Tuesday, July 28th25.3°C

Courthouse owl released

The great horned owl rescued from the Penticton Court House in the spring is now back in the wild.

The South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls, SORCO, released the owl, named Jeanie, in a clearing at the Garnet Fire Interpretive park (opposite Lost Moose) on July 18.

"It's incredible, but it can be sad at the same time, because we've been rehabilitating the bird, " said SORCO manager Dale Belvedere, of the release. "But it's satisfying to see our work has paid off."

After initially being observed by Sheriff Don White, the chick was rescued from the court house stairs on April 18 by SORCO.

At that time she was considered a fledger, a bird learning to fly, that just can’t quite get the height and lands on the ground.

Normally SORCO would not rescue these birds if parents are around as they will take care of their young,

But in Jeanie’s case, she was in a public area, weighed 1.19 kilos and was approximately 8-weeks-old.

Jeanie was hand fed by SORCO volunteers until she learned to feed on her own, within approximately 10 days.

She was then put into a flight pen where she learned how to fly and hunt.

On July 18, the release day, Jeanie didn’t hesitate, off she flew, watched by volunteers and members of the public.

Crime jump slams RCMP

Penticton RCMP have had their hands full this year with an overall increase in crime and two homicide investigations to deal with.

During the second quarter, the RCMP responded to 4,885 calls for service compared to 4,188 calls in the same quarter in 2014, an increase of 17 per cent, according to information provided to city council by Supt. Kevin Hewco.

They also responded to a 26 per cent increase in criminal code files in the second quarter compared to the same time period last year.

Theft of vehicles is up 141 per cent, theft from vehicles is up 31 per cent and arson is up 220 per cent.

Break and enters also continue to be a problem, with break and enters from businesses up 62 per cent.

Impaired driving remains a concern and there were two dangerous high profile files, one being an impaired driver who refused to stop for police and the other the apprehension of two prolific offenders who stole two pick up trucks and fled from police.

Rick Dellebuur, community policing/Crime Stoppers coordinator, said in a media briefing Tuesday that having prolific offenders, such as those running amok in the South Okanagan this year, can really skew the numbers.

And when there is a situation such as the nudity issue at Three Mile Beach, the number of calls tends to go up.

There have also been two homicide investigations within the city this year.

Hewco says the two cases are very labour intensive and demanding investigations, that require the RCMP to be innovative when it comes to manpower and management of the investigations.

Further information on the quarterly report is available on the July 20 city council agenda on the city's website.

B-17 bomber flight

It's not every day members of the media get to fly over Okanagan Lake in a grand old warbird, but on Monday they got to do just that.

Reporters and others were invited for a flight aboard the B-17 bomber, Sentimental Journey, which arrived at Penticton Regional Airport this morning.

It was exciting, loud and a trip down memory lane. It was also smooth sailing, compared to the bone-chilling temperatures in an unpressurized plane and enemy fire crews dealt with during the Second World War.

"You can watch this on TV, but if you get in and go for a flight, you get a small taste of what veterans went through when they went on a mission," said chief pilot Russ Gilmore. 

The first B-17 rolled out in 1935 at the Boeing plant in Seattle. One local reporter exclaimed, at the time, "It's a regular fortress."

Thus it became known as the Flying Fortress. She flew in both the European and Asian theatres during the war.

Today, only about 50 still exist worldwide and only 10 still fly.

The fully restored Sentimental Journey is now flown by the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona, a flying museum staffed by volunteers.

There was already big interest from the public when it arrived at the Penticton airport. With people of all ages gathering around the plane to take pictures.

Big draws included the chance to speak with the crew and the image of movie star Betty Grable on the side of the bomber.

The Grable image ended up on the B-17 because it was voted by Second World War vets as the most popular pinup picture.

The public is invited to just tour the bomber or take a flight this week at the airport.

Flight costs are $425 U.S. for the radio room/waist gunner or $850 U.S. for the navigator/bombardier.

The tour availability is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Aug. 2.


Wine, water a great mix

Readers Digest recently named a Penticton company's water-based wine tour among the top 10 kayak tours in the country.

Hoodoo Adventure’s kayak wine tour nabbed the No. 3 spot in the national magazine's ranking.

​"The Okanagan Valley in south-central British Columbia is known for its spectacular scenery and for its wine industry – so why not combine the two into a single outing?" Readers Digest said in its report.

Hoodoo offers a variety of tours, but is unique in blending the Okanagan's renowned lakes with its burgeoning wine industry.

Paddlers can work their way up Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Naramata, take a break tasting local wines and be shuttled back into town. They can also add on picnics or beachside and vineyard painting classes.

To learn more about Hoodoo Adventures, check them out at www.hoodooadventures.ca or read the Readers Digest article here.

Marina opposition ongoing

People opposed to the Skaha Lake Marina development gathered at the Penticton park they want to save, Saturday afternoon.

The goal said one of the organizers, Clifford Martin, is to get more signatures and volunteers to keep the effort alive.

"We just want to let the public know this is far from over and there will be an ongoing effort to get public feedback," said Martin.

Martin and others started collecting the signatures for the petition for a binding referendum to cancel the Skaha Park lease at a rally  in front of Penticton City Hall on Monday night.

At this point he said he has 2,000 resident signatures and hopes to bring the petition to the city.

People joining him at the park, Saturday, included people of all ages, from seniors riding bikes to families walking dogs and teens clad in swimsuits and towels.

"I find this to be a great recreational area for the kids and it's free," said Jo-Anne Young, who was there with her two children. "The kids love the idea of a water slide but would rather see it on a hillside. This location just doesn't seem right."

There are also many supporters of the Trio Marine Group project, who showed up to have their voices heard at Monday's rally.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said following the rally, that council still supported the project.

He has directed people to go to www.penticton.ca/waterfront to help them make informed decisions on the matter.

Tail gunner honoured

RCAF Flight Lieutenant (ret.) Lance Benson received the French Medal of Honour on July 24 at a ceremony at the Royal Canadian Air Force Wing in Penticton.

Benson, of Penticton, has been recognized by the French government for his exceptional service as a tail gunner and his contribution to D-day, June 6, 1944.

 “Lt. Lance Benson’s service is an inspiration.  As a tail gunner Lou flew into enemy air space regularly, spotting enemy aircraft and directing the pilot how to maneuver to avoid being spotted – and making use of his sharp shooter eye when the time was needed," said Conservative candidate Marshall Neufeld.  "Lou is humble about his service, saying that he wouldn’t be given this medal of bravery if they knew how scared he was as he performed his task.  But that is the definition of bravery – staying resolute in performing your duty despite incredible danger and fear.

Congratulations Lou on receiving this honour from the people of France.”

During his RCAF bomber command duty, Benson crewed for 33 tours including a mission over Emden, Germany where he was injured after his Halifax Heavy Bomber was struck 93 times by enemy fire.

He joined the RCAF in 1941 at age 17, flying in 33 missions during WWII.


Film festival deadline looms

The inaugural ReelPeachFest film festival will take place Aug. 5 to 9 during the Penticton Peach Festival at Okanagan Lake Park.

Film makers can submit a one to three minute commercial or short film on either an Okanagan libation (wine, craft beer, distillery, pop, etc…) or Okanagan experience (tourism, cultural, etc…).

First prize is $1,000 plus weekend getaway to the Lakeside Resort, $500 for second, $250 for third, and $500 for fan favourite.  

“Our vision for the festival is to grow and create a standalone film festival with a larger array of categories, and where each winner gets showcased in front of the 5,000 plus fans at PeachFest before the main act starts," said festival organizer Andrew Jakubeit.  “Years ago we had the popular Beach Blanket film festival and the Vinos, so we feel there is an opportunity to create a fun festival and venue for aspiring film makers to showcase their art and talent, and a cultural experience for residents and tourists alike.”

Submission deadline is Aug 2 at midnight. For more information, visit www.reelpeachfest.com

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