2015 TOP STORIES: Vernon headlines that got you talking

Roy Farnsworth refused to sell his land on the top of Middleton Mountain, until the offer involved turning it into a nature reserve.

NORTH OKANAGAN - It may feel like 2015, and the news stories that defined it, went by in a blur. Most won’t remember every traffic accident, house fire or debate at City Hall, but there are stories from this past year that got people talking for weeks, if not months — the year's top stories. 

One such topic was possible school closures in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District. With dollars extremely tight, the district undertook the unpopular task of considering closing down certain schools, and reconfiguring others. Schools on the chopping block made it through 2015 without getting shut down, but the district is picking up the difficult conversation again in the new year with a series of open houses.

Another major topic in 2015 was housing. The North Okanagan continues to struggle with affordable housing. made plain by rental studies and the repeated calls for action from local shelter organizations. A low-income boarding house in Enderby was evicted due to unsafe living conditions, forcing about a dozen residents including children, to find new housing last February. Residents of the notorious Green Valley Motel in Vernon were also evicted, while another low-income apartment building was rumoured to be closing as well. The year also saw the creation of a new affordable housing complex run by the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan.

Other stories that got you talking in 2015 took a lighter tone. We learned about local people who made great contributions to their communities. There was the infamous Lorne Costley, of Lorenzo’s Cafe, who shared his wild and crazy story, along with the news that he’s decided to sell the business after many wonderful years. There was also Roy Farnsworth, who refused to sell his 90 acres of land on top of Vernon’s Middleton Mountain to developers, instead agreeing to turn it into a nature reserve for future generations to enjoy.

Lorne Costley, the charismatic owner of Lorenzo's Cafe, says he's ready, after 20 years, to go to somebody else's party.
Lorne Costley, the charismatic owner of Lorenzo's Cafe, says he's ready, after 20 years, to go to somebody else's party.

We’ve broken down the year’s other top stories in a series of categories. Look for 2015 Top Stories in the headline, and check them out on infoNEWS.ca.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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