Kim Heizmann is named one of Vernon's Top 20 Over 40

Success through observation

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has released its Top 20 Over 40 list for 2020, and Castanet will be featuring all of the honourees.

You may have seen Kim Heizmann on signs or on social media. She is all over the community, and almost everyone knows her name.

Before she went into the real estate industry she was in the mental health field for seven years, supporting adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses. When she began in the real estate industry, she found observing other successful realtors was very helpful to her own personal success.

"I would attend conferences and awards ceremonies and see agents recognized for their hard work, and I would say to myself: 'One day I'll be there'," says Heizmann. "This was my motivation, but not my focus – my focus was to be the best I could be for my clients with the belief that success would follow."

She gives back to the community in many ways, through her volunteer time with the RCMP Victim Services to serving on the Board with Vernon Winter Carnival.

"Volunteerism is very important to me, and I have volunteering in the community since we moved here 26 years ago," Heizmann says. "I try to attend as many community events and fundraisers as possible in order to support whenever I can."

The Chamber's Top 20 Over 40 is sponsored by KPMG, the Regional District of North Okanagan and Castanet.


Vernon's Schubert Centre feeds seniors amid COVID crisis

Meals keep on wheeling

Shirley Higgins is doing everything in her power to make sure Vernon seniors are fed.

Higgins is manager of the Schubert Centre, which is producing hundreds of meals a week for area seniors.

The Schubert has always been home to the Meals on Wheels program, and while the centre is closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, meals are still be made and delivered.

“Thank goodness for volunteers,” said Higgins of the drivers, deliverers and others who are offering their time to help out.

“We are following all of Dr. (Bonnie) Henry's protocols. We are practising social distancing and (using) personal protective equipment for our volunteers.”

The program has cut back its deliveries to just once a week, but volunteers now deliver several days' worth of food to each person in one visit to reduce any possible exposure time to both volunteers and clients.

The recipients pay a 'nominal' fee for the food, but it doesn't cover expenses. Donations are appreciated.

As people socially isolate to plank the COVID curve, the program has had to expand, making donations more important that ever.

Higgins knows these are tough times, but she vows to carry on, no matter the storm.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure people are fed, especially the seniors,” she said.

To learn more about Meals on Wheels or to donate to the program, call 250-549-4201 or email [email protected].

Safeway implements one-way aisle traffic to limit contact

One-way grocery traffic

Grocery stores are taking measures to protect their staff and customers.

As panic shopping fills stores more than ever, Vernon grocery stores are among those implementing new steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

At the Vernon Square Safeway, a new one-way aisle system has gone into effect to help with social distancing.

And at Superstore, plexiglass barriers have gone up between the cashiers and customers.

At Walmart, staff were seen wiping down shopping carts with disinfectant on the weekend.

Shoppers in all three locations appeared to be courteous in keeping their distance from one another.

Several local stores have taped lines on the floor at the checkouts to stop people from crowding.

In a statement shared on Safeway parent company Sobeys' website and social media, CEO Michael Medline said:

"The world is facing an issue of enormous scale and uncertainty. It has never been more important for our company to ensure the safety and support of our customers, teammates and communities.

"We view our stores as an essential service. We are working around the clock to serve you. In the 113-year history of our parent company, we’ve never seen so many customers visit our stores. That makes sense. Canadians have never faced anything like the coronavirus outbreak before. And the first thing anyone thinks about in uncertain times is keeping their loved ones safe. I have great confidence in the incredibly robust grocery and food supply chain in Canada. We are working hard to keep our shelves stocked in the face of unprecedented demand for products."

The company is also installing plexiglass cashier shields across the country, and has reduced store hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow more time for extra sanitization and restocking. Staff are also asked to wash their hands every 15 minutes.

"I’m incredibly proud of our 123,000 teammates across our family of brands. Their efforts over the last few weeks have been incredible, and we know there is much more hard work ahead," said Medline.

Several other stores have also instituted early shopping hours for seniors and the health compromised only, including Save-On-Foods, London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart and more.


Vernon Chamber of Commerce advocates for property tax relief

Call for property tax relief

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is requesting property tax relief from the province for homeowners and business owners, while supporting local governments.

The chamber has written a letter to Premier John Horgan and Municipal Affairs Minister Selina
Robinson requesting the ability to defer property taxes and municipal payments until Sept. 30.

"The reality is that business owners in B.C. have been impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic, including disrupted revenue streams while many fixed costs continue,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

"Many are also left with residential mortgages and are caring for children or elderly parents – they require some certainty that they can pay essential bills at this time, while preparing for property taxes in the future."

The chamber is asking for businesses to have the ability to apply to defer, rather than an outright deferral of property taxes, since there will be owners who will be able to pay by the usual date.

The chamber is also asking the province to support municipalities, regional districts and other local organizations in their ability to provide services until Sept. 30.

Vernon Comic Con bumped to September, but still a go

Can't stop Comic Con

It would take more than COVID-19 to stop a superhero.

Despite the global pandemic, the third annual Vernon Comic Con is still taking place, albeit at a later date.

The popular event was scheduled to be held in May, but with the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, organizer Peter Kaz has moved the event to Sept. 12. It is still being held at the Village Green Hotel.

Thousands of people flocked to the first two events.

“Every ballroom, meeting room and even the largest live venue, was packed,” said a statement on the Vernon Comic Con Facebook page.

“There will be some special guest speakers on stage at The Green as well as an all-ages cosplay/costume contest. Come join the fun, meet some wonderful collectors, artists, play games, search through a plethora of long boxes for that special comic, find unique collectables, view stunning props, costumes, cards, video and board games, photo ops, vintage items and much more.

"For those that have never been to a collectable show or con, this event has something for everyone and it’s much more than you think. It’s created for the entire family.”

The event is free to attend, and cosplay is encouraged.

Spallumcheen addressing Meighan Creek flooding issues

Flood work begins

Work on Meighan Creek in Spallumcheen is underway in an effort to curb flooding.

Culverts are being replaced, along with channel armoring, headwalls and road restoration

“The Meighan Creek Culvert Replacement project is scheduled to begin April 1 and continue through to mid-May. During flooding events in 2017 and 2018, Meighan Creek experienced significant creek channel erosion and a loss of a portion of Powerhouse Road,” said township officials in a press release.

The public should expecta full road closure on Powerhouse Road at Meighan Creek, 100 meters south of Demorest Road. Local traffic can access the south and north portions of Powerhouse Road via Highway 97.

All traffic going to the Armstrong/Spallumcheen Recycling and Disposal Facility should access it at the north end of Powerhouse Road.

Last year, Armstrong conducted extensive dredging along the creek to prevent flooding.

Price at the pump dips below the 90-cent mark

How low will it go?

Gas prices continue to drop to levels not seen in the Thompson-Okanagan for many years.

The price at the pump for petrol has slid to 88.9 cents a litre in Vernon.

North Okanagan stations are selling for one cent less than the Central Okanagan, with Kelowna stations pumping fuel for 89.9 cents a litre. Gas stations in Kamloops are offering similar prices.

And as of 4 p.m Wednesday, Penticton motorists were filling up for 90.9 cents a litre.

According to gasbuddy.com, the lowest price in the province is in Prince George where a Costco is selling for 69.9 cents a litre.

Even Dawson Creek has the Okanagan beat, selling gas for 71.8 cents a litre.

Vancouver drivers are seeing prices as low as 96.9 cents a litre.

And as always, Alberta drivers are laughing all the way from the pump with Edmonton gas going for 54.9 cents and litre.

A little farther south, Calgary motorists are filling up for 62.9 cents.

More Vernon News

Recent Trending


Send us your News Tips!


Vernon SPCA Featured Pet

Jasper Vernon SPCA >


Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada