Year in Review: Top read stories of 2022 in Quesnel Observer

Dozens of signs were held at the Willow Inn in Quesnel on Thursday, Jan. 20 where the body of 33-year-old Carmelita Abraham was recently found. A Quesnel man is facing charges of murder and indignity to human remains. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Dozens of signs were held at the Willow Inn in Quesnel on Thursday, Jan. 20 where the body of 33-year-old Carmelita Abraham was recently found. A Quesnel man is facing charges of murder and indignity to human remains. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Quesnel RCMP recently seized under five kilograms of cocaine, $92,900 in cash, and 15 firearms. (RCMP photo)Quesnel RCMP recently seized under five kilograms of cocaine, $92,900 in cash, and 15 firearms. (RCMP photo)
A bylaw enforcement officer inspects another nearby encampment that was occupied. The woman said the only housing offered to her was Seasons House, an emergency homeless shelter, she refuses to go to. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)A bylaw enforcement officer inspects another nearby encampment that was occupied. The woman said the only housing offered to her was Seasons House, an emergency homeless shelter, she refuses to go to. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)
Penisola Restaurant will hold its last day of operations on Wednesday, Feb 2 with takeout pasta night. Owner Carmen Valoroso says the restaurant and building have sold. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Penisola Restaurant will hold its last day of operations on Wednesday, Feb 2 with takeout pasta night. Owner Carmen Valoroso says the restaurant and building have sold. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

These are the top Quesnel Cariboo Observer stories of 2022, as chosen by you, the readers. These articles received the most views by the public.

No. 1

‘It’s ludicrous’: Salmon Arm man resists new rules for private vehicle sales in B.C.

Nov. 23, 2022

Chris Lethbridge is taking a stand against ICBC and the B.C. government after being told he owes sales tax based on an $11,000 estimate for a used truck that cost him $2,100.

The Salmon Arm man said he purchased the truck, a 2008 Dodge with about 300,000 kilometres on it, in a private sale in October.

“We did the deal in the insurance office and as soon as I made the deal, they said that truck is worth $11,000, you owe taxes on $11,000…,” said Lethbridge.

“I’m not paying about $1,300 in taxes on a vehicle I paid $2,100 for. It’s ludicrous.”

In February, the B.C. government announced it was changing tax rules to prevent tax avoidance by people selling used vehicles privately.

No. 2

Investigation into missing Indigenous woman leads to homicide charge against Quesnel man

Carmelita Abraham, 33, had been missing since late December

Jan. 15, 2022

A Quesnel man has been charged in the disappearance and homicide of 33-year-old Carmelita Abraham, say police.

Abraham had been the focus of a missing persons investigation since Jan. 4 when the Williams Lake RCMP received a missing persons report from family. Investigators were able to confirm that Carmelita left Williams Lake for Quesnel on Dec. 27 or 28.

On Jan. 10 investigators from the BC RCMP-North District Major Crime Unit attended Quesnel and took conduct of the investigation with assistance from the Quesnel and Williams Lake RCMP, Cariboo Crime Reduction Unit, the North District General Investigation Section and Forensic Identification Sections, noted Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, BC RCMP communications.

“Based on the totality of the information, the investigation turned from a missing persons investigation into a suspected homicide. The investigation continued to develop and on January 13, 51-year-old Quesnel resident, Joseph Simpson, was arrested.”

No. 3

Cocaine and cash: Police make largest drug seizure in detachment history in Quesnel

Aug. 30, 2022

A drug trafficking investigation has resulted in the largest drug seizure to date for the Quesnel RCMP.

According to a news release, five men were arrested after the Quesnel Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) executed search warrants on three houses and seized a large quantity of cocaine, cash, and firearms.

The suspects were arrested Saturday, Aug. 27, in a commercial parking lot off Newman Road in Quesnel.

After the arrest, three search warrants were executed on properties on Ash Avenue, Eagle Road, and Pollard Road.

Police seized just under five kilograms of cocaine, $92,900 in cash, and 15 firearms.

No. 4

Quesnel RCMP searching for ‘armed and dangerous’ man

RCMP say the public should not approach Robert Hovestad, and immediately call police if they see him

Jan. 27, 2022

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a man wanted for parole violation.

Robert Hovestad, who sometimes goes by the name “Shawn” is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.

He’s described as a 6-foot-5, 200 pound, 33-year-old Caucasian man, with brown hair and hazel eyes.

“He is considered armed and dangerous and under no circumstances should you try to apprehend him,” an RCMP news release notes.

“Call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not confront Robert Hovestad.”

No. 5

VIDEO: ‘No woman should go through this’ — Community gathers to honour murdered woman

A Quesnel man was arrested and charged for Takla First Nation member Carmilita Abraham’s death

Jan. 20, 2022

Hundreds gathered outside a Quesnel motel to honour the spirit of an Indigenous woman found murdered and others who remain missing or whose lives have been tragically cut short.

Amid the faces seen on Thursday, Jan. 20, some had a red handprint across their mouth and some carried signs with phrases like ‘Never Forgotten’, ‘Silent No More’ and ‘Justice for Carmelita.’

The ceremony at the Willow Inn at 856 Front Street drew people of all backgrounds to support the Takla First Nation mourning the loss of 33-year-old Carmelita Abraham.

No. 6

Trio arrested in Quesnel crime spree: RCMP

Jul. 8, 2022

The Quesnel RCMP arrested three people in what has been described as a crime spree involving several thefts from local businesses.

The 34-year-old man, 48-year-old-woman, and a 29-year-old woman were arrested on Wednesday, July 6, shortly after 1 p.m. in the 800 block of Rita Road.

“The trio were driving a stolen vehicle with stolen plates,” reads a news release by media relations officer Sgt. Clay Kronebusch.

“Several of the stolen items from the businesses were located in their possession.”

No. 7

Barkerville Historic Town and Park ends programming for season due to COVID-19

Sep. 13, 2021

Barkerville Historic Town and Park is closing its interpretive planning a week early due to rising COVID-19 cases in the area.

As of Sept. 13, the living history, restaurants and shopping will no longer be open in the park. The reception centre will also be closed to the public, but the front gates will be open for anyone who wants to do a self-guided tour of the exhibits.

The nearby community of Wells has had several cases of COVID-19 and district staff are self-isolating.

Barkerville CEO Kate Cox said it was the safest measure for staff, merchants and the public.

“We have called all of the people who have lodgings booked with us to let them know and, so far, have received positive responses from guests who have thanked us for keeping them safe,” she said in a news release. “Some of them will still be coming to enjoy socially distanced outdoor adventures.”

No. 8

One person seriously injured in downtown stabbing by “unknown man” in Quesnel

Jan. 19, 2022

A stabbing victim in downtown Quesnel was taken to hospital with serious injuries, say RCMP.

Police were called to assist BC Emergency Health Services Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 5:34 p.m. after being notified of a person in need of urgent medical attention.

According to an RCMP news release, it was reported that an adult man had been walking along the 400 block of Reid Street when he was confronted by an unknown man and stabbed.

“This could have ended much differently, and we ask that anyone who may have been in the area during this time to contact the police,” said Sgt. Richard Weseen.

No. 9

Woman last seen in Quesnel located

Jun. 7, 2022

Update Thursday, June 9: RCMP in Quesnel say they are pleased to confirm Haley Reimer has been located.

In a news release media relations officer Sgt. Clay Kronebusch said Reimer is “safe and sound.”

“Thanks to the media and the public for their assistance,” the release reads.

No. 10

Accused Quesnel killer’s next appearance Feb. 15 in Quesnel Provincial Court

Jan. 17, 2022

The case involving a 51-year-old man suspected in killing Carmelita Abraham in Quesnel has been adjourned until Tuesday, Feb. 15 for the accused to consult legal counsel.

Joseph Simpson is scheduled to appear by video in Quesnel Provincial Court on that day at 11 a.m.

He is charged with murder and interference with a dead body.

No. 11

Former Quesnel Cariboo Observer editor remembered after sudden death

Andrea Johnson worked for the Quesnel Observer in the mid to late-2000s

Feb. 7, 2022

The flags at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) are flying at half-mast in memory of one of the university’s communications officers.

Andrea Johnson, who served as editor for the Quesnel Observer from 2006 until 2009, died last week. Johnson also worked at the Peace Arch News and the Langley Times.

“Andrea was always generous with her time and talents, supporting many causes through her volunteer work,” reads a UNBC Facebook post.

“She will be missed by so many on our campuses and beyond.”

Johnson, who grew up on a farm in Consort, Alta., was also heavily involved Rotary, both with the Prince George-Nechako chapter and before that,in Quesnel.

Johnson was an avid outdoors enthusiast – from cross-country skiing to hiking and kayaking – and volunteered with Operation Red Nose, as well as many other Rotary-led volunteer projects.

No. 12

Fourth time lucky for newly elected Quesnel mayor Ron Paull

Longtime councillor Ron Paull edges out Bob Simpson

Oct. 15, 2022

On the fourth attempt in his lifetime, Ron Paull rose to the top of the mayoral polls.

Paull, who was a council member in the previous mandate at city hall, took a chance on unseating incumbent mayor Bob Simpson. He kept his voice at the table Saturday night with a 1,179 to 969 electoral victory.

Other mayoral hopefuls David Schile and Brian Waters got 86 and 50 votes respectively.

“What I just saw was the voters deciding the only change they wanted was one leader,” said Paull amidst a clamour of cheers and well-wishers following the announcement of results.

Paull noted that all incumbents on the council ticket retained their seat.

“There’s only one newbie, and that is Debra McKelvie. She fills my vacancy and I got moved to mayor, so it’s one out and one in.”

No. 13

ELECTION 2022 RESULTS: Mayoral winners across British Columbia

There are 162 municipalities in B.C. – 37 of which have already declared an acclaimed winner

Oct. 15, 2022

Across the province, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians took to the polls Saturday (Oct. 15) to cast their vote for local leaders who will lead municipal decisions, run school boards and regional districts.

While mayors for 37 communities across B.C. already won by acclamation after standing unopposed back in September, a number of mayors decided not to run for re-election, leading to substantial changes set to be decided Saturday night.

Results are expected to start flowing in after polls closed at 8 p.m. local time, although it will take longer for communities where ballots are counted by hand.

We will regularly update the graphic below for every mayoral race across the province. Find full local coverage at the more than 70 other Black Press Media newsrooms.

No. 14

Homeless encampment on Quesnel Riverfront Trail catches fire

Nov. 16, 2022

A fire appears to have left a relatively sizeable homeless encampment full of debris along Quesnel’s Riverfront Trail in ruins.

Firefighters with the Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department were called to extinguish the fire located below the Fraser Village Homes at around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16.

The encampment is one of several that popped up earlier this year along the paved trail popular with residents and visitors.

Members of the Quesnel RCMP were on scene and shortly joined by bylaw enforcement officers and the city’s director of development services, Tanya Turner.

Police confirmed no one was inside the structure.

No. 15

Highway 97 reopens after crash near Red Bluff Road

Emcon Services is reminding drivers to slow down in work zones

Mar. 22, 2022

Motorists are being reminded to slow down in work zones after a semi carrying pulp allegedly struck a flagging truck south of Quesnel on Tuesday, March 22.

Highway maintenance company Emcon Services shared photos of the incident the following day, reminding drivers that “work zones need extra attention and to drive at slower controlled speeds.”

“Our workers deserve safe areas to conduct road work—they want to get home to their loved ones too,” the Facebook post reads.

“Slow down in work zones.”

No. 16

Iconic Italian restaurant closes in Quesnel

Building and restaurant sells on Barlow Avenue

Feb. 2, 2022

Carmen Valoroso will be putting on her apron one last time at Penisola Restaurant.

The beloved Italian family restaurant in downtown Quesnel is closing Wednesday, Feb. 2, after several decades of satisfying pasta cravings.

News of the restaurant and building at 121 Barlow Avenue being sold was shared a few days earlier on Facebook.

“I love, love my restaurant,” Valoroso said.

“Since we first opened, we always had amazing clientele, they’ve always been very loyal to us, and I like my staff, but right now I’m glad that I’m going. It could be in a few weeks though I’ll be crying to come back, I don’t know.”

No. 17

2022 general local election heats up in Quesnel with 5 mayoral, 13 councillor candidates

Sep. 10, 2022

The City of Quesnel has five candidates listed for mayor, and 13 candidates for six council seats in this year’s general local election.

The deadline for candidates to file nomination papers was 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.

The following candidates have been nominated:

For mayor: Ron Paull, Bruce Rigdon, David Schile, Bob Simpson (incumbent), Brian Waters

For council: Michael Duperron, Scott Elliott (incumbent), Tony Goulet (incumbent), Joe Lowndes, Debra McKelvie, Suzannah Paller-Meir, Laurey-Anne Roodenburg (incumbent), Martin Runge (incumbent), Troy Schonke, Michael Stobart, Chad Stump, Mitch Vik (incumbent) and Brian Watson.

No. 18

Concerned family, RCMP seek information about woman last seen in Cariboo area

Jan. 14, 2022

The B.C. Assemby of First Nations is adding to the calls for information regarding Carmelita Abraham, a missing woman originally from Takla Lake.

Carmelita Louise Abraham was last seen on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, and reported missing to the Quesnel police on Jan. 4.

The Quesnel RCMP had issued a request for information on Jan. 7, 2022.

“Police learned that Carmelita was last seen when she was provided with a ride to Quesnel from Williams Lake,” an RCMP news release reads.

“Police are concerned for Carmelita’s wellbeing.”

Abraham is described as a 33-year-old Indigenous female, who is 5’8, 161 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

She also has tattoos on her face and body but usually covers her facial tattoos with makeup.

Abraham was living in Williams Lake and kept in regular contact with family.

No. 19

RCMP North District Emergency Response Team arrest man in Quesnel

Mar. 8, 2022

The RCMP North District Emergency Response Team was on Allard Street in Quesnel, and arrested at least one person.

Robert Hendrikus Hovestad, was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.

Police say the 33-year-old man initially refused to leave the residence he was staying at, but eventually surrendered without incident.

In January, Quesnel RCMP asked for the public’s help in locating Hovestad.

“We would like to thank all the members of the community for being vigilant in attempts to help locate this man and bring him safely into custody,” Quesnel RCMP Sgt. Clay Kronebusch said.

No. 20

16-day curtailment planned at Cariboo Pulp and Paper due to forestry challenges

Sep. 26, 2022

Operations at Cariboo Pulp and Paper will be curtailed for 16 days, affecting around 160 employees, beginning Saturday, Oct. 29.

Joyce Wagenaar, a corporate spokesperson for West Fraser Mills, said the curtailment is necessary to better align Cariboo Pulp and Paper’s operating capacity with the available supply of wood chips.

“Timber supply and access has become an increasing challenge in British Columbia,” Wagenaar said. “Infestation, wildfire, forest policy decisions and other considerations have resulted in fewer logs being processed in Interior sawmills, and therefore fewer wood chips and pulp logs are available as feedstock for B.C. pulp mills.”


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Year in Review

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