Province refuses to discuss case of foster parents convicted of 11-year-old boy's killing
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Nov. 18, 2022 | Today: ☀️ High 8C, Low 0C | 7-day forecast

Good Morning, Reader!

You may notice we don't have COVID numbers in this edition. It's something I've been kicking around for a while. I know many people like to keep on top of what is happening. (Those who don't always have the choice to skip it.) And the virus continues to circulate and hospitalize and kill people. But a major issue is that our local and provincial data just isn't reliable so the figures the province is providing don't really give a sense of the current situation. That's on top of the fact that some of the biggest hospital issues we're seeing right now are related to a different respiratory virus affecting children. The COVID section may not be gone for good, but we're going to think about how to deliver actually useful information. In the meantime, we'll include relevant COVID links in the Need To Know section.

—Tyler Olsen, managing editor
Ministry silent on oversight of foster parents who killed children
Two foster parents have pled guilty to manslaughter and other charges in connection to the care of the siblings they were fostering at the time. 📸 Suriyawut Suriya/Shutterstock

It’s unclear whether two Fraser Valley foster parents convicted of killing an 11-year-old boy in their care were properly vetted.

The boy was beaten to death last year after he and his sibling endured months of abuse. The two foster parents have pleaded guilty to manslaughter and a range of other charges. A publication ban on any details that would identify the children also means their abusers' names cannot be published.

But even if it were to omit any identifying details, BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development says it still can’t comment on whether appropriate oversight was conducted before the boy was placed in the home where he died.

Need to know

💲 Data show last year’s floods were by far the costliest natural disaster ever for Canada’s Disaster Financial Assistance program; and the government is looking at ways at reducing payouts for future disasters [Globe and Mail]

🛏️ Realtors are warming up for the annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive in Chilliwack, Agassiz, and Hope [Charitable Impact]

🏥 COVID-19 cases in hospitals climbed 13 per cent across the province last week [Global News]

🧪 A study of contaminated water samples drawn from Fraser Valley floodwaters raised health concerns for people and fish [CBC]

🤢 The study also points out the dangers of being in the water during the floods—and potentially even today [Burnaby Now]

😷 B.C. health officials encourage mask-wearing at personal discretion this winter but said a mask mandate is unlikely to return [Vancouver Sun]

🔥 Two wildfires started near Agassiz yesterday morning [Agassiz-Harrison Observer]

📝 The BC Senior's Advocate found infractions in care homes increased in 2022 [Mission Record]

🐮 Young cows rescued from a flooding dairy farm in Sumas during last year's storm have begun having calves of their own [Abbotsford News]

🚓 A Mission man caught with bulk bags of fentanyl and $102,000 in cash in his closet was sentenced to six years in prison [Abbotsford News]

📁 A 10-point-plan to tackle homelessness in Langley includes better inter-government collaboration and a call for second-stage housing for women and children fleeing domestic violence [Langley Advance Times]; read the Current's coverage of the plan to build second-stage housing here [FVC]

🏇 Equestrian and Langley's Tiffany Foster claimed a spot on the podium at the Jumping World Cup in Toronto [Langley Advance Times]

🏡 View the latest real estate listings, and find out how Tana McNicol's experience and expertise can help you find your perfect home, at*
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The new addition to Chilliwack's G.W. Graham Secondary includes a covered outdoor space for rainy days. 📸 Chilliwack School District/Studio Hub Architects

A major addition to Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Secondary School was completed on Thursday in effort to help the school keep pace with the city's growing population.

The expansion brings the school’s capacity to 1,400 and eliminates the need for eight portables. It brings more space—and more options—for secondary students with more opportunities for trade education, a robotic tech program, an outdoor covered area, and more washrooms.

The expansion cost $23.9 million.

The G.W. Graham addition is one of several new and expanded schools being built to meet Chilliwack's growing population. Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt Elementary/Middle school, a 240-seat addition at Vedder Elementary, and the Imagine High Integrated Arts and Technology Secondary school have also both opened in the last two years.

Higher interest rates are expected to leave the City of Mission with around $840,000 more than expected. Like all municipalities, the city invests the money it is saving in its reserves in low-risk financial instruments. And with the Bank of Canada aggressively hiking interest rates to combat inflation, those higher rates are expected to produce a cash windfall for the city.

Council was recently told that it expects its operating fund to finish the next fiscal year with about $1.6 million more than expected. About half of that surplus will come in the form of higher-than-expected investment income as a result of those higher rates.

Some of that money will go toward paying for unexpected costs, such as $140,000 to clean up after a sewer spill and $129,000 for an over-budget water realignment project.

The city also expects far more revenue from building permit inspections because of a number of major commercial and residential projects that began this year.
On the other side of the equation, bus ridership remains low, leaving the city with about $182,000 less in revenue from tickets and fares. Snow removal is also expected to finish over budget after November and December.

Have you herd?

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Around town


🖼️ Art on Demand 8.4: Jesse Klassen and the Abbotsford Photo Arts Club will both open exhibitions at The Reach Gallery today. The opening reception runs from 6:30 to 8:30pm tonight. Find more information online.

🛍️ Willowbrook Mall's seventh annual Charity Shopping Night in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley takes place on Nov. 19 from 7 to 10pm for adults 19 and older. Tickets online.


🧑🏼‍🤝‍🧑🏼 The Chilliwack Hospice Society is holding its annual memorial celebration at the Vineyard Community Centre on Nov. 23. Held indoors for the first time in two years, the gathering is a time of reflection and support among others who have lost loved ones. More information online.

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