Saturday, February 28th-6.8°C

Dog falls from highrise

Vancouver firefighters were called to rescue a dog Friday that fell from a highrise and was saved when it landed in a shop awning.

It’s not known how many storeys the dog fell from before it landed on the awning of a business on the ground floor.

Onlookers gathered outside the Yaletown high-rise as the firefighters put up a ladder and rescued the terrier, which appeared to be in pain.

“There is suspicion this dog may have fallen out of a window," VFD Capt. Carol Messenger told CTV.

“I think it had a hurt paw,” said Matt Martin, manager of the nearby Homer Street Cafe & Bar. “It was a very nice dog. The firemen were quick to get up there, and they were really great to the dog.”

The rescuers were treated to coffee and peanut butter cookies for their good deed.

Messenger reminded highrise dwellers "to use extreme caution, especially with children and pets,” when opening windows and patio doors.

— with files from CTV Vancouver

Makeup artist top 50 in Canada

A makeup artist from Salmon Arm has made the top 50 in Canada in an international L'Oreal Paris makeup competition.

The Brush Contest is the first-ever online international makeup artist contest happening exclusively on YouTube. 

On a whim, Missy MacKintosh, 29, submitted a three minute video to the contest after seeing the opportunity on Facebook. Now she is on her way to winning $140,000. 

"My sister from another mister saw it on Facebook and tagged me in it," she said. "I thought 'why not' and here we are."

"They wanted to push you out of the box," a bubbly MacKintosh said of her video in an interview. "Be creative and use as much colour as possible in a creative and elegant way."

Her video got her into the top 50 in Canada and is now up for public votes to reduce the field to five contestants.

At that point, the Canadian jury will decide who will compete against the winners from 13 other countries including Australia/New Zealand, USA, France, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, China, Thailand, Italy and Turkey.

MacKintosh, who operates out of Alter Ego hair studio in Salmon Arm, has been in the industry for the past 15 years and attended the Blanche Macdonald centre in Vancouver 10 years ago. However, until November 2014, she mainly did makeup on the side. 

"Last year my work started getting recognized," she said. "Bridal is the biggest chunk of my business, but I'm getting into fashion. I'm known for my colour and creative side, I do some air brush body art as well."

MacKintosh says her competition ranges from professionals to YouTubers from across Canada. 

The winner is picked by L'Oreal and will be awarded the money, participation in incredible celebrity beauty shoots, how-to video tutorial creation, press interviews, the exclusive Cannes International Film Festival, and much more.

"It's really overwhelming," she said. "Just the support from the community has blown my mind. It's a challenge for me, it's not necessarily about the big money at the end of it but the fact that I did this. 

"I just need the communities help to get me the next round and I'll do the rest." 


Winter Games in action

The Canada Winter Games wrap up this weekend in Prince George, and B.C. athletes are thriving.

As of the end of Friday's events, B.C. is sitting in third place in the medal count with 96, which includes 20 gold. Quebec is leading the charge with 130 medals and 50 gold.

A number of Okanagan athletes have showcased their skills at the Games, with Vernon’s Elena Gaskell winning double gold in freestyle skiing, Patrick Dew of Coldstream winning silver in the same discipline, and Tekara Banser and Jennah Smailes of Kelowna combining to win gold as part of the BC biathlon team.

Team B.C. has a delegation of 348 athletes, coaches, managers, and mission staff representing British Columbia at the 2015 Games.

Olympic medallist Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna is the honorary captain for Team B.C. at the Games and is an alumna of the 2002 B.C. Winter Games and Team B.C. at the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

The closing ceremonies will take place Sunday.

Less diversity = fewer seagulls

There are half as many seagulls in southern British Columbia as there were in the mid-1980s because they can't get the food they prefer, a University of British Columbia study says.

"Gulls are an indicator of our coastal marine ecosystems," said Louise Bright, the study's lead author. "We need to be restoring ecosystems along the coast, and that includes restoring fish populations."

Gull numbers started shrinking after a peak in the mid-'80s, reversing an increase that started in the early 1900s.

Gulls historically had an almost completely marine diet of small fish and shellfish, but gradually began eating more land-based food, including garbage and earthworms.

"These birds are the ultimate generalist — they can eat whatever’s around," Bright said in a news release.

"If they are experiencing a population decline, the gulls may be telling us that there have been some fairly profound changes to local marine ecosystems. They’re presumably turning to land-based prey sources because the things they prefer to eat are less available."

Industrial fishing means there aren't enough fish, and fewer varieties are available.

Reduced marine food and quality also explain why the populations of two other bird species — Marbled Murrelets and Western Grebes — declined by 90 per cent, study co-author Peter Arcese said.

The Canadian Press

Kinder Morgan under fire

Kinder Morgan has come under fire from two Metro Vancouver mayors for failing to answer hundreds of questions about a proposed $5.4-billion pipeline expansion.

The mayors of Vancouver and Burnaby issued a news release Friday criticizing the company for only answering half of their questions during the final round of National Energy Board consultations on the Trans Mountain project.

Of the nearly 600 questions submitted by Vancouver, the company failed to adequately answer 291, and of the 688 questions submitted by Burnaby, the company didn't fully answer 315, they said.

"The city continues to find very significant gaps in the information that Kinder Morgan has provided for a project that puts our environment and our economy at risk," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said.

Trans Mountain spokeswoman Ali Hounsell said the company tried to thoroughly answer all the questions it could, but some were outside the scope of the NEB process.

The proposed expansion would triple the bitumen-carrying capacity of the pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. Almost 1,000 kilometres of new pipe would be built near the pre-existing line.

Sadhu Johnston, Vancouver's deputy city manager, said the questions were "basic" and very much within the energy board's parameters.

"Emergency response is very, very squarely in scope," said Johnston in an interview.

He said it's "absolutely ridiculous" for the company to say questions dealing with the definition of "emergency" and the consequences or impacts of an earthquake are out of scope.

"It really builds further concern for us about Kinder Morgan's transparency and their willingness to give us the kind of information we need to review this proposal."

Other questions that received "inadequate" responses focused on the time it would take company first responders to get to an incident site, how contaminated groundwater is monitored and detected and the findings of emergency drills, he said.

Johnston said the city has asked for clarification on 291 questions and Kinder Morgan now has two weeks to revise the answers or provide more information.

Meantime, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said his city has significant questions that focus on the hundreds of ways the project could threaten Burnaby's safety and livability, and he blamed the NEB for not requiring Kinder Morgan to disclose more details.

"I don't believe the National Energy Board is protecting our interests or even acting in the public interest," he said in an interview.

"I don't blame Kinder Morgan ... What do you expect from them except to only do what they are required to do?"

A NEB spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Natural Resources Canada issued a statement that said the board was a "robust, independent regulatory body" that conducts a science and fact-based review process.

"We have been clear: no project will proceed unless it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment," it said.

Hounsell said Kinder Morgan received 5,600 questions during this round of questioning and got about 1,200 motions back from interveners including Burnaby and Vancouver asking for further information.

"We'll be reviewing all the motions, looking at each answer that we provided or didn't provide, and get back to the interveners and the National Energy Board."

Hounsell said the topics of earthquakes, safety, emergency response and groundwater monitoring are all "in scope" as long as they relate to the proposed pipeline and terminal facilities.

But she said the wording of the questions matters, for example if they relate to the existing pipeline. Further, she said Kinder Morgan may have provided an answer but the cities may simply feel it's not "adequate."

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

The Canadian Press

Great turnout at open house

More than 100 people turned out at an open house in Kaleden Thursday night to share their opinions and dreams for the future of electoral area D-1.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is in the process of updating the official community plan for D-1, which includes Kaleden, Twin Lakes and Apex. 

Originally adopted in 1999, the OCP bylaw was reformatted and updated in 2008, but without any substantive changes to the original plan, according to the RDOS website. 

Residents were given sticky notes to record their concerns for the region and post on a board in the room. 

Development services manager Donna Butler said the top two concerns were sustainability of the water supply and environmental protection.

"Those two seem to be the most important topics of about 10 that were on the list. But there are other concerns as well," she said. 

Other issues that need attention include potential wildlife corridors near Kaleden; protecting Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory equipment from development at White Lake and development of the village at Apex Mountain Resort.

Tom Styffe, alternate director for the electoral area D, said "At this stage, it was just inviting people to offer their opinions and visions on what the future should look like, and we're thrilled with the results."

It's now in the hands of staff and consultants to assemble all the information and a report will be posted to the RDOS website next week.

The next Schmirler the curler

Shannon England crisscrossed the globe during his wife's sporting career, and it would suit him just fine to do the same with another family member.

The husband of late curling legend Sandra Schmirler, England is at the Canada Winter Games watching his 17-year-old daughter Sara compete for Saskatchewan.

"I guess I'm destined to watch the women in my life curl," England said this week. "It is a lot of fun."

Schmirler won three national titles, three world championships and the first women's Olympic gold medal in curling before she died in March 2000 from cancer at age 36.

Sara England has decided not to talk to the media in Prince George this week, but her father sat down to chat about his daughter's progression and some of the attention she's been getting in recent weeks.

"I think the fact that everybody still thinks so highly of Sandra ... they want that connection to her," he said. "With Sara coming up and curling now there's that connection back to Sandra. I'm not really surprised.

"Sandra's legacy to this game is that when she and her team won the Olympics in '98, they really took curling forward. These ladies' teams have come so far."

Shannon England, who also curls competitively, added that Sara didn't get into the sport right away as a child.

"Probably a little bit about her mom," he said. "I was careful to introduce her to the game, but I didn't want to push her. It had to evolve itself."

Sara plays third on her Regina-based rink with skip Kaitlyn Jones, second Shantel Hutton and lead Rayann Zerr, and was set to meet Alberta in Friday's quarter-finals.

Shannon England said there are a lot of similarities between daughter and mother, including style of play, passion and drive.

"(Sara) doesn't like to lose, doesn't like to miss, very competitive. There's all those kinds of things, but she still enjoys the game and has fun," he said. "There's the focus. There's a lot of smiles and laughter with her team, but there's a lot of frowns when things aren't working out. It's amazing how similar they are."

Like many children of successful athletes, it's inevitable that Sara, who was just a toddler when Schmirler died, will be compared to her famous mother regardless of what she accomplishes.

It's something England has discussed with his daughter.

"It's pretty unfair to say there's expectations for you to win three Canadians, three worlds and Olympic gold and compare yourself to your mom. She told me: 'If I did that I'd never curl,'" he said. "You've just got to do it for the love of the game. People will judge and people will compare, but that's just natural. You do it for yourself."

He added that despite the increased exposure that comes with competing on the national stage, curling also remains a family affair.

"I can still get the better of her. Her mother always beat me," he said with a smile. "It's kind of fun now, but I don't think it will last much longer. I probably won't have a chance in a year or two."

The Canadian Press

Hydro scam hits businesses

Police in Delta say scammers have defrauded several businesses out of thousands of dollars by posing as BC Hydro employees collecting on supposedly overdue charges.

Business owners were told on the phone that unless they paid immediately their power would be cut off in less than an hour.

Police says callers have told Hydro customers to use a prepaid credit card to cover outstanding amounts and seemed legitimate because they referred to actual account numbers and billing histories.

BC Hydro says it does not ask customers to pay bills with prepaid credit cards and notifies them by mail if payments are overdue.

The utility has said fraudsters have targeted customers across the province in their attempts to steal money from residents and small businesses, especially restaurants.

Police say anyone who have received such calls should contact them and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The Canadian Press

Canada's subs finally ready

Canada's Navy has fired off two simulated torpedo test shots in waters near Victoria to show the readiness of its submarine fleet after years of mechanical, technical and fire-related issues.

The force of the blowback from two simulated torpedo launches from the sub HMCS Victoria sent hats and notebooks flying and observers gasping in amazement.

Victoria's commanding officer Cmdr. Alex Kooiman says the 70-metre submarine is in full operational mode to perform its duties, in peace time or conflict.

Capt. Jamie Clarke of Canada's submarine fleet says the subs can perform under water for up to 40 days, and without detection.

He says the HMCS Windsor is back at sea after undergoing technical repairs, and preparations are underway to have HMCS Chicoutimi operating again after a deadly fire on board fire.

Clarke, while on board the Victoria, says Canada's submarines have a vast global range and have recently been deployed in the Arctic, the Panama Canal and Europe.

The Canadian Press

700 plants seized, 4 arrested

More than 700 pot plants were seized, and four individuals were arrested, after police took down a large marijuana grow-op in Falkland.

RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says the Vernon North Okanagan Rural General Investigation Section began an investigation into the suspected grow operation last month.

“Their investigation determined that there was no medicinal marijuana licence associated to the property.”

A search warrant was obtained by police on Feb. 26 and Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP, with help from the South East District Emergency Response Team, attended the property.

“Search teams arrested four people who were on the property at the time, and assisted in the preliminary search of all the buildings,” explains Molendyk. “As a result, a large grow operation was located in the metal workshop. Over 700 plants have been seized.”

He says the four people were arrested without incident and taken into custody. The two men and two women arrested were reportedly from the Lower Mainland and Nelson.

“Targeting grow operations like this one is one of our detachment's strategic priorities, and it's important to the communities we police in the North Okanagan to disrupt this activity,” says Sgt. Percy, officer in charge of the GIS unit.

RCMP say the investigation is continuing and charges have not yet been laid.

Body found in SUV

Surrey RCMP's Serious Crime Unit is on the scene investigating a possible murder after a body was discovered inside a SUV.

RCMP report they received a call at 9:50 a.m. Friday morning to assist emergency health services with an unresponsive person in the 9500 block of 139th Street in Surrey.

When they arrived, they found a deceased person inside the vehicle.

“The cause of death and the identity have not been confirmed,” the Surrey RCMP media relations unit said in a press release. “Officers are interviewing witnesses and canvasing the area for further information.”

Traffic is currently being rerouted around the scene.

RCMP will release more details as they become available. 

Canada-wide hunt for man

Burnaby RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in locating James Patrick Benson, who is wanted on a B.C. and Canada-wide arrest warrant.  

A B.C. warrant was issued against Benson, 34, following an alleged assault on Feb. 10. A Canada-wide warrant was subsequently issued under the Canadian Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Benson was last seen Feb. 11 at a residence located on the 7000 block of Balmoral Street in Burnaby. 

He is a two-time federal offender who was serving a long-term supervision order, which was to expire April 25, 2021.

Benson is described as Caucasian male, five-foot-10, 200 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos with the numbers “011707” on his left wrist, the word “morbid” on his left forearm, a four-leaf clover and the words "lost soul" on his chest, and tattoos of red stars on both shoulders.  

“We are pursuing numerous investigative avenues ... and have not excluded the possibility that he may have left British Columbia,” says Sgt. Annie Linteau, Lower Mainland district media relations officer.  “We urge anyone to call police should they encounter Benson and use caution in their dealings with him."

Police ask anyone with information to contact Burnaby RCMP at 604-294-7922 (reference file 2015-6672) or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

That's one big ball of snakes

Workers unearthed writhing ball of more than 400 garter snakes in South Delta, Thursday.

The wriggling mass was found underneath rocks along a dyke at Boundary Bay.

The snakes were carefully put into storage containers and are now in the care of Burnaby’s Wildlife Rescue Association.

“Just as if they were continuing hibernation, we’re going to keep them nice and cool,” spokeswoman Janelle VanderBeek told CTV Vancouver.

The balling hibernation strategy keeps the snakes from freezing during the winter months. 

The snakes will be released once the weather has warmed up enough for them to survive, which is expected to be about the beginning of April.

— with files from CTV Vancouver

Shock as sisters die days apart

After 20-year-old Keziah Johnston died suddenly in early February, her devastated sister Shiloh wrote an email to their mother.

"You never know when your time's going to come. You have to cherish every moment," she wrote.

Just 10 days later, 22-year-old Shiloh died after being struck by a car that plowed into a power pole near where she was standing in Burnaby.

Family and friends of the two young sisters from Coquitlam are in shock that the "inseparable" pair died within days of each other.

Their cousin, Janica Lucas, said the duo were roommates, and Shiloh was heartbroken after her sister died on Feb. 7 of yet-to--be confirmed causes.

"It turned her world upside down," Lucas said Thursday. "This person she loved so much was gone. She didn't know how she was going to be able to cope with it."

"I think for that reason it's kind of a blessing that she didn't have to suffer for that long. They were only apart for 10 days."

She said Shiloh took time off to grieve, and was just returning to work on Feb. 17, when she was killed while she stood on a street corner on Canada Way near her workplace.

RCMP have said a white car collided with a grey Volkswagen before skidding along the centre median, crossing two lanes of traffic, crashing into the power pole and hitting Shiloh.

A celebration of Keziah's life on March 7, which Shiloh had been helping to plan, will now be a joint ceremony for the sisters.

Keziah had recently finished an esthetician course, and Shiloh worked at a tile store while pursuing her dream of becoming an artist. The older sister was also a devoted church-goer, who suffered with chronic pain from Crohn's disease.

"She was in a lot of pain, but you would never know it. She always had a smile on her face. She was always super happy and bubbly," Lucas said.

"It was a really unique bond. They just loved each other so much and were so grateful they had each other. They'd overcome lots of struggles, both of them."

Their mother, Jacquie Johnston, flew to Mexico to grieve after Keziah's death but will return to Canada on Friday, Lucas said. The sisters had no other siblings.

"She's completely in shock," Lucas said of the girls' mother. "She's coping as well as you possibly could in a situation like this."

Amanda Masih, Shiloh's best friend, said Shiloh was a "bright light" in the life of everyone she met.

"This girl was definitely an angel. I've never met anyone in my life like her before," said 28-year-old Masih.

An online fundraising campaign has been set up at to create a memorial bench to honour the sisters. More than $3,500 has been raised so far.

RCMP are still looking for witnesses to the crash that killed Shiloh.

The Canadian Press

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