Dying musician needs help

Friends of Don and Eileen Neufeld have started a GoFundMe page for the ailing local musician and handyman.

Neufeld has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Back in January, Don went for a checkup and discovered he had stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer which has now spread to his liver.

Don and Eileen just celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary on the May Long weekend.

The GoFundMe page indicates that Don is a music lover, guitar player and in his retirement years has become well known around Kelowna for his handyman work.

His wife, Eileen has stopped working in order to care for and spend time with her ailing husband.

The Go Fund Me account has been made to assist with expenses and to allow Eileen peace of mind while she is off work.


Floods: Now vs 2017

Alanna Kelly

A local photographer captured several Kelowna beaches that were flooded last year.

Castanet has compiled and compared a few of those photographs and videos, looking back at how different things were one year ago.

Rotary Beach had gabion barriers that were battered by waves and Gyro Beach had debris and waves crashing into it. 

Many areas in Kelowna are clear from flooding currently, but that was definitely not the case last year.

Remembering Robbie

Madison Erhardt

The Pulp Fiction Coffee House family and much of Kelowna is in mourning after community dog Robbie passed away early Saturday morning. 

"It was 2:00 in the morning and he started crying. I grabbed my pillow and blanket, and laid down beside him and he died at 4:00 a.m.,"  said Pulp Fiction owner Max Sloan. 

Robbie the black fluffy Poodle has been a part of Pulp Fiction since its inception. 

"Since day one he has been here. He was always with me 24 hours a day, everyday since he was just a baby," Sloan said. 

Hundreds of community members have taken to social media to share their deepest sympathies.

"Thankful to have had the ability to refer to your place as "Robbie's Coffee Shop" for the years we did, and that my daughter always knew where we were going. My girl especially loved the hide-and-seek game with him, such a good memory with your boy," one Facebook post read. 

"I knew he was loved but I had no idea. It just blows me away. We have had flowers and cards and over 230 comments on Facebook," Sloan added. 

No dog will ever replace Robbie, but Pulp Fiction says eventually another black standard poodle will be sitting by the book store greeting all who walks in.

"We would never ever consider changing the name of Robbie Rare Books. It will aways be Robbie Rare Books," Sloan added. 


Cycle for Strong Kids

Kelowna gold medallist Kelsey Serwa, Olympic biathlete Julia Ransom and local philanthropist Thomas Budd will be pedalling for dollars at the YMCA’s Cycle for Strong Kids charity event. 

The Y’s largest fundraiser of the year is set for Sunday, under a big tent outside Kelowna's H2O Centre.

Participants will cycle on stationary bikes to raise money that helps underprivileged kids attend Y programs, such as child care, day camps, aquatics, employment readiness and before and after school enrichment.

“More than a quarter of the kids who take part at the Y are only able to do so because of the financial assistance provided by our generous donors,” says Margo Buckley, Y fund development officer.

The event’s goal is to raise $100,000.

Baby treasures stolen

A Peachland mother is heartbroken after her baby’s items and keepsakes were stolen over the Victoria Day long weekend from their property.

A 22-foot white tandem axle trailer had baby clothing, baby items, private documents and keepsakes from her firstborn inside.

“They took the whole trailer, they literally pulled up, locked it on and took off with it,” said Kaitlyn Mcculloch.

Their large trailer was sitting on their property on Seymour Lane as they were busy moving to another home.

It wasn’t until Monday that they realized it was gone.

“It’s very heartbreaking to have something stolen that I was hoping to use for my next child,” said Mcculloch.

She said the trailer is insured and registered to them and they are hoping to be able to get surveillance footage of the thieves.

“Honestly I didn’t think that anything would ever get stolen in such a nice area in Peachland,” she said. “Very alarming.”

Did you see this crash?

David Polsom hopes somebody will come forward with information concerning a crash he was involved in Tuesday evening on Highway 97 in Kelowna.

Polsom said he was attempting to make a left turn off the highway southbound onto Dilworth Drive.

"When I was in the intersection the light went yellow, so I waited for the cars to clear. I turned, and the guy decided to gun it and slammed into me," said Polsom.

"He would have run the red light, but he said it was still green and turned yellow when he went to the intersection."

Polsom said the force of the crash left him with a banged up shoulder and back, which didn't allow him to exit his vehicle.

He spent the balance of the evening in Kelowna General Hospital.

"The police officer agrees with me...but I have to prove it," said Polsom.

He said police told him he needs to canvas for witnesses because, he says, nobody stopped immediately after the crash.

If you saw what happened, Polsom hopes you will reach out to him at 403-700-7674.

Evening Update May 24

Castanet's Evening Update for Thursday, May24, with reporter Wayne Moore.

Record cherry crop on way

Growers are anticipating a record cherry crop in the Okanagan this summer.

A combination of ideal weather conditions through the bloom period and new production methods has resulted in an estimated 12 million pound crop, the BC Tree Fruits Cooperative says.

Consumers will start seeing Okanagan cherries in stores starting the end of June.

The estimated crop is expected to exceed last season's. In 2017, the yield fell short of initial estimates, at 10.1 million pounds, due to weather challenges across the region.

In addition to cherries, BC Tree Fruits is anticipating a very good peach, nectarine, prune, plum and table grape crop, with volumes either slightly up or similar to last year.

“Mother nature served our growing regions with ideal weather conditions through bloom into the post-bloom period, which has resulted in a lot of fruit on the trees,” says marketing manager Chris Pollock. “Our growers are excited and prepared for great summer fruit crops this year.”

The primary market for that fruit is Western Canada, but the valley also exports to the United States and abroad.

Gas fuelled ferocious fire

Alanna Kelly

An abrupt knock on the door by a complete stranger saved the lives of three men.

A roaring fire engulfed a Rutland home on Wednesday night, and thanks to a passerby, no one was injured.

Firefighters jumped into action on the difficult-to-battle Rutland Road fire just after 9:30 p.m.

Fire Inspector Paul Johnson said a man walking by saw the fire, pounded on the window and woke one of the residents up.

The man went outside, saw flames on the carport, and ran back into the home to wake up his father and roommate.

“They went to bed fairly early because they have to wake up early for work as roofers,” said Johnson.

Numerous propane tanks on the property added fuel to the already raging fire.

“Witnesses stated that propane was venting, which in turn burned off the back portion of the deck cover, and at that point it worked its way into the house and attic space,” he said.

Flames wrapped around the house and engulfed three pickups sitting in the driveway, which also had propane tanks in them.

Neighbours described hearing two loud bangs.

“There’s quite a few propane bottles, some fuel from camping gear, so once those propane bottles start to vent, they create an explosive sound,” he said.

Johnson said the fire originated on the back deck, but if the fire was suspicious or not is still being investigated.

The home will need to be demolished.

Basran seeks 4 more years

Kelowna's mayor says he wants a chance to finish what he's started.

With that, Colin Basran made official what most have known for months – he's seeking a second four-year term to lead the city.

Basran says Kelowna's economy is thriving, town centres are bustling, and arts and culture blossoming.

"I am not willing to risk this transformation," Basran said to about 200 supporters on the rooftop of the downtown Innovation Centre. "You have worked too hard to initiate this progress, and it is with your support today that I want to make sure we do not lose this positive momentum."

Basran was elected mayor nearly four years ago, after serving one term as councillor.

While he checked off several accomplishments of the current council, he says one issue stands at the forefront for the next council to tackle.

"Social issues, for sure. We need to work to find homes for everybody in our community, make sure they are supported and make sure they can be the best they can possibly be."

"It's expensive, it will take a lot of political will and, at the end of the day, it'll be the right thing to do," he said.

Basran touted Kelowna as having the number one job market in the country and being one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.

It also has the fourth most expensive housing costs in the country, making it a challenge to attract younger workers to the city.

"But, we keep chipping away at it with every new development application, working with BC Housing on below-market-rent housing. There are a number of different strategies we are working towards to create housing."

Basran is the first candidate to declare his intentions to seek the mayor's chair. Voters go to the polls Oct. 20.

In 2014, without an incumbent in the race, eight people ran for the mayor's chair. In 2011 and 2005, five people ran, while in 2008 and 2002, there were only two names on the ballot.

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