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Kelowna  

A wrap up of Castanet's top stories from this past week

Castanet's week in review

Castanet's week in review with Nich Johansen.



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Cedar hedge went up in flames Saturday evening

Hedge fire ruled suspicious

UPDATED: Feb 23, 7:44 a.m.

The Kelowna Fire Department states the hedge fire on Saturday night has been deemed suspicious, and is being investigated by the RCMP.

About 30 feet of the hedge was on fire when crews put it out.

The fire was contained to the hedge, but there was some damage to some of the fencing that surrounds the property.


ORIGINAL: Feb. 22, 10:09 p.m.

It may seem like an odd time of year for a brush fire, but Kelowna fire crews were called to just that Saturday night.

The fire broke out in a cedar hedge close to 8 p.m. on Gordon near Guisachan.

Witnesses tell Castanet the fire was quickly contained.



Kelowna firm wins 'best company' at BC Small Business Awards

Locals take small biz award

A Kelowna business has taken home “best company” in the 2020 Small Business B.C. Awards.

Twirling Umbrellas captured one of eight awards handed out Friday night at the Vancouver Convention Centre. 

The company is one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in Kelowna, with clients ranging from start-ups and nonprofits to publicly traded organizations, says Small Business B.C.

This year, about 600 small businesses from across the province were nominated for eight award categories. “With standards high across the board our judges faced an unenviable task to select the winners,” Small Business B.C. said.

“Thank you to everyone who voted for us,” Twirling Umbrellas said on Facebook. “We are beyond excited to have won this incredible award.”



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This year's Bollywood Gala will fundraise for YMCA Okanagan

Bollywood Gala is back!

Want to enjoy a night of bright colours, dancing and great food — all for a good cause?

Your chance to get out your saris and suits is here, as the Gopal Family has announced they will be hosting the annual Bollywood Gala on March 7. 

This year, the gala's beneficiary is the YMCA of the Okanagan's Beyond the Bell and the Young Parents Program.

Beyond the Bell is an after-school academic enrichment program consisting of homework help, physical activity, and healthy snacks for at-risk students.

The Young Parents Program enables teenage parents, many facing housing, mental health and education barriers, to continue their studies fully supported at KSS through to graduation. 

Support for this event over the past four years has created incredible impact for the community. Over $300,000 has been raised for various local causes including the BC Cancer Foundation, Karis Support Society, and Rotary Club of Kelowna.

The event takes place at the Laurel Packing House on March 7 at 6 p.m.



Fire department called to Anderson Road

Report of structure fire

There are reports of a structure fire on Anderson Road.

Few details are available at this time, but there are unconfirmed reports an explosion was heard prior to the fire breaking out.

The fire department is on scene and there a reports the fire is in an outbuilding near some vehicles.

Castanet will have more information as soon as it becomes available.



Missing Kelowna woman found safe and sound

Missing woman found safe

UPDATE 4:35 p.m. Feb. 22

RCMP say Kiana Haner-Wilk has been found safe and sound.


ORIGINAL 10:30 a.m. Feb. 21

The Kelowna RCMP is appealing to the public for help in tracking down a missing woman. 

Kiana Haner-Wilk, 55, was last seen Feb. 18 leaving her home in Kelowna. She may be driving a black Nissan Sentra with British Columbia license plates 733RDW.

She is described as a caucasian female, five-foot-seven, 141 pounds, blonde dyed hair, green eyes with glasses. She was last seen wearing dark jeans, light coloured runners and a jacket.

"Police are concerned for Kiana’s well-being," said Const. Solana Paré of the Kelowna RCMP “Her family report that it is out of character for her to be out of contact for this long and that she may be suffering from a personal medical condition."

 Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Kiana is urged to contact their local police or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).



Charges laid in stabbing death of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

Charges laid in teen's death

RCMP have announced an arrest in the death of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard.

The Kelowna RCMP says an 18-year-old female was taken into custody on Friday and charged with one count of manslaughter. 

The charged female was a youth at the time of the offence, Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy said, so her identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 

She will appear in Kelowna Youth Justice Court on Monday.

Beauregard succumbed to his injuries, passing away June 30, 2019 after being stabbed downtown Kelowna behind the BMO on June 27, 2019. 

At the time, RCMP said they arrested a female suspect, but she was later released without charge pending the results of the investigation.

"Police believe that the suspect and victim were known to each other and that the general public is not at any risk. As such, the incident is being considered an isolated event, not a random attack,” said Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey on June 29, 2019.

A witness of the incident, Chris Cox, spoke to Castanet about the moments after the stabbing, indicating Beauregard was stabbed in the arm.

"I walked up, and I saw a bunch of blood and Eli holding his arm. That's when .... the person who did it came up to me and said: 'I just stabbed Eli.' She told me she stabbed Eli because he had never been stabbed before," Cox said.

The teen's father later told Castanet the hospital was initially going to have to amputate his son's arm as they fought to save Beauregard's life, but he eventually succumbed to his injuries.

“His heart stopped at the scene, and it stopped again at the hospital. They tried everything over the course of three days to make him comfortable and try and fix what was wrong, but there was just too much damage," Robyn Iain-Beauregard said.

Elijah Beauregard had been living on the streets at the time of his death.

As the matter is before the courts, RCMP say they will not be releasing any additional information.



Group of superheroes cheer up patients at KGH Saturday

Superheroes take over KGH

Patients of all ages lit up when Captain America, Spiderman, Grover, Merida, Raven and more walked into their room at Kelowna General Hospital Saturday morning.

The people behind the “Random Acts of Costuming” have been cheering up patients at KGH for more than two years now, handing out toys and cracking jokes with patients.

“Sometimes laughter and a change of pace can actually help the body heal and it gives at least some hope,” said Scott “Captain America” Burke.

The gang of costumed crusaders have been visiting the hospital about once a month. The idea came after Burke lost his seven-year-old granddaughter to a rare form of cancer.

“I just became aware of what other people are dealing with, in a deeper way,” Burke said.

“After she passed away, we decided to make a positive spin on it. We can't bring her back but we saw what happens in the different wards and how the children have to walk through some really difficult things so we decided to come here and help out and to bring some smiles and cheer people up.”

Six-year-old Levi Pennington was one of the patients the crew visited Saturday morning. His father Mike said he's been in and out of appointments at the hospital for a month and a half.

“It's great to break up the monotony of sitting in the hospital and waiting for the next doctor or nurse to come by,” Mike said. “It was definitely nice to see some fun faces.”

The superheroes weren't only there for the kids though.

“It was very surprising,” said patient Stuart Sharpe. “I didn't know what was going on, and then they kept coming and coming. It was quite a deal.”

Estelle Bennett said the visit “made (her) morning.”

The crew will be back at the hospital in about a months time. Those interested in joining in on the fun can find more information on their Facebook page.



Kelowna native shines for Heat, named one of Canada West's best

Ibbetson on all-rookie team

The season might not have gone well for the UBCO Heat women’s basketball team, but the same can’t be said for Jaeli Ibbetson.

The Kelowna product on Thursday was named to the Canada West all-rookie team for her breakout performance this season. She is the first Heat player to crack the conference’s all-rookie team.

“This is very exciting for our program, but especially Jaeli,” Heat head coach Bobby Mitchell said in a press release. “She works so hard, and it’s nice to see her recognized for all her hard work.

“Having coached Jaeli with the Junior Heat program, I got to see this first hand and knew she would have an immediate impact at the U Sports level.”

Ibbetson became just the second player in Heat history to average a double-double, registering 13.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She averaged 4.9 offensive rebounds per match, which was the best mark of any U Sports player.

The 6-foot forward played in only 12 games, missing eight during the middle of the season due to a broken hand, which likely hurt her chances of winning the conference's rookie of the year award.

The Heat missed the Canada West playoffs with a 2-18 record.



An individual was arrested outside of Orchard Park on Thursday

Stolen truck takedown

Kelowna RCMP officers were captured on video Thursday, at work arresting a person in a stolen vehicle. 

Laura Major tells Castanet News her daughter Christina's home was broken into overnight on Feb. 19 and her blue Ford F-150 was stolen. 

Christina was asleep when someone entered her home, she said on Facebook.

"While my family and I slept last night, someone, possibly more than one person, entered our home," says the post. "We can only assume it was the big dog barking from inside the bedroom that scared them away."

The suspects stole a laptop and other personal items before fleeing the home in Christina's vehicle. 

"The terrifying part is we were sleeping while this was happening — in the next room," the post continued. "What could have happened didn’t, and I am grateful we are alive. We are all in shock and honestly I can’t wrap my head around this. This is the stuff nightmares are made of."

Following the incident, Kelowna RCMP located the vehicle and, as the video shows, multiple officers approached the truck outside Orchard Park Shopping Centre, taking down the individual in the driver's seat.

Major says the suspect was arrested and the stolen truck is currently being assessed by ICBC.

Castanet has reached out to RCMP for more information.  



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