Kelowna dog rescue selling blueberry bushes in fundraiser

A sweet summer fundraiser has hit the Okanagan, Kelowna dog rescue Paws It Forward is selling blueberry bushes to offset the growing demand for their services. Sydney Morton has more.

A creative fundraiser for Kelowna’s Paws it Forward Dog Rescue will sweeten your summer.

The not-for-profit organization has received more than 500 blueberry bushes as a donation and has turned that good fortune into a fundraiser.

“Now, we have a wonderful opportunity to be able to sell the blueberry bushes and have 100 per cent of everything that we raise go directly towards the animals,” said Leanne Poon, Paws It Forward fundraising coordinator.

There are more than 500 blueberry bushes for sale and they are only $12 each or you can buy two for $20. But there’s a catch. If you don’t own a blueberry bush yet, you have to purchase two.

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“They need each other to pollinate,” said Poon.

It’s all for a good cause. Paws it Forward relies on donations to continue helping dogs that have been abandoned or surrendered, and this year has already been a busy one.

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“Currently, we have over 43 dogs that are in our care looking for homes and we have already had over 200 dogs this year,” said Poon.

“It’s increased sadly because of the COVID dogs that were acquired during COVID. They are being surrendered to us because they can’t care for them, anxiety issues with people going back to the office, it’s a variety of different situations.”

To purchase your blueberry bush send an e-mail to bark@pawsitforward.org or make a donation www.pawsitforward.org

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Hundreds of Okanagan students perform musical tribute to Ukraine

Over 450 students from School District 23 performed a musical tribute to the people of Ukraine on Sunday afternoon. The band played a special piece called 'Kyiv 2022', with all proceeds from admission going towards the Ukrainian Relief Effort. Jayden Wasney reports.

Band students from 11 different schools in the Central Okanagan gave a musical performance in Kelowna on Sunday with all proceeds going to Ukrainian relief efforts.

Sunday’s musical performance at Prospera Place was the largest ever put on by the Central Okanagan School District, with 450 students playing the Canadian and Ukrainian national anthems as well as a song called Kyiv 2022, which was written as a tribute to Ukrainians.

The performance was described by one music teacher as ‘emotional.’ She added that while students spent countless hours preparing for the fundraising event, they also learned some valuable lessons because of it.

“One of the things I feel very strongly about as a music teacher is showing students that they can use their skills, their talent and their passion in life to do good in the world,” said Megan Frederick, Okanagan Mission Secondary School, music teacher.

“Showing them that even when we’re faced with a mass crisis like what’s happening in Ukraine, one small effort can actually go a long way.”

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Students who took part in the event felt proud that their musical talents were able to make a difference in a country that desperately needs help.

“I think it was really inspiring to be a part of something like this, and the fact that it was so much bigger than ourselves, it was really cool to be a part of,” said Grade 11 student Megan Lee.

“I think it feels really good to see everybody coming together to support such a good cause and seeing people actively participating in the community,” said Grade 11 students Liam Sisson.

“It just feels really good to be able to perform and show all of our skills.”

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With the band consisting of 450 members, the students hadn’t rehearsed for the show as one unit until half an hour before the show, so for some students, it was a huge relief to finally play together.

“We just couldn’t wait to get together with everyone and see what it sounded like because we all have been with smaller bands,” said Grade 11 student Tennessee Torres.

“Being able to play with this many people since the pandemic has been really great.”

After the show ended, the event level at Prospera Place opened for all in attendance to walk around and enjoy a vendor fair­ complete with local artisans, crafters and other small-business merchants. Local food trucks were set up outside the venue. Both the indoor and outdoor vendors will be donating a portion of their proceeds to the Ukrainian relief effort as well.

To donate to the effort visit www.gofundme.com

 

 

 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Okanagan residents march for women's rights following decision to quash Roe v Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark Roe v Wade ruling that has guaranteed the right to abortion for more than 50 years. The decision sparked an international reaction, and as Victoria Femia reports, that includes the Okanagan.

Kelowna residents marched in support of women’s rights on Sunday, following last week’s decision by the United States Supreme court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the precedent-setting case that had guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion. Now, abortion rights will be governed by individual American states.

“There was definitely sadness, there were tears. Knowing that an entire country doesn’t see me and doesn’t see other uterus owners as actual humans is really disheartening and it kind of gets you in the gut,” said Candace Banks, Pro-Choice Rally Event Organizer.

The group of close to 100 people marched from City Park to the courthouse steps chanting “My body, my choice, My body, my choice.”

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In Canada, abortion was decriminalized in 1988, and since then they have been available under the Canada Health Act, though accessibility varies across the country.

During Sunday’s rally, the group was met with counter-protesters who are fighting to have abortions made illegal here in Canada and praised the U.S. for overturning Roe v Wade.

“We rejoiced that Roe v Wade was turned down and now we’re hoping it’s going to happen in Canada as well,” said Denise Mountenay, Abortion Opponent.

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On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed the U.S. Supreme Court calling the ruling ‘horrific.’

For those that are attending the pro-choice rally, their hope is that Canada will never follow suit.

“I will not let our current government and our future government behave the way the U.S. is behaving,” said Banks.

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“I’m here for every person that Roe v Wade affects.”

Moving forward, the pro-choice rallies are expected to continue.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Heavy-hitting music festival line up amplifies Okanagan talent

Live music is alive and well in the Okanagan and an upcoming music festival will amplify local rock and rollers in a two-day psychedelic rock festival. Sydney Morton has more.

Bands from across the province will converge for a two-day Psychedelic Rock festival in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

The Tune it up Turn it Down Festival will host heavy-hitting local talents like Kelowna’s Sweet Beast, The Cavernous and Stone Tortoise.

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“This was born out of the desire to put on a festival that we would want to play. We are all musicians as well, ” said Jason Christjansen, Tune it up Turn it Down Festival organizer.

“ festivals skew heavily to the EDM, Country and cover bands, not to say anything disparaging about them, that’s their scene. So, we wanted to do something for our scene.”

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Night one, July 8, bands will take over Mission Tap House in Kelowna’s Pandosy neighbourhood. Then on Saturday, July 9, it all starts at 1 p.m. at Bull Mountain Adventure Park in West Kelowna, formerly known as Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.

“When you look at the lineup, sure, they might not be household names but, once you have gotten into the scene a bit you realize it’s a pretty superb lineup,” said Christjansen.

The festival returns for its fourth year with vendors, visual artists and performances. The festival runs July 8 and 9 and tickets are still available. For more information visit www.tuneitdownturnitup.com

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'Absolutely disgusting': Controversial float in Sundre, Alta. rodeo parade causes outrage

Photos of a controversial float in the Sundre Alta. rodeo parade are quickly going viral across social media. Craig Momney reports.

A parade float depicting a Sikh man riding a manure spreader called “The Liberal” is sparking outrage on social media.

The controversial float took part in Saturday’s Sundre Pro Rodeo parade. Didsbury resident, Mike Crampton was at the parade with his family when he took the photos of the float.

“My wife pointed it out to me and I was just sort of a bit shocked and quickly grabbed a couple of photos just because I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing,” said Crampton.

Crampton described what he saw as a low point.

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“It’s just so frustrating that people think that that’s an okay thing to do, you know,” he said. “It’s like this normalized casual racism that they just roll out and think that it’s a fine thing to put in front of a community event.”

The images have since gone viral and are sparking outrage on Twitter and Facebook among local leaders.

Anila Lee Yuen, the CEO of the Centre of Newcomers, tweeted that the float was “outrageous…this is why we as people of colour, Albertans have to keep defending our decisions to live in the province.”

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Calgary Forest Lawn Conservative MP Jasrai Hallan condemned the float on Twitter, calling it “absolutely disgusting,” adding “these acts have no place in Canada.”

Liberal MP for Calgary Skyview George Chahal called shame on those responsible. Chahal — who is Sikh — says the float is a blatant attack on his people and their community.

“As Canadians and Albertans, we should be concerned about what we saw on display yesterday that people think it’s alright to target my community and racialized communities.”

In a Facebook post, the Sundre Pro Rodeo, which doesn’t oversee floats for the parade, issued a statement apologizing noting that “If we knew about the float, we would have never approved it.”

“We do send our deepest apologies and something like that will never happen again,” the statement read.

According to a statement posted on behalf of the parade committee that oversees the event, the Sundre Pro Rodeo Parade is meant to be a community celebration, showcasing a “positive family experience.”

The statement says an investigation was conducted and found the float “joined the parade without passing through any registration. To be clear, it was not approved.”

Chahal said he plans to visit Sundre in the coming days.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Carla Beck first woman to win Sask. NDP leadership

Saskatchewan's new democrats have made party history, electing their first female leader. Troy Charles was there as ballots were cast, he has tonight's top story.

MLA Carla Beck made history by becoming the first female leader of the Saskatchewan NDP on Sunday at the Delta Hotel in Regina.

Beck secured 3,244 votes to Kaitlyn Harvey’s 1,492 in the leadership race, which was was prompted by incumbent leader Ryan Meili’s announcement that he would be stepping down. In June, he said that he would be leaving politics all together and resigned as MLA of Sasaktoon Meewasin on July 1.

“The only way I can thank you is to win back and take back this province for the people of Saskatchewan,” Beck said in her victory speech.

Carla Beck won the election for Sask. NDP leadership on Sunday in Regina

Carla Beck won the election for Sask. NDP leadership on Sunday in Regina

Aishwarya Dudha

The NDP hasn’t always got things right, she said, but they “stand on the shoulders of giants” and owe it to the generations that come to get things done right now.

“If we tell our own stories and share our vision and fight for it, then we can win, then we can deliver the positive change, the future that we all want for our province, our kids and grandkids,” she said.

She received the support of six NDP caucus members and over a dozen former NDP MLAs.

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Beck is the member of the legislative assembly for Regina Lakeview. She defeated Kaitlyn Harvey who is a Metis lawyer in Saskatoon.

In her campaign, Harvey pitched a focus on Saskatchewan’s climate change plan, an issue she said is being ignored by the provincial government and underplayed by Beck and her supporters.

She also asked party members to support a petition made by the Liberal leader Jeff Walters, who has called for an enquiry into the Saskatchewan government’s handling of the pandemic.

NDP Leadership race held in Regina on Sunday

NDP Leadership race held in Regina on Sunday

Aishwarya Dudha

Beck says she is focused on rebuilding the party and finding “common ground” to create trust with voters.

“The Premier’s unwillingness to look at some of the issues that are so plainly in front of us, you know, saying he doesn’t care about emissions, doing nothing about the mental health addiction, suicide crisis in this province, how our schools are being funded, how there are health care centres that are closed due to lack of staffing all across this province. And it’s time that we had a government that took the calls, met with people and built those solutions.”

Read more:

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Ryan Meili said, “You might not necessarily think of social worker and politician as a natural fit but what she’s got is a real ability to do because of that background and of course, her time as an MLA and a school board trustee, is to connect with people. She really has that emotional intelligence.”

When asked about the seat in Sasaktoon Meewasin Ryan said it would mean trouble if the NDP looses it. “Nothing is a given, and especially with byelections when turnout can be so small.”

Ryan Meili giving his speech at the NDP leadership Convention

Ryan Meili giving his speech at the NDP leadership Convention

Aishwarya Dudha

The byelection is expected before the end of the year.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Pride Parade festivities take over downtown Lethbridge

Rainbow flags flew high and proud on Saturday at the Lethbridge Pride Fest as hundreds attended the celebrations. Jaclyn Kucey spoke with organizers, who were over the moon with the outpouring of community support.

As Pride month comes to a close, crowds gathered in Lethbridge’s Galt Gardens to celebrate love and inclusivity at the 14th Annual Pride in the Park and Pride Parade.

More than 1,000 people came out to celebrate and Lane Sterr, president of the Lethbridge Pride Fest Society, said that number was not expected.

“I’m just absolutely blown away with how many people are here,” said Sterr.

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“I think it’s really important for the Lethbridge community to get together and represent some communities, reconnect and celebrate. It’s a wonderful day to do that,” added Carlie Denslow, who marched with her two pups Louie and Emrie.

It was a special moment for Makaila Pocock as she attended her first Pride since coming out to her family last year.

“Everybody here is just so accepting for who you are and what you can be. I just love the community here,” said Pocock. “Being able to express myself in cosplay, then meet the fantastic people that come here, it’s just an amazing experience.”

Austin Grrr has been celebrating at pride events across the province for several decades. He was happy to see how the festivities have transformed and grown through the years.

“I like that I don’t have to fight or participate, I can actually enjoy the activities,” said Grrr.

“I don’t have to try to make a statement or be political anymore.”

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This year, Grrr brought his sister Tracey Byer to her first Lethbridge Pride.

“It’s just important to be here and support everyone,” said Byer. “As they say, love is love and that’s what we’re here for.”

Sterr added that events like these represent freedom.

“Today is a celebration of how far we’ve come as a community, but we’re still fighting and we’re still pounding the pavement. Until we leave this world, this community, better than we left it, we’re not going to stop,” said Sterr.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Thousands gather at Greek Day on Broadway festival after COVID hiatus

Thousands of people gathered for the much-anticipated return of Greek Day on Broadway, after the festival was cancelled for three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kitsilano street was packed with food vendors, clothing sales, live music and people dancing in the street.

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“Greek Days is back. People are out in force, being Greek for a day. Lots of celebrating,” Sarah Kirby-Yung said, a Vancouver city councillor.

“I think people are very grateful to have festivals and events back.”

Festival attendees were ecstatic the community-based event has returned.

“I lived in Kitsilano, spent all my days at UBC renting in Kitsilano, it’s fabulous to be back here,” Adriane Carr said, another Vancouver city councillor. “It’s such a community-spirited event.”

Events at the festival are roughly running until 5:30 p.m.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Multi-million dollar homes in Edmonton could face a 'mansion tax' in 2023

If you own a multi-million dollar home in Edmonton, you could be on the hook to pay more in property taxes next year — if a new tax being proposed by ward papastew councillor Michael Janz goes through. Chris Chacon explains.

Owning a multi-million dollar home with a luxury pool or movie room can pay off in many ways. But come next year, owning a mansion in Edmonton could lead to paying more in property taxes.

“Right now, whether you live in a $300,000 house, a $3-million house or a $12-million house, you pay the same amount and that’s a problem,” Ward papastew Coun. Michael Janz said.

Earlier this week city council passed a motion introduced by Janz to investigate options of implementing a “mansions tax” next year.

“It isn’t fair to the people on the bottom end who are paying the same compared to people who have much more of an ability to pay their taxes at the higher rates,” Janz said.

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Janz added the change could either see an increase for homes valued at more than $1 million, or a reduction in taxes for homes under that range.

Either way, Janz wants to see any additional money from the tax go towards housing the city’s vulnerable and other social programs.

“If we’re able to raise a little bit more revenue, or rather spread out the burden a little more fairly for folks who are on the lower end of the spectrum tax-wise, we’ll be able to help them have a little more affordability,” Janz said.

But economist Moshe Lander said implementing a mansions tax could backfire economically.

“If city council really wants to do something, it’s not this Robin Hood exercise of, ‘Lets go target a group of people and take money out of them,'” Lander said.

“That group of people are mobile and what they are going to do is sell their home and move to avoid the tax.”

Lander said any short-term gains would likely not outweigh the longer-term benefits.

“The people that are going to move out of the city are exactly the people that you want in the city,” he said.

“They are the ones with the highest wealth, the highest incomes with probably the greatest amount of influence over employment and jobs.”

Janz says of the 4,000 homes valued at more than $1 million in Edmonton, it’s the ones worth $2 million and up that he would like to see pay more.

Read more:

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This year, property owners will see a 1.9-per cent municipal tax increase. On average, that translates to an increase of $14 for every $100,000 in assessed property value.

The city is expected to collect just under $2.3 billion in property taxes, with $496 million of that being collected on behalf of the Government of Alberta for provincial education.

The mansions tax will be further discussed in council chambers this fall.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'It's really quite appalling': More Calgary suburban development being considered

The controversial subject of suburban development heads to city hall on Monday as council prepares to set its next four-year budget later this year. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, bureaucrats are now recommending five new communities to help meet demand of a growing population but that appears to be at odds with the city's climate strategy.

The controversial subject of suburban development heads to city hall on Monday.

The growth strategy that goes to a city committee on Monday says over the 2023 to 2026 period, Calgary‘s population is expected to grow by 22,000 people annually or an additional 88,000 people in total.

City bureaucrats are now recommending five new communities to help meet demand and three more if “risks around servicing, operating cost efficiency and absorption can be mitigated.”

“It’s really quite appalling what’s before us and I do hope this new council — which has declared a climate emergency — will just reject this outright,” said Noel Keough, co-founder of Sustainable Calgary Society and a retired associate professor of sustainable design at the University of Calgary.

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“It’s supposed to be a city-wide growth strategy but really it seems that it’s a suburban growth strategy.”

He says the price of suburban homes may look cheap but there are many other costs associated with them, including infrastructure and environmental.

“I think taxpayers, above all fiscal conservatives, should be most concerned because this is enormous spending that comes from continuing to build a sprawling city — which is a more expensive city,” Keough said.

“We were pretty clear moving forward that we want to review these business cases from a financial perspective but we also want to review them from a climate perspective,” said Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra.

Carra said upgrading infrastructure and using existing roads is cheaper and better for the environment. However, Carra added that it’s not realistic to go “cold turkey” when it comes to building on the outskirts because that will just push people into places like Airdrie and Chestermere.

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Carra admits the city’s new climate strategy is at odds with the growth strategy but he says “life is messy” and at least council is talking about the cost of subsidizing urban sprawl.

“Inner-city redevelopment will win every day but we are not there yet. So right now we are having a very difficult conversation about continuing to accommodate growth on the edge,” Carra said.

“It’s frustrating but at least we’re having that conversation publicly.

“The report is also acknowledging that we are still paying money from 2018 and 2020 and they are acknowledging that there’s a big chunk of change that we are paying from previous growth decisions as well.”

The report states that approval of the business cases would increase city-wide greenhouse gas emissions and result in the destruction of over 300 hectares of natural assets.

The committee will decide if administration should include the new communities in the four-year budget plans that will go before council in November.

“We are living in an age of a climate emergency and it’s a rough situation. I’ve spent the last 11 years of my life working to scale up inner-city redevelopment and we’re almost there,” Carra said.

The report states that “approval of new communities will lock in generations of high-energy intensity land use and transportation patterns and eliminate large areas of climate-mitigating natural assets that would make it more difficult to achieve the city’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal.”

“Approval of the recommended portfolio of business cases would result in an increase in city-wide GHG
emissions of approximately one per cent, increase climate risk through additional exposure of developed lands and assets to climate hazards, and result in the destruction of over 300 hectares of natural assets and the ecosystem services they provide.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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