Aldergrove’s 67-year-old Sharlene Brunjes, a grandmother, recently took gold at the Canadian national powerlifting championships after an overall weight of 568 pounds lifted. (Mava Brydges/Special to the Aldergrove Star)

Not COVID-19: Here’s what else happened this week in B.C.

A powerlifting grandma, a dolphin rescue, a custody battle over a caboose and more

The evolving story of the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated headlines in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the news cycle has been put on hold. Here are Black Press Media’s top stories unrelated to the novel coronavirus from this past week.

1. Aldergrove grandma deadlifts twice her weight for the gold

Sharlene Brunjes proved she’s not your typical senior when she stood atop the podium at the Canadian national powerlifting championships earlier this month. The 67-year-old South Aldergrove resident took gold at the events after lifting 270 pounds – double her weight – into a standing deadlift for her first national title.

The grandma’s competition lifts totalled 568 pounds as she shattered three provincial records.

Brunjes, who picked up her first barbell three years ago, said after the championships, “it’s never too late to get strong.” Now she’s encouraging others over 40 to follow her lead. See more >

2. Residents rescue dolphins stranded near Powell River

About 20 people came to the rescue of a stranded pod of dolphins that had been chased to shore by transient orcas near Powell River Monday, March 16. Rescuers believe the orcas had herded the 16 Pacific white-sided dolphins into an old fishing trap close to shore.

Susan MacKay, founder of Whales and Dolphins BC, praised the community members who used tarps and blankets to save the dolphins trapped in the shallows. “They jumped in right away,” she said, adding the majority were from the Tla’amin Nation. See more >

3. Coldstream kid claims world record

A Coldstream student made a record-breaking discovery while on holiday in Mexico.

Neko Wong, a Grade 4 Beairsto Elementary student, found a sand dollar bigger than her head on a beach in El Sargenta. Coming in at 16.5 cm, Wong’s find has made it into the Guinness World Record books as the largest known sand dollar in the world. See more >

4. Five day trial needed to resolve custody of small town caboose

The Town of Princeton is engaged in an unusual custody battle with the Vermilion Trail Society. The town and trail society are expected to begin a five-day trial to decide who owns the Princeton caboose, which is currently parked near Highway 3.

The conflict arose in May 2017, when the VTS accused a previous town council and administration of train robbery, lodged a complaint with the RCMP and filed a lawsuit against the municipality. The town had placed newspaper ads seeking a partner who might use the rail car to host a tourism-based enterprise. The original lawsuit estimates the caboose’s value at $60,000. See more >

5. Downtown Vernon graffiti upsets heritage building owner

A Vernon realtor says he’s “really frustrated” after learning he is responsible for removing a piece of unsolicited artwork painted on the side of his downtown heritage building. Reiner Stass was alerted by a tenant of the building that sometime overnight on March 5 and 6, somebody climbed onto the roof of the neighbouring business and drew some graffiti on Stass’ antique brick building.

The city’s graffiti bylaw says owners and occupants are required to maintain graffiti-free walls, fences or other structures on their property, meaning Stass is responsible for its removal. He figures the cost will be around $2,000 to $3,000. See more >

READ MORE: ‘It was a stupid mistake’: Lake Country couple regretful of panic purchase, donate $1,000


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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