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Marleigh Mandzak, as Harley Quinn, and Michael Mandzak, as the Eleventh Doctor from Doctor Who, were among the 8,800 to attend the Saskatoon Expo (Photos by Sandy Hutchinson)

Cool cast of characters at Expo

I have never had so much fun feeling so out of place.
Sandy and I went to the Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo two weekends ago at Prairieland Park. I had planned to catch up with an acquaintance who now lives in Calgary. He was scheduled to be at the event promoting his two books. Sadly he wasn’t there. Happily we were, along with 8,800 other people.
As Sandy took photos, I would ask people for their names and for the names of the characters they represented. I recorded it so I could decipher it later.


Paper to Screen
Authors have mixed emotions on adaptations of books

Yann Martel, a pillar of Saskatoon’s literary community since 2003, has enjoyed his flirtation with Hollywood.
His book, Life of Pi, published in 2001, was transformed into a major motion picture that emerged with critical success by being nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture, in 2012. It collected four Oscars, including one for its director, Ang Lee.
Life of Pi is the story of an Indian boy who explores spirituality and practicality, including what he learned in the company of a Bengal tiger, while being shipwrecked for 227 days.

Irish eyes smiling at new Saskatoon pub

Clive Atkins is living his dream.
Twelve years ago, Atkins fell in love with the bar industry. “Someday, I’ll own a bar. It’s going to be easy,” he thought.
It wasn’t easy, but he owns a bar, along with partners Barry Willick and Nathan Willick. Atkins is also the general manager of Fionn MacCool’s, while Nathan is the assistant GM.
Fionn MacCool’s opened Monday on Second Avenue South, next door to Galaxy Cinemas.
Atkins started bartending as an 18-year-old in Medicine Hat. He moved to Saskatoon almost 10 years ago to gather more experience in the industry. He worked and managed a number of bars in the city. Almost two years ago, he approached his father-in-law, Barry Willick, with the idea of going into business together.


An officer and a survivor
Light the Night walk set for Oct. 5

It can be easy to believe police officers are invincible. They are often the first to respond when we need help, and the first to protect us when we need it the most.
Jason Jacobson is a Saskatoon police officer. He is also a husband and father. While he is not invincible, to many people he is a hero.
In 2010, the then-33-year-old Jacobson was having a good year. He had just applied for, and been awarded, a coveted position with the Saskatoon Police Service. He had spent three weeks working at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and curled as an alternate in the Brier in Halifax.


We need to look after our transit customers

Question: Will there be refunds for citizens who have purchased bus passes?
Mayor Atchison: We want to sign a contract; that is the first thing we want to get done. People have purchased bus passes from the City of Saskatoon and they expected to have service provided to them. And now we are not providing that service. The administration has agreed that there will be refunds or extensions for all pass holders including UPass and EcoPass customers. We have to make sure we do the best we can for our customers. They bought passes in good faith. We need to look after them.

It’s been a struggle to finally be free

It’s been years since I felt this free. It’s been so long I almost forgot what freedom is.
I mean real freedom, not just the freedom one gets when walking out of a prison. This is a feeling that comes from the human spirit. I have spent more than a few nights in different institutions. It varied from a single night in the local drunk tank to more than two years in Canada’s penal system. Even though it’s been almost 30 years since I was last sentenced to a term in a crowbar hotel, it still feels like it wasn’t that long ago.

Was the lockout a pension-plan dispute in disguise?

Years back, while serving on the school board, I was involved on the management side of a lockout. It was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
To make a long story short, at that time the teachers had exercised their option of rotating walkouts. As the rotating strikes escalated, the onus on the division for “duty of care” and the safeguarding of students during the dispute became impossible to meet. For that paramount reason the board voted to lock out teachers and close schools pending settlement of the contract.

Flaunting attendance at gala bad optics for civic leaders

It’s difficult to write a column in a weekly publication about a situation as fluid as the Saskatoon transit lockout. It’s not, however, difficult to write a weekly column about optics. Because the basic rules that apply to managing optics — whether for an individual or organization — really never change.
Which is why it was so utterly jaw-dropping that on the same evening that the lockout took effect, the mayor and some members of city council opted to stay and continue to party at a TCU Place gala. Not only staying, as buses were returning to the barns, but cheerfully tweeting pictures of themselves in black tie against the backdrop of their $350 dinner plates.

Spreading the word on mental-health illnesses

CLARA HUGHES is a woman on a mission. One of Canada’s most outstanding athletes ever is cycling across our country on what is being called Clara’s Big Ride.
Her goal is to bring awareness to mental-health illnesses. Like so many Canadians, Clara struggles with depression.
“This is going to be an epic journey, the ride of my life. And it’s all for awareness of mental health, breaking down the stigma when it comes to mental illnesses,” she told CBC.

Living with anxiety
People don’t understand panic attacks, but I do

I’m having a bad day.
It is not like this every day. Today is one of the really bad ones. I am feeling anxious.
The anxiety has been controlled to a large extent. I remember the hundreds of days when it wasn’t.
I would leave restaurants in the middle of meals. Sandy was left to either eat alone or follow me out the door. After she paid the bill that is. I would leave movies, leaving her to watch them alone. I remember watching Titanic from the door of the theatre; gosh, it was a long movie. Once, when we were in Las Vegas, we had fourth-row centre seats for Mama Mia.

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