One of the pictures submitted to the BC SPCA Wildlife in Focus photo contest this year. Members of the public can vote on the People’s Choice award. Photo by Jenny Robson.

One of the pictures submitted to the BC SPCA Wildlife in Focus photo contest this year. Members of the public can vote on the People’s Choice award. Photo by Jenny Robson.

Local News Briefs: Two more weeks to enter, vote on, photo contest

Plus a Night Market at the HUB, TRU courses, a wildfire fundraiser, and more.

Leslie Alexander in fundraiser concert

The Winding Rivers Arts &Performance Society (WRAPS) is holding a garden party and fundraising concert to benefit residents of the Ashcroft Reserve and Boston Flats. The garden party starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, and a concert featuring local favourite Leslie Alexander will follow at 7 p.m. Alexander last performed in Ashcroft in spring 2015, when a WRAPS-organized concert raised more than $2,000 for Cache Creek flood relief.

The events take place at John Kidder’s house on the Bonaparte River north of Ashcroft. To get there, drive past Desert Hills Ranch on Elm Street and cross the Bonaparte bridge. The first house on the left is the venue. For more information, email John Kidder at kidder@telus.net.

Night Market at the HUB

The Ashcroft HUB will be holding its first Night Market on Friday, September 22 from 6 to 10 p.m., and is looking for any bakers, crafters, young entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, crafters, and more who would like to take part. To book a spot, contact the HUB at (250) 453-9177, or email ashcrofthub@gmail.com.

TRU at the HUB

A number of courses are being offered at the Ashcroft HUB by Thompson Rivers University; but only if registration is high enough. The courses include separate WHMIS and Transportation of Dangerous Goods training on September 11, Occupational First Aid Level 1 training on September 29, a Community Futures Business Workshop on October 4, and a Foodsafe course on October 15.

For details of all the courses on offer, go to the Ashcroft HUB Society Facebook page; to find out more about the courses contact Margaret Hohner at (250) 256-4296 or at mhohner@tru.ca; and to register online go to http://www.tru.ca/regionalcentres/lillooet.html.

Funding for Gold Rush/Spirit Trails projects

The New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS) has awarded a total of $12,500 to three projects that promote heritage tourism, First Nations reconciliation, and multiculturalism in the Gold Rush/Spirit Trails corridor. The Gold Country Communities Society Geotour and FraserFEST 2017 each received $5,000, while the Xatsull First Nation Save the Salmon Pow-wow was awarded $2,500 under the NPTGS Small Projects Funding Program.

NPTGS co-chair Terry Raymond said the projects proposed by the three organizations met the Society’s criteria of increasing economic development and enriching the cultural fabric of the Gold Rush/Spirit Trails corridor from Hope to Barkerville.

“We were very impressed by the calibre of all three projects,” said Raymond. “And we know these three organizations have the track-record and capacity to deliver quality projects that will benefit the communities along the corridor.”

The Gold Country Communities Society Geotour builds on Canada’s first and largest geocaching program. Gold Country is adding eight geocaches to its existing inventory of 142, to bring their grand total to 150 in recognition of Canada’s sesquicentennial.

Hepatitis A found in Western Family brand pineapple chunks

The BC Centre for Disease Control is warning consumers that the Hepatitis A virus has been detected in a sample of Western Family brand fresh pineapple chunks sold in ready-to-go cups.

Current information indicates the cups were produced on August 11 and distributed to 38 Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, and PriceSmart Foods stores in the province. These include the Save-On-Foods locations on E. Trans-Canada Highway and Lansdowne Street in Kamloops.

The fruit cups may have been on sale from August 11, and had a best before date of August 19.

The investigation is ongoing. Other products are believed to be affected, and more information will be provided as it becomes available. Anyone who consumed this product on August 18 or later should receive a dose of Hepatitis A vaccine.

Wildlife in focus

Backyard elks, woodpecker babies, and regal eagles are just some of the stunning animals spotted in the BC SPCA’s eighth annual Wildlife-In-Focus Photography Contest, which remains open for entries through September 15. And non-photographers can get in on the action, by giving a donation and voting for the People’s Choice Award. The top 52 photos with the most votes will be featured on an exclusive deck of playing cards, so voting for your favourite photos gives them a leg up in the competition.

The contest supports the BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) on Vancouver Island, where more than 3,000 orphaned and injured wild animals are cared for each year. Photos entered in previous contests have been featured in the BC SPCA’s Animal Sense and Bark! magazines, as well as in BC SPCA educational materials, local newspapers, websites, and social media.

Prizes are also awarded for the judge’s top three photos in each of two judged categories: Wild Settings and Backyard Habitats. All photos of wildlife entered must be taken within B.C. and submitted digitally. Learn more about this year’s contest and view past winners’ images at spca.bc.ca/wildlife-in-focus.

For more information, email contest@wildarc.com.

“Smart channel” in Kamloops

A “smart channel” in Kamloops is one of the recent projects made possible by ICBC’s ongoing investment in the safety of Southern Interior roads.

Conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles were a concern in Kamloops along Summit Drive in the southbound right turn lane onto McGill Road. ICBC and the City of Kamloops invested in a smart channel to reduce the curb radius to encourage slower speeds and improve the angle of the intersection and drivers’ view of pedestrians. The University of British Columbia concluded that these improvements reduced the hourly pedestrian-vehicle conflict rate by 58 per cent and the conflict severity rate by 70 per cent.

Since 1992, ICBC has invested more than $29 million in 1,280 projects and studies in the Southern Interior. In 2016 alone, ICBC invested more than $2 million in 96 projects in the region.

Over the last nine years, ICBC has invested $1.2 million to add 200 web cameras throughout the province in a partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Many of these cameras are located on highways in the Southern Interior. To view the cameras and see current conditions on the highways, go to www.drivebc.ca.

Protecting wildlife on the Coquihalla

Ten kilometres of new wildlife-exclusion fencing will be built along the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt, which will increase safety for motorists by preventing wildlife-vehicle collisions. The fencing is an important safety tool that reduces the number of animals killed or injured every year on the province’s highways. The exclusion fencing works by connecting into existing underpasses, allowing for the safe movement of animal populations under the highway.

The new wildlife fencing will be built south of Merritt from the Kane Valley Overpass to Rusty Pitt, 22 kilometres south of Merritt. The new fencing will add to 160 kilometres of fencing that already exists along the Coquihalla Highway.

Hot weather warning

As the hot weather continues, thieves can be taking advantage of unlocked doors and windows. Homeowners are cautioned to be aware of home safety as they try to beat the heat.

Instead of leaving a door or window open, use a fan or air conditioning unit if available. Make sure that open windows cannot be easily accessed from the ground or from a patio or deck. If you leave a door or window open, ensure that it is locked in place so that no one can enter.

Do not leave patio doors open and unlocked, and look to see if second-storey windows or balconies can be accessed by someone climbing up to them.