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Crash closes Trans-Canada

UPDATE 11 A.M.

Highway 1 is back open Thursday after a serious collision left the highway closed for hours overnight.

Revelstoke RCMP say the accident happened at 12:14 a.m. 16 km west of Revelstoke.

The accident involved two vehicles heading in opposite directions, both with single male occupants.

“Police attended immediately, with B.C. Ambulance and Revelstoke Fire Rescue and located one injured male on the roadway,” says Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky. “The male, who was in the east bound vehicle, was transported to Vernon for further medical treatment.”

The second man was located in his west bound vehicle. He was extricated and transported to Salmon Arm for treatment with more severe injuries.

“The male has serious injuries including multiple fractures,” says Grabinsky. “The male was later transported to Kamloops for further treatment.”

The highway was closed in both directions at the the time of the incident for an investigation. RCMP Traffic Analysts were brought in and examined the scene. The road was reopened about seven hours later.

“The vehicles were promptly removed once the scene was thoroughly examined and the roadway was opened to regular traffic at 7 a.m.,” adds Grabinsky.

“Alcohol is being investigated as a possible cause of the incident.”


ORIGINAL

The Trans-Canada remains closed west of Revelstoke after a serious collision overnight, DriveBC reports.

The highway has been closed in both directions since about 1 a.m., 16 kilometres west of the community.

Collision analyst are on scene, and an active RCMP investigation is underway.

DriveBC estimates the time of opening between at 8 and 10 a.m.

No detours are available.





Transit vote fails

Residents of Metro Vancouver have rejected a half-per-cent sales tax to fund $7.5 billion in transportation upgrades.

Elections BC says 62 per cent of voters have said No to the tax plan put forward by mayors and representatives from at least 21 municipalities and a First Nation.

The tax was expected to generate funding for more buses, road development, a subway line extension and construction of a new bridge.

Opponents have said that priority projects would get built through other means and that TransLink, the transit authority, should not be trusted with more money.

Proponents argued that transit upgrades are needed to accommodate the one million new residents expected to move to the Vancouver area over the next 30 years.

Mail-in ballots were sent to residents starting in mid-March and voting closed about a month ago.

 

The Canadian Press


Transit results awaited

The results of a vote to determine if the sales tax should be raised to fund major transportation upgrades in Metro Vancouver are expected to be released later today.

Residents used a mail-in ballot between mid-March and late May to support or reject a half-per-cent tax hike.

The tax would be used to generate $7.5 billion over a decade to pay for more buses, roads, an extended subway line and a new bridge.

British Columbia's chief electoral officer Keith Archer will announce the results of the plebiscite.

Proponents argue that transit upgrades are needed to accommodate one million new residents expected to move to the Vancouver area over the next 30 years.

But opponents say priority projects would get built through other means and that TransLink, the transit authority, should not be trusted with more money.

The Canadian Press


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Glyphosate use questioned

Where do you stand on glyphosate?

Tony Mitra, a retired marine engineer, blogger and citizen journalist, is coming to the Okanagan in mid-July to find out how federal election candidates in the area feel about the use of the controversial herbicide.

“Based on what I find from the candidates… (I will) make citizens aware of what choices they have to save our country from toxicity,” Mitra said.

Glyphosate is best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide, which is used in over 130 countries worldwide. It is also sprayed over clearcut forests in British Columbia to kill smaller aspens and poplars, allowing the replanted larger trees to flourish.

Mitra has been interested in the use of glyphosate for a few years now, and has interviewed many scientists who warn against its use.

He said critics of the herbicide claim the rise of the use of the chemical, which was introduced in 1974, can be linked to rising rates of a number of chronic diseases. He said Dr. Nancy Swanson, a former U.S. Navy scientist with a Ph.D. in physics who has researched glyphosate effects, has found the rise in the use of the chemical matches the rise in rates of Alzheimers, diabetes, autism, Parkinsons disease and obesity, among others.

Charla Lord, media communications manager at Monsanto, said there is no health risk associated with glyphosate use.

“All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health and supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product,” Lord said.

Despite Monsanto’s stance, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report this March, calling glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Lord accused the WHO report of omitting particular studies in their report and said many other regulatory bodies disagree with the WHO assessment.

Mitra is also pushing for an easy-to-access glyphosate testing system in Canada. He said only one testing lab in Richmond, out of 250 in Canada, are able to test for glyphosate in the body.

Mitra does not have an exact date as to when he will be in the Okanagan, but said it will be sometime in mid-July. Visit his blog, tonu.org, for the results of his visit.



Another Pickton guilty

A woman who was sexually assaulted by the brother of serial killer Robert Pickton says she is elated she can once again walk tall after winning a lengthy court battle.

A B.C. Supreme Court jury ruled late Tuesday, following six hours of deliberation, that David Pickton had inflicted psychological trauma on a woman after assaulting and threatening to rape and kill her more than two decades ago.

"It's all over," said the woman the morning after learning the verdict. "I'm free and I can stand tall again."

Jurors awarded the 55-year-old woman $45,000, including $20,000 in punitive damages that the woman's lawyer said is intended as a deterrent.

Pickton was convicted of sexual assault in 1992, for which he received a $1,000 fine and was sentenced to one year of probation.

The woman testified that Pickton cornered her inside a trailer on a construction site where they worked, pressed her up against a wall and groped her genitals over her jeans. After being interrupted by a co-worker Pickton allegedly threatened to rape and kill her.

After filing a police report about the 1991 incident, a machine operator who was friends with Pickton threatened she would be "cut into pieces" if she didn't leave town, she said.

"When he first started speaking on stand, I hadn't heard him in so many years ... I didn't know the effect it was going to have physically on me," said the woman following the verdict.

"I didn't want him to see me afraid, (but) I'm not afraid anymore," she added. "I don't have to have that overwhelming feeling that I'm not being heard or that I don't count."

The Canadian Press does not name victims of sexual assault.

The woman's lawyer Jason Gratl said his client was hospitalized in 1999 and 2002 for mental breakdowns. She testified that she vomited when she saw Pickton on TV in 2002, after his brother was linked to a series of murders of women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The trial heard that the woman was also raped by a stranger at 17 and suffered physical and sexual abuse at age 19 by her husband, who was twice her age.

Pickton declined comment when contacted about the verdict.

His lawyer Ian Donaldson said he did not consider the result a defeat but rather commended the jury for dismissing the vast majority of the woman's claims, which he said amounted to well over $1 million.

"She was awarded zero under several different heads of damages sought," said Donaldson.

During closing arguments on Tuesday, Donaldson had said the woman could be awarded a small sum for the sexual assault.

He said of the $600,000 the woman claimed for past loss of income only $20,000 was awarded. He added that the jury outright dismissed the $200,000 she claimed for future loss of income.

Speaking Wednesday morning, the woman insisted the money wasn't what mattered most.

"As far as I'm concerned what counted was that yes word," she said. "Those words were more important than I can express."

The Canadian Press


Arrests mar pot protest

UPDATED: 6:02 P.M.

The Vancouver Police Department confirmed today four people were arrested at the protest and investigators are expected to recommend charges against all four of them

ORIGINAL: 1:23 P.M.

A Cannabis Day event in Vancouver has been marred by scuffles with police and a couple of arrests.

Bystanders say they witnessed officers descend on the gathering of about 100 people outside the Vancouver Art Gallery around noon before leading at least one man away in handcuffs.

Angry crowds followed the officers around the street corner where the man was loaded into a police van.

Vancouver police released a statement saying the man was overtly selling marijuana to young people and that he failed to stop after repeated warnings.

Police say officers were immediately confronted and swarmed and had to use pepper spray to complete the arrest.

They say one man faces a possible trafficking charge while the other faces a charge of obstruction.

Both men are in police custody.

Cannabis Day has taken place peacefully in downtown Vancouver for the past 20 years.

Longtime organizer and marijuana activist Jodie Emery says this is the first year the event has experienced any confrontation with police.

The city sent Emery a cease-and-desist letter in late June asking that the protest be abandoned but organizers dismissed the warning and insisted the event would go ahead as planned.

Emery's husband and co-organizer, Marc Emery, took to Twitter after the incident, calling on others to come to the protest in support of those who were pepper-sprayed. 

The Canadian Press


Missing woman found safe

UPDATE JULY 1

Lumby RCMP report Susan Catt has been located and is safe.

No further details were released by police.


RCMP in the North Okanagan are asking for your help in locating a missing woman.

Susan Catt, 54, was last seen Sunday, June 28, when she left her home in Lumby.

A concerned family member called police later in the day.

Suan Catt is described as a Caucasian woman, 5’6” tall and about 165 lbs. She has short brown hair and blue eyes. No clothing description is available.

Family reports that Susan left her residence in Lumby on June 28th at approximately noon, and no one has seen or heard from her since.

Catt was last seen driving a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire, light blue in colour with a sunroof. British Columbia licence plate 350 FFE.

There is a possibility that Susan may wish to harm herself , and may be headed for a remote, rural location somewhere in the Lumby/Nakusp area. Police are asking hunters, fishermen, loggers and any outdoor enthusiasts to keep an eye out for the vehicle on local forest services roads, lakes, or recreational sites.

It is not believed she is a threat to others.

Police are searching all possible areas by ground and by air, but have not located her at this time.

Anyone with any information as to where Susan Catt can be located is asked to call their local RCMP detachment or CrimeStoppers immediately.



Tougher penalties sought

It would seem British Columbians support tougher distracted driving penalties.

At the halfway point of B.C.'s distracted driving online consultation, it's clear British Columbians are concerned about the dangerous behaviour and would support tougher penalties to curb it.

Since June 16, the website gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving has been visited more than 11,800 times.

Nearly 90 per cent of those leaving feedback say they're "very concerned" about distracted driving, and 96 per cent support escalating sanctions for repeat offenders.

A majority of British Columbians favour increasing the fine amount and have indicated a combination of sanctions are needed to make people stop using handheld devices while driving.

This week, the government would like to know what people think of vehicle impoundments and licence suspensions as effective penalties.

Vehicle impoundment currently exists as a sanction for excessive speeding and drinking and driving, ranging from three to 60 days. This is one of the alternative approaches government is considering implementing as a sanction for distracted driving. 



Local patios best in Canada

Okanagan residents love their patio dining, and it turns out the rest of Canada loves them too.

According to OpenTable.com, seven local patios are among the top 100 in Canada.

OpenTable, a popular restaurant reservation website, came out with its 2015 list of 100 Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Canada, including the local seven.

“Our Top 100 Outdoor Dining list highlights restaurants that offer stunning views, unique cuisine and, above all, fabulous outdoor dining experiences,” writes the company. “The list of honourees is based on an analysis of more than 275,000 reviews of approximately 1,600 restaurants across the country — all submitted by verified diners.”

Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, The Terrace at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Hillside Winery and Bistro, Hooded Merganser at Penticton Lakeside Resort , Liquidity Bistro in Okanagan Falls, Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Winery and Sonora Room Restaurant at Burrowing Owl made the top 100 list.

“The honourees on our inaugural Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining list showcase the incredible diversity of our nation's restaurants and the great patios they have to offer," says Bryan Huehn with OpenTable.

"Most Canadians can only enjoy outdoor dining for a few months out of the year, and summer is a very popular dining season for us as locals and tourists take advantage of our vibrant outdoor ambience, from the lush surroundings of Stanley Park to the charming elegance of Niagara-on-the-Lake."

In total, 29 patios in British Columbia made the list, trailing 41 in Ontario and surpassing 17 in Alberta and 12 in Quebec.

You can check out the entire list here.



Power use spikes in heat

The recent heat wave has seen a major spike in power use across B.C.

The sustained heat is having an impact on electricity demand, says BC Hydro.

On Saturday evening, the utility company recorded an increase of 15 per cent in the peak hourly load over Saturday last week. The peak hourly load – the highest hourly demand observed throughout the day – was 861 megawatts higher than the previous Saturday.

On Sunday, there was an increase of 10 per cent, or 617 megawatts, in the peak hourly load over the previous Sunday.

The increases are more than the equivalent of running an additional generating unit at the Mica dam and generating station – one of the largest generating stations in the province.  

Hydro expects the higher than normal electricity demand to continue through the week as temperatures in the province climb. Although there is a significant increase in provincial electricity load during a sustained heat wave, Hydro still records its highest demand in winter, however.

This is in contrast to utilities in California and Ontario, where the highest peaks are experienced in the summer months due to the widespread use of air conditioning.

There are a number of ways you can save money during the heat wave:

  • Keep the blinds down. Shade your windows and block up to 65 per cent of the heat.
  • Use a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans are the most efficient option for cooling. Ensure the fan is rotating counter-clockwise.
  • Keep the clothes dryer off: hang your laundry to dry and avoid the clothes dryer to keep unnecessary heat out of your house.
  • Cook outside. Use the barbeque to cook outside to reduce the use of your stove or oven.
  • Take shorter, cooler showers.


140 km/h over the limit

How do you get your kicks? Probably not by riding on two wheels at speeds of 220 km/h, but one man in Delta was caught doing just that.

Delta Police posted a video to YouTube today showing GoPro footage from a motorcyclist they caught back in April.

The video shows the rider travelling down Highway 17, weaving in and out of traffic, and hitting speeds of 220 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.

The rider eventually comes around a corner and sees a police speed trap, where they clocked him going 213 km/h.

Delta Police said in the video’s description the motorcycle was impounded and the rider was subject to multiple charges. 



Save water, residents urged

The District of Summerland is requesting residents cut back their water use during the current hot weather.

According to the district, the Summerland water treatment plant has been operating at maximum capacity due to heavy demand for water.

If this high use continues, further measurements will be required, which could affect all Summerland water users.

"Water consumption in the district has increased significantly with the hot weather. While there is still a good water supply available, the increased demand has caused the water treatment plant to operate at maximum capacity," said Linda Tynan, CAO for the district.

"If consumption continues to increase the district will be required to open the supplemental line and a boil-water notice will be required.

"The district is hopeful that water users will voluntarily reduce their water consumption and avoid the need for further steps."

All industrial, commercial, institutional, agricultural and residential users are being asked to use water wisely and reduce use wherever possible.

For further information, call 250-494-­0431 or visit www.summerland.ca.



Shots fired from car to car

Police in Surrey are investigating an incident in which shots were fired between two cars.

The incident is said to have occurred in the 15700 block of Fraser Highway, shortly before 3:30 a.m.

The caller told RCMP a black Dodge Durango with five or six South Asian males drove up next to the victim vehicle, a black Nissan Maxima. 

Two people inside the Durango shot at the Maxima before driving away eastbound. The Maxima gave chase to try and obtain a licence plate number, and the Durango began firing at them again. 

The Maxima broke off the chase, and the Durango was last seen heading westbound on Fraser Highway. The occupants of the Maxima called police and were located unharmed.

“We’re fortunate that no one was hurt – and we don’t recommend that anyone pursue armed suspects for obvious safety reasons,” said Cpl. Scotty Schumann.

“Our investigators are now searching the route for surveillance camera footage and will be completing a forensic examination of the victim’s vehicle. Investigators are still combing Fraser Highway for evidence, and motorists may experience some delays in the area.”

Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or CrimeStoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.



Okanagan, a tourist hotbed

According to B.C.'s leisure travellers two of the top 10 places to visit within our province are right here in the Okanagan.

Okanagan wineries and Okanagan Lake were listed among eight others as the “Best Places” in the province according to a new Insights West poll.

In the online survey, leisure travellers were provided with a list of 69 destinations, attractions and landmarks, and asked to select the “best places” in their province to visit.

The results were tallied and the top ten revealed; Stanley Park (39 per cent), Tofino (38 per cent), Granville Island (27 per cent), Butchart Gardens (26 per cent), the Rocky Mountains (also 26 per cent), the wineries in the Okanagan (25 per cent), English Bay and Spanish Banks (23 per cent), Haida Gwaii (22 per cent), Whistler Village (20 per cent) and Okanagan Lake (also 20 per cent).

According to Insights West, the poll also revealed some interesting differences by age group.

B.C.’s leisure travellers aged 18 to 34 were more likely to select Stanley Park as one of their best places (46 per cent) than those aged 35-to-54 (39 per cent) and those aged 55 and over (35 per cent). In fact, the preferred destination for B.C.’s leisure travellers aged 55 and over was Butchart Gardens (38 per cent). The youngest leisure travellers also expressed a fondness for English Bay (33 per cent) and Gastown (23 per cent).

“British Columbia’s leisure travellers have a hard time selecting a favourite destination from the many appealing attractions their province has to offer,” says Mario Canseco, vice president at Insights West. “Still, Stanley Park and Tofino were regarded by about two-in-five respondents as visits that cannot be missed.”

On average, B.C. leisure travellers have taken 4.7 trips in the past year, with men making more frequent trips than women (5.1 vs. 4.3, respectively).

In the next 12 months, British Columbia’s leisure travellers plan to make an average of 5.4 trips. Three-in-four (75 per cent) say they plan to take at least one leisure trip within B.C. in the next 12 months, while 44 per cent plan to travel to another Canadian province and 67 per cent are considering at least one trip to the United States, while 41 per cent plan to make a trip outside North America.





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