'Amish Mafia' star gets 3-23 months in prison for car chase that injured Pennsylvania trooper

August 08, 2013 - 1:13 PM

NEW BLOOMFIELD, Pa. - A Pennsylvania man who stars in the Discovery Channel show "Amish Mafia" has been sentenced to three to 23 months in prison for leading police on a chase that injured a state trooper last summer.

Thirty-five-year-old Alan Beiler received the sentence Thursday.

Police say Beiler led them on a chase after they tried to stop him for an expired car registration. They say he drove against traffic and caused a pursuing state trooper to crash and suffer a concussion.

Beiler pleaded guilty in May to charges of attempting to elude police, drug possession and driving with a suspended license.

Defence attorney Mark Forrest Walmer says his client has turned his life around and has been drug-free for a year.

The show provides a look at the men who protect an Amish community.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
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  • You dirty rat: almost 80 dead rodents found in southern Alberta landfill

    MEDICINE HAT, Alta. - Another 78 dead rats have been pulled from a southern Alberta landfill that has been plagued by the pests.

    The City of Medicine Hat is working to get rid of the rodents and is providing a weekly update.

    Last week, 63 dead rats were discovered and the week before there were 39.

    Jason Storch, an agricultural fieldman with Cypress County, says he can't put a timeline on the situation.

    The rats were spotted at the dump earlier this month after someone reported finding one in a farmyard.

    Alberta has always prided itself on being rat free, but that status has been in question since August 2012 when the vermin were first found in the landfill.

    At least 100 Norway rats were killed by city workers after an 80- metre-long nest was discovered. It took six hours for 21 workers and two excavators to dismantle it.

    The landfill has been continuously monitored since then and the city credits that vigilance for discovering the new cases. City officials said earlier this month that more poison was being put out and that staff would check bait stations daily.

    Agricultural fieldmen known by Albertans as the "rat patrol'' have worked for years to target invading rats in a control zone along the province's eastern boundary.

  • Evening market to entice community to heart of Vernon


    VERNON - Vernon’s downtown will be alive this summer with music, sidewalk cafés, open air shopping and most importantly—people.

    Avenue Market was given the go ahead by Vernon city council Tuesday and will launch May 9 on 30 Avenue. The 4-7p.m. Friday market will see downtown merchants spill onto the sidewalks and outside vendors pour into the streets.

    Downtown Vernon Association executive director Lara Konkin led the initiative and says it’s a way to bring excitement, and people, to the downtown core.

    “It will open peoples’ eyes to what we really do have downtown,” Konkin says.

    Avenue market will stretch along sidewalks spanning the entire six blocks of 30 Avenue, while two blocks will be closed to traffic so vendors can inhabit the roadways. It will be the only market in Vernon where you can shop for shoes, clothes, produce, listen to music and watch your kids jump on a bouncy castle.

    “It’s almost creating that shopping mall mentality in a couple blocks of downtown,” Konkin says. “That’s something no other market can offer; there is only one downtown.”

    Sidewalk space will be reserved for downtown merchants both on and off 30 Avenue while the road itself will be used for produce stands, artisans, crafters—essentially anything that doesn’t directly compete with a downtown business.

    “We wouldn’t sell knock off Ray Bans, or that type of vendor,” Konkin says. “We think adding outside vendors will only add to the ambience of downtown and be good for economic development.”

    Vernon mayor Rob Sawatzky believes the market will be compliment downtown businesses, not compete with them.

    “I think it’s another step... taken by the community to make downtown the heart of our community and bring life and vibrancy to it,” Sawatzky says. “Where there’s people interacting and life, that’s attractive to others.”

    Rod Neufeld owns Eclectibles Quality Used Books and Vintage Vinyl Records on 30 Avenue and he supports the market, even if his participation in it may not be huge due to his hours of operation and nature of his business.

    “Downtown Vernon is kind of hurting right now. Some businesses are doing okay, some marginal. It certainly does need energizing,” he says.

    He’s not sure what vendors will participate, or just what the market will look like, but he knows how special the downtown core is and how much potential is there.

    “I choose to be downtown, I think it’s where my store belongs,” Neufeld says. “I’ve always thought that’s where the cool shops should be; it wouldn’t work in a strip mall.”

    It’s that local flavour Konkin and the Downtown Vernon Association hope to enhance through the Avenue Market.

    “You’re giving people back that sense of community,” Konkin says. “I think we all crave that town hall, community spirit type atmosphere. Essentially we’re going to create it in a couple of blocks. The biggest comment we’ve been hearing is ‘I can’t wait to bring my family back downtown.’”

    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.

  • Riding along with the RCMP police dog unit

    VERNON - Sherri Funfer usually spends her day with a 14 pound Jack Russel Terrier, not a pack of police dogs.

    The Salmon Arm resident got to tag along with the dog team Tuesday after her brother won the package at a fundraiser for HugABulls and the Okanagan Humane Society last November. Knowing how much his sister loves dogs, he gave the prize to her for Christmas.

    Outside the Vernon police detachment, Funfer watches the rambunctious canines as their handlers describe the training process. Flex and Frieda, two of the dogs Funfer will get to know over the course of the day, can probably smell traces of her Jack Russel on her clothes.

    The powerful German Shepherds are expertly trained to track and take down bad guys, something Funfer will witness today in practice scenarios. Highlights of the day include tracking, drug searching, criminal apprehension and puppy training.

    “They’re amazing, they’re just wonderful dogs and friendly too. I think people have a lot of misconceptions,” Funfer, of Salmon Arm, says. “They’re just amazing dogs, they’re like big puppies.’’

    Police only use German Shepherds because of their strength and ability to work in various climates. Puppies come from a breeder in Alberta and are trained by handlers like Const. Marc Jones, who is showing Funfer the ropes today. He’s one of only three handlers in the North Okanagan detachment area, and says the unit is frequently called upon.

    “We try to get a police dog out for any serious situation,” Jones says.

    The exuberant police dogs bark and play with their handlers, never sitting still. Like Funfer’s Jack Russel, they love attention and human contact. But even though their training includes socializing with dogs and people, they’re very different from a household pet. 

    “You should always be cautious around a police dog,” Jones says. “We bring them to school talks, I let kids pet my police dog... But it’s still a working dog, you always have to be prepared just in case something should happen.”

    Funfer says she’s amazed by the intelligence of the police dogs and hopes more people get the opportunity to see what the unit is all about.

    “Any dog lover would love a chance to come and do this,” she says.

    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.

  • Public invited to discuss Patrick Nicol memorial ideas

    VERNON - The city is inviting the public to an open house to discuss ideas about how to memorialize Counc. Patrick Nicol.

    The City of Vernon initially asked for suggestions from the community on a way to remember and honour Nicol. A survey invited feedback from the public and now an open house to discuss those ideas is scheduled at City Hall April 29, from 5 to 7 p.m.

    Counc. Nicol died in January and countless stories of his kindness, generosity, love of his country and unwavering commitment to the city poured in. Counc. Juliette Cunningham is a member of the committee established after Vernon business people and residents asked the city to find a way to memorialize Nicol.

    "We received some great responses for our request for ideas to honour the late Counc. Patrick Nicol," Cunningham said in a press release. She sat next to him in council for years. "This will be an opportunity to explore a final concept which is being proposed."

    The committee asked the public for suggestions reflecting Nicol's values that could be accessed by the entire community and built on existing infrastructure. With many recurring themes, Cunningham said she hopes for a strong showing at the open house to figure out the best way to move forward.

  • Penticton family with epileptic child wants law allowing her to use medical marijuana

    PENTICTON - When a retired police officer from Summerland left his job after 25 years, he hardly imagined fighting for his little granddaughter to be given marijuana.

    Chris Nuessler, along his wife and Elaine, wants Canada to allow two-year-old Kyla Williams to be given a form of medical marijuana known to prevent seizures resulting from epilepsy.

    The girl's parents, Jared and Courtney Williams, along with the Nuesslers, have been researching medical pot use and speaking with experts to build what they're calling "Kyla's medical team."

    They say Kyla has suffered severe side effects from prescription drugs when she could be helped like other children in the United States.

    A strain of marijuana commonly called Charlotte's Web has been known to help kids in the U.S., but it's illegal in Canada.

    It contains very little THC, which provides the buzz recreational pot users crave, and is mostly made up of CBD, which limits the severity and frequency of seizures.

    Named after a little girl named Charlotte Figi who has epilepsy, the weed has allowed her to develop and enjoy a more normal life.

    In Canada, the only form of legalized medical marijuana is dried, meaning Kyla would have to smoke it.

    Chris Nuessler said his view of marijuana as medicine has radically changed since his policing days.

    "For me it was back to the 1980s and 1990s mindset when I was busting people. I had to do a 180 (degree turn) and start researching this."

    Kyla appeared to be a healthy, little girl for the first six months of her life until her mother noticed she wasn't progressing at a normal rate and had unusual eye movements.

    After she was seen by a pediatrician, Kyla was rushed to BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver, where she was diagnosed with retractable seizure disorder.

    Over the next year, the little girl was placed on a series of prescription drug mixtures, received steroid shots and was given a high fat diet.

    She even developed a kidney stone. Some of the drugs had brutal side effects and she was averaging 100 seizures a day, her grandparents said.

    "The drugs aren't really working and we were told there's really nowhere she can go," Elaine Nuessler said. "She's down to her last drug. She may seizure for the rest of her very short life."

    In March, Kyla's mother and grandmother made a trip to Vancouver and were told Kyla's life expectancy would be short.

    "We both cried all the way home from Vancouver," Courtney Williams said.

    The next day, Courtney's 91-year-old grandfather called to tell her he'd seen a CNN report on Charlotte's Web and how it's been known to help children with cancer and epilepsy.

    "Her development was so similar to so many of the kids who have been helped by cannabis," Elaine Nuessler said.

    With Kyla's father working for long periods of time in Fort McMurray, the Nuesslers have become incredibly active in Kyla's life and are in the process of selling their home to accommodate the toddler and her parents.

    They say they've spoken with leading experts in the field, including Figi's doctor, and have even considered moving to Colorado, where marijuana is available.

    "Our entire support network is here," said Courtney Williams, who was trained as a health-care aide.

    Growing pot themselves is not an option because it requires detailed chemistry to create Charlotte's Web.

    The family said they want to try the marijuana to see how it will work for Kyla and understand that there are no guarantees.

    "Why not? It can't be any worse for her than some of the horrible drugs she's been put on and the side effects her little body has had to endure," Elaine Nuessler said.

    "Our main thing is access, awareness and acceptance, not only for Kyla but for other children in her situation. In my opinion you should be able to go to your doctor, get a prescription and then go to a pharmacy or dispensary and get exactly what you need."

  • Extradition in Amanda Todd case could come before Dutch trial: prosecution

    VANCOUVER - Dutch prosecutors says the possible extradition of a man accused of using the Internet to target underage girls, including B.C. teen Amanda Todd, won't necessarily have to wait until after his trial in Holland.

    Thirty-five-year-old Aydin Coban is facing charges in Canada and the Netherlands over allegations he surreptitiously recorded webcam footage of underage girls and men and then used the footage to extort them.

    The RCMP announced last week that Coban is facing five charges in B.C. related to Todd, a 15-year-old Port Coquitlam girl who turned to suicide after she was exploited online.

    B.C.'s criminal justice branch has already said it plans to ask the federal Justice Department to seek the man's extradition to face trial in Canada, but there have been questions about how quickly that could happen.

    Paul van der Zanden, a spokesman for Holland's public prosecution service, says it hasn't received a formal extradition request, so the court process in that country will continue toward a trial.

    But van der Zanden suggests that plan could change if an extradition request is made, though he says he can't speculate about precisely what would happen once that occurs.

  • Kelowna man carries a million bucks in his wallet for a month

    KELOWNA - A local man bought a 6/49 ticket on his return road trip from Vancouver to Kelowna and forgot about it. A month later, he was thinking about what to do with $1 million.

    Steve Woloshyn of Kelowna purchased the ticket for the March 22 draw while getting gas at a Chevron station in Hope on Old Hope Princeton Way. He tucked it in his wallet. Woloshyn went about his business for a whole month before casually pulling it out and sliding it into a number checker to see how he'd done.

    “When I put the ticket into the machine and saw winner I figured I’d won a smaller prize, not a whole million,” he said in disbelief. “It finally began to sink in when the clerk called BCLC.”

    Woloshyn's first phone call was to his wife at home in Kelowna. She thought he was joking until he sent through a picture of the winning ticket.

    “I can’t believe I carried one million dollars in my wallet for a month,” laughed Woloshyn. “I’m an accountant for goodness sake. I should know where my money is!”

    Woloshyn will use his prize to pay off his mortgage and enjoy the summer with his wife and children.

  • Puppy survives being shot with pellets

    THOMPSON-OKANAGAN — A puppy is recovering in Salmon Arm after being found with multiple pellet-shot wounds near Niskonlith Lake.

    The four-month-old German shepherd puppy was found by a couple people walking their dogs.

    “Some individuals out walking their dogs by Nisquanles Lake earlier this month saw the puppy cowering under a bush,” says B.C. SPCA senior animal protection officer Kathy Woodward. “They took him to a veterinary clinic in Salmon Arm, where the pellets were removed.”

    She notes that one of the pellets surgically removed was only one millimetre from puppy’s aorta.

    The veterinarian caring for the puppy is covering the full costs of his medical care and one of the clinic staff plans to adopt the dog.

    “Thankfully, the puppy will recover and will be adopted into a loving home, but the SPCA is seeking information leading to charges in the case,” says Const. Woodward. “It is important that people understand that animal cruelty is not acceptable and those who inflict pain and suffering on animals will be brought to justice.”

    The B.C. SPCA is asking anyone with information about the incident to please contact the B.C. SPCA animal cruelty hotline at 1-855-622-7722.

    To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.