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A flock of mallards is pictured at sunrise on a recent November morning.
(Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)
A round of random thoughts

Six people in The StarPhoenix newsroom were given buyouts last Friday, just days after eight left the Regina Leader-Post editorial department. I won’t mention names, but these people have been a big part of your SP reading experience for more than 25 years.
When I started at The SP in the late 1970s, there were 70 people in the newsroom. With Friday’s cuts, my guess is there are approximately 20. That’s a shame.
It should be noted that Paul Godfrey, the man who has hastened the demise of daily newspapers in Canada, received a $900,000 bonus for his fine work this year and a two-year contract extension. He is also a member of the Canadian News Hall of Fame. Go figure.
Despite having an outstanding reporter on the beat, there will no longer be a dedicated spot for local business news in The StarPhoenix. Business stories will now be sprinkled throughout the A section with other Saskatoon and Regina news content.

Bob Pringle
From humble beginnings to public servant

Bob Pringle learned some heart-wrenching lessons about life when he was growing up in the Saskatche-wan community of Carnduff.
The lessons served him well because, for most of his working life, he has understood some of the shortcomings in society and has taken a special understanding and appreciation into many challenging roles.
In just over 40 years of managing Saskatchewan human services, Pringle has been a champion for adults in disadvantaged circumstances and for children and youth. He’s often stepped up to the plate and hit home runs for community-based agencies. He’s made a difference.
He was a regional director in Saskatoon for Saskatchewan’s Department of Social Services, an executive director of the Saskatoon Housing Coalition, the Saskatche-wan Association for Community Living, Cosmopolitan Industries, the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre, and an interim director for Habitat for Humanity.


The Kurendas:
40 years of pottery at Sundog

Ask Ron Kurenda how quickly 40 years go by, especially when you’re doing what you love, and he smiles.
“Like that,” says the long-time potter, snapping his fingers.
Ron and Rusty Kurenda, about as well known for pottery as it’s possible to get in these parts, will indeed celebrate 40 years as part of the Sundog Arts & Entertainment Faire, when it hits SaskTel Centre Dec. 2 to 4. They’ve made it to all but two Sundogs.
Sitting in their living room, surrounded by pottery and other art created by family and friends, the Kurendas reflect on Sundog’s early days, its longevity, and why it works.
“It’s a fun show,” said Ron, with characteristic enthusiasm. “It’s really Diane Boyko who makes that show,” he added, referring to the long-time co-ordinator.
“No matter how much stress she’s under, she never loses her smile, never loses that sparkle in her eye,” Rusty said.

Winds of change blow gently at Christmas

Due to the hubbub of the civic and U.S. elections and their aftermath, I realized that time had gotten away from me. It wasn’t until we got a smattering of snow on the ground and a friend called to ask if I had unpacked my “This is absolutely the last time I stuff wet bread crumbs up a dead turkey’s butt” apron that it dawned on me that Christmas was a less than a month away.
Initially a wee bit of panic set in when I thought of the work ahead until I rethought what needed to be done. For most of us Christmas is a traditional time of year to be celebrated with family and friends. For those with grown children, preparing for Christmas is a stroll down memory lane; for kids, it is the excitement and anticipation of Santa; and for parents it is a time of stress and work to keep the magic and traditions alive.

Give a pet a home for the holidays

If you have been considering adopting a furry friend, the holiday season may be the perfect time to do so.
There are dogs, cats and other animals at the Saskatoon SPCA in need of permanent homes. Fortunately, the shelter tends to see an increase in adoption numbers at Christmas, said public relations co-ordinator Cathy Brin.
“We see really great, amazing adoptions happening around the Christmas season – you know, when people have a little bit more time to spend at home,” she said.
“A lot of people do decide to adopt around the holidays, and it’s so great to see all of that happening around this time of year.”
For example, during Brin’s first year at the shelter in 2014, all of the dog rooms were empty.
“We had no dogs left for adoption because they’d all found happy homes for the holidays, which is really sweet.”


I’ve had good times on the trapline

A friend and I were talking about doing some trapping this winter.
It’s been years since I’ve been on a trapline, but I know I would survive. The last time I was on a trapline was with one of my friends. This was what one would call a “modern day” trapline, because we drove there.
Having grown up on a trapline, I was more used to being pulled by a dog team. My friend’s trapline also had power, running water and an indoor toilet. None of this was even thought of on the trapline I grew up on.
However, I wouldn’t know how to set a trap for even the smallest animal. And even if I did catch something, I wouldn’t know how to prepare it for a pelt.