Letters to the Editor

A dream come true

On Jan. 26, a new largest yet, grand total was raised by Wendy’s Dreamlift Day: $109,382. Wow!

There are many reasons why this fundraiser continues to be so successful — year after year.

The communities from Penticton to Kamloops and everywhere in between have embraced this day and the cause it supports, namely to send special kids to Disneyland. To all the folks who lined up, sometimes for quite a long time, thank you for your patience, your generosity and your support.

To all the media, we couldn’t do this without you. This has become a news story and you have reported it with heart. So, to all of you, thank you for all you do to make this the success it is.

To the volunteers who came out to help co-ordinate the event and to the VIPs who came and gave their time flipping burgers, frying fries, pouring drinks and lots more, a heartfelt thank you for your community involvement.

To the Orange County Sheriff’s department who leave sunny (warm) California to come up and help us increase the awareness of this event, thank you so much.

Finally, to the wonderful people who work at Wendy’s from Kamloops to Salmon Arm to Vernon to Kelowna to West Kelowna to Penticton, thank you for your generosity. It is unparalleled philanthropy.

This is the largest single fundraising day in the country for Sunshine Foundation - Dreams for Kids. All of you come together each year to make dreams come true. Because of all of you, 80 very special children will wing their way to meet Minnie and Mickey next December.

On their behalf, thank you.

Steve Tuck, past-president

Sunshine Foundation B.C. Interior chapter

Down in the dumps

I would like to know how the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen can get away with pushing their services on a small community like Hedley?

We had voted a number of times to keep the RDOS out of Hedley, but they got their foot in the door by forcing our private garbage collector out of business and forcing their garbage collecting services upon us.

We were to have a vote on how we wanted to pay for their garbage pick up: to go on our taxes or to pay a lump sum at the end of the year for Area G. We voted to have it put on our taxes but that did not happen, we now have to pay a lump sum at the end of the year. Now the RDOS wants to raise our rates by 56 per cent.

The only way we found out about this is by RDOS placing a small notice in the local newspaper with no respect to the people who live in Hedley. The RDOS sends us their billing every year to each and every one of us, whatever happened to sending us a notice about any increases in their services and fees?

One unhappy taxpayer,

Jerry Berryere

Hedley

NDP philosophy out of touch

Tom Fletcher’s Jan. 26 column makes for an interesting read.

I have never paid much attention to this political party, considering it as inconsequential and a complete waste of time.

If his brief and watered-down synopsis of the NDP philosophy is indeed the way this party thinks, it is beyond comprehension why anyone would consider this undemocratic socialist dogma as something that British Columbians or in fact Canadians would consider. Their governance during the ‘90s most definitely hurt investment in B.C. and to this day makes investors leery.

Tom is correct in stating that this party is more suited to places like Cuba or Venezuela.

We can only hope that the NDP continues its slide into irrelevance so citizens can regain faith in this province.

Paul Crossley

Penticton

Spending habits must change

This pool employee contracting out discussion stinks.

As a taxpayer, I endorse my elected officials’ efforts to run as fiscally responsible a city as possible and if that means privatizing the running of our community centre, then so be it. It’s happened before and it will happen again until there is some balance between what I pay in taxes and what my city pays to operate it.

Everyone is paying for the fiscal irresponsibility wrought by many years of over spending, over ambitious politicians and highly paid union employees. It’s a fact of life in this 21st century that the old way of doing things hasn’t worked very well and it’s time to change our modus operandi.

This isn’t life-threatening stuff. Some will suffer more than others and for them I ache. But I’ve been tightening my belt forever it seems and “they” tell me to keep tightening. It’s not as if your union, Mr. CUPE President, who blows into town and threatens “job action” is being picked on. We all have to change, to do more with less, to be efficient, and to get by the best we can. In case you and your membership have missed it, upper management and administrative staff have also being bleeding.

So get real CUPE people. Our city is doing its due diligence, as they say, and unless you start being realistic about what is possible, you are going to lose it all.

It’s also pure poppycock to think that the “world class, personable and invaluable services,” as Mr. President characterizes the work of our civic employees, will stop if privatization occurs. Yes, costs may rise a bit, but what costs don’t “rise a bit” on a regular basis? Come on Mr. O’Neill, your blustering about “union busting” and scare mongering about diminished value at our community centre is so out of date, so confrontational, so downright unbelievable.

Ron Spence

Penticton

Ship shape

A big thank you to volunteers who helped us clean up the SS Sicamous recently. The boat looks great thanks to this fun group of people. Just a reminder to everyone, we are available for rentals both day and night until we open our museum in April. Weddings, catered dinners, musical events — there are many possibilities on this beautiful heritage site. For more information please contact us at mail@sssicamous.com.

Peggy Nicholson, Board of Directors

SS Sicamous Restoration Society

Contest benefits preschool

Back in October 2010, Learning for Little People Preschool entered a contest that Scuka Enterprise put on as a way to give back to the community. So when one of our board members found the ad in the paper to apply for this contest, we jumped right on it.

Our amazing president, Tiffani Hoolaeff, put everything into the application. There was only supposed to be one grand prize winner. We ended up placing third and were surprised when they announced live that they were going to donate to three finalists.

We won a kitchen makeover courtesy of Scuka Enterprises and Century Lane Kitchens, along with the help of All Roc Drywall, Sandhill Mechanical, Sunvalley Electrical, and the 2010/11 board of Learning for Little People Preschool. Part of the reason this was so important to us was that we had a grandfathered licence for the kitchen and we were very worried that we would have to shut our school down if we didn’t mend it or make the necessary improvements. Being a non-profit organization means that it’s very hard to come up with the $20,000 that it would cost to do such a project.

Demolition started Dec. 7 and proceeded with all the renovation work involved, upgraded electrical and plumbing and appliances, insulation, drywall, painting, new floors, new cabinets and sink. This project ran right up into Christmas Eve. With many people working long late hours to get all the work finished.

The new kitchen exceeded all standards for licensing and was above and beyond what we could have imagined for our school. We are so very grateful to Scuka Enterprises for putting on this amazing contest and choosing our school to be a winner. Also thank you to Century Lane Kitchens, All Roc Drywall, Sandhill Mechanical, Sunvalley Electrical, and the 2010/11 board of Learning for Little People Preschool for all the hours of work that were donated and put into for this project. The benefits to the future of the preschool are endless. We only hope to be able to “pay it forward” in the future.

Thank you from everyone at Learning for Little People Preschool.

Jodie Lemke

Learning For Little People Preschool

Programs before prisons

For all of the individuals, politicians, cities, municipalities and regional districts in the South Okanagan who are salivating at profiting from human adversity, I offer the following.

The world’s largest democracy, the United States, has more people in prison per capita than any other nation in the world. Using the standard formula that Canada has 10 per cent of whatever the U.S. has, Canada is tarred by the same brush of revenge, punishment, judgment and fear in the name of social justice as the United States.

One in three federal prisoners have mental health problems. And to exacerbate this sad state, most of them have drug and or alcohol problems. The main reason for this problem is the lack of will of provincial and federal governments to provide adequate levels of funding for prevention and treatment programs for mental illness. The regional director of Ontario’s correctional ministry stated that “People in correctional facilities have some of the most severe mental illnesses you can possibly find, and their needs haven’t really been met.

Recent studies have shown that the federal government’s solution to crime and criminals, creating harsher laws and punishments, will create an increase in the number of prisoners and, thus, a need for more prisons like the one proposed for the Okanagan. When we add on the cost of those high-paying staff jobs to the local economy, the operational costs cannot be justified, despite the lure of an increased tax base. And the funding to provide mental health services for potential and actual offenders will never materialize, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Until one’s basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, safety and belonging are met, one cannot begin to develop beyond the need to survive, cannot meaningfully contribute to society. Consider then, what could be done in B.C. and the Okanagan for those in our society who are daily in a survival mode? What kind of healthy communities would result from supportive intervention as opposed to a punitive mentality for the less fortunate

I urge the reader to look at the much bigger picture of how we want to be as individuals, a society and as a nation. A culture that is punitive to those that are denied full equality and not compassionate to all should not be surprised that “those who are denied the power of expression will express themselves in a drive for power.” (Jose Arguelles)

Laurie Rockwell

Summerland

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