Ritual scribe Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman inks some of the final letters on Nanaimo’s first-ever Torah scroll on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Inn on Long Lake. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s first-ever Torah scroll completed with 300,000 handwritten letters

Mid-Island Jewish community’s Torah completion ceremony called a tremendous milestone

Ritual scribe Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman inks some of the final letters on Nanaimo’s first-ever Torah scroll on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Inn on Long Lake. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
The Vancouver Park Board has created a brand new beach for residents to enjoy. (Vancouver Park Board)

New Barge Chilling Beach makes its debut on Vancouver’s shoreline

Barge washed up on Sunset Beach during the mid-November storms

The Vancouver Park Board has created a brand new beach for residents to enjoy. (Vancouver Park Board)
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds taking off at 19 Wing Comox in May 2021. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Snowbirds release 2022 schedule; set to return to Vancouver Island

The team is set to train at CFB Comox from mid-April to mid-May

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds taking off at 19 Wing Comox in May 2021. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Ryder Newhouse, 14, packages up dog cookies that he helped make with Fergie’s Doggie Delight Pet Bakery co-owner Connie MacDonald on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Treats and dogs: Work experience for teen with autism combines love for pets, baking in Chilliwack

When ‘Take Our Kids to Work Day’ arrived for Ryder Newhouse, a pet treat bakery welcomed him in

Ryder Newhouse, 14, packages up dog cookies that he helped make with Fergie’s Doggie Delight Pet Bakery co-owner Connie MacDonald on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Nathalie Charles poses for a portrait outside the Princeton University Chapel in Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. Charles left her Baptist church at the age of 15 because as a queer woman of Haitian descent, she felt unwelcome in her congregation, with its conservative views on immigration, gender and sexuality. The 18-year-old freshman at Princeton has since identified as atheist, and then agnostic, before embracing a spiritual but not religious life. (AP Photo/Luis Andres Henao)

What’s your religion? In US, a common reply now is ‘None’

‘Nones’ now constitutes 29% of American adults, up from 19% a decade ago

Nathalie Charles poses for a portrait outside the Princeton University Chapel in Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. Charles left her Baptist church at the age of 15 because as a queer woman of Haitian descent, she felt unwelcome in her congregation, with its conservative views on immigration, gender and sexuality. The 18-year-old freshman at Princeton has since identified as atheist, and then agnostic, before embracing a spiritual but not religious life. (AP Photo/Luis Andres Henao)
RCMP police dog handlers Cpl. Dean Muir, left, and Const. Matthew Tomasson show off a blanket crocheted for police service dog Herc. (Photo submitted)

Vancouver Island woman crochets police dogs blankets for Christmas

Woman who loves to crochet creates blankets for all four of Nanaimo RCMP’s police service dogs

RCMP police dog handlers Cpl. Dean Muir, left, and Const. Matthew Tomasson show off a blanket crocheted for police service dog Herc. (Photo submitted)
Santa lands at Victoria General Hospital in BC Emergency Health Services’ helicopter. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

VIDEO: Reindeer get a break, Santa helicopters in for Vancouver Island visit

Old St. Nick drops in to check in on young patients at Vic General on Tuesday

Santa lands at Victoria General Hospital in BC Emergency Health Services’ helicopter. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)
Andrea MacDonald with her daughters Rose, 5, and Grace, 9, take part online with Twitter’s “virtual camp” at their summer residence in Harcourt, Ont., Sunday, August 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill

Poll shows women do more chores, child care, even when couples plan otherwise

‘When you look at time use data, women are more correct than men’

Andrea MacDonald with her daughters Rose, 5, and Grace, 9, take part online with Twitter’s “virtual camp” at their summer residence in Harcourt, Ont., Sunday, August 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill
Horses stand in a sunny, snowy field on Camp River Road in Chilliwack on Jan. 2, 2017. Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 is Day of the Horse. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 12 to 18

Day of the Horse, Day of Reconciliation, Chocolate-Covered Anything Day all coming up this week

Horses stand in a sunny, snowy field on Camp River Road in Chilliwack on Jan. 2, 2017. Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 is Day of the Horse. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
In this recent photograph provided by Beth Ditkoff, a squirrel is seen in the yard of a Damariscotta, Maine home. The squirrel, which, earned the nickname “Fatty McFatterson” by Ditkoff, has found an abundant supply of food in the area. (Beth Ditkoff photo via AP)

Acorn-ucopia of food fattens squirrels

‘Fatty McFatterson’ lumbering and waddling his way through the pandemic

In this recent photograph provided by Beth Ditkoff, a squirrel is seen in the yard of a Damariscotta, Maine home. The squirrel, which, earned the nickname “Fatty McFatterson” by Ditkoff, has found an abundant supply of food in the area. (Beth Ditkoff photo via AP)
Catherine Crewe of Fernie with the card that she and Nancy Nester of Invermere have been sending back and forth to each other since 1964. Pictured here in 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

60 years of good wishes: Two long-time Kootenay penpals keep a Christmas tradition alive

Catherine Crewe of Fernie, and Nancy Nester of Invermere have been sending the same card back and forth to each other since they were both five years old

Catherine Crewe of Fernie with the card that she and Nancy Nester of Invermere have been sending back and forth to each other since 1964. Pictured here in 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
According to a Research Co. survey, 52 per cent of Canadians surveyed will skip the Grey Cup between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers Dec. 12. Pictured here, Ti-Cats QB Jeremiah Masoli (8) tries to elude Saskatchewan Roughriders’ DB Rolan Milligan (32) and DL Charbel Dabire (98) on Nov. 20. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Majority of Canadians plan on skipping Grey Cup, says research company

Research Co. poll re-ignites debate about popularity of NFL and CFL in Canada

According to a Research Co. survey, 52 per cent of Canadians surveyed will skip the Grey Cup between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers Dec. 12. Pictured here, Ti-Cats QB Jeremiah Masoli (8) tries to elude Saskatchewan Roughriders’ DB Rolan Milligan (32) and DL Charbel Dabire (98) on Nov. 20. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)
The Patch owner Christopher Shurety (right) and colleague Morgan (left) display some of their favourites of this year’s “ugly” Christmas sweater collection. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)

Victoria shop sources answers to the ugly holiday sweater dilemma

Despite pandemic challenges, The Patch on Yates continues its annual tradition

The Patch owner Christopher Shurety (right) and colleague Morgan (left) display some of their favourites of this year’s “ugly” Christmas sweater collection. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
(Back row, L-R) Grand Forks’ Travis Tysick, wife Rena Bronstein, neighbours Karren Turner, Shirley and Ross Munro and Shane Zorn gather in front of a giant Santa on Valley Heights Drive Tuesday evening, Dec. 7. In the front row (L-R) are Cameron, Shannon and Blake Zorn and the Zorns’ dog, Marty. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Giant Santas come to Grand Forks neighbourhood

The Santas are massive and somewhat costly, but neighbours say they’re worth it

(Back row, L-R) Grand Forks’ Travis Tysick, wife Rena Bronstein, neighbours Karren Turner, Shirley and Ross Munro and Shane Zorn gather in front of a giant Santa on Valley Heights Drive Tuesday evening, Dec. 7. In the front row (L-R) are Cameron, Shannon and Blake Zorn and the Zorns’ dog, Marty. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Twilight (front) and Harold relaxing at home in Cache Creek after Twilight’s hair-raising adventure. (Photo credit: Angela Taylor)

The cat came back: Twilight returns to B.C. Interior home after 2 month disappearance

Twilight was found at highway rest stop miles from Cache Creek and turned in to PoCo SPCA

Twilight (front) and Harold relaxing at home in Cache Creek after Twilight’s hair-raising adventure. (Photo credit: Angela Taylor)
Heir to the Dutch throne Princess Amalia, left, takes an honorary seat at the Council of State, the highest government advisory body in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, as her father King Willem-Alexander, right, looks on, one day after celebrating her eighteenth birthday. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)

‘No school for becoming queen’: Dutch princess in limelight

Heir to the throne steps into her future on her 18th birthday

Heir to the Dutch throne Princess Amalia, left, takes an honorary seat at the Council of State, the highest government advisory body in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, as her father King Willem-Alexander, right, looks on, one day after celebrating her eighteenth birthday. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
This combination of 2021 photos shows Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce,, left, and Billie Eilish in London. The grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Eagles center have something in common, broadcasters have difficulty pronouncing their names. Both Eilish and Kelce, as well as “omicron” made it onto this year’s list of most mispronounced words as compiled by the U.S. Captioning Company, which captions and subtitles real-time events on TV and in courtrooms. (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool, Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

‘Cheugy,’ ‘omicron’ among 2021’s most mispronounced words

Test yourself on how many you know how to correctly say

This combination of 2021 photos shows Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce,, left, and Billie Eilish in London. The grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Eagles center have something in common, broadcasters have difficulty pronouncing their names. Both Eilish and Kelce, as well as “omicron” made it onto this year’s list of most mispronounced words as compiled by the U.S. Captioning Company, which captions and subtitles real-time events on TV and in courtrooms. (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool, Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
An Afternoon with Prince Harry & James Corden was one of the top trending YouTube videos in Canada this year. (The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube)

VIDEO: Canadians took to YouTube to learn, connect, laugh during 2021

From a performance that made Simon Cowell to an English teacher, Canadians laughed, cried, learned on YouTube

An Afternoon with Prince Harry & James Corden was one of the top trending YouTube videos in Canada this year. (The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube)
During this time of the year, many people will make donations to food banks. However, hunger and poverty are ongoing challenges. (File photo)

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of hunger and poverty

During this season of giving and generosity, many people are in need

During this time of the year, many people will make donations to food banks. However, hunger and poverty are ongoing challenges. (File photo)
A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 is International Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 5 to 11

International Mountain Day, International Ninja Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 is International Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)