Salmon Arm  

Salmon Arm RCMP warn of phone scam making the rounds

Beware of phone scam

If you receive a call from someone claiming they represent 'Publisher's Clearing House', hang up right away.

Salmon Arm RCMP issued a fraud alert Monday afternoon citing this tactic as a scam, along with the Canada Revenue Agency scam calls that are abundant as of late.

Residents of the Salmon Arm area may receive calls from Publisher's Clearing House saying that they have won a car and a sizable amount of money. The scammer claims that all you have to do is pay a certain amount of money, with the latest case being $500, and you will receive the car and cash.

"Remember there are no prize fees or taxes in Canada, if you won it is free," says S/Sgt. Scott West, communications officer for the Salmon Arm RCMP.

"The fraudster asks for money to be paid to an account number complete with transit number. Do not initiate a transfer of funds – it is a scam."

The caller may also thank the "winner" for bill payments to accounts they may hold, but police say at this time it is unknown how the scammer would have any by the information obtained in this case.

Police warn against these calls by saying if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

"Do not give out any personal informing to these callers," says West. "No address, Social Insurance Number, birth date, credit or banking information – don't even confirm this information."

If you get a suspicious unsolicited call, police recommend first calling the company in question to confirm. Be wary of suspicious calls or emails, as companies continue to get spoofed online and over the phone.

Shuswap ticket holder wins $1-million guaranteed prize in Lotto 649 draw

$1M winner in Shuswap

Check your tickets!

No winning ticket was sold for the $8 million jackpot in Saturday night's Lotto 649 draw – but, a ticket sold somewhere in the Shuswap is worth $1 million.

The BC Lotteries website shows the guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in the Shuswap, but didn't identify the community.

Meanwhile, a ticket sold in Burnaby was worth $40,000.

The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Oct. 21 will be approximately $11 million.

North Okanagan-Shuswap School District facing deficit of more than $2 million

District faces $2M shortfall

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District is facing a funding shortfall of more than $2 million.

In a newsletter to parents, Supt. Peter Jory outlined financial challenges facing the district.

While Jory says the start of the school year has been "overwhelmingly successful," he  goes on to add a "significant financial issue" has come to light in recent weeks.

"The first part is the initial reduction of student-based funding caused by the loss of 98 students, along with the lower level of funding generated by students in an online program. The second part is the realization that a disproportionate number of students who did not return were students with funded Individualized Education Plans, so our Inclusive Education Department is facing a significant funding reduction. The third part is a bit more complicated, and that is the impact of the Classroom Enhancement Fund," Jory writes in the newsletter.

Since a Supreme Court ruling in 2017 on class sizes, the district has been receiving about $6 million a year in additional funding.

"We are expected to staff in accordance with that contract language, then we receive grant money to pay for the difference in the number of teachers required. We staffed in accordance with the old language, but reduction in students has meant that we no longer qualify for the CEF grant in several of our schools."

Jory says the combination of factors has resulted in a deficit of more than $2 million, "which may end up being significantly more before we complete our CEF application process."

District staff have begun working on a plan to decrease teacher numbers in schools where there are enough empty seats to do so and still meet the restored contract language.

"More reductions will certainly follow across a number of staffing categories, and some programs approved at the board table will need to come back for reconsideration," says Jory.

"Some have wondered about our using the Federal Grant monies to offset staffing reductions. This will remain a consideration, but it should be noted that the majority of it will be easily spent covering the increased costs it was intended to support."

Meanwhile, the district reports the majority of students have returned to in-class learning. About 300 have chosen to do so through a graduated return, or are learning online, either temporarily or for the balance of the school year.

The overall funded enrolment stands at 6,429 students, or 98.6% of the district's projections.


Huge algae bloom covered much of Shuswap Lake since summer

Algae bloom finally ends

A massive algae bloom on Shuswap Lake that persisted over most of the summer has finally ended.

The Shuswap Watershed Council tweeted Wednesday that the green algae bloom is over.

"We've been in regular communication with our water quality monitoring partners this summer and early fall with regards to the persistent algal bloom that affected Salmon Arm Bay, Canoe, Tappen, and Herald (Park). Recent monitoring results indicate the bloom has finally ended," the council said.

In August, Interior Health issued a warning about the algae bloom, which had most of the Salmon Arm of Shuswap Lake.

Interior Health monitored the situation along with the Ministry of the Environment, First Nations Health Authority, City of Salmon Arm, Columbia Shuswap Regional District, and Fraser Basin Council.

The bloom was first detected on July 22.

IH said the bloom was primarily non-harmful green algae with very low numbers of the more dangerous cyanobacteria or blue-green algae.

The risk to public health was low. 

During warm summer months, it is common for some blooms to be blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, which can quickly grow into large masses called cyanoblooms. Blue-green algae can produce a toxin, which may be harmful if it is swallowed or if it comes in contact with skin.

Cyanoblooms can cover the surface or make normally clear water look like thick pea soup or paint.

Shuswap dog had to get its leg amputated after falling off a truck

Dog falls from truck bed

A puppy in the Shuswap is in recovery after it was seriously injured last week.

Nelson is a five-month-old border collie pup that got hurt falling from the back of a truck on the Squilax-Anglemont Road near Celista on Oct. 7. After the accident the dog was brought to the Shuswap SPCA and underwent immediate emergency surgery to amputate one of its hind legs.

"Unfortunately his leg was too badly injured to be saved, but he is getting wonderful care and we are hopeful that he will recover well," says Victoria Olynik, manager of the Shuswap SPCA.

"He is such a sweet, affectionate boy. He’s a bit bewildered at the moment after everything he has been through in the last couple of days, but he should be able to go on to live a happy and playful life."

The Shuswap SPCA has taken over looking after Nelson, as his owner surrendered their care to the organization. He is receiving around-the-clock care in an SPCA foster home.

The BC SPCA investigation is still ongoing, and Olynik says charges may be recommended.

“This case highlights how incredibly dangerous it is to travel with dogs unsecured in the back of trucks,” she says. “The kind of suffering that Nelson has been subjected to is completely preventable."

Nelson's care is expected to cost about $2,000, and it appears the BC SPCA has raised enough money to help cover it. If you would like to help other animals in need, you can visit the BC SPCA website.

Salmon Arm Pride Project packed with activities starts today

Pride festival arrives

Pride gatherings around the world have been cancelled in light of COVID-19.

Closer to home, the Salmon Arm Arts Centre has come up with a four-day event that keeps in line with pandemic protocols.

The Salmon Arm Pride Project runs from now (Oct. 14) until Saturday (with a church service on Sunday). 

At the Salmon Arm Art Gallery, a four-day exhibit kicks off today. PRIDE! THE EXHIBITION showcases work aimed at inspiring attendees, to get them to use materials like fibre and maps. The gallery will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

A pop-up shop will run the same four days. Located at 121 Shuswap St., where the Blue Canoe used to be, the shop will carry mugs, masks, toques and more, all made by members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and allies. It'll be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, except Friday when it'll be open until 7 p.m.

Moreover, a film festival will take over the Salmar Theatre over those four days. Movies include the independent Kenyan flick Rafiki, a story about two women experiencing oppression in Nairobi, to blockbuster Rocketman, which tells the story of Elton John.

On Oct. 17, an at-home event will be held with drag queen Frieda Whales through the Salmon Arm Arts Centre YouTube channel. She'll help lead the web show with stories and an art project for kids.

Anchoring the festival is a Sunday service with the First United Church. It will also be broadcast via the arts centre's YouTube channel, starting at 11 a.m.

For more information, click here.

Salmon Arm RCMP confirm Sunday afternoon crash was fatal

Man dies after vehicle crash

A male in his 40's from Sorrento has died following a fatal crash in Salmon Arm on Sunday afternoon.

Salmon Arm RCMP and emergency crews responded to reports of a single vehicle collision in the 3200 block of 50th St. SW at about 4:45 p.m.

The event had no witnesses, and is believed to have happened prior to being reported by a person who was farming in the area.

An investigation found the green Ford pickup truck had been travelling northbound, when it left the road, collided with trees and flipped into the Salmon River. 

The driver was the sole occupant in the vehicle, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Criminality of any other driver is not suspected, and the BC Coroner's Service will continue their investigation. 

Two Okanagan seniors killed in crash with semi south of Sicamous

2 seniors killed in crash

A fatal crash on Highway 97A south of Sicamous on Tuesday claimed the lives of two Okanagan seniors.

Cpl. Mike Halskov with BC RCMP Traffic Services says the crash between a southbound vehicle and an oncoming semi tractor-trailer claimed the lives of a couple in their seventies.

Their vehicle crossed the centre line and collided head-on with the semi about 9:45 a.m., near Mara.

The driver of the transport truck was not injured, says Halskov.

The highway was closed for several hours as police investigated and crews cleared the crash site.

Trans Canada East Traffic Services from Revelstoke, the Collision Analyst and Reconstruction Service, and BC Coroners' Service are continuing their investigations to determine the cause of the crash. 

Sicamous RCMP said Tuesday that alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

No names have been released.

Two people killed in head-on semi crash near Sicamous

Hwy open after double fatal

UPDATE 5:35 p.m.

Highway 97A has now reopened south of Sicamous following the investigation into a double-fatal crash.

UPDATE: 1:00 p.m.

Police confirm that two people have died as a result of the crash on Highway 97A near Sicamous.

Sicamous RCMP say a northbound semi truck collided head-on with a southbound passenger vehicle near Mara Provincial Park, which is in between Sicamous and Grindrod.

"The two people in the passenger vehicle are both deceased," says Sgt. Murray McNeil of the Sicamous RCMP. "The driver of the semi truck did not sustain any major injuries."

McNeil says alcohol is not believed to be a factor, but the RCMP traffic unit is still on the scene investigating the cause of the crash.

"The highway is still closed," says McNeil. "And we anticipate it will be closed well into the afternoon."

No names have been released as next of kin have not yet been notified.

UPDATE: 11:18 a.m.

A crash south of Sicamous on Highway 97A involves a semi that has gone off a corner and partially over an embankment.

The highway is closed in both directions.

There is no word the cause of the crash or the severity of any injuries involved.

ORIGINAL: 10:55 a.m.

A crash has closed Highway 97A in both directions near Sicamous.

DriveBC reports the incident Tuesday morning, about eight kilometres south of Sicamous, between Hutchison Road and Davidson Drive.

An assessment is in progress, and no detour is available at this time.

DriveBC is scheduled to update the situation at 2 p.m.

Celebrate Shuswap looks to promote local music through performances, documentary

Celebrate Shuswap music

A new music festival is bringing together the Shuswap's live music scene to help lift it off the ground after COVID-19 restrictions delivered a big blow to the industry.

In October and November, Salmon Arm will feature local artists in the Celebrate Shuswap 2020 festival in a brand new venue. Along with the performances, a documentary will be filmed to showcase the Shuswap's talent.

"Celebrate Shuswap will produce a video documentary featuring original music of seven different artists recorded between Oct. 15 and Nov. 7," says producer Ted Crouch. "The edited production will highlight the music industry in the Shuswap and be streamed on various platforms."

Jazz, country, alternative, folk and blues are just a few of the genres that will be featured in the festival. Unfortunately, the performances will not be open to the public.

"Due to recent increases in coronavirus positive cases in BC, it is not possible to invite the public to attend this event," says Crouch. "Artists will be required to follow provincial health orders during the record sessions."

More information will be made available at Acoustic Avenue's website.

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