Man caught on security camera stealing flowers returns them

Stolen flowers returned

A man caught on security camera stealing a pot of flowers from a Kelowna residence on May 20 has returned the stolen goods. 

Homeowner Alvin Braumberger says he realized the pot of yellow, white and purple flowers had been stolen after checking his surveillance footage on the morning of May 21. 

However, one day later the same individual was seen returning the flowers safely to Braumberger's house on Leckie Road, and giving two thumbs up for the camera. 

Anyone with information about the May 20 incident is asked to contact Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

To report information anonymously via CrimeStoppers, call 1-800-222-8477 or visit the website


Boys and Girls Clubs serving kids in a time of crisis

Boys & Girls through crisis

During the COVID-19 pandemic, charitable organizations had to adapt to continue providing for those most vulnerable as they're essential for communities across the country. 

"Our role and the roles of our partner organizations during this pandemic hasn’t changed, except that the needs of those vulnerable populations have grown exponentially," writes Diane Entwistle, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan in a press release on Friday.

Nationally, the Boys and Girls Club movement have served Canadian kids and youth and their families for more than a century. 

"We have navigated world wars, the Great Depression, economic recessions, and now, a pandemic. Through it all, we have been there for kids and teens and their families."

The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan is guiding kids through the pandemic, to help them understand what is happening in the world and offering them stability. 

"Our programs are rooted in supporting kids’ mental health, in helping ease anxieties and fears, in navigating the effects of trauma."

The organization relies heavily on its program facilitators who spend time every day with young people. 

"Our staff are showing up every day, either in person, or virtually, and making sure that our clubs are safe places for children and youth to be."

They've provided many different services, including child care for Essential Service Workers (ESW), housing for young people, youth drop-in support and food security in communities. 

Project Impact, demonstrated that Club members are better at establishing positive relationships and building interpersonal skills, and have a stronger sense of belonging and acceptance.

The Okanagan Club, has been tackling food insecurity by delivering food and critical care packages to families, providing childcare for essential workers, running virtual programming for kids and teens, providing housing supports, connecting with young people online to offer counselling and one-to-one support, and connecting with families.

"We have always tailored our programs and services to meet the needs of all 16 communities that we serve throughout the Okanagan, and we will continue to do so."

The Boys and Girls Club of the Okanagan has been operating in the region for 60 years. 

A wrap up of Castanet's top stories from this past week

Castanet's week in review

Castanet's week in review with Nich Johansen.

Kelowna proposes a return to paid on-street parking June 1

Free parking to end May 31

The City of Kelowna is recommending a return to paid on-street parking June 1.

Payment for on-street parking downtown and in the South Pandosy area was waived two months ago as a way to support businesses who remained open through the early days of stay-at-home recommendations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parking manager Dave Duncan, in a report to council, suggests rescinding that initiative when it expires May 31.

In his report, Duncan says the removal of paid on-street parking resulted in many people exceeding the time stipulation, which still remained in effect.

"In response, staff implemented a process to allow for the creation of temporary five-minute pickup zones to support businesses that remained open by offering pick up and take out options," said Duncan.

"Based on feedback received by staff to date, this has been a successful program."

Duncan is recommending that program remain if paid parking does resume.

He also says parking activity has steadily increased over the past number of weeks, and some of the busier blocks such as Bernard Avenue, are reaching 100 per cent capacity.

In response to the increased parking demand as businesses reopen, and to deter motorists from using on-street parking as a long-term alternative, Duncan is recommending several changes.

These include a return to pay parking in the downtown A Zone and KGH frontages June 1, and downtown Zone B and C and South Pandosy urban retail area June 15.

Time restriction enforcement would also resume June 1.

Council will review the recommendations Monday.

Recommends rezoning for 77 townhouses on Kirschner Mountain

Staff favours Kirschner plan

Kelowna’s development planning staff will recommend the rezoning and public hearing waived for a multi-family development on Kirschner Mountain.

The proposed development from Kirschner Mountain Joint Venture calls for 77 townhouse units spread out among three-, four- and five-plex buildings.

The land, located at 2890 Gallagher Rd., is currently designated A1-agriculture and needs to be changed to RH3-hillside cluster housing to accommodate the project.

The proposal is a continuation of the Kirschner Mountain development. It would extend Loseth Road and provide eventual roadway connection to Gallagher Road.

The matter goes before city council on Monday.

Early morning Kelowna mail truck fire deemed suspicious

Mail truck fire 'suspicious'

UPDATE: 10 a.m.

An early morning truck fire at Kelowna's Canada Post sorting centre has been deemed suspicious.

The Kelowna Fire Department responded to the fire on the north side of the Baillie Avenue building just before 2 a.m. Saturday. 

"One of their trucks in the loading docks was ablaze when we got there," said Kelowna Fire Department Platoon Captain Tim Light. "The crews knocked it down pretty quick.

"There was no extension [into the building], but there was some smoke in the building that we had to ventilate."

Light said the they are considering the fire to be "suspicious in nature," and the RCMP are currently investigating. 

"Generally, a vehicle that's parked in a loading dock earlier on in the day or evening won't generally self ignite," Light said. 

An RCMP officer was on scene Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. taking photos of the burned out shell of the truck's cab.

UPDATE: 8:40 a.m.

The destroyed cab of a truck and three boarded up windows are all that remain from an early morning fire at the Canada Post sorting centre on Baillie Avenue.

An RCMP officer was on scene Saturday morning, taking photos of the destroyed truck on the north side of the building.

Residents near the North End facility awoke to several "massive blasts" at about 2 a.m. The large truck fire scorched the side of the Canada Post building, shattering three of the building's windows. 

It's unclear what caused the fire, but the RCMP is currently investigating. 

Castanet has reached out to the Kelowna Fire Department for more information. 

ORIGINAL: 6:15 a.m.

Large explosions were reported overnight in Kelowna's North End.

Reader submitted photos show a fire at the loading docks of the Canada Post sorting centre on Baillie Avenue.

Residents started reporting what were described as "massive blasts" about 2 a.m. in the industrial area at the base of Knox Mountain.

Firefighters and first responders were seen at the site, and photos show a truck engulfed in flames.

The fire and explosions were on the north side of the building, at the loading ramp.

Multiple fire and police units were on scene, says Chad Vale.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, and the Kelowna Fire Department has yet to issue a statement.

Castanet will update this story as more information becomes available.


Wineries tell Castanet how they've adapted to the pandemic

Wineries adapt to pandemic

Plexiglass, face masks and social distanced tours could be some of the things you see during your next winery visit.

Castanet spoke with Lake Country's Intrigue Wines and O'Rourke's Peak Cellars about how they will be moving forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic and what measures they have taken to ensure the safety of their visitors and employees. 

"We were super fortunate that we were actually able to stay open this entire time. We were able to keep all of our employees and our tasting room staff actually stepped up and did a lot of work in the vineyard," says assistant wine shop manager at Intrigue Wines, Carolynne Dumontet. 

While the wine shop remained open and online orders and curb-side pickups skyrocketed, the tasting room was closed in correlation with the provinces COVID-19 guidelines.

However Intrigue Wines tasting room is now open with various new safety protocols in place including plexiglass, hand sanitization stations, social distance reminder stickers on the floor, contact tracing and a limit on how many people can enter the facility at a time. 

"We definitely want everyone to know that we're still offering the same guest experience we had before here, just a little bit different," says Dumontet. "We just sort of adapted how we're doing things and we're confident that we've put the proper measures in place to make sure everyone feels comfortable coming in."

When it comes to visiting Intrigue Wines for a wine tasting, the tasting bar is open for groups of up to six people and Dumontet recommends making an online reservation. 

"We'll have the four glasses pre-poured for you and then you can go and take it away yourself so there's no unnecessary interaction back and fourth between the tasting bar host and the customer," she says.

Intrigue Wines is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

O'Rourke's Peak Cellars has been closed since March 14, however staff are gearing up to welcome back visitors to the tasting room and Garden Bistro on Thursday and they will be doing so with face masks.

"When we're in close range to our customers we'll be wearing a mask and when we're able to step back and talk about the food, we'll be able to remove our masks," says general manager at O'Rourke's Peak Cellars, Heather Courtney.

There will be seating for 40 guests outdoors at the Garden Bistro and reservations can be made online for the restaurant and tasting room for up to six people. Staff have also utilized the production area to add more tables for sit-down tastings which will be brought directly to the guests.

"All of our dining at this point will be outside," says Courtney. "We've got heat lamps and drop down walls so we'll be able to keep people cozy."

Wine tours will also be available once O'Rourke's Peak Cellars is open and the tasting room will be open daily from 11 a.m. 5 p.m. and the Garden Bistro will be open everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. To learn more click here.

Final phase of construction underway at Centennial Park

Demolition at Centennial

Preliminary work on the final phase of the redevelopment of Rutland Centennial Park is underway.

City crews were at the park this week demolishing what was at one time a lacrosse box. The boards around the rink had previously been removed.

The washroom building is also being taken down.

Design and construction services director Andrew Gibbs says the area will be replaced by a basketball court, ping pong tables and a gogo ball court.

That construction will begin once a contract is awarded.

Gibbs says the final stage of park reconstruction will include a new stage, turf and completion of asphalt trails around the park.

Later this year, he says new washrooms will be constructed near the playground.

Gospel Mission shares news of Good Samaritans

Good Samaritans abound

With all the gloom and doom around the COVID-19 pandemic, it's reassuring to see good news from good deeds can still find their way to the surface.

In this case, two good deeds from two Good Samaritans.

Sonya Menyes, in charge of volunteers at the downtown Kelowna Gospel Mission, took to Facebook Friday morning share a story from Darryn, one of the Mission's mobile outreach workers.

"Some of you are aware that I lost my wallet on Tuesday evening between Tim Hortons and the Mission," Darryn wrote.

"Today, I received a call from Scotiabank that my wallet had been turned in at the branch on Lakeshore. Everything was intact including the cash that was in the wallet.

"This reminds me that even in these strange times that we are living in, and in the area that we work, there are still honest and caring people, thank you God for this reminder."

Lynn Gotro responded to the post with a tale of her own good deed.

"I too had my faith in humanity renewed this past week," she wrote.

"I left my cell phone at an ATM. The gentlemen who found it called my mom to tell her he had it and even dropped it off for me. So thankful!!"

Rollover on Hwy 97 north of airport slowing traffic

Highway crash cleared

UPDATE: 6:54 p.m.

The crash on Highway 97 north of the airport has been cleared.

ORIGINAL: 6:13 p.m.

Emergency crews are dealing with a single vehicle rollover on Highway 97 north of the airport. 

The crash at roughly Dry Valley Road is backing up traffic. 

Firefighters were required to help remove the crash victim from the vehicle. 

Motorists should expect delays in both directions while the wreck is cleared.

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