City of Penticton holds virtual Canada Day celebration

Penticton Celebrates Canada

While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of all traditional Canada Day celebrations across the country, a somewhat less traditional celebration is going on in Penticton Wednesday. 

The City of Penticton is hosting a virtual Canada Day celebration on their Facebook page, beginning at noon. 

The live video stream will feature music and entertainment by local artists, along with highlights from across the community and beyond. 

The stream is expected to last about an hour. 

A similar online celebration was held in Kamloops Wednesday as well. 

Penticton sushi spot reopens after devastating fire

Rising from the ashes

Chelsea Powrie

When Penticton's Ginza Japanese Restaurant caught fire in 2017, owner Katie Min was devastated. 

"I almost gave up," Min said, explaining that delayed insurance money and other hurdles made the rebuilding process painful. 

But she persevered, and now, the re-vamped Ginza Sushi and Poke is open for business at its original location on Front Street. 

"I'm very happy to be back. I'm very excited to reopen," Min said. "It took us three years to do all this, but we made it!"

Renovations have given the two-level restaurant a more modern feel, designed and constructed by Min and her team. And their new menu features both old favourites and new additions. 

"I'm from Korea, and many customers kept asking for some Korean food, so we decided to add some Korean food," Min explained.

"And we have some new poke bowls, you can build your own and we have a signature poke bowl menu as well, and we also tried to make some gluten-free and keto-friendly and vegan options too."

Ginza has been open just two weeks, but the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

"Many of my regular customers came back and congratulated us, told us how happy they were we are back. It's amazing to see them again," Min said. 

"It was a hard time, but through this, I feel God blessed us so much ... I think it was worth it." 

Ginza Sushi is back in business Monday to Saturday. For more information on dine-in and takeout options, click here

Penticton single mother left paralyzed after devastating car crash

Crash paralyzes young mom

A young Penticton-area single mother will never be the same after a devastating car crash last week. 

Tlell LaRose, 27, was alone in her car in the early evening of Friday, June 26 when she hit a curve in the road and crashed, her vehicle flipping over. 

She had headed out on White Lake Road because her ex-partner and co-parent of 4-year-old son Jakob had crashed his motorcycle nearby, and she wanted to be sure he was all right.

"There are long stretches and then slow curves that turn into a very tight curve, and by the time you realize, if you're not used to it, it's too late to keep control of the vehicle," Tlell's father Gary Birch said, adding that a neighbour across the way said the area is prone to crashes. 

Just before she left, Tlell decided to leave Jakob at home — but after the crash, dazed and disoriented, she couldn't remember that, and thought her son had been in the vehicle.

She frantically asked first responders to find him. His car seat had been found ejected from the vehicle, and volunteers fanned out to search. 

Meanwhile, Jakob's father was being transported for treatment from his own crash and heard over the ambulance radio that a 27-year-old female had flipped her car just up the road, and that a young boy was suspected missing at the crash site. He knew it might be Tlell and Jakob, and feared the worst. 

"So he called Tlell on his phone, and luckily they have their phones connected also to [Jakob's] iPad, and [Jakob] actually picked up the call," Birch explained. "So that was a huge relief."

Tlell was airlifted from the scene and is currently in the ICU at Vancouver General Hospital, facing severe injuries that have left her paralyzed from the chest down and with potential neurological damage. She spent 7.5 hours in an operating room while her family anxiously waited for news. 

"There's metal all up and down her spine, and she's paralyzed from about the mid-back down," Birch said. "She has full use of her arms, her lungs are still weak but the break wasn't so high that she would have to be on a respirator ... she did have a significant head injury, but she's incredibly with it considering what has happened." 

But her paralysis is likely permanent. Tlell won't be able to work anytime soon, and even when she is ready, her abilities will likely be very different.

"It will be a tough road to adjust to but with everyone's support, we can set her up for success and healing so she will remain the Mom and woman she has always been," wrote Tlell's aunt Gisele on a GoFundMe set up to support her recovery. 

Thousands of dollars have already been donated, and Birch said his daughter was shocked Tuesday afternoon when he told her. 

"She was genuinely surprised and overwhelmed by the generosity of not just her family and friends but complete strangers," Birch said. "There's just so many people that love this girl ... she's so selfless."

He describes his daughter as an incredible mother, whose mission in life is to provide her son with happiness and safety. 

"She is the ultimate mom, she is such a good mother," Birch said, with emotion in his voice. "She is overly giving and positive and she's going to be somehow better through all of this, and that's through her words, she feels that things will be better. She's already decided that this will be a positive thing in her life."

Tlell's GoFundMe can be found here


Dog trapped by creek in Summerland for 24 hours has been rescued

Dog rescued at Trout Creek

UPDATE: 8:13 p.m.

The dog who was trapped by the Trout Creek Trestle has been rescued.

The 120-pound shepherd was reportedly lifted up using a harness after crews rappelled down closer to the dog.

"The owner was over with the rescue team, and they're going to take the dog to a vet in Kelowna," says Jesse Ritchie, a witness at the scene. "Search and Rescue also had people in the water as well."

PenSAR manager Randy Brown confirmed the dog had been safely recovered.

ORIGINAL: 7:16 p.m.

A dog is trapped under the Trout Creek Trestle in Summerland, and witnesses say it has been trapped down there for over a day.

"From what I know, the dog has been there since last night," says Jesse Ritchie, a witness at the scene. "He fell down in a different area and couldn't be rescued, but then he moved to that ledge you see in the video."

Penticton Search and Rescue is currently on the scene attempting to rescue the dog. The dog can be seen from the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, and crews are moving down the hill to save the dog.

"He's been down there for a while but it seems like he's doing okay," says Ritchie.

Castanet has reached out to Penticton Search and Rescue for more details, and will update the story when more information becomes available.

WorkSafeBC orders work stopped at infamous Penticton trash pile

WorkSafeBC at trash pile

WorkSafeBC has entered the controversy around an infamous Green Mountain Road trash pile in Penticton, posting a stop work order Tuesday.  

The former Appleton Waste dump site ignited controversy last week when suddenly much of the mountain of garbage was moved to a different location on the property, owned independent of the Penticton Indian Band by Adam Eneas. 

Ecora Engineering announced Saturday they were taking care of the cleanup. But WorkSafeBC appears to still have some concerns. 

"It seems that they've been set up with some information about the site potentially having asbestos, but we've got no information to support that," said Ecora president Kelly Sherman. 

"We will further assess it, just to provide WorkSafe with the information they need to ensure the health and safety of those involved is addressed, but right now we're not doing any activity at the site anyway so their stop order has no impact. It did stop one engineer from doing some due diligence checks today but that's it." 

Sherman explained that the recent controversy caused them to halt work this week.

"We were just going to resolve some of the conversations going on right now so there was nothing happening anyway."

Ecora has been involved with the site cleanup since March. The company took on the abandoned waste project at no charge to Eneas, after the federal government's COVID-19 wage subsidy allowed the firm to keep their staff employed during the recent slowdown.

He is confident that material at the site is safe. 

"All the construction material that has come to the site was done under a permit, either under the RDOS or the City of Penticton," Sherman said.

"There's nothing to suggest anything has fallen through the cracks on that end, these guys went bankrupt but there's nothing to suggest these guys were taking unpermitted material or there's any risk to that material."

Ecora will be doing hazardous waste assessments to confirm, but they are not worried. 

An amoosing traffic jam interrupted a morning commute from Apex Mountain near Penticton

Traffic not moo-ving

Chelsea Powrie

Traffic was not moo-ving during Apex Mountain general manager James Shalman's Monday commute due to an unusual traffic jam. 

Green Mountain Road near the Apex turnoff was taken over by a herd of cattle being driven to higher elevations.

The steaks weren't that high as Shalman wasn't running late, so there is no beef between him and the herd. 

He found the sight udderly amoosing so he shared a video, hoping to spread the experience. 

RCMP seek man who performed indecent act near Penticton park

Indecent act near park

Penticton RCMP are seeking the public's help in identifying a man caught performing an indecent act near a park Wednesday. 

On June 24 at 5 p.m., officers were alerted to a report of a man engaging in what a police news release only calls an "indecent act," without providing further details. 

He was located near a park in the 1000 block of Nelson Avenue in Penticton. 

Officers conducted extensive patrols for the man, but were unable to locate him.

Investigators are asking anyone who can help identify the suspect, or has any information about the incident, to contact the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300, or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

The suspect is described as Caucasian, 30-40 years of age, beige shirt and shorts, long brown hair and a fishing hat.

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