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Man drowns in Slocan River, search for body continues

Drowning on Slocan River

RCMP are seeking witnesses to a drowning in B.C.'s Slocan River.

Police responded to the incident at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, just north of Winlaw, in the Kootenays.

A 35-year-old man was swimming with an acquaintance when he went under and didn't resurface.

The friend called 911 from a nearby business, says Cpl. Jaime Moffat, detachment commander for the Slocan RCMP. 

Search and rescue used a helicopter and commenced searching the river by 7:40 p.m. However, due to the time of day, they were unable to use a boat to search for the man.

The river is a well-used swimming spot, which is usually shallow in that area and there are sandbars to stand on. However, police say water is high right now and the undercurrent is strong.

Search crews and the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team returned to the area this morning to resume their search.

Anyone who was in the area and might have seen anything is asked to contact police.



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BC Transit to mandate use of face coverings from August 24

BC Transit mandates masks

Starting August 24, BC Transit will require all transit passengers to wear face coverings on buses, in partnership with TransLink and other transportation agencies. 

The new rule will apply province-wide in a concerted effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in British Columbia.

"While face coverings will be mandatory, the policy will be implemented as an educational step without enforcement," reads the announcement. 

Children under the age of five and people who cannot wear a face covering for health reasons will be treated with special accommodations.  

“Across British Columbia, our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been rooted in public health," says Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

"Public transit continues to be an essential service that people rely on, and we appreciate the work of our transit operators to keep these services running throughout the pandemic response and recovery. Knowing your fellow bus passengers will also be wearing a non-surgical mask or face covering will help boost people’s confidence in choosing transit while contributing to a welcoming and safe environment on our buses.”

The change comes as a result of advice from health professionals regarding the use of masks where physical distancing is not possible, and requests from customers. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she agrees with the move, and believes it is another step to ensure safety for all. 

“Transit is an important service for many British Columbians. BC Transit's decision to make masks mandatory on their vehicles will help make transit safer for fellow passengers. Find one that's comfortable, and make time to get used to wearing them and taking them on and off as needed. Those of us who are able should be using masks on transit all the time. I do and I expect others to as well.”

For more details about the policy and COVID-19 response, visit the website



Driver clocked doing almost double speed limit in hurry to get home

Pizza no excuse to speed

Talk about a pizza lover.

One Victoria driver is facing fines and demerits after being pulled over doing twice the speed limit in a neighbourhood known for its distaste for speeders.

CTV News Vancouver Island says a tweet by VicPD indicates the driver was clocked doing 69 km/h in a 30 km/h zone near Cook Street Village over the long weekend.

The driver's excuse for the big hurry was he “didn’t want his pizza to get cold.”

Now instead of a less hot piece of pie, the driver is facing a $196 fine and three demerit points on his licence.



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Premier John Horgan confident students will be safe

Back to school a 'challenge'

Sending students back to class in September in British Columbia will be "an unprecedented challenge" during a pandemic but Premier John Horgan says he's confident children will be safe.

Some parents and teachers have expressed concern about the resumption of school next month, but Horgan says the government would not put children at risk if "the danger was overwhelming."

He says the province has done very well slowing the spread of COVID-19 by following scientific advice but, despite that, he understands that parents, students and teachers are anxious.

Horgan says it's time to start opening schools so plans can be made and adjusted and he's confident that every effort is being made to get it right.

The BC Teachers' Federation has said that government's plan to fully reopen schools needs more time and a lot more work if it is going to keep everyone safe.

The premier made the comments in Surrey where he announced a new regional cancer centre for the city to be included in the construction of the new Surrey hospital.



Vancouver and Fraser health authorities warn of possible COVID exposures

COVID warning at beach

Vancouver Coastal Health is warning the public about a possible exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 at Lions Bay Beach Park north of the city.

The health authority says the possible exposure occurred on July 26, 27, 29, 30 and 31.

A statement from Vancouver Coastal Health says the exposure is believed to be low risk, but anyone who was at the park on those days needs to self-monitor for symptoms.

Fraser Health is also warning of a public exposure at the Hookah Lounge on King George Boulevard.

It says in a statement that the potential exposure was over two early mornings, between midnight and 5 a.m. on Aug. 1 and 2.

B.C. recorded 47 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with no new deaths.



Two men arrested after throwing Molotov cocktails into Revelstoke home

Molotov cocktail attack

A Revelstoke resident's home was firebombed early Thursday. 

Just before 3 a.m., the occupant of the home was awoken when Molotov cocktails were thrown into the home.

The resident successfully extinguished the flames before the fire spread.

They then called the police to help catch the offenders.

"Our front line RCMP officers responded to the scene and gathered evidence," says Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey, with the RCMP's Southeast District. "As a result of the investigation ... two men were taken into police custody without incident, after they allegedly returned to the arson scene approximately an hour later."

The two Revelstoke men, 36 and 34, are facing potential charges and remain in police custody.

The crime scene is still being examined, and anyone with information is asked to contact Revelstoke RCMP at 250-837-5255.



Prince George RCMP recover human remains along Highway 16

Human remains discovered

Human remains were discovered near Highway 16 east of Prince George over the weekend.

Prince George RCMP say they recovered human remains off Highway 16, with the assistance of Prince George Search & Rescue, about 40 kilometres east of the city on Saturday afternoon.

Police say the investigation is in its early stages, but they do not believe there are any public safety concerns.

The BC Coroners Service has been called in to conduct a parallel fact-finding investigation to determine cause of death.



Aircraft accident at Prince George Airport sends 2 to hospital

Goes off runway, flips

Two people were sent to the hospital after a small aircraft went off the runway at Prince George Airport on Wednesday.

The light aircraft had a runway excursion and ended up upside down and off the blacktop.

The occupants suffered minor injuries.

The airport's emergency response team was called out immediately.

Crews found the two occupants had removed themselves from the plane.

Fire training, which had been scheduled to take place, was cancelled for the day following the incident.



Three screening officers positive for COVID at Vancouver airport

3 staff test positive at YVR

Three screening officers at Vancouver International Airport have tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority confirmed the cases Wednesday, saying that among the more than 700 screening officers working at YVR, three have tested positive for the virus. The spokesperson said there has been “no impact” to screening operations.

However, CATSA did not say when the employees tested positive for the virus or when they last worked a shift at the airport. 

In an emailed statement, CATSA’s media spokesperson said the agency “prioritizes the well-being of screening officers and those working in and travelling through Canadian airports while offering the highest levels of security to the travelling public.”

It’s also unclear if the officers came into contact with the virus at the airport or outside of work, or whether they came into contact with passengers or other staff.

Screening agents at YVR are employed by a third-party company – G4S Secure Solutions (Canada) Ltd. – according to CATSA.

In an emailed statement, G4S confirmed three of its screening officers at YVR tested positive for COVID-19, however, the security company said it was unable to provide further details about the cases.

“In accordance with guidance from local health authorities, G4S also confirms that the proper quarantine and reporting policies have been followed,” reads the statement.

“Due to privacy, we are unable to confirm details as it relates to our employees, but G4S management is in constant contact with the three employees to monitor their health. G4S has stringent policies in place that prioritize our frontline team and the people they serve, and we are committed to their health and well-being.”

Meanwhile, in an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for YVR said CATSA and G4S "recently notified" the airport of the cases. 

"Safety and notification procedures have been followed and we have verified that CATSA and G4S are working directly with (the BC Centre for Disease Control) and public health officials, and are following their direction and protocols," reads the statement. 



Campbell River RCMP seek racist, sexist park taggers

Hateful grafitti at park

Campbell River RCMP are looking for vandals who sprayed racial and sexual graffiti and sexually explicit images at Nunn’s Creek Park.

Taggers identifying themselves within their graffiti as F and L used blue, orange and silver spray paints over the long weekend to “smother” bathrooms and the playground area, police said.

Const. Maury Tyre said the actions of the taggers are “reprehensible.”

“The hate speech that was posted referencing people’s culture and people’s sexual orientation is entirely unacceptable,” he said. “It would seem that the taggers took aim at people with physical disabilities, as well.”

Tyre said police hope that there witnesses to the incident or that someone noticed someone with paint on their clothing or hands.

“This kind of action really shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone in the community and we need to the public’s help to hold these taggers responsible.”



Surrey Police Board set to create new city police force

On verge of new police era

The first-ever police board meeting for Surrey will be held today as the city moves ahead with a controversial plan to replace the local RCMP detachment with its own police service.

Mayor Doug McCallum won election on the campaign promise to create a municipal police force in 2018 and the newly elected city council voted to terminate Surrey's contract with the RCMP.

The B.C. government approved the change in February and appointed the board in June to oversee the new police service in Surrey, one of the province's fastest-growing cities.

But the process caused a rift in the mayor's own civic political party as three members resigned from the Safe Surrey Coalition last year, citing concerns about costs of the new service and McCallum's approach.

A 450-page report by former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal concluded the shift to a civic police force would increase the operating budget by 10.9 per cent in 2021, taking into account the loss of federal subsidies and achieving wage parity with the Mounties.

That's on top of millions of dollars in one-time capital investments Surrey must make in order to set up the new police department that's expected to "go live" on April 1 next year.

Oppal's report says Surrey is an outlier as the only municipality in Canada with more than 300,000 residents that doesn't have its own police force, which would allow the city to better adapt to the community's unique needs and growth.

Among the first items on the agenda today is a motion to create the Surrey Police Service, followed by committee assignments. The next board meeting is set for Sept. 15.

A release from the police board says its nine members are tasked with hiring a chief constable, setting policies, overseeing the service's budget and assuming responsibility for any complaints.



Okanagan author releases book to help endangered pangolins

Adventures of a Pangopup

An Okanagan-based screenwriter and author is gearing up to release her latest children's book highlighting the world's most trafficked mammal, the pangolin.

Terri Tatchell will be releasing 'Adventures of a Pangopop' on September 4 which marks National Wildlife Day. The book provides a fun and uplifting look on pangolins which are currently the world's most trafficked mammal that has also gotten bad press due to COVID-19.

"The pangolin is the most trafficked mammal on earth, so it was already set to be featured in the second book in the Endangered and Misunderstood Series. I do admit however, that once the poor animal started getting blamed for COVID-19, we changed the title from 'Adventures of a Pangolin' to 'Adventures of a Pangopup' which is the name of a baby pangolin," says Terri Tatchell.

"On one hand, the timing is great to spread some positivity their way, but on the other hand who wants to snuggle up for a bedtime story about the creature allegedly responsible for cancelled playdates and getting locked inside? Which in itself is kind of ironic, because the story starts with the pangolin not being allowed outside because 'there’s danger everywhere.'"

All proceeds raised from the Endangered and Misunderstood book series goes towards charities working to protect endangered animals. Since the release of Tatchell's first book of the series 'Aye-Aye Gets Lucky,' $1,500 has been donated to Duke Lemur Centre for Aye-Aye Conservation.

But that isn't all Tatchell has done. She has also donated books to lower income pre-schools, classrooms that first responders serve, families escaping abuse and reading programs based in Ghana, Africa. In addition to this, $1,000 has been donated to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Tatchell who has been nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay is best known for writing the films District 9 and Chappie.

Adventures of a Pangopup will soon be available at bookstores and online platforms.



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