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Rocky Bishop and his daughter Melissa, then 16 years old, met Rev. Jesse Jackson at a site demolished
by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo Supplied)
Volunteering requires getting out of the boat

I met Rocky Bishop earlier this summer. We talked about his experiences as a nurse, my career, our families, our dogs and about his trips to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.
The stories about Katrina were sad but fascinating. After Harvey hit Houston and with Irma ripping apart the Caribbean and heading for Florida, Rocky and I got together to discuss his experiences with hurricane relief.
Rocky made six trips to New Orleans after Katrina. Now he is making plans to go to either Florida or Houston. He has been invited to Houston to help. Florida has since put out a call for 1,000 nurses. There is no wrong answer when it comes to picking a place to go.
It was something a man said that compelled Rocky to go to New Orleans five more times after his first visit.
“I met a gentleman who hugged me and said, ‘Please don’t go, but if you have to please tell the world what we are doing.’ When you hear that kind of thing, it keeps you going back.”

It sure looks like climate change to me

The Bank of Canada, as I’m sure you’re aware, has finally changed course on interest rates. On Sept. 6, it raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to one per cent, after a previous hike in July.
Bye-bye, ridiculously low rates. Hello, higher mortgages, loan and line of credit rates at your friendly local bank.
As they raised the rates, the BoC and several economists were crowing about the strength of Canada’s economy. The usual lingo was applied — you know, the “firing on all cylinders” thing — and indeed, according to Statistics Canada, the economy grew a stunning 4.5 per cent in the April to June period.
That’s very nice, and everything, but as with most things Canadian — accents, population, road conditions, maple syrup, canola, you name it — regional stuff is well, regional. If I may be permitted a hackneyed phrase, one size does not fit all when it comes to fiscal or economic policy.

Keith Allen built the Flyers of the 1970s

Keith Allen, a Saskatche-wan born and raised hockey product, was synonymous with the success of the Philadelphia Flyers, the first man to lead them to Stanley Cup championships.
He was chosen as the first coach of the National Hockey League’s first expansion team in 1967-68. Two years later, he became general manager. He built the teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1973-74 and again in 1974-75. They remained so competitive they played in four more Cup finals in the next nine years.
Because of that leadership, Allen, who died on Feb. 2, 2014, will be among those to be honoured at the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony at TCU Place on Nov. 4.
His decisions on the ice have been well-documented. His decision to marry Joyce Webster was also a key to his life. He was introduced to Joyce in 1946 by Russ McQuarrie, who was Allen’s junior hockey coach with the Saskatoon Quakers.

Crime fiction queen to read at literary fest

Celebrated crime authors Agatha Christie, P.D. James and Dorothy Sayers were British. Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell are American. Louise Penny is from Montreal.
And Gail Bowen, although born in Toronto, is deeply, profoundly from Regina, Saskatchewan. She is one of ours, and some call her the Queen of Canadian Crime Fiction.
There is evidence to support the title. She has just published her 17th novel in the Joanne Kilbourn mystery series, The Winners’ Circle, to considerable acclaim; and No. 18 is on its way. She has also written plays and other works, including the Orca Books series, Charlie D; and is working on a book about how to write mysteries.
That locationary thing, being a writer from the middle of the Canadian Prairies? Not an issue, despite some people’s views to the contrary.

A helping hand
Saskatoon nurse driven to help in hurricane aftermath

Saskatoon nurse Rocky Bishop remembers lying on his bed after finishing a stint of night shifts.
He had the television on and was watching coverage of Hurricane Katrina just after it slammed into New Orleans in late August 2005.
“A reporter named Paula Zahn was on CNN interviewing a nurse who was in downtown New Orleans,” Bishop said. “And this nurse was explaining how Charity Medical Center was filling up with water and she was working in intensive care. This nurse was crying.
“That really got me because most nurses I have worked with have that tough outer shell and they may appear crusty, but that crustiness is sometimes because we deal with a lot and we’re human.”
As exhausted as he was, the nurse on CNN had Bishop’s full attention.
“I thought, ‘Man, it must be serious if a nurse cries.’ She was explaining to Paula Zahn the situation they were in. She said they were out of power and the emergency generators were knocked out.


Tragic death of child triggers outrageous, insensitive reactions

Like everyone else’s, my heart broke and my stomach churned when I heard the news that a five-year-old Saskatoon boy, enjoying his first full day of kindergarten, died before even opening his lunch kit.
The little boy, the Saskatche-wan-born son of new Canadians from Somalia, wandered away at morning recess and was found within minutes in a nearby storm retention pond in cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
It’s absolutely the worst nightmare of any parent, and impossible to comprehend the pain the deceased boy’s family, friends and the school community are enduring. As social media lit up with the news, many expressed their support for the school, and inexplicably, just as many started pointing fingers and speculating on the cause.
Perhaps this is predictable. When we’re looking for a way to process the unimaginable, we want to find someone upon whom to lay responsibility. What really blew my mind, however, was the parents wringing their hands not over the deceased child, but over the way they felt they personally had been treated.


Pregnant pilot gets “Grounded” in Live Five’s first play of season

Hunting terrorists by day and spending time with family by night: These are the contrasting realities of a top-notch fighter pilot who is reassigned to operating drones after becoming pregnant.
The pilot’s interesting story will unfold during the upcoming production of Grounded, which will kick off Live Five Independent Theatre’s 14th season when the play opens this month.
Kate Herriot, a local theatre artist who recently delighted audiences during the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival, stars in the award-winning one-woman show that is directed by Gordon Portman.
“It’s just me up there, all by myself,” Herriot said in a recent interview.
“I think maybe from people seeing one-person shows at the Fringe, they often assume it’s one person playing many characters. But, in this case, I’m just telling the story from the perspective of the pilot.”


First Nation storytellers can make me laugh, cry

“Where do you get your stories from?” is the question I am asked most often. Frankly, some of the stories are not mine. They are stories people have shared with me and have given me permission to write.
As a First Nations person I know the importance of oral storytelling. It’s a tradition that has carried on from generation to generation.
My job is to ensure the story is respectfully relayed from the original storyteller into a journalistic format. I am now going on my third decade as a writer and during all those years I have enjoyed the honour of hearing stories that date back to before time was even measured.
My favourite times are when I am able to sit around listening to a group of elders. This does not mean only First Nations elders because I have done many stories of other nations.