Bus driver recovering

A Kelowna Transit driver is recovering at home after he was allegedly assaulted while driving on Rutland Road with a bus full of passengers Friday night.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1722 president Scott Lovell said the veteran driver was released from hospital Friday night.

"He's resting at home now. He's in good spirits," said Lovell, who can't discuss the particulars of the case because it is now a criminal matter.

Witnesses said the suspect verbally, and physically assaulted the driver for several minutes while the bus was in motion. The bus swerved along Rutland Road, before coming to a stop after taking out a chunk of sidewalk.

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

Lovell said the community got extremely lucky.

"This could have been horrifically tragic due to what happened.

"When a 20 ton bus started moving across Rutland Road...someone coming the other direction could have hit the bus at 50 or 60 kilometres. There could have been pedestrians walking on the side of the road. They would not have survived an accident like that."

Ironically, Friday's incident occurred just two days after BC Transit announced it will be going ahead with driver shields that will protect drivers from physical incidents such as these.

However, those are not expected to be in place across the province until 2022.

Lovell said drivers are verbally assaulted every day. It seems to have been accepted as just part of the job.

"How is that acceptable in any job. You're a bouncer at a bar or you're a police officer, there's potential for a physical situation," he said.

"But, as a bus driver, as a professional driver, how do you go to work everyday thinking there's a chance I'll get beat on."

Lovell added the driver felt rewarded when he was told several passengers on the bus came to his aid during the attack.

"He was completely awestruck."

The driver will be off the job while he recovers both physically, and mentally.


Castanet's week in review

Castanet's week in review with Nich Johansen.

Mudslide on Highway 33

A small mudslide came down on Highway 33 east of Kelowna on Saturday.

The slide sent mud and debris down over one lane of the highway near Goudie Road in Joe Rich.

DriveBC reported the route was open to single-lane, alternating traffic as of Saturday night.


Taylor Road house fire

Kelowna firefighters doused a house fire on Taylor Road Saturday evening.

About 6:15 p.m., a 911 call reported black smoke coming from a home on the 400 Block of Taylor Road.

Initial crews made entry into the residence and extinguished the fire, says Platoon Capt. Dennis Miller.

Four occupants have been displaced by the fire and are being assisted by Emergency Support Services.

No one was injured in the incident.

The cause of the fire is not deemed suspicious.

Cub Crawl registration open

Youth aged six to 14 will get to compete in a fun, exciting and muddy obstacle course at the 3rd annual Black Mountain Cub Crawl this September. 

“It is important for our youth to be active and enjoy our beautiful outdoors,” said Rhonda Laturnus, founder of Results 4 Life Fitness Inc. “Being obsessed with obstacle races myself, I wanted to create a welcoming, fun and muddy course with our youth. My goal is to provide an uninhibiting physical challenge for all fitness levels, which will hopefully inspire participants to continue enjoying all aspects of outdoor fitness.”

The outdoor athletics course offers a fun way for kids to get excited about exercise and inspire a life of physical fitness. 

"Not only does this event encourage youth and families to get outside and get active, but we’re also raising money for a great cause," said Dustyn Baulkham, executive producer of RUPC, one of the presenting sponsors. 

The event has partnered with the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. In 2018, the Cub Crawl raised over $1,100 for Pink Shirt Day, and they have set a goal of $5,000 for this year.

"The actual event is helping kids experience physical activity in a very fun way and the efforts they put into fundraising prior to the event helps them learn how important giving back is. It’s amazing to see kids working so hard to help other kids in their community," said Richelle Leckey with the Boys and Girls Club. 

It all takes place Sept.7, 2019, and registration is now open starting at $29. 

For more information, click here

Permit needed for burn piles

With sunny skies and warm temperatures quickly drying out the once-frozen Okanagan, a reminder has been issued about open burning.

After some complaints in the area about illegal burning, the Regional District of Central Okanagan is reminding residents that only those people on at least one hectare of land are eligible to have large fires outdoors.

“These tend to be large piles of prunings and things like that that people have collected, or if they have a large property, they've done their own fuel modification and cleanup on the ground,” said Bruce Smith, communications with the RDCO.

“A campfire is a much smaller contained fire and these are larger burn piles.”

Those on a large enough property must still obtain a permit from their local fire authority before open burning, and then they can only burn on particular days when the air quality and venting is adequate.

The standard open burning season runs from Oct. 1 to April 30, but Smith says the local fire chiefs may close the open burning season early, or extend it later, depending on the fire hazard.

For those burning on a proper day with a permit, Smith suggests waiting until 10 a.m. until lighting the blaze, as that's when proper ventilation usually begins.

All prunings, branches and stumps must be dried for at least two years before they're burned.

Meanwhile, campfires and other outdoor wood burning devices are prohibited within the City of Kelowna limits.

Pandosy incident on video

Chelsea Powrie

UPDATE: 9:15 p.m.

A Castanet reader has sent in raw footage of some of the action on Pandosy Street earlier Saturday. 

Reports from readers indicate more than one person was apprehended by police.

Castanet is still awaiting official comment from RCMP. 

UPDATE: 8:08 p.m.

The scene has cleared on Pandosy Street near Cadder Avenue. 

Castanet reporter Madison Erhardt went to the scene and saw that police were clearing the area. 

Cops on scene were not authorized to provide details, but did say it was a "silly call."

Castanet has reached out to RCMP for more details and is awaiting response. 

ORIGINAL: 7:15 p.m.

There is heavy police presence on Pandosy Street and Cadder Avenue in Kelowna Saturday evening, with reports of police with guns drawn. 

Castanet reader Rachel was driving on her way out of town down Pandosy when she was stopped at Cadder Avenue, and was shocked to see "about seven cop cars," with more further down the road. 

"There was a whole bunch more cop cars the block further down from Cadder," Rachel said. "They had their guns drawn."

Castanet has reached out to RCMP to find out more. 

Standing in solidarity

Madison Erhardt

The Kelowna Islamic Centre held a vigil Saturday afternoon to remember and honour the 50 victims who lost their lives in the New Zealand mosque shooting.

''We need to stand in solidarity for peace and harmony. It has nothing to do with religion. We have groups from all around the community today,'' said Hamid Butt, Islamic Centre director. 

''We want to unite together, look to the future and help each other overcome this grief and manage the loss,'' Butt added. 

The Mosque also hosted an open house Saturday.

The Mosque was open for anyone to learn about Islam and to come and go freely. Everyone was invited," Butt added. 

KFX takes over Kelowna

Madison Erhardt

It looked like the set of a movie in downtown Kelowna Saturday, as the Kelowna Fan Experience took over five venues for its sixth year.

The event celebrates all things pop culture.

Once again The Rotary Centre For The Arts, Kelowna Community Theatre, Black Box Theatre and Okanagan Regional Library Downtown played host to this unique show. 

''There are so many things going on across downtown Kelowna with everything to do with pulp culture. We have a film festival going on with a major motion picture premier tonight and all day long we have amazing celebrities and panelists," said Bonnie Gratz, Artistic Director New Vintage Theatre.

The Black Box Theatre is transformed into an indie film and performance venue that features fun new events like a Maid Cafe and and Horrors. It is also the location for the signature opening night and Monster’s Ball parties which are open to VIPs and celebrity guests.

The fun-filled weekend doesn't end on Saturday. 

''Tomorrow is all about workshops on how you can learn how to be a film maker or how you can learn about special effects makeup,''Gratz added. 

For more information, click here

Billboard gone too far?

A pro-life billboard near the intersection of Highway 97 South and Grizzly Road in West Kelowna has become the target of an Ad Standards complaint.

The billboard shows the image of a pregnant woman next to a picture of the same woman holding her baby after it is born.

The caption reads: 'Our right to life does not depend on our location.'

The anonymous complainant says that, “The information is grossly inaccurate and misleading to the general public about the facts surrounding the abortion laws and rights in Canada. The photos mislead you, suggesting that people are allowed and are actually aborting full term babies.''

The Society’s executive Marlon Bartram says the ad is not inaccurate or misleading because there are no laws prohibiting abortion at any stage in pregnancy in Canada, and therefore one would be correct to infer that from the images. 

“Canada is the only democratic country in the world with zero legal protection for unborn children. By the letter of the law, a child is not considered a human being with rights until she is completely outside her mother's body, and it is legal to abort a baby in Canada at any point during pregnancy, even while it is being born. This is a reality that does not enjoy majority public support,'' Bartram said. 

The Society will be disputing the complaint with Ad Standards, and expects a decision in April. 

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