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Swap meet draws a crowd

Vintage car enthusiasts checked out vehicles for sale and browsed through tables laden with motorcycle and car parts at a big event in Penticton, Saturday.

It was all part of the 26th Annual Automotive, Motorcycle and Antique Swap Meet held by The South Okanagan and Okanagan Chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada.

"I think this is just great," said Paula Jack, who travelled up from Osoyoos for the event. "My husband and I own a 1968 Mustang and we found a silhouette of one, so we bought it."

The event featured a wide range of automotive related memorabilia for sale including vintage vehicles, porcelain signs, advertising memorabilia and automotive manuals, including custom and muscle car parts and motorcycles.

Antique and collectible vendors from around the Okanagan were also on hand selling their collectibles. 

"I enjoy everyone coming out and enjoying my art," said Shawn Penner, a Penticton artist. "So far it has been great and the organizers are fantastic."

The swap meet also presented the opportunity to support worthwhile causes. 

Cops for Kids, RCMP officers from Southeastern B.C. committed to assisting children in medical or physical distress, were on hand promoting their Trucks Plus Show'n Shine event in May in Kelowna.

There was also information available on the Okanagan Motorcycle Ride for Dad, coming up in June in Kelowna, which raises funds for prostate cancer research.




Big turnout for yard sale

Hundreds of people visited Naramata to shop for yard sale items, ranging from clothing to tools and more, Saturday.

The annual yard sale was held at people's homes as well as at the school, Naramata Community Church and other locations in the small community.

"It brings out lots of people and helps them know what's here," said Rocky Gould, co-owner of Real Things Pizza, with wife LaVonne.

Naramata Parks and Recreation sponsors the sale, which typically attracts about 2,000 visitors.

Besides the residential sales, community groups got in on the action, as an opportunity to raise thousands of dollars for their projects.

There was a used clothing sale inside Naramata Elementary School to raise funds for the school, while outside students in Me 2 We, held a boutique to raise funds for charities and to support the Syrian refugee family now living in the village.

At Real Things Pizza, a group of Okanagan women were raising funds for an organic garden in Peru that provides school lunches for three schools in the area.

The Old Age Pensioners Hall also had a yard sale and barbecue; the Naramata Museum’s Thrift Shop held a special pre-season opening; the Naramata Community Church had baking and a bazaar and the Naramata Garden Club had plants and gently used tools for sale. 

"I think this is all great. It's super community oriented, especially the clothing sale for the schoolchildren," said visitor Nicole Cullen.

Legal action after closure

Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff said Friday that she was horrified by the School District 53 board's decision to close Osoyoos Secondary School.

The board voted 4-3 on the third reading of the school closure matter at its regular meeting on Wednesday night.

"It makes me wonder whether any of the things that have been sent in or the passionate pleas were considered with enough interest," she said.

This week's vote was the same as the April 6 vote to close the school.

It followed a public comment period, where parents and politicians again pleaded with the board to keep the town's only high school open.

As a result of the vote, the town is considering taking legal action.

McKortoff said that they are in the process of talking to lawyers and looking at what will work best for them.

"We are getting together the necessary documents and looking at whether this is a viable option," she said.

As for the town's recent offer of 350,000 a year for three years to the board, to ease financial concerns, nothing is happening with that, as the board turned it down.

The effort to get an independent school opened in the town is also going strong, the mayor said.

"That has taken on a life of its own," she said. "There are several people who have gotten together and come up with good ideas."

On another positive note, high school students presented the mayor and others with a banner with 200 signatures thanking them for the town's effort to keep the school open, on Thursday.

"We think that was a positive plus," said the mayor. "The passion and resolve of people in this town has been phenomenal to see."

Students from the high school are now slated to attend Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver.

Board chair Marieze Tarr and Supt. Bev Young could not be immediately  reached for comment on what's next.




Kids take to the skies

Penticton area children will get the opportunity to take to the skies, this weekend, thanks to an opportunity provided by local pilots.

The Penticton Flying Club is hosting its annual COPA For Kids event on Sunday.

"Every year I've been involved with the event it's been obvious the pilots enjoy the flying nearly as much as the kids," said club president Coleby Curnow-Phelps. "Most of the aircraft are equipped with dual controls, so at the pilot's discretion it's really exciting to let them have a little bit of control."

Curnow-Phelps said they are expecting well over 100 kids  between the ages of 8 and 17 to participate. 

They will be flown in eight aircraft for approximately twenty minute circuits spanning from Penticton to Summerland and Naramata over Okanagan Lake. 

The club is over 50 members strong and populated by pilots and enthusiasts with a wide variety of backgrounds.

The goal of the free event, organized by Don Hudgeon, along with other volunteers, is to expose children to general aviation and share something the pilots are all passionate about.

The 902 Nighthawk Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets will also be on site demonstrating their flight simulator.

On May 15 the Penticton Flying Club will also be hosting the same event at the Princeton Airport. 

On Sunday, it takes place from 9 a.m. to noon at the club location at 126 Dakota Way at Penticton Regional Airport.

To pre-register go to www.copaforkids.org.

They will also have on site registration available for last minute participants, provided they have a guardian available to sign the waiver.

Penmar Society still hopeful

The group that hoped to open a community theatre in the old Penmar building hasn't given up on the idea, even though the building has been sold.

Kerri Milton, with the Penmar Community Arts Society, said while the group's restoration effort is now at a close, the vision remains.

"We wish the Encore Vineyards the best of luck in their new venture. Their idea sounds innovative and should bring vitality to Penticton’s downtown. We are pleased that they intend to keep the 75­-seat theatre and look forward to having it available for community use," she said.

"However, it will not resolve the need for a community performance space. Our citizens need an accessible, midsize performance space that can accommodate live music, theatre, and dance as this type of venue is currently not available."

The ownership group advised the society of its intention to sell the building last year.

Despite this challenge, society members voted at their December annual general meeting to continue efforts to make the Penmar dream a reality and to relaunch a fundraising campaign.

This most recent campaign raised $70,000 in pledges and donations while the membership continued to rally support for the project.

The society was subsequently advised on Apr. 8 of the offer to purchase and had little time to respond.

While the society assesses the options for moving forward, all fundraising efforts are halted.

All donations received in the Open­The­ Doors campaign are secured and pledges are not being debited, the society has stated.

A full explanation of the recent events and options for the future will be put forward at a special general meeting on May 7 at 3:30 p.m. A location for the meeting will be announced shortly.

For updates go to www.penmar.ca or email [email protected] 

Tidying up the oxbows

A group that has worked diligently to restore oxbows in the Penticton area is inviting the public to help with a cleanup on Saturday.

The effort to get rid of garbage and weeds is part of the ongoing efforts of the Friends of the Oxbows.

"Our biggest concern is the loss of wetlands, and basically we will be cleaning up the bank of one of the oxbows along Warren Avenue," said member Bob Anderson.

This loss is a result of the Okanagan River between Okanagan and Skaha lakes being altered extensively over the years, from a meandering course with abundant riparian vegetation, to a channel through a highly developed landscape.

What were once natural meanders of the Okanagan River have become cut off from the main river, and are now stranded as old river channels, or oxbows, said Anderson

There is also an impact on birds and wildlife, because where healthy riparian areas once existed, there are now only remnant wetlands showing significant signs of neglect.

The group believes there are opportunities to restore some riparian vegetation, improve water flow and manage invasive species.

They envision a much more attractive stretch of wetland habitat along Hwy 97 in Penticton that will be more ecologically productive than the degraded habitats there now.

People interested in helping out are asked to meet at 10 a.m. at Warren Avenue near Channel Parkway.

The group asks that they bring their own gloves.

Funding for creative hub

The En’owkin Centre in Penticton will be the recipient of $27,500 from the B.C. government as part of the 2015-16 collaborative spaces pilot project.

The project encourages innovation and partnership between arts organizations through the sharing of space and specialized equipment.

“The arts and culture teachings at the En’owkin Centre have always been so inclusive, and now the centre has a chance to become an even greater contributor to our region’s economy,” MLA Dan Ashton said.

The centre is a leading indigenous creative hub that promotes creation, presentation, language revitalization and business development.

Funding will go toward upgrading space and equipment to further the overall artistic objectives of the organization, as well as its contribution to the local creative economy.

Collaborative arts spaces are considered an important contributor to B.C.’s growing creative economy.

Further details about the 2016-17 collaborative spaces program will be released in June.

This program will include an open call for applications to qualifying not-for-profit arts and culture groups throughout the province.

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