Salmon Arm  

May long camping tragedy

UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.

One person is dead and a child has been airlifted to hospital after a tragic camping accident that was discovered Saturday morning. 

Police were called to the Sandy Point Campground, northwest of Salmon Arm, early Saturday morning after witnesses say a woman and her baby were found unresponsive inside a tent. 

"Upon arrival they located a deceased adult and youth suffering from what appears to be carbon monoxide poisoning," said Cpl. Chris Manseau of the RCMP. 

"It's been determined that it was likely a camp stove that was used inside a tent."

The child was airlifted to hospital for treatment, although the extent of the child's injuries is unknown at this time. 

Cpl. Manseau called the incident a "terrible tragedy," and said the death does not appear suspicious at this time. The BC Coroners Service is now investigating. 

ORIGINAL: 11 a.m.

Witnesses tell castanet an air ambulance has been called to a Shuswap campground.

Details are limited at this time, but a witness said a baby and her mother were found unresponsive inside a tent at the Sandy Point Campground west of Salmon Arm.

Emergency crews were called to the scene around 10 a.m. Saturday.

The witness told Castanet some sort of warming device was being used in the tent, but it is unclear what the device was or if it was the cause of the emergency.

Castanet will have more information as soon as it becomes available.


Body recovered in Shuswap

The Sicamous Creek Falls trail system is open following the Shuswap Search and Rescue recovery of a body above the falls.

The unidentified man fell to his death Wednesday and SSR conducted a challenging high-angle rope rescue to retrieve the body.

On Twitter, The Columbia Shuswap Regional District announced the trails were open and expressed sympathy to the family and friends of the victim.


Cop not charged in shooting

No charges will be filed against a member of the Salmon Arm RCMP in relation to a non-fatal shooting in 2015.

The July 3 incident incident was investigated by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) and following the investigation, the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO determined officers may have committed offences and submitted a report to the BC Prosecution Service.

Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service, said in a press release that in this case, the BCPS concluded the available evidence does not meet the charge assessment standard for approval of any charges against the police officers in connection with the incident.

On July 3, 2015 at 4:42 p.m., Salmon Arm police received a report a male suspect had robbed a gas station in Sicamous brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. The suspect fled in a vehicle westbound on Highway 1 with one of the owners of the gas station pursuing him on a motorcycle.

Following civilian reports, the RCMP attempted to set up containment using police vehicles near the intersection of Highway 1 and Bernie Road. As the suspect drove back toward the highway, he maneuvered his vehicle through the loose containment without striking any people or vehicles.

As the suspect’s vehicle turned off Bernie Road westbound onto Hwy 1, one of the RCMP officers fired a single shot at his vehicle, hitting nothing.

RCMP later located the suspect vehicle at a farm east of Salmon Arm.

Another officer with a Police Service Dog tracked the suspect to a dark storage room in the lower level of a disused barn. The dog entered the room, followed by the officer who yelled commands to the suspect and to the dog.

At some point, the dog seized the suspect’s thigh.

The suspect swung a baseball bat, hitting the officer and his firearm.

The officer fired several shots, some of which struck the suspect who was transported to hospital.


Bikers rally for bullied kid

More than 85 bikers roared into Chase, Friday, in support of a local nine-year-old who has been relentlessly bullied at school for over a year.

While only a handful left Edmonton early Thursday, an invitation had been extended to any biker who wished to come out and support Samiya Noor. They were not disappointed.

Motorcycles kept pouring into the parking lot of Memorial Park. Some were from Chase, others from Kamloops and even Vancouver. 

Before attending Haldane Elementary, Noor went to different schools in Alberta and never had an issue with bullies, Noor’s grandmother and guardian, Vicki Gustavson, says. The issues didn’t start until they moved to Chase. 

Noor arrived in the parking lot with a big smile as the crowd cheered. Some fellow students brought bouquets of flowers, and she was presented with shirts, backpacks and stickers from Bikers are Buddies and other anti-bullying groups.

Some of the bikers in attendance let go of their tough-guy personas and shed some tears at the sight of the overwhelming support.

Andrew Phillips of the Bullying Enns group said as they made their way into Chase, they were greeted by parents, bikers and community members, who all came out to show their support.

“(The) whole town was excited,” he said, noting the waves and honks they received.

Bullying Enns is now looking to create a division of the group in Kamloops.

Cavelle Layes / Kamloops Matters

Pot shop approved

It looks like there will be some choices for tokers in the Shuswap area as to where they buy their weed.

A second marijuana retail store has been given a license by the province.

The Greenery Cannabis Boutique has been approved for 2-190 Trans Canada Highway NE.

Earlier this year, Green Canoe Cannabis was given a license from the province to open a shop at 7390 50th Street NE.

According to the province, licenses have been issued for 23 legal pot shops in BC, with the majority being in the Lower Mainland.

The province has yet to provide a license for a store in the Okanagan, but some stores have opened anyway.

The so called 'Green Mile' on the Okanagan Indian Band land has three stores in close proximity, hence the moniker.

Vernon city council has approved more than 10 applications for pot shops in the city, but it is up to the province to approve a license.


Gathergood back in court

The man charged with killing one man and seriously injuring a second at a Salmon Arm church returns to court Tuesday morning.

Matrix Savage Gathergood will be back in court nearly a month after he is alleged to have entered the Church of Christ and shot 78-year-old Gordon Parmenter.

Parmenter died at the scene while a second man, Paul Derkach, was seriously injured.

Gathergood is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault and disguising his face while committing an offence.

He made a brief court appearance two weeks ago.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday.

Motorcyclist hits big rig

A motorcyclist was killed in a head-on collision with a tractor trailer unit Tuesday.

On April 30, at approximately 3:40 p.m., Sicamous RCMP and emergency services received a report of a collision on Highway 1 near Cambie Solsqua Road in Malakwa.

“Upon arrival it was determined that an east-bound motorcycle with a lone rider crossed the centre line and collided head-on with a west bound transport truck,” said Cpl. Mike Halskov.

“The motorcycle rider, a 53-year-old woman from the local area, died at the scene from her injuries. The truck driver was not injured. Highway 1 was closed for a number of hours while police investigated.”

The cause of the collision remains under investigation. 

“At this time, criminality did not play a role in the cause of this crash,” said Halskov.

Anyone with information regarding this collision who has yet to speak with police is asked to call 250-344-2221, and quote file 2019-1958.

Highway 1 partially reopens

UPDATE: 8:30 p.m

After a crash closed Highway 1 in both directions east of Sicamous Tuesday afternoon, the highway has now been partially reopened to single-lane, alternating traffic. 

UPDATE: 6:55 p.m

Highway 1 remains closed east of Sicamous after a crash closed the highway earlier Tuesday, but DriveBC now estimates the road will open at 7:45 p.m.

Castanet will update this story when the highway reopens. 

ORIGINAL: 5:05 p.m.

A crash has closed Highway 1 east of Sicamous Tuesday afternoon.

The highway is closed in both directions seven kilometres east of Sicamous, between Cambie-Solsqua and Myllinemi Roads.

The crash occurred before 5 p.m. Tuesday, although the severity of the crash is unknown at this time.

DriveBC says crews are currently assessing the situation, and they'll be providing an update at 6 p.m.

Free camping for veterans

Gardom Lake is offering free camping to veterans.

From July 12-19, military veterans are being invited to stay at the Shuswap area camp that is owned and operated by 10 North Okanagan Legions.

“We know many veteran’s suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder that can be stressful on not only these vets but on their families as well,” said Jessie King, North Okanagan Zone Commander. “That is why we have decided to offer the no cost week to them. A little R&R can go a long way in helping the healing process.”

The camp is situated 18 km from Salmon Arm on Highway 97B and contains 18 RV/tenting sites and seven cabins that sleep six. 

It’s nestled on 12.5 acres along 1,000 feet of lakeshore beach for those interested in swimming, non-motorized boating, fishing or just lounging under the sun. 

The group has planned barbecues and activities for adults and children during their stay.  
“We welcome applications from all Veteran’s, however the camp is not wheelchair equipped,” King said.

King can be reached at Kjessie252gmail.com

600 mourn shooting victim

It was standing room only as more than 600 mourners filled the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre on Saturday.

The community was left shocked and dazed when community leader Gordon Parmenter was shot and killed in the Church of Christ earlier this month.

The 78 year old died on April 14 after a gunman burst into the church and shot him. A fellow parishioner, Paul Derkach, was also shot.

Derkach was airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital, where he underwent surgery to save his right leg. Derkach was seen hobbling in to pay his respects and show support for the family at Saturday's memorial.

The BC Prosecution Service has identified the suspect shooter as 25-year-old Matrix Savage Gathergood. At the time of the shooting, a number of parishioners wrestled Gathergood to the ground, seizing the rifle.

Police arrested him, and he faces several charges, including first degree murder, aggravated assault, and disguising his face with intent to commit an indictable offence. It is not believed to be a religiously motivated act. Gathergood’s first court appearance on April 23 was adjourned for two weeks. His next court appearance is on May 7.

Both of Parmenter’s sons, Dave and Tony, spoke at their father’s memorial, recounting stories showing him to be a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, foster parent, and friend to all.

And a character, too, as some stories evoked chuckles from the crowd. One such story was the day their parents got married. As the newly-weds drove off in Gord’s white Corvette, they were pulled over by police, and asked where they were coming from. Glancing at Peggy in her white wedding dress, he thought it was obvious. It didn’t go well, and he was handcuffed and placed in a police car. Peggy had a difficult time trying to drive the car in her wedding dress; it was that or the mascara-stained tears running down her face that led to Gord being released.

“Papa,” as he was affectionately known, is survived by Peggy, his wife of 53 years, three children, nineteen grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and many foster children. Predeceasing him are his parents, and daughter Judith Rae.

– Cindy Rhyason

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