Kelowna man cannot consider he gained half 1,000,000 within the Lotto 6/49 Further – Kelowna Information

Rob Gibson | Story: 386480

Photo: BCLC

A Kelowna man had to pinch himself before he would believe he was $500,000 richer.

Lorne Hradecki from Kelowna tells Castanet he was in denial for a full 24 hours before reality set in.

“I thought, ‘that can’t be right,’” he recalled. “I went through the whole day in disbelief!”

Hradecki won the Extra during the August 31, 2022, Lotto 6/49 draw but it took some time for the reality to sink in for the lucky winner.

“I took a screenshot when I got home from work to show my friend and he thought I was messing with him. I also told my uncle — he believed me and offered some practical advice.”

The Kelowna resident shared the news with a friend after checking his ticket on BCLC’s Lotto! App and again at the self-checker at the Independent Grocer on Gordon Drive where he purchased the ticket.

Hradecki says he ‘feel’s fantastic’ and he will be doing some planning to “make the most of the win” and looks forward to taking a vacation or two after purchasing a new car.

So far in 2022, B.C. lottery players have redeemed more than $32 million in winnings from the Extra and more than $95 million in winnings from Lotto 6/49.


Castanet Staff – Sep 22, 2022 / 9:00 am | Story: 386401

Photo: Daniel Joseph

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to city council candidates in both Kelowna and West Kelowna to help voters get to know those putting their names forward. Between the two cities, 45 people are running for city councillor.

All candidates have been given the same questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.

Kelowna candidate: Daniel Joseph

Why would you make an effective city councillor?

You’ve probably seen me running around serving Blizzards at Dairy Queen over the last nine years! Before that I was in commercial office furniture, where I spent almost a decade in a range of support, marketing, sales and management roles. My career in management and business development presided over $15 million worth of direct-sales, ranging from small-business to government and private enterprise. However, the most important quality I bring to the table is my lived experience. Having overcome abject poverty and constant discrimination, I have a unique perspective on our approach to Kelowna’s affordability crisis, rising crime and homelessness epidemic.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today, and how would you deal with it knowing city hall only has so much power?

Inventory and affordability are Kelowna’s number one issue. Council has the authority to implement a comprehensive, smarter zoning strategy to guide development. On residential zoning alone, city hall made a well-intentioned decision to increase inventory with broad RU7 zoning. A great economic stimulus, however in practice we’ve found it RU7 only added one to two units of additional housing each lot, drove up real estate prices and did little to help with the inventory crisis. The solution requires a more nuanced approach. RM5/RM6 zoning should be considered in place of RU7, to foster the development of low to mid-rise, wood-frame housing complexes.

It could be decades before a second bridge is built across Okanagan Lake. How do you deal with Kelowna’s transportation bottleneck in the meantime?

Our current transit infrastructure has been at capacity for over 10 years. Improved connectivity is necessary, in the short-term city hall must consider re-planning the intersecting roads along Harvey to free up congestion and increasing our bus capacity in terms of routes and frequency. Long-term, city council must engage with residents to debate and decide on a plan to twin the bridge and create an alternative bypass or transit corridor through Kelowna; or alternative transit such as the UBCO hydrail project. This is existing, proven technology that could be implemented at relatively low cost in the with high ridership attractiveness.

Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?

Kelowna is growing too fast, simply because we’re 10 years behind on planning and building the infrastructure to support our city’s growth. Smarter zoning could eliminate our real estate and rental crisis – and create a surplus of inventory – over the next six years. Making critical decisions on transit infrastructure now, can ensure that in the next ten years we’re at or below capacity, not a decade behind (like Harvey is today). With the right council in place, we can ensure we don’t sacrifice single-family, quiet and walkable neighbourhoods at the expense of building infrastructure to support our city’s growth.

How would you make Kelowna more affordable?

There is no magic button that we can push to make the city more affordable in the short-term, unfortunately we’re already a decade behind on this one. We can however, plan for our future and make a meaningful impact for the next generation. On inventory over the next 4-6 years by zoning our RU7 into RM5/RM6, four to six storey wood-frame complexes in walkable neighbourhoods. On connectivity and congestion over the next decade by transit planning and alternatives. If we don’t, many young adults and the teens of today, will grow to leave, not love Kelowna.

If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?

$1 million is unfortunately a very small fraction of the city’s budget. The most important task we can have before us is going to take significant, strategic and institutional shifts. With $1 million, I would advocate for the use of that money to be allocated to a partnership with BC Housing.

We would be capable of sponsoring an affordable housing complex (under $800/month per resident). This amount of money will make a small, but meaningful impact on those experiencing homelessness within our city.

Photo: VCC

Amid a historic labour shortage, Interior Health will no longer require post-secondary education for workers whose primary role is to draw blood from patients, provoking an uproar from trained lab assistants.

Recent Interior Health job postings for a “lab phlebotomist” position require just a Grade 10 education and a year of relevant experience.

It brings with it a job description—drawing blood and entering test results—that is extremely similar to a lab assistant’s job.

Lab assistants, however, need up to a year of post-secondary education that includes courses on subjects like medical terminology, physical anatomy and more.

“They’re just flying by the seat of their pants,” said an upset Interior Health lab assistant, who Castanet is providing anonymity to to protect their employment. “A lab assistant’s main job is to collect blood from people. And a phlebotomist’s main job is to collect blood from people.”

In a statement to Castanet, Interior Health acknowledged that the “lab phlebotomist” role is a newly-invented one that will require on-the-job training.

“The program includes four weeks of full-time didactic theory supplemented with eight weeks of hands-on practicum training time,” Interior Health said.

“It meets all the provincial accreditation and mandatory competencies for venipuncture collection (drawing blood).”

But the trained lab assistant Castanet spoke with says a year of university or college education can’t be condensed into four weeks.

“On-the-site training is not the same as a university-led course with a graduation of high school. On-the-job training is somebody like me, training somebody with not even a high-school education, to essentially do my exact same job for almost the exact same pay.”

The lab phlebotomist role lists a starting wage of $24.04.

A lab assistant starts at $25.31 per hour.

Money aside, the lab assistant raised concerns about patient safety.

“You’re in an emergency situation, you’re in a trauma, you’re in a car accident, you get rushed into the hospital, and all of a sudden, you have this person straight out of Grade 10 with a needle trying to stab you, and get some blood out of you,” the IH employee said.

“Would you trust your housekeeper to rush on over there in an emergency trauma situation and collect vital information and bring it to the lab? Because that’s what they’re doing.”

Interior Health says there is an urgent need for lab staff across the country, and as a result, pursued “an innovative solution” to train phlebotomists on the job.

“Following a successful initial cohort and extensive evaluation, a second intake is underway,” IH said.

The lab assistant, however, says the health authority is just lowering hiring standards rather than improving working conditions and wages.

With relatively low wages compared to the rest of the healthcare sector, and a significant amount of abuse hurled at them during the pandemic, the lab assistant says a staff shortage is inevitable.

“They’re trying to curb the fact that nobody wants to go into healthcare, except maybe the people who, you know, don’t have enough education to do anything else. They’re targeting those people.”

The lab assistant says the phlebotomists training program was not discussed with existing staff and there are concerns they will have to carry the burden of training under-prepared employees.

“Don’t tell us that our education is obsolete and pay these guys the same amount.”

Photo: Interior Health

An Interior Health job posting for a lab phlebotomist


Castanet Staff – Sep 22, 2022 / 4:00 am | Story: 386400

Photo: Maxine DeHart

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to city council candidates in both Kelowna and West Kelowna to help voters get to know those putting their names forward. Between the two cities, 45 people are running for city councillor.

All candidates have been given the same questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.

Kelowna candidate: Maxine DeHart (incumbent)

Why would you make an effective city councillor?

I have been a Kelowna city councillor since 2011. I have been a director on the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce board and a director on the Central Okanagan Regional District. I have worked at a senior level in Kelowna’s tourism industry for 35 years. I feel I have a very strong knowledge of the issues of our city and its residents. I listen to the public and take the time to understand what their needs are. I make decisions for the city as a whole and always try to be accessible and responsive to taxpayers.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today and how would you deal with it knowing City Hall has only so much power.

Public safety affects how we live, work and play. Improved public safety will attract and retain people, business, and investment in our community. I will continue to lobby governments to change the laws to keep repeat offenders off our streets; work with other governments, communities, and police to make residents safe in their homes and businesses; ensure people of all ages and abilities can enjoy the Okanagan lifestyle safely and affordably.

It could be decades before a second bridge is built across Okanagan Lake. How do you deal with Kelowna’s transportation bottleneck in the meantime.

This beautiful valley is surrounded by mountains and lakes, and we currently have close to 50 per cent of our land mass in the ALR. This makes it very challenging for road access and transportation. I believe in connectivity and that will enhance our road networks, transit, walking and cycling paths. I would, however, like to see the north-end connector completed in the next term. This will only be achieved by lobbying other governments for the necessary funding. I also feel that further development of our vibrant downtown and other town centers will certainly reduce traffic as we live, work, and play close to home.

Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?

Kelowna is a very attractive place to live. Many people who live in larger urban areas are coming to our city for an enhanced quality of life. Of course, we are having challenges keeping up with our fast-growing population. We now will have to focus on public safety by providing the amenities to keep up with the growth, in the areas of health, housing, parks, recreation, and transit.

How would you make Kelowna more affordable.

The city has little control over the housing market and the demand for housing in this area. We can only provide help to build more diverse types of housing for rental or purchase, including condominiums, townhomes, single-family dwellings, carriage homes and suites. The more housing on the market will allow the market to adjust in the right direction. We also need to constantly be reassessing our permitting and development processes and how they affect the cost of housing.

If you had $1 Million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?

When you consider the high rising costs of construction, repurposing, or transportation; $1 million does not go very far. I would put the money towards our greatest need which is public safety.

Photo: Contributed

Three of Kelowna’s mayoral hopefuls will discuss issues around housing affordability ahead of next month’s municipal election.

The discussion, set for Thursday, Oct. 13, just two days before voters go to the polls on general voting day, is being facilitated by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Central Okanagan.

Incumbent Mayor Colin Basran, along with challengers Tom Dyas and David Habib have agreed to participate.

Castanet will stream the two hour forum live beginning at 8 a.m. The event will take place at the Four Points by Sheraton across from the airport.

“These elections are particularly important. Local politicians not only tax new housing tens of thousands of dollars before shovel hits the ground, but also set growth boundaries that have a direct impact on land prices,” said CHBA-CO president Darren Witt.

“The ripple effect is massive.”

“Our trades talent can no longer afford to live here, which will make housing even more expensive for everyone, and it will take more time to build a home.”

The CHBA-CO is also launching an education and awareness campaign concerning housing affordability, and how elected officials can have an impact.

The goal, the association says, is to ensure residents are aware of how local politicians can impact the cost of housing in their region.

“The CHBA-CO urges all residents to do their research, get engaged, and vote for candidates that support progressive housing policies in their communities,” added association executive officer Daniel Winer.

“If we don’t use our right to vote, housing will grow further out of reach for the average citizen.”

Click here to learn about the issues surrounding housing affordability, and here to learn more about the mayoral forum.

Rob Gibson – Sep 22, 2022 / 4:00 am | Story: 386353

Photo: Gospel Mission

Gospel Mission executive director Carmen Rempel

The Kelowna Gospel Mission’s new shelter at the former BC Tree Fruits packinghouse may not open at the start of October if they can’t find staff.

Gospel Mission executive director Carmen Rempel tells Castanet the new shelter opening may have to be delayed because of a lack of qualified employees.

“We’re hoping to open the first week of October, a lot of that will be determined on how our job fair goes these next few days.”

Rempel says the Gospel Mission is looking to fill 22 positions, all of which are posted online.

“We can always do a staggered start, a soft opening, where we could open to a dozen people and then wait till our staffing increases, and then bring more people inside.”

Rempel says the Gospel Mission has to maintain a strict staff-to-client ratio, “so we’ll grow as our staff grows. But I’m optimistic and hoping that we will go ahead and open the first week of October just fine.”

The shelter was originally supposed to open in September, but renovations for the old warehouse space on Bay Avenue were delayed.

Rempel says the timing of the opening of the shelter is important for those who need the service, but finding staff has been a challenge.

“We’re starting up a whole new project in the middle of a labour shortage and we’re competing with things like fast food restaurants that are paying, upwards of $20 an hour for people who walk in without any qualifications at all. So it definitely makes it tough.”

Despite the challenges, Rempel is hopeful they will find the people they need so the shelter can open sooner rater than later.

“Resiliency, emotional resiliency, our staff are, pretty much perpetually in a state of grief. So we’re looking for people who have great emotional intelligence, people with good communication skills, team players, people who are able to make decisions, and not just simple decisions, but complex philosophical decisions,” says Rempel.

One thing that is working in Rempel’s favour, “we already have the bulk of our staff in place. So a lot of our staff were working at the Doyle Avenue shelter. We were able to retain a good chunk of them. So they’ve been busy working on our different projects and in different facilities throughout the summer, and they’re ready to move over.”

Brayden Ursel

Madison Erhardt

This Saturday is the perfect opportunity to shop until you drop.

The Downtown Kelowna Association has brought back Small Shop Saturday on September 24.

In celebration of the event, participating downtown Kelowna businesses will feature special incentives, in-store promotions, or one-day sales from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visitors will be able to easily identify participating businesses by looking for large “Small Shop – Support Local” window decals that will be displayed.

“This is our second kick at it,” said DKA executive director Mark Burley, explaining their first attempt in the spring was dampened by poor weather.

“But this forecast for Saturday looks awesome, with about 23 degrees and sunny, so not only can you come downtown and do some shopping, you can get your steps in and promote some health with some fresh air.”

Burley says Small Shop Saturday was created as a way to encourage community members to support local businesses.

“We are still coming out of that pandemic thing that we all experienced for over two years and shopping local supports those people who live locally, work locally, and employee locally. If we are shopping local and we are contributing those businesses and the success of those businesses and just making downtown that much more dynamic,” he said.

Those visiting downtown Kelowna this Saturday will have the chance to win over $400 in prizes.

A total of four prize draws will be made on Sept. 27, with the winners announced the following day.

On-street parking has also been waived by the City of Kelowna on Saturday.

For a complete list of participating Downtown Kelowna businesses or for more information, visit

Photo: Contributed

A Juno Award-winning musical group is coming to Lake Country next month.

David Myles Trio, which is based out of New Brunswick, will be taking listeners on a journey on Sunday, Oct. 16, at Creekside Theatre. The notes will start filling the air at 7 p.m.

The concert will be one of the trio’s first stops on its nationwide tour, and it will feature songs from That Tall Distance, which won the 2022 Juno for Instrumental Album of the Year, as well as the group’s latest record, Only a Little Loneliness.

Tickets are just $39, which includes taxes and fees, and can be purchased here.

Photo: Tyler Russell

Tyler Russell shortly after he was discharged from KGH following his arrest in May 2020.

A Kelowna RCMP officer who’s facing trial for an assault charge was not aware officers are trained to only use force against a suspect “as a last resort.”

Const. Siggy Pietrzak’s assault trial began last May, and it’s dragged on far longer than it was initially scheduled for. The charge stems from an on-duty incident on May 30, 2020 in which Pietrzak responded to a back-up request from Const. Regan Donahue during a call for a suspected intoxicated man in downtown Kelowna.

Pietrzak arrived on scene, as Const. Donahue and Const. David Carter struggled to arrest Tyler Russell. Pietrzak ran to the three men and delivered about eight punches to Russell’s head, with several landing flush. Two bystanders caught video of the incident.

Russell was never charged in the incident.

Pietrzak took the stand in his own defence beginning Tuesday, and Crown prosecutor David Hainey’s cross examination of Pietrzak began Wednesday. Hainey asked several questions about Pietrzak’s RCMP training, which he first went through in 2016 at the age of 42. Officers also receive annual retraining.

“You’re also trained that force is only to be used as a last resort, correct?” Hainey asked.

“As a last resort, I’m not directly familiar with that, no,” Pietrzak said.

In response, Hainey read from the RCMP training material: “’Law and RCMP policy indicate that you are only to use force as a last resort.’ So you’re trained to only use force as a last resort?”

“It certainly says that here, your honour,” Pietrzak replied.

Hainey also noted that officers should not use force as retaliation.

“You’re also taught you can’t use force as retaliation for something the suspect did?” asked Hainey.

“I’m not quite sure I understand that … if a subject punches you in the face, I would suggest you’re entitled to use force.”

During his struggle with police, Russell did not throw any of his own strikes at the officers, and Const. Donahue testified earlier in the trial that he did not feel he had been assaulted by Russell.

During testimony last June from the Crown’s use-of-force expert, Staff Sgt. Leonard McCoshen, he said the multiple punches Pietrzak threw at Russell were inconsistent with RCMP training, suggesting they were “punitive strikes” instead of distractionary strikes.

In his own testimony, Pietrzak noted that any use of force “shouldn’t be personal ever, you should always try to remain as composed as possible.”

Pietrzak objected to the Crown’s suggestion that his strikes against Russell fell under the “physical control – hard” definition, found in the RCMP’s Incident Management Intervention Model – the framework used by officers to assess and manage risk in encounters with the public.

According to the manual, these types of strikes should generally be used when a subject is exhibiting “assaultive” behaviour, but Pietrzak contended his strikes were simply “distractionary.”

“I wasn’t swinging for the fences, they were short, quick distraction blows,” Pietrzak said.

Hainey noted Pietrzak injured his hand during the arrest and had to leave his shift early to seek assessment at the hospital. Hainey said this suggested the punches he threw at Russell were quite hard, but Pietrzak was not willing to concede that his hand injury occurred as a result of hitting Russell’s face.

Pietrzak also would not concede the laceration that Russell received above his left eye during the incident occurred as a result of his punches, noting the cut could have occurred when the three officers eventually pushed Russell face first into the gravel.

Much of the trial has focused around how Pietrzak’s actions measure up to his RCMP training, but Pietrzak testified Wednesday that the “human element” of the incident has been missing during the trial.

“There’s a lot of technical stuff that’s been discussed, but this all happened from the time the call happened … was two minutes, and the actual interaction with Mr. Russell was 10 to 14 seconds,” Pietrzak said.

“From my point of view, I relied on what I was trained to do. I did what I thought was the best option at that time … I’m not quite sure what else I could have done.”

He noted that he was not trained to carry a conducted energy weapons – a taser – at the time, but he “made the conscious decision” after the incident to take the training so he’d be able to use one in the future.

While Russell admitted in his own testimony back in May that he had drank a significant amount of alcohol and used cocaine on the day the incident occurred, he said he was not heavily intoxicated. While he was sitting in a truck in the parking lot when Const. Carter first approached him, he said he was in the passenger seat, and did not have the truck’s keys on him.

He refused to provide a breath sample to Const. Carter, which led to the attempted arrest.

In an ongoing civil suit Russell has filed against Pietrzak and the RCMP, Russell’s lawyer Michael Patterson said his client had “no obligation to comply with unlawful demands,” as “his keys were not in his possession or near him and he was not in violation of any criminal or bylaw offences.”

Const. Donahue and Carter testified they never found the keys to the truck on Russell or in the truck

The defence’s own expert witness in the case is expected to continue his testimony Thursday. Hainey said he hopes all evidence in the case will be completed by the end of the day Thursday, followed by closing submissions on Oct. 7.

Rob Gibson – Sep 21, 2022 / 2:22 pm | Story: 386336

Photo: Christopher Bocskei

An early morning collision on McCurdy Road left one vehicle damaged and another on its side Wednesday morning.

Christopher Bocskei, who is currently running for Kelowna city council, tells Castanet he was awakened by a loud noise from the street outside his house on McCurdy Rd. just before 7 a.m. Wednesday.

“My wife and I were startled out of bed by a very loud crash steps away from our house, two trucks collided with one flipping over the other.”

Bocskei says he trained as a first responder and he maintains his first-aid credentials so when he heard the crash he flew into action.

“I rushed out of the house… fortunately no one was seriously injured. What struck me was the amount of people that had come out to help. Neighbours were clearing the debris off the road and someone was sweeping the glass, it was a community effort. After I confirmed that no one was seriously injured, I stepped out to direct traffic,” Bocskei says.

The collision appears to have been caused by a vehicle pulling out into traffic from a residence and colliding with another vehicle which ended up on its side.

Bocskei says emergency crews responded quickly and he didn’t believe any of the injuries were serious.

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