YEAR IN REVIEW: The people we saw, spoke to and lost this year in B.C.'s interior - InfoNews

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YEAR IN REVIEW: The people we saw, spoke to and lost this year in B.C.'s interior

FILE PHOTO: Catharine Pendrel arrives in Kamloops Aug. 23 to a heroes welcome after winning a bronze medal in mountain biking at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janero
December 31, 2016 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - While B.C.’s interior is defined by boundaries in a literal sense, it’s really the people who live here make the Thompson and Okanagan communities.

This year iNFOnews.ca highlighted a varied group of our neighbours, from athletes to artists, from gardeners to community leaders.

B.C.’s interior has an abundance of athletic talent. This year, a couple of Olympians made the trek from Kelowna and Kamloops to Rio de Janeiro to compete. Notably, Kamloops’s Catharine Pendrel came back with a medal around her neck.

However, it wasn’t just in traditional sports that locals made their name. Shanda Hill shared her inspirational story of recovering from being hit while riding her bike to being the first Canadian woman to compete in a gruelling quintuple triathlon, with a 19 km swim portion, 210 km run and 900 km cycle section. That equals two round trips from her hometown of Vernon to Vancouver.

There was also Matt Dwyer of Kelowna, who had his shot at fighting on the main card of a UFC fight, and Parker Simpson, a Kelowna Secondary School football star who’s highlight reel got plenty of attention.

And while he’s not from the Kamloops area, we shared Isaiah Jessie Uribe’s story. The young speed skater was an exchange student from Colombia, who came here to learn English, but strapped skates on as well, learning the high speed sport quickly.

Some riders were in the limelight as well. The barrel riding mother-daughter duo of Julie and Vanessa Legget have been ripping it up at rodeos, while Armstrong’s Chelaine McInroy returned to the saddle after losing a leg to infection.

Chelaine McInroy, 23, waited less than a month before getting back in the saddle after her leg was amputated due to a severe infection.
Chelaine McInroy, 23, waited less than a month before getting back in the saddle after her leg was amputated due to a severe infection.

Not all riders are on horses, as Marcel Irnie can attest. The Kelowna motorcycle rider was about to attempt the deadly 10,000-foot climnb of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on an electric dirt bike when we spoke to him.

Above Kelowna, a different vehicle has been soaring, as iNFOnews.ca visited Richard Visscher and his Stemme powerglider. There are only four of the hand-built aircraft in Canada.

Not everyone had amazing aerial experiences though. Cam Villeneuve was lucky to crawl away from his ultralight after crashing near Kamloops in February. Despite a cracked vertebrae and crawling through snow for help, he plans to fly again.

For those more comfortable on the ground, there were a couple stories from the garden, as Master Gardener Elaine Sedgman shared thoughts on sustainable gardening.

A different type of plant was also the focus of a series of stories; four North Okanagan residents shared how they used marijuana as medicine, helping manage conditions like lupus, multiple sclerosis and seizures.

Hasia Glaim at MMJ Total Health Care on 31 Street downtown Vernon.
Hasia Glaim at MMJ Total Health Care on 31 Street downtown Vernon.

In the arts there was Kelowna photographer Gary Fong, known for his eye behind the lens. However, Fong was trying his hand at directing, working with one of the stars of cult classic The Room on a film he co-wrote.

Meanwhile, Lumby photographer Yuichi Takasaka was looking at some different stars as he captured the northern lights. Takasaka has been doing so for years and has become renowned for his work.

Photographer Yuichi Takasaka, from Lumby, travels around the world in pursuit of his next shot of the northern lights.
Photographer Yuichi Takasaka, from Lumby, travels around the world in pursuit of his next shot of the northern lights.
Image Credit: Yuichi Takasaka

Kamloops-based Denny Cound was thanking family and friends for helping him attend an awards ceremony in France after receiving recognition from Art Tour International. The master carver was able to participate in the competition thanks to the community around him.

Some of the musicians we profiled were looking forward, while others were up on the stage for the last time. Kelly Derrickson, a West Kelowna singer, was nominated for two Native American Music Awards, while Kamloops trio Bees and the Bare Bones headed for Nashville after winning a national competition. Also from Kamloops, indie group Van Damsel, who’ve been a band for seven years, recently decided to call it quits as the members look for new adventures, not all in Canada.

Van Damsel playing on tour. Left to right guitarist Rich Bregoliss, and singer Sebastien Ste Marie, drummer Matthew Barron and bassist Matthew “Renny” Rennehan.
Van Damsel playing on tour. Left to right guitarist Rich Bregoliss, and singer Sebastien Ste Marie, drummer Matthew Barron and bassist Matthew “Renny” Rennehan.

One man less interested in a career in music is Carson Holtz, a Vernon busker who is helping raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, while working four other jobs. There’s also Kamloops’s karaoke cop, RCMP Const. Kevin Roy, who saw some internet fame after a video of him singing in a local pub went viral racking up hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook. He turned that fame into a fundraising effort as part of the United Way’s Jail and Bail event.

Also raising money for the community was Melanie McConnell, who fashioned a moustache to her face everyday of November, participating in the Movember movement and raising money for prostate cancer, an issue more commonly associated with men. Dean Corbette, of Kamloops Fun & Games, also found a unique way to raise money. The co-owner of the games business decided to play 30 hours of laser tag. He set a world record for longest game and was able to raise $7,000 for an autism centre.

And then there was Daniel Maguire. The Vancouver-based model and trainer is originally from Penticton, but found fame on American TV as a competitor in the Bachelorette’s 12th season. Maguire provided the dating game show some highlight reel moments, most notably a conversation that got widespread conversation in which he compares a friend to Hitler while the friend eats a sweet potato and lettuce by hand.

Unfortunately 2016 will be famous for its international stars that passed away. In Kelowna and Kamloops, notable community personalities were also lost. Former MP and senator Len Marchand Sr. died June 3 in Kamloops. A public ceremony was held to mark his life, with dignitaries, family members and friends sharing memories of the long time politician.

Lori and Len Marchand Jr. gave the eulogy at their father, Len Marchand Sr.'s, celebration of life, held at the Arbour at the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc powwow grounds June 11.
Lori and Len Marchand Jr. gave the eulogy at their father, Len Marchand Sr.'s, celebration of life, held at the Arbour at the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc powwow grounds June 11.

Kelowna’s Cecil Wawaruk, the founder of popular restaurant Cecil’s Perogies, died Thanksgiving Day. Warwaruk founded the restaurant, which is still run by his wife, in 1993 and it became a local favourite.

Cecil Warwaruk, the founder of Cecil's Perogies on Richter Street, passed away on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 62.
Cecil Warwaruk, the founder of Cecil's Perogies on Richter Street, passed away on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 62.
Image Credit: Contributed

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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