Central Okanagan school board chair not running for re-election after 26 years as a trustee

Long run over for Baxter

Moyra Baxter has seen a lot of changes in her 26 years as a Central Okanagan Public Schools trustee.

“I’ve seen going from a time when we closed schools and sold off the properties to the last ten years really that we’ve been absolutely desperate for new sites. So that’s been a big change,” Baxter reminisced.

She has decided not to run for re-election in the October school board elections.

Baxter, who is 79, says it has nothing to do with her age.

“I just read in a British newspaper that Gina Lollobrigida, the actress who’s in her 90s, is running for parliament in Italy. So, I tell you, age doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s ability to provide public service,” she explained.

“I think every time election time comes around you sit down and think about whether you’re going to run again. And this time I thought about it and decided, no, I’m not going to do that this time.”

The past two and a half years have seen the board tackle some very divisive issues, including a vaccine mandate for staff that lead to a deluge of emails, letters and presentations from members of the public.

Baxter says the people who make up the Board of Trustees are very different and that has pros and cons.

“It gives so many different points of view and there’ve been times when it’s also been quite hard to deal with; having such different points of view on certain issues.”

Her number one piece of advice for anyone thinking of running for office is to ask themselves why they want to be a public school trustee.

“To really find out what the job entails and what the responsibilities are of being a board.

To realize that as an individual trustee you can’t make any decisions. It has to be a board decision and even if it’s not supported by the entire board, that is what moves forward.”

“Also, I think it has to be somebody who really supports public education and what public education stands for.”

Baxter is looking forward to devoting more time to her other interests but points out that she is still a trustee and has several more meetings to chair before the new board is sworn in after the elections.


Vintage car crashes through fence at Michaelbrook golf course

Car crashes at Michaelbrook

What appears to be a vintage car has crashed through a fence at the Michaelbrook golf course.

A witness told Castanet a man was leaving the golf course after his round when the car accelerated, hitting a chain link fence at a high rate of speed.

The car then hit a white, Michaelbrook pickup truck in the parking lot of the golf course on Lexington Road.

Several emergency responders are on the scene including BC Emergency Health Services paramedics, the Kelowna Fire Department and the Kelowna RCMP.

The witness says the man was rushed to the hospital with undetermined injuries.

Man needs surgery after being slashed in face with box cutter downtown Kelowna

Slashing attack downtown

Police in Kelowna say the slashing of a man with a box cutter downtown illustrates the challenges the community is facing in dealing with "street-entrenched" individuals.

RCMP say they were called to the 300 block of Queensway at about 1:55 a.m. on Tuesday for a report of a man who was hurt in an altercation with two other men.

Officers arrived to find a man bleeding profusely from a deep slash wound across the face. The victim, who is known to police, was uncooperative and refused to identify himself or provide a statement.

He was rushed to Kelowna General Hospital and was treated for a damaged artery. He is expected to survive but will require further surgery later today.

Officers followed a blood trail to the Stewart Park washroom area, where the assault took place.

Surveillance cameras captured the two suspects — one left the scene on a bike while the other left in a vehicle.

Officers were able to identify one of the suspects, who is also well known to police in Kelowna. He was located a few blocks away and arrested.

“This once again demonstrates the challenges officers face when dealing with street entrenched individuals who suffer with mental health and substance use challenges” said Const. Mike Della-Paolera with the Kelowna RCMP.

Kelowna RCMP are still attempting to identify the second suspect and we are asking for the public's assistance.

If you witnessed this altercation or have dash cam video from around that time you are asked to either call the Kelowna RCMP non- emergency number at (250)762-3300 or you can report anonymously with the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers 1-(800) 222-TIPS (4477).

RCMP believe this is an isolated incident and there are no concerns for the safety of others.


Downtown Kelowna homicide victim identified by widow

Homicide victim identified

The victim of a homicide outside a Kelowna nightclub has been identified as a Fraser Valley man.

Nicholas Epp died in an altercation outside the Liquid Zoo on Friday night, according to his wife Dottie Epp on Facebook.

“This is the man who took my husband’s life,” Dottie wrote, while sharing a Castanet article on the RCMP’s hunt for the suspect.

Police distributed surveillance images of the suspect in the death on Monday.

“This man has destroyed my family. Let him be found,” Dottie Epp said on Facebook. “Let there be justice.”

Nicholas and Dottie had young children together and are originally from the Chilliwack area.

RCMP say were called for a report of an “altercation” outside the Liquid Zoo on Aug. 12 at about 11 p.m. A male victim was found on the ground with an injury and rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Another male had run away on foot.

Warning issued for incoming heat wave in Thompson-Okanagan

Heat warning issued

Scorching temperatures are coming to the Thompson-Okanagan.

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the Central and South Okanagan, South Thompson and Fraser Canyon.

“A strong ridge of high pressure will bring a short-lived heat wave to British Columbia,” the weather bulletin says. “High temperatures once again return to southern interior with daytime highs 35 to 40 C and overnight lows near 18 C.”

The wave is expected to run Wednesday through to Friday morning, when unsettled weather and cooler temperatures are expected as “a series of disturbances cross the region.”

In Kelowna and Penticton, temperatures are expected to hit 35 C on both Wednesday and Thursday. Kamloops will see 36 C on the same days.

Vernon and the North Okanagan are currently not included in the heat warning, but are also expecting temperatures of 35 C, so that may change.

In the Fraser Canyon, Lytton is expected to crack 40 C on Thursday.

Residents are being advised to schedule outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day, stay hydrated and seek the shade.

Developer of contentious Boynton Place condos revise project after neighbourhood pushback

2nd look at Boynton condos

Saskatoon-based Meridian Developments is taking a second shot at getting neighbourhood buy-in for a large condominium development on Boynton Place at the base of Knox Mountain.

A first application for development and development variance permits were pulled before reaching the council table after residents in the area pushed back against the 227-unit development.

Residents were opposed to the sheer size of the project which spanned 90 metres in length and 19 metres in height.

There were concerns about traffic, parking and potential environmental impacts given the proximity to Knox Mountain.

In its new application, which council is expected to review next Tuesday evening, Meridian says it has scaled back the project after hearing feedback from residents of the area.

"In listening to residents, there were a few common areas of concern, the building massing (especially how it relates to the height and length of the buildings), density (specifically the number of units), retaining wall heights, parking and resident access to Knox Mountain," Meridian says in its application.

The new project calls for 218 for-sale condo units, nine fewer than originally proposed. The height was reduced significantly from 19 metres as originally proposed to below the 13 metre maximum height allowed within the RM4 zone.

The application states the building length would remain the same, but claims the massing has been altered so that "each part of the building reads as distinctly separate."

Additional parking spaces were also found while the retaining wall has been lowered from 5.2 metres to three metres.

Longboarders will be racing down Knox Mountain this weekend

Longboarding down Knox

Longboarders from across the region are coming to Kelowna this weekend for the Knox Mountain Downhill.

The event will get underway Saturday at 9 a.m. and will wrap Sunday at 3 p.m.

To accommodate the event, road closures and parking restrictions will be in place in the area. The lower 1.5 kilometres of Knox Mountain Drive, the base to the first lookout, will be closed to all vehicle traffic starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Pedestrians are allowed access to enter the area to watch from designated areas and the Apex Trail will remain open when the course is not in use by event participants or shuttle vehicles. Event volunteers will be stationed on-site to ensure safe passage of pedestrians and hikers throughout the event area.

Parking will be restricted in the parking lot at the first lookout area, however, the main parking lot at the foot of mountain will remain open to the public.

Kelowna residents with high cholesterol invited to take part in medical study

Study participants sought

A Kelowna-based medical research company is seeking individuals living with high cholesterol to take part in a study.

The study will aim to determine the effectiveness of an investigational medication on dyslipidemia.

“When a person has more than a normal amount of fat in their blood it is called dyslipidemia. It is often an inherited condition. These fats can accumulate in a person's arteries and cause narrowing of the arteries thereby reducing the blood circulation to body parts such as our heart muscle, our kidneys, and toes, resulting in angina and heart attacks, kidney damage and cold feet or leg pain when exercising,” said Dr. Colleen Maytham, principal investigator for Okanagan Clinical Trials.

“About one out every five adults will develop dyslipidemia, so we all know someone with dyslipidemia or high cholesterol. Medications that can reduce these fats can help keep a person's circulation healthy. A lot of people 's cholesterol is still too high despite already taking cholesterol medication. That is why we need ongoing research.”

To be eligible to participate in the study, volunteers will be men and women who are 40 years of age or older with dyslipidemia. Approximately 175 participants will participate in the study.

“Okanagan Clinical Trials is excited to give access to a variety of new clinical research studies to people living in British Columbia, including this study on dyslipidemia”, said Dr. Kim Christie, president of Okanagan Clinical Trials.

Treatment will not affect provincial medical coverage and all study-related costs will be paid for by the sponsor. Participants are free to leave the study at any time.

To learn more about the study or to volunteer, please visit www.okanaganclinicaltrials.com or call Okanagan Clinical Trials at 250-862-8141.

Downtown Kelowna hosting car show on Saturday

A new event downtown

Downtown Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue will be taken over by classic cars this weekend.

The Show N Shine on Bernard takes place Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring more than 50 classic cars, hot rods and collectibles that will be on display along Bernard Ave. from The Sails to St. Paul.

A number of street vendors will also be set up.

“Show N Shine on Bernard is a free, family-friendly event for auto enthusiasts of all ages,” said a news release from organizing group Downtown Kelowna Association.

Voting for winning vehicles starts at 11 a.m. Each vehicle will display a dash card with a unique QR code, that when scanned, will take the voter to the Show N Shine on Bernard Voter’s contest page.

Each vote will count as an entry for the Show N Shine voter’s contest, in which three prize packs are up for grabs. The only way to vote and to be entered into the contest is to attend the event.

Show N Shine “best of” awards and winners of the Show N Shine prize packages will be announced on Wednesday online.

“Adding Show N Shine on Bernard to our August activities is a fabulous new event for Downtown.” says Mark Burley, executive director of the DKA.

“With Meet me On Bernard in operation for the summer, August needed something fresh and new. Adding classic performance vehicles, hot rods, and classic cars to Bernard Avenue for a day will add to the vibrancy of Meet me On Bernard and Downtown Kelowna.”

Central Okanagan Food Bank gears up for two key fundraisers in its busiest year ever

Food bank preps for fall

Cindy White

Some celebrity chefs stopped by the Central Okanagan Food Bank Monday for a photo shoot and to show off their creations for the 3rd annual Bake the World a Better Place pie sale and auction.

It was first launched during the pandemic and has now become one of the main fundraisers. The goal is to raise $35,000.

The chefs will be baking 21 pies for the event that takes place just in time for Thanksgiving.
20 will be for regular sale and one will be auctioned to the highest bidder.

“Our pie is a vegetarian pie. It is a mushroom tourtiere. It’s a pie that myself and our executive-chef Luc Bissonette created. It’s got sort of that alpine, mountain theme to it,” describes Shelly Robinson, the director of food and beverage for Big White Ski Resort.

Also on hand was Scott Hackman from New Country 100.7. He brought a sample of his strawberry rhubarb homestyle pie that his girlfriend baked using his grandmother’s recipe.

“For me, the greatest way to be a part of the community is to give back to the community. And certainly, with all the incredible people here at the Central Okanagan Food Bank, and the great need for the services that they provide, it was an easy thing to absolutely say yes to,” said Hackman.

This year is the busiest it’s ever been at the two food bank locations in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

“Things are really, really tough for people. Inflation is having a major impact and we have pulled from our reserves,” explains food bank chief executive officer Trevor Moss.

“We’re just encouraging people, especially if they can help out, if they can donate. Especially this time of year with people’s backyards and all their produce. If they want to give some of that, like zucchinis or carrots. Anything like that would be greatly appreciated because right now we are low on produce.”

The food bank is also gearing up for the launch next week of a back-to-school backpack program. It’s a partnership with seven schools in the Central Okanagan.

“Coming up into the fall, we’re going to be asking for backpacks from the community. We’re going to actually fill that with food, and then when the clients are coming into the food bank the kids and youth will be able to get an amazing, nice backpack. And then from that they’ll be able to access the food on a weekly basis to actually take home or to eat at lunch time,” said Moss.

The goal is to raise $60,000 to fund the program for 400 students.

The Bake the World a Better Place pie sale begins September 21 and the auction runs from October 1 to October 4. More information will be shared at the beginning of September.

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