‘It’s something new every single time:’ Kelowna music school gets ready to rock n’ roll – Okanagan

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Rehearsals are underway for one of Kelowna’s biggest rock concerts of the year.

But the performers are not rock stars: They’re students.

“We’re putting on a tribute to our fallen heroes,” said Noel Wentworth, vice president of education at Wentworth Music. “It’s a musical celebration, so people like Prince and David Bowie and Michael Jackson.”

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Wentworth, the largest music school per capita in Canada, has been hosting these rockin’ recitals twice a year for over a decade and it’s their 25th recital this time around.

“We’ve received international attention. We’re doing something that very few other schools are doing,” Wentworth said. “I get people on a regular basis saying ‘this is a really good show.’ The seven o’clock show usually sells out.”


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The music school has over a thousand students –- anywhere from six years of age to 76 — with many performing at the recital.

“I’m nervous but I’m excited because, apparently, a lot of people come to watch it,” said piano student Emily Fortin.

Fortin is new to Wentworth and this is her first rock concert performance.

“If you want to pursue music, you have a lot of open doors for you instead of just taking at-home lesson,” Fortin said.

And from newbie to veteran, Reece Wernicke has been with the school since he was three years old and has performed in 23 of the 25 recitals.

“It’s really evolved and it’s gotten so much bigger,” Wernicke said. “It’s just a really exciting thing that I get to do twice a year and it’s something I look forward to.”

The concert is a fundraiser, with all proceeds going to support youth.

“We’ve raised over $212,000 now for the Kelowna General Hospital to help children,” Wentworth said. “We’re making a difference in people’s lives by doing something that we love to do.”

Watching these students perform, it’s difficult to believe many of them are beginner musicians.

“I love seeing students succeed,” Wentworth said. “I love seeing them go from square one, and the process of them stumbling and learning, and then, by the time we get to do the show, they’re nailing it. That’s what it’s about.”

The Legacy – A Musical Celebration of Our Lost Legends concert takes on Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite but they are selling out quickly, especially for the evening show.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Some UBC Okanagan students flooded out of homes

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A sprinkler pipe burst on the top floor of a relatively new condo building at UBC Okanagan, resulting in flooding throughout four floors.

“The fire alarm turned on. I didn’t know exactly what happened, so I looked out my eyehole and I just saw water near the elevator shaft,” UBCO student Sayhanyo Saha said.

“The water was all the way to the ground and then we were taking our brooms with a bunch of other people who were living on the floor and [sweeping] the water down the stairs that way,” said UBCO student Sahej Mangat.

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The flood happened late at night on Feb. 4, during the cold snap.


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“There was nobody around, so there was a lot of water for a long time before somebody could turn it off,” suite owner David Green said.

“When it very first happened, it was like walking into a sauna. It was terrible,” said Donna Craig, who manages several properties within the building.

Students have since been told they have to move out by next week.


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The U-Two building was recently constructed by Mission Group in 2016. It houses 112 condos and everybody has to leave.

“Right now they say that there’s a lot of moisture content in the walls. That’s why everyone’s going to have to leave: because of the mould issue,” Saha said.

“A lot of people are frustrated.”

Craig said she had 21 students in the building, and she’s still trying to help some of them find a new place to live.

“But it’s difficult. Some of the kids are having to split up, so they’re having to bunk in with other kids, and I think that’s going to be a scenario that happens a lot here,” Craig said.

“They’re going to have to be couch surfing for a bit.”

More than 100 students are scrambling to find new homes in Kelowna’s expensive rental market, which has a notoriously low vacancy rate.


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To make matters worse, students are being forced to deal with the flooding and moving during midterms.

Craig said she’d been told that it would be six to eight months until tenants would be allowed to live in the building again.

“We may not even get possession back for September, which will be devastating for the owners,” she said.

The student union recommends that affected tenants review their legal rights and contact student legal aid or the financial aid office for extra assistance.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Two injured in Kamloops shooting – Okanagan

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CFJC News:

UPDATE: Two people have been injured after a reported shooting in Kamloops.

B.C. Emergency Health Services spokesperson Shannon Miller said two patients were taken to hospital after a reported shooting just before 4 p.m.

Miller said one patient is in serious condition, and the other is in critical condition.

Royal Inland Hospital currently has enhanced security as a precaution.

EARLIER:

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Several police cruisers and emergency vehicles have converged near Tranquille Road and Southill Street in Kamloops.

No details yet on what is unfolding, but several people near the scene have reported seeing officers with their guns drawn.

Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said the situation is dynamic and fluid, and more information will be released as it becomes available.

This comes after Thursday’s massive police presence that spanned from Kamloops to Kelowna, and eventually ended in Falkland. That was the result of an armed robbery turned kidnapping.

There was also a stabbing in Rayleigh yesterday afternoon, when one man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

There have been a series of high profile, violent incidents since the beginning of this year.

It’s been nearly one month since two homicides took place at local motels, and both were believed to be linked to organized crime.

–CFJC News

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Snowy sidewalks a concern for Kelowna seniors – Okanagan

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Seniors in Kelowna are voicing concern about some unshovelled sidewalks around the city.

Under a city bylaw, most property owners are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks and pathways next to their land within 24 hours.

But after a recent snowfall, Wade Ireland took a tumble on an unshovelled path. The fall gave him a black eye, several stitches and a deep cut into his cheek.


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Ireland is concerned the city isn’t doing enough to ensure sidewalks are shovelled after a snowstorm.

“I feel that the bylaws people are not doing an effective job of enforcing these bylaws,” Ireland said.

“You’re taking your life in your hands, going out the door getting a prescription filled or going for groceries.”


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Kelowna resident Jonathan Keigan, who also struggles with mobility issues, agreed the sidewalks need to be better maintained.

“There are days that I have to look out and realize, it’s too dangerous. If I go out and walk, try to get past there, I’m going to slip and fall, and I’m not willing to risk that,” Keigan said.

Bylaw officers don’t have time to go around checking everybody’s sidewalk, but they do follow up on every complaint, Dan Maja, with Kelowna’s bylaw services, said.

If somebody calls in about an unshovelled sidewalk, a bylaw officer will pay a visit to the property and either speak with the owner or leave a warning on the door to shovel the path, he added.


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The fine for failing to comply with the warning is $50.

However, Ireland believes bylaw officers should proactively check sidewalks.

He also thinks the city should consider clearing a path itself if the property owners won’t do it in a timely fashion.

“I’m really concerned about this. I just see it happening every day. People are falling down here, and nothing seems to be getting done. It seems to be falling on deaf ears.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Open houses for proposed West Kelowna development – Okanagan

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West Kelowna residents are invited to a series of open houses to look over plans for a proposed development on Campbell Road.

“The whole purpose is to make the project better through this process,” George Mylonas, President and CEO of Landstar Development Corporation out of Calgary said.

Blackmun Bay Village is being pitched as a 6.8 hectare development that would include nearly 340 townhomes and condo units and a 120 room luxury hotel, with towers as high as ten stories.


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It would also include a 241 slip marina and a winery.

Barb Mayo attended an open house at the Lakeview Heights Hall in West Kelowna on Thursday night.

She has some concerns about the scope of the development proposal.

“Well, progress is going to happen,” Mayo said. “But I think it should be on a much smaller scale.”

A common concern among those attending was the increased traffic the development would put on Campbell Road.

“That’s a lot of cars,” Barbara Cochrane said. “If someone has to get out in a hurry, for whatever reason; probably a fire, it’s going to be stressful.”

West Kelowna city council asked the development company to hold the open houses ahead of considering the application.

Two more are planned for Friday, February 15 from 6 p.m. to 8p.m. and Saturday from 3p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lakeview Heights Hall at 860 Anders Road.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘We promote the best person for the job and, quite often, that’s a woman’: A surge in Shuswap female firefighters – Okanagan

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According to several online statistics, less than five per cent of firefighters in Canada are women.

However, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District says it is working hard to ensure that gender doesn’t define a great firefighter.

Case in point: Kara Slous, an on-call firefighter at the Tappen-Sunnybrae Fire Department.

“I was a South Shuswap first responder first. It’s our first aid medical association,” Slous said. “And there were a few firefighters on that association that noticed my dedication and they told me to come try out the department, and it escalated from there.”

Slous was immediately hooked.

“It was really exciting and I liked being with a group that worked so well together,” Slous said.

In the four years she has spent at Tappen-Sunnybrae, Slous quickly moved up the ladder, even making captain at the young age of 24.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Slous said. “Your main role is to run the fire practices, so you’re telling everyone what to do. And, on the scene, you’re the team leader. You’re calling the shots.”


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Most recently, Slous has moved to a training officer role.

She’s also a member of the Shuswap emergency program structural protection unit, a co-chair of the fire services occupational health and safety committee and is certified as the district’s live fire instructor.

“Women bring a completely different dynamic to the fire department and, with all of our separate skills, we really bring the department up,” Slous said.

For the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, recruiting and promoting women just makes sense.

“We have a number of women in our fire service. It’s not 50/50 at the moment, but certainly we have a lot of women,” said the district’s protective services team leader, Derek Sutherland. “And we have a lot of women in leadership roles. We’ve had three women as fire chiefs, deputy chiefs, captains, training officers.”

So, what exactly is the district’s philosophy on gender equality?

“Quite frankly, we don’t give it a lot of thought,” Sutherland said. “We’re inclusive as a regional district and we promote the best person for the job and, quite often, that’s a woman.”

Sutherland says that it’s not necessary for firefighters to be able to do every role.

“We don’t ask everyone to be everything to the fire department,” Sutherland said. “There’s certain people that have specialties that enjoy doing one or two things really well, and we just ask them to come out and do that.”

The 13 fire departments in the district are made up entirely of paid, on-call volunteer firefighters.

“So we get paid for our practices, and any call we go to we are paid for that. And it’s pretty exciting,” Slous said. “All of a sudden, the tones will go off. You’re in the middle of dinner, you could be with your family, you could be out at work and you get to run off and fight a fire.”

The amount of calls vary by station but Slous says the Tappen-Sunnybrae Fire Department received about 90 calls last year.

“It’s bigger than yourself. It’s bigger than your neighbours and your community,” Slous said. “It’s for everyone.”

Slous has some advice to women who have an interest in firefighting.

“It is physically demanding, but it’s just about figuring out how to do it with your body and your momentum,” Slous said. “Go in, be persistent, be determined and just do the work and you’ll get through it all.”

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is encouraging anyone interested in becoming an on-call paid volunteer firefighter to attend a Tuesday evening training session and test things out.

Candidates must be 18 years of age or older, possess a valid driver’s license, live and/or work in the district, and be physically able to perform the duties of the job and commit to weekly training sessions.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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West Kelowna recruiting firefighters for full-time and on-call positions – Okanagan

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Now that city council has approved eight new positions, more firefighters will soon be available to respond to emergencies in West Kelowna.

Between the newly-approved positions and two vacancies, the city is now actively recruiting for 10 full-time career firefighters and 25 paid on-call positions.


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Anyone who wishes to be a paid on-call firefighter must live in West Kelowna or on Westbank First Nation and attend a minimum number of calls and ongoing training.

An information session will be held at West Kelowna’s Station 34 at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13.


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Applications must be submitted online by Feb. 25.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Mill fire near Enderby – Okanagan

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Enderby residents reported a nearby mill on fire Monday evening.

It’s on Highway 97a near the drive-in movie theatre, approximately three kilometres south of Enderby.

Photos from the scene showed smoke billowing with a “South Enderby Boards” sign in the forefront.

According to the business’ website, the company specializes in custom-cut fir, cedar, spruce and pine products.

More to come…

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Ranch says it’s not to blame for Okanagan Rail Trail blockage

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The Okanagan Rail Trail had its grand opening in September, but the celebration may have been premature, seeing that a large section of the route remains closed to the public.

At issue is a section of the trail near the Kelowna airport, blocked by a padlocked gate. The city applied to have the path go through the Eldorado Ranch.

The Agriculture Land Commission denied the application, citing potential safety, trespassing and other concerns. But the city isn’t taking no for an answer.


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It says it will be asking the commission to reconsider its decision.

“As part of that reconsideration, we’re preparing background material, we’re looking at alternate routes, we’re consulting with the landowners in the area to come up with a proposal to the ALC that they can consider as part of that reconsideration,” Andrew Gibbs from the City of Kelowna said.

The city hopes to have the proposal ready for the ALC sometime next month. The ranch is owned by the Bennett family, and Global News asked them for their perspective.

Meantime, the Eldorado Ranch says there’s a blame game going on. It says it’s not opposed to having the rail trail going through its property, but says it wants reassurances its employees will be able to cross the rail trail unimpeded, either through overpasses or underpasses.

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Completion of the rail trail is facing another stumbling block. It deals with the Okanagan Indian Band and the federal government.

The mayor of Lake Country says the Okanagan Indian Band has indicated that it supports the rail trail, but the band has been bogged down in red tape.

“The band had to make an application for it, even though the agreement in 1927 said that if it’s not used as a railroad, it reverts back to band reserve. And it’s still a federal reserve, so that’s not an issue,” said mayor James Baker.

“However, they had to make an application for an addition to a reserve and that takes time.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Doctor voices concern over possible location for Okanagan urgent care facility – Okanagan

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An urgent care centre could be coming to the Okanagan, but not everybody is happy about its possible location.

Dr. Toye Oyelese, medical director at Westside Medical Associates, is worried that West Kelowna is being overlooked.

“There are already a lot of resources concentrated in Kelowna. Residents on the west side and area have to go to Kelowna to access these resources, and I think it makes more sense to have an urgent care [facility] on this side,” he said.

An urgent care centre is for patients needing help beyond the typical care provided in a clinic but who aren’t in need of the emergency room, Oyelese said.


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“You can do things like casting, IV’s on people who might be dehydrated, things like suturing,” he said. “The whole idea behind it is you don’t have people who aren’t that seriously sick plugging up the emergency room.”

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MLA Ben Stewart agreed that improved medical services need to be available to people in the West Kelowna area.

“With the over 50,000 residents just in West Bank First Nation and the City of West Kelowna, there are health services that are needed here,” Stewart said.


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“KGH is great, but seniors that live in our community end up with issues during the night are having to take a taxi or ambulance back in to KGH, and I don’t think that a large portion of the population should have to subject themselves to that.”

Interior Health is hoping to operate an existing clinic as an urgent care centre. Clinics were invited to express interest by submitting details of their facilities, including the number of exam rooms and parking spaces.


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Oyelese believes his West Kelowna walk-in clinic is one of the best-suited facilities in the region. Unlike most other places, it has a designated hallway entrance where an ambulance can come from the back.

“We have about 7,000 square feet of office space, 16 examining rooms, four offices and two huge treatment rooms,” he said. “We are ideally situated just off Highway 97, and we have unlimited parking.

“We thought, wow, it’s really a no brainer,” he said.


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But even though West Kelowna has been lobbying for better health facilities for years, the clinic was turned down, Oyelese said.

“We hadn’t heard anything back, so we sent an email a couple of days ago,” he said. “And we were told that we had somehow been overlooked when all the other clinics were informed that they hadn’t been chosen, that we’d somehow been overlooked and they’d forgotten to call us.”

Oyelese is concerned that if the urgent care centre is close to Kelowna’s hospital, it’s possible that more people would go to the emergency room anyway because it’s so close.

“I’m not really sure it’s a good idea to concentrate so many resources in the same area,” he said. “I think it makes more sense to spread things out.”


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Locating the new urgent care centre in Kelowna also adds to recruitment challenges West Kelowna is already facing, Oyelese said.

“Physicians tend to want to work where they have the resources that they can use to do their work properly,” he said. “So what ends up happening is West Kelowna ends up being the ugly step-sister doing recruitment, and it’s been fairly difficult to convince physicians to come to the west side.”

Interior Health and the Ministry of Health did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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