A Perley Elementary School class cheers on Kelowna native Kelsey Serwa as she comepetes at the Winter Olympics this year. Serwa has family in Grand Forks and the class was inspired to cheer her on as she competed in a ski-cross event. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Presenting a Year in Review: Part One

The first installment in the Gazette’s annual Year in Review.

Every year, the Grand Forks Gazette presents our Year in Review issue, a look back at some of the best, important, and compelling stories in our pages this year. This is the first installment of this series, in print on Jan. 2, 2019.

January

The actors and volunteers of the Boundary and Musical Theatre Society (BM&TS) were left reeling after a series of recent thefts at the acting group’s storage locker have left them looking to replace a large costume library just six weeks before their spring production is set to begin.

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Grand Forks Search and Rescue members had a busy weekend east of the Paulson, assisting local search and rescue teams on two backcountry rescues. According to GFSAR president Grant Burnard, the group was first called out around 8 p.m. on Saturday for a rescue of two overdue cross-country skiers east of the Paulson in the Bonanza area.

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Grand Forks Minor hockey player of the week Julien Honour-Decap got a special visit at Hutton Elementary this week. Decap was visited by his favourite Border Bruin, Ross King and four other team members as his special prize for his outstanding performance as a player of the week on his team.

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Just months after an a ammonia leak at the Fernie arena killed three, regulations requiring around the clock staffing for arenas using ammonia are being formalized. These regulations will not affect the Grand Forks arena, something recreation officials say is positive.

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After nearly a year acting in the role, interim Chief Administrative Officer Diane Heinrich has been formally hired as the city’s CAO. In a press release distributed last week, the city announced that Heinrich had been signed to a two and a half year contract. She has been acting in the role since March 2017 when former CAO Doug Allin left the organization.

February

The provincial government is seeking your input for a new strategy on rural development. The provincial government announced last week that it is working to develop a long-term Rural Development Strategy with the objective to help “rural and Indigenous communities build their capacity to create resilient, sustainable futures”. In an effort to make sure the strategy reflects the priorities of rural communities and their residents, the government is taking input through surveys and online discussions.

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The Christina Lake Fire Rescue will be seeing the addition of a paid fire chief this year, according to a presentation at a recent Area C/Christina Lake town hall meeting. During the budget presentation, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Chief Administrative Officer Mark Andison said that a change in the budget would reflect the addition of a wage in the fire department budget.

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Crime was on the rise in Grand Forks over the summer and represents a slight increase over 2016 according to the second and third quarter crime statistics presented to City of Grand Forks council recently. In the third quarter of 2017 (July to September) there were 1,005 calls for service, as opposed to 856 in the same period for 2016.

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Whispers of Hope coordinator Melissa Shulga confirmed the thrift store will be moving to 7461 Third St. Shulga said that will not be the location of the community kitchen — while they have a separate location in mind, Shulga declined to say where until the arrangements were finalized.

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Benjamin Franklin said the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, and at least the latter is cause for excitement for the volunteers of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which gears up again this year on March 6.

March

Despite a significantly elevated snowpack level in March, we don’t have to be worried about spring flooding yet, according to snowpack data released by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources last week. The latest bulletin, which was released on March 8, shows the Boundary snow basin as being at 136 per cent of normal.

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How much is information worth? For the City of Grand Forks, it’s $20,000 — a budget amendment requested by staff at the March 12 council meeting in response to an Freedom of Information (FOI) request that is expected to impact staff resources.

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The Boundary Musical and Theatre Society presented Disney’s Beauty and the Beast from March 1- 11, welcoming hundreds to the Grand Forks Secondary School auditorium over the two-week run to be swept away in the love story of the beautiful Belle and the cursed Beast.

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From 3-D printing and beyond — there’s a new society in the Boundary for scientists and tech-lovers. The Boundary Association for Applied Science and Innovative Technologies (BAASIT), which was formed on Feb. 20, will serve as a hub for people in the Boundary working or interested in science and tech – two rapidly growing fields in the Boundary, said members, Gary Smith and Shawn Fitzpatrick.

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The newest federal budget, unveiled last Tuesday, is “a missed opportunity” for Boundary residents, according to MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay Richard Cannings. In a news release issued last week, Cannings notes that while the federal budget does have some welcome measures, many are “half measures” that don’t fix problems.

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