YEAR IN REVIEW

VIDEOS: B.C.’s top local news stories of 2018

Black Press Media’s year in review, with our top stories as submitted by our editors

There was no shortage of shocking, stirring, and amazing news stories to come out of our communities in British Columbia.

Here is Black Press Media’s Year in Review, containing our top local headlines from across B.C.

January

Father charged in Oak Bay Christmas Day killings

Charges were approved this month against Andrew Robert Douglas Berry. His two daughters, Chloe and Aubrey, were found dead in his apartment on Christmas Day. Read more >

Sears shuts doors across B.C.

Roughly 2,900 jobs were lost nationwide when Sears announced the shuttering. About a dozen stores were located in B.C. Read more >

Man nabs close-up of orca breaching near Victoria

Bob Fraumeni can be heard yelling ‘Lord love a duck!’ while he watched the orca slam the water. Read more >

Loblaws offers $25 gift card for bread price-fixing

The grocery chain handed out the gift cards to eligible customers after a Competition Bureau investigation found an industry-wide bread price-fixing arrangement. Read more >

Victoria becomes first B.C. city to ban plastic bags

City council voted 7-1 this month to ban the bags. As of July, businesses have been restricted from charging for or providing free plastic bags, except in specific situations. Read more >

Fifteen-year-old bystander killed in B.C. gang shooting

Alfred Wong was riding home in a vehicle with his parents in Vancouver when he was hit by a stray bullet.

Vancouver Aquarium to no longer house whales, dolphins

The aquarium, which went to court to fight a decision to enforce a ban by the park board, now has only one cetacean: a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen. Read more >

Tide Pods craze hits the internet

Like other online video challenges – such as the ice bucket challenge or the mannequin challenge – this one involved mostly teenagers filming themselves eating a laundry detergent pod on a dare. Read more >

February

Father of slain B.C. woman remains committed to finding her killer

The father of Lindsay Buziak, a young real estate agent who was killed 10 years ago in Saanich, said time has healed wounds, but not diminished his resolve to find her murderer. Read more >

Rare tropical brown booby seabird rescued on Vancouver Island

The Pacific Northwest is home to some incredible scenery and unique species, but when a Brown Booby seabird was spotted at Ogden Point in Victoria, it was a rarity. Read more >

Fort McMurray restaurant pulls B.C. wines over pipeline controversy

A large part of 2018 included debate on the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline project that runs from Alberta to the B.C. coast. This month, after B.C. Premier John Horgan announced he would ask the courts whether the province could temporarily ban increased bitumen exports from Alberta, putting the project in further doubt. As a result, an Alberta restaurant owner said she’d be pulling B.C. VQA wines from her menu. Read more >

Former B.C. premier Dave Barrett dies at age 87

Barrett was first elected to the B.C. legislature in 1960. The former social worker from Vancouver became known as the champion of the little guy. Read more >

Andrew Wilkinson chosen to lead B.C. Liberal Party

Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson beat out favourite former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts to become Christy Clark’s replacement. Read more >

Driver gets creative with attempt to use HOV lane

Mounties got their “mannequin” after a driver was caught in the Highway 1 HOV lane without enough passengers. He’d place mannequin, wearing clothes, sunglasses and even a wig, in the passenger seat. Read more >

Bushman of the Shuswap dies in Williams Lake

John Bjornstorm escaped from a jail near Kamloops and evaded capture for nearly two years while living in the Shuswap wilderness. Read more >

School trustee compares SOGI 123 to Indigenous oppression

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld made headlines throughout the year for his outspoken opposition to the school resource that focuses on sexual orientation and gender inclusivity. Read more >

March

B.C. author criticizes RCMP following murder suicide in small town

Roy Bugera shot and killed his neighbour Ron Volansky in late 2017. But this month, author Anne Cameron complained to the RCMP’s Chief Commissioner, claiming Bugera frightened many in the community of Needles, in the West Kootenay, long before the tragedy. Read more >

Merritt rejects students’ rainbow crosswalk idea, lawyers offer space

After Merritt’s city council dismissed a group of students’ proposal for a rainbow crosswalk, a pair of B.C. lawyers offered up their parking lots for the kids to paint. Read more >

Police probe violent assault on taxi driver in Maple Ridge

Police said a cab driver was blocked by an white pickup on a local bridge and attacked by a armed man. Injuries included a broken jaw, broken teeth and cuts. Read more >

Jaspal Atwal responds to criticism after attending PM’s India trip

Atwal, who was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister on Vancouver Island in 1986, said he was invited to a Canadian government reception in India with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Read more >

Former Burns Lake mayor charged with numerous sex-related offenses

Luke Strimbold, 28, is on trial for more than 24 counts of sexual assault and sex-related charges that allegedly occurred during his time as mayor. Read more >

Body found of evacuee from 2017 wildfires

David Michael Jeff was a well-known resident in Williams Lake who went missing after being taken to Kamloops while the city was under an evacuation order. Social workers and a number of volunteers had taken trips to find him. Read more >

Woodlands survivors promised $10,000 in compensation

The announcement followed years of sexual, physical and psychological abuse reported by more than 1,000 people who sought care at the Lower Mainland facility. Read more >

April

Deadly virus worries rabbit owners on Vancouver Island

B.C.’s chief wildlife veterinarian said the virus, which can kill European rabbits within 36 hours, has killed hundreds of the animals already. Read more >

Daniel and Henrik Sedin steal the show in final home game

The Vancouver hockey legends had announced their retirement after 17 seasons with the Canucks. Read more >

Elizabeth May, Kennedy Stewart arrested at Kinder Morgan work site

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and now-Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart were some of the first to appear in court after their broke an injunction at the work site in Burnaby. Others included a 70-year-old grandma from 100 Mile House and members of the BC Teachers Federation. Read more >

Family of dead B.C. man slam police watchdog

The officer who shot Nelson man Peter De Groot was cleared following a lengthy probe by the province’s police watchdog. But De Groot’s family argued the investigation was flawed. Read more >

Hockey sticks on porches in tribute to Humboldt crash victims

A bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team crashed this month in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen people were killed and 13 injured. One way Canadians showed their support was to place hockey sticks on front porches as tribute. Read more >

Victoria police officer dies after 30 years in a coma

Const. Ian Jordan had been injured on Sept. 22, 1987, when his car collided with another police vehicle. He’d been responding to a break-and-enter. Read more >

B.C. naturopath treats boy with rabid dog saliva

A long-time B.C. naturopath drew fire after she spoke out about treating a four-year-old boy with rabid dog saliva. She was later fined and her licence was rescinded. Read more >

Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

The decision meant Gabriel Klein, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, will remain at the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in the Lower Mainland where he has been housed since August 2017. Read more >

Parents call for change to health laws after teen’s overdose death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents want the Infants Act changed: “Kids try to make these decisions for themselves. If they don’t want the help, there is nothing in our legal system that allows us as parents to get them the help they need,” mom Rachel Staples said. Read more >

May

Toddler dies after found unresponsive in pool

A 23-month-old Mission girl died after going missing from her daycare. She was found in a pool in a nearby backyard. Read more >

3 men involved in 2011 gangland slaying sentenced in Kelowna

Jason McBride, Jujhar Khun-Khun and Michael Jones were sentenced for charges weighing less than what they were initially charged with in connection with the 2011 killing of Red Scorpion leader Jonathan Bacon. Read more >

B.C. cab driver has tip of finger bitten off by ‘irate’ passenger

A Comox Valley taxi driver was taken to hospital after a bizarre incident in which a passenger bit the top portion of the driver’s middle finger. Read more >

Video of B.C. woman’s racist rant goes viral

A Cranbrook woman spewing hate at fellow diners at an Alberta restaurant was caught on camera and posted online. To combat the hateful rhetoric, a man decided to start the social media campaign #makeitawkward. Read more >

Flooding forces thousands to evacuate in B.C.’s southern Interior

More than 2,500 people were ordered to leave their homes because of an extremely heavy snowpack melting and unseasonably warm temperatures. The hardest hit cities included Grand Forks, where many are recovering from the damage even now. Read more >

Arrest made in 30-year-old cold case of murdered B.C. couple

Thanks to DNA technology, police were able to re-examine samples from the scene of a 1987 murder of two Oak Bay high school sweethearts. William Earl Talbott, 55, from Washington State was arrested. Read more >

B.C. high school girls go braless to protest dress code

A group of Princeton Secondary students took a stand against being disciplined for bra straps showing, by going braless and putting up posters with slogans such as, “My body is not a distraction” and “Yes, I have breasts.” Read more >

Liberal government buys Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5B

The federal government unexpectedly announced it would purchase the pipeline’s assets from Kinder Morgan, after the B.C. government continued to act against the project and the pipeline operator hinted at dropping it altogether. Read more >

Teen dies in backyard fire-pit tragedy in Terrace

Grace Peerless, described as smart, happy and an adventurous scout, succumbed to complications from burns believed to have happened when a hot ember landed on her clothes. Read more >

June

Military swoops in after B.C. hikers find live mortar

What started as a relaxing hike took a surprising turn when a group of outdoor enthusiasts came across a live mortar in Kalamaka Lake Provincial Park near Kelowna. Read more >

ICBC doubles compensation for crash victims with serious injuries

The NDP government tried to fix the “ICBC dumpster fire” by increasing the compensation for those seriously hurt in a crash or collision. Read more >

Woman claims feces fell from the sky and splattered windshield

Susan Allan said she was in her car with her son when an unwelcome deluge covered the vehicle and came through the open sunroof. To this day the source of the “poopsicle” paint job is unclear. Read more >

Trudeau denies ‘negative interaction’ after old B.C. editorial goes viral

An editorial column printed 18 years ago in the Creston Valley Advance alleging inappropriate behaviour by would-be Justin Trudeau re-surfaced, causing the prime minister to revisit the issue. Read more >

Boat of missing Stó:lō Grand Chief found in Fraser River, 17 years after death

In May 2001, Sam Douglas took his small boat, his name etched onto its side, out on the river to fish for salmon. That was the last time his family heard from him. Read more >

B.C. woman with disability shocked after being refused straw

As a growing number of B.C. businesses limited their use of plastic straws in 2018, disability advocates cautioned that options still need to be available. Read more >

Horgan says no to World Cup

Premier John Horgan said he had no regrets stepping out of a joint North American bid that could have seen World Cup soccer matches be played on B.C. soil. His reason? Unknown costs not being made clear by FIFA. Read more >

Christian university loses law school case in Supreme Court

At issue of the fight over Langley’s Trinity Western University’s bid to open a law school was its covenant that all students must sign that bans sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage. Read more >

Pet tortoise returns after nine months on the lam in Ucluelet

No one is exactly sure how far the tortoise got, but his family was sure happy to see him so many months later. Read more >

B.C. polygamous leaders sentenced to house arrest

Winston Blackmore and James Oler had been found guilty of practicing polygamy. After 27 years of investigations and court hearings, the two were sentenced to house arrest. Read more >

July

B.C. man reflects on caving drama as soccer team still trapped in Thailand

The rescue mission of a trapped soccer team in a Thailand cave captivated millions around the world. Here in B.C., the rescue flooded one B.C. man with memories from his own caving experience that almost became fatal. Read more >

Train victim’s friends remember 15-year-old boy: ‘He was a gift’

The unexpected death of Jack Stroud rocked the White Rock community. The boy had been struck by a passenger train at the beginning of summer. Read more >

Greyhound to withdrawal from B.C.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the government would look to private coach services, after Greyhound announced that the shutdown to start in October.

First Nation pipeline protesters erect tiny homes in North Thompson River Park

Members of the Secwepemc Nation took over North Thompson River Provincial Park, erecting tiny houses in protest of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Read more >

Rare exotic corpse flower emits putrid scent

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, bloomed at a conservatory in Vancouver. The colourful-but-stinky plant attracted hundreds to wait in line to take a peak. Read more >

Vancouver Island moves five millimetres away from rest of B.C.

Southern Vancouver Island has shifted roughly four to five millimetres because of tiny tremors, according to an expert. Read more >

Hundreds turn to ICBC after Kootenay acid spill damages cars

Undercarriages, frames and suspensions were examined for signs of contamination, believed to have leaked from a transport truck leaving the Teck smelter in Trail. Read more >

Police investigate racist slogans on First Nations signs

The signs were erected near First Nations responsible for issuing mushroom picking permits near Kamloops. Read more >

August

2018 becomes worst wildfire season on record

Nearly 1.3 million hectares had burned as of the middle of this month, breaking 2017’s destructive record. Read more >

Kelowna’s crying judge refuses to remove herself from case

A Kelowna judge, accused of bias after she allegedly cried during a sentencing hearing, refused to pull herself off a case. The incident prompted discussion over how detached those in charge of critical decisions should be. Read more >

B.C. museum receives donation of 52-million-year-old fossils

“It took over the house, it took over the home, it took over the family, it took over them, but in a positive and good way,” Vancouver Island’s Linda Langevin said of the ancient find. Read more >

Mom of missing B.C. teen targeted with prank call

Phyllis Fleury has been looking for her 16-year-old son, Colten, since she last saw him in the motel where they live. Someone thought it would be funny to prank call her with fake tips. Read more >

Police unknowingly help B.C. man break up with girlfriend

A 42-year-old man asked police to speak with his ex-girlfriend about not showing up at his home anymore. But when an officer spoke with the woman, it became clear she was unaware the relationship had ended. Read more >

Sir John A. Macdonald statue removed outside Victoria City Hall

It was one of the most controversial events of the summer for Vancouver Islanders.Mayor Lisa Helps has since admitted more consultation was needed. Read more >

September

Man charged in 13-year-old B.C. girl’s killing

It took police more than a year to announce an arrest after Marrisa Shen’s body was found in a Burnaby park. Read more >

B.C. to track ‘dirty money’ in real estate, horse racing

Attorney General David Eby and Finance Minister Carole James announced two separate reviews as the province works to get hold of allegations of money laundering in B.C. casinos. Read more >

Mystery of dead birds in Tsawwassen solved

Nearly 50 birds mysteriously died after dropping dead from the sky. According to an expert, the birds had flown too close to the road and bailed. Read more >

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in Port Alice dies

Leon Nepper, the Yukon man accused of sending his brother a homemade bomb, was found in medical distress at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. Read more >

B.C. sues drug companies to recoup overdose crisis costs

As the opioid crisis continues to kill hundreds of people per year in B.C., the provincial government launched a class-action lawsuit against more than 40 opioid manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. Read more >

Cat keeps stealing people’s laundry

Everyone has lost a sock or two to dryer gremlins, but some residents in one Lower Mainland neighbourhood may have been able to blame their missing laundry on a local cat. Read more >

B.C. realtor receives racist letter touching on ‘empty homes’

Winnie Wu, a real estate agent in Coquitlam, received a letter that contained numerous derogatory terms and slurs directed at the Asian community. Read more >

Sick orca declared dead after scientists’ frantic search

J50, an emaciated southern resident killer whale, had been the centre of international rescue efforts in the Juan de Fuca Strait. Read more >

October

BC Cannabis Store sees 20,000 transactions in first week of legalization

Recreational marijuana became legal in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018. Read more >

Body of missing Vancouver Island dad found following massive search

Ben Kilmer’s body was found in a remote area of Duncan, almost seven months after he’d gone missing. Read more >

Canada post workers go on multi-week strike

Rotating strikes hit the region as Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers worked through mediation. Read more >

Pipeline explosion causes evacuations near Prince George

The blast was described by witnesses as a “fireball” along an Enbridge natural gas pipeline near Prince George. FortisBC urged everyone to conserve their natural gas usage. Read more >

Sea lion suffering from gunshot would dies day after rescue

The adult male, named “Ukee” by rescue crews, was found with a gunshot to the head. Read more >

B.C. couple capture horrific maternity photos inspired by Alien scene

“We brought some blood, splattered ourselves and basically just had a good time out there,” said husband Todd Cameron. Read more >

Ocean “Blob” returns to B.C. North Coast

Located in the northern Pacific, just off the shore of northern B.C. and the southern Gulf of Alaska, an approximately 2,000-kilometre area of water is unseasonably warm. Read more >

November

Trudeau exonerates hanged war chiefs of 1864 on B.C. Tsilhqot’in title lands

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history when he rode in on a horse to personally make the exonerationnear Williams Lake. Read more >

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Contractors had removed trees next to Prince Rupert’s federal building as part of a landscaping project when they accidentally cut down historic cherry trees. Read more >

X gender identity recognized on B.C. IDs

The option applies to driver’s licenses, identity cards, birth certificates and BC Service Cards. Read more >

Diwali Festival celebrated in B.C. Legislature for 1st time

Diwali – the multi-faith “festival of lights” – was honoured at the B.C. Legislature for the first time with community leaders, dancers and the lighting of a ceremonial candle by Premier John Horgan. Read more >

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

Roughly four people die each day from an overdose in all corners of the province, according to the BC Coroners Service. Read more >

Wildlife relocation expert to oust koi-eating otter from Vancouver garden

Koi began disappearing from the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver all because of a sneaky otter who evaded capture for several days. It eventually disappeared, but not before eating nearly a dozen of the prized fish. Read more >

Vancouver Island man survives trapped in smashed truck

Duncan Moffat spent five days stuck in his vehicle with broken bones until a hunter found him down a steep hill. Read more >

December

Severe storm breaks pier, kills woman and cuts power

Just ahead of the holidays, British Columbians living on the south coast braced for what ended up being one of the most severe storms in recent years. The White Rock pier broke in two, a woman in Duncan died from a fallen tree, and at the storm’s peak, more than 700,000 BC Hydro customers were without power. Read more >

Alleged drunk driver offers burger instead of ID

Officers were met with a driver allegedly so inebriated, he handed over his hamburger instead of identification. Read more >

Mission baby found in dumpster dies in hospital

The abandoned baby was taken to hospital when it was discovered, but did not survive. Read more >

Huawei CFO arrested in Vancouver

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns over its ties to the Chinese government. Read more >

Election reform debate ‘finished’ in B.C.

The third time is not the charm, as B.C. will continue to keep the first-past-the-post system in provincial elections. More than 70 per cent of British Columbians rejected the other three options on proportional representation. Read more >

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Longtime legislative-reporter-turned-coroner Barb McLintock dies at 68

McLintock died in Victoria after complications of recently diagnosed thyroid cancer. She had been well-liked by many journalists around the province. Read more >

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Just Posted

Fire destroys home on Brink Street in Ashcroft

All occupants escaped safely but house was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived

Man, 31, charged in Cache Creek fatal shooting

Corey Richard Harkness appeared on one count of murder in provincial court in Kamloops

One man dead after shooting in Cache Creek

A gofundme page has been set up to fund a Celebration of Life for Brock Ledoux

Historic Nicola Valley church destroyed by fire

Murray United Church one of four Merritt-area churches touched by fire on same night

South Cariboo Minor Soccer gears up for new season

Registration has increased steadily every year since 2014, with the league nearly doubling in size

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

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