Inside job?

Madison Erhardt

Active Body West Kelowna has had two break-and-enter incidents in the last two weeks, allegedly by an employee. 

Manager Daralynn Teichroeb said she never suspected anything was amiss until she came in one morning and noticed hundreds of dollars stolen from the till. That's when she decided to check the cameras. 

The break-in happened just after 1 a.m. on Feb. 21. 

"I came in and my one employee told me the back door was unlocked. Then we came to the front and saw that $300 had been stolen from the till," Teichroeb said. 

"We went back on the tape and saw someone had come in with a mask on at 1:42 a.m. on the 21st. We then saw that the same individual had broken in on Feb. 13 and stolen money and a few of our packaged meals," Teichroeb added. 

Teichroeb suspects it was an employee. 

"He unlocked the doors with a key and used my code to shut off the alarm system. We saw his face, we know who it is."

Active Body now has two remaining staff members. 

Teichroeb hopes that awareness of this situation will help other small businesses. 

"We really didn't watch our footage. We have to make sure criminal record checks are done on all future employees and I'll try and be here a lot more," she said. 

RCMP have been notified. 

"The investigation remains ongoing at this time. Anyone with any information that may assist investigators are asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880," said Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey. 


Development for Pandosy

A new multi-family housing development is being proposed for Pandosy Street in Kelowna, a few blocks north of the South Pandosy town centre.

The development would include nine units on two lots which currently feature single-family homes.

It would be three storeys in height.

The two properties, at 2565 and 2579 Pandosy, have to be rezoned from the two dwelling housing zone to the low-density, multiple-housing zone.

The proposal calls for eight, three-bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit.

If rezoning is approved, staff would then bring forward both a development permit, and development variance permit application.

handyDART not equitable

Central Okanagan residents who require assistance through the handyDART program are paying more than able bodied transit riders.

The City of Kelowna is proposing to change that, and hope other jurisdictions in the Central Okanagan will follow suit.

While handyDART and conventional transit riders pay the same for single one-way travel ($2.50), those using the specialized handyDART service do not receive discounts when buying tickets in bulk, or monthly passes.

Conventional transit users pay $70 for a monthly adult pass, while seniors get a discount to $45. Those using the handyDART system pay $75 across the board for a monthly pass.

It's the same for sheets of 10 tickets, where handyDART users pay between $2.50 and $4.75 more per ticket block.

Transit and programs manager Jerry Dombowsky is proposing the city make the fares uniform across the board.

He says in a report for council, the $5 reduction in monthly adult passes will cost the city about $6,250, or about 1.2 per cent of the total custom transit revenue.

"If approved by Kelowna council, staff would request both West Kelowna and Lake Country staff bring forward a corresponding report to approve this fare harmonization action, to be put into effect immediately once all partner approval is received," said Dombowsky.


Bargain Shop development

New owners of the former Bargain Shop on Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna are providing a glimpse into what the property may look like.

Mission Group purchased the vacant store location, and the parking lot in the rear in September of last year.

According to a rezoning application currently before city planners, Mission Group is proposing to develop the parking lot at 1471 St. Paul as the first part of a phased development.

"This phase will include street-level retail, above-grade structured parking, and a high-rise residential tower above," said Mission Group VP Luke Turri in a rezoning application presented to the city.

"We are working diligently on detailed designs for this phase, as well as conceptual designs for the future phases fronting Bernard Avenue."

The initial proposal is for a 24-storey tower. At the present time, the property has a recommended height of 12 storeys while the Bargain Shop site has recommended heights of up to 26 storeys.

The development is proposed to include a five-storey podium with 178 apartment units above.

Crashes stack up in town

UPDATE: 5:55 p.m.

A number of accidents have been reported across the Okanagan due to the icy conditions on the roads. 

A three car collision occurred just after 5 p.m. along Edwards Road and the U.B.C.O turnoff. 

Traffic is at a standstill. A northbound lane is closed. 

A witness said a southbound vehicle slid over the median by the bridge and connected with two vehicles. 

RCMP and emergency crews are on scene. 

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

Highway 97 between Kelowna and Vernon is slick as snow continues to fall this afternoon. There are reports of a single vehicle rollover on the highway, near Crystal Waters Road.

UPDATE: 2:10 p.m.

As the snow continues to fall, crashes continue around the Okanagan. 

Emergency crews are responding to a head-on collision on Highway 97 near Antlers Beach in Peachland between a Jeep and a pickup truck.

The highway in the area has been described as "extremely slippery."

A vehicle has also crashed into a cement barrier on Highway 97, near Pelmewash Parkway in Lake Country. 

Earlier this afternoon, crews also responded to a single-vehicle rollover on Westside Road, just north of Bear Creek Road and a car crashed into a pole on Highway 97, just west of the William R. Bennett Bridge.

There are also reports of several fender benders on Highway 97, near Boucherie Road, in West Kelowna.

ORIGINAL: 1:15 p.m.

No injuries were reported after a car slammed into a house on Clifton Road early Monday afternoon.

The Toyota Matrix was travelling south along Clifton Rd. near High Rd. when the driver lost control, went through a fence, dropped a few feet and hit the front door of a home.

"It was louder than loud, it was so scary," said a woman who was inside the home. 

"It felt like there was an earthquake."

Police, ambulance and the fire department responded to the incident, but no one was injured. 

Snow easing off

The end is in sight. 

Meteorologist Doug Lundquist said the snow should stop falling shortly. 

"The main brunt of the system has almost passed. Tomorrow should be a warmer day, with temperatures popping well above zero in some places," Lundquist said. 

A total amount of two centimeters is expected by the end of the night. 

The longer term forecast for the Okanagan is looking a bit more normal for this time of year. 

"We will see showers mixed with flurries for the next week with highs well above zero, which is more of a seasonal average." Lundquist added.

Friend tells court same story

A friend of the man accused of raping a woman in West Kelowna two years ago took the stand in court Friday morning, corroborating much of the accused's version of the events that night.

The sexual assault trial for Jeremy Czechowski began last week, with the alleged victim testifying the accused violently raped her in a home on Wiig Road in the early hours of Feb. 21, 2016 after she and her friend went there following a night out at Sapphire nightclub.

Czechowski took the stand Wednesday and claimed he and the alleged victim, M, whom he'd never met prior to that evening, had engaged in consensual sex.

On Friday, T, who can't be named due to a publication ban that protects the witnesses, said he was at the house on Wiig Road when the alleged victim, M, and her friend came over.

T said M ran over to Czechowski almost immediately and jumped on his lap, “straddling him.”

Soon, T said M and Czechowski went up to the upstairs bedroom together.

“I heard the noises, I heard her saying 'f*** ya, f*** ya,' specifically," T told the court, "Loud and clear."

When asked by the Crown if the words he heard may have been “f*** you,” T said he had heard the sounds clearly.

T said at one point that morning, Czechowski called him upstairs, because M had reportedly taken Czechowski's purse and threatened to call the police.

“I said, '(M), that's not your purse, that's Jeremy's purse, give it back,'” T testified, but M reportedly refused.

“I went to grab it from her to take it off of her, she pulled back and kicked me several times in the ribs, once in the groin, so I put my head down and I pushed her against the wall by her throat area.”

T said M left the house, acting “delirious,” and he later found her across the street in the doorway of a neighbour's home.

“I said, '(M) get back over here, stop bothering those people,'” T testified.

M went back into the house with T and Czechowski, and T said M went back upstairs with Czechowski. T said he once again began hearing noises from the upstairs bedroom that “sounded like she was enjoying herself,” and then T went to sleep.

In the Crown's cross examination, Angela Ross questioned T about why he took two and a half months to give a statement to police about the night of the alleged rape, despite police requesting a statement several times prior.

“I suggest to you sir that you only came up with that information after talking to your friend Jeremy,” Ross said.

“That's false,” T replied.

M was found by a police officer hiding in a bush near the house on Wiig Road just before 7 a.m. She was covered in bruises and appeared "terrified."

The trial will continue Friday afternoon, and likely into next week.

Cancellations at YLW

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.

Despite the heavy snow falling on Kelowna, the cancellations and delays at Kelowna International Airport are due to the snowy conditions in Vancouver. 

Jasmine Patrick, communications for YLW, says at this time, other incoming flights are landing at this time, but "we could be looking at dropping visibility which could impact inbound flights," later today. 

UPDATE 11:45 a.m.

As the snow comes down in Vancouver, flights at Kelowna International Airport going to and coming from Vancouver have been delayed and cancelled. 

As of 11:45 a.m. Friday, six departing flights at YLW have been cancelled and three have been delayed, while five arrivals have been cancelled and six have been delayed. 

The snow has started to fall heavily in Kelowna Friday morning as well. 

UPDATE 10:48 a.m.

Snowfall also impacting travel out of Vancouver international airport as well today.

Flights from the north of the province and Victoria have already been canceled.

Check the latest flight information from  Vancouver International Airport

ORIGINAL 10:27 a.m.

If you're travelling to Vancouver this weekend be advised the south coast is expecting another blast of snow.

Environment Canada says much of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are expecting a blast of snow tonight, possibly as much 20 centimetres and more in the higher elevations.

"Snow will develop over all areas of the south coast this morning as a Pacific frontal system approaches from the northwest. Periods of snow will continue through most of tonight as the associated low pressure system crosses the area."

The warnings apply to Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Langley, Richmond, Delta, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Chilliwack, Hope and Abbotsford.

Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions.

As always you are advised to adjust your driving conditions and check DriveBC before hitting the road.

-with files from CTV

On the lookout for creep

Police are investigating a possible child luring incident near Kelowna's Springvalley Elementary Thursday.

The incident happened at about 3:20 p.m., as school was being let out. A woman in a dirty, white minivan offered a nine-year-old boy a ride as he was walking home, near Baron Road and Ziprick Road.

When the boy refused, the woman then reportedly offered to buy him a toy, but he declined and continued to walk home.

The boy reported the incident to his family and they reported it to police. RCMP conducted a search of the neighbourhood, but the woman was not found.

The mother posted on Facebook: "proud of my son for doing exactly the right thing in that situation, he's a little shaken up but home and safe."

Police have asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300. 

Final journey home

Friends and family of a Kelowna man who lost his life while travelling in Costa Rica have started a GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of raising money to bring Ray Guze's body back to Canada and covering funeral expenses.

So far the totals are impressive with more than $11,700 being raised in one day.

Guze is described as a generous, giving and kind soul and a gifted athlete.

He is described as a teammate who could be counted on and now he needs your help.

His family says, "heaven is filled with laughter as we all mourn the loss of a son, a soul mate, a cousin, a grandson, a teammate and a friend."

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