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3 confirmed dead in plane crash


KELOWNA — Three people are confirmed dead in the crash of a float plane that went down as horrified onlookers watched it burst into flames in southern British Columbia.
“Our information is that, tragically, none survived the accident,” Transportation Safety Board spokesman Bill Yearwood said Monday.
He confirmed the de Havilland Beaver aircraft went down just before 7 p.m. Sunday, only minutes after takeoff from Okanagan Lake, near the community of Peachland, 25 kilometres southwest of Kelowna.
The aircraft was heading to its home base of Pitt Meadows, about 40 kilometres east of Vancouver when it slammed into a steep, wooded hillside along Highway 97C and caught fire.
Five people were initially thought to be on the plane but Yearwood said new details emerged about the passenger list.
“There were four on board when they left Pitt Meadows. It had originally planned to have five, but plans changed, and one was left in Kelowna, so three were on the return flight,” he said.
“We know the aircraft was returning (to Pitt Meadows) and it was close to the summit of the pass,” Yearwood said, “but there is no information to help us, at this point, as to what the pilot was experiencing.”
The coroner and two TSB inspectors were due to arrive at the crash site on Monday, and Yearwood said there was little information about the victims or the aircraft.

5 feared dead as float plane crashes near Brenda Mines

A float plane carrying five people on their way back to the Lower Mainland from Okanagan Lake crashed just off Highway 97 near Brenda Mines Sunday night and burst into flames.
A spokesman with the Transportation Safety Board said there was a report of fatalities, but couldn’t confirm how many.
“There was a post-crash fire,” said Chris Krepski from the TSB.
Horrified motorists, who saw the de Havilland Beaver go down in a heavily wooded area about 200 metres below the Okanagan Connector around 6:45 p.m., reported the crash to RCMP.
Smoke and flame was visible from the highway.
Police said two witnesses saw the plane heading toward Peachland when it went down, possibly meaning the pilot detected a problem and had turned around.
The coroner is on the way to the scene.
The B.C. Ambulance, Kelowna Fire Department and Kelowna RCMP also attended the scene.
In addition, two search and rescue aircraft — a Cormorant helicopter and a Buffalo airplane — were dispatched to the from CFB Comox.

By David Wylie
— With files from The Vancouver Province

Last Updated on Monday, 14 May 2012 04:34

Rec Centre reopens after water main break

UPDATE: The water main break that temporarily closed Parkinson Recreation Centre earlier today has been repaired. The weight room and gymnasium will open to the public at 5 p.m. The pool will to the open for public swimming at 7 p.m.

 “While the facility is open tonight for dry land fitness and pool users, all programs scheduled out of the facility have been cancelled for the rest of the day,” says Don Backmeyer, Sport & Event Development Manager. “Our programs and scheduled activities will resume tomorrow as normal.”

 City crews were able to shut off the water supply to isolate and fix the watermain break safely and efficiently.


12:33 The City of Kelowna has temporarily closed the Parkinson Recreation Centre due to an outdoor water main break. Effectively immediately, the facility is closed and all programming scheduled to take place today has been cancelled. 


“We realize this closure is an inconvenience to our customers,” says Don Backmeyer, Sport & Event Development Manager. “Our crews are onsite and working to fix the break and restore water to the facility as quickly as possible.”


To access the water main break and fix the problem, the lawn and sidewalk in front of the facility are being excavated and water has been cut to the facility, which is prompting the full facility closure.


Once the break has been fixed, the facility’s water system will be tested before reopening the facility.


For updates on this closure, contact the Parkinson Recreation Centre at 250-469-8800, or visit

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 23:42

Man dies of electrocution

A 35 year old Kelowna man has died from electrocution after being struck by high voltage from a ground wire last week.
The man died of his injuries in the intensive care unit of Vancouver General Hospital shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, Kelowna RCMP report.
On April 26th, 2012 at 1:55pm, emergency crews were called to the scene of an electrocution in the Luxmoore Park area just off June Springs Road in East Kelowna. A 35 year old Kelowna man and a 44 year old Kelowna man were bicycling through the area when the younger man apparently touched a live ground wire. The man suffered severe electrical burns from the resultant high voltage shock and was air-lifted to VGH in critical condition.
The 44 year old Kelowna man was initially detained by police for an investigation of theft of copper but has since been released without charges. The investigation has revealed that several of the ground wires in the area showed signs of recent tampering. Police and Fortis BC continue to investigate.

Wet bridge, traffic congestion lead to pile-ups

Three separate crashes on the William Bennett Bridge, involving as many as seven vehicles, caused bridge traffic to come to a halt this morning, Kelowna RCMP report.
At 9:40 a.m., police received a report of three collisions on the Wbridge. All three were rear-enders and at least one person required medical treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.
It would appear that the first collision was a factor in each of the subsequent crashes, along with weather, road conditions and traffic congestion contributing to the problem. Traffic was slowed for quite some time while crews worked to remove the vehicles.
With the current weather, police spokesman Kris Clark said there is a lot of water pooling on the roadways. Police are requesting that motorists slow down and drive to the conditions.

State of emergency lifted in West Kelowna


UPDATE: The state of emergency has been lifted in West Kelowna following flooding this morning.

9 a.m – The District of West Kelowna is declaring a Local State of Emergency and evacuating six properties along Hitchner Road due to flooding of McDougall Creek.

Wednesday night, a dike along McDougall Creek near Hitchner Road was breached by high stream flow which resulted in the creek flow being redirected through an orchard and flooding four homes, with four more in jeopardy of being flooded if water flow increases. The evacuated homes are between 3982 and 4040 Hitchner Road and 1860 Jennens Road.

The Regional Emergency Plan has been enacted and a Level 1 Emergency Operations Centre has been activated.

Currently, West Kelowna Fire Rescue crews are on scene working to protect the homes and return the creek to its natural course. 

Emergency Support Services established a Reception Centre at the Best Western Hotel, 3460 Carrington Road to receive and assist evacuees.

The Emergency Operations Centre and West Kelowna Fire Rescue are carefully watching the situation and will advise the public if any other properties are in danger of flooding. The public and media can access information on the new Regional Emergency Program website at


Last Updated on Friday, 27 April 2012 00:03

Spectacular Ethel fire

Reader-submitted photo by Dawn Petrin of Monday night's house fire on Ethel Street in downtown Kelowna. Full details on the blaze in the morning print edition.

College cuts force tuition hike


Addressing a $2.26-million shortfall in Okanagan College’s budget for the coming year will mean staff reductions, a tuition increase of two per cent and belt-tightening across the $92.5-million operation. 

The College’s Board of Governors passed the 2012-13 budget Tuesday. It results in up to 16 positions being eliminated, cuts in supply and auxiliary staffing budgets, increased parking fees and an across-the-board two per cent tuition increase for students.

Importantly, none of the College’s programs will be cut as a result of the budget decisions, noted College Board Chair Lance Kayfish.

New Years Eve icon Dick Clark has died


The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Dick Clark, the ever-youthful television host and tireless entrepreneur who helped bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," and later produced and hosted a vast range of programming from game shows to the New Year's Eve countdown from Times Square, has died. He was 82.

Spokesman Paul Shefrin said Clark had a heart attack Wednesday morning at Saint John's hospital in Santa Monica, where he had gone the day before for an outpatient procedure.

Clark had continued performing even after he suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk.

Long dubbed "the world's oldest teenager" because of his boyish appearance, Clark bridged the rebellious new music scene and traditional show business, and equally comfortable whether chatting about music with Sam Cooke or bantering with Ed McMahon about TV bloopers. He thrived as the founder of Dick Clark Productions, supplying movies, game and music shows, beauty contests and more to TV. Among his credits: "The $25,000 Pyramid," ''TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes" and the American Music Awards.

For a time in the 1980s, he had shows on all three networks and was listed among the Forbes 400 of wealthiest Americans. Clark also was part of radio as partner in the United Stations Radio Network, which provided programs - including Clark's - to thousands of stations.

"There's hardly any segment of the population that doesn't see what I do," Clark told The Associated Press in a 1985 interview. "It can be embarrassing. People come up to me and say, 'I love your show,' and I have no idea which one they're talking about."

The original "American Bandstand" was one of network TV's longest-running series as part of ABC's daytime lineup from 1957 to 1987. It later aired for a year in syndication and briefly on the USA Network. Over the years, it introduced stars ranging from Buddy Holly to Madonna. The show's status as an American cultural institution was solidified when Clark donated Bandstand's original podium and backdrop to the Smithsonian Institution.

Clark joined "Bandstand" in 1956 after Bob Horn, who'd been the host since its 1952 debut, was fired. Under Clark's guidance, it went from a local Philadelphia show to a national phenomenon.

"I played records, the kids danced, and America watched," was how Clark once described the series' simplicity. In his 1958 hit "Sweet Little Sixteen," Chuck Berry sang that "they'll be rocking on Bandstand, Philadelphia, P-A."

As a host, he had the smooth delivery of a seasoned radio announcer. As a producer, he had an ear for a hit record. He also knew how to make wary adults welcome this odd new breed of music in their homes.

Clark endured accusations that he was in with the squares, with critic Lester Bangs defining Bandstand as "a leggily acceptable euphemism of the teenage experience." In a 1985 interview, Clark acknowledged the complaints. "But I knew at the time that if we didn't make the presentation to the older generation palatable, it could kill it."

"So along with Little Richard and Chuck Berry and the Platters and the Crows and the Jayhawks ... the boys wore coats and ties and the girls combed their hair and they all looked like sweet little kids into a high school dance," he said.

But Clark defended pop artists and artistic freedom, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said in an online biography of the 1993 inductee. He helped give black artists their due by playing original R&B recordings instead of cover versions by white performers, and he condemned censorship.

His stroke in December 2004 forced him to miss his annual appearance on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve." He returned the following year and, although his speech at times was difficult to understand, many praised his bravery, including other stroke victims.

Still speaking with difficulty, he continued taking part in his New Year's shows, though in a diminished role. Ryan Seacrest became the main host.

"I'm just thankful I'm still able to enjoy this once-a-year treat," he told The Associated Press by email in December 2008 as another New Year's Eve approached.

He was honoured at the Emmy Awards in 2006, telling the crowd: "I have accomplished my childhood dream, to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true. I've been truly blessed."

He was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1929. His father, Richard Augustus Clark, was a sales manager who worked in radio.

Clark idolized his athletic older brother, Bradley, who was killed in World War II. In his 1976 autobiography, "Rock, Roll & Remember," Clark recalled how radio helped ease his loneliness and turned him into a fan of Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey and other popular hosts.

From Godfrey, he said, he learned that "a radio announcer does not talk to 'those of you out there in radio land'; a radio announcer talks to me as an individual."

Clark began his career in the mailroom of a Utica, N.Y., radio station in 1945. By age 26, he was a broadcasting veteran, with nine years' experience on radio and TV stations in Syracuse and Utica, N.Y., and Philadelphia. He held a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University. While in Philadelphia, Clark befriended McMahon, who later credited Clark for introducing him to his future "Tonight Show" boss, Johnny Carson.

In the 1960s, "American Bandstand" moved from black-and-white to colour, from weekday broadcasts to once-a-week Saturday shows and from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Although its influence started to ebb, it still featured some of the biggest stars of each decade, whether Janis Joplin, the Jackson 5, Talking Heads or Prince. But Clark never did book two of rock's iconic groups, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley also never performed, although Clark managed an on-air telephone interview while Presley was in the Army.

When Michael Jackson died in June 2009, Clark recalled working with him since he was a child, adding, "of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."

Clark kept more than records spinning with his Dick Clark Productions. Its credits included the Academy of Country Music and Golden Globe awards; TV movies including the Emmy-winning "The Woman Who Willed a Miracle" (1984), the "$25,000 Pyramid" game show and the 1985 film "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins." Clark himself made a cameo on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and a dramatic appearance as a witness on the original "Perry Mason." He was an involuntary part of Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning "Bowling for Columbine," in which Clark is seen brushing off Moore as the filmmaker confronts him about working conditions at a restaurant owned by Clark.

In 1974, at ABC's request, Clark created the American Music Awards after the network lost the broadcast rights to the Grammy Awards.

He was also an author, with "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" and such self-help books as "Dick Clark's Program for Success in Your Business and Personal Life" and "Looking Great, Staying Young." His unchanging looks inspired a joke in "Peggy Sue Gets Married," the 1986 comedy starring Kathleen Turner as an unhappy wife and mother transported back to 1960. Watching Clark on a black and white TV set, she shakes her head in amazement, "Look at that man, he never ages."

Clark's clean-cut image survived a music industry scandal. In 1960, during a congressional investigation of "payola" or bribery in the record and radio industry, Clark was called on to testify.

He was cleared of any suspicions but was required by ABC to divest himself of record-company interests to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. The demand cost him $8 million, Clark once estimated. His holdings included partial ownership of Swan Records, which later released the first U.S. version of the Beatles' smash "She Loves You."

In 2004, Clark announced plans for a revamped version of "American Bandstand." The show, produced with "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller, was to feature a host other than Clark.

He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1994 and served as spokesman for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Clark, twice divorced, had a son, Richard Augustus II, with first wife Barbara Mallery and two children, Duane and Cindy, with second wife Loretta Martin. He married Kari Wigton in 1977.

Blaze destroys townhouse


A house fire at 2175 Burtch Rd. this morning destroyed a townhouse unit and damaged several others, leaving two families displaced and at least one potentially homeless. 

At 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. faint smoke smells were detected by tenants, but due to the late hour and the sparse and non-localized nature of the smoke, it was not perceived as a threat – one tenant described it as “could have been exhaust from a car that just started.” 

By 5 a.m., the smouldering fire began to blaze, rapidly consuming the entire unit. 

The tenants escaped harm, though the tenant’s grandson was taken to KGH for smoke inhalation.  Emergency social services have provided temporary relief for the families. 

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, though foul play is not suspected at this point. 

The building contained townhouse units – the residents of the furthest unit have been allowed to remain in their unit due to good condition and only minor smoke damage. Resident Gregory Krasichynsky from that unit was roused by his wife Connie at 4:50 a.m. and captured this striking photo of the blaze.

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