Theatre reopens after flood

The Creekside Theatre in Lake Country is open again, four months after thousands of gallons of water dropped into the facility.

The theatre flooded when the emergency deluge system was triggered, sending water on the theatre's floor, rigging, drapes and seating.

Creekside reopened last Friday with a sold out Beatles tribute show.

“We would like to thank our partner in this joint use facility, School District 23, in doing an amazing job leading the renovation process,” said Ryan Donn, cultural development co-ordinator. 

“We are so appreciative of the community patience as we recovered from the flood in June. We chose to use the mandate “the show must go on” and for September and the first week of October held our shows in the gymnasium or Winfield Memorial Hall.”

Donn says they are focussing on the final few shows of the fall season.

These include:

  • MILF Life Crisis happens this Saturday (October 21st) and is almost sold out. This show is one woman’s hilarious take on the challenge of midlife dating (after divorce).
  • Vishten (Nov 17th) with special guests the YoungUns blend traditional Celtic and Acadian songs and instrumentals.
  • Country stars: Chris Buck Band perform Nov 23rd as we test doing our first country show at the Creekside in many years. Our own local rising star, Ben Klick, opens the show.
  • TrainWreck Comedy: Wes Barker wraps up our comedy season this fall on November 25th.
  • Lastly we want to start doing more classical at the Creekside and we will be hosting a free solo recital featuring Luke Welch on Sunday Nov 16th in the afternoon.

Click here for show scheduled and ticket information.


Small steps, big changes

The Okanagan YMCA and The University of British Columbia have partnered together to launch a program that will help people who are at risk of suffering type two diabetes.

The Small Steps for Big Changes program will be offered at the Kelowna Downtown YMCA.

Small Steps for Big Changes is a three-week personalized diet and exercise program for individuals at risk of type two diabetes.

The program was developed at UBC’s Okanagan campus by Associate Professor, Mary Jung.

Jung put the program together with the intention of addressing the silent epidemic of prediabetes, which Diabetes Canada reports is expected to grow to 23 per cent of the Canadian population by 2025. 

For more information, click here

Sentenced for club attack

UPDATE: 4:35 p.m.

While the family of Kyle O'Brien celebrated Justice Allen Betton's sentencing Friday afternoon, Steven Kaplan's girlfriend broke down in tears.

Kaplan, who the Crown described as the “quarterback” of 2014 assault on Michael Martin, was given an eight-month jail sentence. O'Brien, the bouncer at Sapphire nightclub who threw Martin out of the bar at the request of Kaplan, was given 12 months of probation and a $3,000 fine.

“Neither Mr. Kaplan or Mr. O'Brien showed any apparent concern or surprise for Mr. Martin as he lay on the ground obviously unconscious and in distress,” said Justice Betton, who is currently on break from presiding over the high-profile Jonathan Bacon murder trial.

Despite Justice Betton finding both men criminally responsible last spring, he said Friday that Kaplan played a larger role in the assault.

“Mr. Kaplan's role in all of this is, in my view, more serious than that of Mr. O'Brien,” Justice Betton said. “He ... is the one who engaged Mr. Kollie (who threw the punch), found and facilitated the exposure of Mr. Martin to what ultimately occurred.

“This was not a spontaneous incident.”

O'Brien's extended family and friends hugged and high-fived when Justice Betton ruled O'Brien would face no jail time. Kaplan's girlfriend wept as Kaplan was taken into custody by the court's sheriffs.

Both O'Brien and Kaplan had no criminal record prior to the 2014 incident and had served no pre-sentence jail time. 

ORIGINAL: 3 p.m.

The fate of Kyle O'Brien and Steven Kaplan will be decided by a Kelowna Supreme Court judge Friday afternoon.

O'Brien, a bouncer at Sapphire nightclub on the night of Sept. 6, 2014, was convicted of assault in March 2017, for dragging Michael Martin out of the club at the request of Kaplan.

A few moments later, Martin lay knocked out on the pavement in front of the club, his skull fractured.

Kaplan and Martin had been in two separate altercations that evening, but Kaplan apparently wasn't finished.

Once Martin had been ejected from the club by O'Brien, Kaplan enlisted the help of Steven Kollie, a much larger man than both Kaplan and the 130-pound Martin.

Surveillance footage from outside the bar shows Kollie walked up behind Martin and sucker-punched him in the head, directly in front of O'Brien.

The single punch drops Martin, and Kollie walks away. Neither O'Brien, nor the club's other bouncer, pursues Kollie.

Kollie, with 31 prior convictions, was convicted of aggravated assault in the spring of 2016 and sentenced to five years in jail.

In March 2017, O'Brien was found guilty of assault, while Kaplan was convicted of aggravated assault, for their part in organizing and facilitating the vicious attack.

In his sentencing submissions Friday, Crown prosecutor David Grabavac told the court after spending 17 days in the hospital, Martin continues to suffer from traumatic brain injury. In a 2016 report, a doctor who assessed Martin said the brain damage would leave him more susceptible to “antisocial behaviour” and an increased risk of substance abuse.

Since the attack, Martin's life has “gone down in a spiral,” according to Grabavac, and he's overdosed on fentanyl several times.

“There's been a third time where Mr. Martin Sr. (the victim's father) has had to save his son a couple weeks ago with CPR,” Grabavac told the court. “The assault has had a devastating effect on Mr. Martin ... they've described him before and they've described Mr. Martin afterwards, and it's just devastating.”

The Crown is calling for a 15 to 18 month jail sentence for O'Brien, saying the bouncer abused his position of trust and authority. As for Kaplan, Crown is asking for a sentence of 15 to 18 months.

Meanwhile, O'Brien's counsel argued that 12 months of probation and a fine would be more appropriate for the former bouncer. In a letter to the court, O'Brien's father said his son has never had a speeding ticket, let alone a criminal charge, and he's known to his friends as a “gentle giant. O'Brien's extended family and friends filled much of the courtroom Friday.

“This was a good person who had a bad lapse in judgement,” Johnson said of his client.

While a conditional discharge can't be applied to Kaplan's aggravated assault charge, his lawyer argued a suspended sentence, where he serves a period of probation in the community but will still have a criminal record, would be appropriate.

“Young people do stupid things under alcohol all the time,” said Kaplan's lawyer, Ken Westlake.

“Sometimes young people who do stupid things under alcohol end up being convicted of very serious offences and go to jail for a period of time,” retorted Crown prosecutor Grabavac.  


Rescued, ready for love

Nine dogs were surrendered to the SPCA in Kelowna from a "bad situation" in the 100 Mile area that left the animals with severe behavioural and health issues.

The small breed dogs were dirty, had matted fur full of feces and were suffering severe dental disease.

“The dogs were owned by an elderly couple and unfortunately had been neglected over a period of time,” said Tracy Westmoreland, BC SPCA regional manager for the Interior.

“The husband died recently, and the wife is suffering from dementia and is now in a nursing home. We are really hoping that our supporters will help us provide the care that these dogs urgently need.”

SPCA staff have been giving the pups love and care since they arrived on Oct. 4.

“Our staff and volunteers have really been pouring their heart and soul into these animals,” said branch manager Sean Hogan.

Now, the dogs are showing less fear.

“We still have a lot of medical issues to address with about six of the nine, and we are continually working with them behaviourally.”

The dental surgeries and procedures are estimated to cost $15,000 to $20,000.

Donations to help the dogs can be made at this link.

Horgan said he expects the dogs to be available for adoption in early November.

Lake Country snarl fixed

Good news for motorists who regularly travel through Lake Country along Highway 97.

The traffic jam is almost over.

A traffic snafu has significantly slowed traffic through the community since Wednesday morning.

The problem was centered around the traffic lights at Highway 97 and Beaver Lake Road.

Contractors with the Ministry of Transportation have been there since Thursday, trying to determine what was causing the traffic light to change more frequently, allowing only handful of vehicles to cross the intersection.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic has been reported daily since the issue surfaced.

Ministry officials say the cause of the problem was detected this morning and should be fixed today.

The problem was with the detection loops in the system.

It's not known whether the problem resulted from Tuesday's windstorm, which knocked out power to a large chunk of Lake Country.

Okanagan getting older

As the region's population grows older, the Central Okanagan, along with all of Canada, will require new immigrants to maintain a strong workforce to grow the economy.

A new report published by the Central Okanagan Foundation, called Vital Signs, outlines the Okanagan's changing demographics, and shows a greying future with low fertility rates.

"Today, statistically, the Central Okanagan is predominantly a Euro-American, greying, and increasingly exclusive place, the latter at least in terms of escalating real estate values and rental costs," the report reads. 

Statistics from 2013 show B.C. having the lowest fertility rate in Canada and in 2015, the Central Okanagan was among the lowest fertility rates in the province.

Along with a low fertility rate, the region's older population is growing. Between 2006 and 2016, the populaton of those 65 and older grew by 35.1 per cent in the Central Okanagan and now make up 21 per cent of the region's population.

Older people weren't the only population to increase in the Okanagan though. Between 2011 and 2016, the total population grew by more than 25,000 people, making it the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada.

And with less births than deaths in that time, the increase in population came primarily from new residents moving to the region.

During 2015 to 2016, 2,802 new residents came from elsewhere in B.C., 1,393 came from other provinces and 388 were international immigrants. Among these new residents, 72.2 per cent were between age 20 and 64, the workforce age.

“One out of two people who will be living in the Central Okanagan in 2042 has not yet arrived, and if we look forward fifty years, to 2067, the ratio could be three out of four,” the Vital Signs report reads. “Therefore, whatever 'creating community' means, it is a long-term, intergenerational and intercultural project.”

Home crushed by 4 trees

Alanna Kelly

Sandy Friend was at work when she received a phone call telling her four massive trees had crushed her house during a windstorm.

“I just prayed all the way here, 'God please keep my dogs safe,'” she said. “I ran from work and came here right away, the hydro line was down, there was a fire truck here, I ran right by them.”

The family has been living in hotels since Tuesday's windstorm, and had to move twice now because there were no rooms left.

Friend saw nothing but trees when she arrived at her home on McCurdy road.

“You just hope nobody got hurt or injured or killed,” she said.

She was able to rescue her two Chihuahuas, who were unhurt, from inside the home.

“We are just taking it one day at a time, just staying in a hotel,” she said.

Insurance came through and will help cover the cost of the hotels, but Friend said they need somewhere more permanent to keep their dogs.

“They have to take the trees off the house before they know how long we will be out of the home,” she said. “We’ve been too stressed out, we can’t even go to work.”

Friend wanted to thank the people of Kelowna that have reached out and offered support.

If you want to get in contact with the family you can email them at [email protected]

Not Schooly McSchoolface

While it was the runaway top choice as the name for the new middle school in Kelowna's Upper Mission, Schooly McSchoolface didn't make the grade.

The name plays off Boaty McBoatface, the tongue-in-cheek winner of a 2016 British contest asking people to name a polar research vessel.

School District 23 secretary-treasurer Larry Paul says if this were an election, Schooly McSchoolface would have been the hands-down winner.

Paul said three other names are being considered. The selection committee would be happy with any of them.

Those names are: Canyon Falls, Myra Canyon and Ki-Low-Na.

All three will be brought forward to a public open house next Monday, 6 to 8 p.m. at OKM Secondary.

The final design for the school on Frost Road will also be presented.

While design of the building itself is complete, Paul said the public will be able to provide input on items such as exterior finish and layout of the yard.

Halloween Haunt is back

The annual Halloween Haunt fundraiser is back for a spooky, fun-filled family event with one new addition.

Zombie races, worm eating contests and a new haunted house are just a few of the events taking place on Oct. 28 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. at 395 Hartman Road.

Kelowna & District Safety Council host the event.

“We are thrilled to again open the Little Travellers Safety Village for our annual Halloween Haunt” said Ayn Lexi, executive director of the Kelowna & District Safety Council.

Children are encouraged to dress up and enter the parade of costumes at 2 p.m.

"It’s great to have the support of community businesses to help make this year’s fund raising event even better” said Sheila Campbell, children’s program co-ordinator. “We are adding a haunted house this year so come on out and join in the festivities.”

Tickets can be purchased for $10 each online here.

Multiple injuries in crash

A three-vehicle crash on Harvey Avenue near Cooper Road has reportedly left multiple people injured.

The crash occurred in the westbound lanes of Harvey Avenue just after 9 p.m. Thursday night, closing the westbound lanes. 

The Kelowna Fire Department, ambulance and the RCMP attended the scene. 

Photos from the scene show a dark-coloured car with a badly-damaged front end. 

The extent of the injuries of those involved is unknown, but a witness at the scene said multiple people were injured. 

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