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Oliver businesses open their hearts

The Dragonfly Pond Family Society hosted an Art in the Park event in Penticton this summer. Taking part were, from left, Tia Simpson, Madison Nemeth and Kaitlyn Nemeth. For more information about the society, call 250-490-3305. (Photo contributed)

Three Oliver businesses are helping some parents out in a big way by participating in a special program that gives moms and dads some much-needed respite.

The Oliver Theatre, Pappa’s Firehall Bistro and the Coast Oliver Hotel have jumped on the “respitality” bandwagon to help the Dragonfly Pond Family Society assist parents looking after children with complex care needs. Another big financial supporter of the “respitality” program is the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan.

Coordinator Deb Morrow said she was really impressed how these businesses didn’t hesitate for a second to donate to the program. The theatre donated 12 movie passes with popcorn, while the bistro donated six $25 gift certificates, and the hotel offered six room stays. Morrow noted that drumming up donations was never as easy as it was in Oliver that day.

Dragonfly Pond Family Society is a non-profit organization that supports families with children up to 18 years of age who have complex care needs and/or disabilities, such as autism and fetal alcohol syndrome.

The respitality program is a combination of respite and hospitality that provides parents with a free evening out to relax and rejuvenate before returning home refreshed. The only thing parents are responsible for is finding childcare.

Morrow said they are currently serving six families in Oliver.

For example, local parent Jo Simpson is benefitting from the “respitality” program. Her daughter Tia has autism but she’s very easy to care for, Simpson pointed out.

Both Simpson and her husband are looking forward to going out on the town – a date that will include eating at the Bistro and watching a movie.

“We don’t take advantage of this very often,” she noted, adding this program for parents is “awesome.” She tips her hat to the local businesses for making this possible.

If anyone is interested in donating or joining the society, contact Morrow at 250-490-3305 or

Former teacher takes helm at Tuc-el-Nuit

Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School has a new principal. Patsy-Anne Takacs comes to Oliver from Canyon-Lister Elementary of School District 8 Kootenay Lake. (File photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

A new face has filled the principal’s chair at Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School.

Patsy-Anne Takacs has taken over where Will Eaton left off as administrator. Eaton is now the principal of YouLearn.

Takacs began teaching in 1992 and has spent her entire career in School District 8 (Kootenay Lake in Creston).

She opted to work as an administrator two years ago; she was principal of a small rural school called Canyon-Lister Elementary before applying to School District 53 (Okanagan-Similkameen).

“I was excited to be hired into the district and have only heard wonderful things about Tuc-el-Nuit since being assigned here.”

Patsy-Anne Takacs is the new principal of Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School. (Submitted photo)

Takacs said the first day of school in Oliver was great.

“It was nice to see all the students and begin the process of getting to know them. I visited each classroom and was given warm receptions everywhere I went.”

Takacs said she’s looking forward to making Tuc-el-Nuit her home.

She is currently completing a Master of Education in educational leadership from Vancouver Island University.

Takacs said Tuc-el-Nuit has 279 students enrolled this year, which makes the school “very full.” Speaking of full, the Grade 6-7 French immersion program has a waitlist.

She noted they have hired one new educator, Mandy Sousa, who is a prep and classroom coverage teacher.

Takacs said they had their first Parents Advisory Council (PAC) meeting recently where 23 parents attended. The PAC will host a back-to-school picnic on Sept. 25.

Observatory open house takes flight Sept. 23

Bander in charge Matthias Bieber handles a sparrow at the Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

Nature lovers keen on getting up close and personal with wild birds will be in for a real treat on Sunday, Sept. 23.

That’s when the Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory will host its annual open house from 9 a.m. to noon.

Bander in charge Matthias Bieber said the open house will give people of all ages a unique opportunity to view their operation and learn how their research impacts migratory song birds.

The public will see firsthand how volunteers collect the birds from 14 nets on the property and record their data before releasing them back in the wild.

Joining Matthias will be assistant bander Jason Bieber who has extracted 3,000 birds during his 1,000 hours of volunteer banding. For those interested, he can explain how to become a volunteer and obtain a permit to handle the birds.

The mist nets they use are made of a fine nylon mesh that you can barely feel when your hand comes into contact with them. The birds fly into the nets and become trapped, which allows volunteers to collect them.

“Oftentimes they are just lying there and they’re not even aware that they’re trapped,” Matthias said.

A sparrow is carefully handled by bander in charge Matthias Bieber. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

Extracting the birds is a very delicate process and requires a lot of training; it takes hundreds of hours of experience and not everyone can do it.

While getting caught in a net isn’t fun, it’s relatively low-stress for the birds, he pointed out. The birds are handled very quickly and released immediately after the data is collected.

During the open house the public will see the extraction and banding process up close.

The event will also have exhibits, artifacts and guided tours.

The observatory, one of 25 stations across Canada, is located one kilometre north of the Vaseux Lake wildlife centre and boardwalk on Highway 97.

Matthias said their focus is to collect data on bird population trends over time as part of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network.

“By collecting all the data from these different stations and combining it they are able to analyze the trends, to see over time if bird populations are declining or not.”

In addition to the banding data, they also do daily observations and census of everything they see in the bird world, not only in B.C. but across Canada.

“Most of the birds that breed in the boreal forest pass through one of our stations in Canada. It’s kind of a good indicator for how well they are doing,” Matthias said.

He noted that the past three years have shown good numbers, but it depends on the species.

“It’s hard to say overall if birds are increasing or not, but if you look at specific species, the ones that we monitor really well, you can definitely see differences in how their numbers are doing.”

Matthias said there are a lot of species that have declined over the last 10 years, while others have thrived. He noted it’s really dependent on local changes to climate and how that affects bird habitat.

“We have a few species here this year that are actually doing super well, based on what we found from our last month of data collection.”

He stated this has more to do with how local conditions are affecting the site. For example, there are a few species that breed on site and they are doing really well.

“It probably has to do with the wet spring that we had and the water levels. We had really good dense vegetation, a lot of mosquitoes and that kind of thing.”

He noted this might be different for birds coming from up north due to fires and habitat loss.

Overall, many birds are declining, Matthias said, especially those that feed on insects, a food source that is facing population declines due to pesticides, he pointed out.

He stated that the Rufous hummingbird is experiencing a big drop in numbers too.

Matthias suspects that the wildfires in B.C. have had a negative effect on some species, particularly those that breed here.

Some of the more common species that banders catch at the observatory include the gray catbird (more than 200 caught this year), willow flycatcher, yellow warblers, song sparrows and American goldfinch.

Rare species they have caught include the gray flycatcher (threatened and only found in the Okanagan). The yellow-breasted chat is another obscure species that is endangered, Matthias mentioned.

He was asked what the world would be like if there were no birds on the planet.

There would probably be all sorts of chaos, he said.

“They play a vital link in the food network as a whole. Without them our insect population would probably be out of control.”

Birds also help disperse seeds to help spread native plants, while others help pollinate flowers. And obviously they are a food source for a lot of higher predators, Matthias pointed out.

Yes, so if we didn’t have any birds, there would likely be a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world, he admitted.

The ultimate goal of the monitoring program is to learn what can be done to protect the birds and prevent their decline, Matthias said.

“Some of the main threats to birds right now are outdoor cats; that’s probably the biggest one, in addition to habitat loss. Outdoor cats are a major issue; they kill hundreds of millions of birds every year in North America.”

Matthias said the big initiative right now is to spread that awareness with the hope that people will work towards having indoor cats only.

Jason suggested having cats on a leash outdoors.

“My mom is, I think, a good example of this. She has her cat on a leash attached to a clothesline.”

Jason said studies have shown that cats only bring back 20 per cent of what they actually kill.

Matthias said urban development is a big contributor to habitat loss.

“Habitat like this, riparian, sort of marsh wetland habitat that we’re in is almost . . . you almost can’t find it anymore in the valley bottom because it’s been so developed.”

So protecting what is left is so important, he said.

Jason said the construction industry has to be smart about what type of development is being built. For example, highrise buildings made of glass contribute to bird mortality in a big way, he noted.

VIDEO: Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory busy studying song birds

Officers, canal money still top of mind

Councillors (from left) Larry Schawartzenberger and Petra Veintimilla, and Mayor Ron Hovanes (right), meet with Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham at the recent UBCM convention in Whistler. (Submitted photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but all Ron Hovanes can hope for is that the government will come up with a lot of grease for Oliver.

However, the mayor wasn’t overly optimistic after returning from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention on Monday. Perhaps the government ran out of grease.

Hovanes met with Solicitor General Mike Farnworth about the approved business case for two additional police officers for Oliver. He only had a 15-minute window to get his point across.

“You try not to pound your fist because that just doesn’t work anymore in this day and age.”

Hovanes said every community has the same issue that Oliver is struggling with – a lack of police resources.

“I found that sad, but at the same time I found it a little heartening because my community is getting beaten up right now by some people that are doing a good job getting the word out, but really, they are self-proclaimed crime fighters who are painting a lousy picture of the community.”

The mayor and council were told that the business case for Oliver is a priority but it’s not number one.

Hovanes stressed the impact that the Okanagan Correctional Centre has on Oliver RCMP resources, noting the community should not be left without coverage because an officer is busy at the prison taking someone’s DNA.

“It just doesn’t ring well with me.”

He also mentioned the fact that Oliver will likely surpass 5,000 population in the next census, at which point the Town must pay 70 per cent of policing costs.

Although the business case has been approved, it doesn’t mean there has been any financing in place to fund these additional officers, Hovanes was told.

Another mechanism that was suggested is approach the RCMP and request a re-allocation of their resources.

“This wasn’t uplifting at all . . . I walked away thinking, ya right, I’m sure there are a lot of communities in BC that have two extra officers that they don’t need, that they’d be willing to give to Oliver. I just don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Hovanes said there is no silver bullet for the drug (crime) issue. He noted these people will take drugs whether it will kill them or not, so there needs to be harm reduction so they can have access to drugs (that are relatively safe) until they can get treatment when they want it.

“Harm reduction, enforcement, treatment programs and mental health support – everybody recognizes that.”

The mayor said they aren’t going to let up on the business case, noting there is currently a 30 per cent vacancy rate of RCMP officers in Oliver.

“Even if we got two, we wouldn’t be at our full complement, and I don’t think that would be the answer anyway. It would prevent these guys (current members) from getting burnt out.”

The other meeting they had at the UBCM was with the Ministry of Agriculture for the $10.4 million Gallagher Lake siphon repair. The Town still has a commitment of $5 million from the provincial government, but it still waiting for federal money (hopefully the remaining $5 million).

Hovanes said they don’t need the whole $5 million, but would like a good portion of it and come up with the rest through borrowing.

He pointed out to ministry officials that Oliver’s irrigation canal goes far beyond agriculture, noting it affects tourism and employment.

He said the biggest single purchaser of water is the Osoyoos Indian Band and their vineyards.

The mayor also met with the Ministry of Transportation on the proposed round-about for the McKinney/Tucelnuit Drive/Black Sage Road intersection. The Town has asked the ministry to put that project in its 2019 business plan.

Hovanes also raised the issue of a second bridge crossing over Okanagan River, but the ministry offered “zero support” for that idea. But he noted the new channel parkway crossing in Penticton was totally paid for by the province. “People call it a bridge to nowhere.”

Another push Hovanes made at the convention was the tax-sharing formula for municipalities getting ready for the legalization of cannabis this fall. He said the Town of Oliver has been very prudent in its legislation by not allowing any marijuana shops to start up illegal ventures before legalization takes place.

“When we roll this out, we’re going to roll it out properly.”

The convention was a good meeting with all of the ministers, even the ones who couldn’t commit any help, Hovanes said.

Oliver man charged with woman’s murder

Sean McKenzie has been charged with murdering 28-year-old Amelie Sakkalis. (Submitted photo)

A 27-year-old Oliver man has been charged with the first-degree murder of a Belgian tourist whose body was found recently near Boston Bar.

Sean McKenzie has been charged with murdering 28-year-old Amelie Sakkalis.

On Aug. 22 the RCMP was called to an area north of Boston Bar near Highway 1 where they found the body of Sakkalis, a Belgian national who was travelling in Canada. The death was deemed a homicide.

RCMP collected significant evidence that yielded the criminal charge against McKenzie, the primary suspect.

McKenzie was arrested on Sept. 14 and will appear before a judge in provincial court on Sept. 19.

During a press conference, Cpl. Frank Jang said McKenzie frequently travels through the province for work. He also noted both he and the victim had recently met.

Jang said McKenzie is not known to police and does not have a criminal record.

Police are encouraging anyone with information about this case to call 1-877-551-4448 or email

Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

New staff joins Oliver Elementary

Oliver Elementary School has added a few new faces to their staff this year. (Submitted photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

There are some new faces at Oliver Elementary School this fall.

New teaching staff include Dean Rowland (Grade 7) and Travis McIntyre (Grade 5/6), both of whom joined OEs after being at Osoyoos Elementary for several years.

Kim Schur has returned after being away for a year. She teaches learner support.

Megan Petry is a Grade 2 teacher from Cawston, bringing a number of years of experience. And Brooke Alaric is the new indigenous education advocate.

This year OES is partnering with Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary to run a Hockey Canada Skills Academy. Rowland and McIntyre will be joining forces to coach the program.

Principal Jason McAllister said they are also bringing back a WE Club this year and continuing their community connections focus. This involves giving back to the community by working with Okanagan Gleaners, McKinney Place and Sunnybank Centre.

McAllister said the school is very thankful to continue working with Hester Creek winery as they help sponsor the “Farm to School” program that supports agricultural education and the lunch program for students in need.

Also, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has once again provided the school with funding through their Celebrate the Arts program that helps develop art programs at OES.

LETTER: The ‘injustice’ system is a letdown

More than 450 people attended a recent crime forum at the Oliver Community Centre, where many signed petitions calling for two additional RCMP officers and security cameras in the community. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

I had a lot to say, but like many others at the standing-room-only crime forum, I sat, listened and watched.

I applauded and whistled as the audacious lady who was on her fourth husband and 10 kids brought the house down. I listened to the lass tell her story of how she had gone from being a drug user to a proud mother of two kids. I listened to the cop who was in full dress uniform put her two cents worth in.

But most of all I was impressed with the “brave” individual called Clarence (Louie), his special character is rather impressive. He admitted that Oliver’s problem doesn’t stop at the indigenous boundary. He admitted that the white mans’ problems are shared by the crowd on the other side of the corral fence on the reservation. His frustration with the justice system, his condemnation of the poor judgments by the judges, his suggestion of naming of names of prolific offenders regardless of their age resonated with the crowd.

Oliver is a great little town; the people here care. What’s letting them down is our “injustice” system, and I didn’t have the spheres to get up and say my piece have a few suggestions, but unfortunately my ideas would not fit within the confines of being a polite, politically correct Canadian chap.

Don Smithyman, Oliver

LOOKING BACK: The old story of Sniffer and the famed outhouse

Mount Baldy, circa January 1969, as captured by the Fairweather family. (Facebook/BaldyMountainResort)

By Marion Boyd

Special to the Chronicle

Back in the 1970s, the Mt. Baldy community had outhouses, not indoor toilets.

Every cabin sang praises to their particular outhouse. Pooh’s Corner, for example, had charm. Another outhouse claim to fame featured an electric hairdryer that could be attached to warm the seat on frosty days. The Wilson/Hood cabin boasted a two-hole bench perched high in the air above a yawning abyss. It was at this outhouse that Sniffer had the adventure of her life.

Sniffer was a beloved mutt owned by the Busink family. Scruffy and ill mannered, she was nonetheless adored by the three Busink children and especially by the only daughter, Jenny. One evening a lively birthday party was in full swing in the cabin. Balloons floated, kids hollered, food flowed and an abundant cake, slathered with thick icing and dotted with haphazard candles, glowed. Despite the party atmosphere, a muffled sound kept emerging. At first no one noticed. Gradually, however, it could not be ignored. Somewhere deep in the bowels of the earth or perhaps the snow, an animal was barking, an animal in need of help.

Party-goers pulled on boots and tracked the sound. It seemed to be coming from the outhouse. The old creaking door was slowly opened revealing little Jenny perched on one hole, overalls around her ankles, and clearly distraught. “What happened?  What’s going on?” queried the adults.  Tearfully, Jenny explained as best she could.

“I was just sitting here when Sniffer came to visit,” she said. “Sniffer likes to sit with me.” A flood of tears interrupted her story but she bravely went on. “Sniffer jumped up to sit beside me.  She didn’t know there was a hole!”   Now the tears really flowed. “Sniffer went down, down into the hole.”

“Aha”, said the industrious Baldy men after peering down the said hole with their flashlights. “Sniffer is indeed way down there. The question is how to get her out.” They quickly looked for the smallest child and suggested he could be lowered into the business end of the outhouse on a rope. Then he could grab the dog. The child, horrified, ran for protection to his mother. There were no volunteers. None at all.

Ever inventive, the Baldy men went to Plan B and tried to lasso Sniffer, alas, with no success. The barking continued as faint as it was frantic. Finally, a broom handle fitted with a coat hanger loop was lowered. Repeated attempts by our heroic and determined rescuers resulted in a squealing, squawking mutt hauled into the light of day, deposited into a pail of soapy water, scrubbed and rubbed and finally made presentable once again.

Now for those of you who know the old days, nothing could seriously interrupt a Baldy party. Before very long,  Ria, the birthday girl, was blowing out candles, guests were singing and Jenny was making sure Sniffer’s wire-like whiskers were smeared with cake. Some said that little dog actually smiled but we aren’t sure.

It could be possible though. Under a full moon on Mt. Baldy stranger things have happened. 

Ballet Kelowna’s A Streetcar Named Desire coming to Oliver


Special to the Chronicle

Oliver Chronicle

Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winning A Streetcar Names Desire tells the story of two sisters – one clinging to a bygone era, the other embracing the reality of post-WW2 life in America.

Now the Venables Theatre welcomes Ballet Kelowna back to the South Okanagan this fall as they bring the classic to life with their first full-length ballet, an adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Dancing between present and past, between real-time New Orleans and old-world Mississippi, the work’s dreamlike transitions are particularly well-suited to balletic interpretation.

In 2006, Simone Orlando inspired and danced the role of the sister Blanche Dubois for Ballet BC. Today, as Ballet Kelowna’s Artistic Director, she revisits the work for a new generation.

Considered Williams’ greatest drama, A Streetcar Named Desire explores poignant themes that echo today’s headlines: shifting social mores; power and dominance; gender stereotyping; and politics.

This timeless adaptation by choreographer John Alleyne, Ballet BC’s former Artistic Director, aligns with Ballet Kelowna’s mandate to encourage and promote the work of Canadian choreographers.

“John Alleyne is one of Canada’s most established and renowned choreographers. By presenting the monumental ballet, A Streetcar Named Desire, we are acknowledging his significant contribution to dance in Canada, while honouring his enormous legacy to the art form,” said Orlando.

Nine Ballet Kelowna dancers are supported by emerging artists from the Victoria Academy of Ballet to perform this stunning work. Produced with the generous support of Ballet BC, A Streetcar Named Desire is performed to the original jazz score by award winning B.C.-based composer Tobin Stokes.

A Streetcar Named Desire is presented by Venables Theatre with the support of the Community Presenters Assistance program (of the BC Arts Council and BC Touring Council) along with the Coast Oliver Hotel.

Ballet Kelowna brings their artistry to Venables Theatre October 27 at 7:30 p.m. at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for students. For more information visit

Tax exemptions granted for community organizations


The Town of Oliver will soon adopt another round of permissive tax exemptions to help organizations provide a valuable service.

Council recently reviewed a Permissive Tax Exemption Amendment Bylaw that hosts a new application from South Okanagan Integrated Community Services Society. This non-profit organization provides counselling, outreach services and transitional housing to people in need. As the application deadline for 2018 has passed, the society will receive its 10 per cent exemption in 2019. (Taxes assessed for the society were $7,950.92 – the municipal portion is $2,127.50).

The total permissive tax exemptions for 2018 is nearly $97,000. The list shows about 25 organizations, including the Oliver Food Bank, Royal Canadian Legion, United Church, Air Cadets and Oliver Community Arts Council.

It is estimated that tax exemptions for 2019 will be approximately $100,000.

It was noted that one organization, St. John’s Lutheran Church, has been removed from the exemption list because it has been sold and no longer operates as a church.

Council also reviewed the revitalization tax exemption of the new Coast Hotel in Oliver. Mayor Ron Hovanes said the exemption was a marketing tool to get the hotel built here.

Chief Financial Officer Devon Wannop said the hotel qualifies for a 10-year tax exemption, noting the construction value of the project was $9.7 million.

Based on 2018 tax rates, the exemption on this property would be approximately $32,200 in each of the 10 years (approximately $322,000 over the 10-year term).

Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger clarified the exemption is only on the municipal portion, noting the hotel still pays other taxes ($84,000) for policing, parks and recreation, schools, library, landfill, etc.

PHOTOS: Cops for Kids ride through town

Riders with Cops for Kids made a stop at the Oliver Firehall today as part of a 10 day, 1,000 km ride. (Vanessa Broadbent photo)

The annual Cops for Kids Ride made a stop at the Oliver Fire Hall today and accepted donations from local organizations, including the Oliver Lions Club. The team of 18 cyclists is traveling 1,000 kilometres in 10 days and raising funds for children in medical, physical or traumatic crisis.

Non-farm use cannabis shunned


The regional district values farmland and believes that large, concrete-floor cannabis facilities have no place on it.

At its board meeting last Thursday, directors agreed with a staff recommendation to prohibit non-farm use cannabis production within all agricultural zones in rural areas, including Electoral Area C (rural Oliver).

Development services manager B. Dollevoet said an Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) regulation was recently amended to clarify that the lawful production of cannabis was considered a farm use “if produced outdoors in a field or inside a structure that has a base consisting entirely of soil.”

As a result, any cannabis production contrary to this is now considered a non-farm use,” he said. This means local governments can restrict cannabis production in the ALR, he added.

In his report, Dollevoet noted the concern about the alienation of agricultural land to accommodate cannabis facilities. Therefore, staff support zoning regulations that discourage concrete-floor cannabis facilities in the ALR.

It was noted that the board could consider refusing a proposal based on issues such as impact on neighbours, nuisance (light and noise), etc.

The board will address the zoning amendment bylaw in the coming weeks.

Fall Art Show welcomes entries from all ages

The Fall Art Show & Sale takes place Sept. 29-30 at the Oliver Community Centre. Here, photographer Val Friesen poses with one of his pieces at a previous show. (File photo)

Artists of all ages, including children and youth, are encouraged to enter works in any visual medium in the upcoming Fall Art Show & Sale.

While entry forms have been pouring in at a record rate, late entries will continue to be accepted. Teen artists, fibre artists and any three-dimensional art are especially encouraged as those media entries are still low. Entry forms are available by emailing or at the Oliver Visitor Centre.

The Oliver Community Arts Council mounts the popular event on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30 at the Oliver Community Centre. The popular arts event includes the multimedia art competition, public voting, sales, exhibits and demos by featured artists, live entertainment, a dessert reception and exciting draws including a wine fridge.

Visual artists in all media are invited to enter. Trophies are awarded in nine categories: photography, fibre arts, oils, acrylics, watercolours, three-dimensional arts, mixed/other media, and two youth categories based on age.

This year’s theme is “Go with the Flow.” While no artwork is ever rejected for not following the theme, it can serve to inspire artists to create something new. “Go with the Flow” allows for many interpretations across arts media: technique, subject matter, literal or metaphorical. To motivate artists to follow the theme, the public also votes for an overall winner of “Best Interpretation of the Theme.”

Artwork may also be advertised for sale. Locals and tourists alike frequently purchase pieces, including children’s artwork. Work can be recent or old, but must not have appeared before in any previous Fall Art Show & Sale. Artists may submit one or two pieces.

No artwork needs to be submitted before the weekend of the art show, just the entry form and fee, leaving extra time for artists to put finishing touches on their work. There is no jurying, although artwork should be suitable for an all-ages event.

Entry fees are $25 for non-members, $20 and $15 for arts council members, $10 per piece for teens, and free for children (limited to one work apiece).

To ensure late entries are considered, please email your intent to enter: or 250-498-0183 as soon as possible, and a space will be held for you.

OPINION: Life is a bowl of sweet cherries, rotten apples


It’s high time for some “sweet cherries” and “rotten apples” in Oliver.

Since our new format this spring, we haven’t published many praises or gripes from readers.

Let’s start off with a few “sweet cherries.”

Baskets full of thanks to the generations of Lesmeisters and their many employees (over the years) operating the Oliver Theatre and bowling alley. We are very grateful for this family commitment and continuing on what your parents started. Happy retirement, David and Christine.

A bowl of “sweet cherries” to the kitchen staff at the Oliver hospital. It’s amazing what they do with what they have.

A barrel of “sweet cherries” to Tinhorn Creek Vineyards for donating so much money to the arts programs in local schools. Thanks for giving back to the community and our youth.

A cup of “sweet cherries” to new physician Dr. Travis Thompson for staying local and being open to house calls when necessary.

My hat is off to Martin Johansen for stepping into the election ring and running for mayor this fall. Nice to see a fresh, new face vying for council.

Kudos to Shirley Zelinski and Michael Guthrie for organizing the recent crime forum and making the authorities stand up and listen. Since when do you get more than 400 people in the community centre for a local issue?

A big bowl of “sweet cherries” to retiring librarian Vicky White for her many years of service to Oliver. We miss her and the impact she had on our local youth.

Kudos to work crews for finally getting around to repaving Road 9 after several spots were dug up during flooding season. After months of having to slow down for poorly gravel-filled holes, all of us living in the area can now go back to travelling double the speed limit.

And now for some “rotten apples” (with worms in them).

I can’t believe the nerve of some people who still throw their cigarette butts out of the window while driving. I caught someone doing that recently on Main Street and called the RCMP non-emergency number. These people should be fined on the spot.

A bunch of “rotten apples” to horse owners who ride on the hike and bike trail and don’t clean up the mess from the back end. It’s no different than walking your dog – clean up the damn mess so people don’t step in it!

Thumbs down to people who think they can help themselves to farmers’ produce growing on the side of the road. This is stealing! Just because it’s so close to the road doesn’t mean you can take it without paying.

A bin of “rotten apples” to the idea of growing cannabis on agricultural land. This farmland must be preserved for food that we eat, not marijuana that you smoke. Come on, where are your priorities?

Two Oliver buildings named finalists in annual Commercial Building Awards

The Coast Hotel Oliver, along with Checkmate Winery Popup, is a finalist in the annualThompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards. (Vanessa Broadbent photo)

Two of Oliver’s newest buildings are being recognized for their outstanding design.

The new Coast Oliver Hotel and Checkmate Winery Popup are two of 37 finalists for the 10th Annual Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards.

The event, on September 20 at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna, celebrates the best in commercial and industrial buildings completed prior to July 31 in the Thompson, Okanagan and Kootenay regions.

“Each and every year the building designs are becoming more elaborate, and it reflects well on the quality of commercial and industrial construction in the region,” said Mark MacDonald of Business Examiner Thompson Okanagan, event coordinator.

A select group of independent judges will pore over the submissions from each finalist to determine winners in each category.

Last year’s Judges’ Choice Best Overall winner was the Kelowna Police Services Building.