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It was great seeing my favourite biker, Darlene Buyck, last week.
(Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)
Schenley awards had a special ring to them

Whenever I think about Blaine Knoll, my head hurts. I mean that in a good way, if that is possible.
Please let me try to explain. From 1953 to 1994, the top players in the Canadian Football League — and players at other levels — received Schenley awards. In my life, Blaine is synonymous with Schenley’s sponsorship of the awards.
Blaine, an outstanding multi-sport athlete and multi-sport coach, was the third baseman for the Saskatoon Merchants in the late 1960s when I was a bat boy for team. Blaine wore a big ring which we called his Schenley. I think I still have lumps on my head from all the times he gave me noogies with it.


We need a helping hand from Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,
How are you?
I am fine.
At least, physically so. Economically, I have my worries.
But let’s not begin with the downside. May I first congratulate you on the spectacular bounty of the summer, although there are some unusual features to this year’s cornucopia.
You kind of got started a little early this year on the growing season. May was ridiculous — warm, even hot; dry, and a little scary; and a bizarre if welcome kickstart to getting the crops and gardens in.
At our house, we’ve already made a couple of litres of tomato sauce. Usually, we’re still watching our green fruits turn orange and light red. The wild blueberry plants at the lake, I am told, are producing copiously and peaking early. Naturally, I am not there. There better be some left for me, or you’re getting another letter.

Blaine Knoll:
A history of sending players to the pros

In the 17 years that Blaine Knoll was head coach of the Evan Hardy football team, it reached a highly respected level in Saskatoon high school football history.
The Souls reached the city final 15 times, won the city championship 11 times and capped off their performances with four provincial championships, including a rather sensational stretch of three in a row from 1977 through 1979.
The influence of Knoll and his associates extended well beyond, providing talent to the Saskatoon Hilltops, the University of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Football League.
“The last time I counted, we had 13 or 14 of our high school graduates go into professional sports, most of them into the CFL,” Knoll said. “Another was Brian Skrudland, who went into the National Hockey League for a long career.

Vote splitting could decide race for mayor

In just over two months you will vote for your next Saskatoon city councillor and mayor.
Who cares, right?
Not I, as I desperately cling to these last weeks of summer holidays. Candidates, however, are lining up for the opportunity to serve you at City Hall, and there’s no doubt they’ll be lining up on your doorstep after the September long weekend, when real life kicks us right in the butt, and back into reality.
OK, maybe I care a little. I care enough, anyway, to write this one pre-election column on a topic that you will hear much about during the course of Saskatoon Votes 2016: vote splitting.
Vote splitting is an unfortunate byproduct of a vibrant, healthy democracy, occurring when a gaggle of candidates (a flock of candidates?) appears on one ballot. Three is bad, four and up is worse.

Brett Boyko
Focused on the NFL

Brett Boyko runs in the morning, works out for two and a half hours at the gym and then throws some punches in the boxing ring after that.
That kind of physical commitment is what it takes to play in the National Football League (NFL). Boyko has a chance to become the first person from Saskatoon to play in a regular-season game.
Boyko, 24, joined the San Diego Chargers after signing a contract on June 2. Only three people from Saskatchewan — Arnie Weinmeister, Reuben Mayes and current Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan — have played in the league.
Boyko got a taste of the NFL last season from his spot on the Philadelphia Eagles practice roster. He was released in the off-season when the team made sweeping changes, but he’s back in training camp now with his new team.


Third Avenue Church tops list of city’s treasures

Question: Is it conceivable we could lose Third Avenue United Church?
Mayor Atchison: I believe the building will become a designated heritage site. If the owner does not wish to have that designation, he can appeal to the province asking for it not to be designated. It is on a holding designation right now. There may be some caveats the owner will want in place. I would be hard pressed to find anyone who would not want it to be a heritage site. Let me put it this way: if there is a building in the City of Saskatoon that is worthy of being a historical building, Third Avenue United Church is it.
Question: On the corner of 22nd Street and Confederation Drive — in front of the Tim Hortons — there is always a huge puddle after a rain. The puddle is right where the crosswalk is. Persons in wheelchairs, those pushing strollers, cyclists and walkers all have to go through the puddle to access the sidewalk. A makeshift trench was dug a couple of years ago, but that did not alleviate the problem. Can something be done about this? 

Moore the dark horse in race for mayor

Until a week ago, “six of one, a half dozen of another” pretty much summed up our fall mayoralty election. It looked like a two-horse race between Mayor Don Atchison and Coun. Charlie Clark. Then mayor emeritus Henry Dayday galloped onto the field and more recently Kelley Moore, a potential dark horse. It may not be the Kentucky Derby, but it will be race.
With the exception of a few faux pas, over his 13 years as mayor, I think Atchison has been a reasonable ambassador for Saskatoon. He has probably been the most visible mayor we have ever had in that he attends almost all events, large or small. He knows the political landscape and he undoubtedly has an expansive rolodex file connecting him to the powers that be.
Clark has served on council for 10 years. He is neither stellar nor lacklustre and successfully avoids all political doo doo. I’m not quite sure why Clark is challenging Atchison’s leadership as they went forward together, hand-in-hand, on pretty much everything that has transpired over the decade.

It’s time for those in recovery to speak up

Sixteen mothers gathered at Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman’s home one night to talk about addiction recovery advocacy.
All 16 of those moms have suffered the heartbreak of addictions. Three have had children die — two to fentanyl overdoses and one to drunk driving. One mom’s son is in the Prince Albert penitentiary.
The children of 11 of those moms have had overdoses. Thirteen have spent at least $30,000 — and some more than $100,000 — to get out-of-province private treatment for their children. They would like to see more being done in Saskatchewan for those battling addictions.
For her part, Gore-Hickman has a long list of things that could to be done in Saskatchewan to save the lives of our addicted and help them onto the road to recovery.

Living with anxiety
People don’t understand panic attacks, but I do

I’m having a bad day.
It is not like this every day. Today is one of the really bad ones. I am feeling anxious.
The anxiety has been controlled to a large extent. I remember the hundreds of days when it wasn’t.
I would leave restaurants in the middle of meals. Sandy was left to either eat alone or follow me out the door. After she paid the bill that is. I would leave movies, leaving her to watch them alone. I remember watching Titanic from the door of the theatre; gosh, it was a long movie. Once, when we were in Las Vegas, we had fourth-row centre seats for Mama Mia.