BC Grammy Award winner Alex Cuba to play one-off show in Penticton

Grammy winner playing

A Grammy and Juno award-winning Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter will be he will play a one-off show at Penticton’s Cleland Community Theatre as part of the Route97 Culture Road Trip Series in October.

Alex Cuba was born Alexis Puentes in Artemisa, Cuba, in 1974, but has lived in Smithers, BC since 2003.

Cuba's album Mendó won the 2022 Grammy Award for best Latin pop album, alongside the four Latin Grammys and two JUNOs he had previously won.

Mark Greenhalgh, who is one of the co-creators behind the Route97 Culture Road Trip Series, said he is thrilled to have Cuba join the lineup of concerts.

“Alex Cuba is an incredible artist, and we’re very grateful he will be performing for us as part of our 2022 series. The work we are doing is building our region up as a viable touring option for both emerging and national-level artists with unforgettable concert experiences," he added.

"Having Alex as a part of it is fantastic. I know his Oct. 21 show at one of the region’s best-sounding venues, The Cleland Community Theatre, will be phenomenal – don’t miss out!”

For years, Cuba’s musical evolution was all about searching for simplicity and soul in Cuban music. The artist was said to be taking apart the complex arrangements, mixing them with North American influences, adopting the melodic simplicity of pop music, and looking to Cuban folk traditions for inspiration.

Cuba is set to perform at Penticton's Cleland Community Theatre this fall on Oct. 21, 2022, at 7 p.m. Tickets went on sale starting on Monday and can be purchased here.

The Route97 Culture Road Trip Series will also include shows from a mix of emerging and nationally-recognized artists such as:

  • Festival favourite Vancouver Indigifunk band Curtis Clearsky and the Constellationz (October 8th, 2022, at The Dream Café)
  • CBC darling and JUNO-Award Nominee Begonia (November 21, 2022, at the Cleland Community Theatre)
  • JUNO Award-winning Winnipeg folk and country singer-songwriter William Prince (December 2, 2022, at the Cleland Community Theatre)
  • Vernon pop/rock artist Andrew Allen (holiday show – Dec 16, 2022, at the Cleland Community Theatre)


Naramata 'Pickle Princess' needs help with long road to recovery from rare disease

'Pickle Princess' needs help

A young Naramata entrepreneur well-known locally as the "Princess of Pickles" is facing a long road to recovery after complications from her rare autoimmune disease, and her community is stepping in to help.

Dixie-May Duncan Kunicky is the chef, proprietor and owner behind Dixies Quickles and Dixie May's Market, a staple at the Naramata Farmers Market for two seasons running and other markets year-round selling her creative and delicious pickled products.

Kunicky has been missing from the market for several weeks, recovering from a severe chest infection and other complications related to her disease.

Her parents began a GoFundMe campaign to help support Kunicky as she recovers, a long process that will include learning to walk again, and extensive medical treatments.

"Along with blood transfusions as well as chemotherapy for chronic kidney disease, in addition she will require once monthly secondary immune suppressant to treat the other side of her autoimmune once a month. She will need to acquire a CPAP machine to assist her breathing at night," her father Roy explains in the GoFundMe.

"Dixie is a fighter and is reaching out for your assistance. Your assistance will help her get home and adjust to a new way of life."

Love and support has already begun pouring in, raising nearly $3,000 in just over a week. The campaign has a goal of $10,000 to give Kunicky plenty of help with rent, food and monthly bills as she gets back on her feet.

Find the GoFundMe here.

Civic election: Amelia Boultbee is running for Penticton council

Meet Amelia Boultbee

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to each candidate running for local council in the South Okanagan.

All candidates have been given the same questions, and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is available here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.


Amelia Boultbee: Penticton council candidate

Why would you make an effective city councillor?

I believe my profile as both a lawyer and a local makes me uniquely situated to be a valuable member of council. As a lawyer I am trained to carefully examine all facts and evidence. I am also trained to change my mind in response to new, or better information, which is a trait I believe many politicians lack. As a person, I believe in listening to all sides. I would see my duties to the public as being focussed on good governance based on data based public policy, and that voting for what is best for Penticton as a whole would be my mandate.

Our current council has proven time and time again they cannot work collaboratively with the province on issues around crime and homelessness. I am a trained negotiator and resolve disputes for a living, and I think I can do a better job.

I am running because I truly believe the city needs me on council, and once elected, I will passionately advocate for all members of our community.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today, and how would you deal with it knowing City Hall only has so much power?

The number one issue is crime, which is inextricably intertwined with mental health and addiction. It is difficult to discuss one of those topics, without reference to the others.

The reason we have prolific offenders, is because many of them have mental health and addiction issues which are going untreated. Too few police officers historically means cases which should go to the Crown for prosecution, are not. We only have two Crown prosecutors, so even when investigators are able to gather what is needed, there is a backlog and I believe Crown is not laying charges in cases where they could, because they have to prioritize.

While municipal governments have the least power over crime and mental health, that doesn’t mean we are powerless. Forging effective and proactive relationships with provincial and federal ministers to ask for what we need, and come up with creative solutions is needed. As someone who is skilled at research, I would prioritize discovering what other municipalities are doing right, and building the relationships with our provincial and federal counterparts to achieve that. I see little collaboration among our council and those ministers at this time and believe I could do that as a city councillor.

How would you make Penticton more affordable?

Lack of housing inventory is driving prices up at all levels, so adding to inventory by building both up and out is necessary. Affordable housing for seniors, those who struggle to earn a living wage, and supportive housing for those struggling with being un-housed is needed. For the latter, if mental health and addiction are the reason they are un-housed, then appropriate wrap around services must be in place to ensure the root causes of these social challenges are addressed.

While adding to inventory is needed, it is not enough. I believe a luxury home tax, particularly for non-resident homeowners could generate money that can be used to subsidize housing.
Victoria began a project that saw shipping containers converted to tiny homes, and that is an idea worth exploring. Another effect of adding to inventory through a diverse mix of housing arrangements, would be an increase in rental rooms, suites, and laneway homes.

I’d like to see Penticton develop a tech sector in the same way Kelowna has done and overall add to well paying jobs for young professionals.

What is one example of a time you agreed with city council over the past term, and one where you disagreed?

One of the most shameful mistakes our city made, was to sell a vulnerable and elderly woman’s home in a forced tax sale. The homeowner was in arrears of $10,000, and her only home was sold out from underneath her for far less than its assessed value. The woman’s sister had Power of Attorney and the woman herself was unwell, and through a series of failures to handle the situation appropriately, the home was sold before steps could be taken to prevent this outcome.

The British Columbia Ombudsperson produced a thorough report, which was critical of how our city handled this unfortunate situation. The investigation found inaccurate, inconsistent and inadequate descriptions of the tax sale process in correspondence with the woman. The report recommended that the city compensate the woman for about half her losses, which was initially rejected by the city. The city blamed the tax sale process and took little responsibility or insight into their own failures in the situation.

I agreed with the approval of the rental unit complexes on South Main and Westminster Avenue, this is one way to address the housing crisis.

If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?

I believe in the power of our business community. We have people whose ideas could take that $1 million and turn it into $2 million. I would create a small business grant system where the best ideas for improving our industrial and downtown areas, as well as attracting tech sector businesses and turning Penticton into a four season destination are funded. Profits from the ideas that received grants would be tracked, and some percentage of that would go towards making a deal with the province for more mental health/addiction treatment beds on city property on a 50 year lease.

Picture Penticton 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?

20 years from now, I want to see Penticton no longer suffering from a housing shortage, a place where everyone from a doctor to a barista to someone struggling with homelessness can successfully find a permanent roof over their head. Because people have places to live, our local businesses will thrive rather than struggle with staff shortages.

Our effective year long marketing will have branded Penticton as a four-seasons destination, so our local businesses don’t struggle to keep their doors open during the shoulder season and winter months. Because we have adequate numbers of RCMP officers and individuals are actually receiving treatment for mental health and addiction, our crime rate is low and we can walk safely at night or lock our bikes up without fear of theft. We have a vibrant young professional scene which grows new industries such as a tech economy similar to Kelowna. I think all this and more is possible with new leadership.


Civic election: Myers Bennett seeking council re-election in Osoyoos

Get to know Myers Bennett

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to each candidate running for local council in the South Okanagan.

All candidates have been given the same questions, and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is available here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.


Myers Bennett: Osoyoos council candidate

Why would you make an effective councillor?

I feel I would make an effective town councillor as I have proven my dedication to the position for the last four year as a councillor for the Town of Osoyoos as well serving two prior terms in B.C. I have an abundance of business experience having owned and managed many businesses and I am known for my transparency and my attitude of listening, processing, then make an informed decision based on facts.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing Osoyoos today, and how would you deal with it, knowing Town Hall only has so much power?

The number one issue facing Osoyoos today is a toss up between our current water supply and near affordable housing for our many young families. That is one of my reasons for wanting to stay on council as we have spent many hours trying to get a parcel of land into the Town of Osoyoos' name to proceed with a partial answer to the housing part of this problem and we have met with the Minister and staff trying to get funding for the last four years to correct the water problem and hopefully it will be our term in 2023.

How would you make Osoyoos more affordable?

I am not sure how many community’s can make themselves become more affordable unless land prices really dropped in some of larger cities as the prices are driven by availability and unfortunately we do not have any more land base so it drives the price up. In the last few month’s we have offered developers incentives so there are ten new below market value homes that will be coming into the market along with eight new below market rentals.

What is one example of a time you agreed with Osoyoos council over the past term, and one where you disagreed?

We have a real good working council so we agree on a lot on the issues but my one disagreements come when we agree to use funds from other accounts such as the reserve funds to pre-purchase new vehicles for our fleet as I feel those funds should be left in the reserve funds.

If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Osoyoos, how would you spend it?

I would use the $1,000,000 to match against an available grant where we could match say a government grant that would provide $ 4,000,000 if the community provided 25 per cent towards the project the we would be leveraging that $ 1,000,000 into $ 5,000,000 for the community.

Picture Osoyoos 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?

My vision in twenty years Osoyoos will be a very vibrant small town as it is now flourishing due to the influx of tourist and cyclist during our off season enjoying the Indigenous culture experience along with the farm/market/agritourism tours along with being a cycling hub for the Trails of the Okanagans hiking biking trails

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen office to close Friday

RDOS to close Friday

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen office will be closed on Friday to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day was established with the aim of providing an opportunity to engage and educate people about colonial history and how it has impacted Indigenous communities.

“The RDOS is committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” says RDOS chair Mark Pendergraft.

“This is a long-term goal that will require ongoing relationship-building.”

Campbell Mountain landfill will remain open.

Traffic is slow through Summerland following a single vehicle rollover Monday afternoon

Rollover near Summerland

The driver of a dark-coloured sedan has been taken to hospital after her vehicle rolled over on Highway 97 south of Summerland.

A witness at the scene said the southbound vehicle went off the road, hit the shoulder and the bank, rolled mid air and came crashing down into a tree.

The single-female occupant was apparently alert and transported to hospital by EMS.

No word on the extent of her injuries.

The crash occurred about 5:15 Monday afternoon.

One southbound lane remains closed while crews clean up the scene.

Clean Energy Expo coming to Penticton Lakeside Resort

Up-and-coming green tech

Penticton and area residents who are curious about ways to move towards energy-efficient technologies for buildings and transportations can check out the upcoming Clean Energy Expo.

Hosted by First Things First Okanagan, the expo will take place on Saturday, Oct.1 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort east ballroom.

Visitors will be able to check out displays on solar, geothermal and heat pump technologies, plus speak to energy advisors and installers with insight into rebates and incentives offered by provincial and federal governments.

First Things First Okanagan is a local non-profit society focused on educational events to promote climate action.

“Our aim in putting together this expo was to assemble a variety of home energy experts and vehicle dealers who can answer people’s questions about new technologies that we’re hearing a lot about,” said society chair Jim Beattie.

"We’re excited to be featuring some local creative inventors and tinkerers. There are people doing innovative work with electric motors: an electric Ford F-150 that can power a music concert, an EV jet boat, and a logging truck that uses electric power.”

Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission to the expo is by donation.

Alley makeover project a hit in Penticton

Slack Alley makes a splash

A Penticton alleyway got the ultimate makeover this weekend, transforming into "Slack Alley," a colourful space for family, friends, food and fun.

The project was a partnership between the Downtown Penticton Business Improvement Association and Slackwater Brewing. On Sunday, the alley behind the brewery will was alive with music, art, eats and culture.

The buildings and ground were painted, lights hung, a stage set up for music, beer garden erected, interactive activities planned for kids, and much more.

Plans are already in the works for more alley transformations in 2023.

The hope is that downtown alleys will be seen as more than "simply dumpsters and deliveries," instead operating as a space to bring community together.

Barenaked Ladies coming to Penticton for holiday show

Barenaked Ladies in concert

Canada's beloved multi-platinum band Barenaked Ladies are bringing their special holiday act to Penticton.

On Dec. 2, catch the band live at the South Okanagan Events Centre, playing holiday fan favourites from their album Barenaked for the Holidays, as well as some other surprises.

“We’re bringing Barenaked holiday cheer to your hometown!" says Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson. “It’s been a couple of long, cold, lonely winters, so let’s have some fun!”

Tickets range from $45-$99 and will be available online here or in person at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 29.

Civic election: Get to know Mark Smed, council candidate in Summerland

Mark Smed wants your vote

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to each candidate running for local council in the South Okanagan.

All candidates have been given the same questions, and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is available here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.


Mark Smed: Summerland council candidate

Why would you make an effective municipal councillor?

I love bringing my skills to organizations and working with others. I have worked closely with all levels of business as an IT Consultant. My business experience has proven valuable within these organizations. Working with limited budgets and striving to achieve organizational goals is challenging. I love the challenge and the opportunity to help others. I was involved with Canadian Mental Health Association South Okanagan Similkameen (CMHA - SOS) and Pathways Addiction Resource Society in Penticton as a board member. I currently sit on the Board of Connect Wellness and Therapy in Kelowna. I am fortunate to be able to donate my time to these worthwhile organizations. My work skills have shown me that I am good at reviewing and pick up details from complex reports. It is important to ask difficult questions and consider many viewpoints.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing Summerland today, and how would you deal with it, knowing Municipal Hall only has so much power?

Expanding and improving services while maintaining a stable tax platform. It would be very easy to promise lots of change but ultimately the taxpayer is the person responsible for paying for not just the upgrades but also the ongoing maintenance.

It is a delicate balance and I believe Summerland can be more successful in attracting provincial and federal funding to help cover the cost of infrastructure expansion or service improvements. The long-term goal must be the maintenance of a stable property tax base while ensuring that all the current services are sustainable.

How would you make Summerland more affordable?

Summerland is very affordable. We offer great services and our property taxes are very reasonable. We do need to try and attract more development of low and moderately priced housing and I feel this can be achieved by expanding our community beyond the current boundaries. I would like to see Cartwright Mountain established as a park and the valley behind incorporated into Summerland.

There are ALR lands for increased agricultural development. We could establish a secondary water source by establishing a reservoir in the valley behind Cartwright Mountain that is fed from Okanagan Lake. The infrastructure changes would allow some developers to access the new lands for development of housing. These are some big ideas. I believe we need to have discussions and new ideas brought to the council table. I want to discussion on your ideas as well. I want to see everyone come to a new council with their ideas and work as a community to solve issues.

What is one example of a time you agreed with Summerland council over the past term, and one where you disagreed?

I am concerned that 97% of Summerland’s water flows from a single source; The municipal reservoir and that reservoir is 300 meters from a landfill that can potentially leach dangerous chemicals. Increasing demands on our water system, changing climates and future developments can test this very weak link in a water supply chain. I would like to complete the second reservoir and install protective linings to both. This has never been completed.

I am impressed by the Council’s response to the global pandemic and the strength and leadership they showed during these difficult times. Not one of them expected to have to deal with this situation when they were elected and I’m sure they faced challenges.

If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Summerland, how would you spend it?

I already did! I purchased a home here and I support many local businesses. In the 30 years I have lived here, I’m quite certain I have spent $1 million, and I would do it all over again. If I had a million dollars to spend on Summerland tomorrow, I would improve access to the many hiking trails but I love to hike. I would love to hear what others would do.

Picture Summerland 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?

There is a magical ratio of business, agriculture and residential housing that attracts people. Some people love big cities with concert venues and strip malls. When you drive into Summerland you are greeted with fruit stands and orchards. There are signs for a winery with a small bistro. We have lots of local services like pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants, and fuel stations. You can attend a local hockey game or swim in the lake or public pool. I would like to try and maintain this ratio by carefully expanding and improving services without losing the character that attracted more than ten thousand of us so far. Let’s continue to keep Summerland a special place for those who have already invested their lives here.

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