Latest headlines from around British Columbia

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SUNDAY DEC. 10, 2017

MAN MISSING AFTER CUMBERLAND FIRE
 1210- A man is missing and three houses have been destroyed after a fire ripped through a residential neighbourhood in Cumberland on Vancouver Island. Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze on Penrith Avenue early Saturday morning.

TEACHER SHORTAGE LEAVES A LOT OF OPENINGS 1210 - Teachers have their pick of jobs in British Columbia, but the head of their union warns that some students are going without their specially trained educators who are covering substitute positions that districts haven't been able to fill. B.C. Teachers Federation president Glen Hansman said students requiring one-on-one attention or support in small groups from special education teachers are shouldering the burden of staffing issues. "The bulk of the time, it's the child who's supposed to be receiving special education services who's unfairly having their program bumped that day," Hansman said.

42 SENT TO HOSPITAL AFTER CARBON MONOXIDE INCIDENT 12-10- Poor ventilation while operating power washing units at a Delta farm led to 42 people being sent to Lower Mainland hospitals on Saturday night. A hazardous material team and close to a dozen ambulances all responded at 2:57 p.m. to what was initially reported as exposure to a cleaning product, Shuster said. The workers at the farm had been exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide.

Saturday, December 9

LOGGING PLANS EXPOSE RIFT IN RECONCILLIATION - The B.C. government is pursuing profit over culture and community by selling logging rights on Haida Gwaii without permission, the president of the Council of the Haida Nation says. Peter Lantin compared the mood among Haida people to 1985, when members  erected blockades to prevent the harvest of old-growth forests on Lyell Island. "The pent-up frustration on Haida Gwaii has built up to the place where it's going to blow out," he said.

MANY STILL WAITING FOR PROMISED GIFTS Jacqueline Jordan’s ex-boss showed up at her door in Airdrie, Alta., with an outrageous offer. “Jackie, I’m gonna change your life,” she said he told her. The man who made the promise is Mike Gould of Calgary — the same man who recently gained national media attention when he announced plans to donate $7.5 million to a junior hockey team in his hometown of Kimberley, B.C., then fell under suspicion when, weeks later, the team said it hadn’t received the money.

 SON HELD UNDER MENTAL HEALTH ACT IN MOTHER'S DEATH - 1209 - For a third day, RCMP are at a Saltspring Island home investigating the suspicious death of 47-year-old Heather Jones. RCMP was called to the house Wednesday where they found her body. Her 22-year-old son Martin Vandenberg was arrested by police. He was released from police custody and is  now being held under the Mental Health Act. 

U.S. AGENCY RULES AGAINST CANADA ON SOFTWOOD - The federal government vowed to aggressively defend Canada's softwood lumber industry after the U.S. International Trade Commission unanimously voted that American producers have been harmed by imports of subsidized Canadian lumber.

 

December 8 

THREE YOUTHS CHARGED AFTER DUNCAN BRAWL Dec 9 - Three boys have been charged and a fourth is expected to be charged in a brawl between a group of Duncan students that was caught on camera. The fights took place Monday near the James Street campus of Cowichan Secondary School.

POLICE MAKE LARGE FENTANYL HAUL Dec 8 - Police seized a large amount of illicit drugs headed for Victoria including a quarter kilogram of fentanyl – enough to potentially kill 125,000 people. Two men were arrested early Nov. 30 after they took a ferry from the Lower Mainland and were heading toward downtown Victoria, according to police. MORE 

PRODUCE GROWER COMING TO B.C. Dec 8 -A Quebec-based international produce company has purchased land in the North Okanagan and is expected to provide more than 150 jobs. Vegpro International, a company that produces ready-to-eat salads with farms in Quebec and Florida, has announced a $60-million investment in Coldstream, B.C. 

NEW SHIP LAUNCHED Dec 8 -A national program to design and build ships in Canada has launched its first vessel. On Friday, federal politicians, along with their provincial counterparts and local workers unveiled the Sir John Franklin, an offshore fisheries science vessel, in North Vancouver. 

PROTECTING BUSINESS CHARACTER Dec 8 It's a common Vancouver narrative: old, affordable housing is replaced with shiny new condos, squeezing out longtime residents and eroding neighbourhood character. The same narrative is becoming increasingly common for local businesses, and that has the City of Vancouver considering its options for keeping those businesses afloat, especially in cultural districts like Chinatown.

OVERDOSE RATE ON THE RISE Dec 8 - The City of Vancouver says Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services has responded to more than 6,000 overdose calls so far this year — a 28-per-cent increase over last year.

 

Kinder Morgan gets go-ahead on Trans Mountain pipeline

1207 - Kinder Morgan can begin work on the TransMountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby, according to the National Energy Board.

In a decision announced Thursday afternoon, the regulator stated Kinder Morgan does not need to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby’s bylaws: preliminary plan approvals and tree cutting permits.

The ruling means that the energy company can start working at a temporary infrastructure site near the Westridge Marine Terminal and at the Burnaby Terminal.

Evidence points toward government approval of Site C

1208 - Global News commentator Keith Baldrey has weighed all the evidence in the Site C power project debate. Read his commentary below. It’s the kind of decision that will prove to be a defining moment for the young BC NDP government: whether or not to complete construction of the Site C dam.

And it’s apparently turning into a devilishly difficult decision to grapple with. The government caucus met all day and into the night on Tuesday discussing the project, and the cabinet did likewise all day Wednesday.

GLOBAL NEWS

 

 

Bamfield gets high-speed internet

Jinny Sims

1207 -  The Government of B.C. is contributing $100,000 to improve internet access to better connect Bamfield to more business opportunities and to improve service delivery in areas such as health care, education and emergency response. This will help deliver a cutting-edge, high-speed fibre optic network, Minister of Citizens' Services Jinny Sims announced today.

Community Wireless Networks, a local, family-run internet provider in Bamfield, will receive $100,000 from the Connecting British Columbia program to construct a secure, reliable and future-proof fibre optic network. 

"We are working with local service providers throughout the province, such as Community Wireless Networks, to build the railways of today", said Sims. "These information routes will mean more business opportunities, improved educational tools and greater access to a wide variety of health-care services."

 

Newer, faster ferry for Victoria-Seattle run

1206 - Clipper Vacations is no longer planning a new passenger ferry route between Victoria and Vancouver. The vessel was originally announced for Victoria-Vancouver service, but the company says it was scrapped due to “unexpected operational costs associated with the dock in Vancouver.”

Instead, a newer, faster vessel for passengers of the Clipper ferry service between Seattle and Victoria will start in the spring of 2018.

Clipper announced the Clipper V is a 52-metre high speed catamaran that will carry 440 passengers and travel up to 36 knots, or more than 65 kilometres per hour.

The vessel has been operating in the North Sea between Hamburg and Heligoland, Germany and will be arriving via heavy lift carrier this month.

CHEK NEWS

Funeral chain creates graphic fentanyl warning

1204 - A funeral services chain in British Columbia is developing a program it hopes will cut the number of drug deaths related to fentanyl among children and young adults.

Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services has created a fentanyl prevention program after a funeral home in the chain reported serving four to five families every month who had lost a loved one to an overdose in Metro Vancouver.

The owner of the chain, Tyrel Burton, says the company felt it could no longer tolerate those numbers and unlike other programs focusing on harm reduction, it decided to aim at prevention through the use of visual aids that it describes as "powerful, perhaps even controversial."

MORE

Charges stayed against Bacon in Surrey Six killings

1203- A trial stemming from the murders of six people in British Columbia has fallen apart after a judge stayed charges against a man Friday, referencing misplaced evidence, the testimony of a confidential informer and the fair trial rights of the accused in her decision.

Jamie Bacon was accused of the first-degree murder of 21-year-old Corey Lal, one of six people murdered in a highrise apartment in October 2007 in Surrey, B.C.

MORE

Nine-year-old child killed in accident was recent refugee

1203 - The nine-year-old girl who died after being struck by a bus near Ten-Broeck Elementary in Abbotsford was a government-sponsored Syrian refugee who escaped the war-torn country a little more than a year ago.

"This came as a very sudden shock to the whole community," said Tahir Khalid, who is a board member at the Abbotsford Islamic Centre where the girl and her family went.

"It's quite devastating for the whole community. It happened all very, very suddenly."

Liberal leadership race heats up

Todd Stone

1203 - With only two more debates left and just two months to go before the BC Liberal Party elects a new leader, the race to succeed Christy Clark is heating up among the candidates.

In what was the most feisty debate so far, the six candidates—Andrew Wilkinson, Dianne Watts, Todd Stone, Mike de Jong, Michael Lee and Sam Sullivan—squared-off for a fourth time Saturday in Kelowna.

 And when the candidates had the opportunity to ask each other questions in front of a standing room only crowd in the ballroom of the Coast Capri Hotel, the sparks flew—especially between Stone and Watts.

MORE

Police road-side checks begin tonight

1202- Beginning tonight, police across Vancouver Island will conduct road checks from Victoria to Port Hardy.

“Lighting Up the Highway” is part of a provincial campaign by police and ICBC urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home. Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of death involving crime in Canada. On average, 65 people die every year in crashes involving impaired driving in British Columbia.

Police said 57 per cent of impaired crashes happen on the weekend and 39 per cent happen between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. An average of nine people are killed each year in impaired driving-related incidents.

Anyone who sees an impaired driver is asked to call 911 to report them.

Proportional representation could destroy the NDP

Bill Tieleman

A large percentage of NDP supporters are gung ho about proportional representation. However, the seem to miss the obvious – under such a system the NDP would never form a majority government again – ever.

Global News commentator Keith Baldrey takes a look at what the NDP may be doing to itself.

Bill Tieleman, a veteran NDP activist and commentator, is among those in the party who say the days of an NDP government with a mandate of progressive “are just about zero” in the future under a proportional representation model, he told Baldrey.

Read Baldrey’s assessment HERE

B.C. tells Ottawa to stay out of Kinder Morgan permitting

George Heyman

1201 - British Columbia says the federal government needs to back off and stop interfering in an independent review process over the approval of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline.

Environment Minister George Heyman said he is "very disturbed" that the federal government supports the creation of a standing panel to quickly settle conflicts over provincial and municipal permits.

"The federal government should get its nose out of British Columbia's business unless we're … violating federal laws. We are not," Heyman said in an interview Thursday.

MORE

Killer Kelly Ellard granted temporary day parole

Kelly Ellard

Kelly Ellard who killed 14-year-old Reena Virk near a Victoria-area bridge two decades ago has been given conditional approval for day parole from her life sentence.

A two-member panel has granted her day parole for six months but she must first complete a residential treatment program for substance abuse.

The parole board will review the decision after six months. The day parole period will begin as soon as Ellard enters a treatment program for substance abuse.

 

Some Seniors to get new driving assessment

By Tom Fletcher
Black Press

1130 - Starting next spring, at-risk seniors and other people with health problems will have a new system for determining if they are still allowed to drive.

The new system will be an extended road test, using the driver’s own vehicle, with an ICBC driver examiner directing a series of driving tasks with increasing complexity.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the new system Thursday, to replace the touch-screen computer test called DriveABLE that many seniors found complicated and stressful.
 

Stuck, out of luck in a stolen truck: two arrested in Parksville

1130 - Oceanside RCMP arrested a 29-year old man and a 30-year old woman after the stolen truck they were in got stuck in a ditch on Sunday night.

Mounties received a report at 7:30 p.m. that a suspicious vehicle was stuck on Martindale Road in Parksville. Officers found a Ford F150 truck that had been reported stolen in Nanaimo days earlier.

A search of the vehicle turned up more stolen property including items taken from a vehicle in French Creek and from a residence in Bowser.

CHEK NEWS

Voting referendum is stacked by NDP and Greens

1129 -It was a cringeworthy news conference at the legislature as a pair of MLAs  — one NDP and one Green — tried vainly to explain how their referendum to change B.C.’s voting system is not obviously stacked in their favour.

NDP MLA Bob D’Eith and Green MLA Sonia Furstenau announced a “working group” to “engage British Columbians  about democracy” in advance of the referendum next fall.

The referendum will ask whether B.C. should switch to a proportional-representation voting system for electing MLAs, which the Greens and New Democrats both badly want.

READ MIKE SMYTH

Stolen helicopter parts recovered near Port Hardy

1129 - Port Hardy RCMP have recovered approximately $100,000 worth of helicopter parts that were stolen from a vehicle earlier in November.

According to police, the helicopter parts were stolen from a vehicle at the Quarterdeck Inn in the 6500 block of Hardy Bay Road sometime between 9 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 8 a.m. on Nov. 10.

On Nov. 27, Stryker Electronics in Port Hardy contacted police and told them that an unknown man had turned in some electronics they thought might belong to the business.

MORE 

Province clamping down on dangerous drivers

Mike Farnworth

1129 - Tougher penalties are coming soon to dangerous drivers in British Columbia.

Beginning next month, those drivers caught street racing or stunt driving will face longer prohibitions that will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. RoadSafetyBC will set the length of each prohibition based on details provided by police, as well as the driver’s record.

“The drivers posing the greatest risk to people’s lives are often caught repeatedly, and that tells us they aren’t taking the consequences seriously,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. 

Trudeau's pledge of aid for fire victims is an empty promise

B.C. Views
By Tom Fletcher

1129 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge in July to help “every family” affected by the 2017 B.C. wildfires is a bitter memory for Larry and Diana Badke of 100 Mile House.

Their 64-acre property was burned along with many others by the Gustafson wildfire. Despite Trudeau’s July 24 pledge to “stand with British Columbians every step of the way” with disaster assistance, the Badkes have been told they receive nothing, because they couldn’t get insurance for their retirement home and small ranch.

“To make matters worse, the federal government thinks logging our burned timber is some sort of capital gain,” Larry Badke wrote in a letter to his MLA, Donna Barnett. “They will tax us [on] 50 per cent for what we manage to receive from logging our decimated property.”
 

North Cowichan punishes councillor for bullying, harassment

Coun Joyce Behnsen

1129 - “Corrective measures” have been imposed on North Cowichan councillor Joyce Behnsen for bullying and harassing of a municipal employee.

Mayor Jon Lefebure read a statement at the beginning of a public budget meeting on Nov. 27 stating that the municipality had received complaints from one of its employee claiming to have been bullied and harassed by Behnsen between April and May, 2017.

Lefebure said North Cowichan carried out an investigation of the allegations, and concluded that Behnsen’s conduct amounted to bullying and harassment of the employee.

MORE

 

 

Budget surplus projection down by $56 million

Carole James

1129 - Finance Minister Carole James says British Columbia's  budget will have a smaller surplus than previously predicted.

The 2017-18 budget has a projected surplus of $190 million, $56 million less than the NDP forecast earlier this year, James said Tuesday in releasing the province's second quarter fiscal update.

The economy is still projected to grow by 2.9 per cent.

Trudeau names new Supreme Court Justice

Justice Sheilah Martin

1129 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Alberta-based judge Sheilah Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Born and raised in Montreal, Martin was trained in both civil and common law before moving to Alberta to pursue her career as an educator, lawyer and judge.

She served on the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta in Calgary until June 2016 when she was appointed as a judge of the Courts of Appeal of Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

MORE

Vancouver police investigate death of two seniors

1129 - Police are investigating after the bodies for two seniors were found in a Vancouver residence Monday afternoon.

The bodies of a 77-year-old woman and a 79-year-old man were found shortly before 5 p.m. inside their home near Granville Street and West 5th Avenue.

Few details have been released, but police said the deaths are considered suspicious. The BC Coroners Service is also investigating.

 

Search narrowed for missing aircraft

11-29 - Searchers returned to the Rocky Mountains Tuesday, looking for signs of the pilot and passenger of a single-engine aircraft that went missing somewhere between Revelstoke, B.C. and Edmonton.

Dominic Neron, 28, and his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault, 31, took off from Penticton in his white and burgundy striped Mooney M20D plane around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. That flight can take as little as two hours, but when the pair still hadn't arrived by 10:40 p.m., their disappearance was reported.

On Tuesday, crews returned to the region, narrowing their search with information from the cellphone.

MORE

Soft housing market predicted to continue into 2018

1129 - The British Columbia Real Estate Association predicts continued cooling of the provincial housing market in 2018, but it cautions would-be home buyers that prices likely won't soften.

The association has released its 2017 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast showing an expected 8.8 per cent decrease in residential sales across the province this year and a further 10.4 per cent decline next year.

Data shows estimated home sales in 2018 are expected to dip to 91,700 units, down more than 10,000 from the record set in 2016, but still well ahead of B.C.'s ten-year sales average.

MORE

Battle against distracted driving goes high tech

CTV screen capture

1129 - The B.C. government's efforts to curb distracted driving just got a little more high-tech. The province announced on Tuesday it will test new apps that block texts and calls in moving vehicles.

"Distracted driving is a serious high-risk behaviour, which is now responsible for more than 25 per cent of all car crash fatalities in our province," Ministry of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said.

The pilot program will include up to 200 volunteers whose cars will be fitted with small devices that communicate with their smartphones, disabling them while the vehicle is in motion. The test is conducted in partnership with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

MORE AT CTV

 

Pressure mounts for government to bail out newspapers

1127 - Ottawa is coming under fresh pressure to find a way to save the ailing Canadian newspaper industry, although the Liberals remain steadfast in their argument that the solution lies in the transition to digital platforms and more viable business models.

Torstar Corp. and Postmedia Network Inc. announced Monday they will cut nearly 300 jobs as they plan to shutter more than 30 newspapers across the country, with most of the dailies and community weeklies affected based in Ontario.

 

Breakaway fuel barge towed to safe location

1127 - A loaded fuel barge that broke away from its tug off British Columbia's central coast is being towed to a safe location and the threat of a spill has been reduced. Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner Roger Girouard says the barge, loaded with 3.5 million litres of diesel and 468,000 litres of gasoline, is set to anchor at about 5 p.m. off Campbell Island in the Inside Passage.

A U.S.-registered tug boat, the Jake Shearer, was pushing the barge through Queen Charlotte Sound when it broke free southwest of Bella Bella on Sunday.

Girouard says the vessel encountered strong seas and suffered damage, which broke the pin arrangement connecting the barge to the tug and it started drifting toward the B.C. coast.

Parksville opens winter shelter spaces

Selina Robinson

1127 - People struggling with homelessness in Parksville now have access to nightly shelter spaces during the cold and wet winter months.

The British Columbia government, through BC Housing, has partnered with the City of Parksville and the Island Crisis Care Society to open eight winter shelter spaces at the Arbutus Grove Church at 170 West Hirst Ave.

"We want to make sure people who are homeless have a safe and warm place to go, especially when the weather can threaten their health and well-being," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "These shelter spaces are a temporary but necessary resource while we work with the City of Parksville and other communities to develop permanent, long-term solutions to address homelessness in B.C."

The shelter will be open nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. until March 31, 2018. 

Search continues for missing Penticton to Edmonton flight

1127 - Search and rescue crews are combing a mountainous area near Revelstoke, B.C. for signs of a pilot and his girlfriend who failed to return to Edmonton Saturday.

The couple identified as Dominic Neron and Ashley Bourgeault took off from Penticton on Saturday afternoon. They were expected to land in the Alberta capital around 6:40 p.m. local time, and were reported missing when their plane was four hours overdue.

Neron's cellphone was picked up by a tower about 32 kilometres northeast of Revelstoke Saturday night, so crews focused their efforts on that area and up into Rogers Pass.

MORE AT CTV

Media deal will shut down 30 newspapers, 291 jobs

11267 - Postmedia Network Inc. and Torstar Corp. announced a deal to swap dozens of free daily and community newspapers, most of which will be shut down due to declines in print advertising revenue. A total of 291 jobs will be lost.

Canada’s two largest newspaper chains announced Monday that Postmedia acquired 22 community newspapers and two free dailies from Torstar subsidiaries Metroland Media Group and Free Daily News Group in exchange for 15 community newspapers and two free dailies.

Here's a list of the affected publications:

Properties Acquired by Postmedia from Torstar

To remain open: Exeter Times-Advocate (and the Exeter Weekender) 

To be closed: Metro Ottawa, Metro Winnipeg, Belleville News, Brant News, Central Hastings News, Frontenac Gazette, Kanata Kourier-Standard, Kingston Heritage, Meaford Express, Nepean/Barrhaven News, Norfolk News, Orleans News,Ottawa East News, Ottawa South News.Ottawa West News,Our London, Quinte West News,St. Lawrence News, St. Mary's Journal-Argus (and the St. Mary’s Weekender), St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News, Stittsville News, Stratford City Gazette, West Carleton Review

Properties Sold by Postmedia to Torstar

To remain open: St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune, Peterborough Examiner

To be closed: 24 Hours Toronto, 24 Hours Vancouver, Barrie Examiner, Northumberland Today, Orillia Packet & Times, Bradford Times, Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin, Fort Erie Times, Innisfil Examiner, Inport News (Port Colborne), Niagara Advance, Pelham News, Thorold Niagara News.

READ MORE HERE

Tseshaht declares flooding state of emergency

Alberni Valley Times photo

1126 - Tseshaht First Nation has declared a state of emergency as a Somass River high streamflow advisory has been upgraded to a flood warning. The Tseshaht Emergency Operations Centre went to level 3 Saturday night, and evacuations  and sandbagging of homes began.

The BC River Forecast Centre upgraded to a flood warning Sunday morning for Somass River, Sproat River, Ash River and tributaries.

A flood warning means that river levels have exceeded bankfull or will exceed bankfull imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will result.

The rising water also forced the closure of the Alberni Valley Regional Airport. Doug Holmes, ACRD CAO, said heavy rainfall has caused flooding at the intersection of one of the taxiways and the runway.

ALBERNI VALLEY TIMES

 

Island communities still fighting flooding

1126 - Vancouver Island communities are fighting a losing battle with sandbags and pumps as floodwaters surge in Port Alberni and the Cowichan Valley.

Homeowners along Sproat Lake have been watching as their properties are submerged by rapidly rising water levels.

"You're seeing it flooding about 10 feet up from where it normally is," said Terri St. Jacques. "This walkway normally, in the summer, is on the ground."

 

MacLean's Magazine ranks communities for crime rate

1125 - Port Alberni is ranked as the 19th most dangerous place in Canada by MacLean’s Magazine, the highest among Vancouver Island communities. 

Of the 17 Vancouver Island cities listed, Port Alberni ranked the most dangerous at 19th overall in the country.

The report rates cities based on the Crime Severity Index (CSI), a Statistics Canada measure of police-reported crime that considers both volume and the severity of the crime.

Victoria was next on the list, ranked 30th overall with a CSI score of 119.

Nanaimo was 37th with a 112 CSI score, with violent crimes, theft and drug offences all on the rise.

North Cowichan, Campbell River and Courtenay were ranked 41st, 44th and 45th.

Parksville is 64th as break and enter crimes are the only stats that went up last year.

Sooke improved its position in the rankings going down to 112th with a CSI score of 64, which is below the national mark.

Langford is ranked 123rd on the list, although sexual assault and impaired driving crimes both climbed.

The report ranked View Royal 162nd with increases in assault and fraud cases.

Saanich came in at 181st, Sidney was 184th and Central Saanich ranked 186th with assaults rising in all three communities.

Colwood placed 191st with the only spike in the impaired driving category.

READ THE FULL REPORT AT CHEK NEWS

 

Concern growing over missing Parksville woman

1125 - PARKSVILLE — Concern is growing as RCMP say they have little-to-no indication where a missing Parksville woman is.

Oceanside RCMP have released a new picture and more details about 36-year-old Carmel Georgina Gilmour. Her van was found abandoned near the Shady Rest Pub in Qualicum Beach on Nov. 21. She hasn't been seen since Nov. 15.

"We're obviously very concerned for her...She's never been listed as missing before," Cpl. Jesse Foreman said.

MORE 

RCMP look into retaliation against cat abusers

1125 - Police are considering charges of Uttering Threats, Criminal Harassment and Counselling Suicide after escalating behaviour directed at a group that has been accused of animal abuse.

“While we respect the right of people to voice their concerns, some individuals’ actions and behaviour have now escalated to a point that has the police very concerned,” RCMP Island District spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Douglas said Friday afternoon.

She said an incident was reported to police and was immediately investigated.

MORE

Black Friday frenzy on the decline

Images of people chaotically clamouring to be the first through the doors to get their hands on hot deals have become synonymous with Black Friday in recent years.

However, the one-day shopping frenzy at malls and stores following American Thanksgiving may be on the decline as some consumers and retailers start to shun the tradition by either opting out entirely or turning to internet shopping instead.

“In the ’70s and ’80s if you wanted to distinguish yourself as a company you would participate in this event,” said Markus Giesler of York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto. “Today it’s the exact other way around.”

Battle lines forming on referendum question

By Tom Fletcher

1124 - As B.C. Attorney General David Eby launched a public consultation on changing B.C.’s voting system, opposition MLAs were ramping up their attack on what they call a “backroom deal” to take away rural representation and favour the B.C. Green Party.

The consultation is to decide on the question to be put to a province-wide referendum next fall on changing the electoral system. B.C. Liberal MLAs have focused on the NDP government’s decision to make the vote a simple majority, which they say would erode rural representation and have the decision made by Lower Mainland voters.

READ TOM FLETCHER

Government approves $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Shantee Anaquod has been in hospital since October, after flu-like symptoms revealed she has a life-threatening condition called aHUS. On Tuesday afternoon, the province approved funding of the $750,000 drug Soliris to help her condition. Submitted photo

1123 - Shantee Anaquod is finally getting the life-saving drug she needs.The provincial government approved funding for the 23-year-old UBC student to receive Soliris, a drug that treats the rare disease Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS) and costs $750,000 per year.

This comes after a Nov. 20 announcement by B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix that the province will now cover the costs of Soliris on a case-by-case basis.

MORE

Mount Washington to open a week early

1123 - The Mount Washington Alpine Resort will open a week earlier this season after heavy snowfall in November.

The resort announced on Thursday that the Eagle Express Chairlift will open for a preview weekend from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3.

Mount Washington has seen cold temperatures and storms throughout this month. To date, the resort has received a total snowfall of more than two metres for the 2017-18 winter season.

MORE

Union pushes for Site C completion

By Tom Fletcher

1123 - The union group that has built B.C. Hydro dams since 1961 has made one more push to convince the John Horgan government to complete the Site C dam, releasing two reports by independent consultants making the case that it’s the best option for ratepayers.

Energy lawyer Jim Quail and energy economist Marvin Shaffer both concluded that the B.C. Utilities Commission underestimated the benefits of the third dam on the Peace River, and overestimated the performance of alternatives if the dam project is stopped. They argued that the commission overlooked Canada’s climate change commitment to price carbon emissions up to $50 a tonne, and the potential to sell power to Alberta as it phases out its coal-fired generation.

READ TOM FLETCHER 

Police arrest 15 during drug bust in Duncan

1123 - Fifteen people were arrested and a large quantity of drugs was seized after police officers forced their way into a house in Duncan on Thursday. 

Police said a search warrant was obtained as part of an investigation into a residence in the 400 block of Garden Street. According to police, the house has been a “problem residence for the neighbourhood and community for some time” and is believed to be the site of frequent drug deals.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP said officers had to force their way into the home. Fifteen people were arrested. Nine were taken into custody while the other six were released at the scene.

MORE

BC Transit buses to get safety doors for drivers

Manuel Achadinha makes the announcement

1122 - BC Transit buses in three communities are getting enhanced safety measures to better protect its drivers – Kelowna, Victoria and Abbotsford.

Due to recent workplace dangers that include drivers getting beaten upstabbed with a syringeand spat on, the company is launching a full driver door to enhance its safety measures.

“BC Transit’s top priority is to deliver a safe, effective and efficient transit system,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit President and Chief Executive Officer.

MORE

B.C. Government to refund $5.5 million to methadone users

1122 - An application filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court says the provincial governments has agreed to pay back more than $5.5 million in fees deducted from the income-assistance cheques of methadone patients.

Details of the agreement were filed by plaintiff Laura Shaver and outline how B.C. will reimburse 70 per cent of the $7.7 million, plus interest, collected from more than 11,700 methadone patients.

MORE

Missing dog walker found alive

1122 - Annette Poitras, who went missing while walking three dogs in Coquitlam Monday afternoon, has been found alive.

RCMP say the 56-year-old woman was found Wednesday morning in an off-limits watershed area off the trail. She is responsive and talking, RCMP said. The dogs are also OK.

Marcel Poitras said he never lost faith that his wife would be found alive.

MORE

Oceanside RCMP looking for Carmel Gilmour

Carmel Gilmour

1122 - Oceanside RCMP are looking for 36-year-old Carmel Gilmour who was last seen driving her van in Parksville on Nov. 15.

Police said on Nov. 21, a person from Qualicum Beach reported an abandoned van. Police have confirmed that it is the vehicle Gilmour was last seen in. Gilmour is Caucasian, 5’6″ with long brown hair, hazel eyes and a medium build.

Anyone with information on Gilmour’s whereabouts is asked to call Oceanside RCMP at 250-248-6111.

Search continues for three missing Indiginous men

1122 - Dozens of people gathered to listen to an update from the RCMP and Cowichan Tribes leaders.

Forty-seven-year old Everett Jones went missing after leaving his Club Road area home in Duncan in February of 2016. Ian Henry was last seen in Duncan in April of 2015.

Twenty-seven-year-old Desmond Peter was 14-years-old when vanished in March of 2007 after last being seen around the old Malaspina College on Cowichan Way.

There's nothing to suggest the disappearances are related but community leaders say they need reassurances that the search for the men continues.

Washington governor meets with Horgan

By Tom Fletcher

1121 - B.C. Premier John Horgan received his first official government visitor Tuesday, greeting Washington Governor Jay Inslee to talk about issues of mutual concern, including train connections, trade and climate change.

Inslee is the first Washington governor to visit Victoria since 1984. He arrived on the MV Coho ferry in a downpour Tuesday morning and gave a speech in the B.C. legislature after a private meeting with Horgan.

 TOM FLETCHER

Search continues for missing dog walker

Annette Poitras

1121 - Search and rescue crews are combing trails in Coquitlam for signs of a dog walker who failed to return home last night.

Annette Poitras was walking her own dog and two of her clients' Monday afternoon and told friends she'd be in the area of Westwood Plateau Golf Course.

She was expected to return home before dark, so by 5:30 p.m., her husband was worried.

MORE ON CTV

Police looking for Courentay teen missing since Nov. 16

Have you seen Jenna?

Comox Valley RCMP are asking for help in locating 18-year-old Jenna Usipuik of Courtenay, who was last seen on Nov. 16. She is Caucasian, 5’6,” 141 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on Usipuik’s whereabouts is asked to call their local police station or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Thousands attend memorial for slain police officer

CTV Screen capture

1120 – Thousands lined the streets in Abbotsford to watch Const. John Davidson's funeral procession on Sunday, which included military-style tributes to honour the police officer who was killed in the line of duty earlier this month.

Abbotsford police estimate between 7,000 and 7,500 first responders came from all over the world to join the funeral procession which marched down McCallum Road and Kind Road before arriving at the Abbotsford Centre for the funeral service. An estimated 10,000 people came out in total.

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We're in for a whole lot of snow this winter

1120 - One of Canada’s high profile weather forecasters is warning Canadians across the country to brace for a whole lot of snow this winter.

Chris Scott, The Weather Network’s chief meteorologist, says this year’s La Nina weather system bears a striking resemblance to that of 2007-2008. “History tells us that when we have cooler waters off the coast of South America, that’s La Nina, and those winters tend to be classic Canadian winters.”

British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada are all in store for above normal levels of precipitation, according to the forecast.That precipitation will likely be snow as the region shivers in below normal temperatures.

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Nebraska approves Keystone XL pipeline route

1120 - Nebraska’s Public Service Commission has approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a 3 to 2 vote, clearing the last major regulatory hurdle for the controversial $10 billion project.

The panel’s approval came with a tight margin of victory for the pipeline, which would transport about 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Hardisty, Alta. to Steele City, Neb.

The vote comes as TransCanada continues to clean up a 5,000-barrel oil spill from its pipeline in nearby South Dakota that opponents have pointed to as reason not to approve Keystone XL.

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Sports groups to study child sex abuse in sports

1120 - A number of leading sports groups in the province will come together this week to take a stand against child abuse in sport through a full day of education and planning that advances child protection.

Led by viaSport, the Province’s lead agency in strengthening amateur sport in British Columbia, this will be the first summit of its’ kind in Canada and organizers hope this puts B.C. at the forefront of addressing sexual misconduct in sports.

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Parks Canada backs off planned beaver cull

1119 - Chalk up a win for a group of beavers on Pender Island – for now.

Parks Canada says a plan to cull beavers on the Southern Gulf Island this week has been placed on hold after it drew widespread condemnation from residents and wildlife activists.

The controversy began when beavers started to build dams in Greenburn Lake on South Pender Island, putting a man-made damn at risk in an area maintained by Parks Canada.

MORE AT CTV

Drones join search for missing Okanagan women

1119 -The search for missing women in the North Okanagan and Shuswap took to the skies on Saturday, Nov. 18.

The efforts of a group of volunteer searchers were supported by drones operated by Sky Crew Aerial Imagery from Salmon Arm and Crystal Mountain Aerial Media from West Kelowna.

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12,000 expected to attend slain officer's memorial

Const. John Davidson

1118 - About 12,000 people are expectd to attend the memorial for Const. John Davidson in Abbotsford on Sunday. Among the mourners willb e about 8,000 first responders.

Police officers from across the country and the world will be in attendance and march in remembrance of their slain colleague.

Community members have recently come together to tie blue ribbons around light posts and trees, and to mourn at candle light vigils surrounded by hundreds of cards flowers laid by others. Some community members hav evolunteered to host visiting mourners in their homes.

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Charges possible after plastic fish feed bags wash ashore

An aquaculture operation could face charges after thousands of plastic bags washed ashore on several islands southeast of Ucluelet.

Parks Canada says that approximately 2,000 large bags, designed to each hold 25 kilograms of aquaculture feed, drifted south from a local aquaculture company and washed up on one of the Broken Group Islands.

The Broken Group Islands are a part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, governed by Parks Canada.

$100,000 in helicopter parts stolen in Port Hardy

1118 - Port Hardy RCMP are asking forhelp after $100,000 worth of helicopter parts were stolen out of a vehicle in the 6500-block of Hardy Bay Road.

The theft occurred between 9 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 8 a.m. on Nov. 10, RCMP say.

The stolen pieces are highly recognizable and specific to a certain helicopter. Anyone with information is asked to call Port Hardy RCMP at (250)-949-6335 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Child killer Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

1117 - Three time child killer Allan Schoenborn has been granted escorted leaves into the community. Schoenborn had been seeking the passes even though his therapist says there were anger management issues.

He was convicted of first degree murder, but found not criminally responsible for the deaths of his three children in Merritt in April of 2008.

Horgan announces new Riverview Mental Health facility

Premier Horgan

A groundbreaking was held Friday in Coquitlam for a new state-of-the-art facility to serve people struggling with mental illness and addiction.

Premier John Horgan was on hand for the announcement, calling the event “an important step toward improving mental health and addictions treatment services in British Columbia.”

Specialized residential treatment to adults with severe mental health and addiction challenges will be offered in the new 105-bed centre that is scheduled to open in late 2019.

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Weaver fears NDP will go ahead with Site C

Andrew Weaver

The future of the Site C hydroelectric dam is the subject of pointed questions from labour unions, environmental groups, Indigenous Peoples and high-ranking civil servants with the British Columbia government who want answers about the projected costs of scrapping the $8.3-billion project.

The New Democrat government said it will decide by the end of the year whether to cancel the megaproject or continue construction, but one opponent already senses the government will complete Site C.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said while he doesn't have inside information, he's convinced the NDP will decide to keep building the dam.

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Alberni resident robbed of thousands of dollars

1117 - A Port Alberni resident was robbed of several thousand dollars from three men with a weapon.

On Tuesday Nov. 14 at 3:45 a.m., Port Alberni RCMP responded to a home invasion robbery in the 3700 block of Redford St.

Three men had forced their way into a residence, threatened the resident with a weapon while they stole several thousand dollars from him. The suspects then fled the scene leaving the resident unharmed. The three suspects were dressed in all dark clothing, wearing masks and gloves.

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Family of six escapes house fire in Surrey

1117 - A family of six in Surrey escaped a major house fire unharmed early Friday.

Surrey Fire battalion chief  Reo Jerome says four adults and two kids were woken up in the middle of the night by a huge bang, and then fire spreading rapidly through the whole house.

The two-storey house, located in southeast Newton at 14120 Sunridge Place, was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived sometime after midnight.

All members of the family made it out safely, and no one was treated for injuries.

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Logging truck driver killed in road accident

1117 - The driver of a logging truck that veered off a road west of Lake Cowichan and plunged into water has died.

TimberWest said the fatal accident involved an employee of a contractor working for the company near its Honeymoon Bay operation.

"We express our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues affected by this tragic accident. A fatality within our forest community deeply impacts all of us," said TimberWest president and CEO Jeff Zweig. 

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Fair Wage Commission begins consultation here Friday

1116 - B.C.’s Fair Wages Commission begins three weeks of consultations today, asking the public how they think a $15 minimum wage should be implemented.

The commission will be in Nanaimo on Friday (Nov. 17) at the Best Western Dorchester Hotel from 9:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The government abandoned its original promise to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021, and created an independent review panel to determine the appropriate time needed.

Minimum wage in B.C. is currently $11.35 – the third highest in Canada.

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First Nations left empty-handed as environmentalist pressure kills B.C. energy projects

Ellis Ross

1116 - Ellis Ross is filled with gut-wrenching dread as several major proposed energy projects unravel in British Columbia.

The former chief counsellor of the Haisla Nation near Kitimat has laboured for more than 13 years to improve Indigenous lives through economic self-sufficiency — it’s how he says he measures success — and now it could all come crashing down because of what he believes are misguided government actions that burden those projects with unnecessary costs.

MORE in the Globe & Mail

See ALSO, Brian Peckford comments

 

Whistler Blackcomb opens Friday

1115 - Whistler Blackcomb will open a week early, on Friday. The freezing weather over the past few weeks has allowed crews to step up snowmaking, said Chris McLeod, a spokesman for the ski and snowboard resort. 

The resort got 86 centimetres of natural snow in the previous 24 hours.  

“It’s a winter wonderland up here with a ton of snow in the valley. So we are really excited to get going,” said McLeod.

B.C. NDP details financial challenges amid May election

1116 - The BC NDP, currently pushing legislation through the House to provide public financing of political parties, went into the last provincial election weighed down by debt going back to the 2009 campaign.

At the NDP's convention on the weekend, details of these financial challenges shed new light on why publicly funded subsidies will be welcomed at party headquarters.

Campaign finance reform is proving to be one of the slowest-moving bills in the B.C. Legislature this fall. It's designed to wean political parties off of corporate and union donations by providing public funding that will begin to flow to the province's three main political parties in January.

MORE IN THE GLOBE & MAIL

Bowser woman has serious injuries from stabbing

1115 - A Bowser woman has serious injuries after being stabbed several times by a man police call her friend.

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman told NanaimoNewsNOW the stabbing happened on Nov. 14 at 6:15 a.m. on Highway 19-A. He said the two were driving when an argument broke out, leading to the 22-year-old man suddenly “lashing out” at the driver, stabbing her several times.

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Logging truck driver killed when truck leaves road

1115 - TimberWest has confirmed that the driver of a logging truck that left the road near Caycuse on Wednesday has died. The man was a working for a contractor for TimberWest near the Honeymoon Bay operations.

The Ministry of Environment reported the truck left the road approximately two kilometres past Nixon River Bridge,  three kilometres east of Caycuse. It went into standing water beside the road and became submerged.

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Influx of seniors costs B.C. $7 billion in health care

1115 - More people over the age of 65 moves to B.C. than any other province since 1980 which has driven the province’s health-care costs.

A Fraser Institute study says B.C. has the largest netflow of seniors than any other province and has increased health-care spending by $7.2 billion since 1980. The study looked at the movement of seniors from province to province and the impact it has on provincial budgets.

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Users, first responders share drug overdose crisis stories

1115 - VANCOUVER — More than a month had passed before Antonette Rea found the note her young friend had written her before fatally overdosing earlier this year.

"Thank you so much for saving my life," Rea reads aloud to a crowd of 80 people packed into a community hall in the tony Vancouver neighbourhood of Kitsilano.

Rea was one of more than a half-dozen drug users and first responders based in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside who shared their stories with residents living elsewhere in the city over the past six weeks as part of a series of overdose awareness and prevention workshops.

THE WHOLE STORY

Home sales increase in October

1115 - VANCOUVER — British Columbia's housing market continues to power forward even though real estate experts say fewer properties are available for sale.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association says there were 8,677 residential sales across the province in October, a leap of 19.3 per cent over the same period last year.

The association says $6.25 billion changed hands during last month's transactions, a 41.6 per cent increase over total sales value recorded in October 2016.

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Island Corridor Foundation seeks $42.7 million

Phil Kent

1113 - Officials from the Island Corridor Foundation hope the fledgling NDP government will support its newest proposal for rail service on the Island.

Phil Kent, the mayor of Duncan and vice-chairman of the ICF, said a meeting with the province’s new Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Clair Trevena on Nov. 9 left the delegation optimistic the government will at least give the proposal serious consideration.

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Outlandish housing costs not limited to Vancouver

CBC graphic

1113 - Vancouver's rental housing crisis has been well-documented, but the latest census figures reveal there are dozens of B.C. cities where higher proportions of tenants live in unaffordable housing.

Just two of the 10 B.C. cities where more than half of renters live in unaffordable housing were in Metro Vancouver.

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Hundreds attend memorial for Fernie amonia leak victims

1113 - Hundreds of people gathered in Fernie, B.C. on Sunday to pay tribute to three men who died during an ammonia leak at a local hockey arena last month.

Lloyd Stewart Smith, 52, and 59-year-old Wayne Allan Hornquist, were making emergency repairs to the refrigeration unit at the Fernie Memorial Arena on Oct. 17 when they lost their lives. Another maintenance worker, 46-year-old Jason Donovan Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta., also died at the rink.

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B.C. not satisfied with share of marijuana revenue

1113 - British Columbia says Ottawa's plans to split marijuana tax revenues on a 50-50-basis are not good enough for the province.

Finance Minister Carole James said the province bears most of the responsibilities for the costs of enforcing marijuana laws but is slated to receive only half the revenue.

Ottawa proposed an excise tax of $1 per gram of marijuana or 10 per cent of the final retail price, whichever is higher, when recreational use of cannabis becomes legal in July.

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Man gets four years for harassing ex-wife

1113 - A British Columbia man convicted of criminally harassing his ex-wife through a revenge website that maligned her as a white supremacist, drug addict and child abuser has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

Patrick Fox, 43, was found guilty by a jury in June of criminally harassing his former spouse Desiree Capuano through hundreds of threatening emails and the website, which also included photos of her son, her phone number and home address.

He was also found guilty of possessing firearms in a place he was not authorized to do so after he shipped four restricted handguns to California.

Nanaimo News NOW

Premier focussing on Site C decision

Premier John Horgan

1113 - The fate of the largest public project in British Columbia's history, the Site C hydroelectric dam, will be the focus of intense scrutiny this week as provincial cabinet ministers travel north for last-minute consultations.

The New Democrats promised to decide Site C's fate by the end of the year after a review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, the province's independent energy regulator, concluded the dam is over budget and behind schedule. 

Premier John Horgan said he will continue to crunch numbers and try to decide what's best for rate payers.

"This is not an easy choice. This is not an easy decision," he said. "We're going to be grappling with it for the next couple of weeks. I'm not underestimating the challenge ahead of me."

SITE C

Anti Trans Mountain pipeline lawsuit withdrawn

1113 - A non-profit group has abandoned a legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia, saying losing the case could bankrupt the organization.

Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch says the advocacy group decided to withdraw its legal action after the B.C. Supreme Court judge assigned to the case suggested from the bench the premier was not responsible for the decision to grant environmental approval to Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion.

The original court action alleges that the decision to sanction the $6.8-billion project was "tainted" by political donations made by its proponents to former premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal party.

 THE CANADIAN PRESS

Indigenous Peoples cannot veto pipelines: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has confirmed that Indigenous nations do not have the right to veto resource development projects. This is the upshot of two separate rulings released Wednesday.

That is good news for proponents of oil and gas pipelines such as the controversial Kinder Morgan project in British Columbia.

It is bad news for those who had hoped that Indigenous resistance would be sufficient to derail such projects, including pipelines designed to move heavy oil from Alberta to tidewater.

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NDP-Green climate change plan could cost you $600 per year

John Horgan

0614 -A NDP and Green Party team leading B.C. will cost the average person $594 more in taxes each year, says a new study released Wednesday.

The Fraser Institute says most of that increase would come from fuel and carbon dioxide taxes.

“The NDP-Green agreement states that an NDP-Green government would implement an increase in the carbon-dioxide tax by $5 per tonne per year,” the report reads. “There is no commitment to make the tax increases revenue neutral.”

Families in the $20,000-$50,000 annual income bracket will likely be protected from that tax hike by the proposed climate action rebate, according to the study.

At the top end of the scale, it suggests families earning between $150,000 and $250,000 can expect to pay just over $1,000 more each year in taxes.

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