Dec 8, 2013 / 10:35 am
Steve Kania is still waiting for critical surgery at Vancouver General Hospital after he was struck by an alleged drunk driver who was trying to evade a police pursuit early Friday morning in Kelowna.
He has been in Vancouver since being flown there early Saturday morning.
Castanet spoke with Steve's aunt and uncle, Jenny and Jack Kania. They say Steve suffered several fractures in his lower back along with some head trauma that needed to be dealt with by the specialists in Vancouver.
The fractures in his legs were operated on at Kelowna General on Friday.
His aunt told Castanet how terrifying this all has been, but that she did feel some minor relief and a renewed optimism when she was able to visit him on Friday.
Steve is in his early 40’s and remains in an induced coma in Vancouver, the family says right now doctors are optimistic there is no permanent paralysis damage as there is movement in his feet.
Steve however is in Vancouver alone, another heart break for the family. According to his aunt and uncle his parents are both older and coping with major health issues themselves, making it impossible for them to make the trip down to Vancouver.
His brother is currently doing all he can to get down to Vancouver and be by his side, but money is very tight. He is currently seeking financial assistance from ICBC.
His aunt says it is a horrible waiting game, but they remain optimistic.
She says Steve is a wonderful young man who should have been safe delivering papers.
Questions around why he was out at 12:30 a.m. delivering papers make no sense to her. She says he always gets the papers from the printer late in the evening and likes to deliver them right away. Kania says her nephew delivers papers to over 200 customers and he likes to make sure it's on their doorsteps before they wake up.
“Someone drank and disobeyed the law, the fault is squarely pointed on them,” says Jenny Kania.
The family is hoping the surgery will be a success and Steve can return to Kelowna General Hospital by the end of the week.
Dec 8, 2013 / 7:52 am
Fees at the city owned Memorial Park Cemetery are expected to rise between two and 15 per cent.
A non-resident fee may also be added.
Parks Manager, Ian Wilson, says the current operator of the cemetery has no intention of remaining on once the current contract expires April 30, 2014.
He says three respondents to a Request for Proposals for maintenance and operation of the cemetery 'significantly' exceeded the current budget.
Two of those also contained provisions for annual increases over three years.
"Unlike most municipal cemeteries in BC, the City's cemetery has operated on a full cost recovery basis for the last 15 years without taxpayer subsidy," says Wilson in a report for Monday's council meeting.
Wilson adds that a review of fees cross BC found, on average, the City's cemetery fees are lower than those charged in the Lower Mainland, Kamloops and Prince George.
Kamloops and Prince George have a five per cent annual increase scheduled for the next few years while Vernon and Penticton are contemplating fee increases.
"In order for the cemetery to match projected revenues with expenses, two options were explored."
- Option 1 proposes a two per cent increase across the board for 2014 for residents of Kelowna while non-residents would pay an additional 25 per cent.
- Option 2 would provide for a 15 per cent across the board increase for 2014 with no non-resident provisions.
"Due to the higher impact of Option 2 on Kelowna residents, staff are recommending option 1," concludes Wilson.
Along with across the board increases adjustments are also recommended to specific base fees.
|Product/Service||Current Price||2014 Price|
|Child internment fee||$341||$0|
|Internments after 3 p.m.||$285||$450|
|Scatter (with plaque)||$475||$550|
|Scatter (no plaque)*||n/a||$150|
|Memorial tree (w/plaque)*||n/a||$1,100|
|Memorial bench (w/plaque)*||n/a||$2,500|
*New product to be added
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]
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