Field of Crosses program brings war home for some Grade 7 Kelowna students

“I joined up in ’43,” said George Barr, who spent 36 years serving our country.

“Second World War, Korea, Vietnam,” said Barr.

He’s seen combat action around the world.

“I was a tank crew commander in Korea and I spent a lot of time killing people,” said Barr

When it comes to talking about his service, Barr doesn’t mince words about it.

“Young people, the closest they come to war is something on television,” said Barr.

However, Barr is helping change that, by sharing his experience with Grade 7 students as part of the Field Of Crosses program.

As part of the program, students visit the cenotaph and the new Field of Crosses memorial in Kelowna’s City Park.

Then they sit down at the Legion to listen to vets, who bring authenticity to Remembrance Day that no book ever could.

The conversation that follows is quite frank.

“What did you feel when you killed somebody?” said Olivia Treble, asking perhaps the most poignant question of all.

“You don’t . . . but when there is somebody out there shooting at you, what are you going to do? Are you going to say, hold it I’m a good looking young fella don’t shoot? That doesn’t work,” said Barr.

It’s that frankness that brings the horrors of war to life for these young people, first hand.

That frankness changes the way some students think about their own Remembrance Day experience.

“Yes, I think of it now as really horrible. I thought it wasn’t too bad, but, now that I have true information, it’s really bad,” Treble said.

“Before, I thought it was not as horrible as it sounds. But now that I know more information about it, it sounds horrible,” said student Isabella Schroeder.

It’s a provocative program, one that veterans, like George Barr, hope more students will attend.

“You can talk about it all you like,” said Barr, “but until you are actually there, and it sort of resonates in your mind, it sort of brings thing back home again.”

 

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$10K in tools stolen from industrial business in Vernon

Police are asking for public assistance in helping solve a crime that took place in Vernon early Monday.

According to Vernon North Okanagan RCMP, an industrial business in the 200 block of 18th Avenue was broken into between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Police say the suspect, or suspects, gained entry through a fence, where utility trailers became the main target.

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Tools stolen in this particular incident, include, but are not limited to, numerous drills, saws and levels that are from the Makita, Milwaukee and Dewalt brands. The approximate loss was pegged at $10,000.

“Incidents such as this are very disheartening for local business owners who rely on these tools to provide trades to the community,” said Vernon RCMP Cst. Kelly Brett. “The RCMP is now focused on the investigations revolving around the recent spike in tool thefts. However, (police) are appealing to the public for any information regarding the sale of stolen tools or information regarding the thefts themselves.”

Police added that if you’re offered the chance to buy new tools at discounted rates, and if it’s not from a legitimate business, odds are the tools are stolen. Further, police said it’s a crime to purchase an item if you believe it is stolen property.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident or recent thefts is asked to contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP at 250-545-7171.

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Canadian Pacific breaks all-time record for shipping grain in October

To a farmer who has spent all year prepping the soil, planting the seed, watching it grow and then harvesting the crop, a bin of grain is like gold. In order to cash in, the grain has to be sold and shipped — typically that is done by rail.

For several months, a serious shortage of rail cars has stalled the pay day for farmers.

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Gary Stanford with the Alberta Wheat Commission said the backlog of grain is due in part to successful farming.

“Now that technology is helping us to become better farmers and produce more grain, that’s been a challenge for the railways to understand how much more grain there’s going to be.”

Now, Canadian Pacific has announced it has broken an all-time record for the shipment of grain and grain products in the month of October — 2.64 million metric tonnes, to be exact.

The record for biofuels shipped was also set in the month of October.

Stanford said that type of volume is exactly what the industry needs.

“As demand for more grain crops grows from other countries around the world looking for good-quality milling grain, it is important that the railways are able to move that much and we are looking forward to them moving more.”

Stanford said grain commissions across the country are working hard to communicate the importance of beefing up rail service.

He added CP’s record month is promising news, but there is concern the momentum could slow down as rail infrastructure ages.

“There’s a lot of older railway cars that were built 30 or 40 years ago that are going to have to be decommissioned.

“Those are things we keep communicating — that we are going to need new cars to make sure we are going to be able to move this large amount of grain.”

CP said it’s investing in new, high-efficiency hopper cars, with 500 being delivered by the end of this year.

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Former Kamloops sheriff under house arrest after plea deal in child luring

A former Kamloops sheriff was handed a one-year conditional sentence on Tuesday following a joint submission in regards to charges of child luring.

Kevin Johnston pleaded guilty to breach of trust by a public officer following a sting by a group called Creep Hunters. The judge said there was no victim in a conventional sense, as the person Johnston was messaging was an adult woman, not a 14-year-old girl. But the judge noted in Johnston’s messages that he could lose his family, his job and end up in jail.

It’s alleged Johnston sent naked pictures of himself and arranged to meet with the pretend teenager. It’s also alleged that Johnston set up an arrangement to meet the girl at a strip mall in August of 2016, which is when the group confronted him and recorded the meeting.

“He had told me that he had placed an ad about a father and daughter fantasy he had,” a group member told Global News in February.

The sentence was a joint submission from Crown and defence. Johnston is on house arrest. He can leave for work, to walk his dog an hour twice a day or for errands at set times.

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1 arrested, another sought in connection with shooting death of Toronto man

Toronto police say they’ve made an arrest related to a 2017 homicide investigation, but are still seeking the person they allege is responsible for the death.

The city’s 15th homicide of 2017 took place last April when police allege two men came up to a group of three people standing outside a home and opened fire.

They say 24-year-old Samatar Farah was killed in the shooting.

Police say they arrested a 24-year-old man in the case earlier this week and charged him with three counts of attempted murder.

But they say they’re still looking for another 24-year-old suspect, who is wanted on three attempted murder charges as well as one count of first-degree murder.

Anyone with information is asked to come forward.

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Missing teen last seen in south Winnipeg

Winnipeg police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding a missing 16-year-old girl.

Police said Michelle Grozelle was last seen in the south end of the city during the last week of October.

Grozelle is described as 5’6″, 120 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police are concerned for her well-being. Anyone with information is asked to call the Missing Persons Unit at 204-986-6250.


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Thousands remain without power in New Brunswick after weekend storm

Thousands of people remained without power in Atlantic Canada following heavy wind and rains over the weekend.

NB Power says about 23,000 customers were in the dark this morning after a fierce wind storm knocked down wires and broke poles.

It says about 200 crews have been deployed throughout the province to assess the damage and restore power as quickly as possible, while another 30 crews from neighbouring utilities were also helping out.

Nova Scotia Power says about 20 outages were affecting more than 670 customers.

New Brunswick bore the brunt of the storm Saturday and into Sunday, with NB Power initially reporting more than 94,000 customers in the dark after 100 kilometre per hour winds struck the province.

Some schools in New Brunswick remained closed due to the outages, while there were scattered outages in P.E.I.

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China rejects Western concerns on alleged Uighur mass detentions

GENEVA (Reuters) – China on Tuesday rejected Western countries’ criticism of suspected mass detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang province, saying that the allegations were “seriously far away from facts”.

“We will not accept politically-driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases,” Le Yucheng, Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs, told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The minister spoke at the end of a debate on China’s rights record, in which delegations from Britain, France, Germany and the United States voiced deep concern about what China says are vocational training camps.

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EU extends Venezuela sanctions over democracy, rights violations

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union on Tuesday extended sanctions against Venezuela until November 2019 for what it said were human rights violations and undermining of democracy and the rule of law under President Nicolas Maduro.

The bloc has an embargo against Venezuela on the sales of arms and “equipment for internal repression”, a travel ban and an asset freeze on 18 Venezuelan officials in place.

This is in response to accusations of rights abuses by state security officials during anti-government protests in January, and a May presidential election that gave Maduro a second term but was widely dismissed as a sham.

The deep political, social and economic crisis in the oil-rich South American country has driven more than two million Venezuelans abroad, according to the United Nations.

Maduro accuses the United States, which also has slapped sanctions on his officials, of running an international conspiracy against him.

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Master of human rights offered by University of Manitoba, first ever in Canada

The University of Manitoba has announced a brand new degree that’s the first of its kind in Canada.

The faculty of law will soon offer a master of human rights graduate degree program.

The faculty says the program will train students for careers in human rights work in collaboration with the faculty of arts, education, social work, and the Centre for Human Rights Research.

“Training is typically expected for positions with organizations like the Red Cross and the United Nations,” Dr. Adam Muller, the university’s director of peace and conflict studies, said.

Muller, who helped design the program, said until now, students who wanted well-rounded training in human rights law, theory and qualitative research methods would have to go to the United States or Europe.

According to Muller, the U of M’s dean of law previously worked in the United Kingdom, making him very familiar with this kind of program.

The U of M says it will soon start accepting applications for the first intake of students in fall 2019.

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