Negrin Memorial fund surpasses $21,000

Deb Thomson, Station Leader Michel Morin and John Thomson with Sophia Negrin


0302 - The Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund has contributed an additional $4,000 to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 27-Nanaimo. That brings total donations to $21,000 for a variety of projects

The Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund is a fitting tribute for a young man who believed in making the community a better place to be. As a fisherman and a mariner Marcus loved his time on the ocean surrounding Vancouver Island. The Memorial Fund established by his family in 2015 has worked to assist Station 27-Nanaimo with the task of Saving Lives on the Water. Marcus Negrin was the son of Garry and Dawne Negrin of Lantzville.  

The first project supported by the memorial fund was the redesign and the creation of a marine rescue preparation and instructional centre for RCM-SAR 27, Nanaimo. The Marcus Negrin Memorial Ready Room is the heart of the RCMSAR 27 Rescue Station.

In 2018 the Fund was used to locate three new Kids Don’t Float, lifejacket loaner boards. Children’s PFDs are now available for boaters to borrow at five locations in the Nanaimo Regional District. The Kids Don’t Float boards and lifejackets are at the Brechin Boat Launch, Brannen Lake Boat Launch, the Nanaimo Fishing Dock, Townsite Marina, and the Nanaimo Yacht Club.

The members of Station 27 are unanimous in their appreciation for the generous support of the Negrin family and friends. This family joins many other charitable donors in and around the Nanaimo area that support the operations of this busy RCM SAR Station. Their continuing patronage allows the volunteers of Station 27 to provide top quality SAR and Boating Safety services to the Nanaimo region.

Big Brothers Big Sisters gets recognition

0909 - Big Brothers Big Sisters will enjoy a little extra attention this month. The A non-profit group  steering Nanaimo area kids on the right path.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is being recognized nationally the month, including locally where its flag is flapping for the month atop City Hall.

Jennifer Kemp, BBBS Central Vancouver Island executive director, says the organization provides critical mentorship to hundreds of kids annually from Ladysmith to the Oceanside region.

Kemp said the value their mentors supply to vulnerable children is immeasurable.


Local teachers in line for excellence in education awards

0909 - Three teachers in the Nanaimo Ladysmith school district are finalists for the inaugural Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education.

Emily Recalma, a Nanaimo District Secondary School teacher, and Verna Jones of Ladysmith Secondary School have been nominated in the Indigenous Education Award category, while Tanya Adelborg, Randerson Ridge Elementary School, is a finalist for the Extracurricular Leadership Award.


A final salute for Senator John McCain

By Graeme Roberts

Obituary – Keith Brown

Keith Brown

With profound sadness we announce the passing of Keith Brown on July 16, 2018. Born in Port Alberni on Nov. 20, 1937, he was the son of the late Thomas Brown and Edith Darley. 

Keith for many years was a self-employed land planner and development consultant. He loved Nanaimo, his work, boating, crab fishing, gardening and above all his family. He was a great “Bubba” to his grandchildren, a wonderful husband, dad and friend to many. Keith will be remembered for his dynamic personality, honesty, integrity, kindness, zest for life, humour and stories.

Keith is survived by his wife of thirty years, Sandy; children, Jason (Heather) Corrine (Andrew) Mandy (Ken) Wayne (Abilene); his grandchildren, Jessica (Shawn), Katie, Mac, Emory, Saige and Saryn. Brother, Barrie; Sister, Pam Bernier; Brothers in law, Scott and Tim Leverington; Sister in law, Val Leverington along with numerous nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. Keith was predeceased by his Brother, Donald and is survived by his first wife, Susan Reddick and her husband Roger.

There will be a Celebration of Keith’s Life at Beban Park on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at 1 pm. Flowers gratefully declined. 

Memorial donations may be made to the ‘Keith Brown Masters of Community Planning Endowment/Bursary’ with cheques made payable to the ‘Vancouver Island University Foundation.’ Forms will be available at the Celebration of Life or contact Janice Krall 250-740-6210 or email or to charity of choice.

Signing ceremony – left to right, Lt. Commander Shane Denneny (outgoing CO), Reviewing Officer Commander Lucas Kenward, and LCdr Jay Bergen, new CO

The crew of HMCS Nanaimo on parade.

Karen and Ron Hopper with Michelle Tessier

LCdr Bergen takes command of HMCS NANAIMO

0615v - LCdr Jason (Jay) Bergen took command of HMCS Nanaimo at a ceremony in Esquimalt on Friday as LCdr Shane Denneny turned over the helm. 

Following a smudging ceremony and acknowledgement of the Songhees and Esquimalt tribes, LCdr Denneny summed up the accomplishments of the ship and her company, over the past three years under his command.  

He said his crew exemplified the best tradition and work ethic of the Royal Canadian Navy and it was an honor to serve with them.  A highlight was her interdiction of thousands of kilos of Cocaine while operating with the U.S Coast Guard and Mexican Navy during Operation Caribbe.  

LCdr Denneny’s pennant was lowered for the final time under his  watch, and Reviewing Officer, Cdr Lucas Kenward reviewed the ship’s company and gave Nanaimo a glowing “Bravo Zulu” for her past accomplishments.

LCdr Bergen’s parents and siblings, his in-laws, his wife, Jody, and his two children attended the cermony.  A reception was held on HMCS NANAIMO and a ship’s bell was presented by the Friends of HMCS NANAIMO, to LCdr Denneny to commemorate his command.

He is expected to be transferred to Ottawa.


Local 77-year-old Rotarian hiking Pyrenees range

0603 - Ron Blank, secetary of Daybreak Rotary Club, drops a line about 77-year-old Rotarian Patrick Maguire's bucket list which includes El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He hopes to scratch that off his list in the near future.

He started his 800-km trek May 23 from southern France, across the Pyrenees, to arrive in Santiago de Compostela Spain about six weeks later. 

He had a goal for pledges of about $10,000 but Ron thinks $25,000 is not out of the question with the help and promotion from the Rotary Clubs of Nanaimo/Lantzville, District 5020 and non-Rotarians.

If you want to pitch in a couple of bucks, or many bucks, give Ron a call at 250-802-1473.   

Patrick’s progress is being updated regularly. Check it out on ‘Facebook Nanaimo Daybreak’ or


Lantzville Rotary Golf boosts compassion dog program

Doug Slowski, left, presents cheque to Mike Annan, Executive Director of Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs.

0601 - Although Mother Nature was not a her best (it was a bit cool and damp), 102 golfers showed up at the 22nd Annual Lantzville Rotary Golf Tournament at Fairwinds on Friday.

Thanks to generous golfers and sponsors, the club raised money to give to our community, including $5,000 to Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs (!event-list).

If your organization needs some help, Rotary Club of Lantzville's application for funds is online at:

Randerson Ridge student wins national Legion essay honours

Morgan Flint, a Grade 7 student at Randerson Ridge Elementary School, has won the top honour in the Royal Canadian Legion's Remembrance essay competition. To get there she won top prize in Nanaimo, then tops in B.C. before getting that national prize. Congratualations Morgan.

Here's her essay

Dear Father,

Not a day goes by that I'm not thinking about you. It's been 16 months since you left for the war and I fear I will never see you again. I can barely remember the sound of your voice. I read the last letter you sent us every night before I go to bed. It calms me to see your handwriting.

Two nights ago a letter boy went to Mrs. Patterson's house informing her that she lost her son in the war. She hasn't left her home since. I don't ever want to see a letter boy at our front door. Uncle George lost his leg in battle, so they allowed him to come home. It's been good to see him but he has been distant and he doesn't talk much anymore. He misses you. We all do.

My friend Diana wasn't at school again yesterday. Last week she learned her older borthere Walter was killed in the war. She was so close to him. I can't imagine the pain that she and her family are going through.

There's a new girl in our class from Liverpool, England. Her town was bombed so her parents sent her to live in Canada. She is staying here until the war is over. The stories she tells us about the war are so sad and scary. I'm so thankful the war hasn't come over to Canada.

Mother has started to work again. She's spending long hours on the assembly line at the munitions factory. I can tell she is so tired when she gets home from work. She has large dark rings under her eyes and I know she is missing you dearly. She doesn't laugh like she used to.

With mother alwasy at work, I try to help out around the house I've been cooking, cleaning and looking after Sanda, Edward and Robert. Baby Robert is getting so much bigger. I can't wait for you to meet him. Sandy and Edward are too young to help much around the house but I know they're doing their best.

Nana and Papa moved in to help us. Nana taught me to knit. We made socks, scarves and hats this past winer and donated them to the troops. This spring, we are going to plant a Victory Garden. Papa thinks carrots and tomatoes will grow really well in this soil. There is a sugar shortage in Canada right now and we ran out today. We don't know when we will have sugar again. Last week, I used some of my savings to purchase war stamps. I hope it helps you and the other troops.

I'm trying my best to look after everyone like I promised you. . . it's just really hard. I can't wait for the war to be over so you can come home and we can be together again. I'm so proud of you and everything you are doing for us and our country.

I love you so much Father. Be safe.


Rutherford student on national writing contest shortlist

0528 - A budding bard in Nanaimo has cracked the shortlist in a national writing contest.

Rutherford Elementary student Arthur Taylor, 12, has been named as one of 20 finalists in CBC Books’ 2018 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge.

Contestants were invited to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of one of Shakespeare’s characters based on prominent news, pop culture or a current affairs event from the last year, according to CBC Books, which saw 600 students enter.


Nanaimo teacher honoured with national award

0525 - A Nanaimo teacher has  been honoured for her work making her Brechin Elementary classroom a safe space for a Grade 5 student with autism.

Twila Konynenbelt received a National Inclusive Award on Friday, one of six teachers from B.C. honoured.

She was nominated by the mother of Cassie Gamlin after encouraging Cassie to present to the class about art. Katerina Gamlin noticeably held back tears many times as she told NanaimoNewsNOW about how meaningful it was to see her daughter engaged by a teacher.

Nanaimo News Now

Rispin honoured for long service with fire fighters union

0514 - a great big salute to Mike Rispin who has been selected the first ever president emeritus of the Nanaimo Professional Fire Fighters Local 905. That comes after 18 years of service as a union leader to Nanaimo Professional Fire Fighters – 10 consecutive years as president of the union local. He was presented with a plaque and a ring in a tribute to his service.

Congratulations Mike, your Dad would be proud.

Kids boating safety campaign under way for 2018 season

0513 - The 2018 Kids Don't Float program of Nanaimo Marine Rescue was launched on Saturday with sponsors on hand to hang the first loaner personal floatation devises (PFDs).From left, Rod Grounds,Harbour Master of Port of Nanaimo, Ian MacPherson, Boating BC, the Rescue Bear, Debby Thomson RCMSAR 27 and Dawne and Sophia Negrin, representing the Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund.

B.C. Games salutes four Nanaimo volunteers

0514 - The B.C. Games looked back on four decades of sport, and also honoured four of the area’s standout volunteers.

The Sport B.C. Community Sport Hero Awards were presented at the B.C. Games’ 40th anniversary special event at the Nanaimo Museum on May 2.

The local honourees are Eloy Fiandor for judo, Selena Pellizzari for equestrian, Rick Bevis for volleyball and Brian Boas for lacrosse.


News Bulletin reporters win top media awards

0502 - Hats off to writers at the News Bulletin who were recognized for their work at the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray Awards on Saturday in Richmond.

Bulletin writers took first and second place in the the Feature Article, 25,000-plus circulation category. Karl Yu won first place and Tamara Cunningham took  second place in the category. Black Press Media newspapers took home 66 awards at the 2018 B.C. and Yukon Newspapers awards.

Tom Harris golf tournament honors his legacy

0513 - The first Tom Harris Charity Classic golf tournament is set for June 15 at the Nanaimo Golf Club. Money raised will go into Harris' community endowment fund at the Nanaimo Foundation.

Tony Harris, Tom's son, told NanaimoNewsNOW while the obvious goal is to raise money for deserving community causes, there's a greater motivation behind the event.

"Towards the end of his life, dad was really focused on encouraging more people to think about how they want their legacies to be remembered," Tony said. "We want to provide an opportunity to amplify dad's spirit of giving and maybe encourage more people to think of themselves as philanthropists."


Happy birthday 100 for Frank Ney

0512 - There was a birthday party, young and old came out to celebrate a former mayor who used bathtub racing and pirate costumes to help put Nanaimo on the map decades ago.

About 80 people attended a special event honouring Ney’s 100th birthday on Saturday morning at Maffeo Sutton Park.

The birthday bash was organized by the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society and Ney’s family. As with birthday parties, there were speeches from local politicians, cake and songs.


Lott awarded Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers

Jeff Lott in Germany on a recent trip to pick up stem cells for a recipient in B.C.

By Merv Unger

0501 - For some people, retirement means kicking back in an easy chair and watching the rest of the world go by. Not so for Jeff Lott, former officer in charge of Nanaimo RCMP. 

Lott’s retirement has focussed on what he can do for his community, and for that he has been awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by Governor General Julie Payette.

The award recognizes his work with the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society as a volunteer courier. That takes him to virtually all corners of the world to pick up and deliver bone marrow and stem cells for leukemia patients at Vancouver General Hospital and B.C. Children’s Hospital. The society was founded in memory of Bruce Denniston, a former RCMP member in Powell River who died of leukemia.

Lott started his RCMP career in 1973 as a constable with Nanaimo Detachment and later served in Campbell River, Ottawa, the Northwest Territories, Port Alberni, Queen Charlotte Islands, Parksville and Powell River. Before returning to Nanaimo in 2001, he was the province’s Deputy Chief Firearms Officer.

The list of his community involvement and volunteer service is impressive, to say the least.

• He got an early start – beginning as a youth in his home town of Moose Jaw, Sask., he took a leadership role with the YMCA.  He continued as a volunteer coach in youth soccer, baseball and Special Olympics and as a hockey referee for more than 20 years. 

• 1990, Lott was named Port Alberni Citizen of the Year, recognizing his work in the community, particularly coaching youth in sport.

• 1999 - 2018 - Honorary Aide de Camp for the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

• 2000 - 2010 - Board member with Nanaimo Youth Services Association.

• 2001 - 2016 - St. John Ambulance, serving a number of terms as chairman of the Nanaimo Branch Executive Committee. St. John is known for providing volunteer emergency medical aid at local sporting venues and numerous other public events.

• 2002 - Awarded the Queen Elizabeth 50th Golden Jubilee Medal for service to his community. 

• 2005 - Appointed Member of the Order of Merit (MOM) of Police Forces in Canada by Queen Elizabeth.  

• 2007 - Recipient of the Long Service Medal, Gold Clasp, for 35 years of meritorious service to the RCMP.

• 2008 - Board member of the Nanaimo Addictions Foundation.

• 2010 - Special security division of the RCMP for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

• 2013 - Admitted to the Order of St. John (SBStJ) by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

• 2014 - President of the B.C. Summer Games in Nanaimo which raised $775,000 to stage the games, leaving a legacy fund of $120,000. He had previously volunteered for both the B.C Seniors Games and the B.C. Disability Games in Nanaimo.

• During his term with the RCMP in Nanaimo, he was an Incident Commander for the Island Emergency Response Teams.

• 2016 - He was an active member of a sponsorship group for a Syrian refugee family in Nanaimo. 

• 2016 - Awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

 • 2017-present – He is a community stream stewardship volunteer, working with the Departure Creek Salmon Smolt Trap project promoting local community stream stewardship. He also participates in stream restoration projects. 

• Most recently, he developed a training program for certified amateur radio operators to anchor communications for St. John Ambulance during local and regional disasters.

Lott is a sports and outdoors enthusiast. He and his wife enjoy kayaking, scuba diving, mountain biking and travelling. 

If only he could devise some way to add more hours to the clock he would probably do even more for his fellow man.