall, 17569 Shuswap Ave., today from 1-3 p.m.

The Voyager carries a payload of 25,000 pounds and can be deployed by as few as two personnel.

It can also reach a top speed of 32 km/h.

The Voyager can be used in many applications and can even be equipped with what amounts to a flame thrower for prescribed burns.

The machine sells for around $900,000.

Paldy said the Voyager TFFV is touring parts of Canada and the United States.

“We just want to get the name and the vehicle out there and see who can use this and how we can help with wildfires,” said Paldy.

Vernon historian has unearthed footage of a family road trip between Alberta and Victoria in 1968

Decades-old camping trip

A family camping trip from 54 years ago shows how things have changed along the busy corridor between Alberta and Victoria, and how some things have remained the same.

Vernon-based historian and videographer Francois Arseneult said the family makes stops at several tourist attractions that are still in operation today.

The footage features a fleeting shot of 3 Valley Gap and on to the Enchanted Forest west of Revelstoke – both of which are still in operation today.

Arseneault said the Enchanted Forest “opened on July 1 1960, and soon became a favourite for children of all ages and is still popular with kids today.

“The camping trip continues to Victoria and Butchart Gardens, clearly a big highlight back in the 1960s.”

Butchart Gardens is also still in operation, decades after the family visited it.

“The return trip follows the same route back through the Fraser canyon with stops at Rogers pass and once again at the Enchanted forest,” said Arseneault. “This charming footage will remind some of us of childhood trips in the back of the family station wagon towing a tent trailer, winding our way along the relatively new Trans-Canada Highway.”

Arseneault is always looking for more information on the vintage footage he digs up, and he encourages people to add their input in the comments section on his Youtube page.

Arseneault has an extensive collection of vintage footage, and he is always looking for more.

He currently has more than 1,100 episodes from 54 countries dating back to 1917.

Anyone who may have old 16 mm or 8 mm film footage is invited to email Arseneault at [email protected]

North Valley Gymnastics will be setting up in the Whitevale Elementary School after a fire destroyed their facility last year

New home for gymnastics

After months of being in limbo, North Valley Gymnastics have a place to call home.

The popular club suffered a major loss in October 2021 when fire destroyed their new facility.

Since then, competitive athletes and their coaches have been travelling to Kelowna where Kelowna Gymnastix and Synergy Gymnastics offered the use of their facilities.

For the past few months, NVG has been seeking an area locally where they can train and thanks to social media and School District 22 they have found a place in Whitevale.

Melissa Locke, with NVG, sent out a plea on social media for anyone who had a location the club could move into at least temporarily.

Someone suggested the Whitevale Elementary School building in Lumby that is not being used.

“We are so excited. The school board is completely on board, which is amazing,” said Locke. “This all came about from a random post on our Facebook page. They said 'What about Whitevale?' so we followed it up. It was social media to the rescue.”

Locke said the school district is clearing out an area they had been using for storage and the club will move in July 1.

Now that the club has a place of operation, it can start ordering equipment as everything was lost in the fire.

Locke said the insurance process is still ongoing, but with the temporary space they are being allowed a month-to-month lease by the school district, the club can hold its summer camps and start up its recreational gymnastics programs as well.

Locke said registration for the summer programs will go live online on Wednesday.

“We are really excited to bring recreational gymnastics back,” she said. “We are excited about being in Lumby too and giving Lumby kids more access.

As for a permanent location, Locke said they are still waiting on insurance and are looking at all of their options.

For more information and to registers, visit the NVG website.

Armstrong announces its new Armstrong Pride sidewalk in the city centre

Armstrong shows its Pride

The City of Armstrong is showing its Pride.

The North Okanagan community has announced the addition of the Armstrong Pride sidewalk at the intersection of Smith Drive and Smith Road in front of the train caboose.

The new addition marks the beginning of collaboration with community members to celebrate and honour the diversity of its citizens and the LGBTQ2S+ community.

“The LGBTQ2S+ community is world-wide and represents every nationality and every religion. I trust our community and by recognizing and celebrating pride we will continue to make our city vibrant and inclusive. We should all want to live in a community where LGBTQ2S+ friends and family members can feel safe, accepted and celebrated,” said Mayor Chris Pieper, adding Armstrong council and staff are grateful to work with the Armstrong Pride Society in the creation of the Armstrong Pride Sidewalk.

“We hope that the addition of the rainbow sidewalk will show our efforts in remaining to be a welcoming and encouraging community for all citizens as we continue to show our pride, spirit and vision for our future together.”

Council and staff met with Armstrong Pride Society members on multiple occasions to discuss the project and determine the most feasible options for the longevity of the tribute.

While the familiar pride crosswalk was considered, it was determined a sidewalk is the preferred option as it mitigates the long-term costs to maintain a crosswalk due to the wear and tear of vehicular traffic, winter road conditions, maintenance operations and vandalism.

The Armstrong Pride Society is currently conducting fundraising efforts for the overall cost and maintenance of the painted sidewalk.

The official unveiling of the Armstrong Pride sidewalk will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 4.

A celebration will follow the unveiling at Armstrong Memorial Park from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This event is organized by the Armstrong Pride Society, for more information contact [email protected]

More Vernon News