Time is running out

guy threebest ken22

Took a long time to chose pictures and a bit of a story on this man’s career. 34 years ago, a tall young man decide to turn in the head lifeguard’s Speedo swimsuit and line-up for a para-military force training programme – the Mounted Police – yes in Canada.

He was in Yellowknife, he had completed two university degrees, was having way to much fun and something motivated him to venture south to Regina.

After his recruit training he served in a number of detachments in many positions starting in Surrey in the mid eighty’s. He married and had two sons. He lives now in a bigger family of five offspring with partner Tracy.

But it’s time to find some other need and we will get to that a bit later. His last formal day on the job the last Thursday of February.

Time now to finish up – pass the job of leadership to another – celebrate – put up your feet for at least a month before reaching out to find a need.

By now you know I am talking about RCMP Sgt. Ken Harrington, detachment commander in Oliver, set to retire but not necessarily hanging up his uniform forever. He is retiring his command position but plans to head to Yellowknife in the Yukon, yes the place he decided on his career, for at least a month because of a pressing need for manpower on the force.

Losing “the stripes” not a problem – the uniform speaks for itself he says.

Harrington states there are many ways to do a job but he prides himself on doing it with diplomacy using one example here of taking bottled water to Lion’s Park – offering it to pickers and engaging in a conversation on community expectations – rather than using the heavy hand. He says working as a police officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been a big part of his life and a chapter he is very proud of.

Below the two pictures used in fun. I don’t think he would mind – he made a point of showing off his earlier look with an ID that stated he was a blond boy born in ’55.

Fast: Ian Gibson: Ken Harrington !! Soon to be retired !!!

guy oneguy two

School District 53 – Report on board meeting

The 28th January Board Meeting started with acknowledgement of the Okanagan First Nations land. This was followed by a minute of silence for Barton Tumlinson.

SD 53 will receive $23.1 million in operating grants for this year; grants like this make it easier for schools to offer their students mind broadening experiences such as the Oliver and Osoyoos Secondary School Music Field trips February 26th – 28th to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho.

The 2013 McCreary Report on Student Health encompasses the majority of schools in BC. It was noted that in general, students in the South Okanagan present a more positive trend than the province as a whole BUT there are areas which require serious attention. Some parents with troubled teens may never know that their son may be part of the 8% that have attempted suicide or their daughter may be in the 12% who have attempted suicide.

If the reader reviews some of the key findings posted recently on ODN it shows statistics which are likely, enough of a ‘trigger’ to cause our youth to reach this stage of desperation.
Overall students are doing better than in past studies and appear to be better off in many ways than the provincial norm but that is no reason to become complacent. It was noted that awareness must be a constant frame of mind to ensure that all students feel comfortable or safe in talking to a role model or teacher if they feel depressed.

There should be no stigma attached to confiding to someone who can help you if you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. Fortunately SD 53 has the greatest percentage of teens (80 to 87%) who feel their mental health is good or excellent but 19% of females are likely to feel depression compared the 6% of their male friends.

As retiring Assistant Superintendent Jim Insley stated; “Youth Programs are very important for students, schools have no more than 12% of contact time to help the students”.

When questioned regarding the status of the report Chair Marieze Tarr advised that the review is more of an ongoing report card. However it was clear to the writer that the Board will be paying close attention to those areas where the percentages are anomalous compared to last year or the provincial ‘norm’.

So, parents and all of us, including peer groups, who have contact with the youth in Oliver and all other towns in the Okanagan; we have the most time available to make sure that our interaction is positive and provides help when requested with no ‘conditions’ attached except care and mutual respect. The student trend is positive but constant awareness are the ‘key’ words.

Reporter Pat Hampson

Education trust fund established

Dear School District 53 Colleagues, Family and Friends

Last week we lost a friend and colleague, Mr. Barton Tumlinson, principal of Oliver Elementary School.

Barton was a dear friend to many, a strong and respected school  leader, and a valued colleague. Barton is survived by his wife, Melissa, and their two young sons, Ben and Luke. 

In support of the family, the the South Okanagan Principals and Vice Principals have established an education trust account for Barton and Melissa’s two boys, Ben and Luke.
We invite you to consider making a donation to Ben and Luke’s education trust account. Donations can be made at any Royal Bank to account number 05130-5064860.

Any support you can provide will be greatly appreciated by the family.


Mike Safek
South Okanagan Similkameen Principals and Vice Principals Assn.”


?????????????The Sage Valley Voices recently donated proceeds from their Christmas 2014 concert as well as food stuff to the Oliver Food Bank . Pat Chown, representing the Oliver United Church and Sumac Ladies Auxilary received cheques from Lois Bzdel, President of Sage Valley Voices   the choir would like to say “thank you” and express our sincere appreciation to the Oliver Elementary School Choir for their performance and the community support for our concerts.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the Spring 2015 concert.  Under the direction of Lor Martine, we will be performing music by THE BEATLES  Hope to see you there.

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Feeling itchy?

two linda22Bighorn sheep are in trouble in the Similkameen, and while biologists can’t pinpoint the reason the number of sheep is dwindling, they suspect it has something to do with a mite called psoroptes.

“You don’t want to get it. It’s a really tiny microscopic little mite — you know a louse — that lives on skin,” retired wildlife biologist Brian Harris told Daybreak South’s Chris Walker.

“This particular variety likes big horn sheep and it causes them an intense itchiness and discomfort. They end up rubbing their hair right off. In some cases they get to the point where they rub themselves naked which is not a good thing to happen in January.”

Harris said the mites cause the skin to deteriorate — making the sheep vulnerable to bacterial infections and other diseases.

He said the mites also lead to a loss in appetite, leaving the sheep emaciated.

A decade ago, there were at least 400 bighorn sheep in the Similkameen region. Today the population is half that.

Harris said there isn’t enough research on what has caused numbers to drop.

“It’s just one of the factors. It could be that this is the driver, but we don’t know for sure.”

Harris said biologists are now doing research on how prevalent the mites are and how it has affected the sheep.



Mary Borkmary bork

March 10, 1940 – January 20, 2015

On Tuesday January 20 Mary Bork of Oliver passed away peacefully after a long illness with her husband at her side at the South Okanagan General Hospital at the age of 74 years.

She was predeceased by her mother Tatyana and her father Walter.

Mary will be fondly remembered by her loving family including husband David; sons Sean (Laura), Aaron and Eric (Irene); grandchildren Dane, Lars, Colby, Ivan, Simone and Naomi; her brother Michael as well many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Mary was a wonderful wife and terrific mother and grandmother. She loved doing things for and with her family. She was a quiet person yet very perceptive and intelligent. Mary was well known for being an excellent cook, she loved to read, gardening and flowers.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 P.M. Saturday January 31 at the Oliver Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

93 years in Oliver – Edith Rienhart


June 10, 1919 – January 25, 2015edith
Edith Rienhart passed away peacefully at McKinney Place on Sunday January 25, 2015 with her friend Joy by her side.  She was born on June 10, 1919.

Edith was predeceased by her husband Lewy Rienhart in 1979. Lewy and Edith were married on May 22, 1940 at the United Church manse in Vancouver. She had no siblings and no children.

Her parents Stephen and Betsy Ann Barritt came to Oliver in 1921 from Farnworth, Lancashire, England, because little Edith needed the dry climate for her breathing. This treatment must have worked, as she lived 93 of her 95 years in Oliver. Stephen worked on the Ditch as a World War I veteran. They started an orchard near Road 7, and Edith went to school in Fairview and Oliver.

Edith is lovingly remembered by her childhood friend Janet Berry and her daughter Louise; and by former neighbour and good friend Patricia Odowes Taft. Her many long-time friends included “the birthday celebrators” at McKinney Place: Margaret Green, Joan Potter, Fred and Dorothy Tomlin, and Bob and Trish Ellis.

In the 1970s, Edith volunteered at the Oliver Chronicle and also worked at the Oliver Archives. She was a life member of the Oliver & District Heritage Society. With her interest in photography, she captured many pioneer scenes of Oliver on her Brownie. Her photos and historical belongings have been donated to the Museum and Archives.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, January 30 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Edward’s Anglican Church

Band shell in OK Falls to become a reality

ok falls1A new Community Venue for Okanagan Falls.

Grants will help to complete the long-awaited Band Shell in Okanagan Falls.

Once again, the Community Foundation has proved their Motto, “Building Smart & Caring Communities through the Community Foundation.” The Women’s Institute, who have been making improvements to the community of Okanagan Falls for the last 94 years, has just received a $10,000.00 grant from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan /Similkameen to assist with completion of the long awaited Band Shell in Centennial Park. For four years, the Band Shell committee has been working to collect the funding needed for the project. Vancouver Foundation and Province of British Columbia have also assisted with funding.

This is the most recent accomplishment of the Women’s Institute. In the past, they have worked to provide a branch of the South Okanagan Library and supported the building of the community meeting room at the school complete with an industrial kitchen. The Park, where the Band Shell is located, was once owned by the Women’s Institute and given to the town in 1967 as their Centennial Project. In the early 1980’s, the Women’s Institute purchased the Bassett House and had it relocated to the Heritage Place thus creating the Heritage and Museum Society. Many of the current members are daughters of the founding members of the organization.

In 1997, a bequest from Isabel Hester provided funding for the footings, foundation and floor for the Band Shell . That important work being completed, the Band Shell Committee was formed in 2010 to provide the funding required to complete the project. The total cost of the project was estimated at $80,000.00. The community of 2500 people has been in full support of the project providing half the moneys needed to complete the building. Residents purchased a board for $20.00 each. The board purchaser became a “Board Member” of the project. Other contests, benefits and business, service clubs and private donations made up the amount needed.
The contractors have been collecting materials, and the building will be in full swing in February.

Two rams by the fence

two linda22I heard my dogs barking a couple of hours ago and went out to find 3 bighorn sheep just outside the wire fence –  3 males – 3 generations.

Our herd has grown this year from one to 3.

Linda Sheehey-Brownstein

The importance of milkweed

butterfiles work22

It is not until you travel far away from home and attend an interpretive talk on Monarch Butterflies, that you realize how an action in Oliver (such as cutting down or digging out milkweed), can have a significant impact on their wintering over ability in Pismo Beach, California.

The monarchs can ONLY lay their eggs on milkweed. We are fortunate in having locations along the canal, and a climate conducive to this plant and insect. No milkweed, no butterflies – it is the leaves that the caterpillar feeds
and pupates on.

There are 5 life cycles each year. Adults survive 2 weeks during which time they must mate and lay eggs. It is the 5th one where genetically they go into a breeding hiatus and are destined to fly from Oliver to a grove of bluegum trees at Pismo beach and winter over from November to March. This year they had a peak of 50,000. What a sight.

These butterflies all came from regions west of the rockies. The groves in Mexico host the monarchs that come from the eastern parts of the continent.

To enhance pollination, brighten up our days, and preserve the lifecycle of this amazing insect, why not plant some milkweed in your yard, in your vineyard or orchard. You will be doing your bit to enhance the species.

Russell Work

Literacy – how to improve it – make it interesting

arabellaWe had a great crowd for Family Literacy Day yesterday, this little one, Arabella,  took it upon herself to sit quietly and read, she was actually saying words as she turned the page.

(Daughter of Jeremy Knechtel and Melissa Fowler)

The Lego tables were the big draw.

Vicky White ORL Librarian

Crown wants no communication order in murder case

Grace Robotti, 65, charged with second degree murder appeared by video today with crown and defense having words on an application for the two accused not to be allowed communication prior to trial.

The Criminal Code section 516 order application will be heard next Monday most likely in Supreme Court.

516. (2) A justice who remands an accused to custody may order that the accused abstain from communicating, directly or indirectly, with any victim, witness or other person identified in the order…

The accused’s brother, Pier (Peter) Robotti, 61, charged with being an accessory after the fact and performing an indignity to a dead human body. RCMP found the body of Roxanne Louie in the Naramata-Chute Lake area January 12th.

The mother of a three-year-old boy had been reported missing after she didn’t show up at the Penticton Airport for a January 5th flight to Vancouver. Grace Robotti is the grandmother of Louie’s ex-partner and great-grandmother of the young boy. Rally for Roxanne held, once again, outside the Law Courts building.

Okanagan Indians rally at courthouse


coola22Coola Louis, UBCIC Women’s Representative talks to the issue of abuse of native women and the nature of the rally showing support to family and the victim. Louis stated that public awareness is growing over the plight of missing aboriginal women.

“It is racism within the system that pushes our people to the edge. We need acknowledgement from the Harper government, yet he continues to deny our demands for a national inquiry. We will continue to gather until we hold those of authority to a higher level.” – Louis stated

Pilgrimage to Europe

2 Lt Amy Encina22Amy Encina has been selected as the Legion’s BC/Yukon Command representative for the 2015 Pilgramage Tour. This Pilgramage will entail visiting Memorials, Museums and Battlefields in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands in recognition of the millions of Allied soldiers and airmen who died in two World Wars.

Amy was recently approached by Big Horn Squadron Executive members, Ron Worth and Blaine Krist with the intent to nominate her for the 2015 Pilgrimage. The Pilgramage is specifically designed for someone who works with youth and is a Legion member.  As the successful candidate, Amy will travel the Okanagan Valley to share her experiences in Europe.
Presently a Second Lieutenant with 232 Bighorn Air Cadets, Amy trains the cadets and is involved in community work especially with the Legion for Poppy Sales and participating in the Candlelight Vigil.

Besides her commitment to Big Horn Squadron and our Branch 97 Legion, Amy has other commitments such as being the President of the McKinney Nordic Ski Club and running the “Ski School” for boys and girls in grades 4 & 5. These children from Sen Pok Chin, Osoyoos Elementary, Oliver’s 2 Elementary schools and the ‘You Learn’ school, learn how to X-country ski.
As if the foregoing isn’t enough, Amy is Mom to three kids two of which she is home- schooling meanwhile she is operating Selah Painting. You may just see Amy painting a house near you.