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Kurtis Klutz takes his dog for a “walk” at Chief Whitecap Park. (Photo by Cam Hutchinson)
My father was truly one of a kind

John Hutchinson was one of a kind. I heard that over and over about my father during the two weeks after his death.
That description came as no surprise to someone who knew him for more than 60 years.
Born in 1929, Dad grew up during the Depression. At one point, 11 people lived in a 400-square-foot home on Fourth Street East here in Saskatoon. Despite the poverty, bedding plants and a lawn adorned the outside of the home. The garden was a necessity.
Dad was ambitious and hard working. He held jobs from a young age as a roofer, a gas station attendant and helped shovel coal to keep Haultain School warm.
Dad’s first full-time job was in upholstery. My cousin, Anne Letain, received a chair from him.
“He made me the tiniest, cutest red leatherette chair ever with electroplated tube arms and legs,” Anne recalled. “It was just perfect and sturdy enough that we all used it — there were never any cracks on the upholstery ever.”

Gordie Howe Sports Complex on track for 2019 opening

Bryan Kosteroski, chair of the Friends of the Bowl Foundation, says some monumental steps, which will be taken as early as March 1, will make the Gordie Howe Sports Complex “the envy of other cities right across Canada.”
“New partnerships, new financial commitments and new brands will add to an already substantial renovation of the sports complex and from what I’m seeing, each step is a tribute to the generous contributions of our people and by the City of Saskatoon,” Kosteroski said.
When spring season arrives, there will be an invasion of contractors on the scene.
One of the continuing roles will be the completion of the Saskatoon Minor Football Park. Another 5,000 seats, acquired from the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a result of the demolition of Taylor Field, will be installed, and a new press box will be erected. Both will bring about the substantial moves in what began as a $21-million venture.

CeCe Baptiste:
Connector of communities

In May, CeCe (Cecilia) Baptiste led a Jane’s Walk on the University of Saskatchewan campus. The tour, entitled The Art of Indigenization on Campus, highlighted the many ways the U of S is incorporating Indigenous knowledge, education and even structures.
The turnout blew Baptiste away. At least 60 people showed up, and most of them were not Indigenous.
“Which was incredible,” said Baptiste in an interview last week. “It was a beautiful thing.
“Saskatoon is a beautiful community. I’ve thought it was because of the university, that we have thinkers in the community. We should be happy about the strength we have.”
Baptiste is a strategic planning advisor at the U of S, although she started on campus two years ago in a finance position, having previously worked at the Saskatchewan Research Council, Whitecap Dakota First Nation and First Nations Bank of Canada in financial roles.

Five arts and culture ways to help you feel festive

Are you looking for fun ways to enjoy some holiday cheer?
Here are five local arts and culture activities that will leave you feeling festive.
Etsy SK’s Winter Market
Dec. 16 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Station 20 West
Have you wrapped all your Christmas presents? Or are you still looking for that perfect gift for that special someone? Either way, you may want to stop by the Etsy SK winter pop up.
Organizer Erin Pell, the captain of the Etsy SK team, said a lineup of local Etsy shops will be offering a variety of handmade items such as wooden toys, women’s fashions, jewelry, pottery, blown glass, gifts for pets and more.
It’s the third year for the one-day market, and new for 2017 is its relocation to Station 20 West. The move has enabled the event to grow to 29 vendors, said Pell, who noted both admission and parking are free.

We can’t afford this high rate of spending

After council dabbled with minuscule budget items, looking for nickels and dimes that will have little or no impact on the mill rate, it managed to reduce the proposed 4.96 per cent tax increase to 4.7 per cent — representing a saving of about one-quarter of one per cent.
Good manners demand that we be thankful for gifts no matter how small.
Mayor Charlie Clark said had it not been for last spring’s provincial budget the tax increase would have been about 1.92 per cent. I’m having a hard time believing that, since five per cent is becoming the norm for annual increases.
And didn’t council adjust the budget last spring to accommodate the loss of provincial grants-in-lieu? You can only use this “get out of jail free” card for so long. However, if this cut is restored in the 2018 provincial budget, will our 2018 property taxes be adjusted and set at a maximum of 1.92 per cent?


I dislike giving bad economic news

The economic news that rained down on Saskatchewan last week was a little horrifying. I found myself looking hard for the ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’ but man, it was tough to find them, or to find a hint of an emerging rainbow.
First we had the employment statistics, which caused Doug Elliott, publisher of the Sask Trends Monitor (who knows whereof he speaks) to declare in the two major Saskatchewan dailies a labour force recession.
The labour force shrunk by 1.9 per cent, or 11,400 people, in November from one year ago; and 1.1 per cent fewer people, or 6,400, were employed. Ugh. And this is while the rest of Canada is actually adding jobs.
What was also disconcerting about this was that our working age population, year over year, actually grew — a little bit, just 0.9 per cent, but still. So, where are these people? Some, it would appear, have stopped looking for work; hence the drop in the labour force. The obvious point, though, is that there are not enough jobs to go around.


Boys Lunch Out disgusting, and that’s not the half of it

I’m not going to use this week’s space to detail how disappointed and disgusted I am with the 2017 Boys Lunch Out, an annual fundraising event held by the Progress Club’s Saskatoon chapter.
For those who didn’t see the scathing CBC report, including a video of nearly-naked young women scurrying around on a platform above the room — which was full of hundreds, by some accounts 1,000, Saskatoon men — here is how the Boys Lunch was described by a reporter who was there:
“. . . a dozen women clad in underwear and gyrating to pop and rock music. During the event, a male MC made sexual jokes — with punch lines such as “That’s what she said” — while his female counterpart implored the men to order more drinks.
“Events were scheduled (that) evening as well . . . when fewer than 50 VIP donors were taken by bus to a secret location for a “model photoshoot party.” The site promised “one-on-one” time with some of the top models.