Local singer and songwriter Justin J. Moore releases music video shot entirely in the Okanagan

City featured in music video

Local singer and songwriter Justin J. Moore is celebrating the release of his most recent music video: Someone Who Loved You Can, which was shot entirely in the Okanagan.

Moore is a pop and opera singer who is well-known for his cover of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect Symphony, which he sang with his father Paul Moore, a well known tenor across the Okanagan.

The recent release of Someone Who Loved You Can is “an audio storyline about the dissolution of a relationship,” says Moore, who wrote the song after going through a breakup.

“Each verse was written a month apart from one another, so the first verse was right after the breakup and it was filled with confusion. The second verse is the process of beginning to accept it, and the third verse is all about being healed from it.”

Moore recorded all of the audio and instrumentals himself in his bedroom.

After finishing the song, Moore gathered a small local team to create the video which was shot in only 12 hours.

This included Jackson Parker and Brody Jones who directed it, as well as Chelsea Tansey as the female lead and Taylor McKnight as the male lead.

“I didn’t want to make it about me,” says Moore. “I wanted to try to disconnect myself from the story a little bit, so that’s why there’s performance shots of me in the video but I’m not the actual actor.”

The video features some of Kelowna’s staples such as City Park, Bernard Avenue, the Dayton Street Pedestrian Bridge and the beloved Tree of Hope which lights up every holiday season.

“We knew that we wanted to be by the water and have some of the city atmosphere in it,” says Moore. “We like that it was recognizable and comfortable to us, cause we all grew up around there. We’ve all had experiences there and a lot of the places that we were was exactly where I was with my relationships.”

Moore hopes the song will connect his listeners to him, in a new way.

“Its something that I think will help people connect with me as an artist and I think that’s the biggest reason why I’m so excited about it,” he says. “I think that it adds personality and a lot of substance to my artist image.”


Kelowna Skating Club wins big at 2021 BC/YK Sectional Championships

Local skaters win big

Sarita Patel

Three local figure skaters have won gold at this year's provincials in December.

The 2021 B.C. and Yukon Sectional Championships were held at in Burnaby, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, skaters outside the Lower Mainland were required to submit verified videos of their live performances to be judged virtually. It's safe to say, things were a little different than usual.

“I just pretended it was a normal practice because in normal competitions I get a little bit nervous but this one was a little bit easier knowing that I am just looking at a camera instead of the judges,” says Kelowna's Christina Lock, 11, the winner of the Juvenile Women U11 category.

Emily Sales, the 15-year-old winner of the Novice Women’s category, says it felt like a normal day of training, but the nerves were still there as she knew they were still competing.

“It didn’t feel the same as a competition because I didn’t have the fans and everything, so I wasn’t as nervous but I still basically did the same thing as I usually do,” says Gabrielle Jugnauth, 13, winner of the pre-novice women’s category.

This was Emily’s second gold at provincials while Gabrielle and Christina secured the first win of their young careers.

“It was definitely weird watching myself compete,” says Sales on being judged virtually. “It was a lot different but it was a cool experience.”

Sales won both segments, scoring a personal best of 121.84 points, winning the event Artistic Award. The Okanagan Mission Secondary student finished over 10 points higher than the rest of the field in a dominating performance.

“I was really nervous to see everyone else’s scores and my scores … I didn’t like it as much,” adds Jugnauth.

The event saw an extremely competitive Pre-Novice Women’s event, which had 52 entries. Jugnauth landed four triple jumps, winning both segments (short and free programs) and the title with 98.85 points.

“It was like going back in time watching myself … it was also a bit nerve-wracking waiting for everybody else to finish competing and waiting for your program to finish so you can hear your scores,” says Lock, who was competing for the first time.

Lock had a personal best performance and a score of 29.31 points to capture the Juvenile Women U11 crown and event Artistic Award.

“Overall, we are very pleased with how our skaters performed, especially given the circumstances,” noted Kelowna Director Jason Mongrain.

“It has been very challenging with scheduling and training adjustments that have been happening for months now, but we are extremely fortunate to be a sport that can compete virtually and can train while maintaining physical distancing.”

Sales danced to a mash-up of Dolley Parton songs. Her mom and Grandmother say they really enjoyed the piece.

Jugnauth performed to I Feel Pretty for the last time, as her coach will be switching up the performance next season.

Lock skated to Somewhere Only We Know, but she sang and recorded the song for the competition, something she says hyped her up.

“I’ve always wanted to try doing it like that, but I didn’t expect it to be this early on in my life,” laughs Lock.

The girls say they missed the atmosphere of fans cheering the most, but say they were lucky to perform this year. So, what do they love most about skating?

“The performing and the jumping,” says Sales who’s been skating for 14 years and can successfully do a triple lutz.

“The competition part, the nerves and definitely the winning — the work pays off once you win,” adds Jugnauth, who can also complete a triple lutz and has been skating since she was two-years-old.

Lock, the youngest of the three, has skated for nine years and can land a double lutz. She says she loves competing because of "the adrenaline and the rush after you have such a great program.”

The girls were meant to head to Nationals in March but the event has since been cancelled due to the pandemic. But they’re still training two-times a day, six-days-a-week to remain competition ready.

Once the medals arrive in the mail they will be taking photos and trying to replicate a medal ceremony on their own.

Kelowna seeking grant funds to connect Rutland active transportation corridor with rail trail

Grant funds for cycling link

The City of Kelowna hopes it can leverage funds from senior levels of government for a project linking the Houghton Road active transportation corridor with the Okanagan Rail Trail.

The project, at a cost of $2.6 million, was approved as part of the city's 2021 provisional budget adopted last month.

Only about $650,000 was earmarked from taxpayers, with the rest of the funding through existing reserves.

However, city staff is hoping it can successfully obtain a grant through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream to pay for the project.

According to a report prepared for Monday's city council meeting, the grant is structured in such a way as to pay for 100 per cent of eligible costs.

If successful, staff say the grant would accelerate the design and construction of active transportation infrastructure in the city's 10-year capital plan.

UBCO's annual fiction writing competition is now open until March 1

Short story contest open

UBC Okanagan’s annual fiction writing competition is now open and participants will have the opportunity to get their work published along with winning a cash prize.

The Short Story Contest, now in its 23rd year, has helped new writers emerge in the Okanagan.

Previous winners have been published with Penguin Random House, Arsenal Pulp Press and NeWest Press as well as being featured in various magazines and journals across the world.

“Competitions like the Okanagan Short Story Contest are where a lot of writers get their start,” says Nancy Holmes, creative writing professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

“We are always impressed with the calibre of entries we receive and we are excited to see what this year’s submissions will bring.”

This year’s contest judge is acclaimed Canadian author and English professor at Okanagan College Frances Greenslade.

Shelter, a 2012 novel written by Greenslade was named one of UK’s Waterstones 11 most promising debut novels that year and was nominated for both an Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award and the BC Book Prize Ethel Wilson Award.

The contest is open to fiction writers in the Southern Interior – east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the U.S. border and south of Williams Lake.

Submissions are being accepted now until March 1 at midnight.

Entries must be between 1,000 and 4,000 words and a writer is welcome to submit as many entries as they wish. Each entry is subject to a $15 entry fee with no entry fee for high school students.

All proceeds raised will go towards UBC Okanagan’s creative writing scholarships.

Cash prizes are available for the top three stories - $1,000, $400 and $200. The first prize winner also gets a one-week retreat at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in Kelowna.

The top short story written by a high school student will receive $200.

The winners of the Short Story Contest will be announced during a virtual event this spring.

Youth neighbourhood development grant applications due soon

Grant to amplify community

The City of Kelowna is reminding all teens that the Youth Development and Engagement Grant application is due soon.

The grant of up to $1,000 is used to support Kelowna’s youth - aged 13-19 - looking to work with their neighbours to enhance the community.

“We’re encouraging youth to find creative ways to build social connections between neighbours safely and in alignment with Provincial Health Orders,” said Tanya Sletten, Community Development Coordinator.

"Many people are experiencing social isolation as a result of the pandemic and we recognize the importance of community projects to help neighbours connect safely."

Previously, teens have helped enhance their neighbourhood by adding a free little pantry for a local shelter, garden box installations at a local retirement home and an Evening of the Arts event showcasing local talent.

The Youth Development and Engagement Grant is funded through the City’s Strong Neighbourhoods program.

The program provides financial support, mentorship and guidance for youth to develop and implement projects that contribute to their neighbourhoods’ vitality.

Applications are due by email on Jan. 17 or for more information about the grant visit the city's website.

Horgan is looking at closing the province's borders, should we do it?

Close provincial borders?

This past week, Premier John Horgan said he was looking into the feasibility of closing British Columbia’s provincial borders to non-essential travel to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

For months, many in smaller Interior communities have been worried about tourists visiting and possibly spreading the virus from other provinces.

Castanet hit the streets to ask: Should B.C. restrict travel into the province from within Canada?

One aspect stopping the provincial government from enforcing this is Section 6 of the Canadian Charter, which guarantees the rights of Canadians to “move to and take up residence in any province.”

The Maritime provinces have applied non-essential travel restrictions, like a mandatory 14-day self isolation period and pre-travel approval for those entering the provinces. At his press conference on Thursday, Horgan explained having similar restrictions in B.C. would be a challenge, given the province's size and multiple entry points.

“I want to put this either to rest, so that British Columbians understand we cannot do that and we're not going to do that, or there is a way to do it and we're going to work with other provinces to achieve it,” Horgan said.

“People have been talking about it for months and months and I think it's time to put it to bed.”

Read the full story here.

Member of Kelowna's Aberdeen Hall recently tested positive

COVID at Aberdeen Hall

A member of Kelowna's Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School recently tested positive for COVID-19, after attending school last week.

On Saturday, parents at the private school near UBC Okanagan were notified of the exposure at the school.

“A member of the Aberdeen Hall Junior School community has tested positive for COVID-19,” the school said in an email. “They are self-isolating at home with support from local public health teams.”

The person who tested positive last attended the school on Tuesday last week. It's unknown if the person is a student or faculty member.

The Aberdeen Hall case is one of several potential exposures in local schools from last week.

Mount Boucherie Secondary had possible COVID-19 exposures Monday through Thursday last week, in addition to the week prior, on Jan. 5, 7 and 8.

Springvalley Elementary had a potential exposures on the Monday and Tuesday of last week, while there was a potential exposure at Rutland Secondary last Monday.

A full list of COVID-19 possible exposures at Interior schools can be found here.

Kelowna looking at ways to help spur on construction of affordable rental housing

Land, money for housing

The City of Kelowna says it may have to take a more hands on approach to providing desperately needed affordable rental housing in the city.

That may mean turning to the taxpayers as one way to help fund the purchase of land needed to support such projects.

City council will discuss the need for affordable housing Monday through a new Affordable Housing Land Acquisition Strategy.

A staff report supporting the new strategy suggests that while housing is generally a provincial responsibility, growing housing challenges have forced local governments to take a larger role.

While working with groups such as BC Housing, the report says establishing an AHLAS would give the city the ability to contribute land in exchange for affordable housing projects.

The need, staff say continues to grow in the city as both home ownership, and affordable rent become less, and less attainable.

The report says nearly half of the 19,600 rental households this year are in core, or extreme core housing need. Those in core need to spend at least 30 per cent of their yearly income on rent, while those in extreme core need to spend more than half their yearly income on rent.

Those numbers, staff say, are trending upward.

The report further suggests in order to address all of the growing need over the next 10 years, more than 2,500 affordable rental units will be required, with an estimated land value of nearly $20.5 million per year – well beyond the city's ability.

However, the report suggests the city can do a small part by putting aside more tax dollars each year to help fund its housing opportunities reserve fund.

Presently, the city tucks away $200,000 per year in tax dollars into the account. The report suggests doubling that to $400,000 in 2022, and tripling it to $600,000 in 2023 and beyond, resulting in $2.2 million generated every four years.

That, staff suggest, would be adequate to purchase at least one property every four years.

It's also suggested the city continue to use the Municipal and Regional District Tax available through online platforms such as Airbnb to supplement the reserve fund.

"Overall, land acquisition for affordable housing will be a key tool to express the city’s leadership.The availability of land has the potential to initiate new affordable housing projects, attract development and operational partners, and leverage external financial resources," the report concluded.

Big White continues to adapt to ever changing COVID-19 challenges

Big White restaurants adapt

Big White Ski Resort continues to adapt to ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19.

Travel restrictions and health orders have forced the resort to modify their on-hill and foodservice protocols but the Globe Café remains open.

“We have all worked really hard to invest in safe physical barriers that don’t detract from a pleasant dining ambience, to adapt serving processes to ensure full compliance with all PHO recommendations, and to offer guests our same warm welcome to the mountain, but with guest and staff’s health and safety coming first and foremost in everything,” says Jude Brunt, Co-Owner of Globe Café, which has been on the hill for 13 seasons.

Brunt, along with Big White's other restaurants, is encouraging local customers to "visit the mountain and safely enjoy not only the world-famous Okanagan Champagne Powder, but also a delicious number of food and beverage offerings at the local, independent and award-winning restaurants."

Most of Big White's on-hill dining establishments are operating at 50 per cent or less of last season’s volumes.

"The 200-plus chefs and servers on the mountain remain committed to offering delicious menu items, curating interesting wine and cocktail lists, supporting our local suppliers, and offering hospitality second to none – all while implementing and promoting the highest level of COVID-19 safety protocols," states a release from Big White Ski Resort.

While most of the establishments have pivoted to offer a take-out service in addition to dine-in, the effect on the team members is huge.

“We love living and working on the mountain and I’m grateful for my job back for a second season, but it is really hard this year to cover rent and afford food with the huge reduction in gratuities from all our usual winter tourist guests who dine-in,” said Jesse McGugan, a senior server at Globe in his second season.

“Our absolute priority besides serving up great food and hospitality, is keeping our guests safe and sometimes that means we have to be firm with them to not stop and chat to a friend at a table on the way back from the washroom. But our clients have been great about that and respect the rules.”

Big White Ski Resort like many other local businesses is feeling the pinch caused by the global pandemic and they are working hard to offer great deals like happy hours and kids-eat-free promotions, as well as tasty lunch and dinner packages.

Kelowna's Lynne Teraposky visited Big White over New Year’s Eve with her bubble.

"Everything was great," she said. "With all the COVID changes, including last-minute limits on alcohol and closing time, they still made it feel festive. We loved the live background music, decorations, and the food was fabulous. All the COVID precautions in all the restaurants are well done -– we felt very safe dining out.”

Big White has five full-service restaurants open on the mountain this season, as well as numerous accommodation specials.

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