Top Chef IPE

Do you have what it takes to be the IPE's Top Chef?

IPE Top Chef Competition is a revamped version of the IPE Iron Chef.

We wanted the competition to be about home cooks ages 10 and up. We have four categories," stated general manager Yvonne Paulson. "Junior 10 to 13, teens 14 to 18, adult 19+ and family, one adult and two children 10 to 18 years of age."

 Home cooks will compete head to head, within their category, to qualify for the finals. 

"We could see a junior home cook going up against an adult in the finals," states Paulson. "Anything goes in the kitchen."

The IPE Top Chef is in a new location this year in the Horticulture Building with plenty of seating to watch.  

If you would like to compete visit the IPE website for information and entry form. 

"Get your entry in ASAP, stated Paulson. "We have a deadline of August 20, 2018. Go to our website and fill out the entry form and rules and regulations."


Girls Club celebrates 1 year

It will be a special birthday for a local charity. Girls Club, a social group for girls who have any type of neuro/developmental differences will be celebrating its first birthday Sunday, August 19 between 11:30 – 1:30. 

Girls Club was first launched in the Lower Mainland by a mom with a daughter diagnosed with autism. In August, the Club expanded to the Okanagan, and it now celebrates over 200 members across the two locations, with over 60 in the Okanagan alone.

“I started Girls Club Okanagan with the intention of having somewhere where my daughter could be herself and be surrounded by kids who experience the world in the same way that she does,” states Bree Cawley, chapter director. 

"The foundation of the group is based on the belief that all children wish to connect and form meaningful relationships with others. Providing on-going opportunities for kids/teens who might otherwise find it more challenging to make friends is one way to help foster these relationships"

Membership for girls club is free and no drop-in or participation fees are
charged for the regularly scheduled meetups, resulting in a continually growing interest in this new resource for girls with disabilities.

The one-year carnival-themed celebration is being held at NONA (North Okanagan Neurological Association) on Sunday August 19 between 11:30 – 1:30. 

The family-friendly event is free for any girls with a neurological difference, although pre-registration is requested by contacting [email protected].

Girls Club welcomes girls of all abilities, levels of independence and ages. 

Activities at the meetups include theme parties, arts and crafts, cookie decorating, listening to music, and just hanging out and having fun. In addition, scheduled activities and outings within the community are regularly scheduled.

Progress made on wildfires

Progress has been made on the three wildfires burning in the Monashee Wildfire Complex. 

Fire information officer Kim Weir says that over the past few days crews have witnessed a decrease in fire behaviour. 

"With the continued slight downtrend in the weather, we continue to have a good opportunity to make decent progress on these fires. 

At last mapping, the Mabel Creek fire was estimated to be 1861 hectares; the Harris Creek fire was estimated to be at 508 hectares; the Sugar Mountain fire is estimated to be at 332 hectares. 

Crews were able to make progress on the fires despite some challenging conditions of late. 

"The smoke has been challenging to work in, but we have been able to use helicopters on the complex," says Weir. "It has inhibited, at times, our use of helicopters on the incident but not for days at a time. We are talking maybe hours at a time."

According to the BC Wildfire Service, eight new fires were started Saturday in the Vernon Fire Zone due to lightning. One fire, in the Monashee Complex, was quickly knocked down.

Crews are, however, remaining vigilant and as temperatures start to creep up again, so too does the risk of hold over fires.

"There was a significant amount of lightning in our area and within the Monashee Complex on Saturday, and it may have caused new starts that will become visible as temperatures increase through the week, but we haven't seen a lot of action as of yet."   


Cops arrest prolific offender

UPDATED: 11:24 a.m.

Police aren't releasing much in the way of details, but are saying that late Monday afternoon they were able to arrest a man wanted on a number of outstanding warrants. 

Dale James Williams was arrested just after 6 p.m. at an address near Okanagan Landing Road.  Police say James was taken into custody after a brief foot pursuit.  

"Upon police arrival, the 28-year-old man attempted to evade police by running through a nearby creek," stated Sgt. Janelle Shoihet. "Williams was arrested without incident and will appear in Vernon court on numerous charges.

Witnesses reported to Castanet that at the time of the arrest, a heavy police presence was spotted in the area, which included a helicopter. 

Williams is facing charges of break and enter, fraud, theft of motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, driving while prohibited, breach of a recognizance, assault a police officer and resisting arrest.

ORIGINAL: 9:18 a.m.

A young Vernon family is concerned for the safety of their neighbourhood after a large police presence swarmed the area near their home Monday night.

The witnesses, who wish to remain anonymous, tell Castanet that they were just finishing dinner around 6 p.m. , when they saw several RCMP cruisers, with lights flashing, rush to an area just off Okanagan Landing Road.

As many as six cruisers and a helicopter were seen in the area, and a section of Osprey Road appeared to be blocked off. 

"I thought, 'is something wrong with our property?' One witness tells Castanet. "So, I went down to see. As I was approaching them, I saw a whole group of police officers standing in the culdesac. As I got within 100 feet from them, two came towards me and told me that they were able to arrest a criminal that was involved in property theft and scamming."

While officers did their best to ensure the witness that the neighbourhood was safe, the young family still feels shaken over the whole incident. 

"I can't sleep anymore. It was shocking for us. It is so close to home."

The couple, who have a toddler, say in recent years they have seen an increase in suspicious behaviour in the quiet neighbourhood. They have even heard that their neighbour's home across the street from them was broken into. 

"When we hear that it makes us wonder if there are more criminals in the area. It makes it hard to fall asleep."

Castanet received multiple news tips regarding the incident Monday night and has reached out to RCMP for comment. However, at this time, RCMP have not responded to Castanet's request. 

Stay off Mabel Lake FSR

As wildfires continue to burn in the hills above Mabel Lake, crews are again asking the public to stay away from the Mabel Lake FSR. 

Crews want the public to stay away from KM 10 – 59 on the Mabel Lake FSR in order to allow BC Forestry crews space in battling the wildfires.

The Regional District of North Okanagan renewed the plea in a Tuesday morning press release.

"Our main goal is to ensure the safety of the community, as well as the safety as those protecting it," stated Mike Fox, RDNO general manager of community services. "Closing off sections of Mabel Lake Road will decrease the risk in vehicle collisions due to hazardous road conditions, and also increase the safety of our forestry crews." 

The FSR road closure effects Mabel Lake Road to all recreational traffic from KM 10 (North of Mabel Lake Provincial Park) to KM 59 (at the junction of Highway 1), including all recreational sites along this section of road.

An Area Restriction Order was put in place on August 4, 2018 as a result of fires in the Mabel Lake region. The restriction will remain in place until September 15, or until the Order is rescinded. 

Residents living in the Mabel Lake Holdings community, or other private residences along Mabel Lake Road will not be affected by this closure.

"The safety of the public and responders is our highest priority, and these roads are narrow with limited visibility," stated Jane Park, incident commander on the incident management team. "These factors, combined with the fire hazards is what has caused these closures. We are working with Compliance and Enforcement Natural Resource Officers to patrol the closed areas with onsite security."

Will Mund run again?

It is not an endorsement, but Vernon's current mayor is happy to see what he calls a "good candidate" enter the mayoral race. 

Akbal Mund says he is happy Victor Cumming is running. Cumming announced his intention to run last week.

"When you are in a position of leadership you always want to make sure that when you do decide not to be in that leadership position, you can count on someone who is reasonable and intelligent to take over that position." 

Mund hasn't officially stated whether he will run in October's municipal election, only publically saying that he will make his decision in September.

"He's got his pulse in the community, which is good," Mund says of Cumming. "I am happy because that takes pressure off of me making a forced decision to run because I feel there may not be somebody I would want to run the city."

Cumming lost the mayoral race to Mund in the last civic election by only a few hundred votes. 

Other candidates who have announced their intention to run for mayor include former Vernon mayor Wayne Lippert and Vernon painter Art Gourley.

Heron dance on beach

Bird watchers and nature lovers have been enjoying the return of the herons to the Okanagan.

Elizabeth Kozub captured this one on camera at Kin Beach in Vernon Sunday, "this guy was down at the end of Kin beach yesterday. He was so entertaining. I sat and watched him for about an hour. So clumsy but graceful at the same time. He would just up and do these moves and then stand still for a while. It was so awesome, I thought you might enjoy them."

Herons, their nests and eggs are protected under the British Columbia Wildlife Act.

Herons patiently wade in calm, shallow waters for fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, large insects. they can also be seen foraging in meadows and fields for mice and voles. They use their long, powerful neck and bill to grab their prey.

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