Dec 7, 2013 / 9:04 pm
Update 8:05 Dec. 7 - Steve Kania's family says he has been flown to Vancouver General Hospital for an operation.
Kania's uncle, Jack Kania, says his nephew has a severe back injury, but he is not paralyzed.
Update 1:15 p.m. - The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) has taken over investigation of a crash early this morning in which a newspaper carrier was struck down while delivering newspapers.
Contrary to published reports, the carrier was apparently hit by a vehicle being chased by RCMP and not an RCMP cruiser.
In a brief statement released by IIO, the incident began, according to Kelowna RCMP, about 12:30 a.m. when a vehicle failed to stop for a road check.
"A pursuit reportedly ensued and ended when the subject vehicle struck a pedestrian. The affected person was transported to hospital.
The IIO was notified at 12:58 a.m. and deployed investigators, including a Level 4 Traffic Reconstructionist.
The IIO and RCMP will work within the terms agreed upon in the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the Chief Civilian Director and BC's police services in July, 2012.
The Kelowna RCMP remains responsible for any and all parallel investigations."
The IIO is required to investigate anytime someone suffers serious harm because of police involvement, however removed that involvement may be.
The independent office is canvassing for witnesses to the events. If you have information you are asked to contact the IIO witness information line toll free at 1-855 446-8477.
Original Story 11:47 a.m. - A paper carrier is in critical condition in Kelowna General Hospital after he was hit by a vehicle shortly after 12:30 a.m. Friday.
The crash occurred near Dundas and Dundee just off Highway 33 in Rutland.
The vehicle had apparently blown through a road check prior to the crash. RCMP may have been in pursuit at the time, but this has not been confirmed.
Witnesses say the vehicle hit the paperboy and knocked a fire hydrant several metres from its original position.
BC Ambulance confirmed they transported one patient to KGH in critical condition.
Witnesses at the scene say a man and a woman were arrested, both appeared to be between 40 and 50.
A person at the scene told Castanet that a Capital News van was at the scene.
RCMP are not commenting on the incident.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is investigating.
Send photos and video to [email protected]
Dec 7, 2013 / 1:58 pm
Dozens of women in Kelowna marched in an Angel Walk on Dec. 6th in honour of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. They joined thousands of other Canadians in remembering 14 young women who were killed at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal 24 years ago.
The event raises awareness for violence against women that is still taking place today.
"It is very frightening that every year we seem to be adding more names to the list," said former Kelowna mayor Sharon Shepherd of the victims, each honoured by a rose. "It means that we still have a lot of work to do."
Over 50 roses were laid at the Kelowna march this year. Province wide, more than 1,000 physical or sexual assaults against women take place each week.
"Despite the important work that has been done to end violence against women, on this day we are reminded that this work is far from complete," NDP leader Adrian Dix and women's issues critic Maurine Karagianis said in a statement. "Today, we remember those that have been lost, and the women and girls who spend each day living under the threat of violence."
The local community continues to raise awareness for the issue - Aboriginal men have started another initiative, wearing a small piece of moose hide as a symbol of their commitment to the cause.
With files from Jessica Ostryhon.
Dec 7, 2013 / 1:34 pm
Story by Judi Zienchuck
Despite temperatures dipping down to close to -30ºC, crowds of devoted village guests gathered in Big White around the Village Centre Mall Friday December 6th night to witness the town officially launch into the Christmas season by turning on strings of festive lights across trees and buildings throughout the town centre.
To keep everyone warm during the event, Big White Resort served complimentary hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts over an open fire. Boomer, the Big White kangaroo and Santa Claus himself both made appearances, pleasing children and adults alike throughout the evening.
The spotlight of the event was a ceremonial countdown in front of the iconic Village Centre Mall clock tower. At 7:00pm, all of the festive lights were turned on in front of a highly enthusiastic crowd. One of the women attending the event with her family, Jen, said, “Christmas is my favourite time of year and this is exactly what my daughter and I needed to get into the Christmas spirit. I’m definitely inspired to start decorating my own Christmas tree now.”
The lights will now turn on every night after dark throughout the season. Beginning in January, they will be also be joined by a fireworks display in Happy Valley every Saturday night at 8:30pm.
Dec 7, 2013 / 1:08 pm
Story by Sacha DeVoretz
Jin arrived to Kelowna from Korea only five years ago. Her husband had been offered a job in the city and Jin was surprised to see there weren't a lot of other people with similar backgrounds to hers in Kelowna.
"It's not easy to make friends when you first arrive, you need to have connections," says Jin, with some apprehension.
Kelowna Community Resources is in the process of developing a solution to the isolation newcomers can experience. The resource centre is establishing a multicultural centre which will provide a place for newcomers to visit, meet new friends and share their experiences. The centre has been named The Gathering Place and will host a variety of activities which everyone is invited to share in. The focus of the new centre is to bring the local community and new immigrants together.
"We hope to host cooking lessons and other events so we can share our Korean culture with everyone," says Jin.
It has been a challenge for Jin and her Korean friends to get together. Renting out a space is too costly and having the group meet in an individual's home does not provide enough space.
The multicultural centre will be a space where people from a wide range of backgrounds can come together under one roof.
Other cultural groups find it difficult to have a regular space to host their functions and come together to support one another. There have been calls from the general public who would like to learn from other cultures as well.
The Filipino community has been growing but does not have a regular meeting space. Kelowna is a diverse city with many ethnic groups, some of which only have a handful of people, and they would like to connect with other newcomers. Not having adequate social interaction can slow progress which can later be reflected in the newcomers ability to contribute to their new country and thrive in their neighbourhood.
Jin recalls the first month she was in Kelowna and the loneliness she felt at times. "I do remember a Sunday, I had been crying. I didn't feel confident to approach people and was really lonely at this time." Jin says that at first it was easier for her to make friends with other newcomers and that they could easily relate to each others experiences.
Kelowna did have a multicultural centre about 12 years ago, but eventually it was closed down. Now with an increasing number of new immigrants the multicultural centre will offer a space to bring the community together, celebrate its diversity, house newcomers and engage the local community.
Monday December 9th the public can attend a forum which the Kelowna Community Resources will host to discuss the official opening of The Gathering Place. The conversation and event will focus on discovering solutions for addressing racism and supporting multiculturalism in the city.
Part of the forum will explore ways to support a welcoming and inclusive community at the new multicultural centre. Kelowna Community Resources is looking for feedback from Kelowna residents about what they would like from their new centre.
The forum is set to be held Monday December 9th from 5:30 - 7:30pm at the School District 23 Educational Services Building (1040 Hollywood Road, Kelowna). For more information and to RSVP contact Katelin Mitchell, Immigrant Services Manager at [email protected]
Kelowna Community Resources will be opening The Gathering Place in early January 2014.
"With our meetings we want to empower new immigrants and help raise their self esteem," says Jin. "Confidence in a new country is an important thing."
Dec 7, 2013 / 12:19 pm
Darlene and Kerry Niska were shopping at the Capri mall in Kelowna on Friday afternoon before they came out to the parking lot to find a non-permit vehicle wedged into the confines of their single handicapped space.
The tight squeeze made it impossible for Darlene to get into her vehicle (the white SUV, pictured left).
Darlene suffers from kidney cancer that has moved to her bones. A few months ago, she was temporarily quadriplegic and restricted to a wheelchair following surgery. She is now in rehabilitation but continues to have difficulty walking, which is why she requires handicapped parking access.
This isn't the first time the Niska's have found themselves in a similar situation.
"It never really dawns on you until you're in that position yourself; until you're in need of that spot," said Darlene.
She hopes other drivers can start to respect the needs of these services for those with disabilities or restrictions.
Dec 7, 2013 / 6:59 am
You should soon be able to use your wireless device without interruption in several Kelowna city facilities, parks and open spaces.
City Council will be asked Monday to enter into a five-year contract with Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. to provide the service.
There would be no cost to the city, taxpayer or the end user.
Information Services Manager, Rob Entwistle, says Shaw approached the city with a proposal to provide Wi-Fi access to various city locations.
Entwistle says the city would provide space for Shaw infrastructure while Shaw would cover all electrical costs.
"Wi-Fi hotspots would be located at specific sites including city buildings, parks, city centres and sportfields," says Entwistle.
Specific location details will be worked out as part of the contract process.
Entwistle says the city has contemplated setting up such a system in the past, but backed away due to the cost of providing the service.
He adds the service will not be exclusive to Shaw customers only, however, customers with other internet carriers would face restrictions as to how much data they could view at any one time.
Guests would be limited to 250MB per month.
Shaw would also be responsible for installing signage at each location indicating a hotspot.
The initial proposal put forth by Shaw includes coverage in the following locations:
- throughout the Bernard Ave. core
- Mission Town Centre/Pandosy Village
- Spall Plaza and Abbott Street pedestrian corridor
- plus five community and recreation centres, Ben Lee and City Park waterparks, Memorial and Rutland arenas, the Apple Bowl
- more than a dozen parks, volleyball courts as well as baseball, softball and soccer fields
Dec 7, 2013 / 6:51 am
A man convicted of aggravated assault after beating his 75-year-old grandfather with a metal pipe has been handed a two-year jail sentence, but he will not be designated as a dangerous offender.
Gregory L. Ailles spent most of his time looking at the floor, showing no emotion throughout the proceedings, and only periodically lifting his head as Justice Alison Beames handed down her decision Friday morning at the Kelowna Courthouse.
While addressing Ailles, Justice Beames referred to him as intelligent, articulate, and troubled – someone who “seems to have been relatively stable and coping while in the current correctional situation.”
That is in stark contrast to the picture painted by authorities who say Ailles arrived at his grandparents' house in Penticton a few days before Christmas in 2008. After spending the holidays with them, he inexplicitly began beating his grandfather in the late evening hours of Dec. 28 or the early morning hours of Dec. 29.
Ailles is said to have beaten the elderly man with his fists and feet, and also a 9-inch solid metal bar in the head, chest, legs and groin. When his grandmother tried to intervene, Ailles punched her twice in the face, and then tied them both up with electrical cables and stole their car.
His grandfather spent 45 days in hospital and suffered multiple fractures, vision loss in both eyes and is now confined to a wheel chair and forced to live in a care home.
The Crown had been seeking dangerous offender status, prison and a 10-year supervision order, while Ailles' defence counsel argued for him to be released due to pre-sentence time already spent in custody.
Various psychiatrists and psychologists who dealt with Ailles testified that he “clearly had behavioral issues”, “suffered delusions”, and had “a high risk of future violence,” but that was not enough to sway Justice Beames decision.
Although she referred to Ailles' attack as “savage and vicious”, she felt the beating did not feature violence reserved for dangerous offenders.
Ailles will serve his sentence in a regional treatment centre that focuses on mental health. Once released, he will have a no contact order in place with his grandfather and his brother in law, and a lifetime firearms ban.
Dec 6, 2013 / 1:31 pm
Police are seeking assistance in identifying a man who assaulted a Kelowna Transit bus driver Thursday evening.
At 7 p.m. Thursday evening, police responded to an assault in progress at the bus loop at 4105 Gordon Drive, Kelowna.
A 44-year-old man driving the bus reported being assaulted by a teenage boy between 15 to 17-years-old, who later fled the scene before police arrived. Patrols did not locate the suspect, and the driver was taken to Kelowna General hospital with minor injuries.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian man about 15 to 17 years old, wearing a blue jacket, grey ball cap with flat brim and baby blue NY Yankees lettering.
A second man with the suspect also ran from the scene.
Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the suspect is asked to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.
Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.
Send photos and video to [email protected]
Dec 6, 2013 / 5:00 am
Kelowna City Council will be presented with a 2014 budget proposal which calls for a tax increase of 2.67%.
Council will be presented with the provision budget Monday and will spend the day Thursday debating the document line-by-line.
During an interview on Castanet last month, Mayor Walter Gray predicted a budget with a tax increase somewhere in the 2% to 3% range.
The 2014 provisional budget includes a total tax demand of $107.9M - up from $103.7M in 2013.
In a press release sent out in advance of the provisional budget, the city states it will be challenged to provide new services that are in demand, while maintaining existing service levels and looking for opportunities for future growth. And all this needs to happen while working to minimize the demand from taxpayers.
“Our objective is to provide residents with the best quality of life we can afford,” says Financial Planning Manager Genelle Davidson. “Revenue from property taxes help us build the amenities people want and provide them with the services they need.”
About three-quarters of City revenue already comes from non-tax sources, including user fees, charges, grants and reserve accounts. Thanks to this sound financial strategy, Kelowna taxes continue to be among the lowest in the province.
In his presentation for council, City Manager Ron Mattuissi says, the 2014 Financial Plan presents staff recommendations for the best ways to continue to provide services, infrastructure and other amenities consistent with council priorities amid current economic conditions.
Mattiussi further states that the city, as a collective team of council and staff, continue to look for innovative ways to provide services while remaining disciplined about controlling costs in our development of a safe, active and sustainable city.
The budget is also influenced by a number of plans:
- The 2020 Capital Plan acts as a guide for capital infrastructure costs and ensures projects are prepared with funding sources identified over the long-term
- The Official Community Plan (OCP) identifies issues and opportunities expected over the next 20 years
- Additionally, the City’s 20-Year Servicing Plan and financing strategy supports the infrastructure needs called for in the OCP
The final tax rate will be set on May 5 when City Council reviews final budget requests.
In 2013 taxpayers were handed a tax increase of 2.74 % which worked out to an additional $45 for the average homeowner.
Dec 5, 2013 / 5:03 pm
Honour a loved one this holiday season at the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, where two Tree of Memories will be available for visitors to place an ornament in remembrance of their loved ones.
The first tree will be located under the dome by the Promontory Green Interment Garden, while a second tree will be displayed at the Bennett Memorial Circle in the centre of the cemetery.
“The holidays are a time of reflection and celebration,” says Norm Ryder, Cemetery Manager. “Placing an ornament on a Tree of Memories can help bring some peace to friends and family during this special time of year.”
Visitors can place an ornament on either tree daily between Saturday, Dec. 7 and Weds., Jan. 8, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 1991 Bernard Ave. (intersection of Bernard Avenue and Spall Road).
Ornaments from previous years are placed on the memorial trees as a perpetual memory. Those who want to keep their ornaments should retrieve them after Jan. 9 by contacting the Cemetery office at 250-862-5518.
The Trees of Memories program has been offered annually since 1998.
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