Soccer Quest offering free soccer to newcomers from Ukraine, seeking donations

Free soccer for Ukrainians

In conjunction with Kamloops Immigrant Services, Soccer Quest is offering free soccer to Ukrainian children who have recently joined the Kamloops community.

The soccer club is asking for donations of soccer equipment to support this program.

Equipment including cleats, shin pads, socks and gloves can be dropped off at the rbtj.ca office located at 8-665 Tranquille Rd.

KIS said the Kamloops Sunrays Synchronized Swim Club is also offering artistic swimming lessons free of charge to children of Ukrainian families who have arrived in the community.


Kamloops MP tables bill he says will help tackle street crime, free up police resources

Bill targets prolific offenders

The Conservative MP for Kamloops has tabled a bill seeking to make it more difficult for some prolific offenders to get bail.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo released a statement Thursday saying his Private Members Bill C-274 gives parliament a chance to respond to an 2020 Supreme Court of Canada decision, R v. Zora, that made detention for people awaiting trial “exceptionally rare.”

Caputo said this court decision has impacted law enforcement and strained police resources, citing comments from Kamloops’ RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky who said about 5 per cent of offenders are creating 90 per cent of officers’ work.

“Municipalities have been raising the red flag on the rise in street crime. Residents of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo are begging for changes in the law so that crime can be addressed,” Caputo said.

“These requests have fallen on deaf ears. It’s time we give law enforcement the tools needed to protect victims and keep the public safe.”

Caputo said his bill would create a "presumption detention" for those accused of three indictable offences with a maximum penalty of five years or greater.

He said this would only target those that commit serious offences, and would give judges the discretion to release an individual under exceptional circumstances.

“Simply put, parliament must respond to this court decision [R v. Zora]. Bill C-274 gives parliament an opportunity to respond,” Caputo said.

Driver trying to flee in stolen pickup damages two RCMP vehicles, Mounties say

Police vehicles damaged

Two Kamloops RCMP vehicles were damaged Thursday during a pursuit that resulted in the arrest of two people and the recovery of two stolen vehicles, according to Mounties.

According to police, officers responding to a report of a vehicle theft in progress in Pineview Valley at about 7:30 a.m. on Thursday followed the stolen vehicle to a stretch of Hugh Allan Drive, where a suspect got out and then got into a truck driven by a woman.

RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn said the grey pickup was reported stolen out of Midway on Tuesday and tied to an alleged attempted vehicle theft in Kelowna on Wednesday.

Evelyn said Mounties tried to stop the truck. When it attempted to evade police, she said, two RCMP vehicles were damaged.

Two people, a man and a woman, were arrested. Evelyn said the woman was wanted on warrants out of Alberta.

“This happened in a residential area during a time of day when the roadways are especially busy with kids making their way to school and adults travelling to work,” Evelyn said in a news release.

“By stopping the truck, police were able to prevent it from fleeing the area, which would have increased the risk to public safety and allowed it to continue to be used for criminal activity.”

Evelyn said no one was injured during the collision.

Both suspects are being held for a bail hearing.

Evelyn said anyone with dash camera or surveillance footage of the incident is asked to contact police at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


Police say no serious injuries reported after crash in busy Sahali intersection

No serious injuries in crash

No serious injuries were reported in a collision Wednesday that slowed traffic through a busy Sahali intersection.

Emergency crews were called to the corner of McGill Road and Columbia Street at about noon on Wednesday for a report of a two-vehicle crash.

RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn said investigators believe a vehicle travelling eastbound on McGill Road blew a red light and was struck by a vehicle turning left onto Columbia Street.

Evelyn said both vehicles were towed from the scene and no serious injuries were reported.

Kamloops thrift store runs Kindness Room, where items are free with no questions asked

Kindness Room fills a need

Kept well-stocked with clothes, bedding and housewares, a room inside a North Kamloops thrift store offers a barrier-free place for people to get things they need for free, with no questions asked.

Second Chances Thrift Store owner Bonnie McBride said the store launched the Kindness Closet — now dubbed the Kindness Room, due to its larger size — about six months ago.

McBride said the space has been very well received.

“Everybody uses it. So we do have people that clearly are marginalized and living on the street and need clean clothes. We've had people come who have just been discharged from the hospital and ended up coming out with nothing. We've had social workers bring in people who are transitioning from homelessness into a space and don't even own a pot or a pan,” McBride said.

“We’ve had seniors who are purchasing some things in the store, but might not have been able to afford new glasses, students, everybody.”

McBride said the idea to launch the Kindness Room started to meet an existing need. She said in her five years operating the thrift store, nearly every day someone was waiting for the store to open in the morning, asking them for something they couldn’t afford.

“We were already kind of doing this, but doing it in a sort of piecemeal fashion. And we thought that this might be a good way to give people an easy way to take what they need, and not connect with us and have to ask each time,” McBride said.

McBride said each item placed into the Kindness Room is marked so staff and volunteers know it should go out as a free item.

“There are no limitations, there's no barriers to who can use it, or the number of times that they can come in and take things. There's also no limits to the amount that they can take,” she said.

According to McBride, the room is used several times every day, and she’s had to arrange for three volunteers to come in regularly to help keep it stocked.

She said the Kindness Room is one of her favourite things she’s ever done in Kamloops, with people brought to tears or giving hugs to staff because they can’t believe they can take the items at no cost.

“We had a fellow that came in one day, and I was at the till and it was quite busy. ...I said, ‘Don't forget about the Kindness Room.’ And he looked up, and looked me right in the eye, and he touched his heart and he says, ‘I know about the kindness room, and it's such a blessing,’” McBride said.

“I thought, I don't know that that's a fellow that probably meets many shopkeepers in the eye. We've never received anything but amazing things and feedback for the Kindness Room.”

McBride said the thrift store will continue to run the Kindness Room for as long as they are in operation.

She said although Kamloops is struggling with the question of “who deserves what” when it comes to people in need, she believes it’s important for the community to have a barrier-free, safe place to go.

“It’s not up to us to be the gatekeepers to people’s next step in their lives,” McBride said.

“People who access our Kindness Room regularly who are clearly living on the street know that this is a safe place they can go. They don't panic if they lose all their things or they need something, because they try here first.

“In a way it helps keep people from making maybe poor choices, because they know they have the space. We make sure there are always jackets, always bags, always socks and underwear, always bedding. Always the basics so people can come in here and meet that need.”

McBride said people can’t be banned from the Kindness Room.

“They always have access to it and that's a really challenging thing right now in our community where we're starting to sort of shrink in and make more barriers.”

She said this philosophy has led to improved relationships with people who have displayed difficult behaviour in the past.

“We have less instances of graffiti and vandalism. We are beginning to develop a rapport with some of the people that access our room that can present challenges in our community," McBride said.

Residents who wish to support the Kindness Room can do so by continuing to shop at Second Chances Thrift Store, and by dropping off donations.

Casimir says science, cultural protocols will guide next steps in handling unmarked graves

'Much work' ahead for TteS

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir says the band will be balancing science and cultural protocol as it plans next steps in regards to unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

After honouring Le Estcwicwey (The Missing) in a memorial event on May 23 — commemorating one year since the probable graves were located — Casimir said some technical work, including archaeology and ground-penetrating radar, will take place on site.

“We are utilizing science to support each step as we move forward. We do have a technical task force that has been put together that consists of various professors, as well as technical archaeologists, and continuing to work with the GPR specialists as well,” Casimir said.

She said as archeological work gets underway, the band will keep communication, respect, honour and dignity at the forefront. She said this is key as the band needs to connect any remains found with their home communities, which may have their own cultural protocols.

“There's going to be a lot of ceremony that takes place. And again, it's going to be whether we go through exhumation to memorialization, when we start getting to some of those steps,” Casimir said.

Alongside archaeologists and other technical specialists, Casimir said the band will be working with provincial and federal government liaisons as well as international experts.

“We have international expertise that are also going to be sharing a bit of guidance as well as we move down the road, and sharing some of their best practices with us,” Casimir said.

“We're going to be inviting other First Nations communities to come in and participate, and to learn and to draw on some of those practices as well because this is something that has not happened in history here in Canada. There is no set of guidelines, no checklists.”

Casimir said the band will honour protocols and will be ensuring they bring in any supports needed to help them move forward.

Casimir said the memorial event on Monday is part of a cultural tradition to honour the children found in the unmarked graves.

“This is our cultural tradition and protocol, after the year of sharing and the loss and going through the emotions of the grief, loss, now we're going to be honouring the ancestral children, The Missing, the 215,” she said.

Casimir said said the memorial is open to all.

“Everyone is welcome, and we want to recognize not only the members of TteS government past and present and the staff for their efforts but all those who have stood by us and joined us in solidarity and supported, to mourn and to grieve,” Casimir said.

The full-day event will include Secwepemc cultural performances, a sunrise ceremony, pipe carriers, hand drumming and jingle dress dancing.

She said cultural and mental health supports will be available at the ceremonies for those who need it.

The memorial will be at the Tk’emlups Pow Wow Arbour, with events happening from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m.

More information can be found on the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc website.

Investigators ask for dashcam footage as they investigate cause of fire between Savona and Cache Creek

Police investigate wildfire

UPDATE 8 p.m.

Ashcroft RCMP is asking drivers to check their dash cameras as they look into the cause of the Juniper Knoll fire.

Police are requesting that anyone with dashcam footage who was driving on Highway 1 between Walhachin and Cache Creek on May 17th, between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., provide that footage to investigators.

“The exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined,” says Corporal Lloyd Pinsent, Ashcroft RCMP. “We need to speak with anyone who was driving in the area that has dashcam footage to help further the investigation.”

You can contact Ashcroft RCMP at 250-453-2216 if you have footage or any other information about the incident, or report tips anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or at www.bccrimestoppers.com.

ORIGINAL 11:00 a.m.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a small wildfire sparked Tuesday in the Juniper Beach area between Savona and Cache Creek.

The blaze, estimated at three hectares as of Wednesday morning, is now considered under control.

BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Karley Desrosiers said investigators are on scene, but not firefighters.

“We have fire origin and cause [investigators] on scene but no requirement for crews,” she said, noting the blaze is suspected to have been caused by human activity.

Desrosiers said the investigators are working to pinpoint where the blaze started, then determine what exactly caused it.

“They go out there and look at the site of ignition, potentially what could have caused this fire and isolate the spot where it could have started, and then they write up their report,” she said.

The fire covered an estimated five hectares on Tuesday evening.

Kamloops' Coast Hotel to host long weekend bodybuilding competition

Kamloops to host BC Cup

The Tournament Capital is set to host the 2022 Natural BC Cup bodybuilding competition over the long weekend.

The event will be held at the Coast Hotel and Conference Centre on Saturday.

A social media post from event organizer Xtreme Productions said they are excited to bring back this weekend’s competition.

“We are excited to be back in action this weekend! Bigger show, more registered athletes, new venue and new champions to be crowned! See you all in Kamloops for the 2022 BC Cup,” the post said.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the front door on the day of the competition.

Morning pre-judging starts at 10 a.m., while the finals kick off at 5 p.m.

More information can be found on Xtreme Promotions’ website.

TRU offering domestic tuition rates to 50 Ukrainian students next school year

Tuition deal for Ukrainians

Ukrainians fleeing war in their homeland will be able to study at a reduced rate at Thompson Rivers University.

In a news release Wednesday, TRU said it will offer academic programs at domestic tuition rates for an Ukrainian students who travel to Canada on the Canadian-Ukrainian Authorized Emergency Travel federal program.

TRU said the goal is to sponsor 50 students for the program — including 20 who are already enrolled.

According to the university, an average of 10 Ukrainian international students attend TRU each year.

The Canadian-Ukrainian Authorized Emergency Travel agreement offers Ukrainians and their family members free temporary status to live, work and study in Canada for up to three years.

City of Kamloops and Tk'emlups recognized nationally for collaboration, relationship-building

City, Tk'emlups win award

The City of Kamloops and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc have won a national award recognizing the collaboration and relationship-building efforts the two communities have undertaken for years.

The Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators presented Mayor Ken Christian and Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir with the first-ever 2022 CAMA Collaboration Award during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday.

Christian noted that cooperative programs and meetings, efficient shared services and good training for city employees — such as Indigenous language training — has helped the city develop a strong working relationship with TteS.

“I think before you can have a relationship, you first must be friends. And we have really worked hard with TteS and the chief and councillors there," he said.

"We attend each other’s inaugural meetings, we break bread together and we learn about each other and each other's issues and understanding certainly some of the cultural issues at play I think is important."

Christian said it’s then important to “roll up your sleeves and be prepared to do the work.”

According to CAMA, the city and TteS have demonstrated relationship building through engaging in community-to-community meetings and celebrations and providing shared messaging around the pandemic and climate-related events.

Christian said it was important for the two communities to celebrate together.

“Whether it’s having Tk’emlups at our Canada Day celebrations or our veteran’s dinner, or whether its our attending the powwow or truth and reconciliation ceremonies at Tk’emlups, we do that — and we make that a priority,” he said.

“I think that helps us build a relationship and we will continue to do that.”

The two communities share service agreements for fire protection, transit and sanitary sewer management.

CAMA also noted the city’s hiring of an external relations manager and project archaeologist to assist in the work between the two parties.

Casimir said the TteS’ relationship with the local municipality dates back to the 1950s and 1960s, and continues today.

“It is as friends, and it’s also as partners, and also as government-to-government in upholding the health and safety of our respective communities, as well,” Casimir said.

“Very proud and honoured of those steps and that relationship.”

She said the relationship is a prime example of reconciliation, which can only happen when parties truly work together and take the time to understand one another.

Casimir said she appreciated the relationship especially as the band announced the finding of over 200 probable unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last May.

“They were there truly at the worst of times for us here. As a local First Nation, a reserve right next door to a local municipality, we truly leaned on them and they were there and reaching out to support in any way they could,” she said.

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