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July

31Jul

VPD asks for help identifying pair connected to serious assault of man in wheelchair

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VPD detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify two people who may have information about a serious assault to a man in a wheelchair in early July.


Handout / VPD

Vancouver police are asking the public for help identifying two people connected to the serious assault of man in a wheelchair earlier this month.

According to police, a 44-year-old Vancouver resident was left with serious injuries after being attacked in the underground parking lot of an apartment building on Cecil Street near Kingsway on July 4.

On Wednesday, police released images of two people captured on a CCTV camera near the scene of the assault. The pair have not been named as suspects, but VPD investigators believe they may have useful information about the incident nevertheless.

“The VPD believes the two individuals in the photos, a man and a woman, may have information about this assault. We are hopeful that the public can assist us in identifying the pair,” said Sgt. Jason Robillard.  

While the images are grainy, the male in the photo is believed to be a white man with a slim build and blonde hair. He was wearing a denim jacket, a shirt with a large “O” on the front, black shorts, black flip flops, and a black baseball hat. The woman, also believed to be Caucasian, has a medium build and orange or blonde hair. She was wearing a black, cropped top, a red jacket, green camouflage-print capri pants, and sandals.

Anyone who may recognize the couple in the photos is asked to call the VPD.

31Jul

Surrey Mounties seeking suspect in attempted Newton-area robbery

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Mounties in Surrey are searching for the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred Tuesday night in the Newton area.


Jason Payne / PNG

Mounties in Surrey are searching for the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred Tuesday night in the Newton area.

According to Surrey RCMP, police were alerted just after 10 p.m. to an attempted robbery in progress outside a residence in the 6800 block of 148 Street.

According to reports, a young man “was in possession of a possible firearm, and demanding personal items from an adult victim,” police said in a news release.

The suspect, described as a thin, white male between 20-25 years old with brown hair, fled the scene prior to Mounties’ arrival.

Police may have arrived at the scene sooner but in responding to the incident, two police vehicles were involved in a collision at the intersection of 72 Avenue and 140 Street. The drivers of both vehicles were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Surrey RCMP are investigating the robbery as well as the ensuing crash, and are appealing to the public for witnesses who may have useful information or video footage.

Anyone with further information about the attempted robbery, or that may have CCTV footage of the suspect, is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP.

31Jul

Police trying to ID 2 people following attack on man in wheelchair

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Weeks after a man in a wheelchair was attacked in East Vancouver, police have released surveillance images of two people investigators believe might have information on the crime.

The victim was assaulted on the morning of July 7, in the underground parking lot of an apartment building on Cecil Street. Authorities said the attack left the 44-year-old in serious condition in hospital.

On Wednesday, the Vancouver Police Department shared images of a man and woman that were captured on a CCTV camera in the area, and asked anyone with information on their identities to come forward.

“The VPD believes the two individuals in the photos, a man and a woman, may have information about this assault. We are hopeful that the public can assist us in identifying the pair,” Sgt. Jason Robillard said in a statement.

Authorities have not described either of the people in the images as suspects in the attack.

The man is believed to be white, with a slim build and blonde hair. He was wearing a denim jacket, a shirt with a large “O” on the front, black shorts, black flip-flops and a black baseball hat.

The woman is also believed to be white, with a medium build and shaggy orange or blonde hair. She was seen wearing black cropped top, a red jacket, green camouflage-print Capri pants and sandals.

Police urged anyone with information that could help investigators solve the disturbing attack to contact the department’s Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541.

assault motorized wheelchair

31Jul

Research program to help people in the DTES get jobs

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A new research program is looking at innovative approaches to support people with mental health and addictions issues in finding and keeping suitable jobs, with $364,235 in government funding.

“At its heart, this research project is about helping people find and keep meaningful employment by meeting them where they are and providing them with wraparound supports,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We know that when people get jobs where they feel valued, it improves their quality of life, provides a sense of purpose and enhances self-esteem and social belonging.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association – Vancouver Fraser Branch, in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, is conducting research to better understand the unique labour market issues of the Downtown Eastside and influence how care services are provided to at-risk people. The project concludes in February 2020.

The project team is examining individual placement and support (IPS) and peer support to increase access to employment. IPS has been extensively researched internationally and proven to be effective compared to standard employment services. This B.C.-based research will be groundbreaking, as it uses medical professionals as an entry point to service delivery. 

“Our vision is to embed social and health services in a one-stop integrated model of care for people living in the Downtown Eastside,” said Skye Barbic, lead scientist, University of British Columbia. “To date, little work has focused on the impact of employment as a health and social intervention. Our project aims to bring together systems that are traditionally difficult to navigate for people living in the Downtown Eastside.” 

“People with mental illness who choose to work deserve to have the support they need in order to be successful,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “When people are working, they feel connected. We all understand that meaningful employment is important to people’s lives.”

Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers at the Downtown Community Health Centre refer patients to the program, which is housed just across the street. Of the 72 participants, half will receive this approach and half will receive treatment in the form of traditional employment supports.

“To our knowledge, no study or project has examined individual placement and support embedded in primary care settings for complex populations and few have looked at the value of adding peer support to individual placement and support,” said Michael Anhorn, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association – Vancouver Fraser Branch. “This project complements the redesign of downtown primary care services and is an expansion of the longstanding partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association to provide individual placement and support services.”

Through IPS, participants receive supportive entry into the workforce based on their personal needs. Employers are also supported in navigating any challenges that arise. Wraparound services include housing support, help getting identification, filing taxes, support with social relationships, money management, financial planning, debt consolidation and mental health and substance-use support.

Quick Facts:

  • The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing $364,235 through the Research and Innovation stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.
  • Approximately $15 million will be invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.

Learn More:

Learn how CEPs are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

Canadian Mental Health Association: https://cmha.ca/


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31Jul

Security images released amid spike in residential break-ins in West Van

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Police in West Vancouver say they’re investigating a recent spike in residential break-ins.

In a statement, the force said there were 29 reported break and enters in the district between July 1 and 30, bringing the total to 108 so far this year. According to police, that’s a 65-per-cent increase compared to the five-year average.

“Officers are actively investigating these incidents and utilizing numerous resources including Forensic Investigators, our Major Investigations Team and Criminal Intelligence Officers, to identify any potential suspects,” police said. “So far, investigators have secured CCTV footage from multiple locations that shows suspects wearing hoods and gloves.”

Police also released a map showing where in the district the break-ins occurred.

Investigators said stolen items include jewelry, electronic devices, sports equipment and other types of property.

In the meantime, the WVPD is urging residents to take precautions as police investigate.

Tips include locking doors and closing windows when no one is home, ensuring your home alarm is working properly and making sure notification agreements are up to date with alarm companies.

Residents are also advised to avoid leaving easily accessible ladders on their property, making sure their home as adequate exterior lighting and letting a neighbour a neighbour know if they’re going to be away for an extended period of time.

“The people responsible for these break and enters are looking for items of high value, and seem to be targeting homes that appear unoccupied at the time,” said Const. Kevin Goodmurphy. “We want to remind our residents that if they see or hear suspicious activity, to contact us immediately.”

Anyone who can help identify the suspects seen in the video or has other information that could advance the investigation is asked to contact West Vancouver police at 604-925-7300. Tips can be left anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


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31Jul

RCMP scaling down search for B.C. murder suspects in northern Manitoba

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WINNIPEG — The RCMP say they are scaling back the search for two British Columbia murder suspects in northern Manitoba.

Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy says officers have searched more than 11,000 square kilometres of wilderness using the best technology available and have found no sign of Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod.

MacLatchy is emphasizing that the search in the Gillam area is not over, but resources are being re-deployed.

Schmegelsky and McLeod are charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck, whose body was found earlier this month in northern B.C.

Police also consider the men suspects in the shooting of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, who were found dead on the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, B.C.


Teen fugitives Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod in undated CCTV images taken in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.

Manitoba RCMP


Leonard Dyck is seen in March of 2017 in Clover Point Park in Victoria .

Patrick Martone/UBC


Chynna Noelle Deese of the United States and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia are the victims of a double homicide in Northern B.C.

Facebook /

PNG


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30Jul

Health-care aide not guilty of sexually assaulting elderly patients, judge rules | CBC News

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A Saanich, B.C., man accused of sexually assaulting elderly patients during his time working as a health-care aide has been found not guilty of all charges against him.

Amado Ceniza, 40, was acquitted Monday of three counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual touching of a person with a disability, Crown has confirmed. 

Ceniza was charged last July after three women claimed he’d assaulted them while working as their aide at Aberdeen Hospital in Victoria. The facility houses many seniors requiring long-term care.

Ceniza pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations against him.

In court on Monday, B.C. Provincial Court Judge Dwight Stewart said he was concerned about possible, unintentional collusion between alleged victims. 


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30Jul

How being trans can make food bank access a challenge | CBC News

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Matthew Vieira, 39, was given the name Margaret when he was born, but he’s been out as transgender and male since he was nine years old.

About a year ago, Vieira was homeless. Now he has an apartment in Delta, but he’s on disability assistance and has been relying on support from the food bank for the past three months.

Vieira has run into barriers when trying to get help at some food banks. For one, his driver’s licence has his old, or “dead” name, which can cause confusion for some — he doesn’t have the funds to get a legal name change. Then there are the moral hang-ups some people still have about transgender people.

“I’ve been refused at some food banks. A couple of the food banks I’ve gone to have been very Christian or Catholic-orientated, and they don’t deal with trans very well, so I’ve been refused,” he said. “It’s very hard when you need help and to get refused.”

Matthew Vieira’s driver’s licence bears a different name than his Care Card, Margaret Anne Vieira, causing confusion and questions whenever someone demands to see his ID. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Those worries disappear when Vieira makes the trip twice a month to East Vancouver’s Saige Community Food Bank.

“Everybody’s welcome,” he said.

Anyone setting foot in the Kiwassa Neighbourhood house on the second and fourth Friday of each month will instantly know there’s something different about the food bank. It’s immediately clear that it’s a safe space for people in the LGBT community.

Different colourful flags representing bisexual, transgender, non-binary and two-spirited communities adorn the room, along with the traditional LGBT rainbow flag.

Volunteers Yuen Cao and Yue Tao Lo help prepare the food on an array of tables before guests arrive to receive fresh produce and other food. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Most of the volunteers wear name tags that include their preferred pronoun, including he/him, she/her, or them/their.

“It’s pretty cool. We’re very unique that way — we’re like a family,” said Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of the food bank.

According to Kuhn, between 150 and 200 people will visit the food bank each month, along with others who get prepared bags of fresh produce and food. She said that about half the guests are members of the LGBTQ community.

“They love coming here. They love coming to socialize,” said Kuhn. “They love coming to see us and to say hello.”

Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of Saige Community Food Bank, says the bi-monthly service is a safe place for everyone, with no ID checks or required proof of income. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Jess Chan, who identifies as non-binary (preferring the pronouns them/their), has been volunteering at Saige for a few years.

Chan considers themselves privileged, having the resources to get a legal name change and corresponding documents. And despite struggling to hold a job for about a year, Chan hasn’t experienced challenges with access to food or housing.

“I realized there’s a lot of people out there who don’t quite have the same level privilege that I have,” said Chan.

Jess Chan has volunteered at Saige for a few years, handling many of the specialty items like diapers and school supplies. They say the lack of barriers is what makes the food bank stand out from others. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

“I do have trans friends who have experienced homelessness in the past, or extreme poverty,” they said. “I know oftentimes it was because they were kicked out of their parents’ houses because their parents couldn’t accept them, and that’s very hard.”

According to Kuhn, the food bank started because she believes it’s important to provide people with healthy food in a dignified way, but elsewhere, that’s not what Vieira has encountered.

“There should be no boundaries anywhere. It’s not the 1800s anymore,” he said. “We’re all human. We all bleed the same blood, we all breathe the same air. No one is different.”


Do you have more to add to this story? Email [email protected]

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker




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29Jul

Letters, July 30: Efforts to combat global warming drop in the bucket

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Kira Lynne lives with chronic pain, along with millions of other Canadians.


Francis Georgian / PNG

In spite of the heightened public awareness of global warming and its climate-altering effects to date nothing significant has been done about it.

The City of Vancouver banned plastic straws, which is a farce as it might affect at most 0.0001 per cent of non-recyclable plastic in the system. Banning plastic bags is a good idea but I see it has been struck down by the courts.

The problem is that anything really significant affects someone’s sacred cow.

Banning plastic water bottles would be a really good idea since we all would be better off drinking tap water, but of course that won’t happen since most of the water-bottling business is controlled by large international companies like Coca-Cola who have a lot of economic and political power.

And how about air travel? It’s very polluting and most of it’s a luxury for the wealthy and not essential. Again a political and economic non-starter. Or cruise ships? Get the picture?

Our governments will go on mouthing platitudes and seeking placebo solutions until one day an environmental catastrophe will occur rendering all or a large part of the planet uninhabitable and then it will be too late.

I would like to be optimistic and believe that world leaders will suddenly become enlightened and work together to save the planet, but I see no sign of that happening.

Garth M. Evans, Vancouver

Chronic pain is indeed invisible

An invisible disability, such as chronic pain, is a harsh reality for many.

Kira Lynne is courageous to allow her photograph on the front page. In my view, it enhances awareness and I’m grateful. Many have been conditioned to believe that disabilities are visible. I didn’t see her pain. Did you? She presents as young, beautiful and filled with vitality.

When I look in the mirror I don’t see mine either, yet it’s a part of me right now and who I am goes with me everywhere. A seemingly innocuous sudden hit to the head in 2015 has changed the trajectory of my life. I’m unable to work, yet my rehabilitation forces me to go out each day subjecting myself to judgment and skepticism.

All I can say is that when I venture out, like Kira and others, I have so earned that walk in my neighbourhood, the weekend getaway, an afternoon matinee or lunch with a friend.

Debra Dolan, Vancouver

Bike lanes chaos-free after all

Thanks to The Vancouver Sun for the story, “Ten Years of Bike Lanes: Life goes on, chaos free.”

When the lanes were first conceived I can remember numerous naysayers and whiners complaining about gridlock, disruption and chaos that would follow, that were reinforced by dramatic headlines of doom. To read the self-criticism of The Sun on its past articles, now acknowledging things turned out pretty well, is a good reminder of that much of the negative slant we read today about our evolving city isn’t necessarily true.

It might also provide a good reminder to our journalists that feeding fear may sell newspapers but can be entirely misleading.

Let’s hope we remember this when we discuss new initiatives such as the New Vancouver Art Gallery, the removal of the viaducts or the need for more bike lanes.

Examples set by Gordon McIntyre in The Sun continue to inspire journalists to rise above fearmongering and report on actual data and research.

Lisa Turner, Vancouver

Police should target cyclists

So when can we expect the city and police to start focusing on getting cyclists to ride safely and follow the rules of the road?

I followed three bicyclists home last evening after the baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium. None had any lights. All I had of their presence was the occasional faint reflection in their rear reflector. They were moving much more quickly than I was driving because I couldn’t see them consistently. When approaching a stop sign, of course one went right through without stopping.

It’s surprising there aren’t more accidents and injuries with such careless behaviour.

Maureen Charron, Vancouver


Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected] The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at [email protected].

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected]


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29Jul

Victoria care aide acquitted of sex charges over elderly women’s complaints

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Provincial Court Judge Dwight Stewart praised the women for their bravery during the trial.


Halfpoint / Getty Images

VICTORIA — A provincial court judge has found that collusion, whether intentional or not, was a factor in the acquittal of a care-home aide accused of sexually abusing elderly, disabled patients at a facility in Victoria.

Forty-year-old Saanich resident Amado Ceniza was accused of multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a person with a disability.

He had pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations made last July by three women being treated at Aberdeen Hospital’s extended-care facility for elderly residents.

The court heard the women have mobility issues, two rely on wheelchairs and another uses a walker, and each testified she was groped, hugged and kissed without her consent.

Judge Dwight Stewart ruled there were concerns about possible inadvertent collusion between the women and he also found inconsistencies in testimony about the chronology of events and the description of the alleged perpetrator.

However, he said there was a probability that Ceniza tried to hug and kiss two of the women, and found his conduct to be highly unprofessional.

Stewart praised the women for their bravery during the trial and said greater attention will be paid to these cases because of their advocacy.

Related

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].


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