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Salmon Arm  

Crews attacking small wildfire burning next to Shuswap Lake

Crews attack Shuswap fire

UPDATE: 8:14 p.m.

The wildfire near Shuswap Lake is still burning, and fire crews are still on scene.

BC Wildfire Service is listing the fire at 1.8 hectares, and stating the fire is still out of control.

"The fire is in a terrain that has cliffs and is quite steep, which has been a challenge to the crews on site," says fire information officer Gagan Lidhran. "It is still considered out of control because they haven't been able to pull a full guard around the perimeter."

Lidhran says the advisory urging the public to avoid the area will be in place until the fire is completely out. BC Wildfire Service is still investigating the cause of the blaze, as it is unknown at this time.


UPDATE: 3:22 p.m.

The Marble Point fire has grown to two hectares this afternoon says fire information officer Gagan Lidhran. Currently 25 ground personnel from B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS) are working on it, with two helicopters.

The team of skimmer planes have returned home having completed their objective, she adds. That said, it's still a very visible fire for those on the lake.

"It is an active surface fire with visible open flame," she says.

The public are being reminded to give the crews, in particular the air crews, space to work.

"BCWS did put out an advisory to boaters in the area around Shuswap Lake," Lindhran says. "The RCMP were requested for assistance."


UPDATE: 11:57 a.m.

The Marble Point fire has been mapped at about one hectare, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service and has ground and air crews attacking it.

Fire information officer Taylor MacDonald says a 20-person unit crew and four-person initial attack crew are in the forest working against the flames, while two helicopters and a skimmer planes are dropping water from above.

Information about it is sparse, she adds, as it's a recent fire. A cause is unknown and it's not believed to be threatening any human structures, though it is likely visible to people on Shuswap Lake nearby.

"We’ve had issues with boaters interfering with firefighting aircraft on Shuswap Lake," the BC Wildfire Service said in a tweet. "This is dangerous, both to the public and to our personnel, and interferes with critical firefighting operations. Please stay away from active wildfire sites on the ground, and on the water."

Two other fires to Kamloops's west are both under control, she adds. One, on Robbins Range Road reached .07 hectares before being classified as under control. Its cause is unknown. Another, outside of Chase on Mount Boysse reached one hectare before being brought under control. It was caused by lightning.


ORIGINAL: 11:20 a.m.

Some spectacular footage of a flames burning on the shores of Shuswap Lake shows a wildfire burning overnight.

The footage, captured by the Bigwater Taxi on Shuswap Lake and shared on their Facebook page, shows the Marble Point fire, burning north of Sicamous. In a series of videos the fire can be seen growing overnight and into this morning.

The fire appears to be candling in the trees and moving up the ridge beside the lake.

Currently the B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS) has the fire noted on their map, but doesn't have any information about the size.



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Salmon Arm mayor urges locals and visitors to 'take responsibility' and wear a mask

Mayor: please wear a mask

Salmon Arm wants you to mask up.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Mayor Alan Harrison says: "Right now, perhaps more than ever, it is critically important that we follow public health direction and take personal responsibility to protect ourselves, loved ones and the community from the spread of COVID-19."

Harrison and city council "strongly encourage residents and visitors to our community to wear a face covering or non-medical mask in all indoor public settings where six feet of separation cannot be maintained."

The statement says wearing a face covering or non-medical mask is an additional measure the public can take to protect themselves and others.

However it does not replace measures such as: regular hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly, maintaining a two-metre distance from others, and staying home if you feel unwell.

"We all need to continue working together to prevent transmission. Following Dr.Bonnie Henry’s lead, please continue to be kind to each other, in helping keep our community safe," the statement concludes.



Lotto Max ticket sold in Salmon Arm worth half a million dollars

Area ticket worth $500,000

Someone in the Shuswap is half a million dollars richer.

A ticket sold in Salmon Arm matched all four Extra numbers in Tuesday's Lotto Max draw, making it worth a cool $500,000.

There was no winner of the $65-million jackpot, however, and Friday’s jackpot is expected to climb to $70 million.

Meanwhile, a ticket sold in Campbell River matched six numbers plus the bonus to win $862,700.

Tickets sold in Nanaimo and Maple Ridge were also $500,000 winners in the Maxmillions draw.



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Purchase a Patty Mae lipstick in support of Habitat for Humanity

Lipstick for a cause

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan has partnered with local award-winning cosmetic company MisMacK to create a unique lipstick shade "Patty Mae."

Founder of MisMacK and Shuswap resident Missy MacKintosh created the coral colour in honour of her 94-year-old grandmother Patty Mae. Five dollars from every lipstick sold will benefit Habitat for Humanity Okanagan, which provides housing to families in need. 

MisMacK's first product launched in 2018 with the launch of a line of biodegradable glitters, the first Canadian cosmetic brand to offer a glitter that is eco friendly. 

For more information click here.



Waterfront explosion, fire at marina on Shuswap Lake

1 injured in marina blaze

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley says more than 20 members from three firehalls worked to douse Monday's marina blaze in Canoe.

The fire department was alerted to the fire just prior to 1 p.m.

Upon arrival, four boats were found fully involved in fire and a portion of the dock at Captain’s Cove Marina.

"Crews were delayed slightly by a passing train," says Shirley, "but were able to knock the fire down quickly."

He says staff at the marina were able to push the boat where the fire started away from the wharf to avoid the flames spreading further.

Preliminary investigations reveal the boat had just been refuelled and the following explosion is "consistent with a gas vapour explosion," said Shirley.

The boater on board suffered injuries in the blast and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Shirley says it does not appear any fuel was spilled into Shuswap Lake, but fire crews put out containment booms just in case.

Both Interior Health and Environment Canada were notified of the incident.

Fire crews were on scene for about an hour and a half.


UPDATE: 3:35 p.m.

BC Emergency Health Services says one person was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries in today's marina fire on Shuswap Lake.

BCEHS spokesperson Shannon Miller says a call came in at 12:55 p.m. from the Salmon Arm Fire Department requesting assistance at Captain’s Cove Marina.

Two paramedic crews were dispatched to the scene.

As the inferno sent black smoke towering over the lake, boaters watched from the safety of the water and swimmers from the nearby beach as several boats went up in flames.

The marina is located just west of the tiny community of Canoe. Its website says the business offers boat and personal watercraft rentals sales and service. It also has a gas bar to serve boat traffic.


UPDATE: 3:15 p.m.

Eye witness video from the scene of a major marina inferno on Shuswap Lake shows several boats were destroyed.

The fire erupted at Captain's Cove Marina on Canoe Beach.

Video by Keith Phare shows intense flames and thick, black smoke from the dock area of the marina.


UPDATE: 3 p.m.

All boats that had been burning at Captain's Cove Marina in Canoe have reportedly been doused.

It's not clear if the structure is still on fire, and Castanet is awaiting call-backs from the City of Salmon Arm and fire department for more information.

Environment Canada has been requested to the scene, according to a tweet from @Shuswapscanner.


ORIGINAL: 2:05 p.m.

Firefighters are battling a large blaze on the shores of Shuswap Lake, at Canoe Beach.

Multiple boats were reported on fire near Captain's Cove Marina after a possible explosion.

The fire is believed to be in the marine fuel shed there, and is sending plumes of black smoke up above the lake.

The City of Salmon Arm is requesting people avoid the area.

Firefighters from two firehalls and a marine unit are responding to the blaze, according to tweets by @Shuswapscanner.

A 60-foot area is believed to be ablaze.

The Salmon Arm Fire Department has reportedly requested that CP Rail halt train traffic through the area until the fire is extinguished.



Downtown Salmon Arm association wants council to allow alcohol consumption on city owned land

Beer at Salmon Arm parks?

The Salmon Arm Downtown Improvement Association is endorsing the idea of public alcohol consumption on city land (as long as it's responsible).

Spurred by the debate in Penticton, the association's board has voted to support the idea, in particular in the city's downtown at Alexander Plaza (a temporary plaza set up on Alexander Street).

"We are fortunate to have a variety of locally owned breweries, distilleries and wineries. With the current regulations, our local producers are only able to sample their products but not sell in public spaces," states the association's manager Lindsay Wong in a letter to council. "This opportunity would provide the public with an option to purchase a locally crafted beverage to enjoy on Alexander Plaza."

Wong recently had a conversation with a City of Penticton staff member about the topic, and lists some supporting ideas which came out of that, including creating a map of places that would make sense to allow it, creating a trial period and using call-in system already in place called "See something, say something."

She also mentions that police in Penticton "were not thrilled."

The City of Vernon also toyed with the idea of allowing alcohol consumption in public, but city council turned down the proposal last month.

Salmon Arm Council will discuss the letter at their meeting today, but no motion is on the table currently, aside from receiving the letter.



Football player drowns in Shuswap Lake

Football player drowns

The Langford, B.C. Westshore Rebels have been shaken by the death of two-season standout receiver Nathan Falito.

Falito is presumed to have drowned while swimming in Shuswap Lake, according to Rebels team president Rob Lervold.

“It’s tragic. The players on our team are in shock and are really shaken up,” Lervold said.

According to Global News, Shuswap Search and Rescue received a call Thursday afternoon about a man who disappeared from view while swimming to a dock at Canoe Beach near Salmon Arm. Searchers were on the lake until about 9 p.m., but were unable to find the man. The RCMP have taken over the search.

Falito played for Westshore, of the B.C. Junior Football Conference, in both 2018 and 2019. The 22-year-old graduated from junior football after last season.

Rebels officials said Falito’s love of the game — and his adopted city — were infectious and shone through.

“Nathan always had a big smile on his face,” Lervold said. “That was especially so when pulling on a jersey. He simply loved football and he loved being on the field and performing. And he loved being in Victoria and spent most of his off-seasons here.”

Falito, a native of Edmonton, was headed to play in U Sports for the University of Calgary Dinos.

“Nathan was a tremendously hard worker and played with emotion,” said Westshore head coach Shane Beatty.

“He was all about the team. He loved being a Rebel. This is very hard. He is gone way too soon.”

The death reverberated through Canada’s junior football community.

The Canadian Junior Football League wrote on Twitter: “The entire CJFL mourns today after the passing of Westshore Rebels receiver Nathan Falito. An outstanding player and person taken far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. RIP Nathan.”

Falito led the Rebels into the 2019 BCFC Cullen Cup championship game last November against the eventual champion Langley Rams by hauling in three catches for 108 yards at Westhills Stadium in the 17-7 semifinal victory over the Vancouver Island Raiders.

He led the Rebels in receiving last season and was second in the BCFC with 32 receptions for 642 yards with one touchdown and a 20.1 yards-per-catch average in 10 regular-season games.

“Nathan was a very good player,” Lervold said.

“He came to us as a speedster, had a solid first season, and then polished his game even more by his second season.

“He would really get after it downfield and made some tough catches.”



Trio of suspected thieves on the loose near Sicamous

Truck thieves evade police

A trio of suspected truck thieves managed to evade police after colliding with a big rig on Highway 1 near Revelstoke.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said on Thursday, July 23, at 8:21 a.m., Revelstoke RCMP responded to a report of a two-vehicle collision east of Revelstoke on the Trans-Canada Highway.

A Ford Expedition, which had been reported stolen in Foothills County Alberta had collided with a semi-truck.

“The driver of the Expedition was immediately picked up by a black Ford F350 and left the scene, headed west,” said Saunderson.

“RCMP from Sicamous and Salmon Arm, along with CP Rail Police, immediately set up a road block on the Trans Canada Highway in the Solsqua area looking for the west bound truck.”

The Ford was later found on a forest service road off of Maclean Sawmill Road in Malakwa.

“This vehicle was determined to be stolen as well and the attempted to evade police by reversing the truck the directly at the police,” said Saunderson.

The occupants of the truck, two men and one woman fled on foot into a forested area. An RCMP police dog unit tracked the suspects over the heavily wooded area which lead to the CP rail tracks and the Eagle River.

Despite an extensive search, the suspects got away but were later observed on security camera footage of a residence in the area.

At 4 p.m. a black side-by-side ATV was reported stolen in the area the suspects were seen.

The first suspect is described as a Caucasian male, approximately 40 years old, average height, average build, short Mohawk style haircut, wearing grey shirt, grey sweat pants and runners.

The second suspect is described as a Caucasian male, between 30-40 years old, average height and build with short, black hair, wearing a black shirt, black shorts, runners and carrying a shoulder bag.

The woman has been described as a Caucasian, shoulder-length dark hair with a slim build and wearing black track suit.

“If you know who these people are or where they may be, under no circumstances should you attempt to apprehend them. Call the police immediately,” said Sgt. Murray McNeil, detachment commander Sicamous RCMP.

Anyone with information about this or any other criminal offence, is urged to contact the Sicamous RCMP at 250-836-2878 or Crime Stoppers at 1(800) 222-8477.



Church shooter found not responsible due to mental disorder

Not responsible for shooting

A Shuswap man who admitted to first-degree murder will be going to a forensic psychiatric hospital, not prison.

In April 2019, Matrix Gathergood walked into a Salmon Arm church and shot and killed Gordon Parmenter.

However, on Wednesday Gathergood was found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

In making her decision, Supreme Court Justice Sheri Ann Donegan cited numerous reports of Gathergood's mental state leading up the homicide.

Donegan said there was “overwhelming evidence” Gathergood was in a schizophrenic state when the murder took place and that she was “satisfied” he suffers from a mental disorder.

Gathergood thought he had to kill Parmenter who he believed was going to kill him.

Gathergood also suffered from delusions and extreme paranoia in the months prior to the shooting.

Along with the murder, Gathergood admitted to the charge of aggravated assault for wounding a man at the church who was administering first aid to Parmenter.

And despite firing a shotgun three times in a crowded church, Donegan noted Gathergood was unaware of how he could have injured someone else in the attack.

Donegan said Gathergood still does not know he has mental illness and she ordered a review board assess Gathergood to determine his next steps for treatment.

Donegan said “his risk of violence needs to be assessed” and that it “remains high.”

Several members of Parmenter's family were in attendance, some wiping away tears during the proceedings.

“I can appreciate it's been difficult,” Donegan said addressing family members. “I hope you know I am very aware of the tragedy of your loss and the grief you are all experiencing. I wish you all the best.”



Matrix Gathergood in psychotic state when man shot

Shooter pleads not guilty

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.

BC Supreme court justice Sheri Ann Donegan is expected to rule Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Matrix Savage Gathergood.

Gathergood is charged with shooting and killing Gordon Parmenter in April 2019, and his trial started Tuesday.

Donegan heard from an expert witness that Gathergood was in schizophrenic psychosis when he murdered Parmenter in the Church of Christ and not criminally responsible for his actions.

Crown Counsel Alison Buchanan did not dispute a summation by defence lawyer Jonathon Avis that Gathergood was mentally unwell at the time of the shooting and that he did not realize what he was doing.

Donegan is expected to render her decision today at 2 p.m. in a Salmon Arm court room.


ORIGINAL

The murder trial of Matrix Savage Gathergood is being held in a Salmon Arm courtroom. In Tuesday morning proceedings, the defence said Gathergood was too mentally-ill to be found responsible for his actions.

Gathergood is accused of the April 2019 first-degree murder of Gordon Parmenter during a church service at the Church of Christ.

Gathergood shot Parmenter with a shotgun, exited the church before coming back a few minutes later and shooting Parmenter two more times before he was wrestled to the ground.

Gathergood had a long relationship with Parmenter and court was told he viewed Parmenter as a father figure, but defence lawyer Jonathon Avis said his client was in a schizophrenic state when he shot Parmenter and is not criminally responsible for the murder.

Dr. Adrian Kochak was brought in as an expert witness on Gathergood's state of mind when the shooting occurred.

Kochak testified Gathergood was diagnosed with schizophrenia and should not be criminally responsible for his actions due to a mental disorder.

Kochak, an expert in forensic psychiatry, met with Gathergood several times and said the 25 year old struggled with delusions, paranoia and believed Parmenter was going to harm him.

“He believed he was in danger from different people at different times and he believed he was in danger from Mr. Parmenter,” said Kochak.

“He believed his life was in danger and acted on those beliefs.”

However, Kochak said because of the mental state he was in, Gathergood was not able to understand what he was doing was wrong.

Court also heard Gathergood believed there was a microphone inside of him, recording everything he said and that the police were in on it. Gathergood also claimed he could hear the voice of God.

After his arrest, Gathergood said Parmenter had threatened him, a claim Kochak could not completely deny, but felt was untrue.

Court also heard how friends and family reported Gathergood's decline in mental health leading up to the shooting.

Sporting a long beard and wearing a blue toque, Gathergood appeared in Supreme Court by video and pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder for killing Parmenter and to aggravated assault for wounding another man.

Crown Counsel Alison Buchanan and Avis are expected to make closing submissions Tuesday afternoon.



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