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Front Page News

Christians recreate Jesus' final walk to recognize work done to help poor in downtown Kelowna

Christians spent part of Good Friday following a large wooden cross through downtown Kelowna and stopping at places that symbolize the work people do for the poor.

Young giving record stores a spin as vinyl enjoys revival

When asked when record stores became cool again, The Grooveyard owner LeAnne Jakubeit declares they never stopped being cool.

Hear pop-rockers for free

Kelowna band Yukon Blonde comes home to play a free concert in City Park next month.

An Easter story: Pilate’s wife told him so

By Dorothy Brotherton

 

I could have spent the rest of my life saying, “I told you so,” but men never listen. He hadn’t listened before, so why would he listen after?

I told him — warned him — don’t have anything to do with that man. Don’t touch this situation with a 10-foot pole. It went in one ear and out the other. And my husband’s name would go down in history marked by blackness.

People think being married to a Roman governor is all about luxury and power, jewels and furs, parties and pastries. They have no idea.

In the first-century Roman Empire, the career of a high official teetered on a tightrope. Politics were brutal. Gossip cut like switchblades. Threats and intrigue swirled through palaces. We were not exempt.

My husband Pilate was governor of Judea. His job was to protect the absolute reign of Caesar from any hint of treason. I often heard early rumours in the women’s quarters, behind the fans, and quietly passed information to Pilate. Usually, he listened.

So I don’t understand why he didn’t listen that day. Things might have turned out so differently.

I had been tossing in my bed when I woke in a sweat, trembling, a face still in my mind that spelled terror. Then I heard commotion in the courtyard. It was scarcely dawn.

I splashed water on my face and slipped into the anteroom where I could see Pilate in his private judgment hall, interviewing a blood-smeared prisoner. I recoiled in disgust when I saw the face. No. It couldn’t be: the face from my nightmare. The dream rushed back — the terror, the pursuit, the hopelessness. I scribbled a note to Pilate and quickly found a messenger.

A few moments later, Pilate came to me and I grabbed his arm in panic.

“What?” he demanded, annoyed at being interrupted.

“Don’t have anything to do with that man,” I hissed, trying to still my trembling.

“Why? What have you heard?” he asked, suspecting some court gossip.

“That man — that man — I was greatly troubled because of him in a dream,” I stammered.

Pilate looked at me with disdain and said, “Is that all?”

He shook my hand off his arm and started back into the hall.

“Please. . . .” I called, but he did not turn.

The next hours were a waking nightmare. The crowd roared for blood. The last thing my husband’s career needed was a riot. I heard Pilate say he found no fault in the man, and my hopes soared. He offered to release the man as a gesture for the feast day. The crowd demanded release of a murderer instead.

From behind the draperies, I heard Pilate present the charges to this Jesus of Nazareth, with deafening silence in response.

Pilate asked, almost meditatively, “What is truth?” and again I hoped he would back out of the whole mess.

But sometime in the madness, my husband spoke the crucifixion order, then, strangely, called for a bowl of water. Facing the crowd, he made a show of washing his hands. My hand jumped to cover my mouth, as I saw the water trickle down his elbows. It looked as thick and red as blood.

The man was dragged away. Pilate sat at his desk marking on a rough piece of wood, “This is Jesus, king of the Jews,” the sign to post on the cross, the apparatus of death.

Immediately, the religious leaders argued it wasn’t quite right, but Pilate said, “What I have written, I have written.”

I knew also that what he had done was done.

I fled to my quarters and begged my maid for the strongest headache powders she could find.

Events moved forward. The crucifixion took place outside the city. Pilate permitted two friends of Jesus to entomb his body, then ordered the tomb sealed and guarded.

Three days later, trembling guards stood before Pilate while I listened in the shadows. They told of a shining creature that broke Rome’s seal and rolled the stone away. They claimed they froze, unable to move or speak. The body was missing.

Commotion broke out as religious leaders argued about what to do and the guards expected the axe to fall. After all, their story was preposterous and the penalty for breaking Rome’s seal was death.

Then I heard the chink of coins.

My husband counted coins into the guards’ hands, the priests passing him more. Pilate is usually uncomfortable with hush money, but I understood. This story that Jesus was alive, walking around the city, healthy, no bruises — it had to be silenced.

The guards would take the money and spread a story that friends had stolen the body. That was the deal. A little weak, but maybe the coins would bury the truth forever.

Or maybe, as in my dream, truth would rise from the dead and worlds like Pilate’s and mine would break apart forever.

Boston Marathon bombings unforgettable, but no obstacle

By Don Plant

 

Liz Borrett returns to run the Boston Marathon on Monday, but she’s no more nervous than she’d be for any other race.

At 75, the Kelowna athlete is confident she’ll place well in her age group. The bombs that exploded a block away last year are still fresh in her memory, but the city has recovered and the running world is ready to embrace the event like never before, she said.

“What happened in Boston was just so wrong. And the people in Boston and the States and the running world are just saying, ‘We’re really still in control of what’s happening.’

“I see this as a totally different experience this year. A lot of focus is on rebuilding, regrouping and coming together as a city.”

A retired nurse who worked at Kelowna General Hospital, Borrett placed second in her 70-74 age group at last year’s event. She had “wings in my heels” and finished in just over four hours — the best she’s ever done.

She was in the finishers’ chute just past the finish line when the first blast went off. It sounded like fireworks, but then she saw the big cloud of white smoke with a black centre rise above the crowd. The second explosion thundered moments later.

There was near-silence at first. People tried to figure out what was happening. Borrett heard a few screams, and the emergency crews swooped in.

“There was just so much chaos,” she said. “The runners and the spectators went from a celebration mode into intervention and dealing with a crisis that was far more important.”

Ambulances took away the injured. Runners got out of the way. Borrett helped move them along to clear the finishers’ chute. It was evident everyone should leave the area.

A few hundred metres away, Keith Parks was packing his bags with a friend in his hotel room. The Kelowna marathoner had finished the race 35 minutes earlier and was flying out that afternoon.

“The blast was so close. It actually rocked our hotel. We could see the plume of smoke from the window. I said ‘that’s a bomb,’ and my one buddy said, ‘You really think so?’ And boom, the second one went off,” he said.

TV news showed barely anyone at the finish line. Many of the athletes and spectators were hurrying past Parks’ hotel.

“You could see people running away from the area like mice or rats jumping off a sinking ship. There was absolute mayhem and panic.”

Authorities were closing off the streets, so Parks and two friends left right away. They went through the back of the hotel, which connected to a shopping mall, and hustled to a train station at the far end. Parks, now 53, texted his wife that he was OK, but the message failed to go through.

At the airport, a colleague with the BC Ambulance Service got through to his cellphone to see if he was all right. Parks asked him to call his wife. Then the text messages from worried friends and relatives started pouring in.

The race Monday will be Parks’ 10th consecutive Boston Marathon and his 96th marathon overall. Like Borrett, he’s returning to “the biggest show in the world for a runner” not worried about his safety.

Police have tightened security in the area and prohibited backpacks, the method used by the bombers to transport their devices last year. Still, Parks expects to see people whose limbs were amputated and other reminders of the blasts, which killed three people.

“It makes it very emotional,” he said. “To be so close to something like that (shows) how vulnerable you can be. It’s a check on your own mortality.”

Teachers set to begin job action

The labour dispute between the B.C. government and 41,000 public school teachers is set to escalate Wednesday morning.

Teachers will begin a variety of administrative job actions to press their contract demands, but schools will remain open.

“Job action, even low-level action, is always a last resort because teachers care deeply about our schools and our students,” BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said Thursday.

However, Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the union has been preparing to take job action for weeks, and he accused the BCTF of inflexibility during current contract negotiations.

“There has been virtually no movement from the BCTF on their wage and contract positions,” Fassbender said. “The union hasn’t moved off its opening position of approximately 13.5 per cent increase over three years, nor has it withdrawn any of its many other monetary proposals.”

During the so-called Stage 1 job action, teachers won’t attend meetings with management, other than health and safety talks, or supervise students outside regular class hours.

Also, teachers won’t provide or receive any printed, written or electronic communications from administrators, or be at work more than an hour before or after classes.

The planned job action won’t impact students, the BCTF says. Teachers will continue to write report cards, talk with parents and volunteer for extra activities such as coaching sports.

Iker said he hoped the union won’t have to go to the second stage of strike action, which would include provincewide walkouts one day a week.

Teachers voted 89 per cent on March 6 to take job action to back their contract demands.

Along with salaries, key issues involve class sizes, the number of teachers available for students with special needs, and what the BCTF says is the government’s “ill-conceived” desire to reach a 10-year contract term.

Fassbender says the teachers’ move to begin job action is “a little disappointing, but not at all surprising.”

“Over the past few weeks, it appears the BCTF has been more focused on implementing its strike plan than bargaining at the table,” Fassbender said.

About 22,000 students attend classes at 44 public schools in the Central Okanagan.

Second crossing years away

A second crossing of Okanagan Lake is on the radar of the provincial Liberal government, but it is barely a blip in the distance.

Dump HQ over budget

A new city building at the Glenmore dump that was pared down in design once because of perceived extravagance nevertheless wound up exceeding its revised budget by almost 10 per cent.

Residents no longer fear flooding

Barbara Hart can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Murder trial starts in November for man who may have been insane

Despite a mental illness, the Kelowna man charged with murdering his mother goes to trial in November.

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