Cost of RCMP retroactive pay could reach $9 million

March 31, 2022

The city's share of retroactive pay for RCMP in Nanaimo could be as high as $9.4 million, but it’s no surprise to city officials, they have already put an estimated amount in the piggy bank to cover it. It will likely be summer before the City gets the final numbers which have not been released. CAO Jake Rudolph told me the city was aware of the back-pay issue and set aside money over several years to have the money on hand. FULL COLUMN

Maarch 31, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz is still as free as the morning breeze, a comprehensive look from various news sources.

GEARING FOR CIVIC ELECTION – We’ve got an election coming up in about half a year. It’s hard to fathom that this city council has been on the job for three and a half years without any major spats. There’s good reason – the mayor and the eight councillors have been working together. That’s a far cry from the outrageous spectacle of the previous council which sued the mayor of the day and had one of their own members arrested. A number of senior staff took early retirement to get out of the firing line. FULL COLUMN.

BOYS TO MEN ­– If you’ve ever pondered what sports teams do for a community, here’s a success story. Trevor Pelland and Jake Laberge came here to play for the Vancouver Island Raiders, and chose Nanaimo as their permanent home after their football careers. They got a good grounding in the real estate business and then launched their own company – Coast to Coast Real Estate Team. Trevor came here from Alberta and Jake from Maple Ridge and played for about four years, enough time to convince them Nanaimo was the place for them. That’s saying something since Trevor spent his early growing-up years in Hawaii.

THE SHRINKING DOLLAR-AMA – The arrival of dollar stores was a big deal for a lot of Canadians. Now inflation is driving Dollarama to raise some of its prices to a fin, a fiver, or $5. Quarterly results showed even Dollarama it is not immune to the inflationary pressures that every part of the economy is feeling. The most expensive items the chain sells cost $4 now, and most less than that.

­POST SECONDARY BOOST – Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Wealthsimple Foundation are teaming up on a new bursary program to make post-secondary education more accessible for modest-income students.  Having as little as $500 set aside for post-secondary education can sometimes make all the difference between attending a university program or dismissing it as out of reach. To help families save for higher education, the federal government introduced the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) program, which provides an initial payment of $500 in a Registered Education Savings Plan and $100 for each subsequent year of eligibility, to a maximum of $2,000. The program is available for modest-income families with children born after 2003.

LEADERS OF TOMORROW – Dozens of emerging leaders will gather for two days of keynote talks, career advice and fun activities during the Vancouver Island Leadership Conference, April 1-2. An annual event organized by Vancouver Island University students, this year’s conference theme is Leading the Future Together – a theme that reflects on the benefits of returning to an in-person conference after two years of virtual events. Chairperson Victoria Ross says the conference is about bringing connections back for post-secondary students. “The physical and social connection aspects of life in a virtual environment were extremely challenging for many people. We are looking forward to making new memories, new friendships and engaging students in meaningful dialogue with our speakers.” 

THE FINAL FIX – Permanent repairs are slated to begin in June for the sinkhole on Hwy. 19 near Lantzville. About the equivalent of a month’s rain over a couple of days washed into the highway on Nov. 18, leading to commutes of several hours Nanaimo and Parksville that day. The Transport Ministry told NanaimoNewsNOW, that the first stage of construction, a new permanent culvert under the affected area, will require night work only and one lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained.

CLIPPER SAILING AGAIN – The Victoria Clipper high-speed catamaran ferry will resume daily sailings between Victoria and Seattle starting on April 15. Daily sailings between April 15-18 will depart Seattle at 8 a.m. and arrive in Victoria at 10:45 a.m. They will depart Victoria at 5 p.m. and arrive in Seattle at 7:45 p.m. The schedule changes – from April 22-Oct. 9, sailings will leave Seattle at 7:30 a.m. and arrive in Victoria at 10:30 a.m. Departures from Victoria are scheduled for 5 p.m., arriving in Seattle at 7:45 p.m. The Victoria Clipper has been sitting in port since October. Sailings had resumed only a few weeks earlier when the company decided to halt operations due to low ridership and coronavirus restrictions. Prior to that, sailings had been suspended since mid-March 2020 due to the global spread of COVID-1

ASSAULT SUSPECT ARRESTED – A 19-year-old suspect has been arrested in a vicious assault on a gay youth at a house party. It is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Spencer Frey, an interior design student at VIU, says he was targeted in an assault that left him with multiple injuries that required hospitalization. He claimed the attack was preceded by multiple homophobic comments from several partygoers. RCMP confirmed that the suspect had been arrested on an assault charge. He was taken into custody Tuesday night and later released from custody pending a May 24 court date.

VISITOR NUMBERS LOOKING UP – The loosening of travel restrictions has resulted in year-to-date 2022 hotel occupancy in Victoria up 123 per cent over the same period in 2021. And that is reflected at the cash register. The average daily room rate is up 144 per cent while revenue per available room is 178 per cent higher. Darlene Hollstein, of Destination Greater Victoria said the organization notes that the Greater Victoria visitor economy continues to face challenges such as significant debt loads, tight labour market conditions, and pressures due to inflation. Officials note the push is on to open more hotels in the capital city.

HELP FOR UKRAINIAN REFUGEES – British Columbia is smoothing the way for Ukrainian refugees coming to our province. The government is expected to waive the three-month waiting period for health care and the international student fees for them. Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen said the province is working on better understanding what supports will be provided by federal government. B.C. will ensure options are available for housing and barriers are eliminated for accessing the health care and education system, he said.

YES, WE HAVE NO BANANAS TODAY – There’s not much value in an incentive program for electric vehicles when actually getting your hands on one remains nearly impossible. The federal government is extending an incentive plan as part of its 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, earmarking $1.7 billion to incentivize the sale of zero-emission vehicles, topping up the federal program that rebates up to $5,000 for cars priced under $45,000. The used car market is such that even used electric vehicles are getting hard to find.

How will city council's performance impact fall election?

Mzrch 29, 2022

We’ve got an election coming up in about half a year. It’s hard to fathom that this city council has been on the job for three and a half years without any major spats. There’s good reason – the mayor and the eight councillors have been working together. That’s a far cry from the outrageous spectacle of the previous council which sued the mayor of the day and had one of their own members arrested. A number of senior staff took early retirement to get out of the firing line. FULL COLUMN.

Canada's unrealistic plan to reduce carbon emissions

The federal government has pledged to dramatically curb emissions in oil and gas and transportation sectors to reach 2030 targets. Like most of this government’s half-vast plans, there is no accountability built-in. The carbon reduction plan is not Canadian. It is a United Nations IPCC plan that has never been seriously questioned. Our economy is being driven by an unelected and unaccountable group of foreign bureaucrats. FULL COLUMN

A front-row seat to the war in Ukraine

The Mennonite Centre in Molochansk is in the midst of the war zone in Ukraine. Volunteers labour on in face of bullets and bombs to help refugees. The Centre is in the heart of what was formerly the Mennonite area of Ukraine, where my ancestors came from. The volunteers in the centre report the daily activities and I have been following these reports because they come directly from the people in the middle of the turmoil. FULL COLUMN

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is gracing British Columbia with his presence with a multi-day visit. He addressed a sustainability conference Tuesday, before meeting with Premier John Horgan. And he’ll be on his favourite topic while giving a keynote address at the GLOBE Forum 2022. Then it’s off to a Vancouver high school for a discussion with students about climate change. He will travel to Williams Lake on Wednesday to meet with officials and residential school survivors. Conveniently, since he’s already in town at taxpayer expense, why not throw in a Liberal Party fundraiser?

$3 MILLION UPGRADE FOR DOVER BAY – Construction is under way on four new classrooms at Dover Bay Secondary school. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said 100 students will be able to move out of portables and into classrooms. This year’s provincial budget includes $3.1 billion for school construction projects over the next three years, including new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and land purchases for future schools. 

WHAT WAS THAT? – Part of Uplands Drive was shut down Tuesday morning for more than an hour – it was a natural gas line break. The line in the 4100 block of Uplands was struck by an excavator resulting in both lanes of Uplands Drive closed off to allow crews to repair the damage.

A WHOLE LOT OF SHAKIN’ – A few seconds could make a difference in your survival in an earthquake. Canada is establishing an earthquake early warning system with the first censor installed at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. It is one of hundreds that will give Canadians extra seconds to prepare for a major earthquake by 2024. Emergency notifications will be sent to phones of people living in those regions. The sensors will join a network along the U.S. west coast. Washington state’s sensors went online last May, joining California and Oregon using similar technology.

MISSING PERSON – RCMP seek public assistance in locating 25-year-old Jessica Maley-Ross who was reported missing by her family on March 25. The last contact they had with her was last October. Those familiar with Jessica told police they believe her health is in decline and that they are concerned for her safety and well-being. Police have checked shelters and hospitals throughout Vancouver Island with negative results.

ASSAULTED INVESTIGATED AS HATE CRIME – Nanaimo RCMP are investigating a reported attack against a local student because of his sexuality and connection with the LGBTQ+ community. They are treating the incident as a possible hate crime. Police say the 19-year-old was assaulted at a house party on Old Slope Road early Sunday morning, March 27. He sustained facial injuries in the assault. The victim’s brother said multiple men were involved in the attack.

GOOD WHILE IT LASTED – Filming is under way in Qualicum Beach for the sixth season of Chesapeake Shores, the final chapter of the series. Many locals who have seen the filming of the popular series over the years are glad to see the crew and cast are back for another season. Joan Miller of the Vancouver Island North Film Commission never doubted the series would be back for this season. “We followed the ratings. We knew the success of the show so there was never any hesitation in my mind. We continued to work with the production,” she said.

STILL SOME GOOD PEOPLE LEFT ­– Saanich police say 90-year-old Robert Davies found a bundle of cash while walking home from Tim Horton’s on Monday morning. He called police and reported finding $1,600 on the street. Two hours later police say a panicked man reported his rent money had fallen out of his jacket pocket. Police confirmed it was his cash and returned it. "If it was 50 cents or something like that I found, I’d pick it up and put it in my pocket and nothing said, but this was big money," Davies said.

WELL BOO HOO – Patriotism is one thing, but for Rory MacIver, who lives near the pedestrian overpass across the old Island Highway, enough is enough. He is fed up with the honking from vehicles passing under the overpass where people have been waving Canadian flags as traffic goes by. He wants the city to use its noise bylaw to silence them down.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s your comprehensive news package for the day. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and you won’t to have to search for it. Or I can send you a daily reminder, drop an email to EDITOR to be put on the list.

GREAT NEWS FOR AREND – A stem cell donor has come forward for Larisa Bothma’s nine-month-old son Arend who has a rare blood disorder. The Gabriola Island toddler has Chronic Granulomatous disease which doesn’t allow his blood cells to battle bacterial and fungal infections. A bone cell transplant is the only known cure. Given Arend’s Latvian and Afrikaners ancestries, finding a match was difficult, but a donor has been found, Larisa said.

TAKE THE BUS TO DUNCAN ­– The inaugural bus ride for the new route between Nanaimo and Duncan left early Monday from the downtown Nanaimo to Duncan. RDN chairman Tyler Brown said the new route is the first major transportation improvement connecting to the outside of our region but also improvements within the RDN system. 

MALAHAT REPAIR TO START – Repair work on the the Malahat section of Highway 1, damaged during November's flooding, will begin soon. A tender has been posted for the Malahat Tunnel Hill washout repair. The work will include restoring approximately 50 metres of the northbound lane north of Finlayson Arm Road and drainage and slope stability. An 80-metre retaining wall will also be replaced to secure the slope against future extreme rain events.

PAY ATTENTION TO CYCLISTS – A 66-year-old cyclist was taken to hospital after he was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Townsite Road and Bush Street on Thursday. Police attended and were told by the victim’s wife that her husband had been riding in a marked bike lane when the collision occurred. The 19-year-old driver remained at the scene and co-operated with investigators. The injured cyclist suffered significant but non-life-threatening injuries. That prompted a reminder from Reserve Constable Gary O’Brien that as the weather gets warmer and more and more cyclists are on the streets, so motorists and cyclists, need to pay attention to bicycle lanes and how they intersect with the flow of vehicle traffic.  

LABOUR IN SHORT SUPPLY – British Columbia businesses are scrambling to hire in what was already a tight labour market. A shortage of workers in the hospitality sector is expected to get worse as the weather improves. Hotels in downtown Vancouver have already hit 90-per-cent capacity, he said, which has put major pressure on downtown restaurants. The hospitality sector is among those already grappling with staff shortages. That’s expected to worsen once patios open for the season.

March 28, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s your free daily news package to start the week. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and you won’t to have to search for it. Or I can send you a daily reminder, drop an email to EDITOR to be put on the list.

DEVELOPMENT CHARGES TO RISE – The Regional District is looking at hiking development cost charges as much as 39 per cent, effective this fall. The proposal came out during a Parksville city council meeting in a report on the proposed increases by Sean De Pol, director, waste and watershed services for the RDN. Those charges offset costs related to new development. So when a new development comes in, they require capacity of existing infrastructure such as the RDN wastewater infrastructure.

MANLY APPOINTED – Former member of Parliament Paul Manly is the new executive director of the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter. Manly said he’s pleased to join the shelter’s team. “I have a deep commitment to working with people who face challenges and barriers in their lives and assisting them with meeting their immediate needs,” said Manly.

VACCINE MANDATE LIFTED ­– Now that spring break is over, all Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools staff can return to work. The  board has vacated an order that all its employees must to be vaccinated for COVID-19. That mandate was instituted in January, to come into effect today. School board chair Charlene McKay, said the requirement has been put on hold given the state of the pandemic.

FIRE DISRUPTS COMMUNITY GROUPS – The fire at the Departure Bay Activity Centre has thrown numerous organizations into a state of flux as they try to relocate their events. The centre suffered serious damage, including to the interior in a fire last Thursday. For the Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association, with about 70 members, this had been their home for about 20 years. They salvaged most of their equipment this week, but did have some losses. It's the same story for countless other groups which relied on the centre.

FAKE REBATE MESSAGES – It didn’t take scammers long to inject themselves into a vital program for British Columbians. ICBC warns that people have got text messages about the gas relief rebates. No communication about the relief rebate will be sent by text or email. Customers with direct deposit will have the rebate deposited to their account, starting in May. If you paid by credit card, the rebate will be applied between May and June. All others will get a cheque by mail starting in June.

MORE OYSTERS RECALLED – Several varieties of B.C. oysters have been recalled due to possible norovirus contamination, Health Canada announced Sunday. Pacific Rim Shellfish has recalled the following four varieties of oysters that were sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Ontario and possibly elsewhere. On March 18, Vancouver Coastal Health said more than 50 people had suffered acute gastrointestinal illness after consuming raw oysters that week. Some of the cases had been confirmed to be norovirus, while others were suspected, the health authority said. 

ELECTION CHANGES HINTED – It didn’t take long for the Liberal-NDP confidence and supply agreement to begin making waves. Elections Canada was taken by surprise by an announcement that there could be major reforms coming to the way people vote, including a three-day-long polling day. The LPC/NDP said the government would work with Elections Canada to explore ways to make it easier for people to vote. Elections Canada said it had no prior knowledge of the commitments related to the agency's mandate.

 

The reason so many are called far right,
is because they have been right so far
    –
Peter Reimer

Where did that money come from in the first place?

Gas price relief comes from ICBC surplus

Sunday, March 27

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s your FREE weekend news package. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and never go searching for it. If you would like a daily reminder, send an email to EDITOR to be put on the list. 

ATTEMPTED KIDNAP ARREST MADE – Bradley Dylan Boscariol has been arrested and charged with Assault with a Weapon and Attempt to Kidnap. Boscariol is currently in police custody and has been remanded until Monday. The investigation into the attempted abduction, which utilized extensive resources and specialized units within the Nanaimo detachment, was a priority. “This incident outraged the community and our officers as well. The investigators were highly motivated to ensure justice was promptly carried out and that the person responsible was found and held accountable”, said Constable Gary O’Brien. 

POLICE INVESTIGATING STABBING ­– A Nanaimo man remains in hospital with serious inuries after he was stabbed in an altercation outside the Well Pub on Victoria Avenue early Friday evening. He was taken to Nanaimo hospital and then transferred to Victoria by air ambulance.  Police, ambulance and firefighters responded to the incident at 6:18 pm. A witness told CHEK News a car picked up two people, all of them were wearing balaclavas and then 15 seconds later a red Mercedez Benz drove off in the same direction.

MOTHER AND CHILDREN FOUND SAFE – An amber alert issued Saturday for two children from Fort St. John, have been found safe near Kenora, Ont. Police issued the amber alert around noon on Saturday and released information about the mother, her two children and their father. Officers believed the mother and two children had been taken by the father against their will. The father was taken into custody by police who say their investigation is continuing and charges are pending.

THAT WAS A REAL CHARGE –  A Surrey man who was slapped with an $80 fine for charging his electric vehicle at a wall outlet in the Central City mall parking lot. Thirteen cents worth of electricity turned into aa bill for $60. After finding all the charging stations at a mall either occupied or out of commission,saw an open wall socket, parked, plugged in, and went into the mall.The $80 ticket was waiting for  "using outlet to charge vehicle not allowed."

March 26, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s your FREE weekend news package. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and never go searching for it. If you would like a daily reminder, send an email to EDITOR to be put on the list. 

BUMPY FORECAST FOR FERRIES – British Columbia’s ferries are the life blood of our economy, so it is disturbing to hear there may be service interruptions and isolated sailing cancellations during the busy summer. BC Ferries faces a labour shortage due to higher than expected retirements in key shipboard positions. Those problems come from a global shortage of professional mariners, where the company and other ferry services, including Washington state, Alaska and New Zealand, are short staffed.

CONGRATULATIONS JAN ­– Nanaimo’s Janice Stromar is the new head honcho of The British Columbia Real Estate Association for 2022-2023. She was also recognized as the 2021 Realtor of the Year at the annual general meeting. Janice has been a Realtor for 18 years and on the BCREA Board since 2019. She has an enviable record of community involvement as well. Check it out HERE.

NECK POINT PARK UPGRADE ­– Things are looking up for users of Neck Point Park. Upgraded facilities are on their way for the park, one of our crown jewel parks. The city will issue tenders next week for a new washroom building and a change room for SCUBA divers. That’s a far cry from the outhouse available to park guests. 

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND in spite of the weather man's dreary forecast – nothing but rain until at least Tuesday.

Liberal and NDP backroom deal nothing but a sellout

March 26, 2022

It is hard to describe the agreement reached by the Liberals and NDP other than a sellout. Trudeau’s motivation is simple. He has to get a spring budget passed and has no intention of reducing growing deficits. He wants to spend even more on ridiculous programs. He is short of justifications, so he needs a distraction. FULL COLUMN.

Major incident reported with injuries

We are following up on numerous reports of a major incident at or near the Wellington Pub this evening. Nanaimo Fire Rescue website shows a unit going to that address at 6:18 pm. for medical assistance. We'll update the information as soon as we get more.

There were also calls for medical assistance at 600 Terminal Avenue at about the same time with two units dispatched to the scene.

Canada's image abroad – Trudeau blasted as a dictator

March 26, 2022

While the CBC announced that Prime Minister Trudeau had received a standing ovation by the European Parliament, it failed to tell us that nine-tenths of the Parliament left in protest before he began. “Speaking before half-empty benches and packed public galleries, Trudeau received a sustained ovation when he said the European Union and NATO are more united than ever in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war. He said the world “cannot let Ukraine down,” the CBC writes. However, a number of European members of parliament had a different view of our prime minister. Links to numerous news sources with videos of the event. FULL COLUMN

Friday, March 25, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s your latest comprehensive news package. Your Daily Buzz remains FREE and continues to link to news sites to keep you informed. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and never go searching for it. To get a daily reminder, send an email to EDITOR to be put on the list.

DRIVERS GETTING REBATE – You’ll be getting a $110 cheque in the mail from the government – indirectly. It’s coming from the insurance Corporation of BC as a rebate to make up for high fuel prices. Eligible ICBC customers can expect to get the moolah in May if they are registered for direct deposit with ICBC or as a refund to their credit card.  As of Dec. 31, 2021, most customers renewing their auto insurance under Enhanced Care have had annual average savings of $490, but for less coverage, compared to the previous model. 

THAT WAS A SHORT RIDE – A co-ordinated response by Nanaimo cops led to recovery a stolen truck and the arrest of a suspect within 20 minutes of the theft. The truck was stolen mid day on Wednesday from the parking lot of the North Town Centre Mall. The owner, who works at the mall, saw his pickup being driven away and called 911. Several officers patrolling in unmarked vehicles responded. Just eight minutes later, the truck was spotted on Highway 19A, near the Departure Bay intersection. Officers kept a close eye on it until the driver parked in a parking lot on Larch Street. The end.

COLOURFUL EASTER – Greater Downtown shopping areas have combined forces with a colourful Easter protion, a colouring contest for families. The Old City Quarter, Victoria Crescent and the shops of “downtown” have more than $1,000 in gift cards for future shopping and dining downtown. Kim Smythe of the Downtown Nanaimo Association says each neighbourhood has its own character and signature shopping outlets, so this gives people the chance to visit each area and find their own favourites. 

DRUG TRAFICKING CHARGES – Two Nanaimo men arrested in 2019 are now facing multiple charges connected to drug importation and trafficking. Gerhard “Gary” Laufer and Gerry David Allen Grieve were arrested on suspicion of drug importation following a lengthy, complex investigation in November, 2019. The investigation resulted in the seizure of the vehicles and 10 kilograms of cocaine. Laufer is facing two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking while Grieve is facing drug trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and drug importation charges.

ISLAND CRIME SPREE ­– A 26-year-old Nanaimo man faces multiple charges after an overnight crime spree in Greater Victoria and the mid-Island. He is in custody awaiting a court appearance April 21. Nanaimo RCMP reported a man with a dog forced a woman out of her white SUV before stealing it. Hours later, Saanich police and West Shore RCMP reported robbery calls. Two hours later, Ladysmith RCMP responded to a vehicle on fire on the Trans-Canada Highway, the white SUV stolen in Nanaimo. A witness reported seeing a man with a dog fleeing from the vehicle just before it caught fire. Police found and arrested a man walking along the highway with a dog just after 10 a.m.

DON’T EAT THOSE OYSTERS – Oysters harvested north of Qualicum Beach have been recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency after several cases of norovirus-like illnesses, ranging from diarrhea and vomiting to fever, headaches and chills. Stellar Bay Shellfish brand of Chef Creek Oysters harvested and processed in Deep Bay on March 7 have been recalled, according to an online alert published March 23.

BUZZ COFFEE SHOP – The Buzz Coffee Shop will reopen on Saturday. The Rutherford Road business has been shut down since the homicide of Eric Kutzner in February. A second degree murder charge was laid against a 29-year-old man.

VIRTUE SIGNALLING ­– Some on Victoria city council just cannot help themselves when it comes to virtue signalling. Their latest ventureis an optional add-on to tax bills. A council committee voted in favour of asking homeowners to voluntarily add between five and 10 per cent extra to their annual property tax bills when tax notices are issued in June. It goes to full council on April 7. On top of that, Council previously approved a $200,000 reconciliation grant. Coun. Stephen Andrew said this is another foray into what is provincial and federal jurisdiction. “To me, this is straight virtue signalling."

March 24, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– We have a big menu of all the latest news today in your FREE Daily Buzz. Bookmark this page and you won't have to go searching for it every day. Or to get a daily reminder, send an email to EDITOR to be put on the mailing list.

DOPE DEAL UP IN SMOKE ­– A shipment of 100 kg of cannabis shipped from Nanaimo, destined for Newfoundland, wound up in Abbotsford where the receiving company called the cops. The dried weed was worth more than a quarter of a million bucks, which the province is now trying to keep as proceeds of crime. It happened last November when the shipment from Nanaimo via Van Kam Freight was mislabelled and wound up in Abbotsford. The man who shipped the crate gave his name as John on the shipment.

NOT EASY TO HIDE ­ – Collin Middleton is hoping to get his prized guitar and years of memories returned after a break-in to his garage last Saturday in the 500 block of Old Victoria Road. The guitar of note is a Fender Stratocaster Seymour Duncan SH-4 double humbucker pick up, with upgraded electronics. Collin told police he bout it 25 years ago in Los Angeles. He remembers stenciling a Canadian flag on the frame and playing it while touring with a band. MORE WITH PHOTO.

CONGRATULATIONS to Aimee Chalifoux for being recognized for breaking barriers, promoting multiculturalism and combatting racism. Amie is the Indigenous literacy co-ordinator at Literacy Central Vancouver Island. She is one of two people recognized with the Breaking Barriers Award during the B.C. Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards on Monday. 

BIG TIME OPPORTUNITY ­– Cameron Whitcomb, 18, will be the next singer with Island roots to compete on American Idol. Though he lives in Kamloops now, he grew up in Nanaimo. Cameron is the second contestant from Nanaimo in three seasons to appear on American Idol. Lauren Spencer-Smith made it to the top 20 in 2020.

COVID TESTS AVAILABLE – Free rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits are now available to all adults through community pharmacies. As of yesterday, any British Columbia resident 18 or older can pick up a kit of five tests every 28 days. To qualify, you have to show your personal health number, or if picking up kits for others, the name, personal health number and date of birth. It’s recommended individuals pick up a kit before they have symptoms of illness to use at a future time. Guidelines for testing continue to indicate tests should be used for symptomatic individuals.

EASIER THAN PULLING TEETH – The federal NDP extracted a universal dental program for middle and low-income Canadians as part of their deal to keep the Liberals in power until the next election. It lays out a specific approach to dental care, starting with children under 12 in families with an annual income of less than $90,000.

WARRANT OUT FOR MISSING FATHER – An arrest warrant has been issued for Jesse Bennett, who has been missing with his seven-year-old daughter Violet Bennett after he didn’t return her to her mother under a joint-custody agreement. The warrant has been issued for Bennett for abduction. North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP had said the investigation was only a missing person case because they had not determined that Violet was in any danger but now have enough evidence to recommend a criminal charge. 

GUILTY PLEA IN PRISON DEATH ­ – A former Nanaimo man, Ashley Baird, 38, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder during a brief court appearance in Drumheller March 18. He was charged with the death of fellow inmate Jeffrey Ryan at the Drumheller Institution on Jan. 26. Ryan was the victim of an unprovoked and serious assault and taken to hospital where he later died. Baird had been transferred to the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary. During his brief appearance via telephone, he said he did not have legal counsel and would like to change his plea to guilty and begin the sentencing process.

PRIVATE SURGICAL SERVICES – Private surgical clinics have been used by the Health Ministry to catch up on thousands of surgeries postponed due to COVID-19, spending at least $27 million until th end of 2021. Those surgeries have been growing for years, even before the pandemic. The $27 million covers only the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and there have been more procedures at private clinics since then. It involved 13,863 surgeries, 4.4 per cent of the 316,275 surgeries that year.

Self-preservation deal between Liberals and NDP

The Liberals and NDP have formally joined forces to ensure a majority in Parliament.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s the latest comprehensive compilation of news. Your Daily Buzz remains FREE and continues to link to news sites to keep you informed. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and never go searching for it. If you would like a daily reminder, send an email to EDITOR to be put on the list.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE SERVICE – Servicing an electric vehicle is a far stretch from fixing your old gas guzzler. If you want to be a mechanic on electric vehicles, you’ll have to invest in education to service and maintain them. The provincial government has invested about $160,000 for Vancouver Island University to offer three intakes of 16 students every year, beginning next January. Dean Cadieux,  the VIU program, says the main difference between EVs and traditional vehicles is the voltage – around 900 volts which causes a safety issue. Technicians have to be trained on the safety and knowledge of those vehicles.

MAPLE SUGAR TIME – The pandemic shut down last year’s Maple Sugar Festival but it will be back on Friday to Sunday at Beban Park. The celebration of French Canadian culture, the Maple Sugar Festival du Sucre D’erable, resumes now that COVID restrictions are easing or totally lifted, says Cristian Alejandro Zurita, of the Francophones de Nanaimo.

SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE – BC Liquor and BC Cannabis stores customers have donated more than $530,000 to support of the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal. By last week, $538,074 had been raised through customer donations at stores across the province. In addition, the government will  contribute $1 million to the Red Cross to support the people of Ukraine. Finance Minster Selina Robinson said the remarkable response demonstrates that what is happening in Ukraine has touched people all across the province. 

BOOST FOR LEGAL AID – The provincial government has boosted legal aid spending by $8.19 million to fill what it says are gaps in service. An analysis of the system between December, 2019 and June, 2021 by the ministry, Legal Aid BC and the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers found significant gaps. Part of the funding, $3.55 million will be used to ensure junior counsel are assigned in all murder and manslaughter cases, to provide a certain number of hours for expert witnesses in criminal cases and to support families trying to navigate the court system.

JUNE RDN BYELECTION – Voters in Extension-East Wellington will go to the polls in June to elect a new regional director. The date has been set at June 4 to replace director Maureen Young, who died after a battle with cancer. Anyone planning to vie for the seat on the board can pick up a nomination package at the RDN office on Hammond Bay Road starting at 9 a.m., April 19.

Combatting race-based violence

March 22, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s your comprehensive compilation of the latest happenings in our world. Your Daily Buzz remains FREE and we will continue to gather and link to news sites to keep you informed. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and you will never have to go searching for it.

MURDER TRIAL DATE SET – Steven Michael Bacon will go on trial Nov. 28 for first-degree murder in the death of Makayla Chang in 2017. He has entered a not-guilty plea. Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thompson confirmed lawyers for both sides will return to court for a three-week trial Nov. 28 through Dec. 16.

EASIER ACCESS TO PARK – If you’ve wanted to see the spectacular views at Ammonite falls, it just got a whole lot easier. New stairs and a viewing platform are now open. The $1.2 million project at Benson Creek Falls Regional Park drastically overhauled accessibility at the park. Yann Gagnon, RDN manager of parks services, said the enhancements improve safety for all users. There were a number of ropes installed by park users and it was really slippery with some really steep sections and unsafe, he said. Now people can experience the falls safely. (Bring a camera).

KAYAKER DIES OFF CILAIRE – A kayaker died Monday afternoon after his kayak overturned in the water off Cilaire. The Port Authority and Nanaimo RCMP responded and brought the kayak to shore. Ambulance Service personnel administered first aid on the beach and brought him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

RAPID TEST AVAILABILITY has been expanded – anyone 30 years and older can get rapid antigen test kits through pharmacies. You can pick up one kit of five tests every 28 days from participating pharmacies at no cost. You have to present your personal health number to pick up the tests.

FERRIES CHANGES EXTENDED – BC ferries has extended it’s schedule changes as a result of expected crewing challenges in the months ahead. The adjustments implemented on January 28, have been extended until June 22 on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route. The most up-to-date sailing and departure information can be found at @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call toll free at 1-888-223-3779. 

BIG RUSH FOR CAMPSITES – Thousands of British Columbians met with frustration as they tried the new BC Parks reservation system when it went online Monday morning. Some early callers lucked out and got their reservations within minutes, but others found nothing but frustration as the wait time stretched for over an hour. There were 23,000 people in the queue when the site went live at 7 a.m. But by noon, more than 17,000 reservations had been made.

Monday, March 21, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– The world around us keeps changing. The News Bulletin website now has introduced a pay wall where readers  pay to access the site. On ocassions when we link to their pages will be tagged with PAY TO VIEW. The good news, The Daily Buzz remains free as a breeze and we will continue to gather and link to news sites to keep you informed. Bookmark The Daily Buzz and you will never have to go searching for it.

UKRAINIAN REFUGEES ON THEIR WAY to Canada, but will government paperwork be a monkey wrench? Members of British Columbia’s Ukrainian community want a plan from the provincial government as they expect the first families – 300 to 400 people – to arrive as early as this week. The provincial minister responsible insists government-wide work is under way, but it’s difficult without more information from the federal government, which has to approve the special visas required. 

USED HOCKEY GEAR PUT TO GOOD USE – Kids in the far-reaching Canadian north are having the time of their lives after a huge amount of local donations. RCMP Cst. Josh Cook saw a need and fulfilled it. His first posting was with RCMP Depot in Kinnigait, Nunavut,  a remote community of around 1,400 people,  and he pledged to collect hockey equipment from Nanaimo and central Vancouver Island for kids in the northern outpost. WestJet and Canadian North Cargo donated their services to get the gear up there free, Cook said in a conversation with NanaimoNewsNOW.

SURPRISE FOR PET OWNERS – Some pet owners were apparently not paying attention after bylaw amendments changed rules for stray cats and intact dogs. Now they’re beginning to see the impact as they renew is starting to make an impact. Pet owners are beginning to see the changes as they renew pet licenses in 2022. License fees increased for unsterilized dogs and those that are deemed aggressive.

RENTAL SQUEEZE – Rents continue to soar in British Columbia as average rents paid in Vancouver and Victoria have increased by more than 20 per cent in the past six months, according to the newly released National Rental Ranking. Canadians migrating from other provinces to the West Coast are putting pressure on B.C.’s strained housing supply, driving rents even further out of reach. But that affects local people as well as rents continue to rise.

GIRL MISSING, FATHER ARRESTED – A 13-year-old girl from Ladysmith is missing and her father has been arrested for failing to disclose her whereabouts. Ladysmith RCMP say Payton MacDonald was reported missing Thursday. Police had received a request from the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development the day before to conduct a wellness check regarding the girl. PAY TO VIEW

Tam says government is reviewing all vaccine mandates

March 20, 2022

The federal government is reviewing all of its vaccine mandates with an eye to ending rules that force some people to get their COVID-19 shots. Dr. Theresa Tam said the country’s public health policies may soon shift from an emphasis on requirements to recommendations. There is a flaw in her arguments. It is highly likely that vaccine mandates are unlawful to begin with. FULL COLUMN

March 20, 2022

PULLING UP ROOTS – Tilray has sold its Nanaimo property as the Cannabis producer nears its departure. The property located at Maughan Road — a 5.5-acre lot with two industrial buildings — was listed two weeks ago for $18.5 million. Kim Smythe of the Chamber of Commerce said the city has a shortage of industrial and light industrial land so this would be an attractive property. Tilray arrived in 2014 spending $25 million locally in its first year. At its peak, it had more than 200 employees working at its Nanaimo facilities.

WHO BENEFITS from high prices at the pump? Governments do. The federal government may find itself with billions more in spending room on the back of soaring oil prices. The jump in prices could lower the federal deficit by as much as $5 billion through higher corporate tax revenues from oil and gas companies, said Trevor Tombe, an economist at the University of Calgary. It’s a position similar to one the Liberals found themselves in last December when a rosier economic picture gave the government $38.5 billion in extra spending room.

STEM CELL DONORS NEEDED ­ Larisa Bothma’s infant son suffers from a rare blood disorder and needs stem cell donors. The Gabriola Island mother’s nine-month-old son Arend has chronic Granulomatous disease, which doesn’t allow his white blood cells to battle bacterial and fungal infections, and a bone cell transplant is the only known cure currently. PAY PER VIEW

The danger of 'news' reporting on social media

March 19, 2022

If ever there was a clear example of the danger of social media reporting, Friday served up a good example after a volatile arrest at a local shopping centre. A number of posts claimed RCMP had used deadly force in making the arrest. One post even claimed police had shot the suspect. Const. Gary O’Brien called the posts totally inappropriate while commending the work of the arresting officers in dealing with a volatile situation in the public eye. Officers used appropriate intervention to take this person in control. The problem is that many people use social media as their only connection to the world around them and those false posts spread like a virus.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

GOOD MORNING, here’s your comprehensive daily news package gathered from numerous news sources.

FOREIGN TRAVEL ­– Great news, we can return to Canada free of extra COVID tests. Canadian news media have made much about Canada lifting COVID testing requirements, but fail to mention travel goes in two directions. Travelling to the U.S. you still need to show most recent test results to airlines. DETAILS HERE.

BUSINESS TO BUSINESS – Vancouver Island’s largest B2B trade show is back! And now we’re adding on the first ‘Prosperity Forum’ to highlight formation of Nanaimo’s new ‘Prosperity Corporation’. BC’s Economic Recovery Plan is all about finding opportunities in a growing economy. The Prosperity Forum shows how and why Nanaimo is increasingly at the center of so many of those opportunities. Book before March 31st to take advantage of the early bird booth rates and save $75! Book Early Bird now  More information

VOLATILE ARREST ­SCENE – A man with weapons was taken in custody after a volatile arrest outside a strip mall . Cst. Gary O’Brien said the suspect had been seen earlier in camouflage clothes with a bow and arrow and a hatchet. Five officers were needed to subdue the man who was placed into handcuffs but quickly passed out. O’Brien said police transitioned to emergency first aid and removed the man from view of the public. He now faces multiple counts including resisting arrest. Officers also confiscated illegal drugs and other materials which could lead to drug possession and trafficking charges.

HOME FOR THE HOMELESS – A new modular supportive housing facility on Nicol Street was introduced Friday and will get its first residents next week for some of the homeless community in Nanaimo. Residents at the temporary Prideaux Street will move in, starting Tuesday. Ronell Bosman, manager of the new Samaritan Place, says the year at Prideaux Place helped residents to live within a structure and guidelines. He said they appreciate having a place to sleep and that meals and all the basic needs were met.”

UNIONS WANT MORE ­ – Public-sector unions want more money for serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The BC Teachers’ Federation, BC General Employees’ Union, Hospital Employees’ Union, Health Sciences Association and CUPE BC published a joint ad in local newspapers on Friday. The unions are in the midst of negotiating new contracts with the government, with the BCGEU recently reporting to members that progress has stalled.

SNOWBIRDS RETURNING – The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are leaving frozen Moose Jaw for our warmer climes about mid-April to complete some last-minute training. Capt. Gabriel Ferris, public affairs officer for the Snowbirds, said they are a little bit late in their training schedule because the weather in Saskatchewan – icy runways, blowing snow, poor visibility, wind and cold.

MISCONDUCT CHARGES – A naval training course at CFB Esquimalt has been shut down after complaints of racist and sexual misconduct incidents among students. Cdr. Maude Ouellet-Savard, Comandant of Naval Fleet School Pacific, said it was a surprise but at the same time it is being addressed seriously. Four serious incidents were reported over a three-week period between February 15 and March 9. The student in one of the incidents has been removed from the course and recommended for release from the Armed Forces.

MAN WITH A PLAN ­ We’ve all been suffering gas pains but Premier John Horgan plans to offer relief in the near future. In an interview with Global BC, Horgan said the province has taken its time to assess the gas price situation before unveiling a plan. “We don’t want to give false hope until we have gone through the process. It is important to be consistent. We have managed the economy that way. Saying something off the cuff, because it is popular is not the way to go,” Horgan said.

Take a peek inside Ukraine before the ravages of war

I discovered a fabulous selection of photos from Ukraine recently. Since that region is in the news due to the Russian invasion, take a minute to look at the spectacular beauty of this great country. Hope you enjoy it and invite you to COMMENT HERE.

 

March 18, 2022

FREE IRRIGATION – Environment Canada is expected to provide free irrigation today for local lawns and gardens. You don’t have to place an order, it will come automatically with the forecast 80-per-cent chance of rain throughout the day. As always with the weather, there’s no guarantee, if not today then tomorrow.

NANAIMO BAR GOES AERO – The taste and popularity of our famous Nanaimo bar is going far and wide. Nestlé’s newest Aero bar now has a Nanaimo flavour. And the truffles and chocolate bars are now on local store shelves. Nestlé Canada said the flavours are indulgent and complementary, and the bubbles with a rich truffle layer delivers a creaminess similar to the Nanaimo bar. The proof is in the tasting.

DIEFENBUNKER CLEANUP – Nanaimo’s Diefenbunker fallout shelter is getting a spruce up with work to clear contaminated soil. The work is soil remediation around the bunker only and the structure is not being demolished. The Nanaimo landmark from the Cold War is on Nanaimo Military Camp acreage near the Nanaimo Parkway. Public Works and Government Services Canada have a call out for contractors to do the bunker remediation excavation. 

GEORGE HANSON is retiring as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.  During 11-year tenure, he was responsible for numerous notable achievements for VIEA, the only regional, non-government, non-profit, economic development organization of its kind in British Columbia. There’s an enviable list of accomplishments HERE.

TWO ARRESTED ­– A Nanaimo man and woman remain in custody after their arrest following a reported armed home invasion north of Qualicum Beach last week. Spencer Schaeffer, 36, is charged with robbery and possession of a firearm while prohibited. Teresa Evenson, 34, is charged with robbery, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of stolen property and theft of a motor vehicle.

CONCERN OVER FISH FARMS ­– Premier John Horgan wants the federal government to go slow on moving away from open-net pen salmon farms in British Columbia. A letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said communities are concerned the federal government is poised to cut many, if not all, salmon farm licences in the coming weeks. The letter says, if true, this would eliminate hundreds of jobs at a stroke and undermine the economies of dozens of communities.

March 17, 2022

FIRE UNDER INVESTIGATION – Fire Rescue crews responded to a fire at the Departure Bay Activity Centre on Wingrove Street early this morning. The fire broke out on the outside of the buildings causing a natural gas line to rupture an feed the blaze which destroyed part of centre.  RCMP is investigating. After thoroughly examining the scene, fire investigators have turned the investigation over to police after deeming the blaze as suspicious.

BONNIE HENRY EXEMPT – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is exempt from an independent review of the province’s pandemic response. The government launched the review and public consultation to determine how well government agencies worked together. Public policy decisions made by the government are excluded as well along with decisions relating to the economic recovery, such as support for small businesses and families. It will focus strictly on the government’s operational response around communication, preparedness, and engagement. 

DRIVER FLEES CRASH SCENE – The Nanaimo RCMP is investigating a single vehicle collision in which A vehicle crashed into a fence surrounding a supportive housing complex on Terminal Avenue to Tuesday mid morning. Police had tried to stop the vehicle earlier but the to stop and fled from police at a high rate of speed. Approximately five minutes later, the same vehicle crashed into a fence on Terminal Ave, and that the driver was seen running from the scene. A woman who remained at the scene was the registered owner of the vehicle.. 

WAY TO GO LIONS – The Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation got a big boost when the Nanaimo Lions Club made a sizable donation. Lions presented a cheque for $20,000 to the new intensive care unit campaign. Lions raise the money through programs such as their bottle collection efforts in partnership with local businesses.

DISCOVER UNIVERSITY – If a higher education is in the cards for you, Discovery Day 2022 has a lot of answers to questions you might have. It’s Vancouver Island University’s largest event for high school students, taking place virtually, so students and parents can log in from anywhere. The date is  Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 9 am to 2 pm on a virtual event platform called Pheedloop. It is hosted hosted by current students with support from university staff in key areas such as financial aid, student housing, the VIU Students’ Union and much more. 

Now let's set a formula for municipal politicians' pay

March 15, 2022

The provincial government’s decision to benchmark minimum wages is a forward-thinking move. Tying increases to the inflation rate takes it out of the political realm, a hot potato for politicians for ages. With that move, would it be too much to expect that government would now have the courage to move into compensation for elected municipal officials? Now they set their own wages, something that is uncomfortable for them and often for taxpayers, to say they least.  It would be a monkey off their backs. FULL COLUMN

March 16, 2022

HANDLING OUR MONEY – The folks at city hall must be doing a good job of handling our money – the Government Finance Officers Association has recognized the city with the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting. Mayor Leonard Krog spoke on behalf of council to applaud the finance and communications departments. He said the city is fortunate to have such dedicated and talented people who do an excellent job preparing complex financial reports in a way that can be clearly understood.

STILL MISSING – Nanaimo RCMP have conducted an exhaustive search but have been unable to locate 34-year-old Sarah Rekrut. She was reported missing on March 2. Police have focused their efforts in the Nanaimo area. On Friday Rekrut was spotted in south Nanaimo on Bruce Avenue. Police responded promptly but were unable to locate her. Rekrut is 5 ft.5 in., 125 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. 

PERMANENT DAYLIGHT TIME – The United States on Tuesday voted unanimously to make daylight saving time permanent. Now, it just requires congressional approval and a signature from President Joe Biden before it becomes law. Premier John Horgan says B.C. is prepared to follow suit quickly when the measure clears the final hurdles. British Columbians said loud and clear they want to stop falling back, with 93 per cent support in a record-breaking public engagement.

NEW PRIMARY CARE PLAN – A new primary health-care site will serve thousands of patients, a partial solution to the shortage of family doctors on the South Island. The Luther Court Community Health Centre in Saanich is eyeing a summer launch, with full capacity of 3,900 patients by 2025. The province says a physician and three nurses will start a soft launch by working virtually this week. Health Minister Adrian Dix says it’s team-based care, one of the answers to the challenges facing primary care.

CAMPING RESERVATIONS – While the thought of sleeping under the stars doesn’t immediately come to mind at this time of year, the province has launched a new camping reservation system. Reservations open on March 21. Like last year, campers will be able to book a site up to two months in advance. The new site allows campers to search for available sites by location and date, providing maps for campgrounds that have open sites.

Governor-General off on costly Mideast junket

March 15, 2022

Governor General Mary Simon is headed to the Middle East from March 17 to 23. She will visit the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait and meet with Canada’s ambassadors, Canadian Armed Forces members and heads of state. It is difficult to imagine a larger waste than this taxpayer-funded junket. According to the National Defence website, our NATO contingent in Operation Impact is 17 personnel and due to expire at the end of this month. FULL COMMENT

March 15, 2022

MINIMUM WAGE UP – The minimum wage in B.C. will rise to $15.65 per hour on June 1, a 45 cents an hour increase making it the highest minimum wage in Canada. British Columbia is the first province to tie minimum wage increases to inflation. “This is so wages keep pace in a predictable way. This provides certainty for businesses as well,” Minister of Labour, Harry Bains said Monday. “Workers need to be able to keep up with cost of living,” he added.

PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION – James Carey Turok, 29, will undergo a psychiatric assessment to determine whether he is fit to stand trial. He was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 79-year-old Eric Kutzner at Buzz Coffee House on Rutherford Road on Feb. 12.

NEW COVID TREATMENT – Island Health has introduced two new COVID-19 treatments that help people recover from the illness. Paxlovid and sotrovimab are available by prescription to high-risk people who are infected with COVID-19. Paxlovid is an oral antivral pill that can be taken at home, while sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody administered through an IV at a clinic or hospital.

LAKE COWICHAN WILL ROCK AGAIN ­–  The Laketown Rock festival is back this summer with headliners John Fogerty and Tom Cochrane after a couple of years hiatus due to Coronavirus. The two-day festival in Lake Cowichan July 22 and 23 is at Laketown Ranch concert venue and campground that also plays host to the Sunfest Country Music Festival (July 28 to 31) and the Laketown Shakedown festival (June 30 to July 2). The headliners will be joined by Big Sugar, Keb' Mo', Wide Mouth Mason, Garret T. Willie, and Liam Mackenzie and The Moondogs. Tickets and camping passes are on sale here starting Friday at 10 a.m.

CONVERTER CRACKDOWN – The B.C. government is clamping down on catalytic convertor thefts. Registered metal dealers will have to report each transaction, including information about the seller, to police on the day of sale. This is in response to a sudden increase in catalytic converter thefts across the province. Catalytic converters can be stolen in minutes and bring hundreds of dollars each, says Nanaimo RCMP Cst. Gary O’Brien. He hopes removing anonymity around selling catalytic converters will make a difference.

HELP FOR UKRAINE – The Russian invasion of Ukraine has spurred Vancouver Island organizations to help those who need it most. The Ukrainian-Canadian Cultural Centre of Vancouver Island has a number of ways to help on its website, including links to donate to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal of the Canada Ukraine Foundation and Ukrainian Canadian Congress at www.cufoundation.ca. If you have extra space in your home to share it with a Ukrainian refugee family, complete a form at this link. Money can be donated at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre at 3277 Douglas St., Victoria, in cash, cheque, debit and credit, or by phone by calling 250-475-2585.

SISTERS BEAR SPRAYED  Two teenage sisters were hit withbear spray Monday afternoon when a stranger burst into their north Nanaimo home just before 3 p.m. in the 5200 block of Lost Lake Road. The sisters wisely ran from the home to a nearby residence, after coming face to face with the intruder. Police, including Police Dog Services were on scene within minutes but could not locate the suspect

 

Inflation catches up with chicken on the spit

March 14, 2022

What's next? There’s nothing like rotisserie chicken – hot dinner on the fly. Costco sells about 100,000 chickens on the spit in Nanaimo each year, close to one each for everyone in town. But inflation is hitting everywhere, and even the chickens could not escape. The price went up to $8.99, a whole buck, on the weekend, a 12.5-per-cent rise. In balance it is still a bargain when you consider the price of a whole uncooked chicken.

Monday, March 14

MISLEADING LABELS –  Three companies have recalled of food products sold in B.C. due to the inclusion of ingredients that were not declared on the labels. Fielding Group Ltd. announced it is recalling Made Chocolates and QC brand dark chocolate bars because of undeclared milk. Uncle T Food announced a recall of Taisun brand Vegetarian Mushroom Jerky, also because of possible undeclared milk. The third recall involves Cavendish Farms and no name brand potato productsbecause they contain wheat that is not declared on the label.

GIRL GUIDE COOKIES – You will soon be getting a knock on your door from Girl Guides selling cookies across the province this spring for the first time in two years. Door-to-door sales were suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and those precautions continued through 2021. Door-to-door sales are resuming as B.C. and other provinces lift most coronavirus-related restrictions.

COVID REDUCED DIVORCES – The COVID pandemic may have saved thousands of marriages. Canada had the fewest divorces since 1973 during the first year of the pandemic. But the trend may change as the court system catches up. Barriers to court services because of the pandemic likely contributed to a sharp decrease in divorce applications and granted divorces in 2020 from 2019. 42,933 couples divorced in 2020, compared to 56,937 couples in 2019. Divorces have generally declined, but this year-over-year difference of 25 per cent marked the biggest drop since the Divorce Act was established in 1968.

BRAIN AWARENSS WEEK,  March 14 – 20, encourages all of us to think about brain health. It’s also the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s first call to register for the charity’s flagship fundraiser, the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. It takes place in person in Nanaimo and other communities across the province on Sunday, May 29. 

Harkening back to a less-conflicting era

March 13, 2022

Think back to a time when we didn't have as many protests and demonstrations facing us virtually every day. It's vaccine mandates, sacred forests, war, social disorder, you name it. Perhaps there was less to be dissatisfied about, but also, people were too busy then, they had jobs.

Remember, daylight time starts Saturday night

Freedom of expression applies to everyone equally

March 11, 2022

While reading about the coming "extremist" trucker disruptions planned for Victoria over possibly months, I came to the conclusion that perhaps it's time to shut down demonstrations like this. That's what Premier John Horgan called for on Friday. Then it dawned on me, is it any different than the "extremists" who shut down part of the southern Vancouver Island forestry for months? Same intent and methods, only opposite wings of the same seagull.

March 12, 2022

NEW DOCTORS STALLED  Doctors are available, but the approval process has hit a roadblock. The Institute for Canadian Citizenship estimates there are thousands of foreign-trained doctors whose qualifications have allowed them to be fast-tracked to Canadian citizenship, but provincial regulators refuse to recognize their credentials. The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons proposed the new role of associate physician in April 2020, allowing doctors who weren’t eligible for a full licence to work under physician supervision. But no doctor has yet received the title and the college blames the pandemic for delay because of the way it affected surgeries.

DRIVE-BY EGG ASSAULT – A Nanaimo man continues to struggle after being knocked unconscious by an egg thrown from a passing vehicle. The incident occurred at approximately 10:45 PM on February 25, 2022, on Uplands Drive near the Edgewater Lane turn off. Police arrived to find the 37 year old victim being attended to by paramedics who transported him to the Nanaimo hospital for treatment. 

STILL UNDER TWO BUCKS – Nanaimo drivers are still cashing in on gasoline under two bucks a litre. The latest Gas Buddy listing shows local station are at $1.999 as of this morning One remained at $1.969. Diesel ranges from $1.909 to $2.109 in Nanaimo.

SHORT-TERM-RENTAL LICENSE – If you plan on operating a short-term rental (STR) or bed and breakfasts, you need a business license first. New regulations Council has adopted amendments to the zoning and off-street parking bylaw that regulates and permits short-term rentals. The changes come after a review relating to STRs and Bed and Breakfasts Zoning and Business Licence regulations. City has published a Short-Term Rental Operator’s Guide. The guide will be available online and at the front counter of the City of Nanaimo’s Service and Resource Centre. For more information and to view the operator’s guide, visit www.nanaimo.ca.

NEW FIRE TRUCKS – Nanaimo Fire Rescue has two sparkling new pumper trucks which arrived in Nanaimo in February. Firefighters have been training on them since. They are expected to enter service with stations No. 1 and No. 2, Nanaimo’s busiest fire stations, to replace trucks that entered service in the mid 1990s and late 2000s. The trucks cost almost one million bucks each, fully operational. They are fitted with new technology to cut down on fuel consumption and design features that improve firefighter safety and efficiency and allow firefighting in tighter urban spaces.

MEANWHILE, The Regional District has been granted $153,000 for FireSmart initiatives. The grant will enable the RDN to continue its FireSmart initiatives that focus on education, interagency co-operation, cross-training and vegetation management.

Lisa Marie Barron, please meet Sheila Malcolmson

March 12, 2022

Lisa Marie Barron, the rookie member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, was in town with fellow MP and NDP critic for mental health and addiction, Gord Johns, meeting front-line workers in the ongoing toxic drug crisis in Nanaimo. Hon. Sheila Malcolmson is the provincial Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and MLA for Nanaimo. Sheila would be a good place to begin a fruitful dialogue rather than street-level politicking.

We're under the thumb of billionaire oil barons

March 12, 2022

As we stumble into yet another ‘energy crisis’ and high gasoline prices, I wonder how long it will take people to wake up and realize that a handful of billionaires are the root cause. The people who own and control pipelines and refineries are content with their profits and do not want competition. Efforts to lobby the governments to restrict oil production are most prevalent in the USA, but Canada is also at play. FULL COLUMN

More than 200 died from illicit drugs in B.C. in January

Preliminary information released Friday by the B.C. Coroners Service showed 207 people died from suspected illicit drug overdoses in the first month of the year. That equates to about 6.7 deaths per day.

While slightly lower than the number of deaths recorded in the last two months of 2021, January's rate marks the fourth month in a row with 200 or more fatalities from suspected illicit drug toxicity. It also marks a 10 per cent increase over the number of deaths recorded in January 2021. Minister Sheila Malcolmson's comment.

Marcch 11, 2022

GOODBYE MASKS – Mandatory masks are gone –health officials on Thursday removed its order requiring masks in all indoor public spaces effective at midnight last night. The proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirement will likely be lifted on April 8. Individual businesses can still require masks if the owners decide to. There could be certain situations where people are still required to wear a mask. Masks are not required on public transit, but both BC Transit and TransLink can decide to put in system-wide mandates. Churches crowd restrictions have also been removed.

STILL UNDER TWO BUCKS – Nanaimo drivers are still cashing in on gasoline under two bucks a litre. The latest Gas Buddy listing shows local station are at $1.999 as of this morning. One remained at $1.969. Diesel ranges from $1.909 to $2.109 – 20 cents a litre, or $12 bucks difference on a single fillup.

SERIOUS INJURY – A man was taken to hospital with significant lower body injuries after a metal beam fell on him at a worksite. The incident happened at Nanaimo Shipyard around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 and involved a male worker dismantling the decommissioned Coast Guard vessel W.E. Ricker.

WATER MAIN FLUSHING – The City  will begin its annual water main flushing program on March 14. Flushing is expected to start in the south end of Nanaimo and, while this program is under way, short periods of low pressure and discoloured water may be expected. Any discolouration in water residents may experience during the flushing program is temporary and not a health hazard. For more information about the www.nanaimo.ca/goto/waterflushing.

Murder charge laid in death two years ago

Paris LaRoche, 26, has been chared with first-degree murder and Indignity to Human Remains in the disappearance and death of 33-year-old Sidney Mantee. The charges come after a two-year investigation by RCMP. BC Prosecution Service approved charges March 9. Laroche was arrested March 9 and remains in custody. She was scheduled to appear later today in Nanaimo Provincial Court. MORE

Elderly Nanaimo couple defrauded of $400,000

An elderly Nanaimo couple has been defrauded of almost $400,000 in a phony Readers Digest Sweep Stakes Mega Millions lotto scam. Nanaimo RCMP are investigating the scam which started in early 2021 when the couple, who are both in their late 80s, answered a phone call. The caller said he was working for Readers Digest and that he was calling to notify them that they had won $18.5 million, and a Mercedes- Bens. He told them that in order to receive their winnings, they must first pay a  administrative fees. Full story

 

March 10, 2022

STILL UNDER TWO BUCKS – Nanaimo drivers are still cashing in on gasoline under two bucks a litre. The latest Gas Buddy listing shows that surprisingly all local station are at $1.989 as of this morning. What a coincidence. Diesel ranges from $1.979 to $2.109 in Nanaimo. See Gas Buddy.

NEWS ON COVID RESTRICTIONS - Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will update on the COVID-19 pandemic today. They are expected to announce the loosening of some public health restrictions. They will be on the regular media outlets at 12:30 p.m. today. 

NEW GABRIOLA FERRIES – Two new hybrid diesel-electric ferries will begin service on the Gabriola Island route in April. The two vessels will start operating on April 12, with one vessel running 18 hours a day and the other operating during the busiest 12 hours of the day. The ferries will increase vehicle capacity by 49 per cent and passenger capacity by 30 per cent, with double the departure frequency between 6:20 a.m. and 5:05 p.m..

MORE DOCTORS OPTING OUT – More doctors are opting out, leaving thousands of patients struggling to find a family doctor on the South Island. A Victoria family, with two parents working as physicians, struggles to find regular, reliable childcare for their three kids, and the pandemic made it even more difficult. Dr. Sarah Lea, of Victoria. Lea transitioned out of her family practice earlier in the year to refine her workload in a career with greater flexibility and what she calls a better pay model.

DO THE RIGHT THING – If you happened to find an envelop with a couple of thousand buck in it, a 71-year-old Nanaimo man lost the money after withdrawing it from a bank. He believes the envelope was lost on either March 3, or March 4. He told police he withdrew the money from his bank on March 3 and recalls placing it in an envelope and then in a jacket pocket. He told investigators he took several taxis on the days in question. MORE DETAILS

MISSING WOMAN – RCMP are seeking help in finding 34-year-old Sarah Rekrut, who was reported missing by her family on March 2. Investigators were told by her family that they have not had any contact with Rekrut for almost 2 years but she has been seen in Nanaimo during that time. PHOTO.

SLOW COMEBACK FOR CRUISING ­–Victoria and Vancouver expect the cruise business to return to normal, but it will take a litte more time for Nanaimo. Jason Michell, Port of Nanaimo vice-president of business development, says the port has been involved with return-to-cruise committees nationally and provincially, supporting efforts to bring the cruise business back to Canadian ports. But right now, it’s a matter of hurry up and wait.

Trudeau's blind pursuit of New World Order's Great Reset

March 10, 2022

Justin Trudeau’s interest in the UN, NATO and the World Economic forum has nothing to do with Canada or its people. His ambition is to secure a safe place in the New World Order following the Great Reset. His failings as a Prime Minister pale into insignificance compared to what he can do even further removed from any hint of accountability. FULL COLUMN

We're being scammed on world oil price fixing scheme

March 9

There's a lot of moaning and groining about the rising price of crude oil – translating to high prices at the pump. Who determines the world price? Well, it's OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Price fixing is the reason for it's existence. There is no legitimate shortage at this time, it's all political game playing. And we are the victims. Always remember, higher prices equal more tax revenue. See OPEC

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

TOMORROW’s THE BIG DAY ­– Health officials are expected to provide expand visitation in long-term care homes across the province. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is reviewing current policies and looking at ways to allow more visitors into the facilities, which have been hit hard by social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everyone wants those visits expanded as quickly as possible and that has always been our approach,” Dix said.

IT’S GOING TO BE rough going on the Malahat beginning today and lasting the rest of the week. There will be short closures and delays between Finlayson Arm Road and Tunnel Hill. There will be up to eight closures, each lasting about 15 minutes, on Wednesday and Thursday – plan for delays of about 35 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on those days. Crews will repave the northbound lane on Friday, ending at 5 a.m. on Saturday. Drivers can expect single-lane alternating traffic and minor delays while the work is under way.

ROTARY HONORS WOMEN – Women were few and far between in local Rotary Clubs 30 years ago. Now it’s hard to imagine Rotary without women. Rotary clubs from the Nanaimo area hosted an International Women’s Day luncheon at the Nanaimo Golf Club on Tuesday, March 8. Guest speakers included two of the first women to join the Rotary Club of Nanaimo – Lucie Gosselin and Janeane Coutu – and district governor Lorna Curtis of the Rotary Club of Oak Bay.

BYELECTION TO GO AHEAD – The Regional District of Nanaimo has to go ahead with a byelection following the death of a regional director last fall. The RDN’s request to waive the byelection was denied by the province. Area C director Maureen Young’s death in November necessitated the byelection. 

YA MISSED IT – The annual Naked Bungy jump at WildPlay raised more than $100,000 in support of Mental Health Recovery Partners. MHRP South Island CEO Hazel Meredith told NanaimoNewsNOW, 160 people took the plunge over two days into Nanaimo River beginning Saturday, March 5 to raise money and shed stigma surrounding mental health challenges and accessing help.

SHORT TERM GAIN, LONG TERM PAIN – If you’re operating short-term rentals you have until April 1 to get a city business licence. The new restrictions come from an updated plan from the City of Nanaimo to regulate the volume of short term rentals, such as Airbnbs.

A PAIN IN THE GAS – Nanaimo drivers are looking at higher gasoline prices this morning. The latest Gas Buddycheck of local stations shows a range between $1.896 and $1.999. That would mean a difference of about six bucks for a tankful, worth driving around for. If you use diesel, the spread is even greater, $1.859 to $2.109 which would amount to $15 on a 60 litre tank. They’re all on Gas Buddy.

A deep feeling of kinship with Ukraine and it's suffering

March 8, 2022

I have never considered myself to be Ukrainian by nationality even though my grandfather was born in that country in 1873. So were generations of my other ancestors. The brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia has awakened a kind of kinship to the point of a feeling of family. The Russian invasion has awkened personal feelings for Ukraine. FULL COLUMN

The New World Order has brought us nothing but chaos

March 8, 2022

The major proponents of a new world order, the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, have brought us chaos on an unparalleled scale.
The United Nations insists that failure to reduce carbon emissions will result in the death of us all. It uses fraudulent memes such as "follow the science" and "the science is settled." FULL COLUMN

March 8, 2022

GAS PRICE WAR – Nanaimo appears to be dodging the high gasoline prices which have seen them surpass $2 per gallon on Vancouver Island. A check of Gas Buddy shows our highest prices listed yesterday at $1.869 to $1.979 for regular gas. If you drive a diesel vehicle, better check around as the price varies from $1.749 to $1.998 which could make a difference of $15 for a fillup.

MORE FOOD PRICE SHOCK – If you haven’t already suffered sticker shock, expect more widespread grocery price increases in the weeks and months ahead. Russia and Ukraine are responsible for 25 per cent of the world’s wheat and corn exports. Russia’s invasion is already causing global wheat prices to soar, which experts say will have an impact on Vancouver Island prices soon. And if grains climb in price, eventually it will extend to things like animal products since farmers will have to pay more to feed. Fuel prices are pushing the cost of some food items like produce and dairy higher, shoppers can expect more widespread price increases in the weeks and months ahead.

MISSING TEENAGER – Nanaimo RCMP are asking for help to find 15-year-old Ava Brown, of Nanaimo, who was last seen walking into the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay. It is believed she arrived at Departure Bay, but may have left with an unknown person. Efforts to locate Ava have not been successful and, given her age, her family and caregivers are worried about her well-being. MORE, with photo.

LESS ROE IN DA BOATS – The commercial roe herring fishery is under way in the Strait of Georgia with fewer boats in the hunt. Fisheries and Oceans Canada cut the harvest rate in half following the appointment of Lower Mainland MP Joyce Murray as minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Most of the stocks so far are in the Comox Valley area, while some have shown up through Qualicum Beach and should arrive in Nanaimo any day.

Monday, March 7, 2022

ON THE MOVE – The Vancouver Island Exhibition could be on the move to Arbutus Meadows in Nanoose Bay. The proposal has the support of a Regional District committee, but it will need approval from the Agricultural Land Commission as well as RDN support.

SCHOOL CHILD CARE – The school district is sorting the details as it gets ready to introduce on-site child-care options at schools in Nanaimo and Ladysmith. Playtime Childcare Society will service Forest Park Elementary, BGC Central Vancouver Island will serve Chase River Elementary and Saltair Childcare Society will offer service to Ladysmith Primary School. They are expected to to open first. Forest Park could be in business by the end of this school year.

FOOTHILLS STIRRING AGAIN – The developer of a long-promoted housing development in Upper Lantzvillle now wants to increase density to 814 units from the already-approved 730 residences. Lone Tree Properties Ltd. has a rezoning application before the board and expects it to go public in the next month or so.

ETHNICITY MATTERS – A Gabriola Island family desperately needs a bone marrow donor for their baby, but it’s a real challenge. Their nine-month-old son Arened has a rare illness that requires the transplant but there are no matches on the international registries. The challenges in finding a match is his unusual ethnicity – his mother is Latvian and his father is part South African. The Canadian Stem Cell Registry has only four per cent of its registrants from minority populations within Canada.

BONUS SAILINGS – If you’re a regular on the Gabriola Island ferry in the next weeks you may able to catch an extra sailing as BC Ferries runs crews through training on the new Island Class vessels which will be used for crews to learn and conduct operational readiness drills. The Island Gwawis will sail opposite to the Quinsam as crews execute drills on the new hybrid-electric ship.

THEY ARE STILL OUT THERE – Anti-vaccine mandate protesters continued their campaign at B.C. legislature Saturday. A group called We Unify Canada, said they expected the largest pro-democracy rally in history. Online livestreams of the event showed a massive turnout, much larger than the estimated 200 people or so that Victoria police said attended a similar rally last weekend.

SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE –British Columbians turned out in large numbers to support Ukraine on the weekend with rallies on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland. Hundreds of people with Ukrainian flags and signs lined Douglas street from the Ukrainian Cultural Centre to the downtown core. In Vancouver, supporters staged the second rally in as many days, this time gathering at Jack Poole Plaza.

IF YOU WANT TO PASS high school, you’ll have to pass Indigenous-focused coursework prescribed by the province. When the high school class of 2024 graduates, they’ll be the first in the province to pass the coursework required to graduate. B.C.’s Ministry of Education, in partnership with the First Nations Education Steering Committee, announced the new requirement on Friday. The details still have to be hammered out through consultations starting next week.

Utter disaster of Canada's politics experienced first hand

March 8

This exchange is as a result of my wife and I meeting with our local Member for the Legislature. I had asked in the meeting for an opportunity address the member’s Party caucus to present an overview of the Constitution Act 1982 of Canada that I helped create. The reply I received today from the member’s assistant and my reply. The MLA could not be bothered to reply in person, but had is assistant provide the brush off. Full comment

You can't trust Putin even on safe passage for refugees

March 7

Representatives of Ukraine and Russia tried to hammer out a safe passage agreement on the weekend for refugees. That would be great, but the safe route proposed by Russia would send the refugees to, you guessed it, Russia rather than to the preferred location of Poland. And the routes were loaded with landmines.

Rights appear to be what governments tell us they are

Sunday, March 6, 2022

I am among those who advocate for mandating institutionalization­ for those cast off onto our streets, unable to look after their own best interests. Time and again we are told that would be an infringement on their rights, even though it would be in their best interest.

Governments had no problem mandating Coronavirus vaccination regulations, stirring resistance among many fellow Canadians who demand their rights be upheld. To quote Mongo in the movie Blazing Saddles, you are "just a pawn in the game of life".

From the world of Believe it or Not . . .

Sunday, March 6, 2022

NOW I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER – The United States used to have a nuclear agreement with Iran, until President Donald Trump tossed it into the garbage. Now President Joe Biden is in negotiations to restore the agreement. But since the two nations are not talking to each other, the U.S. has appointed a proxy who will represent them in the negotiations. Negotiating on behalf of the U.S. will be . . . Russia.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

GAS PRICES IN NANAIMO – Checking out Gas Buddy before you head to your next fill-up could save you a pile of money. For instance, The lowest price listed this morning for regular gas was $1.889 at SuperSave on Bowen Road. The highest was Gas 'n Go on Turner Road, at $1.979 at that time. https://www.gasbuddy.com/gasprices/british-columbia/nanaimo

NANAIMO COMMUNITY POLICING, with support from RCMP and Vancouver Island University criminology practicum students will be in the University District and Diver Lake neighbourhood conducting safety audits. Similar audits in and around the downtown recently showed people feel unsafe walking at night. The new round of audits is an continuation of the program carried out in six neighbourhoods in 2021, when 746 residents and businesses participated in the program by voicing concerns that helped police implement strategies to reduce crime and increase perceptions of safety among the public, according to a Nanaimo RCMP press release.

HOSPITAL EMERGENCY SHUT DOWN – The emergency department of Port McNeill Hospital closed until Monday. Island Health said the closure comes from an unexpected temporary physician shortage. The health authority says during that period, no new patients will be admitted to the hospital. Anyone with a medical emergency should call 911 or, go to the Port Hardy Hospital. Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services have protocols in place to ensure patients are transported to the appropriate site.

MISSING PERSON – Nanaimo RCMP week public assistance in locating 55-year-old Michelle Van der Kemp. Van Der Kemp missed an urgent medical appointment at the Nanaimo hospital that was scheduled for March 2, 2022 and since that time, she has not been seen or heard from. This is the second time she has been reported missing for the same reasons, and located three days later.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IT? – Nanaimo’s next official community plan has been drafted and citizens are encouraged to take a look before it is adopted this summer. The City is entering the final phase of engagement regarding Re-Imagine Nanaimo, a new master plan for the city that will replace not only the existing OCP, but a number of other policy documents. Residents are being asked for their feedback until April 8 and can complete an online survey at www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca/reimagine-nanaimo. The anticipated timeline is for city council to give first and second readings to the plan in May, with a public hearing to follow in June and potential adoption of the plan in July.

'Me Too' agenda has no place in racist virtue signallng

March 6, 2022

It’s such a fine line, yet a massive hill to climb. Governments around the world are punishing Russia with elective trade sanctions. That’s the way Russia functions. The false label of equality for all is a myth. In the present situation with Russia invading Ukraine, equality again is only a label. Full Column

 

Friday, June 4, 2022

COINS ADD UP BIG TIME - A great big thank you to the folks at the News Bulletin and their readers for their support of the Bulletin’s Coins for Kids charity drive. The Bulletin has presented $2,000 cheques to the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and BGC Central Vancouver Island, formerly the Boys and Girls Club. Staff expressed gratitude Nanaimo Foundation for administering online donations, and to all the community members who drop money in the jars.

COUGAR RELOCATED - B.C. Conservation Officer Service tranquilized a cougar prowling outside Nanaimo Regional General Hospital this morning and safely relocated it. The male cougar was spotted Thursday, near the hospital, and with the assistance of dogs, officers were able to locate it at a parking lot of a nearby daycare facility around 9 a.m. 

BEWARE LATESTS SCAMS – Criminals continue to cash in on crises around the world, and the Ukraine situation is no different. Cyber security experts caution scammers are already taking advantage. Robert Falzon, of Canadian cybersecurity firm Check Point, has been following the increase of cyber attacks since the beginning of the invasion. “It’s becoming much harder for us to expect somebody without technical training to identify these types of attacks because they’re becoming much more sophisticated,” he said.

HOME EXPLOSION INVESTIGATION – The investigation into a massive explosion that destroyed a Nanaimo home is continuing. Using heavy equipment, investigators examined areas that had previously not been examined, including the basement. If anyone saw anything suspicious on the property leading up to the explosionat 8:20 PM on Sunday February 27, to please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2022-6847.

PARKING LOT RACING - Police are hoping to deter street racing at the Nanaimo North Town Centre parking lot. A resident reported gatherings of upwards of 30 vehicles in one of the mall’s parking lots has become an almost daily occurrence. Nanaimo RCMP has received many complaints of vehicles doing burnouts, doughnuts and sometimes street racing through the mall’s large parking lot.

STAND WITH UKRAINE RALLY – A street rally is being organized in Victoria on Sunday in support of Ukraine. Supporters will line Douglas Street at 12:30 p.m. from the Ukrainian Cultural Centre at 3277 Douglas St. to downtown Victoria. People are welcome to join and participants are encouraged to bring flags and signs. The event is organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Victoria Branch, the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Victoria, and the UVic Ukrainian Students’ Society.

Russian sanctions show hypocrisy of backdoor dealing

It’s such a fine line, yet a massive hill to climb. Government around the world are punishing Russia with elective trade sacntions around the world. Selected business sanctions hurt the oligarchy, it’s the businesses they own that will suffer financially. But the selectiveness brings out the hypocrisy. The U.S. has imposed restrictions around banking and other businesses, making it tough for the Russians to operate. However, in the sectors where American dollars flow from the war, it's what the heck, look the other way. I'll hurt you only if it dosn' hurt me. FULL COMMENT.

Thursday, March 3

PAIN AT THE PUMP – While gasoline prices hovered around the $1.70 per litre mark in Nanaimo this morning, it's a bleak story from around the province where prices are nudging the $2 per litre mark. That's $9.09 gallon for the old timers who still convert to find the "real" price. If your tank is about ready for a top-up, it might be a good idea to filler up this morning.

ORCHID SHOW THIS WEEKEND – The Central Vancouver Island Orchid Society’s show returns to Nanaimo North Town Centre from Friday to Sunday, with its first show since the pandemic started. It is open free to the public. The Orchid Society has been meeting for nearly 50 years, offering support and encouragement, education and social opportunities and now has about 50 members. 

HOUSING COMPLEX CLEARS HEARING – A proposed townhouses and multi-family complex between Nelson Road and Linley Valley Drive has cleared the public hearing stage. City council gave third-reading to rezone 6033 and 6053 Nelson Rd. to low- and medium-density residential. Insight Holdings proposing 168 homes, with townhouses along Nelson Road and a six-storey residential complex along Linley Valley Drive.

DUKE POINT TERMINAL CLOSED SATURDAY - If you’re taking a ferry over the weekend, schedules are disrupted on Saturday as Duke Point terminal upgrades the ramp. Sailings will operate out of Departure Bay terminal for this one day only. This requires a modified schedule for the Tsawwassen – Duke Point route (which temporarily becomes the Tsawwassen – Departure Bay route). See the full revised schedule HERE. 

SANTA’S BAG LEFT BEHIND  – A bag full of wrapped gifts was turned into the Nanaimo RCMP detachment on Saturday. The finder told police the bag was located that day in the parking lot of the Beban Park Recreation Centre. The Paw Patrol gift bag contained several small wrapped gifts, one of which was partially torn open to reveal a child’s toy.

HISTORY IS WRITTEN IN INDELIBLE INK – Powell River has begun public engagement on a name change for the community. It involves officials from the city and Tla’amin Nation, elected officials and residents. Tla’amin initiated the name change idea. The name Powell refers to Israel Powell. In 1872 he was superintendent of the newly-formed Department of Indian Affairs and served in that position until 1889.

Job action could begin Thursday at Regional Library

Wed. March 2

Pretty quiet on the home front this morning. Vancouver Island Regional Library Union members have served strike notice – job action could begin Thursday, Mar. 3.

NEW TRANSIT SERVICE - The schedule and stops have now been outlined for the new transit service between downtown Nanaimo and downtown Duncan. More information, including a map and schedule, is available here. 

UPDATE - MISSING WOMAN found safe - Nanaimo RCMP seek help in locating 42-year-old Nicole Anderson who was reported missing to the Nanaimo RCMP, on February 24. EARLIER DETAILS

It's time to take a look in the mirror

This is a good time for introspection – a self assessment by those who purport to be leaders. How would you react if a fight broke out in front of you, a much bigger bully on a weaker victim? Would you take a hand and move in to assist the innocent victim or would you try to find reasons not become engaged? MORE