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Archive for August, 2008

Olympic vandals paint themselves into hot water

Thu Aug. 28 2008
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca


Workers try to remove white paint from the Olympic Countdown Clock outside of Vancouver’s Art Gallery August 28, 2008.

A group of vandals have hit Vancouver B.C.’s Olympic Countdown Clock.

Police spokesperson Jana McGuinness says just after midnight Thursday they received a call that three people had doused the clock with white paint.

McGuiness says the suspects were tracked down on nearby Robson Street a short time later.

They were easy to find – their clothes and hands were covered with paint.

Two 19-year-old men a 20-year-old woman were arrested and are facing mischief charges.

There is no estimate for the cost of the damage.

This isn’t the first time the clock has been the target of protesters.

In February 2007, protesters armed with balls of rocks and paint balloons crashed the clock unveiling outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

One masked protester even stormed the stage, shoving a startled VANOC executive away from the microphone.

No group has claimed responsibility for the vandalism, and police say it’s too early in the investigation to know if this latest incident is linked with any others.

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A Few Voices From the Woodsquat in Guelph

[Posted by Anonymous on August 26, 2008, to friendsofgrassynarrows.com]

First off we’d like to state that the following text is the work of a few individuals who take part in the occupation of the squat space and does not represent anyone but the authors of the text. We would like to make it clear that there are many of us involved in this space and that no media liaison will ever represent everyone from the squat. Also, it should be pointed out that we don’t believe in mediating our communication and we don’t like reporters. We’d like to illustrate the limitations of using the media and the misconceptions they create, and to give another perception of what happened on the notified eviction date of Monday, August 25th.
The night before the eviction we spent time with our friends and lovers, singing and laughing around a bonfire. We went to collect water from the river and spring, beneath constellations of stars not yet erased by the haze of light pollution. As we went to sleep, the incandescent glow of the moon’s light embraced us as we slept in the places filled with memories of the experiences we shared there, together.

The morning came early with people setting up for the show that was planned to gather all our friends from the city and other towns. Some of us slept in while the media showed up looking for some catchy scoop that would reduce our struggle and lives to a front-page article in the local rag.

After the show we milled around, excitement was in the air. The police hadn’t arrived yet, and we knew they could come any time they pleased. Keeping that in mind, we refused the sop of stagnation and defense. Marching together with our belongings on our backs we headed downtown in a festively angry mood.

The first thing we did was to storm the police station and enter into their lobby. They locked us out while looking at us through the tinted glass of their second set of doors. This time Cst. M. Gazzola wasn’t feeling brave enough to walk up to us with eviction notices. Maybe he knows that his second ass-kicking is in the works. Unable to communicate directly with their faces, we instead left our message postered all over their building. “Take notice that any structures or personal property on these city lands must be removed and shall be immediately disposed of if not removed by September 6, 2008.”

Then we marched to city hall, and up the stairs to the mayor’s office. She wasn’t around but Jim Stokes, manager of realty services, was there. This is the (civil) servant who originally said that we had no worry of eviction even though we lived there, but was later found nailing eviction signs to the trees near our squat. The liar was handed an eviction notice, and we made sure to hammer a couple to the front door as we left.

The city gave the order to evict us around the 25th of August and the police have shown no hesitation in their plan to displace us by force. There‘s nowhere for us to go. The city, its planners, its realty managers, and developers have made sure to build and redevelop every space in guelph for the use of the rich. Property values and rent continue to grow, as we are literally built out of a place to live. We shouldn’t have to “afford” anything and we aren’t interested in having to “afford” to live. It’s clear who the culprits are that make sure there is no space for us to even exist. It’s not just us, there are others who get displaced everywhere because they can’t “afford” to live; it’s our neighbors, wildlife, forests and plants, it’s life itself that can’t “afford” to live with this systematic abuse. So on September 6th we plan to kick off the beginning of our offensive aimed at carrying out the last eviction this city will ever see!

It’s interesting how the media doesn’t understand what this squat is about. They try to find arbitrary causes within which to try and understand us, like how “guelph lacks affordable housing and many of the people at the squat will end up downtown on the street.” Or that “if people need help finding a place to live, Wyndam House, a local charity that provides housing, has volunteered its services.” But they do this because they can’t understand us. They can’t understand what it means to create our lives on our own terms, without the daily monotony of wage slavery, without the anxiety leading up to a monthly assault of bills and payments. They can’t understand what it feel like to live socially, without the atomization of car culture and suburbia, without the isolation of family units, and the endless barrage of advertised social roles. How can they? They live with cameras watching their movements, police crossing their paths, and a precarious life that they have to continuously “afford.”

However, the one thing that we can help them understand is that our planned meeting with the community downtown on Saturday, August 30th was never intended to be inviting to city officials. The only words that we (those who wrote this text) have for them are: “get your shit out of our new squat by September 6th, or we’ll be seeing you soon.”

We’d like to finish by expressing our deepest gratitude and love to everyone who came out on Monday to celebrate everything that this squat stands for and means to them. Similarly, we extend our thanks and compassion to the individuals who carried out their acts of solidarity with us. Keep it up, because you know we will!

Onwards and Outwards,

A few people from the woodsquat

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Vandalism down, graffiti up at schools

By Melissa Lampman – Kamloops This Week [British Columbia]
Published: August 26, 2008

School District 73 saw a drop in vandalism on its properties, but is finding more graffiti than ever.

During the 2007-2008 school year, the district spent nearly $40,000 on glass replacement, down from the 2005-2006 year when more than $50,000 was spent.

Art McDonald, director of facilities and transportation, told the Board of Education Monday all district facilities are seeing less window breakage and overall damage.

“We are putting less material up, as far as breakage goes,” he said.

The few schools that did have some damage were Author Stevenson elementary, with dumpsters that were tipped over and then set on fire; Barriere secondary, which had 17 windows broken in July; and Barriere elementary, which had 27 windows smashed.

However, just like the rest of the city, there’s more graffiti being done than ever.

McDonald said painting man hours have almost doubled for the last school year, with 154, compared to the 93 man hours in 2006-2007.

“But, those man hours are only one per cent of our time,” he said.

“With the graffiti, we chase it, but it’s very difficult to stop.”

McDonald said most vandalism takes place from April to October, especially during long weekends.

The only way to stop it from happening would be to have security patrols at every facility.

“But we can’t be everywhere at once . . . we’re talking millions of dollars.”

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Vandals arrested by RCMP

Barriere Star Journal [British Columbia]
Published: August 25, 2008 5:00 AM

Barriere RCMP report a series of arrests have recently taken place within the community.

At approximately 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 18, someone, or several someones, pried off a board at the rear of the Barriere Secondary School, gained entry and pulled the fire alarm.

The next morning it was discovered that windows at the front of the Elementary School were also smashed.

The severity of the incidents have been steadily rising and Barriere RCMP Constable Evan Cadwallader reports, “two people were recently arrested after being caught smashing the sign and two exterior lights at the Y5 motel.”

The two were held in custody, will be facing criminal charges, and were eventually released. Police say the perpetrators of this episode will have their names released at a later date.

RCMP also report that in the early hours of Aug. 20th they responded to reports of a fight in the area of the high school. Two males in their early twenties were arrested at the scene, and were charged with assault with a weapon. They were taken into custody by the RCMP with one being released and one remanded in custody. Tyler and Tony Cisna (cousins), and new residents to the area, will appear separately in court on Aug. 26 and Aug. 29.

Police also received reports of fires being lit in the middle of the road in the vicinity of the schools on Aug. 20. Cst. Cadwallader reports that a canine unit was called in and that the police dog was instrumental in tracking down the culprits.

Barriere police say they have several serious leads in the investigation of other cases of vandalism in the Barriere area and they expect to make more arrests soon. They request that if anyone has any information on the damage done to the schools to please come forward to the Barriere RCMP or call Crimestoppers.

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Guelph, Ontario: McDonalds attacked

[Posted by Anonymous, August 26, 2008, to no2010.com]

On the afternoon of August 24, a McDonalds was attacked in Guelph Ontario. We cemented shut the pipes, disabling the toilet in the bathroom stall. We were inspired by a similar action in Victoria, BC on May 31 carried out against McDonalds because of their involvement in the 2010 Olympics.

We did this after the Guelph Wood Squat recieved a notice of eviction. According to Jim Stokes, the city’s manager of realty services, “Pouring [concrete] foundations is way beyond what we will allow.” The concrete foundation was the beginning of a straw bale home for the winter. Either construction continues or the cement gets used in other ways.

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Call for Solidarity with the Wood Squat in Guelph (August 22, 2008)

Santa Cruz: 2030 North Pacific Vandalized Twice (August 24, 2008)

“This most recent attack is in solidarity with the people living at the ‘wood squat’ of Guelph, Ontario who are facing eviction by that city today, August 25.”

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Youth vandalism cancels Behchoko summer festival

Last Updated: Friday, August 22, 2008
CBC News North

[Tlicho/Dene Nation territory, North West Territories]

A popular summer festival in Behchoko, N.W.T., has been cancelled this week due to an ongoing rash of youth vandalism in the community, local officials say.

The annual Happy Days Festival was supposed to start Friday night and run all weekend. The festival normally includes a Saturday night dance, a softball tournament, children’s sporting events and other activities.

But Craig Yeo, a spokesman for the Behchoko community government, told CBC News that local officials decided earlier on Friday to cancel the festival.

“The community government is worried that if things are put up to support the event — equipment and things — that it won’t be there in the morning when they go back,” Yeo said.

Yeo said a vehicle was set ablaze in Behchoko on Tuesday morning, and about a dozen young people broke into the local Northern Store on Wednesday. Seven were arrested Thursday night, in an alleged attempt to break into the community’s cultural centre.

The problem of vandalism and violence among young people has escalated to the point where a community watch group has started patrolling Behchoko’s streets between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. every night.

The volunteers’ nightly patrols made for another reason the Happy Days Festival was cancelled — Yeo said there was a lack of volunteers available to help stage it.

Group lobbies for proper youth centre

Many residents in the community of 1,900 have blamed the problem on a lack of proper facilities for young people.

A former youth centre is housed in a building that currently does not meet safety codes, while construction continues on a big, new sportsplex.

Appearing at a community government meeting Wednesday, a group of youth representatives said they need a place where young people can feel comfortable being in.

“It’s all controlled by the youth. It’s better,” said Marvin Apples, 20, who was at the meeting.

“Some youth can’t talk to people. But if you have, like, a close best friend, like us, we do everything according to our rules. You know our youth, we follow the rules. That’s why we wanted to have our own facility.”

The young people have been offered space at the local friendship centre, but the group said not all young people would feel comfortable going there.

Apples said his group is looking at possibly leasing some land to build their own centre.

Resident Jane Weyallon, who showed her support for the youth at the meeting, said the group has already demonstrated that it can look after its own facility.

“They’ve been paying for electricity and the fuel through doing bake sales and doing a cookout, a community cook out,” she said.

“The community, they hire them. And then that money that they make goes back to maintaining the building.”

Wednesday’s community government meeting started at 6 p.m. and lasted all night. The meeting, and the youth discussion, is expected to resume on Monday.

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Arson investigated at VSS

By Richard Rolke – Vernon Morning Star [British Columbia]
Published: August 19, 2008

Another Vernon school has been the target of arson.

Firefighters arrived at Vernon Secondary School Sunday at 12:30 a.m. to find a stack of lumber on fire.

“It did damage to the door frame of the shop and it got up into the overhang of the roof and scorched the wood,” said Rick Owens, deputy fire chief.

It’s believed someone may have been on the roof of the school prior to the blaze being noticed by a passerby.

“A vehicle was seen leaving the scene. Whether it was involved, it’s not 100 per cent sure,” said Owens.

Members of the Vernon RCMP were also called to the scene.

“It’s still under investigation,” said Gord Molendyk, detachment spokesman.

This is the second case of arson at a local school in the last few weeks.

On Aug. 12, the RCMP received a report of a Molotov cocktail being thrown at Mission Hill Elementary. Only minimal damage was done, and it’s not known when the incident actually occurred.

Officials are not willing to link the incidents at the two schools.

“It’s too early to say if they are connected, but there were two different fire starts and they were quite some distance away from each other,” said Molendyk.

Owens credits a member of the public reporting the fire at VSS, saying that the situation could have been a lot worse.

“If it had gone unnoticed, there could have been a lot of damage,” he said.

The Vernon School District has taken action to try and minimize vandalism at all facilities.

Security officers will be patrolling all schools between now and the resumption of classes in September.

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School repairs costly

By Teresa Bird – North Island Gazette [British Columbia]
Published: August 12, 2008
Updated: August 15, 2008

Vandalism is rampant at North Island schools this summer.

In the latest incident, the front doors at Eagle View Elementary [in Port Hardy] were kicked in Monday night.

“The literally kicked in the glass,” said Randy Ball, manager of operations and maintenance for the school district. “they really had to work at it. This is laminated glass the same as in a vehicle. They actually damaged the door kicking in the glass.”

The vandals also took the time to break the branches on the Japanese red maple in the playground area.

“It doesn’t look like we’ll be able to the save the tree,” said Ball.

But this latest damage isn’t the first this summer.

At North Island Secondary in Port McNeill, the front office windows were smashed early in the summer.

“But we found they moved down the building as we boarded windows up,” said Ball. All the windows are boarded now and the broken ones won’t be replaced until school starts.

Vandals have also been busy on the roof of the school.

“There was big fan unit on the roof,” said Ball. “It was kicked off its mounts and rolled off the roof to the pavement below,” explained Ball.

At Sunset Elementary, the large tires in the playground were lifted and rolled down the bank, across the track area and into the wall of the gym at NISS creating “significant” dents in the siding, said Ball.

Back at Eagle View steps are already underway to frustrate vandals. Metal shutters are being installed on all the windows while the school is undergoing a seismic upgrade. But Ball says they had hesitated to shutter the doors.

“We wanted to avoid making it too institutionalized,” said Ball.

Ball said all the vandalism takes a lot of time, effort and work for his crew as well cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars every year.

“I am surprised no one is seeing or hearing anything,” said Ball, adding sometimes they get called out in the middle of the night to deal with vandalism. “This costs major money, especially in glass replacement. We could be working on other things at schools.”

The money spent could be used for other things as well. The school board has been forced to cut services, programs and staffing in North Island schools in recent years due to declining enrolment, increased costs and insufficient funding. Schools at Echo Bay and Quatsino were closed in June to balance the 2008-09 budget. The board may face cutting as much as $900,000 dollars from next year’s budget.

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Poorly planned escape bid at Kingston Pen a bust

MATTHEW TREVISAN
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
August 20, 2008

[Kingston, Ontario]

Two federal inmates trying to escape from Kingston Penitentiary managed to get onto the roof of the maximum security prison and attach a homemade grappling hook to the razor wire near the walls before getting caught by officials last week.

The attempted escape happened at about 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to a Correctional Service of Canada statement. Kingston police say an inmate in his early 40s and another in his late 50s had somehow made their way unnoticed to the rooftop of the gymnasium, about 12 metres away from the prison’s west wall near Lake Ontario.

From the roof, the two convicts tossed a homemade grappling hook – fashioned out of metal clamps and attached to a rope made of wire and shoe laces – toward the wall, where it caught on the razor wire.

But that’s where the duo’s plan seemed to end, police say.

“They did not leave the building rooftop,” said Constable Michael Menor. “They never made any attempt to because they would have never been able to get through the razor wire.”

And even if they did, Constable Menor said, they would have likely broken their legs after plunging about 10 metres to the ground.

“There was just no way they would have done it,” he said.

According to Corrections Canada, “Immediate staff response prevented the escape.”

The agency also said the safety and security of the public was not at risk but would not comment any further because of a police investigation. The penitentiary has been under lockdown since Friday.

Constable Menor said charges are pending against the two men, and Janine Chown, Corrections Canada spokeswoman, said the agency will also investigate the incident.

Since it opened in 1835, there have been 29 recorded breakouts at Kingston Penitentiary, said David St. Onge, curator of Canada’s Penitentiary Museum.

The last inmate to attempt one was in 2000, Mr. St. Onge said, when a man was caught trying to escape from the visitors area.

The last person to escape was Tyrone Conn in May, 1999. He used a dummy in his cell to trick guards into believing he was still there, hid within the walls of the prison shop, then escaped using a ladder, hook and rope. Two weeks later, Mr. Conn killed himself with a shotgun when cornered by police.

Until that point, the last escape from Kingston Penitentiary was in 1958.

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