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Salmon Arm  

Hwy 1 cleared, traffic delays persist after serious collision between Chase and Sorrento

Shuswap crash cleared

UPDATE: 5:21 p.m.

The Trans-Canada Highway east of Chase has been cleared after an earlier collision closed the highway near Little River Road, according to DriveBC.

DriveBC advised drivers to expect delays due to traffic congestion.

There is still no official word on any injuries.


UPDATE: 2:52 p.m.

There is still no official word on any injuries following a serious collision Tuesday on the Trans-Canada Highway near Sorrento, but the crash is believed to have been fatal.

Emergency crews were called to a stretch of Highway 1 near Little River Road just before 1 p.m.

According to B.C. Emergency Health Services, four ambulances responded to the scene. A BCEHS spokeswoman said zero patients were transported to hospital.

Castanet is waiting to hear back from police. This story will be updated when more information is known.

Do you know what happened? Email [email protected]


UPDATE: 2:39 p.m.

Single-lane alternating traffic is now getting through on Highway 1 at the scene of a collision between Chase and Sorrento, according to DriveBC.

There is still no official word on any injuries.


ORIGINAL STORY: 2:10 p.m.

A collision has closed Highway 1 east of Chase.

According to DriveBC, reports indicate that a vehicle incident is blocking the highway at Little River Road, where Little River Boat World is located, between Chase and Sorrento.

Castanet has reached out to police for more information. This story will be updated when more becomes known.



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Shuswap Lake level falling, but flood watch remains in place

Shuswap Lake level falls

Shuswap Lake continues to fall – but a flood watch remains in place for the region.

As of Tuesday at 6 a.m., the lake level was measured at 348.801 metres.

That's down from 348.845 metres on Monday – a drop of 0.044 m or 1.7 inches over the past 24 hours.

Shuswap Lake's worst flood year was 1972, when the lake peaked at 349.660 metres.

Despite the lake falling, the Shuswap Emergency Program is keeping its Emergency Operations Centre active to monitor the situation and react as needed.

The entire Shuswap remains under flood watch status from the BC River Forecast Centre.



Environment Canada ends severe thunderstorm watch previously issued for Shuswap

Severe T-storm watch ended

UPDATE: 5:54 p.m.

Environment Canada has ended a severe thunderstorm watch for the Shuswap region.


UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the Shuswap region.

The alert was made just before 3:30 p.m. on Monday, hours after Environment Canada put in place a severe thunderstorm watch for a wide swath of the Thompson-Okanagan.

The area covered by the warning includes Chase, Salmon Arm and Sicamous.


ORIGINAL: 9:53 a.m.

Another severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Thompson and Shuswap regions.

Environment Canada issued the watch Monday morning as heavy rains are anticipated – with as much as 15 millimetres falling in a single hour.

The storm watch is in effect for the North, Central and South Okanagan, eastern parts of the North Thompson, Monte Creek, Pritchard, northeast portions of the Nicola Valley, Monte Lake, Westwold, and Shuswap.

"Conditions are favourable for the the development of severe thunderstorms today," Environment Canada says.

Strong wind gusts and small hail are also possible.

"Intense lightning is likely with any thunderstorm that develops. Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads."

This comes as the River Forecast Centre has issued another flood watch for Mission Creek in Kelowna.

The creek level increased rapidly overnight and will continue to rise through Tuesday, depending on the amount of additional rainfall.

High streamflow advisories remain in place for many other rivers and streams across southern and southeastern B.C. after as much as 35 millimetres of rain fell over the last 24 hours.

A flood watch has been replaced for the upper Fraser River with a high streamflow advisory as conditions around Prince George ease, but watches are still posted for the Nechako, Thompson and South Thompson rivers, while a flood warning is still up for the Quesnel River east of Williams Lake.

– with files from The Canadian Press



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Salmon Arm nurse sanctioned for inappropriate care of patients

Shuswap nurse sanctioned

A Salmon Arm nurse has been sanctioned by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives.

A consent agreement issued July 3 states Licensed Practical Nurse Feizal Halim directed care staff at an unnamed facility to bring those who rang call bells frequently or wouldn't sleep to the dining room.

He also directed staff to open the windows, turn off the lights, and not provide coffee, snacks, or a blanket.

Halim also refused to assist a resident with toileting and communicated with the resident "inappropriately and disrespectfully," the agreement states.

The incidents occurred during night shifts in March and April 2021.

The registrant voluntarily agreed to a suspension of his nursing registration for one week and a limit prohibiting him from being the sole nurse on duty.

Halim must also take remedial education in ethics and communication, along with a regulatory practice consulting program.

The college says its inquiry committee is satisfied "that the terms will protect the public."



Tappen resident in shock over $1-million Lotto 6/49 win

He just won a million bucks

A Shuswap man says he was "blown away" after realizing he scored a $1-million windfall in the June 8 Lotto 6/49 draw.

Tappen resident Larry Anderson was at home with his wife when he discovered the $1-million guaranteed prize win after checking his ticket on BCLC’s Lotto! App.

"My wife saw something on Facebook that said there was a winner in our area," Anderson recalled of the moment he realized he was a winner. "I hadn't really thought about what I would do if I won!"

Naturally, his wife was the first to find out about his windfall, followed by his children.

"I called my kids, who didn’t believe me at first," he says.

Anderson purchased his ticket from the Blind Bay Village Grocer. He plans to take his time figuring out what to do with his prize as the shock wears off.

"I need to think about it for a while first," he says.

So far in 2022, B.C. lottery players have redeemed more than $83 million in winnings from Lotto 6/49.



Evacuation alert issued for Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park due to landslide threat

Mobile home park on alert

An evacuation alert has been issued for a mobile home park in the Shuswap area due to the threat of a landslide.

The District of Sicamous, through the Shuswap Emergency Program, issued the evacuation alert for Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park — located on the east side of Highway 97A — on Sunday, at about 3 p.m.

“The threat of a landslide near Wiseman Creek in the District of Sicamous is increasing due to predicted thunderstorms in the area,” the alert notification said.

“Due to the potential danger to life, health or property, an evacuation alert is in effect.”

Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park residences numbers one through 27 are under alert, and residents are advised to gather essential items, get grab-and-go bags together, fill vehicles with gas and make transportation arrangements in case an evacuation is ordered.

“Residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to an evacuation, however you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions,” the notification said.

Residents are advised to monitor the Shuswap Emergency Program’s website for updates.

This is the fourth evacuation alert issued for the mobile home park since May.



Salmon Arm's R.J. Haney Heritage Village hosts Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre

Villains and Vittles theatre

Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre returns to Salmon Arm's R.J. Haney Heritage Village.

The historic site and museum celebrates 28 years of amphitheatre productions with "That's Not Shakespeare!"

The show tells the story of Jessie Herald, who was just six years old when she moved to Bonny Brae in 1906.

She lived the rest of her 88 years on the homestead site now known as Herald Provincial Park on Shuswap Lake.

When Jessie was in her seventies, she sold the 160-acre family parcel to the province for a fraction of its value – on the condition it was turned into a park and she was allowed to retain one acre with her house and barn.

Throughout the years, there have been many visitors – none more unique than the play's title character.

Local playwright Peter Blacklock is back for his 12th season as writer and director.

"That's Not Shakespeare!" is filled with original music and humorous storytelling that will whisk you away to not-so-far-off places while sharing our history and a little Shakespeare along the way.

Opening night is July 3, with shows every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evening in July and August and a matinee performance Aug. 25.

Check-in starts at 5 p.m. and the evening includes dinner with all the pioneer fixings served from the Sprig of Heather restaurant. Dessert will follow the play with homemade rhubarb crisp and ice cream.

Adults are $35, seniors $32.50, children five to 12 are $15, and under four is free.

Tickets can be reserved via the museum website or by calling 250-832-5243.



Water quality advisory issued for Sunnybrae Beach near Tappen in the Shuswap

E. coli at Shuswap beach

A water quality advisory has been issued for a popular Shuswap beach.

Sunnybrae Beach has been placed on a water quality advisory due to unacceptable E. coli bacterial counts found in recent routine water samples.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District says the beach is not closed, but Interior Health is advising that due to the elevated water sample results, the public should be made aware of the increased risk of swimming at the Tappen beach.

When bacterial counts are high, there is an increased risk of illness to swimmers and bathers.

Follow-up samples are being taken, and the advisory will be rescinded once samples show acceptable bacteria levels.

The beach water is tested on a weekly basis.

The advisory is in addition to a cautionary advisory issued June 28 by Interior Health regarding an algae bloom in the Salmon Arm Bay, which includes the Sunnybrae area.

IH reports there can be a number of reasons for elevated E. coli levels, including wildlife such as geese.

Weather can also play a factor, with heavy rains washing contaminants into the water or warm temperatures increasing bacterial growth.

Sunnybrae Community Beach Park will remain open for public use, however users are advised to refrain from activities in which a person’s whole body and face are frequently immersed in the water. Users are reminded not to ingest any untreated water.

The advisory does not affect Sandy Beach or Pebble Beach in Blind Bay.



Woman connects with Salmon Arm couple who saved her life after horrific Coquihalla crash

'They saved my life'

Kate Potts knows she is lucky to be alive.

And, earlier this week, she finally was able to contact the couple who saved her life.

The Maple Ridge woman, who also lived in Vernon for a few years, was in a horrific car accident in 2021.

And had it not been for Marylin and Jarrod Thomas, Potts would likely have died on the side of the Coquihalla Highway that fateful day.

“They saved my life, and that is something I am never going to forget,” said Potts. “They are a blessing to me and my family. They are angels that are walking on this earth.”

Potts didn't know who her saviours were and began a social media campaign to find them.

She finally found the Salmon Arm couple and expressed how grateful she was for all they had done.

Marylin and Kate have been trading messages since, and Potts plans on meeting the couple.

It was on July 11, 2021 that Potts' life changed.

She and her boyfriend were in a horrific crash that left her with a broken back, her right leg amputated below the knee and part of her right hand lost.

“I was actually ejected from the car,” she said. “I was lying on the grass when I woke up and saw my right leg was amputated on scene.”

Between the leg and hand injuries, the blood loss was severe.

Several vehicles drove by before the Thomases stopped to offer their life-saving help.

“They actually went past us, slammed on the brakes and came back,” said Potts.

She was fading in and out of consciousness from the blood loss, and Jarrod used the string from his hoodie to tie a tourniquet around Potts' leg. Her boyfriend did the same for her hand.

Marilyn had some first aid training and did what she could to to help Potts.

It took about 30 minutes for an ambulance arrive, and an air ambulance was called in to rush Potts to hospital.

She didn't know her back was broken until she felt searing pain when paramedics slipped a backboard underneath her.

“My vertebrae exploded. It was 10 to 14 hours (of surgery) to work on my back.”

She now has a prosthetic leg and has one more surgery scheduled for her hand.

The past year has been an emotional roller coaster for Potts, who recently turned 21.

“Days that I'm sitting here and not feeling the best about my body or myself I sit back and I'm like, 'I'm obviously here for a reason so I am going to live my life the best I can for Marilyn and Jarrod because they are the ones who helped me,'” she said.

“It's been a big blessing to hear from Marilyn. She didn't have to reach out but she saw that I was looking for her and wrote to me. It's a very heartwarming feeling.”



Flood situation stabilizing, but water levels still running high in Shuswap

Flood situation stabilizing

The flood situation in the Shuswap has started to stabilize, but closures and advisories remain in place for the time being.

The City of Enderby said Monday afternoon the Shuswap River water height is 4.54 m (14.90 feet) with a discharge rate of 405 m3/s. For comparison, on Friday, the Shuswap River water height was 4.74 m (15.55 feet) with a discharge rate of 444 m3/s

“Hot, dry conditions are forecast for today with the risk of strong thunderstorms and 5 mm of precipitation for tomorrow afternoon,” said the city in a news release.

Forecast models are predicting that the Shuswap River discharge rate will begin to slightly increase throughout the week. Closures remain in effect for Riverdale Drive, Kildonan Boat Launch, and Tuey Park.

Residents are also being reminded of a planned water quality advisory for June 28-29 due to water main repair work. During this time, individuals with weakened immune systems or wishing for more protection may want to boil their water.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District, meanwhile, said in a statement Monday it is watching Shuswap Lake levels as they start to hopefully recede.

“While the levels of local lakes and rivers have begun to stabilize, a Flood Watch is being maintained by the BC River Forecast Centre for Shuswap Lake due to continued potential for heavy rainfall in the coming days,” CSRD said.

“Positive news on the flooding front is snowmelt risks appear to be subsiding, as the snowpack has diminished,” the regional district continued.

“The weather over the next few days will be critical in seeing whether lake levels will rise further or will start to decline. The Shuswap Emergency Program is reminding residents in flood-prone areas to be aware of the weather patterns, as any rain could increase river flows and push lake levels higher.”



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