Fundraising for Pathways

With a wave of overdose deaths crashing over Penticton, Parker’s Chrysler is running a fundraiser for Pathways Addiction Resource Centre.

For the month of December, $100 for every vehicle sold and $10 for every oil change service will go to the centre.

General manager Jim Tabler says the effort really has nothing to do with selling cars, but more to do with honouring the memory of Colin Parker, who lost his battle to addiction in October.

“Recently within our dealership we had a death of one of the owners, that prompted us to give some attention to Pathways, because this was a program that he was himself donating to and had a lot of meaning to him.”

Tabler adds that they are trying to raise awareness of the great work done by the centre and urges people to donate directly to the group.

Parker's embarked on a fundraiser for the victims of the Fort McMurray fire in May 2016 and managed to raise $2,250 through a similar donation program. The dealership hopes to raise at least the same amount for Pathways.


Jumping Beans soars

This is the seventh 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 unique business that offers an indoor playground for kids while their parents sip coffee was one of several businesses recognized at the chamber’s October event.

Jumping Beans Play Cafe on Warren Ave. E was given the “family friendly excellence award.”

"It was great, because we are all about family. That is the heart and soul of our business," said owner Tricia Hernes.

The business opened in January 2015, after Hernes recognized a need in the community for something like this.

"I am a mother of three, who is fairly active in the community and there always seemed to be a need for somewhere for young families to go anytime during the day," she said. "So after having my third we decided the time was right for us to open this business."

The business offers a full indoor play space with a wooden play structure, bouncy house, an eye play interactive play floor, reading corner and art centre, all with a full service coffee shop on site.

Hernes said they have been very well received since they started up.

"We have received a lot of wonderful, positive feedback and been able to partner with other organizations."

She credits their success on being one of a kind, and working hard to recognize what local families need.

They plan to continue offering similar services with a name change planned for next year.

"It is changing but we will still have the same business plan," she said.

Jumping Beans is located at 197 Warren Ave. E.

For more information, go here.


Dream Cafe to re-open

A popular Penticton live music venue is set to reopen in February.

The Dream Cafe Co-op made the announcement this week.

"It will still be the same, just tweaked behind the scenes to be more efficient," said general manager Meghan Westfall.

The long-running venue was operated for years by Pierre Couture, with the co-op playing more of a role in recent years.

However, a perfect financial storm caused its sudden closure in October, leading to an outpouring of support. Local musicians held six benefit concerts to re-launch the Dream. A number of dinner and show nights were also held, with the last pair still to come, Dec. 26 and 27 with Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars.

The Dream team has been hard at work creating a sustainable future for the venue.

"Thanks to the different concerts and revisions to our business plan we are now able to re-open," said Westfall.

In the new year, there will be four nights with Ben Waters, Feb. 1-4.

Kobotown will perform, Feb. 8, Eric Bibb, Feb. 15 and 16, The Screen Doors, Feb. 18,  Dave Sinclair & Keith Bennett, Feb. 25, Devon Coyote,  March 3, and The Silver Screen Scoundrels, March 4.

The venue will be open for show nights only.


Trading sex to survive

Help is just around the corner for a shockingly large amount of people involved in trading sex to survive in Penticton.

The South Okanagan Women in Need Society, SOWINS, has received a federal grant to better the lives of those caught up in survival sex.

"We are ecstatic that we are able to do this," said Debbie Scarborough, the executive director for SOWINS. "Because it's someone's son or daughter or other relative and we will now have services and a safe place for them to exit this lifestyle."

About two years ago, workers at SOWINS started hearing about individuals in the city, ranging in age from their teens to early 60s, that were trading sex to make ends meet.

Scarborough says it’s being traded for everything from shelter, to showers, food and drugs.

"It is pretty much for everything. Just being in a flophouse you are expected to put out and for those immersed in addictions because of trauma, this further adds to their exposure to trauma."

Knowing what was happening, SOWINS applied for a Public Safety Canada grant.

They’ve been approved for $2.5 million over five years, which will fund an office downtown where individuals can seek assistance. The mobile outreach van will also be rolling again.

Scarborough said they are also trying to locate a apartment where individuals can get away from people exploiting them in the community.

Gwen Wain, who has been involved in mobile outreach in the community, will serve as project coordinator.

Two trials for Louie murder

The trials for the brother and sister facing second-degree murder charges in the death of Roxanne Louie will be held separately.

Defence lawyer Don Skogstad said a judge has ordered two trials for his client Pier Robotti and co-accused Grace Robotti.

The pair are facing second-degree murder charges in connection to the January 2015 death of Louie. Both are in their 60’s.

The body of Louie, a 26-year-old single mother from the Osoyoos Indian Band, was found in a remote location between Naramata and Chute Lake after going missing for several days.

Grace Robotti is Louie's son's great-grandmother.

The trial for Pier is now scheduled to start March 6 in Kelowna, with the trial for Grace to begin March 20. There will also be a media blackout for Pier's trial, Skogstad said to avoid tainting the jury pool for the second trial.

A voir dire, a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of evidence, has been held for Grace in Kelowna in recent weeks.


A call for more dog parks

Dog owners in Summerland are calling on council to create more off-leash space within the district.

A petition and accompanying report is hitting the desk of councillors next week from the Summerland Dog Owners Association, which makes the case that local dog owners are desperately underserved.

The report states Summerland has just 0.2 acres of fenced, full-time, off-leash park space. Per capita, that is less than half what Penticton has, while the report claims Kelowna and Lake Country have more than 10 times the space.

The group has put forward a pair of suggestions for a new fenced-in dog park, one at Peach Orchard Park and another within a baseball diamond at Living Memorial Park. They are also asking for a number of garbage bins and poop bag dispensers to be installed at Cartwright Trail and for the existing dog park at Peach Orchard Beach be made wheelchair accessible.

The Dog Association argues that dog parks reduce crime and loitering, while making making the community friendly to tourists with dogs.

Summerland staff have recommended the organization's suggestions be deferred until the Parks and Recreation Masterplan and Trails Master Plan is developed, “due to this potential impact, significant public consultation should occur,” the staff report reads.

Christmas grief support

A special service for those grieving during the holiday season is taking place at a Penticton church on Saturday.

The candlelight memorial service will be held at Oasis United Church, 2964 Skaha Lake Road.

"It is for people who have lost loved ones to come and have a place to reflect," said minister Ken Jones.

The memorial was organized by Marlene Armson, with Stepping Stone Grief Support.

Armson has been involved with support groups since the loss of her grandson in 1990.

At the time she was living in Saskatchewan and organized candlelight services every year to help people cope with the holidays. After moving to Penticton she created Stepping Stone,

When she approached Oasis about the candlelight memorial they were receptive to the idea.

"It's important because special holidays like Christmas are really tough for those that have lost a loved one," she said. "If we set aside one hour to honour them it helps with our healing."

People will be invited to put up a decoration with the name of the person they are missing on a tree and light candles.

The memorial service will be at 2 p.m.

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