The Bulkley Valley Credit Union was named Business of the Year at the annual Smithers District Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards gala Nov. 16.

Top Community and A&E Stories for 2019

This week numbers 10 through 6

Over the next two weeks we present our Top 10 Community and A&E stories from 2019 as assessed by The Interior News editorial staff. This week numbers 10 though 6.

10. May 15 – Muheim gets new accessible playground

Muheim Elementary School got a new accessible playground this summer.

“We received $125,000 to put a new playground in and the government decided on Muheim,” said Dave Margerm, secretary treasurer for School District No. 54 – Bulkley Valley (SD54).

Director of facilities with SD54 Tim Bancroft said that the biggest change in the playground is that the equipment is designed to be more accessible for children with physical or mobility issues.

“We’re going more and more to accessible [playgrounds] so kids who have some physical challenges, mobility challenges, they are able to participate as well,” said Bancroft.

He adds that a feature of the new playground will be a zipline that runs parallel to King Street.

In addition to the changes, many parts of the old playground that are no longer up to safety compliant codes, such as the older monkey bars and pressure-treated wood, will be ripped out and disposed of.

The funding was announced last May by Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson and is part of a Playground Equipment Program spearheaded by the NDP that provides funding to school districts to purchase new or replacement playgrounds.

9. Aug 11 – Celeb golf raises $125K

The 2019 Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament (SCGT) featured a diverse group of 35 celebrities and raised an estimated $100,000 for the Bulkley Valley Hospital Foundation and the Smithers Community Cancer Care Team, said Kent Delwisch, the lead organizer of the tournament.

“It was great,” he said. “We got lots of positive feedback, so I guess we have to count that as a win.”

Two years ago, the tournament, which is a bi-annual event, was a major contributor to the CT scanner project, which came to fruition July 9 when the new scanner went into service at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital.

Elena Raykov is the operating room manager at the hospital and volunteered as a score-keeper at the second hole Saturday. She said the scanner has already been a boon to the community as will new surgical equipment, which is what some of the proceeds this year will go toward.

“The fact that the community wants to help out and raise money for our work means a lot,” she said. “We do try and bring more services closer to home, that’s our goal, so because of a tournament like this one and the support of the BV [Health] Foundation we’ve been able to do great things in the community.”

8. Nov 20 – Business and community awards

The Bulkley Valley Credit Union was named Business of the Year at the annual Smithers District Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards gala Nov. 16.

Winners were determined by a vote of chamber members.

The other top award, Business Person of the Year went to Avi Ranjan, owner of Subway.

The gala itself was a record-breaking night for the chamber.

The event, dubbed the “Blue Carpet Gala” saw more people attend than ever before and the chamber received more nominations for awards than they ever have.

Chamber manager Sheena Miller was happy with how the evening turned out and pleasantly surprised with how many younger faces were in attendance. She said more than 200 people showed up. Last year, 140 attended.

There were 12 awards presented and three special awards.

The Major Contributor to Arts and Culture went to Dolly Alfred for her Witsuwit’en Wednesday, a Facebook page dedicated to the revitalization of the Witsuwit’en language. Every week she shares a word and its translation from her traditional language.

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year was handed to Jennah Gainer of Telly’s Grill. She co-owns the restaurant with Peter Karnouskos and runs the front end.

Gainer said she was very humbled to win.

OTHER AWARDS:

Home-based Business of the Year:

Rustica Wood Fired Bakery

Family Friendly Business of the Year: Bulkley Valley Bright Beginnings

Environmental Business of the Year: Nature’s Pantry

Citizen/Volunteer of the Year: Mark DeHoog

Public Service Excellence: Smithers Fire Rescue

Tourism Excellence: Smithers Brewing Company

Customer Service Excellence for an Individual: Duane de Vries of Bulkley Valley Credit Union

Customer Service Excellence for a Business: Bulkley Valley Wholesale.

7. January 9 – Northern B.C. Indigenous couple inducted into Dance Hall of Fame

Chief Ken Harris, Gitxsan, and Cree elder Margaret Harris were inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame this year.

The Harris family were leaders in reviving Indigenous dance on the West Coast.

Chief Ken Harris and elder Margaret Harris formed the Dancers of Damelahamid in 1967, a dance company that continues to share First Nations culture from Vancouver and across the world.

The couple met in Prince Rupert and moved to Vancouver when the mill Ken worked at shut down.

While in Prince Rupert, they helped to organize the first Indian Day where salmon and traditional Indigenous foods were served, but there was no dancing. The second year, the Harris family invited the Chilkat Alsaka Dancers to perform.

“When I saw the Chilkat dancers and we had our first Indian Day I thought, well you know, we should teach our children and that’s when we started teaching the children and then all the other groups wanted their children taught too,” Margaret said.

She was inspired to organize the Kaien Island Dancers. The Harris family stitched the dresses, the dance steps were taught by the grandmother, and the songs were based on the legends of the family.

When the family moved to Vancouver they brought their culture and dance to the south.

Over the years, the Dancers of Damelhamid have performed in Ottawa, New Zealand, Shanghai, Peru and Tokyo.

Ken Harris, passed away in 2010, and Margaret moved to Kitwanga last year. She is 87 years old and has two daughters, two sons and 17 grandchildren.

6. February 27 – Telkwa Library turns 100

The Telkwa Reading Centre turned 100 years old this year. The library, located on Riverside Drive at Madison Avenue celebrated the anniversary on Sept 14 with a tree and a plaque commemorated the centennial celebration.

“It shocked me when I heard earlier in the year it was 100 years, said Brad Layton, Telkwa mayor. “I didn’t realize we were at our 100 years for them and that’s phenomenal for the longevity of a library and reading centre.”

The library welcomed 850 visitors in 2018 and averaged 200 books per month in loans.

Next week, we present our Top 5.

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

 

The Telkwa Reading Centre celebrated 100 years in 2019.

Just Posted

Town grants Chamber $20K

Chamber estimates up to $65K in lost revenue, turns to council for help

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New Salt Boutique the realization of a vision for owner Caroline Marko

Marko combines the rough and the soft in a minimalist, clean airy space

Coastal GasLink pipeline work ramps up

With spring thaw ending, workers start to arrive for summer season

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read