The Star/Journals 2012 Year in Review

Covering the moments of May to October 2012, in the District of Barriere

MAY 2012

A Kamloops man was arrested at gun-point after he held up the Barriere Esso armed with a sawed-off shotgun.  At about 8:30 p.m. on May 3, a man wearing a ski mask and swimming goggles walked into the gas station armed with a sawed-off shotgun and demanded cash.  The robber then ordered the male clerk to turn on a fuel pump and fill his car, along with a number of gas cans.  Three hours later, just before midnight, a diligent uniformed RCMP officer with Kamloops Rural Detachment spotted and stopped the car on Puett Ranch Road in the Rayleigh area.  As a result of the stop, the suspect was taken into custody without incident, in what police called a ‘high-risk takedown’.The perpetrator, Jesse Pete, was given a five-year jail term, and is also bound by a 10-year firearms prohibition once he’s released from jail

The Bear radio station in Barriere made history as it roared to life and took to the air waves for the first time at precisely 10:31 a.m. on 93.1FM, playing a song by popular singer/songwriter Adele.  The driving force behind the station is local radio announcer Steve Shannon, North Thompson Radio Inc., who said hitting the airwaves was a banner moment for the community, and for himself personally.

BC Barrel Racing Association announces it will be holding it’s 2012 finals at the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo facility in Barriere August 17 – 19.  Prize money totalling $100,000 was to be up for grabs with at least 300 competitors expected.

The Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Environment and MLA for the Kamloops/North Thompson visited both the Barriere and Clearwater employment services offices to officially open the full service centres, and the programs and services they will be offering.

Barriere Secondary grade 12 student Dawn Eustache completed an impressive mural of a First Nation warrior that she personally created, drew and painted onto the concession wall inside the school.

The District of Barriere’s Public Works committee announced it would be putting in four way stops at the corner of Barriere Town Road and Barkley Road.

About 60 politicians and community leaders met in Blue River to get an update on the regional economic development pilot for the Barriere to McBride corridor.  Biggest news at the forum was a commitment from BC Hydro to provide $50 million to upgrade its Valemount distribution system.  The new system would see the construction of a new 128 kilovolt transmission line from the existing Valemount substation and a new substation near McBride.

Newly sworn in on May 28, Chief Rita Matthew of the Simpcw First Nation, told Band members, “I will do my best to be the best that I can be.” Matthew and six Band Councillors, took an Oath of Office in front of their community members at Chu Chua, on Monday, May 28, with guests from Barriere, Clearwater and surrounding communities attending.

JUNE 2012

Premier Christy Clark announced that the province had approved a Family Day for B.C. residents.  Family Day will now take place on the second Monday in February each year, beginning in 2013, when it will fall on Feb. 11.

The hit OLN (Outdoor Life Network) TV series Mantracker announced it would be broadcasting the first of two episodes that were filmed in the Barriere area.  The episodes were shot on Barriere’s Trails Systems, with Kamloops’ hoodoos providing the backdrop for the opening sequence of this season.  In celebration of the broadcast, the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission and Barriere hosted a public screening on June 16, at the Barriere Elementary School.

The first annual Barriere Fun Run got off to a running start with runners taking part from as far away as Texada Island.  Locals took a number of top spots; including Barrierites Dave Tremblay, who was the second fastest overall in the 10km at 41.41, and Patricia Thompson, who was the fastest overall 10km female at 48.34.

Barriere resident Leslie Stirling was announced as the new marriage commissioner for the area when previous commissioner, Bonnie CruzelleMyram, retired.

Barriere Elementary was awarded a Provincial Ministry of Education grant for $25,000 for the repair and upgrade of their playground equipment.  The announcement was made on June 22, and is part of a program that totaled $8 million for playground equipment throughout the Province.

The Barriere IDA began expansion of it’s facility.  Store manager Shelly DeFelice says the store was currently in the process of getting plans finalized for a number of renovations that will start in early summer.  Limited mobility customers should appreciate that renovations will include enlarging the aisles throughout the store to make them easier to negotiate and more wheelchair friendly.

On June 23, the first Annual Barriere Bike Rodeo took place in the rain.  There were a total of 40 young people that participated, ranging in age from two to 14.  There were children on tricycles, bikes with training wheels, and teenagers on mountain bikes.  The young riders were put through four stations that tested their skills and knowledge of bike safety under the watchful eyes of local RCMP members.

On June 22, the grounds at Sam’s Pizza and Rib House were busy with artisans arriving and putting up their tents and canopies in preparation for Barriere’s 5th Annual Celebration of the Arts Festival.  Unfortunately, at around 8 p.m., mother nature decided to stir things up, sending a wicked, steady and very strong wind that uprooted the stakes holding down canopies, and tossed everything all over the place.  Many canopies sustained some damage, a few were destroyed, and a fortunate few managed to escape relatively unharmed.  By 8:15 p.m. it was over, and everyone did their best to tidy up and salvage what they could. However, Saturday morning saw most of the artisans on site, they’d finished setting up their displays and were ready for the public.  Despite the weather issues, everyone appeared to be pretty happy with the 2012 event.

Justin Stein is no stranger to Barriere.  The 32-year-old jockey grew up in the North Thompson Valley community, and is a graduate of Barriere Secondary.  Stein, now a jockey at Woodbine in Toronto, won the prestigious Queen’s Plate partnered with Strait of Dover, on June 30, in an exciting race that he led from wire-to-wire, and also set a track record.  With now over 700 career wins as a jockey, this hometown young man is quickly carving himself a place in the history of Canadian Thoroughbred horse racing.

During the week of June 24, a rural property was broken into on Dixon Creek Road, just out of Barriere.  The property is near power lines with an access road.  The suspects broke into the garage, damaged the door with a pry bar, smashed out windows on a piece of machinery, and also damaged an ATV by breaking portions and trying to get it started with a screwdriver.  Police reviewed some footage of the suspects caught on a surveillance camera.  Charges were pending for Break and Enter, Committing the offense of Mischief, and Theft.

JULY 2012

Reverend Graham Brownmiller, of the Church of St. Paul in Barriere, and Clearwater United Church, advises he has accepted a call away from the North Thompson to another church in New Westminster.

Sun Peaks built it – an outdoor stage – and they came by the thousands to hear Kevin Costner and Modern West perform.  Granted, the audience was predominantly female, something Costner remarked on early in his 90 minute performance on Saturday, July 7 – reminding the men ‘who got dragged up here that it’s free”.  The concert kicked off a series of musical events at Sun Peaks during the summer.

Barriere resident Tom Fennell, was commended for his actions on the night of Feb. 21, when he assisted at the scene of an accident on the Yellowhead Highway, while working for Agro Road Maintenance. BC Ambulance Paramedic Tim Hoffman, took the ‘thank you’ one step further by applying for special recognition for Fennell’s help at the scene, where  Hoffman and Kevin McNab were attending. Fennell received an inscribed plaque and hearty thanks from paramedics, with congratulations from Argo area manager and crew.

Barriere Minor Ball Squirt teams travelled to Sicamous on July 6, where they played in the Regional Championships.  The Squirt boys were very successful, bringing Barriere home the gold medal, and the girls won bronze in the A Division out of eight teams.

Two judges for the provincial Communities in Bloom program visited the town of Barriere on July 18 and 19, to evaluate the municipality for the 2012 competition.  Prior to their arrival, area residents created a hive of activity throughout the community as they mowed grass, weed-wacked, and in general put the finishing touches on the town’s appearance as a whole.  Judges however, look at a number of criteria, including tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf and ground covers, floral displays, and community involvement. Judges also visited the Wildfire Dragon Monument and the Fall FAir grounds.

A Barriere man was killed in a two-vehicle collision north of Avola the morning of July 16.  Investigation revealed that two vehicles had been northbound on Highway 5 near Tum Tum Creek when the second vehicle hit the lead vehicle from behind.  The lead vehicle went off the road to the right, while the second went off to the left. A male passenger in the lead vehicle was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.  The passenger, Barriere resident Victor Kolman, was confirmed deceased at the scene.

The Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) boys softball team won silver at the BC Summer Games; the team included three from Barriere, Nick McInnis, Owen Hawkings, and Mathew Lee.

Barriere’s Darcey Woods, with her quarter horse stallion “Ima Class Of My Own”, won the BC Heritage Finals Championship spot in reining competitions at Maple Ridge on July 6-7.  The win earned her a place on Team BC for the Canadian Equestrian Championships in Bromont, Quebec, in September.

RCMP reported that on July 27, a local business was broken into in the Industrial Park in Barriere.  Thieves entered the yard, cut the locks off of two containers and forced entry into others.  The thieves went through the property, making a mess in the storage areas, and stole a quantity of copper pipe, wiring  and other construction related equipment.


The members of the North Thompson Art Council, and Lana Laskovic, of Armour Mountain Office Services, joined together for the grand opening of the Armour Mountain Art Gallery on August 15, inside the Armour Mountain Office Services store in the IDA mall.

On the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 14, the Unity Ride left from the Lorne Sampson’s rodeo grounds in Chase, the first part of the four day ride.  The four-day trip, with 12 First Nation riders, would cover 100 kilometres in total, stopping at three camps on the way overnight, eventually arriving at Simpcw Secwepemc Gathering near Barriere on Friday, Aug. 17.

Participants arrived from far and wide to participate in and attend The Bear’s first Show-N-Shine in Barriere on August 18, along Airport Road next to the park.  Radio station owner Steve Shannon and radio host Gary Pfeifer first launched the idea of a show and shine while doing a radio talk show together, and from there the project grew into a successfully held event.

The North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association’s Ambassador Program held its Coronation on Aug. 30, at the Ridge in Barriere.  Previously called the NTRRFA Queen Pageant, and now the Ambassador Program, this marked the 63rd year that young women from Valley communities had been chosen to represent the NTFFRA, and the North Thompson Valley.  The judges awarded Clearwater’s Miss Well’s Gray Info Centre, Aliya Bieber, the top spot of Ambassador, with the Vice-Ambassador titles going to Barriere residents, Miss Sam’s Pizza and Rib House, Kaitlain Chanler, and Miss Baillie’s Towing, Alisha Gotro.

Barriere RCMP advised area residents that they had received a number of reported break-and-enters involving at least a dozen properties being hit. Residents were advised to be vigilant, and report suspicious activity to the police.

Barriere RCMP reported that on Friday, Aug. 24, a Barriere male was arrested after fleeing an assault on a ride-on lawnmower; which he was driving up Barriere Town Road. Police apprehended the man adjacent to the Fadear Park area, where Barriere Bandshell Friday was underway at the time, with a good sized crowd in attendance.  The man was charged with operating a vehicle while impaired, and the lawnmower was impounded.


The 63rd North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo was a great success, with just under 10,000 people attending over the course of the weekend.  The community was filled with visitors in town for the event and for other activities that took place as well.  The Annual Fall Fair Parade was well supported, and the three day BCRA rodeo was standing room only for those that arrived too late to find a seat.

Barriere participants attending the BC Senior Games in Burnaby returned home medal winners.  The BarriereSenior Carpet Bowlers Team 1, Donna Smith and Sharon Marsh won bronze playing in the pairs sections, and Ernie Yungen, Nina Clearwaters, and Lynn Innes, earned silver in the three-team division.

A total of 86 riders took part in the 6th annual Barriere Toy Run on Saturday, Sept. 8.   Once again, it was a roaring success in support of the Barriere and District Food Bank.

Barriere Elementary School welcomed three new teachers in September: Justin Hummel, who would be teaching the Kindergarten/Grade 1 class; Alexis Gartrell, who was to teach the Kingergarten class; and Brandy Simpson, the literacy and numeracy support teacher.

The Barriere radio station, The Bear 93.1FM, after being live for the last several months, went off the air on Sept. 10.  Owner and operator Steve Shannon said he was broadcasting at a low wattage until the CRTC paperwork and permits came through, something he was legally permitted to do as long as no one sent in a complaint to the CRTC.  But he noted that in June, the CRTC did received a complaint, and on Sept. 9 they contacted Shannon and requested that he stop broadcasting until the permits were officially through.  Shannon therefore stopped broadcasting at noon on Sept. 10, and said he will resume broadcasting as soon as he receives the permits.

The 4th Annual Hospice Bike Challenge took place on Sept. 9.  Four riders left from the Barriere North Thompson Funeral Services office, and four left from the Clearwater office, to meet up somewhere on the Yellowhead Highway, which marked the winning kilometre point. At the time a total of $1,682.54 had already been raised, with a bit more to come in.

The 911 Golf Tournament went as planned on Aug. 25, with 16 teams made up of competitors from Clearwater, Barriere, Kamloops and the Lower Mainland.  At the end of the day, the tournament raised approximately $8,000.

As always, the Terry Fox Run in Barriere was well attended on Sept. 16, with 86 registered participants, raising over $6,243 from the community.

Miss Oates, a teacher at the Barriere Elementary organized the school’s Terry Fox Run.  It was held on Sept. 20.  The 225 children who participated were successful in reaching their goal, bringing in just over $455.

At the annual Communities In Bloom Award gala, the judges that visited Barriere commented that Barriere’s first year Communities in Bloom committee had done a remarkable job, accomplishing the work of a much more experienced group.  Special mention was given to the Wildfire Monument and overall community involvement.  When the judges were presenting the award, they told the group that Barriere’s profile book was one of the best they had ever seen.

The 2012 Provincial Winter Fair at the North Thompson Agriplex was well attended throughout the weekend, winding up with the lamb and beef auction on Monday, Sept. 24.  Coordinators reported that there were 450 people in attendance at the Agriplex on the Sunday evening awards banquet and dance.

Team BC went with a team of eight riders to the Canadian Interprovincial Equestrian Championships in Bromont, Quebec.  They came home with a Team Bronze Medal in Reining, with senior competitor Darcey Woods of Barriere and junior competitor Whitney Watson-Wilson of Salmon Arm, comprising the team results.  A second medal, an Individual Bronze Medal in Dressage was won by Shelley Mills of Langley.

Premier Christy Clark pledged her support to getting additional electrical power for Yellowhead Mining’s proposed Harper Creek project.  Without the premier’s commitment to fast-track the transmission line, the proposed copper-gold-silver mine would not begin construction before 2017.  Clark’s announcement could move that date up to 2015, and construction could begin with a year or two.  Having more electrical power and having it more secure would also help attract other businesses in addition to Yellowhead.

Community members  organized a very successful fundraiser to help with expenses for a young boy from Barriere and his family, to travel to Boston for important medical treatment.  The young boy suffers from a variety of chromosome disorders: Chromosome 16q Duplication Syndrome (Dup15q), 17q and 3q23 Chromosome Disorder.

On Tuesday, Sept. 25 members of the Clearwater RCMP detachment and Traffic Services executed a Controlled Drugs and Substances search warrant at a property on Adams East Forest Service Road in Louis Creek. During the search of the property, members located and seized over 240 marijuana plants and close to 15 pounds of dried marijuana.


The sudden appearance Oct. 3, of four giant boulders placed in pairs kitty-corner to each other on Barriere town Road certainly had locals scratching their heads as to why they were there?  However, District of Barriere CAO Colleen Hannigan had the answer. “The rocks, which were decided on instead of concrete no-posts, are used throughout our community as natural landscape features and property delineators.  Together with the new planters, they will create a safer and better-defined turning radius for those corners.”

Nine North Thompson Valley residents were recognized for there service, volunteerism, and community involvement by each receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Recipients were presented with their medals at a Diamond Jubilee Medal ceremony hosted by Senator Nancy Green Raine and MP Cathy McLeod on Oct. 10, in Kamloops.  Recipients were; North Thompson Star/Journal editor Jill Hayward (Louis Creek), Donald Turtiak (Blue River), Jean Nelson (Clearwater), Geordie and Manne Salle (Barriere), Tina Donald (Barriere), Dr. Nathan Matthew (Barriere), Carman Smith (Barriere), and Keith Moore (Barriere).  Not in attendance were Clearwater medal recipients Muriel Irene Dunford, and Pauline Gregory.

Kevin Skrepnek, Information Officer for Kamloops Fire Centre – Wildfire Management Branch, reported that a fire has been burning for just under a week north east of Barriere in the Bottrell Creek Road area.  Although the fire was in a fairly remote area, there were a few homes that could see the fire.  Those residents were warily keeping an eye on the fire’s progress, and the efforts of the fire crew.

The nominees for the 2012 Barriere Citizen of the Year Award were residents Margaret Houben and Keith Moore, with Moore being named Citizen of the Year by the judges.  Moore didn’t believe the news of his award at first, but once the news had sunk in, he stated, “I didn’t do it all by myself; no matter what I did, I had good support from the community.”

The new four-way stop at the corner of Barriere Town Road and Salle Road (next to the post office) kept local RCMP busy the week the signs went up.  Although many drivers were seeing the new signs and stopping, a large number of motorists were still driving on through.  This kept police on the alert as they continuously stopped the offenders, and pointed out the signs.

Barriere RCMP answered 10 calls for service throughout the Detachment area, on Friday, Oct. 19. As a result, extra members were called out for assistance through the night until 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.  The Barriere RCMP Detachment noted it was up 75 files from the same time last year.