More than just fixing cars

This is the 12th in a series recognizing businesses that took home awards from the 29th business excellence awards held by the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.

A Penticton business specializing in collision repair won an excellence award from the chamber of commerce in October.

Boyd Autobody & Glass was given the “Penticton Business of the Year” award.

"It was amazing," said operations manager Ryan Wuthe. "It definitely was unexpected and greatly appreciated for sure."

Boyd has been open for five years at the Carmi Avenue location.

Wuthe credits their success on the employees.

"We have a great team here who respects the customers' circumstances and ultimately believes in our vision of customer satisfaction," he said.

He added they also have strong support from the community and give back in return, including support for the Penticton Farmers' Market and raising money for the SPCA.

They also help the Girl Guides by purchasing 600 boxes of cookies every year and giving them away to customers when they come in to pick up vehicles.

Partnerships with local businesses support the Vees and minor hockey and in 2016, the shop held a fundraiser for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

The business has received recognition from others over the years, but an award from the chamber is a first for them.

As for as what's next, Wuthe said they plan to continue to improve on their already great service and supporting the community. 

Chasing the checkered flag

A young stock car driver from Kaleden is seeking help from the public to further his career.

Conrad Brightman, 18, has entered the 2017 Search for a Champion Contest where he could win up to $50,000 in sponsorship money.

"It's a perfect opportunity to give myself a chance to become professional in racing," he said.

Brightman started stock car racing at age 16, but his passion for the sport started much earlier.

“My love for racing came from when I was 8 years old, my father was friends with one of the local track legends, Jeff Janzen – driver of the #88 street stock car. I fell in love with the thrill of competition, watching those drivers race for championships,” he said.

He’s already found success, winning the 2016 Hornet Car Championship at the Penticton Speedway last summer.

People interested in supporting Brightman can vote once a day up until Feb. 2.

For more information on the contest, go here.

Attacker sues alleged victim

A man facing charges for the beating of a psychiatrist in Penticton is suing the doctor he allegedly attacked.

Gregory Nield claims Dr. Rajeev Sheoran is responsible for the confrontation, which took place in December 2014 in the psychiatric ward of PRH.

In a lawsuit filed in Kelowna on Jan. 12, Nield alleges Sheoran unlawfully imprisoned him because he falsified a medical certificate, which allowed Nield to be held against his will for 48 hours.

“Defendant Rajeev Sheoran was negligent in his purported treatment of the plaintiff, deliberately antagonizing and provoking the plaintiff,” the notice of claim alleges.

“As a result of the false imprisonment by the defendants, the plaintiff attempted to escape and justifiably assaulted the defendant Sheoran in the process,” it continues.

The lawsuit also names Interior Health, and claims he was force-fed drugs while being held in the psychiatric ward.

The doctor already filed his own civil claim against Nield in September 2016 for the alleged assault, a lawsuit that also names Interior Health for failing to keep him safe. The lawsuit alleges Nield is trained in jiu jitsu and has a history of violence.

The allegations contained in both lawsuits have not been proven in court, and neither have filed responses to each claim.

A pre-trial conference for the aggravated assault charge is set for March 1.

Time for a parks board?

Management of parks and green space has no doubt been one of the most contentious issues for the City of Penticton in recent history.

Public uproar and fallout from the Skaha Lake Park waterslide saga has some people thinking there is a better way to manage public space.

The city is in the middle of creating a new parks master plan. The committee steering the process will disband once the final document is complete, but the chairman of the committee believes the city needs some form of permanent oversight.

During Wednesday's meeting, chairman Ron Ramsey tabled a motion calling for the creation of a local parks board, “to review and approve all changes proposed to defined park areas.”

His suggestion doesn’t include an elected board like Vancouver, but an appointed group made up of stakeholders and community members that would debate parks related issues before they are sent to council.

Ramsey said his motion was narrowly defeated, but with most parks committee members actually speaking in favour of the idea. He said it was ultimately voted down because the committee thought it was premature.

“My intention is to bring this back to the next meeting… I just wanted to tee this thing up,” Ramsey said, adding there was still discussion to be had over whether the board would manage just green space, or public recreation facilities as well.

"In my opinion those are completely intertwined," he said.

Police confirm murder

Penticton RCMP have confirmed the body found on Jan. 17 near the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory was the victim of a homicide.

The 27-year-old male victim is from the Kelowna area.

Investigators are unable to comment on the cause of death, pending an autopsy scheduled for Jan. 23.

Police have also been unable to link a stolen torched truck found along Highway 3A early the same morning to the homicide. The truck was stolen from West Kelowna on Jan. 6, 2017.

“Although the RCMP continue to investigate this stolen truck because of its proximity to the deceased, at this point, it is unknown if there is a connection between these incidents,” said Cpl. Janelle Shoihet in a media release.

Anyone who may have information about either incident is urged to contact the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Budget talks delayed, again

The City of Penticton has delayed its budget, again.

In a statement posted the city website, incoming city manager Peter Weeber said budget deliberations are now being planned for later in February, instead of starting next week as anticipated.

“I am new to the organization and I need more time to work through the 2017 financial plan with the management team,” said Weeber. “I understand the delay may cause some inconvenience and I didn’t come to this decision lightly.”

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the decision was ultimately the new city manager’s to make.

“Essentially, he wants the chance to put his stamp on it, and it’s something he needs to live and action.”

This is the 2017 budget’s second delay; the first dates in November were pushed back so the city could learn more about its infrastructure deficit.

In a grand scheme of things, Jakubeit says the city doesn’t legally have to file a budget until April.

“In years past, we’ve done it in the spring later in the year,” he said, noting that council will deal with any community group grant requests on a case by case basis in the interim.

Protecting the bighorn

A South Okanagan property home to bighorn sheep will be one of the prime beneficiaries of this summer's Earth Wind Fire fundraising event for the Nature Trust of B.C.

The trust is working to conserve 35.4 hectares on the east side of Skaha Lake.

The property is adjacent to its existing Skaha Lake complex, included in the 6,491-hectare McTaggart-Cowan/NsÉ™k’Iniw’t Wildlife Management Area. 

The topography is ideal for bighorn, being generally steep with some flat benchlands and lower grasslands, with mixed forest at the mid-level and rocky terrain at higher elevations.

Bighorn are considered vulnerable and “at risk” in B.C.

A major concern is fragmentation of habitat and preserving corridors between them. 

The trust has acquired more than 1,795 hectares for bighorn sheep and other species, including the Peachcliff Conservation Area, Vaseux Lake and Okanagan Falls grassland. 

The Skaha Lake parcel is located in two of the most endangered biogeoclimatic zones: bunchgrass and ponderosa pine. It's also an important habitat for the white-throated swift and western rattlesnake. 

It would be an infill piece, surrounded by conservation lands to the north and east, with Eastside Road to the west, and a housing development to the south.

The trust is working to raise the final $175,000 to complete the project. 

The Earth Wind Fire event takes place June 24 at the Delta Grand in Kelowna.

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