BC SPCA have rescued 5 squirrel siblings stuck together by tree sap

Baby squirrels need help

The BC SPCA is asking for your help to save a family of squirrels that had to be rescued after their tails became glued together by sap.

According to the BCSPCA website, five squirrels, believed to be siblings, were discovered stuck together by tree sap that had melted in the heat. The BC SPCA rushed to the rescue and found the squirrels in rough shape and unable to free themselves.

A Wild Animal Recovery Volunteer in Victoria managed to cut the squirrel's free and transport them to Wild ARC for care.

"It took them over an hour to carefully separate the squirrels tails without injuring them further - they had likely been stuck together overnight and had tried chewing themselves free," according to the BC SPCA website.

One of the squirrels did not survive the separation ordeal, three others appear to be recovering nicely but the fourth squirrel is going to need special care. The BC SPCA is asking for your help to raise money to cover the cost of caring for the remaining four squirrels.

"The care for these squirrels has been intensive and is far from over. These adorable squirrels require food, medical supplies, medicine, enclosure upkeep, and enrichment during their recovery which can be very expensive. You can be part of the recovery of these furry critters by donating to their ongoing medical care, donate to help them today!"   

According to the BC SPCA's senior rehab team the squirrels should be able to live full lives without a portion of their tails. "After long discussions and further research, evidence suggests that this was in fact possible. While squirrels use their tails to help balance themselves, they can adapt well to compensate for the loss of their tails when necessary," according to the website.

As of Wednesday afternoon more than $3,000 has been raised for the squirrels, exceeding the goal of $2,995.

Personal updates on the squirrels will be provided to anyone who donates and once they are fully recovered these squirrels will be released back into the wild.

12 Chinese passports among stolen IDs seized after Burnaby gun-pointing call

12 Chinese passports seized

A firearms complaint at a Burnaby apartment last week led police to a stash of fraudulent identification – including a dozen People's Republic of China passports.

On Oct. 12 at about 5 a.m., Burnaby RCMP got a report that someone at an apartment in the 4800 block of Brentwood Drive had pointed a firearm at someone, according to media spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj.

He said officers cleared the residence to confirm everyone’s safety, and they spotted the passports and a number of credit cards “in plain view.”

Police then obtained a warrant to search the place for the firearm and any more identification, according to Kalanj.

No firearm was found, he said, but officers turned up 12 People's Republic of China passports, stolen credit cards and other identification, as well as some drug paraphernalia.

Two women were arrested and then released at the scene, according to Kalanj.

The investigation is ongoing, and charges are pending, he said.

Unresponsive man pulled from Burnaby fire, dies at scene

Man dies in apartment fire

A man pulled from a two-alarm apartment fire in North Burnaby on Tuesday has died.

Crews were called to an older, three-storey building at 3:35 p.m., according to assistant fire Chief Dave Younger.

On arrival, they found heavy smoke and flames showing from a ground-floor apartment in the back, Younger said.

Firefighters evacuated about 12 suites and quickly knocked down the blaze.

But, during a search, they found an unresponsive man in the apartment, which had been “fully involved,” Younger said.

Firefighters performed CPR on the man for some time before he was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Paramedics also treated three other people, including one neighbour who, along with another local resident, had tried to slow down the blaze with garden hoses before fire crews arrived.


Port Coquitlam man builds candy slide to feed trick or treaters

Halloween ingenuity

Do-it-yourselfers might want to replicate Ray McCurrach’s candy slide for this Halloween’s festivities.

The Port Coquitlam man created a treat tube out of two eight-foot-long pieces of PVC pipe and then painted the candy dispenser orange to provide a social-distanced way of handing out candy to neighbourhood children.

“I saw someone had done something similar, but it was quite small,” said McCurrach, who said his neighbourhood always puts on a big display for Halloween and up to 150 kids sometimes show up.

McCurrach also experimented with different types of candies and found out little chocolate bars slide best down the four inch diameter pipe, compared to bags of Skittles, which tend to get stuck.

Celebrating Halloween safely is part of this year’s COVID-19 recommendations, and the BC Centre for Disease Control is recommending that candy be passed out by homeowners wearing masks and presenting the treats on trays, along with tongs, or in a candy slide.

McCurrach said he wanted to do his part to make Halloween safe this year.

“We figured maybe kids if they see it or their parents do they would be a little bit more comfortable coming to our house,” McCurrach said.

The candy tube will also be lit up so families can see it easily.

Worker dies on tree removal job site on Vancouver Island

Tree pruning fatality

WorkSafeBC and Saanich police are investigating after a workplace fatality.

The death occurred during tree-pruning work in Oak Bay, Tuesday.

A Tomahawk Tree Service vehicle was at the scene.

"It appears to be an arborist company and one of their employees has been tragically killed," said Staff Sgt. Chris Horsley. "The circumstances at this point are still undetermined."

Police are looking into the victim’s role at the time of the incident.

"There was a crew working on the removal of a large oak tree."

“What’s complicated matters is the scene safety has become an issue,” Horsley said Tuesday. “Where the incident occurred, there is still a very heavy tree limb which is hung up on utility lines directly above our scene.

“So that’s prevented WorkSafe, the police and the B.C. Coroners Service from really getting things started on the investigation.”

BC Hydro reports three more COVID-19 cases at worksite

3 more cases at Site C

Three more Site C workers have tested positive for COVID-19, BC Hydro said Tuesday.

Two others are isolating, and none of the cases originated at the site, BC Hydro says.

"The first worker has not been to site since being exposed and testing positive. The second worker returned to work for two days last week after being exposed off site and later tested positive upon returning home. Both workers are currently isolating at home," BC Hydro said.

"A third worker developed symptoms two days after arriving at site last week and subsequently tested positive. This case is unrelated to the other two cases and this third worker remains isolated at camp under the care of the on-site medical clinic."

As of Tuesday, there were 1,590 workers reported at the work camp, 10 in self-isolation.

Two cases were announced last week, on Oct. 13 and Oct. 15. BC Hydro said the three new cases are unrelated.

Former Prince George teacher pleads guilty to gross indecency

Ex-teacher's guilty plea

A former Prince George high-school teacher and sports coach has pleaded guilty to a gross-indecency act in the 1980s.

Court documents show Kim Randall Koehn was charged on April 17. 

BC Prosecution Service spokesperson Dan McLaughlin says the incident allegedly happened at or near Prince George on Sept. 1, 1984, and Aug. 31, 1985, which was the same time period Koehn was employed in the local education system.

A School District 57 official has confirmed that Koehn taught at Kelly Road Secondary School in the 1980s. 

No information involving the alleged victim has been released, including whether they were a student.

Koehn pleaded guilty to the single charge during a court appearance Monday and will be back on Jan. 13, 2021 to schedule a sentencing date. 

Stabbing in Surrey leaves woman dead, man and child injured

Woman killed in stabbing

A woman is dead and a man and two-year-old child were injured in a stabbing Tuesday night in Surrey.

A statement from Surrey RCMP says the victims were attacked at about 9 p.m. in a home in the Newton neighbourhood.

Police say a suspect was in custody.

The woman was still alive when police arrived and the man and toddler were seriously hurt.

All three were rushed to hospital where the woman was pronounced dead, but police say the other two were recovering.

The suspect was located near the home.

The statement says the case was being investigated as a homicide and aggravated assault stemming from family violence. 

British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

BC man dies on ski trip

A man has died while skiing on a backcountry trail near the Robertson Glacier in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary.

RCMP say the 40-year-old man, from Invermere, British Columbia, died Monday.

He was skiing with three friends when a whiteout hit and the group was separated.

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Officials say the man’s skis bottomed out, which thrust him toward a rocky area, resulting in severe trauma.

RCMP have notified the victim’s family and are providing additional support for the remaining three skiers. (CTV)

TransLink says its CEO is leaving

TransLink CEO moving on

The head of TransLink is planning to make a departure from the regional transit authority in early in 2021.

Kevin Desmond, who joined TransLink as CEO in March 2016, says he will be returning to the U.S. in February to pursue other job opportunities.

TransLink revealed Tuesday (October 20) it will tap an executive search firm to help it recruit its next CEO from a global pool of candidates.

Desmond originally hails from New York and had served as general manager for King County Metro Transit in Washington state before he was recruited to lead TransLink.

He had previously served as chief of operations planning for New York City Transit.

“It’s been an honour to serve this great region,” Desmond said in a statement.

“When I arrived in 2016, I knew we already had a world-class transit system and I’m proud to have helped expand the breadth and depth of our services with a relentless commitment to our customers and public accountability.”

His planned departures comes as TransLink is still grappling with sharp declines in ridership and revenue brought on by the pandemic.

But Desmond told BIV during the summer that the transit authority has since moved beyond the “intense crisis management” common at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis.

“It’s been a huge shift in priorities. But then again, they’re still the bedrock. We’re still operating buses, we’re still operating our trains and SeaBus, and HandyDART, but we’re operating in unusual and very extreme circumstances,” he said in September.

“You have large numbers of people like me at the moment working from home. So clearly a large number of people are still not going to their jobs, still not going to school. We’re going to see depressed ridership. That’s just simply a reality. We don’t think that’s going to largely change until the vaccine is widely available.”

So far the provincial and federal governments have committed $644 million to assisting TransLink during the pandemic by March 31, 2021.

The transit authority also plans to reduce its own 2020-21 fiscal costs by $135 million to further close funding gaps.

While planned service expansion for next year has been cancelled, TransLink aims to have 100% of all its pre-pandemic service operating in 2021.

BC announces 167 new COVID-19 cases, 13 in Interior Health region

167 new cases, one death

The B.C. government announced 167 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, including 13 in the Interior Health region. 

The new cases bring B.C.’s case total to 11,854, although the vast majority have fully recovered. There remains 1,688 active coronavirus cases in B.C. with an additional 4,156 people under public health monitoring after exposure to COVID-19.

Across B.C., there are 69 people in the hospital with the virus, 18 of whom are in intensive care. Within the Interior Health region, two people are hospitalized and one is in the ICU.

There has now been a total of 625 COVID-19 cases in Interior Health.

One additional death was reported Tuesday, bringing B.C.’s toll to 254.

"We have the ability to decide what our COVID-19 wave looks like in B.C. by continuing to take personal precautions and using our layers of protection, no matter where we may be,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a news release.

"Let's continue to support our neighbours, local businesses and communities, who are doing their part. Take the time to reach out to friends and neighbours - in a safe way - to show them you care and remind them that while you may be keeping a safe distance right now, they are not alone.

"Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has brought, your efforts are making a difference and helping to slow the spread of the virus. Let's continue to work together - while staying apart."

BC NDP silent on China’s human rights; ambiguous on Belt and Road Initiative

BC's relationship with China

The BC NDP remains silent on whether or not it will continue to support the further encroachment of China’s Belt and Road Initiative into British Columbia, if elected.

“The B.C. government regularly works with foreign countries, including China, when it comes to trade and industries that affect British Columbians,” stated an NDP spokesperson by email Sunday, after the party had been asked several times by Glacier Media for its future trade policy with China and how it may address growing concerns about that country’s human rights violations, including against B.C. residents, allegedly.

The NDP says it too, like the BC Liberal Party, will maintain a hands-off approach to raising such human rights matters with Chinese trade officials in the future.

“As a party and a government, we believe strongly in safeguarding human rights. However, foreign policy relations are the responsibility of the federal government, not the provincial government,” said the NDP, providing no indication it may take any such concerns to Ottawa.

However, while the BC NDP may defer human rights matters, the provincial government has significant autonomy to craft provincial trade policy with other nations, including authoritarian ones that are unsanctioned by Canada, such as China.

Premier John Horgan has previously declined Glacier Media’s request to address why his government continues to support a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which was signed in 2016 by the BC Liberals with Guangdong province and remains on the books under his party’s governance. The controversial agreement is intended to foster increased economic, social and cultural ties between the countries. 

Last week, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson was asked similar questions. Wilkinson also deferred his party’s future trade policy with China to the federal government; however, he did specifically voice concern about detained Canadians following the December 2018 arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Neither party has stated their trade policy in their election platforms ahead of the October 24 election.

Horgan’s silence on what is presently happening to Hong Kong’s democratic system and values under a new national security law does not sit well with many British Columbians of Hong Kong descent, said Jane Li, a member of local pro-democracy group Alliance Canada Hong Kong.

“Isn’t it the province’s responsibility to protect B.C. residents and their safety and interests here?” asked Li, whose group contends Canadians are being harassed by agents of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

The activists also report threats being made against their family members overseas meant to suppress criticism of the authoritarian regime here in Canada.

“These issues are heavily provincial and municipal,” said Li. “It isn’t a matter that a provincial politician can just defer and say, ‘I’ll just let the federal government deal with it.’”

In this respect, Li says Horgan – and others – are ignoring the concerns of Chinese-Canadians who believe in democracy and personal liberty. She suggested newer mainland Chinese immigrants are also repressed and threatened.

Li’s colleague Jody Chan, who uses an alias to protect her family from threats, concurred.

“What I want the provincial government to understand is the CCP is very actively approaching municipal and provincial politicians and actively interfering in local and provincial politics. They are doing this to bypass federal oversight,” contends Chan.

Li and Chan are also part of a coalition group called Vancouverites Concerned about Hong Kong running an election campaign called “No BC for Xi,” with Xi being China President Xi Jingping. The coalition is canvassing political candidates, asking them if they will decline gifts from CCP-linked organizations and people and if they will still support the BRI in B.C.

One NDP candidate has spoken out at a local level to the campaign.

“I pledge to decline any gifts or donations from the CCP, and secondly, I will reject CCP belt and road initiatives,” stated Richmond North Centre candidate Jaeden Dela Torre.

In May, an Angus Reid poll showed just 16% of Canadians held a favourable view of China. And, when asked about the country’s approach to relations with China, 76% said Canada should prioritize human rights and the rule of law over economic opportunity.

The provincial election takes place this Saturday.

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