Accused drug dealer no-show for sentencing hearing in Penticton

Dealer no-show in court

A Penticton man was a no-show at his sentencing hearing in court Monday for drug trafficking charges.

Ryan Chaffey, in his early 40s, was first arrested for trafficking in February 2020 following a weeks-long RCMP investigation that ended in a bust at a 1000-block Westminster Avenue apartment suite.

Evidence was found at the time that a drug trafficking operation was being carried out from the residence, according to police. Cutting agents, scales, empty baggies, all used in packaging of drugs, were seized.

Chaffey was scheduled for sentencing in Penticton Provincial Court Monday, but did not make it for his 10:30 a.m. appearance.

Defence counsel asked that the matter be pushed until later in the day, but Chaffey did not arrive.

A court clerk told Castanet at 3 p.m. that the matter had been moved to Oct. 13 when it is expected Crown counsel will present an application for a warrant for Chaffey.


City of Penticton closing facilities for Truth and Reconciliation day

Closing for reconciliation

The City of Penticton has announced its public facilities will be closed Sept. 30 in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

They have followed the lead of senior levels of government in doing so. The federal government passed legislation in early summer 2021 making the day an official federal statutory holiday.

City Hall, city yards, the Penticton Community Centre, Penticton Public Library and Penticton Museum & Archives will all be closed and reopen Friday, Oct. 1.

For more information on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation click here.

Penticton promoting 'GoByBike Weeks' starting Monday

Bike weeks begin today

The City of Penticton is gearing up to celebrate GoByBike weeks, starting Monday and continuing through Oct. 10.

Events in the province-wide initiative are intended to encourage locals to ride their bikes to work and school, as well as for leisure and exercise.

Register and log your trips at gobybikebc.ca, and participate in the following Penticton-centric events:

  • Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 – In celebration of International Day for Older Persons, cyclists of all ages are invited to join a community ride on the Lake-to-Lake Bike Route leaving Gyro Park at 10 a.m. Participation is limited to the first 100 cyclists. The Cycling without Age trishaws will also be in attendance.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 – The first 50 cyclists to ride by the City’s station on the Lake-to-Lake Route at the corner of Nanaimo Ave. and Martin St. between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. will receive $10 DPA Downtown Dollars.
  • Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 – Draws will be made at six elementary schools for a free bike donated by Valley First and Freedom Bike Shop.
  • Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 – Ride your bike on the Lake-to-Lake Bike Route to Gyro Park for a Nummerland Paletas “Farm-to-Stick” Ice Pop between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Limited to first 100 cyclists.

“The completion of the first half of the Lake-to-Lake Bike Route in time for the Fall GoByBike Weeks is a great opportunity to encourage active transportation in the community,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki.

“We’re thrilled that Valley First and Freedom Bike Shop are on board to support this initiative.”

Events are all weather-permitting and COVID-19 protocols will be in place to ensure participants socially distance.


BC Transit expanding service between Penticton, Summerland

900 more bus hours coming

Public transit users looking to travel between Penticton and Summerland will soon have more options.

Starting in January, BC Transit will be adding 900 more hours of service on Route 30 which connects the two communities.

BC Transit sent out a postcard survey with both fill-in and QR code response options to Summerland residents asking where those 900 hours should be allotted, and over 200 responses came in.

"We had a resoundingly strong response to the option to introduce a new midday weekday trip, so between 12 and 1 p.m.-ish, and also brand new service on Saturdays, which currently does not have service. So that's a very strong response, 70 per cent of the respondents were in favour of that," said senior transit planner Adriana McMullen.

Details are soon to come, according to McMullen.

They are also in the midst of a pandemic-postponed "transit future action plan" process, hoping to have face-to-face interactions with community members this fall.

"The engagement for this plan will possibly be the first in-person open houses that BC Transit holds, following the pandemic," McMullen said.

"We understand that [the Summerland] community is very hard copy and paper driven. And although we have some really exciting new engagement platforms, there is a lot of value in trying to be there in person and be able to chat with the community members and understand what their needs are. So, our target is to be there for the week of November 22."

Feedback will be gathered on the transit needs for the community moving forward. McMullen said the in-person engagement is not guaranteed yet, given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they will do their best to make it happen.

"So fingers crossed it goes well, and we will have a chance to get out there, and it would be a pleasure for this to be one of the first places that we do get to go back and do in-person engagement," McMullen said.

Emergency crews rescue person trapped under tractor in Oliver; RCMP say alcohol is a suspected factor

Booze factor in tractor crash

UPDATE: 12:45 p.m.

RCMP say alcohol is suspected to be a factor in a tractor crash that left a man pinned under the vehicle Sunday night in Oliver.

Emergency crews were called to the Bettison Road area off Highway 97 shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, after a tractor had rolled off the highway and trapped its male driver underneath.

The man was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital.

"Alcohol is suspected to be a factor and the matter remains under investigation," said Oliver detachment commander Sgt. Don Wrigglesworth, via email.

ORIGINAL: 9 a.m.

The Oliver Fire Department and other emergency crews had to act quickly Sunday evening after a person was pinned under a rolled tractor.

The vehicle went off Highway 97 around 5:50 p.m. Rescue crews attended quickly and were able to stabilize the tractor, and help BC Emergency Health Services personnel with removing the driver.

Once free of the vehicle, the patient was taken to a BCEHS air ambulance which had been able to land in a nearby orchard.

The patient was alert and responsive during the rescue, and was taken to Kelowna for further monitoring.

Oliver hospital getting three new emergency drop-off stalls and a rainbow crosswalk

Upgrades to hospital ER

Construction is underway at the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver to create three new emergency drop-off parking stalls.

Paving will take place until Oct. 2, and once it is complete, a rainbow crosswalk will be painted in front of the emergency department as a symbol of inclusion.

During the construction, the emergency room entrance will be temporarily closed. Anyone needing to access the hospital is asked to use the main entrance.

The parking lot is accessible in a vehicle via Spillway Road during construction.

'Tis the season for cozy cafe meetups in Penticton

Keep cozy at a local cafe

"Four seasons of fun" is a collaboration between Castanet and Travel Penticton showcasing what Penticton has to offer all year round. Watch for it every Monday morning.

There may not be a better reason to drop into one of Penticton’s cozy cafes this autumn than this: the blend of intoxicating aromas of freshly baked bread, ground coffee, and a hint of pumpkin spice.

Or maybe the best reason, as Jan Petrasek of Petrasek Artisan Bakery in downtown Penticton suggests, is to simply get out and enjoy life.

“Enjoy a moment, socialize with friends, have some good food and drink,” he says. “We wish to serve people and give them joy. Just come and be a part of life!”

The patio at Petrasek is always busy and will remain open all year. Jan, who describes himself as “just a guy who bakes and makes friends," creates an atmosphere outside with a touch of romance – listen for some French music – while inside the cafe is getting ready for fall decor, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin spice lattes.

Watch for a short behind-the-scenes film coming soon to the bakery’s Facebook page to entice you to visit.

A short walk down Main Street and you’ll see the fall come to life at Tickleberry’s. As sweater weather emerges, general manager Shaelynn MacLean suggests popping in to peruse fall-themed clothing, and while browsing you’ll notice the scents of chai and pumpkin spic.

And yes, there’s a pumpkin spice ice cream.

“We can maybe take that ice cream and make a special affogato,” MacLean suggests, a play on the traditional Italian dessert that combines espresso poured over ice cream.

Wayne & Freda a few blocks away is embracing “peak apple season” according to co-owner Ryan Hawk, as apples make their way into more baked goods and the “super talented” baking crew gets down creating new treats.

Seasonal soups are back on the menu, and new equipment arrives soon to increase the baking capacity of the shop. But the newest innovation is the coffee roastery built right around the corner, which will allow more coffee offerings.

“All of the coffee is roasted locally right here,” adds Ryan.

If you haven’t enjoyed breakfast, brunch or baked goods at The Bench Market lately, co-owner Stewart Glynes has one word for you: butter. He’ll happily tell you all about it as you make your way into this café on Vancouver Hill, known for its eggs benny menu and more.

“I love telling people as they look over the baking case that everything in it is made with real butter and real chocolate,” he says. “The ingredients we use come from half a dozen local farmers, and we make everything from scratch.”

Behind the scenes, co-owner and business manager Heather keeps things running smoothly, including sourcing the retail offerings guests can take away to enjoy at home. You can even have an online order brought to your car, but Stewart has a reason to choose coming in.

“I find the sounds of our local cafés intoxicating,” he says. “The coffee being ground, the clanking of pans, the conversations between staff and guests. Come take in the action happening around you,” he suggests, adding that these small, family-run cafés put their heart into everything.

But back to butter. It makes everything better, says Stewart. “Even just putting it on toast and it takes it to another level.”

Learn more at www.visitpenticton.com and on social @visitpenticton

Aspiring Penticton craft brewer following his passion for beer

Rebel with a beer cause

"Okanagan Inspired" is a weekly series of profiles offering a peek into the stories and inspirations of South Okanagan residents who hold creative roles in the community.

Having spent most of his life in Penticton, aspiring craft beer brewer Tj Paisley is looking to continue spreading his roots here, while doing what he loves most.

Only living in Victoria for a brief period, "lollygagging and being a surf bum," he took many trips to Tofino and worked odd jobs to fund his passion for surfing. He now spends his time back and forth from the Lower Mainland, taking the brewery program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“Everything is so nice in Penticton,” explains Paisley.

“The summer weather is beautiful, but we also have the ski hill not too far away for the winter. And more recently, there have been a lot of craft breweries open, which is definitely my vibe. I grew up on a vineyard so getting into brewing is kind of my rebellion against the family,” he adds, laughing.

Paisley got his initial passion for craft beer after trying some unique BC craft beer and falling in love.

“I was in Kelowna, I’ll never forget. I was in my second year of school and went and bought some beer and I bought beer that was a bit fancier than what I usually drink. I thought it would be fun to be a bit bougie,” Paisley says.

“I got the Salty Scot Scotch Ale from Parallel 49 and I loved it, I just thought it was the best beer."

From there Paisley began experimenting, trying new brews and creating his own.

“My first homebrew kit I got was from Value Village. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have trusted that but it still made a nice light Belgian beer,” he says laughing.

Paisley joined Highway 97 Brewing Company to expand his knowledge of craft beer.

“I had been working for Save On Foods in the wine section and thought that winemaking was maybe something I would like to try, but I had my rebellious phase, joined Highway 97 and fell in love with the environment and beer,” says Paisley.

While working behind the bar, Paisley developed an interest for the production side.

“I spent as much time on the brewery floor as I could. I loved the creativity on the floor and not just being stuck in the tap room. I looked online ‘how to become a brewer’ and the first information that popped up was for the Kwantlen course, and it seemed like a good fit,” explains Paisley.

Paisley only has one more course to go until he finishes his diploma, but has found a new home at Cannery Brewing in the meantime.

“I’ve been there for a couple of months now and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve really come to realize how much labour goes into brewing and I have a huge appreciation for that. I really enjoy making beer, and the fun that goes into drinking it later, and being able to make really nice beers for other people to enjoy. I like the fine tuning, there is a lot to brewing!” says Paisley.

Joining Cannery was a dream for Paisley.

“I always thought the coolest place to work would be Cannery. I looked into it after school, and I’m thankful Ross Thompson, the head brewer, was super stoked to get me on board!” says Paisley.

Although having a fondness for Cannery, Paisley has a love for the community as a whole.

“I love the Penticton beer scene. There’s so much variety and the community is so nice. Everyone is always helping each other out, bringing each other beers or going out for beers. It’s great to be a part of it,” Paisley says.

Some of Paisley’s favourite beers are Penticton classics.

“The Peach Cream Ale from Tin Whistle was such a classic, but my favourite beer is probably the Okanagan Daze from Cannery. It is made with a mix of Pinot Gris, and growing up on a vineyard I really connect to it. It’s pretty essential to the Okanagan experience for sure, and it’s pretty crushable, ” explains Paisley.

Although he hasn’t been given an opportunity to create his own recipes yet, Paisley has all kinds of ideas.

“I love the creativity of it. I really enjoy more traditional beers, but a fruity beer or a Cryo Hop IPA, or a double dry hopped lager are also really cool. Cannery is talking about bringing back the Battle of the Brewers, so hopefully then!” says Paisley.

For anyone looking to get into brewing, Paisley suggests, “pick up a home brew kit and start experimenting! Try different beer styles and see what you like. My dream is being able to create beer that people will love, and creating my own recipes people will enjoy, and you just have to keep practicing!”

The Critteraid Animal Sanctuary in Summerland is in desperate need for funds to build a new goat house

Goats in desperate need

Casey Richardson

With nine goats now in their care, the Critteraid Animal Sanctuary in Summerland is hoping to see donations come in to help fund their goat house project.

"We are in desperate need of funding for some of our larger projects that happen pasture with fencing and just general upkeep of the barns and building," Critteraid Animal Director Jess Byer explained.

"We welcome the goats with open arms and big hearts. These guys now take up a much larger impact on our farm and property."

The sanctuary needs to upgrade their structure and play area.

"We can't do that without help from the public and donations. We're looking to save up for spring."

For more information on their project, reach out by emailing [email protected] or checking out Critteraid’s website to donate.

Similkameen artist carves pictographs into outdoor class to ‘indigenize’ the school

Art 'Indigenizes' school

Similkameen artist and teacher Míwlna? (Les Louis) is carving pictographs into an outdoor classroom at Similkameen Elementary School as a way of Indigenizing the school grounds.

Míwlna? (which means “in the middle of it all” in nsyilxc?n, the syilx language) is the nsyilxc?n language teacher at the school.

“I want my Indigenous students to be able to recognize that their identity and their culture is being recognized and valued so they can relate to that in a way to feel comfortable coming to school,” says Míwlna?, who is from the Lower Similkameen Indian Band.

He’s carving pictographs of the Four Food Chiefs — Black Bear, King Salmon, Bitterroot and Saskatoon — into 10-ft poles, which support an outdoor log classroom installed in front of the school last year.

“The Four Food Chiefs comes from our captikw? (oral history). That’s how our knowledge was passed on from generation to generation,” he says.

The Four Food Chiefs are the cultural keystone species for the Okanagan/Syilx people, says Míwlna?. If they collapse, that means their whole ecosystem will collapse.

Míwlna? says that according to syilx captikw?, the Four Food Chiefs were on this land before people and they sacrificed themselves for the people they knew were coming.

“I’ll lay to lay my life down and give all of my parts for the people to be to use,” they decided, as told in the stories, and their expectation was that people would “give thanks and make offerings” in return for this sacrifice, he says.

“I wanted to put the Four Food Chiefs on each pole because I think [it’s] pretty significant to have that here in an educational place of learning, to represent that everything we need is right here.”

Míwlna? says his artwork is inspired by his culture, traditions, and captikw?. He’s also influenced by his art teacher, Mr. Carelse — who still works as the art teacher at Similkameen Elementary School.

‘Be an artist’

“I still remember what he wrote in my yearbook. It was really simple, but it was just: ’Be an artist.’ That’s always in the back of my head … whatever creative thing that I’m working on, I’m always working to be an artist,” he says.

Naryn Searcy is the school’s principal.

“Louis is a very well-known and respected artist,” says Searcy.

“It just made sense to ask him if he would be willing to do some of his carvings on the school … He’s only just begun, but we just think it’s going to add a wonderful element to the space that our students use every day.”

It’s all part of Similkameen Elementary’s efforts to “decolonize the school and Indigenize their curriculum,” says Searcy.

While she hopes “all of society is trying to work towards reconciliation,” she says educators have a specific role to play in acknowledging “the traumatic history that Canada has imposed on Indigenous Peoples.”

In December 2015, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) spoke to the responsibility to turn things around in its final report and 94 calls to action.

The TRC called upon “the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators” to “provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.”

More broadly, they called on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal people,” and to back this legislation with funding to support (among other things) the development of “culturally appropriate curricula.”

Searcy says schools need to be more reflective of Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing and being.

“So students see themselves and their culture and feel valued and like they belong in our school environment,” she says.

These carvings can also prompt non-Indigenous students to learn more, she says.

Míwlna? says he’s carving in his free time after school, and he hopes to complete two of six poles within the next couple of weeks.

“I want to get this complete before the snow flies, and I’m excited to get this done because this will be my first time having something permanent in the school for my children to see,” he says.

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