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Beavers have done a number on trees in Victoria Park. (Photo by Steve Gibb)
Dodger more than just a pretty face

My family has a dilemma. Do we report ourselves because our dog barks a lot?
The new barking bylaw will read something like this: A neighbour can document your dog’s poor barking behaviour for five days, at which time the City will issue a warning. After another round of monitoring, you can be fined.
Dodger may be cute as all get out, but he is a barking machine. More a yelper than a barker, actually. And most of his yelping me-me’s are in the house. Thus, our dilemma about turning him into the City.
Start the shower. Yelp.
Start the electric razor. Yelp.
Put on a coat. Yelp.
Put on shoes. Yelp.
Open front door. Yelp. Yelp. Yelp.
He even yelps when I take ice cubes out of the freezer. He’s driving me to drink and wrecks it for me.

In a better place
Residential hospice needed in city, group says

When it’s Carol Janzen’s time to die, she would prefer not having to spend her final days in a care home or a palliative care unit in a hospital.
That is unlikely, though.
Janzen survived breast cancer in the late 1990s. She was diagnosed with cancerous tumours in both of her lungs about five years ago. The tumours are now growing. She had a heart attack in January.
“I’m doing not too bad,” she said with a smile. “I’m holding my own. And that’s OK. I’ll take that.”


Plane another tool in the police service’s kit

Question: I recently saw on the CBC news that a Saskatoon police airplane was deployed to help catch an 18-year-old woman who was painting graffiti. While I don’t condone illegal graffiti, doesn’t this seem like a gross waste of police resources?
Mayor Atchison: The plane is up there for more than graffiti. It’s up there to keep the people of Saskatoon safe: speeding, break and enters and crimes where police are chasing a suspect. In this case, the airplane was in the right place at the right time. I want to remind everyone that graffiti reduces property values by approximately 15 per cent, and that’s a significant amount. When newcomers move into our community, they look at neighbourhoods to see if there is graffiti.

Dad has always been something to me

I’ve never known my dad to be afraid of anything. However, the look in his eyes recently told a story of fear. My dad is now in his 80s. For most of his life he was healthy, despite a lifestyle that would have ruined most others.
His left leg was amputated recently. It wasn’t because of diabetes, which is a major problem in First Nations communities. My dad’s leg got infected from a simple cut on his foot. The infection moved up his leg to a point where it had to amputated.
When he was informed about the amputation, he tried to laugh it off.
“Hey, my Indian name can now be Not Even,” he joked.


Willow Road
A journey of redemption, but it’s funny, too

What happens when an eager young nurse cares for her literary idol, and finds out he’s an impossible, caustic alcoholic?
That’s it for spoilers. Wendy Lockman is careful not to discuss the inspirations behind her play Willow Road, for fear that they may tweak a ruinous brainwave of recognition in an audience member before the curtain falls.
That being said, the Swift Current playwright does offer a few peeks inside the upcoming final play of the Live Five season at The Refinery.
“He just happens to be her favourite author in the world. She thinks she has nailed her dream job, but when she meets him she is quite surprised because he is sarcastic and bitter and difficult, and he’s an alcoholic. He is actually dying of liver failure.

  1. Duffy trial small potatoes in big picture

Mike Duffy is everywhere.
The embattled Canadian senator’s trial continues through this week, and will do so for many more — until the middle of June, if you can believe it.
The media coverage of Duff, as his friends call him – or used to call him, as the case may be – is robust, to say the least. Every major news network has live, daily coverage. Live, in that hordes of reporters are crammed into the Ottawa courtroom overheating their Twitter-machines, with more of them in an adjacent overflow room set up for more than 100 of the professionally curious to watch, and tweet, the trial’s events as they unfold on closed-circuit television.
There are specially installed risers outside the Ottawa courthouse so cameras can perfectly capture Duffy’s carefully choreographed, deliberately uneventful, entrance and departure.

Panhandlers pose little risk in city’s downtown

As sure as springtime brings green grass, it also brings complaints about downtown panhandlers.
Relatively speaking, there are only a handful of them. And, for the most part, they sit on the sidewalk with a hat or cup, sometimes with a pleading sign or mangy mutt, and generally just say “spare change” to passersby. On occasion, you will get one who offers a rude comment if you deny their benign request. Collectively, they pose little threat to the general public. I suspect they only cause psychological discomfort to the public because street people are a reminder that not all of our citizenry live the good life.
Although I am now retired, I was a 30-year working denizen of downtown, and became familiar with the regular panhandlers, each of whom had their turf staked out.

Keith McLean
Helped put city on top of softball world

Keith McLean is unabashed when he proclaims there isn’t anywhere in the world that organizes and promotes softball better than Saskatoon.
He first started to play softball in 1964. That’s a little better than 50 years ago. He’s played with teams such as the Rans Comets, TJs, K & K Olson in Senior B, and the Saskatoon Masters. He also coached with Brevoort Park boys, K&K senior A, senior B men and senior A women, the Masters and the Selects midget B girls’ team.
From those stepping stones came a deep involvement in administration. He ran national coaching clinics and has been a chair or co-chair of seven or eight national and world tournaments among the two dozen Saskatoon has hosted since 1975.

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.