Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – Yet again another smattering of thoughts and issues

Yet again another smattering of thoughts and issues – hence a true HodgePodge column.

It was touching to see such a large candlelight vigil turnout July 16 honouring the victims of the horrendous crane collapse in Kelowna. Even though I knew none of the victims I remain numb and saddened by the true tragedy. I’m sure there will be more vigils, services and celebrations of life for the five men during the next few days.

Four of the five victims were workers on the site: Jared Zook, brothers Eric and Patrick Stemmer and Cailen Vilness, while the fifth victim, Brad Zawislak worked in an office nearby. It’s believed he died when the building he was in was struck by the falling crane.

My prayers and best wishes go to the family as well as those injured during the accident.


It’s with mixed emotions I wish a happy retirement to my very cherished friend Graeme McCauley. He’s also my lung specialist and absolutely without question one of the major reasons I am still around to annoy my wife, Council and others.

A former GP, McCauley ventured into specializing in respiratory several moons ago and is heralded by many of his peers as one of the best lung experts in the province. At least two or three times the good doctor was there at the critical moment to keep me alive – especially during my C02 poisoning and lengthy induced coma. I owe him my life.

I admit to being a tad selfish in wishing he was not taking the well earned rest he so deserves. Looks like he quit before I did.

All the best ‘Floxy’.


More doctor talk – this time from lungs to teeth. My council and column writing cohort Maxine DeHart noted recently that Okanagan College’s dental program is receiving a nice donation towards building its new state-of-the-art dental clinic within the school’s new Health Sciences Centre.

Okanagan Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates Dr. Richard Bell, Dr. Russell Naito and Dr. Tom White are donating $30,000 to the cause.

The three oral surgeons say the donation celebrates the work of their current staff and past employees.

“It’s our way of showing our support for CDAs and the profession and to recognize what the College has done for our practice,” Bell explains.  “We have more than 20 CDAs working with us and many of them received their education at Okanagan College.”

Bell and Naito are also big heroes in my world as they helped save my face and world when I wound up with Osteomyelitis. The two of them put in the first titanium plate in my jaw after removing most of my lower teeth.

Unfortunately infection crept back in and a second more major surgery was needed later to replace with titanium plates. Bell and Nato have been my go to oral surgeons since then. Top notch fellows and superb at what they do.


Speaking of doctors – a word of caution to readers. Do not be fooled too quickly into abandoning masks and safety protocols regarding the pandemic. We are far from out of the woods. COVID 19 numbers are back on the climb in Kelowna and also the province so show caution or we may wind up back where we were – locked up in our homes.

Interior Health confirms cases are on the rise in our region, especially among young people.

“Up to 95 percent of the recent cases are unvaccinated. Unfortunately, COVID 19 is circulating among a younger group of unvaccinated individuals in the Interior, particularly in the Central Okanagan,” Dr. Silvina Mema, Interior Health medical health officer says.


On a positive note well known entrepreneur and socially conscious  writer Teena Clipston has come up with another fabulous environmental magazine – this one geared for kids.

SavingEarth for Kids is a fun filled, colourful edition of Clipston’s SavingEarth magazine. It is chalked full of all kinds of interesting articles, interactive features, pictures and games.

Wisely Clipston has designed the publication so that parents can take part in enjoying the magazine with their youngsters, either reading parts of it to them or assisting with some of the ideas or suggestions within the magazine.

Look for it on bookstands or go to savingearth4kids.com for more information.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to warn you that the smoke filled skies in combination with the heat wave are huge potential health threats for all, particularly folks with respiratory issues. The hospital is swamped with people having breathing issues so be wise and stay indoors when you can. Apparently the heat wave is on the way back.

Be smart, stay safe please.

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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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