OOSAR dog handler, Mike Arychuk and Kaya with COSAR dog handler, Terry Downs and Chase. (Contributed)

OOSAR dog handler, Mike Arychuk and Kaya with COSAR dog handler, Terry Downs and Chase. (Contributed)

Kelowna’s good news year in review – September 2020

Taking a look at some of the positive stories from September

  • Dec. 25, 2020 2:00 p.m.

My Kelowna: Filmmaker captures underground arts and culture scene

Aaron DeSilva will launch a five-part web series 
highlighting Kelowna. (Contributed)

Aaron DeSilva will launch a five-part web series highlighting Kelowna. (Contributed)

While the COVID-19 pandemic might have cast a cloud over most of 2020, one Kelowna filmmaker was able to shine a light on his city.

Aaron DeSilva and his team have won a $20,000 grant from Telus Storyhive, a competition that offers funding, training and distribution to emerging filmmakers.

The grant was designed to help the team film and produce the pilot episode of their web series.

My Kelowna is a series developed by DeSilva to show viewers the different aspects of the city from the perspective of a diverse group of people.

Each episode will feature a different industry in the city and will include interviews from industry leaders with each episode hosted by a new person each time.

The pilot episode will focus on arts and culture in the city and will be hosted by DeSilva.

“Filming during COVID has been quite different. Instead of being able to film an interview where I’m also in the shot, we’ve had to adjust so only the interviewee is in the shot to allow for social distancing,” Desilva said.

The series will highlight indie and underground stories, but Desilva hopes the project will also help Kelowna’s local economy as it starts to recover from the pandemic.

•••

Okanagan Search and Rescue teams add two dogs to active duty

Okanagan search and rescue added two fluffy new members to its teams this past September.

Teams from Kelowna (COSAR) and Oliver/ Osoyoos (OOSAR) added the two volunteers – Labrador retriever Chase and German shepherd Kaya.

Both dogs were recently validated by the RCMP Police Dog Services at the BC Search Dog Association’s (BCSDA) training course, which takes place in Merritt.

In B.C., civilian dog handlers and their dogs engaged in ground search activities, are active members of a recognized BC Search and Rescue group and must be validated as a Civilian Search Dog team by the RCMP and recognized by Emergency Management BC.

“Dogs have a great sense of smell, but they also have superior hearing and night vision,” said Kaya’s handler Mike Arychuk, who is with OOSAR.

“This can help save time, and time is of the essence in a search. One search dog can be the equivalent of 20 to 30 human searchers.”

A handler puts in about 2,000 hours of unpaid training time over the first two years and spends thousands of dollars on the care and training of their dogs – mostly at their own cost.

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