Nov 16

Sask. court hears of alleged murder plot thwarted by wife’s mistrust

The murder conspiracy trial involving the father of Vancouver Canucks forward Linden Vey began Tuesday. Curtis Vey and Angela Nicholson each face two charges of conspiracy to commit murder connected to their alleged plans to kill their spouses.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Vey is from the Wakaw, Sask. area and Nicholson lives in Melfort, Sask.

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    READ MORE: Murder conspiracy trial involving father of Canuck Linden Vey starts today

    In her opening statement, Crown prosecutor Lori O’Connor told a 14-person jury that Brigette Vey suspected her husband was cheating on her. In July 2013, she planted an iPod under a kitchen table to record his conversations.

    In that recording, she learned that her suspicions were correct, but also found out about the alleged plot, O’Connor said.

    In a previous interview with Global News, Jim Taylor, Nicholson’s husband said police shared details of the plan. Taylor would die of a drug overdose while Brigette Vey would die in a house fire, Taylor said.

    The Crown’s first witness, RCMP Cpl. Dereck Wierzbicki, said he learned of the alleged plan on July 3, 2013. Three days later, the pair was arrested and placed in cells with undercover officers, Wierzbicki said.

    Police also seized electronics for other evidence of a potential plot. While sifting through phone and computer records, Wierzbicki said investigators found nothing to discern whether the plot was fact or fiction.

    Vey’s defence lawyer Aaron Fox questioned why Wierzbicki asked investigators to search for evidence that would remove any potential defence that the pair was simply fantasizing or having a hypothetical conversation.

    Wierzbicki told court he didn’t want the unit to fabricate evidence, but wanted to be able to “corroborate” and “solidify” the charge.

    In order to prove conspiracy to commit murder, the Crown must show there was an agreement between Nicholson and Vey and that there was intent to follow through with it.

    The trial is expected to last nine days and hear from 11 Crown witnesses. Brigette Vey is scheduled to testify Wednesday.

Nov 16

‘I can’t even tell you how many we’ve seen’: Alberta storm chaser following tornadoes in Kansas

Several possible tornadoes were reported across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Colorado on Tuesday and a team of Albertans were there to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature unleashing her full fury.

Cochrane-based storm chaser Braydon Morriseau said the storms he saw in Kansas Tuesday completely put him in awe. As a founding member of the Prairie Storm Chasers group, Morriseau has seen his share of tornadoes touchdown but said Tuesday was an extremely active and unique day.

WATCH: Tornadoes touch down in Kansas, more wild weather on the way

“We got a super cell where they were intersecting and it became a prolific tornado producer as it moved north,” Morriseau said as he described Tuesday’s chase. “It skirted the outskirts of Dodge City as a very large multi-vortex tornado.”

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    According to NBC News, the Dodge City tornado left two people critically injured and damaged an area landfill building.

    “I can’t even tell you how many we’ve seen … close to a dozen today,” Morriseau said in disbelief.

    “We did come up on one house that was skimmed by one of the tornadoes and checked on [the people there]. They were alright and then we continued and we came across a big propane tank in the middle of the road from like an oil rig site – and it was blowing propane out. It was pretty crazy.”

    But the rare sight of two tornadoes becoming one is what he says he will always remember. At around 6:30 p.m. local time, Morriseau reported seeing two separate twisters collide and become one.

    “It’s a very rare phenomena and that was probably my coolest moment, seeing the main tornado and then a little one – like a satellite tornado wrapping around it becoming one tornado.”

    Morriseau said they were careful to keep a safe distance and to list the time and exact location of each storm photo.

    “We’re trying to report and relay to the National Weather Service to give them some ground truth and let them know what’s going on visually.”

    Morriseau said he plans to stay in the region to guide severe weather tour groups for the next couple of weeks.

Nov 16

‘Fantastic’ May long weekend for Okanagan tourism, despite weather

KELOWNA – In the Okanagan, summer means plenty of sunshine, but that’s not what was forecasted for the unofficial start to the hottest season of the year.

Despite that, the May long weekend kept its reputation as one of the busiest tourism weekends of the year.

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“From all accounts, our stakeholders in the many attractions and accommodations in Kelowna are saying it’s a fantastic May long weekend… they’re very pleased with the activity,” said director of marketing and communications with Tourism Kelowna, Chris Shauf.

In fact, not only was it another lively Victoria Day long weekend, it was exceptionally busy for many local businesses.

“We were almost 100 per cent [capacity] so it was fantastic… We had to open our patio a few times over the long weekend as the rain came and went… It felt a little bit like summer despite the clouds,” said general manager of Manteo Resort, Heather Schroeter.

The long weekend was even a record-breaker at some tourist hot spots, like Cedar Creek Estate Winery.

The winery’s marketing manager believes this was the busiest May long weekend the business has had in the last four years. Anahita Pouget said the winery saw 20 per cent more visitors this year than last year.

General manager of the Delta Grand, Daniel Bibby, was surprised with how busy the hotel was over the long weekend, despite the forecast of clouds and chance of rain.

“This was one of the best long weekends we’ve had in a long time, so I think guests were ready to travel, it was sort of that feeling of, ‘What rain? Let’s get out and enjoy Kelowna and the valley,’” said Bibby.

The rain also didn’t put a damper on camping plans for many tourists and locals. Many of those at Bear Creek Park in West Kelowna had a hard time booking their campsites because of the demand.

“We found out that there was a site cancelling, so we were just online go, go, go and we finally got it,” camper Doug Adams told Global News on Saturday.

With the start of the official summer season just around the corner, campsites, hotels, resorts and many other local attractions are already starting to pre-book.

“We saw a lot of people coming in and checking with our visitor team for opportunities and options about what else they could experience in the area,” said Shauf.

The tourism boost seen in the Okanagan isn’t isolated; there’s promising numbers throughout B.C. The province says the number of international visitors in the first quarter of 2016, is 16.8 per cent higher compared to the same period last year.

Nov 16

Calgary’s ‘Falconridge rapist’ to be released this summer

Andrew Jefferson, better known as the “Falconridge Rapist,” will be granted statutory release this summer.

After serving two-thirds of his sentence, Jefferson will be released to finish the remainder of his sentence in a community correctional centre or residential facility until it concludes in May 2017.

READ MORE: Controversy in the ‘Falconridge rapist’ case

Jefferson was first arrested after committing sexual offences between 2006 and 2007. Following his release he returned to jail after an attempted stabbing and theft of  a vehicle in 2013. After serving his sentence, Jefferson will be subject to a 10-year Long Term Supervision Order (LTSO) during which he must report to a parole officer. Other conditions will be determined after monitoring the final year of his sentence in the community.

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    Jefferson was described in court documents as not having a behavioural management problem, an improvement upon his behavior during his first sentence. The Correctional Services of Canada (CSC) said in these documents that Jefferson still struggles with emotions during stressful time periods, and he is a risk for future violence towards an intimate partner and has a history of re-offence. The same documents said that Jefferson is now understanding and motivated to take part in the programming that is recommended for him, including anger and emotions counselling. He has successfully completed a High Intensity Sex Offender program.

    READ MORE: Calgary’s ‘Falconridge rapist’ sentenced to four years for B.C. assault, carjacking

    “The CSC reports that [he] accept[s] responsibility for [his] offending and [has] expressed remorse and victim empathy.”

    He will have to report to a parole officer, and various counsellors, as well as complying with eight conditions of release. These conditions include no drugs or alcohol, seeking and remaining employed, following a treatment plan, and avoiding specific groups of people including the victim and her family, and anyone who is involved in criminal activity or substance abuse.

    If Jefferson becomes an undue risk to the community he can be returned to prison by his parole officer, and the Parole Board of Canada can revoke leave if any conditions are breached.