Tuesday, October 6th7.9°C

Child found on street

A young child who was found on a Penticton street early Saturday morning is safe and sound.

Penticton RCMP Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth, said a report came in about an 18-month-old girl crying and wandering on the street at Eckhardt Avenue and Argyle Street, about 4:45 a.m. that morning.

The child had found an open door and left home without her babysitter knowing.

The child was taken to hospital with a low core body temperature.

Her grandmother and representatives from the Ministry of Children and Family Development attended.

The child is now doing OK, according to RCMP.


22 years for killer

A Princeton man who shot two acquaintances execution style was sentenced to life in prison, Tuesday.

John Ike Koopmans will be eligible to apply for parole after 22 years.

Supreme Court Justice Miriam Maisonville handed down the sentence in Penticton court.

Koopmans, in his early 50s, was found guilty in April of the second-degree murders of Robert Keith Wharton, 43, and Rosemary Fox, 32, as well as the attempted murder of Bradley Martin.

On March 30, 2013, the judge said, Koopmans walked from his girlfriend's home to the Wharton property on Old Hedley Road in rural Princeton.

There, he shot Martin once, Wharton three times in the head, and Fox in both the head and chest. A third shot richocheted from Wharton's head into her ankle.

The small town's police force was ill prepared for an event of this magnitude, said the judge.

The motive is believed to be Koopmans' anger over an earlier break in at his home, which he believed Wharton to be involved in.

The judge said Martin has had a difficult life, while Wharton, only 43 at the time of his death, was the father of four children. Fox was also a young mother.

Those children's lives will be changed forever, said Maisonville.

Koopmans, a father of three, maintained his innocence and considered his girlfriend his only close friend. He abused alcohol and was seeking to learn more about his aboriginal background.

Crown counsel Frank Dubenski had sought 30 years parole ineligibility, 15 years on each murder count to be served consecutively and a life sentence on the attempted murder charge to be served concurrently. Defence lawyer Don Skogstad suggested a sentence of 17 and a half years, less credit for time served.

Dubenski said his suggestion was the result of Bill C-48, the protecting Canadians by ending sentence discounts for multiple murder acts. However, the judge decided a 30-year parole ineligibility sentence was unduly long and thus declined.

In determining that 22 years was appropriate, she pointed to aggravating factors that the two were killed in a senseless and brutal fashion.

The sentences were life for all three, with the parole ineligibility of 22 years for Wharton and Fox, to be served concurrently.

Koopmans declined to comment, when invited to speak by the judge.

Wharton and Fox family members who sat through the long trial earlier this year, wept and hugged Dubenski and each other after the sentencing.

Outside the courthouse, Wharton's sister, Cheri Franklin, said the family is happy it's over.

"He got what he deserved," she said. "My family can finally move on and we can maybe go forward and feel good ... It's really such anxiety lifted off my shoulders. It's amazing. The justice system finally worked."

City seeks Christmas art

If you're an artist from the South Okanagan with work depicting a "vibrant winter wonderland" in Penticton, it could be on this year's city Christmas card.

Eligible artists are invited to submit their piece to adorn the City of Penticton’s annual “Season’s Greetings” cards.

The theme “Vibrant Winter” is set to reflect the community’s vision of a “vibrant, innovative, adventurous waterfront city that focuses on sustainability, community and economic opportunity.”

“Penticton is truly a four-season destination. Having cards that reflect the beauty of our region in the winter is a great way to personalize seasonal greetings and showcase our creative community,” says mayor Andrew Jakubeit.

Once the artists are selected, the city will prepare the cards to be sent in December to community organizations and stakeholders.

To enter, your artwork must be two-dimensional, scalable to 4x6 inches, and can be traditional or contemporary in style.

The original artwork can be of any type of media (photographs, painting, mosaic, fibre art, mixed media, etc.), but submissions must be sent in digitally by email.

For the full list of submission requirements and criteria, artists can read the “Call for Artists – Season’s Greetings cards” online here.

Submission deadline is Oct. 23. Entries should be sent to [email protected].  

City picks up prime land

The City of Penticton has purchased a parcel of land at 903 Vernon Ave.

In a news release issued late Monday, the city said the purchase of the property will open up opportunities for future public amenities.

The land is adjacent to city-owned land that is home to popular public facilities, such as the South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, Penticton Community Centre, Cleland Theatre, Penticton Curling Club, Visitor’s Information Centre, and the Bambino Field baseball diamond.

The parcel is 1.495 acres and accessible via Westminster Avenue.

“It’s a prime location for sport fields, new or replacement facilities for aging infrastructure, parking or other public amenities. Although the future use is still to be determined, this acquisition boosts the inventory of city-owned land for opportunities that will or may arise in future,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.

The city did not disclose the purchase price for the property.

Penticton sign defaced

The iconic Penticton sign has been defaced for the second time this year.

A few weeks back, city crews noticed the change to the sign on Munson Mountain.

Someone had taken a can of black spray paint, covering a large band across the “i" in Penticton to make an exclamation point.

Although the cleanup will be relatively minor, it is another example of how city resources could be spent on productive projects that benefit the community, rather than cleaning up damage left by others, city officials say.

Crews have scheduled a cleanup this week.

In March, a resident altered the P on the sign to appear as a B, so it read "Benticton."

The city encourages the public to report vandalism in progress, or if they have any information about the incident, to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Car ends in Timmy's flowers

Multiple people were injured in a three-vehicle crash this morning in Penticton.

According to witnesses, the accident occurred about 8:30 a.m., leaving debris from the three vehicles spread across Channel Parkway and Fairview Road.

The accident caused one vehicle to leave the road and end up on the Tim Hortons front grass and flower bed.

Debris was spread over multiple lanes of Fairview, causing closure of the road westbound for part of the morning.

While multiple injuries were reported, it is believed none was life threatening.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.  

Accident snarls traffic

No one was seriously injured, but two cars were badly damaged, after an accident Sunday afternoon in Penticton.

At about 3:55 p.m. fire, police and ambulance were called to an accident involving a car and a pick-up truck at the intersection of Martin Street and Eckhardt Avenue West.

Eckhardt Ave. was closed while crews cleaned up the accident.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. 

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