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West Kelowna  

Mother bear and two cubs paid a visit to a West Kelowna backyard Friday morning

Bear family pays a visit

A family of black bears paid a visit to a West Kelowna home Friday morning.

Dale Krushel's backyard surveillance camera captured the mother bear and her two cubs taking a morning stroll through the backyard at about 5:45 a.m. Krushel's home backs onto the Shannon Lake Golf Course.

Krushel has lived in the area for three years, and he's seen a bear there once a couple summers ago. But this is the first time he's seen a mother with cubs come through.

"It's a little alarming when you see a mom with two babies ... you don't want to get anywhere near them," he said.

"I noticed [the Shannon Lake Golf Course] have put signs up too so someone else must have also reported seeing a bear."

Bears are out and about across the Okanagan. Thursday morning, a bear was spotted wandering around Airport Way near Kelowna International Airport, while another bear was spotted on a surveillance camera down in a backyard in Penticton the week prior.



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Ten cm of snow fell on the Okanagan Connector overnight

Snow blankets Connector

Long-weekend travellers may want to put their winter tires back on.

Snow has fallen on the Okanagan Connector overnight, and more is expected through the morning.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for the highway, after 10 cm of snow fell overnight. An additional five cm is forecast Saturday morning, tapering off by noon.

DriveBC webcams on the Pennask Summit and the Elkhart area show mid-winter conditions, with trees and the surrounding areas covered in snow. But as of Saturday morning, the highway itself looks relatively clear.

The new snow comes after a week of flurries at higher elevations, during what has been an unseasonably cool spring.



Emergency crews called to incident at Glenrosa Middle school

Incident at middle school

Emergency crews were dispatched to Glenrosa Middle school sometime early Friday afternoon.

In response to a request for information concerning an incident at the school, officials with School District 23 would only acknowledge something did occur at the school.

"The school is working with authorities to investigate an incident that prompted an emergency response today at Ecole Glenrosa Middle School," the district stated in a news release.

"Due to involvement of minors, we cannot provide further details at this time."

Witnesses in the area alerted Castanet to an incident, saying a child had been injured on the field and that ambulance and RCMP had been called.

Castanet has reached out to police for further comment.



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Hwy 97C open after crash that required air ambulance

Air ambulance at crash

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.

The Okanagan Connector has now reopened in both directions.

Photos submitted to Castanet show an air ambulance was dispatched to the crash, which involves at least two vehicles.

A white sedan rolled off the highway and sustained major front-end damage while another car was off the road in the centre median.

There were also a pair of commercial trucks parked at the scene, but it is not clear if they were involved.

The extent of any injuries is not known.


ORIGINAL 1 p.m.

The Okanagan Connector is closed in both directions west of Pennask Summit due to a multi-vehicle crash.

The crash near the Loon Lake rest stop has resulted in a full closure of the roadway. DriveBC reports there is no detour or estimated time of reopening.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Send your pictures and video to [email protected]



Quails’ Gate Winery takes over operation of South Okanagan vineyard

Quails' takes over vineyard

Pioneers of British Columbia’s wine industry — the Stewart family of Quails’ Gate Winery and the Martiniuk family of Stoneboat Vineyards — have come together in a vineyard partnership.

Quails’ Gate Winery has taken over responsibility for the Martiniuk’s 30-acre site located on the Black Sage Bench in Oliver. Chief executive officer of Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Tony Stewart is excited about the partnership.

“We are delighted to be working with Julie and Lanny Martiniuk, allowing their legacy of quality and innovation to continue. We are also ensuring family-owned businesses in the Okanagan Valley continue to prosper,” said Stewart.

According to Stewart, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery is honoured to be entrusted with a tract of land that provides an opportunity to produce wines that will perfectly complement and enhance their red wine program.

Handing over the farming duties to another family was no easy choice, said Lanny Martiniuk.

“As we prepare to take a step back from farming, we wanted to ensure the next farmers to care for and operate the land share the same philosophy and we believe the Stewart family will ensure that legacy lives on,” said Martiniuk.

The 30-acre site is currently being revitalized as Quails’ Gate looks to enhance 40 years of successful farming on the property.



Dozens rally outside MLA's office for better access to family doctors

Rally for family doctors

Dozens of West Kelowna residents rallied outside Kelowna West MLA Ben Stewart's office Thursday morning, protesting the right to a family doctor.

The rally was one of several demonstrations across the province calling for more better access to healthcare.

"We walked from White Spot to the MLA's office and back. Almost one million people in B.C. don't have family doctors now and part of the reason for that is the way physicians are paid. Specialists are paid sometimes twice or three times more per patient so as people are graduating medical school they are choosing to not go into family practice," protester Kim Rhindress said, calling the system broken.

"We need about 600 more family doctors so that everyone can get care. They are the gate keepers for all the specialists appointments. You can't just keep going to walk in clinics for care. It is not getting better. It is only getting worse," she said.

Rhindress says she is fortunate to have a family doctor.

"We just went to support our doctors. We are very lucky that we have doctors, but a lot of people don't," she added.

An estimated one-in-five people cannot find a family doctor in B.C.

Protesters also gathered at the B.C. Legislature on Thursday morning while politicians debated the issue inside.

Camille Currie, the founder of B.C. Healthcare Matters, was inside the legislature during question period as the rally started. Having started the organization in February after learning she would lose her physician at Eagle Creek Medical Clinic in View Royal in April, Currie has since whipped up support from doctors, nurses and people both without a family doctor and those in fear of losing one.

The organization’s main petition for government action on the family doctor shortage crisis now has more than 42,000 signatures. It was presented in the legislature by health critic Shirley Bond.

Bond asked the health minister during question period how the province could make a $789-million replacement of the Royal B.C. Museum more important than “British Columbians who are anxious, upset, and concerned that they cannot access a family doctor in this province?”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 30,000 more people working in health care today than there were two years ago. In the face of the pandemic, the province developed new fee codes to allow for more telehealth and virtual visits, he said.

“I’m very proud of the work of family practice doctors in this period,” said Dix.

Doctors, who are typically paid using a fee-for-service model in B.C., have been asking the province for more options when it comes to how they’re paid, such as salary or contracts, along with financial assistance with overhead costs, provision of more allied health professionals, more training spaces for physicians, and an improved accreditation process for foreign-trained doctors.

Physicians calling themselves Family Doctors for Better Patient Care in B.C. prepared a leaflet titled “Commonsense Solutions to a Crisis in British Columbia” and are handing them out at today’s rally.

The leaflet notes B.C. has about 6,800 trained family doctors — yet only about 3,500 are practising in that role, according to the General Service Practice Committee’s 2020-21 year-in-review. It blames the province for “starving” family doctors from appropriate levels of funding and causing “an exodus” from the profession.

The doctors advise the province to employ the same data-driven, evidenced-based, urgent action used during the pandemic to address doctors’ needs; establish pay equity between family doctors and higher-paid specialists; and provide incentives for hundreds of doctors in specialties to return to family medicine.

with files from Cindy E. Harnett, Times Colonist



Power back on to areas of Peachland, Summerland

Wind causes outages

UPDATE 9:25 p.m.

The lights are now back on.

The BC Hydro website shows the power has been restored to the affected areas of Peachland and Summerland.


UPDATE 7:50 p.m.

Power has been restored to affected areas in West Kelowna.

BC Hydro says about 660 customers in Peachland and Summerland remain without electricity.


ORIGINAL 5 p.m.

Strong winds are likely to blame for a power outage affecting nearly 3,000 customers in parts of West Kelowna, Peachland and Summerland.

One woman in Peachland called Castanet to say the lights were out in an area around Princeton Avenue and Ponderosa Drive. The Peachland Pharmacy on Beach Avenue posted on Facebook to let customers know staff are still working but the phones and computers are down.

According to B.C. Hydro, the outage began around 3:40 p.m. and was caused by a tree coming down across a line. The affected area is north of 97 HWY, South of Elliott Road, West of HWY 97, and east of Princeton Avenue. A total of 2,685 customers are without electricity.

B.C. Hydro is also reporting outages along the Okanagan Connector corridor due to trees across the line. One affects about 150 customers near Aspen Grove.



Glenrosa Middle School holds weeklong fundraiser for Ukraine

Students helping Ukraine

Students at Glenrosa Middle School are holding a fundraiser this week to raise money for Ukraine.

According to eighth grade teacher Anyssa Allen, the idea came directly from her students as a part of their Kindness Project.

"My grade eight class has planned a series of fundraisers, and basically every day at lunch they’re organizing something different for students and staff to participate in in order to raise money for Ukraine,” explained Allen.

The fundraiser runs all week long, and students and staff are encouraged to participate and donate through a wide variety of daily fundraisers organized by the students.

“All kinds of things. Yesterday was glow in the dark capture the flag. Today is a raffle for a mall gift card, slime sale, and an art auction from our grade nine students that donated art, as well as balloon animal sales. Tomorrow is belly baseball, Thursday and Friday we are showing Shrek and selling snacks.”

Allen says that when she launched this project in March, the students were taken aback by the war happening overseas and they wanted to take action. Eighth grade student Olivia McLean was a big part of that project.

“It’s kind of hard to put it into words. I just feel a lot of remorse for the people in Ukraine having to go through that just not knowing if you’re going to wake up and be able to see your family. I can’t imagine how horrible that feels . I’m glad – even if it’s the smallest difference – I’m glad we can help and make any difference at all.”

The fundraiser is targeted at students and staff, but people in the community are encouraged to contact the school if they wish to donate.



Police arrest wanted West Kelowna man

Wanted man in custody

A wanted West Kelowna man has turned himself in to RCMP after being on the loose since early May.

Aidan McLuskey, 24, was wanted on a warrant for failing to comply with the conditions of his release.

Police issued a news release last week asking the public for information related to McLuskey's whereabouts.

“On May 14, 2022, West Kelowna RCMP, along with assistance from Police Dog Services and Air Services, arrested Aidan McLuskey in the area of Gellatly Road in West Kelowna," said Cpl. Tammy Lobb, media relations officer for the Kelowna RCMP.

“He was apprehended without incident and will appear in court on May 16, 2022."

The Mounties thanked the public for providing tips that helped locate McLuskey.



West Kelowna RCMP continue hunt for wanted man

Warrant for wanted man

West Kelowna RCMP is asking for the public's help to locate Aidan McLuskey, 24, who is facing charges of not complying with a release order.

RCMP announced a warrant for his arrest after he failed to comply with the conditions of his release from a previous incident.

"West Kelowna RCMP received a report that a man had allegedly failed to comply with conditions of his release. The man fled the location he was reported to be at before police could locate him, and since then there have been several sightings of him in the area of Gellatly Road," says RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Lobb.

Heavy police responses in West Kelowna over the past several days have been linked to the police's hunt for McLuskey.

“The West Kelowna RCMP, along with assistance from Police Dog Services and Air Services, has conducted several searches of the area as officers continue to follow-up on tips from the public,” said Lobb.

“If you see Aidan McLuskey, do not approach him and call 911 immediately."



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