Brenda-Lee Erickson

Straight from DeHart

Long-time school district employee bids farewell

  • Nov. 4, 2020 12:55 p.m.

With a lifetime of service to Central Okanagan Public Schools, Brenda-Lee Erickson retired after 47 years with the school district.

Brenda-Lee is believed to had the longest tenure of any school district employee. She started working for the district at the age of 18 as a printer, running the printing shop. She then moved on to the receptionist position for deputy superintendent Don Marson, who has since passed. She then transferred to the communications and administration department under the leadership of Dennis Semeniuk and continued on working with Dennis in his role as director of middle and secondary school education. Finally, Brenda-Lee retired as the administrative assistant, for the past 12 years, to Peter Molloy, the director of student support services. Brenda-Lee has a long list of things to do in retirement. Along with two married sons and a daughter, and six grandchildren, she and husband Ron have an RV in the Shuswap. Brenda-Lee builds doll houses and the furniture for the houses as well as bird houses. She is a long-time cross-stitcher. Looks like she will be as busy as in her last 47 years.

After practicing out of the province for the past 12 years, dentist Dr. Jack Gordon has returned to Kelowna. He has set up shop at Care Dental, 300-1575 Banks Rd. He is a clinically accomplished dentist who specializes in restorative work, implants, sleep apnea appliances and oral surgery.

Relocating from Toronto and after finishing his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, chiropractor Dr. Dane Carlson has joined the team at Okanagan Health & Performance, 104- 1100 Lawrence Ave. Prior to that, he attended the University of Ottawa, studying human kinetics. Dane’s practice includes all forms of chiropractic health. He works with athletes and he is proficient in musculoskeletal treatment conditions. To book an appointment visit

Pita Pit, at 229 Bernard Ave. in downtown Kelowna, celebrates 20 years in business in 2020. Pavneet Singh has owned and operated the restaurant for the past 11 years, and has now opened a second Pita Pit location at 1708 Innovation Dr., next to the CANCO Gas Station in the Airport Village complex. This past September, Pita Pit had a customer appreciation day which generated $800 for Kelowna General Hospital.

La Cantinita Authentic Mexican (formerly Viva Mexicana) has opened in Lake Country at 117- 9685 Highway 97 in the A&W complex. Owned and operated by partners Carmen Ruiz and Ivan Gracia, the restaurant is only take-out. In time, they are planning to open the restaurant and patio. From Mexico, chef Andres Sevilla has an authentic Mexican menu of many varieties of tacos, burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas and quesadillas, along with sopa, rice, fried beans, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and fresh made tortilla chips. All menu items are handcrafted by Chef Sevilla and all sauces and many other items are made in-house. We sampled the fish tacos, chimichangas de pollo and chicken enchiladas. All were exceptional and the portions were generous. Licensed with Mexican beer available. La Cantinita also has a variety of Mexican food products for sale in the restaurant. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. Call 778-480-6800

IWG Corporate Services, a division of Insure Wealth Group Inc., at 505-1708 Dolphin Ave. (Landmark 2), offers specialized services for new and existing business owners to help reach their full potential. IWG encourages owners to think about professionalizing their business. By implementing a set of repeatable processes and systems, it allows them to measure performance and enables a culture of continuous growth. This could include anything from corporate governance assistance to ongoing management advisory. Rich Orzol is a corporate development officer with IWG. Contact Rich at

Bree Hankins has joined Phil Law Corp. in a shareholder position with the firm. Bree joined the firm in 2015 as a senior litigator.

Congratulations to Jacquie Thom, 52, who can feel victorious as she graduates as a health care assistant from Okanagan College. Jacquie is legally blind, born with an eye condition called coloboma. She describes her vision as blurry, like seeing through a tunnel. Despite this, she was inspired to pursue a career caring for the elderly after taking care of her parents when they were palliative. Having poor vision, Jacquie also uses her other senses to aid her in her work. With one in four Canadians developing irreversible vision loss by the age of 75, Jacquie brings experience and empathy. Cathy Farrow, Okanagan College instructor in the HCA program, says Jacquie’s dedication to learning was instrumental to her success.

After 44 years of service to KGH and patients and families from across the region, the Peachland Auxiliary is folding. Members presented the KGH Foundation with a final donation of $19,000. Over the years it is estimated the auxiliary has raised more than $300,000 to advance patient care at KGH.

Kudos to The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, raising funds two great organizations – Central Okanagan Community Food Bank received $1,000 and the Okanagan Sun Football Club received $600 from a 50-50 draw.


To the following Long Service Award recipients for the City of Kelowna civic operations. Mark Torgerson and Kim Johnson (30 years); Mike Rout, Laurens Campbell, William Rutley, Stephen Clark, Larry Oakley, Henry Kohout, and Daniel Demers (25 years); Douglas Tomlin and Cameron Moody (20 years); Joe Rodrigues, Perry Yaremchuk, John McGale, Darryl Astofooroff, Thomas Crawford, Dennis Dexel, Kevin Grills and Kevin Vleeming (15 years); Brandon Peet, Michael Humes, Shawn Barrow and Ronald Jackson (10 years).

Nourish Families Initiative was created by Vicky Wallace, a local play therapist at the beginning of COVID-19. The program works by providing a free meal to a family in need for every meal that is purchased by a community member, called buy-one-give-one (BOGO). In the beginning, the initiative was a small enterprise, but the model worked so well that in June 2020, Childhood Connections took on this program with Vicky as program consultant. It now has five meal partners and counting to provide multiple weekly menu options and are providing meals to families in need on a weekly basis. Current partners are Relvas Catering, A Northern Light Catering, CrAsian, Unami Crave the Fifth and DunnEnnzies. To order a BOGO meal for a Thursday delivery visit Orders close on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. for Thursday deliveries from 3 to 5 p.m. by volunteers. Check out

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) has received an Honourable Mention in the Sustainability Category of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) 2020 Community Excellence Awards. The recognition comes for the regional district entry focusing on the first two phases of the collaborative Regional Floodplain Management Plan in partnership with the Okanagan Basin Water Board and other valley stakeholders. RDCO has received a $150,000 grant from the UBCM Community Emergency Response Fund to complete the final phase of the plan.

Birthdays of the week

Happy 90th Ross Carviel, veteran (Nov. 3); Terry Hoogewoonink (Nov. 5); Nick Imthorn (Nov. 5); Joachim Nierfeld (Nov.7); Reinhard Foerderer (Nov. 7); Geoffrey Couper (Nov. 7); Sig Ottenbreit (Nov. 8); Rick Worrall (Nov. 8); Lawrence Syrnyk (Nov. 9); Bernice Sebastian (Nov. 9) Michael Loewen (Nov. 10); Guy Auger (Nov. 10); Duane Lockwood (Nov. 10).

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna city councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or250-862-7662; email; website

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