New tool for pest control

Dustin Godfrey

B.C. fruit growers have a new tool that will help them manage their pest control using environmental factors, among other techniques.

Washington State University's Decision Aid System is a web-based platform designed to transfer time-sensitive information on pest management to orchardists, using real-time, local weather data and scientific pest and disease management information to help predict and manage pests and diseases.

"This is the Cadillac of pest management decision support systems," said Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program Melissa Tesche. "Tried, tested and loved by Washington growers because it saves them time and money and improves the efficiency of pest management."

The tool received both federal and provincial funding for use in B.C., and links weather conditions with pest life cycles and treatment information and alerts.

It is programmed for conventional and organic management recommendations, allowing growers to choose the treatments  that are right for their operation.

B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick said the new tool is part of a trend toward technology in agriculture in the province.

"B.C. farmers are embracing agri-tech to help maximize productivity, minimize inputs and create greater value from B.C.'s farmland and coast," he said.

The tool could potentially make pest control cheaper for farmers, and lessen the environmental impact.

"If you're more precise with the timing, it makes the spray more effective, and when it's more effective maybe you have to treat less often," Tesche said.


Leak causes hot tub closure

The hot tub remains closed at the Penticton Community Centre, according to staff.

City staff have been working with the contractor over the past few days and through thermal imaging technology they have been able to source the approximate location of the water leak.

The next steps will be to expose the leaking pipe underneath the floor slab and determine the best methodology for the repair.

Exposing the pipe could take a few days as the hot tub piping installation is complex and needs to be carefully exposed to ensure there will be no impact to other components. 

Residents are advised that the main and leisure pools are open, the waterslide and lazy river are operating as scheduled and the sauna and steam room are available for those who wish to warm up after a swim.

Staff will continue to provide updates.  

Latching on to breastfeeding

Families are invited to a breastfeeding event taking place in Penticton on the weekend.

The Okanagan Breastfeeding Coalition is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with the Quintessence Latch-On on Saturday. 

"It's a great way to get connected to the community and the resources we have available to us," said Jennica Rawstron with the coalition. "The length of time that people breastfeed is correlated with the community they are engaged in."

The main event is at 11 a.m., when mothers latch on their babies at the same time as other mothers in the community and around the world. 

The event has grown from 856 babies in 2001 to 4,466 children by 2011.

Every breastfeeding child counts in the final numbers.

There will also be a silent auction and refreshments at the event.

It runs from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, at Jumping Beans, 197 Warren Ave., Penticton.

A stomping good time

A huge outdoor wine event is returning to the South Okanagan this weekend.

The Festival of the Grape is taking place on Sunday, Oct. 2, in Oliver.

The annual event attracts an estimated 3,500 attendees who come to taste the various wines that are on display, enjoy the music played on the grandstand and either compete in or watch competitors in the grape stomp.

In addition to the wine tasting, kids zone and grape stomping, local artisans also display their crafts in the art gallery.

A highlight this year will be music performed by Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars, described as Louisiana inspired roots and blues.

The event will take place, from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Oliver Community Centre.

For more information, go here.

Crash into hair salon

UPDATE: 12:07 p.m.

The 91-year-old man who drove his car into a Penticton hair salon on Monday morning was taken to hospital, but did not sustain any serious injuries.

Community policing coordinator Rick Dellebuur said Tuesday it was a case where the driver thought he was going backwards, but ended up going forward.

There was extensive damage to the front of First Choice Haircutters at 2210 Main Street, Dellebuur said.

It appears nobody was seriously injured when an elderly man crashed his car into a Penticton hair salon Monday morning.

Emergency crews were on scene at the First Choice Haircutters at 2210 Main Street at 11:30 a.m., cleaning up broken glass and attending to the car, which was still halfway into the building.

One person at the scene said there was nobody waiting inside at the time of the crash.

The condition of the driver is unknown at this time, but he was co-operating with firefighters and a tow truck driver to get his car pulled out of the storefront.

People were inside of the store, walking around, and nobody appeared to be suffering from any serious injuries.

Fire extinguisher training

Fire Extinguisher Training is being offered to interested adults as part of Fire Prevention Week, which runs from Oct. 9 to 15.

The 30-minute training provides a basic understanding of fire safety and the use and limitations of fire extinguishers. The program fulfills the WCB’s regulation of staff knowing how to operate fire safety equipment. Registration is required.

The training will be taking place on Oct. 11 and 12, every half hour, starting from 8:30 a.m., with the last lesson starting at 11 a.m. each day.

It will be held at the No. 2 Fire Hall at 285 Dawson Avenue.

It costs $5.25 per person, which can be paid by cash or cheque seven days in advance.

To register, contact Sharon Thompson at the Penticton Fire Department by phone at 250-490-2311 or by e-mail.

$12k in stolen bikes found

The Penticton RCMP has retrieved a number of stolen bikes and other items from a home on Municipal Avenue.

Const. Chad Jackson with the Targeted Enforcement Unit said an officer making a stop on Sept. 24 on Municipal Avenue found two stolen mountain bikes in the vehicle.

One of the bikes stolen from Superstore was valued at $3,300 and the other bike valued at $1,100 was taken from a hotel in Summerland,

A 31-year-old female and 34-year-old male were arrested.

Later that night, police executed a search warrant on Municipal Avenue, near Government Street, which resulted in four additional bikes being seized.

It was confirmed that all bikes were stolen in the last two to three months, with a total value of $12,000.

In addition to the bikes, four sets of golf clubs were seized, with two confirmed stolen. They were valued at $5,000. Other items, including two wakeboards, were also found.

A 33-year old man, believed to be responsible for all the thefts, was arrested at the residence.

Charges against the man, who has no criminal record, include eight counts of possession of stolen property and two counts of trafficking in stolen property.

It is believed he was acting as a fence or middle man, said Jackson.

He added that a lot of the bikes were stolen over the summer from people from out of town staying at hotels or RV parks.

He advised bringing bikes inside, if possible, and to mark all bikes with some sort of identification so they can be returned to owners.

People who purchase the stolen bikes, online or elsewhere, are also at risk of getting them seized.

Jackson said if an item for sale looks suspicious to call the police.

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