Bug control crews 'flat out'

Mosquito control crews with the Regional District of Okanagan have been working “flat-out” since spring, treating over 70 per cent more sites than usual.

The increased workload is caused by high-water and flooding this spring, according to RDOS pest control coordinator Zoe Kirk.

“It often made it very difficult for the mosquito control person to get to normal treatment areas because there was large bodies of water in the way,” she said, adding they were forced to apply larvicide from the air five times this year, instead of the typical three.

“Because there was flooding in areas that had not flooded in 50-60 years, or ever, we actually added 213 new sites to the program, and the program has 300 sites on a regular year.”

Kirk expects they will be about $30,000 over budget this year, with another busy year expected in 2018.

“As waters recede, mosquitos lay their eggs, and those eggs are viable for 10 years, so the next time they get wet for any length of time they can start to hatch.”

She said come budget time, the RDOS board will likely look at bumping up funding to make up the difference.


Wineries thinking globally

Okanagan wine is ubiquitous on the shelves of BC liquor stores and well known across Canada, but outside our borders, the region is unknown to most wine drinkers.

But if local wineries get their way, that will change.

Many have started entering prestigious international competitions against fabled wine producing regions around the globe, and winning.

“I would say most people are unaware of the Okanagan,” said Tony Holler, owner of Poplar Grove Winery on the Naramata Bench.

He noted there are certain wine writers abroad who are well aware of the great work Okanagan wineries are doing, but the global market hasn’t got there yet.

“People need to know, we are a northern climate wine region… and if you look elsewhere in the world, some of the top wines are all made in cool climates,” he said, referring to Bordeaux France.

La Frenz Winery, also on the Naramata Bench, recently took home a large haul of medals from the Dan Berger International Awards. International awards are what many believe is the first step to getting recognition and respect on the world stage.

“The reason we go in these big competitions,” owner Jeff Martin said. “You are up against wines from all over the world, and there is nothing like putting your wine on a table to be judged by experts to see how you fare.”

When La Frenz first started attending international compilations, Martin said judges opened BC wines last, “they wanted to open everything else, except BC wines.”

“That perception, that sort of resistance, is long gone, but I think to go to the next level, to command the respect, and to command the pricing,” he said, but for that happen they need to win over the wine writers and judges first.

Both Martin and Holler gave examples of BC wines punching above their weight in competition and beating out French and Australian vintages that were twice the price.

“New Zealand is going through the same thing. People will buy an $80 pinot noir from Burgundy, and will resist $30 for New Zealand pinot,” Martin said, even though the New Zealand wine is much better.

Because much of the prime grape growing land in the Okanagan Valley has already been bought up, many wineries are not looking to increase the volume of wine sold, but still need to fund growth.

“We are one of the most expensive wine regions in the world to operate in,” Holler said, noting that land in the valley is more than four times as expensive when compared to Australia's wine-making regions.

“So it's important for the viability of our industry, that we get the value for producing great wine because our cost structure is so high.”

Busy weekend ahead

Last weekend marked the end of an exciting Peachfest, but starting Thursday morning more fun is on its way for the weekend. 

The ITU Multisport World Championships begins Aug. 18 at 8:00 a.m. and it will be just one of many local events happening over the weekend. 

Friday, Aug. 18. 

  • At 5:00 p.m. Aug.18 the Parade of Nations will kick off the ITU Multisport World Championships on Martin St to Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, followed by a pasta party and opening ceremonies. 
  • The 10th Annual Traditional Music Festival  will be held all day in Princeton. The free event will feature live music, food, dancing and much more. 
  • St. Andrew's Friday Night Nine and Dine Mixer is a popular Friday night event in Penticton. Invite friends and family out for a good time. The dinner, music and dancing will start at 7:00 p.m. and tickets generally sell out quick.

Saturday, Aug. 19. 

  • The Great Ogopogo Bath Tub Race begins at 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Powell Beach Park in Summerland. Not only is there competitive bath tub races it also includes breakfast in the park, a barbecue lunch and live music. 
  • The Penticton Farmer's Market is from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.on the 100 block of Main St. Enjoy a wide selection of fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey, eggs, homemade baking, preserves, crafts, wines, beers and ciders.
  • The Penticton Community Market also takes place on the 100 block of Main St, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and features homemade goods including clothing, food and jewellery. 
  • The ITU Multisport World Championships will have many athletes competing in multiple race categories throughout the day. The awards ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Gyro Park. 
  • The fourth annual B.C. Pinot Noir Celebration brings together 34 of the province’s best Pinot Noir producers to celebrate the varietal that is defining the region. The event will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Linden Gardens in Kaleden. 

Sunday, Aug. 20. 

  • Penticton Leir House Arts Market runs from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The free event is at 220 Manor Park Ave. There will be outstanding entertainment, live music, live art, homemade and homegrown treats and produce, crafts and much more exciting vendors.
  • The Summerland Rotary Sunday Market from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is a foodies paradise. Main Street in Summerland provides a quaint backdrop for the Summerland Rotary Sunday Market. Farmers, artists, crafters and food vendors fill over 50 stalls with the bounty of Summerland and the Okanagan Valley. 
  • Sip and Support for the SPCA will be held at Township 7 Winery between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The by donation event will have food trucks, live music, many great vendors and our award winning wines to enjoy. 
  • The ITU Multisport World Championships will have a slower day with a Sport and Lifestyle Expo from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Rotary Park Athlete Village. 

With thousand of athletes and tourists in Penticton over the next 10 days, Penticton RCMP are asking the public to be cautious of cyclists, runners and pedestrians while driving. 


Crews douse grass fire

The Oliver Fire Department made quick work of a grass fire on the Osoyoos Indian Band Reserve on Nk’Mip Road Thursday afternoon.

Damage was contained to a utility pole near the road, according to Oliver Daily News.

The fire was sparked on the roadside around 2 p.m. One witnessed told ODN he saw a truck passing through the area before he reported the blaze to 911.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

with files from Oliver Daily News

Bathtub races on Saturday

Nearly two dozen bathtub racers will be flying past Powell Beach in Trout Creek on Saturday, all for a great cause. 

The third annual Summerland event will feature amateur and expert racers in vessels from home built bathtubs to the high performance class. The fun kicks off at 8:00 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. 

"It's a great spectator event," said spokesperson Jim Cavin. "They have raised, combined the race itself and the Summerland Yacht club, $60,000." 

The money will go towards the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide the medical equipment for the $312 million Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.

The bathtub races will start at 11:00 a.m. and the family event featuring children’s activities, sand sculpting, music and more, will wrap up by 3:00 p.m. 

The new PRH tower is set be ready for patients in early 2019.

Duncan Keith gives back

Chantelle Deacon

NHL defenseman and former Penticton resident Duncan Keith has partnered with the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre in Penticton to fund a new playground.

Keith, of the Chicago Blackhawks, created a charity in 2011 called Keith Relief. Keith Relief and OSNS are now working together on a three-year project that helps improve the lives of local children.

"I can't say enough, just how happy and proud I am to be a part of it, a small part of it," Keith said. "I see my son over there, he's been getting into the cookies already, it's been a lot of fun so far."

Next spring the The Duncan Keith Playground will open on the upper portion of the OSNS facility. The playground is meant to promote coordination, strength and muscle tone.

"The whole idea is to aid in the children's developments," he said. "Whether it's physical things or learning mentally."

Not only will outdoor facilities be built but each year, funds will be donated to OSNS families who are experiencing financial crisis in regards to the care of their children.   

Keith Relief is dedicated to alleviating the financial burden and emotional burdens of families and individuals dealing with medical situations.

ITU cyclist struck by car

An  ITU Multisport World Championship competitor was struck by a vehicle while cycling in Penticton Thursday morning. 

The multisport competition does not get underway until tomorrow, but many athletes have already arrived. The cyclist was hit on South Main St. in front of South Main Market at about 9:40 a.m. 

The person suffered minor bumps and bruises and has been brought to Penticton Regional Hospital, according to Penticton RCMP. 

The local police are asking the public to be extra cautious while driving in Penticton during the ITU Multisport World Championship from Aug. 18 to 27, because there will be many cyclists and runners on the roads.

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