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West Kelowna  

Greens pick candidate

 

Robert Mellalieu will be a candidate for the Green party in the upcoming provincial election, yet again.

 Mellaieu is the owner of F1 Computer Services and will be up against  Premier Christy Clark in the Kelowna West riding in the upcoming  election.

Mellalieu ran federally for the Green party in the 2015 election. In the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding he finished fourth. 

 



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You're being watched

Smile, you're on candid surveillance cam.

The City of West Kelowna has completed installation of security cameras at its two new transit exchanges.

Cameras have been installed at the exchanges on Elliott Road downtown and at Boucherie Mountain.

Surveillance cameras will operate 24/7 and will help deter vandalism, theft or other crimes. The cameras can capture important details that can be provided to West Kelowna RCMP, if necessary, the city says.

Signs indicating that the areas are under surveillance have been installed at both exchanges.

The new cameras are in addition to security cameras recently installed at the CN wharf on Boucherie Road.



Paying the price for crime

A local man with connections to organized biker gangs has agreed to forfeit thousands of dollars worth of items.

John Edward Newcome has agreed to give up customized motorcycles, vehicle parts and tools to B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office.

According to a government statement, under a court-approved settlement, Newcome signed over two dozen complete or partial motorcycles, including sport bikes, choppers and custom Harley-Davidsons.

Also forfeited are garage and trades tools including bike hoists, a wheel balancer, a tire machine, welders and a drill press. Some of the assets are currently listed online and open to public bidding; others will be posted in the days ahead. Viewing details will appear in the auction listings.

Police raids at Newcome’s now-defunct West Kelowna business Cycle Logic and his Peachland home in August 2012 revealed an array of stolen vehicles, ranging from Ford F-350 trucks to ATVs to pontoon boats – as well as evidence of tampering with vehicle identification numbers.

In February 2014, he pleaded guilty to 19 counts, 14 of which related to stolen property; the sentencing judge deemed the volume of vehicle thefts “absolutely appalling.”

Officials said case files noted Cycle Logic’s connections to Hells Angels chapters in Nanaimo and Calgary, and to two local motorcycle gangs, the Throttle Lockers and Kingpin Crew.

He was handed an 18-month conditional sentence, which was served in the community, including nine months of house arrest.

A year later, Newcombe was convicted of assault and breaching conditions, leading to a further two-year probation.



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Guilty in fentanyl bust

UPDATE: 12:20 p.m.

One of two people charged in a major fentanyl bust in West Kelowna last March pleaded guilty Wednesday, but has been released on bail until his sentencing.

Police raided the commercial business of 38-year-old Leslie John McCulloch on Auburn Road on March 2, along with his home. They found more than 1,300 fake prescription pills, several gold bars, two industrial pill presses and over eight kilograms of what police suspected was fentanyl.

While McCulloch was initially charged with possession and production of fentanyl, his charges were slightly altered in court Wednesday, as the powder found in the commercial building turned out to be acetylfentanyl, an analogue of fentanyl.

The American Drug Enforcement Agency describes acetylfentanyl as “similar to fentanyl,” and says it has been linked to a number of overdose deaths. Acetylfentanyl still falls under the Canadian controlled drugs and substances act.

McCulloch, who has been in custody since his arrest in March, was granted bail following his plea Wednesday, to allow for him “to get his affairs in order,” according to the Crown. He was previously denied bail in October. 

McCulloch will be released to a home in Abbotsford on a $15,000 cash bail, under electronic monitoring. He will be allowed to leave his home between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and will also be able to come to West Kelowna to get his belongings from his commercial business and his home.

When McCulloch was arrested in March, he was on parole, following a 4.5-year sentence for trafficking cocaine.

Parole documents described him as a “middleman who transported drugs for the Hell's Angels,” and described him as motivated by the “allure of easy money.”

One of the McCulloch's current bail conditions is to avoid contact with any person involved in criminal activity or a criminal organization, including “outlaw motorcycle organizations.”

McCulloch's girlfriend, Rebekka White, was also charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, production of a controlled substance and two counts of possession following the raid. She will next appear in court on May 23.

Over the next two months, a presentence report will be put together for McCulloch, to help the judge with sentencing.

A fentanyl dealer in Vancouver, who grew up in Kelowna, was recently given a 14-year sentence after pleading guilty to trafficking and drug possession.

Fentanyl has played a large part in the recent overdose crisis in B.C. In 2016, 914 people died from illicit drug overdoses, up 80 per cent from 2015. Of those 916, 48 were from Kelowna.  


ORIGINAL: 11:40 a.m.

One of two people charged in connection with a major fentanyl bust in West Kelowna has pleaded guilty.

Leslie John McCulloch, 38, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Kelowna courtroom to possession for the purpose of trafficking and production of an analogue of fentanyl.

He has been released on $15,000 bail, as a pre-sentence report is prepared.

Rebekka Rae White, 27, has also been charged after police raided a West Kelowna warehouse on Auburn Road on March 2.

Dozens of police, along with paramedics and firefighters, raided the warehouse.

At that time, officer Dan Minkley said they had executed a warrant on the property in conjunction with a second warrant at a rural property in West Kelowna.

Police said the building was being used to make counterfeit prescription pills that contained fentanyl, the drug linked to an overdose crisis in B.C. and throughout Canada.

– with files from Nicholas Johansen



Man hurt in fall from roof

Paramedics responded to a fall from a roof this morning in West Kelowna.

A man apparently fell from the roof of a home on the 2600 block of Guidi Road, at the intersection of Avondale Place, about 11:20 a.m.

The man was injured in the fall, however, it's not known what he was doing on the roof or the extent of his injuries.

The man was seen lying on the driveway and being treated by ambulance personnel.



Cops on school buses

RCMP officers rode on school buses in West Kelowna this week to catch motorists who were breaking the law.

The good news – and the bad news – is the officers didn't catch anyone.

West Kelowna RCMP say over the two days of enforcement, no drivers passed school buses while they were stopped to pick up students, said staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry, detachment commander of the West Kelowna RCMP.

"Students on board the school buses ridden by our officers expressed their appreciation for the presence of the RCMP, as many said motorists always pass the bus when the stop sign is out," said the statement from the police.

Those who pass illegally face a $167 fine.

Police are expected to do similar enforcement again.



Crash at Ross Road exit

A crash at the intersection of Ross Road and Highway 97 in West Kelowna overnight briefly closed the highway exit, Tuesday.

The sedan crashed outside Westside Self Storage about 10:30 p.m. and suffered front-end damage. One person, believed to be the driver, was injured.

The extent of those injuries is not known at this time, although the severity of the crash would indicate they were not life threatening.

Firefighters, ambulance paramedics and police responded to the incident.



Chopper in training

UPDATE: Feb. 22

A member of the Air Rescue One helicopter rescue team said that the helicopter over Rattlesnake Island was actually Air Rescue One from Wildcat Helicopters and Vernon Search and Rescue's Helicopter Winch Rescue Team, not an RCMP helicopter. 

Jeremy Vandekerkhove said the teams were training new members and practicing in the area. 

"While we do perform tasks regularly for the RCMP and BCAS, we are not an RCMP helicopter," he said. 


ORIGINAL: Feb. 21

A helicopter hovering above Okanagan Lake near Rattlesnake Island raised the concerns of some, but the RCMP say it's nothing to worry about.

A Peachland woman reached out to Castanet to report the helicopter flying over the island, located on the east side of the lake, across from Peachland.

She said the helicopter had been in the area for more than an hour.

Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey of the Kelowna RCMP says RCMP Air Services was training in the area Tuesday afternoon.

Air Services was also put to work Tuesday for a stolen vehicle investigation on Westside Road. 



Police hunt for stolen car

Police are scouring Westside Road Tuesday afternoon after a car was stolen.

Several RCMP cruisers were spotted on Westside Road and Bear Lake Main Road at about 12:30 p.m.

Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey said the Vernon RCMP were also involved in the investigation, presumably blocking off Westside Road from the north.

O'Donaghey said the RCMP were also using their police dog services, along with their air support to assist the officers on the ground.

He has not yet confirmed if the stolen car has been found, or if police have apprehended the suspect – or suspects.

“Few details will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the fluid and ongoing police investigation,” O'Donaghey said by email. 



Dump truck crash, city sued

A West Kelowna woman is suing the City of West Kelowna after a city-owned dump truck allegedly rear-ended her, causing her significant injury.

Alexis Podas recently filed a civil claim against the city and the dump truck's driver, Derreck Ayotte, after she was hit in February of 2015.

Podas was driving her 2007 Hyundai Accent northbound on Gellatly Road and stopped at a red light at Highway 97.

Ayotte was driving the dump truck northbound as well, behind Podas, and allegedly rear-ended the much smaller Hyundai.

Podas says she suffered injury to her neck, teeth, right shoulder, back, left hand and right foot, and sustained whiplash and a concussion. Since the incident, Podas says she's suffered from psychological issues, including depression and insomnia.

In a notice of civil claim, Podas says the driver was using an electronic device while driving, was following her too closely, driving without due care and attention and driving too fast.

She also says the City of West Kelowna was negligent in allowing a driver she deems as “incompetent” to drive the dump truck and allowing a truck on the road that she says was “mechanically defective.”

Podas is seeking damages, losses and expenses for medical treatment from Ayotte and the city. 

The suit was filed in Kelowna court on Feb. 17, 2017. Neither the City of West Kelowna or Ayotte have filed a response to the claim.  



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