Senior evades scam

A scam artist in Kamloops caught police’s attention after trying to scam a senior out of money.

According to Sgt. Edward Preto a would-be-thief contacted a Kamloops senior by phone to ask questions regarding her banking.

The scam artist allegedly told the senior she was a representative from the Royal Bank.

“She requested the senior woman to withdraw $4800, stating her bank accounts compromised,” explained Preto. “Further instructions were given to the senior included to put the money in an envelope and then describe her route from her home to the bank.”

While the woman did withdraw funds from her account she took a different way home from the bank.

“The male scam artist spoke with another elderly female and began asking questions about the money. When he learned it wasn’t their target, he left,” said Preto in a release.

The incident took place on 8th street near Westminster Ave about 12:30 p.m. Friday.

“Police are very concerned with the escalation of this the scam artist’s behaviour and are seeking tips from the public.”

The suspect is described as:

  • Caucasian man
  • between 45-50-years-old
  • about 5’8” tall
  • medium build
  • clean shaven
  • wearing a tweed hat, dark coloured clothing
  • identified himself as Mr. Wilcox

AJAX mine could be costly

A watchdog group says the owner of the proposed AJAX mine near Kamloops could face at least $100 million in compensation or litigation costs if the mine opens, and possibly more.

MiningWatch Canada says Kamloops residents should heed recent legal developments in a case involving the only other urban mine of comparable size in Canada: the Malartic open pit mine in Quebec.

The owners of the Malartic mine, Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold, face a $70 million class action lawsuit for the impacts on 700 houses and 1,400 people located closest to the mine site, according to a MiningWatch press release.

Complainants are asking for damages related to dust, noise, and daily blasts from the mine.

MiningWatch Canada says the Quebec mining company has agreed to offer a $50 million relocation and compensation package for 3,500 residents of Malartic, some of whom live up to about 2-2.5 km away from the mine site at the city limits.

Based on that case, MiningWatch predicts that KGHM International, which owns the AJAX site in Kamloops, could face at least $100 million in compensation or litigation costs if the mine opens, and possibly above $200 million.

“AJAX’s economic feasibility study clearly shows that KHGM didn’t plan for this type of costs. It also shows that the project has no financial room or capacity to absorb those costs,” said Ugo Lapointe, program coordinator for MiningWatch Canada.

“We need to keep in mind that, compared to Malartic, AJAX’s mine would be twice as big and located on high ground, upwind from the city of Kamloops, and in a dryer climate.

“Studies show that this would allow dust, noise and air-blasts to travel further into the city and affect at least twice as many people.”

MiningWatch bases its estimates on a 2.5 km radius from the AJAX’s pit edge, which would include approximately 2,700 houses and 7,000 people living predominantly in the Aberdeen neighbour area.

No jail for Chihuahua killer

The BC SPCA is upset after a man will spend no time behind bars for beating his family's Chihuahua-cross to death with a four-foot long piece of wooden fence post.

The dog, named Jersey, died of blunt force trauma after he bit the face of Christopher Mathes' six-year-old daughter during Thanksgiving dinner.

The bite caused a small wound on the young girl's face.

Cruelty investigators found the body of the small dog, which weighed about seven pounds, buried in a cardboard box after the SPCA was tipped off about the death.

Mathes pleaded guilty to causing pain and suffering to an animal, and faced a $75,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

A Kamloops judge gave Mathes a 12-month conditional discharge and one-year ban on being in the presence of dogs.

Mathes had told the judge he was afraid of the dog, who had bit guests in the past.

Marcie Moriarty, BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer, said the punishment is no more than a slap on the wrist.

"His reaction to this very small dog was completely unreasonable and what this sentence suggests is that inflicting this kind of violence – that this type of activity – should be condoned," Moriarty told CTV Vancouver.

- With files from CTV Vancouver

Cow shot, butchered

A ranch in the Kamloops area is offering a $25,000 reward for the arrest of whoever slaughtered a pregnant cow.

Jason Bishop is the ranch manager for Dorman Ranch north of Kamloops and was shocked to find a cow shot and butchered Saturday.

Whoever shot the cow took the hind quarters and tenderloins – the most valuable cuts of meat.

The case is similar to a series of cattle rustling in the North Okanagan last year where several cattle were shot and butchered in the same manner.

No suspects were caught in those cases.

Bishop said because the cow was pregnant, the ranch actually lost two animals.

“We had another cow shot in the range earlier in the year during opening day of hunting, but we think that was a mistake. Maybe they thought it was a bear or something, but this was not a mistake, she was butchered,” said Bishop. “I was thinking maybe it is a guy filling his freezer because we lost one last year as well.”

Bishop said the cow was found 50 metres from Westsyde Road and 100 metres from the corral. He said another cow was also found with a gunshot wound to the face, but the animal did not die.

Four families use the range at Fish Trap Creek, but Bishop said most of the cattle have been brought in for the winter.

Anyone with information on the rustling is asked to contact police.

Bishop said the reward is for anyone with information on the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Big drainage project

Construction work on damaged portions of Kamloops' drainage system will begin next week.

In July, 2014, the City of Kamloops experienced a significant storm event, which resulted in damage to portions of the drainage system for Hillside Drive between Summit Drive and McGill Road.

After an assessment of the current conditions, plans were drawn up for the restoration and improvement of the drainage network in the area.

Work will begin Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, and continue until approximately the end of November, with work to resume in the spring.

The project will consist of the following:

  • construction of a storm drainage pipe network approximately between Hillside Drive and Summit Drive
  • construction of headwalls to collect surface drainage
  • construction of a detention pond within the hairpin of Summit Drive
  • extension of the existing storm network in the area to the new detention pond
  • construction of a controlled outlet structure from the detention pond

The hairpin corner at the intersection of Summit Drive, Victoria Street West, and Hudson’s Ridge will be impacted from approximately Oct. 26 to Nov. 15.

Traffic will be reduced to single lane each direction during construction. Delays are expected, so motorists are advised to plan ahead or take alternate routes.

Updated traffic information can be found online.

RCMP say thanks

Kamloops RCMP have paid tribute to a host of police officers, support workers, volunteers and citizens who have made significant contributions to keeping Kamloops safe.

Supt. Brad Mueller, detachment commander handed out awards and certificates at a ceremony on Thursday.

Those recognized included:

  • Const. Todd Henderson and Const. Alister Owens for assisting in subduing a man who was brandishing a hatchet
  • Const. Joe Bayda and Const. Derrick Gladdish for preventing a woman from jumping from the Overlander Bridge
  • Sgt. Darren Michels, Cpl. Cheryl Bush and Const. Tyler Braun for the assistance they offered to Cpl. JR Michaud and his family after he was shot while on duty in Dec. 2014
  • Sgt. Bob Fogarty, Jodie MacDonald, municipal support services manager and Kevin Beeton, police support services supervisor for their combined effort in the completion of the North Shore Community Policing Office
  • Lamont Schmidt on his retirement after serving for 15 years as Chaplan of the Kamloops RCMP
  • Ron Hatch on his retirement from conducting critical incident stress debriefings with Kamloops RCMP members for the past nine years.

St. John life saving certificates were given to Const. Rob Welsman, Const. Richard Christy and Const. Steve Marcil their participation in assisting Cpl. JR Michaud after he was shot while on duty.

Marcil also received the Commanding Officer’s Commendation for Bravery for his actions in returning fire on the suspect and then giving first aid to Cpl. Michaud.

Supt. Mueller recognized a number of community members for extraordinary acts of bravery and social acts of courage.

They included:

  • David Retzer and Donna Slater for offering assistance to victims of a motor vehicle collision that occurred after two suspects in a stolen car collided with them
  • Christine Newton and Nicholas Beaver for their courage and bravery in saving five people from drowning in the North Thompson River.

Looking for missing teen

UPDATE: Oct. 12, 2:15 p.m.

Police say a Kamloops teenager who went missing has been found.

ORIGINAL: Oct. 11, 11:55 a.m.

Kamloops RCMP are looking for help finding a missing teenager.

Angelis Justis, 15, was reported missing Oct. 5 from the North Shore.  

She's described as Caucasian, 5-foot-5, with a slim build, dark shoulder length hair and a tattoo of dots on her left forearm.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.    

Time to stop changing time

It's about time for Bob Dieno.

The Kamloops resident launched a campaign last year to end daylight savings time, saying it is more detrimental than beneficial.

He has thousands of people behind him – more than 26,000 have signed an online petition asking the time change be stopped – but only the government can make that call and Dieno said so far no action has been taken.

In fact, no one is even calling him back.

Dieno said he has been reaching out to provincial officials, but no one has returned his calls.

Dieno, who runs Nutech Fire Protection and Safety in Kamloops, said he is “extremely disappointed” with the lack of communication from government officials.

“They are just not responding,” said Dieno. “We have asked for an update, but heard nothing. I think the reality is it's one of those things where no one wants to take the lead.”

Dieno noted the B.C. Chamber of Commerce is supporting the movement as well, and he and his backers are not giving up any time soon.

“We are having a meeting next week and we may start something from a different angle,” said Dieno.

With the fall time change happening on Nov. 6 this year, Dieno expects a lot more interest in his campaign and even hinted it could become an election issue.

A provincial election is scheduled for next year.

Along with the petition, Dieno also started a Facebook page that has thousands of likes.

Dieno said statistics show the likelihood of a serious workplace accident within the first week of the time change increases by 10 per cent. The odds of an accident in the home jumps by 30 per cent over the same week and the risk of a car accident increases by 10 per cent in the first 48 hours after the change.

More doctors for Kamloops

A health-care crunch in Kamloops is getting attention from the province.

A four-point action plan was announced Thursday by Health Minister Terry Lake to provide better access to care and attract more doctors to the city, including opening two new health centres.

The plan includes:

  • Taking immediate steps to increase capacity at walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices by using locum or temporary doctors during the next six months.
  • Increasing capacity through targeted recruitment of family doctors and a new “nurse-in-practice” program.
  • Establishing and recruiting practitioners to new “practice-ready” primary-care centres, including placing internationally educated doctors and recruiting nurse practitioners.
  • Setting up specialized community care teams for the frail elderly, patients who are medically complex, and people with mental health and substance use concerns.

“The creation of two new centres for Interior Health community-based services on the North Shore of Kamloops will bring care closer to where residents live," said Interior Health CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

The new primary care centres will open on Kamloops' North Shore early in the new year, as providers are recruited. They'll be located on Tranquille Road and at the Northills Centre. Each will accommodate five to seven practitioners. 

The model will allow doctors and nurse practitioners to start working as soon as they are recruited in a fully set-up practice, sub-leasing the space from Interior Health. A third centre is being considered for the South Shore next year.

Meanwhile, the recruitment drive aims to bring new doctors to existing practices in the community. International doctors sign an agreement to work in the community for at least three years.

The province is also working to recruit nurse practitioners and nurses to increase patient capacity at more than a dozen clinics that have expressed interest.

Dr. Alan Ruddiman, president of Doctors of BC, said: “Kamloops is not alone in its need to recruit physicians as this has become a provincial, national and international challenge."

Laid back bears loll

Three laid-back black bears have wandered back into the bush in Kamloops after spending a day lolling in a tree in that southern Interior city.

Conservation officers took a wait-and-see approach to the bruins after the animals were spotted Tuesday morning, high in the branches of a large tree in a residential area.

The mother and two cubs literally hung about all day, but resident Troy Morrison says they remained docile.

The tree is in Morrison's backyard and he says, except for one snarl from the mother, everything was calm.

Sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday, the bears moved on, likely returning to the nearby greenbelt or provincial recreation area as they prepare for hibernation.

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