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Kamloops  

Tourism Kamloops has made some virtual puzzles of local sights

It's puzzle time in Kamloops

With the campaign to keep people at home in full swing, Tourism Kamloops has created a very Kamloops activity to do at home.

The organization has created six virtual jigsaw puzzles.

That means people at home can do a puzzle of the Kamloops Hoodoos, the bike ranch or the Paterson Creek Nature Trail from the comfort of wherever they are.

There’s a timer, so you can race friends, and an option to change the number of pieces, so you can do a six-piece puzzle or 1,000.

Check out the puzzles here.



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Kamloops family featured in touching film about pandemic

A message of hope

A moving video highlighting the good in humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic features a Kamloops family. 

The four-minute clip was put together by Muse Storytelling. Earlier this year, the Oregon-based company put a call-out on social media, asking filmmakers from around the world if they'd be interested in participating in the global project. 

Some 250 videographers responded, including the city's very own Alex O'Daly of Aspect Film Works

The Aussie was part of Team Canada, which also included filmmakers from Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. 

"It was like, 'What am I going to capture? What’s happening in Kamloops?' ... At that stage, we didn’t have the emergency services parade that was going to the hospital, there were a few people banging pots and pans, we had caution tape around the playground, and that sort of thing," explains O'Daly.

In the end, she settled on capturing what she calls "such a beautiful moment." O'Daly's niece, Mya Fisher, had just learned her ABCs and sang them to her grandpa Mark in a FaceTime call, with her parents Jessica and Derek nearby. All of them live in the Tournament Capital and have been teleconferencing regularly, like many others.

"It's just so heartwarming," O'Daly tells Castanet, noting she was pleasantly surprised to find out her footage had made the final cut. "It’s something that’s happening all over the world. ... They’re using FaceTime to stay connected during a time we’re all pretty isolated."

O'Daly adds filming was difficult; she ensured social distancing guidelines were followed and even used a long lens to shoot.

It was nice to dust off the camera gear and take part in something with such a wide reach, she says.

"To be able to come together with so many other people from all around the world who are experiencing this pandemic in so many different ways, it just made you feel like you were part of something so much bigger."

O'Daly says everyone needs to watch the video, which is narrated by Marshall Davis Jones, to the poem Lockdown by Richard Hendrick.

"It promotes that message that we can choose to be hopeful during this time," she says.

You can check out the film below. You can find the Fishers at the 2:05-minute mark. Grab a Kleenex. You'll likely need it. 



Wildfire near Chase held at two hectares in size

Chase wildfire now held

A wildfire that sparked dangerously close to Chase on Tuesday is now classified as being held.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Chief Jules Way wildfire, three kilometres northeast of the Shuswap community, responded well to suppression efforts yesterday.

It is now classified as held at two hectares.

Six personnel are on scene today to check on overnight recoveries and extinguish any hot spots within the fire perimeter.

Firefighters will continue to work in steep terrain and will be helped by the cooler overnight temperatures in the area, the wildfire service said in a Facebook post.

The fire was highly visible from Chase as it burned out of control Tuesday afternoon.



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Kamloops caremongers mobilize to help those in need

Kamloops really cares

The newly announced Kamloops Caremongering web portal — which connects people in need with services like dog walking, grocery runs and prescription pickup — is now live.

It all started when local resident AnnMarie Aase launched the Facebook group, Caremongering - Kamloops. The online group quickly grew to more than 2,500 members in just over a week — today, that number is at almost 3,700.

Locals started offering everything from virtual yoga classes to cooking lessons. With help from ROI Media Works and Adroit Technologies, a website called kamloopscares.ca was launched, as a way to compile all the offers.

The "neighbour-to-neighbour network (N2N)," as it's now known, matches individual requests with volunteers in the same neighbourhood who can fulfill the wish.

More than 40 volunteers from all corners of the city have signed up to be N2N captains, according to a news release; these captains match requests with the nearly 150 volunteers who have raised their hand to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aase tells Castanet she's super excited about how quickly Kamloops has united under the circumstances.

For her, the Facebook group is a place people can share positive stories.

"What it’s doing is allowing the world to come together while people stay apart. It’s allowing people to check in and make sure they’re not the only ones feeling the way they’re feeling. And it’s allowing people to communicate and reach out and be a part of the community when we can’t do it in the same room," she says.

To become a volunteer or to put in a request, click here.



VIDEO: Kids write message of love to Kamloops grandparents

Street chalk message

Kamloops grandparents Jan Nademlejnsky and his wife had a colourful surprise this past weekend.

After being in self-quarantine, their grandkids arrived in front of their house and drew a huge message in chalk.

Nademlejnsky says there was concern the kids had been exposed to COVID-19.

"They just finished two weeks of self-containment," he says. "They were staying at Sun Peaks at first."

They were visiting their other grandparents, who had come from Ontario and were staying at the village. There was concern someone could have contracted COVID-19 after it was reported a doctor there had a confirmed case.

After no signs of illness, they left the house this past weekend and headed over to Nademlejnsky's house with a bunch of chalk. On the street in front of their grandparent's home they drew 'We Love You' in big letters, surrounded by hearts and other images.

Nademlejnsky says it was a nice surprise and that he was glad to see them, even if they could only give each other air hugs from a safe distance.

"I don't know how my neighbours feel about chalk painting," he jokes.

He adds it was a fun idea and thinks it could take off.

Nademlejnsky, who regularly posts videos of his flights above Kamloops, put together a video of the gesture.



Lottery winners given extra 6 months to claim prizes

BCLC extends expiry dates

Got a winning lottery ticket?

The BC Lottery Corporation has extended the expiration date on tickets by six months for tickets that have an expiry date between March 17 and Sept. 17.

The extension applies to all national lottery draw-based games: Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max and Daily Grand, and all B.C. draw-based lottery games: Keno, BC/49, BC50/50, Poker Lotto and Pacific Hold’Em Poker, as well as to all scratch and win tickets.

Players typically have up to one year from the date of the draw to claim their prize.

For tickets where the expiry date does not fall within that period, the expiry date remains at 12 months from the date of the draw, or as indicated on the back of the ticket.

The move comes as lottery claim centres are closed during the coronavirus pandemic due to physical-distancing requirements.

Some lottery booths are also closed, and BCLC encourages players to use PlayNow.com or the BCLC Lotto! app.

For more information on prize-claim options visit https://lotto.bclc.com/claim-a-prize.html or call BCLC customer support at 1-866-815-0222.



Kamloops will be warming up later this week

Warm weather coming

With the weekend's arctic air firmly in the rear-view mirror, Kamloops is warming up this week.

Temperatures could get into the high teens thanks to a ridge of high pressure building up.

"Temperatures peak this Wednesday and Thursday," Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon says. "It looks like the ridge breaks down a bit and a weak system is moving through on Friday."

Predictions for Friday are changing; at one point, it was supposed to be a warm sunny day, but Environment Canada revised that to a 60 per cent chance of showers and cooler. Now, they expect a high of 17 C and sunshine.

"In the spring, it's quite tricky; it's a transition season, especially April," Sekhon tells Castanet. "There's a lot of variability. Things could be changing closer to the time frame."

That means there's some uncertainty for Easter weekend.

"Unfortunately, there's not a lot of consensus," he says. "There're no strong signals on whether we'll be warmer or cooler; its something we'll have to keep an eye on."

One thing he notes is occurring is a change in the UV index. It's regularly around six or seven right now.

"The UV index is getting higher these days as we get closer to the sun," Sekhon says. "If you do go outdoors, make sure you're taking proper sun protection."

The rating is typically between one and 10, he explains, but does go higher in extreme cases. The peak time is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

"As we get into the six-to-seven range, protection is required. UV can damage the skin at that point," he says.



City staff estimate budget impact from COVID-19 in the millions

City looks at COVID impact

As businesses and individuals reel from the impact of COVID-19, the City of Kamloops is estimating it'll see a net decrease of up to $6.2 million in this year's budget.

In a report about COVID-19's impacts to the City of Kamloops, it's estimated the city could see between a $3.7 million to $6.2 million net decrease to its budget depending on how long the pandemic lasts. In an effort to deal with the expected shortfall, council discussed recommendations from administration during today's council meeting.

Options include property tax deferrals, suspending capital projects, adjusting service levels and delaying non-essential supplemental items.

Kathy Humphrey, the city's financial director, told council that they'll be identifying all projects that can be delayed while not causing safety issues.

She added that council needs to set a budget based on the best information now, and can amend things at a later date if need be.

The 2020 budget was in the midst of being finalized when the pandemic hit (the deadline to approve the budget and tax rates is May 15). To adjust to the new reality, council, on the recommendation of staff, has asked that a new report with a balanced budget be presented on April 21.

While no decisions were on the table, council spent time discussing property tax issues; the city's cash flow relies on property taxes, so deferring all the taxes could be problematic.

"I think we need to figure out how to get the people who are able to pay their taxes and utilities...to keep doing the things they normally do and help the people who can't," Humphrey replied.

She noted while there is some capacity in reserves and they can save money with reduced service levels (i.e. the closure of recreation centres or a decrease in other city-run services), the city still needs to defer large capital projects.

Mayor Ken Christian noted economic recovery from the pandemic will likely be longer than other emergencies.

"Some of the elements of our budget that we have built upon for years and years are going to be adversely affected by conditions outside of Kamloops," he said, using the recent growth at the airport as an example.

He added that while public health officials will cover health-care issues, council will have to focus on the economy.



Wildfire breaks out near Chase

Wildfire near Chase

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m.

In a tweet, BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) says seven of its crew members are responding to the wildfire.

The fire is roughly two hectares in size.

"BCWS is working in conjunction (with) the Adams Lake Fire Department," states the tweet.

It is suspected to be human-caused, fire information officer Taylor MacDonald tells Castanet.

"It's one of those spring fires. (It's) a good rem to be cautious when (the public is) out and about with all that warm weather," she says.


ORIGINAL: 3:15 p.m.

A spot fire has popped up on the BC Wildfire Service map.

It's located across the river north of Chase.

According to social media, smoke can be seen from the nearby area.

Castanet has reached out to the BC Wildfire Service and will update this story when more information becomes available. 



Artist creating Portraits in Pandemic for Kamloops Food Bank

Art fundraiser for food bank

If you've been staring at an empty spot on your wall for the last couple of weeks, but also want to donate to the Kamloops Food Bank, it may be time for a portrait.

Local artist Stace DeWolf has started a new campaign called Portraits in a Pandemic. It's fairly simple; for $80 he'll create a 28-inch-by-22-inch portrait of you (or your pet). Of that, $20 will go to the Kamloops Food Bank.

The first couple of pieces he's done so far were actually of friends in the U.S., including one of a Pennsylvanian health-care worker who shaved his beard to better wear a mask.

"I could easily do three a day," he tells Castanet. "No problem."

Right now he's only doing individual portraits. People can purchase a portrait from his online store and then email him a photo of the person (or pet).

His style, which he admits isn't for everyone, is heavily influenced by Picasso, Van Gogh and German expressionists.

He, like many others, has some extra time at home right now; he's trying to minimize how much he leaves the house (pick up of the art is done from his front porch). 

In addition to the portraits, he's also selling prints of his new piece, The Front Line, with proceeds going to the food bank (prints are printed locally). And partial proceeds from other purchases on his online store go to the food bank as well (and are sent from the supplier).

The Front Line was inspired by two women in his life.

"My mother-in-law has her doctorate in nursing; she's teaching in Qatar," he says. "And my wife works at Overlander extended care hospital."

The artwork is an effort to realistically portray the toll it's taking on health-care workers while they still get up and go to work every day. There's also a nod to the Spanish flu, with the red crosses on the uniform.

"I wanted to do a piece that was honouring their struggle and battle," DeWolf explains. "It shows the wear and tear."

The original was purchased by Karrie Simons' uncle and given to her. As an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, the image resonates with her, and she appreciates the nod to nursing's past during pandemics and wars.

"In the art, obviously, she's wearing armor; she looks strong, she looks tired," Simons says. "(That's) a good representation of what a health-care worker might feel."

She describes receiving the art as a joyful moment, one that also brought tears.

"I was feeling pretty defeated and when I received it I just felt so loved and supported," she says, calling the piece empowering.

Now, she's planning on hanging it in Royal Inland Hospital's ICU once it's framed and approved.

So far, DeWolf estimates they've raised $400 for the food bank since starting the fundraiser this past weekend.



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