Local news briefs: CBC TV series filmed in Kamloops

Plus a CPR course coming to the HUB; a new rest area coming to the Okanagan Connector; and a deadly disease that might be coming here.



CPR and AED training coming

Okanagan College is offering a CPR and AED training course at the Ashcroft HUB on Wednesday, October 5 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The course costs $25, and covers the skills needed to recognize and respond to cardiovascular emergencies and choking in adults, children, and babies. The course includes adult/child/baby CPR, AED training and certification, rescue breathing, obstructed airways, and barrier device/pocket masks. A prerequisite for the course is an Occupational First Aid level 1 certificate. For more information or to register, call 1-866-352-0103.

Open fire prohibitions remain

Category 2 and Category 3 fire prohibitions will remain in place in the Kamloops, Vernon, Penticton, Merritt, and Lillooet fire zones until October 15, or until the public is otherwise notified, according to the BC Wildfire Service. These prohibitions apply to the burning of any waste, slash, or other materials’ the lighting of more than two open fires of any size at the same time; the burning of stubble or grass; the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, or burning barrels of any size or description; and the use of binary exploding targets.

This prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands, and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department. Before lighting any fire, residents should check with local civic authorities.

CBC-TV series filmed in Kamloops

The new CBC television six-part series This is High School, which begins airing on Sunday, October 2, was filmed at South Kamloops Secondary School. The “fly-on-the-wall” series captures the challenges facing educators and students in a 21st century public high school.

South Kamloops Secondary School. Photo courtesy the CBC.

Each episode focuses on two students as they try to fit in, deal with peer pressure, go through first love, or are given a last chance. The series also looks at the challenges and rewards of being a teacher, celebrating the amazing work that educators perform every day. This is High School is based on the award-winning English TV series Educating Yorkshire, which brought the issues facing students and educators in the 21st century home to many people.

RCMP officers to get naloxone

The RCMP will be deploying naloxone—a drug which can be used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose—to its members nationwide. The drug will be issued as part of members’ personal protective equipment, and will be able to be used for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdoses among members of the public.

It can also be used by members who accidentally come into contact with opioids, as even accidentally touching or inhaling tiny amounts of some drugs will cause a reaction. There have been several recent cases of police officers being overcome by the effects of some drugs during the course of their duties, simply by coming into contact with them.

Other independent municipal police departments in B.C. are reviewing their own polices. Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall applauds the move. “Our view is that the more first responders equipped to carry naloxone the better—for their own safety and that of our citizens.”

Distracted driving will cost you

Minister of public safety and solicitor general Mike Morris has one word for anyone thinking about texting or e-mailing while driving: don’t.

“If you knew you were 23 times more likely to lose your money on a bad investment, you probably wouldn’t write the cheque,” he says. “So if you know you’re 23 times more likely to be in a crash if you text or e-mail while driving, why would you take that chance?”

He says that facts show drivers are four to five times more likely to crash if they talk on the phone while driving, and 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision if they are texting or e-mailing. In 2015, driver inattention contributed to at least 88 deaths in B.C.

Distracted driving is now tied with speeding as the leading contributing factor of deaths on the province’s roads over the last year. Fines and penalties for distracted driving rose sharply this year, and two violations in one year could result in a driver’s licence being suspended. “For your safety and the safety of all those around you—I urge you to please leave your phone alone,” says Morris. “Think about the numbers. Are you willing to take that chance? If you choose to drive distracted, it will cost you—one way or another.”

Early reservations for two BC parks

The province will be accepting 2017 bookings for two popular BC Parks destinations—the scenic Berg Lake trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park and the Bowron Lake canoe circuit in Boron Lake Provincial Park—starting October 1, 2016. The move is in answer to growing visitor demand and feedback asking for longer planning horizons. Reservations for the Berg Lake trail jumped by 45 per cent over the previous year in 2015, while the Bowron Lake circuit saw a six per cent increase. Advanced preparation is required for both the Berg Lake trail and the Bowron Lake canoe circuit because of the backcountry experience involved. Opening reservations for the entire season in October rather than January will allow more time for visitors to plan their wilderness adventures.

Deadly diseases affect wildlife

B.C. hunters are being asked by provincial wildlife health authorities to help monitor deer, moose, and elk populations after biologists discovered an animal affected with chronic wasting disease 30 km southwest of Edmonton. This is the furthest west—by 100 km—that biologists have detected the deadly disease, and has increased concerns that infected animals might make their way into British Columbia.

Chronic wasting disease—which is similar to mad cow disease—affects the central nervous system of cervids (members of the deer family), and is always fatal. The disease is spread through infected saliva, urine, feces, and even soil. Hunters in the Peace and Kootenay regions especially can help monitoring efforts by donating deer, elk, and moose heads for analysis (for a list of drop-off locations go to www.stopchronicwastingdisease.ca). Anyone encountering a sick or dead deer should report it to B.C.’s wildlife health program by e-mailing wildlifehealth@gov.bc.ca.

B.C. anglers should be on the lookout for signs of “whirling disease”, which has been discovered in Johnson Lake in Banff National Park. It is the first case of the disease in the country, and biologists are concernedthat it might spread to this province. It is caused by a parasite that burrows into the head and spine of salmonids—salmon, trout, whitefish, and char—making them vulnerable to predators. It causes the fish to swim erratically, hence the name.

The parasite can spread from one lake to another through contaminated bait, fishing gear, water, and birds. Anglers can help contain whirling disease by cleaning their boats and fishing equipment before and after entering lakes and river, and by properly disposing of caught fish and body parts.

New rest area for Okanagan Connector

A new, modern rest area will be built between Merritt and Kamloops on the Okanagan Connector at the Loon Lake interchange. The rest area will have separate parking areas for passenger vehicles and large commercial traffic, and access improvements will be made to the Loon Lake interchange. It will have running water and flush toilets, and has been designed so that it will be able to support the potential future development of services and upgrades, such as car-charging stations and WiFi. The new rest area is scheduled for completion in late fall 2017.