|Okanagan Saturday file photo|
Vernon-based forestry company Tolko has won exporter of the year in the natural
resources category at the B.C. Export Awards.
In 2006, Tolko, which has mills across Western Canada including Armstrong, Lumby, Lavington and Kelowna, exported just eight per cent of its lumber, plywood and oriented strand board products.
By last year, Tolko was exporting 40 per cent of its production.
"We saw an opportunity in the overseas markets and we acted on it," said Tolko general manager John Langley.
Because Tolko is a privately-owned business (the Thorlakson family) is doesn't
release sales figures, but it did release the percentage of exports.
Tolko beat out Archipelago Marine Research and fellow forestry company Coast Tsimschian Resources to win the
natural resources category.
Awards were also handed out in nine
In all, Tolko has 2,900 employees at its mills across Western Canada and hundreds of contractors who log, haul and replant harvested trees for the company.
Travelling in style
Save time and send yourself off in style by taking advantage of Kelowna Airport's new valet parking service.
Starting today, you can drive up to the valet kiosk at the south entrance of the terminal, drop off your vehicle and keys, provide flight information and be on your way.
At this time of year it also means you don't have to spend extra time out in the cold.
When you return, whether it be a day, a week or a month, the car will be waiting for you near the kiosk.
As an introduction, the cost is $10 for December and will go up to $15 in January.
The valet fee is on top of the regular parking rates in the daily or long-term parking.
The valet is run by Royal Star Enterprises, the same contractor that gives the free courtesy rides to and from the terminal for passengers who park in the long-term lot.
Barb Haynes is finishing up as executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association to become the first general manager of Challenge Penticton.
Challenge is the new long-course triathlon that will be held in the South Okanagan annually, after Ironman Canada pulled of Penticton after 30 years and left for Whistler.
"This was a chance to continue to move Penticton forward on the sports tourism front," said Haynes.
"While leaving the Downtown Penticton Association is difficult, change brings
"Barb has been a fixture in our downtown for seven years bring new programs and vibrancy to downtown Penticton," said association chairman Julius Bloomfield.
Ã¬While we are sad to see her go we know that Challenge Penticton has chosen the best person to lead the team that will build this new event for Penticton.Ã®
Kerri Milton, most recently manager of the Landmark 7 movie theatres in downtown Penticton, has been hired as interim executive director while the process to fill the position permanently is underway.
Penticton's Cannery micro-brewery is honouring one of the city's icons with its newly-released Lakeboat Lager.
The brew features an image of the stern-wheeler S.S. Sicamous, which plied Okanagan Lake from 1914 to 1935 and has now been restored and is dry-docked along Lakeshore Drive.
It's now a museum and is used as a venue for receptions and corporate and cultural events.
Naturally, the Lakeboat Lager launch was on the S.S. Sicamous this week with brewery, boat, city, liquor retail and restaurant and bar types in attendance.
As part of the partnership between the brewery and the boat, Cannery will make annual donations to the S.S. Sicamous for ongoing maintenance and updates.
The lager is described by brewery owner Pat Dyck as crisp, clean and refreshing and just as enjoyable on a hot day as it is watching a hockey game.
Lakeboat is available only in 650ml bottles priced at $4.50 in private liquor stores and at the brewery itself at 1475 Fairview Road.
It's also served on tap at some Okanagan bars, pubs and restaurants.
Soccer Express, one of four stores destroyed in Monday's fire at Burtch Plaza in Kelowna, is still in business.
While Soccer Express figures out a temporary location or rebuild at the plaza, it is letting customers know that it's still available online at SoccerX.ca.
All online orders of $30 or more will also get a $5 discount on shipping during the holidays.
Customers can also call 1-866-942-6605 to order.
Soccer Express serves the general public, but also has a lot of community and club team business.
The three other victims of the blaze Ã± paint-it-yourself ceramics place Color Me Mine, EcoWater and Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza Ã± are also on the lookout for temporary locations.
The opening dates of businesses that suffered smoke and water damage Ã± Cora Restaurant and fair trade store Ten Thousand Villages Ã± could be weeks.
Businesses in the plaza that weren't affected Ã± BCAA, Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty, Black & Lee Tuxedos, Kettle Valley Graphics and Ume Sushi - reopened mid-week.
-For every person that sets up a free account with Kelowna-based online gaming site Hoopla.com from today until the end of the month, the company will donate 50 cents to the Kelowna Food Bank.
You have to use the special code 'FOOD'.
-Today is the day to have a burger at A&W and help battle cystic fibrosis at the same time.
A&Ws in the Okanagan will donate $1 from every burger sold and 100 per cent of all donations received to Cystic Fibrosis Canada for treatment and research to find a cure.
-Santa will be at Kelowna's PetSmart today and tomorrow for photos with your pet.
Photos are $11 with $5 or that going to animal charities.
-The wineries on the Naramata Bench are all having open houses today and tomorrow noon to 5 p.m. with tastings, Christmas treats, tunes and maybe some special pricing on wines.
Participating ineries will give 10 per cent of sales from the two days to the United Way and Penticton & District Community Resources Society.
-Ten wineries on Summerland's Bottleneck Drive will light up their vines to kick off the Christmas season today and tomorrow 3-7 p.m.
You can also drop in at the wineries for a taste.
-The Rutland Christmas Light Up is Sunday at 4 p.m. at Roxby Plaza.
Santa arrives at 4:30 p.m. and there will be hot chocolate and goody bags for the kids as well as Christmas carols.
-Dawn McCooey of the Women's Enterprise Centre talks common sense marketing at the next Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Power Hour seminar 8-9 a.m. in the chamber boardroom.
Register for $10 at KelownaChamber.org.
-Tourism types can learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ and online forums better at this Advanced Social Media workshop put on by Tourism Kelowna and Aaron Nissen of Think Social Media Tuesday noon to 4 p.m. at the Delta Grand hotel.
Tickets are $115 for lunch and seminar at TourismKelowna.eventbrite.ca.
The session follows Tourism Kelowna's annual general meeting, which will see a new board of directors elected.
-The Uptown Rutland Business Association's next Uptown After Hours reception is Wednesday 5-7 p.m. at Sanderson & Company Chartered Accountants at 125 Highway 33.
Admission at the door is $8.
You can also bring a gift for an 11 to 16 year old that will be distributed by the Salvation Army for Christmas.
-The Penticton Chamber of Commerce's Business After Business Christmas mixer is Thursday at the Penticton Trade & Convention Centre atrium.
Admission at the door: $5.
-Kelowna's three MLAs Ã± Norm Letnick, Steve Thomson and Ben Stewart Ã± will give a 2013 economic outlook Friday at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce lunch at Manteo Resort.
Tickets are $40 for members, $55 for non-members, at KelownaChamber.org.
-The Vernon Chamber of Commerce's Christmas lunch is Friday at the Best Western Lodge.
Tickets $35 for members, $45 for non-members, at VernonChamber.ca.
Steve MacNaull is a business reporter and columnist with the Okanagan Saturday. He can be reached at steve.macnaull.ok.bc.ca, or by calling 250-470-0767