Straight From DeHart - March 1, 2023

Kelowna Steel Fabricators (KSF) at 935 Richter Street is celebrating 50 years in business in Kelowna. Established in 1973 by Jake and Julie Warkentin and Hank and Betty Dyck, the company was purchased by Jake and Julie in the early ’80s and then passed onto their son and current owner, Jamie Warkentin. Incidentally, Jamie was born on February 15th, 1973 on the purchase day of KSF. The business started small, with ornamental fabrication, rails and iron rails being a large aspect of their fabrication. Throughout the years of expansion, the company started to expand into other forms of fabrication, including truck decks, trailers, sawmill equipment, drill rigs and many other various types of mechanical equipment. The company’s current largest portion of fabrication has become structural, with gates, stairs, fencing, rails, trailers and truck decks being the majority of the non-structural fabrication, servicing both commercial and residential. KSF has also invested in portable welding, allowing them to make quick repairs on-site. Their larger jobs include the bridge at KGH over Pandosy, multiple car dealerships, and the Cactus Club downtown. Starting with three people sharing a bay KSF now has a shop seven to eight times larger, with six bays and 20 staff, including grads from Okanagan College. KSF has flourished into a larger, family owned and commun+ity-focused fabricator. Rob McKenzie is the Senior Fabricator and Rich Moeller is the General Manager of the company.         

Smitty’s Family Restaurant in the Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre, 2170 Harvey Avenue is returning to its regular hours of business, starting March 17th. They will now be open Monday to Saturday, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Kids eat free Monday to Friday 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

After a long banking career, Marek Buryska is retiring from First West Credit Union on March 17th. Marek started his career in Kelowna with CIBC and then went to Prospera Credit Union as Financial Services Manager. Marek later accepted a Branch Manager 2 position at Valley First in 2014 and in early 2017 accepted the position of Regional Manager of their Business Banking Division until May 2019, when he was asked to be project lead, Credit and Federal Continuance (Valley First, a Division of Firstwest Credit Union). The role became permanent as Senior Manager, Credit Process, the position Marek is retiring from. In retirement, he is looking for a slower pace in life, enjoying our beaches and tasting Okanagan’s fine wines.   

Mark Tompkins and Sequoia Wiseman have taken positions as VP Sales for IWG Corporate Services, which was founded by Jason Netherton located in Landmark 3. IWG provides services such as bookkeeping, accounting, estate planning, succession planning, merger acquisitions, HR and occupational health and safety. Mark is still a partner of Buzz Marketing with Niko Freer and Barry Chretien, putting out some of the best work in the marketing world. Adding to their repertoire Mark and Sequoia are deep into their acting careers and have shot several movies and commercials. They are shooting a movie with writer/director Milan Dmitrovic in the Okanagan, with the thriller to be released in October/2023. They will also shoot a movie with Kim Coates well known for his role as Tig in the Sons of Anarchy series. Mark is the producer of this particular movie, and there are lots of opportunities to be a part of it, so reach out to him if you would like to be involved in this project.  

Congratulations to Patrick Aylard, Lesley Driscoll, Claire Flower, Jeff Penny, and Stefanie Wenker who received the City of Kelowna’s inaugural employee Compass Awards. Nominated and selected by their peers, these City employees clearly illustrate passionate public service through innovation, teamwork and leading responsibility. Thanks to their effects, the RCMP can spend more time in the community (Jeff Penny, Sr. Computer Technician, Police Services ); more citizens have access to clean drinking water (Patrick Aylard, Sr. Project Manager, Infrastructure Delivery); we can connect people with homes to vacant shelter spaces more quickly (Stefanie Wenker, Business Systems Analyst, Information Services); the city’s customers at the Parkinson Recreation Center have a welcome and caring community (Claire Flower, Recreation Clerk, Active Living and Culture) and we have greatly improved one on one communications during a crisis. (Lesley Driscoll, Administrative Coordinator with Corporate Strategic Services & Community Safety Divisions).  

The Okanagan Master Gardeners are a non-profit organization whose mandate is to support and help educate sustainable gardening practices throughout the Okanagan. Their annual Seedy Sunday event is Sunday, March 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Parkinson Rec Centre. They have a great number of members who enjoy working alongside local organic farmers, gardening organizations and a variety of garden-related local seed and plant-based businesses. All members are there to offer you great advice. The event is a coming together of like-minded individuals and they assist and encourage the public to get a head start on spring with organic, heirloom and rare seeds and plants. There will be no charge for workshops and children’s activities. They will be running their own seed swap table and invite everyone to participate, whether they have seeds to trade or not. Admission is $2.00 per adult and children under 12 are free. Facebook: Kelowna Seedy Sunday or contact  

Happy 60th Anniversary Aloys and Sibylle Orsulic (March 2).

Greater Westside Board of Trade 2022 Key Business Awards Recipients are Paynter’s Fruit Market, Business of the Year and Ray and Kay Kondola of City Furniture, Citizen of the Year. Westside Celebration Society, Arts & Entertainment; Westside Health Network Society, Community & Public Service; Okanagan Integrative Health, Young Entrepreneur Spirit; Scott Contracting & Excavating, Environmentally Sustainable Business; Kelowna Esthetics Studio, Home Based Business; Northside Industries, Large Business; Myrna’s Foods, New Business; Paynter’s Fruit Market, Platinum Service Provider; Kelowna Electroplating, Small Business; First Nations Finance Authority, Indigenous Business; Infuse I.T. Inc., Technology and Innovation; The Landing Kitchen + Bar, Tourism & Hospitality    

Okanagan nursing student, Taylor Hubick is the recipient of the Canadian Blood Service bursary of $3,000 for her studies in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program, for recruiting 23 plasma donors between May and October, last year. Canadian Blood Services offered the bursary program to encourage students to recruit plasma donors for the chance to receive as much as $3,000. towards post-secondary studies.

The Rotary Centre for the Arts has launched its newest youth program, the RCA Rock School, offering young musicians the opportunity to develop their skills in a fun, supportive and inclusive environment. The community is invited to a fundraiser on March 14th at the Mary Irwin Theatre to purchase musical instruments to support the school. The RCA Rock School is designed for youth who have a passion for music and want to learn and take their skills to the next level. Participants will have access to facilities and equipment and be mentored by professional musicians with years of experience, led by Ezra Cipes, a member of the Juno-nominated children’s rock band Oot n’ Oots; Andrew Stauffer who is both the community and education programming specialist at RCA and the drummer in Branchroot Ensemble and Laura Schultz, who is RCA’s marketing manager and also a member of the rock band, Down the Lees. Visit https://rotarycentreforthearts/events/event/142002/

The Chic Retreat hosted by founder Amy Nicole Cohen is to bring like-minded female and creative entrepreneurs together, March 10th to 12th at Sparkling Hill Resort. There will be speakers from around the globe and the retreat is designed to connect and inspire, infused with wellness, business and beauty. Although the Chic Retreat is sold out, there is still room for the Retreat Day Pass on March 11th and the Chic Gala Dinner, also on the 11th. or 1-415-680-0859.

Dress For Success Kelowna’s Your Hour Her Power runs the month of March with multiple ways to give support. Each day on social media, they will honour local women in leadership as they share their knowledge, expertise, and insights. You can nominate a deserving woman that you know so that she can inspire others. Join their celebration of International Women’s Day for a breakfast at the Capri Hotel on Tuesday, March 7th where five of their featured women leaders will be taking part in a panel discussion, speaking to the successes, challenges and experiences that have shaped their careers.  

Kitchen Sink Pocket Orchestra is coming to Metro Hub on Thursday, March 9th at 7:00 P.M. at 1265 Ellis Street. It’s all the sounds of a symphony orchestra in a pocket-sized ensemble. Musicians are Susan Aylard, violin; Lauris Davis, Oboe; Karmen Doucette, Bassoon and Meaghan Williams, Double Bass. Tickets at 

Birthdays of the week – Happy 80th Ron Hughes (Mar. 7); Brad Sieben (Mar. 1); Faye Willms (Mar. 2); Derek Gratz (Mar. 4); Nancy Wise (Mar. 4); Dustin Martin (Mar. 5); Linda Frisby (Mar. 5); Kellie Amis (Mar. 5); Sheila Estephan (Mar. 5); Shannon Orza (Mar. 5); Sandra Hofer (Mar. 5); Camille Saltman (Mar. 5); Lisa MacNeil (Mar. 5); Glen Jackson (Mar. 6); Gary Embleton (Mar. 6); Tom Mauro (Mar. 6); Connie Penner (Mar. 6); Randy Leslie (Mar. 6); Rick Galitzine (Mar. 7); Josh Cairns (Mar. 7); Kevin Parnell (Mar. 7).  

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna City Councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or 250-862-7662. E-mail