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Page 359

Water twinning money to complete third phase

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Finally.

The Town of Oliver will complete the third and final phase of its rural water twinning project thanks to $1,243,000 from the federal government through the Gas Tax Fund transfer. This project, which started in 2006, will provide potable water to approximately 1,500 residents and many businesses in rural Oliver.

Oliver’s rural water system, which was developed in the 1920s, required significant upgrades. The rural water twinning project will provide a parallel water pipeline grid to supply year-round, potable water to all rural customers. Once complete, this project will remove the Town’s need to operate under water quality advisories several months each year. The total budget for this final phase is estimated at $1,864,000.

“The water twinning project is the cornerstone of health and safety improvements for our rural water customers,” said Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes. “After seven years of phased design and construction, having funding in place to finally complete this project is great news for current residents and future generations.”

It’s often challenging for local governments to cover the costs of large infrastructure projects, such as the water-twinning project, said Bill Bennett, minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “This Gas Tax funding contributes significantly to the completion of this project that will greatly enhance water quality to address the needs of local residents and to guard their health.”

“There are many communities in BC with infrastructure that has exceeded its shelf life,” said Union of British Columbia Municipalities president Mary Sjostrom. She noted her delight in seeing gas taxes support Oliver’s project.

Hovanes said the water twinning project has been a priority for successive councils since 2003. The first application for two-thirds funding came under former mayor Linda Larson’s tenure.

“It was an ambitious proposal and it was rejected primarily because of the size of the project,” Hovanes said.

In 2005 the Town met with ministry staff and the discussion included splitting the project into multiple phases. The Town proposed two phases and the province suggested three.

In 2006 the Town received two-thirds funding for phase one. Subsequently the ministry required that universal water metering would have to be included in the second phase. This was done on all existing homes, plus all new rural homes attached to the twinned system.

Hovanes said the province required a water management plan, and as citizens, “we cannot take water quality for granted, especially for future generations.”

The mayor said ongoing lobbying efforts to finish the third phase has finally paid off. “The strong relationship that the Town has always had with senior levels of government has not gone unnoticed.”

Portrait of Michael Newman

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Michael Newman was more than the owner/publisher of the Oliver Chronicle. He understood his town, its needs and character, and he strove to be a conduit of news and relevant issues in his region. Whenever there were two sides to a story he expected his staff to cover them because his readership deserved to be kept informed.

I spent nine years as a reporter in Michael’s employ; under his tutelage this writer who had grown up on a daily diet of the Ottawa Citizen and later the Toronto Star and Winnipeg Free Press, came to understand the tensile strength of that unwritten bond between a community and its weekly newspaper. There was no Eureka moment for me, just a quiet assimilation of his local knowledge and pride in his surroundings as they became my own.

From Michael I learned the historical background of the agricultural industry, from Premier John Oliver’s Soldiers’ Settlement after the First World War to the present day. I experienced the thrill of interviewing real pioneers of the area but he also exposed me to the anguish of OIB survivors of the residential school system. He gave me the tools and the freedom to choose my assignments and then stepped back and let me do them.

Maybe the most important thing I learned from Michael came wrapped one summer afternoon in the guise of a braggart. This young man entered the office hoping to drop off a resume. Michael met him at the counter and introduced himself, whereupon the fellow proceeded to regale Michael about his writing skills, while peppering his dialogue with the nickname “Mike.” Michael corrected the man regarding his name three times and then said, “You’re no good to me; you don’t listen. Good day.”

For Michael, keeping faith with his community entailed listening as well as questioning and fact-checking; anything less was unacceptable.

Michael lived life of adventure

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Elmer Lopez and Michael Michael at lake

Michael Newman, former publisher of the Oliver Chronicle, died February 23, aged 68, after his battle with pancreatic cancer. He will be remembered for his many contributions to the Oliver community and for his generosity, kindness and mentorship. He leaves a legacy of commitment to sustainable development, social justice and to leaving the world a better place. His family and many friends will also remember his cooking and love of good food and wine, his skills as a wit and raconteur, his quiet sense of humour, and his urbane outlook on the world.

A life of adventure and dedication

Michael, the eldest of three children, was born in Vancouver to Jack and Una Newman. He grew up in a home of modern design, a member of a family that instilled a dedication to social justice, books, science, music and nonconformity. Growing up, he was always looking for the next adventure and, identifying with Christopher Robin (his parents faithfully read the Winnie the Pooh books to all their children), spent much time in his own Hundred Acre Wood, the “bush,” an extensive woody and urban wilderness area behind the family home in north Burnaby. Throughout his life, he carried with him an activist spirit, questioning the status quo and challenging it when he felt it necessary.

After graduating from high school in 1962, Michael went to the University of British Columbia. But in that socially turbulent era of civil rights and peace movements, Michael found university life constricting and, after a year, he left for Montreal. From there he joined the Committee for Non-Violent Action’s 2800-mile Quebec – Washington – Guantanamo Walk for Peace.

In January 1964, the marchers were stopped and arrested in Albany, Georgia. Here he came face to face with out-and-out racism. Michael spent a month in jail from which he wrote a letter to his parents on jailhouse toilet paper telling stories of work gangs and cattle prods but also, as he would say later with a typically wry smile, the best grits he ever tasted.

Michael returned to Montreal and worked in the library of Sir George Williams University (where he also returned to his university studies) and met his first wife, Serena, a gifted visual artist. He moved back to Vancouver with her in 1968 but the marriage did not last.

Returning to Montreal, Michael was working at McGill University library when he met his second wife, Ildiko. They fulfilled a dream of farming and living off the land in the Kootenays. Their son, Gabriel, was born in 1972 to be joined in 1977 by their daughter, Rachel.

Soon after, his parents retired to the same area to enjoy a similar lifestyle. Like his father, Michael had an innate sense of how machinery worked and during this time learned from him many workshop skills.

His family’s collective dreams were rudely interrupted by a BC Hydro dam whose impact unexpectedly made their properties geologically unstable. BC Hydro compensated both Michael’s family and his parents. While his parents relocated to Summerland, Michael, Ildiko and the two children settled in Oliver where he purchased an orchard south of town in 1980.

A life involved with the local community

As an orchardist for six years, Michael became very involved in the Oliver community. He became a board member of the growers’ association and the concert society as well as a rural director and trustee for the irrigation district.

It was during his time as an orchardist that he became deeply involved in community development in Central America. There his knowledge of small-scale agriculture was useful for monitoring local projects in the villages of Honduras and Guatemala.

In 1989 Michael was part of a small group that founded World Neighbours Canada, which raised money for development projects around the world. Michael’s focus throughout his 23-year participation was to oversee projects among the most impoverished people in Central America. Some of Michael’s proudest moments were in the rural villages of Honduras and Guatemala that he visited regularly and where this model of community learning was successfully implemented.

In 1986, Michael began his career as a newspaperman, buying the Oliver Chronicle from Don Somerville. Given his entrepreneurial flair and instinct for community development, the paper flourished. In a time when local small town newspapers were disappearing into corporate chains, the Chronicle, to the enormous benefit of its readers and the town, remained stubbornly independent. In recognition of his excellence as a publisher, Michael was chosen by his peers to serve on the British Columbia Press Council for many years. He sold the paper in 2008.

He met his wife Celia at a World Neighbours workshop in Seattle. They shared an interest in progressive causes and sustainable development. Celia moved to Oliver from the Seattle area, and married Michael in 1991. Celia’s children, Jeanna and Matthew, became part of his family and frequently came to Oliver to visit and join holiday celebrations.

For the past 22 years Michael and Celia have supported each other’s social and community projects while enjoying shared interests in gardening, birding, travel, movies, books, and what Michael would call “puttering around the yard.”

With Michael’s encouragement, Celia helped to transform Triangle Park into a garden with pathways and benches. And when Celia bemoaned the lack of foreign films available in Oliver, Michael told her she could have any movie she wanted, provided she find a way to bring them to the community. Celia took his cue, and in cooperation with the Oliver Theatre, started the Oliver Film Club. Many may remember Michael as the ticket-taker on film club nights. In 1999, Michael helped create a camp near Covert Farms to provide the many young people who came to pick fruit with a place to live for the summer.

Michael had a keen interest in local history and for a period in the 1980s was the town’s volunteer archivist. In 2010, he was elected chairman of the Oliver and District Heritage Society where he oversaw major changes and a thorough renovation of the Oliver museum. Under his leadership the society was revitalized and the board and staff began a bold new direction of community engagement.

Michael dove into local politics soon after arriving in Oliver when he was elected rural director in 1984. He served on the local health authority in the early 1990s before it was merged into a larger entity. After retiring from the Chronicle, he was elected to Oliver town council on which he served one term, 2008-2011. During this time he spearheaded the move to rename Oliver’s streets for meaningful local historical and cultural features instead of the previous cumbersome and confusing numbering system.

Michael was an active participant in the Oliver Rotary Club where he was a member for 22 years and a charter member of Osoyoos Rotary Club. He and Celia welcomed to their home Rotary exchange students from Australia, Finland, South America and Honduras.

In January, when Michael first faced the diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer, he immediately donated the funds needed for a World Neighbours project benefitting the Maya Chorti women along the Guatemalan-Honduran border (to encourage healthier living and sustainable farming).

A life in a ‘hundred acre wood’

Looking forward to an active retirement, Michael built a cabin on land near Tonasket, Washington, which he and Celia visited almost every week to enjoy a quiet, peaceful time together and with family and friends. The land provided another version of his Christopher Robin dream as he could now take on adventures that drew on the skills he had learned from his father and the earlier periods on the Pend d’Oreille and the Oliver orchard.

He cleared brush and snow with his tractor, cut down trees, pulled stumps, chopped wood, enjoyed watching wildlife, checked fences, and chatted to neighbours.

Michael started feeling unwell last summer. Initially diagnosed with diabetes, he, in his usual cheerful way, thought he had things under control and was starting to enjoy life again, treasuring his time at the cabin and cooking meals for friends.

In January, he discovered that he had advanced pancreatic cancer. Nonetheless he maintained as active a life as he could. From his bed he e-mailed and texted friends here and abroad. He ensured that his favourite causes, World Neighbours Canada and the Oliver and District Heritage Society, had succession plans in place. While he was able, he enjoyed chatting with friends when they came to visit. He died at home as he wished, surrounded by family.

Michael is survived by his wife, Celia; son, Gabriel, daughter-in-law, Lia, grandchildren, Lucas and Ella, and his daughter, Rachel, all of Vernon; stepdaughter, Jeanna and her husband, Austin, and stepson, Matthew, all of the Seattle area; brother, Denis, of Palo Alto, California and sister, Wendy, of Oliver; nephew and nieces, Reed of Del Mar, California, Alissa of Brooklyn, New York, and Rosa of Vancouver.

A celebration of Michael’s life will be held at Oliver Alliance Church at 2 pm on Saturday, March 16, followed by a gathering at Medici’s Gelateria.

Michael’s family requests that those who wish to remember him with a donation, give to World Neighbours Canada, Box 1771, Oliver, BC V0H 1T0 or through its website, http://worldneighbours.ca/

 

Remembering Michael

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Lucas Newman

No one will forget Michael Newman’s wry smile and his knack for making everything right after a bad situation. His words prevented wars, and sometimes started them, but he was always steadfast in his beliefs.

Surrounded by loved ones, the long-time newsman lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on February 23. He was 68. A week before he passed, Michael joked that he would make sure it didn’t hinder the Chronicle’s Tuesday noon deadline. That’s okay, Michael, we survived.

Many people will remember this man for his undeniable wit and tenacity for the news; he was publisher of the Oliver Chronicle for 22 years.

Long-time employee Richard Schaffrick has fond memories of his fearless, outspoken boss.

“The staff was allowed to make their own decisions with little supervision. We appreciated that immensely.”

In 1986 Michael gave no better explanation for purchasing the Chronicle than one offered by Victor Kiam in his Remington razor ads: “I liked the product so much I bought the company.”

Michael always loved newspapers. He read them voraciously and took great pleasure in participating in the letters to the editor column. He once wrote that a decent newspaper is a civilized necessity in life.

Michael and family arrived in Oliver in 1980, buying a 10-acre orchard south of town. He became active in the local fruit industry, the concert society, the irrigation district and the regional district as rural director.

Michael arrived at the Chronicle with no training in running a newspaper, just an understanding of bookkeeping and his father’s stern instructions to avoid negative numbers on the balance sheet.

He was a stickler for fairness and accuracy, and didn’t feel the need to crack the whip as long as his staff met the deadline. His pet peeve was lateness; if you wanted a job at the Chronicle, you showed up on time or you didn’t show up at all. It was that simple.

Michael never shied away from controversy, often running stories that ruffled the feathers of those who deserved to be scrutinized. He schooled himself in matters of criminal court, which he covered religiously. On occasion he challenged the court when it imposed publication bans or other rules that kept the public in the dark. The public had a right to know and he fought for that right tooth and nail.

All of the lawyers and judges knew him by name and respected his knowledge.

Michael answered the call for advice from editors and other writers who wanted to make sure they got it right without getting into hot water.

He was known for listening to people no matter how strange they sounded, and provided them a venue to rant and rave about community issues. His grin and dry humour were almost famous, and his steel nerves served him well when others would have “lost it” in the face of harsh criticism. For example, Michael stood by his controversial decisions as president of the Oliver and District Heritage Society. His passion for heritage and rebuilding the museum was unbreakable.

His other passion was being an active member of the Oliver Rotary Club and doing humanitarian work for World Neighbours.

Schaffrick also recalled Michael’s passion for cooking.

“One year at a staff pre-Christmas dinner he tried out his new lamb recipe on us. Since I had never eaten lamb in my life, I was apprehensive. But he added plenty of spices and I survived the ordeal.”

When Michael sold the Chronicle to Robert Doull in 2008, he reflected on the newspaper business, saying it was the most enjoyable job he ever had. But he was looking forward to no longer living by a press deadline.

In an editorial that year, Michael wrote it would be nice not to carry the responsibility for someone’s opinion when he allowed him to vent on the letters page.

“I still firmly believe in running letters from the town idiots because I think the town needs to know who the idiots are.”

Retired from newspaper life, Michael found himself back where he started: being a simple subscriber eagerly awaiting the Chronicle’s arrival in Wednesday’s mail to see whether there was a delicious response to the idiot who wrote a letter the previous week.

As Michael would say to his staff as he left the office for the day, “Faster . . . more . . .”

Clarence Louie, chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, recalled working with Michael on a historical housing project as a summer student.

“I remember him being a good boss – very helpful and respectful, and we got into some good educational discussions.”

Louie said Michael could talk and debate on most anything, and he always did it in a nice way.

“He brought me to his house a number of times and would always have his wife make us lunch. He had a nice educated demeanor about him.”

Dale Dodge, one of Michael’s many friends, worked with him on the board of World Neighbours Canada for six years.

“I had worked previously with him on the community health project about 15 years ago as well, and in both cases Michael impressed me with his knowledge, his wisdom and his ability to argue even the most contentious points with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.”

Dodge said Michael’s dedication to World Neighbours Canada and the people of Honduras was impressive, to say the least.

“The Chorti people of Honduras and the townspeople of Oliver have both lost a passionate champion.”

Former Chronicle editor Frank Stariha said Michael clearly had newspapers in his blood.

“One of his favourite photographs, proudly displayed in his office, was of his grandfather at work on his typewriter, working on a news story. The acorn, indeed, didn’t fall far from the tree.”

Another attribute which stands out about Michael was the courage of his convictions, Stariha said.

“How many people would have put their very lives on the line by taking part in the freedom marches in the American South in the early 1960s as Michael did?”

Stariha said he and Michael didn’t always agree on everything, but “I never lost my respect for Michael, his innate intelligence, his sometimes scathing sense of humour, and his keen interest in virtually everything around him, a trait which served him well . . . you gave it a good run, Michael.”

Long-time friend and former employee Sue Morhun said Oliver has lost a man who was central to making many things happen for the betterment of the people of this community.

He was a thoughtful and responsible elected official both at the RDOS and Town council tables, and a dedicated volunteer, Morhun said.

“Most recently, Michael led a team of volunteers through the difficult task of revitalizing the Oliver and District Heritage Society and rejuvenating the 1924 BC police station (museum). His skilled leadership, his vision for a successful future in the face of opposition and his plain hard, physical work in this particular endeavour has created an enduring legacy for which we are grateful.”

Morhun said Oliver will miss him in many different ways.

“We will also be thankful for his courage in terms of tackling difficult tasks head on and his conviction that we all need to make this world a better place. That was always his motivation.”

Don’t turn your back on jobs

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There was a time when some people accused Oliver council of not being open for business. Either the zoning regulations were too overbearing or the rules were just plain unfriendly to entrepreneurs and developers. But times have changed, and council can’t afford to erect too many barriers in this lean economy.

Today’s council appears to welcome any type of enquiry as long as it brings business, jobs and new taxes to its coffers. Case in point – a medical marijuana production facility.

Before anyone freaks out, these facilities are not fly-by-night ventures run by sleazy individuals in dark overcoats. They are government-approved (and licensed) operations that produce marijuana in a secure and controlled environment. No on-site sales or vehicles coming and going at all hours of the night, no police raids and no odours.

Why would council turn its back on this type of enterprise? It will bring jobs and other spin-off effects just like the correctional centre. But you have to admit that a prison and a marijuana facility in the same community is a little odd and may prompt a few jokes.

Seriously, though, Oliver needs as much economic development as it can get, and council is trying to facilitate that by bringing forth tax exemptions, parking relaxations, temporary use permits, and a hotel feasibility study.

Hopefully this will attract more business to town and give developers an incentive to set up shop here.

However, it would be nice to see the Town establish an economic development association that actually works, with a clear mandate and set of goals. Sadly, the Town hasn’t had much luck keeping an economic development function alive for very long. Perhaps the Oliver Business Association (OBA) could take more of the reins if it received additional support in the way of members and funding. This association should actually be a line item in the Town’s budget every year to push economic development projects and support existing businesses.

Why not volunteer your time or expertise in the association to enhance Oliver’s business community and the downtown core. Have a downtown sidewalk sale, a business appreciation day or a promotion to let consumers know what’s available in this little Town. Have a contest with a cool prize for the best business promotion idea.

Spring is coming and the tourists will soon be here. Let’s capitalize on it.

ONA’s own study suggests park is feasible

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Graham_Osborne_South_Okanagan_Grasslands_3-I-9881[1]

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) has released its own feasibility study deeming a national park for the South Okanagan/Lower Similkameen as feasible, while urging the provincial government to re-open talks about opening a park with the federal government, Parks Canada and various community stakeholders.

“It has taken eight years to ensure that the Okanagan Nation is in a position to be able to weigh in on what’s important to the Syilx people and how the future of the land and people should be protected,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, chair of ONA, during a recent press conference at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos.

“There is now sufficient confidence to carry forward to the next phase of discussion of a potential park.”

Also attending last week’s announcement was Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie, Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Robert Edwards, and Gwen Bridge, natural resources manager for the Lower Similkameen Indian Band.

In January of 2012, the provincial Liberal government shocked many by withdrawing support for a national park after more than a decade of negotiations between Parks Canada and various stakeholders.

The Liberals were forced to release its own feasibility study several months later, which clearly identified there was strong community and stakeholder support for the establishment of a national park in the South Okanagan.

The Liberal government has remained muted on the national park issue for this area of the province since announcing its withdrawal of support 14 months ago.

The four most southern Indian bands within the ONA – the Osoyoos Indian Band, Penticton Indian Band, Lower Similkameen Indian Band and Upper Similkameen Indian Band – formed a Syilx working group in November of 2010 assessing the feasibility of a potential Syilx/Parks Canada protected area in the South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen.

That working group was tasked by the ONA Chiefs Executive Council to determine if it was feasible to consider development of a national park reserve as part of a broader Syilx vision to protect valued land and cultural values within the ONA traditional territory.

The feasibility study called “Building a Syilx Vision for Protection: Final Report (Assessing Feasibility of a Syilx/Parks Canada Protected Area) is 28 pages in length and features six key recommendations.

They include:

• That the ONA advance to the next phase of the national park establishment process, the negotiations phase, as there will be no diminishment to Syilx title and rights and that on all issues, with the exception of issues related

 

to the province’s role, a determination of feasibility was made.

• The ONA plan for and build appropriate capacity to prepare for future dialogue and negotiations, including but not limited to, Syilx inclusion in a cooperative consensus-based decision-making framework, integrating and showcasing to guide park planning and management and ensuring Syilx access to the land and resources for traditional and cultural purposes within park boundaries.

• A communication and media strategy be developed and implemented in a timely fashion to ensure effective and accurate public communication relative to the Syilx engagement in the national park establishment process, findings and future steps.

• The ONA re-engage the provincial government by sending a letter to the premier and cabinet outlining the findings of the Syilx feasibility process and expected re-engagement from the province in future discussions.

• The ONA seek a similar approach to the park using a species at risk assessment group or committee to initiate solution-based dialogue with Environment Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service and Parks Canada with clear objectives to build an effective working relationship and to resolve outstanding species at risk implementation issues in the Okanagan-Similkameen prior to the establishment of a national park.

• The ONA continue ongoing strategic communications between the Syilx chiefs and senior executives, including an agreed upon meeting following the conclusion of the feasibility study.

Bridge said although the current park concept is deemed feasible, it isn’t big enough in size to promote a broader vision for protection of Syilx cultural and ecological integrity in this area. The size and scope of the park would be determined through negotiations with the provincial and federal government, she added.

A social, cultural, environmental and impact assessment has determined a national park has the potential to “provide benefits to the Syilx people and culture, research funding and increased employment opportunities,” she said.

The findings in the feasibility report were determined only after a lengthy community-based approach where members of numerous ONA bands, elders, chiefs and council were involved, said Bridge.

Louie said most of the credit for this report goes to the working group that worked extremely hard for more than two years in gathering the proper information to come to the conclusion a national park would be in the best interest of Syilx people across this region.

The goal now must be to convince the senior levels of government back to the negotiating table to discuss a national park that can work for all stakeholders, said Louie.

It’s going to take a concerted effort from the ONA leadership and municipal mayors and councillors to convince provincial and federal leaders that a national park would be in the best interests of citizens of southern BC, he said.

“This document shouldn’t be allowed to just sit there and collect dust,” he said.

Phillip said all supporters of the national park, including First Nation leaders, must continue to work together to ensure the BC government commits to starting talks once again about a national park for the South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen.

The ONA will be sending a detailed letter to Premier Christy Clark in the coming days highlighting the feasibility study and its key recommendations and urging the government to re-open discussions as quickly as possible, said Phillip.

The next phase of negotiations will provide additional information and clarity on key issues such as Syilx inherent rights relating to harvesting and hunting, collaborative decision-making and the inclusion of traditional ecological knowledge in park management and decision-making, said Bridge.

A copy of the entire feasibility report is now available at www.okanagannation.com

‘Stars’ come out in Oliver with Chef Lynn

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Stars revised photo

These local “stars” had their moment of fame with Chef Lynn from Pitchin’ In last summer. In back from left are Chris and Greg Norton, and Silvia Badger from Medici’s Gelateria. In front are Colleen Misner and Carolyn Madge.                                                                       Tiffany Beckedorf photo

 

 

This past summer, some of Oliver’s residents got a taste of fame when the Food Network came to town to film an episode of ‘Pitchin’ In’ with Chef Lynn Crawford.

The focus of the episode was cherries, in particular the Rainier variety, and so it was only fitting that some of the valley’s cherry experts be a part of the show.

The show begins on Greg and Chris Norton’s farm, where the cherries are ripe and plentiful. After a comedic, but less than successful attempt at picking cherries, Chef Lynn becomes the second person that Greg has ever fired. Of course, there are no hard feelings, and Chef Lynn returns later in the show to help Chris dry the cherries, with only slightly better success. It is clear that the running of the farm is best left to the professionals.

Chef Lynn then stops in at Medici’s Gelateria to sample some of their homemade cherry sorbeto.  Owner Silvia Badger makes sorbeto sundaes to die for, and the two sit on the patio to enjoy the refreshing treat in the Okanagan heat.

“Lynn was so normal, so down to earth,” said Silvia. “It was a lot of fun. She is a goddess in the kitchen.”  She called the experience eye-opening, and plans to use one of the recipes Chef Lynn created.

Next stop for Chef Lynn is Carolyn Madge’s home, where the crew got a chance to take in the stunning view of McIntyre Bluff and Tucelnuit Lake.

“The crew didn’t want to leave,” said Colleen Misner, Carolyn’s daughter.

The two of them became involved in the show when Frantic Films, who produces the show contacted the Town office to inquire about whether or not the “Cherry Socials” were still taking place. They’re not, but Colleen found the opportunity to mention the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest cherry pie, an achievement that she and her mother were a part of.  Before they knew it, Chef Lynn was knocking at their door, a baggie of Rainier cherries in hand.

“We didn’t meet her until the actual filming took place, apparently that’s the way she likes to do things, so everything is fresh, there’s no sort of pretense or anything like that,” explained Carolyn. “So when she knocked at the sliding glass doors of our house and we welcomed her in, that was our very first meeting, and then 10  minutes later we’re baking pies together.  It was very impromptu, very real.”

The episode culminates with Chef Lynn preparing a gourmet meal, with Carolyn’s help, in the Nortons’ kitchen. All of the attendees were unanimous in the assessment that it was one of the best dinners they have ever had. The menu of course, featured cherries.

The group got together February 15 at Medici’s for an evening dubbed “Stars Come Out in Oliver,” where they invited people to come and watch the show on the big screen and share some wine, cherries and laughs.

Before the show, Colleen said, “It will be really fun to watch it together with the people we made it with. “We’ll be poking each other in the ribs and cracking jokes I’m sure.”

 

‘Stars’ come out in Oliver with Chef Lynn

0

Stars revised photo

These local “stars” had their moment of fame with Chef Lynn from Pitchin’ In last summer. In back from left are Chris and Greg Norton, and Silvia Badger from Medici’s Gelateria. In front are Colleen Misner and Carolyn Madge.                                                                       Tiffany Beckedorf photo

 

 

This past summer, some of Oliver’s residents got a taste of fame when the Food Network came to town to film an episode of ‘Pitchin’ In’ with Chef Lynn Crawford.

The focus of the episode was cherries, in particular the Rainier variety, and so it was only fitting that some of the valley’s cherry experts be a part of the show.

The show begins on Greg and Chris Norton’s farm, where the cherries are ripe and plentiful. After a comedic, but less than successful attempt at picking cherries, Chef Lynn becomes the second person that Greg has ever fired. Of course, there are no hard feelings, and Chef Lynn returns later in the show to help Chris dry the cherries, with only slightly better success. It is clear that the running of the farm is best left to the professionals.

Chef Lynn then stops in at Medici’s Gelateria to sample some of their homemade cherry sorbeto.  Owner Silvia Badger makes sorbeto sundaes to die for, and the two sit on the patio to enjoy the refreshing treat in the Okanagan heat.

“Lynn was so normal, so down to earth,” said Silvia. “It was a lot of fun. She is a goddess in the kitchen.”  She called the experience eye-opening, and plans to use one of the recipes Chef Lynn created.

Next stop for Chef Lynn is Carolyn Madge’s home, where the crew got a chance to take in the stunning view of McIntyre Bluff and Tucelnuit Lake.

“The crew didn’t want to leave,” said Colleen Misner, Carolyn’s daughter.

The two of them became involved in the show when Frantic Films, who produces the show contacted the Town office to inquire about whether or not the “Cherry Socials” were still taking place. They’re not, but Colleen found the opportunity to mention the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest cherry pie, an achievement that she and her mother were a part of.  Before they knew it, Chef Lynn was knocking at their door, a baggie of Rainier cherries in hand.

“We didn’t meet her until the actual filming took place, apparently that’s the way she likes to do things, so everything is fresh, there’s no sort of pretense or anything like that,” explained Carolyn. “So when she knocked at the sliding glass doors of our house and we welcomed her in, that was our very first meeting, and then 10  minutes later we’re baking pies together.  It was very impromptu, very real.”

The episode culminates with Chef Lynn preparing a gourmet meal, with Carolyn’s help, in the Nortons’ kitchen. All of the attendees were unanimous in the assessment that it was one of the best dinners they have ever had. The menu of course, featured cherries.

The group got together February 15 at Medici’s for an evening dubbed “Stars Come Out in Oliver,” where they invited people to come and watch the show on the big screen and share some wine, cherries and laughs.

Before the show, Colleen said, “It will be really fun to watch it together with the people we made it with. “We’ll be poking each other in the ribs and cracking jokes I’m sure.”

 

Five-year financial plan heading for approval

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Oliver’s five-year financial plan will soon be adopted, showing a $13 million budget this year with a decrease in municipal taxes, but increases from other levels of government.

The $13 million to be spent in 2013 includes $4 million to the general fund, $7.6 million to the water fund, and  $1.4 million to the sewer fund.

Chief financial officer David Svetlichny said only 27 per cent of the entire tax bill represents municipal taxes. He stated the average Oliver residence, based on an assessed value of $287,033, will see municipal taxes decrease this year by $2.97 compared to 2012.

In addition, a decrease in the business multiple equates to a 7.78 per cent decrease in the business tax rate in Oliver. For a business assessed at $250,000, this equates to approximately $90 in savings compared to last year, Svetlichny said.

But things aren’t so rosy when you factor in taxes (projected to increase by nearly $50) for other governments.

For example, regional district taxes will increase by $15 to $334, library taxes will go up by $3 to $60, and hospital taxes will increase by $3 to $101.

School taxes will increase by $22 for a total of $760, and police taxes will jump by $6 for a total of $89.

Garbage and recycling rates for the average home will not increase this year; these rates will be maintained at $120 per residence.

Council has approved a 1.5 per cent increase in this year’s sewer user fees and parcel taxes. The combined annual parcel tax and user fee for a single family home is to increase by $5 to $328.

The Town’s entire water utility has incorporated a 2.2 per cent increase in all rates. Agricultural irrigation rates for a 10-acre property will increase $44, from $2,046 to $2,090.

All potable water users will continue being charged based on water consumption.

Svetlichny said metered rates have been increased by 2.2 per cent to cover current and future debt charges over the next five years, including a new well and completion of the water twinning project.

The Town’s property tax distribution shows the residential class providing the largest proportion of tax revenue (71 per cent or $924,096). The business class represents 25 per cent or $328,870. Light industry is two per cent or $25,898, while utility is one per cent or $15,669. The farm and recreation class represent one per cent at nearly $4,000.

Svetlichny said the Town, over the next five years, will keep the property tax increase close to the cost of living.

Five-year financial plan heading for approval

0

Oliver’s five-year financial plan will soon be adopted, showing a $13 million budget this year with a decrease in municipal taxes, but increases from other levels of government.

The $13 million to be spent in 2013 includes $4 million to the general fund, $7.6 million to the water fund, and  $1.4 million to the sewer fund.

Chief financial officer David Svetlichny said only 27 per cent of the entire tax bill represents municipal taxes. He stated the average Oliver residence, based on an assessed value of $287,033, will see municipal taxes decrease this year by $2.97 compared to 2012.

In addition, a decrease in the business multiple equates to a 7.78 per cent decrease in the business tax rate in Oliver. For a business assessed at $250,000, this equates to approximately $90 in savings compared to last year, Svetlichny said.

But things aren’t so rosy when you factor in taxes (projected to increase by nearly $50) for other governments.

For example, regional district taxes will increase by $15 to $334, library taxes will go up by $3 to $60, and hospital taxes will increase by $3 to $101.

School taxes will increase by $22 for a total of $760, and police taxes will jump by $6 for a total of $89.

Garbage and recycling rates for the average home will not increase this year; these rates will be maintained at $120 per residence.

Council has approved a 1.5 per cent increase in this year’s sewer user fees and parcel taxes. The combined annual parcel tax and user fee for a single family home is to increase by $5 to $328.

The Town’s entire water utility has incorporated a 2.2 per cent increase in all rates. Agricultural irrigation rates for a 10-acre property will increase $44, from $2,046 to $2,090.

All potable water users will continue being charged based on water consumption.

Svetlichny said metered rates have been increased by 2.2 per cent to cover current and future debt charges over the next five years, including a new well and completion of the water twinning project.

The Town’s property tax distribution shows the residential class providing the largest proportion of tax revenue (71 per cent or $924,096). The business class represents 25 per cent or $328,870. Light industry is two per cent or $25,898, while utility is one per cent or $15,669. The farm and recreation class represent one per cent at nearly $4,000.

Svetlichny said the Town, over the next five years, will keep the property tax increase close to the cost of living.

V-Day supporters ‘rise’ up against violence

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V-day

From left are Emaya, Lynn Andersen, Hope Heyduck and Paula Rodriguez de la Vega doing the break-the-chain dance at the One Billion Rising V-Day event at Medici’s Gelateria on February 14.

Lyonel Doherty photo

 

 

Ten years ago Pat Whalley’s daughter had to make a decision – to take a bullet from her abusive partner or jump through a window to escape. She chose the latter and ended up in a body cast for months; but she was alive.

For Whalley, last week’s “One Billion Rising” V-Day rally at Medici’s Gelateria in Oliver was a proud but bittersweet 60 minutes. It brought back the memory of her daughter’s nightmare, but it made her proud to join the global V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls.

“There are a lot of women who have no one (to turn to). This really means a lot to us,” said Whalley, who organized a raffle to raise money ($1,936.55) for the cause.

V-Day Oliver-Osoyoos co-organizer Paula Rodriguez de la Vega said the rally on February 14 was standing room only, which proves how important the issue is.

She said “One Billion Rising” began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at seven billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls, she pointed out.

Members of the Oliver-Osoyoos group demand change and rise up in defiance of the injustices women suffer.

“It is a call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends,” de la Vega said.

She told the Chronicle that she personally knows women who have been beaten and raped in abusive relationships. “Violence is very real here in Oliver.”

Roxie Van Aller, executive director of Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre, said 52 per cent of women in BC have experienced spousal abuse at least one time in their lives. And 35 assaults take place before the police are involved in the relationship, she said, citing a wife abuse report. Many assaults are never reported, she added.

Van Aller noted that girls (between the age of 12 and 15) are at greatest risk of sexual assault by a family member.

Locally, Desert Sun had 68 referrals last year and provided 42 nights of “Safe Home” shelter for women and children. Seven women and one child were sheltered in the last three months.

“We never really have enough funds to meet the demand, but we never turn anyone away,” Van Aller said.

Local businesswoman and writer Ursula Wick read a powerful monologue by Eve Ensler, founder of the award winning play “The Vagina Monologues.”

Darlene George, who works for the Osoyoos Indian Band, told organizers that First Nations women are five times more likely to experience rape and/or domestic violence than other Canadian women.

V-Day Oliver-Osoyoos is hosting a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues at the Osoyoos Mini-Theatre on April 6. All proceeds go to Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre. Tickets can be purchased at Beyond Bliss and Lady O’s Fitness in Oliver.

V-Day supporters ‘rise’ up against violence

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V-day

From left are Emaya, Lynn Andersen, Hope Heyduck and Paula Rodriguez de la Vega doing the break-the-chain dance at the One Billion Rising V-Day event at Medici’s Gelateria on February 14.

Lyonel Doherty photo

 

 

Ten years ago Pat Whalley’s daughter had to make a decision – to take a bullet from her abusive partner or jump through a window to escape. She chose the latter and ended up in a body cast for months; but she was alive.

For Whalley, last week’s “One Billion Rising” V-Day rally at Medici’s Gelateria in Oliver was a proud but bittersweet 60 minutes. It brought back the memory of her daughter’s nightmare, but it made her proud to join the global V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls.

“There are a lot of women who have no one (to turn to). This really means a lot to us,” said Whalley, who organized a raffle to raise money ($1,936.55) for the cause.

V-Day Oliver-Osoyoos co-organizer Paula Rodriguez de la Vega said the rally on February 14 was standing room only, which proves how important the issue is.

She said “One Billion Rising” began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at seven billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls, she pointed out.

Members of the Oliver-Osoyoos group demand change and rise up in defiance of the injustices women suffer.

“It is a call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends,” de la Vega said.

She told the Chronicle that she personally knows women who have been beaten and raped in abusive relationships. “Violence is very real here in Oliver.”

Roxie Van Aller, executive director of Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre, said 52 per cent of women in BC have experienced spousal abuse at least one time in their lives. And 35 assaults take place before the police are involved in the relationship, she said, citing a wife abuse report. Many assaults are never reported, she added.

Van Aller noted that girls (between the age of 12 and 15) are at greatest risk of sexual assault by a family member.

Locally, Desert Sun had 68 referrals last year and provided 42 nights of “Safe Home” shelter for women and children. Seven women and one child were sheltered in the last three months.

“We never really have enough funds to meet the demand, but we never turn anyone away,” Van Aller said.

Local businesswoman and writer Ursula Wick read a powerful monologue by Eve Ensler, founder of the award winning play “The Vagina Monologues.”

Darlene George, who works for the Osoyoos Indian Band, told organizers that First Nations women are five times more likely to experience rape and/or domestic violence than other Canadian women.

V-Day Oliver-Osoyoos is hosting a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues at the Osoyoos Mini-Theatre on April 6. All proceeds go to Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre. Tickets can be purchased at Beyond Bliss and Lady O’s Fitness in Oliver.

Ambassador program seeks new candidates

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Ambassadors sworn in

Ashley Hiibner, Chiara Mason and Taylor Baptiste, Oliver’s current ambassadors invite the youth of Oliver to participate in the upcoming candidacy program. Registrations will take place starting next week. For more information contact coordinator Lori Martine at oliverambassadors@live.ca

Lyonel Doherty photo

 

The 2012/2013 Oliver Ambassadors have been having a great year so far. We have already been doing a tremendous amount of volunteering and representing our town. We started the year off with the annual Oliver Sunshine Festival running a booth for kids. We also had a children’s booth at the Okanagan Falls Wild West Fest.

Before school started, Taylor Baptiste was invited as a guest with Chief Clarence Louie to go to Vancouver for a night on Jim Pattison’s yacht. Taylor became friends with the former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm and even got to drive the multi-million dollar yacht!

The ambassadors teamed up with Wine Country Quilters Market and Quilts for Comfort and donated a quilt to an Oliver family in need after their house burnt down. We also went to our first pageant as visiting ambassadors. At the Peachland pageant we watched the new ambassadors get crowned, visited Parrot Island, and went on a town-wide scavenger hunt.

A highlight to the year for ambassadors is always our famed “Festival of the Grape.” This year we helped with opening ceremonies and gave out prizes in the “Kid Zone.”  Also, in October, we went to their first out-of-town pageant in Logan Lake. We had a blast visiting the Highland Valley Copper Mine, going through a haunted house, and spending the weekend with other visiting royalty.

As the winter months began, we enjoyed being traditional town-criers at the Oliver Light Up, making gingerbread cookies with kids at the Oliver Winter Wonderland, and Ashley represented Oliver in the Penticton Santa Claus Parade.

Ashley, Chiara, and Taylor have created a parody of the song “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line that is all about Oliver’s main attractions. They sing this song at every town they visit as ambassadors, and invite the audience to come visit Oliver.

Although the winter months slowed down slightly for the Oliver Ambassadors, we are very excited for a spring time full of events. The kick-off to get the Oliver Ambassadors back into action was their attendance at the Vernon Winter Carnival at the beginning of February.

The ambassadors were enthralled to be a part of the Proclamation of Queen Silver Star the 53rd, which begins the carnival. The girls also had the pleasure of attending the public coronation.

Throughout the weekend, the girls became acquainted with the new royalty, saw many hot air balloons – a thrill for all of the ambassadors – and were able to do a little shopping in their down time.

The Oliver Ambassadors also had the extraordinary opportunity to be a part of the 95-float parade – their first parade as crowned ambassadors. The carnival’s theme this year was prehistoric, so it was very exciting to see all of the interesting floats. The girls truly enjoyed their experience.

They sincerely thank the Queen Silver Star Excellence Committee for the invitation, and extend their gratitude to the City of Vernon for their hospitality.

Attending the Vernon Winter Carnival was definitely a highlight, but the ambassador team will soon face an even bigger task: opening the doors of candidacy 2013 to the youth of Oliver. It is already the time of year to begin looking for new candidates. Throughout candidacy, the candidates will develop skills in public speaking, presentation, etiquette and more. The six-month program will focus on these aspects, but also include various workshops, with one of last year’s highlights being the fire training workshop.

Becoming a candidate will improve many skills, build your confidence, and introduce you to different people. You will also establish links within the community and interact with your sponsor. Candidacy is truly a fun and rewarding experience, all leading up to the final big night at the end of August. Candidacy is open to males and females in Grades 9, 10 and 11. We encourage anyone interested to get in touch with our current Ambassadors:  Chiara Mason, Taylor Baptiste and Ashley Hiibner, and further information will be provided at a kiosk. Information is also available from myself and Lisa Kunz.

The Oliver Ambassadors will have a kiosk running at Southern Okanagan Secondary School from February 18-22 during lunch time. They will also have a kiosk set up at the mall on February 23 from 10 am until 2 pm.

Registration for becoming a candidate will officially close March 1. The Oliver Ambassadors are very excited for the upcoming candidacy, and they are looking forward to a great group of candidates. They encourage the youth of Oliver to take a chance, and have a great time.

 

Brian Taylor’s father gave him good advice

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briantaylor

Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor wants to represent the NDP in Boundary-Similkameen. Taylor was born in Oliver and has two daughters. He lives on a small farm just outside of Grand Forks.

Photo contributed

 

Brian Taylor’s father left him with several pieces of advice, but the one that stands out – don’t just break bad rules, change them.

So he’s keeping that in mind as he runs for the Boundary-Similkameen riding in the May 14 provincial election.

The Grand Forks mayor has filed his nomination papers as the NDP candidate.

He was born in Oliver in 1946 and grew up in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. His grandfather and father both managed fruit co-ops in the South Okanagan. His father, Jim Taylor, was an RCMP officer, fighter pilot and a lay magistrate.

Brian managed non-profit societies for 20 years, and in 1983 represented the NDP in the Central Okanagan.

He was elected as mayor in Grand Forks and served from 1997 to 1999, and again from 2008 to the present. He was once the leader of the BC Marijuana Party and has been an active community volunteer (he ran the fall fair, served as president of the Chamber of Commerce and the Boundary Lodge Housing Society). Along with his mayoral responsibilities, he also serves as a director on the Regional District of Kootenay and the Regional Hospital Board.

Taylor said the timing of his running for Boundary-Similkameen is right, noting Grand Forks is beginning to prosper, they have a new energetic administrator, and their major industries are stable.

“The city has an asset management plan that will provide the long-term security of our infrastructure and I am in the perfect life space to participate in the provincial political scene, my health is great and my mind is sharp.”

Taylor said he hopes to see a closer working relationship between regional and municipal governments and the province. “I am acutely aware of the roadblocks local government runs up against at the provincial level. I am excited about the commitment of the NDP to do politics differently. I think this can start by having a new honesty with voters in this election, and I hope I can be an example of that commitment to change.”

Taylor said he would bring an emotional maturity to the table. “I enjoy debate, have a sense of humour and I can communicate with most people.”

He also pointed out his involvement in every aspect of his community. But he admitted that politics is not his life. “I have many other interests in life including my grand children and my music.”

Taylor said nothing can match the challenges of being mayor in a small town. “Decisions that we make as a council are further debated at the checkout line at the grocery store. Some of the most pointed attacks are on the deer issue which has been left entirely to local government to address.”

Taylor said an MLA should have a strong work ethic. He or she must not hide from controversy and criticism. “Read, listen and consult before speaking and always be respectful of others’ opinions. Having said all that  there are times when all around you disagree and you need the steel to stand alone.”

Taylor said people have been talking to him about many issues, including cattle on sensitive grass lands, deer, employment insurance problems, foreign workers, air quality, HST/PST, medicinal cannabis, and homelessness.

For Taylor, the NDP has always reflected his political beliefs, but in 1983 after running for the party against the premier in his own riding, he felt it necessary to speak up on the dangers of the just emerging gaming industry.

“I warned at the danger to charities and the damages to service clubs and volunteer organizations and the addiction of government to this new revenue. I was booed off the stage and alienated. I will be a team player but I will not be bullied.”

Taylor has two daughters and two grandchildren and lives on a small farm just outside of Grand Forks.

A premier visit

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Winery group 2

BC Premier Christy Clark (right) visited Stoneboat Vineyards last Friday for the announcement of a $125,000 interest free loan to the winery to create a new type of wine (Piano Brut)  that is not currently made in BC. Shown from left welcoming the premier are winemaker Alison Moyes, proprietor Lanny Martiniuk (with open arms), winemaker Jay Martiniuk, general manager Tim Martiniuk, and proprietor Julie Martiniuk.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lyonel Doherty photo