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Kamloops  

TRU math club invites high school, university student teams to compete in math battle

Teams invited to math battle

High school and university students are invited to compete in a strategy-based math battle hosted by the Thompson Rivers University Student Union math club.

In a news release, event organizers said teams of four to eight members are now able to register for the fall event, which is geared towards high school students in grades 11 and 12, and first and second-year university students.

Kateryna Tretiakova, TRUSU math club president and fourth-year honours math student, has been competing in math battles since she was a high school student in Kyiv, Ukraine.

In a statement, Tretiakova said she wants to bring her passion for math to Canadian students through events like this.

“For high school students, it’s a way to see that math is not just numbers, and to see there are people who are actually excited about it,” Tretiakova said.

She said students don’t have to be the smartest to win.

“It’s a lot about strategy and teamwork,” Tretiakova said.

The club hosted its first math battle last February. According to the club, two teams competed, with a high school team from NorKam secondary school emerging victorious over the university students.

Tretiakova said many students weren’t sure about the math battle at first, but by the end of the event, “they loved it.”

“One of the students came up to me after and said, ‘That was so much better than I expected. I want to come again,’” Tretiakova said.

Event organizers suggest students can ask their math teachers for help to organize teams, or can put together teams of their own.

Teams can include students from different schools, or participants who are homeschooled.

More information, including rules for the math battle, is available on the math club’s website.

Registration is now open, and teams will be able to register until Nov. 5.

The event is scheduled to take place on Nov. 6.



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City of Kamloops, TNRD offering advanced voting opportunities starting this week

Advanced voting coming up

As local general election day approaches, residents in the City of Kamloops and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District will have a chance to cast their ballots early through advanced voting opportunities starting this coming week.

The City of Kamloops and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District have each launched mapping tools to help residents find nearby voting locations, including sites open for advanced voting and locations only available on general voting day — Oct. 15, 2022.

City of Kamloops residents will have two locations available for advanced voting.

Riverside Park’s Heritage House and McArthur Island Sports Centre Lounge will have polling stations open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5, Saturday, Oct. 8 and Wednesday, Oct. 12.

A map of all voting locations — including both advanced voting sites and all 16 general voting day polling stations — can be found on the City of Kamloops website.

Special voting opportunities will be available at Royal Inland Hospital and in many city seniors’ residences starting this week. More information on special voting opportunities including a list of dates, times and locations can be found on the city’s website.

Advanced voting for all TNRD electoral areas holding elections will take place on Oct. 5, 2022 and Oct. 12, 2022 on the fourth floor of the TNRD Civic Building.

This location will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Advanced polling stations will also be available in Electoral Area I on Oct. 6, Electoral Area E on Oct. 6, and Electoral Area A on Oct. 14. Voting locations for each electoral area are listed on the TNRD’s website.

The TNRD has launched a voting locations interactive map to help electoral area residents — and those living on reserve land — learn which voting options are available to them.

In a statement, the TNRD said users can search their property by civic address or property identifier to determine where they can vote, access travel directions, and can click on any reserve or electoral area to find voting locations.

According to the TNRD, only addresses and parcels within electoral areas can be searched with the map. Those who own properties within regional district municipalities are advised to contact their municipality for voting information.

The regional district map is available through the TNRD website.



Popular pizza chain will soon open its first Kamloops location

Pizza Pizza coming soon

A pizza chain that bills itself as being Canada’s favourite is about to open its first location in the Tournament Capital.

Pizza Pizza signage recently went up in the new commercial strip at the corner of 12th Street and Tranquille Road, near NorKam secondary.

A company representative told Castanet the takeaway restaurant is tentatively slated to open on Oct. 13.

Pizza Pizza has more than 500 locations across Canada. The chain’s first location opened in Toronto in 1967.





City of Kamloops eyes RTEs, 'front-of-the-line service' to attract family physicians

Doctor incentives floated

The City of Kamloops says it's still researching new ways to attract physicians to the community as provincial data shows 41,000 Kamloops residents are currently without a family doctor.

In Tuesday’s council meeting, Sarah Candido, the city’s external relations liaison, said data from the B.C. Ministry of Health shows this number increases to 53,000 people when including surrounding areas like Sun Peaks and Barriere.

After hearing from representatives of the Thompson Region Division of Family Practice and the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation in June, council directed city staff to work with partners, identifying new ways to incentivize family doctors to practice in Kamloops.

“Since then, city staff have worked with a delegation and other partners, investigated how other cities in the province with better patient attachment have been able to attain that,” Candido said.

"We've assisted with the issue, looking at possible ways the city can help in changing our systems and practices to assist with the work.”

Candido said any direct subsidies or compensation are not permitted under the community charter, but the city can look at making other contributions.

According to a staff report prepared for council, discussions are ongoing around using revitalization tax exemptions or permissive tax exemptions as incentives for new and existing family practices and clinics.

The city said it could also provide “front-of-the-line service” for potential clinics or practices, which means moving business license applications and municipal inspections, permitting and other administrative processes to the front of the queue.

“This would allow clinics [and] practices to open as quickly and smoothly as possible to get patients seeing a doctor as quickly as possible. Staff are working internally and with the delegation partners to seek best practices in making this request a reality,” the report said.

Candido said there are other contributions the city already makes that can be expanded.

“Currently, the city donates TCC [Tournament Capital Centre] passes to new physicians, however, staff are now exploring programs and their efficiency to ensure that all avenues are explored,” Candido said.

Candido noted the reasons for a physician shortage are varied and complex, with family physician pay the most difficult recruitment hurdle, and one which is negotiated at a provincial level.

The Ministry of Health is working with Doctors of B.C. on a new compensation model, expected to be made public between October 2022 and January 2023.

She said B.C. physicians have the third lowest gross income in the country (Alberta has the highest) and are paid on a fee-for-service basis. The most common charge is $31 per patient, regardless of medical complexities.

“It does not account for any administrative time to things like updating a patient's records or issuing referrals. The family physician must also pay their overhead office costs from these funds, such as utilities and staff,” Candido said.

Mayor Ken Christian noted physician recruitment is also supported through Venture Kamloops — the economic development arm of the city — which works with the Thompson Division of Family Practice.

Christian said he believed council also needs to ensure Kamloops is a desirable place to live in order to attract professionals like family physicians.

“I am seized by the comment you made about the livability in Kamloops,” Christian said to Candido.

“I think everything that we do as a council to ensure things like active transportation and support for the arts and support for the Tournament Capital brand and nature parks and things like that feeds into that piece which makes Kamloops a desirable location, and I think we ought not want to lose sight of that fact.”

Candido said she would be coming back to council later this year with another report on recruitment efforts.



Time served for man busted with gun during 2016 traffic stop

No new jail after gun found

A man busted with a gun during a downtown Kamloops traffic stop nearly six years ago will serve no new time behind bars, a judge has ruled.

Donovan Allan Lucas Roberts-Beckett, 29, pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court on Thursday to one count of possessing a firearm without a license and one count of taking a motor vehicle without consent.

Court heard Roberts-Beckett was driving with a friend along Battle Street in the east end of downtown at about 1:45 a.m. when he hit a police check stop.

Roberts-Beckett provided a fake name to police and was arrested. Mounties then searched him, his passenger and his vehicle, turning up small amounts of drugs and a firearm.

He told police he found the gun earlier in the day and put it in the Jeep he was driving. He took the vehicle from someone who had previously allowed him to borrow it.

Roberts-Beckett was held in jail for about three months before being granted bail. In court on Thursday, lawyers presented a joint submission for time served.

Defence lawyer Jeremy Jensen said his client was addicted to drugs at the time but has been clean since his release from jail in March of 2017. He is now living and working in Alberta.

“He’s turned his life completely around,” he said.

“He’s been working full-time.”

Kamloops provincial court Judge Lorianna Bennett credited Roberts-Beckett for keeping clean and went along with the joint submission.

Roberts-Beckett will be prohibited from possessing firearms for a period of three years.



School District 73 trustee candidate profile: Shahriar Behmanesh

Meet Shahriar Behmanesh

Castanet Kamloops is going to help you get to know the candidates running for Kamloops school trustee seats over the next few weeks. Every morning starting today, we will be posting a Q&A from one of the candidates running for the board of education in the Oct. 15 local general election. All trustee candidates were asked the same questions, and their answers, submitted to Castanet by email, are published in full.

Castanet Kamloops: Why do you think you would be a good trustee for SD73? What unique perspective, skills or vision do you bring to the table?

Shahriar Behmanesh: I always wanted to get involved with civil service as a way of giving back, and education has been an integral part of my life. Educating our youth is the singular most important thing we do in society, and it has reverberating effects for generations to come.

Unfortunately, I am dismayed by the turn our public education has taken in the last decade or so. The quality of education now seems significantly watered down. Whether we are not pushing kids hard enough or not offering adequate resources, they are not given the tools to reach their full potential. The world is not getting any less expensive, and they graduate with more expectations. This makes for a terrible recipe. The changes to their report cards are only symbolic of the objective parameters we used to hold them to.

When I can, I will use the influence of the school trustee position to highlight these matters. I have been pleasantly surprised in talking to parents and teachers alike that most of them share these concerns. I believe we owe our kids going through the public school system quality education that makes a meaningful difference in their lives no matter their path.

What is your vision for the school district? If you are elected, what might look different four years from now?

Behmanesh: Let’s get back to the basics! Although there are many subjects that I believe are under taught such as history and geography, I think primary education makes the biggest difference. More specifically, we can do a much better job emphasizing core subjects like English and math. Currently, our expectations of kids in math in elementary school are abysmal. This is certainly not the case in other countries or private schools. Their language lessons are not much better either. I don’t want a greater emphasis on core learning subjects like English and math because I want them to do their own taxes, but rather, the critical thinking and language skills afforded them will be invaluable for the rest of their lives. Kids’ learning capacities are extremely malleable at an early age. These foundational subjects will increase their aptitude for learning and hard work no matter the path they take in life. In four years, I hope to influence the pendulum back towards the emphasis on these core subjects.

Aside from capital projects, how do you think the district should deal with growing enrolment?

Behmanesh:While it is great that our city is growing fast, growing enrolment does pose a difficult challenge. The answer is not simple, and I think any promises would be premature. The simple answer is to lobby for more money and resources to keep up with growing enrolment, and I will certainly champion this cause. None the less, I think we can do a better job with allocating resources to existing institutions and facilities. Locality should be the driving factor for resource allocation not only because it serves our kids better but also because it is far more efficient.

In your opinion, what are the top priorities right now for SD73?

Behmanesh: SD7, SD73 or SD 733, it doesn’t matter. I think the top priority for all school districts in BC is to encourage the Ministry of Education and facilitate change in a way that emphasizes education in our school system. I have had the opportunity, both because of my clinic and this campaign, to speak with a lot of parents and teachers. This is the main concern of the silent majority, but understandably, most parents and concerned citizens are too busy in their daily lives to pursue this change or have their opinion heard. This should be one of those rare issues that we can all agree on.

The SD73 area has felt the impacts of climate change in recent years. What steps do you think the board could take to foster climate resilience?

Behmanesh: This is a very nuanced challenge for the school district for years to come largely because the negative consequences are going to be unpredictable. It is not going to get better. Without getting too much into the minutia, I will simply say that planning is key. Contingency plans must be in place, and all involved parties must be well informed of them. In conjunction with the provincial government, resources must be considered in advance to any disaster that we may unfortunately face. Disruption of learning and safety must be paramount in planning.

Visit Castanet's Kamloops Votes page to find profiles for Kamloops SD73 trustee candidates along with links to candidates' websites and social media accounts if available.



Police investigate after man injured by blow from 'blunt object'

Man hit with 'blunt object'

Kamloops Mounties are investigating an incident in which investigators believe a man was struck with a blunt object on a busy downtown street.

Emergency crews were called to the West Victoria Street area at about 7:45 a.m. on Sept. 23 for a report of an injured man.

According to police, the man was hit with a blunt object. No suspect description was provided.

Anyone with information can call police at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.



City plans to soon optimize stoplights on Hillside Drive

Hillside Dr. signals changing

The City of Kamloops will be working in the near future to optimize stoplight timing on Hillside Drive.

In a news release, the city said the work would take place this fall, as the last traffic signal optimization in the area took place in 2015.

“Signal timing at five signalized intersections from the Pacific Way/Hillside Drive intersection to the Walmart mall access will be updated to reflect more recent traffic patterns,” said the city statement.

According to the city, staff used computer modelling that factored in traffic counts taken by specialized traffic cameras to produce the signal timing adjustments.

The city said retiming may require minor adjustments once in place.

“Motorists are advised they may experience some congestion on their daily route while these adjustments are worked out,” the city said.



Probation for man who punched cop in face after masturbating outside Lillooet home

'Creepy man' hid in bushes

WARNING: Some details in the following story are graphic and may be upsetting to readers.

A homeless man who punched a Mountie in the face after he was caught masturbating while hiding in a bush near a home in downtown Lillooet has been ordered to spend the next 15 months on probation.

Francis Anthony Copeland, 38, pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court on Thursday to one count each of assaulting a peace officer and committing an indecent act in a public place.

Court heard police were called to an address in downtown Lillooet on the morning of June 18 for a report of a man masturbating in public. A woman living in a nearby house told police her five-year-old daughter alerted her to the man’s presence.

“She told her mother, 'The creepy man is back in the bushes,’” Crown prosecutor Katie Bouchard said in court.

“When [the woman] went outside, she saw the man in the bushes who had his penis visible and he was clearly masturbating.”

When police arrived at the scene, they found Copeland inside a bush. He was fully clothed by then.

A Mountie asked Copeland to move along and he did, causing a big scene in the process. Bouchard said Copeland was yelling and swearing as he walked away down Main Street.

The officer followed Copeland and told him he was under arrest for causing a disturbance. Copeland then turned around and punched the constable in the face.

Backup arrived a short time later and Copeland was arrested.

Court heard Copeland is homeless. He was born and raised in Lillooet.

Kamloops provincial court Judge Lorianna Bennett agreed to a joint submission for 15 months of probation. Copeland served 73 days in jail awaiting sentencing, which entitles him to enhanced credit of 110 days time served — a factor Bennett considered in her sentence.

Copeland’s probation conditions will prohibit him from visiting any playground, schoolyard or day care. He will also be prohibited from being within 10 metres of any swimming pool, theatre or recreation centre.

In addition, Copeland was ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.



City of Kamloops mayoral candidate profile: Sadie Hunter

Get to know Sadie Hunter

Castanet Kamloops is going to help you get to know the candidates running for mayor. On Saturday mornings, we will be posting a Q&A for mayoral candidates running in the Oct. 15 local general election. All candidates are asked the same questions, and their answers, submitted to Castanet by email, are published in full.

Castanet Kamloops: What is your vision for Kamloops? If you are elected, what do you think will be different four years from now?

Sadie Hunter: During my time as a Kamloops city councillor, I've taken an action-oriented, preventative, and proactive approach. I've helped initiate extreme weather cooling and warming centres, pushed for our city to get more involved in recruiting and retaining doctors and health-care providers, and ensured accessibility is at the forefront in decision-making. I feel strongly about many issues, but my biggest passion is getting things done.

I’m excited about our future. I envision a collaborative and inclusive community where everyone has access to opportunities. This will require taking a solutions-focused approach in the near future to work together on some of the complex challenges we face, stronger advocacy and being responsive and iterative. We’re a growing community and in front of us is the work of defining the kind of community people want to live, work, play and retire in — a huge opportunity for all of us. Our opportunity is likely also our biggest challenge, as moving through these conversations won't always be easy. That said, my experience is that Kamloops achieves amazing things when we come together and unite to work through challenges and realize vision.

We’ll be in a position where we have gotten louder in our advocacy and stronger in the future vision for our community.

How can the city best tackle social issues — mental health, addictions, homelessness, crime — given the need to work with other levels of government responsible for those areas?

Hunter: Drug addiction, poverty, and mental illness are health issues, not criminal issues. I’ve brought forward a number of initiatives to try and address these and work directly with the province through my role on the Executive of the Union of BC Municipalities, the voice for local government in British Columbia. Activities within this role include involvement in intergovernmental committees, advocacy for policy changes on behalf of local governments across the province, and regular meetings with ministers.

That said, we can be louder and in addition to collaboratively asking for support alongside other communities, also ask directly for what our city needs. The supports our residents need, our businesses need, our youth need, and our vulnerable citizens need. We can also continue to step into the work we’ve started in the last four years which includes increasing outreach support and increased connection through Safe & Secure Kamloops working groups, the Community Action Team and local research in partnership with TRU. This research will help identify housing and services we need here at a more granular level, allowing the creation of made-in-Kamloops solutions.

Where do you stand on the performing arts centre issue? Would you like to see it move forward if elected? If so, where would it be on your list of priorities?

Hunter: The current council unanimously supported this project. It’s in our Strategic Plan and in the most recent Recreation Master Plan. As the appointed council spokesperson for the project in 2020, I absolutely support this initiative.

We have many new community members who have moved here over the last few years and our need for this amenity hasn’t lessened at all, it’s only grown. Now is the perfect time to ensure plans are in place to execute on the project once the community and the organizations who would use this resource are stabilized. Things have changed economically since 2020 and I think we need to stabilize the local economy to be strongly positioned to complete this project.

How important to you is the city’s designation as Canada’s Tournament Capital? What is your vision for recreation and recreation facilities in Kamloops?

Hunter: I think this designation has served Kamloops well in attracting events and contributing to our economy and sport infrastructure. I think we can keep this designation while thinking about how we can expand on it to also include and promote more passive forms of recreation that resonate with both the community and visitors. I think our natural features like parks and trails are just as important and some of them are used more by residents than the official sporting facilities. To me the question is how do we incorporate a recreation vision representative of everyone - from organized sports to the casual walker?

I would defer to my comments above and reiterate the Recreation Master Plan adopted in 2019. The creation of this plan involved extensive community consultation, so my vision would be to find ways to realize this community vision. Of course, I also believe these plans need to be living documents and not hang out on a shelf somewhere. If there’s changes to be made after our experiences the last 3 years, then let’s make some adjustments to the vision and carry on!

What do you think the city’s role should be in attracting new business and fostering existing businesses? What do you think the city can do to ensure sustainable economic growth for Kamloops?

Hunter: We do much of this work through Venture Kamloops, the city’s economic development arm. Their mission is to create economic growth to establish the city as a desirable location for business development. We also work very collaboratively with The Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures and other organizations who are focused on developing and growing our economy.

Aside from these activities, our role is to welcome business and innovation, and to be ambassadors for our city. We also need to actively listen to and engage with businesses and membership organizations like business associations and work together to continue to build a collaborative and thriving community.

In addition to the above, we need to continue to look for ways to enhance livability and provide access to the amenities and spaces people want. This includes everything from recreation facilities to community safety to access to health care. Businesses and their employees want and deserve a community they can work, live, and play in.

Visit Castanet's Kamloops Votes page to find profiles for City of Kamloops mayoral and councillor candidates along with links to candidates' websites and social media accounts if available.



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