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Wayne Wilson is the chair of this year’s Dogs’ Breakfast. (Photo by Cam Hutchinson)
Dogs’ Breakfast speaker to share message of hope

The Huskies Football Foundation strayed from tradition when it announced the guest speaker for this year’s Holiday Inn Express Dogs’ Breakfast.
Rather than playing it safe with a Smiling Hank of the football world, the foundation is going grittier. It’s a wonderful change of pace.
Tony Mandarich will be the man at the podium at the May 3 breakfast at Prairieland Park. Mandarich was the second pick — behind only Troy Aikman — in the 1989 NFL draft. He was a specimen. Six-feet-six inches tall, 330 pounds, a 4.65 second 40-yard dash, a standing long jump of more than 10 feet and a bench press off the charts.
Sadly, a big chunk of those accomplishments came with the aid of steroids he took during his storied college career at Michigan State. Addictions to alcohol and painkillers marred the first three years of his NFL career, leading to his release from the Green Bay Packers.
The big man, a Sports Illustrated cover guy, was later termed a big bust.

World renowned
City doctors make their mark in Parkinson’s research

The Saskatchewan-based father-and-son team, doctors Ali and Alex Rajput, have played the leading roles in the care and research for patients affected by Parkinson’s disease, essential tremors and other movement disorders.
What they have accomplished in research has been highly-respected and appreciated by other Parkinson’s researchers globally, especially Dr. Oleh Hornykiewicz, an Austrian who was a nominee for the 1999 Nobel Prize in medicine.
Ali Rajput was the founder of the Saskatchewan Movement Disorders project, Alex is its current director, and it serves all of Saskatchewan with specialized clinics in Saskatoon and Regina. The research focuses on studying the brains donated by patients with movement disorders, seeking comparisons to normal brains.
Parkinson’s disease is a combination of common conditions of slowness, stiffness and shaking. It is estimated there are between 3,500 and 4,000 cases in Saskatchewan today. The main treatment is drugs and stressing safe physical exercise so the patients remain active. Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder, affecting five to six per cent of adults over 40, numbers which are 10 times more common than Parkinson’s.

Building puppets part of the fun for Wide Open’s Very Merry Munsch

An afternoon of Robert Munsch stories might not sound like a rock concert, but Wide Open Children’s Theatre says there are similarities – for example, the kids know all of the words and they love to sing along.
Wide Open is presenting Very Merry Munsch, a new show based on six Munsch stories that have been adapted by the children’s theatre and are delightfully depicted with puppets. Wide Open built four new puppets for the 55-minute performance, which will tour across Saskatchewan and Alberta for the next four months.
Very Merry Munsch, which includes 30 puppets in total, is directed by Crispi Lord and features Sarah Grummett, Felix Le-
Blac and Rohan Keenan. It will run at the The Refinery in Saskatoon until Feb. 19.
“We’re having fun,” Lord said prior to the Feb. 9 opening of the show, which is Wide Open Children’s Theatre’s third production in its 16th season.

Nice to have good news on the home front

Homeowners. There may be a little good news on the market.
As you know, especially if you’ve tried to sell that home, there has been a serious oversupply of housing, which has driven down prices. And there have been fewer buyers, due to our economic downturn. Ergo, hard to sell.
But! In the week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, 56 homes sold on the MLS system, up 12 for the same week of last year.
And! Listings numbered 134, 21 fewer than last year/same week.
Furthermore! Inventory fell to 1,518, down by 112. Single family homes came in at 794, down 55 from last year; and condos, well, they were still exactly where they were a year ago, but that’s better than being up by 200 or something.
Talking about average house prices, though, is always a moving target. Every week is different. Last week, counterintuitively, it fell by just a bit, to $358K-ish. But the four-week median price rose $10K to $339,450, its highest point in 19 weeks. The six-week average is also up, and at a 21-week high.

Has the #MeToo pendulum swung too far?

There aren’t many women from my generation who, at some point in their lives, weren’t groped, grabbed, mauled, molested or subjected to unwanted attention from men.
It seemed to be the cultural norm that women were prey and men were predators, that this was just “boys will be boys” behaviour that passed from one generation to another. And I hazard to say that great numbers of women were concussed from banging their heads against the thick plate glass ceiling while working for career advancement based on merit rather than gender and equal pay for equal work.
Acceptance of misogynistic conduct was reinforced by the election of Donald Trump, even though his misogyny and bigotry were exposed during the election campaign.
Trump joined the rank and file of powerful, influential and wealthy men who continuously conducted themselves as predators. Society turned a blind eye to John F. Kennedy’s philandering because the public liked him and his political cause.


We have our own way of telling stories

“Stories: Indian style” is how a friend of mine once described a format of storytelling.
She is a writer I have known for a long time. I asked her what she meant by that.
“Stories that have a message, stories with humour and sometimes stories that may have happened or may not have.”
I knew exactly what she meant. One of my favourite things to do is to listen to people’s stories. These are stories that are real and at times inspiring. But sometimes I’ll run into a storyteller and wonder if his or her tale is possible.
This happened not too long ago. I was talking to a friend on the telephone when he told me he had a visitor.
“I’m telling you man, this guy will tear you up,” he said.
He invited me to his place to meet this gentleman, whom my friend described as an incredible storyteller.
I got to meet “Chow” who was an elder in his mid-70s. I asked him how he got his name: “Are you part Chinese?” As if I could ask a stupider question.


Possessions aren’t worth more than a human life

The death of Colten Boushie has exposed many ugly attitudes in Saskatchewan, and few as troubling as the idea that a person has some inherent right to shoot to protect property like ATVs, trucks and tools.
The argument has taken root in online debate outside the trial of Gerald Stanley, accused of shooting 22-year-old Boushie, and it’s hard to say what’s more astounding: its underlying ignorance, or the arrogance it implies.
Ignorance, because anyone with a passing familiarity with the Criminal Code as it pertains to self-defence should know the argument has zero basis in law. Arrogance, because only someone with a grossly inflated sense of himself or herself would consider their possessions more valuable than a human life.
“Protecting your assets is a part of protecting your life,” said Darryl on Facebook, one of many commenters leaving similar posts on news stories covering Stanley’s trial.