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Vernon  

Creeper caught on camera

When Jessica O'Dwyer checked her home surveillance footage and saw a man stealing clothes from her Vernon home, she was shocked.

The Bellevue Road area woman said the video shows the man approaching her house and disregarding the motion-sensor lights he set off to rummage through a box next to the front door.

“It was invasive, it was creepy, having someone come that close. We are still a little in shock,” said O'Dwyer, adding the incident was reported to police. “It's super invasive. He was prepared, he had a headlight on and everything. We have reported it to the RCMP.”

Also missing from their South Vernon home was two batteries from their travel trailer, but that theft was not caught on camera.



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Calling all royalty

As the Vernon Winter Carnival gets ready to celebrate 60 years, a call is going to all former Queen Silver Star royalty.

It has been six decades since the first carnival and in that time there have been dozens of queens and princesses crowned. Celine Grosch, QSS chairperson, said they want as many former royals as possible to attend a variety of special events.

“We are doing some special events for our 60th anniversary. We are bringing back the ice castle for our coronation,” said Grosch. “We are hoping to get in touch with as many past royalty as possible. We would like to include them in our fashion show and coronation.”

Grosch said they are also reaching out to past royalty and sponsors for old photos.

“Our archives only have a few and we are hoping to use them for memento decorations and that type of thing,” she said, adding they are looking for as many past crowns as possible to show how they have changed over the years.

For more information, call Grosch at 250-308-6068 or email [email protected].



A dream of a fundraiser

Members of Kalamalka Rotary are dreaming about another big fundraiser.

The Rotarians are preparing for the club’s 35th annual Dream Auction.

The gala evening will be held on Nov. 16 and will feature live and silent auctions, a three-course dinner and dance as part of an evening that is known to be one of the premiere social events in Vernon.

This event also serves as an opportunity to give back to the community and support so many worthy not-for-profit groups.

Funds raised at the Dream Auction are used by Kalamalka Rotary to support the community in the areas of community health, environment and parks, athletics and recreation, education and arts and culture.

In 2018, the auction supported building improvements for Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association, Kindale Society and provided much-needed equipment to Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Community Dental Access Centre, Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports and the North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association.

Julia Payson, executive director for CMHA in Vernon praised Rotary for the impact their donation had on the association.

“Our kitchen is the hub of CHMA – it is a community table where we join together six days a week to prepare and share more than 6,500 meals a year,” said Payson. “This inclusive community space allows us to better serve our participants and community with good nutrition, social connections and life skills.”

A portion of the funds are also allocated to international destinations which support projects in the areas of disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation projects, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development.

“We are excited about this milestone anniversary,” said Brian Reid, Dream Auction chairperson. “Over the past 34 years, Kalamalka Rotary has raised over $4 million dollars with 100 per cent of the proceeds of the event given to local and international not- for-profit groups.”

Kalamalka Rotarians are looking for businesses and individuals to support the auction by providing a product or service for the live and silent auctions, sponsoring the event and donating cash for auction items and attending the event as a guest and bidding on auction items. Community groups can begin to apply for grants between now and December.

Applications are available online.



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Downtown bathroom details

Vernon City Council is finalizing details on new downtown bathrooms.

Council has endorsed the operating plan for the washroom, which will be in the area of 30th Avenue and Coldstream Avenue.

Laurie Cordell, manager of long-range planning and sustainability, said the facilities will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

"The washroom is to be cleaned every three hours for the first month. This would be reviewed and scheduling re-evaluated at that time,” she said.

Earlier this year, Cordell told council, "The proposed location is not immediately adjacent to any business, is highly visible and is accessible. The facility is intended to be used by everybody, not just the street population. It is understood that area businesses have concerns. It is recommended that the washroom facility be installed at this location and administration follow up with nearby businesses as to any issues arising."

Bylaw compliance and the RCMP will patrol the site as scheduling and call-outs allow, and private security will patrol the facility twice between 6-10 p.m. and lock the facility for the evening.

Council has approved $17,820 so the washroom can be installed and ready for public use for the remainder of 2019. A total of $35,000 could be spent in 2020 for maintenance and security of the washroom.

- with files from the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce



Concerns for missing man

North Okanagan RCMP are concerned about the wellbeing of a missing man and are renewing their plea for the public to come forward with any information.

Const. Kelly Brett said Bjorn Collnes, 72, was last seen on Sept. 9, in Falkland and was reported missing to police on Sept. 12, after he failed to return home from a scheduled trip to Kamloops.

His brown mini-van was located by police abandoned that same day on highway 97, west of Westwold.

Brett said Collnes is a diabetic and had only a few days supply of insulin with him when he left his Falkland home.

“He only had medication to last until Sept. 14,” said Brett.

Collnes' van was found without keys in it and a blue mountain bike with a small gas-powered motor on it was missing.

“Police believe Mr. Collnes could be and have departed with that bike, however it is unconfirmed at this time,” said Brett.

Since Collnes has gone missing, police, with the support of the local search and rescue team, have conducted extensive ground and air searches of the area where his vehicle was located. The RCMP underwater recovery unit also conducted a search of Monte Lake.

“We are very concerned about Mr. Collnes wellbeing and are asking anyone who may have any information about his disappearance to contact police,” said Brett. “Investigators are also asking for any dash cam footage that may have been captured by passing motorists, between the hours of 1:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 9, and 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 on Highway 97 between Falkland and the Monte Lake area.”

Collnes is described as a Caucasian male, 72 years of age with blue eyes, brown hair, 5’7”. Colnes was last seen wearing a black Harley Davidson T-shirt, gray/black camouflage shorts with brown running shoes.



Sagmoen video released

Warning, the video of the interrogation of Curtis Sagmoen contains strong language.

Interrogation video has been released a day after Justice Alison Beames ruled a temporary publication ban of testimony emerging from a voir dire in the trial of Curtis Sagmoen be lifted.

A consortium of local and provincial media outlets met Tuesday and determined elements they wanted in an edited clip taken from several hours of original footage.

Global Vancouver reporter Rumina Daya worked with a colleague to edit the video for use by all outlets.

Sagmoen outburst exhibited

The video focuses on three key moments during Sagmoen's interrogations with RCMP Const. Richard MacQueen over a two-day span in early September 2017.

The most visual is Sagmoen's violent reaction to MacQueen's assertion that the family desktop computer is going to be searched at the 16 minute mark of the video.

Sagmoen can be seen leaping from his chair and grabbing another chair while screaming about his mother. MacQueen is able to quell the anger and Sagmoen quickly regains his composure and apologizes for the outburst.

Another key moment comes when MacQueen mentions the possibility that Sagmoen's parents might be put out for less time if Sagmoen tells him details of living arrangements on the property.

Finally, there is a moment where Sagmoen admits to contacting escorts with his smartphone, potentially bringing context to the case being built against him.

Sagmoen's voice was distorted on the clips due to a court-imposed ruling.

Background

There was a publication ban issued pre-trial covering any details that would tend to identify the victim in the case. That notice went out on Aug. 30. No issues were raised by attending members of the media.

On Monday, Sept. 9, Crown counsel Simone McCallum and defence lawyer Lisa Helps jointly proposed a ban of details emerging from the voir dire — a mini-trial within a trial held to determine the admissibility of evidence.

This voir dire focused on the "voluntariness" of statements given by the defendant.

This caught most media, and Justice Alison Beames, off guard as publication bans of voir dire hearings in a judge-only trial are rare.

The remaining voir dire hearings and the trial proper are tentatively scheduled for the weeks of Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.

Sagmoen is now facing four counts related to allegations arising from an incident on Aug. 26 and 27 2017. They allege that he masked his face with the intent to commit an indictable offence, he intentionally discharged a firearm being reckless of the life or safety of another person, used a firearm while threatening a complainant or during flight after threatening the complainant and uttering threats.

The charges in this case stem from an incident in August 2017 where a sex worker alleges she was threatened with a weapon before she managed to escape.

Sagmoen has been behind bars since his arrest in September 2017.

In October 2017, police searched a farm owned by Sagmoen's parents on Salmon River Road near Silver Creek where they found the remains of Traci Genereaux.

No connection between Genereaux and Sagmoen has been made, and he is not facing any charges relating to her death.

Police have called Genereaux's death suspicious.

Other allegations of violent acts against women by Sagmoen have also been made, and on Feb. 4 Sagmoen pleaded guilty to an assault charge stemming from an incident in the Lower Mainland in 2013.

Sagmoen was originally charged with assault causing bodily harm in an attack on a sex trade worker in Maple Ridge, but entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.



A reason to 'fuel' good

People who purchased gas from an area Coop gas station Tuesday have a reason to 'fuel' good.

Almost $10,000 was raised as part of the Armstrong Regional Cooperative’s Fuel Good Day where 10 cents from every litre sold was donated to local organizations.

At the end of the day, Coop members and customers raised $3,707 for the Shuswap Children’s Association; $2,268.00 for the Armstrong Pawprints Animal Rescue Foundation and $3,918 for Venture Training in Vernon.

“As a locally owned and operated business, we’re proud to give back and get behind local initiatives that are working to address the needs of our community,” said Jason Keis, marketing and sales manager of the Armstrong Regional Co-op.

“Thank you to our members and customers for the support you’ve shown during Fuel Good Day. Once again, it’s amazing to see what we can accomplish when we all work together.”

Fuel Good Day was celebrated at more than 400 Co-op Gas Bars throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, with each local co-op supporting a local community organization or initiative.

Last year, Co-op locations across Western Canada donated more than $600,000 from Fuel Good Day, with nearly $1.2 million donated to 275 local charities and non-profit organizations in the past two years.



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