CURRENT ISSUE
 
 
 
 
 
 
We were planning to get out and shoot a number of the many well-decorated yards in our city. The light bulb,
so to speak, went on and we thought why not have readers submit photos of some of Saskatoon’s finest for
the chance to win car passes to the Enchanted Forest. Send a picture of a favourite display to editorial@saskatoonexpress.com. Please put lights or Christmas lights or something like that in the subject area. We would like the name of the photographer and the address of the display. The photo above is of
a brightly adorned house on the corner of Jan Crescent and Waterbury Road
in the Lakeridge neighbourhood. (Photo by Cam Hutchinson)
 
Enough of those My Pillow ads already

Wray Morrison and other pitchers still haven’t convinced me to purchase a pillow from MyPillow.com.
Despite seemingly endless ads on CKOM — my station of choice most days — from Central Saskatchewan’s original pillow flogger, I have never had the urge to buy one. I confess to having had a look at them at Bed Bath & Beyond one Saturday morning.
I don’t mean for this column to embarrass Wray. He’s a really good guy who probably drew the short straw and was told he had to do these ads. Sports guys never get the respect they deserve, just like long-snappers in football and leads in curling.
The My Pillow commercials are annoying, again no fault of Wray’s. A friend in California says she changes channels when the ads appear on her television. The owner of the company, Mike Lindell, does infomercials in her neck of the woods, and in lots of other necks of the woods.
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Why is the property tax hike more than inflation?

Someone correct me, please, if I’m a hound howling at the wrong moon, but does it not seem bizarre that our property taxes rise somewhere between three and five per cent every blasted year?
Usually, it’s at the higher end of that range. For 2019, our city council has approved a 4.4 per cent increase, just 0.1 per cent short of the projected number. That’s nearly 80 bucks more for an average home, purportedly assessed at $371,000.
I was a bit shocked that the increase will cover 61 new full-time employees. Fifty-four were in the original prospectus; seven were added in last week’s deliberations. I trust I’m not the only one who finds it ironic that several of these new people will look for savings in city hall operations.
Here’s what’s not keeping pace with the city’s increase. For starters, let us look at the consumer price index, commonly known as inflation. Year-over-year to October, the all-items inflation rate was 2.4 per cent (Statistics Canada numbers), considerably lower than our property tax increase. Every year, I ask this question: how is it that taxes increase so much more than inflation? I do not get it.
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Jeff Rogstad
Possesses the gift of gab, and that’s a good thing

As a weekday television host and weatherman, Jeff Rogstad has been the community-connected face and voice of CTV Saskatoon for 21 years.
Being the right fit for the right time, a good chunk of the Rogstad success story has stemmed from the stage presence, the voice training, the gift of the gab and the confidence he gained during his drama years at the University of Saskatchewan and subsequently on professional stages.
With an immense love of theatre, it was rather a matter-of-fact manner by which he entered the media.
“I was at a social event one evening in 1991 when someone told me that STV, the forerunner of Global, was looking for a weatherman,” said Rogstad. “So I called Lisa Ford, we talked, I was hired and that was my first experience at working in front of the TV cameras.”
By 1994, he was hired by a CTV affiliate in Halifax. By 1996, the direction of the station was changing in Halifax and he returned to Saskatoon. He had taken a turn with Global on television and Hot 93 on radio when Allan Bell-Chambers, news director at CTV, called to say the station was looking to replace Jim McCrory, who was retiring from his weatherman’s role.
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Plenty of plays on offer during holiday season

Although Saskatoon may be a relatively small city, it’s big on theatre. There’s never a shortage of great plays and musicals to enjoy in the City of Bridges, and December is no exception.
In this column I explore a few shows you can take in this month. These productions are sure to offer a great way to unwind and savour the holiday season.
DEC. 6-14
ETHAN CLAYMORE
Saskatoon’s Mini Fridge Theatre Company is serving up a holiday comedy from Canadian playwright Norm Foster during its December dinner theatre events, which are offered in partnership with the German Cultural Centre.
Ethan Claymore, directed by Elizabeth Reynolds, stars Larry Fitzgerald, Rob Reynolds, Rick Rochon, Logan Weckert and Trillian Reynoldson. The show centres on the character Ethan Claymore, who is focused on his failing egg farming business while mourning his wife.
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City budget deliberations were a gong show

I have no words to adequately address the total gong show that was last week’s city council budget deliberation meeting.
So, I guess this column ends here, thanks for reading, good night.
OK, I guess I can scrounge a few words together. Let’s start with unprofessional. Unprepared. Selfish. Disorganized. Embarrassing.
That kind of begins to cover it.
It took our intrepid city leadership 16 hours to deliberate the 2019 city budget, which resulted in a 4.4 per cent property tax increase and new fees for garbage collection (or “organic waste collection” or something. Whatever, it’s all stupid.).
Property tax increases in Saskatoon have been absolutely ridiculous over the last decade, but that’s not the point. The fact that we’re now paying separately for a utility that should be covered by our property taxes is also ridiculous, but also not the point.
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Who’s running the show? City council or boards?

Every four years we elect our city council and pay them well to prudently (and I say that tongue in cheek) spend our ever-increasing tax dollars. But are they acting as good stewards of the public purse when they pass the buck for spending money to independent boards, without question or concern as to how that money is spent?
First up is the Saskatoon Public Library, the only independent board that has authority to tax the public. Council approved the library board’s budget increase of 6.45 per cent, which is over and above the city’s property tax increase of 4.4 per cent.
Part of the library board’s increase includes $525,000 to be allocated to a fund for a new central library with a price tag of $80 to $120 million.
Perhaps I missed it, but when did council approve the construction of this new library? Or does a board of appointed, not elected, individuals make a decision of that magnitude without the approval of council?
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