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Market is back in business


It’s been in the same location for almost 20 years, and it’s not going anywhere for the 2015 season.

The Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters’ Market seemed to be unclear about a potential move for most of last year, after disagreements between the board and its members.

However, with the past now behind them, vendors popped their tents and opened for business Wednesday morning on the corner of Dilworth and Springfield. 

Board member and owner of Sweet Life Farms, John Cox, says although they are staying put this year, the market doesn’t have tenure and must lease the parking lot space across from the Orchard Park Mall year to year.

“Should we lose that lease we would be in a bit of a pickle. We are still looking for possibilities for a site that would be first of all bigger, still accessible and that would give us a multi-year tenure.”

Cox says there is also another an option of creating one or two more markets, that, according to him would work on the same day.

There are nearly 200 vendors involved with the market now, and as many as 160 could fill the lot on a good day. Cox attributes the growth to the resurgence in agriculture, which thanks to the market, creates community supported agriculture programs, such as the box programs.

“You see more and more restaurants and resources using our products, we have marvelous growers here,” says Cox who is delighted with the popularity of the market, as he was one of the first vendors in Kelowna some 20 years ago, when only 12 booths were set up.

“It’s nice to see young people getting excited about agriculture. The market is an incubator business and it allows people to try new products, new businesses and new ideas in a very economical way."

Rain trickled down through the morning on the first day of their season, but that didn’t hamper shoppers who came in a steady stream for local goods.

Megan Koch, the assistant manager of the Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters’ Market, says the market was created back in 1995, and spent a year downtown before coming to its current location – which means an anniversary party is in the works.

“We are throwing a huge party, with entertainment, fun family activities and a big cake, and that is always a fan favourite, it will be a great celebration,” she says which is currently slated to take place in June.
 
For now the market will be open for business Wednesdays and Saturdays until 1 p.m.



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Mother of two found dead

Castanet News has learned the name of the woman who lost her life Tuesday in Kelowna.

The woman's family called the newsroom to let us know that 31-year-old Jacqueline Layman was the victim found deceased in her home on Glenview Avenue.

A man who identified himself as her half-bother, Oliver Mackenzie, says Layman was a mother of two – a four-year-old boy and six-year-old girl.

Her children are staying with their grandmother for the time being.

Layman was allegedly separated from her husband.

According to her family, he was questioned by police and released. 

Mackenzie says they have not been told how Layman died, but they believe it involved some form of a fall down the stairs.

Meanwhile, the man identifying himself as the husband of Layman, says he didn't do it.

Lawrence Abaku, who goes by the name "Jerome," called Castanet to quell what he called false rumours going around the neighbourhood.

"People make assumptions about anyone who is different," he said.

He also said a Castanet story "made it sound like there was a fight." The story makes no mention of a fight, only that a neighbour heard screams about 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.

Kelowna RCMP told Castanet they have no suspects at this time and no one in custody. A man matching Abaku’s description was seen by Castanet reporters being put in the back of a police cruiser on Tuesday, matching the family story that he was taken in for questioning.

The RCMP and B.C. Coroners Service are expected to release further details on her death tomorrow. 



Fire engulfs house

Two occupants of a home on Cosens Court in Glenmore are in the care of Essential Social Services after fire caused serious damage to their home.

Firefighters were called to the home about 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

"When we got here there was heavy black smoke. There were flames coming from the eaves and it looked like most of the fire was on the back side of the house," said Platoon Captain Steve Wallick.

"It appears to have started at the back side of the house."

Wallick said two people were home at the time, smelled smoke and got out.

He said neither was injured.

Damage to the home was substantial and the couple were insured.

The cause has yet to be determined, however, Wallick said it is not deemed suspicious.


The Kelowna Fire Department is battling a large garage fire in Glenmore this afternoon.

The garage, attached a home on Cosens Court, was fully engulfed around 2 p.m. this afternoon.

Crews now have the fire under control but it is not known at this time whether it caused any damage to the main home, or what caused the blaze.

There is also no official word on whether any injuries or if anyone was home at the time of the blaze.

We will have more details as soon as they become available.  



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$890K in traffic fine revenue

The Central Okanagan will receive nearly $890,000 in traffic fine revenue.

The funding is part of almost $40 million being returned to communities across B.C. by the provincial government. The money comes from traffic fines you may have paid in the past year.  

“These traffic fine revenues support local law enforcement, supporting a variety of public safety initiatives that benefit people of all ages,” says Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson. “This grant is one more tool to help maintain Kelowna’s reputation as a safe, welcoming place to live, work and visit.”

The influx of funding is meant to help communities invest in policing, new equipment, increased community safety initiatives, infrastructure and service delivery priorities.

“West Kelowna is a great place to raise a family, and a young, growing community needs safety infrastructure,” explains Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “Nobody likes to get a traffic ticket, but the money is put to good use, reinvested in making our roads safer for everyone.”

The $890,000 will be divided as follows:

  • The City of Kelowna will receive $612,746 in traffic fine revenue.
  • The District of West Kelowna will receive $83,436 in traffic fine revenue.
  • The Central Okanagan Regional District will receive a regional district grant of $45,968.
  • The District of Lake Country will receive a small community grant of $115,021 as well as $32,768 in traffic fine revenue.

“Lake Country is a growing community, and this small community grant ... will help the district with various infrastructure and service delivery priorities,” adds Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. “The district is also receiving traffic fine revenues to support important crime-prevention initiatives.”

Since 2009, the grants have provided more than $718 million in funding. 



Lyme destroyed her life

A longtime Kelowna resident, volunteer and outdoors enthusiast is battling Lyme disease in Colorado, and her friends want to bring her home alive and well.

Andrea Dykstra suffered a decade of misdiagnosis after a tick bite in 2005, allowing the disease to advance, almost certainly sealing her fate. Late-stage Lyme has an almost 100 per cent fatality rate.

Now, say her friends, Dykstra just wants to get the word out that a simple bug bite can have dramatic consequences.

Dykstra was a vibrant young woman with a life-coaching business, a volunteer, athlete and outdoorswoman whose "energy and enthusiasm for life were contagious. Anyone who met her was immediately taken in by her joie de vivre," said friend Paul Karroll.

A search and rescue volunteer, Dykstra was at a tracking course in Logan Lake on the weekend of her birthday when she was bitten.

On the second day in the field, she felt a pinch on her right forearm. She glanced down to see a black “beetle,” and gave it a flick.

The beetle didn’t fall away. It was embedded in her arm.

What Dykstra didn’t know was the bug was actually a blood-engorged tick. The moment she flicked it, it excreted toxins into her bloodstream.

The tick disengaged itself, and Dykstra thought nothing more of the incident. She didn't develop the telltale bull's eye rash associated with tick bites.

Soon, she would feel exhausted and couldn't sleep. Six months later, she was diagnosed with depression.

Over the next 10 years, her diagnoses would span everything from cancer to osteoarthritis, myelopathy, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

Canada has no protocol to deal with Lyme disease, and Dykstra's life soon began to disintegrate.

At her insistence, a Lyme test was ordered. But with an "inconclusive" result and a high number false negatives, she wasn't treated for the disease.

Eventually, she was unable to work and was overwhelmed with panic attacks. Her relationships suffered, and her finances reached a crisis point.

As Canada does not officially recognize Lyme disease, an application for disability support was denied.

"A decade of illness has stripped this beautiful young woman, with her infectious smile and larger than life personality, down to a mere ghost," said Karroll.

At one point, she was suicidal.

She tried alternative Chinese medicine and, on the verge of homelessness, accepted an offer to stay with a family in Colorado.

Meanwhile, friends have created an online fundraiser at http://www.gofundme.com/Andyheals that as of Wednesday has brought in $2,610 for alternative medical treatments.

Dykstra continues to blog when she can at http://www.shortcutstospirituality.com



Police investigating death

Update – April 1

Kelowna police have now confirmed that it was a 31-year-old female who was found dead in a townhouse complex on Glenview Avenue.

Police are working with the BC Coroners Service, but they will not release a name until the next of kin has been notified.

They area has been secured, and police are continuing to investigate any and all leads as the cause of death is undetermined at this time. 

Police say no one has been taken into custody at this time.


Update – 8:15 p.m.

The Kelowna RCMP say they are at the scene of a sudden death on Glenview Avenue.   

According to Sgt. Macleod, the investigation is ongoing and no details concerning the deceased, or any potential cause of death, will be released pending next of kin notification and further investigation. 


Kelowna RCMP are not saying much about a large police presence at a townhouse complex on Glenview Avenue.

Police on scene at Glenview Gardens have confirmed there has been a death, but are not saying anything more.

Castanet reporters at the scene say RCMP are concentrating on a block of adjoining units numbered 19 through 24. They appear to be concentrating their efforts on unit 20.

Reporters spoke with one woman, who said she heard yelling and screaming about 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Somebody apparently knocked on her door, but she didn't answer.

She said police arrived about five minutes later.

Reporters further indicated two women in the area were visibly upset.

One man was escorted into the back of a police cruiser and taken from the scene. He was not in handcuffs.

We'll have more details when they become available.

 – with files from Ragnar Haagen



Locals shine in competition

An international makeup contest has thrown two local women in the spotlight.

Last month, we told you about Salmon Arm makeup artist Missy MacKintosh, 29, who had made the top 50 in Canada in an international L'Oreal Paris makeup competition.

She was a favourite in the competition and ending up making it into the top 10.

“I am really quite content,” says MacKintosh on her ninth-place finish. "The exposure that I got was huge.

“It is only the beginning. I don't look at this as a defeat whatsoever.”

In a second local twist, a young Kelowna model also stepped into the spotlight in the same contest.

Last year, MacKintosh helped Kelowna model Morgan Woods with her first-ever photo shoot and, in an interesting story of crossed paths, Woods was the model used by the competition's winning makeup artist, Caitlyn Dixon.

“Such a small world," MacKintosh says with a laugh. 

Woods was born and raised in Kelowna and graduated from Kelowna Secondary School.

She fell in love with modelling last year and was discovered by DEJA VU Model Management in Kelowna. 

After her first successful photo shoot with MacKintosh, she headed to Vancouver Fashion Week, where she got some serious notice.

She then took off to Toronto, and at only 17 signed a three-year modelling contract.

As part of her work in Toronto, Woods and four other models were brought in for the final five makeup artists to use as their canvas. Woods was paired with Dixon, who eventually won the Canadian competition.

Dixon will now represent Canada against 13 other national finalists at the international makeup competition in Europe.

Woods heads to New York next month to continue building her portfolio.

You can check out her appearance in the competition finale on ETALK by clicking here, her segment begins at the 19:30 mark.



Creek gets quick cleanup

Volunteers converged at Mission Creek Regional Park today, taking part in the Community 20-Minute Makeover.

About two dozen hockey players and naturalists joined forces with various walking groups to clean up the Greenway and surrounding areas.

The event is sponsored by the Central Okanagan Regional District’s Waste Reduction Office, which kicked off Community Cleanup Month.

”These events are a great way to bring the community together to make a positive difference and make an impact,” said Rae Stewart, waste reduction facilitator.

“You know what they say, ‘many hands make light work.’ We really want to showcase how easy it is for anyone, anywhere to get involved.”

The cleanup will last throughout the month, and anyone interested can contact waste reduction for bags and gloves, and they will even arrange to pick up the waste you’ve collected.

Tuesday’s cleanup included members of the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy and their coaches, who were joined by members of the Central Okanagan Naturalists Club, Friends of the South Slopes and the TRACS walking group.

“The volunteers will be giving some TLC to parts of the Greenway and the area directly adjacent to Springfield Avenue. Mission Creek Park is one of the many jewels of our regional parks network. Because it’s in the heart of the city, it’s also one of the most well-travelled parks and highly visible. The last thing we want to see is a bunch of litter tarnishing its’ natural beauty,” said Stewart.

To arrange your own 20 Minute Makeover or Community Cleanup event, contact the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250.



College balances budget

The board of governors at Okanagan College has passed a balanced budget, but it wasn’t easy.

The $94.95-million operating budget allows the school to continue providing programs and services throughout the region, without any service reductions or layoffs for the coming fiscal year. But it will raise tuition fees.

“It wasn’t easy, and we are looking to departments and our staff to find some significant savings in a variety of areas,” said Tom Styffe, chair of the board.

“When we first reviewed our budget for the coming year, we were facing a seven-digit issue, created by a number of pressures. Administration and staff have found ways to increase revenue through growth in some areas, and means to pare expenditures that allow us to balance the budget.”

The budget includes a provision for increased revenue from tuition – due to more international students and continuing studies activity – and from a two per cent increase in tuition rates.

That means for a full-time student taking university transfer arts, the increase will add about $32.67 per semester, bringing the total to $1,666.11.

For a student taking the office assistant program, the increase will add about $42.82 for the program (total tuition of $2,183.79). A Level 1 Auto Service Technician apprentice will see tuition increase by about $14.50 to $739.63.

The board also made a decision to hold off on charging fees for either Adult Basic Education or English as a Second Language courses for domestic students for the 2015-16 year. The province recently changed policy to allow public institutions to charge for those program areas, and announced funding reductions, although those were offset with one-time transitional funding for the coming year.

The college will spend the next couple of months developing a plan for which courses the institution might charge tuition for, with the board agreeing to review the plan before implementing any fees.



YLW embarks on expansion

Over the next three years Kelowna International Airport will spend in excess of $55 million on four major expansion projects.

These projects are part of YLW's 'Drive to 2016' and 'Flight 2020' initiatives.

YLW reached its target of 1.6 million passengers a year ahead of schedule, and airport manager Sam Samaddar said Tuesday they expect to reach 2 million by 2020 and 2.4 million by 2025.

"What we've done is systematically look ... in order to process that many passengers through the airport, we need to ensure our facilities grow in order to match that growth," said Samaddar.

"If you look at an air terminal building, it is really a piece of infrastructure that really processes people and baggage. We have to make sure all of these areas are in sync with each other as traffic demand grows."

Samaddar said the last thing an airport wants to do is delay people which, in turn, delays flights.

With that in mind. YLW will embark on four expansion projects beginning this year.

They include:

  • Outbound baggage hall expansion
  • Apron expansion
  • Departure lounge enhancements
  • Airport plaza

Samaddar said this will be the most ambitious development the airport has ever seen.

Expansion of the outbound baggage hall will be undertaken in three phases and will take three years to complete.

It includes construction of a new baggage area which will be able to handle nearly twice the amount of luggage as the current system.

Phillip Elchitz, airport development manager, said the new system will be able to handle 900 pieces of luggage per hour compared with the current 480. It can be expanded to handle up to 1,200 pieces as the airport grows.

"The new baggage facility will also receive the most technologically baggage screening equipment available through YLW's partnership with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority," said Elchitz.

That will allow for the harmonization of security screening protocols between Canada and the United States, he added.

Construction of the baggage hall will start in the spring with completion in 2016.

Once that is finished, Elchitz said construction will then begin on airline offices, which are slated for completion in 2017.

Following that, construction will begin on modernization of the check-in counters and the terminal concourse.

That will be completed in 2018.

The apron expansion will begin in May of this year and will increase aircraft parking gates from eight to 10 planes.

Like the terminal, Elchitz said the apron is also at capacity.

"This will allow our air carriers increased flexibility and add frequency to their existing routes," said Elchitz.

Elchitz said the new configuration will also allow the airport to handle larger planes such as the Westjet Boeing 737-800 type aircraft and Air Canada Rouge's 319 Airbuses.

"And, we will actually be in a position to handle the larger Boeing 767 type aircraft and 787 Dreamliner."

As part of the apron expansion, Elchitz said the Glycol and Potassium Acetate facility which handles aircraft and runway de-icing tanks will be re-located to the south end of the airport.

The facility will handle double the capacity of de-icing solution and will be placed in an area near a possible southern expansion of the airport.

The departure lounge expansion will begin in June and is scheduled to be completed in three phases over a three-year span.

The west side of the lounge will be remodelled to include an ultra modern retail facility, which will include a wine bar and a seasonal fruit display that will feature local, seasonal fruit.

There will also be a new kids play area and two new food services – a second Tim Hortons and a Subway.

Outside, a new $5 million airport plaza will be constructed on the south side of the airport entrance road.

This will include an Esso gas station and two food outlets, which will be open this fall.

In 2016 a car wash/detailing bay will be constructed. It will include office and retail space.

That is expected to add between 35 and 40 full time jobs when it is completed next year.



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