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Kamloops  

Chief resigns over photo

One of British Columbia's top-ranking First Nations leaders is apologizing after posting a sexualized photo to social media that he acknowledges "offended many people."

Shane Gottfriedson, B.C.'s regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, said Tuesday he was stepping down as the assembly's point person on the missing and murdered indigenous women portfolio.

He told a special meeting of chiefs that the post — a picture of his bare legs with a wide-eyed emoji wearing red lipstick near his groin — was not his finest moment.

"The photo was incredibly insensitive and I apologize," Gottfriedson said in a statement. "I am truly sorry."

The picture doesn't reflect his view of women, nor does it reduce his commitment to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, he added.

Gottfriedson said he spoke to National Chief Perry Bellegarde directly about the matter.

Bellegarde hugged Gottfriedson after he apologized to the meeting.

The organization has yet to indicate who will replace Gottfriedson in the portfolio.

Hearings are expected to begin early next year to examine the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women.



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Teen hit in crosswalk

A teenage girl was struck by a car in Kamloops Friday evening.

The 15 year old was hit at the intersection of Wawn and Westsyde roads just after 5 p.m.

Ambulance paramedics took the girl to Royal Inland Hospital with a a serious lower body injury, Kamloops RCMP said in a press release. 

The driver remained on scene and co-operated with police.  

Initial information suggests the pedestrian entered the roadway without using the marked crosswalk warning lights.  

It was quite dark at the time of the accident, and the victim was wearing dark-coloured clothing. 

A police traffic analyst and the local detachment's traffic section are investigating the incident. 



Creep hunted sheriff in court

A Kamloops sheriff who was caught in a Creep Hunters' sting and charged with trying to lure a child made an appearance in Kelowna court, Thursday.

Kevin Johnston is alleged to have communicated by text with a member of the vigilante group between Aug. 8 and 27.

The Creep Hunters say they posted an ad on Craigslist, posing as a 14-year-old girl.

A man contacted them, and the conversation turned sexual, eventually leading to him sending naked photos, and pictures of himself in his sheriff's uniform.

Johnston, who is not in custody, was charged in September of communicating to lure a child under 16, making sexually explicit material available to a person under 16, arranging a sexual offence against a child, and inviting sexual touching to a person under 16.

A special prosecutor was appointed to the case, as Johnston was an employee of the Ministry of Justice at the time of the offence.

Johnston appeared in court to consult with counsel, and will make his next appearance on Dec. 19 for an arraignment. An arraignment is a formal reading of the charges the defendant faces.  



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Child taken from drug home

A five-year-old child is now in government care after police in Kamloops found large quantities of drugs and cash in two apartment units on Nov. 30, arresting two people.

Police executed search warrants at two separate units of 689 Tranquille Rd., finding “trafficking quantities” of heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, along with $40,000 in cash and three hydraulic drug presses.

A 28-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman, both known to police, were arrested in the bust, and a five-year-old child who was found in one of the units was taken into the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“Any time drugs are removed from the streets, it makes our community safer,” Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said in a statement. “The work of these RCMP officers in identifying, targeting and arresting the people who supply drugs will have an impact on all citizens.”

Shelkie says they expect the bust to lead to future arrests. 



Baby killed, stuffed in box

A mother who drowned her newborn son in a sink before leaving her home to write a university exam has avoided time behind bars, though a judge described her actions as "abhorrent."

Courtney Saul, 19, was sentenced to two years' probation in provincial court in Kamloops.

Saul was a student at Thompson Rivers University when her baby, George Carlos, was born on Dec. 15, 2011.

Court heard Saul gave birth alone in the bathroom of a basement suite where she was living.

“She held the baby for some time, but she had an exam that day,” Crown lawyer Will Burrows said. “Because she had the exam, she didn’t know what to do. She finally decided she should drown the baby. She did that in the sink and then she went to her exam.”

Afterwards, Saul wrapped the baby’s body in a T-shirt and a shower curtain and placed it in an empty computer box. She put the box inside a backpack, which she placed in the trunk of her car.

Saul would later tell investigators she hoped to bury the baby in her hometown of Lillooet.

The body was discovered three weeks later, when she loaned her car to an acquaintance, who was involved in a collision.

Firefighters opened the trunk to cut power as a safety precaution. A police officer noticed a backpack in the trunk and opened it, revealing a computer box with an odd bulge. He opened the box and found the baby’s body.

Saul confessed to police and was charged with infanticide. Court heard the charge was stayed a short time later and, in 2015, Saul was charged with second-degree murder.

In August, following a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada earlier this year, Saul's charges were downgraded back to infanticide.

She told police the pregnancy was the result of a sexual assault. She said she'd passed out at a party and woke up without her clothes on.

When asked by Judge Len Marchand whether she had anything to say, Saul, who has since moved back to Lillooet, managed six words before crying.

“I know I made a mistake,” she said.

In addition to her two-year probation term, Saul was ordered to surrender a sample of her DNA to a national criminal database. 



Beware funny money

The Kamloops RCMP is warning local businesses to be careful when accepting U.S. $20 bills.

In the past five days, there have been more than 10 reports of counterfeit $20 bills being used in Kamloops businesses.

“Kamloops RCMP asks employers to discuss counterfeit detection with their employees,” says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.

“Employees who do cash transactions should take their time and do a cursory inspection of all bills, especially American money. If they feel or see something unusual about the money, then stop and examine it more closely. Employees should decline any bills that seem suspicious.”

Any local businesses who think they may have accepted phoney $20 American bills are urged to contact the Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.



Pedestrian struck

A woman was sent to hospital in Kamloops after being struck by a vehicle Monday night.

Emergency responders were called to the 600 block of Columbia West at about 9:45 p.m. BC Ambulance transported the woman to Royal Inland Hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The driver stayed at the scene and is co-operating with RCMP.

The accident remains under investigation.



A century of farming

The land is rich with agricultural history in Pritchard, and Turner Ranch is among those with the most notable past.

The farm has been in the Turner family for more than 100 years.

On behalf of Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone presented owners Harold, Shirley, Cody and Tamara Turner with a Century Farm Award.

The award recognizes more than a century of contribution to B.C.'s agricultural history.

"We are honoured to accept this award on behalf of the family. The dedication and hard work set forth by our previous generations has made it possible for us to reach this milestone. We look forward to the continuation of our family ranch for many generations to come," said Harold.

When George William (Bill) Turner immigrated to Canada from England, he homesteaded the land and was granted the ranch in 1913. He worked the land with his brother, Thomas, and his family.

Thomas' son, John Thomas (Jack) Turner returned from the Second World War to Duck Range and purchased the land from his uncle. Jack formed a partnership with his brother Ted, and worked the land until his death in 1976. Jack's wife, Audrey, and her family farmed with Ted until his death in 1985.

Audrey and her son Harold continued the ranching tradition. In 1988, Harold married Shirley. They had two children, Cody and Tamara, both having a keen interest in agriculture. In 1995, they formed Turner Ranch Ltd.

Today, Harold and Shirley, along with Cody, raise cattle and grow hay, keeping the Turner name active in the agricultural industry. 



100 homeless interviewed

Volunteers in Kamloops interviewed 100 homeless people during a “point in time” count on Oct. 13.

The count, along with similar ones across the country, was funded in part by the federal government to be a snapshot of the homelessness situation in the city.

Interviewers canvassed the city and were stationed at the New Life Community Centre speaking to people as they arrived for breakfast. Organizers acknowledge they were not able to reach many of the “hidden homeless” in Kamloops - those couch surfing, staying in motels or campsites.

Of the 100 people interviewed, 74 per cent were male and 22 per cent female. Three others either did not list a gender or identified as Two-Spirited.

Thirty-seven per cent stated they have been homeless for one to six months, and 28 per cent for more than a year.

The most common reason provided for being homeless was “can’t afford a place” from 76 per cent of people, with 32 per cent pointing to substance abuse.    

The oldest reported age from of a homeless man is 64, with the oldest woman being 55.

ASK Wellness says the information collected will aim to track trends and measure change, inform program development and government policy and connect people on the streets with resources.



Dozens of tickets issued

It would seem Kamloops motorists are not getting the message to hang up and drive.

On Nov. 8 and Nov. 17, Kamloops RCMP Traffic Section conducted distracted driving/road safety projects throughout Kamloops to remind those drivers of the law.

On Nov. 8 police issued tickets for:

  • Use Electronic Device – 22 violations and 2 warnings
  • Fail to Wear Seatbelt – 20 violations
  • Speeding – 3 violations
  • Fail to Stop at Red Light – 1 violation
  • Drive contrary to Restrictions – 1 violation
  • Fail to Produce Insurance – 1 violation
  • No Driver’s Licence – 1 violation
  • Insecure Cargo – 1 violation
  • Fail to Yield – 1 violation
  • Follow Too Close – 1 violation
  • 1 Warrant was executed
  • 1 Drug seizure

But that's not all, on Nov. 17, tickets were issued for:

  • Use Electronic Device – 19 violations and 1 warning
  • Fail to Wear Seatbelt – 15 violations
  • Speeding – 1 violation
  • Fail to Stop at Red Light – 9 violations
  • Fail to Display ‘N’ – 1 violation
  • Fail to Produce Driver’s Licence – 1 warning
  • Fail to Provide Vehicle documents – 1 violation and 2 warnings
  • Vehicle Defects – 5 violations and 5 warnings

"The Kamloops RCMP has an ongoing commitment to traffic safety. The Traffic Section would like to give drivers a healthy warning that they should expect further enforcement action throughout the city focusing on speeding, impaired drivers and distracted driving," said Cpl. Jodie Shelkie.



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