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  • 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.

  • Fallen tree cause of overnight power outage

    VERNON - Thousands of Vernon residents woke up without electricity this morning, but the juice is back on.

    A tree fell on some power lines near Silver Star Resort just after 11 p.m. Tuesday, leaving 1452 customers east of Grey Canal Road in the dark, as well as 712 east of Mabel Lake. Smaller outages were reported east of Salmon River and Bench Road as well as in the 8700-8800 block of Forsberg Road.

    B.C. Hydro had the problem fixed shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

    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.

    This story was updated at 11:10 to include new information from B.C. Hydro.

  • Teachers and B.C. government must end ongoing bitterness with contract: parent

    VANCOUVER - The chairman of a Parent Advisory Committee at a Vancouver school says job action by teachers starting today is pitting parents against the educators and the government.

    Robert Ford says parents have had enough after 10 years of bitterness between both sides, which must negotiate a contract for the sake of students.

    The first phase of the strike means teachers will not supervise students outside the classroom or communicate in writing with principals and other administrators.

    B.C. Teachers Federation president Jim Iker wouldn't say how long this phase of job action would last, but says it will escalate to rotating job action if progress isn't being made at the bargaining table.

    Iker says the government has offered a 6.25 per cent wage hike but teachers want a nine-per-cent jump, plus a cost-of-living increase, which the government has said could equal an untenable 13 per cent raise over three years.

    The union is refusing to sign a 10-year contract agreement, and says it wants class size and composition provisions restored in its contract in keeping with a B.C. Supreme Court decision that awarded the union $2 million in damages.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    ...More...

  • 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.

    ...More...

  • 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.

    ...More...

  • Fallen tree cause of overnight power outage

    VERNON - Thousands of Vernon residents woke up without electricity this morning, but the juice is back on.

    A tree fell on some power lines near Silver Star Resort just after 11 p.m. Tuesday, leaving 1452 customers east of Grey Canal Road in the dark, as well as 712 east of Mabel Lake. Smaller outages were reported east of Salmon River and Bench Road as well as in the 8700-8800 block of Forsberg Road.

    B.C. Hydro had the problem fixed shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

    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.

    This story was updated at 11:10 to include new information from B.C. Hydro.

    ...More...

  • 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.

    ...More...

  • 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.

    ...More...