Critteraid Animal Sanctuary in Summerland looking to match sweet and sassy cat with a forever home

Adopt a sweet and sassy cat

Casey Richardson

Norma Jean is a cat with a little extra spice and a lot of extra love to give, ready for a home after being fostered with the Critteraid Animal Sanctuary in Summerland.

“She is an absolute delight,” Critteraid Animal Director Jess Byer said. “She loves to sit on laps, she loves to be brushed. She really enjoys if you'll sit beside her while she eats her dinner.”

The five year old cat is an excellent companion to watch TV and hang out with.

Norma Jean will need to be the only pet, with no other cats or dogs. Ideally she needs to be in a home that has experience with cats already and is adults only.

“She does have a little bit of extra spice. But that's just because she wants things her way and that's okay with us,” Byer said.

If you're interested in this sweet gal or learning about more of the kittens and cats available, send an email to Critteraid at [email protected]

Help needed to support Keremeos mom during her cancer battle

Help with cancer battle

Four kids in Keremeos are trying their best to help take some financial burdens off their mom's plate while she stays in Vancouver to get cancer treatment.

Mercedes Hall is the oldest child of Stacey Melara and organized a GoFundMe on her behalf, with the help of her three young brothers.

Melara has stage two endometrial cancer.

"Our mom is a very harder worker and has provided for us our entire lives on her own! She is the person that will give you the shirt off her back but never ask you for help," the GoFundMe reads.

Back at the end of March, their mom was rushed to the hospital for significant bleeding. After receiving three blood transfusions and a minor surgical procedure to remove tissue from her uterus, Melara received her diagnosis from the pathologist; positive for cancer.

"Our mother is only 35 years old and should not even have this cancer at her age, which makes it extremely dangerous for her. This past Monday morning we received the news that the cancer is very aggressive and has made its way into the muscle of the uterus and it’s about 50 per cent of the way threw."

Melara will be off work for at least the next two months while she receives treatment in Vancouver.

"We are all hoping and praying she will not need radiation or chemo, which will keep her out of work even longer," Hall wrote.

"I am reaching out to my family, friends and community for help. I would like to relive some of my moms financial worries and take at least one burden off of her mind. She may not mean anything to those passing by this post, but to us she means the world. I’m hoping to raise enough to help her with travel and expenses while she’s away and some bills, some of the rent… Anything helps!"

Penticton Peach Festival float wins president’s award at New Westminster Hyack Festival parade

Award for Peach Fest float

The Penticton Peach Festival float won another award while showing off at a parade on Saturday ahead of this summer's event.

The Festival float already attended the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival in Washington State at the beginning of May, winning the Golden Apple Award.

Miss Penticton Royalty rode on the float during the New Westminster Hyack Festival parade and the float was given the President’s award.

Peach Fest returns this summer after a two-year hiatus from August 3-7, with five days of free shows, events and celebrations. To view the festival lineup, click here.

Prestigious recognition awarded to winemaker in the Okanagan by the Ministry of Agriculture of the French Republic

Recognition for winemaker

A French winemaker who has worked for years in the South Okanagan region has been awarded the honourary title of Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre du Mérite Agricole.

Caroline Schaller, who is currently the winemaker at Rainmaker Wines in Oliver, was given the prestigious recognition by the Ministry of Agriculture of the French Republic, which highlights the unique place that agriculture, food and the culinary arts play in the history, economy and culture of France.

"The award honours distinguished members of the agricultural community and Ms Schaller is being distinguished for her special merits in that field and for her contribution to the dissemination of French culinary culture at large," the press release states.

She joins just four other members of the order from the province : three restaurateurs and a wine expert in Vancouver.

A medal was presented to her in Kelowna by the Consul General, Nicolas Baudouin, who is in Vancouver representing the French government in Western Canada.

During her time as a winemaker at Osoyoos Larose, Schaller contributed to the development of French wine-growing traditions with North American marketing techniques, building on the presence of wine types from Bordeaux in the Okanagan Valley.

"Schaller has been bringing her expertise for about six years to the development of British Columbia vines with a special focus on organic farming. She also contributed to the tourism rise in the region, with the opening of her guest house at Osoyoos Larose as well as the training of young French winemakers doing a co-op at the domain," Baudouin said in the press release.

"She has therefore remarkably contributed to date to the production and French savoir-faire visibility in the wine industry of Canada."

Originally from Toulouse in the South of France, Schaller went to oenology school and started working in domains with very specific varietals, with temporary experiences in Napa Valley, California and Chile.

She also worked for 13 years at Domaine d’En Segur, internationally reputed before moving to BC in 2017 where she was hired at Osoyoos Larose domain as winemaker- oenologist.

In January of 2022, Schaller made her move to Rainmaker Wines to develop higher quality productions.

Climbers Festival celebrates Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park and the growing numbers coming out to Penticton

Climbing festival a success

Casey Richardson

The first annual Skaha Climbers Festival kicked off in the bluffs in Penticton on Saturday, with hundreds of new and experienced climbers coming to traverse the rocky landscapes.

The weekend features climbing clinics, a climbing competition, a scavenger hunt, a vendor village, a silent auction and a film night at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

“It's also to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Climbers Access Society of British Columbia, and also the 12 year anniversary of the creation of this park,” Festival Organizer Rolf Rybak said.

“This is a real hub for climbers, climbers come from all over the world here. So they want to be a part of this and they want to celebrate this festival. This is the first year which we hope will be a bi-annual festival.”

Ryback estimates theres over 600 people who have come out this weekend to take part in the festival.

All funds raised at the festival will be going towards the Skaha Park Watch ambassador’s program, which keeps an eye on vehicles when people come to climb.

"The watch association was founded six years ago, because of the rampant property crime up here in vehicles. It was unsafe to leave even your backpack in your car. And then it was so bad that after they stole everything out of your vehicle, they are popping the hood and actually stealing your battery.”

The nonprofit teamed up with the Penticton & Area Cooperative Enterprise, which helps persons diagnosed with a mental illness and referred by mental health service providers find jobs.

“So we hired them as monitors in the park, their job is to observe and report, nothing else. We're not policing up here. But the great thing is we've created thousands of hours of work for people with barriers,” Rybak said.

This weekend also showcases the growing interest in climbing and its success as a sport.

“Climbers are no longer what people consider sort of outliers of the community. These are the mainstream people in the community.”

The society did an economic study back in 2018, based on a 2003 economic study which the City of Penticton did. The findings showed that the park draws $6 million of direct economic input into the community and $6 million indirect economic input.

“That was based on 2018, when there were about 60,000 visitors. Now we're seeing probably over 80,000 visitors per annum,” Rybak added.

Lyndie Hill, owner of Hoodoo Adventure Company, shared that rock climbing courses have been the most requested that they've had this year.

“We're actually struggling to find enough guides to sort of keep up with the demand,” she said.

“It's great to see more people using the bluffs when they're here.”’

Hoodoo has been shuttling people this weekend since the amount of visitors has filled the parking lots and people are being brought in from Skaha Beach.

“I think it's amazing. I mean, it's really important that people understand what an asset the Skaha Bluffs are, and how important it is for the community,” Hill added.

“it's a world renowned climbing area. And I think a lot of times people don't realize that and that we have that on the back door. So it's really great exposure for you know, far and wide, but also for our own community to know more about it.”
For more information on the Skaha Climbers Festival, visit their website here.

Anarchist Mountain Fire Department celebrates its first hydrant

Community gets 1st hydrant

A previously out-of-use fire hydrant has been sent to help out a South Okanagan community, where there isn't a municipal or community water system installed for fire crews to receive their water.

The Anarchist Mountain Volunteer Fire Department shared the installation of their first hydrant to Facebook on Thursday.

"Thanks to some dedicated members and residents who made this happen, our AMFD water tender is now able to fill 2,500 gallons of water in just eight minutes," they said.

"The hydrant receives water from a 27,000 gallon cistern buried just up the hill beside AMFD, which took a bit of reconfiguration."

"Not only do our fire trucks and tenders get faster fill ups of water, but our members also get to train with a hydrant in case we are needed for mutual aid elsewhere."

Working crews got to installing the old hydrant, which was sent from the Town of Oliver, while some young residents helped with a paint job.

PIB Natural Resource Department cleaning up invasive plants along KVR

Cleaning up the KVR

The Penticton Indian Band Natural Resource Department has been working to clean up the KVR Trail, focusing on removing invasive plants and seeding with natural vegetation.

The department shared that they had removed 235 kilograms of invasive plants on Tuesday and removed a further 280 kilograms on Wednesday.

"All of this was removed from about a 50-metre stretch along the KVR," they wrote in their Facebook post. "There is a lot of work to do."

Invasive plants have been spreading throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.

"Slowly but surely we are advancing this cause and replacing invasive with native plants. But we can't do it alone, we need your help."

PIBNR asks for resident view the guide to invasive plants species online and to learn to identify invasive plants.

"There are different techniques required to truly remove some of these plants."

Those who want to get involved in the cleanup are asked to call 250-492-0411 for more information.

Jurassic Quest arrives at South Okanagan Events Centre

Peek inside Jurassic Quest

Step back in time at the South Okanagan Events Centre this weekend.

Jurassic Quest is here through Sunday featuring unique experiences for the whole family including life-like dinosaurs, dinosaur rides, interactive science and art activities, bounce houses, inflatable attractions and more.

New this year is the "Triceratots" soft play area for small children, and "The Quest," an interactive adventure where guests will meet dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures, search for fossils and more.

Families can walk through the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods to see the dinosaurs that ruled on land, and dive into the “Ancient Oceans” exhibit to come face-to-face with the largest apex predator that ever existed – a moving, life-sized, 15-metre-long Megalodon.

Jurassic Quest has been touring North America since 2013, billing itself as the "largest and most realistic dinosaur exhibition in North America."

They say they work with paleontologists to recreate dinosaurs in a lifelike way with every detail, from coloration to teeth size, to textured skin or feathers.

Tickets are $30.50 for kids over 2 and and adults, or $23.50 for seniors. Kids unlimited rides tickets, which include entry to the venue, all-you-can-ride access to dinosaur rides, inflatables and fossil digs, are $48.50.

Tickets are on sale now online here.

Smoke may be seen in Summerland from live fire training this weekend

Fire training puts up smoke

The Summerland Fire Department will be hosting a fire investigation course for fire personnel at the department training grounds this weekend.

Residents and visitors to the area may see smoke on the east end of Lenzi Street in the James Lake Industrial Park.

According to the District, part of this course includes live cubicle burns so that students may investigate the cause and develop valuable skills as a firefighter.

The training will run on Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on the east end of Lenzi Street in the James Lake Industrial Park.

Local photographer captures photos of Northern Lights overnight

Northern Lights above lake

A local photographer captured the Northern Lights over Penticton overnight.

Julia Jorges shot several photos of the Aurora borealis over Okanagan Lake Beach in Penticton between midnight and 1 a.m., capturing the green glow in the night sky above Okanagan Lake.

The phenomenon is caused by disturbances in the earth's magnetosphere from charged solar particles. It's more common to see the natural light display at more northern latitudes, but the lights occasionally show up down in the Okanagan.

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