Downtown Kamloops to bring music, sales and giveaways during annual SpringFest

Downtown streets to bloom

Downtown Kamloops will be in full bloom this May as the annual SpringFest event returns to the city’s streets.

In a news release, the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association billed the event as the "highlight of downtown Kamloops’ spring calendar."

“This year, we’re thrilled to bring you an unforgettable mix of live music, fantastic sales, giveaways, and late-night shopping that truly captures the vibrant spirit and sense of community our downtown has to offer,” said KCBIA Executive Director Howie Reimer.

The KCBIA said its late night shopping event will run on May 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participating businesses include Crooked Crown, Far & Wide, the Frozen Paddle, Jardine’s Domain, Lavender Lingerie, Ms. Whimsy’s Gift Emporium and Veerji Kamloops.

Attendees can also shop and eat at participating businesses to be entered in a gift basket giveaway, the winner of which will be announced on May 13.

The event will run in downtown Kamloops from May 9 to May 12.

Further information and a full list of participating businesses is available online.


Hamer-Jackson cannot communicate directly with certain City of Kamloops staff until at least August

Mayor still under restrictions

A communication restriction between Kamloops Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson and some city staff members is staying in place until about August, after what was initially supposed to be just a three-month term.

The city implemented a communication restriction last June, prohibiting the mayor from having direct one-on-one interactions with staff members interviewed as part of an external investigation conducted by investigator Terry Honcharuk.

Honcharuk's report found the mayor violated council’s code of conduct on multiple occasions by displaying demeaning and disrespectful behaviour toward the complainants — including city CAO David Trawin, and then community and protective services director Byron McCorkell.

Honcharuk found Hamer-Jackson also threatened Trawin’s job security. Trawin is currently on personal leave with McCorkell serving as acting CAO. In March, Hamer-Jackson attempted to suspend McCorkell.

The communication restriction bars the mayor from having direct one-on-one interactions with any of the complainants. A third party must be present for in-person or telephone communications, and a council liaison must vet any written communication from the mayor to the complainants for inappropriate language.

Hamer-Jackson has previously told Castanet the ground rules with CAO Trawin were not working well for him, creating difficulty in communications.

Castanet Kamloops has learned the restrictions were extended six months in mid-February, when Coun. Mike O’Reilly dropped by the mayor’s office to deliver him the news.

O’Reilly who is council’s spokesperson for this file, told Castanet the restrictions were extended by a decision of council and “that's all we will be saying at this time.”

Asked why the communication restrictions on the mayor were extended, O’Reilly said council is not able to disclose those reasons as they were part of discussions held in closed meetings over personnel matters and council has not yet authorized their release.

Initially, the restrictions were to be in place for three months, but they were extended last August for six more months to February.

Hamer-Jackson told Castanet he had not been given an explanation as to why the restriction had been extended previously, nor was he immediately informed of why the latest extension occurred in February.

O’Reilly told Castanet the mayor was provided a document in late March with some general wording explaining why the communication restriction was extended following a review.

“He understands why. It’s in the document that he has,” O’Reilly said.

Hamer-Jackson confirmed to Castanet on Friday that he has since received the document, which came to him later than expected.

O'Reilly said he forgot to inform the mayor via email of the reasons in February and was reminded of it last month when Castanet inquired.

Asked if the mayor has breached the communication restrictions, O’Reilly said he could not comment on that.

“We will review them [the communication restrictions] again once this round of the extension is up,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly said he has explained to the mayor through multiple email threads that he was more than happy to meet with him at any time to discuss the protective measures further.

“And at no point did he take me up on that,” O’Reilly said.

“The mayor has known since the protective measures were put in place, what those [measures] were.”

In his report, Honcharuk advised that, because the mayor is an elected official, remedial measures to address his misconduct are limited.

In light of this, Honcharuk wrote, and “in light of the mayor’s apparent disposition not to accept direction from city staff or council, I advise that the City should focus its efforts on protecting its employees from bullying, harassment and other inappropriate behaviour.”

"The evidence indicates that the Mayor has a significant animus towards both Mr. McCorkell and Mr. Trawin," Honcharuk wrote in his report.

Lawsuit accuses IH, Kamloops doctors of negligence in alleged medical overdose case

IH sued over patient's death

Two doctors and Interior Health are being sued by the family of a Kamloops-area woman who died in 2022 at Royal Inland Hospital, accused of causing a fatal medical overdose by providing her the wrong prescription.

Deolinda De Jesus Godau, 56, died at RIH on April 14, 2022. Her widower, Christopher Anthony Mayhew, is suing IH, Dr. Twila-Faye Burgmann and Dr. Paula Jane Kebarle, as well as an Ashcroft pharmacy.

According to a notice of claim filed Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna, Godau showed up at RIH’s emergency department on Feb. 20, 2022, complaining of shortness of breath, coughing, nausea and abdominal pain, among other ailments.

She stayed in hospital for six days before being released, the claim alleges, then had a follow up with Burgmann over the phone on April 7, where she was prescribed a new series of medications including a 50 mg tablet of apo-azathioprine, a drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

The claim states Godau began taking the apo-azathioprine at her Ashcroft home on April 8, 2022.

“Shortly after, she began feeling weak and confused,” the claim reads. “Linda contacted Dr. Burgmann, who told Linda to go to the hospital.”

Godau’s condition deteriorated rapidly at RIH. By April 9, 2022, her prognosis had worsened considerably and she was given a 30 per cent chance of survival.

“On April 11, 2022, Dr. Burgmann attended on Linda at the hospital,” the claim alleges. “Dr. Burgmaann realized that she had provided Linda with the wrong prescription.”

Godau was placed into palliative care on April 13, 2022, and died the following day.

“As a result of the negligence of the defendants, Linda suffered a medical overdose resulting in her death,” the claim alleges.

Mayhew is seeking general and special damages, as well as past and future health care costs and interest.

“The defendants owed a duty of care to to Chris to exercise all reasonable care, skill, diligence and competence in the medical care, treatment and attendance provided to Linda,” the claim reads.

Once the defendants have been served, they will have 21 days to reply.

None of the allegations in Mayhew’s claim have been proven in court.


Kamloops council votes to support On the Rocks Pub & Grill as it seeks to expand licensed capacity

Local pub eyes expansion

A popular pub and restaurant in Aberdeen is looking to expand.

At its meeting Tuesday, Kamloops city council voted in favour of issuing a resolution of support for On the Rocks Pub & Grill, which has applied to amend its liquor license to accommodate increased capacity.

A staff report written for council indicates the pub is hoping to expand its maximum capacity from 150 to 200 people.

“After recently completing renovations to the building and upgrading washroom facilities, the applicant wishes to increase the establishment’s maximum capacity to 200 persons (48 persons on the patio and 150 persons indoors),” reads the report.

On the Rocks is located at 1265 Rogers Way in Aberdeen.

The report said the property is the site of a one-storey building that was constructed in 2002, and has been the location of a pub and restaurant since 2003.

“Noise impacts of the proposed capacity increase are expected to be minimal,” the report said.

The licensed hours of operation will remain unchanged, from 10 a.m. to 1 am.

TRU invites public to conference that will examine privilege, anti-racism

Conference on privilege

Thompson Rivers University is putting out an open invitation to a two-day conference where attendees will be able to learn about that the unearned, unspoken advantages some possess.

The Unearned Assets Conference will be hosted by TRU’s office of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism and will include keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops.

“The conference gives participants a chance to examine their privilege while learning from scholars and practitioners working in EDI and anti-racism,” TRU said in a news release.

“Participants delve into their own provisions as they learn about unearned assets and privileges that often go unnoticed in society.”

Keynote speakers will include Dr. Peggy McIntosh, author of White Privilege: The Invisible Knapsack, and actor and activist Jesse Lipscombe.

TRU said the event will also include a line up of scholars and practitioners hailing from Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.

The Unearned Assets Conference will be held in the mountain room on the third floor of TRU’s campus activity centre from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May 29 to 30.

Organizers said the conference is open to TRU faculty, staff, students and the public.

More information on the event is available on TRU's website.

City says key fob access changes for Kamloops mayor, council are to protect staff

Locks changed at city hall

New measures are in place restricting Kamloops city council members from directly accessing staff areas at all municipal facilities, including city hall.

Jen Fretz, the city’s civic operations director, wouldn't comment on whether the move to change key fob access for elected officials was related to the ongoing chaos at city hall.

In the past couple of weeks, Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson suddenly decided to suspend the acting CAO — a decision quickly reversed by the rest of council — and then released two confidential city documents to news reporters.

One of those documents was an investigative report that concluded the mayor violated council’s code of conduct multiple times by disrespecting or demeaning three staff members.

Fretz said the corporation is responsible for providing a safe workplace for staff — hence the key fob changes.

“The fob access was more about making sure that we are keeping our workspaces for our staff free of bullying and harassment, and making sure that we’re separating the elected officials from our staffed areas,” she said.

In a statement, the city said mayor and council will continue to be able to access all areas required to perform their duties, including council chambers, the mayor’s office and councillors’ office, and all public areas of city hall.

Council members requiring access to staff areas will be escorted by a staff member while within employees’ areas, following regular visitor procedures.

Fretz said all nine members of council were notified about the changes on Tuesday.

"It's an administrative decision, not a council decision. And everyone was present on Tuesday when I let them know what was going on," she said.

Fretz said the changes in key fob access is temporary until administration receives results of a separate security audit — which has been in the works for a while.

"The moves that we made in changing fob access were separate from the security audit that we're doing,” she said.

She said the security audit is being undertaken at a time when “the temperature on things is changing,” and administration wants to ensure the small council chambers remain safe for everyone.

"We want to continue to engage with the public as much as we can, but we want to make sure that we're also doing that in a way that's safe for everyone,” she said.

Crews conducting prescribed burn northwest of Merritt, smoke may be visible

Planned burn near Merritt

The BC Wildfire Service says smoke may be visible to people in the Merritt and Lower Nicola areas Friday as crews conduct a prescribed burn.

In a statement, BCWS said it will be working with the Lower Nicola Indian Band and the Lower Nicola Fire Department for the ignition operations, which are planned about six kilometres northwest of Merritt.

The burning will take place in two locations within the Lower Nicola Indian Band region, and is part of a larger, 210-hectare project which started on in mid-March.

“This portion of the ongoing project will be approximately 10 hectares in size, and will only proceed if site conditions are favourable,” BCWS said.

“The objectives of this project are to reduce the buildup of dead grass, promote the growth of traditional foods, [and] aid in community protection in a wildland urban interface area.”

Smoke may be visible from Merritt, Lower Nicola, Sunshine Valley, Petite Creek, and people travelling along Highway 9 and Highway 97C.

Heavy police presence connected to execution of warrant, Kamloops Mounties say

Police raid Westsyde home

Kamloops Mounties say a significant police presence in Westsyde on Thursday was connected to the execution of a search warrant at a home.

Castanet Kamloops readers reported seeing a heavy police presence in the area of Kyle Drive and Westsyde Road.

“Yesterday’s Westsyde presence was related to a residential search warrant executed as part of a targeted enforcement unit investigation,” RCMP Cpl. Crystal Evelyn said in response to a query from Castanet.

Evelyn said Mounties expect to release more information about the investigation next week.

Do you know what happened, or do you have photos? Email [email protected] or call our Kamloops newsroom at 778-376-2151.

BOOGIE THE BRIDGE: Three columnists complete week six of an eight-week journey to prepare for Boogie

Boogie training: week six

Join columnists Max Patel, Dylana Kneeshaw and Kristen Holliday each Friday morning over the next two weeks as they lace up their running shoes to take part in RUNClub training for Boogie the Bridge. Follow their progress as they prepare for the big event, which will kick off on Sunday, April 28 in downtown Kamloops.

A learning experience

Week 6 brought with it a significant learning experience for me, one that I believe will stay with me for life. As I shared in my last blog post, I was brimming with inspiration and eager to work on improving my timing for the upcoming race. However, reality had other plans.

We kicked off our run along Rivers Trail by the Kamloops Airport, and initially, I felt strong and in sync with my group. However, when we hit the 5K mark, my mindset took a sudden nosedive. I found myself grappling with intrusive thoughts, and for some inexplicable reason, I just didn't feel like continuing with the group. So, I made the decision to turn around and complete a 10K run at my own pace, adhering to my predetermined timing.

Little did I anticipate the challenges that awaited me once I was alone on the return journey. Struggling to maintain a consistent pace, I found myself alternating between walking, jogging, and occasional bursts of running. By the time I reached the starting point, I was feeling physically and mentally drained. In that moment, negative thoughts crept in, making me question my ability to keep up with the Bold group or even vocalize my goal of completing the 10K in under 60 minutes.

However, amid self-doubt, I recalled the wise words of Jo Berry: "Some days, you will have no motivation to run or be active — and that's okay." Accepting I had just experienced a setback helped me regain a sense of positivity and resilience. I reminded myself tomorrow is a new day, filled with fresh opportunities to improve and grow.

I remain steadfast in my determination to achieve my goal of completing the 10K in under 60 minutes, and I firmly believe in my capabilities. Two weekends from now, I will put myself to the test, and time will be the ultimate judge. Regardless of the outcome, I'm committed to embracing the journey and continuing to strive for progress.

— Max Patel, advertising consultant, Pattison Media Kamloops

Committing to the training

For week six of training for Boogie the Bridge, Sunday’s 9K jaunt was a great preview into how I imagine I’ll feel on the day of the event. My cardio feels like ready for a 10K run, legs were feeling strong, and I’ve figured out what amount of water is needed to maintain some semblance of hydration.

One of the biggest benefits of signing up for Boogie training is the boost of accountability I needed to get prepared and keep up with regular runs. I’m a mom, a wife, and I’ve got a full time job, so trying to maintain friendships and hobbies is difficult at times. But having this level of activity in my calendar has been working out well. Yes, it’s a commitment but I don’t feel like I’m letting anybody down if I’m unable to make it out to a session. Everyone just seems glad to be there, and glad to see you when you are there.

Which is likely why I’ve been able to stick with it. Of course I haven’t been able to make it out for every single group training session, but I’ve been able to make it for at least one group run per week and fit in two solo runs throughout the rest of the week. At this busy stage of life, that’s an accomplishment in itself.

As the Run Clubbers say, the hardest part of RunClub is getting there.

— Dylana Kneeshaw, reporter, CFJC TV

Running in the rain

One of the benefits of consistently getting outside to train over the past few weeks, aside from the exercise, is watching the city slowly transition from winter to spring.

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine and not notice the leaves starting to emerge on the trees, the smell of neighbourhood barbecues firing up in the evening, and the increasing warmth of the sun.

This week, the theme seemed to be running in the rain. I started running near the airport, choosing to ignore the wall of dark clouds ahead and raindrops here and there. Minutes later, I turned around and high-tailed it back to the car as wind gusts started pelting hail at my face — ultimately recording my personal best time for a one-kilometre stretch.

A couple days later, I finished a strong 10K run, enjoying refreshing spring showers while taking deep breaths of that incredible rain-on-pavement smell.

It’s hard to believe six weeks have passed since RUNClub started — only two more training Sundays to go. I’m really going to miss Boogie training, but there will be continued opportunities to run with the group I’ve met. I’m already looking forward to what’s next, eying up longer distance events to train for in Kamloops and in other cities.

But first things first — a couple more weeks of focused training, then Boogie the Bridge.

— Kristen Holliday, regional editor, Castanet Kamloops

Kamloops Mounties uncover stash after tracking stolen car to Tk'emlups address

Stash of stolen vehicles

A car stolen from a residential street in downtown Kamloops has led Mounties to a stash of vehicles stolen from other Interior communities.

According to police, a Volvo sedan was reported stolen from the 100-block of Clarke Street on the morning of April 2.

RCMP Cpl. Crystal Evelyn said investigators found the Volvo abandoned later in the day at an address in the 600-block of Shuswap Road.

“With the support of the Kamloops crime reduction unit, several other stolen vehicles were seized, along with a loaded handgun,” she said in a news release.

“Thanks to the quick actions of the Tk’emlups police officers and city detachment support units, vehicles that had been stolen out of Oliver, Vernon and Kamloops were recovered.”

Evelyn said four people who are known to police were located inside the travel trailer and detained. They were later released pending the outcome of the investigation.

Anyone with information can call police at 250-828-3000.

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