Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – May 14th

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How blessed are we to live where we do – and to reap the rewards of being residents of Paradise?On the heels of a ridiculously mild winter (hello global warming) Okanagan residents are now being spoiled with gorgeous weather. Of course, now that the sunshine has finally arrived it is only a matter of time before everyone starts to whine and snivel about how it is ‘too hot’ to do anything.Personally Tez and I cannot get enough of the warmth and sunshine and neither can our raised garden beds and flowers. Bring it on!

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I fully admit to being fully entertained by the goings on and gnashing in the current provincial election debates (and lack of debates) despite the fact that I think all three political parties are a farce.I basically have little use (take this and eat it Ron Seymour) for our current provincial and federal party politics and the mockery the party system really makes with a true democratic process, however that being said it is the only game we have and one we should at least partake in.I firmly believe (despite the ineptness of the current parties and politics involved), that we truly owe it to our war veterans to get out and vote during such elections – if for no other reason than the fact that so many young men and women gave up their lives in the belief that all of us should have a right to vote for free thinking, free speech, and other such now enshrined human rights.I don’t care if you vote for ‘none of the above’ or simply cast a protest vote next week – what matters is that you take full advantage of your privilege to express your opinion and vote. Many a son, brother, father, cousin, uncle, friend, fiancé, high-school sweetheart, neighbour… gave up his or her life so that you have that right – so get off your butt and vote.If you do not make the effort to vote on Tuesday than never bitch to me later about the government you get. You DO have a say!I  am somewhat baffled that despite the fact I live right near the Capri Hotel in Kelowna I am in the latest version of  ‘Gracie’s Finger’, an odd and illogical wedge of downtown Kelowna that for some reason is within the Ben Stewart (Westside) riding.I am not sure how I or Tez will vote yet in our particular riding.That is largely to do, as stated above, with the fact that I  do not support any of the parties and believe  all three party leaders are inept. Because of that I intend to vote with my heart – which means I will vote for the individual (not the party) whom I believe will give his or her best effort for their constituents.Predictions?I am calling for a NDP minority government.Locally I predict Liberal Steve Thompson will reclaim his seat in Kelowna, and that Ben Stewart will also reclaim his – though it may be a tougher fight against the NDP candidate Carole Gordon.The only riding of real contention, locally, that I am interested in is the Kelowna Lake Country where I believe my former Kelowna City Council cohort Graeme James may well slip up the middle between the split votes of the NDP and Liberals, and win the riding for the Conservatives.James’s victory will be one of few in the entire province for his party, if not the only one.I like Graeme.We seldom agreed on anything when we spent three years sitting next to each other at the Kelowna City Council table – but we gained a tremendous amount of respect for each other and forged a friendship despite our philosophical differences.Graeme is a man of principals, a man of his word, and never one to take a stance because it is popular. Graeme is forthright, consistent, and a man you can count on. He is no one’s puppet and certainly no one’s yes man. I wish him well.

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One of my dearest friends ever, Jim LeGuilloux is celebrating his latest CD release party on May 17, 18 and 19  at Whisky Jacks. His latest CD, Everything and The Box it Came In is a brilliant acoustic album which he wrote and produced himself.I love this album and it will serve Jimmy well. A full CD review will happen soon, but meanwhile I am grooving to several cuts on the album including Coming Home (my favourite) a remix of his superb No Regrets, and Uneasy Sense of Calm. Great stuff Jimmy and hope you have a tremendous CD release bash.Last but not least a happy Mother’s Day to all. I am reminded how blessed I was to have such an amazing woman in my life as my mom, Doris Hodge. I miss her dearly.I am reminded of her kindness and caring often when I sit back and admire the patience and love that I see in my wife Teresa and my stepdaughter Lisa.I am not the only one blessed to have you in this world. Thank you.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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