Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Tuesday, January 19, 2010)

More tales from the party, a few million more for cogen at Watson Island and concerns over seniors care at Acropolis, some of the items for Tuesday's news review.

Daily News, front page, headline story
GOING AWAY CELEBRATION GETS OUT OF HAND ON FIFTH AVENUE -- Readers who rely on the Daily for their only source of information will be about 24 hours behind the news curve, but Tuesday's paper does provide some pretty good background on the developments on Fifth Avenue East of Sunday morning. George T. Baker gets some of the details from the resident of the house and her neighbours along that stretch of the area. A part of town that became ground zero for the now much discussed events which have been covered extensively by many of the media options in the city (click here for a capsule review of the coverage).

The cost of turning the Watson Island power plant into a cogenerative power plant could be in the millions of dollars, that according to a former steam plant engineer who suggests that the state of the boilers and turbines is such that much upgrading would be required to make a go of the frequently suggested option for development at the old pulp mill site.

The improving fortunes of the mining sector in the Northwest is the subject of a George T. Baker article in the Tuesday edition. He examines some of the prospectie options in the northwest for the industry.

The sports section features a review of the high school basketball scene, with both of Prince Rupert's high schools travelling to a variety of locations this past weekend for competition.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for January 19, 2010 )

The Northern View
RCMP get 190 calls for service -- A review of some of the more intriguing of the 190 police calls received by the RCMP from January 11 to 17 (see article here)

The Northern View
Pacific Coast School officially opened -- Some details on the official opening of the downtown location of the Pacific Coast School, (which now features its new sign and a new motto) an event that takes place almost one year after the school opened its doors to students (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Acropolis Manor resident's family awaiting answers -- A local family expresses concerns for the care of residents of Acropolis Manor, that after a 92 year old resident, having wandered out alone from the Manor, was discovered having fallen on the sidewalk outside of the residence. (see article here)

Sahar Nassimdoost's report for CFTK below

Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
Kwuna on its way, says BC Ferries -- Haida Gwaii residents are hopeful that BC Ferries is true to its word and that the Island's Skidegate-Alliford Bay route vessel the Kwuna will be back in service by the end of the week (see article here)

CBC News Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
More delays in the return of on line content for the Daybreak North website, as the CBC's technical woes appear to be continuing. The CBC has revised their start up date for the new service, advising that the site will launch "shortly".

Daily News, front page, headline story
Going away celebration gets out of hand on Fifth Avenue
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Parties are often described the next day as being “a riot” - but Pierce’s celebration really was.

Hayley Pierce’s going away party was a riot, much to the endangerment of Prince Rupert RCMP officers and her 5th Avenue East neighbours.

One Rupertite has been charged and RCMP are looking for another after Pierce’s final soiree on the City’s eastside got out of hand.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene with officers dodging tossed debris from young locals who also jumped on the hoods of police cruisers and kicked in taillights.

This was not exactly what Pierce had in mind when she planned her going away celebration.
“I think it all started because a friend of mine was tackled by police,” said Pierce on Monday.

Police estimate that 100-150 people were jammed inside and out of a house on 221 5th Avenue East, a house that a neighbour says has often been home to some parties in the past two months, but none that have resulted in the type of scene created by drunken revelers on Saturday night.
William Nielsen, who lives two doors west of Pierce and has lived on the street for the past four years, said he was witness to the entire event.

“There has been some sort of gathering at that house every weekend for the past two months,” he said.

Nielsen said he recalled the reaction to one young man’s arrest as being the spark that lit the January fire.

“People just poured out and Holy Christ the street was just right full. I guess they were going to arrest two of them and the whole bloody lot of them were all charging at the police. About 10-to-20 minutes later the crowd charged again and at that time there were eight officers,” he said.

According to RCMP, eleven officers eventually responded to the scene along with the Prince Rupert Fire Department who deployed OC spray two times when individuals were fighting with officers, and paramedics.

Pierce said her party swelled with people after another house party on 4th Avenue East was prematurely ended by a noise complaint to the RCMP.

The crowd soon grew to a point there was no room inside and people were standing outside. That’s when police contacted Pierce to ask her partiers to leave.

Police say that at approximately 12:49 a.m. on Sunday morning one police officer responded to a noise complaint at the home. Upon arriving, the officer asked Pierce to ask the guests to go home because the police wanted the party over.

It turned out to be a much more difficult request than expected. None of the party people would leave, resisting both the requests of Pierce and the police.

Two more police officers arrived on scene to help scatter people away. This did not sit well with one of the guests, who became violently uncooperative.

According to police, a 21-year-old male became combative and punched and spit at officers.
The male was arrested and charged with four counts of assaulting a police officer and one count of escape lawful custody.

The accused has been released on conditions to keep the peace, not to consume alcohol and abide by a curfew.

For neighbours, the situation was ridiculous - with many people awoken from slumber and kept up.

Fifth Avenue East resident Eugene Farris told the Daily News that he had witnessed the police trying to deal with the party respectfully. He said that the combative man was the one who started it by assaulting the police officer – a story corroborated by Nielsen.

“The police tried to calm them down, but he started assaulting the police and pushing at [one]. The [officer] started pushing back,’ said Farris.

Farris said that when the police felt obliged to handle the 21-year old with reciprocal force, the crowd inside the house reacted angrily and poured out of the house with an assortment of weapons -- beer cans, bottles, cinder block, utensils and other debris – and began to throw these objects at the officers and their vehicles.

“They were grabbing bottles and utensils from my home, and bricks, but I don’t know where they got them from,” explained Pierce who said she was in and out of the house during the melee.

“Members tactically repositioned themselves and their vehicle to minimize danger to themselves and others,” said RCMP Crime Prevention Officer Erin Stevenson in a statement. “One member was admitted to the hospital to have glass removed from his eye and another member suffered minor injury to his face after being struck by the accused. Four police vehicles were damaged.”

Farris described a scene of intoxication-induced trouble, with partygoers having difficulty leaving the premises quietly.

“A next door neighbour said they were throwing bricks on the street and about 20-30 people had crossed through their yard. I never saw anyone cross through my yard, but I saw people out on the street. They began breaking bottles and stuff and hollering at the police.”

The conflict became progressively worse and more dangerous.

Nielsen said one young woman wearing a dark dress and white purse kicked a police cruiser taillight in.

The back window of one of the police vehicles was smashed and the arrested male escaped lawful custody and returned to the party and once again started fighting with members. One female, who Nielsen said had blonde hair and who Stevenson said was known to police, was observed jumping on one of police vehicles and will be charged.

“I was right there and couldn’t believe it,” said Nielsen. “One of her friends was taking pictures.”
The crowd finally dispersed at about 2:00 a.m. after 11 officers, the fire department and local paramedics had all arrived on scene.

Farris said that the neighbourhood is a quiet and safe part of Prince Rupert and that while the house was home to some “get togethers” there had never before been any significant issues with what was going on there.

Police did release the name of the man who was eventually charged.

“The male, Corey Alexander O’Connor, was put back into another police vehicle and driven to the detachment where he was lodged in cells,” added Stevenson.

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