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A rabbit has a snooze in a peaceful place on the eastside of Saskatoon. (Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)
 
There is still good journalism out there

Remember Watergate?
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the story that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974.
Last week, the president-elect of the United States, his followers, talk show hosts and other media outlets spent their time discrediting CNN’s reporting – accurate reporting, as it turns out -- on the leaked documents that connect Donald Trump to Russia in numerous ways.
CNN didn’t report the disgusting details in the documents because they couldn’t be confirmed.
In the olden days, other media outlets would kick a wall at being scooped and then work the story to advance it. Now, it’s much easier to discredit your competition.
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Johnny Marciniuk
Friend of the Bowl named Sportsman of the Year

When the Saskatoon Minor Football Field opened in September 2014, it was like opening the floodgates for youngsters who had never played the game before.
The user-friendly numbers are unbelievably high: 1,600 hours of usage for 6,000 participants annually, with the ages ranging from three- and four-year-olds in the Tykes on Spikes program, up through minor football and high school football to tenants like Saskatoon’s junior Hilltops and Saskatoon women’s champions, the Valkyries.
“Our dream was one of heavy participation when we started the conversion of the Gordon Howe Bowl,” said Johnny Marciniuk, a founding member of the Friends of The Bowl. He is still active on its board of directors and the co-ordinator of almost every event which is played at the new facility. All on the board play voluntary roles.
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The university has some explaining to do

What in blazes is going on at the university?
I thought oil had been poured on the ruffled waters after the Robert Buckingham fiasco, which more or less wrapped up in the summer of 2015. I thought sanity had returned after a major chucking of dysfunctional administration.
Perhaps not.
Very briefly, you’ll recall that Buckingham, once dean of the School of Public Health, stepped out of line by criticizing the Transform US initiative. The powers, at the time, punished him by stripping him of his role and tenure, and frog-marched him off campus.
Hullaballoo ensued. A national conversation erupted over Buckingham’s freedom to express his concerns. The University of Saskatchewan tried shooting back, saying its senior faculty needed to toe the company line.
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Tax assessments in core areas outrageous

Although 2016 ended on a high note with the birth of our grandson, I was otherwise happy to leave last year behind and welcome in 2017. I was optimistic that a better year was ahead.
Then I received my property tax assessment in the mail and I started to feel nostalgic for 2016.
I had read in The StarPhoenix earlier that the city’s core neighbourhoods were to be hit hardest on the new assessment, but I didn’t expect that the assessed value of my home would greatly exceed the real market value. I didn’t expect that my tax bill would go up by $1, 330 before the 2017 mill rate was applied to reflect the 3.85 per cent tax increase to support the approved budget.
After reviewing the assessment, I called the number provided to ascertain as to whether there was a mistake made. To be clear, the woman I dealt with at city hall was courteous, knowledgeable and even somewhat sympathetic to my concerns.
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Keys to success:
Local artist determined to make 5,000 sculptures

What in blazes is going on at the university?
I thought oil had been poured on the ruffled waters after the Robert Buckingham fiasco, which more or less wrapped up in the summer of 2015. I thought sanity had returned after a major chucking of dysfunctional administration.
Perhaps not.
Very briefly, you’ll recall that Buckingham, once dean of the School of Public Health, stepped out of line by criticizing the Transform US initiative. The powers, at the time, punished him by stripping him of his role and tenure, and frog-marched him off campus.
Hullaballoo ensued. A national conversation erupted over Buckingham’s freedom to express his concerns. The University of Saskatchewan tried shooting back, saying its senior faculty needed to toe the company line.
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Feel the Rush: lacrosse season launches Jan. 21

It seems fitting that, as I write this, the temperature in Saskatoon is minus 33. On this day, and at that temperature, we’re officially the coldest spot in Canada.
It’s fitting because today I want to talk about Saskatoon being a winter city.
That concept was introduced to city council in March 2016, when city hall submitted a report focused on the various ways Saskatoon could capitalize, both indoors and outdoors, on winter. That report preceded a breakfast held a few weeks later, at which the city outlined its winter city strategy to people who go to those kinds of breakfasts. The public’s input is also being sought, apparently, and this strategy is one of city council’s four-year priorities.
At this juncture, I’ll point out the obvious: this whole process is costing Saskatoon taxpayers money. In fact, I’d venture that the cost of developing the winter city strategy is already into the double digits, after salaries and administration are taken into consideration.
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Beating addiction a long, hard journey

I’m thinking about writing one of those “how to” books.
My book will be called How to Quit Drinking in 50 Years. It’s going to be a reflection of someone’s life as the years roll by, and the person is lost and caught in a cycle of extreme addictions.
However, as the years come and go, the person finally starts to realize life is only life if it’s free from addictions. The heart and soul of the person starts to open when the person has an epiphany of a higher power. Of course it’s taken 50 years to do it, but finally freedom is real.
I don’t know too much about life, only what I have experienced. But there is something I know a lot about, and that is addictions.
Most of it comes from my own personal experiences. I’ve been writing in the Saskatoon area for more than 25 years. During this time, I’ve written about my own journey, not in search of sympathy but, rather, hoping someone can relate and realize they are not alone. 
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