Wednesday, April 16th6.3°C

Teams needed for PlayOn!

It has been a tough go so far for organizers of Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! Kelowna.

After a stellar turnout at last year’s street hockey tournament, they say only a dozen or so teams have signed up for the 2014 event.

The tournament will take place the weekend of May 24 at the same location – outside of Prospera Place.

Project Manager Lauren Foss hopes to see 100 teams sign up by the beginning of May, and teams registering before May 2 will go into a draw for a signed Canucks hat, along with other prizes.

Each player in the event receives a commemorative Hockey Night in Canada's Play On! t-shirt and an assortment of items from both national and local sponsors.

Top teams will go on to play in the national championship and last year's winning team on the men’s side walked away with $40,000 cash.

More information can be found on the PlayOn! website.


The story of Gloria & me

Jennifer Zielinski

Assigned to cover the story of Gloria Taylor’s fight to die with dignity, two local Kelowna filmmakers ventured out on their most personal, heart wrenching endeavour yet.

Taylor was at the centre of a successful BC Supreme Court Challenge that briefly overturned the ban on assisted suicide. CBC’s The Fifth Estate would follow Taylor’s battle through the courtroom and through ALS, but the two cinematographers covering the story chose to take the assignment one step further by producing a very intimate one-hour documentary titled Gloria and Me.

For two years David McIlvride and Jiri Bakala watched the woman diagnosed with ALS go from able bodied and capable of getting around on her own, to being confined in a wheelchair.

“It wasn’t easy to work on this film for the first two months,” explains co-producer Jiri Bakala. “You are working with someone who is dying and everybody knows it. There is a lot of conversation about death and dying and the illness itself, so inevitably you start to question your own mortality.”

Over time the relationship with Taylor and the two filmmakers grew, and Bakala and McIlvride were treated like family members attending holidays and events.

However for McIlvride, his connection with Gloria would become something he would hold onto forever. He submersed himself into the documentary in a way that isn’t typically undertaken by filmmakers.

“Not only is he the voice of the narration, but he appears on screen with Gloria and later when Gloria passed on,” Bakala says. “It became very much a David personal film that he needed to tell.”

The court granted Taylor an immediate exemption from the law, making her the only person in Canada who could legally seek doctor-assisted suicide; or, as Taylor preferred to describe it, "assisted dying."

Yet in the end, everyone would be shocked with Taylor’s sudden unexpected death due to a severe infection.

“We were hoping we would continue filming with Gloria for months, possibly years into the future, because she was a surviver,” recalls Bakala. “You know most people are diagnosed and pass on within a fairly short period of time. Gloria survived her own diagnoses by a long shot, but this one (the infection) just got her.”

The documentary chronicling Gloria's battle of Lou Gehrig's disease, in ‘Gloria and Me’, airs on Knowledge Network on Tuesday, April 15, at 9:00pm.


UBCO students victorious

UBCO says they are standing by their students and reversing their decision made last week to cut three accounting courses from the school's curriculum.

“The level of concern from students was significant and it was clear that they had a high level of anxiety about this and that could not be allowed to stand,” said Bud Mortenson, Director of University Relations of UBC Okanagan.

Shortly after their announcement last Monday and the subsequent media storm that followed, Mortenson says they had several meetings with students who were very vocal with their concerns about the change.

“We recognized that it has certainly caused some anxiety for students and some confusion and we didn't want to prolong that, so the faculty decided that it needed to commit to making sure those courses are available to students on campus next year,” he said.

The reason the campus gave for initially deciding to cut three classes (tax, audit and advanced financial accounting) was because of scarce resources and a lack of teaching staff, but the university has now committed to finding solutions to those issues.

“The reason the announcement was made in the first place was that it had become quite clear that the sessional instructors that would be needed to offer these three courses in September might not be available,” explained Mortenson.

“But, we are committed to finding a way. We do not yet know all the details of how we will be able to offer those classes in September but that is actively being worked on and the faculty is going to find a way.”

He says there is a very small pool of people available and qualified to teach these courses and they did not feel they would have instructors for the fall.

“The core issue is that these CPA courses are defined by the CPA professional body and is delivered typically by people who are actively working with accounting firms in the region and they come in as sessional instructors to teach these courses on campus. There is a very limited pool of people that have the qualifications to be a sessional instructor,” said Mortenson.

“We are going to have to make it work. The faculty is steadfastly committed to those courses being offered on campus.”

He says despite last weeks comments from the Faculty of Management Dean that the decision was final, there was a clear need to consult more with the students affected on campus.

“We are responding to the needs of the students,” said Mortenson. “We truly hope this announcement will help relieve some of the anxiety students were feeling about this.”

UBCO has committed to offering the three CPA pre-requisite courses for the 2014/15 year but says they will have to work with those in the profession and students to find a way to make it sustainable for the long term.


Buckerfield's cat found

Update -- April 15, 2:30 p.m.

RCMP in Ashcroft had some good news for Buckerfield's today, telling them that Annie the cat had been found.

Information was received in Kelowna which led Ashcroft RCMP officers to recover the cat without incident at a residence in Ashcroft.  Annie is being returned to the owner at Kamloops Rural Detachment.

The cat is reported to be in good health. No charges have been laid. The investigation continues and an update will be available in five days.  

Annie should be back home in her basket by Wednesday.

Employees from the Kelowna Buckerfield's are asking for assistance after someone walked into their store Saturday afternoon and stole their cat.

Chelsea Trudel works at the store. She says at about 1 p.m. a lady walked into the store, picked up Annie, and walked out the door.

Luckily, a regular customer noticed this taking place and alerted Trudel who ran outside and wrote down the vehicle license plate and got a good look at the woman in question and the man driving the vehicle.

Trudel has called the police and reported the theft, but in the meantime she is trying desperately to get the cat back.

She says Annie is like family to those at the store, and a favourite with customers as well.

"She's been here for two years. She is a wonderful fantastic cat and everybody remarks how person-like her personality is. She's just like a little human being it's very bizarre how wonderful she is."

Annie garnered a lot of attention once before when she had a litter of kittens in the store on Springfield Ave.

The cat's defining feature is a ripped up ear, the opposite from the one that has her tattoos in it.

If you know anything about Annie's disappearance let us know at [email protected]

Tower Ranch fire mitigation

The City of Kelowna is looking for a provincial grant to mitigate potential wildfire fuel from Tower Ranch Mountain Park.

The park is on the eastern slopes of the city, just south of Tower Ranch golf course.

A 150 unit Tower Ranch subdivision is planned for the area adjacent to the park, prompting the decision to remove potential wildfire fuels.

"We would like to get in there and do some work to mitigate the fuel and fire hazard by this winter," forest health technician, Andrew Hunsberger told council.

"I completed a wildfire urban interface threat analysis and the rating came out as high, with the addition of the new homes at that site."

Hunsberger described the park as densely treed, but not well used due to the steep slopes in the park.

If approved, provincial funds through the UBCM's Strategic Wildfire Initiative would cover 75 per cent of the fuel mitigation with the City picking up the other 25 per cent.

The City is able to apply for funding up to $400,000 a year for wildfire fuel mitigation.

It was a blood moon rising

A Castanet reader, whose husband is currently working in Texas, sent in the following images from last night’s blood moon.

Andy Neumann took these great photos of the moon as it rose and changed in the sky over Midland, Texas.

Star-gazers in Kelowna were not so lucky as the cloudy sky obscured the views. About half a dozen disappointed people turned out at the Kelowna Curling Club last night. While unable to see the moon, they were able to watching the live NASA stream online from the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles.

There will be three more total lunar eclipses over the next two years, at approximately six-month intervals. The next one is expected on Oct. 8 and will be is visible over North America, Australia, and east Asia.

Food rolls into City Park

You can add waffles and tacos to the menu of items you'll be able to get at City Park this summer.

Two new vending carts offering up both have been added to the roster of vending operations allowed to serve food at the park this year.

Council Monday approved three year leases to allow Tacofino and Service Star F&B Services (Wafelicious) to set up shop in the plaza adjacent to the Children's Water Park.

Outgoing property manager, Rob Forbes, says six sealed bids were received by the city with Tacofino and Service Star the successful bidders.

They will join Vietnam Village to create what Forbes terms a food vending 'pod' providing locals and visitors the opportunity to try a variety of crafted foods.

Tacofino, which originated in Tofino, will offer a variety of tacos, burritos, tortilla soup and local seasonal fruit specials.

Service Star will offer a a summer menu featuring different types of waffles, hot dogs, chili, fresh fruit and valley apple pie.

Tacofino will pay the city $3,750 per year for the space while Service Star's lease calls for remuneration to the city of $1,500, $1,700 and $1,900 per year over the course of the three years.

Forbes says difference between the two prices is due to the fact the City requested sealed bids and did not set a minimum price.


Paddling for 1200 days straight

He says as long as he stays healthy he’ll keep going.

It’s been 1,200 days straight that Bob Purdy has strapped on his standup paddle board (SUP) braved the elements, rain or shine, all for the betterment of the planet.

Last year Castanet sat down with Purdy to talk about his project ‘Paddle for the Planet’, where he invited paddlers around the world to ‘pick a change they wanted to see in the world, and paddle for that change.’

At that time he had just completed 900 days of paddling and was eager to continue his fight on the waters of the Okanagan, Tofino and even Florida.

“It’s been every emotion you could possibly think of, it has been every condition you can possibly think of. The cold record for ‘Paddle for the Planet’ is minus 28,” explains Purdy. “I’ve crawled across ice to get to open water. I’ve been in blizzards, rain, heat, you name it we’ve been in it.”

Regardless of the challenges Purdy faces on the water, it’s the challenges our lakes and rivers face that pushes this Kelowna resident to paddle on.

Paddling everyday since Jan 1, 2011, this SUP rider says he was a little bit discouraged about the actual change that was taking place to help clean the waters of the world.

“I felt we were taking steps backwards on the planet, but since the end of that first year I feel we are making some headway. You can feel it, it is beginning to happen where people are starting to look at what they are doing, what they are buying, what they are consuming.”

Although the progress is minimal, Purdy says he isn’t giving up,he will push on but wonders how much longer he will have to continue paddling before people change the way they live on the planet.

Seeing the efforts Purdy has exhausted over the years, local film producer Carey Missler approached the paddler about making a movie that would raise awareness about the condition of the world’s water systems.

Missler, who recently received two film distribution deals for ‘The Canadian Surfer Movie’ says this production will be more of an adventure, information and action style documentary.

“Our entire film crew is from the Okanagan, which is awesome. The storyline still has elements of surfing as it has to do with water and we have been doing a lot of different interviews, “ Missler says.

DCD productions has interviewed water conscious advocates such as artist, Roy Henry Vickers, pro-surfer Catherine Bruhwiler and John Ford from the Tofino whale centre.

The film ‘Paddler Movie 2014’ is due out later this year, but won’t be complete until Purdy hits the waters of Tofino on Sept 13 for ‘World Paddle for the Planet Day’.

“We looked at several different locations and decided Tofino was the place for this year’s event, with all the oil talk that is going on, at our coast and talking about protecting our coast we felt Tofino would be the best place for to showcase World Paddle for the Planet Day.”

For more information please check out


UBCO reverses decision

One week after an unwavering Faculty of Management Dean Roger Sugden made a controversial decision to cut three fourth year accounting courses, UBCO has reversed the decision.

Just before 8 a.m. Monday UBCO sent an email to all students stating the courses would, in fact, be offered (see below).

“We are truly sorry for the confusion and anxiety this has created for our students and their families,” stated the letter.

It was signed by the Provost and Vice-Principal, Academic, Cynthia Mathieson, and by Dean Sugden.

The email guarantees that all Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) pre-requisites will be taught on campus in the 2014-2015 school year.

This was a reversal from their announcement last Monday that the classes were being cut, no ifs, ands or buts.

Students had asked Castanet to be in attendance last week when Dean Sugden was scheduled to discuss the decision with students. He refused to speak in front of media and parents and left the meeting.

Students responded with outrage that such a significant change was being made without their input, a way to debate the decision and announced on the last day of class.

The following day Sugden spoke with media and gave his reasoning, indicating at that time that the decision would not be reversed.

The change, set to begin this fall, would have meant that any third year students who had hoped to take all their pre-requisites in order to start the CPA professional designation at UBCO would have had to apply to other schools or take the courses by correspondence.

On Friday, Okanagan College came forward and said it would help any UBCO students take the courses at the college that they needed to complete their pre-requisites.  

The unexpected email this morning only indicated that the CPA pre-requisites will be offered during the 2014-2015 year but does not say anything about the future of accounting at UBCO after that year. 

Email from UBC as it was sent to management students:

UBC commits to on-campus CPA courses for next year

Bachelor of Management students at UBC Okanagan will be able to take all Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) prerequisite courses on campus next year.

Over the past week, the Faculty of Management has actively consulted with students, hearing their concerns about the future availability of three CPA prerequisite courses in tax, advanced financial accounting, and audit. Acting on those concerns, the Faculty has now confirmed that it will offer on-campus courses in all eight CPA prerequisite subjects in 2014-2015.

We are truly sorry for the confusion and anxiety this has created for our students and their families. The Faculty of Management will continue to work closely with students to ensure delivery of these courses meets their needs.

Cynthia Mathieson

Provost and Vice-Principal, Academic

Roger Sugden

Dean, Faculty of Management

Grossmith trial set for Nov.

A trial date has been set for the man accused of killing his mother with a hammer in September 2012.

Conor Frederick Grossmith will stand trial later this year by judge alone, having waived his right to a jury trial.

The trial will begin Nov. 17 and it’s expected to last 25 days.

Grossmith is accused of attacking his 57-year-old mother with a hammer in her Kelowna home.

Kate Gilchrist suffered fatal injuries and died in hospital nine days later.

Grossmith has spent some of the time since his arrest at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam.

His defence counsel is expected to argue that Grossmith was not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

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