Kelowna’s good news year in review – March 2020

A look back at the positive stories that took place in March

Kelowna Olympian finds silver lining

Kelowna Olympic swimmer Kierra Smith was ready to perform on the world’s biggest stage until the 2020 Olympics were postponed because of COVID-19. 
(Photo courtesy of Kierra Smith)

Kelowna Olympic swimmer Kierra Smith was ready to perform on the world’s biggest stage until the 2020 Olympics were postponed because of COVID-19.
(Photo courtesy of Kierra Smith)

After starting her swimming career in Kelowna over 10 years ago, 2016 Rio Olympian Kierra Smith returned to the Okanagan to train and prepare after the 2020 Olympics were postponed in March in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A member of the Canadian national team since 2014, the former Kelowna Aquajet has been training hard since her last Olympics in 2016 in Rio (where she placed 7th in the 100-metre breaststroke).

Having to shift her plans due to the pandemic, Smith said, is just another challenge that she, and other Olympians, must overcome.

“Athletes are adaptable by nature,” said Smith.

“It gives up-and-comers a chance to continue to develop, which, big scheme, is very good for our country and teams. There are inevitable ups and downs in any sport, and I think everyone can adapt to it and come out stronger on the other end.”

Coming back to the Okanagan after living her life in Minneapolis and Toronto wasn’t just for the comfort of being at home with family and friends during a global crisis, it was a strategic move to focus on her training by reconnecting with Aquajets coach Emil Dimitrov.

Smith said that she always saw herself training once again in Kelowna and didn’t want to do without her former coach.

“We’ve gone back to the basics,” she said.

“Emil listens and that really helps me develop a cohesive breaststroke. It makes a difference the way people speak to you when you train and luckily for me he’s willing to work with me right now.

“It makes trying to be the best in the world a lot easier.”

•••

Tribute song to health-care workers

Jim and Kim Rhindress are singer/songwriters from Kelowna. (Contributed)

Jim and Kim Rhindress are singer/songwriters from Kelowna. (Contributed)

Kelowna couple Jim and Kim Rhindress began to work on writing and recording a song of tribute to the world’s health-care heroes in March.

Jim was a surgical nurse for 25 years, spending the last 17 years at the Kelowna General Hospital before a back injury forced him to retire. He still has friends on the floor and who are on the frontlines battling COVID-19.

“Being here at home and hearing from all my friends about what they’re going through, it’s hard,” Jim said.

Kim added, “And of course, watching the news and feeling so incredibly helpless to do anything… all we’re being told to do is sit at home and hunker down and by comparison to them, they’re risking their health.”

Kim said the song was easy to write because it came from a genuine place of gratitude. The couple worked with Vernon videographer C.J. Clayton and released a video in early April.

Since the song’s release, it has been viewed more than 5,000 times on their YouTube page, Smitten Kelowna.

Year in Review

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

(File photo)
Repeated cougar sighting on Okanagan Rail Trail

Plenty of bear sightings around the valley too

Cassie Bonthoux and James Nelson (Contributed/Facebook)
Kelowna dealer who operated international dark web drug ring denied appeal

The BC Court of Appeal denied James Nelson an appeal on his 11-year prison sentence

Vernon local Ryan Lazar – who specializes in 2D background design and 3D animation – is ready to start his career after a tough yet rewarding two years of studies. (Contributed)
Okanagan College students get animated at graduation

‘The pandemic has resulted in more video consumption and the animation industry is so hot right now because of it’

A screenshot from the Kelowna Fire Department’s new Fire Safety House educational video. (Contributed)
Kelowna Fire Department’s Fire Safety House goes virtual

To adjust to the pandemic, KFD is offering virtual fire safety videos, virtual tours of fire hall

WildSafeBC is reminding residents to keep manage wildlife attractants on their property. (WildSafeBC Central Okanagan)
WildSafeBC reminds residents to manage attractants as bears spotted in Okanagan

The most prominent reminder is to keep garbage secured indoors until collection day

Barriere RCMP nabbed two suspects who were allegedly breaking into cabins in McLure. (File photo)
Thieves nabbed by Barriere Mounties during McLure break-ins

Police Service Dog Kody instrumental in making the arrest

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

RCMP vest
Penticton beach brawl results in one arrest but no charges

People took to social media after a fight broke out at the fire pits at Okanagan Lake Saturday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

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