Hillcrest Elementary students Theiadh Beaumont and Olivia Coyne singing vocals, Alexander Buchanan on bass, and Alix Kraft on drums impersonate Canadian alt-rockers Sloan while covering the band’s song, The Rest of My Life, for the school’s video entry in this year’s Canadian Music Class Challenge. (File photo)

Hillcrest Elementary students Theiadh Beaumont and Olivia Coyne singing vocals, Alexander Buchanan on bass, and Alix Kraft on drums impersonate Canadian alt-rockers Sloan while covering the band’s song, The Rest of My Life, for the school’s video entry in this year’s Canadian Music Class Challenge. (File photo)

Year in Review: The Observer looks back at headlines from December 2022

  • Dec. 26, 2022 4:30 p.m.

The Salmon Arm Observer looks back at the stories that made headlines in 2022.

December

It’s -12 C and a cold wind is amplifying the icy bite of the air. It’s Thursday morning, Dec. 1, about 9 a.m. Sandy Bunting is busy picking up discarded pieces of wood and putting them in a bin, tidying up the area next to the tents that sit under trees across from the Salvation Army building on 3rd Street SE. She stops for a minute to talk. “I’m really proud of them, there’s hardly any garbage anymore,” she said of the seven people currently living in the tents. She had been living rough in Salmon Arm for six years but recently moved into nearby Cedar Place, the 38-unit building for people who are without homes or at risk of becoming homeless. Although she has moved into housing, she cares a lot about the people in tents. She hopes the town will open something soon. Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo is also concerned about the lack of a shelter in Salmon Arm, particularly during the freezing temperatures. He said BC Housing and the B.C. government are responsible for housing and have known about the need for a shelter since at least May when the Salvation Army closed the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter for good. “The sad reality is, here we are at December 1st with temperatures freezing and snow on the ground.”

• Rotary clubs in Salmon Arm are doing their best to ensure residents who want a Christmas dinner can have one. Once again the Shuswap, Salmon Arm and Daybreak Rotary clubs, with help from local churches, are providing a takeaway dinner – turkey, stuffing, vegetables and dessert – on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

• In response to the lack of a homeless shelter in Salmon Arm, the Salvation Army will be launching the Café at the Lighthouse. The Café will open on Monday, Dec. 5 and will be open Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for now, explained Lieut. Joel Torrens with the Salvation Army. As more volunteers become available, it will be open through the weekends. He said it’s a place where people can come in and get warm, have something to eat, take a shower and do laundry if wanted. Coffee, sandwiches and doughnuts will be available.

• A longtime fixture in downtown Salmon Arm and the city’s music scene is under new ownership. Cory Bagg has purchased Acorn Music from Lody and Sharda Kieken, who ran the store for 31 years. Bagg and spouse Tanelle Digby met with the Kiekens at the Lakesore Drive business on Thursday, Dec. 1 to celebrate. Lody called the transfer an “historic moment,” as Bagg is the store’s third owner since 1981, when Larry Keats bought the business.

• While leading the way to his different Christmas village displays, Brett Sherwood stops to speak with a young boy who has called out to him: “Mr. Brett!” The boy takes Sherwood’s hand and the two walk together to the boy’s destination. “This is why I do all this stuff, these little guys, sharing Christmas,” said Sherwood. “Off you go buddy!” Sherwood is the daytime custodian at South Broadview Elementary. This year is the first he’s been able to set up pieces of his extensive Christmas village collection at the school. “I like to share Christmas with people,” said Sherwood. “It’s just an enjoyable thing for me. When I set something like this up and I see the smile on people’s faces, it’s all worthwhile.”

Voters gave generously in support of their favourite dancers competing in this year’s Dancing with the Shuswap Stars. This year marked the return of the gala event, held at the SASCU Recreation Centre on November 18. Dancers in the all-star and rookie divisions set out to impress the judges and the audience, while raising funds for Shuswap Hospice. Dancing with the Shuswap Stars organizers said this year’s fundraising total, more than $68,000, is the highest since the event began in 2016.

Hillcrest Elementary students once again sang their way into a top-10 position in CBC’s Canadian Music Class Challenge. Music teacher Brook Roberts and a large ensemble of Hillcrest students are finalists in the Elementary Vocal (Grades 4-6) category. Their entry, a music video cover of Sloan’s The Rest of My Life, was filmed at Song Sparrow Hall.

• An advanced life support unit is no longer serving the Vernon area, having been moved to Salmon Arm. The unit provided a higher level of care for Vernon and surrounding communities, including Enderby, Armstrong, Lumby and the Westside Road area. The paramedics working at the unit can provide specialized care for patients suffering shortness of breath, cardiac issues, airway problems and other serious conditions. Vernon’s advanced care paramedic unit was moved to Salmon Arm because “as an urban centre, Vernon, upon further review did not meet the requirements under the RRIF funding for a resource,” said Cindy Leong, BC Emergency Health Services communications officer.

• BC Housing confirmed a lease has been signed for an emergency shelter site in Salmon Arm. The lease is for four months and the shelter is expected to open in early January, said BC Housing Communications. BC Housing noted the Canadian Mental Health Association, Shuswap Revelstoke, which was named as the service provider in July 2022, is working as quickly as it can to recruit and train staff in order to get the space open. The number of beds has not yet been finalized, said BC Housing, but it might be higher than what was offered by the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Emergency Shelter. That shelter offered a total of 16 beds: 12 designated for men and four for women.


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A Christmas tree is among the gifts given to the people without homes who were living in a tent encampment across from the former Salvation Army Lighthouse Emergency Shelter on 3rd Street SE in Salmon Arm. BC Housing confirmed a four-month lease had been signed for a new shelter that would open in January. (File photo)

A Christmas tree is among the gifts given to the people without homes who were living in a tent encampment across from the former Salvation Army Lighthouse Emergency Shelter on 3rd Street SE in Salmon Arm. BC Housing confirmed a four-month lease had been signed for a new shelter that would open in January. (File photo)