Summer Edgar-Tallio is all smiles in the Columneetza gymnasium in January where First Nations students from across the region took part in a traditional powwow before hundreds of students and staff. Angie Mindus photo

YEAR IN REVIEW: January

Hometown hockey, mine layoffs and tragedy dominates the first month of 2018 headlines

New Year’s Day attack sends man to hospital in Williams Lake

Jan. 1

A man was sent to hospital with serious injuries when he was jumped in a parking lot after buying a jug of milk in Williams Lake New Year’s Day.

The crime occurred Monday evening, at about 8:23 p.m., January 1 outside a local convenience store on North MacKenzie Avenue.

“A man had left the store and was getting in his vehicle when he was approached by two (suspects) one of which demanded the keys to the man’s vehicle. A struggle ensued between the victim and one of the suspects. During the altercation, the victim was injured with an edged weapon,” police said at the time.

“The victim ran back into the store followed by the suspect who took the victim’s vehicle keys from him. Both suspects went into the vehicle and rummaged inside, before fleeing the scene on foot.”

Staff at the store who witnessed the video footage of the assault said Tuesday there were customers in the store when the attack happened, and she couldn’t believe that the suspect would chase the victim back into the store to further attack him.

“It’s just amazing to me that they would come into the light and the store with people all around and not have a care in the world.”

She described the victim is a “very nice man” who is a single parent. She believed the victim had to have surgery as a result of his injuries.

Prolific offender Blake Johnny, 26, was charged with aggravated assault and robbery, while Eliasha Norlander, 31, was charged with robbery. Her charge was later stayed.

Johnny pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and aggravated assault in September. He will be sentenced Jan. 14, 2019.

Staged layoffs at Mount Polley in 2018 will impact 78 jobs

Jan. 3

Imperial Metals began staged lay offs at its Mount Polley Mine near Williams Lake impacting about 78 full-time positions by the end of 2018.

Mount Polley Mining Corporation general manager Dale Reimer said the move was necessary in order to pay for projects the company has to complete because of the 2014 tailings breach.

“We are trying to get cash positive for 2018 because we have some big projects we have to do to keep the mine going,” Reimer said.

Those projects include removing the tailings that were put into the Springer Pit after the mine breach and more restoration work to Hazeltine Creek because of the damage caused by the breach.

“We also have more work to do to lift our tailings dam a bit,” Reimer said. “We have to be cash positive to do those projects for the long-term mine liability.”

About 16 people were impacted in the first quarter, 26 in the second quarter, an additional 16 in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter approximately 10 more.

Community spirit proudly on display at Rogers Hometown Hockey

Jan. 7

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said it best: “Nothing brings a community together more than hockey.”

After the summer’s wildfires forced Cariboo residents apart for a time, Williams Lake’s togetherness couldn’t have been more on display during the weekend when it played host to the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour.

“It means everything [to have this here],” Barnett said. “Tragedy brings you together.

“It was just wonderful to see all the children having so much fun, and the energy that Rogers has put into making this into an event for children who are hockey fans is just amazing.”

READ MORE: Community spirit proudly on display at Rogers Hometown Hockey

Starting Friday morning, Jan. 5, with a pep rally in the Gibraltar Room and wrapping up Sunday evening with an outdoor viewing in downtown Williams Lake of the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks’ game, the weekend was filled to the brim with hockey-themed activities, events and entertainment for hockey fans of all ages.

At Sunday’s outdoor viewing party, hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone broadcast the Canucks and Canadiens’ pre-game show live from downtown Williams Lake at Third Avenue and Fourth Street alongside the likes of Vancouver Canucks alumni Kirk McLean and Jyrki Lumme.

Before puck drop, a Parade of Champions featuring Williams Lake Minor Hockey players and several features highlighting the Cariboo were broadcast focusing on the Williams Lake Fire Department and its efforts during the summer’s wildfires, the vast history of the Williams Lake Stampeders, Rusty Patenaude and the story of the 153 Mile Store and, of course, Anahim Lake’s own Carey Price, which drew a massive ovation from the audience in attendance.

Motorist killed after logging truck jackknifes near Lac La Hache

Jan. 10

A male driver in his 50s was killed and his young passenger sent to hospital as the result of a collision near Lac la Hache, B.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

The 100 Mile House RCMP were called to the scene at about 9:30 a.m., north of Lac la Hache on Highway 97 near Butler Road where it was determined that a southbound loaded logging truck, travelling in the passing lane, was overtaking another semi truck in the slow lane when their trailers made contact.

“As a result, the trailer of the logging truck jackknifed into the northbound lanes and impacted a northbound vehicle,” Const. Mike Halskov, E Division Traffic Services noted in a press release issued Thursday.

“The driver of the northbound vehicle was deceased at the scene. A youth who was a passenger in the northbound vehicle was transported to hospital with minor injuries. Neither drivers from the semi trucks involved were injured.”

Weather conditions created snow-covered roads, with slippery sections and limited visibility.

Highway 97 was closed for several hours while the collision was investigated and re-opened to traffic late in the afternoon.

Hoyer takes snow bike silver at Winter X Games

Jan. 27

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer is now a double medalist in snow bike at the Winter X Games.

Hoyer raced to a silver medal Saturday in Aspen, CO., at the 2018 Games, finishing behind friend and rival in the sport, Cody Matechuk of Cochrane, Alta. in the 20-lap main event.

READ MORE: Hoyer takes snow bike silver at Winter X Games

The pair were the front runners heading into Saturday’s final where both lived up to the hype.

Hoyer, 30, and last year’s inaugural gold medalist at the event, entered Saturday’s final with the fastest qualifying time, however, a hangup at the start allowed Matechuk to jump out to an early lead.


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