Houston Drags 2022

Houston Drags 2022

Smithers 2022 Year in Review – August

AUGUST

BV Search and Rescue calls in the 442 Squadron to aid in search

The BV Search and Rescue (BVSAR) group called the 442 Squadron and crew with their Cormorant helicopter from Comox, B.C. to support in rescuing a hunter in distress.

On Aug. 13, BVSAR was called in to assist the RCMP in reaching and rescuing a hunter in the remote areas surrounding Dease Lake. Due to the Cormorant’s ability to travel at night, BVSAR requested the support of the 442 Squadron.

They were able to reach the site and extricate the subject in the early hours of the morning.

Telkwa moves ahead with Green Burial Site

During the Regular Meeting of Telkwa Council, Council reviewed a staff report presenting options related to green burials. Council directed staff to pursue a green burial site in Telkwa that is not certified, and report back to Council.

On August 16, staff returned a report recommending a site at the cemetery that council approved. Since Council directed staff to pursue a non-certified site, this allows the Village to dictate what regulations they believe are necessary and within an appropriate level of effort.

Mother and son reunite in Hagwilget after 54 years

A mother who gave her son up for adoption 54 years ago reconnected with him in August.

Tina Austin, who now lives in Hagwilget, was 15 years old when she gave birth to a son in Prince George she named Brian Edward Dennis.

He was renamed Adam by his adoptive parents but she didn’t know that until recently. Tina said it wasn’t really her idea to give him up for adoption, but she was young. She had tried to search for him for years, but because the adoption was closed, she wasn’t getting any answers.

Adam came up to Hagwilget to meet his biological mother and a family reunion was held. She said some of her other children have met Adam and they connected instantly.

“My life is whole now,” she added. “I don’t have that missing piece anymore.”

New low-cost housing project makes progress

Smithers town council is keeping the ball rolling on a new $13 million affordable housing project that is slated for 1611 Main Street.

Councillors approved some development variances for the Indigenous Housing Project by Dze L K’ant Housing Society at the former LB Warner site between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues during the Aug. 9 regular council meeting.

The site was formerly a provincial highways operations yard, which the Town acquired from the Province in 2004. The Bulkley Valley Gymnastics Club leases a small portion of it, with the remainder largely underutilized due to its ‘contaminated’ status.

The Town agreed to the Dze L K’ant’ Housing Society’s request for providing a clean site for a 30-unit Indigenous residential development and approved the society’s request to enter into a long-term lease agreement.

Alex Cuba receives honorary Ph. D.

Smithers music phenom Alex Cuba announced in August he will be receiving an honourary doctorate degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in October. “I am feeling very honoured and excited, it is beyond my dreams,” said Cuba.

A letter from Dr. Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, in part reads: “On behalf of the Senate of Queen’s University at Kingston, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to receive the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. In Nominating you for an Honorary Degree, Queen’s University wishes to recognize your artistic and cultural impact as a Cuban musician, maintaining the sound and musical fabric of your birthplace, while at the same time integrating yourself thoroughly and successfully in the cultures of Canada.”

Community Foundation awards $100K grant to Witset Ball Park project

The Bulkley Valley Community Foundation (BVCF) awarded a significant grant to Witset First Nation in support of the Witset Ball Park Revitalization project.

The $100,000 grant involves upgrading the Witset Youth/Women’s Softball Field to address safety concerns, improve the backstop, dugouts, bleachers, washrooms, fencing, and field. The improved infrastructure will meet Softball Canada regulations.

Ladies Northern Open title leaves town for second straight year

The Smithers Ladies Northern open title once again left the building in August. At the end of the two-day scramble event played Aug. 6 and 7 at the Smithers Golf and Country Club, it was a team led by Jackie Himech with three other women from even further east who found themselves atop the leaderboard.

Himech, Lori Saritsky, Elaine Hetu and Janice Ayles shot rounds of 67 Saturday and 66 Sunday for a -11 total and five-stroke victory over the second-place Smithers foursome of Shanon Malbeuf, Cyndy Hooper, Jane Hetherington and Toni Perrault.

Tommy Greene and Houston team win celebrity golf tourney

It was an action-packed two-and-a-half days for the 2022 Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament (SCGT) and at the end of it all, a team from Houston walked away with the coveted trophy.

Double A Ventures, a woodlot and timber sales company, along with former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Tommy Greene shot -18 to secure the championship.

The one-day scramble actually ended in a tie with the team from Smithers Lumber Yard, but Double A prevailed on a countback. Double A owner Andrew Leffers, who played with wife Arlene and sons Ryan and Kevin, said the win was especially sweet because it was a family affair and they really like to support the event, which they have three times now.

“It was fun golfing with family and our celebrity was great to golf with,” he said. “We really enjoy the tournament, it’s a really well-run tournament and it’s for a great cause.”

Smithers crime severity index drops 18 per cent

The Town of Smithers saw significant decreases in its crime severity index (CSI), violent crime severity index (VCSI) and non-violent crime severity index (NVCSI) in 2021.

Data released by Statistics Canada (StatCan) July 25 indicated the CSI for 2021 was 157.55 compared to 193.26 in 2020, an 18.48 per cent decline.

Similarly, the VCSI was down 15.82 per cent from 216.57 to 182.31 and the NVCSI decreased 19.60 per cent from 184.42 to 148.27.

Along with the numbers being down for Smithers, the town’s relative position among B.C. municipalities was also down in all categories.

Town, downtown merchants, RCMP react to uptick in criminal activity

Even though crime statistics released in July showed crime fell in Smithers last year, there has been a recent up-tick in blatant shoplifting at local merchants in Smithers, break-ins and vandalism.

Smithers RCMP Cpl. Elizabeth Irvine said police have noticed a rise in stealing from stores, violent confrontations between shoplifters and merchants, and property theft and damage in the last several months.

Excavator tumbles into Bulkley River killing operator

Long-time Telkwa resident Gary Haywood died after an excavator he was operating tumbled off the banks above the Bulkley River at Fort Telkwa and fell into the river, trapping him inside. Initial attempts to rescue Haywood on July 4 by witnesses, were unsuccessful due to the high river flow holding the door of the excavator closed.

Emergency services were called, but further efforts to free him also failed.

Runners from Telkwa and Smithers strike gold on Haida Gwaii

Brooke Haberstock of Telkwa is the champion of the 2022 Totem to Totem Haida Marathon (T2T) Haberstock won the marathon overall with a sub-four-hour time of 3:52:08 with Angela Olsen of Daajing Giids (formerly Queen Charlotte) on her heels at 3:52:46. Danielle Dysserinck of Massett rounded out the women’s event coming in third.

In the 10K run, Luke Smith of Smithers improved on his 2019 second-place finish, winning the men’s event with a time of 39:30.

Hospital auxiliary thrift store broken into and robbed

The New to You second-hand store was broken into after hours and multiple items were stolen.

The thrift store, run by the Bulkley Valley District Hospital Auxiliary, on the corner of King Street and Broadway Avenue, is run by volunteers with all of the proceeds going back into the community. Store spokesperson Gisela Varga said volunteers were shaken up when they came into work on Thursday morning and noticed they had been robbed sometime the previous night.

“We were very upset when we came in on Thursday morning,” she said. “We don’t get paid. We make money and donate it to the hospital and other community things, like the Bulkley Lodge and the Kordyban Lodge in Prince George.”

Houston sergeant promoted to staff sergeant to lead Smithers RCMP

As of August 8, a new officer in charge took over the Smithers RCMP detachment.

Sgt. Mark Smaill, who had been the detachment commander in Houston since January 2020, took over from Staff Sgt. Terry Gillespie with the requisite bump in rank.

Gillespie was promoted earlier in the year to become the officer in charge for Terrace.

Smaill is very familiar with policing in the Northwest having spent the first six years of his career in Houston as a constable before transferring to Prince Rupert to be a member of the force’s coastal police unit.

Classical music festival returns to the Bulkley Valley

Last year marked the return of Spirit of the North Classical Music Festival, a world-class event in the heart of Northwest B.C.

“The last two and a half years have reminded us in many ways how incredible it is to share live music,” said festival artistic director Roxi Dykstra in a message on the festival webpage.

“The festival this year has been thoughtfully curated to offer a wide array of concert experiences, and I think that many audience members will delight in attending them all.”

 

Smithers Ladies Northern Open Flight 3 winners, from left, Melanie Anthony, Heather Gallagher, Donna Thomas and Sandra Smith celebrate disco-style at the Smithers Golf and Country Club Aug. 7. (Thom Barker photo.

Smithers Ladies Northern Open Flight 3 winners, from left, Melanie Anthony, Heather Gallagher, Donna Thomas and Sandra Smith celebrate disco-style at the Smithers Golf and Country Club Aug. 7. (Thom Barker photo.

A total of 180 golfers played in the 2022 Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament (Melissa Ash photo)

A total of 180 golfers played in the 2022 Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament (Melissa Ash photo)

Jonas Nicholson tries to avoid a falling giant Jenga tower, one of the many games available during Pacific Inland Resources’ 50th Anniversary celebration at Bovill Square Aug. 15, 2022. (Thom Barker photo)

Jonas Nicholson tries to avoid a falling giant Jenga tower, one of the many games available during Pacific Inland Resources’ 50th Anniversary celebration at Bovill Square Aug. 15, 2022. (Thom Barker photo)

Luke Smith from Smithers crosses the finish line first in the 10 km Totem to Totem (T2T) Marathon held in Haida Gwaii in July 2022.

Luke Smith from Smithers crosses the finish line first in the 10 km Totem to Totem (T2T) Marathon held in Haida Gwaii in July 2022.

(Marisca Bakker photo)

(Marisca Bakker photo)

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