(Big White Ski Resort photo)

(Big White Ski Resort photo)

Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines in the Okanagan

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Here are this week’s top news items.

B.C. expands mandatory mask rules in schools, rolls out ‘rapid response teams’

The province announced that masks will be mandatory in middle schools and high schools except for three scenarios: when students are at their own desk or workstation, when they are eating or drinking and when there is a plexiglass barrier between them.

That means students will be wearing non-medical masks in school for longer periods of time.

When school started in September, students only had to wear masks when they were in high traffic areas, like hallways.

Big White ties new COVID-19 case growth to ‘unsanctioned Australia Day gatherings’

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Interior Health announced five new cases of COVID-19 tied to the Big White cluster, bringing the total number of cases to 231 since Dec. 15.

The ski hill’s senior vice president Michael J. Ballingall said the new cases can be linked to the increased testing at the resort after Australia Day gatherings.

Penticton’s RCMP caseload ‘unsustainable,’ says Superintendent

Despite crime numbers going down, Penticton RCMP is still handling caseloads that are double the B.C. average.

According to the detachment, each officer handles 170 cases. Penticton RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter said it’s unsustainable for the officers.

“I can tell you, our members are getting burned out with the caseload, they’re stressed, and they’re also very frustrated,” he said.

“We want to solve those crimes and help the public, but we’re going from call to call to call to call.”

Former Enderby man suing Crown over alleged Charter abuses in B.C. prison

Othman “Adam” Hamdan filed a lawsuit last month against the Crown and several other government agencies, alleging the treatment he received while he was in prison violated his rights.

Hamdan faces a potential deportation order after his 2017 acquittal on terrorism-related charges.

He claims his rights were violated when Fraser River Corrections Centre officials placed him in solitary confinement, which was allegedly ordered by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Salmon Arm trio open small business with big city feel

Forage General, located in Salmon Arm, offers flowers, coffee, tea, baked goods and other unique gifts.

The store was opened by Salmon Arm couple Tanisha and Jamie Out and their business partner Toni Starkell.

The concept for the store was inspired by things and places the Outs enjoyed while they lived in Vancouver.

“We’ve always been drawn to those things, the minimalist aspect of things, and we wanted to incorporate that into this shop, into this spot,” Jamie said.

“And just to kind of give people that experience, stepping into something that maybe they haven’t seen before, they haven’t experienced.”