A hockey moment this crowd won't soon forget

Image Credit: iStockphoto.com
February 21, 2014 - 1:09 PM

VERNON - A peewee hockey player brought spectators out of their seats last weekend cheering, even crying, not because of his moves in the game, but because he stood against the rest of his own team and showed them something about courage and sportsmanship.

Matthew Marotta, 12, and his Prince George Cougars lost a game at Vernon's Classic tournament on a disputed goal. His teammates followed his coaches angry reaction and headed straight for the dressing room, foregoing the custom of kneeling at their own blue line before shaking hands with opponents. Against his coach's insistence—Marotta alone skated out to the blue line and took a knee.

Tia Heslop, team manager for the opposing Nanaimo Clippers, says she broke down in tears at the sight.

“All the fans were screaming and cheering and crying for his bravery, his respect for the game, and the true sportsmanship he was showing. We were all standing on our feet cheering for him,” she says. “That’s how you wrap up the game, he knew that. Even when he was being called off the ice by his coach.... He did the right thing, and did what his whole team should have done.”

The Nanaimo team skated over and encircled the lone Marotta, patting his head, the crowd cheering for him as he alone represented his team. Shocked spectators and parents turned quickly to social media to share the story. In one Facebook post liked 755 times and shared almost 1,600 times, one parent says she could attend 1,000 more hockey games and never see anything like it again.

“In the end, these coaches are here to be leaders for the boys,” Heslop says. “As coaches, parents and players, we’ve all learned from him and will follow suit. His parents should be very proud.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

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  • 1 in 3 Canadians suffered some form of child abuse; linked to mental disorders

    TORONTO - A new study says one in three adult Canadians suffered some form of child abuse in their past, adding this abuse is associated with a higher risk of mental health disorders later in life.

    The lead author of the study says it provides the first national look at the prevalence of child abuse experienced by Canadian adults.

    Tracie Afifi of the University of Manitoba says previous estimates were based on a nearly 25-year-old study from Ontario and more recent data from Quebec.

    The study is published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

    The authors studied data collected from more than 23,000 adults 18 and older who took part in Statistic Canada's 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey.

    Respondents were asked questions about whether they were hit or subjected to other forms of physical or sexual abuse in childhood, or whether they were exposed to violence between the adults in their homes.

    Afifi says the questions didn't ask "Were you abused?" because studies have shown that some people who have been abused don't characterize their experiences as abuse.

    Instead, the questions asked whether respondents were slapped on the face or head, spanked with a hard object, pushed, grabbed, shoved or had something thrown at them to hurt them. For both those questions, respondents were asked to say yes only if the behaviour had happened a minimum of three times.

    Another question asked if respondents were kicked, bit, punched, choked, burned or physically attacked at least once.

    Sexual abuse questions were designed to determine whether respondents were forced into unwanted sexual activity. And the questions related to having witnessed intimate partner violence asked whether as children they had seen their parents, step-parents or guardians hit each other or other adults in the home three or more times.

    One in three adults reported experiences that met the criteria for at least one of the types of abuse, with physical abuse the most common of the three; 26 per cent of respondents said they had experienced physical abuse.

    Ten per cent of respondents said they had experienced sexual abuse and nearly eight per cent witnessed intimate partner violence.

    Men were more likely than women to have experienced physical abuse, 31 per cent versus 21 per cent. But women were more likely to have experienced sexual abuse, 14 per cent versus nearly six per cent.

    The researchers went a step further, looking to see if rates of mental illness were higher among adults who had suffered abuse in childhood.

    "We found strong associations between child abuse and mental conditions," they wrote.

    This type of study cannot prove cause-and-effect; it can only point to possible links.

  • B.C. producer recalls batch of medicinal pot after Health Canada inspection

    TORONTO - A B.C. producer of medical marijuana is voluntarily recalling a batch of one of its products following a Health Canada inspection.

    Health Canada says the recall by Greenleaf Medicinals is related to the company's production practices, which may affect its product known as "purple kush."

    The Nanaimo, B.C., producer is advising clients to immediately stop using any marijuana from the shipment identified by batch number PK-10-20-13.

    Greenleaf says it is working with other licensed producers to find a supply of purple kush for clients who use the product for medicinal purposes.

    Health Canada did not disclose the problems with Greenleaf's production practices nor what adverse effects might occur from smoking the recalled pot.

    But the federal department says producers are subject to compliance and enforcement measures similar to those that regulate producers of other controlled substances.

    Licensed medical marijuana growers must meet strict security, control and reporting requirements, and are regularly inspected.

    Dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada. Possession and use of marijuana remains illegal unless authorized under regulations with the support of a doctor or nurse practitioner, Health Canada said.

  • Window of opportunity bad for alleged drug trafficker

    VERNON - Police didn’t have to look hard to make an arrest early this morning—they just had to peer through a window.

    While checking up on an individual with an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, a Vernon cop noticed the suspect through a window. The 22-year-old man was cutting a substance with a razor blade in the company of several other people.

    RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says the man was arrested and held in a cell to answer to drug trafficking charges.

    “Here’s an individual who is bound by a judicial court order to be in his residence from that time period and probably gets checked very regularly,” Molendyk says. “I guess he thought he would use his time while he was in on his curfew to get ready for the next day.”

    A search warrant of the residence turned up roughly 50 grams of suspected cocaine, 50 grams of marijuana, and other drug trafficking paraphernalia.

    The man is expected to appear in court Tuesday.

    His acquaintances were released without charges.

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

  • Police seek hit and run driver

    VERNON - Police are looking for a driver who struck a cyclist and left him there with a broken leg.

    It was 9 p.m. Sunday when a 26-year-old man reported he’d been hit by a car while riding his bike in the 6300 block of Pleasant Valley Road. The man broke his leg and suffered road rash on his arm.

    “The victim told the police the vehicle stopped momentarily then drove off. He believes the driver knew they hit someone,” RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says.

    The cyclist didn’t get the plate number, but described the vehicle as an older white Chevy Suburban with square head lights.

    The police are asking anyone with any information on this crash to please call the RCMP Detachment at 250-545-7171 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

  • Why drinking and pellet guns don’t go together

    VERNON - A Vernon man spent time in a police cell over the weekend because concerned citizens thought he was trying to rob a store.

    RCMP were called to a report of a man with a gun in downtown Vernon near Shoppers Drug Mart around 3:40 p.m. Sunday.

    “(It was) a little scary down there.... Because he was near businesses in the downtown they figured this individual was about to commit a robbery,” RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says.

    Police say the man was drunk and carrying a black gun under his jacket when they arrived on scene and arrested the 56-year-old for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He was detained in cells until he sobered up and relinquished what turned out to be a pellet gun. 

    “It turns out he had just purchased the pellet gun and was on his way home,” Molendyk says.

    “Not the smartest thing to do.”

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

  • School day will shorten as part of teachers' strike

    NORTH OKANAGAN - Changes at local schools this week include the elimination of recess and reduction of the school day as part of teachers’ strike action.

    Superintendent of school district 83 Glen Borthistle says phase 1 strike action is slated to begin Wednesday, and will mean shaving 15 minutes off the school day, and cutting recess for students at elementary and middle schools.

    “While noon-hour supervision will be provided by each school's lunch hour supervisors and administration, recess breaks require significant involvement of teaching staff,” Borthistle said in a press release.

    During phase 1 strike action, teachers are not required to perform duties that have been declared non-essential by the Labour Relations Board, including the supervision of students before and after school, at lunch and during recess.

    The school district will decided Tuesday to shorten the day and cut recess.

    During phase 1, schools remain open and there will be no picket lines.

    “It is also important for you to know that teachers will be taking attendance, marking and assessing students, completing report cards, communicating with parents and participating in volunteer extracurricular activities,” Borthistle said.

    The district will keep parents informed about this situation through school newsletters, the district website and the district Facebook page

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

  • Clearwater mother of 3 dead, homicide investigation continues

    CLEARWATER – RCMP found a mother of three young children dead resulting in a seven-hour standoff with a man who barricaded himself inside a house yesterday.

    The suspect, believed to be the woman's common-law husband, was taken into custody, according to Global Okanagan. Clearwater RCMP said in a press release the man eventually surrendered without incident and charges have been recommended. He will appear in court later today, April 22.

    The woman, Angela Wilson, has three children, ages six, four and two. Witness, Clearwater Mayor John Harwood, said all three children were removed from the home. They are safe with no physical injuries.

    The altercation apparently resulting in the woman's death reportedly began in a home on Stegg Road in an area known as "The Flats" Sunday evening, near the southern part of town. After the incident the man then fled to his home near Joyce Road.

    The RCMP’s Emergency Response Team surrounded the man's home while an RCMP helicopter landed in the nearby Clearwater Secondary School field. A canine unit was also on scene.

    Daryl Huff was watching the incident progress Monday afternoon and was tweeting pictures of the RCMP activity.

    Huff told InfoTel News police had the home in a wooded area on the north side of town surrounded.

    He said nearby businesses were closed including the gas station, the hotel, a restaurant and a tire shop.

    There's still no word if the man was armed.

    A RCMP spokesperson at the Clearwater detachment didn’t have a lot of details to release to the public while the standoff was in progress.

    “The reason the ERT is here is we are trying to figure out what is actually going on here,” Landon Tonn said. “It’s a precaution at this point. That’s all I can really tell you.”

    A release posted to the B.C. RCMP website by E-Division Communication Services reads, "Clearwater RCMP is currently dealing with a police incident which involves the deployment of additional police resources to the area. As this investigation is in the early stages, police are not able to provide further information at this time. A news release will be issued with more details once available."

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infotelnews.ca or call 250-491-0331. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

    — This story was updated at 5:04 p.m., Monday, April 21, 2014 to add media release from RCMP Communication Services.

    — This story was updated at 10 a.m. April 22 to include details gathered by Global Okanagan.

    — This story was updated at 11:23 a.m. April 22 to include details from a Canadian Press story.

    — This story was updated at 1:02 p.m to include details from an RCMP press release.

  • Families' hopes for ferry victims painfully humble: to find bodies before sea does more damage

    JINDO, South Korea - Lee Byung-soo says he knew, when he saw his 15-year-old son's body in the tent. It could not have been more horrifically obvious. But he wanted so much for him to be alive.

    "Stop sleeping!" the truck driver yelled as he hugged Lee Seok-joon. "Why are you sleeping so much? Daddy will save you!"

    He pumped his son's chest and blew into his mouth to try to resuscitate him, "but I could only smell a rotting stench."

    This is the kind of heartbreak that awaits the families of about 220 people still missing from the submerged ferry Sewol, or at least those whose relatives' bodies are ultimately recovered. Families who once dreamed of miraculous rescues now simply hope their loved ones' remains are recovered soon, before the ocean does much more damage.

    "At first, I was just very sad, but now it's like an endless wait," said Woo Dong-suk, a construction worker and uncle of one of the students. "It's been too long already. The bodies must be decayed. The parents' only wish right now is to find the bodies before they are badly decomposed."

    The pace of recovering bodies has accelerated in recent days, since divers finally succeeded in entering the vessel. There were 86 confirmed fatalities as of Monday night.

    After the bodies are pulled from the water, police and doctors look for forms of ID and take notes on the body's appearance, clothing and any identifying physical marks such as moles, said a Health Ministry official who was helping co-ordinate the effort and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

    Lee Seok-joon arrived as Body No. 41. The official description bore few details: a boy. Mole on forehead. Wearing a pair of Adidas track pants.

    The bodies are transported to Jindo island, about an hour's boat ride away, as rescuers notify families waiting at the port, or at a gymnasium where many are sheltering. Bodies without IDs are described to officials in Jindo who relay the details to the relatives.

    At the dock, bodies are taken to a white tent for another inspection, then transported by ambulance to another tent. A coroner there cleans up the bodies, mostly to wipe off oil and dirt and straighten limbs, and then the families file in.

    Only two pieces of news can be delivered here, and each is heartbreaking. Your loved one is dead, or still missing.

    After reading the description of Body No. 41 on Saturday, Lee Byung-soo thought it couldn't be his son. He had a mole, but it was near his eyebrow, not on his forehead. Then another student's parent told him it probably was Lee Seok-joon, and he "rushed like a maniac" to the tent.

    The sight of his son brought Lee to his knees. He later lashed out at a military doctor who was in the room removing Lee's son's clothes for further inspection. "Don't touch my son!" he said. "He's still alive!"

    In truth, it was a grim sight. Lee said Monday, as he escorted his son's body home by ambulance, that his right eye had completely decayed.

    It is mainly the parents of teenagers living through this. About 250 of the more than 300 missing or dead are students from a single high school, in Ansan near Seoul, who were on their way to the southern tourist island of Jeju.

    Bodies are being identified visually, but family members have been providing DNA samples in case decomposition makes that impossible.

    The families, and South Koreans more broadly, have at times responded with fury. The captain initially told passengers to stay in their rooms and waited more than half an hour to issue an evacuation order as the Sewol sank. By then, the ship had tilted so much it is believed that many passengers were trapped inside.

    At a Cabinet briefing Monday, President Park Geun-hye said, "What the captain and part of the crew did is unfathomable from the viewpoint of common sense. Unforgivable, murderous behaviour." The comments were posted on the website of the presidential Blue House.

    Park said that instead of following a marine traffic controller's instructions to "make the passengers escape," the captain and some crew members "told the passengers to stay put while they themselves became the first to escape."

    "Legally and ethically," she said, "this is an unimaginable act."

    The captain, Lee Joon-seok, and two crew members have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need, and prosecutors said Monday that four other crew members have been detained. Senior prosecutor Ahn Sang-don said prosecutors would decide within 48 hours whether to seek arrest warrants for the four: two first mates, a second mate and a chief engineer.

    A transcript of ship-to-shore communications released Sunday revealed a ship that was crippled with indecision. A crew member asked repeatedly whether passengers would be rescued after abandoning ship even as the ferry tilted so sharply that it became impossible to escape.

    Lee, 68, has said he waited to issue an evacuation order because the current was strong, the water was cold and passengers could have drifted away before help arrived. But maritime experts said he could have ordered passengers to the deck — where they would have had a greater chance of survival — without telling them to abandon ship.

    The cause of the disaster is not yet known, but prosecutors have said the ship made a sharp turn before it began to list. The third mate, who has been arrested, was steering at the time of the accident, in a challenging area where she had not steered before, and the captain said he was not on the bridge at the time.

    Authorities have not identified the third mate, though a colleague identified her as Park Han-kyul. Senior prosecutor Ahn said Monday the third mate has told investigators why she made the sharp turn, but he would not reveal her answer, and more investigation is needed to determine whether the answer is accurate.

    Many relatives of the dead and missing also have been critical of the government, which drew more outrage Monday with the resignation of Song Young-chur, a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Security and Public Administration.

    Song, chief of the Regional Development Policy Bureau, reportedly tried to take a commemorative photo Sunday evening of the situation room in Jindo where government officials brief relatives of the missing.

    Yonhap news agency reported that one family member shouted, "We are a nervous wreck here, and this is something to commemorate for you?"

    Blue House spokesman Min Kyung-wook said the government accepted Song's resignation "as a warning to others, as he has raised public resentment by trying to take commemorative photos without understanding the feeling of the families of the victims and lost persons."

    The search effort on Monday included more than 200 rescue boats, 35 aircraft, 13 fishing boats and 641 personnel, mostly coast guard and navy.

    Most of the bodies found have been recovered since the weekend, when divers, frustrated for days by strong currents, bad weather and poor visibility, were finally able to enter the ferry. But conditions remain challenging.

    "I cannot see anything in front ... and the current underwater is too fast," said Choi Jin-ho, a professional diver who searched the ferry Monday. "Then breathing gets faster and panic comes."

    Searchers on Monday deployed a remote-controlled underwater camera dubbed the ROV1 to explore the inside of the ferry. Unlike divers who have to surface after 20 minutes, the U.S.-built camera can be used for two to three hours.

    The government-wide emergency task force centre issued a statement saying the ROV1 can reach places that are tough for divers to get to, but it added, "We are experiencing difficulty as there is lots of floating matter."

    Relatives have been allowed to observe the search operation in pairs, said Woo, the construction worker who is a relative of a missing student, and was to view the operation Monday.

    Woo has been in Jindo, sleeping in his car, since Wednesday. Other relatives of the missing have taken shelter in a gymnasium.

    Still others have put up tents near the port, where many sat in silence Monday, their faces blank and shoulders sagging from exhaustion. A Buddhist monk chanted prayers and tapped out a slow percussion on a wooden praying block from his perch at a dock facing the sea, providing a calming rhythm.

    Lim Son-mi, who works at a daycare centre in Ansan, said some part of her still hopes that her daughter Park Hye-son is alive, no matter how unlikely that would be. Until then, and maybe after, she will be haunted by memories of their last conversation.

    "She called me from the ferry and said, 'Mom, everything is so strange. We're all wearing life jackets,' but I didn't think anything of it at the time. I thought it was nothing. I found out only later from the news that it was this serious," Lim said.

    "I should be the one who should die."

    Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Mokpo, South Korea, Minjeong Hong and Raul Gallego in Jindo, and Foster Klug, Youkyung Lee, Jung-yoon Choi and Leon Drouin-Keith in Seoul contributed to this report.