Perhaps no event in Revelstoke captured the town like the opening of the spillways of the Revelstoke Dam for a weekend in June. Pretty much everyone made the drive up Highway 23 North to take in the spectacle of up to 24

Revelstoke Year in Review 2012, part 1

Our 2012 Year in Review issues looks back at the top news stories of the year. Part 1 covers January through March.

  • Dec. 27, 2012 5:00 p.m.

January 11

Revelstoke residential values drop by almost 9%

The average value of a home in Revelstoke dropped by nearly nine per cent over the past year, according to the 2012 assessment role by BC Assessment.

Meanwhile, the total value of commercial and other properties jumped by nearly 18 per cent.

Properties are assessed of July 1 of the previous year.

According to the data, the average value of a home in Revelstoke dropped to $330,000 from $364,000.

January 18

Celebrating Revelstoke’s children

Hundreds of parents and children came out to the Celebration of Children at Revelstoke Secondary School last Thursday. The event was marked by the signing of the Revelstoke Children’s Charter, a presentation about Revelstoke’s success with early childhood development and entertainment by a score of talented kids.

“Our hope is that the charter is used to challenge all of us to create a community in which the best interests of children are a primary concern for all of us,” Tracy Spannier, the co-ordinator of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Committee, told the many people in attendance.

Spannier introduced the signing of the Children’s Charter by explaining what it was about and how it was developed.

She said it was the result of a year’s work by a dedicated committee of early childhood workers, business groups, politicians and others.

“We wanted to create a document that was focused, clear and concise,” Spannier said. “The convention and our charter recognize that parents have a primary role in bringing up children and highlights the defence of the family’s role in children’s life. They are the children’s most important teachers, role models and guides.

January 25

A bridge over frozen water

The new bridge over the Illecillewaet River, nicknamed the Black Bridge, opened to the public last week. The opening of the bridge marks the culmination of a long-held dream of the Illecillewaet Greenbelt Society, which had been hoping to create a pedestrian crossing over the Illecillewaet since the society was founded in the late 1980s.

The Mark Kingsbury Memorial Bridge is named after the former president of CMH, who’s foundation made a $100,000 donation to the project in exchange for the name. It was built by Vic Van Isle over the course of the fall and the truss was installed shortly before Christmas.

The bridge won’t have its official opening until the spring but judging by the well-trodden snow along the wooden walkway, it is already seeing substantial use. ..

It looks like an old railway bridge. The black steel frame mimics the original CP railway bridge over the river.

Southside fire burns down family home

A family has been left homeless after a fire engulfed a Southside home Friday afternoon.

“It’s good to have your life but everything you lose is the hard part to take,” said Peggy Issac. “You lose everything.”

The only thing saved – the wooden urn containing the ashes of Nick Shewchuk’s wife Violet, who passed away last June.

The fire started in a home on Simpson Street at around 1 p.m. Friday afternoon. Peggy and her boyfriend Jeff Shewchuk had just

arrived home from downtown when they saw the smoke coming out of their home. Revelstoke Fire & Rescue Services was called and they arrived on scene with about 10 members.

February 15

Revelstoke’s population remains in decline, census shows

Mayor David Raven says he isn’t sure he believes the latest census data showing a decline in Revelstoke’s population, but if it’s true, “it is a bit concerning.”

“We always thought it was starting to grow a bit and obviously there were signs our population was growing,” he said upon release of the latest data by Statistics Canada last week that showed. “We thought we were growing so its a bit disturbing to find that we’re not.”

The numbers show that Revelstoke’s population dropped by almost 100 people in the past five years, to 7,139 people in 2011 from 7,230 in 2006. That represents a 1.3 per cent decline,

These numbers run counter to expectations that Revelstoke’s population would remain largely unchanged; BC Stats projected the population for the region to be 7,924 people in 2011, compared to 7,936 in 2006. That’s 233 more people than actually live here, according to the census.

February 22

Family and friends mourn ‘caring’ and ‘loving’ young woman

When Michelle Jones was a child, she was very shy. When her parents dropped her off at kindergarten, she wouldn’t let them leave. They had to wait until she got distracted before they could sneak off.

On another occasion, her father Dave dropped her off one morning. After a few hours, her mother Brenda began to wonder where her husband was so she walked over to the school. There, she found them sitting on the floor, doing a puzzle.

“She was shy for the longest time of her life and she just started to come out of her own shell,” said Dave during my visit to the Jones house Sunday evening. “She started to become a lady, she started to become an adult, mature. All of her life she was never selfish.”

Michelle Jones, 18, died in hospital after the car she was travelling in spun out of control and was struck by another vehicle on Highway 97A, 20 kilometres south of Sicamous on Thursday, Feb. 16 at around 4:30 p.m.

There were four people involved in the crash – two in each vehicle – and all were taken to Shuswap Lake General Hospital with undetermined injuries. All four people involved were from Revelstoke, RCMP said. The driver of the car was released from hospital and the condition of the other two people is not known.

It was in hospital that Jones died from her injuries, but not after fighting for her life for four hours, her mother said. “She died three times and they brought her back.”

James Baring, 6th Baron Revelstoke, dies at 73

James Cecil Baring, 6th Baron Revelstoke passed away on Feb. 7, 2012 at the age of 73. An obituary in the UK newspaper The Telegraph notes the aviator co-piloted a flight over the Irish Sea just one day before he passed away.

James Baring was the great-grandson of financier Edward Charles Baring, 1st Baron Revelstoke of Membland. The City of Revelstoke was named in his honour after he bailed out the troubled CPR railway project in the late 1880s. The financial support allowed the completion of the faltering project to unite the nation by rail.

February 29

School superintendent Anne Cooper to retire

Anne Cooper has announced she will be retiring as superintendent of the Revelstoke School District, but not until she sees the new schools project to completion next year.

The school district announced Thursday morning that Cooper would be retiring as of June 30, 2013.

“I really thought long and hard over Christmas that I needed to bring closure to a plan for myself,” she told the Times Review. “I love this job and I’ve had such a wonderful 13 years to date and another year and a bit to wrap up things.”

Cooper’s announcement is not unexpected and she has hinted at her intentions for some time, however she only made if official recently, informing the Revelstoke Board of Education of her plans two weeks ago.

March 14

Life sentence for Brandon Cruickshank for double murder

Former Revelstoke resident Brandon Cruickshank pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in an Alberta courtroom on Monday, March 5.

The charges stem from an Oct. 14, 2010 shooting on a rural property near Bonnyville, Alberta that left two men dead. Jimmy Armillotta, 27, of Revelstoke and Fil Kedzior, 21, who was a resident of nearby Bonnyville, were found dead on the scene after a neighbour reported a man with a gun outside the remote property in the early morning hours.

Brandon Cruickshank was soon arrested and charged with the murders.

Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice A.W. Germain sentenced Brandon Cruickshank to two concurrent life sentences. Cruickshank will not be able to apply for parole for 15 years and also received a lifetime firearms ban.

Backcountry skier dies in Ghost Peak avalanche

Revelstoke RCMP have confirmed that a backcountry skier died Sunday in an avalanche near Ghost Peak“RCMP were called on Sunday afternoon at approximately 4:40 p.m. and [were] advised that there had been an avalanche in the Ghost Peak area south of Revelstoke,” said Revelstoke RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Jacquie Olsen in a statement. “The slide broke and buried a backcountry skier. The remaining members of the group were able to locate the male via a beacon search and were able to dig him out.”

March 21

Court hearing sheds light on death of Daniel Levesque

The mother of Daniel Levesque doesn’t believe a pathologist’s report that states her son died of a drug overdose.

“He just coincidentally happened to OD after being hit on the head with a hammer? It’s just totally absurd,” Stacey Thur told the Times Review last Wednesday. “People that know Daniel know that’s not who he was.”

Thur was reacting to an article by Victoria Times Colonist reporter Louise Dickson that shed light on what happened on Aug. 3, the night Levesque died following an altercation in a Victoria condo.

Joshua Bredo was charged with second degree murder in connection with Levesque’s death but on Dec. 9, the charges against Bredo were stayed due to lack of evidence to support a conviction. The investigation is ongoing.

According to the autopsy by Dr. Carol Lee, Levesque had two circular wounds on the back of his head – consistent with being struck by a hammer. However, on Dec. 8, Lee’s report concluded that Levesque died from cocaine toxicity. The next day, the charges against Bredo were stayed.

“Police are concerned that the pathologist relied on incomplete, inaccurate and unsubstantiated information, the affidavit says,” Dickson reported.

March 28

Community mourns passing of David Johnson

About 150 people came out to remember David Johnson at his funeral last Friday at St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

He was remembered as a great father and grandfather, as someone who obsessed with numbers – from the steps he took to trains passing through town to the daily temperature – and as someone always ready to give back.

The community of Revelstoke was sent reeling after news of David Johnson’s death last Sunday, Mar. 18.

“It was very sudden and very shocking,” said Cathleen Busch, a Deacon at St. Peter’s Anglican Church where Johnson was a very active member. “We feel so bad for Edna Mae and the family to have to deal with that. We’re reeling from it ourselves here.”

Johnson, 67, was heavily involved in the Revelstoke community. He and his wife Edna Mae owned the Minto Manor where they hosted many performances; he was the chairman of the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation and he was president of the Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society. He and his wife were also active supporters of the arts.

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