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We knew Joelle Tomlinson was going places. (Photo by Joanne Paulson)
Dakota Dunes tour stop is no more

When the tournament schedule for the MacKenzieTour -PGA Tour Canada is announced in a few weeks, a stop at Dakota Dunes won’t be on it.
The tournament that had become a mainstay on the summer calendar in our part of the world for nine years is no more.
Brian Decker, who handles media relations for the tour, said the tournament lost its title sponsor – SIGA – and couldn’t go ahead without one.
“Personally, it is a disappointment because I have been at the tournament for the last five years and enjoyed my time there,” Decker said. “We had a really successful relationship (with SIGA). … It was a great partnership we had with them.”
He said it is a fact in golf at all professional levels that title sponsors come and go.

Dr. Brian Graham:
Improving lung health for decades

Dr. Brian Graham admits there were touches of serendipity that influenced the way his career evolved into something special.
He started off in pursuit of an engineering degree when he first entered the University of Saskatchewan. Through happy circumstances, he chose biomedical engineering as a main career, not only contributing to research on a global scale but spending 32 years trying to battle lung diseases as the chief executive officer of the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.
Graham retired from the Lung Association at the end of December.
“I was a summer student at the National Research Council in Ottawa in 1971,” said Graham, “and there was a biomedical engineering department. I realized that was the area of work I’d really like to do and I could see the value of the application of engineering to human health projects.”


The university has some explaining to do

What in blazes is going on at the university?
I thought oil had been poured on the ruffled waters after the Robert Buckingham fiasco, which more or less wrapped up in the summer of 2015. I thought sanity had returned after a major chucking of dysfunctional administration.
Perhaps not.
Very briefly, you’ll recall that Buckingham, once dean of the School of Public Health, stepped out of line by criticizing the Transform US initiative. The powers, at the time, punished him by stripping him of his role and tenure, and frog-marched him off campus.
Hullaballoo ensued. A national conversation erupted over Buckingham’s freedom to express his concerns. The University of Saskatchewan tried shooting back, saying its senior faculty needed to toe the company line.

There are plenty of alternatives to a new $90-million library

Although 2016 ended on a high note with the birth of our grandson, I was otherwise happy to leave last year behind and welcome in 2017. I was optimistic that a better year was ahead.
Then I received my property tax assessment in the mail and I started to feel nostalgic for 2016.
I had read in The StarPhoenix earlier that the city’s core neighbourhoods were to be hit hardest on the new assessment, but I didn’t expect that the assessed value of my home would greatly exceed the real market value. I didn’t expect that my tax bill would go up by $1, 330 before the 2017 mill rate was applied to reflect the 3.85 per cent tax increase to support the approved budget.
After reviewing the assessment, I called the number provided to ascertain as to whether there was a mistake made. To be clear, the woman I dealt with at city hall was courteous, knowledgeable and even somewhat sympathetic to my concerns.

Transit photo exhibit makes commute more fun

An ambitious sculpture project started by a local artist nearly two years ago is continuing on into the new year.
It was back in April 2015 when Kathy Allen first vowed to create 5,000 keys made from various materials. So far she has finished more than 850 keys – and she’s not planning to stop until she reaches her goal. However, there is no fixed deadline attached to the project; instead, Allen plans to “enjoy the making of each key” and “let each key express its uniqueness.”
“I’m focusing on making 5,000 keys – they will take as long as they take,” she wrote in an email earlier this month.
“The number is enough for me at this point.”
Each key is unique, and Allen is open to using a wide variety of materials in her sculptures – particularly found and upcycled objects.


Love story started at service station

A timing belt brought Amy and Karl Peters together.
Amy Peters was having car troubles in 2002 and, on the recommendation of her grandfather, took it to a service station on Preston Avenue.
Working at the business was one Karl Peters.
We’ll let Amy take the story from here.
“When I went to pick up my car after it was repaired, I had asked the service writer for a little more information on the repair job. Karl came out with a timing belt in his hands and explained the job.
“At some point during the conversation he flashed me a smile and I recall thinking to myself, this is one handsome man. On my way out I inquired with one of his co-workers as to whether he was single or not. Turns out he was single and I asked him on a date. We were married eight years later.”


Must we look like slobs when we travel?

I’m writing this (well, the first part, anyway) overlooking a white sand Cuban beach. It was -50 C, or some such absurd thing, when we flew out of Saskatoon, so I have to say this feels nice.
Cuba. It’s my maiden voyage to this beautiful country, and after a few days I have many feelings on this place, but right now I think it’s safe to say they are mixed.
This morning I drove by one of the many propaganda-laden billboards lining the Cuban roadside. The sign, hand-painted as they all are, read “Socialism or Death.” After being here for even just this brief period of time, I definitely know which one I’d choose.
That said, it blows my mind that only a few hundred miles away sits my beloved Haiti, a free-market “democracy,” yet it may as well be on the opposite side of the earth given how it differs, for the worst, from Cuba, culturally, socially and economically.