School district's OWL Award committee asks for nominations

SD73 asks for nominees

The OWL Award for Excellence in Public Education committee is asking the community for nominations.

The OWL Award recognizes individuals, groups or organizations that have made a significant contribution to public education in SD73 over a 5 year period, and have had a positive impact on the development of students, parents, teachers, support staff and educational leaders.

The Board of Education started the award in 2010 to celebrate contributions to student learning/teaching, athletics, fine arts, community well-being/partnerships, extra or co-curricular learning, administration and support and governance.

Nominees don’t have to be SD73 employees, but can be individuals or groups that have worked closely with the school district.

The deadline for nominations is March 31. The recipient will receive public recognition at a SD73 board meeting on June 30 or earlier.

More information about nominations is available on the SD73 website.


Porsche impounded after it was clocked at 130 km/h going up Summit Drive

130 km/h on Summit Drive

Police say they impounded a Porsche on Saturday after it was clocked at 130 km/h going up Summit Drive.

According to police, a Mountie was patrolling the 700-block of Summit Drive at about 4 p.m. on Saturday when he saw a Porsche headed up the hill at a high rate of speed.

“The officer’s radar equipment established that the vehicle was travelling more than 130 km/h in a 60 km/h zone,” RCMP Cpl. Crystal Evelyn said in a news release.

Evelyn said the driver was ticketed for excessive speeding and the Porsche was impounded for seven days.

Eastbound Trans-Canada lanes reopen after collision near Orchards Walk

Highway 1 collision cleared

UPDATE: 3:14 p.m.

According to DriveBC, the highway was cleared just after 3 p.m.

ORIGINAL 2:42 p.m.

Police are asking motorists to avoid the eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway near Orchards Walk as crews deal with a multi-vehicle collision.

Crews were called to the area just before 2 p.m.

“Please avoid the area as police and emergency responders attend,” RCMP Cpl. Crystal Evelyn said in a news release.


Salvation Army to provide emergency disaster services training

Disaster training available

The Salvation Army will be providing free emergency disaster services training to prepare Kamloops residents for a potential emergency.

Three free courses will be offered from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25.

Introduction to Emergency Disaster Services is offered on Thursday, Feb. 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and is designed for individuals with or without previous disaster experience. This course is a prerequisite for additional courses.

Foundations of Spiritual and Emotional Care is offered on Friday, Feb. 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This course provides basic information and practical tools for emotional and spiritual care.

Disaster Food Services and Canteen is offered on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This course trains attendees on how to provide food services from the Salvation Army’s community response vehicle.

Coffee and snacks will be provided at each course, as well as lunch on Feb. 25.

Registration is available at the Kamloops Salvation Army website.

Forecast calls for mix of sun and cloud, chance of showers

Mix of sun and clouds

Madison Erhardt

Another cloudy week is expected for Kamloops, with strong winds and chances of showers early in the week.

Skies are forecast to remain overcast as temperatures cool off by the end of the week, according to Environment Canada.

Winds reaching 30 km/h are expected Monday late in the afternoon, with a high of 8 C during the day — six degrees above average seasonal temperatures. Monday will also see a low of -6 C during the night.

Tuesday is predicted to be the warmest day of the week with a high of 12 C and a low of 0 C with a 40 per cent chance of showers.

Sunny skies are expected to arrive on Wednesday, with a high of 6 C during the day.

Thursday will see a mix of sun and cloud, with temperatures forecasted to reach a daytime high of 4 C.

Environment Canada is predicting cloudy skies to continue throughout Friday and over the weekend, with highs hovering between 6 C and 5 C.

Kamloops mayor spent $33,600 on his campaign, according to Elections BC

RHJ spent $33K on election

Kamloops Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson spent about $33,600 on his successful election campaign — the second highest expenditure totalled among the five mayoral candidates, according to Elections BC.

Elections BC has published financial disclosure statements from the 2022 local general election.

The list of expenditures shows Dieter Dudy, former city councillor and mayoral runner-up, spent the most out of any election candidate, totalling $48,754 in expenses for his campaign.

As for the rest of the mayoral candidates, Elections BC reports that Sadie Hunter spent $29,437, Arjun Singh $21,307 and Ray Dhaliwal $14,760 on their unsuccessful campaigns.

Darpan Sharma topped the list of Kamloops councillor candidates, totalling $35,942 in expenses. Sharma was not elected to council.

Of the 10 councillor candidates who spent more than $10,000 on their campaigns, six of them were elected.

The highest-spending elected councillors were Bill Sarai with $33,072 in expenses, Katie Neustaeter, who spent a total of $30,160, Margot Middleton with $28,278 in expenses, and Mike O’Reilly, at $19,449.

Nancy Bepple spent $15,141, while Kelly Hall spent $12,852.

Randy Sunderman, who received the ninth highest number of votes, thereby just missing a council seat, spent $17,074 on his campaign, according to Elections BC.

Dennis Giesbrecht and Caroline King, who were also close runners-up, spent $12,240 and $11,968 respectively.

Stephen Karpuk, who was elected to council, reported spending $3,491 on his campaign.

Elections BC data shows Dale Bass, who was re-elected as a city councillor last fall, received $7,595 in campaign contributions and had $0 in expenses, but was left with $0 in surplus campaign funds. Bass told Castanet Kamloops her financial report is incomplete and said she will be in touch with Elections BC to resolve the matter.

Financial statements for all Kamloops candidates who ran in the 2022 election can be found here.

Day parole granted to man who filmed 'disturbing' child porn video with toddler

Child porn grandpa paroled

WARNING: This story contains information some readers may find disturbing.

A Kamloops grandfather who filmed a “disturbing” child pornography video with a toddler he was babysitting has been granted day parole.

The 68-year-old man cannot be named under a court-ordered publication ban put in place to protect the identity of the young girl.

He pleaded guilty in 2021 to charges of sexual interference, possession of child pornography and production of child pornography. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

The man came to the attention of police after a relative looked through his cellphone in March of 2020 and found a number of troubling images.

When Mounties seized the phone and searched it, they located images and videos depicting child pornography — including some that the man had filmed himself with the three-year-old girl he had been babysitting.

At sentencing, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Hori called the offences “disturbing.”

The man underwent a psychological risk assessment in December ahead of his parole hearing. He was deemed a low risk for future sexual offending.

He was denied full parole and granted day parole following a hearing on Wednesday.

“The board finds that you will not present an undue risk to society if released on day parole and that this release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen,” the board wrote in its decision.

While on day parole, the man will be prohibited from consuming alcohol or having contact with the victim or any children. He will also be barred from possessing or accessing pornography.

His sentence will expire in November of 2025.

The man is also bound by a 10-year order barring him from going near the victim, using social media or communicating with any children online.

TNRL support worker program launched to connect patrons with community resources

Support worker at library

A community support worker intern at the Thompson-Nicola Regional Library will be holding drop-in sessions designed to help community members struggling with substance use, mental health, housing and employment.

In a news release, the TNRL said Karlie Ferland was hired last fall to provide advocacy and supportive listening, as well as to help library patrons navigate community agencies.

Over the next couple of months, Ferland will be running a free drop-in program called Coffee and Conversations — a place where people can connect and learn about resources available in the community.

“I am so happy to be able to help library patrons one-on-one and through group conversations in our Coffee and Conversations program,” Ferland said in a statement.

“Whether it’s navigating application processes and paperwork for income or disability assistance, or just offering a listening ear, I am honoured to support our vulnerable patrons.”

The Coffee and Conversations program will alternate between the downtown Kamloops and North Kamloops library locations.

The drop-in sessions will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Kamloops library, and on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the North Kamloops location.

The program will return to the Kamloops library on March 18, and the North Kamloops branch on March 25.

Library patrons are also able to schedule in-person appointments with Ferland at either library branch by contacting the library or booking online.

The TNRL said the service, funded by the Government of Canada, is intended to reduce barriers to social services and help patrons access community resources.

Ferland will be working at the library until March 31.

Margo Schiller, manager of Kamloops libraries and engagement, said the library has applied for funding through the same funding source for another intern.

Schiller said the new position will be slightly different, with a focus on accessibility for people with diverse abilities and seniors, but noted there should be some room for the new hire to continue some of the advocacy work Ferland has undertaken.

Kamloops council approves $10K to help TteS' bid to host 2027 Indigenous games

$10K for NAIG hosting bid

With a unanimous vote, Kamloops council approved a $10,000 contribution to support Tk’emlups te Secwepemc’s bid to host the 2027 North American Indigenous Games.

The City of Kamloops was asked to co-fund a selection committee site visit, which will happen in late April.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Coun. Mike O’Reilly said he would support the motion, adding the opportunity to host the large event was made possible because of the community’s decision decades ago to build into the Tournament Capital vision.

"This is the largest sporting event — if not, I believe, the event — in the entire history of the City of Kamloops. I'm incredibly excited to do this, especially working with our partners across the river, TteS, and building on Recommendation 88 from Truth and Reconciliation [Calls to Action],” O’Reilly said.

“This is just so much more than what you're asking here today — this will tie our community and build that social fabric. That is not easy to do. And sport brings community together. So I'm very happy to support this today.”

Sean Smith, the city’s tournament capital and special events supervisor, told council recommendation 88 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for all levels of government to support the North American Indigenous Games as well as Indigenous athlete growth and development.

Smith said the city has already committed $500,000 of cash and in-kind support in the form of facilities and staff time for the 2027 games if TteS is named as the successful host community.

Smith said so far, he has received 26 letters and 40 verbal declarations from the local community in support of the bid to host the 2027 games.

“This would be the largest multi-sport and cultural event hosted in Canada and the United States, specifically targeted for Indigenous populations,” Smith said.

“The games will bring together more than 5,000 athletes — they are actually shooting for 6,000 athletes — plus family and friends, coaches and teams and staff from 750-plus Indigenous nations who will be getting together to celebrate, share and reconnect through sport and culture with the help of 3,000 volunteers.”

Tammy Robertson, the city's Indigenous and community relations manager, also spoke to council about the strong relationship between TteS and the City of Kamloops, which she said has been “catching the attention of communities across the country.”

“Whether we need to discuss partnership opportunities, cross-training, future utility needs or events such as the North American Indigenous Games, it is clear that we both want the best for our communities and for the greater good,” Robertson said.

She said city CAO David Trawin and the executive director of finance for TteS will be attending a local government conference to speak on the relationship between Tk'emlups and the City of Kamloops.

“It is our hope that by modelling the way, others will advance their efforts on reconciliation to make Canada a better place for all,” Robertson said.

The city’s $10,000 contribution will be funded from the community and protective services department’s Tournament Capital Services Special Bids budget. The funds will go towards the cost of flights, ground transportation and special event expenses for the selection committee.

According to the City of Kamloops, the successful host for the 2027 Indigenous Games will be announced later this year.

The TteS and Kamloops bid is the only bid from B.C., competing against Calgary and Saskatoon.

Man jailed after police find 'Frankenstein gun' holstered beneath his jacket

'Frankenstein gun' nets jail

A Kamloops man who was caught by police with "a Frankenstein gun” holstered beneath his jacket has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Because of time served since his arrest, Michael George Luttman’s sentence is one of time served.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court on Wednesday to one count of possessing ammunition contrary to a prohibition.

Court heard a Mountie was making patrols near an alley off the 1000-block of Surrey Avenue on Sept. 22 when he spotted a vehicle missing a front licence plate.

When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Luttman, was refusing to keep his hands visible.

Crown prosecutor Andrew Duncan said the Mountie opened the vehicle’s door and saw what he believed to be a firearm. Luttman was removed from the vehicle and placed in handcuffs.

“Police did a pat-down search of him and ultimately, when they opened his jacket, they found holsters under his arms that contain what appear to be two restricted firearms — two handguns,” Duncan said.

One gun was determined to be a BB gun, but the other was part handgun and part BB gun.

“It was determined to be a modified BB gun that had the lower portion of a BB gun and the upper portion of a real restricted firearm, a Sig handgun,” Duncan said. “It had basically been cobbled together.”

Kamloops provincial court Judge Marianne Armstrong referred to the weapon as “a Frankenstein gun.”

Police suspected the gun was a ghost gun — a firearm made to be untraceable — but testing determined it was not capable of firing a live round.

Despite that, Duncan said, it was loaded with nine-millimetre rounds.

“There’s a question that I have about whether Mr. Luttman knew that it could not fire,” Duncan said. “But that is not an issue to determine today. We just know that it was not capable of firing.”

Luttman was placed on a lifetime firearms prohibition following a 2021 conviction on gun charges. That order also prohibits him from possessing ammunition.

Duncan and defence lawyer James Ross suggested a joint submission for a six-month jail sentence — which works out to time served — to be followed by two years of probation.

Ross said Luttman is a former Canadian Forces soldier who later worked as an iron worker.

Luttman said he wants to lead a productive life.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for my actions,” he said. “Not only have I hurt myself, but I have hurt everyone close in my life that believed in me.”

Armstrong went along with the joint submission. While on probation, Luttman will be prohibited from possessing any weapons or imitation firearms, including BB guns.

He was also handed a second lifetime firearms prohibition.

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