West Kelowna  

Bail hearing in murder case

A bail hearing has been set for a man charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of a woman found inside a West Kelowna hotel.

Tejwant Danjou, 69, was arrested near the Best Western Hotel on July 22 after police discovered a dead woman inside the hotel about 7:15 p.m.

The Lower Mainland man was reportedly found by a police dog, hiding inside a dumpster.

Danjou worked at Sutton Group Project Realty, but had his licence suspended by the Real Estate Council of B.C. as of Aug. 2.

“The council has suspended the licences because Mr. Danjou is currently unable to manage the business and affairs of his brokerage, as required by the Real Estate Services Act and the rules,” a press release stated.

On the night of the incident, hotel guests told Castanet they were denied access to rooms on the second floor while police investigated. Another witness said blood was found in a stairwell.

Police said Danjou and the victim, Rama Gauravarapu, were known to each other, but their relationship is so far unclear.

The matter has been adjourned for a bail hearing on Thursday at 10 a.m.


Car skids off wet road

Slippery roads from may have contributed to a single-vehicle crash in West Kelowna Thursday night. 

A blue sedan skidded off Bartley Road into a power pole just before 9 p.m. as the driver attempted to turn east onto Ross Road. 

The RCMP, West Kelowna Fire Department and paramedics responded to the scene, but the driver appeared to be uninjured. 

A transformer was attached to the power pole that was hit and BC Hydro was notified by emergency crews of possible damage.

What's on your plate?

A controversial billboard has gone up in West Kelowna near the junction of Old Okanagan Hwy and Hwy 97S.

Kelowna Animal Action is responsible for installing and fundraising to pay for the sign. All told, there are three of the billboards now up across the Okanagan.

This is the third billboard in a series of billboards depicting the cruelty inherent in factory farmed animals.  KAA says while the first two billboards were funded by local donors, the third has been funded in full by LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.  

The billboard depicted a puppy and piglet asking the question: “Why love one and eat the other”. While the second portrayed a newborn calf taken from its mother at birth and stated: “Dairy Steals My Mom, My Milk and My Life”.  

This third billboard portrays the cruelty in the poultry and pork farm industries and states: “Meet your Bacon and Eggs, Keep Cruelty off your Plate”.  

Kelowna Animal Action advocates say "It is our sincere hope that after viewing our current billboard, people will make the connection between a suffering sentient being and what it endured to get to their plates."


Two vehicle collision

Crews were busy Tuesday morning clearing a two-vehicle incident in West Kelowna.

The photo we have shows a red SUV with damage to the front end and eyewitness reports indicate two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Ross Road was down to a single lane just after 9 a.m.

10 pups, mom find home

The 10 chocolate lab pups and their mom that almost lost their lives, have now found forever homes thanks to the Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.

"We were able to find homes for all of the 10 pups and the mom. Most of them are clients. We even had neighbours that adopted them. The mom went home first with one of her babies," veterinary Dr. Oz said. 

Castanet posted a call-to-action story last Wednesday looking for dog lovers to adopt the precious labs.

"The community response was incredible. We had hundreds of inquires and a waiting room full of people wanting to see the babies," Oz adds. 

As of Friday morning the family was spoken for. 

"Everyone was so happy. We sent them home with food and presents for the dogs. It was an exciting couple of days for us," Dr. Oz said. 

Stung over 20 times

A hiker is warning others of a massive hornet nest on a popular Okanagan hike in West Kelowna.

Tyler Gigg contacted Castanet News Monday afternoon saying he and his dogs were stung over 20 times.

“We just came down from Carrot Mountain,” he said. “My back is done and my dogs were swarmed.”

According to Gigg, a big stump was ripped out just one switchback above the waterfall.

“I am just trying to get the word out to people,” he said. “I just worry people could be walking up there right now.”

Gigg said his dogs had a cold bath and are doing OK.

Hwy 97C open after rollover

UPDATE: 7:25 p.m.

Traffic is now moving again eastbound on the Okanagan Connector, after a single-vehicle crash east of the Pennask Summit closed the highway for more than 90 minutes.

A motorist who pulled over at the crash scene said two women were in the white sedan, which is believed to have flipped and rolled several times and was heavily damaged.

It's believed one woman was air lifted to hospital while another was transported by ambulance. 

The cause of the crash isn't known, nor is the nature of the occupants' injuries.

One person at the scene said there was "liquor everywhere" in the vehicle with coolers spilled all over the backseat. It's unclear if alcohol may have factored into the collision.

Another driver said there was heavy thunderstorms and rain along the Connector early this evening, adding there was pooling water in many sections between Merritt and Peachland.

"We had to drive very deliberately... however, many vehicles were flying by us in the passing lane even though we were already averaging just below 100 kilometres in heavy rain," the motorist said.

UPDATE: 6:55 p.m.

DriveBC has confirmed traffic is "being held" heading eastbound on the Okanagan Connector, due to a crash east of the Pennask Summit.

Drivers are advised to expect delays, and it's unclear when traffic may begin moving again.

Details on the nature of the crash, which occurred at about 5:30 p.m., remain unknown.

An air ambulance was called to the scene, and a witness says a tow truck had arrived at about 6:30 p.m.

ORIGINAL: 6:25 p.m.

Traffic is currently blocked off heading east along the Okanagan Connector as crews work to clear what is believed to be a bad crash.

The incident occurred east of the Pennask Summit heading towards West Kelowna, reportedly just before 5:30 p.m.

It's believed a vehicle flipped and rolled several times, and an air ambulance was pictured heading to the crash scene. 

It's currently not clear how the crash happened nor how many vehicles may have been involved.

No details have been provided from DriveBC.

Castanet will update when more information becomes available.

Send news tips, photos and video to [email protected]

6 run for Peachland mayor

To no one's surprise, Cindy Fortin is facing a challenge from all sides as she tries to hold onto power in Peachland.

No less than five challengers have come out to oppose Fortin - much of that opposition surrounds the decision by her council to approve a five-storey building on Beach Avenue, a move not popular with many in the community.

Some familiar names are on the ballot, including current councillor Keith Thom and former councillors Ernie Hurd and Eric Hall.

Hall was elected to council in 2011 while Hurd was elected in 2008, but resigned in  2010 following the failed curling club referendum.

He ran unsuccessfully in 2011 and 2014.

Also seeking the mayor's chair are Harry Gough and Bob Henderson.

Four of the six current councillors are seeking re-election among an 11 person field.

They include Pam Cunningham, Mike Kent, Terry Condon and Mario Vucinovic. Former mayor Keith Fielding is also looking to rejoin the council table.

Also seeking a seat around the council table are Patrick Van Minsel, Leanne Sarsons, Karen Mustard, Rick Ingram, Pete Coolie and Andrew Kwaczynski.

School District 23 chair Moyra Baxter has three challengers for her seat on the board of education.

Baxter is being challenged by Marjorie Brims, Mark Steppell and Jennifer Carlson.

Voters will go to the polls Saturday, Oct. 20.




West Kelowna mayors' race

For the longest time, it appeared Gord Milsom would run unopposed for mayor of West Kelowna.

That all changed late Friday afternoon.

Mary Mandarino handed in her nomination papers at City Hall just moments before the 4 p.m. filing deadline.

Chief elections officer Tracey Batten read out the nominations in council chambers just after the deadline had passed to a small group who appeared to be surprised at the last-minute nomination.

Milsom, who announced his candidacy in January, had said he's going to continue his campaign right up to election day, regardless of whether he had a challenger for the seat.

"I've campaigned now for many months. I've had the opportunity to talk with a lot of people, did a lot of public consultation, and I feel I fully understand the priorities of our residents," Milsom said following the declaration.

Milsom says he has knocked on about 2,000 doors since announcing his candidacy, and says the top priorities of citizens he has talked with are clean drinking water, safe roads, bike paths and sidewalks, and policing."

Mandarino was not available for comment.

Milsom previously served three terms on council, while Mandarino is making her fourth run at office after running unsuccessfully for council twice and for mayor in 2014.

While only two have declared for mayor, there will be 17 names on the ballot for councillor.

Those include five incumbents, Rick de Jong, Rusty Ensign, Rosalind Neis, Bryden Winsby and Carol Zanon, as well as former mayor Doug Findlater, who decided to stay in politics after all.

Other contenders include:

  • Philip Akins
  • Jerome Chung
  • Brad Dobbin
  • Gerry Evans
  • Jason Friesen
  • Joe Gluska
  • Stephen Johnston
  • Tiffany Paré
  • Winston Wammer
  • Gordon Wiebe
  • Jayson Zilkie

It's the largest field for a councillor seat since the municipality's first election in 2007, when 24 people ran for the six available seats.

Two candidates are running for school trustee, Chantelle Desrosiers, and Chris Vernon-Jarvis. They are looking to claim the seat held by Julia Fraser, who is not seeking re-election.

Information on the election is available at the city's website.

Candidates do have a week to pull out of the race if they choose to do so before the ballot is made official next Friday.

Voters will go to the polls Saturday, Oct. 20.

Spook back in owner's arms

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

Shortly after the publication of Castanet's story about a dog's disappearance earlier this week in Peachland, Spook is now back in the arms' of her owner.

The mixed-breed dog never returned after her owner and a friend let her run off leash up Brenda Mines Road above Peachland Wednesday afternoon with several other dogs. Her owner presumed the worst when they found Spook's GPS collar discarded in a bush a few kilometres down the road. 

April Kitzan, a friend of Spook's owner, says she got a phone call from a woman Friday morning who said her daughter had found Spook. When Kitzan asked if Spook had a collar on when she found her, the woman said no.

"Honestly, we just don't care. We're so grateful that we got her back, that was the priority," she said. 

Spook's return came just in time. Her owner, who lives in North Dakota, is heading home on Saturday. 

ORIGINAL: 11:45 a.m.

Peachland residents are looking for their friend's dog, after they believe it was stolen.

April Kitzan says her husband, Denver, and friend Joey were four kilometres up Brenda Mine Road in the hills above Peachland Wednesday afternoon, allowing their dogs to run off leash.

“They were just running the dogs and giving them some good exercise, and the dog, Spook, she had a pink GPS collar, and they lost reception of her,” Kitzan said.

“They got in the truck and loaded all the other dogs up, and they headed back down Princeton Avenue, and through the GPS collar, they were able to locate her collars, because somebody had taken them off and thrown them into a bush at the corner of Turner and Ellison.”

That is several kilometres away from where the dogs were running.

Joey, Spook's owner, is visiting from North Dakota and is only in the Okanagan for a week.

“She's part of his family, and he has a little girl, Riley, and a wife, Breanna, and they're going to be devastated,” Kitzan said.

Spook is a mixed-breed dog that looks like a black lab with big ears. She has a little bit of white on her paws.

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