This has been a big stepping stone year for us at iNFOnews.ca in so many ways. But the only ones that really matter are the ones that hit the page.
These are some of my favourite stories from 2015. Every one of them and dozens more make me proud to work with this team. Nearly all of these stories are exclusive to iNFOnews.ca or we broke them. You want to know what makes us different? Why your news isn’t complete without us? It’s this list.
Anyone with a website can rewrite press releases and yes, we do our share of that like everyone else. But that can’t be it. That's not serving your community. Journalism is nothing more than a promise by journalists to do their best to keep watch on the corners while your back is turned. To bring you news and information that we think you want or need to know, as we find it, when we find it and in a way that makes sense to you.
That should not be a passive exercise. This is how we understood our mission in 2015.
DEATH ON THE WATER: Why safety on Shuswap houseboats is your responsibility
We were shocked to hear about two more deaths on houseboats on the Shuswap this year and wanted to know more about how the industry worked. Charlotte Helston spent weeks quantifying and understanding safety in the industry, gathering personal stories and breaking it all down, even jumping on board with marine search and rescue for an interview.
Kamloops park fire death 'a ritual gone horrifically wrong'
When Heather Carr died in a public park under strange circumstances, it was presumed a suicide. Her involvement with a difficult court case was even suggested as a cause. But it was Glynn Brothen who told us what really happened — and no, it wasn’t a suicide.
Vernon cadets show bravery in moments after head-on collision
We don’t typically cover car crashes. People who drop everything and rush to help? Yeah, that’s worth sharing.
Rat infestation forces Penticton woman to leave home
Rats never made the news except for in the last few years. No one wants to talk about it, but this is a growing problem across much of our coverage area. Steve Arstad got up close and personal to find out what’s going on.
Man in blue suit thanks firefighters
Our point was that a politician parachuting in to take undue credit for something right before an election shouldn’t be news. Then somehow that became news across the country.
Stalled private hospital has Westbank band members, police asking questions about finances
The first in our series on a controversial project on private first nations land. John McDonald and I spent months wading through documents and records trying to understand how Westbank First Nation let this happen. The result was a can of worms, we are still trying to collect. Expect more in 2016 as we continue to seek answers about how bands are governed.
Kelowna mayor is about to take on irrigation districts on water quality
Important news isn’t always sexy. John McDonald has been following water issues since he started this year and given the drought and drinking water issues in Kelowna, he was proven his focus was accurate.
The heart-breaking reason this nine-year-old boy quit hockey
This story went viral in May as Canada let West Kelowna know — this isn't cool.
BROKEN JAW, MISSING TEETH: What you need to know before getting your pet's teeth cleaned
What you don’t sometimes can hurt you, or those you love. Adam Proskiw led our investigation into another corner you don’t hear much about — the unregulated, often uneducated industry of pet dental cleanings and what happens when they go bad.
Traffic court on its way out with new e-ticketing system
Sometimes individual liberties are sacrificed for the greater good but only after careful debate and reason. Glynn Brothen discovered in one of several stories on this subject why you soon may not be able to fight your traffic tickets anymore and why you haven't even heard of it.
The trouble with female prisoners in Kamloops city cells
In March, Glynn Brothen brought you the story of a Victoria judge who was so appalled at how a 15-year-old female prisoner was treated at Kamloops RCMP detachment, he tossed the entire case against her.
Harassed Vernon food truck vendor says enough is enough
Charlotte Helston was the first to tell us about tensions at street level in downtown Vernon, touching off discussions both in the community and among mayor and councillors.
Kelowna women rescues dog being pulled behind moving vehicle
Adam Proskiw has little patience for animal abuse. When he got wind of this story, he made sure he chased it down to the end.
$4,500 Fortis bill for house which isn't there
Everyone covered this story, but Adam Proskiw had it first.
Layoffs announced as Keremeos youth treatment centre closes doors
The most underrated story of 2015. No one paid much attention to this but Steve Arstad knew this was an important loss to the community and for youth addiction treatment for the entire Okanagan.
Local woman uses social media to find long lost father
Of course you remember this story. But do you remember you reading it here first?
One homeless man's long road to finding affordable housing in Vernon
Affordable housing has emerged as a major issue in Vernon and Charlotte Helston has been trying to understand it from all angles. Here, she explores the human side of homelessness.
Why this Vernon dog rescue wasn't the saving grace it claimed to be
Charlotte Helston worked for months trying to verify claims from multiple volunteers at a dog rescue with no standards and appeared to be flipping dogs for profit. In her series, she discovered anyone at all can call themselves a dog rescue and start collecting donations.
An exclusive sneak-peak into a unique home fit for a king
Just for fun and because we REALLY wanted a peak, we got the owners of a real castle near Kamloops to let us look around and we are so glad they did.
How far the City of Kamloops and CP Rail must go to protect people from themselves
In one of several stories, Glynn Brothen used access to information records to uncover the behind the scenes discussions between the City of Kamloops and CP Rail and the frightening things they have record of at a busy rail crossing.
Well, how do you think we did? Feel free to send me a personal message as listed below or in the comments section
— Marshall Jones is the editor of iNFOnews.ca