Interior Health issues drug alert for chunks sold as down, dope or fentanyl

Drug alert issued

Interior Health is warning people about a drug similar to fentanyl being sold in Penticton that has a high risk of overdose.

The drug alert was issued on Friday after beige and light yellow chunks being sold as "Down/Dope/Fentanyl" tested positive for undiluted or "uncut" para-fluorofentanyl, a substance with strength and effects similar to fentanyl.

(There is a) high risk of overdose, high risk of fatal overdose," the alert states.

If you are going to use drugs, IH said to use the following tips:

  • Find drug-checking locations at www.drugchecking.ca or at Ask Wellness in Penticton
  • Be aware that benzodiazepine induced sedation is not reversible by naloxone
  • Be aware of risks if mixing with other drugs, including alcohol
  • Use with others around or at an Overdose Prevention Site if available in your
  • community (OPS)
  • Start with a small amount and space out your doses
  • Avoid using alone
  • Carry naloxone and know how to use it
  • Get the LifeGuard App - lifeguarddh.com
  • Call 211 or visit bc211.ca to find services near you

The drug alert is in effect until April 8.

Ignite the Arts Festival Weekend kicks off Friday

Festival weekend kicking off

Penticton's Ignite the Arts Festival Weekend begins tonight, with a bursting performance lineup until Sunday night.

Friday night at three different venues, Elk's Hall downstairs, Warryn Berry Stage (Elk's Hall upstairs) and the Dream Cafe, diverse musical acts will take to the stage late into the night.

Then on Saturday, starting as early as 11 a.m., the Penticton Art Gallery, Elk's Hall, Brit Bar, Dream Cafe, Cannery Brewing and Tempest theatre will all have acts and workshops including theatre, dance, music, songwriting, DJing and much more.

There are over musical acts booked with something for everyone, from folk and rock to reggae, electronica and hip hop, as well as kids programming.

Tickets are $125 for the whole Festival Weekend, including a $15 voucher to spend on artist merchandise or the local venues. Youth tickets for those 13-18 are $25 and kids under 12 are free.

For more information on tickets and the whole weekend lineup, click here.

Penticton Farmers' Market looking to secure 100 block of Main Street ahead of 2023 season

Farmers' market at council

The Penticton Farmers' Market will speak to city council Monday seeking approval of its annual agreement to have "priority use" of the 100-block of Main Street during its 2023 season.

The market has been operating downtown since 1991, with roughly 40-45 dedicated venders per season, 80 per cent of which categorized as small, local farmers. There are also 55-60 approved casual vendors who attend when space is available.

"Every Saturday we are pleased to welcome close to 10,000 visitors to the market," explains a presentation from market president Joseph Ciaramella and marketing manager Linda Van Alphen that will be shown to council.

"Although most are local to Penticton and area many more visit from other parts of British Columbia, other provinces and often from other countries."

According to the market, vendor sales reach approximately $2M every year. Vendors also frequently donate to local community food initiatives like the Purple Pantry and St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The 100 block, the market explains, is the best place for the market.

"The PFM works with the few businesses in the 100 block [of] Main to provide spaces for them to add an outdoor element to their shops during market hours," explains the presentation to council.

Ciaramella and Van Alphen will ask council to approve priority use of the 100 block from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. from mid-April to the end of October, and "if events of other groups are contemplated," the market board be consulted before approval.

The market is set to return for its 33rd season Saturday, April 15.


BC SPCA South Okanagan/Similkameen branch completely out of dry dog and cat food

SPCA desperate for pet food

The reserves of dry dog and cat food have completely run out at the BC SPCA South Okanagan/Similkameen branch, with donations severely slowing down.

Acting manager Holly Williams said they are scraping the bottom of the barrell.

The donated food is given out to people and their animals in need in the community, and is a heavily relied-upon resource for many.

"Since the pandemic started, it's been a consistent need in the community. And it hasn't gone away at all," Williams said.

"We're looking for any and everything. So it's nice to have a variety of different types, because some people who look to us for help, they might have specific diets that their animals need, and we love to be able to help them if we can."

"But of course, we're not going to turn away any type of donations. So it all goes to the animals that really need it."

Monetary donations go to help animals in the community, but as Williams points out might not go directly to the food bank.

"But it certainly will help animals in some capacity."

Donations of food can be made in person at 2200 Dartmouth Drive or online here for monetary contributions.

Artists invited to mix, meet, network at Penticton event

Mixer for local artists

The Penticton and District Community Arts Council is hosting a social networking event for artists of all ages and stages in their careers.

On Friday, April 14, join other artistic-minded individuals at the Leir House at 220 Manor Park Avenue in Penticton.

Local artists and artisans are invited to meet, socialize and discuss opportunities, upcoming shows and exhibitions, as well as any barriers they are facing.

Host Victoria Jaenig is a local Indigenous multimedia artist and storyteller. She is a PDCAC artist in residence.

The event is open to youth, emergent, mid-career and established artists, and anyone who aspires to be an artist. It starts at 3 p.m., April 14.

RSVP by phone at 250-492-7997 or via email at [email protected]

Vees coach, forward up for top league awards

Vees up for awards

The BC Hockey League has announced its finalists for two league awards, including two Penticton Vees names.

Head Coach Fred Harbinson is nominated for the Joe Tennant Memorial Trophy for best coach of the year, and forward Josh Nadeau is up for the Bob Fenton Trophy recognizing a player who exhibits "fundamental aspects of sportsmanship while excelling at the game.

Harbinson led his team to a 50-3-0-1 record in the 2022-23 BCHL regular season, a new single-season BCHL winning percentage record of .935.

The Vees also had the league-best 208 goal differential, letting in just 96 goals against them.

Nadeau was second in overall league scoring with 110 points in 54 games. He also only served 14 penalty minutes. He tied his brother Bradly for the most power play goals in the league at 18.

On Friday, the BCHL will announce finalists for the best defenceman, rookie of the year, and MVP awards.

The Vees begin their playoff run in a best-of-seven series against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday, March 31 at the South Okanagan Events Centre. For more information and tickets, click here.

South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers looking for donations to help keep tips coming in

Paying for crime tips

The South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers continue to aid in arrests and convictions in cases, thanks to ongoing tips that come into their non-profit organization that are passed on to RCMP.

But the society needs donations from the community in order to keep attracting tipsters with knowledge of crimes.

Steve Berney, the local director and president, said they have launched a new donation feature on their website to aid in supporting the ongoing tips rewards that they offer for individuals giving valuable tips.

"We usually do our fundraising through events. In the last couple of years, we just haven't been able to because of the pandemic," he said.

"The necessity for the [donation] button was to make it easier for people to donate without just calling in or coming by and seeing the coordinator."

Since the start of 2023, the South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers site has had over 5,000 hits. In March alone, there were 1,578 hits.

As the group receives no government funding, they rely on the donations of our community to provide the cash rewards for the information that leads to solving a crime or an arrest.

"We have a reserve fund so that we can pay for any rewards, both present and even past if a person has provided information and weren't able to collect and then two years later they come back," Berney said.

"Being a nonprofit society, we need donations and interest in it, and the connection with our community members, otherwise we cannot exist."

Crime Stoppers has continually seen an increase of tips coming into their system.

"It helps by providing us a way to give information that people may not be comfortable with giving to a police officer and identifying themselves."

The dedicated phone line for the tip taking system does not have a caller ID and will not record the conversation between the tipster and the tip taker.

"Often times the people are in the fringe of the crime or on the fringe of they know who did it. And those are the people who are in the know and call us but they don't want to be identified because they still have probably a relationship with that fringe element," Berney added.

The South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers currently has eight directors and one police coordinator that works with the group, attending their monthly board meetings.

Berney said the local crime stoppers group was founded in 1992, as a result of the the infamous riot of 1991.

Penticton was chosen to host the Music 91 festival, which was sponsored by the province, and featured a big name performer at the time — MC Hammer.

The riot became known as the "MC Hammer riot," even though the riot happened nowhere near the concert and it didn't get started until hours after the show was over.

After the concert ended, downtown suddenly had a flood of new people and people began ransacking the tourism centre. One group had managed to successfully roll the iconic Peach on the Beach into Okanagan Lake.

"We wanted to find a system that would help solve that crime and then it led to what we have today," Berney added.

"People are just running up the street and fights and all over so it's certainly calmed down since then but we still have a lot of crime. We still have a lot of trafficking, smuggling people and contraband."

Berney said, as a retired RCMP officer, he decided to join the Crime Stoppers Group as a way to keep active and also to give back to the community.

"The community has given so much to us. That's the reason why most of us want to make a difference."

Since inception, the South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers have aided the RCMP in recovering $1,874,505 in stolen property, $14,769,999 in drugs, arresting 878 people, clearing 990 cases, and laying 292 charges.

The organization has paid out $50,410 in rewards to date to tipsters.

Tipsters also have the option of giving tips online, which is completely secure and anonymous.

The South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers are currently recruiting directors for their organization, which meet on the last Tuesday of every month.

More information and options to donate can be found online here.

BC Wildfire, Penticton Indian Band conducting prescribed burn

Prescribed burn on PIB land

BC Wildfire Service is assisting the Penticton Indian Band with a prescribed burn Thursday.

The burn is on a portion of a Penticton Creek area located four kilometres northeast of Penticton.

Thursday's ignitions will cover 11 kilometres out of a total 51.5 hectares that will be burned eventually.

Smoke and flames may be visible from Penticton and the surrounding areas, including Highway 97.

The burn aims to reduce potential fuel for flames ahead of wildfire season in the wildland-urban interface, protecting nearby communities.

Summerland museum shares a look back at a 1975 Singers and Players' production

Theatre runs over a century

In anticipation of this summer's performance of Murder on the Rails, the Summerland Museum & Archives Society shared a look back to March 1975 and the Summerland Singers and Players' production of HMS Pinafore.

Originally starting up in 1913, the Summerland Singers and Players, then called the Summerland Operatic Society, were started by settlers.

"The original settlers in Summerland were wealthy, respected citizens from England. They brought with them a tradition of theatre in which Gilbert and Sullivan Operas were a very big part," the museum archives read.

Their first ever production was The Mikado, and performances of Gilbert and Sullivan operas became something of a Summerland tradition, according to the museum.

The photo from 1975 shows the stage with actors dressed in sailing regalia for the performance of HMS Pinafore. According to the English National Opera, the production tells the story of Josephine, the daughter of Captain Corcoran, who falls for lowly sailor Ralph Rackstraw. She’s torn between her true love, and her father’s desire for her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty.

The files of the past performances for the society show that this production was put on many times by the society, going back as early as 1924.

Once the operatic society decided that their name would change to The Summerland Singers and Players, the group was able to expand its repertoire to a wider selection of performances.

After more than a century of performances, the group is still thriving and continues to put on productions.

The Singers and Players have just released details of this summer's performance of Murder on the Rails, set on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway.

For more information on the history of the Singers and Players, check out the museum's digitalized files online here.

For more information on upcoming performances by the Singers and Players, visit their website here.

The Summerland Museum & Archives Society shares photos and information from their archives every week for throwback Thursday on their social media, which can be found online here.

Interior-grown tribute acts announced to cap off Penticton Peach Festival musical lineup

Tribute acts cap Peach Fest

The Penticton Peach Festival has unveiled yet more of its lineup for the free summer event.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, the final day of the festival, two of the Interior's top bands will hit the stage at Okanagan Lake Park.

The Hip Replacements, presented by Brutus Trucks, and High Voltage, presented by Kettle Valley Memorial, will rock the park to cap off the five-day experience.

"Ending the festival with these two great Okanagan bands seems like a fitting way to wrap-up Peachfest," said festival president Shawna Guitard.

"People love their music and their energy."

High Voltage is an AC/DC tribute band, and is the unofficial house band of Peach Fest. They missed the 2022 festival, but have performed nine times on the Peters Bros. main stage.

The Hip Replacements, with their tribute to the Tragically Hip, are new to Peach Fest. They have been attracting sellout crowds throughout Western Canada for 18 years.

"Loud music and lots of fun, it will be a night you don't want to miss," Guitard said.

The 76th annual Penticton Penticton Peach Festival is scheduled for Aug. 9-13, and is free to attend. For more information, click here.

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