Eliminate your smoky air
Contributed - Jul 29, 2021 - Think Local

There has never been a greater need for purifying your indoor air than this week in the Okanagan.

Air quality has been decimated due to the wildfire smoke that is smothering the region, with the province giving the area an air quality health index risk of 10-plus—the worst value on its scale.

According to the B.C. government, wildfire smoke contains particulate matter, carbon monoxide, atmospheric mercury, ozone-forming chemicals and volatile organic compounds, and your furnace is designed to pull that air in from the outside. The problem is your regular air filter does not stop that dangerous matter from entering your home or workplace.

Considering North Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, every day you breathe 2,000 gallons of air and 50% of all respiratory illnesses are caused by air pollution, the need for a good air purifier has never been greater.

Air has also been proven to be two to five times worse indoors than outside, although that would not be the case this week in the Okanagan.

People are taking much better care of their bodies these days, whether it’s through the food they eat or the water they drink. Considering how important breathing is to living, it’s time to focus more on air quality.

One of the options to breathe cleaner air is through a portable air purifier, which features a high efficiency particulate air filter, also known as a HEPA filter. The technology is ahead of its time, offering real-time air quality readings so you can see just how clean the air is. It also exchanges the air in a room five times per hour instead of the two or three times a regular furnace can do it, and it cranks up when the air is bad.

Portable air filters weed out tiny particulate matter from wildfire smoke that is 2.5 microns and larger. These ultra-fine particles are the most common and dangerous component of wildfire smoke.

It is important to buy the proper unit to fit the room where you’ll use it most frequently, and most of them list the size of the room they can filter effectively.

A more affordable option is a polarized, electronic air cleaner that is simple to install because it goes right into the existing filter track in your furnace. The electronic air cleaner polarizes tiny particles that slip through the filter the first time, making them cling to each other. When they go through the air exchange process the next time, they are big enough to be stopped by the filter.

Call Modern PURAIR at 250.765.6828 or email [email protected] and state “CASTANET” to receive an exclusive, free indoor air quality product demonstration.

Kaufman to lead autism event
Contributed - Jul 28, 2021 - Think Local

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was nearly impossible for CC Duncan to get someone like Raun Kaufman to come to B.C. and deliver an address during a 4children.ca workshop about autism. He is a highly sought-after voice in the field, and his schedule was always full.

Now that the world has gone virtual due to the pandemic, it is possible for parents of autistic children in the province to interact directly with Kaufman.

4children.ca in September will be conducting a virtual workshop with Kaufman, who is well-known in the autism world because of the Son-Rise Program. Kaufman’s parents were told that their son had severe autism and would require lifelong institutionalization, so instead they got to work and spent more than three years creating the Son-Rise Program, which allowed them to meet Raun where he was on the spectrum.

“I’m particularly excited about Raun, because I know that there is opportunity,” says Duncan, a behaviour management consultant and owner of 4children.ca. “If people give themselves the opportunity to hear him, they may be able to take it to the next step of going further and seeing different options (for their children), looking at their talents and looking at the possibilities rather than looking at what they can’t do.”

Duncan used to work for the school district in Powell River, but she resigned to start 4children.ca in an effort to provide more support for parents, caregivers and other professionals who work with children and youth experiencing behavioural challenges.

Photo: Contributed
Dr. Ross Greene

She took the workshops to smaller communities throughout the province prior to the pandemic, but now she is able to create international connections and networking thanks to virtual events.

“It was kind of an eye-opening experience, because now we’re no longer just in Canada,” Duncan says. “We have people attending from all over the globe, from Australia, New Zealand, across North America, the U.K. … it was incredible to reach so many other people.”

Duncan quickly learned that questions and concerns from parents, caregivers and other professionals are similar, regardless of where they live.

“We’re a lot more alike across the globe than maybe people would like to think,” she says.

The Raun Kaufman workshop, entitled “Child First Autism Approaches: Respectful Strategies for Relationship-Building, Conflict-Free Learning, Socialization and Crisis Turnaround,” will be a full-day event on Thursday, Sept. 23, running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4children.ca will be hosting a second virtual workshop on Nov. 4 and 5 featuring Dr. Ross Greene. It will be an advanced training workshop that will focus on the key themes, and key assessment and treatment facets of the collaborative and proactive solutions model.

Swing Fore The Cure all month
Contributed - Jul 26, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: The Dunes at Kamloops

The 16th instalment of JDRF Swing Fore The Cure will look a little different this year, but it will make it much easier for many more people to contribute to the fight against juvenile diabetes.

Organizers didn’t know what the summer’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were going to look like when they began discussing this year’s tournament in the spring. So they decided to go with a month-long event in August.

Beginning Aug. 1, anyone who plays a regular round at The Dunes at Kamloops golf course can toss down an extra $25 to participate in Swing Fore The Cure.

“This year’s going to be a bit of a test run, and we’ll see how it works out,” says Ryan Holowaychuk, who owns major tournament sponsor Noran Printing. “But we have pretty high hopes that it’s going to be a pretty successful tournament.”

Holowaychuk has been involved in the tournament for more than a decade. His son, Ayden, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was three years old. Ayden is now 13, and the Holowaychuk family has become a huge supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

“It’s been our life for the last 10 years now,” Holowaychuk says, “so we put a lot behind the JDRF community. We support them in any way we can.”

Anyone who adds the $25 tournament entry fee to their regular green fee will receive $30 in gift certificates from one of six Kamloops restaurants. A long drive competition will be held one day per week, and Royal LePage’s Thom Light will provide $100 gift certificates to male and female winners each time.

There will also be a 50-50 draw for the entire public, and Mastermind Studios will help conduct weekly prize draws for tournament participants on social media.

If that weren’t enough, there will also be a silent auction during the last part of the month. The prizes will be put on the tournament website in early August so people can plan their bidding.

Home Builders want to build
Contributed - Jul 23, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
Progressive Conservative leader Erin O’Toole (left) and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray (right) met with CHBA-CO president Cassidy deVeer and executive officer Daniel Winer earlier this month.

As home prices in the Okanagan continue to shoot for the moon, the perception of many is that they are popping Champagne corks and blowing into noisemakers in the Central Okanagan branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

That could not be further from the truth, because their employees have to find places to live as well.

“We have so many builders that are second- and third-generation Kelowna born and raised, and they’re seeing what’s happening,” CHBA-CO executive director Daniel Winer says. “These builders hire local tradespeople—carpenters, electricians, heating and cooling experts, flooring and tile installers. Is talent going to be able to afford to live here so that they can hire the skilled workers needed to build the homes necessary in Kelowna?

“If those people can’t afford to have a home here, everything kind of bottoms out.”

That’s why the CHBA-CO was pleased to see the recent release of the report called “Opening doors: unlocking housing supply for affordability,” courtesy of the Canada-British Columbia expert panel on the future of housing supply and affordability.

The report makes 23 recommendations to make housing in B.C. more affordable, and Winer is hoping one of the outcomes is better co-operation among the three levels of government as the affordable housing issue is tackled.

The CHBA-CO wants to see more homes produced at a faster rate, giving more hopeful homeowners more options. The organization believes there are several ways to do that, including the City of Kelowna approving densification projects opposed by neighbourhood associations.

That densification, which is well under way in the urban areas of the Central Okanagan, is another area that could use improvement, according to the CHBA-CO. Winer would like to see densification policies put in place at the same time in all urban core neighbourhoods, because they’re getting done one at a time, but the land values in all of them are increasing simultaneously.

“If land has gone from $100,000 to $300,000 for a parcel, and you plan to build a duplex then you’ve added $100,000 to the cost of a home before you’ve even broken ground,” Winer says. “By allowing for densification in a wider area faster, it adds more competition to the market, and provides clarity to buyers, sellers and buildersIt not only helps to moderate housing prices but also, because you know the planning in advance, it gets the city to its goals faster.

Winer says his fleet of members in the CHBA-CO is up for the challenge of building as many homes as possible as quickly as possible, whether they’re single-family homes, apartments, condos, duplexes or fourplexes.

“We need brave politicians is what we really need,” Winer says. “We need brave politicians and leadership to make this an issue and show our renting class and our aspiring homeowners that they’re here for them and that they want to support them.”

Zara first luxury condos
Contributed - Jul 21, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

The views will be stunning.

The homes will be gorgeous.

The amenities will be plentiful.

If that’s not enough, the number of activities that will be right outside your front door will keep you busy all year long.

Zara is the first and only luxury condominium collection in Lakestone, 15 minutes north of Kelowna, and it will consist of 86 homes, including six luxury, two-storey penthouses. It will be located in the Lakestone neighbourhood, which was the recipient of the 2020 national award for Community Development of the Year by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

Photo: Contributed

The Lakestone community has a variety of amenities for its residents. There is a waterside park featuring an attractive timber pavilion, picnic tables and loungers for lakeside relaxation, you can hit the tennis, pickleball or basketball courts, or you can set out on your standup paddleboard or kayak from the dock.

Zara is a steel and concrete building, which will reduce sound transfer and reinforce structural durability to enhance comfort, livability and lasting value. There will also be there will also be several wellness-centric amenities, including an infinity pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna, spa lounge, fitness centre complete with change rooms, fire pit, interior amenity/event space, and retail space for a restaurant, shops and services.

Architecturally, there will be plenty of stone, timber and glass, which mirrors the surrounding landscape of Okanagan Lake and the surrounding, tree-covered mountains.

Image: Contributed

Zara is in the heart of the Scenic Sip Trail, which consists of eight award-winning wineries in Lake Country. There are more than 20 golf courses within 30 kilometres. The hiking and cycling trails are endless. There is a 27-kilometre paddle trail. There will be farmers’ markets and chef-led restaurants all around you. Big White is less than an hour away in the winter. Another major attraction will be the fifth-floor SkyBridge, which will be open to all residents and will provide sweeping views of the lake. The one-, two- and three-bed homes range from 600 to 2,000 square feet, with penthouses from 2,010 to 2,600 square feet.

What more could you possibly want or need?

Better yet is the fact that Lake Country is in an area that does not fall under the speculation tax, nor is there a vacancy tax. That makes Zara a perfect opportunity for investment, including short-term rentals.

Zara’s sales centre, which is located at 9678 Benchland Dr. in Lake Country, is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. You can register today by visiting ZaraLakestone.com or by calling 250-548-0404.

Image: Contributed

UEE offers customized options
Contributed - Jul 21, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Unit Electrical Engineering (UEE) has made its mark in the South Okanagan, and now it is ready to do the same in the rest of Western Canada.

The company is already one of the largest in Okanagan Falls, with more than 100 employees and 100,000 square feet of office and production space, and it is primed to grow—both through business opportunities and in its size.

UEE is all about providing customized electrical solutions to industry. Whether that is to increase mine productivity, supply power for commercial and industrial sites or to electrify transportation systems, there is not much UEE cannot do.

Photo: Contributed

“It’s our ability to take turnkey projects from cradle to grave, from a high-level concept to seeing it through the design and engineering stages to fabrication, right to the delivery and even the commissioning side of things,” UEE business development and marketing manager Daniel Esterreicher says.

UEE is the company behind the manufacturing and service of linear induction motors (LIMs) for the SkyTrain expansion in the Lower Mainland that TransLink is currently conducting.

“Those LIMs are made and serviced in our little factory right here in OK Falls,” UEE vice-president of operations Rick Marini says.

UEE is an Okanagan Falls success story, starting out in 1996 and getting purchased by Wismer and Rawlings Electrical Inc. of Port Coquitlam in 2000. Wismer and Rawlings provides medium- and high-voltage field service to industry, and recently hired a technical field service salesperson in Kelowna to expand the company’s reach in the Okanagan as well.

UEE is always on the lookout for the “best and brightest” to join its workforce as well. When you are a business that creates unique solutions for clients, those who think outside the box are always welcome.

The company’s Okanagan Falls plant produces everything from medium- and high-voltage electrical infrastructure for industry, linear induction motors, high-voltage cable couplers for the mining industry, commercial and industrial switch gear, and e-houses for industry.

“We’re a very diverse company,” Marini says, “and a lot of our products, they can be used in different applications to suit the needs of our customers.

UEE has also joined the renewable revolution. They have recently worked on a few solar projects in southern Alberta, as well as biogas plants, small hydro projects and waste water treatment plants.

More information about Unit Electrical Engineering can be found here.

Deciding on a dentist
Contributed - Jul 20, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
Trust is an important value when it comes to choosing a dentist.

Perhaps you are new to the Okanagan and need a dentist.

Or maybe you are a born-and-bred Okanagan native looking for a new dentist. Or maybe you’ve never had a regular dentist, and now you are trying to figure out how to decide. It is not always easy, and there is a lot of choice.

Most dentists offer similar services, have hygienists on staff for regular cleanings, and aim to give you the best service, smile and experience they can. So what differentiates one from another?

Jason Witzel, who is the managing director at Landmark Dental Centre, offers a new perspective in how you might choose a dentist in the Okanagan in this question-and-answer feature.

Q: What makes a good dentist?

A: A good dentist is a relative term. The question should be: What makes a good dentist for me? At a basic level, people look for a dentist close to their work or home. They want a dental office that accommodates their schedule—open early morning or into the evening. Not everyone can get away from work during the weekdays. Ideally, you can find a dental office that friends or colleagues have recommended. Trust is a core part of the patient-dentist experience, and a recommendation is a good starting point. So my short answer is that a good dentist is one that is both convenient and with whom you can establish strong trust.

Q: How do you build trust in that relationship?

A: An excellent question, and one with no single answer for sure. Getting a good experience, with good results, over time, is the easy answer. But that does not help when choosing a dentist. What I can say, though, is that at Landmark Dental we thought hard about this and took a fairly unique approach to ensuring we build strong dentist, patient relationships. What we did was to focus on the ‘how’ over the ‘what’—putting the behaviours and values we believe make a great dentist and a great relationship before everything else. We distilled these into what has become our four core values as an office. They are what we live by and what we measure ourselves against. These are RESPECT, INTEGRITY, INNOVATION and TRUST. I believe that the first three values create the last—the trust.

Photo: Contributed
Dr. Alanna Head

Q: Can you expand on that?

A: The first value, respect, speaks to how we should interact with each other and patients, remembering that everyone is an individual with their own circumstances, fears, concerns, likes and dislikes, and all deserve respect. Being busy, having someone ask a lot of questions, or even someone not liking going to the dentist does not change this. We strive to ensure every interaction is a professional and respectful one.

Integrity follows respect. While respect can be viewed as an external behaviour, integrity is the internal behaviour. It is taking the time to consistently do what is right, even when it is difficult. It is always putting the patients’ health as your top priority. It is living up to what is expected in a health-care professional. Dentistry, in particular, is an odd service in that most patients couldn’t really tell you what was done in their mouth beyond the basics. It’s a bit like taking your car into a mechanic; you simply take their word for what was wrong and what the fix is. In either case, knowing that the person and business helping you place high value in personal responsibility, accountability and standards of behaviour—in other words, integrity—is a must for peace of mind and overall satisfaction.

And while innovation, our third core value, may seem a bit out of place, it is actually critical and integrated with our other values. If a better tool or procedure exists to do any job, you would be doing a disservice by not using the better tool or method. In order to confidently say ‘We did our best for you,’ we need to know we are using the best methods, materials and tools for the job. This is where innovation comes in. By embedding innovation in our core values, we are reminding ourselves to always stay on top of the most recent science and developments in the field in order to best serve our patients. Without this continual learning and advancement, we would not be providing the best service possible. It is as simple as that.

Q: That explains integrity, respect and innovation, but what about trust?

A: Well, trust really does come last, because it is built on the other three core values. If you know you are dealing with people of high integrity, always putting your health as the top priority, who have committed to staying current with the best practises, and who you know will treat you with respect, that is a foundation for trust. You cannot have trust that you will get the best results unless you also have integrity, respect and a commitment to current best practises, or innovation.

Q: OK, so those are your values. How are they actually implemented?

A: Like most things, it’s time and effort. We measure our own behaviour against those values, asking: Did you/I act with respect, integrity, innovation and trust in that circumstance? It is, in short, our measuring stick for success. Additionally, when we hire, we hire for those shared values. For example, our newest dentist, Dr. Alanna Head, is not only a top achiever academically and excited to be in the field, but demonstrated those core values in her actions and answers when we were in the hiring process. Without those, she would not be the newest dentist at Landmark Dental Centre. So by putting a constant ‘filter’ on how we look at behaviour, interactions and others’ values, we can ensure that these core values are attracted, nourished and rewarded. This is, in my view, how Landmark Dental Centre and all its staff and dentists stand apart. We understand the importance of trust in the dentist-patient relationship, what builds that trust and have embedded that into how we define ourselves.

Q: Is Landmark Dental taking new patients now?

A: With Dr. Alanna Head recently joining our team, she is accepting new patients. Additionally, she works the afternoons until 8 p.m. and until 6 p.m on Friday, making it easier to find a time that works for most people. We welcome your call at 778-760-5093 or email to [email protected].

Free training for care aides
Contributed - Jul 19, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
First College HCA students during their practice education.

First College received funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement for the Health Care Assistant (HCA) program with 24 available seats.

This year has been full of upheaval, especially for those who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, out of upheaval can come new opportunities, and many are considering this to be a good time to pursue studies for a new career.

Photo: Contributed
First College Faculty of Health members.

Beginning a new career path is always daunting, but one group in particular has found increased success, even in light of the pandemic. Health-care assistants have been more sought after than ever before. That is why Kelowna’s First College wants the public to know that it offers an eight-month Health Care Assistant (HCA) diploma program, enabling students to develop the essential knowledge and skills to function effectively as front-line caregivers of the health-care team.

“To assist in rebuilding the lives of individuals who have been affected by COVID-19, the WorkBC Community Workforce Response Grant has been approved for the September 2021 HCA cohort,” First College director Timothy Yang says, “allowing students to study and explore a new career path without having to worry about their financial resources.”

Photo: Contributed
First College director Timothy Yang says the college continues to follow all COVID-19 guidelines with PPE, social distancing and performing daily COVID-19 screenings with temperature.

The upcoming September 2021 cohort is fully supported with funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement, with a total of 24 available seats. The program will take place from Sept. 10, 2021, to May 6, 2022.

Graduates will be fully competent and confident in performing skills in a variety of settings, including health-care facilities, private community agencies and individual homes. According to the B.C.’s 2019 Labour Market Outlook, 18,650 jobs will be created for HCAs from now until 2027. Ninety-five per cent of care homes and home support agencies in the province report experiencing staffing shortages.

In the Thompson-Okanagan area, the expected number of job openings from 2019 to 2029 is 2,260. Also, the Government of B.C. has announced that COVID-19 has increased the need for HCAs in long-term care and assisted living settings across the province. The annual provincial median salary is $45,883, according to 2020 Job Bank Wage data.

If you would like to know more detailed information about the HCA program, as well as the eligibility requirements for this funding, visit the First College website at firstcollege.ca/hca or contact academic advisor Alexandria Krause at (778) 478-6611 or [email protected].

Grocery shopping with ease
Contributed - Jul 19, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Okanagan Falls finally has a grocery store again, and this time around it has never been easier to go shopping.

Little Falls Foods is the town’s new grocery store, courtesy of Derek and Dahlia Millington. It is located at 5129 10 Ave., and it gives Okanagan Falls residents the ability to shop without having to hit the highway.

Thanks to an online ordering system that is easy, functional and prolific, residents don’t even have to leave their homes to shop or get some of the Okanagan’s freshest foods delivered right to their doors.

“With developments in technology, we’ve got a great mix of new-fashioned and old-fashioned at the same time,” Dahlia says. “Our store is like an old-fashioned mercantile and grocery warehouse with a big focus on customer service. At the same time, it’s also got a state-of-the-art online store and inventory management system that makes shopping so much faster and efficient for people.” 

There are many facets of the Little Falls Foods website that make your shopping trips not only convenient, but perhaps even more affordable as well. For example, if there are essentials that you buy weekly, all you need do is click the ‘re-order’ button in your account to put all of those items in your virtual cart. Using the sort and filter function, you can limit the price range of items in view. Or you can search for your item directly using the ‘search’ feature. No need to walk up and down the aisles looking for that one thing on your list.

The technology also allows for you and your family members to add their requests to a favourites list. So your family can build its own little store to shop from. And how many times have you stood in the aisle at the grocery store, staring at an item and wondering if you have it at home? Now you can just walk over to your cupboard to see if you need to buy more or not while shopping.

You can also shop at any time of the day. “It could be a matter of three minutes and you’re done,” Dahlia says. “We’ve worked hard to make the system as user-friendly as possible.”

Looking for items is remarkably easy and advanced as well; you can simply type in one ingredient, and the website will produce a list of every product that features it. Or you can have the products grouped by theme, like ‘gluten free’ or ‘Italian foods,’ as examples.

Most importantly, however, the technology is safe. “We care a lot about our customer’s security,” she says. All you need to do to create an account on the Little Falls Foods site is add in your name, email and a password. 

Pick-up is always free. Delivery is free within seven kilometres if you buy $50 worth of groceries. There is a $5 charge for delivery otherwise.

One other distinctive feature of Little Falls Foods is that it doesn’t sell meat. This makes it the largest vegetarian grocery store in the Okanagan. The store is garnering a lot of attention for its broad and unique product base.

Turtle Bay Physio heals
Contributed - Jul 16, 2021 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
Turtle Bay Physiotherapy owner Maheshi Fernando

You will feel nothing but relaxed when you enter Turtle Bay Physiotherapy in Lake Country.

Owner and registered physiotherapist, Maheshi Fernando, was born with a smile on her face, and that is the kind of atmosphere she desired when she started her business last month.

“Our receptionist, Esther Blatchford, is very welcoming,” Fernando says. “I really wanted someone at the front desk who portrayed my energy and values because I’m a very friendly, outgoing and approachable person.”

It is that same contagious, positive energy that sets her clinic apart. Fernando values excellence, accountability, accessibility and integrity, and she and her colleagues promote health, fitness, a positive attitude and a balanced lifestyle.

In other words, motivation will never be a problem when you visit Turtle Bay Physiotherapy.

The bright, modern clinic is located in Turtle Bay Crossing at 701-11850 Oceola Rd. in Lake Country and features private treatment rooms. Services offered include physiotherapy; acupuncture; massage therapy; modalities such as deep heat packs, therapeutic ultrasound, IFC, TENS and low level laser therapy; and personalized exercise programs.

Physiotherapy is not only for athletes or those recovering from surgery, “it is for anyone with any musculoskeletal issue that is limiting them from participating in an activity or diminishing their quality of life,” Fernando says. That includes chronic issues such as low back or knee pain or acute injuries such as an ankle sprain or shoulder strain.

“Lots of people don’t know what to do initially after an acute injury or they’re unaware of simple ways that they can manage their chronic condition at home. The true value of physiotherapy is that education piece,” says Fernando, who brings more than 7 1/2 years of experience to the table.

Massage therapy complements physiotherapy, which is why the clinic has added registered massage therapist Savannah Salas to the team. Salas, who is accepting new patients, believes in patient-centred care and will adapt each treatment to the individual. Working with patient concerns, from pregnancy pains to acute sports injuries, she uses both oil and no oil techniques to address and release troublesome tissues.

Turtle Bay Physiotherapy offers easy online booking—24 hours a day, seven days a week—via its website, or you can call 250-766-0360 during business hours to book. They direct bill for physiotherapy and massage therapy services from numerous extended insurance providers, which makes their patients extremely happy, as not many clinics offer this service. For those without private or group insurance, they will check to see if you qualify for the provincial medical services plan that may cover a portion of your visit. They also work with WSBC and ICBC claims.

Turtle Bay Physiotherapy is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Start your journey to better health, and book today.

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