Sagmoen charge dropped

Curtis Sagmoen is facing one less charge.

Crown Counsel has stayed one count of assault against 38-year-old Sagmoen, but will proceed with a charge of assault causing bodily harm at a Vernon BC Supreme Court trial Dec. 9.

Dan McLaughlin, Communications Counsel with the BC Prosecution Service, said “As the matter remains before the court the BCPS will have no comment at this time regarding the reason for the stay.”

Sagmoen will also be in court Sept. 9 for a separate trial on several charges including uttering threats and firearms offences related to an alleged incident near Falkland in 2017.


Air quality still not good

The air up there is still not very good.

A dust advisory continues for the Vernon area.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority, has continued the advisory issued on March 18.

High concentrations of coarse particulates are expected to persist until there is a change in current weather conditions or reduction in dust emissions.

People with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Staying indoors and in air-conditioned spaces helps to reduce particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

More information on current air quality can be found online.

Washout on Bench Row

The warming temperatures are starting to have an impact on roadways in the Okanagan.

A small washout has impacted driving on Bench Row Road in Vernon.

The road is partially closed in the gulley near Okanagan Landing Road Thursday morning due to debris and fear of more freshet causing bigger issues.

Emergency crews have set up cones and are working on fixing the area.


Memorial ribbon stolen

Bree McCormack is saddened at how low some people can go.

On Saturday night, someone stole a magnetic memorial ribbon from her vehicle that was in honour of her cousin who was killed while serving in Afghanistan.

Cpl. Zachery McCormack was killed by an improvised explosive device on Dec. 30, 2009 along with three other soldiers and journalist Michelle Lang.

He had been in Afghanistan for only a few months when he was killed in the line of duty.

McCormack said her grandparents were in town from Alberta and gave her two of the magnetic ribbons, but while she was visiting friends at the Holiday Park Mobile Home Park in Winfield, someone stole the ribbon the same day she put it on her vehicle.

McCormack has had other, generic decals stolen from her vehicle before, but this time the theft touched a nerve because of the personal nature of the ribbon.

“It has a lot of sentimental value and I am trying to honour my cousin as best I can. To just up and steal it is kind of ignorant,” she said. “For someone to steal it right off my van is pretty low.”

Big donation to Gleaners

The North Okanagan Valley Gleaners will be able to breathe a little easier while helping to create millions of meals a year.

A member of the Gleaners has donated $100,000 to the organization for a ventilation system for their new bagging system.

Brad Egerton, with the Gleaners, said the non-profit group recently installed a system that makes bagging the dehydrated soup base faster and more efficient.

But, it also generates a lot of dust so a ventilation system is needed.

“One of our greatest concerns is the safety of our volunteers so one of our volunteers has donated $100,000 to upgrade the system and remove the dust,” said Egerton, adding $35,000 of that money will be used to rebuild the 40-year-old vegetable dicer.

A new dicer would cost double that amount.

Egerton said the donation shows how much heart and caring Gleaners volunteers have.

The Gleaners produce up to 7 million meals a year.

“Our vision is to be at 13 million meals within the next couple of years,” he said.

The meals are sent around the world, including North Korea which is no easy feat considering the closed off nature of the communist country.

Police confirm IED

UPDATE 4:02 p.m.

North Okanagan RCMP are providing more details on the explosive scare in Armstrong.

Const. Kelly Brett says just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, an officer was approached by a concerned citizen who found what they believed to be an explosive device on the 3100 block of Smith Drive.

Police found a small device that had the appearance of a hand grenade sitting on top of a cement barrier. 

“As a precaution, the area was immediately evacuated and the streets closed for the safety of the public until we could determine what it was we were dealing with,” said Brett. “Out of an abundance of caution, the scene was secured overnight until the device could be examined by specifically trained officers from the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit.”

Just after 10 a.m., the bomb squad arrived and confirmed the device was a modified grenade, but was no risk to public safety. 

“Although the device was rendered safe, EDU collected the object and disposed of it in a safe and controlled manner, so it does not end up in the wrong hands again,” said Brett. 

Police are still investigating when and why the device was left.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Vernon North Okanagan RCMP at 250-545-7171 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.nokscrimestoppers.com.

UPDATE 3:04 p.m.

RCMP have released a video of how they disposed of the explosive device found in Armstrong Tuesday evening.

The RCMP bomb disposal unit collected the modified hand grenade Wednesday morning and detonated it under controlled conditions.

UPDATE 12:14 p.m.

The RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit has confirmed the explosive device to be a improvised grenade that has been rendered safe.

Police said on a Facebook and Twitter post the intent of the IED being placed in that area and when is unknown at this time.

UPDATE: 11:20 a.m.

Smith Drive has been reopened to traffic.

UPDATE: 11:15 a.m.

A bomb squad member has retrieved the device and placed it in an explosive-proof box.

Police are now taking down the tape closing off Smith Drive, and it appears the bomb squad is getting ready to take the device to a secure location for safe disposal.

UPDATE: 10:50 a.m.

The RCMP bomb squad has arrived on scene in Armstrong, where Smith Drive is closed due to the discovery of a potential explosive device.

ORIGINAL: 9 a.m.

Smith Drive in Armstrong will be closed for several more hours while RCMP wait for the bomb squad to arrive and investigate a possible grenade.

Const. Kelly Brett said the unit from the Lower Mainland will likely not be in Armstrong until this afternoon.

The area has been cordoned off by police since Tuesday afternoon.

A possible hand grenade was found in a vacant lot across the road from One Stop Automotive, prompting an evacuation of the area.


Avalanche at SilverStar

One person was flown to hospital by air ambulance following an avalanche at SilverStar Mountain Resort.

In a press release, officials with SilverStar said due to warming in temperatures, an isothermal avalanche occurred at SilverStar Mountain Resort on Wednesday afternoon.

An isothermal avalanche is when all layers of the snowpack are at the same temperature, typically at the freezing point, and often refers to a snowpack that is wet throughout its depth. This condition typically occurs in the spring or after many cycles of melting and freezing.

The incident happened just after noon on a double-black-diamond run on SilverStar's Putnam Creek. SilverStar said one male was involved in the incident and was transported to hospital by BC Air Ambulance.

Chantelle Deacon, spokesperson for SilverStar, said the extent of the man's injuries are not known at this time.

Deacon also said this is the first avalanche the Star has ever had.

SilverStar's backside, Putnam Creek has been closed to deal with the incident and will remain closed until further notice. SilverStar will provide more information as it becomes available.

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