Author Archives: Jon Hernandez

About Jon Hernandez

Jon Hernandez is a Journalist, Tree Planter, and current student at UBC's Graduate School of Journalism. He holds a Bachelors of Arts from UBC Vancouver, and has worked for such publications as The Region and Sustainability Television.

Surrey MMA fighter Jeremy Kennedy signs with the UFC

Jeremy "JBC" Kennedy will make his UFC debut at Rogers Arena on August 27. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

Jeremy “JBC” Kennedy will make his UFC debut at Rogers Arena on August 27. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

When Jeremy Kennedy found out the Ultimate Fighting Championship would be holding an event in Vancouver, he started spending a lot more time in the gym.

The mixed martial arts fighter based in Surrey, B.C., had a hunch there might be a spot for him in the show.

“I was hoping to get picked up the whole time,” said Kennedy, 23. “I was training without a fight being booked.”

A few weeks later, he got the offer he’d been hoping for: a contract with the UFC, with a spot on the fight league’s upcoming event at Rogers Arena.

“I got a call from my manager — he said there’s an opportunity [to fight in the UFC],” said Kennedy, who trains at Revolution MMA in Langley.

But there were some conditions to the offer.

“I have to jump up a weight class,” he said. “But if the UFC calls, you don’t second guess. You just jump all over it.”

Read the full story on CBC News


Pour some kibble on me: deaf shepherd finds happy home

Evie, the husky-shepherd, has one blue and one brown eye, but can see just fine. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

Evie, the husky-shepherd, has one blue and one brown eye, but can see just fine. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

When Marisa Nielsen and her fiancé Desmond Kumar first laid their eyes on Evie, a husky-shepherd puppy living at the B.C. SPCA, they could tell right away she was different.

For one, her white, perky ears didn’t seem to hear a lick of sound.

“She was asleep,” said Nielsen. “It was really funny because it was so noisy — there was thumping going on. They were cleaning. There was dogs barking. There was traffic noises coming from outside, and she was sleeping like she was in the middle of nowhere.”

Evie was given to the SPCA in East Vancouver by her previous owners, after they found out she was hearing impaired. She was only a few weeks old — and a perfect fit for the future newlyweds.

“We never planned on adopting when we were going into the SPCA,” said Nielsen. “But when we saw that Evie was deaf … it seemed like is was meant to be.”

Nielsen grew up with deaf parents, who taught her sign language and kept her engaged with the deaf community. With her experience, she knew that she could offer Evie the support she needed — and that her parents would approve of the new family member.

Read the full story on CBC News


Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary struggling to care for over 500 relocated parrots

Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary is overwhelmed after bringing in more than 500 relocated exotic birds from the defunct World Parrot Refuge. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary is overwhelmed after bringing in more than 500 relocated exotic birds from the defunct World Parrot Refuge. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

A mass parrot relocation has refuge workers in Metro Vancouver struggling to keep up with the new influx of birds.

Workers at the Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary say they are overwhelmed after taking on the “daunting task” of caring for more than 500 exotic birds, including parrots, cockatoos and amazons.

The birds were relocated from the now-defunct World Parrot Refuge after its owner passed away earlier this year.

Staff at Greyhaven are working around the clock to provide care for the birds. Among them is adoptions director Jenny Tamas, whose home is being used as a sanctuary, alongside two other houses in Metro Vancouver.

They also run a shelter inside an old SPCA building in Nanaimo.

“It’s a desperate situation for a lot of these birds,” Tamas said. “I just personally picked up four bags of feed which was $181 wholesale. And … those four bags of feed will not feed these birds for more than two days.”

Read the full article on CBC News


Lease loophole lets owners jack up rent in West End rental tower, tenants say

Residents of The Lauren are facing sharp rental increases due to legal 'loophole' that's being utilized by Westbank Corp., says resident. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

Residents of The Lauren are facing sharp rental increases due to legal ‘loophole’ that’s being utilized by Westbank Corp., says resident. Photo by Rafferty Baker/CBC.

Tenants of a newly-built Vancouver rental tower are facing sharp annual rent increases, and they say owners are taking advantage of a legal loophole to jack up the prices.

Many residents of The Lauren, a rental-only building owned by Westbank Corp. in Vancouver’s West End, are being notified that their rent is being raised at a rate higher than what’s allowed in Residential Tenancy Regulation, according to the tenants.

But the hike is completely legal — because they signed fixed-term leases with move-out clauses.

Lindsie Arbeiter, one of the original residents of the building since it opened its doors in 2014, has seen her rent go up eight per cent — from $1,550 to $1,675 — over the last two years. She says the hikes are slowly forcing her out of her apartment.

“I feel like Westbank doesn’t have an incentive to keep the current residents there, because there’s so many people that want to live in our building,” said Arbeiter. “I’m sure there’s a ton of people willing to pay the rent if we can’t.”

Read the full article on CBC News

 


Chile’s migration boom has led to a major housing crisis

Chile’s healthy economy and political stability is drawing more and more economic migrants from across Latin America to pursue ‘the Chilean Dream.’

The country’s foreign-born population has doubled in the last five years, reaching 500,000 migrants. And that number is expected to double again in the next decade.

The rapid population growth has spurred a major housing crisis, as thousands of migrant families have been unable to afford a place to live.

VICE News correspondent Daniel Hernandez meets camp residents, activists, and politicians to explore how the face of Chile is changing in the wake the migration boom.

Watch the documentary on VICE News

Read the corresponding print article “Bolivians are braving land mines and the world’s driest desert to get into Chile” written by myself and colleagues Michelle Ghoussoub and Ahmed Najdat


Bolivians are braving land mines and the world’s driest desert to get into Chile

An encampment on the outskirts of the Chilean port city of Arica, where numerous documented migrants have been forced to settle. Photo by Jon Hernandez

An encampment on the outskirts of the Chilean port city of Arica, where numerous documented migrants have been forced to settle. Photo by Jon Hernandez

by Jon Hernandez, Michelle Ghoussoub, and Ahmed Najdat

When Guadalupe left her home in Bolivia, she hoped she would find a better life for her family. She settled on the outskirts of Arica, a major port in the north of Chile on the border with Peru, where she lives with her husband and three children.

But they do not have electricity, running water, or even a ceiling.

“The fridge doesn’t work,” she said, as the hot desert sun shone through the open roof. “And here’s where we do the dishes,” she added, pointing to a bucket of brown water.

A decrepit couch, a rusted stroller, and torn-up Chilean flags sat outside her front door, in a makeshift encampment on the fringes of the Atacama desert, the driest place on earthoutside of Antarctica.

Her next door neighbour, Maura — who, like Guadalupe, asked that her last name be omitted, for security reasons — also fled Bolivia, with the same dreams.

Read the rest of the article on VICE News


Failed reforestation attempt near Creston raises red flag

A failed operations audit has left small logging company Arrow Glenn Ltd. in hot water. Photo by Getty Images.

A failed operations audit has left small logging company Arrow Glenn Ltd. in hot water. Photo by Getty Images.

A failed reforestation effort in the Kootenays has left B.C.’s logging watchdog concerned.

Arrow Glenn Ltd, a private logging company with access to over 600 hectares of forested land in B.C., failed to reforest several clear-cuts near Creston — a direct violation of the regulatory Forest and Range Practices Act.

According to a two-year random audit from the Forest Practices Board, Arrow Glenn had seven years to replant trees in numerous clear-cuts but failed to meet minimum standards. They also failed to submit mandatory annual progress reports to the government.

“In the case of a licensee not meeting reforestation obligations, that’s not good stewardship — or stewardship period,” said Timothy Ryan, chair of the FPB.

Read the full article on CBC News