• A group of people vacationing in the Shuswap awakened to a real-life nightmare early Tuesday, Aug. 4. According to witnesses, the houseboat the group was staying on in Mara Lake, near Hyde Mountain Golf Course, caught fire about 2 a.m. Kayla Mueller saw the back of the houseboat on fire. He ran around to wake up his family but when he ran back seemingly seconds later, the whole boat was already engulfed in flames. As it turned out, there were 21 people on board, 10 children and 11 adults, Mueller estimated. All of them, including two small dogs, managed to escape unhurt. Firefighters arrived to find everyone had escaped unharmed, but had to ensure the blaze didn’t expand into a wildfire with all the surrounding brush.
• Water-skimmer air tankers finished dousing the Marble Point fire north of Sicamous from the air, leaving the rest up to ground crews. Fire information officer Taylor MacDonald confirmed Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 4, the one-hectare fire was still classified by Wildfire BC as out of control, with a ground crew working it. MacDonald noted there were 25 personnel responding on the ground.
• A large “primarily non-harmful” algal bloom filled most of Shuswap Lake’s Salmon Arm Bay, according to a report by Interior Health. The bloom was first detected on July 22. Testing indicated the bloom to be primarily non-harmful green algae with very low numbers of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, and the risk to the public was, stated Interior Health in an Aug. 11 news release.
• Celista Estate Winery was one of 130 wineries from across the nation with competing wines in this year’s All Canadian Wine Championships. Judges were particularly impressed with Celista Estate Winery’s Celista Cuvee and Marg’s Rose, both of which were awarded double gold medals. Celista’s Oak Barrel Foch Reserve received a gold medal and their Siegerrebe a bronze. Salmon Arm’s Ovino Winery, owned and operated by John and Catherine Koopmans, also earned medals at the event. Their Momento earned a silver while their Pinot Grigio, Pinot Tramino and Entice wines each received a bronze.
• One of the Shuswap’s more prevalent fish-eating raptors was the inspiration for a new mural in downtown Salmon Arm. The east side of the building at 120 Hudson Ave. NE was transformed into a series of moments showing an osprey’s descent from the air to catch a rainbow trout from the waters below.
The work is the creation of Adam Meikle, of Meikle Studios Social Art House, and collaborator Sara Wiens – with help from Adam’s brother Wade and other Meikle family members and friends.
• The Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce-run facility’s last day of operation was on Tuesday, Aug. 25. As of Wednesday, Aug. 26, the downtown Visitor Information Centre (VIC) office, located in the old courthouse building at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Shuswap Street, sat empty.
In May of this year, Salmon Arm city council chose to terminate the city’s contract with the chamber for visitor information services, which the chamber had provided for about 25 years. The decision to close the VIC followed a city tourism services review that determined digital marketing to be the future.