YEAR IN REVIEW: April 2020

Cariboo Place resident Joan Tomm (from Left), rehabilitation worker Janae Miller and resident Delores Shire wave to friends and family below in April, 2020 during a ‘honk and wave’ event to connect with seniors inside the facility. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Cariboo Place resident Joan Tomm (from Left), rehabilitation worker Janae Miller and resident Delores Shire wave to friends and family below in April, 2020 during a ‘honk and wave’ event to connect with seniors inside the facility. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Scout Island Field Naturalists Ken Day (left) and Don Lawrence pack a water pump Saturday, April 25, 2020 on what is usually a walking trail leading to the wooden pedestrian bridge, which was under water due to extensive flooding in the area. (Angie Mindus photo)Scout Island Field Naturalists Ken Day (left) and Don Lawrence pack a water pump Saturday, April 25, 2020 on what is usually a walking trail leading to the wooden pedestrian bridge, which was under water due to extensive flooding in the area. (Angie Mindus photo)
Neighbours, family members and volunteers from the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department all pitch in to protect a home from flooding April 18, 2020 after water breached the ditches and flowed over Westcoast Road. This scene has been playing out in parts all across the Cariboo Chilcotin with high snow pack causing spring runoff to wash away roads. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Neighbours, family members and volunteers from the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department all pitch in to protect a home from flooding April 18, 2020 after water breached the ditches and flowed over Westcoast Road. This scene has been playing out in parts all across the Cariboo Chilcotin with high snow pack causing spring runoff to wash away roads. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

April 3, 2020

Seniors safe, isolated at Cariboo Place

As her elderly mom, Joan Tomm, waved and blew kisses from behind the windows in Cariboo Place, Laurie Walters choked back tears while talking about how long it’s been since she was able to give her a hug.

“It’s been weeks for me,” Walters said, standing outside the building at 1:30 p.m. in the beginning of April as motorists drove by for a ‘honk and a wave’ to salute the health care workers and residents inside, safely weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nobody is allowed to be in there and we really respect that. They’re awesome here to keep them safe and healthy,” Walters said of Cariboo Place and the visiting restrictions in place to protect the residents from the deadly coronavirus.

“We’re are very grateful to everyone who works in there. They are amazing.”

Tomm was one of the first residents to move into Cariboo Place when it opened in 2019.

“She loves it,” Walters said.

“They are like family there to mom so that’s a comfort,” added her sister.

April 4, 2020

B.C. pulp being used for medical garments

The owners and employees of Harmac Pacific on Vancouver Island are playing a critical role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with its special Western red cedar pulp used to produce medical supplies.

“If you see a blue gown in a health facility, it came from us,” said Bryan Reid Sr. of Williams Lake, who is one of the owners of Harmac Pacific.

“Our production right now at Harmac is around the clock, 24 hours a day, 300-plus workers … I think (the employees) are proud of what they’re doing. I know I’m proud of what they’re doing.”

Reid isn’t the only one to recognize the significance of the company’s efforts. Earlier this week, Harmac’s president Levi Sampson took a call of thanks from Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for Canada.

“She was impressed,” Reid said of the call from Freeland, who expressed gratitude for their work which helps supply product for all of North America.

“That is quite an acknowledgment.”

Reid said Harmac Pacific received a request in March to double their order of pulp from the company that uses their special recipe to make medical grade masks and garments. He said they are expecting another call any day to triple it.

“There are people at the mill, employees that are concerned about their mom and dad (and not able to see them because of COVID-19) … but everybody is staying there to produce this pulp,” Reid said from his Pioneer Log Homes office in Williams Lake Monday.

April 14, 2020

School district adjusts to new normal

School District 27 has mobilized its staff, and they are all working to make a positive difference in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic since returning from spring break and the cancellation of in-class learning, said superintendent Chris van der Mark.

“We were entering a big unknown,” van der Mark said of when school resumed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “One of our big challenges was that every morning you see the Prime Minister and he’s saying everybody stay home and yet we’ve been given direction to provide support to Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers which means everybody can’t be home and so trying to reconcile and have people understand that there’s a difference between the general population message and those parts of the work force that’s being required to continue. It’s not possible for everyone to stay home.”

Districts throughout the province including SD27 have been directed to provide supervision to children of health care workers first, and now also other essential workers, to provide support to vulnerable families and to offer continuity of learning by way of engaging with students through online learning.

There are currently about 40 requests for teacher supervision of students, whose parents are front line health care workers and more requests are expected with the addition of Tier 2 workers, he said.

April 17, 2020

Third suspect arrested in 2019 bridge homicide

RCMP have arrested a third man in connection with the August 2019 homicide of Branton Regner near Williams Lake.

On Thursday April 16, 2020 RCMP arrested Jordell Sellars in relation to the death of Regner.

Regner was reported missing following an incident on the Rudy Johnson Bridge on Friday, August 9, 2019. His body was found in the Fraser River near the Sheep Creek Bridge by a fisherman on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.

Sellars, 30, was remanded into custody and is charged with one count of murder, one count of attempt murder and one count of kidnapping.

Two other men, Jayson Gilbert, 26, and Michael Drynock, 23, have also been charged with the same offences as a result of this investigation.

Williams Lake