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Pickup hit and run

Police are looking for the driver of a pickup truck that overturned another vehicle and fled from the scene Wednesday afternoon.

Cst. Kris Clark says a blue Chevy pickup truck rear-ended a red Ford Explorer causing it to flip onto its side, the Chevy then took off.

The accident happened just after 4:45 p.m. at Ethel and Lawrence.

“According to witnesses, the Chevy pickup was southbound on Ethel Street when the Ford attempted to cross westbound. The Chevy impacted the rear of the Explorer, causing it to overturn,” says Clark.

Fortunately RCMP were able to get a license plate of the offending vehicle from witnesses and are now investigating.

The two occupants of the red Ford were rescued from the vehicle with relatively minor injuries.


Family's loss leads to help

In the wake of a former Kelowna resident’s sudden death, her family is ensuring the community benefits in the same way she lived her life – by helping those less fortunate.

Kristen Porrelli, the 22-year-old daughter of local lawyer Barry Porrelli and his wife Laurie, died July 3 in Vancouver. According to her obituary, she spent a lot of time volunteering as a candy striper at hospitals, assisting in building an orphanage in Haiti, and helping out at a society for the terminally ill in Vancouver.

Her family asked that donations be made to the local women’s shelter in lieu of donations, and that has caused an outpouring of support.

“The shelter has already received $7,000 in donations in Kristen’s memory, including a donation from singer Michael Buble, an artist at the entertainment company for which Kristen worked,” says Karen Mason, executive director at the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.

“We couldn’t be more grateful to the local community and the Porrelli family’s friends and supporters. That something so beautiful can come out of this tragic and unnecessary loss is humbling and inspiring.”

Mason says this is the largest total amount they’ve ever received in honour of a single person in recent years.

“We noticed over the couple of weeks in the wake of her death, a huge amount of cheques coming in her name, and we got to the point where we thought it would be a nice gesture to thank the community and let people know how the community came together in honour of Kristen,” says Mason.

“Money we receive like this makes a huge difference in the services we’re able to provide. For example, we spend $30,000 per year on groceries to feed the women and children who stay in the shelter.”

The shelter has been serving the community for 35 years. It provides emergency transitional housing, counseling and other support and education programs for women and their children who have experienced abuse.

Prolific offender goes camping

A fugitive with three dozen outstanding warrants is behind bars.

Kelowna RCMP say they arrested the unidentified man Wednesday night at the Willow Creek Campground on Lakeshore Road in Kelowna.

Cst. Kris Clark says the RCMP Street Enforcement Team, following up on a tip, descended upon the campground sometime after 9 p.m.

"The 36-year-old Edmonton man had a total of 36 Warrants for Arrest out of BC and Alberta, mostly for break and enter related offences," says Clark.

"He was taken into custody without incident and held for court Thursday."

Clark says he remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in Cranbrook Provincial Court next month.

Individuals such as this continue to be the focus for the Kelowna Regional RCMP who is concentrating its efforts through intelligence-led, research-based policing; targeting prolific offenders to reduce crime in our community.
The man remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in Cranbrook Provincial Court on August 11, 2014.


The cat came back

Sometimes, even if you don’t expect it, the cat does come back, it’s just not always the very next day.

Jeannine Lamb and her husband were visiting Kelowna in May. The pair were out walking their cats when one of them, Tubby, became spooked and broke free from his leash.

That was the last time Lamb saw her beloved cat, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last time she heard about him.

After putting up over 1,000 posters and flyers during two separate trips back to Kelowna, she received close to 100 phone calls and tips.

“It was crazy how helpful everybody was. Kelowna is an amazing town,” says Lamb.

Finally she received a phone tip and a photo that turned out to be Tubby.

Lamb returned to Kelowna for the third time and eventually camped out in the tipster’s yard for 12 hours until the cat finally came back.

“It was amazing. He purred for two hours straight,” recounts Lamb, who was overjoyed to get Tubby back after she began to lose hope following dozens of mistaken tips.

“We are so appreciative of the people that are in Kelowna. And that’s an under estimation of the amount of help. They did everything. It was amazing.”

Tubby went missing May 17 in Cameron Park, and she was finally found less than one block away, two months later.

Lamb says her cat, who is not all that tubby, was in relatively good shape and had lost around four pounds.

"The people in that general area, between Richter Street and Ethel, and between KLO Road and Rose Avenue, they have got to get an award because they are amazing."

More than 5,000 behind in taxes

More than 5,000 Kelowna taxpayers missed the July deadline to satisfy their tax bill.

City Revenue Manager, Lynn Walter that's on par with previous years.

She says about 95 per cent of taxpayers did meet the July deadline which is normal.

According to Walter 5,679 landowners missed the July deadline, however, 462 of those have applied for tax deferment on time meaning once the city receives payment from the province the 5 per cent penalty will be wiped from the books.

The remaining 5,217 people already face the 5 per cent penalty.

An additional 5 per cent penalty will be added to the tax bill if it is not paid by midnight, Aug 5.

"The province requires us to put a 10 per cent penalty on (late payments) but it allows us to come up with an alternate scheme for that 10 per cent," says Walter.

"The city many years ago said maybe if we make it five per cent and five per cent we won't hit people quite so hard and they'll get a chance to pay and not have to pay the extra five per cent."

Technically, Walter says a taxpayer is not officially in arrears until the end of the current calendar year and are not delinquent until the end of the following year.

Walter says once a property becomes delinquent, it is subject to a tax sale the following September.

"We probably start out when we start working on the tax sale with a fair number of properties, then as we get closer...the number gets small," says Walter.

"The city doesn't want the property the city just wants the taxes paid."

Those who have not yet paid their 2014 municipal taxes can avoid the second 5 per cent penalty by making payments in the following ways:

  • At your bank/credit union in person, online or by telephone
  • Via drop boxes at City Hall’s Water Street entrance and the Doyle Avenue parking lot exit
  • At City Hall’s Revenue Branch front counter at 1435 Water Street (closed for B.C. Day, Monday, Aug. 4)
  • By mail – send a post-dated cheque attention Revenue, City Hall, 1435 Water Street, Kelowna BC V1Y 1J4 (post-marked dates are not accepted as proof of payment).

Property taxes can be paid by cash, cheque, money order or debit card. If payment is made through a bank or credit union, taxpayers must bring a copy of their tax notice with them.

Kelowna council highlights

The following are highlights from the Kelowna City Council meeting held Monday, July 28, 2014.

Second Quarter Report

Council received an update on City activities during the second quarter of 2014. Highlights include the highest construction value since 2010, surpassing 20,000 e-Subscribers to City updates, launch of the Strong Neighbourhoods project, Wibit opening in City Park and the official opening of Bernard Avenue.

Fascieux Creek habitat restoration

Council approved providing in-kind assistance to the Green Parent team volunteers and School District No. 23 for the restoration of a portion of Fascieux Creek at KLO Middle School. The restoration will help bring the creek back to its predevelopment state and the right-of-way along the creek channel will protect the public from flood risks. Completion of the first phase is expected this fall.

Housing ownership agreements

Council completed first three readings of a bylaw to rescind all existing housing ownership agreements. In 2012, Council decided there would be no new ownership agreements. Since then, the market has shifted so it is easier to find re-sale stratified dwellings at or below the City’s starter home price of $209,902, eliminating the need for this kind of agreement.

Expanded Allied Health agreement

Council received information about the collaboration between the City and Allied Health (Interior Health Authority) that will help bridge the connection between health care and community programming. The expanded collaboration focuses on the development of five types of health programs and providing a liaison physiotherapist situated at Parkinson Recreation Centre to connect individuals with City programs and services.

Ben Lee Park improvements

Council supported the proposed improvements to the Ben Lee playground to make it more accessible. Staff were directed to apply for the 2014 Enabling Accessibility in Communities grant.

Ellis Street Corridor Plan

Council endorsed the Ellis Street Corridor Plan, which will guide development of the area. Highlights of the plan include one vehicle and one bike lane in each direction, left turn lanes at various locations, new sidewalks, Urban Braille, mid-block crosswalks, trees and street furniture.

City, CUPE break off talks

Contract talks between the City of Kelowna and its unionized CUPE workers have broken off.

A note posted on the union's website says talks broke off after five days of mediation, earlier this month, failed to end with an agreement.

"Talks were progressing but both sides were unable to agree on several key issues," the union says in the statement.

"CUPE Local 338 Kelowna Civic Worker's bargaining committee will be meeting to strategize on how to proceed with bargaining and will look to continue negotiations with the City of Kelowna shortly thereafter. There are no immediate plans for job action at this time."

Back on May 21, union members voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action to back contract demands.

Neither side is stating publicly what issues remain outstanding or how far apart they are on those issues.

CUPE workers have been without a contract since December 31 of last year.

That agreement gave workers a 1.25% pay hike in 2010 and 2011 and a 1.5% boost in 2012 and 2013.

It took more than a year to reach that agreement.

Contracts were recently announced between CUPE workers and the City of Langley and the Powell River Regional District.

Workers in those communities received 6.75% pay increases over four years and 8.5% over five years respectively.


Jennifer Zielinski

Sh*t Parkers of Kelowna

Sh*t Parkers of Kelowna and YLW's Worst Parking are part of a new trend in social media, outing the worst parkers around and shaming them into parking appropriately.

The accounts are following trends in other cities to show just how bad parking can be in our city.

Sh*t Parkers of Kelowna created their Facebook page on May 21, 2014 and it already has over 1,800 likes. The page creator, who asked to be called Dom as he must remain anonymous for professional and personal reasons, says they are getting so many submissions that they can't keep up.

Sh*t Parkers of Vernon is also gaining steam with 139 likes and Dom says Sh*t Parkers of Kamloops is in the works with the possibility of Sh*t Parkers of Penticton close behind.

“We have had a few posts in the last little while in Kelowna that have gone pretty wild. The latest one happened this morning of a radio station's vehicle that is a reoccurring visitor on our site and they are getting hammered now. I almost feel bad for them, but if you park in a handicap spot, you are free game,” says Dom.

The Facebook page started with only 100 likes and now has over 1800, expecting to break 2000 by the end of the day.

Dom's friend started Sh*t Parkers of Victoria and at first it didn't take off, but with the addition of Sh*t Parkers of Greater Vancouver, Kelowna and Vernon the concept is gaining a lot of traction. In fact, Sh*t Parkers of Victoria now has over 13,000 likes and shows no signs of slowing down.

“We noticed we have some extremely bad parking here and it is not just bad, the behaviour of most motorists nowadays is so blase in regards to other people you just cannot believe it!”

Initially Dom says they drove around and snapped photos for the page's gallery, including the cover photo which is still one of his favourites. 

“I mean it just floored me, it was our starting picture because I couldn't believe how bad that parking job was. I mean wrong side of the street, not angle parking, it's parallel parking, it is not a handicap vehicle, you have got to be joking!!”

Now in Kelowna they are getting 30-40 photo submissions a day, with 5-6 received daily in Vernon, meaning Dom is very busy trying to post them all.

He says one unexpected side of creating the Kelowna site was the cries for help from those most affected.

“That is one of those things that threw me for a loop. A Kelowna mother with a disabled child could not park in the disabled stall because someone was parked across two stalls. She asked for help and I said don't you worry, Sh*t Parking Karma coming up and I'll tell you, that post got mass attraction.”

He also heard from a woman who was 8-months pregnant with twins and was yelled at by a man parked in the 'parent expecting stall' because he felt he should be parked closer to the store. He ended up seeing himself on the page and apparently had second thoughts on his decision, according to Dom.

“We see it mostly for disabled parking and it is so sad. You see that blue square with the wheelchair on it that is for someone that is worse off than you.”

Another common thread, according to Dom, is those with very expensive cars who, according to him, feel the rules don't apply to them.

“They have no regard for anyone else,” says Dom. “They say I have an expensive car why should I care; or I have a Lamborghini and the deductible is $10,000. Well you bought a car like that and should expect to pay that once in awhile, it is just one of those things.

Just because you drive a million dollar car doesn’t mean you can be a million dollar ass,” says Dom.

They have had some concerns and worries over the page encouraging or inciting vandalism or retribution and anyone spouting those sort of comments will be blocked. However, Dom says there is a group coining themselves the Sh*t Parker Avengers that make him laugh.

“They park their car as close as they possibly can to the driver at fault's passenger door. It is a harmless revenge, which makes me happy because we are adamant against any form of vandalism.”

The 'Sh*t Parkers' company is now branching out with plans to release cards to place on car windshields reminding certain drivers of proper parking etiquette.

The cards will be available on sh* in the next 24-48 hours where you can download 'Sh*t Parking Tickets' that people can either print themselves or get printed.

“Some will be a little friendlier, like please park better next time or, you can leave one as rude as you want,” laughs Dom who says they are trying to give people a harmless outlet to vent their frustrations.  

YLW's Worst Parking twitter account, created by an Edmonton man who also created a very popular Edmonton account, has 100 followers.

Creator Brian LeBelle says once they realized how popular the twitter accounts were in Edmonton and Calgary they decided to go country wide, including Vancouver and Kelowna.

“Hopefully it gives people an opportunity to vent and not do anything stupid to people's vehicles,” says LeBelle. “Bad parking is a sense of entitlement that pisses people off and people like seeing it outed I think."

Unlike Dom, LeBelle has publicized his name but he says he is not too worried about it.

“I have got some nasty messages on Facebook but that is probably as far as it is going to go,” says LeBelle.

The public is invited to send pictures to the Sh*t Parkers Facebook page and tweets to YLW twitter account to 'out' bad parkers in our area.

Snowbirds ready for hot show

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds arrived in Kelowna Tuesday in preparation for today's (Wednesday) performance over the waters of Okanagan Lake.

The show begins at 5 p.m. and runs about 35 minutes.

The performance will be centered across from the island stage in Waterfront Park meaning the best vantage point will be anywhere between Waterfront Park and City Park.

Anyone hoping to watch the show from Knox Mountain is reminded Knox Mountain Road will be closed to incoming traffic from 3 p.m. to approximately 6 p.m., however, vehicles will be able to exit during that time period.

Pedestrian access will be maintained.

Snowbirds public affairs officer, Captain Thomas Edelson, says people will be in for a good show.

Edelson says the clear skies means good high show conditions.

"We'll have nine aircraft flying about a 35 minute jet team demonstration," says Edelson.

"There will be nine plane formations, three plane, five plane, seven plane. A bit of smoke and mirrors. It looks a little bit magical. It's meant to look a little bit dangerous but it's obviously flown with the highest degrees of safety."

He says it's an exciting and interesting performance made even more unique by the fact it's over water.

Edelson says there are challenges to flying over water and land.

"Normally, the air over water is a little bit cooler and a lit bit smoother. Once you hit land you feel a bit of a speed bump as you run back into hot air and turbulence.

Kelowna is a unique kind of show site because the terrain is quite challenging. Obviously there is rising terrain to the west and there is a little bit of rising terrain behind the city as well so that all has to be taken into account."

The water also presents challenges in that boats and personal water craft are asked to stay out of the no go zone.

Edelson says most people are aware and obey the no go zone but urges people to observe it for the benefit of everyone watching the show.

"If some yahoo in a jet ski or a boat decides to not play by the rules and they start going through the box because the want to be right under the show, the show gets cancelled or gets paused until the police can remove that person from the show site," says Edelson.

"Once the team is in the air we're just burning gas and it will just make the show shorter for the people."

He says the restricted area is for the safety of both the pilots and the people below.

"When the guys are flying in formation you are concentrating so heavily on the planes in front of you and beside you, your points of reference, that you really don't want to be distracted," says Edelson.

"You are flying just a few feet from another plane in bumpy air. If you have something that catches your eye, even for second, if you see a little flash out of the corner of your eye you are probably going to look at it and that means you are not looking at the person beside you."

Kelowna RCMP will also be out in force Wednesday.

Cst. Kris Clark says police will be on the water patrolling the restricted area as well as the William R Bennett Bridge.

Clark says police will be on the bridge to ensure people keep moving. He says some people want to stop on the bridge and watch the show.

Wednesday's show is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kelowna.

Spokesman Peter Schultz says about 60 volunteers will be going through the crowd asking for donations.

Schultz says proceeds will go towards the cost of bringing the Snowbirds to Kelowna.

Additional funds will assist the Rotary Club Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs and youth programs at the new Paddle Club.


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