Straight From DeHart - March 30, 2022

Mark your calendars! This month, my column celebrates its 24th Anniversary with the Kelowna Capital News. In celebration of this milestone, I am announcing the return of the Maxine DeHart – United Way, Ramada Hotel Drive-Thru Breakfast Reunion on Thursday, October 6th, 2022, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at The Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre. With the onset of COVID-19 and the challenging past two years, non-profits, not-for-profits, and many other charity organizations have been unable to raise funds for their specific needs to help the people in our community. The social and economic impacts of COVID-19 are long-lasting, and our community needs help addressing all these critical issues. Unfortunately, many of the organizations that provide these services have also been impacted. It was an easy decision to make when asked to bring back the Drive-Thru. Huge thanks to the owners of the Ramada Hotel, the Prystay family, for allowing me to again host the event, the many existing sponsors who were more than willing to step up again, the new sponsors that have come forward and of course, the volunteers that are more than willing to come on board and give their time and energy. All dollars raised through the Drive-Thru will be invested in local charities and programs, strengthening vital connections, and improving lives locally. New this year. No cash? No problem! We are now pleased to accept donations via debit and credit cards. Tap your card from the comfort of your vehicle and enjoy the Drive-Thru experience with no cash exchange. I know that having cash was sometimes a problem in the mornings and now we have solved that dilemma. Remember, all funds raised from the Drive-Thru Breakfast stay right here in our community and there are no administration costs related to this event. If you would like to help with sponsorship, gift cards, donations or a specific bag gift contact me at 250-862-7662 or All donations are greatly appreciated. Stay tuned for regular updates on the sponsors and the event.

Long-time Interiors Group President of Heritage Office Furnishings, Wayne Cooney is retiring on March 31. With Heritage since 1989, Wayne has been instrumental in building the company into what it is today and for the last ten years, he has held positions of sales manager, general manager and most recently President, overseeing operations of both their Kelowna and Kamloops branches. Wayne and the company are passionate about giving back to the community and he has been a supporter of the Maxine DeHart, United Way Drive-thru Breakfast since its inception and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. The Heritage Group has announced that Roy Newington has accepted the position of general manager for their Interiors Group and will lead both their Kelowna and Kamloops teams going forward. Roy joined Heritage in 2003 as a service technician, becoming the service and operations manager in 2011 and for the past 10 years, he has looked after the operations and moves for all of Heritage Interior projects. Founded in 1979, Heritage Office Furnishings has grown to one of the largest full-service office furniture dealerships in B.C. and is the only authorized Steelcase dealer in the lower mainland of B.C. Steve Cox is the Heritage Group CEO.

Overseeing business development for sports and events, Colin McGuinness is leaving Tourism Kelowna on April 1st to pursue a new position. His new role will be Senior Manager, Sport, Culture and Major Events for Tourism Calgary. 

BUCK is a new food product of Saint Michael Foods (SM Foods) Limited in North Vancouver, B.C. Founded by Peter Yupanco, who was looking for dairy-free alternatives, which were also gluten-free, he stumbled upon buckwheat and learned that it was a fruit seed and contained no gluten despite being called buckwheat. He was elated that he could support Canadian farmers in Manitoba and supply gluten-free/dairy-free alternatives to his children that had market potential and a host of health properties. BUCK Buckwheat drink is also Kosher, vegan, and non-GMO. It is a nutritional super drink with eight essential amino acids, five grams of good fat per serving, zero grams of added sugar and B12 fortified vitamin, with no nuts. I tried the Original and it was delicious in a smoothie. BUCK also produces Buckwheat Gelato in three flavours of cocao loco, maple walnut and vanilla, in 500 ml containers and is also dairy and gluten-free. I tried the cocao loco and it was also delicious. Both products are available locally at Nature’s Fare Markets, Nesters, and Choices. Kaylan Weibe is the brand manager and product strategy for BUCK. Kaylan worked for Nature’s Fare in Kelowna for 14 years before joining BUCK, starting in the bistro and then the grocery department while still at Okanagan College. His last position was at Nature’s Fare head office in the position of grocery category manager where he was responsible for sourcing all the products for the company. Kaylan was then offered the position at BUCK.  

Congratulations to Con and Phyllis Litz on their 50th Anniversary (March 30th). 

Congratulations to two incredible wine tour guides for Okanagan Wine Country Tours, Larry Henderson, and Brian Welke on successfully completing the Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Program Level One. The program provides information about wine, food, and geographical awareness of B.C. wine areas. The online program provides drivers with the knowledge, which enables them in turn to provide a great experience for their guests for this upcoming wine season.  

Congratulations to Andre Blanliel and Adele Myette on their marriage on April 6th.

After 10 weeks of pitches, meetings, due diligence and capital training, Sami Majalda, CEO of CertiCraft has taken home the $150,000.00 investment fund as the OKGN Angel Summit 2022 winner. Located in Nelson, B.C., CertiCraft is a compliance software that makes the tedious reporting requirements for the cannabis industry easier for producers. Angela and Brady Rogers, co-founders of The Rogerie took home the People’s Choice Award valued at $5,000.00. The Rogerie reduces our environmental impact by creating everyday products from everyday waste. You can visit them at their storefront in Orchard Park Mall.

The Kandola family, who co-founded City Furniture and Appliances has donated $100,000.00 to Okanagan College’s Our Students, Your Health Campaign for the new Health Sciences Centre. The gift recognizes the shortage of healthcare professionals and how a state-of-the-art facility will attract and keep students in the region. City Furniture donated appliances and furniture to Okanagan College’s new Home Care Lab, which gives a range of health-care students experience supporting individuals in a home environment. Thanks to the Kandola family and other generous donors, the Okanagan College Foundation has raised $4.25 million for the Health Sciences Centre. There are still opportunities to support the education of healthcare professionals. I am honoured to be the Campaign Ambassador for this project. Visit 

Interior Savings is waiving processing fees for wire transfers that are intended to provide financial assistance to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries, including Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia until June 30th. In addition, Interior Savings has also made a commitment of $5,000.00 to help support Ukrainian refugees and will work with local partners to determine the best way to distribute the funds. There are options to support the fundraising efforts like those led by the Canada Ukraine Foundation at and the Red Cross. Paula Naka, Interior Savings Risk Manager cautions people to be vigilant when choosing where to send donations. As the war in Ukraine intensifies, so do the fraudulent and malicious emails exploiting the humanitarian crisis and charitable spirit of recipients across the globe. To learn more about how to protect yourself from scams, a good resource is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.caKaren Hawes is the acting President and CEO of Interior Savings.

April 1st marks the official kick-off of Community Clean-Up Month, and you can get involved. The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) Waste Reduction is encouraging residents to do light spring cleaning in their neighbourhood. RDCO supports Community Clean-Up Month by supplying gear to participants of gloves and bags. Once your cleanup is complete, the Waste Reduction Office can arrange to have the trash you collect pickup up. New this year is that if you do decide to pick up litter, post a picture of your group on social media using the hashtag #RDCOcleanup22 and you will be entered into a draw for a $75.00 gift certificate. Visit or call 250-469-6250

Wilson’s Landing Fire Department is hosting a recruitment open house and BBQ, on Saturday, April 2nd from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Station 42 Fire Hall, 2396 Westside Road North. Application packages and recruitment information is available from the RDCO website at

Birthdays of the week – Francis Cheng (Mar. 30); Mike Rout (Mar. 30); Donna Basran (Mar. 31); Gordie Abougoush (Mar. 31); Dennis Wazny (Mar. 31); Karen Hill (Apr. 1); David Craig (Apr. 1); Karmijit Gill (Apr. 1); Carson Chan (Apr. 1); Cynthia Waldek-Peters (Apr. 2); John MacCormack (Apr. 2); Amber Firkins (Apr. 3); Ken Bessason (Apr. 3); Rick Methot (Apr. 3); Lyal Shoemaker (Apr. 4); John Mummery (Apr. 4); Leo Robert (Apr. 5); Dan Cloutier (Apr. 5). Diane (Dee) Essler (Apr. 4); Linda Digby (Apr. 5); Rosemary Thomson (Apr. 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