Thursday, April 24th8.4°C

Evacuation order

An evacuation order remains in place for residents living near McIntyre Creek, north of Salmon Arm.

The Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) first made its announcement Wednesday night after a debris flow damaged a portion of Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road, located 15 kilometres from the TransCanada Highway.

According to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the evacuation is continuing due to uncertainty of debris stability, coupled with a 10-12 milimetres of additional rain forecasted for the area.

The evacuation notice affects residents living 50 metres on either side of McIntyre Creek and Cathy Semchuk with SEP says that seven homes have been evacuated.

Anyone requiring emergency support services can contact the reception centre at #2-480 Harbour Front Drive NE, Salmon Arm.

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure continue their work to repair the damaged road, which will remain closed for a period of time.

The public is asked to stay away from the area and the Shuswap Emergency Program will continue to provide updates.

Have you been evacuated? Send your story, photos and video to [email protected]



Killed in Stanley Park

Update 11:45 a.m.

The woman who died in Stanley Park Thursday morning was killed in a targeted attack, say Vancouver police.

Officers arrived to the area around Brockton Oval, just east of the Vancouver Aquarium, around 6 a.m. Thursday after receiving reports of a woman in medical distress.

She has now died and her death is being treated as a homicide, according to Sgt. Randy Fincham.

"Despite efforts to save the woman, she was pronounced dead at the scene," he said.

A parking lot has also been roped off with police tape, and a tent has been set up next to Brockton Oval Field House.  Eight yellow evidence markers can be seen on the ground in front of the building.

Stanley Park Drive was closed while police investigated. The victim's name and cause of death have not been released.  Police say she was in her 30s.

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year.

Police in Vancouver say they’re dealing with a possible suspicious death in Stanley Park.

Officers arrived to the area around Brockton Oval, just east of the Vancouver Aquarium, around 6 a.m. Thursday after receiving reports of a woman in medical distress.

She has now died and her death is being treated as “possibly being suspicious in nature,” according to Sgt. Randy Fincham.

The department’s major crimes section is responding.  Stanley Park Drive was closed while police investigated.

The victim's name and cause of death have not been released.

The Canadian Press

61-yr-old faces drug charges

A 61-year-old Salmon Arm man faces several drug related charges following a raid on his home Wednesday.

RCMP in Salmon Arm executed a search warrant on the home on 10 Avenue SW late yesterday morning.

Inside the home police found quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, hash, drug trafficking paraphernalia and prohibited weapons.




2nd largest tree in Canada

As trees go, it is one colossal conifer.

Tape measures confirm that a Douglas fir tree on Vancouver Island is officially the second-largest in Canada.

According to the BC Big Tree Registry run by the University of British Columbia, the tree stands about as tall as an 18-storey building and has a diameter almost as long as a mid-sized car.

Dubbed "Big Lonely Doug" by those who found it, it takes 11.91 metres of tape to wrap round the base of the enormous evergreen and at the top, the tree's canopy spreads 18.33 metres across.

Conservationists believe the tree near Port Renfrew, on southern Vancouver Island, could be as much as 1,000 years old.

The country's largest Douglas fir, located in the San Juan River Valley 20 kilometres east of Big Lonely Doug, stands 73.8 metres tall and has a circumference of 13.28 metres.

Environmentalists opposed to clear-cut logging are calling on the government to stop logging in old-growth forests like the ones where these towering trees are found.

The Canadian Press

Stop burning fetal tissue

An Oregon county commission has ordered an incinerator to stop accepting boxed medical waste to generate electricity after learning the waste it's been burning may include tissue from aborted fetuses from British Columbia.

Sam Brentano, chairman of the Marion County board of commissioners, said late Wednesday the board is taking immediate action to prohibit human tissue from future deliveries at the plant that has been turning waste into energy since 1987.

"We provide an important service to the people of this state and it would be a travesty if this program is jeopardized due to this finding," he said in a statement. "We thought our ordinance excluded this type of material at the waste-to-energy facility. We will take immediate action to ensure a process is developed to prohibit human tissue from future deliveries."

Kristy Anderson, a British Columbia Health Ministry spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that regional health authorities there have a contract with a company that sends biomedical waste, such as fetal tissue, cancerous tissue and amputated limbs, to Oregon, where it's incinerated in the waste-energy plant.

The B.C. Catholic, a Vancouver-based newspaper, identified the plant as Covanta Marion, based in Brooks, Ore. When contacted by The AP on Wednesday, a Covanta Marion representative said he did not know if fetal tissue was included in shipments from Canada or elsewhere.

The facility is owned and operated by Covanta in a partnership with Marion County. According to its website, it processes about 500 tonnes per day of municipal solid waste, generating up to 13 megawatts of energy sold to Portland General Electric.

Marion County estimates that the facility processes 635 tonnes of in-county medical waste each year and about 1,100 tonnes from elsewhere, making it a small percentage of the total waste burned. Out-of-town medical waste is charged a higher fee.

County spokeswoman Jolene Kelley said medical waste has been included in the program for some time, but the commissioners never had any indication that fetal tissue might be included.

"We learned that today," she said.

Commissioners did not say why they believe medical waste shipped to the plant should be free of fetal tissue.

Since they have no idea what's been arriving in the sealed shipments, the commissioners decided to temporarily suspend all medical waste, Kelley said. They've scheduled an emergency hearing for Thursday and might rewrite an ordinance to clarify what type of material can be accepted.

Covanta Marion is believed to be the only plant generating energy from waste in Oregon.

The Environmental Protection Agency says medical waste from hospitals is generally excluded from the municipal solid waste used to generate electricity.

6.7 quake felt in Kelowna

11:30 p.m. update: The 6.7 quake that rattled the coast was also felt in Kelowna.

G. Blair told Castanet, "We saw our dining light fixture swaying in the Mission area."

Another reader reports, "We felt the earthquake here in a Kelowna. We live in the Madison. The building was creaking and the light fixtures (were) swaying.

J. Hurst says, "Just finishing up dinner when our dining room chandelier started swaying and also then noticed the same movement from the front door chandelier.  So then realized it must be a tremor from the quake off the coast."

Patricia Topolniski says, "We felt it at the Dolphins, the lamps and doors were swaying."

Did you feel the quake? Did you get it on video? Send it to [email protected]

Update: Glass rattled, buildings swayed, but no damage was reported after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit off the northern coast of Vancouver Island on Wednesday night.

The US Geological Survey reported that the epicentre was about 94 kilometres south of Port Hardy and struck at a depth of 11 kilometres.

The agency also said two more earthquakes followed with magnitudes of 5.0 and 4.2.

Emergency Management BC reported there is no tsunami warning for the West Coast, including BC, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.

Pamela Shea was working the evening shift at the Airport Inn in Port Hardy and said feeling the rolling motion due to the quake was "pretty scary."

"Oh goodness, yes. Oh goodness, yes," she repeated when asked if she felt the quake. "My chair was rolling back and forth, the bottles were rattling."

Shea said it only last about 10 to 12 seconds, "but it sure felt like it was a long time."

"I've lived here 37 years and I've never felt anything like it."

Ann Gray, the manager of the Glen Lyon Inn, said she barely felt it but knows people who did.

"I was sitting here, my chair moved abut two seconds, three seconds, the wall creaked a little bit, but it didn't move us very much," she said.

She said some of guests asked if they had to be evacuated.

--- Files from The Canadian Press

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake off the west coast of Vancouver Island shook parts of the mainland Wednesday evening.

The quake hit about 94 kilometres south of Port Hardy at 8:10 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Nearby residents said they felt swaying for less than a minute, but nothing severe.

No damage has been reported and officials do not anticipate a tsunami.

People as far away as Vancouver and Kelowna reported being affected by the rumbling on Twitter.

Castanet received several emails from readers in the Okanagan explaining their light fixtures were swinging and buildings were creaking in residences such as 'The Madison' and 'The Centuria Urban Village'.


Fired for not getting flu shot

A BC health-care employee who refused to get a flu shot or wear a mask was fired for failing to follow a government policy.

Interior Health spokesman John Bevanda says the activity worker in Grand Forks was terminated after progressive disciplinary measures that typically involve a warning letter, a one- to three-day suspension and meetings in the presence of a union representative.

Bevanda says activity workers' jobs involve transporting patients in clinics or adult day programs.

He wouldn't say whether the Hospital Employees Union worker was a man or woman or why Interior Health did not publicize the firing in December.

Bevanda says 76 per cent of the 19,000 Interior Health employees chose to be vaccinated, while others wore a mask when working with patients during flu season in keeping with the policy introduced in 2012.

He says the fired worker was among about four people who opted not to get the flu shot but that the others eventually complied with the policy, which was upheld by an arbitrator last fall after the Health Sciences Association filed a grievance.

The Canadian Press

Charged with 1st degree murder

Prosecutors have charged a man from the community of Clearwater, with first-degree murder after the death of his common-law spouse.

Iain Scott was not in court on Wednesday but his lawyer and Crown counsel set June 2 as the date of his next court appearance.

On Monday, 33-year-old Angila Wilson was found dead in her Clearwater home.

A seven hour standoff followed outside another local home, and police confirmed a man was taken into custody later that afternoon.

They also said three children related to the case were located in the man's residence when he was arrested, and they were not physically harmed during the incident.


The Canadian Press

Outrage over arrest

Dramatic cell phone footage of Abbotsford police firing non-lethal rounds at a homeless man is raising questions about whether officers used excessive force.

Officers were called to a food bank in the 33900-block of Essendene Avenue April 16 with reports of a man carrying a knife, according to Abbotsford police.

The department said police tried to talk to the 57-year-old man, but he wouldn’t follow their commands. “Less lethal force options were ultimately deployed by officers,” Const. Ian MacDonald said in a statement.

The man was subdued and taken into custody, then transported to hospital to undergo treatment and receive a mental health assessment, police said.

A video of the arrest surfaced online Tuesday appearing to show the suspect surrounded by several police officers telling him to stay on the ground.

Shots can be heard throughout the video followed by screams from the suspect. Witnesses said he was shot with rubber bullets and beanbag rounds.

Homeless advocate Ward Draper of the 5 and 2 Ministries, who posted the video on his Facebook page, claimed that the man, who he called Roy, did not have a weapon in his hand while he was surrounded.

“It was inside a backpack three to four feet away. They also were not calling him by his name they were calling him John,” Draper wrote in a Facebook post.

A number of commenters on the post criticize the Abbotsford Police Department for what they perceived as excessive use of force.

“Well something has to be done, cause this is really getting out of hand,” Margert Tomkinson wrote.

Abbotsford police acknowledged that a number of people recorded the takedown with their smartphones and are asking for witnesses to send in any other images or video to make sure their investigation is complete and comprehensive.

It’s the latest tension between homeless and the City of Abbotsford.

In December 2013, the city evicted a homeless camp at Jubilee Park after being granted a B.C. Supreme Court injunction.

A lawsuit spearheaded by Pivot Legal Society has been launched against the city, alleging bylaws and tactics used to harass homeless people breached their charter rights.

The society says in a news release that homeless people have suffered for years, have had their tents and structures destroyed, chicken manure spread where they have lived and been pushed from relatively safe places to more "dangerous conditions."

None of the allegations have been proven in court.


Serious stabbing in Surrey

Mounties are searching for a suspect after a man was viciously stabbed more than a dozen times in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Surrey Monday night.

Investigators believe the 38-year-old victim, who is known to police, was stabbed during a fight outside the fast food restaurant on 152nd Street and 91st Avenue around 10:30 p.m.

Cpl. Bert Paquet said by the time Mounties arrived at the scene, everyone was gone – including the victim.

“We had a report of a large fight involving several people. Our officers attended immediately but found nobody,” Paquet said.

A short time later, about a block from the scene, first responders were flagged down and led to the stabbing victim.

He was taken to hospital where he remained in serious but stable condition Tuesday.

Paquet said the level of violence was especially concerning because the Dairy Queen was still open to the public.

“It’s still a busy area at that time of night, definitely something we take seriously,” Paquet said. “We are looking to speak with anyone with information about this case.”

The victim was unconscious all Tuesday morning and investigators haven’t yet had a chance to interview him.

Police said the unidentified man has a history of violence, and are not sure how cooperative he will be.

Small town reels after killing

The rural community of Clearwater is reeling in the aftermath of a killing that left three young children without a mother.

Angela Wilson’s body was found inside her home Monday morning by Mounties dispatched to check on her well-being.

Her estranged common-law husband Ian Scott was arrested that afternoon following a seven-hour standoff at his separate residence, where he had taken the couple’s three kids.

The children, aged six, four and two, were released to authorities during the standoff. None were physically harmed.

Clearwater Mayor John Harwood said the community of roughly 2,300 people is shocked and saddened by the tragedy, but has turned its focus toward helping the kids.

“The children have lost now a mom and a dad, and so that all has to be rebuilt,” Harwood said. “I understand there’s some relatives on their way here now.”

Extra staff and counsellors have also been brought in to help students at the elementary school cope with the tragedy.

Residents identified Wilson as a nurse at a local hospital, while Scott runs a small construction company in town. Sources who work nearby told CTV News he was a likeable person who didn’t take his recent breakup with Wilson well.

The Southeast District Major Crime Unit has taken over the investigation into Wilson’s death.

Police have not released a potential cause, and no charges have been laid.

Drone attracts attention

Quadrotor Dragonfly

Aviation experts are outraged over a YouTube video that shows a remote-controlled drone flying close to an airplane at Vancouver International Airport.

The video, posted to YouTube on Nov. 4, 2013 by user Quadrotor Dragonfly, was filmed using a camera aboard the drone as it appears to be flying at the same altitude as a jetliner as the jetliner passes by on its way to land at the airport.

"It's pilots like these who can give the hobby a black eye," said Steve Hughes, a member of the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada's board of directors. "YouTube is going to be the death of us."

Rod Nelson, a spokesman for Transport Canada, said his department is very concerned, and is investigating the incident.

"We have been working with the RCMP to determine the operator's identity," he said.

Experts warn that small, unmanned aerial vehicles pose a threat because they can get sucked into aircrafts' jet engines or propellers, smash into windshields, or damage their instruments.

Transport Canada already regulates drone use in the country, and expects operators to obtain permission before they fly.

And while Transport Canada doesn't concern itself with low-level flights carried out within sight of the drone operator, they're alarmed by drones that might stray into an aircraft flight path.

It's not the first time a remote-controlled vehicle has had a close call at the Vancouver airport. Last March, the crew of a Boeing 777 reported seeing a remote-controlled helicopter flying just 30 metres away at the same altitude as their plane.

There is nothing to indicate a connection between that incident in March and the video posted by Quadrotor Dragonfly.

Quadrotor Dragonfly's YouTube channel has a number of aerial flyover videos from locations in Vietnam and Vancouver, though the video in question is the only time a drone is seen flying close to an airport.

"I am hooked on multirotors," said Quadrotor's YouTube page. "I have been building multirotors for aerial filming and also autonomous flights. With this channel, I endavor (sic) to share my adventures."

Drones are becoming more widespread as costs come down and technology improves. Law enforcement agencies in many provinces now use them for surveillance and search-and-rescue tasks, while cheaper models costing as little as $170 have become popular among hobbyists.


Funding for cancer test

BC has become the latest province to fund a test that can help determine whether patients with a certain type of early stage breast cancer could benefit from chemotherapy.

California-based Genomic Health says the BC Cancer Agency has agreed to fund the company's Oncotype DX test.

The test, which costs US$4,300, examines genes within breast cancer tumours to predict which patients would benefit from chemotherapy.

Conversely, the test is also used to predict which patients would see little or no benefit from chemotherapy.

The funding applies to patients that meet a list of criteria, including that they have early stage, node-negative, estrogen receptor-positive invasive breast cancer.

The test is already funded by provincial governments in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Canadian Press

Injured skydiver to return

A British Columbia woman who was seriously injured after a skydiving accident in Arizona is expected to be transported back to Canada.

Kenzie Markey’s father, Joe, confirmed to CTV News in a series of emails that his 32-year-old daughter will be flown back to Canada on Tuesday.

"She should be in (Vancouver), B.C., this evening," Markey said on Tuesday. "Her condition is the same and she is very happy to be going back to Canada."

A seasoned jumper, Kenzie was injured on April 6 just outside of Phoenix, Ariz., during a skydiving expedition. Her parachute collapsed during the jump and she fell to the ground. Kenzie suffered a number of serious injuries, including a broken femur, pelvis, toe and ribs, along with facial and head injuries and a collapsed lung.

The Nova Scotia native, who now calls Squamish, B.C., home, underwent three surgeries in the U.S.

Markey estimated his daughter's medical bills would total approximately $500,000, and the cost to transport her back to Canada by air ambulance would be between $25,000 and $45,000.

A fundraiser was started earlier this month to help her family with the mounting bills. Although Kenzie had insurance, her policy did not cover extreme sports-related incidents.

So far, more than $16,000 has been raised. A goal of $50,000 had been set by Kenzie's friend, Kelley Richardson, who started the campaign. It ends on June 9.

Meanwhile, Markey said he plans on leaving Nova Scotia on Wednesday morning to join his daughter in Vancouver. She will be staying at Lions Gate Hospital.

Once there, Markey said British Columbia’s health care system will pay an amount equal to the cost for equivalent care in a Canadian hospital.

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