Register or login today to start collecting Courier points!


Front Page News

Surprise for Dilworth residents


This hot-air balloon made an unplanned landing about 8 a.m. Monday morning on Silver Place, on Kelowna's Dilworth Mountain. Reader photo submitted by Bob Lemon.

Kelowna gangster arrested in drug sweep


A senior member of the Kelowna Hells Angels motorcycle gang who was acquitted of drug charges four years ago has been charged with drug trafficking and conspiracy to import cocaine.

RCMP say David Giles, vice president of the Angels' Kelowna chapter, as well as six others, were arrested on the weekend after a 20-month investigation that spanned several countries, including Mexico and Panama.

Police say searches were conducted in Kelowna, Osoyoos and the Lower Mainland on Saturday, and Giles was arrested at a Burnaby casino.

Mounties say they seized assault rifles, handguns, and $4 million in cash during the searches.

In 2008, Giles was found not guilty of possessing cocaine, but his two co-accused each received jail sentences after police seized cocaine in several locations as part of a crackdown on the motorcycle club.

Giles is expected to make a court appearance in Vancouver today.



Plane crash: ‘We hope they’re together now,’ says family

Lauren Patricia Sewell’s family was celebrating her mother’s birthday the night her flight home went down in a wooded area near Kelowna on Aug. 13.
The 24-year-old from South Surrey was aboard a PA-30 Piper Twin Comanche, returning from a weekend in Penticton with her boyfriend, Jayson Dallas Wesley Smith, 30, and two others when it crashed near Brenda Mines. Smith was pronounced dead on scene and Sewell later died in hospital.
“When we didn’t hear from her getting close to suppertime, I, of course, felt a little antsy,” Greg Sewell, Lauren’s father, told the Surrey Now. “I turned on the six o’clock news and the lead story was that there’d been a small plane go down in the Okanagan.
“I kind of knew then that it might be her.”
Greg described his only daughter as a lovely girl, and while she and Smith (who went by his first middle name, Dallas) had only been dating for several months, they were very much in love.
“When she met Dallas in the spring, I think that they really connected and had a wonderful, short, brief time together,” said Greg.
Fran Sewell, Lauren’s mother, said, “I know she loved him, and I’m sure he loved her. He never gave her any cause to feel anything but real care from him.”
Smith had recently graduated from BCIT as a millwright, and Lauren worked for Peter Kiewet & Sons while she studied human resources in a full-time, two-year program at the same school. She had a love for horses; he was known to frequent local skateparks.
Smith had an interest in aviation and Lauren had recently bought him flying lessons for his 30th birthday in June. Smith, however, was not the pilot Monday night. Greg said the plane was piloted by a young woman with her instructor’s licence, and the third passenger was a commercial airline pilot. Both are believed to still be in hospital.
“The pilot was a girl that is around Lauren’s age that Lauren was friendly with,” said Greg. “Lauren had every bit of confidence in her as a pilot.”
Lauren sustained brain injuries that were deemed “not survivable,” and her family made the heart-wrenching decision to make her an organ donor. Her heart, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, liver and corneas were successfully transplanted into eight patients.
“We feel very comforted to know that she lives on in those people,” said Greg. “Our daughter was lovely. She was the most caring, generous girl and we miss her dearly.”
Lauren’s celebration of life will be held Saturday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m. at Valley View Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home, located at 14644 72nd Ave., Surrey. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that donations be made to Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation.
Smith’s memorial will be held Friday, Aug. 24, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre, located at 14831 28th Ave. Cash donations will be taken at the door, and are also being accepted at Coast Capital Savings branches in a trust fund for his mother, Pamela Smith.
“The only comfort we have is that our kids were very happy together, and we hope they’re together now,” said Fran.

(By Jacob Zinn/Surrey Now)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 05:08

Greeks gave gold rings to gang members

Vests and gold rings were paid for and given out by Greeks gang leader Peter Manolakos to the “main guys” in the Vernon gang, prosecutor Peter Favell told a B.C. Supreme Court jury in Vancouver Tuesday.
Five members or associates of the gang have pleaded not guilty in connection with three drug-related murders.
The rings, some of which were seized by police following the arrests of the accused, cost Manolakos up to $900 each, said Favell on the second day of closing submissions.
Favell said Manolakos exercised “daily and unquestioned control” over the Greeks in the gang’s drug trafficking enterprise.
The accused, including Dale Sipes, Sheldon O’Donnell and Leslie Podolksi, worked as senior members for the Greeks and Manolakos, he said.
“Mr. Manolakos expected that if members of his organization broke the most important rules, they would be subject to punishment,” he said.
That punishment ranged from slaps to punches to broken bones, he said.
The main rule for drug runners was not to let the drug phone lines go down and taking off with the drugs was the “worst thing you could do as a runner,” he said.
The Crown alleges that former drug runner David Marnuik was tortured to death and then his body burned in a remote location near Enderby in the summer of 2004 after he vanished with drugs and cash.
Sipes, Podolski and O’Donnell have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Marnuik’s slaying. Manolakos has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Marnuik.
Sipes, O’Donnell, Manolakos and Douglas Corey Brownell have pleaded not guilty to the May 2005 first-degree murder of Ronald James Thom.
O’Donnell and Brownell have pleaded not guilty to the November 2004 second-degree murder of Thomas Edward Bryce.

(By Keith Fraser/The Province)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 05:09

Snorkeler discovers body off Hot Sands beach


A snorkeler discovered a body Monday afternoon just off Hot Sands beach in City Park.

"The body is of an unidentified man who appears to have been swimming before he died," said Kelowna RCMP Const. Kris Clark. "There is nothing at this time to indicate that his death was suspicious. Bystanders pulled the man ashore and called for emergency services."
Police and the BC Coroners Service are investigating.

More details in tomorrow's Daily Courier.

Thunderstorm watch

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for the North and Central Okanagan this afternoon.

The weather forecaster says afternoon thunderstorms could become severe with a possibility of large hail and damaging winds. An upper disturbance advancing from the coast will combine with a developing trough over the southern interior to give us the extreme weather. Some of these thunderstorms have the potential to be severe with wind gusts between 80 and 100 km/h, brief downpours, large hail along with intense lightning. These storms will ease later in the day as westerly winds bring drier air.

1 killed, 3 injured in plane crash

 One person is dead and three others have been flown by helicopter to hospital in critical condition after a small plane crashed west of Kelowna on Monday.
Search and rescue workers had a tough time finding, then reaching the downed plane at Brenda Mines.
A Cormorant helicopter was dispatched to the crash site.
Rescuers managed to pull three survivors from the wreckage. Two of the patients were taken to Kelowna General Hospital, while a third was airlifted to hospital in Kamloops.
Kelowna RCMP Const. Kris Clark confirmed the number of injuries, as well as one death after the Piper twin engine Commanche crashed off Highway 97C.
Search and rescue officials say
the plane was travelling from Pentiction to Boundary Bay when it went down around 5 p.m.
Canadian Navy search and rescue spokeswoman Capt. Annie Djiotsa said the plane took off from Penticton, about 55 kilometres from the crash site.
The Transportation Safety Board says it will be investigating the crash and plans to send two officials to the site this morning.
More information will be released today.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 04:48

Fire may have been deliberately set


Police are seeking witnesses to the fire up Bear Creek Road yesterday as it has been deemed suspicious and appears that it may have been deliberately set.

On August 12th, 2012 at 2:30pm, the West Kelowna RCMP received numerous reports of smoke and flames above Westside Road. A multi-hectare wildfire was discovered on the upper hillside of Bear Creek Road between Parkinson Road and Rose Valley Road. The fire was suppressed quickly but there is evidence to suggest that it may have been set deliberately.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the West Kelowna RCMP, Cst Hall or Cst Philion, at 250-768-2880, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at to report.


Fire at Shelter Bay Marina

Flames are seen engulfing the gas bar at Shelter Bay Marina early Wednesday.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 5 a.m.

There is no word yet on the cause of the blaze, which also damaged two boats.

Dog dies inside hot car in Kelowna


A small dog succumbed to the heat after being left in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Real Canadian Super Store this afternoon.

On July 27th, 2012 just minutes after noon, the Kelowna RCMP received a report of shoplifting at the Real Canadian Super Store, 2280 Baron Road. Loss Prevention Officers had two women in custody for theft who had apparently left a dog inside their vehicle. The dog was a small breed and was found to be deceased by investigators. All of the windows on the vehicle were up and the water supply inside had been exhausted. It appeared to police that the dog had succumbed to the heat inside the vehicle.

Dog Control Officers were called to the scene to assist in the investigation.

The two Kelowna women (29 and 30 years of age) were released at the scene with the 29 year old woman facing potential charges of Theft.

It is still too early in the investigation to determine whether charges will be recommended in relation to the death of the dog.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 July 2012 23:29

Page 72 of 82

Latest Poll

Are you in favour of the Kelowna Farmers Market moving downtown?