Hodge Podge – by Charlie Hodge

If these were pagan times there would likely be a lot more sacrifices going on in attempt to straighten out the weather.I am well aware April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, however the last couple of years apparently no one mentioned that detail to either month. April was pretty darn good; however May has left me wondering if Kelowna was not teleported to Vancouver or Tofino.I am grumbling about the weather for three reasons: One I can, two because I am from Kelowna where, no matter what, we are never pleased, and three because what sunshine we do get arrives on Tuesday or Wednesday instead of the weekend when Tez and I can actually spend some time in the garden trying for find food and flowers within the weeds. So far we are losing.When I lived on Vancouver Island the local line was, “If you did not like the weather wait a few minutes and it will change.” I’m still waiting.


Speaking of tradition, for the third year in a row I was honoured to be one of the judges for the Rutland May Day’s Parade. This year’s parade may have been one of the best. Congratulations to Donita and Laurel for helping coordinate a great time.Tez and I were joined as judges this year by popular Rutland resident and business man Nick Aubin.Spending a couple of hours with Nick was great fun and it is clear how much he loves Rutland judging by his smiles and interaction with so many folks involved at the event.When Aubin realized there was no ribbon to be awarded for the best ‘children’s entry’ in the parade, Aubin stepped up to the plate and said he would sponsor one. Sure enough between the end of the parade and prior to the handing out of prizes for best floats etcetera, Nick returned with the award in hand. Now that’s class, not to mention prompt.Well done, Nick Aubin.


And full applause to my old council counterpart Graeme James who I mentioned in a recent column.James has decided he would like to return to municipal politics – and told me last week he intends to run for City Council again in the November election.  Well, there is one name I will certainly be putting a check mark beside.As mentioned previously, Graeme and I were the most unlikely of friends when we first met at our first City Council meeting and placed side by side at the decision table. I soon learned that while Graeme was a man of few words, when he did speak it generally was filled with logic, clarity, and no expansive preamble to look or sound good for the cameras and crowd. When Graeme James had something to say it was usually of value and to the point.During the three years we shared on council I was impressed with not only his dedication to serving the public and his impeccable attendance record and involvement (unlike one or two veteran councillors) but also for his consistent messaging of fiscal restraint.There are no games with Graeme James and that compliment is rubberstamped by this very column. When I asked him if I could announce he was running this far ahead of the election, and questioned the strategy of his timing, Graeme grinned his gentle grin and said, “Sure, it’s not like I intend to keep it secret. Whether I announce now or in November is not going to change many people’s minds. They will either support me or they won’t. I am proud to run again.”Atta boy, Graeme. Go get em.It will be interesting to see how many current councillors decide to return. For the past year or so the rumour mill has been churning out predictions about veterans such as Andre Blanleil, Robert Hobson and Luke Stack. Both Hobson and Blanleil told anyone who would listen during the last council term that they were probably not going to run again – and then did. Political pundits continue to suggest that this year, however, both will actually step aside.During my term on council I can say that I learned a great amount from Robert Hobson and have tremendous respect for his dedication to Kelowna. On the other hand, no one had a worse attendance record at council meetings than Blanleil.I am somewhat surprised that Andre has not tossed his name into the Mayor’s race, although I suppose that would fly in the face of his political anointment of others for the big job.


And speaking of leaders and jobs, I am sad to see that the Washington Capitals had more brains and speed than the Vancouver Canucks and hired Barry Trotz as their new coach. Trotz had more than a dozen impressive years coaching Nashville and was scooped up last week by Washington when he was let go by the music city team.Trotz would have been a great Canuck coach, and lives in the Okanagan in the summer so likely would have jumped at the offer.

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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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