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Salmon Arm  

Where is Nikki?

Family of a missing Malakwa woman have issued another appeal for information on her whereabouts.

Nicole Bell, 31, was last seen in Sicamous on Sept. 2.

“She hasn't replied to text messages,” said Nadine Clements, Bell's cousin.

Clements said Bell went missing while her husband was working in Alberta.

“She has three kids at home.... We are unsure of what has happened to her.”

Bell, is described as Caucasian, four feet 11 inches tall, with blonde hair. She has a piercing in her nose and above her upper lip, and occasionally wears glasses. She goes by Nikki.

RCMP have investigated a number of leads, but so far none has panned out.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sicamous RCMP at 250-836-2878 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, quoting file number 2017-1401.



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Hwy. 1 down to single lane

Highway 1 has been temporarily reduced to single-lane alternating traffic three kilometres west of Chase.

The lane closure is necessary to allow crews to remove a vehicle involved in an accident that happened Thursday morning.

At around 5:45 a.m., a Honda Civic clipped the side of a logging truck, sending the big rig into the ditch where it smashed a power pole, breaking the power line in the process.

The logging truck then caught fire.

Kamloops and Chase fire departments attended the scene to extinguish the fire.

The accident forced the closure the Trans Canada Highway to allow fire and ambulance crews to deal with the situation.



The fight of her young life

It was news no parent wants to hear: your child has cancer.

But that is the devastating news a Salmon Arm family is dealing with.

At just 18 months old, tiny Alice was diagnosed with leukemia.

Parents Jeff and Korinna, rushed to Vancouver Children's Hospital with their baby, to begin a journey no parent ever wants to embark on.

With both parents staying close to Alice, daily household bills and medical expenses are piling up, creating an added worry for the young family.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to help the family in this time of crisis.

“They say it takes a village, so it's time for us to rally together as a community,” said a post on the page. “Please help us in joining the fight to get this sweet, sweet girl back to health and happiness. Any amount is greatly appreciated.”



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More students in classrooms

More students than expected will be attending school in the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district.

There are 83 more students than forecast registered for the 2017-18 school year.

Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Bittante said that means the district will be up 100 full time equivalency (FTE) students over last year.

As of Sept. 7 the district's enrolment was 6,159 FTE.

With the increase in enrolment and changes to the legislation around class size and composition, 44 new FTE teachers have been hired.

"Wrap your head around that for a minute," said Trustee Mike McKay. "That's 44 additional teachers coming in to our communities, rejuvenating our communities and schools. For the third year in a row our enrolment has increased."

He added the increase in enrolment is happening across the province.

In her report, Bittante noted the increase in enrolment, combined with the restored class size and composition language, has resulted in additional divisions being added to Highland Park, South Broadview, Salmon Arm West, Silver Creek, Ranchero and Sorrento schools.

"With the district out of funding protection for the second year in a row, the increase in students in the district will now generate additional revenue. Most of this revenue will go directly to the classrooms to pay for teachers, educational assistants and classroom resources," she said.

She also explained some of the changes are the result of the restored class size and composition language.

"The Ministry has committed to funding the restored language through the Classroom Enhancement Fund,” said Bittante.

Final enrolment will be reported to the Ministry on Sept. 29 and will determine the operating grant for the district which is announced in December.



Rapattackers busy with fires

A challenging wildfire season has meant the Salmon Arm-based rapattack team has been busier than ever.

The 40-member team has been sent to both general and specialized assignments this season as the province has dealt with an overwhelming wildfire crisis, according to Justine Hunse of the BC Wildfire Service.

Team members, who can rappel into fire zones by helicopter, worked in the Shuswap, as well as elsewhere in the province.

In July, a five-hectare wildfire burning by St. Ives resort, near Anglemont, was tackled by the rapattack team and a 20-person ground crew.

They were also used for local flood assistance in the spring, said Hunse.

There had been concern about the future of the rapattack group after the former provincial Liberal government announced last year it would no longer provide room and board for the rappel crews stationed at the base.

Catering ended last January, but a plan to eliminate housing is now being rethought, Hunse said.

“No one lives on the base year round, (but) in terms of on-base accommodation for next season, it was recently decided to extend live-on accommodations for the 2018 season in order to conduct an accommodation review provincially.”

The rapattack team has:

  • 30 firefighters who make up 10 crews
  • seven crew supervisors
  • one successional crew leader
  • two support staff

Several members of the staff were deployed as single resources as:

  • heli base managers
  • helicopter coordination officers
  • strike team leaders
  • task force leaders
  • division supervisors
  • fallers


Sicamous woman missing

A woman who was last seen in Sicamous on Sept. 2nd is now being sought by the RCMP.

Police are requesting the public's assistance in locating Nicole Bell, 31,  who was reported missing to police Sept. 7th.

Bell  is described as Caucasian, 4-feet-eleven-inches tall and with blonde hair past her shoulders. She has a piercing in her nose and above her upper lip and occasionally wears glasses.

Police and her family say they are concerned for her well being as it is out of character for her to have no contact with her family for this length of time.

“Since her disappearance police have pursued a number of investigative avenues in an effort to locate her but she remains missing,” said Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau, RCMP spokesperson.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Bell is asked to contact the Sicamous RCMP at 250-836-2878 or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at  1-800-222-8477 quoting file number 2017-1401.



Return of the salmon

A Shuswap environmental group is urging local governments and people to proclaim October as 'Month of the Returning Salmon'.

“We believe that this extra attention will help remind us humans that our salmon populations are in dire need of help,” said a press release issued by the Adams River Salmon Society. “We urge you to help focus area attention on the fragile state of area salmon populations.”

The Adams River has one of the largest Sockeye salmon runs in North America. During dominant years, millions of the fish return to the Shuswap, particularly in early October.

“We need to share the financial impacts to our areas through tourism dollars and the community celebration that salmon seem to engender, bringing together and experiencing other cultures, learning about traditional fishing, the Heritage of the Salmon and the human connection,” said the release.

The public is invited to take part in two Return of the Salmon celebrations, including:

  • The Adams River Salmon Society Gala fundraiser event on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 at the Quaaout Lodge. The evening will be a traditional Shuswap - Secwepemc food and cultural experience, with Secwepemc storyteller Kenthen Thomas on the wild Pacific salmon-Adams River salmon story, silent auction, salmon safe ales and wines and much more fun. Funds raised will go towards supporting B.C.'s wild salmon stocks.    
  • Wild Salmon Caravan route and the community activities as we follow the returning salmon to their spawning grounds. Information can be found online.


Maco gets the bad guys

Maco the police dog ended his career on a high note, helping Salmon Arm RCMP nab four bad guys.

Staff Sgt. Scott West said on Sept. 6 shortly before 2 a.m., police responded to a complaint of a theft of a pickup truck and trailer from a residence on Auto Road.

“The owner located his truck and trailer very quickly on Auto Road at 12th Avenue Southeast, after calling police to report the initial theft,” said West. “As a result of the quick report to police, investigating officers called in an RCMP police dog who was minutes away. The police dog and his handler tracked two suspects to a house and arrested them there. A member of the general public helped with that arrest by providing officers with their witness account of where two people ran, when they fled the truck and trailer.”

As the investigation unfolded, police determined two other suspects were also involved.

A third member of the general public called police and reported seeing two people looking into vehicles just blocks away.

RCMP attended the scene, again with the police dog unit, and tracked and arrested the two new suspects.

“It was quickly determined that the second duo that were tracked down by the dog were involved in the initial theft of the truck and trailer as well. One of the second pair attempted to flee after being arrested, but he was re-arrested after a short foot pursuit,” said West.

The adult male who tried to escape had four warrants for his arrest from the Yukon.

The unidentified suspect has been remanded into custody and will be transported to the Yukon, so he can answer warrants for multiple counts of assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and forcible confinement.

All of the individuals were held pending further investigation and police will be recommending charges of theft over $5,000 to Crown Council against the males involved.

"This is a fine example of how the public-police partnership works to keep our community safe,” said West. “On another note, this was a matter of pride for our police dog handler and his police dog, Maco. Police dog Maco is due to retire soon and this may have been his last call. It is a great way to end his time with the RCMP and begin his well-deserved retirement.”



Tiny home pipeline protest

First Nations protesters started building tiny homes Thursday, directly in the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, an idea drawn from an influential Indigenous movement in the United States.

Activists say the houses are symbols of sustainability in the face of what they see as an environmentally damaging project. They are based on structures built at a sprawling protest camp in North Dakota initiated by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline drew international attention and was credited with achieving a temporary halt to construction. Kanahus Manuel of the Secwepemc Nation said she hopes the structures also have a powerful effect in Canada.

"Our goal is to stop this pipeline. Our goal is to stop investors from investing in this pipeline," she said.

"If I don't stand up for my rights and our title as a Secwepemc woman and as a mother, I'm leaving this fight even greater for my children. I love my children so much that I'll do whatever I can to protect their water and their salmon for all of their future."

Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada, plans to begin construction this month on a $7.4-billion expansion of its 1,150-kilometre pipeline that carries crude oil from Alberta to B.C.'s southern coast.

Members of the Secwepemc Nation and Greenpeace gathered at a site near Chase on Thursday to build the first of 10 tiny homes that they say will be moved to Secwepemc traditional territory near Kamloops to block pipeline construction.

Manuel said she lived in a tiny home at the Dakota protest for three months in 2016 and asked the designer to create plans for structures that could be placed along the Trans Mountain route.

The insulated wood houses are to be occupied by Secwepemc people who are struggling with inadequate housing. They are to be 5.5 metres wide and 3.6 metres tall, with wood stoves and solar panels, she said.

"A part of this tiny house project and movement is that we want to continue to have these, not just as a battle against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, but to help solve some of the housing crises that Indigenous people are facing," she said.



High-end boat stolen

A boat and trailer worth $80,000 went missing near Sicamous Wednesday.

Cpl. Wade Fisher said Sicamous RCMP are investigating the theft of a high-end boat and trailer after the owner was forced to leave the vessel unattended due to a flat tire.

On Sept.5 at about 4:40 p.m., police received a report of a stolen boat and trailer.

“The boat and trailer had been left at the roadside near the Queest Forest Service Road on the Solsqua Sicamous Road as the front driver's side trailer tire was flat. The owner returned about 20 minutes later to find the boat and trailer gone,” said Fisher.

The boat is described as a 20-foot Mastercraft wakeboard boat, black in colour with a distinctive blue, purple, and yellow design.

The bottom of the hull is green in colour. The tower had been lowered and the boat was covered in a black tarp. The black, tandem axle Mastercraft trailer had an Alberta plate 5KD090. The registration number, as displayed near the bow of the boat was AB5671141.

Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call Sicamous RCMP at 250-836-2878 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

“If the boat is spotted please immediately call your local RCMP detachment or police department,” said Fisher.



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