B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix listens as Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie speaks about her ongoing work to improve services. (Photo credit: B.C. government)

Local News Briefs: B.C. Seniors Advocate cancels upcoming meetings

Plus mark your calendars for the Cache Creek market, Mesa yard sale, and more

Transit Driver Appreciation Day

Transit drivers are the unsung heroes who make sure riders get to their destinations safely. On Transit Driver Appreciation Day (Wednesday, March 18) BC Transit, along with transit systems across North America, will be thanking the hardworking people who help connect our communities throughout the province.

Bus riders wishing to make Transit Driver Appreciation Day a little more special for their favourite operators can use the hashtag “TDAD” on social media. Customers can also simply thank their transit driver whenever they are exiting the bus.

Town Halls with the Seniors Advocate cancelled

A series of Town Hall meetings with Isobel Mackenzie, the province’s Seniors Advocate, have been cancelled due to fears about the COVID-19 virus.

Mackenzie was scheduled to be in Lytton, Ashcroft, and Cache Creek on March 19 and 20 to discuss the role of her office, seniors’ concerns she has heard around the province, and speak to the five service areas that most impact seniors: transportation, housing, health care, income, and personal supports. Questions and discussion will follow.

Concert at UniTea

Come on down to UniTea Café and Lounge in Ashcroft on Friday, March 20 for an evening of traditional American folk music featuring Kentucky Eileen, a brand new folk quartet with four of B.C.’s most beloved musical savants.

Inspired by Roger Miller and Ricky Skaggs, Kentucky Eileen takes traditional American folk music and gives it a supremely Canadian flavour. All four performers are multi-instrumentalists, experienced storytellers, and storied entertainers.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the door). To book a ticket, drop by UniTea or call (250) 457-1145.

Mark your calendar for market

The Cache Creek market begins its 10th season on Saturday, May 2. The market is situated beside Chum’s Restaurant in Cache Creek and features local vendors selling plants, local food and produce, handcrafted items, secondhand bargains, and more.

The market runs every Saturday through October, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and there will be some special Sunday markets in May, June, July, and August. For a full calendar, go to the Cache Creek Market Facebook page.

SPCA lottery helps animals

The BC SPCA lottery for animals in need is back, and bigger than ever. Buying a lottery ticket will help B.C.’s abused, neglected, and injured animals and potentially put thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

“With 31 cash prizes totalling $100,000 to be won, plus a bonus 50/50 pot up to $300,000, there are now more ways than ever to win big and help animals too,” says Tess Repenning, BC SPCA Senior Manager, Digital Giving.

“Last year the 50/50 tickets sold out quickly, and we expect them to sell out again this year. You don’t want to miss your chance to win our biggest prize ever! It’s a win-win for animal lovers as well as B.C.’s most vulnerable animals.”

Tickets for the lottery are $30 each, three for $60, or six for $90. Tickets for the 50/50 draw are $10 each, three for $25, and six for $40. The deadline for the early bird prize of $8,000 is May 4, and the final ticket sales deadline is May 15.

For tickets and more information, visit https://lottery.spca.bc.ca or call 1-855-205-5998. Ticket purchasers must be 19 years of age or older, and tickets can only be sold in B.C.

New post-secondary grant for eligible students

More than 40,000 low- and middle-income students pursuing a college or university education will be eligible for up to $4,000 per year through the new B.C. Access Grant program, available starting in the fall 2020 semester.

The new, needs-based grant will target low- and middle-income students. Students will receive the grant at the beginning of their studies so they can pay for tuition, living expenses, textbooks, lab supplies, and other eligible education-related costs.

Students will automatically be assessed for their eligibility for the B.C. Access Grant when they apply for financial assistance from StudentAidBC. Eligible students in programs that are under two years in length will receive up to $4,000 per year. Eligible students in programs that are two years or longer will receive up to $1,000 per year.

Don’t worry, bee happy

Beekeepers around the province can now apply for the fifth round of Bee BC funding, enabling them to launch creative projects in their communities that support the health of bees in British Columbia. Regional and community-based organizations, beekeeping associations, and beekeepers in B.C. can apply for funding of up to $5,000 to fund projects enhancing bee health, and projects can range from providing education in communities and planting bee-specific forage, to using innovation and technology to help protect and ensure bee health in B.C.

Bee BC is a four-year, $400,000 provincial program that makes $100,000 available to projects investing in bee health each fiscal year.

Honeybees are an important part of B.C.’s agriculture sector as pollinators of crops, contributing an estimated $560 million to the provincial economy. The 2016 total annual economic contribution of honeybee pollination for major insect-pollinated crops (additional harvest value) was estimated at $2.57 billion. In 2018, B.C. beekeepers produced over 1,400 tonnes of honey, valued at $13.7 million in farm cash receipts.

You can apply for Bee BC funding at https://iafbc.ca/bee-bc/. The program guide can be found at http://bit.ly/2vIjhzq.


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