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Cranbrook 2013: Year in Review Part III

Almost 300 cyclists took part in the inaugural Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo in September.  - Barry Coulter file photo
Almost 300 cyclists took part in the inaugural Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo in September.
— image credit: Barry Coulter file photo

From fire to flood, new construction and saved heritage buildings, 2013 was a busy year in Cranbrook and Kimberley. From our viewpoint at the Townsman, we have picked the biggest stories of the year. In Part Three, we look at the news of July through September.

July

A Kimberley man survived a fall into Mark Creek and over Marysville Falls on July 1. Kimberley Search and Rescue had to implement a technical rope rescue to get the man out of the river.

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Representatives from the City of Cranbrook were part of a trip to China and Korea to foster economic ties. Mayor Wayne Stetski lauded the trip as a success.

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Koocanusa played host to a 1,000-person strong music festival on the Canada Day long weekend. FozzyFest, a  three-day-long electronic music festival, was held at Big Springs campground at Tobacco Plains Indian Band from June 28 to July 1, after its original location in Alberta flooded.

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A fire damaged the historic Elko train station in Cranbrook. The fire started on the porch area of the building and spread to the attic and rear of the building before it could be extinguished.

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Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, made a stop in Cranbrook July 21, turning Rotary Park into the local political event of the season.

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Cranbrook's historic Armond Theatre has a new owner — Jean Trimble — who plans to turn the neglected downtown movie house into an art deco, Great Gatsby-style function centre.

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A month after torrential rains devastated the East Kootenay, many backcountry roads in the region remained closed as government staff scrambled to plan expensive repairs. The estimated repair cost was $5.5 million.

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The cities of Cranbrook and Kimberley, in consultation with the Southeast District RCMP, announced at the beginning of August the reestablishment of separate detachments for both cities.

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Nickolas Bullock — the man charged in relation with a carjacking incident near Creston and police chase in Cranbrook in October 2012 — appeared in court in Port Coquitlam on July 31, and pleaded guilty to six charges, including four committed in Cranbrook. Bullock's sentencing will take place January 31, 2014.

August

A dramatic rescue took place at Whiteswan Lake on August 3, when a five-year-old boy was trapped in a submerged vehicle. Two brothers from Lethbridge jumped into the water and rescued the boy. The other two passengers ended up safe as well.

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One of the East Kootenay's greatest cultural institutions came back after a year's hiatus. The Symphony of the Kootenays returned with a new artistic musical director, an exciting new program of concerts, and a special mission to bring the symphony to the people. The Symphony's first concert of the new season was held in October, followed by a Christmas concert in December. The next concert is set for Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

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After concerns were put forth by a Cranbrook city councillor, city staff noted that while there have been improvements to Cranbrook's downtown, there is still a 25 per cent vacancy rate for the buildings.

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Operations at the Canadian Rockies International Airport resumed quickly after an incident involving a small aircraft on Thursday morning, August 22 that sent the pilot to hospital. The private aircraft reportedly crashed parallel to the runway.

September

Hundreds of Cranbrook fans gathered in September to meet two stars of the CBC series "Heartland." Amy Fleming and Ty Borden were in town during the Cruise With a Cause six-day motorcycle marathon for prostate cancer.

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The City of Cranbrook unveiled a flashy new sign at the southwestern entrance to the city. With contributions from Columbia Basin Trust and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the sign reads "Welcome to Cranbrook" displayed on a rock wall that mimics the Rocky Mountain view from the city.

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B.C.'s 29th Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Judith Guichon, visited Cranbrook in September. During her four-day trip to the East Kootenay, Guichon spoke to students about your duties as representative of Her Majesty the Queen.

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Almost 300 cyclists took part in the inaugural Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo in September. The non-competitive cycling event saw riders chose from 50, 100 and 150 kilometre routes around Cranbrook and Kimberley.

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A Cranbrook mining exploration company was given a signal honour in September. Athabasca Nuclear Corp., a spin-off of Eagle Plains Resources, was asked to ring the bell in the Toronto Stock Exchange to open the trading day on Sept. 13.

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A musician-producer who grew up in Cranbrook released his debut album in Toronto. Ryan Granville-Martin's album "Mouthparts and Wings" features collaborations by Ron Sexsmith, Martin Tielli of the Rheostatics, and Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink.

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A pair of young grizzly bears begin a week-long range through Kimberley. First spotted in Chapman Camp by residents, conservation officers began to keep an eye on the bears as they made their way around the city, visiting McKim Middle School and, eventually, Marysville. They had not shown any signs of aggression but conservation officers, fearing encounters with school children, were forced to euthanize one and trap the other, relocating it up the St. Mary River Valley.

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A man being pursued by RCMP jumped into the Kootenay River in Wardner to escape capture on drugs charges. The move worked temporarily: the man was arrested two days later in Canal Flats.

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Also in September, a man who appeared to have a broken nose and two black eyes tried to rob a bank in Cranbrook by using a pry bar to break open a rear door at 9:20 a.m. on a Friday morning. When the young man spotted bank staff, he turned and fled.

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A group of B.C. Hells Angels with Cranbrook connections were arrested in Pontevedra, Spain in September. Jason Arkinstall, Chad Wilson, Scott Smitna and Michael Dryborough were arrested in a coffee bar by Spain's National Police and charged over an attempt to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Spain on a sailboat.

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By September, the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations had spent $1.5 million fixing some of the more than 50 sites and 30 bridges on the East Kootenay's backcountry roads damaged or destroyed during the June floods. In all, forestry roads in the region suffered $5.5 million worth of damage and some remain closed until repair work can continue in the spring.

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A gruesome elk kill closed Kimberley's Lois Creek Trails in September as conservation officers were concerned that the grizzly would return for the food. COs removed the remains of the elk and kept the trails closed for five days, but the grizzly was not seen again.

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A Cranbrook photographer began the journey of a lifetime in September. Joel Robison was hired as an official photographer on the Fifa World Cup Trophy Tour, and set off to visit 89 countries in nine months. Robison is now in Vietnam, with four months of the tour remaining.

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Cranbrook was treated to a high-energy performance by the Indigo Girls in September. The folk rock duo stopped in Cranbrook during their first substantive tour of Canada.

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Tembec began selling off its land in the East Kootenay in September, starting by selling 1,875 hectares in the St. Mary River Valley for $4.2 million to a Nanaimo real estate company. In October, it sold another 7,000 hectares in the Elk Valley to Teck. Teck announced that it plans to protect the three pieces of land as conservation properties.

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