|  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!

Young amputee inspires others

Posted on September 26th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Eight-year-old Keira Neal of Fairmont Hot Springs was in Winnipeg last month for this year’s War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Seminar, which carried the theme, “set the bar high.”
Keira, who lost her right leg to cancer at the age of one, took part in the event with around 100 other young amputees, who travelled from throughout central Canada to learn that their disabilities don’t have to hold them back from living a full and active life.
“The purpose is for the kids to network and learn from …

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Rockies reinvent classic broadcasting duo

Posted on September 26th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
After a 25-year break, a Rockies broadcasting duo that reigned at one point during the team’s decades-old dynasty has been reborn, but their medium has evolved and one role will be filled by a family descendant of the original pair.
For those watching the KIJHL online, Barry Brown-John and Jean-Paul Askey will be calling the play-by-play over a live video feed of every Rockies home game this season.
For four or five years in the 1980s, Barry along with Jean-Paul’s father, Gordon, were the radio broadcasters for the …

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KIJHL rule change gives Rockies a leg up

Posted on September 26th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The Columbia Valley Rockies have a new geographical advantage over many of their KIJHL (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League) counterparts, after the league relaxed regulations on recruiting, removing the limit of Albertan players allowed on the roster.
“There’s Fernie, Golden, Kimberley, and Columbia Valley — if you’re from Alberta, you’re going to want to play in one of those four towns,” said Rockies general manager Ross Bidinger. “We had a big turnover in players this year, so we were able to find a good amount of quality talent.”
Previously, a …

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KHI_9649

Grasic makes national ski team

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff

One of the valley’s most promising downhill skiers — Martin Grasic — has been called to represent the nation as a member of Alpine Canada.
“Once you get to the national team, it really becomes everyone’s full-time job,” he said. “I really like the team; it’s a good dynamic. We really push each other.”
He’ll be joining four other skiers on Alpine Canada’s development team. Earning a role with the national squad is major progress in Martin’s professional career, after spending the past three winters competing for the provincial …

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TOO BLUE — Tribute artists the Blues Brothers Too will be on the roster at this year’s classic car Show and Shine in Radium Hot Springs. Photo submitted

Blues Brothers Too joining car show fleet

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
In Radium Hot Springs this weekend, the Blues Brothers Too will be behind the wheel of the Blues Mobile Too – which will be joining the fleet at the 25th annual Columbia Valley Classics Autumn Show and Shine car show.
The Blues Brothers came to fame in the late 1970s, serving out a mission from God. The duo used entertainment to raise enough money to save the orphanage where they were raised. After succeeding in their campaign, the brothers made a career out of their musical showmanship. The …

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Fundraising required by multi-use centre user groups

Posted on September 12th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Moving forward with the Community Hall Advisory Committee seems like a Catch-22 for some of the user groups involved.
The committee met at the Invermere Municipal Office on Tuesday, September 9th.
Many of the building’s features will be contingent upon fundraising results conducted by different organizations, but District of Invermere councillors won’t be able to gauge the success of each fundraising initiative before having to inform the architect of certain specifications.
The performing arts consortium hired Don Parman of Evan-Par Productions for a consultation on their portion of the project. …

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SCHOOLING SKIRMISH — Teachers’ rallies took place in each school district across British Columbia on Friday, September 5th. In School District 6, dozens of members of the Windermere Teachers’ Association met at Kinsmen Beach for a rabble-rousing assembly led by local president Doug Murray. Photo by Dan Walton

Adjusting to life without school

Posted on September 12th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Parents and students of B.C. are managing to occupy the unexpected free time that’s come as a result of the B.C. teachers’ strike by making alternative arrangements to the regular school year.
The younger students don’t seem to be struggling as the kids’ camp offered through the College of the Rockies Invermere — a non-instructional weekday program for kids as a response to the situation — only garnered limited interest, said Invermere campus manager Doug Clovechok.
“It was an opportunity for parents to get their kids involved with …

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SOUPED-UP SIGNAGE  — The Crystal Springs Motel is the first business in Radium to update backlit signage in more than ten years. Photo by Kristin McCauley

Signage suffrage softens in Radium

Posted on September 12th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer staff
For the first time in over ten years, an exception has been made to the restrictive signage bylaws in Radium Hot Springs.
The Crystal Springs Motel is now marketing itself with Radium’s only freestanding sign to have been modified in the past decade.
Deb James, co-owner of Crystal Springs Motel, said the new sign looks fresh and beautiful, compared to the “eye sore”, which had its name and logo peeling off.
“We heard that council might be receptive to applications for variance, so we went to a [council] meeting …

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Rockies round up roster before season starter

Posted on September 12th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
With several staffers shredding the sophomore status at the same time as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) lifts its restriction on importing players from outside B.C., the Columbia Valley Rockies are expecting to bring more weight to the rink this season.
The Columbia Valley Rockies saw a large staffing turnover midway through the 2012-2013 season, with the Dubielewicz brothers — coaches Wade, Scott and Kirk — along with general manager Ross Bidinger taking over the club. As they begin their second full season at the helm, …

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Columbia Valley teachers were back on the picket line on the morning of Tuesday, September 2nd, which normally would have marked the start of the school year , but the continuing labour dispute between the B.C. government and  teachers ‘ union  is keeping public schools throughout the province closed. 
Photo by Dan Walton

Neither teachers nor province backing down

Posted on September 6th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
With Labour Day over, and the teachers and the B.C. provincial government still at a stalemate, the looming threat of a strike to start off the 2014-2015 school year has been realized.
The teachers’ union and the government share a toxic history together, and they’ve recently entered unchartered legal territory, leaving both sides under the impression that holding out is their best strategy.
“We’re all going to go back to work; we just don’t know when or how,” said Doug Murray, president of the Windermere Teachers’ Association.
Jim Iker, president …

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TEMPORARY TRANSIT — A temporary bridge was installed on Saturday, August 30th at 15.8 kilometres up Jumbo Creek Forest Service Road, just before the designated entrance to the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality. 	
Photo submitted by Glacier Resorts Ltd.

Glacier Resorts Ltd. prepares for construction

Posted on September 6th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Glacier Resorts Ltd., the developer behind Jumbo Glacier Resort, is ready to begin construction amid ongoing scrutiny presented by opposition groups.
Watchdogs are calling foul at the same time as the Ktunaxa First Nation appeals a B.C. Supreme Court decision made in April that favours the provincial government’s approval of the year-round ski resort in Jumbo Valley.
In a September 2nd press release, the West Kootenay EcoSociety posted three allegations made by the Jumbo Citizens Monitoring Camp — that Glacier Resorts Ltd. failed to properly notify of a road …

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Co-ordinator hired to foster frozen feat

Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Earlier this year, the Lake Windermere Whiteway was named the longest ice skating trail by Guinness World Records – and the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce will be spreading the word with their new Whiteway co-ordinator.
While the record was officially smashed in the spring, residents of the valley knew well before that the valley’s Whiteway is the world’s longest. But what was locally known has been internationally proven by Guinness, which is why Ali Carver has been brought on board to tell the rest of the world.
The …

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Backpackers find refuge in the valley

Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Every year, a determined few make the trip through the valley without a motorized vehicle, and two international organizations have grown roots in the valley to show travellers where they’re welcome.
For the many touring cyclists and wandering backpackers that are lured here by the stunning landscapes of the Columbia Valley, they can enjoy homestyle hospitality through two local hosts.
Through www.warmshowers.org and www.couchsurfing.org, travellers and hosts can hook up for hospitality, and both networks extend around the world. David Pacey, who used to run a bed and breakfast …

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Permanent foreign worker mess for MP

Posted on August 15th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Reports of severe abuses within the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program have resulted in thick new layers of red tape enacted by the Conservatives. The reception has been cold in the Kootenay-Columbia riding where Tory MP David Wilks carries the unenviable task of toeing the party line. Defending the recent changes to the program is a tough sell in many parts of the country, but the Conservative Party knows how to pick its battles.
Since the changes were announced in July, the costs of hiring a TFW, …

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Strands makes home for No Island

Posted on August 15th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer staff
No Island has spent five years defining its modern vintage rock sound, and while their first full-length album awaits the final stage of production, the Vancouver based band will be stopping into Strands Old House Restaurant to show it off on Sunday, August 17th.
“We’ve figured out how to make that big studio sound come alive on stage,” said keyboarder and vocalist Andy Rice. “We don’t have any prerecorded tracks or fancy pedals, we’re just five guys playing raw instruments.”
The band recorded their album Better Days late in …

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Accusations of Singletrack 6 sabotage misdirected

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
An honest mistake was falsely reported as sabotage in last week’s Pioneer, says the woman accused.
Refuting claims made in last week’s article “Sabotage strikes Singletrack 6,” Doloris, the person at the centre of the sabotage accusation, said she had not interfered with any signage or markers, and denies intentionally misguiding cyclists. “I saw a whole slew of bikes going past and I thought nothing of it,” she said. “Why would I?”
She said that another group of cyclists then approached, and one asked for directions, to which Doloris …

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Lid closed on fundraising barbecues

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Threats of repercussions from the Interior Health Authority have prevented non-profits in the valley from fundraising with barbecues.
“Unfortunately, regulations are at the point where you pretty much need a commercial kitchen to follow the rules,” said Home Hardware owner Al Miller.
For the past 12 years, Mr. Miller has assisted many non-profits by hosting fundraiser barbecues out front of his store, but the May-long weekend was the last barbecue held at his store.
Norm Macdonald, MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, said that his office has received complaints about …

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INSPIRED POTTERY — Alice Hale demonstrates her technique in front of her Invermere studio.   Photo by Dan Walton

Caraway Pottery opens doors

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Those taking part in the Columbia Basin Culture Tour won’t want to miss the stop at Caraway Pottery in Invermere.
In 1985, Potter Alice Hale had her studio built right beside her home on Westside Road, and this weekend, her workshop will be open to anyone on the tour.
Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 9th and Sunday, August 10th, Caraway Pottery’s doors will be open to allow an intimate look inside.
“I’ll have it arranged as nicely as I can,” said Alice. “I’ll be spending two …

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Committee dishes out multi-use centre dimensions

Posted on August 6th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The Community Hall Advisory Committee was back in action on Tuesday, July 22nd, when the layout and building approach of the new multi-use facility were further planned out.
Floor plans were amended for the multi-purpose building to measure 7,000 square feet (in addition to a 1,500 square foot stage) rather than 6,000, reducing the size of the two multipurpose rooms from 1,000 square feet to 750 each. The entire building will span 16,500 to 17,000 square feet — an increase over the original plan of 15,000.
Invermere mayor Gerry Taft, …

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Stage 3 of the Singletrack 6 mountain bike event took place on the Toby Benches along the Johnson Trail, where riders were misdirected off course by a local unhappy about the event taking place. Photo by Gibson Pictures

Sabotage strikes Singletrack 6

Posted on August 1st, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Professional cyclists from around the world had their race at the Toby Benches sabotaged last weekend, when a local resident misdirected competitors along the Johnson Trail during Stage 3 of the Singletrack 6 mountain bike event.
“Everything was going along great until this idiot plugged in her own agenda,” said Lyle Wilson, race director of the event. “Either she thinks it’s a joke, or she’s vindictive that there’s so much mountain biking going on up at the benches that she tried to screw up the whole event.”
Stage 3 …

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