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Vernon  

Parachuting tragedy

One man is dead after a skydiving accident Saturday.

Castanet received multiple reports of the incident, which occurred near the community of Westwold, roughly 60 km northwest of Vernon.

One person told Castanet they had seen a person falling through the sky, but did not see their chute open.

Another person reported to Castanet that she and her husband did see the incident and a chute was open.

"We saw two planes circling, one plane plunge and went into a roll and we saw 'something' falling out. After falling for several feet, a parachute opened and we realized it was a person. We thought it was a normal skydive as the parachuter sailed out of our line of vision towards a mountain."

Castanet was told the man landed in a farmer's field.

It's believed the man died upon impact.

The cause of the incident is unknown.

Castanet has contacted RCMP, but has not yet had a response to our questions.



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Help is a call away

Samantha Sewell knows all too well the sting of a bully's taunts.

Growing up with a speech impediment, Sewell was often the target of her classmates ridicule.

But she did not let the daily torment define her, and it certainly did not defeat her.

Sewell has gone on to win several pageants - she is currently Miss International Volunteer - she has spoken in front of thousands of people and is an outspoken anti-bullying advocate.

At one of her lowest points, Sewell was 'hiding' in a bathroom stall at her high school and eating a chocolate bar which had the kids' help line number on it.

“It really did help me. It had a really big impact,” said Sewell. “I want to have the kids help phone put in every school bathroom on the back of the stalls, so that way, at their lowest times when kids go to the washroom to cry or to be upset or to be alone, they can see the kids' help phone and know they can phone and they can get help.”

Sewell has even talked to the prime minister and his wife about the idea and hopes to arrange a meeting in the future to further discuss the proposal.

Sewell and her mother are also drafting a letter with Live Out Loud Charities to lobby for it to become a law or bylaw that the number must be displayed in school bathrooms.

She also plans to lobby other politicians to gain support for the initiative.



A 'diverse' city council

Chantelle Deacon

The day after the municipal election six Vernon candidates are celebrating after winning a seat on city council.

New to sit in a council position is Kelly Fehr (3,512 votes) and Kari Gares (3,878 votes).

Vernon's previous mayor Akbal Mund won the sixth seat on council with 3,426 votes.

Incumbent councillors Brian Quiring (4,120), Scott Anderson (4,108) and Dalvir Nahal (3,891) came out on top with the most votes after Saturday's election.

Quiring and Anderson didn' respond in time to Castanet's request for an interview.



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Mostly new SD 22 trustees

The results are in for the School District 22 trustees who were voted in following last nights municipal election.

Milli Bono was once again voted in as a Vernon trustee with 3,049 votes, while the Coldstream-area trustee Robert Lee, was voted in by acclamation.

Mark Olsen won the most votes (4,075) taking a spot as a Vernon trustee.

Tom Williamson won a spot as a Vernon trustee with 3,113 votes, while Jenn Comazzetto took also took a Vernon trustee position with 2,726 votes.

Gen Acton (481 votes) won a School District 22 trustee for the Village of Lumby, along with Lori Mindnich who managed receive 380 votes.



Victory for Victor Cumming

Chantelle Deacon

Vernon's Victor Cumming has been elected as the city's new mayor with 4,928 votes.

Cumming was followed in order by Darrin Taylor (3,608 votes), Erik Olesen (990 votes) and Art Gourley (229 votes.)

Six city councillors were elected in the following order:

Brian Quiring with 4,120 votes.

Scott Anderson with 4,108 votes.

Dalvir Nahal with 3,891 votes.

Keri Gares with 3,878 votes.

Akbal Mund with 3,426 votes.

Kelly Fehr with 3,512 votes.



Giant pumpkins

Lost in all the municipal election coverage yesterday was the first annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-in at Davidson Orchard.

After nine entries and almost 1,000 pounds of total pumpkin weighed, a champ was crowned. 

John Deak of Royal LePage Downtown in the Okanagan won first place, second place and third place with pumpkins weighing 255, 245, 243 lbs, respectively — taking home a total of $900. 

Dalvir Nahal was runner-up taking home $100 with her family's pumpkin weighing in at 131 lbs. 

In the youth category, Cody and Jacob Baird won a total of $125 for their two pumpkins weighing 55 lbs each.

The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-in was a collaboration between Tourism Vernon and Davison Orchards.

The hope is to build the event into an annual tradition. 

Next Saturday, the winning pumpkin will be carved and used in a pumpkin paddle demonstration at Kin Beach at 12 p.m. The hope is that next year, the pumpkins from the Giant Pumpkin festival will be used in a pumpkin paddle race.



Sayonara Civic Arena

It won't be long before the North Okanagan's oldest arena is no more.

Crews have started tearing apart the outside of Vernon's Civic Arena. The 80-year-old building was decommissioned earlier in 2018.

A large pile of rubble sits along the south end of the building. 

Work began on taking down the ageing arena in September, with some of the structure being repurposed, salvaged, but most of it being scrapped. 

Along with the arena, two adjacent houses are also being torn down.

In November 2017, city council made the decision after receiving reports indicated repurposing the 80-year-old arena would be technically challenging and costly – at an estimated $11-12 million.

After much debate among civic leaders and the community as to the fate of the building, it was decided to demolish.

City officials have not said what the plan is for the land.



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