Lori Jenks sits with a photo of her brother Brian Jenks taken as a youth. Lori and her two siblings grew up in Salmon Arm. Brian died in October 2021 due to ingesting fentanyl and benzodiazepine, a victim in Canada’s opioid crisis. (File photo)

Lori Jenks sits with a photo of her brother Brian Jenks taken as a youth. Lori and her two siblings grew up in Salmon Arm. Brian died in October 2021 due to ingesting fentanyl and benzodiazepine, a victim in Canada’s opioid crisis. (File photo)

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

  • Dec. 24, 2022 1:30 p.m.

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

March

• Warm coats, gloves and toques were the chosen attire for The Coldest Night of the Year trek in downtown Salmon Arm. About 36 teams and 200 walkers were fundraising for the event, which included walking one of two routes, a two-kilometre route and a five kilometre route. As of Monday, Feb. 28, more than $59,000 had been raised to support the society’s efforts to serve people experiencing hunger, hurt and homelessness.

• A Salmon Arm hockey team rose above and beyond expectations this season. An enthusiastic Roy Sakaki, Salmon Arm Minor Hockey administrator, explained what happened. “Our Salmon Arm U13 Tier 1 team sponsored by Yan’s Restaurant won the Okanagan-Mainline Tier 1 league title. This is one huge accomplishment, as I can’t recall, in all the years, a Salmon Arm tier 2 team who decided to declare tier 1 winning a league title,” Sakaki explained. Mark Delleman, co-coach of the U13 Tier 1 Silverbacks along with Blaine Stowards and assistant coach Spencer Ward, said in its age division the team always plays in tier 2, based on its size and number of kids. “This year we decided to play in tier 1. We thought we would be able to compete.” And compete they did.

Eve Maxwell is at the top of her game and has the hardware to prove it. The Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) Grade 12 wrestler captured a gold medal in the BC High School Wrestling Championships held Feb. 24-26 at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum. On top of that, she was also recognized for Most Outstanding Match and given the Lyndsay Belisle trophy for Most Outstanding Female Wrestler. “I would have been happy placing anywhere in the top six and getting some sort of medal,” said Eve. “When it was my semi-final match, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, no matter what happens, if I can make it to tomorrow, it’s going to be the best result I’ve had in my life.’ “When I actually went into the gold-medal match, it was, ‘You know what, I can do this… and it happened.”

Salmon Arm’s last payphone would soon be out of service – permanently. On Wednesday, March 2, the City of Salmon Arm notified residents that Telus will be removing the last payphone in the city on April 26. The reason given: a decline in usage.

Dmytro Nedopas struggles to keep his emotions from overwhelming his words as he speaks of Ukraine. Dmytro has lived in Salmon Arm for five years, Canada since 2003. He and his spouse, Natalia, who he invited to Canada in 2019, were married in the summer of 2021 in Lviv, Ukraine. They were both in Salmon Arm. Natalia’s 18-year-old son Andriy and her parents live in Ukraine. Young Andriy is determined to fight to defend Ukraine. He tells Natalia repeatedly he is going. Dmytro said Natalia has told him it’s OK. “There’s nothing she can do about it and she understands why he’s going,” Dmytro said. “It’s very personal,” he continues, tears welling. The couple decided that Natalia would return to Ukraine, near the Polish border, to work with a team of trusted volunteers to provide help for those in need and those suffering the most. The couple was fundraising so that she would have resources to provide Ukrainian citizens what is needed.

• The design of a four-building, 20-unit residential development in the 700 block of 30th Street NE received preliminary approval from city council. In September 2021, the approximate one-acre property, at 700 30th St. NE, in the South Broadview area, was rezoned from R1, single family residential to R4, medium density residential to accommodate the plans. Each of the four buildings will have five units.

• Brian Jenks was very well loved by his family and friends. “Out of all my family, people always gravitated to him the most,” said his sister Lori Jenks, two years his junior. “A couple of people said at the memorial, they’d never known anybody with so many best friends. Everyone that met him considered him their best friend.” Brian Jenks died in October of 2021, a couple of weeks after his 52nd birthday. He was living in a suite in his mother’s house in Salmon Arm. When she came home from a couple of days in Vancouver, she found him dead. An autopsy revealed fentanyl and benzodiazepines in his system. Lori explained that Brian had a history of drug use, starting in his late twenties. He was using morphine and had struggled several times to get off it, with some success. Lori said she doesn’t think her brother was really aware of how bad fentanyl is, thinking he could handle a small amount. “But it takes a very small amount to kill you. If it was produced by a pharmaceutical company, they would know how much would be safe.” Lori said she’d picked up a naloxone kit just weeks before Brian died. “There’s so much shame and stigma about it, he wouldn’t get help. And of course naloxone only helps if someone is there to give it to you.”

• The railway crossing at Marine Park Drive and Lakeshore Drive was closed for about two-and-a-half hours on Saturday as firefighters responded to a rail car leaking argon gas. At 1:45 p.m. on March 19, the Salmon Arm Fire Department responded to a report of a leaking rail car near the crossing. Fire Chief Brad Shirley said responding fire crews confirmed the leak was compressed gas and was coming from a rail car carrying argon refrigerated liquid.

• Salmon Arm’s food hub was a hub of activity over the weekend with the return of Zestfest on March 25 and a much-anticipated official grand opening on the following day. “It was such an honour to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Zest Food Hub in Salmon Arm,” B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said in a Facebook post. “I am so proud of the dedicated staff and community partners that made this facility a reality!”

It was a two-banner season for the Salmon Arm U15 female rec hockey team. The team, comprised of players aged 13 and 14 from Salmon Arm, Vernon, Revelstoke and Chase, went undefeated throughout regular season play and went on to win both the league banner and the playoff championship banner in the Female Super League. “We played in a four-team division, Kelowna Lillooet, Penticton, and the girls went 16-0-3 on the season and they won their league championship pretty handily…and they ended up winning the playoffs as well,” said head coach Adam Blair. “I’m not sure the last time a team got multiple banners, but it was a pretty huge accomplishment, especially as we try to grow female hockey in Salmon Arm.”


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The Salmon Arm U15 female rec hockey team celebrates winning their league and playoff championship banners. (Contributed)

The Salmon Arm U15 female rec hockey team celebrates winning their league and playoff championship banners. (Contributed)