May 23, 2013 / 10:45 am
There was a good turnout for a discussion focused on racism held Wednesday at the Centre at Naramata.
Several speakers, including centre director Janet MacDonald, addressed issues stemming from a racist incident in Naramata last summer and their own experiences with racism.
"It was a successful evening. We are quite happy with the turnout and nature of the conversation," she said.
The incident in question took place early last summer. On July 8, 2012, police received a report of racist graffiti spray painted at several locations on and around the centre.
The act was linked to the Harambee Summer Festival, held for several years at the location.The festival provides support to families raising children of African heritage.
Three minors from Naramata and one adult were found to be involved and subsequently charged. All were females.
MacDonald told the crowd that since then, they have worked with two of the minors involved in a restorative justice conference held in November at the centre.The other minor from Naramata moved away and the adult was not from here.
In that process the offenders were asked to make a statement and apologize to victims including the centre and the elementary school, which was also impacted.
The victims were invited to make a statement of impact but no one did. MacDonald said her only request was they write letters of apology to Harambee.
Charges were dropped if they followed through with the restorative justice program, she said.
Furthermore, she added, one has since applied for a job at the centre.
"We provide opportunities for people to learn, and I hope that is what comes out of this," she said.
Natalie Maxson from the centre led the discussion on different aspects of racism and how Naramata could be a more welcoming community.
The struggles immigrants to the Okanagan face was discussed by a representative from South Okanagan Immigrant Community Services.
RCMP officer Jas Johal spoke of his strong commitment to anti-racism.
Harambee representatives were also in attendance.
The festival is slated to return to the centre this summer.
May 23, 2013 / 9:00 am
Update 9 a.m. - Two people were taken to hospital in Penticton following an early morning head-on collision on Hwy. 97 just outside OK Falls Thursday morning. RCMP say a southbound vehicle operated by an OK Falls woman crossed the centre line and crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle driven by an Oliver man. Members of the Okanagan Falls Fire Department used the 'Jaws Of Life' to remove both drivers from their vehicles. Injuries to both drivers are believed to be non-life threatening.
Update: Castanet viewers are reporting the vehicle incident to be a head on collision near Waterman's Hill outside Okanagan Falls.
Reports indicate the accident occurred around 6:30 a.m.
Traffic is backed up in both directions.
The highway re-opened about 8:30 a.m.
DriveBC is reporting highway 97 is closed due to a vehicle incident.
The road is closed in both directions 5 km north of Junction with Highway 3A. Estimated Time of opening currently not available and assessment in progress. No detour available.
Next update at 8:30 am.
If you have any pictures or photos of the incident please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 21, 2013 / 2:20 pm
In the aftermath of what some described as a painful act of racism in Naramata last summer, the Centre at Naramata is holding a discussion on the subject.
A Community Conversation: Responding to Racism & Exploring Our Values, is slated for Wednesday evening at the centre.
The conversation will serve as an opportunity to discuss what racism is and how it impacts people, responses to racism and the markers of a safe and welcoming community.
In addition to the centre, South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services will share input at the gathering.
On July 8, 2012, police received a report of racist graffiti spray painted at several locations on and around the centre.
The act was linked to the Harambee Summer Festival, held for several years at the centre. The festival provides support to families raising children of African heritage.
Four women were subsequently arrested and charged.
The conversation will be at 7:30 p.m. in the McLaren Hall lobby, 3375 3rd St.
May 19, 2013 / 8:26 am
In two instances yesterday the Kelowna Fire Dispatch called the Oliver Fire Department when it was not necessary according to Danny Skaros.
I talked to Chief Skaros this evening after a strange fire dispatch call where a homeowner living on the 6400 Block of Kootenay Street needed assistance with possible fire in their dryer.
The call to dispatch came from Penticton where the home owner told dispatch she had left clothes in the dryer and didn’t know when the machine would stop – so could the fire department help? The fire department was dispatched but did not enter the house as it was locked. The fire chief talked to the home owner on the phone and now says he will take this up with supervisors in Kelowna, believing the dispatch was just not necessary.
Earlier in the day a full crew was dispatched to a car accident where one driver clipped a second car. Someone said oil was leaking from the car so the fire department was called. Once again Fire Chief Skaros says this is a waste of the crew’s time, not a real safety issue and a loss of taxpayer’s money.
Skaros say Penticton based dispatchers used to talk longer with a caller (when dispatch came out of the Penticton Fire Department) and get as many details as possible before sounding the alarm. That resulted in better dispatches, destinations that were real, and less false alarms.
Too many calls are being made when the Oliver Fire Department is not needed. Structure fires, very serious car accidents and major incidents should be the rule or clearly defined assistance calls.
May 15, 2013 / 7:41 pm
Following her win in the Boundary-Similkameen riding in Tuesday's election, Linda Larson said she is in clean-up and re-set mode.
Her unpaid leave of absence from the Oliver council ended as of today, Wednesday, and she won't be sworn in as MLA until mid-June.
"I am not on leave, but I am unpaid," she said. "And I will continue to go to council meetings until the council deems the time is right to do a by-election."
Larson was mayor for nine years and more recently, a councillor for one and a half years.
As she continues to sit on the council, she will review how the days leading up to the election went, in terms of where the campaign was weak and strong.
"That is what will occupy me in the next few weeks. Until I am sworn in, I am not in a position to make decisions on any issues," she said.
Of her victory in the South Okanagan race, many said was one to watch in this election, she was very pleased and thankful, she said.
"I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped. Now we will slowly ease into the next phase," she said.
Read more South Okanagan News
- Three arrested in drug bust May 15
- Preventive work at Oliver flood zone May 13
- Motorcycle crash kills one near Penticton May 12
- Rally to help Penticton children's festival May 10
- Nature festival returns to Okanagan May 10