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Scott Flory was named the head coach of the Saskatchewan Huskies football team last week. Please see Cam Hutchinson’s column on Page 9. (Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)
St. Catharines may give us blueprint for downtown success

St Paul Street in St. Catharines, Ontario, was a row of boarded up buildings and broken glass three years ago. It was a scary place to visit.
The boards started to come off those beautiful old brick buildings when the city built both an arena and a performing arts centre downtown. The arena opened in 2014 and the arts centre in 2015. Since then, property values in the area have soared.
The circumstances in Saskatoon are similar but different. We have a performing arts centre and soon will have a world-class gallery in our downtown. We don’t have the empty retail spaces we once had. But we don’t have an arena.
I recently spent 12 days in St. Catharines. What was happening in its downtown intrigued me, so I contacted St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik.


Thoughts about an arena, the economy on a sick day

It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The predicted freezing rain did not happen. The birds are actually singing. It will be something like plus-seven today.
And I’m sick. Made it through the entire winter, hospital rooms, endless flights and soaring stress without so much as a sniffle. Now that it’s lovely, I’m down. Is this actually fair?
And my brand new dishwasher does not work. I mean, I’ve had it for four days. The door doesn’t close (it did for the first two days) and the dishes come out dirty and/or spotty. Really? I’m waiting for service. Yes, I know, First World problem, but I’m sick. It makes me pretty grumpy.
Still, a few things have entered my fog-and-snot-headed consciousness this week. If I can stay awake long enough to write about them.

Gardenscape 2017 means spring is just around the corner

With Gardenscape just around the corner on March 24 to 26 at Prairieland Park, the spring growing season can’t be far behind.
“I’ve been involved in every one of the previous 27 events,” said Rick vanDuyvendyk, whose family owns Dutch Growers Garden Centre, “and I consider Gardenscape as a trade show that usually draws wider interest and better crowds every year. Our three-day attendance in 2016 was 23,864.
“We don’t guarantee that spring will come any sooner. But if you remember last year, it was an incredibly warm spring and people were wanting to be out in the garden by the middle of April. We usually say Mother’s Day or May 24 are the best times to get started.”
Gardenscape has become one of Western Canada’s best backyard lifestyle and horticulture shows.

Day against racism a good day to stop pointing fingers

Daniel was a good boy. Having just turned 12, he looked forward to spending time with his grandparents.
Daniel’s parents moved to the city when he was a baby. Even though he was growing up in the city, his young heart was with the land where his grandparents trapped, hunted and fished.
He never actually lived in an isolated community — he simply visited. However, every time he was at his grandparents’ place he felt free. He felt he could run through the forest with only the company of his dog, and everything would be all right.
Daniel was also a strong boy. That’s the way his parents raised him. He was taught the language of the Cree. He could sing and dance to the beat of the drum.

Saskatoon rapper delivers positive messages

There have been a number of defining moments in Cquel’s life and music career.
When he was a child, there was the influence of his sister Tara Kalyn, who is seven years older.
“My sister was a big part of me finding hip hop,” he said. “Anything she did when she was a kid I thought was cool. She got into skateboarding in the ’80s when it wasn’t trendy. People hated skateboarders and didn’t want them in their parking lot.
“I would steal her skateboard t-shirts and stuff. I was always trying to be different, too. She liked a lot of punk rock music and I found a tape she had of the Beastie Boys, and all of a sudden I loved the Beastie Boys.”
Cquel (pronounced Sequel) laughs when he says a music store helped him out as well.


SSO celebrates Ukrainian heritage with violinist Carissa Klopoushak

It is fitting that violinist Carissa Klopoushak will make her solo debut with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO) at Saturday’s Ukrainian-themed concert.
Klopoushak is of Ukrainian-Canadian heritage and is the lead singer and violinist in the Ukrainian band Тут і Там, which has performed at every major Ukrainian festival across Canada and recently toured Ukraine.
Klopoushak, who grew up in Saskatoon, also has a long history with the SSO. She played as a member of the orchestra from 1998 to 2006, spending three years as the principal second violin before leaving for graduate school.
Saturday’s Ukrainian Oratorio concert will mark Klopoushak’s return to the SSO stage — but it will be her first time as the soloist.
“It’s a real privilege,” she said.
“To play for a hometown audience is always great . . . And I think it’s made extra special because I’ll be sharing the stage with so many friends.”


Why are renovations to mayor’s office newsworthy?

When I heard that Mayor Charlie Clark is having some renovations done to his office, I was shocked. No, not shocked that he was sprucing up his City Hall digs; shocked that I heard about the renovations in a news story.
Still egregiously wounded by Clark’s election win, which saw Don Atchison removed from the office in question, a few members of the local media, still loyal to the former mayor, seemed to feel that not only were the renovations newsworthy, but also worthy of scrutiny and perhaps even outrage.
The premise being, of course, that the rest of the media was giving Clark a free pass on the expense, and that Clark is spending on himself like a drunken sailor while the rest of the province scrapes together their pennies to make payroll.
Atchison was famous for never being in his office. He wasn’t playing hooky, though. Rather, he attended hundreds of community events per year. He was constantly on the go, out and about around the city shaking hands and kissing babies.