R-C-M-P in Alberta say a B-C woman is responsible for more than 250-thousand dollars in fraud connected to a scheme involving fake travel vouchers. R-C-M-P say they have arrested and charged 40-year-old Alexandra Beckow of Surrey following an 18-month-long fraud investigation. Officials say the victims reported they had purchased travel vouchers from Beckow or had fraudulent charges on their credit cards. Police say they have identified 47 victims from Alberta, B-C and Ontario who were allegedly defrauded of more than 250-thousand dollars.

Teachers and other education workers lined up outside a former Best Buy in Surrey on Wednesday to be among the first in the region to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “It’s pretty sweet,” Jeff Doolan, who teaches a foundation plumbing apprentice course to Grade 12 students in the district, told Global News. Doolan and thousands of other Surrey school staff are among front-line essential workers who are being given priority access to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Surrey School District, among the hardest-hit in the province, is at the front of that priority queue, and staff from seven of the most impacted schools had a chance to get their shots Wednesday Earlier this month, superintendent Jordan Tinney said the district had sent out more than 2,000 exposure letters since the start of the school year, including 91 that asked entire classes to self isolate. Just eight schools had not seen a single exposure. Tinney told Global News Wednesday there was the capacity to immunize about 400 staff a day at the single site right now, but that more sites would be added and the capacity ramped up to about 1,500 people in the days to come.

 

B-C has reported 716 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths as Premier John Horgan warned the province is not out of the woods yet as he updated the province at a news conference yesterday. Horgan announced partnerships with 14 tourism and hospitality businesses that mean more than 1,400 laid-off workers will provide non-clinical support in vaccination clinics. He says the immunization rollout is going well with nearly 600-thousand doses administered but there has been a recent rise in cases so people must continue to follow public health orders. He also says he expects his government will introduce regulations to require companies to give staff paid time off to get their vaccinations, similar to measures taken in Saskatchewan

 

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says a woman whose burned body was found in a Burnaby park was a recent immigrant from the Philippines and mother with a loving family. Ma Cecilia Loreto was 49 years old and two people, aged 21 and 15, have been charged with first-degree murder and indignity to human remains after her death. Corporal Frank Jang says it is “incredible” that Carlo Tobias and the youth are facing the most serious murder charges in the book, but he cannot say much about the case as it’s before the courts. He did say that the three knew each other, the alleged killing was targeted and none of them was previously known to police or involved in crime.
Premier John Horgan says COVID-19 vaccinations will remain on track despite the European Union’s export controls on shipments of Moderna and Pfizer doses. Reuters has also reported that India is freezing major exports of Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine. Horgan says his office spoke with the federal government on both issues and received assurances that it is “full steam ahead.” But he says B-C will continue to be prudent and strategic with scarce resources of vaccine.
Dogs will soon have to be kept off the White Rock promenade – until October, at least. On Wednesday (March 24), the City of White Rock issued a news release reminding dog owners that their furry companions are only allowed on the promenade for another few days, as the city bylaw that allows dogs along the waterfront walkway only permits it from Oct. 1 until the following March 31. In the meantime, dog-walkers are encouraged to “find alternative locations” to walk their dogs. The release also notes that city bylaw officers will be monitoring compliance with the bylaw beginning April 1. “Thank you for a great season of getting outdoors with your dogs and enjoying the waterfront. We look forward to the return of dogs on White Rock’s promenade in October,” said White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker.

The B-C government is hiking the fines for those promoting and attending events that contravene COVID-19 public health orders as it looks to crack down on what it says is selfish behaviour. The fine for those caught breaking the provincial health officer’s orders will now cost 575 dollars, up from 230 dollars. The fine for those hosting the event in question will remain at $2,300. The Public Safety Ministry says in a statement the new fine reflects the increased risk in attending such events. 

Vancouver police say they’ve seen a spike in thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles across the city. The converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, meant to reduce pollutants. Police say there have been 71 reports of converter thefts between the start of the year and March 6, compared with 33 in the same period last year. Vancouver police spokeswoman Sgt. Tania Visintin says vehicle owners should try to park in well-lit areas or inside a secure parking lot to help deter potential thieves. 

Delta police say a fully loaded dump truck was pulled off the road earlier this month after officers discovered its brakes were completely inoperable during an enforcement blitz. Police says officers inspected 59 vehicles during a safety campaign on March 16, handing out 33 tickets, while drivers of 31 vehicles were given orders or had their vehicle placed out of service immediately. Officers also pulled over a commercial cargo van where the tread on two of its tires was gone and the wear was into the inner structure of the tires. Thirty inspections of taxis and ride-sharing vehicles were also conducted, with two tickets handed out.

Premier John Horgan says the Supreme Court’s ruling today on federal carbon pricing is great news for climate action in Canada. The country’s highest court ruled it was constitutional for the federal government to impose a carbon price on provinces without one — saying climate change is a dire threat. Horgan says in a tweet that B-C — which brought in its own carbon tax in 2008 — has long been a leader in the fight against climate change. He says the province will move forward with a progressive plan to reduce carbon emissions while building a cleaner and stronger economy. 

The province is reporting 800 new cases of COVID-19 as well as five additional deaths. That’s the highest number of new cases in one day since November. The province also identified 191 new cases of more infectious COVID-19 variants, bringing the total to one-thousand-772. The number of active cases increased to five-thousand-856, with 306 in hospital, including 79 in intensive care. 

The province is easing visitation rules for long-term care and assisted living facilities starting April 1st. Residents will be able to have frequent and routine social visits after being locked down for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule changes include allowing two visitors, plus a child, at one time — and they’re allowed to gather in the resident’s room without staff present. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says vaccinations have made it safe to give those in long-term care and assisted living a greater chance to connect with the people they love. 

A Surrey shooter who fired eight bullets into another man has been sentenced to nine years in jail on lesser charges after being acquitted of attempted murder. Michael Branden Anderson, 40, shot Julian Page on a residential street in Surrey on May 5, 2018. With credit for time already served, Anderson has six years, six months and 20 days left to pay on his debt to society. Justice Karen Horsman sentenced Anderson to nine years for discharging a firearm with intent to wound, maim or disfigure, eight years for aggravated assault, and four years for possession of a restricted weapon. These are to be served concurrently, or all at the same time as opposed to one on top of another.