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Salmon Arm  

Schools in Salmon Arm maintain safety measures after anti-vax protests

School doors stay locked

The main doors of many public schools in Salmon Arm will remain locked Tuesday, but the school district says it has lifted "hold and secure" measures in place since a disturbing protest last week.

A statement posted on the website of the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District says the measures were imposed Friday to prevent unauthorized access after COVID-19 vaccination opponents entered several schools.

A scheduled professional development day kept students out of class Monday, but school doors stayed locked as a precaution.

The district says it has encouraged schools to keep main entry points locked, especially in elementary schools.

The statement from district superintendent Donna Kriger says that where possible, more supervision will be added to playgrounds during recess and noon hours.

Kriger said last week that the school district would work with the RCMP to ensure demonstrators are not allowed on school property.



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Dancing with the Shuswap Stars returns this November

Dancing to raise money

The popular fundraising event, Dancing with the Shuswap Stars is back for another year after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

The charity organization took to their Facebook page to announce their return.

“Dancing with the Shuswap Stars is back (with a few COVID changes) for 2021 and so are our wonderful dance instructors Heather and Jens from City Dance! They have already started developing amazing routines for our new competitors!”

This year, money raised will be donated to the Shuswap Hospice Society.

Anyone can support a couple by buying stars for $5 each for them.

The fifth Annual Dancing with the Shuswap Stars will take place on Nov. 19. The deadline to submit your junior contest application and video is Sept. 30 at 12 p.m.

The event will be live streamed with take-out food packages available.

More information can be found on their website.



Anti-vax protesters blasted for entering schools in Salmon Arm

'Whack jobs' condemned

UPDATE 8 p.m.

The Minister of Education is adding her thoughts on the actions of anti-vaccine protesters who entered a number of schools in Salmon Arm and forced lockdowns.

"It is completely unacceptable for people to protest outside of schools, to speak with other people’s children and to undermine the decisions they and their families have made regarding the vaccine," Jennifer Whiteside said in a statement sent to media.

"If people are unhappy about government policies, they should focus their dissatisfaction on the government – not at hospitals and not at schools."

Whiteside added that she applauds the work of school staff in Salmon Arm for taking quick action to ensure students and staff were safe.

"Ministry staff have offered any assistance that is needed to School District 83 and have been in regular communication with all school districts related to COVID guidelines and health measures, and any incidents involving protesters on school grounds.”


UPDATE 2 p.m.

The premier of BC has added his voice to the growing chorus of people condemning the actions of anti-vax protesters who entered schools in the Salmon Arm area Friday.

“You’d think we wouldn’t need to say this but - stay away from children! There is simply no justification for these actions,” John Horgan tweeted.


ORIGINAL 10 a.m.

The backlash is mounting against anti-vaccine protesters who entered a number of schools in Salmon Arm.

A letter sent to School District 83 parents Friday afternoon said protesters opposed to vaccinations and masks entered multiple schools, which prompted officials to place the buildings under a "hold and secure."

Friday, Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth slammed those involved.

"This is absolutely unacceptable. This is just a complete and utter disgrace," he said. "The word 'Covidiot' doesn't even begin to describe how inappropriate the actions of these whack jobs is. It's unacceptable in the extreme."

Conservative MP Dan Albas also weighed in.

"This is disturbing and wrong on every level. Schools, like hospitals, are absolutely no place for this. My thoughts are with staff, students and parents who should never encounter these situations at an elementary school," Albas said in a Tweet Saturday morning.

Within minutes of the incidents coming to light, the Salmon Arm Rant and Rave Facebook page exploded with comments condemning the actions of protesters.

“Idiots at schools and hospitals. The kids going to school in there are more mature ugh. What's it going to be next? Nursing homes?” said one post.

“I don't usually post much...however I have something I want to say to the anti mask/anti vax protesters that rallied today. I support your choice, whether it aligns with mine or not I would still support your freedom to choose. However once you start doing crap like entering schools, scaring our kids, worrying them and the people we entrust with their care everyday you've crossed a line. After what you've done I couldn't care less about your freedom to choose... Don't mess with the kids! That's the fastest way to turn folks away from supporting you and your cause,” said another post.

The vast majority of comments blasted the protesters, but there were a few who attempted to justify the protesters' actions, which set off a flurry of online arguments.

School district officials said schools across Salmon Arm will be locking their doors starting Monday.

“Doors to all schools will remain locked," the district said. "We ask that you notify the school office if you require access to the building. SD83 will be working with the RCMP to ensure that these protests are kept from all district property. Please know that the intent of our actions is to maintain environments which are safe for all students and staff.”



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Anti-vaccine protesters enter schools in Salmon Arm, prompt hold and secure

Protesters enter schools

UPDATE: 4:42 p.m.

Students in Salmon Arm were locked inside on Friday after anti-vax protesters entered a number of schools, apparently opposed to vaccine clinics taking place inside.

A letter sent to School District 83 parents on Friday afternoon said protesters opposed to vaccinations and masks entered multiple schools, which prompted officials to place the buildings under hold and secure.

SD83 Supt. Donna Kriger said in the letter school doors will be locked on Monday to prevent any potential protesters from gaining access.

A parent of a child at Salmon Arm secondary who did not want his name published said he was shocked to receive the letter.

“I want my kids to be safe and the last thing I would ever expect is for any grown adults to try to enter a school full of minors — to complain or protest about anything,” he said.

“Like that's just not the place. … I’m all for peaceful protesting, but that’s not what these people are doing.”

The parent said the news was startling.

“It's just — it's shocking,” he said.

“I’m actually angry, I'm going to be perfectly honest with you.”

According to the email sent out by SD83, beginning Monday, doors to all schools will stay locked. The district said it will be working with the RCMP to ensure the protests are kept off all district property.

Interior Health is operating COVID-19 vaccination clinics in a number of area high schools, offering first and second shots to students and staff.

Castanet contacted SD83 for comment and was told no one would be made available until Monday.

Anti-vaccine activist Kyle Cardinal announced on Facebook that being trying to "get some answers" Friday at a school vaccine clinic. He later posted on Facebook that his group never entered any schools.


ORIGINAL STORY: 4:01 p.m.

Doors were locked Friday at a number of schools in Salmon Arm after anti-vaccine protesters entered the buildings, according to a letter sent to parents in the district.

A letter signed by School District 83 Supt. Donna Kriger said the incidents follow a number of recent protests at the district’s office opposing vaccines and masks.

“This morning, these protestors did something which was completely unacceptable which was choosing to enter schools in and around Salmon Arm,” the letter stated.

The schools were then placed on a hold and secure — meaning students were not allowed to come and go from the building for the rest of the day.

Kriger said SD83 schools will be locked when students return to class next week.

More to come …



Salmon Arm RCMP find cache of drugs after call about man in vacant house

Meth, coke, fentanyl seized

A call about someone in an vacant house resulted in police finding more than a squatter.

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a residence on Highway 97B Sept. 2 after being advised that the home should have been vacant, but someone inside had barricaded the door.

Staff Sgt. Scott West says when police arrived, they found a man unlawfully in the home.

He was arrested on outstanding warrants for failing to comply with a probation order.

“A subsequent search of the male when he was arrested uncovered an imitation handgun, bear spray, a knife and a collapsible baton, along with suspected illegal drugs,” said West.

Police seized what is believed to be fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin, and pills.

The drugs will be analyzed at a Health Canada lab to confirm their exact nature.

“Locally, the quantities seized from the male would be significant,” said West.

The 27-year-old resident of the Salmon Arm area was released pending further investigation of trafficking and weapons offences.



American white pelicans hang around the Okanagan-Shuswap over the summer

Pelicans pay a visit

You might be most familiar with pelicans from winter vacations to Mexico, but the big birds hang around B.C., too.

The distinctive, big-billed birds have been spotted around the North Okanagan and Shuswap over the summer.

But, that's not unusual.

The region is on the annual migratory path of American white pelicans, from southwest California and the Pacific coast of Mexico, on their way to their single nesting site in British Columbia.

It's located at Stum Lake in White Pelican Provincial Park, west of Williams Lake.

Several hundred mating pairs may nest there each summer.

Sylvia Voets recently caught images of a group of a few dozen birds on Shuswap Lake in Salmon Arm and shared them via the Hell Yeah Vernon! Facebook group.

The pelicans prefer shallow lakes and lagoons to forage for fish and will typically nest on an island in that body of water.

It's believed those that stayed around the Okanagan and Shuswap this summer were juveniles not yet of breeding age.

They were also spotted at Otter Lake in Spallumcheen this spring.

The pelicans' range extends from Northern Alberta to Central America and South America.

Pelicans' beaks can be up to 15 inches in length, perfect for scooping up fish.

One of the largest birds in North America, their wingspan can reach up to 120 inches, second only to the California condor.

They can weigh up to 30 pounds.



Rust Valley Restorers auction to sell off Tappen field full of 500 classic cars

Field of dreams for auction

The future of a popular History Channel TV show filmed in the Shuswap may be up in the air with the sale of a field of dreams, at least for classic car fans.

Electric Garage Auctions is holding a no-reserve live auction of TV personality Mike Hall's 500 cars on Oct. 2 on Hall's Tappen property.

Hall, otherwise known as Rasta Blasta for his signature dreadlocks, is known for his large field of muscle cars and collectibles.

His listing of the property for sale in 2017 led to the TV show Rust Valley Restorers as he tried to liquidate the cars by restoring and selling them.

Now the property has apparently been sold, EG is selling the entire collection.

Only registered bidders will be allowed on the property.

You can check out the inventory here.

There will be viewing of the vehicles on Thursday, Sept. 30 and Friday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bidders can also take part via a live stream of the auction.

"Over 500 classic selling to highest bidder," EG Auctions says on its Facebook page.

Despite the question mark over the future of the show, there will be at least one more season coming.

In May, Corus Entertainment announced a fourth season would begin airing in February.

"Rust Valley Restorers follows car fanatic Mike Hall as he barrels into his third year in business with his son Connor at ‘Rust Bros’ restoration shop – and his first year without his best friend Avery, who’s gone out on a limb to open his own restoration shop, joining the Rust Valley ranks of passionate locals working to make a buck restoring dilapidated classic cars and oddball vehicles of all kinds," the History Channel website states.



Another chance to hear candidates tonight in live streamed Salmon Arm forum

Candidates grilled tonight

Voters in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding have another chance to check out their election candidates in action tonight.

The virtual forum is hosted by the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce and gets underway at 7 p.m.

You can join the live stream here or listen on Shuswap Community Radio at 93.7 FM.

Five candidates are running in the riding: Conservative incumbent Mel Arnold, Liberal challenger Shelley Desautels, Andrea Gunner of the Green Party, Kyle Delfing of the PPC and the NDP's Ron Johnston.

Advance polling has already begun in the federal election.

The election will be decided Sept. 20.



Salmon Arm RCMP locate $15,000 worth of tools stolen from construction site

Stolen tools return home

A construction site owner in Salmon Arm has been reunited with $15,000 worth of stolen tools.

Salmon Arm RCMP say the owner had a comprehensive list with a good description of the tools taken from the job site on Sept. 2.

Investigators located neighbourhood video that showed a vehicle in the area.

Officers recognized the green Suzuki SUV and went to another residence, where they located the suspect vehicle.

“Someone had put all the tools in a shed on the property where police recovered them. The officers were able to call the owner and reunite him with his equipment,” says Sgt. Scott West.

Charges are not expected to be laid in the case.

“Police were very happy to get the workers back their tools so they could get back to work,” says West.



Quick action by Salmon Arm police save overdosing man

Team effort saves life

A man is alive today thanks to the quick actions of the Salmon Arm RCMP.

Sgt. Scott West said on Sept. 2 at 4:20 p.m., a patrolling officer was flagged down by a man on the side of the road who told the officer another male was overdosing on street drugs.

“The officer immediately attended to the overdosing male and administered Naloxone,” said West. “The overdosing male had no breathing and no pulse as the officer called for an ambulance and started CPR. As he did this another officer attended and another dose of Naloxone was administered.”

A third officer then arrived with an automatic defibrillator.

As chest compressions continued by two of the officers until the ambulance arrived, the man eventually regained consciousness.

“He actually walked to the ambulance to get care at the local hospital,” said West, adding the quick actions of the man at the roadside, the intervening officers and subsequent care by ambulance successfully averted tragedy.

“At last report he male appeared to be on the road to a full recovery.”



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