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Enjoy some wino for Fido

If you love both dogs and wine, this event is for you.

You often hear about the work animal rescue societies do to save the animals around our region – but you don’t always hear about how much it costs.

Many rescue societies rely on donations, kind-hearted volunteers and generous veterinarians to keep their doors open and keep the animals safe.  

They also rely on the public for the cash support they need to continue their work, and they often think of fun ways to keep the public involved.

Paws it Forward is one of the local dog rescue societies in the Okanagan that is entirely volunteer run.

They are hoping you can help them out with some overwhelming vet bills, while you enjoy some wine, food and fun at the second annual Wine for K9s event.

The event is Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sandhill Winery.

The $30 ticket includes wine tastings, a silent auction, live music by Teasedelle, appetizers from Crasain Food, swag bags, door prizes, a photo booth and more.

The Frostbite Ice Cream Truck will also be attending the event, with a portion of its sales going directly to the rescue.

Tickets are available online here, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go directly to saving the lives the animals in their care.  

One-pound baby thriving

A local mother is giving thanks to staff at Kelowna General Hospital.

Suzette Postma says without the care, attention and great work of the KGH doctors and nurses, her son might not be alive.

Postma went to the hospital last August after she started experiencing labour pains, but at only 26 weeks pregnant she didn’t think giving birth was an actual possibility.

Earlier that day she says she had been reading the book, ‘What to expect when you're expecting,’ and had just learned her baby was only the size of a turnip.

“I ended up going to full blown labour, but originally they had tried to stop it because I was only 26 weeks. I took some medication; we thought it was OK but then I started to dilate fairly quickly and had contractions.”

KGH’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a Level 2B which means it can care for acutely ill and premature infants born as young as 30 weeks.

The Infant Air Transport team from Vancouver had been dispatched to the area and was supposed to take Postma to B.C. Children’s Hospital, but there wasn’t time. Her baby was on the way.

“Right about the exact moment the team had arrived to talk to me about my flight to Vancouver's B.C. Women and Children hospital, the largest contraction took place. There was no time for a transfer,” she said.

Postma had her husband and best friend by her side, who as luck would have it, is a NICU nurse at KGH.

“Everyone was in an uproar. They weren’t ready for this baby, but he was coming. They called in every specialist they had for infant care to stabilize him. It was just crazy, totally crazy,” she explained, adding more than 20 people were assigned to help her.

Postma’s best friend and nurse, Krystal Hendricks says the mood in the room was very serious and silent.

“We were all busily mentally preparing for what we are all trained to do. It’s intense,” said Hendricks. “Any delivery under 28 weeks makes everyone's heart rate rise and brings everything you know to the surface.”

With the clock ticking, Dr. Laberge broke Postma’s water; however, the baby wasn’t where he should be.

“Suddenly, he dropped quickly and abruptly into the birth canal and the need to push was more intense than ever. It was quick – only two hard pushes, but with her (Laberge) hand guiding him safely out of my womb.”

Little Maddix was successfully delivered at one pound, 15 ounces.

“Everyone was amazing. They managed to stabilize him,” Postma said. “It was so hard to get a breathing tube down his throat because he was so little. Someone who had actually never even done it managed to get the tube in as it took some time to get it in.”

She says everyone involved did the most amazing job, and she doesn’t know what the future would have held for her son if the KGH staff wasn’t so qualified.

“I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart,” said Postma, choking back tears. “It was pretty incredible. They told me he really shouldn’t be here but because of them he is.”

At just 26 weeks old, Maddix had to be flown to B.C. Children’s Hospital where he spent two months in care, before spending a third month in the KGH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“He suffered from grade 2/3 brain bleeds on both sides, retinopathy of prematurity and sepsis. He was on respiratory support for 45 days, had two surgeries for inguinal hernias and a list of other issues but today he is healthy, happy and thriving,” said the delighted mother.

Hendricks says during Maddix’s time in NICU, she cried every time she saw him.

“It has got to be the scariest thing looking at your helpless baby that you can't pick up, covered in wires and tubes from every place you could put a wire or tube,” Hendricks said of the situation. “You can't prepare a parent for a baby that little, yet perfectly made with all the parts in all the right places.”

Maddix is now healthy and growing strong, a little smaller than average, but it’s not holding him back says Postma, who also has a five-year-old son.

While KGH does not typically deliver babies under 30 weeks, it does happen, as often as once a month, according to Hendricks.

Castanet building revealed

City council has had a chance to review the plan for Castanet's new home in downtown Kelowna.

And the reaction Monday was all positive.

Council approved a development permit for the company's new building at 451-455 Lawrence Ave., next to the Blue Gator.

Two buildings on the site, a home constructed in 1915 and a commercial addition built in 1951, will be removed to make way for the two-storey brick building.

Worman Homes will be in charge of construction.

Castanet studios would occupy much of the two storeys, with two additional retail spaces opening out to the parking lot at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Ellis Street.

"I am particularly pleased with this design with the opening of some retail outlets on the east side of the property toward the parking lot," said Coun. Luke Stack.

"To me, this is the perfect type of infill. Not only are we putting a beautiful new structure, which is complementary to our downtown design, it's also expanding some of the retail walkability of the area. That's nothing but good."

A third-storey penthouse is also included in the design, although it would be set back so as not be be seen from street level. A rooftop patio is also part of the design.

"This is an exciting development in the evolution of Castanet," director of content Jon Manchester said after the council meeting.

"While other media are shrinking, we are growing. This is a significant investment in the future of downtown Kelowna and in the local news media. We can't wait to move in."

The brick design will be similar in design to the FH&P Lawyers building beside the downtown firehall on Lawrence Avenue.

"Overall, I would say this is another vote of confidence for downtown Kelowna. I am very encouraged to see this development going ahead," Stack added.

"We've been looking at that ... lot downtown for, I don't know how many years. It's a real eyesore," said Coun. Maxine DeHart.

"I know all of us have been asking, when will that be developed. Here we go today with a very beautiful development with a courtyard. I am really excited. I am really happy to see this."

The only concern was voiced by Coun. Tracy Gray, who wondered if the space was being used to its fullest potential.

"The proposal is far less than what the maximum height could have been. It makes me wonder whether we are under-developing this site," said Gray.

"We do want to have development and densification," she added.

Mayor Colin Basran said the development offers more exciting times for the revitalization of downtown Kelowna.

Recycling our history

Brick by brick, heritage lover Shona Harrison will see her character home completed – but now it will another piece of Kelowna history.

The Central Okanagan Heritage Society board member was excavating a walkway at her home when she discovered bricks originally sourced from Knox Mountain an estimated 100 years ago.

“I noticed they were in a pattern and it turns out they were for my back walk and they were in a Herringbone pattern,” said an excited Harrison. “So, of course I wanted to replicate that.”

The bricks, however, were broken and unusable for a new walkway.

This is when the Old Kelowna Facebook administrator decided to jump into action and see if she could take some of the bricks that had been torn down from the Metro Central building on Water Street.

“I spoke with my colleague on the (OHS) board and she said I could go ask the site manager, who said absolutely,” explained Harrison, who took more than 200 bricks home with her.

“He said take as many as you want, so I went and rescued all of these bricks for a huge project,” she laughed.

And Harrison really does consider it a rescue operation, as she was heartbroken to see the old building torn down.

“You know we don’t have very many brick buildings in Kelowna to begin with. It is amazing to me that we can restore and maintain all these heritage brick buildings in Europe that are 300 years old but we can't seem to do 100 years here.”

But Harrison isn’t the only one who wants to restore heritage in Kelowna as she was joined by a few other residents on the weekend who were collecting bricks from the Metro Central building to reclaimed.

“I was overjoyed, this is so much better than them landing up in a landfill. They are being re-purposed and this is a part of Kelowna’s past our history, a tangible part of our history.”

The Kelowna Museums also saved bricks from the Metro Central building which featured ads for Union Gasoline and Kelowna Grower's Exchange.

A portion of the reclaimed bricks will be used on the Kelly O’Bryan’s building, a small portion will be used by the Folio Group on some infill buildings in South Pandosy, a portion will be donated to the Kelowna Museum and the remainder will be donated to the City of Kelowna for use in various other locations in the downtown core.

Bear spotted near kids

A bear was spotted in Glenmore today along a path used by school children.

The black bear was wandering along the walking path on Glenmeadows Road at about 2:30 p.m., just as children were headed home from school.

"My husband had just picked up our son from school when he saw the bear," said Kathryn Albright. "He and a few other people scared the bear off the path and away from children walking home."

It was the second sighting reported to Castanet in as many days.

Dave Roseberry said a black bear was loitering in the McKinley area Sunday morning.

"The bear destroyed my bird feeder," he said. "He just meandered away when I was taking pictures." 

Roseberry said the bear was about four-feet tall and in good shape. 

"Today is garbage day in McKinley," he said. "I advised my neighbours and all of the residents who I had their e-mail address."

Bears have been active all over the Okanagan over the past few weeks.

According to WildSafe BC, 55 per cent of calls to Conservation regarding bears stem from garbage issues.

To keep your neighbourhood bear-safe, it’s recommended:

  • store garbage securely until collection day,
  • pick fruit and berries from trees and bushes before it ripens,
  • use bird feeders only in the winter when bears are hibernating,
  • add equal amounts of brown and green materials to compost — and no fish or meats,
  • keep pet food indoors, 
  • clean barbecues regularly,
  • thin out bush on your property, and
  • install motion detectors to keep bears moving through the area

Drug-fuelled pileup

UPDATE: 2:50 p.m.

A victim of Sunday night's drug-fuelled crash wants people to know the driver sent his children to hospital.

According to the dad, he, his wife, his two-year-old son and one-year-old daughter were sitting in their SUV at the red light when, out-of-nowhere, they were struck from behind. 

“We got hit pretty hard,” says the dad, who asked not to be identified. 

“The guy came in, no brakes or attempts to stop or nothing, going 80 or 90 km/h and hit us. He side-swiped two cars in the left lane and then hit us in right lane, then bounced into a camper and pushed the camper forward 20 feet.” 

He says his family was hit so hard that their car was pushed into the car ahead of him and then pushed into the other lane. 

“We got bounced 30 feet off to right and hit the car in front of us, so we ended up in the right turning lane.” 

The dad says he didn't even see the accident coming. 

“We were stopped at the light and the first thing I heard was my own back window getting popped out. I couldn't even steer because the whole back axel was torn off our Jeep – it was crazy, just totally crazy.” 

While he was too focused on his children's well-being to confront the driver, he says he heard another driver yelling at the man that it was all his fault. 

The father says his family is suffering from non-life-threatening injuries, but feeling the effects, as there are several cases of whiplash, but no broken bones. 


A total of eight vehicles were involved in a pileup Sunday afternoon, that sent two individuals to hospital and one man to a jail cell.

On May 29 at 12:25 p.m., Kelowna RCMP responded to a report of pileup on Highway 97 near the intersection of McCurdy Road.

According to Const. Jesse O’Donaghey, police have determined from witnesses at the scene, that the driver of a blue Ford Explorer was travelling south down the centre of the highway at a high rate of speed.

The driver of the Explorer, who reportedly did not make any attempts to slow or stop, sideswiped and rear ended a total of seven other vehicles, all of which were stopped at a red light at the intersection of McCurdy Road and Highway 97.

“A witness at the scene immediately stopped to check on the driver of the Ford Explorer who appeared 'out of it.' The witness remained with the driver until police arrived on scene,” says O’Donaghey.

“Officers at the scene detected signs and symptoms of suspected drug intoxication.”

As a result, the driver was taken to the Kelowna RCMP detachment where a drug recognition expert was called in to conduct a drug influence evaluation.

“As many as seven vehicle occupants, of the 15 total occupants, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were treated at the scene by emergency health services,” adds O’Donaghey.

“Of those seven, a man and a woman were transported to hospital for further assessment and treatment for non-life threatening injuries.”

The driver, a 45-year-old Kelowna man, faces potential drug-impaired driving charges, as well as charges under the Motor Vehicle Act for driving without a valid licence.

He was later released and is expected to appear in court at a later date.

If you witnessed this crash and have not yet spoken to police, you are asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

Bike to Work rolls out

More than 375 people pedaled to work this morning in Kelowna. The cyclists stopped in at the city’s Celebration Station, Physio Active, for a coffee and bike tune-up from The Hub, for the first day of Bike to Work Week.

The Loose Moose cycling team from Big White got in on the action and also stopped in at the Celebration Station to support the cause.

In Lake Country, firefighters escorted elementary school students to Oyama Traditional School to kick off Bike to School Week.

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund, Kiki the Eco-Elf and a few other special guests got together for a bike ride from Ellison Elementary School to Polson Park on multi-use trails. The City of Vernon will have a mid-week celebration at Sun Country Cycle on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and a wrap-up BBQ on Friday, at the Spirit Square at 4:30 p.m.

In Penticton, residents came out to the Preston Park Celebration Station for breakfast burritos and bike tune-ups from The Bike Barn. Tuesday’s celebration station is to take place at Whole Foods Market Wednesday at SunFM, and Thursday at Cherry Lane Mall all before 9 a.m.

West Kelowna students in Grades 2 through 5 earn the basics of bicycle handling and rules of the road as well as the importance of bicycle maintenance and helmet fit and condition. The event is set to take place at George Pringle Elementary on May 31 at 8 a.m.

Make sure to check SmartTrips for more information on Bike to Work Week and Celebration Stations. Use the hashtage BTWW on Twitter and Instagram to share your cycling photos.

Wanted: alpenhornist

UPDATED: 1:10 p.m.

The folks up at Big White have a strange search on their hands.

They are “desperately seeking” one or more people who play the alpenhorn for the ski resort float in the Fat Cat Children’s Festival on June 11.

Perhaps best known for its role in the Ricola commercial, the highly recognizable "alpine horn" was once used for communication in mountainous regions.

“I am sure we should be able to find someone in the Central Okanagan that plays one of these bad boys,” said Big White vice-president Michael J. Ballingall.

The resort's Kristian de Pont said Big White's float is being imagined as an alpine scene with wildflowers. The alpenhorn would be the centrepiece.

Big White had a float in the Fat Cat parade last year, but wants to one-up itself this time around.

"We're trying to do it bigger and better," said de Pont, adding the resort is offering a "treat" to whoever can point them toward an alpenhornist.

They've already put in a call with Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. 

If you or someone you know plays the alpenhorn, contact de Pont at 250-491-6170 or [email protected]

Speed demon hits 210 km/h

An Alberta man is facing new charges and is now without a car after taking a joyride through Lake Country.

On Saturday May 28 at 6:20 p.m., a member of the RCMP Integrated Road Safety Unit was conducting a speed enforcement operation along Highway 97 in Lake Country when the officer stopped a white 2010 Audi R8.

The officer determined that the vehicle had been travelling in excess of 210 km/h in the posted 100 km/h zone along Highway 97, near the Pelmewash Parkway.

Kelowna RCMP Const. Jesse O’Donaghey says weather and roadway conditions were not ideal at the time of the traffic stop, as it was raining lightly and the roads were wet.

“RCMP would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists to slow down, especially on wet roads and in bad weather conditions” says O’Donaghey.

“High-risk driving behaviours, like speeding, increase your chances of crashing and put yourself and others at risk of sustaining serious injury.”

The driver of the vehicle was charged under the Motor Vehicle Act for excessive speed. 

The Albertan was served with a violation ticket for $483 and his vehicle was towed to the impound lot for seven days.

Arrest in gender clinic arson

RCMP are confirming the arrest of Jayne Heideck who was wanted in connection with an arson in Quebec.

Const. Jesse O’Donaghey says Heideck remains in custody at the Kelowna detachment following her arrest at about 10 a.m. Monday.

The arrest took place in the 3100 block of Lakeshore Drive.

Montreal police issued the arrest warrant for Heideck after an arson fire at Canada’s only gender confirmation clinic.

The Centre Metropolitain de Chirurgie caught fire at 8:45 p.m. on May 2. Police originally investigated the possibility of a hate crime, but have since ruled that motive out.

Kelowna police are working with officers in Montreal.

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