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Detector dog assists CBSA in efforts to keep illegal guns out of Canada

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Detector dog Roca pushes her nose into a piece of luggage containing a conceiled handgun, trying to detect the smell of gunpowder. (Richard McGuire photo)

By Richard McGuire

Special to the Chronicle

Roca, a four-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, has a job to do.

She’s a detector dog with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and she’s working at the Port of Osoyoos, the customs post for people crossing to B.C. from Oroville in Washington State.

Roca is trained to detect nine odours – eight narcotic scents, as well as firearms, said Stephen Robinson, the border services officer and detector dog handler who looks after her.

Robinson releases her to sniff around some pieces of luggage that were pulled from a vehicle. Roca sniffs intently at the bags, bringing her nose closer to one bag to be sure.

After she’s sure a piece of luggage contains a gun, detector dog Roca sits, her signal that she’s found something. She’s also trained to detect eight types of narcotics. (Richard McGuire photo)

She deliberately goes into a sitting position, looking up proudly at her handler. Robinson immediately rewards her with lavish praise and a favourite toy.

This is her signal that she’s found something, said Robinson.

“She is a passive indication dog,” he said. “An active dog would scratch at the item. She indicates passively by sitting after smelling a source.”

A search of the bag locates a handgun with an oversized magazine – a prohibited weapon.

Roca was only doing a demonstration for media last Wednesday when she showed off her amazing sense of smell, but border services officers often encounter undeclared firearms at Port of Osoyoos.

It’s that problem that prompted a media conference as CBSA tries to make the public better aware of Canada’s firearms laws and the need to declare all weapons at the border.

Upstairs at the facility, Eron Labadie, the superintendent who oversees the Port of Osoyoos, speaks about the problem. On both sides of the room, tables are covered with seized illegal firearms. Reporters are told they can look and take pictures, but not touch any.

“We are here today to remind and educate the travelling public about Canadian rules and regulations, and encourage travellers to leave their handguns at home,” he said, speaking from prepared notes.

“If you are a visitor to Canada, you cannot import prohibited firearms under any circumstances,” Labadie said. “Canadian residents cannot import newly acquired prohibited firearms under any circumstances. For all other firearms, our website clearly outlines the procedures for individuals to import or export firearms.”

Superintendent Eron Labadie shows some of the prohibited weapons, mostly handguns, seized from travellers attempting to bring them into Canada at Port of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire photo)

The key to eliminating the possibility of prosecution, he said, is to declare any weapons at the first opportunity to a border services officer.

The officer may immediately take possession of a pistol for safety reasons, but if the traveller declares it, they will be given the opportunity to return the weapon to the U.S. or forfeit it to Canadian authorities. And they won’t be prosecuted.

Undeclared weapons will be seized, and the traveller may face criminal prosecution and be deemed inadmissible to Canada.

Despite occasional high-profile gun smuggling seizures, such as one in February 2017 involving Alex Louie of the Oliver area, most illegal weapons at the border are being brought by Americans who simply don’t know the rules.

“Definitely people just don’t understand the laws,” said Labadie. “People who may be used to carrying firearms in their vehicles forget they’re there. That’s usually the situation that we see here.”

Labadie said border services officers see all kinds of weapons. Most of the guns on the tables are handguns, but there are also Tasers and a blow gun.

Since 2013, 214 guns have been seized at crossings in the Okanagan and Kootenays alone, he said.

Border Services Officer Cecilia Christian was acting superintendent when the Louie arrest occurred.

“It appears that firearms were being brought in to turn around and sell as crime guns,” she said.

Louie, 50, had two handguns tied under his vehicle. When asked if he had firearms to declare, he said no.

Louie was sentenced to three years in jail in March and was banned from possessing weapons.

Such cases, however, are the exception. In most cases, it’s just ignorance.

Outside the building, Robinson opens doors of a car and lets Roca jump inside to sniff. He points out compartments, which she sniffs at diligently. As she inspects the front passenger side, she suddenly sits, again looking proud of herself.

Robinson showers her with praise and gives her a favourite toy.

He’s had Roca for a year and a half and says the two have bonded. He had another dog for five and a half years and has been working as a detector dog handler with CBSA for seven years.

For obvious reasons, he doesn’t want to discuss Roca’s work schedule. But, depending on a dog’s health, they typically work for 11 years before being adopted out to a good home to enjoy their retirement.

For more information about importing weapons into Canada, visit: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/iefw-iefa-eng.html.

Roca, a chocolate lab detector dog, catches a toy tossed by Stephen Robinson, border services officer and detector dog handler. She’s having a bit of fun after successfully sniffing out a concealed handgun. (Richard McGuire photo)

EDITORIAL: Crime pays here

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More than 450 people attended the 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)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

We knew that last week’s crime forum would attract a lot of people, but not a whopping 450! Even OIB Chief Clarence Louie said he’s never seen so many non-band members in one room.

Many kudos to Shirley Zelinski and Michael Guthrie (and their volunteers) for organizing such an important meeting. It put the Town-sanctioned crime forum in June to shame, when only 40 people showed up.

What was surprising was the fact there was no heckling at the August 28 meeting. Not one, considering the subject matter.

The idea of establishing an official “working group” to look at security options for the community is worthy of exploration. Why not use some of that nine per cent tax increase for a few cameras and more security patrols?

It has also been suggested that the Town use any potential cannabis revenue to help fight crime. We already have roads, sidewalks and infrastructure, so let’s invest more on keeping our community safe from people who want to steal from us.

Seniors like Fern and John Gould should not be afraid to live in their own community. She spoke very candidly at the forum about her fear and anger after someone stole their truck. Now she has a baseball bat by her door and will likely use it on the next thief who poses as a window washer.

While Clarence Louie’s idea of naming names (in the media) is supported by many, that will likely never occur for young offenders who are protected from public shame, courtesy of our bleeding heart lawmakers. What’s wrong with identifying underage criminals? Too embarrassing for them? They might suffer blame and recrimination? Heaven forbid!

We concur with the frustration that the public is continually told that the RCMP know who the criminals are and where they live, but the question is why aren’t these heathens rounded up and put out of business? Of course, the problem is these criminals have rights. Really? Why do they have rights when they continually break the law?

The crux of the problem is the RCMP spend many hours building up cases and arresting these people, only to have lawyers use every questionable tactic to persuade the judges to go easy on their clients. It all starts with numerous delays in proceedings, another well orchestrated tactic to make more money and lessen the impact of the crime, not to mention victims’ memories.

Meanwhile, the police shake their heads in disgust, yet cannot voice any concerns. How is a system like this supposed to motivate them to help bring criminals to justice? But they still do despite being overworked and burdened by lack of resources.

It’s maddening that criminals are afforded every right in the book, superseding that of victims and hog-tying the RCMP.

Welcome to the Canadian judicial system, the land of opportunity for ne’er-do-wells and prolific offenders.

How long is it going to take to turn this ass-backward system around?

It is just so unconscionable.

Black Hills Estate grows new support for viticulture students

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Glenn Fawcett, Black Hills Estate Winery Director inspects the grapes growing on the roof of Okanagan College along with Eric Corneau, Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen. (Submitted photo)

Viticulture students at Okanagan College have something new to cheer about.

Black Hills Estate Winery is creating a new scholarship fund to provide awards up to $5,000 annually to aspiring winemakers and viticulturists.

“If someone from the valley has a goal and an aspiration to get into the wine industry we’d like to be part of helping enable them to have a career,” said Glenn Fawcett, Black Hills Estate Winery Director.

The funds for the student awards came from a unique fundraiser held at Black Hills. Every year, the Oliver winery hosts a release party for its latest batch of signature wine, Nota Bene. The event draws hundreds of people who enjoy food, drinks, live entertainment and a silent auction. The proceeds of the silent auction are donated to a local charity.

This year’s event raised $16,000 which is providing funding for the new student awards. Fawcett said finding employees is one of the biggest challenges in the wine industry, and he hopes the awards will inspire new students to pursue the craft.

“We believe we need to have a community of people who are making a career in the wine industry,” said Fawcett, adding he’s impressed by the quality of the students coming out of Okanagan College’s viticulture programs.

“Having a local program for wine production and hospitality is the best way for us to grow together.”

“We’re thrilled to receive this support from Black Hills Estate Winery,” said Eric Corneau, Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen. “Supporting students financially through scholarships is a very powerful and meaningful way to foster the conditions for student success.”

Okanagan College Penticton campus offers several training and education programs for the wine industry, including Viticulture Certificate, Wine Sales Certificate and Winery Assistant Certificate. The campus is also running a pilot delivery of the Viticulture Technician Diploma, which runs until April 2019.

FROM THE HILL: Ride the Riding 2018

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MP Richard Cannings recently completed his annual "Ride the Riding." (Facebook/richardjcannings)

On Sunday I completed my third annual “Ride the Riding” event, cycling 411 kilometres from Naramata to Nakusp. The ride provides an opportunity to meet and talk with constituents on the trail or at scheduled stops in cafes and restaurants in communities throughout the riding, celebrates the beautiful cycling trails we have in this region, and gives me a chance to get some exercise before I have to return to Ottawa and sit all winter.

I think this year’s ride was a success on all those counts. I was fortunate that the heavy smoke that has plagued us throughout much of the summer cleared significantly through the week, so I enjoyed clear skies and moderate temperatures along the way. A couple of flat tires on the first day (a nail from the highway shoulder north of Vaseux Lake reinforced how nice it would be to have a hiking/biking trail all the way from Naramata to Osoyoos!), and a major mechanical problem in the wilds of the West Kettle Valley made life interesting. Luckily, I was cycling with bicycle professionals, one of whom provided me with a loaner bike for the afternoon and another who took mine and fixed it while I continued to Midway.

So what were the issues I heard about? On the first day a large contingent of people with serious concerns about the national park proposal for the south Okanagan met me in Oliver. We had a spirited discussion for about 40 minutes, and while I remain in favour of this proposal I agreed to continue to bring their questions and concerns to Parks Canada and the Minister of Environment in Ottawa. Once preliminary boundaries and policy decisions are made about this park proposal later this fall, there will be a period of public comment through the winter and spring where detailed concerns can be aired and hopefully many of them will be resolved.

Some constituents came with specific requests regarding their businesses and innovative products they were developing. I’ll take their proposals to government agencies to see what avenues for funding or procurement might be available.

One of the commonest concerns in small rural communities was bus transportation. After Greyhound’s announcement that they will discontinue service this fall, many people fear they will have no way to get to larger centres for doctor’s appointments or family visits if an alternative service is not found. Similar concerns are felt by the many small business owners who need reliable courier options to send and receive products—something that the Greyhound bus did very well.

In Slocan I was delighted to tour the new housing project developed by the Slocan Valley Seniors Housing Society. I’ve followed this initiative since it was in the early planning stages and have always been impressed by the range of talents and skills in that group. They found a suitable building site, designed the units, and raised the funds — and now 12 units of very affordable housing will be occupied this fall.

And of course there was a lot of talk about the Trans Mountain Pipeline. I found out about the Federal Appeal Court decision quashing the project’s approval when I sat down with a table-full of interested residents of Greenwood. As I write this, I’m on my way to Ottawa for an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources to discuss the issue. I and the Conservative members will be asking for the committee to study the approval process, the purchase of the pipeline and the future of the project, and I’ll write more about that in my next column.

Richard Cannings

MP South Okanagan – West Kootenay

LETTER: Town not answering questions: Guthrie

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(The following is correspondence delivered to Oliver Town Hall and the responses given in return.)

On Wednesday, Aug. 8 I received this email from Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan.

“On behalf of Town, I would ask that you now put your request for information in writing to mayor and council and we will provide you with a written response. This will alleviate any miscommunication to the press going forward. We appreciate your interest in the community and thank you for your understanding of our request.”

Response to the questions that came out of this email from Cowan were as follows:

“We will not be answering your letter question by question as the mayor and administration recognizes that a number of these questions have been answered to you already in our previous meetings with you in person.”

This statement appears to fly in the face of the request that Cowan made and the intent of alleviating any misconceptions moving forward. Requiring me to recall what was said so many weeks ago does not lend itself to a process of preciseness. In your email I will respond by paragraph:

Paragraph #2

You say that the mayor and CAO informed me that Brenda Butterworth- Carr approved the local business case for two additional RCMP officers.

1. What is the status of this approval and or request?

2. What is the time line for the arrival of these officers, or is there one?

3. What specific actions have been taken with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s office and Superintendent de Jager, relative to the statement below?

What I recall the mayor and CAO telling me was that there had been a promise from same and that the promise/approval had been in writing. I then requested a copy of that documentation on behalf of myself and Richard Cannings in an email and here is what I received back from Cowan:

“The mayor has passed along your request for a copy of correspondence between the Town and the RCMP deputy commissioner for response.”

“We did not receive written confirmation with respect to the increase in members; however, we were advised verbally by Superintendent de Jager as well as the RCMP Deputy Commissioner, Brenda Butterworth-Carr that the Oliver detachment was on the list to receive two additional members. MP Richard Canning is more than welcome to speak with the mayor should he wish to receive additional information with respect to this matter.”

“We appreciate your desire to assist in reducing crime in our community, and the Town is actively working on this issue with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s office and Superintendent de Jager.  As the mayor  suggests, as a citizen of the community, your assistance as an active member of the Crime Watch group would definitely assist this worthwhile group in their desire to reduce the crime within the Oliver area.”

I hope you can understand the confusion on my part when it comes to getting conflicting information from the city regarding this issue. That said:

1. I have gone through the city’s strategic plan with respect to future plans for policing and enforcement. I found on page 13 of the annual report the following: Create a safe community for residents and businesses.

“With Oliver service partner in policing, the RCMP, the Town will develop a crime enforcement strategy to create a safe community for residents and businesses.”

2. This resembles a commitment to develop a plan with respect to crime prevention and enforcement. Has such a plan been developed and where could one get a copy?

Paragraph #4 – Cannabis revenue.

The question was not so much about the amount of revenue but what the city has in mind for those dollars when they begin to arrive. Once again, I am asking for a plan. It is my understanding that as of sometime in 2017 there was established a 75/25 split of the tax revenues; province/crown, respectively. With time running so short I would think that the Town of Oliver will have at least some idea what they will do with the funds if and when they actually become available?

Paragraph #5 – Bylaw

We are looking for the 2018 statistics concerning the bylaw activities; a call/service/response/action taken log if you will. The statistics you mentioned only pertain to action up until December 31, 2017 which clearly is not going to be pertinent to the discussion that we are now having.

Paragraph #7 – Crime Watch

I have indeed joined Crime Watch and undergone the training session. When will the city address the issues concerning the vehicle that is to be used for this service, particularly the insurance?

We have a charter right to “security” in this country. Why does the Town choose to ignore this?

Michael Guthrie, Oliver

Swinging Skirts golf tournament underway

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The annual Swinging Skirts golf tournament is well underway at Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course to raise money for this year’s charity – Women of Oliver for Women (WOW).

Kim DeSimone from Penticton Valley First tees off on the #10 hole. (Lyonel Doherty photo)
Golfers wait for the start of the Swinging Skirts tournament at Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course. (Lyonel Doherty photo)
Many golfers are participating in the annual Swinging Skirts tournament at Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course. (Lyonel Doherty photo)
Tarra Kenney watches her ball fly on the #10. (Lyonel Doherty photo)
Women of Oliver for Women (WOW) is the benefitting charity in the Swinging Skirts golf tournament at Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

New mayoral hopeful offers fresh new leadership in Oliver

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Senior management professional Martin Johansen is throwing his hat in the ring for the mayor's seat in October’s municipal election. He says people are calling for change at Oliver's helm. (Photo contributed)

By Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

It looks like Mayor Ron Hovanes has a keen challenger in next month’s municipal election in Oliver.

Mayoral hopeful Martin Johansen has tossed his hat into the ring, saying that change at the helm is not only necessary but healthy.

“What I’m hearing from citizens is they’re unhappy and are expressing a need for change,” he said

The senior management professional noted that the same leadership, term after term, is counterproductive, so change at the top is critical to continuous improvement.

Johansen said bringing different skill sets and new ideas to the table will take the Town of Oliver to the next level in effective governance.

“I have a solid understanding of the challenges facing communities today and I know how to get things done in a complex, regulatory world.”

Johansen has worked for the City of Kelowna for the past 20 years and is currently in a senior management position providing leadership and direction to a diverse group of staff charged with optimizing the life and utility of all civic, recreational and leased buildings. His responsibilities include capital renewal planning, energy management, project management, private security services, building security and budgeting.

Johansen and his family have lived in the Okanagan for nearly 40 years and have chosen Oliver as a place to retire.

“Our family has deep roots in the community, a community where I’m already an active volunteer.”

This year he will provide leadership as head coach for the South Okanagan Bantam hockey team.

Johansen believes running for mayor is a natural fit with his leadership skills and extensive experience in municipal government.

His resume also includes experience working with private security providers, a 300-plus closed-circuit television network, and participating in Kelowna’s Coordinated Enforcement Committee. He feels this will be extremely valuable helping to address the complex issue of public safety in Oliver.

This is one of Johansen’s top four priorities as mayor.

“We need to be proactive with strategies to keep citizens safe from personal and property crime.”

Johansen said the Town needs to establish a coordinated enforcement committee comprised of stakeholders in the community (RCMP, Osoyoos Indian Band, Interior Health, private security providers, Oliver Parks & Recreation Society, citizens patrol, etc.)

He added that technology (CCTV) is also part of the solution.

Another key component of public safety, he said, is being adaptable and resilient through unprecedented flooding and regional fire emergencies.

Another priority is maintaining a healthy, active community, he pointed out.

“We need to help foster connections with neighbours, nature and our town by promoting an active lifestyle.”

Johansen suggests a neighbourhood grant program to support resident-led neighbourhood enhancement ideas (community garden, beautification, clean-up, block party, etc.).

His third priority is strong financial management.

He noted that council has the responsibility of being a good steward of public money.

He suggests proactive development of capital projects to better position the Town to be successful with grant funding opportunities.

“My objective is to promote a mindset of continuous improvement for the Town which questions the value of each of our services and programs, and when something is identified as being low value, take action to improve, make more efficient or perhaps eliminate the service.”

Johansen’s fourth priority is making sure Oliver is open for business.

“We can work to ensuring a strong economy that is open for opportunity and open for business by fostering an environment conducive to business development.”

He wants to actively promote sport tourism and review business licence fees, in addition to making sure that development in Oliver is not complicated. On top of all that, he wants to find ways to provide incentives to encourage the growth of existing businesses.

When asked why he wants to be mayor, Johansen said he has the experience to do the job.

“I want to make sure the challenges of today and tomorrow are being managed and planned for effectively.”

Campfire ban lifted for rural Oliver

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After a more than two month ban, campfires are allowed in the rural Oliver area.

The BC Wildfire Service has rescinded campfire bans in specific regions, including the Kamloops Fire Centre, effective at noon today, as a result of reduced wildfire risk across most of the province from rain and cooler temperatures.

However, fires within town limits are still prohibited. Approved cooking stoves with flames less than 15 cm are allowed.

Although campfires are allowed in the rural area, the following activities remain prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre:

  • Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, as defined in the Wildfire Regulation,
  • the use of tiki torches,
  • the use of sky lanterns,
  • the use of fireworks, including firecrackers,
  • the use of burn barrels or burning cages of any size or description,
  • the use of binary exploding targets (e.g., for target practice).

For more information on other restrictions, contact local government authorities before lighting any fire.

Campfire bans are also fully rescinded throughout the Prince George Fire Centre and Cariboo Fire Centre, and are partially rescinded (for specific areas only) in the Coastal Fire Centre, Southeast Fire Centre and Northwest Fire Centre.

The provincial government also cancelled a B.C.-wide state of emergency today, declared on August 15.

Despite a reduction in the amount of properties under evacuation over the past week, as of this morning, 485 wildfires are still burning in B.C., with 19 evacuation orders affecting approximately 1,994 individuals, and 39 evacuation alerts affecting approximately 4,848 people.

To date, more than 1.3 million hectares have burned in B.C.

VIDEO: Canucks mascot visits OES

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Fin, the Vancouver Canucks mascot, made a guest appearance today at Oliver Elementary School to visit the students. After handing out stickers and playfully biting some heads, he left behind some new floor hockey equipment for the children.

Grade 10 students get new curriculum

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By Vanessa Broadbent

Oliver Chronicle

Grade 10 students across the province, and Oliver, will be educated under a new curriculum as they start school this week.

The Ministry of Education has finalized and implemented its new Grade 10 curriculum, which in a press release it called “innovative and flexible” and said better prepares students for college, university and the workforce.

Marcus Toneatto, Director of Learning and Inquiry for School District 53, said the curriculum provides the freedom to personalize education for students.

“We are already seeing interdisciplinary programs such as the EPIC program and the English First Peoples/Art First Peoples 10 at SOSS (Southern Okanagan Secondary School) as examples of the increased opportunities students have to go deeper with their learning,” he said.

“As a district we are embracing these opportunities the revised curriculum provides for our educators to engage and empower our students with their learning with the goal of better preparing them for life after high school.”

Students from kindergarten to Grade 9 have already been studying under a new curriculum, implemented in September 2016.

“Teachers and students are already experiencing the benefits of the personalized, flexible nature of the new curriculum up to Grade 9,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.

“The new Grade 10 curriculum offers opportunities for teachers to engage their students in new and innovative ways of learning and to foster creativity. It truly is an exciting time for education in B.C. and I look forward to the positive impact this will have on student success.”

The ministry says the curriculum redesign is intended to offer more personalized learning to meet students’ diverse needs, and help them feel more connected and engaged with their learning.

The curriculum also focusses on hands-on learning, as well as building collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills, which the ministry says will help prepare students for college, university and the workforce.

Both the new Grade 10 and the K-9 curricula include an added focus on indigenous content in all subjects; 17 First Nations languages have approved curriculum to be taught in B.C. schools, and six more are in development.

The new Grades 11 and 12 curricula and revised B.C. Graduation Program are set to be implemented in September 2019.

Thanksgiving food drive needs donations

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The annual BC Thanksgiving Food Drive is nearly underway in Oliver. Volunteers, as seen above, will be delivering food donation bags. The donations will go to help stock the shelves at the Oliver Food Bank. Residents are asked to support the drive to help feed those in need. (File photo)

By Jordan Noftle

Special to the Chronicle

Along with the fall season’s many activities comes Oliver’s annual right-on-your-doorstep opportunity to help get those shelves at our local food bank stocked for winter.

Soon volunteers will be traversing Oliver and communities all over B.C. on foot to distribute donation bags and pick up food donations.

You might not think a few cans and boxes of food collected on each street would add up to much, but it really does. Oliver donated over 7,000 pounds of food last year. 

Oliver residents’ generosity in supporting the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive over the last seven years has meant that our Oliver Food Bank has fed many people in need.

Every month, approximately 500 people use the Oliver Food Bank to feed themselves and their families.

A sincere thank you to all who have donated in the past and to our community partners for helping get your donations to the Oliver Food Bank. Thanks to the Oliver Food Bank, Kevin’s NoFrills, Casorso and Company Chartered Professional Accountants, Sunridge Landscapes, Oliver/Osoyoos Sikh Temple, Oliver Alliance Church youth, The Best of India restaurant, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints and Oliver Dental Care.

Food drive volunteers will be delivering food donation bags the week of Sept. 10 to many Oliver homes for the eighth annual BC Thanksgiving Food Drive.

The donations in support of the Oliver Food Bank will be picked up on Saturday, Sept. 15. 

Those who do not receive a bag can drop off non-perishable food donations before Sept. 15 at the Best of India restaurant (6390 Main St.) or the Oliver/Osoyoos Sikh Temple.

We will also collect bags at the Oliver Food Bank (6047 Station St.) between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on collection day.

For more information please visit www.bctfooddrive.org or contact Jordan Noftle at jordannoftle@hotmail.com.

Fred Penner to kick off Family ShowTime Series at Venables Theatre

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Canadian children's entertainer Fred Penner is performing at the Frank Venables Theatre on Friday, October 26. (Facebook/VenablesTheatre)

The Frank Venables Theatre has an exciting year planned for kids and families, starting with a performance by Canadian children’s entertainer Fred Penner on Friday, October 26.

Penner is a two-time Juno winner for Best Children’s Album, Sing with Fred, and eight-time nominee. His hit CBC TV series Fred Penner’s Place ran for 12 seasons – nearly 900 episodes – and even attracted 55 million American viewers (the show ran for four years on the United States’ Nikelodeon).

Tickets to Penner’s show go on sale on October 1 and are $12.50.

However, the Frank Venables Theatre is offering tickets to its Family ShowTime Series, consisting of four family shows, for $40.

On January 25, Alex Zerbe: The Professional Zaniac will beatbox, juggle, dance, sing, play music and perform magic, just to name a few. Zerbe is a Hacky Sack World Champion, was voted the Pacific Northwest’s Funniest Prop Comic, is a two-time Guinness World Record holder and even performed on America’s Got Talent.

The story of Sleeping Beauty comes to life on March 1 with Dufflebag Theatre’s interactive production of the classic fairy tale. Audience members will have the opportunity to dictate the show and play key roles in the story. Good thing the actors are skilled at improvisation.

Axé Capoeira takes the stage on May 10 for an evening of traditional capoeira music, upbeat Brazilian vocals and instrumentals, and professional capoeiristas, acrobats and dancers. The group has performed worldwide and made its Canadian debut at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival in 1990.

Tickets for the Family ShowTime Series are on sale now for $40. Individual tickets for all shows will be $12.50 each and go on sale on October 1.

Tickets are available at the Theatre Box Office (6100 Gala Street), open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., by calling 250-498-1626 or online at www.venablestheatre.ca.

Dance Oasis Showgroup working to prepare for Disneyland trip

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Dance Oasis show group filmed its audition tape at Frank Venables Theatre last week for a chance to perform in Dance the Magic at Disneyland. The students, who have been working hard on their choreography, hope to make the big trip to California on November 13. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

Special to the Chronicle

Oliver Chronicle

Students from the Osoyoos-based Dance Oasis Showgroup were busy last week rehearsing and filming an audition tape for Dance the Magic Disney at the Frank Venables Theatre.

“This is a program for dance students to get the opportunity to perform their production dance number in the Disney Showcase on the Disney Stage in Disneyland,” said Chrissy Serry, Dance Oasis Artistic Director.

If they are accepted, they will be heading to California on Nov. 13.

The students have been working hard on their skills and choreography to be accepted to into the program.

They are also raising money for the trip. A burger and beer fundraiser is planned for Saturday, Sept. 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sage Pub. There will be a massive silent auction, games and entertainment including the girls performing their routine, said Serry.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Sage Pub and Dance Oasis Studios.

The students also have the opportunity to learn the choreography and perform in the Christmas Holiday Spectacular Parade as the South Okanagan ambassadors for this area.

(Lyonel Doherty photo)
(Lyonel Doherty photo)
(Lyonel Doherty photo)
(Lyonel Doherty photo)
(Lyonel Doherty photo)
(Lyonel Doherty photo)
(Lyonel Doherty photo)
(Lyonel Doherty photo)

LETTER: Chief Louie’s speech right on

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Chief Clarence Louie from the Osoyoos Indian Band had a lot to say about crime at last week’s forum at the Oliver Community Centre. For one thing, he would like to see the names of all offenders, regardless of age, published by the media. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

After attending last Tuesday’s meeting on the state of crime here in Oliver, we have a few comments to make.

First, wow! What a turnout of people.

However, we noticed a couple of people missing. Where were Linda Larson and Richard Cannings? Our two government reps were not there. Unbelievable!

The speeches were all very good, but one in particular stood out. Chief Clarence Louie made an unbelievably good speech. Everything he said was what everyone was thinking. Perhaps he should think of running for one of our government rep’s jobs. He would certainly get our votes.

Now, it was too bad there were not any of our judges present to explain to us why they let so many criminals out of jail, only to soon be caught again. Many have very long records.

The people deserve better than this. Where is the justice?

It is obvious that more manpower is needed to help the overworked RCMP here. Perhaps our missing government reps should be making this a top priority, or are we asking too much?

Brian and Joyce Davis, Oliver

(Editor’s note: MLA Linda Larson attended the forum but did not stay for its entirety. It was noted that MP Richard Cannings could not attend because he was busy on his “Ride the Riding” tour.)

Skirts will “Swing” at Nk’Mip golf course on Friday

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Last year's Swinging Skirts tournament at Nk'Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course raised $5,600 for WOW. This year's tournament is on Friday, Sept. 7. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course is once again sponsoring the “Swinging Skirts” charity golf tourney this Friday.

The club established this tournament in 2015 as a not-for-profit event to help women and children in Oliver and surrounding areas. It’s believed that some of the smaller charities that didn’t have big corporate businesses to back them up were “falling through the cracks.”

This is the club’s way to give back to the community. With the help of sponsors and golfers, the golf course has given more than $17,000 back to the community.

Last year the club partnered with WOW (Women of Oliver for Women) and Michelle Weisheit of Investors Group to share the value of supporting women and children in Oliver.

WOW is a non-profit service group that enriches the lives of adult females and children.