Hodge: Councillor ready to chat with Kelowna taxpayers

'Chat with Charlie' sessions will resume on Friday afternoons at different locations from week to week.

Now that I am back in the swing of things at Kelowna City Hall (and finished my short sabbatical at Kelowna General Hospital), I have renewed my ‘Chat with Charlie’ sessions.

Kelowna residents are invited to join me on Friday afternoons to discuss issues of concern regarding their work or play in Kelowna.

During my previous tour-of-duty on Council I established the open communication meetings with interested residents and business folks on Friday afternoons at City Hall or in area coffee shops or pubs. The majority of those were held at the Grateful Fed in downtown Kelowna, and Fed owner Kamel Abougoush jokingly tagged the afternoons ‘Chat with Charlie’.

This year I hope to spread the sessions around to different locations depending on the wishes of the residents, however the majority will take place at either the Grateful Fed or Sturgeon Hall downtown between 1 and 4 p.m.  Both feature wonderful staff and food so either location is terrific.

At least three of four Friday’s each month I will make myself available somewhere in our community to hear your concerns, ideas, or just answer questions. Contact me by email or telephone to set up a meeting. Call 250-808-0674 or 250-469-8896 or by email at chodge@kelowna.ca or charliehodge333@gmail.com and we can set a date.

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In our ongoing quest for yummy food, Tez and I recently discovered a tremendous yet relatively unknown dining delight in Kelowna’s north end. (Wisdom dictates I should not let readers know about it, however it seems a tad wrong to keep such a great discovery from readers).

The gem is titled PCH Central Kitchen & Bar and is subtly tucked away within the domed PCH sports facility at 1155 Ellis (close to Clement). While the location is not obvious the search is well worth it since the restaurants new owners serve up delightful pub style food with a unique flair and zest.

Favourite standard staples such as burgers, sea food, noodles, and pizza are offered but all with a delightful culinary spin by the talented chefs.

“We try and offer something a little different and enjoyable for Kelowna and so far we are hearing good things,” says a modest Jared Lee (co-owner and founding partner).

Now, I admit to generally being a “boring` diner and when my steak sandwich first arrived on odd looking bread and with a red coloured sauce on the side I put on my concerned face. However my first exploratory bite quickly went from hesitation to delight. I devoured the meal in mere minutes. I look forward to a return visit.

A word of caution, the facility only holds room for about 40 people in the main restaurant, however, there is more dining tables available in the `bleacher` section of the building so do not leave hungry.

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Even in the high stakes competitive world of pro sports, a truly heart-tugging human scale type story pops up once in a while. Such was the case within the fuss and fury of the NHL trade deadline earlier this week. While the 30 NHL clubs were jockeying for that `gem` player needed to help one club or another win all the marbles, a young girl managed to steal the spotlight.

Young Jordyn Leopold, daughter of NHL player Jordan Leopold, recently wrote a letter to the Minnesota Wild hockey club imploring the team to make a trade for her daddy who was toiling with the Columbus Blue Jackets. A 12-year veteran player Leopold played his college hockey in his home state of Minnesota before joining the NHL.

In her letter to the team’s management (addressed `Dear Minnesota Coaches) Jordyn said:  “My dad is very lonely without his family. We are living in Minnesota right not and I am lost without my dad, so is my mommy two sisters and brother …your team has not been winning a lot of games lately, which you lovely coaches are most likely mad about. But your team needs more D men so could you guys please, please ask the Jackets if you can get him. “

On trade deadline day the two teams completed a deal that fulfilled the little girl’s big wish. Now that`s enough to melt one`s heart.

Meanwhile in the trade deadline sweepstakes the winner is ….the New York Rangers.

Hockey pundits were fixated to their laptops and TV screens Monday morning for the NHL trade sweepstakes. Naturally, depending upon your flavour of choice some fans were pleased and others, well, not so. Oiler fans fumed over the departure of Jeff Petry thought by many to be the team’s top D-men, to Montreal, while Habs fans fumed that the club had not done enough.

Not a lot of key players were swapped; however the Rangers managed to snag coveted high scoring defenseman Keith Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes. Some believe Yandle may be the final ticket needed to help the club claim the Stanley Cup.

So here are my playoff predictions:

The final four teams coming out of the Eastern Conference will be the New York Rangers, Montreal, New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Western Conference will be represented by St. Louis Blues, Nashville, Chicago and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

St. Louis will edge Pittsburgh for the Stanley Cup.