YEAR IN REVIEW: investigations exposed issues, brought more understanding to local stories | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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YEAR IN REVIEW: investigations exposed issues, brought more understanding to local stories

Matt LeBlanc was assaulted by two men with machetes in Ben Lee Park on Aug. 8, 2016. He says one of the men is the suspect in another stabbing that happened in Rutland Aug. 16.
Image Credit: Contributed
January 01, 2017 - 8:30 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Sometimes it takes days, weeks or even months to really dig into a topic. Our team at strives to go beyond the day to day headlines to bring you original news stories that expose issues, ask hard questions and bring a deeper understanding to matters of importance in the communities we serve.

This year, our reporters investigated a variety of different topics. As overdose deaths spiked and fentanyl became a household name, we looked at the idea of a safe injection site in Kelowna. To tell that story, we spoke to doctors, social service agencies and users themselves. Since that story was published, health officials have announced plans for safe consumption sites in both Kelowna and Kamloops.

As a controversial new group set roots in our area, we took a deeper look at who the Soldiers of Odin are. Our investigation involved talking to group members, as well as police, legal experts, and social agencies.

We also explored a new vigilante group known as Creep Catchers. The Kamloops chapter in particular says it is ready to work with the RCMP to catch bad guys, but is the feeling mutual for police? Our story includes an analysis from a professional criminologist who says Creep Catchers are a catch-22.

As property crime rose in Kamloops this year, we looked at the history of red zones — sections of the city where certain offenders are not allowed — and why advocates say they are not a blanket solution.

With the rising popularity of home-sharing services in the Okanagan, we looked into the world of Airbnb — and why not everyone is so cozy with it.

After a pair of bodies were found on the side of the road in a small patch of trees in Kelowna, we spoke with sources who cast doubt on the RCMP’s conclusion the deaths were a murder suicide.

In 2016, we also continued our investigation into the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre. The centre was slated to be built on Westbank First Nation land and at one point was promised to be Canada’s first private hospital. Now, the failed project has resulted in a quagmire of legal battles.

We also uncovered more details about a machete attack at Ben Lee Park in Rutland and a subsequent stabbing one week later at a home on Franklyn Road. Our investigation revealed a connection between the two assaults, and more details about the brutal attack from one of the victims. took a look at an unusual debate in Penticton circling around a transportation service for seniors. Taxi companies complained the service — which bills itself as a ‘companion service’ for seniors — operates like a taxi company, but without the industry’s regulations and costs.

Our newsteam also dug into evidence suggesting Spannish Conquistadors — not fur traders — were the first Europeans to set foot in south central B.C. Various artefacts including pictographs, swords and spears may be proof of the Spanish incursion, although our investigation shows not everyone supports the theory.

We investigated chronic understaffing issues at the Vernon RCMP detachment which sources say are leaving frontline officers below minimum resource levels. Our series ‘Risk it Out’ reveals that officers who are away on leave are not always backfilled, leaving watches running short.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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