August 2016

Here's just some of the government's $49.8 million in credit card charges

More than 700 transactions were for less than $5.00 and 1,367 charges were for more than $5,000.

In a $46.3 billion budget, $49.8 million is chump change, but the B.C. government's 84,346 credit card charges in 2015-16 do offer some insights into how the B.C. government spends on the run.

While the number of charges is down from 102,418 in 2014-15, the dollar value is up from $45.1 million. Why the jump? Forest fires.

Among last year's big users of plastic were Children and Family Development ($5.29 million), Justice ($7.18 million) and Forests, Land, and Natural Resource Operations ($12 million).

COLUMN: What Caribou Need to Survive

Boreal Woodland Caribou:  Photo from David Suzuki Foundation

(Editor's Note:  Southern BC is also home to most of the world's at-risk population of Mountain Caribou, and the comments in the column below about the need for undisturbed habitat apply equally.  For a BC government document on the Mountain Caribou's need for "large tracts of old-growth forest in the Interior Wet Belt,"  click here.)

Salmo announces winner of photo contest

Salmo announces winner of photo contest

The results of Salmo’s Lifestyle Photo Contest are in. There were 40 qualifying submissions and more than 2,200 votes cast. The winner receives a $300 community gift basket which includes an “official” Salmo Dinner Jacket (SDJ), $150 in Salmo dollars to be spent at participating local retailers and more. The initiative is part of the “Sustainable Salmo” public consultation & asset mapping process to vision and ultimately rewrite the community’s Official Community Plan, hybridized with an integrated community sustainability plan.

Castlegar and Rossland receive BikeBC grants

Castlegar and Rossland receive BikeBC grants

Twenty-three communities throughout B.C., including Castlegar and Rossland, will receive more than $6.5 million in funding for 25 projects to expand and build cycling lanes, trails and paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

Castlegar will be receiving $79,679 for its Bridge to Bridge Multi-Use Pathway, while Rossland will receive $226,026 for Washington Street/Plewman Way.

Smoke from U.S. wildfires drifting into southern B.C.

13 BC Wildfire Service personnel are responding two spot-sized fires north of Salmo.

The smoke that’s currently visible in many areas of the Southeast Fire Centre is originating from several wildfires burning in Idaho and Washington State.

Depending on wind patterns, smoke can travel long distances. The communities of Trail, Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson, Cranbrook, Creston (and surrounding areas) will continue to experience smoky conditions so long as the wind from the south continues.

For information about wildfires burning in the United States, visit:

Still time to enter BC SPCA Wildlife in Focus photo contest

Hello, by Paul Cowhig, is currently the most-voted-for entry.

Hit us with your best shot! The BC SPCA’s eighth annual Wildlife-In-Focus Photography Contest, featuring a new platform and a brand-new look, is open for entries. Each year, participating photographers go wild to capture the best of British Columbia’s wildlife through the lens, but you don’t have to be a photographer to support them – with the introduction of a new People’s Choice Award, you can cast your ballot by donating to vote.

Basin communities get huge boost for arts, culture and heritage projects

Pamela Nagley Stevenson's recent exhibit at the Kootenay Gallery of Art in Castlegar.

Over 160 arts, culture and heritage projects—including the Columbia Basin Culture Tour—have received a total of $706,000 in funding support for the 2016–2017 season through the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (CKCA), in partnership with Columbia Basin Trust.

Stetski seeking input on how to make every vote count

Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski . . .  this is not a fair system

Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski is coming to a coffee shop near you.

The NDP member of parliament is hitting the coffee shops in the ridings to get an idea of how to improve Canada's electoral system and ensure that every vote counts equally.

"In the last two federal elections, parties that only received 39% of the vote formed a majority government with 100% of the power - this is not a fair system," said Stetski in a media release.

'Tragically Hip' Screening - to Fund Brain Cancer Research

'Tragically Hip' Screening - to Fund Brain Cancer Research

Dear Editor,

The Canadian Cancer Society is partnering with venues across Canada to host live screenings of The Tragically Hip’s concert in Kingston, Ont., on August 20. The Royal Theatre in Trail, the Element Club Bar & Grill in Castlegar and the Civic Theatre in Nelson are among the venues broadcasting the concert to Hip fans all while raising critically needed funds for brain cancer research.

Shambhala organizers hoping to educate patrons on dangers of fentanyl as Music Festival opens

This team of volunteers at the Harm Reduction Services Tent is prepared for the onslaught of drug testing as the Shambhala Music Festival kicks off. — Submitted photo

As the Shambhala Music Festival kicks off its 18th event this week, organizations like the Aids Network Outreach & Support Society (ANKORS) are doing their best to educate attendees about the dangers of drugs like fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is often falsely sold under brand name narcotics labels like OxyContin.

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