To the Editor:
Death visited my neighbourhood on Friday.
A well-known drug house on Rowcliffe was its stage.
Am I surprised? No. Are my neighbours surprised? No.
For almost two years, calls have been made to the police and the
landlord regarding suspicious activity around this house-but to no
My wife and I have two young children. Many of our neighbours have
young children and we are doing our best to keep our little part of
the city beautiful and family friendly. But it seems that everyone is
conspiring against us.
[continues 172 words]
Lake Country RCMP used a hydro warrant to move in quickly on a local
marijuana grow operation in an underground bunker Thursday.
They removed 800 plants, many of which were in bud, as well as cash
and equipment while arresting three people from the property on
Sgt. Reg Burgess said police got a tip about the possible marijuana
grow operation. Under normal circumstances that means police have to
mount a lengthy investigation before they can get a warrant to
search a home under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
[continues 344 words]
Authorities in the Okanagan are stream-lining a process for taking
down residential marijuana grow operations while ostensibly
investigating theft of electricity.
Power companies such as FortisBC and BC Hydro have long been
complainants in marijuana grow cases before the courts.
Charges of theft of electricity under the Criminal Code of Canada
often accompanies the drugs charges on the indictment.
Now, those companies have hired their own policemen, or "power theft
experts" as FortisBC calls them.
They have law enforcement backgrounds and they follow tips to confirm
power theft, then report the theft to the RCMP.
[continues 392 words]
The legality of pre-employment drug testing is an ongoing
battleground between employers and human rights tribunals (and,
ultimately, the courts).
The question of whether an employer can impose pre-employment drug
testing and disqualify candidates on the basis of a positive result
is one which raises difficult legal questions.
In order to understand why this battle continues to be fought, one
must be familiar with the workings of employment and human rights law.
The common law of employment really says nothing about the issue of
drug testing. That's because it is really just a branch of the law of contract.
[continues 1059 words]
To the editor:
I am not the type of person who will go and read the newspaper all of
the time, but something really has to grab my attention to it. And
lately the topic that is going on with a co-worker and I is how the
downtown area is cleaning up.
And then I read the paper: Kelowna After Dark (Aug 6 Capital News).
But what I am wondering is, does anyone care to know where all of the
people who are using crack or meth or any type of drug at all are
going? Because now it seems to me that I am seeing them everyday in
front of my home.
[continues 186 words]
Jurors are being asked to place plenty of weight on the testimony of
a drug dealer turned informant who fingered Colin Hugh Martin as the
ringleader in a cross-border marijuana smuggling operation in the
It appears the lengthy investigation and the long, drawn-out court
proceedings come down to whether the 12 people who heard the case
believe the informant or not.
Prosecutor Michael LeDressay urged jurors to accept the evidence of
Dennis Dober, a former cocaine dealer who got arrested, then had
charges dropped and was paid cash for his information about the
alleged marijuana smuggling.
[continues 554 words]
The City of Kelowna has an out, should a supportive housing project
slated to open on St. Paul Street next year prove a nuisance to the public.
On Monday councillors voted to adopt a lease agreement which the
operator must sign in order for the facility to open. That lease
includes a public nuisance clause that gives the city a way out, if
the housing complex for mentally ill and addicted residents proves a
"I'm quite comfortable moving forward," said Coun. Brian Given,
pointing out the city has a number of ways of ensuring the building
is run properly.
[continues 317 words]
Random attempts to prevent drug and alcohol abuse may cause a
community more harm than good, according to the deputy provincial
medical health officer.
In a cautionary speech delivered to the Local Government Management
Association of B.C. convention held at The Grand in Kelowna this
week, Dr. Eric Young warned civil servants from around the province
that community task forces and municipal drug strategies are a tricky
He cautioned that such strategies must be targeted at the right
groups, evaluated, and should address the social context producing the abuse.
[continues 701 words]
Crystal Meth Grabs The Headlines But B.C. Teens Are Still More Likely
To Have A Problem With Alcohol Or Marijuana, Say Local Experts
As hot topics go, this summer, crystal methamphetamine is on the tip
of Kelowna residents' tongues.
Where it is? Who is on it? How much is out there? How can we avoid it?
Launched on May 18, the Crystal Meth Task Force has 90 days and
$20,000 in grants, to devise a strategy for protecting local youth,
finding help for those already addicted and deterring others from a
[continues 1614 words]
Two terminologies have been bantered about our community at such
great frequency lately, that they fall into the category of local
It seems most folks have their own varied view or interpretations of
exactly what the words mean.
From my perspective, these words have become too stereotypical for
reasonable community health.
Sometimes the connotations related to these words are filled with a
lot of ignorance.
The terms are-'homeless' and 'harm reduction.'
Fortunately, those with half an interest can much better educate
themselves on one of those buzz terminologies next week.
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The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce says the decision by Kelowna city
council to decide to locate a transitional housing facility downtown
increases the risk of negatively affecting the downtown at a time of
In a letter to the city--the chamber's fourth letter on the issue in
the past three months--the chamber questions the decision to move
forward with the project downtown and calls for city council to be
firm in watching over the facility when it is operating.
[continues 172 words]
Fueled by stories of crystal meth's destructive influence on youth and
the community, all walks of Kelowna society came out for the first
phase of the Crystal Meth Task Force this week.
The city now has 20,000 provincial dollars and the attention of
several hundred concerned residents ready to take action against the
potent drug--and hopefully avoid the public humiliation of a young,
severely addicted street population.
But just as those 200 concerned residents assembled in the Mary Irwin
Theatre, police were unravelling a weekend rampage which rivaled any
big city tale of crystal meth psychosis. Four 16- and 17-year-olds
used marijuana and alcohol before going on a five-hour beating spree
through Rutland streets, leaving four people with an array of injuries.
[continues 192 words]
It took everyone by surprise when Kelowna Provincial Court judge Vince
Hogan sentenced a woman to four years in jail for selling .8 grams of
It seemed unusually harsh for a court system that has recognized that
drug users become drug dealers to feed their habits.
Tracy D. Gibbon cried through the video screen when she appeared in
Kelowna last October.
She was clearly expecting either the year her lawyer requested or the
16 months requested by the Crown.
But Hogan said Gibbon's method of selling drugs stood her apart from
other desperate addicts. She was caught in a notorious drug house, "a
commercial, sophisticated commercial distribution network in which she
is taking part."
[continues 296 words]
No mother can forget the moment her child is born.
For 20 year-old Kelsie Richardson, it is a moment hundreds, if not
thousands, of perfect strangers won't forget either.
Watching the documentary Crystal Fear, Crystal Clear, more than 100
Kelowna residents assembled at the Mary Irwin Theatre Tuesday night
felt their hearts seize as tiny Brianne Richardson takes along pause
before starting to breath.
On camera, the young mother who struggled to get off crystal meth, get
her General Equivalency Diploma and save her and her baby's life
whimpers quietly after an emergency C-section.
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Crying doesn't come easily for most men. That's not a sign of
weakness or dysfunction as some pop psychologists might suggest. It's
just the way we're wired.
That's why the sight of dozens of men standing at attention with
tears rolling down to their faces hit me with such impact.
Special Const. John Atkinson had finished his shift last Friday at 2 p.m.
He was fueling up at the local gas station before going home to be
with his wife and two kids. He could have ignored what looked like a
drug deal going down in the near empty lot.
[continues 469 words]
Justin Cooper knows there is crystal methamphetamine in Kelowna.
He can smell it in the toxic body odour of his Mission McDonald's customers.
It's offered to him as he works his shifts; he can stop and say hi to
the same kids he did drugs with downtown.
"I was a pretty good kid before crystal meth-a little mischief, drugs
that sort of thing," Cooper says.
"Within a week of trying meth I was face down on Leon, gun to me
head, hands cuffed behind my back."
[continues 538 words]
To the editor:
It's clear to me, while reading Hans Birker's letter of 30 April
(City Chooses Wrong Spot for Transition House), that there is still
plenty of misunderstanding out there.
His quote " there should be a minimum distance from access to drugs
and alcohol " is nice, but real world impossible. There really is
nowhere to go, these days. It's all around. Learning to say "no" to a
drug, a drink or even a cookie is easy when there's none around you.
[continues 147 words]
In the late 1970s, Louise was a bit of a party girl - not wild, but
She drank a little, smoked some weed, snorted some cocaine and enjoyed
When she married and became pregnant, she wanted to behave
responsibly, especially for the sake of the child.
So she stopped doing drugs, and only drank the occasional glass of
wine. All seemed to be well.
Then, in about 1990, Louise was having some health
Tests revealed that she had a form of liver disease that was called,
at the time, "non-A non-B hepatitis." Now, that liver disease is known
as hepatitis C.
[continues 507 words]
As a long-time advocate of homeless issues, it was a bit of a
surprise Mayor Sharon Shepherd voted against putting in a supportive
housing complex on St. Paul Street.
Shepherd was one of three dissenting votes in Monday's decision to
reaffirm the site chosen in November for the 30-unit housing complex
for those battling addictions and mental illness.
Shepherd said the downtown site was too vulnerable for the residents
and believed the $4.5 million from the province might better have
been spent on upgrading or expanding current services.
[continues 406 words]
There's the story of John.
He's a schizophrenic with alcohol dependency who is trying to get off
the street and on his feet.
"He needs a place to live where he won't be kicked out just because he
slipped," psychiatrist Don Duncan told city council Monday. John is
one of the reasons why the 30-unit supportive housing complex slated
for St. Paul Street is necessary, Duncan explained.
The housing complex for homeless people with mental illnesses or
addictions was on city council's agenda Monday.
[continues 479 words]