2014 Year in Review: What made the news in the Star/Journal from April – August

A review of news items this paper reported on during 2014

Some of the teachers and staff on the picket line at Barriere Secondary on May 28

Some of the teachers and staff on the picket line at Barriere Secondary on May 28


continued from our Jan. 8, 2015 issue

Dignitaries and representatives from the District of Barriere, the Province, and Simpcw First Nation came together Apr. 15, at the Wildfire Dragon Monument site to officially transfer the land where the Tolko mill once stood at Louis Creek into the hands of the District of Barriere and Simpcw First Nation. The land transfer fulfilled a commitment to support economic development in the North Thompson.  This remediated land provides a land base for new industry and new jobs for the region, supporting families and economic growth. The land covers 116 acres, which have been divided into 13 lots of varying sizes:   Nine lots transferred to the District of Barriere, two lots transferred to Simpcw First Nation, and two lots retained by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which will be used for the ongoing operation of a gravel pit and salt storage to facilitate highway maintenance and construction projects. There are two park dedications that are now in District ownership as well; one where the existing Wildfire Monument is and the other along Louis Creek behind Lot 11. Lot 12, which will not be sold by the District is the location of the old reservoir up on the hill close to the Eco Depot as well as the adjacent small fenced cemetery plot. Trail linkages have been created between the park lots, the adjacent road allowances and Lot 12 on the hill.

Gathering in front of the field house at Barriere Ball Park on April 5, those present paid tribute to Ron Smith and his dedication as a volunteer to his community.The plaque on the wall of the field house says, “This Field House is dedicated to the memory of Ron Smith, designer, builder, and community volunteer.”

The North Thompson Star/Journal announces they will be moving their offices one block east, saying it will be a welcome upgrade to their present facilities.  The new second storey offices were to be situated in the same building that houses the Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce.

The Success By Six Babies of 2013 Luncheon, held on April 11, in the Barriere Seniors Hall, was a great party for all.  Out of a possible 25 babies born in 2013, only eight made it to their first official party, but those that did took home gift baskets, prizes, and new friendships.

Little Fort Herefords captured several of the top honours in the Hereford Class during the 77th annual Williams Lake Bull and Show Sale on April 16 and 17. In the Hereford class, Grand Champion went to Little Fort Herefords, and they also took top  honours with Junior Champion, Reserve Junior Champion, Best Pair of Bulls and Best String of Bulls.

Although it was a little cool, the sun peaked through the  clouds on Easter Sunday when Barriere kids, with accompanying adults, gathered at the Ball Park for the annual Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt. All those attending had a great time finding the goodies the Easter Bunny had hidden for them, as well as enjoying a tasty breakfast prepared by the Lion’s Club.

The 2014 North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association’s reigning Ambassadors announced the new Ambassador Candidates for 2014 during Banner Night on Apr. 24.  Candidates introduced were: Lee Dionne representing the Catholic’s Women’s League, Annemarie Butcher representing Armour Mountain Office Services, and Jillian McInnes representing Stamer Logging.

Barriere Youth Soccer started on April 26, at the Ridge fields.  Approximately 110 players registered for the spring session, an increase of 30 kids over the previous season.

Star/Journal editor, Jill Hayward, was honoured at BC Community Achievement Awards at the 11th annual British Columbia Community Achievement Awards’ ceremony held at Government House in Victoria on April 29.  Hayward, a Louis Creek resident, was one of 32 British Columbians honoured.

The  2014 Rural Living Expo & Trade Show at the North Thompson Agriplex and Fall Fair facility on Apr. 26 and 27, was a grand success.  The event also hosted two days of performances by the nationally acclaimed Beshano Bike Trials riders, and hosted the 2nd Barriere Bike Team Building Challenge.


Barriere First Responders’ held a car wash and hot dog sale  at the IDA parking lot.  The group reported approximately $800 was raised for the local first responder program, thanks to the generosity and support of area residents.

After more than a year of earthship living, the Newton and Burkholder family of Darfield announce they have embarked on a permaculture journey.  Over the next five years they plan to turn the old sawmill site into sustainable agriculture, incorporating growing zones that include fruit trees, vegetable gardens, shrubs, berry plants, hugelkulture and livestock.

Lower Nicola Backhoe was back working on the new septic system for Barriere after the project had been halted early in the year when an archeological lithic chip was found during excavations. After receiving a special permit for the work to resume, District of Barriere noted there would be ongoing archeological testing in a number of places to see if further investigation was required.

The Barriere U14 and U12 girl’s teams competed in the Knock’ em Out of the Park tournament hosted by Kamloops Minor Fastball at the Tournament Capital Ranch in Raleigh the weekend of May 9.

The U14 team was 2-1 in the round robin portion of the tournament, and fell just short in their quarter final game.  MVP’s for the round robin games were Madison Kerslake, Lauren Tremblay and Meghan Booth.

The U12 team went 3-0 in the round robin portion of the tournament, and went into the playoffs as the number one seed.  The girls defeated Vernon in the semi-finals and in a very close contest defeated the Kamloops Krushers by one run in their last at bat of the championship game.

The annual spring flea market fundraiser hosted by the Barriere Curling Club on May 3, was as usual “packed”.  There was something for everyone, and bargains galore.

The members of Alexa’s Team once again delivered on their promise to the family of Alexa Middelaer, and other families that have lost loved ones to drinking driving, by significantly reducing the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in BC.  In recognition of their diligence and success enforcing the impaired driving laws of this province, ICBC, the Justice Institute of BC and the Middelaer family honoured 313 police officers who formed the 2013 Alexa’s Team at four events held in Surrey, Greater Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George.  Constable Jesse Wilkins  of the  RCMP Detachment in Barriere was one of those recognized at the Kelowna ceremony. Constable Wilkins total impaired drivers removed from the roads was nine, who were all drug impaired.

A work intensive fundraiser for Barriere Secondary’s  Dry Grad cleaned up the highway roadsides within the community.  Argo Road Maintenance sponsored the class to pick garbage up along the highway, with the resultant dollars from Argo going towards Dry Grad celebrations for the class.

Barriere was a busy place over the Mother’s Day weekend with events and interesting happenings all over the community. The North Thompson Garden Club’s Annual plant sale was held at the Bandshell on the Saturday, as well as the Barriere First Responders’ Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser in the Legion basement. Fancy girls, horses and trailers could also be found at the North Thompson Agriplex Canadian Barrel Racers weekend event, with approximately 100 competitors who came to compete for multiple prizes and a $2500 purse.

The Carpet Bowling Provincial Championships were held in Prince George, with teams competing from all over B.C.  A number of competitors from Barriere and Little Fort attended representing  Zone 2, and all of them came away with gold medals.   Gold medalists were:  Ernie Yungen, Hector Denton, Louis and Anke Zijderveld, Nina Clearwaters, Pete and Linda Verhoeven, and Jack Livingstone.

On May 15, Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd. gathered together management, staff, and even retired staff to help celebrate the company’s achievements – two years of “no time loss accidents” as of June 19, 2014, and their Woodlands Department’s 12 years of “no time loss accidents”.

Health Minister Terry Lake attended Victoria Day parade in Clearwater, and at the same time announced a $40,000 grant to the North Thompson Valley Hospice House Society to do a feasibility study on the proposed development.

It was a small gathering that came together at the Station House Restaurant in Barriere, but a gathering that created a lasting legacy in the name of Donnie Nicholson who passed away suddenly on January 25, 2013.

Board members of the North Thompson Communities Foundation came together with Donnie’s mother, Jo-Ann Kivari, in creating a lasting bursary for students wishing to go into the trades.  Jo-Ann was there to officially present $5,050 that had been raised by Donnie’s friends and family to create the bursary in his name.  The Communities Foundation was there to accept the funds and to match them – creating a total bursary fund of $10,100 at this time.

Effective at noon on May 15, the size of open fires was restricted in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre, and would remain in effect until Oct. 15.

Barriere Secondary School’s golf team had a tremendous season.  The boys finished first place in the West Zones and second place in the Thompson/Okanagan. All five members of the team were very dedicated,  and represented the school and town of Barriere in a positive fashion.

Thirty Barriere Secondary School students donned the traditional cap and gown for graduation commencement ceremonies in the Curling Rink on May 23.   Hannah Allen of Brennan Creek was awarded the 2013 Governor General’s Award.

Justin Stein was named the 2014 recipient to be honoured on the Wall of Distinction at Barriere Secondary School (BSS).  Principal Ken Rife announced the recipient during the 2014 Graduation Ceremonies for the school.     Since his graduation from BSS in 1999, Justin has become a world famous jockey, chalking up over 889 wins including the prestigious Queens Plate, and has made over $37 million dollars in career purse earnings.

Barriere RCMP responded to a motor vehicle accident on Highway 5 about 10 kilometres south of Barriere on May 24.  Police report a motorcycle collided with a northbound vehicle.  The Barriere motorcycle rider was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The BC River Forecast Centre as of May 26 advised a High Streamflow Advisory for the North Thompson River and a Flood Watch for the Clearwater River.

BC Teachers Federation rotating strikes included School District 73, with walk-outs on Wednesday, May 28, and again on Thursday, June 5.  Picket lines were set up at both Barriere schools on May 28, under a heavy downpour of rain for most of the day.

The May 26, District of Barriere public hearing in regards to the proposed comprehensive Zoning Bylaw No. 111 received very little participation from area citizens with only a few handfuls attending and only one question from a resident for council.  Council then moved to accept the Zoning Bylaw No. 111 changes as presented.

Students joined with Barriere Secondary teachers to protest the “teacher’s lock out by government”, and the fact that during this time “teachers cannot help students 45 minutes before class, during break, and lunch break, or 45 minutes after class”. One student said, “Students feel frustrated about not being able to get the help we need at lunch, and before exams.”

To show their appreciation for a generous donation of cedar boards from Gilbert Smith Forest Products, the grade 10 – 12 shop students at Barriere Secondary School built a planter bench and presented it to the mill.

Small pet owners in Barriere and area rejoiced at the announcement that Cariboo Country Mobile Veterinary Services would be attending the community two days a month, starting in June, and were to be conveniently situated in the south side parking lot at Knights Inn.


Barriere U8 soccer players play in a game against Clearwater June 2, at the 1st Annual Clearwater Footy Festival.  Barriere teams included two U8 teams, two U10 teams and one U13.

Barriere RCMP responded to a commercial vehicle rollover collision/chemical spill on Agate Bay Road near Squam Bay on Adams Lake on June 5, that closed the road.  The unit was a B Train tanker unit with a liquid load of magnesium chloride (30 per cent concentrate) which had spilled as a result of the crash. The driver was removed from the tractor unit, transported from the scene by BC Ambulance ground crew to a waiting helicopter air ambulance where he was taken to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops with unknown injuries.  Agate Bay Road was closed to traffic in both directions with Argo and MOTI on scene, and flagger’s were set up to divert traffic on alternate routes.  Investigation revealed no sign of impairment on the driver; no criminal charges, but a Motor Vehicle Act charge for ‘fail to keep right’ was issued.  The scene was turned over to other partner agencies responsible for cleanup and removal of vehicles.

Whitecroft residents were notified they would have fire protection in the new year thanks to what a regional director called a “good deal” from neighbouring Sun Peaks Resort Municipality.  The Thompson-Nicola Regional District said it would establish a fire-protection area following approval by residents through a succession petition.  Sixty-eight per cent of property owners signed a legal petition to establish the service.

They represented about 70 per cent of assessed value.

The northbound lanes of Highway 5 North were closed for a time on June 9, due to a two vehicle accident that killed one person and injured four others.

Barriere’s 100th Anniversary celebration was cancelled the morning of the event, due to a weather forecast of thunderstorms for the area. “With metal in our tents, metal fences and people set to be playing games on the ball fields where the event was to be held we had concerns about lightening – we did a lot of soul-searching before finally calling it all off,” said District CAO Colleen Hannigan.  “The risk of lightening in the area was predicted by weather forecasters for between 3 and 5 p.m., the time of our event.”

The event was rescheduled to happen at Fadear Park and the Bandshell on July 1 in conjunction with Canada Day celebrations.

The Barriere Cedar Kings Pee Wee girls softball team won the District playdowns against Kamloops in game three of the best of three. They did it the hard way by losing game one and having to win back to back. But the team persevered and showed great fortitude by wearing their opposition down in game three by getting out to a seven run lead after 4 innings, which resulted in a mandatory win as the mercy rule applied.

On June 13, the multi-purpose room at the Barriere Ridge was filled with the parents, grandparents and friends  of 23 ‘Little Stars’ who were graduating from Yellowhead Community Services sponsored preschool program.

Permaculture BC and Elements Eco-Design dynamos Javan Bernakevitch and Gord Heibert descended upon the Burkholder/Newton property in Darfield,  on June 14 and 15.  They were there to join 23 plus participants taking part in a workshop titled ‘Earthships and Permaculture: Applied Techniques for Cold Climate Food Production’, and to help install half of Zone 1 of the Darfield earthship’s permaculture design.

The 5th Annual North Thompson Fish and Game Club’s Father’s Day Fishing Derby saw 66 fish brought in for weighing on Sunday afternoon at the Bandshell in Barriere,

Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd. had held a ‘Shave For The Brave’ event in December of 2013 in support of Mike Kennedy, a 30 year employee of the company who had been diagnosed with cancer.  The event was to show support for Kennedy and the journey he was undertaking as he began cancer treatments.  Support was shown by 35 members of staff and management.  For every head shaved, GSFP paid $100 into a pot to purchase a cancer treatment related item for a cancer facility in the southern Interior.  Kennedy’s job was to look for what was needed in relation to a treatment item and where it could best be utilized.

During the event, Ron Wallace Trucking also lent their support by paying $50 for every head shaved,  and a number of other donations were also received. The final total raised came to $6,870. Kennedy’s choice of equipment was an electric Treatment Care Chair for the Barriere Health Centre, which had a cost of $9,500.  So Gilbert Smith Forest Products generously stepped in, and brought the monies raised up to the $9,500.  The new treatment chair was installed and immediately utilized at the Barriere Health Centre. The Treatment Care Chair has the ability to gently move the patient from the seated position into a fully reclined  position.

The Minor Softball Regional Championships for U12 Girls  was held in Barriere at the ball parks.  Seven teams took part in the event, with one from Barriere, two from Kamloops, two from Kelowna, one from Prince George, and one from Westsyde.  The Barriere Ravens won the Skills Competition Trophy.


Canada Day in the community of Barriere was a milestone.  Dignitaries, residents and people who had connections to the area gathered to celebrate Barriere’s 100th birthday along with Canada’s 147th.   There was speeches, presentations, music, old fashioned tea parties, hay rides, games, old time photography, refreshments and plenty of reminiscing.  Both MP Cathy McLeod and MLA Terry Lake attended the event.

Chickadee Cottage Studio and Gallery on Barriere Lakes Road opened on the July 1st weekend, bringing with it’s opening a new outlet for quality art and crafts to the area thanks to owners, Bev and Barry Henry.

The B.C. government raised speed limits around southern B.C., including a new 100 km/h limit on the Yellowhead Highway through Exlou and Louis Creek.

Barriere’s Mathew Lee, a member of the Clearwater Crushers team,  participated at the U16 Provincial Softball Championships held in Clearwater the weekend of July 5, and brought home a gold medal win.

On July 6, area resident Fran Wagstaff hosted a fun gathering for the Fennell cousins at the North Thompson Museum in Barriere.  Over 30 second and third generation cousins visited and learned a few things about their heritage as they enjoyed a tour of the museum’s school room, the general store and the trapper’s hut.

The annual North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association Speech and Talent Night was held in the Lion’s Hall on June 29.  A treat for all who attended were a number of past NTFFRA royalty who attended and also participated in the evenings 100th Year Celebration for Barriere.

Four people revved up chainsaws and got experience in the forestry industry through a Job Creation Partnership with the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, thanks to $143,000 in government funding.

The 3rd Annual Bike Rodeo sponsored by Barriere RCMP, Success By Six and Yellowhead Community Services had a good turnout of youngsters on June 29.  First responders assisted in helping the kids take their bikes through the course set up in the senior’s hall parking lot, while for the second year in a row the Legion joined with the RCMP to provide a free community barbecue at the Bandshell.

The Barriere Under 12 (U12) Boys team competed in the Softball BC U12 Provincial Championships hosted by Clearwater Minor Ball in Clearwater, and brought home the silver medal.

Summer Camps for kids started that the Ridge for kids in kindergarten to 13 years, thanks to Barriere and Area Literacy and Learning, Yellowhead Community Services, North Thompson Volunteer Centre and Thompson Valley Players.

Effective at noon on July 16, all campfires were prohibited throughout the entire Kamloops Fire Centre due to dry conditions.

Barriere received a grant from the Government of B.C.’s Strategic Community Investment Fund totalling $256,202 to invest in programs, projects and community safety initiatives.

A BC Ambulance Society’s 40th Anniversary event was held at Fadear Park the afternoon of July 6.  Local emergency services including the Barriere Fire Department, Barriere Search and Rescue, Barriere First Responders, Chu Chua Volunteer Fire Department, CN Police, Kinder Morgan and BCAS vehicles participated. Barriere First Responders hosted a fundraiser barbecue by donation, and BCAS provided a gigantic cake, dozens of cupcakes and a First Aid Kit Draw with a gift basket for lucky winners.

The 59th Annual Squam Bay Fish Derby on July 13, saw 172 entries and a total of 29 fish weighed in.

The judges for the annual Communities in Bloom competition arrived in Barriere, spending a whirlwind two days getting to know the community, its residents, and its heritage.  The local Communities in Bloom Committee joined with Thompson Valley Players to present an evening of Heritage in Bloom, with the theme being Barriere’s 100th anniversary celebration.  A special performance by the Thompson Valley Players and Barriere Literacy and Learning’s summer youth theatre camp participants was a highlight for everyone in the audience.  This was followed by a dedication to Manna Salle, who turned 100 in December 2013, being a Barriere resident and supporter all of that time.  Mayor Bill Humphreys presented Manna Salle and his wife Geordie, with a key to Barriere for all that Manna has done for the community over the years.

The North Thompson Museum and the Barriere and District Heritage Society hosted an old fashioned garden party on July 21 to welcome Communities in Bloom judges to Barriere.

A 50-year-old man from Louis Creek was taken into custody charged with breaching his conditions after police were called to his home, July 21, to a report of an assault at a residence on Stone Road. The man had apparently hit a 47-year-old woman and threatened her life. The woman was eventually able to escape from the residence while police surrounded the home.  Due to the circumstances of the incident and the potential danger to both the responding police officers and the public, the Southeast District Emergency Response Team attended, and when an RCMP Crisis Negotiator communicated with the suspect by telephone he was able to successfully de-escalate the situation, and the man was taken into custody without incident.

Thick smoke in the area on July 16, from some 120 wildfires across B.C., caused those with respiratory problems to remain indoors.  The smoke remained for many days before finally dispersing.

The North Thompson Star/Journal was recognized among the top newspapers in the 2014 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards, receiving a Blue Ribbon for the newspaper in the General Excellence Division, and a third place for General Excellence – Best Front Page.

Members of the Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) boys softball team won third place at the BC Summer Games in Nanaimo July 17 -20.  The team was made up of eight Clearwater players, plus two from Merritt and Mathew Lee from Barriere.

Water safety instructor Brittany Stamer worked with 89 children during the North Thompson Recreation Society sponsored Red Cross swimming lessons held at the Feller family pool in Barriere.

On July 30, the Yellowhead 4H Club held their annual Speak and Show day  at the Feller’s house, including a pool party and barbecue.

The Barriere Annual Quilt Show at the North Thompson Museum was a favourite for residents and visitors to the community.


Due to  intense heat that baked the area for at least a week, an active lightning storm on Aug. 2, with fork and sheet lightning, created quite a spectacle. The storm arrived at about 8:30 p.m. and lasted for about an hour before moving east.  The mercury hit the mid-30s during the next day and remained in the mid-30s through out the week.

A two vehicle collision at McLure between a semi and pickup on Aug. 4,  sent both vehicles off the road, causing closure of Highway 5 while emergency vehicles freed the occupants.   The four occupants of the pickup were treated for minor injuries and transported by ground to Royal Inland Hospital where they were later released.  The driver of the commercial truck was removed from the tractor, transported by ambulance to a nearby field and airlifted by BC Ambulance helicopter to Royal Inland Hospital with unknown, non life threatening injuries.

Five stakeholders – spanning the North Thompson Valley and Highway 5 corridor from just north of Kamloops all the way to the Alberta border near Jasper –  joined in a pilot project with Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association to have expert resource people create brand messaging and a strong online presence that will attract more travellers to visit and stay in the area. The project was to be funded by the five stakeholder groups, with matching support from the provincial government’s tourism agency, Destination BC, through its Community Tourism Opportunities program. The stakeholders are Tourism Sun Peaks, the Lower North Thompson Tourism Society, Tourism Wells Gray, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, and Tourism Valemount.

Barriere residents Len and Audrey Rilcoe, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends at the Barriere Curling Rink.

Attendees at the Interior Savings Moonlight Movie Night in Barriere on Aug. 11, had a great time but never did get to see the movie.  All due to an unexpected thunder storm that had spectators running for shelter and resulted in the cancellation of the show.

2013 Barriere Secondary School grad Alysha Piva received a $22,000 scholarship from TRU to begin her Bachelor of Social Work at Thompson Rivers University in September.

A Barriere man was found dead after his vehicle was found down a cliff off a forest service road.  The man, said to be in his 60’s, was last seen around midnight two nights before.  Kamloops Search and Rescue reported the man and his brother had been driving from Chase to Barriere, along the Adams Lake forest service road.  The passenger became quite concerned about the driver’s driving, to the point where he insisted the driver drop him off. Search and Rescue searched all the high probability areas where a vehicle could have gone off the road, eventually finding it with the driver found deceased inside at the bottom of a 150 foot embankment alongside the road.

The Annual Barriere 911 Emergency Services Golf Tournament once again proved to be a leading fundraiser for youth initiatives within the area.  Nineteen teams made up of competitors from Clearwater, Barriere, Kamloops and the Lower Mainland turned out on Aug. 16, raising almost $9,000 from the event.

During the evening of Aug. 19, the Kamloops Fire District received over 1200 lightening strikes as reported by Environment Canada.  The lightening strike show in the Lower North Thompson was quite dramatic, with strikes consistently lighting up the skies for much of the evening before the storm finally moved on.

Fifty-nine ladies turned out for the annual Ladies Night Golf for Cancer at Chinook Cove Golf, and reported raising close to $4000 at the event for cancer research.

August 21, campfires were once again permitted throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre due to recent precipitation at the time, resulting in a decreased wildfire risk in the region.

The annual North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association’s Ambassador Coronation took place to a packed house in the Barriere Lion’s Hall on Aug. 22.  The candidates and current reigning royalty presented a short dance program, followed by impromptu questions to the candidates, and an evening gown presentation; all while the three official judges tallied up their scores and added them to previous scoring taken throughout the year. Miss Stamer Logging Jillian McInnes was named Ambassador for the 2014/2015 season, with her two Vice-Ambassadors  Miss Armour Mt. Office Services Annie Butcher, and Miss Catholic Women’s League Lee Dionne.

The Legion Golf Tournament held on Aug. 23, at Chinook Cove Golf saw 16 teams of four take to the course.

One Ontario resident was killed and two others sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries as a result of a single vehicle crash near Darfield on Aug. 30, on Highway 5 approximately five kilometres south of Little Fort.

The final Bandshell Friday weekly entertainment event of the summer in the District of Barriere took place on August 30.

Find the final four months of the 2014 Year In Review inside our next issue.