Straight From DeHart - December 30, 2020

Well-known local restaurant general manager, Lonni Van Deist, and freelance creative director and 2x Juno award-winning singer/songwriter Greg Sebell have opened BLK BOX, a unique, healthy, fast food, smoothies, and gourmet meal prep restaurant. Located at 1880 Dayton Street (same side as QB Gelato) in the Landmark District, BLK BOX prepares healthy meals that come in black takeaway containers, combining a love for delicious food with fitness. Along with being avid gym-goers, both Lonni and Greg have travelled extensively and have seen convenient healthy food option restaurants in many cities, but noticed there was nothing like that in Kelowna. There is a small counter to enjoy a quick lunch, but most meals are gourmet takeaway. I tried the Chicken Street Tacos with Cashew Lime Crema & Pico De Gallo and a Kelowna Colada Smoothie. Both were delicious and the portion size was generous. I also had a taste of the Low Sugar Twix Bar and Zero Sugar BLK Berry NY cheesecake, which was far beyond delicious. Larissa Tonn is the operations manager and Shain Empey the chef. Lonni and Greg met while they both worked at Third Space Coffee and will, in the future, be offering customized personal and nutritional training. Open seven days a week. or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.     

Congratulations to Gordy Johnson who won a 50” TV and Bud tower speakers at a promotion at Mickie’s Pub located in the Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre

Kudos to the Central Okanagan Food Bank who raised over $30,000 at their First Annual Bake the World a Better Place fundraiser. The event took a considerable amount of planning and commitment from over 30 local chefs, bakers, and others in our community who contributed their time and product to the fundraiser’s success. The beautiful limited edition print cookbooks with all the personalities and recipes are available for purchase at Lakehouse on Bernard Avenue, Start Fresh in the Landmark District, or online at A special thank-you to Beverley Rosenau who purchased my Rose’s Okanagan Apple Pie, which was made from a recipe from my Kelowna mom Rose Kardynal, who has been baking pies in her former restaurants and her church since she was 18 years old. She is now 92. Sarah Martin is the Community Development Coordinator for the Food Bank and was the driving force behind the event.   

Huge news in the media industry in Kelowna. Bell Media is bringing a new brand to its CILK FM frequency. MOVE 101.5 is now Mornings with Stephen Keppler, which was formerly, for 18 years, EZ ROCK 101-5 Andy & TJ in the mornings. As for Andy, he will be focusing on his free-lance voice acting career. The new line-up continues with Chanine Carr through the day and TJ in the afternoon. The audience will hear the same music strategy all day every day with today’s best variety for the new MOVE 101.5.   

Pushor Mitchell partner Tom Fellhauer has been appointed Queen’s Counsel. Appointments to Queen’s Counsel are made by Cabinet on the advice of the Attorney General of B.C. For over 30 years, Tom has been helping business owners, professionals, and high income and high net worth individuals. He advises family-owned businesses on matters relating to business succession, corporate reorganizations, charitable foundations, trust planning, tax audits, reassessment objections, and appeals. 

Huge kudos to the Okanagan TELUS Ambassadors who have been giving back to their community during the past nine-month pandemic with incredible contributions. They have distributed 5,380 (yes over 5,000) beautifully sewn cotton face masks for both men, women, and children, all done by only six volunteer sewers; 1,000 toques, scarves, and mittens; 50 senior Christmas hampers for low-income seniors; 450 kits for kids, baby care items and bags for new mothers from Salmon Arm to Kelowna; knitted knockers for the Kelowna Cancer Clinic; baby and lap blankets; pet beds for the SPCA, donations to the Upper Room Mission and Kelowna Gospel Mission and the list goes on. The Ambassadors' new Facebook page is TELUS Community Ambassadors Okanagan or TCA Okanagan.  

To listen to the Holiday Mashup by Brent Carmichael and the artists at Knox Studio that I wrote about last week, Google - 2020 Holiday Mashup - Knox Studio and enjoy! 

Many individuals, businesses, and organizations in our area gave back to the community during this unprecedented holiday season. Kudos to the following that contributed their time, money, and volunteer hours to help during these difficult times.

In lieu of the Regency Sandalwood Annual Scrooge Breakfast, Sandalwood residents and staff donated over $3,000.00 for the Salvation Army during their in-house fundraiser. Melinda Crowell is the activity coordinator

Through Emil Anderson Group’s employee-led Holiday Giving Fund, employees nominated organizations for the company to donate to. They received nominations from over 40 organizations to help children, adult’s seniors, and animals. The Emil Anderson Group shared the news about the nominations, including who made the nomination and why, to their employees throughout the month of December, with daily email messages dubbed their Advent Calendar of Giving. You can also read about the recipients of Emil Anderson Group’s Holiday Giving initiative on or 

Okanagan Spirits Holiday Hot Meals Campaign donated 999 hot meals in both Kelowna to the Kelowna Gospel Mission and in Vernon to the Vernon Upper Room Mission. They donated three hot meals for every bottle sold in their special cask-strength Laird of Fintry whisky release. The locally owned business, operated by the Dyck family, started this initiative in 2019 and it has grown tremendously, due to the “buy local” movement. Okanagan Spirits launches the campaign on Black Friday and operates in both Kelowna and Vernon. Tyler Dyck is the CEO of the company.  

Over the past year, Interior Savings, through their Community Investment Fund has made it possible for the YMCA Okanagan to purchase much needed play-based equipment for both their family playtime and child care programs. Family Playtime is a free drop-in program for ages 0-6 and the donation is also improving four of their child care centers. Kathy Conway is the CEO of Interior Savings.

Scotiabank matched up to $15,000 from monies collected by Scotiabank staff at select Salvation Army Kettle locations and from online donations.

Since the Hub Kelowna Branch at 51 – 301 Highway 33 West was unable to have their usual Christmas celebrations, the staff took that money and donated it for food for the food bank. Members of their team as well as the public also contributed. Christine Burke is the branch manager.

The Rotary Club of Kelowna donated $25,000 to The Bridge Youth & Family Services towards its Youth Recovery House.   

Mel Gosse-Sinclair’s run generated $10,460. for the Canadian Mental Health Association sponsored by TD Benefits.

The KGH Christmas tree in front of the UBCO training campus at KGH was a team effort by Team Construction and Laing Roofing. It was transported by Laing, erected into a custom tree stand hand-built by Team, and then decorated and lit by Laing Roofing. Laing is also putting the Christmas lights on JoeAnna’s House. 

Mouldings & More contributed over $10,000 to the food bank with both money donated and plexi shields. They donated 20% of their net proceeds to each community from sales of these shields to food banks from Penticton to Kamloops and in-between. Owned and operated by Harold Loewen and Marcy King.

In 2020 the Kiwanis Legacy Endowment Fund distributed $296,000 and supported six grants for funding with a focus on supporting mental health initiatives. The funds were distributed to Canadian Mental Health - Foundry Mobile, Child Advocacy Centre, The Bridge Youth & Family Services, KGH Pediatric Department, KGH Adolescent Psychiatric Unit, and BrainTrust Canada. The fund was established in 2017 following the sale of the Kiwanis Tower.    

Twelve care homes have won Interior Savings Care Home Connection Contest in the Nicola, Thompson, and Okanagan regions from a random draw. There were 12 prize grants totaling $1,700.00 of tablets going into the homes. The local Care Home Connection winners are Sun Pointe Village, Village at Smith Creek, Brookhaven Care Home, Three Links Manor, Mission Creek Land, and Cottonwoods Extended Care.   

Birthdays of the week – Alexander Little (Dec. 30); Randy Topham (Dec. 30); Pavneet Singh (Jan. 30); Debbie Robert (Dec. 31); Karyn Mackenzie (Dec. 31); Derek Edstrom (Dec. 31);Wayne Pierce (Jan. 1); David Russell (Jan. 1); Dustin Serviss (Jan. 1); Donna Martin (Jan. 1); James Kay (Jan. 1); Larry Lenarduzzi (Jan. 1); Mitch Carefoot (Jan. 2); Carol Wardrop (Jan. 3); Kim Williams (Jan. 3); Cheryl McNaughton (Jan. 4 ); Cliff Shillington (Jan. 4); Jody Miller  (Jan. 4); Brenda Geen (Jan. 5); Scott Lanigan (Jan. 5).    
Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna City Councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or 250-862-7662; E-mail and web-site