YEAR IN REVIEW: October 2019

Some of October’s highlights in the Williams Lake Tribune

Hundreds gather in Boitanio Park for Orange Shirt Day

Oct. 2

Looking out into a park filled with students there to celebrate Orange Shirt Day, Phyllis Webstad asked if anyone was six years old.

Webstad’s story of having her brand new shirt taken away on her first day of residential school is the inspiration for Orange Shirt Day which was celebrated in Williams Lake Sept. 30 at Boitanio Park with local students.

Lakecity plays host to Future West Motocross series

Oct. 2

Williams Lake played host to some of the top motocross racers from throughout the province during the weekend when the Future West Motocross BC Championship Series hosted its final round in the lakecity.

Held Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29 at the Williams Lake Dirt Riders Association track, riders took part in a moto Saturday, and another on Sunday, where their two-day point totals were added to their overall season standings.

From Williams Lake and the surrounding area around 10 riders took part, with three in particular standing out in their respective divisions.

Business owners look beyond downtown fire

Oct. 4

Business owners whose buildings were in proximity to a fire in Williams Lake that destroyed two historical buildings are being forced to relocate as they wait for a prognosis from a structural engineer.

The early morning blaze started on Oliver Street at Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge on Friday, Sept. 20 and then spread to New World Tea and Coffee House.

Ricky Li, owner of Ming’s Palace Restaurant, and Brian Garten, owner of Praying Mantis Tattoo, met on Wednesday morning with Ryan Stade, a structural engineer from Kamloops, and the city’s building inspector, Gary Deane, to tour their buildings.

Deane said there will be no easy fix.

Boat stolen from Americans found stripped

Oct. 4

A boat stolen in August from an American couple while they were staying at a motel in Williams Lake was recovered recently near Horsefly.

Kathy and Jim Jantz of Oregon were on their way home from a two-month fishing trip in Alaska when they stopped in the lakecity for the night on Aug. 20. When they got up the next morning their truck and boat were gone.

Insp. Jeff Pelley of the Williams Lake RCMP said the boat was located on Sept. 27.

It was found at 1:35 p.m. by a local rancher in a dense wooded area near Jessica Lake Road and was stripped of all equipment.

Lakecity resident ascends Mount Kilimanjaro to celebrate 50th birthday

Oct. 4

Three years ago, Sheila Gruenwald wasn’t able to walk.

The Williams Lake resident’s back was broken in three places from a cumulative injury causing constant pain and, ultimately, requiring surgically-implanted screws and rods in her back to set her on a course for a long, drawn-out recovery.

On Sept. 21, while celebrating her 50th birthday, Gruenwald hiked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania alone, with just a mountain guide and a porter to help carry her belongings.

“I raised four kids as a widow, and then with the broken back and everything I just said: The next 50 years are going to be better,” Gruenwald said. “I call it my hard line in the sand.”

Hathaways looking to raise $20,000 for Lombok Children’s Home

Oct. 4

A commitment to helping others and providing a quality education for children is what keeps the husband and wife team of Terry and Jim Hathaway returning to Indonesia each year.

Terry and Jim have been working as aid workers in Indonesia for the last several years and will be returning to work there from January to June of 2020 for their third year in a row. There they live and work at the Lombok Children’s Home in Indonesia where they teach English, help children with their homework, teach life skills and make arts and crafts which, Terry said, are sold at the Cataline Christmas Craft Fair. They also will provide training and information to visiting teams that come to teach English as a second language in Indonesian villages, Jim added.

Expansion underway at Pinnacle Renewable Energy Plant

Oct. 9

Construction is underway at the Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. plant in Williams Lake to expand its operations.

The company received its permit from the Ministry of Environment on Aug. 20, 2019 for the upgrade, followed by its development permit from the City of Williams Lake.

“We have also approved the stormwater drainage plan designed by qualified professionals,” said Hasib Nadvi, manager of planning and development for the City.

Under the new permit, the plant will continue to be expected to suppress fugitive dust from the entire site and continue to review its fugitive dust plan every year.

It will also be required to pave all surfaces to control fugitive emissions caused by vehicle traffic involved with the delivery and handling of biomass materials.

Laurel White becomes one of CCSAR’s youngest captains ever

Oct. 9

This fall Central Cariboo Search and Rescue appointed Laurel White as one of their youngest captains ever to serve under her father, chief Rick White.

Laurel, 22, has been an official member of CCSAR for the last two and a half years and grew up around the rescue hall throughout her childhood, as her father Rick is a longtime member of the organization. When not volunteering her time at CCSAR Laurel works as a harm reduction co-ordinator at the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake. She said that she’s very lucky her job has the flexibility to allow her to drop whatever she’s doing when an emergency call comes in and “race out the door like a crazy person.”

Annual Diamond Dinner raises over $18,000

Oct. 11

Dozens of lakecity donors enjoyed an evening of camaraderie, good food and friendly bidding wars for a good cause at the annual Diamond Dinner.

Organized by the Women’s Contact Society and the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre, with auction items donated by Woodland Jewellers Ltd. and other community partners, this event raises money for both organizations. In addition to an upfront fee, diners are encouraged to bid on jewellery, hunting equipment and all sorts of items donated for the auction.

This year the event went very well, according to Irene Willsie the executive director of the Women’s Contact Society. All told they were able to raise $18,300 that will be split between the society and the CCCDC.

Stampede president steps down after four incredibly rewarding years

Oct. 11

At the association’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Sept. 30, president Tim Rolph officially stood down as Williams Lake Stampede Association president.

“I’d told the board right after the Stampede I wasn’t going to let my name stand again,” Rolph said. “The board knew since right after the meeting.”

Rolph became the WLSA president in 2015 after being a board member for seven years. He said he’s proud of the work he and the board have accomplished since then.

“From any organization’s point I think a three-, four-year term is a good amount of time, and it’s important to get some new ideas and some new energy in there,” Rolph said.

“I felt I had four really good years and maybe it’s time to get some fresh eyes and I didn’t want to stagnate.”

“I’m staying on the board, and I’m going to stay very actively involved. I have a lot of passion for the Stampede association and I want to make that clear I’m not stepping down with any hard feelings. I just think it’s a good time.”

He said it’s been an incredibly rewarding four years for himself, and the association.

Cello stolen in Williams Lake returned to American owner

Oct. 18

An electric cello stolen from an American couple’s vehicle in August while they were staying at a motel in Williams Lake has been returned to them.

Rita Rice of Weatherford, Texas told the Tribune Wednesday, they never heard anything about it after it was reported missing on Aug. 23, 2019 until she got a phone call.

“We had pretty well given up on it and then I got a phone call from a man who said he’d seen some guy with it and heard about it and gave him some money for it,” Rice said from Texas.

“It all sounded a little weird, but I could tell he had the cello because I asked him a couple of details to make sure. It has a bow with red carbon fibre so it is a little bit distinctive.”

Rustlers close out season on high note

Oct. 18

The Williams Lake Jr. Rustlers under-19 girls club rugby team capped off its inaugural season by winning gold during the Thanksgiving weekend at the Kamloops Sevens.

The under-19 side was joined at the tournament by teammates in the under-16 division where head coach Natasha Johnson said she was completely blown away by both teams’ efforts, determination and teamwork throughout the weekend.

Doherty re-elected as Cariboo-Prince George MP

Oct. 23

Conservative candidate Todd Doherty will serve another term as the MP for Cariboo-Prince George.

Canadian Press had declared Doherty the winner more than two hours before all 228 Cariboo-Prince George were reported. With 75 of 228 polls closed, Doherty had captured 49.6 per cent of the vote — or 6,911 votes, according to Elections Canada results.

Single-vehicle crash claims lives of two teens

Oct. 23

Two Williams Lake teenagers lost their lives as a result of injuries sustained in a crash west of Williams Lake on Highway 20.

Faith Liberty Unger, 19, and Autumn Weir, 17, died in the single-vehicle rollover.

Tsilhqot’in Nation celebrates new solar farm west of Williams Lake

Oct. 23

The Tsilhqot’in Nation recently celebrated the completion of its new solar farm 80 kilometres west of Williams Lake, the first of its kind for the region.

During an event held Friday, Oct. 18 at the site of the solar farm, engineer Michel de Spot, president and CEO of EcoSmart, one of the companies hired to help with the project, said it is the largest solar farm in B.C.

“Its total size is 1.25 megawatts,” de Spot said during the celebration. “It’s not very big, but it is the largest one in B.C.”

Located along Highway 20 west at the River West Forest Products site, the 1.25 megawatt solar farm contains 3,456 panels mounted in 216 sections.

“When it is connected the solar farm will produce 1,500 megawatt hours a year,” de Spot said. “It means about 150 homes, but that does not mean it feeds directly to the homes. We feed it to BC Hydro and BC Hydro sends you back the power.”

NHLers share inspirational stories with lakecity residents

Oct. 23

From serious, hard-hitting personal discussions to an uplifting, inspirational meet and greet with youth, former NHL stars Jordin Tootoo and Theoren Fleury left their mark in the lakecity this past week.

Tootoo and Fleury held a presentation Thursday evening in front of a packed house at the Gibraltar Room where they shared individual stories of personal and professional challenges, hardships and subsequent recoveries. The event was hosted by Williams Lake’s Three Corners Health Services Society, which serves the communities of Xat’sull (Soda Creek), Stswecem’c Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek) and T’exelc (Sugar Cane).

Sheriffs services increases weapon checks at courthouse

Oct. 25

An increase in the number of people trying to bring weapons into the Williams Lake courthouse building has resulted in new signage on the entrance doors, said Staff Sgt. Dave Olson of the BC Sheriff Services.

“I wanted the signage big and bold so that as soon as people approached the building they know that they are subject to a search,” he told the Tribune Thursday. “We have found hammers, hatchets and large knives all coming into this building.”

Olson is placing one of his four sheriffs to rove the main entrance foyer to conduct searches.

“When they are not busy in court or [transporting prisoners] or other related duties, that’s where I have them standing in the main foyer. It’s to show the flag and make our presence known,” Olson said. ““We really try to watch what’s going on and who is going upstairs with backpacks.”

Chilcotin pioneer Veera Bonner passes at 101

Oct. 25

The Cariboo Chilcotin lost one of its most esteemed pioneers this week. Veera Bonner died on Oct. 21 at the age of 101.

During her life Veera documented and recorded stories of the Chilcotin both as a rural correspondent for the Tribune and in the writing of books, including Chilcotin:Preserving Pioneer Memories which she worked on with her sisters Irene and Hazel.

In the words of one of her close friends, Albert LaBounty, Veera was a pioneer and truly an influence in the society she grew up and lived in.

“People can be described like milk,” LaBounty said. “Some are like skim milk and most are pretty homogenized, but only a few are the cream. Veera was the cream!”

Wolf cull being eyed for threatened Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herd

Oct. 30

The provincial government is considering a wolf cull in the Itcha-Ilgachuz to try and save the local caribou herd from extirpation.

“The Itcha-Ilgachuz herd in the last year decreased from approximately 700 animals in 2018 to 385 in the 2019 survey,” said Tami Kendall from Kamloops, who along with Sean Mitchell of Smithers appeared by telephone conference during the Cariboo Regional District regular board meeting Friday, Oct. 25. “It’s definitely a concern.”

With Caribou numbers in the Itcha-Ilgachuz herd seeing that drastic decline, a ‘predator reduction plan’ is being considered, said Kendall and Mitchell, members of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Caribou Recovery Team.

Business excellence recognized by Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce

Oct. 30

It was a packed house at the Elks Hall as dozens of businesses and local dignitaries waited eagerly to find out who amongst them had snagged a coveted award from the 2019 Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

Served a gourmet meal with a cruise ship theme, the conversation was easy and smiles were widely shared as the night wore on. With Williams Lake City Coun. Jason Ryll presiding as emcee, the banter was common and genuine, with Mayor Walt Cobb even wryly observing he has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce for 50 years now.

As attendees loaded up their plates with confectionery delights, the first half of the awards ceremony began. This year there were 66 different people and businesses nominated for eight different awards.

The winners of the 2019 Business of the Year Award went to Chuck’s Auto Supply.

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