Straight From DeHart - May 11th, 2022

Wells Gray Tours is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Owner and founder, Roland Neave spent his teenage years exploring Wells Gray Park, the large wilderness area north of Kamloops. To help pay for his university education, he devoted his summers to arranging bus tours of the park. After graduation, he expanded this service into a year-round business which he called Wells Gray Tours, as the park was still their main destination. Since then, the company has grown to become one of B.C.’s largest tour operations. Now, tours depart year-round and take their clients around the world. They travel by motorcoach, cruise ship, air, and train and sometimes on a mystery tour, clients do not even know where they are going. All the tours are escorted by knowledgeable friendly and experienced tour directors. Many of their staff have been with the company for 15 to 30 years. Joan Niemeier is the local marketing consultant for the company.

The board, staff and congregation of Central Okanagan United Church are proud to announce their official public presence in Kelowna. Central Okanagan United Church is an amalgamation of the former First United Church, Rutland United Church, and St. Paul’s United Church congregations. Each of their congregations were in some form of transition and the spirit encouraged them to think outside the box of familiarity they were each in. They discerned that the amalgamation of their gifts, skills and properties would provide them with the opportunity for a far-reaching and long-term ministry in the Central Okanagan. The amalgamation brings together close to 400 households that were part of the three former congregations, making Central Okanagan United Church one of the largest United Churches in the region. The new church is supported by a complement of 14 full and part-time staff. Rev. Louise Cummings was the transition consultant. 

Formerly with Imperial Tobacco for 15 years as their area manager, Rob Laing is the new Senior Manager, Marketing and Strategic Development for Canco Petroleum working out of their offices at #200 – 125 Highway 33 East. Rob will oversee the national marketing strategy. 

The BIABC conference was held this past week. BIABC is the umbrella organization for all Business Improvement Associations like the Downtown Kelowna Association (DKA) and Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA). The DKA was recognized with three awards. The Award of Merit in Special Events for the DKA Winter Street Market (2021), the Award of Excellence in Programming & Partnership for Meet Me on Bernard (2021) and the Award of Excellence in Safety & Security for DKA’s On-Street Services. Mark Burley is the Executive Director of the DKA. URBA picked up a Merit Award in Programming and Partnerships for their excellent well-known popular Uptown Mural Project. Karen Beaubier is the Executive Director of URBA.

Okanagan College has a new Associate Vice President College Relations. A seasoned communications professional, Jenn Goodwin most recently worked as Vice President, Communications and Culture at Interior Health and will assume her new position on May 24th. Before moving to Kelowna, she was Vice President, Community Partnerships at Providence Care, a hospital and healthcare organization in Kingston, Ont. affiliated with Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College.

Lexus of Kelowna, part of Sentes Automotive, is celebrating their 10th anniversary. After opening the Lexus dealership in 20212, Sentes Automotive Group has spent years developing their great reputation, with a dedicated team, some of whom have been a part of the dealership for the entire 10 years. The Lexus dedicated sales team is happy to facilitate the sale of a new or preowned vehicle and the service team is equipped to work with any make and model of car. Geno Tassoni is the general sales manager and Paul Mossey is the fixed operations manager who runs the store in front and back.

Andreen’s Pharmacy has opened at Unit 101-879 Anders Road in the Lakeview Village Shopping District in West Kelowna. Managed by Brian Smith, who was formerly with London Drugs Pharmacy on the Westside for 8 years, Andreen’s is a full pharmacy that not only provides all your home health care needs, but they also have a nurse on staff who provides foot care and some additional nursing care on Monday’s by appointment. Brian is a Diabetes Educator, and he is happy to help with all your diabetes questions and prescriptions, including making it easy to transfer your prescription from one pharmacy to another. Along with giving injections and vaccines, other services offered are medication reviews, blister compliance packaging, travel medication, opioid agonist treatment and smoking cessation. Stephanie Napora is the pharmacy assistant. Open Monday to Saturday.

Lyndi Cruickshank, managing broker/owner of Engel & Volkers South Okanagan is the new president of the Association of Interior Realtors, succeeding President Kim Heizmann. Chelsea Mann succeeds Lyndi in the role of Vice President. Two new local Kelowna realtors on the board are Stephanie Braun of RE/MAX Kelowna and Don Gagnon of Royal Lepage.

The Greater Westside Board of Trace is hosting Business After Hours on Thursday, May 19th at Volcanic Hills & Blu Saffron Bistro from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Their Tail Gate on the Tees Golf Tournament is May 25th at Shannon Lake Golf Course. Register at

Happy 67th Anniversary Rod and Vivien Pridham (May 7).

The recent Ukrainian Charity Benefit Concert: 1000 Rides at the Mary Irwin Theatre, featuring Gina Williams raised a whopping $33,000.00 and funds are still coming in. Congratulations to the volunteers, organizers, local musical talent, and Dan Scuka, President of Scuka Construction. 

Fundraising has never been so tasty. On May 27, Okanagan College, in partnership with Culinary Team B.C. and Junior Culinary Team Canada, will present a banquet worthy of a gold medal to raise funds for the teams to compete at the Culinary World Cup in Luxemburg in November. Both teams feature familiar OC faces. Provincial team member Chris Braun is an OC alumnus who graduated in 2006. He recently guided the sold-out Student Chef Dinner Series at Infusions Restaurant. Braun joined Culinary Team B.C. in November 2020 after receiving gold in Canada’s Great Kitchen Party for the Okanagan. Junior Culinary Team Canada member Simon Dufresne also completed the Culinary Arts program at OC in 2020. Purchase tickets on Eventbrite at

The Warehouse Art Event on May 28th and 29th at #8 – 2600 Acland Road will showcase the artworks of a group of six professional Okanagan artists, each giving voice to paint through their own individual styles and subject matter preferences. The paintings will be displayed on a 70’ long warehouse wall. Anyone seeking an art show offering quality, originality and variety are invited to drop by, browse, and shop the show and confer with the artists while enjoying live music and complimentary cappuccinos. Artists are Barb Hanington, Kathy Hale, Diana Palmer, James Postill, Rod McAuley, and Kato Rempel. 

The Okanagan’s largest charity outdoor cycle class is back in person. The 15th Annual Cycle for Strong Kids is May, 29, which is the YMCA of Okanagan’s largest fundraiser of the year that brings hundreds of community members together and eager to ride. They aim to raise $80,000.00 from the fun cycle class and raffle which requires pre-registration for riders outside H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre. It is co-presented by sponsors Fresh Air and Delcourt Advisory Group at Scotia Wealth Management. Visit

The Regional District Trunk Sale is Saturday, May 28th from 8:00 a.m. until noon, rain, or shine, at 1000 KLO Road in the Student Parking Lot #17. You can enjoy 150 mini sales, one convenient location, great shopping, and good bargains. Spots are limited and is you would like to be a seller on sale day, you must pre-register online at

Join the Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA) and be part of a community of remembering on June 20th at 5:00 p.m. to release 600 butterflies in downtown Kelowna. The Butterfly Vigil is a way for people to come together, connect in a ceremony and remember our loved ones. Butterflies sell out quickly so be sure to buy yours soon. Gavin Halford is the Communications and Marketing Officer at COHA, and Natasha Girard is the Executive Director. for more information.

Birthdays of the week – Rick Essler (May 11); Rob Balsdon (May 12); Arnie Schneider (May 13); Joy Hucalak (May 13); Marian Grimwood (May 13); Mike Schell (May 14); John Davina (May 15); Frank Stewart (May 15); Stan Martindale (May 16); Lori McCormack (May 16); Judi Ronacher (May 16); John Glennon (May 16); Judy Syrnyk (May 17); Brent Lobson (May 17); Tammi Watson (May 17); Margaret Kinney (May 17).  
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