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Kamloops  

Arrest in school threats

UPDATE: 4:15 p.m.

Kamloops RCMP say they have made an arrest following a bomb threat this morning at Sa-Hali Secondary School. 

This afternoon, police arrested an 18-year-old male from Kamloops. 

He is being held in custody pending a court appearance on Saturday.


ORIGINAL: 1:50 p.m.

Sa-Hali Secondary School In Kamloops is suspending all weekend activities to allow RCMP to investigate recent threats.

According to a memo posted on the school's website, there was another threat made to the school Friday morning. 

"Threats to the school are taken seriously and take a tremendous amount of resources to investigate and to determine the source of the threat," reads the statement. "It is critically important for parents to stress to their children the consequences of these inappropriate actions regarding such matters in any and all school settings."

At this time, it's unclear what kind of threat was made this time. The incident follows five others similar in nature.

Earlier today, there was a threat painted on Dallas Elementary, but classes went on as scheduled.

Thursday, a male youth was arrested after he allegedly made a threat on Snapchat against Kamloops Christian School.

On Sept. 18, graffiti reading "there is a bomb" was painted on Sa-Hali Secondary. Police determined the threat was unfounded.

On Sept. 13, graffiti stating "find the bomb" was sprayed on Valleyview Secondary. That threat turned out to be not credible.

And, on Sept. 10, a teen's "play on words" on Snapchat was taken as a threat against Sa-Hali Secondary.



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Cats won't be returned

The BC SPCA will have custody of 13 serval cats that were found near Kamloops in June.

According to a news release, the BC Farm Industry Review Board has ruled that the exotic animals will not be returned to their former owners.

"Instead, these wild animals will be transferred to accredited sanctuaries to live out their wild lives," reads the statement.

The BC SPCA will have to apply for federal permits to send them to those sanctuaries.

The cats were taken off a Little Fort property north of Kamloops after being found in "horrific" living conditions. At the time, they were being kept in two RVs, with no access to water, sunlight or an adequate diet, according to the SPCA. 

The organization notes the animals received months of specialized care following their removal. 

Under current B.C. law, the breeding, sale and possession of serval cats is legal.

The SPCA is using the case as an example why dangerous cats, such as tigers, lions, leopards, lynx and bobcats, should not be kept as pets. It has also launched a petition to add serval cats on the Controlled Alien Species list.



Stands by controversial post

Ken Finlayson — the People's Party of Canada candidate in Kamloops — is standing by a social media post that compares climate activist Greta Thunberg to Nazi propaganda from the 1940s.

The post was shared on the PPC Kamloops Thompson Cariboo Facebook page. It shows Thunberg next to a poster from the Hitler youth movement and a photo of Heinrich Himmler with a little blond girl. Underneath the original post, it simply reads "Manipulation....." The PPC post states "Useing [sic] Children for propaganda! How low can you go?"

Finlayson says he was the person who shared the post to the Facebook page and stands by the comparison.

"I pity Greta Thunberg. I think the exploitation of children, which I think this is a case of, is a Nazi tactic. And especially so with a child who's suffering from a disease," he said.

Thunberg is a Swedish teenager who's made international headlines since August 2018 for her climate change activism. She started, alone, sitting in front of the Swedish parliament buildings; more recently, she spoke at the United Nations General Assembly and at a US congressional hearing. Thunberg also has Asperger Syndrome. In a recent tweet that went viral, she spoke about how it can help her see things differently.

Finlayson, who doesn't believe in climate change (calling it a hoax and environmental activists alarmists), thinks Thunberg has an irrational fear of climate change because of her diagnosis and that she's being exploited.

"That's what the Nazis did with children," he says. "I think if you're exploiting vulnerable people to serve a political agenda, I think that's a fair comparison."

He says, instead, she should be "protected and pitied" because of her "affliction."

"It's a sad case of exploitation of a person who's already suffering."

Heidi Coleman, president of the Kamloops Jewish Community says the use of Nazi imagery is "insulting" and "scary."

"It's a juxtaposition that does not sit well with me and I'm sure others in the Jewish community as well."

Jeffrey Meyers, a law professor at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), with expertise in right-wing politics, says the use of the post and posts like it are "right out of the Alt-Right playbook."

"We cannot allow this type of toxic and nihilistic politics to gain a similar toehold in Canada. Suggesting that an embrace of young climate activist, Greta Thunberg, is equivalent to Nazi propaganda is beyond the pale," he says. "In fact, it's the PPC candidate’s post which most resembles Nazi propaganda. What better way to prove your own cruelty and small-mindedness than to post this ridiculous false equivalence?"



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SnapChat gun threat

Kamloops RCMP working in conjunction with Interpol have arrested a male youth after another threat involving a Kamloops school.

RCMP were alerted after a post on SnapChat, showed a youth holding 2 pistols and a threatening caption towards Kamloops Christian School. The male youth has been arrested and as a result of the threatening post the school has been closed out of an abundance of caution.

"We are confident that we have the author of the threat in custody, and that there are no risks to the school staff or students at this time" said Staff Sgt. Mat. Van Laer of the Kamloops RCMP. Because of the age of the alleged offender, no more details about this particular investigation have been released. "These threats to school are very demanding on police resources and are taken very seriously. They also disrupt students, staff and parents. Anyone caught making such threat can be facing very serious consequences" added Staff Sgt. Van Laer.

This is the fourth threat made against a local school this month. Yesterday (Sept. 18), graffiti reading "there is a bomb" was painted on Sa-Hali Secondary. Police determined the threat was unfounded.



New Interior air ambulance

A new air ambulance is serving B.C.'s Central Interior.

Summit Helicopters has deployed a brand-new Bell 412 EPI helicopter to support the BC Ambulance Service.

“The Bell 412 EPI helicopter in Kamloops is brand new and a state-of-the-art rotary aircraft. We are extremely pleased to support the BC Ambulance Service in Central BC,” said Summit's Lane Zirnhelt.

Summit has been operating a dedicated helicopter for seven years on contract with B.C. Emergency Health Services, which operates the BC Ambulance Service. 

“This new helicopter is supporting patients across the Interior for both critical hospital transfers and emergency 911 responses, said Paul Vallely, BCEHS’s senior provincial director of patient care.

“This aircraft features the latest in safety enhancements, an integrated avionics suite with a glass cockpit and electronically controlled engines,” said Steven Williams, chief pilot for Summit. “The EPI offers vastly increased performance and safety margins required for the challenging role and terrain in which we fly.”  

The chopper has two emergency patient stretchers and flies with two critical care paramedics, along with a two-pilot crew. 



School threat unfounded

UPDATE: 1:10 p.m.

RCMP have concluded their investigation into this morning's threat to Sa-Hali Secondary School in Kamloops, and classes will resume at 1:40 p.m. today.  Soccer and volleyball practice and tonight's parents' athletic meeting will proceed as scheduled later today. 

Regular attendance procedures will resume tomorrow.


UPDATE: noon

Kamloops RCMP say Sa-Hali Secondary School is safe, and this morning's threat has been deemed unfounded.

“Every threat made on a school is taken very serious,” says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie. 

“It takes a tremendous amount of resources to react to these threats, to investigate the source of the threat.  These resources are officers that could have been used responding to other calls.”

Parents can expect either an email or call from the school on when students can return to class.


UPDATE: 9:45 a.m.

Assistant Kamloops Supt. Bill Hamblett says a threat made at Sa-Hali Secondary School was another case of graffiti on the building, which read "there is a bomb."

"The safety of our staff and students is paramount, so we take every incident seriously," he says.

Hamblett couldn't say whether today's incident is linked to recent tagging at Valleyview Secondary.

The school is still on lockdown at this hour. 

"We'll provide updates as soon as we can, as soon as the RCMP have concluded their investigation and given us the thumbs up."

A handful of students who did get to school early this morning are with staff at the Tournament Capital Centre, notes Hamblett, adding there are no students left on the field.

This is the third threat Mounties have responded to this month. On Sept. 10, a teen's "play on words" on Snapchat was taken as a threat against Sa-Hali Secondary. Then on Sept. 13, graffiti reading "find the bomb" was sprayed on Valleyview Secondary. The threat turned out to not be credible.

– Kamloops Matters


ORIGINAL: 8:40 a.m.

Kamloops RCMP are on scene of a reported threat at Sa-Hali Secondary School.

The school's administration received the threat earlier today and immediately took action to evacuate the building.

The school has been shut down and no students or staff are allowed to enter the school. 

"Students who live in the vicinity of Sa-Hali Secondary are asked to stay home from school until further notice. Students who do not live near the school are to meet their teachers in the Sa-Hali Secondary School field. Alternate arrangements are being made for the day," RCMP say.
 
Once police have been able to determine whether this threat is real not and that the building is safe, students and staff will be allowed back into class.



Missing 30-year-old found

UPDATE: Monday 3:40 p.m.

Kamloops RCMP advise missing 30-year-old male reported on Sept. 13th has been located and is safe.


ORIGINAL: Saturday 2:50 p.m.

Kamloops RCMP are asking for help locating Chevy Hennigar. 

The 30-year-old man was last seen Sept. 12 in the early evening. 

He is described as medium complexion, with short dark brown hair, six feet tall and 240 pounds. 

If you have seen Chevy or know of his whereabouts, contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.



'Any bag will do' food drive

If you want to chip in to help the Kamloops Food Bank this fall, you'll have to empty out that drawer full of shopping bags (we all have one).

For the first time, no yellow bags will be distributed for the fall Rotary Food Drive. Instead, any bag or box will suffice.

Local residents will receive a flyer in the mail this week between Monday and Wednesday (Sept. 16-18) that they can attach to their non-perishable food donation.

Then they simply need to leave their donation in a visible spot outside their homes before 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, the day of the food drive.

“Our goal is to bring in record-setting donations with the Any Bag Will Do campaign,” says Bernadette Siracky, executive director of the Kamloops Food Bank.

Last year, the Fall Food Drive brought in nearly 50,000 pounds of donations for 7,000 clients and 60 community agencies that are supported by the Kamloops Food Bank.



SUV, truck collide

UPDATE: 6:45 a.m.

Kamloops RCMP say a serious crash at the old Highway 5 junction near Station Road Friday night involved an SUV that was entering the highway northbound when it was struck by a pickup. 

“Upon arrival on scene, two vehicles were observed to have collided. A small SUV with two occupants was noted to have left the noted intersection to enter onto Highway 5 North. A northbound pickup truck with two occupants then collided with the SUV," says Sgt. Brandon Buliziuk. 

“Upon extraction from the vehicle, the two occupants of the SUV were transported by ground and air ambulances to medical facilities for urgent care. Both remain in critical condition at this time. The two occupants of the pickup truck were assessed at scene and are physically unharmed.” 

The cause of the collision remains under investigation.


UPDATE: 9:50 p.m.

Drive BC reports Highway 5 traffic is now flowing as normal. 

The crash site between Old Highway 5 and Station Road in Kamloops has been cleared. 


ORIGINAL: 8:20 p.m.

Highway 5 is open to single-lane alternating traffic, according to Drive BC, following a motor vehicle incident near Heffley Creek that closed the road for nearly two hours. 

A bad motor vehicle incident closed the road.

There is no word yet on the severity of any injuries.

Kamloops RCMP say they are in the initial stages of assessing the situation and extracting patients. They will be sending out an update late tonight. 

Drive BC says the road is expected to be back to normal traffic flow by 11 p.m.

– with files from Kamloops Matters



Bomb threat 'not credible'

The Kamloops-Thompson School District confirms that police were called to Valleyview Secondary this morning to investigate a bomb threat painted on the school.

When staff arrived, they noticed graffiti had been sprayed on the building that said: "find the bomb."

"The school district takes these kinds of incidents very seriously," says assistant superintendent Bill Hamblett. "The RCMP were called to the school and ascertained that the threat was not credible. Parents have been informed and we'll be communicating updates to parents, students and staff."

Hamblett says classes were not delayed and school resumed as normal as the RCMP investigated. Parents have continued to receive email updates throughout the day.

"We'll communicate to the parents, our staff and our students and ask for their help. Maybe they know who did it, I don't know. Maybe a student from another school or somebody else not even attached to the school district."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.



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