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Capozzi pleads to manslaughter

Cameron Peter Capozzi pleaded guilty this morning to manslaughter in the death of 79-year-old Josephine (Babs) Capozzi in August, 2009. See Tuesday's edition of The Daily Courier for details on today's surprising developments in court.

Motoring mayhem

There were no less than six separate motor vehicle accidents between Vernon and Kelowna this morning during wet, heavy snow. The largest involved four vehicles and brought traffic to a standstill in both directions. For more details on the mayhem, pick up Friday's print edition of The Daily Courier.

Police identify man who fell through ice

RCMP have identified the victim of Wednesday's incident in which a man on bicycle fell through the ice on Wood Lake and drowned.
His name is Christopher Kent Stone of Lake Country.
Police were called to the lake At 10:16 a.m. Wednesday after Stone fell through the ice. He had apparently been riding his bicycle on the ice when a loud crashing sound was heard. 
BC Ambulance Service and Lake Country Fire Department were on scene, but the man could not be immediately retrieved. RCMP dive team members retrieved his body about 4:30 p.m.
Family have been notified of his death.

Man falls through Wood Lake ice, presumed drowned

An unknown man is presumed drowned after falling through the ice on Wood Lake.
At 10:16 a.m., Lake Country RCMP received a report that a man had fallen through. The man had apparently been riding his bicycle on the ice when a loud crashing sound was heard. The man was seen going through the ice and could be heard calling for help, but no one was close enough to offer him assistance.
The BC Ambulance Service and Lake Country Fire Department were on scene, but the man could not be immediately retrieved. The fire department's ice rescue team attempted unsuccessfully to locate the man. The RCMP helicopter was also on hand to assist in the search. After several hours, the man is presumed to have drowned.
RCMP Dive Team members are on their way to attempt an underwater recovery. There is no information at this time as to the identity of the man.
Police would like to remind people to never walk on ice that is less than 10 cm (4 in.) thick and not to drive on ice that is less than 30 cm (12 in.) thick. When in doubt, don’t do it. 

Arrest made as 1,600-plant grow-op busted

A 32-year-old West Kelowna man faces a multitude of potential charges after being busted for possessing stolen goods and growing marijuana.
RCMP executed a search warrant at a business on the 2500 block of Ross Road on Monday. The search revealed a large, sophisticated grow operation with over 1,600 plants, in addition to stolen property. The man was later arrested in relation to the criminal enterprise. Numerous charges are being recommended against the man including production of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of stolen property over $5,000. The investigation is ongoing, and more charges may be recommended.
The suspect was released on a promise to appear for court in March.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 January 2012 22:07

3 arrested, club drugs seized

The Kelowna RCMP Drug Section has arrested three males in connection with the drug trafficking of GHB, also known as the "date rape" drug.
 A search warrant was executed Thursday on a residence in Kelowna, and police seized approximately 20 litres of GHB, ecstasy (MDMA), and "magic mushrooms" (Psilocybin).
 Police are recommending charges of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking against all three men.
The drugs are commonly known as club drugs that tend to be abused by teens and young adults at nightclubs and parties. Coma and seizures can occur following the use of GHB and/or ecstasy. The use of these drugs have resulted in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes and death. 
 GHB is a central nervous system depressant which can be odorless, colorless, and tasteless and is frequently combined with alcohol and other beverages. GHB has been used to commit sexual assaults, due to its ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims , preventing them from resisting the assault.

Man falls through Wood Lake ice

Police are warning residents to beware thin ice on valley lakes after a man fell through into the chilly waters of Wood Lake this morning.
At about 8:30 a.m., Lake Country RCMP received a report that a man had fallen through the ice. The 51-year-old Kelowna man had gone out on the lake with an inner tube, thinking the ice would be safe. The ice wasn't thick enough to support him, and he fell into the frigid water. The man was able to pull himself to safety and was checked by paramedics as a precaution.
 Police remind the public never to walk on ice that is less than 10 cm (4 in.) thick and not to drive on ice that is less than 30 cm (12 in.) thick. When in doubt, don’t do it.
 Beware of ice near the inlet and outlet of streams. Always be extra cautious on river and stream ice. Ice can vary in thickness and strength from area to area because of temperature, water current, springs, snow cover and time of year.
 Kelowna has been experiencing slightly warmer temperatures lately, which will affect the stability of the ice.

Canadian skier Sarah Burke dies from injuries sustained in superpipe accident

SALT LAKE CITY - Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died Thursday, nine days after crashing at the bottom of the superpipe during a training run in Utah.

Burke was 29. She was injured Jan. 10 while training at a personal sponsor event at the Park City Mountain resort.

“Our hearts go out to Sarah’s husband Rory and her entire family, Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge said in a statement. "It’s difficult for us to imagine their pain and what they’re going through. Sarah was certainly someone who lived life to the fullest and in doing so was a significant example to our community and far beyond.

"She will be greatly missed by all of us at the CFSA and the entire ski community."

Tests revealed Burke sustained "irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest," according to a statement released by Burke's publicist.

A four-time Winter X Games champion, Burke crashed on the same halfpipe where snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury during a training accident on Dec. 31, 2009.

As a result of her fall, Burke tore her vertebral artery, which led to severe bleeding on the brain, causing her to go into cardiac arrest on the scene, where CPR was performed, according to the statement by publicist Nicole Wool.

Wool said Burke's organs and tissues were donated as per her wishes.

"The family expresses their heartfelt gratitude for the international outpouring of support they have received from all the people Sarah touched," the statement said.

Burke, a native of Barrie, Ont., who grew up in nearby Midland before moving to Squamish, B.C., was the best-known athlete in her sport and will be remembered for the legacy she left for women in freestyle skiing.

She set the standard for skiing in the superpipe, a sister sport to the more popular snowboarding brand that has turned Shaun White, Hannah Teter and others into stars.

Seeing what a big role the Olympics has played in pushing the Whites of the world from the fringes into the mainstream, Burke lobbied to add superpipe skiing to the Olympic program, using the argument that no new infrastructure would be needed - the pipe was already built - and the Olympics could get twice the bang for their buck.

She won over the Olympic bigwigs, and the discipline will debut at the Sochi Games in 2014.

Burke, who was favoured to win a fifth X Games title later this month, would have been a favourite for the gold medal in Sochi, as well. Instead, sadly, the competitors will have to toast to her memory when they make their debut on what will be the sport's grandest stage.

"Sarah, in many ways, defines the sport," Judge said last week. "She's been involved since the very, very early days as one of the first people to bring skis into the pipe. She's also been very dedicated in trying to define her sport but not define herself by winning. For her, it's been about making herself the best she can be rather than comparing herself to other people."

Burke's death continues a sad string of stories involving some of the best-known athletes in the wintertime action-sports world. Pearce's injury - he has since recovered and is back to riding on snow - was a jarring reminder of the dangers posed to these athletes who often market themselves as devil-may-care thrillseekers but know they make their living in a far more serious, and dangerous, profession.

Burke's death also is sure to re-ignite the debate over safety on the halfpipe.

The sport's leaders defend the record, saying mandatory helmets, air bags used on the sides of pipes during practice and better pipe-building technology has made this a safer sport, even though the walls of the pipes have risen significantly over the past decade. They now stand at about seven metres high.

Some of the movement to the halfpipe decades ago came because racing down the mountain, the way they do in snowboardcross and skicross, was considered even more dangerous - the conditions more unpredictable and the athletes less concerned with each other's safety.

But there are few consistent, hard-and-fast guidelines when it comes to limiting the difficulty of the tricks in the halfpipe, and as the money and fame available in the sport grew bigger, so did the tricks. Snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton once told The Associated Press that much of this was self-policed by athletes who, because of the nature of a sport often considered less competitive and more communal, knew when to draw the line.

It's an opinion shared by many.

"There are inherent risks in everything," Judge said. "Certainly, freestyle skiing has one of the greatest safety records of almost any sport. Freestyle is a very safe sport in large part because we had to build a safe sport in order to get into the Olympics."

Burke's biggest accident before this came in 2009 when she broke a vertebrae in her back after landing awkwardly while competing in slopestyle at the X Games. It was her lobbying that helped get slopestyle - where riders shoot down the mountain and over "features" including bumps and rails - into the X Games after much back and forth.

It wasn't her best event, but she felt compelled to compete because of her advocacy of it. She came to terms with her injury quickly.

"I've been doing this for long time, 11 years," she said in a 2010 interview. "I've been very lucky with the injuries I've had. It's part of the game. Everybody gets hurt. Looking back on it, I'd probably do the exact same thing again."

She returned a year after that injury and kept going at the highest level, trying the toughest tricks and winning the biggest prizes.

The tragedy brings a much-too-early end to a life of fame the skiing star lived both inside and out of the halfpipe.

Burke won the ESPY in 2007 as female action sports athlete of the year. In 2010, she married another freestyle skier, Rory Bushfield, and they were headliners in a documentary film project on the Ski Channel called "Winter."

In her interview two years ago, Burke reflected on the niche she'd carved out in the action-sports world.

"I think we're all doing this, first off, because we love it and want to be the best," she said. "But I also think it would've been a great opportunity, huge for myself and for skiing and for everyone, if we could've gotten into the (Vancouver) Olympics. It's sad. I mean, I'm super lucky to be where I am, but that would've been pretty awesome."

A little more than a year later, with Burke's prodding, her sport was voted in for 2014.


The Associated, Canadian Press.

First 2012 budget details revealed

BREAKING NEWS: Details from Kelowna city council's budget lock-up.

– RCMP to get four new senior officers and a crime analyst

– Council says no to H2O Centre mural

– Gas tax funding announcement tomorrow to provide energy efficient upgrades to Rutland Arena

– Council says no to $575,000 in improvements to the Laurel Building

Cash offered for copper thieves

West Kelowna is offering a reward for information about thieves who steal copper wire from streetlamps.
The reward of $1,000 is being offered to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of copper thieves. People should call police immediately if they see any suspicious activity around streetlights.
"Keldon Electric is the company contracted to maintain streetlights in the municipality until Feb. 29," municipal spokeswoman Kirsten Jones said Thursday. "Westcana Elecric will maintain the streetlights starting March 1.
"Both companies use clearly marked vehicles and work predominantly during daylight hours," Jones said.
On the prevention side, West Kelowna council will consider spending $12,000 in the 2012 municipal budget to deter steetlight vandalism. The money could be used to improve the security of the service panels on the streetlights, or to fix damage caused by thieves.
Last spring, more than $20,000 worth of copper wire was removed during a single night from streetlights in several West Kelowna neighbourhoods. No further thefts have been reported in West Kelowna, but copper wire has been stolen from streetlights in other local jurisdictions, including an incident in Kelowna this week.
RCMP were notified Thursday of a theft in the 1500 block of KLO Road. A Fortis employee discovered Wednesday. that two ground cables coming of the power poles in the area had been cut and about one foot of copper had been taken.
Kelowna plans to spend $900,000 over the next three years improving the security of service panels on more than 14,000 lampposts.

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