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Good Neighbours: Want to work like a dog?

Sep 30 2012

The Saanich police are looking for a bunch of Aces. More precisely, they need a team of volunteers to wear the department's Ace the police dog mascot costume at community events, schools and public gatherings. The idea is to make three teams of two - with one person wearing the costume and another helping Ace get around.

Sgt. Dean Jantzen said the large mascot is named after a real police dog that served the Saanich department for many years with handler Sgt. Glen Mackenzie.

"Ace is a past national champion, many times over, and caught more bad guys than you could shake a stick at," Jantzen said.

The mascot is new this year and has gained considerable popularity in a short time.

"We're really victims of our own success, that's why we need more volunteers. We're getting lots of requests rolling in from schools and groups, and he's a real hit with the kids."

For further details, search for "Ace" at volunteervictoria.bc.ca, or email Saanich police co-ordinator of volunteers Ian Gibbs at igibbs@saanichpolice.ca.

Prospective volunteers will be required to get a criminal record check.


Music had been striking a positive note in a new weekly program at the Salvation Army's Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre. However, the effort is now on hold until a committed volunteer can be found.

The Friday Afternoon Music Jam started this spring at the downtown centre as a way to encourage Salvation Army clients and others in the street community to express themselves. The Salvation Army's Nathan Swartz said a volunteer is needed to co-ordinate the sessions each week.

"I'm just looking for someone who loves music and likes to teach."

Both beginners and experienced musicians have enjoyed the program.

"We've had all sorts of instruments," Swartz said. "Typically what we've seen a lot of is guitars, and we had an electronic set of drums."

Call 250-386-3366, ext. 3.


The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific slips into fall mode next weekend with its second annual Children's Harvest Festival.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 6, the public is invited to take part in activities ranging from making a scarecrow and planting garlic to playing bluegrass music. Kids get in free and parents' admission is by donation.

The centre, established in 1979 at 505 Quayle Rd., is home to 3.6 hectares of gardens and more than 10,000 varieties of plants.

Courses and workshops run all year.

Contact the centre at 2504796162.


The 21st annual B.C. Children's Hospital Festival of Trees is steadily approaching.

The annual event transforms the Fairmont Empress Hotel during the Christmas season with a trove of beautifully decorated trees, while raising funds for B.C. Children's Hospital.

Tree sponsorships are already being snapped up, with more than half of the 70-plus trees spoken for. The festival kicks off Nov. 20 with a decorating gala.

"This is one of the most anticipated and beloved community events in this city, and each year I am overwhelmed by the generosity of people here who step up to sponsor trees and in turn help make the lives of this province's sick children a little easier," said Festival of Trees chairman Andrew Duffy, a reporter with the Times Colonist.

Last year, the festival raised more than $130,000.

To sponsor a tree or for more details, contact Debbie Preston of the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation Vancouver Island at 250-382-1529 or dpreston@bcchf.ca.


The annual music-and-foodie fundraiser for Every Step Counts happens Thursday at the Atrium.

Every Step Counts is a popular running/walking program that helps people dealing with issues like homelessness, social isolation and poverty.

The Victoria Foundation led its creation in 2009, and it has thrived since then through the organizational efforts of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and Frontrunners.

Thursday's event runs from 6-9 p.m. and features food from Zambri's, Habit, Pig and AJ's Organic Café. All beverages are non-alcoholic.

The Fine Grinds, the Capitols and Weak Patrol will provide live music.

Tickets are available at Frontrunners, Cool Aid and AJ's Organic Café. Cost is $35 for an advance ticket, $40 for a ticket at the door or $300 for 10 advance tickets, while a contribution of $30 provides a ticket for an Every Step Counts participant.

The Atrium building is located at Yates and Blanshard streets.

Contact 250-882-5261.


Victoria-area residents were well-represented among 48 students from across the province earning 2012 Coast Capital Savings Education Awards.

Eleven local students were honoured, including five who received $5,000 Standing Tall Awards for serving the community despite facing personal challenges, which can range from health or family issues to financial concerns. The five were Alexandra Nelson, Amy Des Roches, Savanna Bazuik, Susan Harris and Daphne Cote.

Winning $2,000 Citizenship Awards for combining academic achievement, community contributions and personal activities were Graham Landells, Christina Tromp, Ruth Fernandes, Navin Kaushal, Brendan Morgan and Annie Do.

Close to 1,000 applications were received for the awards.


Lifetime Networks, a not-for-profit group providing friendship and support for people with disabilities, is holding an Oct. 6 garage sale to raise funds for its activities.

The organization was started in 1988 by parents intent on stabilizing the future for their children with disabilities.

A number of programs have been added over the years, including Best Buddies, which pairs disabled people with University of Victoria students.

The garage sale runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 4092 Shelbourne St., near Feltham Road.

Anyone with items to donate (excluding large pieces of furniture) is asked to call Carlene at 250-477-4112 or email carlene@lnv.ca. Items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, or call to arrange pick-up.

Lifetime Networks is also part of the Times Colonist Charity Pledge Program in the Oct. 7 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon.


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