Unseasonably warm weather greeted the hardy souls who took the annual New Year’s Day plunge into Okanagan Lake in Peachland to start the year. The outside temperature was just below 0 C, compared to a year earlier when it was -10 C. The lake temperature was a a balmy 5.4 C. Kelowna’s annual year-starting dip took place at Waterfront Park and attracted hundreds of participants. (Marissa Tiel - Capital News)

Kelowna’s year in review – January 2019

The biggest stories of the year from January

First baby of 2019

The B.C. Interior’s first baby of 2019 arrived at 1:58 a.m., Jan. 1, at Kelowna General Hospital. Eight-pounds, 11-ounce Hugo, born to Francine and Stuart Kyle, joined siblings Macy, 6, Vivienne, 4 and Solomon, 17 months, just over two hours after Francine went into labour.

Kelowna’s most expensive home assessed at $10.5 million

Annual property assessments were released and while property values continued to rise in the Okanagan, Kelowna’s most expensive home was identified as a 9,761-square-foot, one-storey, four-bedroom waterfront house on Hobson Road in the Mission area of the city. According to the BC Assessment Authority, while most communities saw assessments rise between six and eight per cent, Kelowna saw a 10 per cent increase, West Kelowna and Penticton both saw nine per cent jumps and Vernon’s assessments rose an average of 14 per cent.

Elementary school rocked by theft

The president of the Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council urged school PACs to secure the money in their bank accounts after it was revealed $20,000 was stolen from the account of the South Rutland Elementary School Parent Advisory Council. The theft followed a similar theft of $22,000 from the Glenrosa Elementary PAC account in 2018.

Kelowna city councillor recovering in hospital

The recovery of Kelowna city councillor Charlie Hodge, 63, was described as a “miracle” by his wife after Hodge was admitted with dangerously highly CO2 levels and his condition was described as “critical.”

Hodge was recovering from oral surgery where part of his jaw had to be replaced with bone from his leg.

Local radio host leaves airwaves due to health issues

Popular local radio host TJ, diagnosed with breast cancer two months earlier and who underwent surgery just before Christmas 2018, was forced to leave the radio show she hosted with her husband on Kelowna station EZ Rock due to her illness.

Kelowna spends $12 million to buffer landfill

After rejecting a developer’s plan to build houses near its Glenmore Landfill, the City of Kelowna quietly bought the property proposed for the development for $12 million in order to buffer the landfill from other surrounding properties, a move it claimed would protect the landfill’s operations going forward.

B.C. Liberal leader vows to scrap speculation tax

During an appearance in Kelowna, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, said if he forms the next government he would scrap the controversial speculation tax on property in the province that only affects municipalities in the Lower Mainland, on Vancouver Island and in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Hockey fight in court

Former Kelowna Rockets captain, James McEwan, announced he was suing the Western Hockey League and Hockey Canada for not doing enough to inform players about the repercussions of brain injuries.

Guilty plea in 2013 Kelowna murder case

Jay Thomson entered a surprise guilty plea to second degree murder on what was to have been the first day of his trial having been charged with killing Theresa Neville in 2013. Thomson was three times older than Neville when the pair struck up a relationship in 2012. Neville was stabbed 35 times in the Kelowna home the pair shared.

Senior who shot roommate off to prison

Charles Maskell, 61, was sentenced to 40 months in jail in addition to time served after he pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and possession of a loaded firearm in connection wit the 2016 shooting of his then roommate Robert Dale in West Kelowna.

West Kelowna to hire more firefighters

West Kelowna city council agreed to hire eight more firefighters to meet what was described in a staff report as a “critical resource shortage.”

West Kelowna sets tax hike set at 3.88 per cent

West Kelowna council set the 2019 property tax hike at 3.88 per cent in its annual budget. In addition, after approving one more RCMP officer in the budget, council said it would consider hiring another officer.

Man shot by police during arrest in Kelowna

B.C.’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., was called in after shots were fired by an RCMP officer in Kelowna resulting in a man being critically wounded.

Four people charged in Canada Day homicide

Four young people were charged with the killing of Esa Carriere on July 1, 2018, during a violent altercation in the 1400-block of Water Street just after the annual Canada Day fireworks show at nearby Waterfront Park ended.

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