|  Your source for news and events in the Columbia Valley

Dan Walton
Email: dan@columbiavalleypioneer.com
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Before joining The Pioneer early in 2013, Dan was employed at a Saskatchewan newspaper. While the views of the sky are an appealing feature of the Prairies, the scenery can't compare to the mountains found only in British Columbia, where Dan looks forward to hiking, biking, rock climbing and downhill skiing, and writing the occasional opinionated column, while keeping his mind open to opposing viewpoints. Any and all feedback is welcome!

Community meets multi-use centre architects

Posted on February 27th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
As the Invermere Community Hall continues to serve its purpose, it was the setting of a meeting to discuss the building that’s going to replace it.
The District of Invermere (DOI) and SHAPE Architecture, which will be designing the new Columbia Valley Multi Use-Centre, invited the community out to a Meet the Architect event on Tuesday, February 17th. A presentation was done by architect Alec Smith to share his team’s initial observations. They laid out the possibilities that can be realized through the resources available, which was followed …

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Artist-in-residence at Pynelogs ships paintings off to Europe

Posted on February 27th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Valley-made fine paintings are on their way to London, England for the artist’s first international showing.
Chloe Marson is the artist in residence at Pynelogs Cultural Centre, and earlier this year, her abstract style was noticed by a scout from the Brick Lane Gallery in London, England.
“An international stage and presence is vital as an artist,” she said. “You have the potential to reach a broader client base, but whatever the intention of your work is, you still want to reach them; get inside them and help …

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ROCK WRANGLERS — Left to right are skip Zane Bartlett (Grand Forks), third Sam Gaspar (Invermere), second Logan Powell (Invermere) and lead Jordan Geiger (Grand Forks). Photo submitted

Local curlers taking on B.C.’s best

Posted on February 27th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
A team of young, local curlers have dominated the Kootenay region, and they’ve advanced to the competition against their provincial counterparts in Vancouver Island.
Representing the local region will be Sam Gaspar and Logan Powell from Invermere, and Zane Bartlett and Jordan Geiger from Grand Forks. To determine the province’s top team, they’ll be competing in the 2015 Tim Hortons B.C. Juvenile Curling Championships from March 5th through 8th in Lake Cowichan.
“They’re a confident crew,” said coach Joe Evanoff. “They’re not going to be as experienced as some …

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Local chamber offers staffing solutions to businesses

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Losing access to the federal Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program because the local rate of employment is below the national average has challenged many Columbia Valley businesses in the hospitality industry, and the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce (CVCC) has wasted no time looking for new solutions.
“There are a number of issues around it and a variety of solutions,” said Susan Clovechok, CVCC executive director.
The chamber hosted two Workplace Planning sessions this month, which explored separate methods for luring workers into the valley.
On Tuesday, February 10th, Diamond …

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Contestants feel duped

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
A local high stakes contest had its rules changed at the last minute and those eligible to win feel deceived.
The Columbia Valley Rockies hold a Shoot to Win contest at all of their home games, which gives raffle-winning fans the chance to step onto the rink, challenging them to shoot the puck into a small target from far away. Those who were successful were invited back to the final home game of the season to shoot again with the promise that if they were successful again, …

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LIVING ON — Tourism Radium manager Kent Kebe is focusing his efforts on enhancing the evolving wildlife display inside the Radium Hot Springs Visitor Centre. Photo by Dan Walton

Community donations support Radium wildlife display

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Wildlife is one of the valley’s most unpredictable attractions, so Tourism Radium is in the process of collecting and exhibiting some of nature’s most majestic species in the safe confines of its Visitor Centre.
“Not everybody who drives through (Kootenay National Park) gets to see wildlife,” said Kent Kebe, manager of Tourism Radium. “We thought that by creating a wildlife display for the valley, they could come in here in a safe fashion — cars won’t be parking on the side of the road to see animals.”
The …

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East Kootenay drivers petition against Mainroad

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Dissatisfied taxpayers in the East Kootenay haven’t relented in their fight against the regional road maintenance contractors.
Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting is responsible for keeping highways safe to drive upon, which has proven to be a challenge in recent winter months.
Those involved with the Taking Back East Kootenay Highways Facebook group, which has nearly 1,900 members, believe that the solution is for the public sector to reassume responsibility of highway maintenance in the East Kootenay, as well as increase the minimum standards for winter highway service. To …

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GALS fundraiser grows for its fourth year

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The annual Puppy Love Fundraiser has outgrown Fire Vixen Tattoos’ studio, so the local tattoo parlour is bringing in more artists and growing its event, moving into the Invermere Community Hall for its fourth year.
In the valley’s biggest venue, four artists from Cranbrook will be in town to take on more clients. The external talent will be coming from Runaway Elephant Tattoos and Pin Up Tattoos.
“We’ll have the tattooing set up like a mini convention,” said Sarah Eastick, owner and artist at Fire Vixen.
Puppy Love is happening …

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Invermere high school hosting community career fair

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
A day of professional reflection will be encouraging local students to wrap their heads around what they want to be when they grow up.
On Wednesday, February 11th, David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) will be hosting two occupational events — Find Your Fit by WorkBC, and a locally organized career fair in the evening.
Every student and teacher will be spending one block of their day to experience WorkBC’s Find Your Fit program — DTSS was the only school to be selected as a host in the East …

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A doe with her fawn out front of the Pioneer's office in August 2014. File photo

District of Invermere revives cull and court costs

Posted on February 4th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
After the legitimacy of a local deer cull in 2012 was unsuccessfully challenged in court, the District of Invermere is looking to recoup some of its legal costs as another round of culling gets underway.
In May 2014, council authorized district staff to submit a deer cull permit to Service BC. The permit is to cull 30 deer per year at a capped cost of $30,000 annually. The process began last week, and has been handled by district staff.
“This (year’s cull) is much more operational — we’re hands …

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Prefatory parturition produced by local politician

Posted on January 21st, 2015 by


The mayor of Invermere is the father of the valley’s New Year’s baby.
Parents Gerry Taft and Nozomi Ishii welcomed their firstborn child, Kelvin Arthur Taft, into the world at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital on Sunday, January 12th at 3:05 p.m.
Gerry and Nozomi both agreed that the name Kelvin was the right fit for their son. His middle name, Arthur, comes from Grandpa Taft.
Gerry said he’s not yet sure which sports or clubs he thinks Kelvin will join, but he’s sure that Nozomi won’t want their son following in his …

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Earl Grey Lodge at Panorama Mountain Resort offers moviegoers a weekly fix

Posted on January 16th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
As the valley re-adjusts to life without the Toby Theatre, the newly renovated building at Earl Grey Lodge is set to begin morphing into a temporary movie theatre each week.
By taking part in Movie with a Meal, guests will experience a newer Hollywood flick after enjoying a delectable plate off of Earl Grey’s menu.
“We’ve bought a public performance license, which allows us to show pre-release movies,” said owner Phil Marshall. “Once the ticket sales of a big production film has begun to wane in theatres, (the Copyright …

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Local Slow Food movement grows high school kitchen

Posted on January 14th, 2015 by


The future culinary artists of the valley are set for another educational advantage, as Slow Food Columbia Valley (the local movement) is helping chip away at the cost of a big item on the Chef Training Program’s wishlist.
The Chef Training Program at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) is working toward the purchase of a commercial bread-baking oven. The school is currently equipped with ovens to bake bread, but the students’ passion for fresh food is outgrowing the existing arsenal.
“What we want will have a stone floor and a nice even …

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ROOF RUPTURE —Tony Helmer was heading southbound on Highway 93/95 on December 19th when his friend Allen Wall’s airborne truck crashed into the car he was driving. Photos by Tony Helmer

Friend’s car softens crash landing just off Highway 93/95

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
A pair of friends from the valley serendipitously survived a violent automobile collision just days before Christmas.
Allen Wall and Tony Helmer, who are both in their 50s and have been friends for as long as they can remember — were approaching each others’ vehicles around 9 p.m. on Friday, December 19th while travelling in opposite directions. Allen was driving northbound towards Radium Hot Springs on Highway 93/95 in the Dry Gulch area, and Tony was southbound on a parallel frontage road.
Allen’s trip was abruptly altered when …

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Deer preyed upon on residential lawn in Invermere

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
A grisly deer mauling on private property has reinforced one Invermere property owner’s support for a cull.
In his home on Fort Point, Frank Jones awoke on Sunday, January 4th to find a bloody mule deer carcass on his lawn. His neighbours, whose window was closer to the area where the attack took place, reported hearing activity around 4 a.m. The identity of the predatory animal was not confirmed; however, only one set of tracks was noticed and Mr. Jones said the paws seemed fairly large.
Mr. Jones contacted …

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Local ski pro report card

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by


Grasic, Osborne-Paradis, and Thomsen demonstrate valley’s power

Compiled by Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The valley’s three most competitive ski racers — Martin Grasic, Manny Osborne-Paradis, and Ben Thomsen — are all busy this season touring the globe, tearing down mountain ranges throughout Europe and North America.
Name: Ben Thomsen • Age: 27
Valley connection: Valley born and raised; Windermere Valley Ski Club veteran
Race division/level: Alpine Canada/ World Cup
Placements so far this year:  Tied for 122nd overall; 42nd in downhill Races coming up: Not available
Quote from January 25th World Cup downhill in Kitzbühel, Austria: “When …

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WHITEWAY WONDER —The Lake Windermere Whiteway's Guinness World Record of world's longest ice skating trail is officially being celebrated on Saturday, January 3rd from 10am to 2pm at Kinsmen Beach in Invermere. Photo by Nicole Trigg

World record-breaking Whiteway to be celebrated

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 by


The record’s been broken and the water is frozen — now the Lake Windermere Whiteway is ready to officially open as the longest ice skating track on the planet.
Recognized to be 29.98 kilometres in length, the Lake Windermere Whiteway smashed the previous record held by The Forks — a 9.3-kilometre track in Manitoba.
Saturday, January 3rd will be a momentous day at the Kinsmen Beach, as the Toby Creek Nordic Club celebrates the announcement that the Guinness World Records made last year with the inaugural Whiteway Winter Festival. The Nordic Club will …

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Invermere transfer station ill-treated after Christmas

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Misuse at the Invermere transfer station has prompted a public warning: use of the facility can effectively be taken away.
“If people just keep abusing it, that’s all it’s going to take,” Invermere bylaw officer Mark Topliff told The Pioneer on Monday, December 29th.
The excessive recycling and waste was presumably a result of holiday consumption habits, but the post-Christmas state of the transfer station this year was far worse than at the end of 2013.
“This is 300 per cent worse (than last year’s post-Christmas load),” said Mr. Topliff, …

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DIGGER DOG – After being buried from sight, Thomas Dolezal from Panorama Fire Rescue is found by Summit, the avalanche dog for Columbia Valley Search and Rescue. The team was conducting an avalanche rescue demonstration at Panorama Mountain Village on Sunday, January 26th, 2014.                                                      Photo by Dan Walton

Special warning extended by Avalanche Canada

Posted on December 30th, 2014 by


Winter came hard to the valley this season, and the order in which the snow has accumulated has prompted special public avalanche warnings.
The Purcell Mountains have “had a complex early season snowpack,” said Tom Riley, avalanche forecaster for Avalanche Canada.
On Tuesday, December 30th, a special warning was extended to Sunday, January 4th by Avalanche Canada throughout most of the province’s inland regions (including the Purcells and Rockies regions), which cautions backcountry users over the increased likelihood of triggering avalanches.
Initially issued on Thursday, December 25th, the warning said that pre-Christmas snowfalls, …

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Local forecast uncertain with crude at five-year low

Posted on December 29th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Cheap oil looks as though it’s here to stay – and it’s garnering mixed reactions.
“It’s a good news-bad news scenario, but it’s what happens,” said Susan Clovechok, executive director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce. “There are things that go on that we don’t have control over, so we have to make sure that we can respond appropriately.”
Since the valley is largely dependent upon tourism, the effect of cheap oil on the local economy is uncertain.
“It’s making us nervous at this point, we’re not exactly sure what …

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