Summerland rescue pleads for donations to help dog dumped by owner get surgery

Funds to help injured pup

Casey Richardson

A doggy dumped off at Penticton Animal Care & Control is now in the care of a Summerland animal rescue and loving foster home, but they need donations to help get her the surgery she needs.

The Critteraid Animal Sanctuary was given care of a four to five-year-old English bulldog named Lilo.

"Lilo has had a rough start in life but ever since she has come into our care, she has blossomed and is learning new words like love, trust and cookies," Critteraid Dog House Director Arlene Dunstan-Adams said.

"Her owner didn't want her anymore. We can't understand why anybody would want to leave her behind."

Once in their care, Critteraid's veterinary partners quickly found out that Lilo was in dire need of some serious medical intervention. Lilo had torn both of her ACL ligaments, both knees were injured and her hips were not in good shape.

Lilo underwent her first surgery eight weeks ago and Dunstan-Adams said she is already surpassing all expectations and doing wonderfully with her recovery.

"Lilo is living with her foster-to-adopt parents that are giving her all of the care and love that she could ever hope for," she added.

The pair are taking on the great challenge of physical therapy multiple times a day with the pup.

"Lilo's surgeries are expensive, and her ongoing medical care is going to continue to the level that she needs until she is healthy, happy and thriving," Dunstan-Adams said

"We at Critteraid are asking the community to donate towards Lilo's medical expenses. We know that Lilo is worth it and she deserves to live a life that is pain-free and to give her back the ability to walk without fear."

Dunstan-Adams said that Critteraid continues to take on as many dogs as they have available foster parents that match the needs of the dogs that are looking to come into their care.

"If you or someone you know would be willing to open your or their home to a dog or a puppy that may have special needs, or will have to undergo medical treatment prior to going up for adoption. Please fill out our foster application on our website," she added.

"Critteraid, myself and Lilo all want to say thank you to all of the animal lovers in this community. As without you, we wouldn't be able to give a dog like Lilo the care that she deserves."

To donate or fill out an application, head to Critteraid.org


Penticton's Teas & Weaves store up for sale after 17 years of business

Beloved tea shop for sale

“I kind of had said to my husband, ‘I'd love to have a store and see where it goes’ and it's been more than what I had hoped and expected.”

After 17 years of business in downtown Penticton, the owners of Teas & Weaves have put it up for sale for $119,000.

Claire Keys and Fritz Hollenback, co-owners of the shop, have officially listed their business, offering it up as a turnkey operation with in-store training available. The store is also set for a three-year lease.

Keys said she had always wanted to run a shop and many years ago she and her husband made the jump for it.

“He was more rugs and I was sort of into the tea and we sort of combined the two having travelled in different parts of the world,” she said. “Tea and rugs go hand in hand.”

“We've had an amazing journey with it, both of us have been to many places and tea gardens. We are just at a point in our lives where we're saying I want to retire.”

The shop, located at 265 Main Street, originally started on Nanaimo Avenue for the first five years.

“It was amazing. It was a struggle, as always businesses are in the first three to five years….When we first started, everyone says, 'Oh [selling] tea for little old grannies and whatnot.' But I mean, I have over 150 teas, there's a vast world out there and I'm blown away by how many young people are into the teas now. And all the questions they ask. So they're really well informed."

When Keys' lease was coming to an end on Nanaimo, she found her place on Main Street.

“Then it just went to the next level. So it just kind of took off from there and started gaining momentum.”

When they first started, Keys said the shop was simply teas and rugs. As the business expanded, they started building on the merchandise and featuring different items, like Turkish glassware, Canadian mukluks and Australian hats.

Over the years, the store would earn multiple awards, including best new business and an Excellence award, and started gaining a loyal customer base, from locals to tourists.

"My best months of the year are November and December, which tells me I'm really supported locally by a lot of people. And then I find tourists do a lot of online sales,” Keys added.

“We ship across Canada, I've actually got a couple of customers in the States that really like our tea. We've got a good standard.”

Keys said the store became her “pride and joy.”

“My husband, sometimes says ‘Why?’ she added with a laugh. “But I think it's more just being recognized for the achievement that we've done. I'm really passionate about tea, and I love people coming in and asking.”

She now hopes it can be passed on to someone who will take the business to the next level.

“My best goal would be turnkey. So I would like to say, one day I'm here and the next day, somebody else has just carried on with the store as is. And in saying that obviously, they're going to put in their mark as they grow. Because there's so much potential that is open to it.”

Keys isn’t moving out of town either and said she’d be happy to help anyone on their journey with the store.

“It's done well. So I would hate to see it fold and I'm hoping that won't come to that.”

She said the right person would love tea, be passionate about the world, being in business and meeting people.

The beloved local shop has been well supported over the years and has built up quite a legacy.

“I never in a million years kind of thought that this would take off the way it did,” Keys said.

“There's hiccups ups and downs, but overall, it's been really good.”

The Teas & Weaves listing can be viewed online here.

Penticton Search and Rescue celebrates 50 years in Gyro Park

50 years of team rescues

The Penticton Search and Rescue Team celebrated a major milestone on Saturday with a community BBQ, 50/50 draw and raffle fundraiser.

The non-profit organization has reached 50 years in operation and made a point to thank the many volunteers that have made their success possible.

PenSAR originated as a humble collective of individuals driven by a common goal to aid those in distress within the nearby wilderness.

Over time, both the training and equipment underwent remarkable transformations, enabling the volunteer organization to evolve into the team it is today. This team assists emergency crews in various rescue scenarios, encompassing swift-water situations, treacherous cliffs, lost hikers, raging wildfires, and numerous other challenges.

In the year 2022 alone, the devoted members of PenSAR dedicated an impressive total of over 10,700 hours to the cause.

PenSAR set up in Gyro Park on Saturday to welcome the community to get to know them and learn about opportunities to get involved. They were also hoping to attract a few more members to the cause.

Local photographer Mike Biden was on scene to check out the day's festivities.

For more information and to keep up with PenSAR's work, click here.


Small-batch winery quietly opens in Summerland's Garnet Valley

Small-batch winery opens

Casey Richardson

New wineries keep launching in Summerland this spring and the newest one to open is small-batched and focused on only a few varietals that shine in the Garnet Valley area.

Solvero Wines quietly opened its doors on Friday with a soft opening, run by Matthew Sartor, the president, founder and vineyard manager, and Alison Moyes, the winemaker and general manager.

The pair met over a decade ago in the industry and have kept in contact as acquaintances throughout the years.

Sartor moved from working in wine shops in Calgary to the Okanagan Valley, trying to find the right growing site that would fit the needs of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

"It took a couple of years, but in the middle of 2014, we found this site which was essentially 99 per cent ponderosa pine forest at the time. And I managed to convince my family that this was something worth pursuing. So we purchased it at the end of 2014. We spent all of 2015 clearing land and prepping for planting in 2016 for our first 10 acres of Pinot Noir," he said.

The crush pad, barrel room and production building began construction in 2022 and were completed in May. The full tasting room is set to finish in spring 2024.

"We are offering a really unique experience with a grape-to-glass wine tour, which is offered from the production side. So it's really a behind-the-scenes tour with Matt, and myself personally, of the barrel room, the tank room, the crush setup, and then we'll finish with a seated tasting on the crash pad, as you can see of our portfolio of four wines, in varietal specific glassware," Moyes said.

"We're really excited to be able to finally share this place. I think you really have to visit to get a sense of it and what we're trying to do here."

Their name, Solvero, is a Latin translation of "Truth in soil."

Moyes, brings 14 years of winemaking experience, specifically in crafting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Her background includes vintages with Osoyoos Larose, starting as assistant winemaker and then winemaker at Stoneboat Vineyards, followed by six years as head winemaker at Liquidity Wines.

"The genesis of this entire business was trying to find a place in the Okanagan, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would really sing," Sartor said.

"We've expanded to [Pinot] Gris and we're going to be producing some Gamay in the near future, which is planting this year. We were trying to find a place that would make a unique wine that was distinctly from the Okanagan, and also distinct from the rest of the Okanagan in terms of style and structure."

On the steep slopes where the winery has the vineyard planted, there's definitely a unique climate to the area.

"It's in a very, very narrow valley, as you can see around you. So we lose a fair bit of ripening daylights during the growing season, but it keeps most of the degree days," Sartor said.

"Our location, certainly is a little bit off the beaten path of the main Bottleneck Drive route, although Garnet Valley Ranch is just up the road and so we're excited to have a partner in promoting Garnet Valley," Moyes added.

The two said they're excited to see the area really grow as a winemaking region.

And while the team is only a handful of years into harvesting grapes from the site, they said they are really pleased with what's been produced so far.

"When I tasted the first vintage of Pinot Noir from Garnet Valley from Solvero, the 2019 Pinot Noir, which was produced from somewhat young vines, that are three years old at the time and the beautiful wine that was produced from it, I realized the potential that Garnet Valley has," Moyes added.

As the winery is a very small operation at this point, they're looking to take people on very personal tours to give people a deeper understanding of their winemaking process and all the hard work that goes into the finished wine in the glass.

"I hope that people walk away with a little bit more information than they came in with," Moyes said.

"We've spent a lot of years, a lot of our life building this into what it is today and the opportunity to spend some time explaining what that is to people is invaluable to us. We want them to really understand why this place is important," Sartor added.

The winery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tastings are by appointment, and the team will accommodate walk-ins where possible.

For more information on the winery or to make a tasting reservation, head to their website here.

Penticton Channel rubber duck drop begins with 2000 dropped Saturday morning

2000 ducks hit the channel

Operation Duck Drop is underway on Saturday morning in Penticton after a couple thousand rubber duckies were sprung into the Penticton Channel this morning.

The fun and charitable event will see not be ruffling any feathers, as volunteers monitor the ducks' journey down to the end and make sure none get stuck along the way.

The race is on as the rubber ducks move from the waterway at the Green Mountain Road entrance and to the end, with three lucky ducks walking home with $500 in their pockets as the first to 'swim' to the finish line at the stairs at the end of the channel.

After the exciting race, the party continues at the Coyote Cruises parking lot at the end of the River Channel with a BBQ by donation, a cheque presentation, prizes and music.

All net proceeds will go to the Penticton Indian Band and the South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society.

Keremeos Rodeo Hall hit hard by vandals who break in, destroy and smash up property

Vandals destroy rodeo hall

The manager of the Keremeos Rodeo Grounds is shaken and upset after finding the hall and announcers' booth trashed and vandalized on Friday morning.

Peter Kolisnyk, who is also the vice chair of the Keremeos Rodeo Association, shared pictures of the damage done on social media after the RCMP came to investigate.

"This is devastating because, as I said, the work we put into it and the volunteer time that we put into it, it's just mind-boggling that something like this could just happen," he said.

He spotted the damage when he went by the hall on Friday morning and noticed that the fence was busted.

"They broke in through the fence and went to the back of the concessions where we have our doors, which have two steel four-by-fours sliding in, and they used, I presume, some benches made out of logs as a battering ram to break the steel brackets right out of the wall and got in and just vandalized the place."

Kolisnyk added that he was surprised at what they had to do to get into that building.

"And then not only that, they walked across the whole arena and even went to the announcer's booth and smashed all the windows."

Broken plates are also scattered across the hall floor along with graffiti marks on the walls and equipment.

"[It's] very upsetting. It feels like you put all this work in, and then this is what you get?" he added.

"This is the thing I mean, we built this hall. We've got a nice facility. We've got weddings booked like crazy. Everybody's just happy that we have this facility."

Kolisnyk hasn't had time yet to go in to try to clean up the mess but said he has had a huge amount of support from the community with offers of help.

"We've got people [saying], 'When are you guys cleaning up? We'll help.' We've got [others saying], 'You guys need windows? Give us the sizes, and we will find some windows.' The community is pulling together, but it's like, why does this have to happen?"

There will be a push to get the hall back in tip-top shape, as events and groups have it booked throughout the summer.

Those interested in helping with the cleanup can reach out to Kolisnyk at 250-499-1588.

RDOS seeking committee members for Okanagan Falls Incorporation Study

Call for local study members

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has put an official call out for a committee to work with staff and a local government consultant to guide the upcoming Incorporation Study.

Board members voted through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs recommendation to adjust the study area to include those boundaries outlined on the attached map back in the beginning of April.

Two Requests for Proposals (RFP) have been issued by the Regional District for a qualified firm or individuals for the provision of consulting services for an Okanagan Falls Incorporation Study report(s) and a series of public engagement activities and consultations.

The Board of Directors also approved the Terms of Reference for an Okanagan Falls Incorporation Study.

Kicking off the process begins with the recruitment of a committee to work with staff and a local government consultant to guide the study.

The RDOS emphasized that as an objective fact-finding body, individual members of the committee should ensure any expression of their personal opinions does not detract from the ability of the study committee to function as a neutral and credible conduit for information to the community.

Please visit the RDOS Regional Connections interactive website to view the RFP, Call for Committee Members, and additional documents.

RDOS staff said in a news release that they appreciate the time and efforts contributed by volunteer committee members during the Electoral Area “D” Services and Boundary Configuration Study and look forward to working with a similar committee on the Okanagan Falls Incorporation Study.

Nurses, patients in Penticton band together to fundraise for kidney disease awareness and research

Walking for kidney health

A team of Local dialysis nurses and their patients have teamed up to raise as much money as they can for the 2023 Penticton Kidney Walk.

The annual walk, which is taking place in person this year for the first time since the pandemic began, sees individuals and teams collect pledges to support The Kidney Foundation’s vital research and patient support programs in the South Okanagan, and raise awareness about kidney disease.

Laura Dicer is the team captain for the "Nephron Ninjas," a group of nurses and patients who all know first hand the devastating impact kidney disease has on people in this community. says

“We see kidney patients three times a week for their dialysis treatments, so we become close, like a family. Dialysis is a choice between life and death, and for patients, their lives revolve around these life-saving treatments including planning how to manage their treatments while on holidays," Dicer said.

On June 4 at 8:30 a.m., Dicer and her team along with many others from the community will gather at the Gyro Park Bandshell in Penticton ahead of the walk. All are welcome to join and register for the 2.5-kilometre walk.

At the event, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, a Penticton Indian Band member, will share his own story of kidney disease and transplantation, before participants walk along the waterfront to the S.S. Sicamous and back.

There is still time to sign up as a fundraising team or individual to contribute to the cause, or send a donation to a local team. For more information, click here.

B.C. Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin set to tour South Okanagan communities next week

Lt.-Gov to tour locally

British Columbia's Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin will spend a few days in the South Okanagan next week, meeting with local business owners, touring important sites and speaking with community organizations.

Austin will arrive May 28 and spend the next three days visiting Osoyoos, Oliver, Keremeos, Okanagan Falls and Penticton.

In Oliver, Austin will attend the inaugural Indigenous Championship British Columbia golf tournament at the Nk'Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course, owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band. While there, she will present awards to the winners at the closing ceremony.

Austin will also tour Covert Farms Family Estate, speaking to operators about sustainable agrifood operations region-wide.

Then in Osoyoos, Austin will take in the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre, tour Nk'Mip Cellars and speak at a breakfast for the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce.

In Keremeos, Austin will visit the historic Grist Mill and Gardens and stop at Sanderson Farms Market.

In Okanagan Falls, the lieutenant governor will meet with community members and veterans at the Legion Hall Branch, then tour Avery Family Farms to learn about innovative growing practices like their vertical lettuce farming operations.

Finally, Austin will visit the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services community centre in Penticton, to learn more about their services.

GoByBike Week returning to Penticton with events, prizes and more

Go by bike and win prizes

GoByBike Week is back in Penticton next week, aiming to encourage locals to incorporate cycling into their commutes and daily life.

The 14th annual event is hosted by the Penticton & Area Cycling Association (PACA), and will take place from May 29 to June 4.

It will be a week full of events for cyclists of all ages and levels of expertise, with celebration stations around town where cyclists will receive free drinks and snacks, daily prizes and giveaways entries.

At select stations, riders can register their bikes with Project 529, which helps return stolen bikes to owners, have their bike tuned up by The Bike Barn, or test a Penticton E-Kruise E-Bike.

There are also two bike maintenance workshops hosted by Freedom The Bike Shop, which have already filled to capacity.

GoByBike BC is also encouraging riders to use #ModeShift to register even just one ride during spring GoByBike Week to be entered to win a brand-new Pedego E-Bike.

In Penticton, participants must be registered to be eligible for local prizes, which are made possible by local sponsors. For full local event details, prizes, sponsors, and registration details, go to gobybikebc.ca/Penticton.

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