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RPL

Shooter guilty of manslaughter

Richmond's Sarb Dhanda to be sentenced for killing Kam Jawanda

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

A B.C. Supreme Court jury cleared a Richmond man of the most serious of three charges in connection with a deadly confrontation outside his home in Sept. 29, 2001.

But the jury, which found Richmond's Sarbjit Singh Dhanda not guilty of second-degree murder late Saturday afternoon, instead found him guilty of manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Vancouver's Kamalbir (Kam) Jawanda. He was shot twice at close range with a pump-action shotgun outside Dhanda's house at 11340 Williams Rd.

Jawanda's father, Kuldip, told The Richmond Review Monday he is disappointed with the verdict and that it won't provide the closure he and his family are seeking.

"There is no justice there. I don't believe we got the justice. Nothing will bring my son back."

Dhanda was also found not guilty of the attempted murder of Inderbir Jawanda, Kam's cousin, and not guilty of discharging a firearm at Amrit Bains with the intent to endanger his life.

Tensions were high during the four-week trial, with Dhanda at one point having a verbal exchange with Inderbir Jawanda in front of reporters immediately outside the courtroom.

"Me and you soon," Dhanda said to Inderbir on the afternoon Dhanda first took the stand in his own defence on June 26.

Inderbir responded by nodding his head and smiling.

And the jury was not present when Jaspreet Atwal, Dhanda's current girlfriend who previously dated Jawanda for four years, asked to make a statement on the court record that if anything happens to her or Dhanda, that the Jawanda family is responsible.

While Atwal was telling B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice D.J. Martinson that she's been receiving death threats from the Jawanda family, she claims to have seen a Jawanda family relative in the court gallery nodding.

Kuldip Jawanda, who was sitting beside his nephew at the time of Atwal's allegations, said this week he didn't see his nephew gesturing.

"That's an awful way of expressing yourself. As far as I know, we don't approve of that. We haven't received any threats and we've never threatened anybody. "

Dhanda, who had been free before and during the trial, was taken into custody following the manslaughter verdict and will be sentenced on July 15 at 10 a.m. in B.C. Supreme Court. Dhanda faces a maximum life sentence.

Although Russ Chamberlain, Dhanda's lawyer, did not return The Richmond Review's phone call, he told the court Saturday he intends to appeal the verdict.

Two weeks before the fatal shooting, Dhanda's house had been the target of vandals, who both smashed his house's ground floor windows and dented the vehicles parked out front, and then a day later fired as many as 10 shots into the house.

The vandalism sparked a series of retaliatory attacks between Dhanda and Jawanda which appears to have been rooted in jealousy over Dhanda's girlfriend, who is Jawanda's ex.

Then, on the night Jawanda was killed, Dhanda's friend Gary Sidhu vandalized Jawanda's truck outside a local restaurant. Incensed at the damage, Jawanda rounded up his cousin Inderbir and friend Amrit Bains and drove to Dhanda's house, using a baseball bat and hammer to vandalize the house and a car. That's when Dhanda pulled out a recently purchased pump-action shotgun and shot Jawanda twice in the head, once at close range.

This wasn't Dhanda's first run-in with the law.

On June 9, 1995, Dhanda was convicted of trying to exchange drugs for guns and was sentenced to 15 months in jail in the United States, along with three years of supervised release.

Following Jawanda's death, Gurjinder Singh (Gary) Sidhu was murdered in a quiet North Delta neighbourhood in 2002.

Sidhu was a close friend of both Dhanda and Rakinder (Rick) Bhatti, a school teacher who was gunned down outside the Dasmesh Darbar Sikh temple on Oct. 9, 2002.

That shooting happened the same day that Bhatti's friend and Richmond resident Narinder (Ned) Mander disappeared. He is feared dead.


City buys Garratt land

Four-acre site to be maintained as a park

Chris Bryan, Staff Reporter

Richmond School District has sold its four-acre B.W. Garratt Elementary property to the City of Richmond for $1.07 million plus a three-acre future school site near the No. 2 Road bridge.

The city's offer was selected by school trustees at their meeting Monday night, from among three offers. Top Hat Enterprises had offered $500,000 and Progressive Construction had offered $3.26 million, conditional upon receiving rezoning from the city for residential development.

School district secretary-treasurer Ken Morris said the Progressive offer was rejected outright because they were not accepting proposals with conditions.

With the land swap, Morris estimates the city offer is worth $4.2 million.

Morris said the school district now has a parcel of property, located on Lynas Lane across from the public works yard, that can be used when density in the area requires a new school. Archibald Blair Elementary, located nearby, currently uses five portables. Also, the Garratt neighbourhood will get the green space they've been calling for since they absorbed the news their school would close.

The sports fields on the property, located at 7504 Chelsea Pl., will continue to be used by local groups, and the balance will be passive park for the recreation of local residents, park planning manager Mike Redpath said. Without the park, the entire Garratt neighbourhood would be without any public space. The city's policy is to provide 6.5 acres of park per 1,000 people, Redpath added.

Local resident Barry Riva, whose two children attended Garratt, said "I'm glad it's going to be parkland." Green space is in short supply in the area, he said, adding that people in the area were concerned there was going to be apartments built on the site.

Redpath said over the next month, city staff will determine the best use of the existing five-room school building. Demolition is not being considered "at this point," he said.

Garratt is one of three elementary schools that closed this year due to lack of education funding.

Rideau Park Elementary will be used for continuing education programs, Morris said, such as a "small school of business," and also some English-as-a-second-language courses.

The school district had been in discussions with the Francophone Education Authority of B.C. about the possible lease of Alexander Kilgour Elementary, but the authority was unable to secure funding this year. The authority continues to rent space at John G. Diefenbaker Elementary.

Also, the District Incentive Program is moving from its standalone site at Shell Road and Steveston Highway to newly-built A.R. MacNeill Secondary. Though there have been "a lot of calls" about the Incentive Program's two-acre property, the school district is still deciding whether to hold it or not.


Heroin at the heart of soles

Mexican man arrested for drug smuggling

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

You wouldn't want to walk a mile in this Mexican man's shoes...er sandals.

Luis Enrique Aldrete-Guitierrez was arrested by police at Vancouver International Airport after nearly half a kilogram of heroin was found hidden inside the soles of his sandals.

On June 27, Guitierrez arrived at Vancouver International Airport on a flight from Mexico.

He had already been targeted by customs officials based on information from the Advance Passenger Information/

Passenger Name Record system established after the terror attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

During an examination, customs officers noticed that Guitierrez's sandals seemed unusually heavy, but an X-ray failed to show any obvious inconsistencies.

Upon closer inspection, however, customs officers found fresh glue along the soles.

When the sandals were cut open, customs officers discovered bags containing a brown powder, which later turned out to be 380 grams of heroin, according to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

Guitierrez was charged with importing a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.

Customs officers use the passenger information data to identify and intercept high-risk travellers.


Teens lucky to be alive

New driver's high-speed mistake nearly fatal

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

A horrifying accident left two teenage girls with little more than a broken finger on Saturday afternoon.

Shortly after 2 p.m., a 17-year-old girl was driving her 1992 Acura Vigor south on Highway 99 when she attempted to exit at the No. 4 Road offramp.

Richmond RCMP Cpl. Dave Williams said the new driver apparently mistook the accelerator for the brake and wound up losing control of the four-door sedan as she exited at the bend, causing the car to strike three signs before it vaulted off a concrete post and slammed into a telephone pole, roof first.

The crash crushed the front half of the vehicle's passenger compartment and left the driver and her 17-year-old female passenger trapped inside.

The pair was finally freed by Richmond Fire-Rescue fire crews who used the jaws of life to pry open the vehicle. The teens had been wearing their seatbelts.

Asked what spared these girls from serious injury, Williams said: "I would have to say pure luck," adding that their smaller stature may have been a factor.

"It could easily have been a double fatality," said Williams, a collision reconstructionist.

The accident was so terrifying that initial 911 reports had witnesses saying this was a fatality. But the girls wound up being taken to hospital where they were treated and released.

Williams said investigators are considering laying charges against the driver of the Acura, who appears to have made an abrupt, last-second lane change as she was trying to exit.


Motorcycle crash claims 'gentle giant'

Richmond's Jerry Klimek, 44 died Sunday morning

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

He liked to take in the view while riding his meticulously polished Harley Davidson, but on this crisp warm Sunday morning, Richmond's Jerry Klimek didn't return home.

The affable 44-year-old truck driver died after he lost control of his 1976 Harley while riding west on Dyke Road, about half a kilometre west of No. 3 Road. The accident occurred around 1:30 a.m. and was not witnessed by anyone although someone heard it. Klimek was rushed to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Longtime friend Bob Boudreau, speaking on behalf of the Klimek family, described Klimek as a gentle giant who made friends wherever he went.

"It's definitely a tough loss for all of us. He was a big man with a big heart."

The night of the accident, Klimek was returning from a barbecue. Boudreau said Klimek would often follow a familiar route on the way to his Steveston Highway home.

"There was this little route that he would always take and on that night he didn't come home."

Klimek attended Vancouver College before graduating from Richmond High.

Like his uncles, he was in the trucking business, and owned his own dump truck and chiefly worked for the City of Vancouver.

"People gravitated toward him. He was a down-to-earth family man," Boudreau said, adding that Klimek also coached his son's baseball team.

Richmond RCMP Cpl. Dave Williams said Klimek was headed west when the motorcycle went offroad and struck a wooden post that divides the roadway and pedestrian area, splitting the post in half.

An impromptu memorialwith a cross and flowers and a photograph of Klimek posing on the same motorcycle he was riding on the night he was killedwas set up at the scene of the accident on Monday as City of Richmond work crews repaired the damage.

Klimek, who lived his entire life in Richmond, is the son of retired Richmond firefighter John Klimek and became friends with many firefighters.

A funeral was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today at St. Joseph's The Worker Parish on Williams Road. He is survived by his wife Jodie and children Cole, 9, and Emily, 6.

Police are investigating the accident.


Cancer claims restorer of McKinney house

Chris Bryan, Staff Reporter

For those passing by the historic McKinney house on Dyke Road these days, they might notice something's missing.

There's one less person sipping hot coffee out on the verandah.

Just 66 days after she was diagnosed with cancer, Eileen Arletta Eyestone (nee Brown) died Saturday at the age of 66. She and her husband, Curtis, have spent the better part of the last 10 years faithfully restoring the heritage house at 6471 Dyke Rd.

Eileen has always been known for her gardening and sewing skills, but when she went to work on the McKinney house, they all came to the fore.

"Everything in there, material-wise, she made," her daughter RenŽe Taylor said.

Bed canopies, curtains, bed spreads. She even finished the antique chairs with embroidery made on one of her three sewing machines.

Her gardens included veggies, herbs and flowers and every year she collected seeds for the years ahead.

Her industriousness may have come from her mother. When Eileen was 19, her mom brought her and her five siblings out from Saskatchewan to pick strawberries. Eventually, they returned, but Eileen stayed and started teaching dance at Arthur Miller dance studio.

"If you could see pictures of her at the time, you could see she was incredibly beautiful," Curtis said Tuesday. "They didn't care if she could dance or not."

Curtis first met her on New Year's Eve in 1962, when he went to see her ballroom dancing at the Kublai Khan restaurant. Both were married and for many years, they were just friends. Eileen eventually had five children: Derek, Heather, Scott, and twins Robyn and RenŽe.

About 12 years ago, Eileen and Curtis became more than friends. There weren't any more children, but the McKinney house quickly became their babywith Eileen as the "motivating force," Curtis said.

"If it hadn't been for her `gentle persuasion' I never would have got involved."

The project consumed the better part of a decade.

In 2000, Eileen and Curtis gathered on the verandah with friends and family, and exchanged vows. It was the same place where Christine Gilmore married James McKinney on Nov. 21, 1923. Eileen befriended Christine, also known as Teeny, and liked the historical symbolism of the event.

Though she was stunning in appearance, she never used her looks to get you to do things, Curtis said.

"I never thought I'd ever be in the presence of someone that graceful and that beautiful," he said, recalling 40 years ago watching her descend a set of stairs in her ballroom costume. "It was really like being in the presence of royalty."

When she died, Curtis was there, as were her children and grandchildren.

Curtis said it was a beautiful moment.

"She had a really good life."


To the birds

Richmond Art Gallery's latest exhibits are all inspired by birds

Chris Bryan, Staff Reporter

Near Susan Bozic's home, red-winged blackbirds sing among the bulrushes at Trout Lake, and mallards paddle contentedly by the end of the pier.

But the Vancouver artist is more interested in birds when they're dead.

"At first I didn't want to touch them," she said of her fascination with taxidermy, which started a couple of years ago. "The more I photographed and worked with them, it became normal."

The result is Incarnation, an exhibit of 17 black and white photographs in the Richmond Art Gallery's latest show. Bozic's works are part of a bird-theme carried along by Nancy Walker with her exhibit, Songbird, and made interactive by artist-in-residence Pat Beaton.

The impetus of Bozic's exhibit was her interest in Dutch still life paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries. While researching them, a painting of a woman with a dove on her shoulder caught her eye. From there, she let her fingers do the walking, finding taxidermy in the Yellow Pages.

There and at flea markets, she found people willing to rent their stuffed snowy owls, Canada geese, Steller's jays, widgeons and pheasants.

She poses the birds in man-made, staged settings. This is intended to provide the viewer with a new way of relating to the birds.

After the "props" have been found, a single photograph will often require 25 to 30 hours in preparation. The Dutch artists were "highly precise and detail-oriented," Bozic said, and her works require a similar investment.

For "Snowy Owl," for instance, the bird stands on a length of curtain. She tried three fabrics before settling on a fourth. The three folds, she said, took 10 hours to get how she wanted them.

"You'd never know, but the point is to make it look effortless, so it doesn't look contrived. It looks natural."

In the photos, the birds are mimicking their former selves, and at the same time going through a process of transformation.

"They're all about stories. I don't like to be specific...so everybody can get something from them."

For Bozic, the use of taxidermied animals in her art are examples of one type of relationship humans have with nature, and how we "modify, control and preserve nature."

"The idea was to make the birds alive. Give them dignity. Give them empowerment."

If you take the song of the Swainson's thrush and you slow it down, you get an incredibly complex melody.

It becomes ethereal, and sounds much like the sound of a bow playing a saw, if you've heard it.

Nancy Walker's exhibit Songbird combines her fascination with both birds and saws, dating back almost 20 years. For most of that time, she's worked in collaboration with Vancouver musician Robert Minden, who has travelled the world playing the saw and creating music with a variety of unorthodox instruments.

Like Minden is with music, Walker is classically trained in art. Both explore the use of everyday objects to convey meaning.

Walker said she starts with an idea then decides "what's the best vehicle for that idea."

In her upcoming exhibit, 16 saws, a small hatchet and a trowel will be included in her exhibit. Walker creates scenes on their surfaces using tiny glass beads. One work, titled "Are You Now" depicts five women dancing across the blade. While people might associate the tools with destruction, there's a complex dynamic at play, Walker said.

"You have the saw with this beautiful melody, very much like a birdsong. At the same time the saw can represent cutting down the habitat of birds so we can make them into urban areas, suburban areas."

An everyday saw may not be considered beautiful, yet its song is. In the bird world, it's often the same, Walker said.

"I've learned that the plainer the bird, the more beautiful the song. The peacock sounds awful."

Artist-in-residence Pat Beaton will give everyone a chance to make their own art.

On the surface of a birch plywood tabletop, she has etched 18 different birds whose songs are often heard in Richmond, like the chickadee, robin, bushtit and the white-crowned sparrow.

"I want birds whose voices are recognizable," she said, so "when you're out walking you know who's around you."

Throughout the exhibition, visitors to the gallery will be able to use crayons and make rubbings from the birds on the table. There are plant etchings as well, so they can be combined to make unique scenes.

In the past, Beaton did the same thing with coyote facts and folklore at Stanley Park, using the table as a way to generate dialogue about how to live with coyotes.

"Kids swarm it," Beaton said, of her previous experience. "Adults come more carefully."

nThe Robert Minden Duo will perform tonight at the opening reception for this exhibition, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Richmond Art Gallery (7700 Minoru Gate). The exhibition runs to Aug. 31. The duo's work is on-line at www.lostsound.com.

To hear a Swainson's thrush, and other birds, visit www.enature.com/

audio/audio_home.asp. To hear the thrush slow, see www.math.sunysb.

edu/~tony/birds/slo-mo-html.


City employees warned about off-colour jokes

'Situation is no longer tolerable' works yard staff told in memo

Chris Bryan, Staff Reporter

Staff in the City of Richmond's public works yard have been warned of possible termination if human rights violations continue.

And Richmond RCMP have launched criminal investigation probing staff in the roads department, a division of public works, involving allegations of harassment.

A memorandum circulated with staff pay stubs, dated June 9, said the city's human rights policy "continues to be violated by a few employees" and goes on to warn that "those responsible will be disciplined, up to and including termination of employment."

The memo refers to the public works yard as a "male-dominated area and `rough talk' has often been considered acceptable or the excuse for down-right rudeness and discrimination...

"The situation is no longer tolerable, `joking around' will not be a defence and there will be no further excuses."

The memo is signed by Jeff Day, general manager of public works; Eric Gilfillan, director of operations; Mike Pellant, human resources manager; parks director Dave Semple; and Doug Anderson, president of the city's outside workers union.

It also provides three general examples of discriminationtwo that bear a strong resemblance to a case reported in The Richmond Review last November, involving complaints made by roads department employee Mario Ferreira.

The examples refer to non-Caucasian "individuals called derogatory names or addressed with swear words," and "material posted on bulletin boards containing offensive racial remarks." As well, "female employees are subjected to off-color jokes or pornographic material."

Ferreira, who is dark-skinned and of Brazilian descent, told The Richmond Review last year that he often arrived at work to find notes or signs saying "nigger" or "faggot." Fellow employees have signed statements saying they've seen messages such as "Mario is a nigger," or "Die faggot."

One, a newspaper article on the TV mini-series Roots, was left for Mario with a picture of Kunta Kinte in a neck ring and chains, with the words "Mario dead nigger," written in pen.

At the time, the city denied any discrimination was occurring.

After the article chronicling Ferreira's complaints ran in this paper last November, Ferreira said the harassment at work became worse. Soon, the 55-year-old went on stress leave, and has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Though he still worries for his future, Ferreira said he feels vindicated by the memo.

"I knew sooner or later they had to admit it because there was too much evidence," Ferreira said. "My question was, why didn't they do this when I first complained to them?"

Said his lawyer, Larry Smeets: "It looks to me like they've basically admitted it."

Of the memo, city spokesman Ted Townsend said "no, it was not" in response to Ferreira's case. Townsend declined further comment on Ferreira's case or the separate RCMP investigation.

Townsend said the city is co-operating fully with the RCMP investigation.

Sources close to the RCMP investigation say it involves harassment by at least one employee against another employee, and that it has spilled over outside the workplace.

RCMP Cpl. Dave Williams said only that it is an "ongoing, active investigation" involving the city's roads department, and that police don't want to compromise it by leaking any details.

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 394 president Doug Anderson said: "Due to several outstanding (human rights) cases in the public works yard, until they're resolved legally I can't comment."

Meanwhile, Ferreira is seeking compensation from the city in order to sustain him until he can re-enter the workforce. Smeets alleges that any instability Ferreira is now experiencing is a direct result of the mental strain of years of harassment and a management that has neglected to do anything about it.

Smeets said he has presented the facts of Ferreira's case to the city's lawyers and is expecting a response on July 8.

Frances Doylem of Harris & Company, who is representing the city, declined comment.

Meanwhile, Ferreira said he's not ready to retire.

"I want a settlement that can secure me," Ferreira said. "I'm not willing to go back to the place because it's poison. The environment is polluted. A lot of changes would have to happen. I'm finished there."


The $207,000 man

George Duncan is back this week, resuming his role in the city's top job and many long-time city employees say he's worth the money

Chris Bryan, Staff Reporter

Bear pit sessions may sound daunting. Fire side chats sound a little friendlier?

Either way, city staff say the day George Duncan took over as the City of Richmond's chief administrative officer in 1997, the culture changed.

"He's an extremely open person," said Lorraine Bissett, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 718, which represents the city's inside workers. "If he doesn't necessarily agree with you he's still receptive to you."

Bissett said a lot of employees were sad when Duncan left for London, Ont., last year to take over that city's top job. They lost an "open, honest and approachable" boss.

Duncan's job was vacant for several months until this past March, when the city announced he would be returning, complete with a base salary of $207,00025 per cent more than he was making when he left last August. His base salary puts him tops among regional city managers; his predecessor, Johnny Carline, current head of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, earns $188,000.

When the news came out many residents were outraged, flooding The Richmond Review and the city with angry letters.

But most councillors said you get what you pay for, and many city staff agree Duncan is worth every penny.

Connecting with 1,600 employees isn't easy. But Duncan's philosophy is "people first," whether it's his staff or the community.

"The most valuable resource we have is people," he explained Thursday, his second day back on the job, as he was getting re-acquainted with his old office in city hall. "If you invest in that resource, it's a huge payback."

In his "bear pit sessions," he meets with about 30 employees at a time. It's no holds barred, other management aren't present and staff are encouraged to raise any and all issues that are concerning them. If they still don't feel comfortable, they can see him privately in his office.

He makes a point of meeting with all his employees in this way at least once a year.

Feedback is almost always immediate, staff say. If he can reach a solution with a quick call on his cell phone, he does. Bissett said if Duncan were a colour, it'd be red.

"Hit me between the eyes," she said of his approach. "Tell me what it is you want, how we can achieve it. If it's achievable, let's do it."

Doug Anderson, president of CUPE Local 394, the city's outside workers, said: "He cuts through a lot of the bureaucratic red tape."

Duncan is blunt, but clear, staff say. You always know where you stand.

It's something Anderson believes is a strength, though he concedes others could interpret it as a weakness.

Duncan didn't appear surprised by the suggestion.

"We all have our warts and we all have our strengths," he said.

"The things that are your strengths in one situation can be your weakness in another. I try to assess who's involved and how they'll best respond."

For example, if he senses a manager wants to get an agenda on the table, Duncan might sit silently in a meeting for 40 minutes. But another employee might simply be looking for direction, in which case Duncan said he will take the reigns immediately.

Before Duncan, the doors between many departmentsand, often, between staff and managementwere closed.

Where in the past there were cliques or cells within the organization, many of those barriers have now fallen, affirmed Anderson.

At the same time, the city has become much more "results-oriented."

"Richmond in the past had been very committed to starting things but not finishing things," said Mike Kirk, general manager of human resources. "But under (Duncan), you're going to not only finish but quicker than you thought possible."

When he led the city's public works department, Duncan earned notice when he reduced the budget by $1 million while increasing both morale and productivity.

Many of Duncan's mentors once worked at Richmond City Hall. He reels off several, acknowledging the list is incomplete: Bill Harvey, building maintenance supervisor ("Just a wise person. I would talk with him every day."); Harold Lee, assistant maintenance co-ordinator ("I just never met a finer person.); as well as Jim Ellis, former human resources director, and Ron Mann, former director of planning ("He would stay calm and come up with a practical, honest response).

Duncan's approach: "You just observe and try to be more like them."

Among current staff, he includes Jim Bruce, general manager of finance and corporate services.

Among executives in the wider world, Duncan counts Jack Welch, former chief executive officer of General Electric, as embodying a style he admires. Welch led GE's expansion into many new lines of business making it one of the most successful companies in the last century.

Like Duncan, Welch is known for remarkable directness.

Perhaps one reason Duncan connects so well with staff is that he rose from among them. In just 10 years, he went from a supervisor's position in the city's civic properties department to the top job.

Unlike many administrators, he has several electrical and mechanical engineering certificates, but no post-secondary academic degrees.

Kirk sees this as an advantage.

"He doesn't look at it from the normal bureaucrat's view," Kirk said. "He doesn't accept the concept of `that's the way we do it.'"

Both Anderson and Bissett say the employer/union relationship has improved significantly under Duncan's reign. Anderson said during his time he's never seen an agreement hammered out in less than 16 months. The most recent one, with Duncan involved, was signed in three.

Duncan inspires both staff and council, said Coun. Harold Steves.

City hall today is a proactive place, where everyone is looking ahead and helping to create a vision of where they want to go, rather than reacting to changes around them.

"He has them looking forward and visioning what could be happening in the community," Steves said.

One vision that is a Duncan priority in the coming years will be the city's waterfront strategy. People need more access to the water, he said.

"We're an island, we're surrounded by water, but there are very few recreation opportunities there," Duncan said.

Returning to his job has been smooth so far, he said. For the past several weeks, he has reviewed city initiatives over the past year so that he can be up to speed.

Richmond now needs to respond to the opportunities that will arise with Vancouver hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, and it needs to secure rapid transit and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lands at Garden City and Alderbridge, he said.

The challenges ahead are great, but Duncan's confident he has the team to deliver.

"It's nice to look ahead to some lofty goals but know you have a machine to deliver, meet the challenge."

Steves said staff are ready to respond.

"People want to do things for the city and put in that extra effort."


Work on 2010 begins now

John Furlong hopes to continue on the next stage

Chris Bryan, Staff Reporter

Richmond's John Furlong felt like a new man Thursday, following the announcement of Vancouver's success in securing the 2010 Winter Olympics the day before.

"I feel like I went from feeling 75 to feeling 10 years younger than I am," said the president of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Bid Committee, speaking via cell phone from Prague, Czech Republic, where the International Olympic Committee picked Vancouver over Pyeonchang, South Korea and Salzburg, Austria.

"It was an incredibly exciting day."

And an anxious day, too.

By contrast, Thursday was much different, said Furlong. Among the bid committee members there was "euphoria" but everyone was feeling "relaxed and contented."

Furlong planned to return home Friday after tying up some loose ends in Prague.

With the bid committee's work winding down rapidly, it will be officially disbanded at the end of summer. An organizing committee for the Games will be formed almost immediately, though what role Furlong will playif anyis still up in the air.

"It'd be fun to work at the next stage," he said. "But if it's for someone else, that's OK, too."

Though seven years seems a long way off, Furlong said the work must begin almost immediately.

"We have to get off to a great start," he said. "We have to build a culture of success and inclusivity."

He compares it to launching a rocket to the moon. If you get the trajectory off just a few degrees at the beginning, you can miss your goal.

"We want to build real positive momentum."

Furlong credited Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Coun. Bill McNulty and the rest of council for its support for the bid, and said Richmond has, and will continue to, play an important role in the Olympics.

"Richmond is going to be the gateway to the Olympics," he said.

In the immediate future, Furlong said he will do some speaking engagements throughout July, but will take a break in August.


Thieves steal camera from wheelchair-bound teen

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

Charlie's Angels didn't stop a heartless thief from stealing a digital camera strapped to Angus Epp's motorized wheelchair Monday night.

The Surrey teen, who has the muscle-debilitating genetic disorder Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, was watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle at SilverCity Riverport in Richmond Monday night when somebody stole his Fuji Finepix 2600 digital camera.

"It wasn't fair that somebody would steal like that," Epp said Friday, still holding out hope that the thief will find it in his heart to return the expensive camera. "They weren't thinking about how I would feel. How could you not understand what it's like when somebody gets something stolen."

The Princess Margaret Secondary student was with two caregivers and watching the 7:30 p.m. show, sitting in the special wheelchair section of the theatre.

Epp's mother Cheryl said the thief removed several straps in order to unhook the camera, which was inside a small black zippered camera pouch with a long black shoulder strap.

"It's just really disappointing because Angus saved his money for a year to buy it," Cheryl said, noting that the single-income family can't afford to replace the $600 camera which was bought eight months ago.

Angus said he used it for his graphic arts class, to record memorable momentssuch as the time his older brother took him for a long spin in his convertibleand e-mail pictures to friends.

"It won't be easy to do things like that."

Cheryl said Angus is active despite his condition, playing electrical wheelchair soccer and often attending camps. Now he won't be able to photograph those special times anymore.

The stolen camera is a silver-bodied, 2.0 megapixel Fuji Finepix 2600 in a small black zippered bag with a long strap.

Anyone with information about the camera is asked to call The Richmond Review at 604-247-3730.


Tall Ships hopes raised

Tourism Richmond commits $12,500 to a 2005 event

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

Recognizing how valuable an asset like the Richmond Tall Ships Festival can be to the ailing economy, local businesses are lining up with cheques in hand to ensure Richmond doesn't miss the boat come 2005.

Following in the wake of the Fraser River Port Authority, which came forward with a $5,000 cheque, several Steveston businesses are poised to invest thousands of dollars into the organization of the event which stands to benefit the fishing village the most.

And Tourism Richmond also jumped on board, committing $12,500.

"It's just too valuable an asset for us not to be behind it," Tourism Richmond executive director Rob Tivy said. "We knew we had to support the tall ships. We know we have to make this fly."

Tivy said Richmond council is to be commended for challenging the private sector to step forward with its support.

"I think city council made a good decision there."

Janice Podmore, chair of the Tall Ships steering committee, said she never had any doubt that local businesses would provide financial support for the event.

"I'm not surprised but I'm sure relieved that they've come forward this frequently," Podmore said of the numerous unsolicited calls she's received.

In particular, Podmore is delighted that small local business are doing their part to support the event.

"We never had any doubt that the private sector would drive the tall ship program."

This week's donations means the steering committee now has enough money to create a business plan. With the city agreeing earlier this month to match up to $25,000 worth of donations, the committee now has $35,000 to work with.

Podmore stressed there are a number of financial obligations, such as the signing of a contract with the American Sail Training Association (the U.S.-based association of tall ships owners who help organize these events), that require a total of about $80,000.

Last August, the tall ships festival drew some 400,000 people to Richmond. The average visitor to Richmond spends $160 per day, meaning the tall ships event brought in millions of dollars, Tivy said.

With the success of last year's event, Tivy said Richmond is now poised to make this its signature event, in the same way that Calgary is synonymous with the Calgary Stampede. Events with the potential to make such a huge financial impact on a community are few and far between, he said.

The impact of last year's event can't be calculated simply by ticket revenues and local spending, he said.


Remote control

Booking meeting rooms and inviting co-workers is being made easy by new portable software system

Philip Raphael, Staff Reporter

A Richmond software development firm is putting the `assistant' in `personal digital assistant.'

Thanks to a recently released, portable, remote-scheduling system, employees can conveniently book meeting room facilities at their workplace, order food for the event, and send out invitations via e-mail, and then receive confirmation of attendance. It all works by using a hand-held computer with wireless internet access and the Meeting Room Manager system developed by Network Simplicity Software Inc.

While the idea of using a computerized system to book meeting rooms may at first seem like a luxury, Simon Gatto, director of technical pre-sales for Network Simplicity, said the traditional way of getting employees to manually sign out rooms just does not cut it in today's faster-paced work environments. It is especially hard with businesses that are mid to large-sized, or have large numbers of employees who spend much of their time outside the office.

"Some firms are still using pen and paper and putting out a binder for staff to sign out facilities," he said, adding that can be an ineffective, time-consuming way of managing resources, and lead to problems such as double-booking.

With the Meeting Room Manager system, all of the registered users can get a complete look at a particular facility's availability, and then make the required booking.

But it doesn't end there.

The software can hook up with other departments, such as catering, and order the necessary items for that event, and provide e-mail notification for invited guests.

And if that all didn't put an employee firmly in the fast lane for setting up a work meeting, the fact all of this can now be done via a wireless internet connection to a personal digital assistant sure will.

On June 16, Network Simplicity released the hand held version of Meeting Room Manager.

"It will give them all the information they need, and they don't have to physically go to the rooms in order to book one," Gatto explained.

And all of this can be accomplished in real time, ensuring the information is current which eliminates the possibility of overbooking facilities.

So far, Network Simplicity has successfully carved a niche for itself in the marketplace which has dramatically driven sales over the last three years, from $60,000 in 2000 to around $700,000 last year.

Clients to date include courier Goliath UPS which is using the Meeting Room Manager software at one of its sprawling facilities that uses offices in a number of buildings.

Chief executive officer James Dean, who started the firm in 1994, said his staff are working on a next generation version of Meeting Room Manager which is scheduled for an October release and will incorporate even more convenience and custom features to allow it to adapt to other settings.

"We're looking at a hotel manager, schools, camp grounds, anywhere you would benefit by being able to book space."

The system will also be able to have its `skins'appearance on the computer or personal digital assistant screencustomized to reflect the nature of the user.

"And we also intend to expand into medical and educational institutions," Gatto added.

Outside the office setting the system has a number of other applications as golf courses can use it to help arrange tee times, spas can book clients for therapy sessions, and community centres can keep tabs on the availability of facilities open to public use.

The company also has its software developers working on a time-saving inventory system called Visual Asset Monitoring.

It can log a company's entire inventory, from chairs to computers, and then apply it to a floorplan of the work area.

"To information technology companies that kind of information can be invaluable because when an employee says he has a problem with his computer, Visual Asset Monitoring can not only locate it quickly, but it can see what else that piece of equipment may be linked up to," Gatto said.

Currently, the bulk of the firm's sales (about 90 per cent) are to U.S. customers, with the remainder coming from Canada.

Dean said the lack of sales in this country is mainly due to the inherent conservative nature of Canadian business.

"When we started up this company we tried hard to get into Toronto and the large business sector there and not initially the U.S. But if we hadn't gone south, we wouldn't have been able to grow the way we are now."

U.S. customers have come mostly from the eastern seaboard, but as word has spread about the software's benefits, interest, as well as sales, have steadily moved westward.

The firm is also looking to Europe for sales and has struck agreements with re-sellers in the U.K. and Germany.


More trouble for Telus

Credit card billing angers more customers

Julia Caranci, MetroValley News

Telus found itself in more hot water this week, after thousands of customers were informed they will be doubled-billed for phone bills in July.

Just last week, the company faced numerous complaints from customers angry that the residential phone directory, produced by SuperPages, will be split into five separate books, based on residency.

Both the Better Business Bureau and the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunica-tions Commission are considering launching investigations of the companies, although no formal action has been taken to date.

The newest complaints involve credit card payments to Telus.

Approximately 150,000 Telus customers pay their monthly phone bills via personal credit cards, for the sake of convenience.

However, a billing process change by the company means half to two-thirds of them will see two charges on their July bill, one for July and another for August.

Telus spokesman Charlie Fleet said the situation was the result of the company changing over all products, including Telus.net and Telus Mobility, so they can be billed at the same time. He acknowledged that the company has received complaints, but insists the problem is "unavoidable."

"We're streamlining our billing process," he said. "We're reducing costs around the structure of our billing."

Telus pays about $5.5 million per year in merchant discount fees to run the credit card billing program. Fleet said the changes will give the company better capital flow and produce some cost savings, although he did not have a figure or estimate of the amount.

"The key point is, this is a one-time overlap," Fleet said. "As we move into September, things will smooth out."

He added those who are unhappy with the double-billing can opt out of the program and use other means to make the payments.


Jurors ask for clarification in Dhanda trial

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

The jurors deciding the fate of a Richmond man accused of second-degree murder asked a question to the judge Thursday morning.

Crown Counsel Geordie Proulx told The Richmond Review that the jurors asked whether the Crown has to prove that Richmond's Sarb Dhanda was aware the man he was about to shoot outside his Williams Road house in September 2001 was in fact Vancouver's Kamalbir Jawanda.

B.C. Supreme Court Madame Justice D.J. Martinson said that wasn't required to render a guilty verdict on the second-degree murder charge. The jurors also have the option of finding Dhanda guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Dhanda is also charged with the attempted murder of Inderbir Jawanda, who was shot in the leg by a pump-action shotgun. The jurors also have the option of finding him guilty of aggravated assault, Proulx said.

Last week, Dhanda testified he didn't know who was at the door when he discharged his weapon, striking Jawanda twice in the head on Sept. 29, 2001. Experts testifying for the Crown said that the shotgun was discharged once while it was either in contact with Jawanda's face or very close to it.

During the course of the four-week trial, the jury heard about a bitter rivalry between Dhanda's circle of friends and Jawanda's.

Although Dhanda testified he'd never met Jawanda before the first of three acts of vandalism at Dhanda's house, Dhanda said he was aware that Jawanda had "suckerpunched" one of his good friends at a nightclub and told him to tell Dhanda to watch his back. Dhanda had been dating Jawanda's ex-girlfriend, Jaspreet Atwal, at the time of the shooting, suggesting that Jawanda may have harboured some jealousy.

The feud began in earnest when Dhanda's house was vandalized by Jawanda on Sept. 16, 2001, the same night Dhanda's friend was told Jawanda was angry at Dhanda. That same day, Dhanda rounded up his friends for a retaliatory strike against the home of Jawanda and his cousin Inderbir.

The next day, on Sept. 17, Dhanda's house was struck by as many as 10 shots fired by a "high-powered" rifle.

Then on the night of the fatal shooting, on Sept. 29, the windows of Jawanda's sports utility vehicle were smashed outside a local nightclub by Dhanda's friend Gary Sidhu.

Minutes later, Jawanda, his cousin and a friend drove to Dhanda's house, where Jawanda and Inderbir began to smash the ground-floor windows to the house and vandalize a vehicle parked out front.

Dhanda said he feared for his life and that of his family and brought out a shotgun, which he fired through the front door of his house after it swung open, striking Jawanda twice, killing him.

The 12-person jury began deliberating late Wednesday afternoon.


Off the top

Richmond residents are losing their hair for some good causes

Martin van den Hemel, Staff Reporter

Where there's a hair, there's a way...to raise money for a good cause.

Canada Day brought out the generosity in people as Richmond's Gordie Ball and Hugh McRoberts grad Bryan Steski fared well in their fundraising efforts by going under the razor.

And now Richmond RCMP Const. Michelle LeBrun is hoping to join the hair parade; she'll cut her waist-long flowing red hair if she raises $5,000.

Ball grew his beard and moustache for two months and had it shaved by Steveston Barbers on July 1 to raise money for the Jimmy Ng Scholarship Fund. Ball used to work with Ng and said the $400 he raised will soon be presented to Ng's parents. (Ng, an RCMP constable, died on duty last September when his police cruiser was hit by a car.)

Steski dedicated his head shaving to his grandfather Frank, who passed away a couple of years ago of colon cancer.

Steski is all too familiar with the disease. His great grandfather is a colon cancer survivor at the age of 93, while his grandma has bone marrow cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

"It was incredible," Steski said. "I wasn't expecting to raise that much money at all. People stepped up to the plate and we hit a homerun."

Steski planned to have his hair cut on Canada Day, and made his plea for donations at the podium microphone inside the beer garden at the Steveston lacrosse box.

He and his friends walked around for an hour and complete strangers walked up while his head was being shaved and donated money, which will go to cancer research in B.C. More than $350 was collected.

Steski now plans to visit his grandmother in Winnipeg and surprise her with the cheque.

LeBrun is taking part in the Cops for Cancer Tour for a Friend, a 600-kilometre six-day trek through the Sunshine Coast, Whistler and the Lower Mainland, which will be held this September.

If she can raise $5,000 in pledges, LeBrun said she will shave her head bald and donate her hair to make a wig for a child who has cancer.

Anyone who wants to make a donation can call Const. LeBrun at 604-278-1212 or drop off a sealed envelope to the Richmond RCMP detachment at 6900 Minoru Blvd.

Tax receipts will be issued for donations of more than $10, and cheques can be made payable to the Canadian Cancer Society.


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