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The bike lane on Fourth Avenue clearly confused the driver of this vehicle. (Photo by Cam Hutchinson)
Pets touch your soul, and so will this book

I met Donna Jean Gerrier six years ago when I attended a pet loss support group. I was there to do a story and ended up participating as well.
We had lost our family dog, the one my sons grew up with, a few months earlier. I shared a little bit about Chipper and felt better for it.
Donna Jean was the facilitator of the group. My first impression was that Donna Jean is one of the kindest, most compassionate people you will ever meet. Chatting with her three or four times during the past month did nothing to change my mind.
Donna Jean and I reconnected last month. Donna Jean has written a book and wondered how a person goes about getting the word(s) out there.
Here is one small way.

Donna Jean Gerrier:Caring for aging parents a privilege

Donna Jean Gerrier’s father was witty and charming and practical, but he could be a handful.
Gerrier spent six years in the 1990s providing end-of-life care for her parents — Isabelle and Albert Edward, who was better known as Punch.
Isabelle had rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Punch had Parkinson’s and was Isabelle’s caregiver until he had a stroke. Punch’s stroke changed Gerrier’s life forever and became the subject of a book that is both light and weighty.
The book’s title — Eggs on the Wall . . . For the Love of Family — resulted from from a day when Gerrier was nearing wit’s end.
“It was a really, really trying day; everything went wrong that could have gone wrong,” she recalled recently from her Saskatoon home. “My father kept sliding down in his chair in his den, and I had picked him up and tried to straighten him out throughout the day.”

Advice for leadership candidates from my window to the world

Whew. The last two months have been among the busiest in my life. Work, book, work, work, book, work. Health stuff. More work.
Today, I begin to feel like I’m catching up — and like I have no idea what the heck is going on in real world land. There appears to be a significant amount of snow, judging by the view from my window. Was that really necessary? I had no idea that was coming. Suddenly, there it was. I mean, I certainly noticed it was snowing when we went out to meet friends on Friday evening. It just came as a surprise.
It’s pretty bad when I don’t even check the weather websites. I’m normally obsessed with weather, like a good Saskatchewan girl. I simply haven’t had time.
I gather there’s a five-way battle on for the Saskatchewan Party leadership. Someone quit?

Saskatoon’s genre film festival aims to ‘push some boundaries’

John Allison wants to give local movie buffs the opportunity to watch something different.
As the founder and director of Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival, Allison aims to program a diverse selection of genre films culled from some of the world’s best festivals.
Now in its eighth year, the local festival will kick off on Nov. 15 at the Broadway Theatre with Tyler Macyntyre’s gory comedy horror Tragedy Girls, which first premiered at SXSW. It will close on Nov. 18 with Lowlife, which is being billed as director Ryan Prows’ “love letter to crime films from the ’90s.”
Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival is a genre festival, meaning people can expect to see horror, martial arts and action films, as well as cult movies. These aren’t movies viewers would typically see in the local theatres, said Allison.
“We really like to push some boundaries,” he said.
“So many people, when they think of horror movies, they just think of the ones that play down at the Cineplex and things like that — where it’s straight-up teen slasher or things like that. And we try to provide something different. We love the ones that kind of elevate genre films.”

Local painter, husband open Broadway-area gallery

Well-known local artist Denyse Klette and her husband, Stephen Klette, have embarked on an exciting new adventure.
Earlier this month, they celebrated the grand opening of their full-service art gallery, Bohème Art Gallery, in Saskatoon’s Broadway area. The business, which is located at 615 Main St., currently represents 26 artists and focuses on bright and vibrant work.
It’s great to see another artist-run gallery open up in Saskatoon, and it’s also great to see one that supports local and Canadian artists. Five of the artists currently represented by Bohème Art Gallery are from Saskatoon, while most of the others are from various parts of Canada. The gallery’s only international artist is Jennifer Garant, who, incidentally, still has a local connection; she is originally from Prince Albert.


Education minister’s speech was way over the top

Saskatoon Stonebridge-Dakota Sask. Party MLA and Saskatchewan’s Minister of Education Bronwyn Eyre has a rich history of opining on education and educational institutions.
In 2010, Eyre wrote a newspaper column entitled The Slippery Slope of Sexual Education, wherein she questions whether Grade 5 students need to be taught the anatomically-correct terminology for the reproductive system, or Grade 6 students the basics on how not to contract a sexually-transmitted disease (STD).
In a 2009 column, she blamed, in part, a lack of stay-at-home mothers for the prevalence of colds and flus in schools, and in a now-infamous 2011 piece she declared climate change science “witchcraft reasoning.”
In 2014, Eyre defended pro-life and anti-gay fanatic Bill Whatcott’s right to spread his message on post-secondary campuses in Saskatchewan, and B.C.’s Trinity Western University for trying to restrict its students’ sex lives to between married and heterosexual couples only.


This prison guard embraced justice

I asked him if I could use his name.
“Go ahead,” he said, “I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
I thought about it and decided I wouldn’t use his name because I like to believe most police officers are like this man. I first met him when I was spending time in one of Canada’s crowbar hotels.
He was a guard or, as they say with the Correctional Service of Canada, a correctional officer. Since he was fairly new, he was way down on the totem pole in terms of seniority.
Some people would be surprised to know how close the keeper and the kept get to know each other.
There are men and women serving a prison sentence right now who have known some guards longer than their own families. Guards, like the prisoners, get transferred throughout the country.
It’s sometimes like seeing an old friend when a transferred inmate finds himself clear across the land only to run into a guard he had met from another prison. After a while a person starts to wonder if it’s the guard or the inmate serving time.