Year in review: A look back at 2020

Despite the rainy morning members of the Wells Gray Riders Association showed their patriotism will a horse parade through Clearwater on Canada Day. (L-r) Claire Hanna, Bill Dowds, Candus Graffunder, Corianna Bakken, Cassia Bakken, and Marie Fenwick.Despite the rainy morning members of the Wells Gray Riders Association showed their patriotism will a horse parade through Clearwater on Canada Day. (L-r) Claire Hanna, Bill Dowds, Candus Graffunder, Corianna Bakken, Cassia Bakken, and Marie Fenwick.
Lilly Traupe (left), Christine Kempter, Eric Hernandez and Hazel Crawford enjoyed the sunny morning at the Clearwater Market. The foursome were representing the Dixon Creek Farm for the first time at the market.Lilly Traupe (left), Christine Kempter, Eric Hernandez and Hazel Crawford enjoyed the sunny morning at the Clearwater Market. The foursome were representing the Dixon Creek Farm for the first time at the market.
Scotty Burgoyne was happy to show off his 2016 Polaris Slingshot. He and Jenny Young came down from Blue River to mingle and take a look at all the vehicles.Scotty Burgoyne was happy to show off his 2016 Polaris Slingshot. He and Jenny Young came down from Blue River to mingle and take a look at all the vehicles.
Leslie Groulx was presented with a Master Municipal Clerk designation.Leslie Groulx was presented with a Master Municipal Clerk designation.
Gion Volk (left) and William Taylor enjoyed an afternoon of paddle boarding at Dutch Lake during the District of Clearwater’s Outdoor Kid’s Camp for the kids aged 10 to 12.Gion Volk (left) and William Taylor enjoyed an afternoon of paddle boarding at Dutch Lake during the District of Clearwater’s Outdoor Kid’s Camp for the kids aged 10 to 12.
Sophie Mackenzie returned to Raft River Elementary for her first day of Grade 2.Sophie Mackenzie returned to Raft River Elementary for her first day of Grade 2.
Ronnie Mackenzie gives a big thumbs up after taking a cruise in his dad’s 1968 Acadian to Avola. His older brother, Ashton, may have been a little camera shy.Ronnie Mackenzie gives a big thumbs up after taking a cruise in his dad’s 1968 Acadian to Avola. His older brother, Ashton, may have been a little camera shy.
Madyson Clark is all smiles as she heads out to continue mowing the grass in the pit of the Clearwater Speedway.Madyson Clark is all smiles as she heads out to continue mowing the grass in the pit of the Clearwater Speedway.
Bill Bud paid his respects to those lost at war. He is an environmental worker with the pipeline but said he makes sure to visit the local cenotaph on Remembrance Day wherever he is.Bill Bud paid his respects to those lost at war. He is an environmental worker with the pipeline but said he makes sure to visit the local cenotaph on Remembrance Day wherever he is.
Clearwater Rotary members, Alex Kramer, left, and Robert Vesak attach Christmas lights to the Wells Gray Information Centre in preparation for Light Up. Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand (and on video camera) to flip the switch on Sunday, Dec. 6.Clearwater Rotary members, Alex Kramer, left, and Robert Vesak attach Christmas lights to the Wells Gray Information Centre in preparation for Light Up. Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand (and on video camera) to flip the switch on Sunday, Dec. 6.

Continued from last issue

July

The folks at Gateway Grill raised $3,000 through burger and ice cream sales to purchase a new trampoline for their cleaner’s daughter, who has mobility issues that resulted from a brain tumor, leaving her paralyzed on the life side of her body. Jumping on her trampoline has helped her retain some of her strength and balance, but her equipment became weak through wear and tear. “I guess she’s on it all the time, so it was important she has that there to keep her mobility,” said Kalen Jones, owner of Gateway Grill.

Yellowhead Community Services received a financial boost in the tune of $8,500 from the Interior Savings Credit Union’s Community Relief Fund. The money went towards the purchase of laptops, webcams and cell phones to better offer virutal appointments and to helping YCS provide meals to low-income, vulnerable residents, families and seniors.

Clearwater teamster Ted Schultz and Bariere teamster Mike Chappell hitched up their horses and rode along the entire North Thompson Fall Fair parade route through Barriere’s downtown, resting up in the parking lot of AG Foods and finishing up at the fairgrounds. The Heavy Horse competitions at the NTFFR is one of the most popular events in the valley.

The Clearwater Farmer’s Market was a hustling place over the summer, despite added precautions due to COVID-19. It was a trend seen in many towns and communities as many sought out to buy local and support local businesses.

Clearwater horse rescue and non-profit Appaloosa Allies Foundation was featured in a short film for the Musicbed Reopen Challenge. The film, titled Unreined, looks at a number of horse rescues around B.C. “It was just really incredible to meet these women and meet these horses; the work they’re doing is just amazing and it was very inspiring,” said filmmaker Erin Parks.

A potential temporary fix to the Clearwater River Road was brought forward by a couple local logging companies. Dale Miller Logging and Wadlegger Logging and Construction both came forward to lend a hand and build a temporary road around the washout.

Community social media pages helped to locate a vehicle and trailer that was stolen from the Barriere. TNRD community pages and highway pages had posts asking for the community’s help in locating the truck and trailer after it was seen leaving a compound in Barriere. Through the power of technology and a helpful online community, the truck and trailer were found in Avola and towed to it’s owners.

August

Interior Cannabis Company, reports it has done well in its first weeks. Owner, Ben Minci, said comments from the public have been generally positive. The store opened after an extended period of public hearings, council meetings, applications and other paperwork.

The Clearwater Times’ new editor came on board!

Trans Mountain’s request for a liquor license received approval from council. Safety of the community and the economic benefit of businesses were among the most important concerns from both councillors and the public. The District of Clearwater councillors heard from many people, through both written and spoken submissions, in addition to presentations from Trans Mountain.

Rhonda Kershaw was named new chair of SD73 school board. Previously vice-chair, she was chosen during a board meeting on July 27 after Kathleen Karpuk stepped down as chair due to a new position.

Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospial received a new ventilator through a partnership between the hospital auxiliary and Clearwater and District Hospice Society. The CDHS donated $27,500 that was raised through local donations. The auxiliary applied for and recieved a grant for $27,000 from the Community Foundations of Canada through the North Thompson Communities Foundation.

An agreement between Trans Mountain and the District of Clearwater saw a contribution of $3.1 million towards upgrades for Clearwater’s water systems. “We are excited about the many legacy projects Trans Mountain is partnering with us on, many of which will help us now with some important safety and infrastructure needs but will then provide us future opportunity to grow our local economy and to improve the quality of life for our citizens,” said Mayor Merlin Blackwell.

The Times presented recent graduate Emma Collins with the annual Black Press bursary cheque of $300 to assist university funding.

Clearwater’s Coffee & Cars show saw increased numbers throughout the month. Throughout the summer, the Cruisin’ Clearwater group made some appearances in the community, including earlier in the year, raising thousands for the food bank, every week for a meet up (socially distanced, of course) in the Buy-Low Foods parking lot and again near the end of August for a rolling show for Forest View Place and a drive to Helmcken Falls. Murray Mountain ice cream shop even opened for the group.

Leslie Groulx, District of Clearwater CAO, was presented with a Master Municipal Clerk designation from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. A big feat, considering only a handful of people have the designation in the province, according to Mayor Merlin Blackwell. Tammy Rutsatz was presented with the long service award for 15 years with the DOC.

The annual Rotary Fun Golf Tournament was a success, seeing 46 golfers on the course and $4,800 raised. The money raised was to be donated to Evergreen Acres to build a new tea house gazebo for residents.

September

After being sent home for schooling, all students from K-12 went back to the classrooms, albeit with new restrictions to follow and habits to create. While not all students returned, those who did were very excited, and many showed off their first day of school photos.

A couple of bike thieves were taught a lesson after attempting to steal a display-only bicycle from the storefront of the Old Town Gift Shoppe. The bike was found around the corner outside the Times’ office, on its side with a broken brake handle later the same morning. It seems the culprits quickly found out about its condition and that Karma works fast.

The DOC put on a summer camp for kids aged seven to 12. For the four days of activities, the kids painted rocks, went on hikes, visited the water park, went paddleboarding on Dutch Lake and mountain biking on Candle Creek Trail. The kids had a blast, making both new friends and memories.

The Canfor sawmill in Vavenby was sold to B.C. entrepreneur after a year after its closure. Brian Fehr, current chairman of the board for SmartLam North America, purchased about 75 per cent of the land, with the other 25 per cent purchased by Simpcw First Nation.

Two Clearwater residents were on the front page of the Times in 1980 after fundraising for Terry Fox during his trek across Canada. Kim Bridge and Heather Hildebrandt spoke with the Times about what it was like and what they remembered about Fox’s run.

Cruisin’ Clearwater took a trip to Avola to end their season. Thirteen vehicles made the drive from the A&W to the Log Inn Pub in Avola. Organizer Ryan Mackenzie said the sun was shining and the food was great.

Two cyclists made their way through Clearwater and the valley on their way to the coast from Northern Alberta to fundraise for Power to Be, a non-profit organization. Mateo Everitt and Liam Zahara took a break in Little Fort to speak with the Times before heading over Highway 24.

Many Clearwater and area residents were visited on quite a regular basis by bears. The Clearwater Info Board Facebook group was busy with warnings and sightings of bears in the area as they were trying to fill up before their hibernation. It was a reminder to all to keep garbages protected, not to leave food out such as seeds for birds, and to keep fruit trees harvested.

Clearwater Secondary and Barriere Secondary Schools entered a friendly contest in an effort to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation. Each school fundraised in their own ways, and at 4 p.m. on Sept. 30, the Clearwater Raiders were the victors, having out-raised the Barriere cougars by a small margin. The total funds raised was just shy of $2,100, and Barriere Secondary principal Angela Stott sported a Raiders jersery for the day.

October

Members of Clearwater council and the District’s trails task force gathered just west of the roundabout on Clearwater Village Road to celebrate the official opening of the newly paved path in town. The new trail was one on a list of high-priority projects addressed in the DOC’s Master Plan.

Piet Oud was awarded the Jack Koteles Memorial Award for Strong Commitment to Community Service from Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association. He would spend a few hours per week helping the younger goalies improve their skills. “It means a lot to me to be able to teach what I know about goaltending to these little kids and they can take that knowledge and hopefully one of them, when they reach my age, can pass it on to the next group of goalies,” said Oud.

The Clearwater Speedway got the green light to re-open beginning 2021, after being closed for almost a couple of decades. The land was part of the land owned by Canfor that was purchased earlier in the year by B.C. entrepreneur Brian Fehr, who gave persmission for the track to operate again. Members of the Merritt Stock Car Association and other volunteers were down at the track prepping the area for a future season.

The Upper Clearwater Volunteer Fire Brigade held a barbecue to celebrate the funds raised from selling tickets for a raffle for a meat smoker. Thr group sold 950 tickets, a total of $4,750. The funds were earmarked for operating costs, such as fuel for the trucks and insurance.

A section of land was donated to Vavenby from the new owners of the Vavenby mill site to upgrade the communitiy’s water facilities. The new property owner, Brian Fehr, said is was to “do the right thing for the people of Vavenby.”

A successful campaign through Blackpool Fire Department improved home safety for the residents of Blackpool by checking and replacing batteries as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Those that needed one received a duo smoke and CO detector.

After more than a year of communication between the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and Canadian Forest Products (Canfor), Vavenby received an increase to their legacy fund. Vavenby was originally slated to receive $25,000, but later agreed to raise the amount to $100,000. The funds will go towards the community’s infrastructure needs.

Recent high school graduate Josee Cooperman was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal and certificate. It is awarded to the student with the highest grade point average from a Canadian high school, college or university. She is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Science program through Thompson Rivers University.

November

Clearwater Secondary graduate Emma Collins was the single recipient of the Charles and Jean Whittaker Memorial Bursary Endowment, given each year to CSS graduates who are entering TRU in the fall. Collins is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts program.

After major surgery and a few months of recovery, Reggie Fast is seeing good progress, though still requires a wheelchair to get around places like school. While still too early to fully tell, Fast’s mother, Dee Wood, said the progress is welcomed and has “opened up a whole bunch of different doors” for him.

The DOC recevied $894,000 in economic restart cash through the federal government’s Safe Restart Agreement. The grant was in addition to a long list of funds given to the DOC, which Mayor Merlin Blackwell estimated was about $6 million.

After a few months without sports, the Clearwater minor hockey players hit the ice. The Clearwater Icehawks did well in their games.

The Wells Gray Education and Research Centre in Upper Clearwater officially opened. The centre is now able to accommodate year-round visits.

An unexpected renovation at CSS turned into a new experience for woodworking students as their class was forced to work outside. Instead of a focus on smaller projects and carpentry, the students focused on construction projects. Most notably, the students built two sheds for the daycares at YCS that will store out-of-season toys and tools.

December

The Clearwater RCMP detachment raised $1,550 and 1,282 pounds of food for the Clearwater and District Food Bank Society, for the group’s first Cram the Cruiser event. Members of the detachment stood outside of Buy-Low Foods, collecting non-perishable food to “cram the cruiser” and monetary donations.

An announcement from the provincial governmenet solidified funds for Evergreen Acres’ Phase 5, which will bring additional units as well as a new community hall to the senior’s complex.

Members of the Clearwater, Blackpool and Vavenby volunteer fire departments set up drive-thru visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus so the kids could say hello and receive a little gift bag. The three departments saw about 140 kids in total.

Local student, Stacia Panko, was awarded the Barbara and Jack Gregson Memorial Award through virtual ceremony. The award is given to one student enrolled in environmental sciences. She is in a Bachelor of Resource Sciences program and hopes to do something related to ecosystem reclaimation and restoration when she graduates.

Clearwater communities got a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus a couple of times this month. The two were seen on a horse-drawn sleigh, visiting the folks at Evergreen Acres, as well as the residents around Sunshine Valley and the communities in Clearwater’s north end.

Clearwater’s young writers sent in their Christmas stories to the Times. The judges enjoyed reading the stories about Santa’s new sleigh, the reindeer replacements and who stole the cookie decorations. This year’s winners were: Rosie Graffunder, Taya Noble, Jade Prime, Annie Johnston, Bree Bonnamour and Adalie Shook. Congratulations!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

(Unsplash photo)
“Are you printing the truth yet?”

Right from my first days in the editor’s chair, I have had a handful of locals tell me they know the secrets to solving COVID-19 — but fail to provide support.

File photo
Man tells RCMP he’s being chased, is later arrested

RCMP looking for witnesses of head-on collision Jan. 10

(Unsplash photo)
Fundrasier for “Smiley” Dave quickly exceed expectations

Less than 24 hours after revealing an idea to memorialize her step-father,… Continue reading

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Most Read