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Paradise Beach has long been a summer hotspot in Corman Park.
(Express File Photo)
We’re no longer in Paradise

Karen Smart called one day and said she had a story idea for us.
She said a Saskatoon couple was about to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. She said Phat Minh and Them Thi Tran were among the hundreds of thousands who became known as Boat People. She said there is a story to be told. She was right.
I have long had an interest in the people who bravely shoved off from shores of South Vietnam at the end of their country’s war. The Trans didn’t know where life would take them. They only knew it was no longer going to be in their homeland.
An estimated 25 per cent of those hundreds of thousands that fled died at sea. The Trans had innumerable brushes with death between 1975 and 1980 when they arrived in Saskatoon.
Karen’s call was like a dream come true for a writer.


Don’t check out my Facebook page; you won’t like it

In considerably less than two weeks, people across the country who care about freedom of speech, inappropriate and over-the-top penalties, and conversations around health care (and other important things) raised more than $26,000 for Saskatchewan nurse Carolyn Strom.
I have seldom felt quite so exercised about an issue, and am delighted to see that Strom will have her ridiculous sentence for questioning her grandfather’s care in a Macklin health facility paid for. With any luck, her appeal of the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association’s (SRNA’s) decision and financial penalty will also be successful. If so, the funds raised will go to seniors’ advocacy.
Strom, in a Facebook conversation, called her grandfather’s care ‘subpar’ — leading to the SRNA’s disciplinary process. The SRNA alleged that the failed to use proper channels for complaint and did use her status as a nurse for personal purposes. Whether that’s true or not, $26,000 and months of hearings are insane.

Art Battiste
A life in civil service, sport and advocacy

Art Battiste has been a community dynamo ever since 1995, throwing himself particularly into seniors’ issues. Yet his community service, at levels from provincial to federal, has been a constant in his adult life.
Battiste was a civil servant from 1967 to 1991, hired first by the Saskatchewan government, then by the Nova Scotia government, and then by the Secretary of State’s department in Ottawa.
“You were a servant of the government of the day,” said Battiste, who enjoyed his roles and worked for many influential Canadians even though “senior civil servants were order-in-council appointments hired, or perhaps fired, at the pleasure of the government in power.”
In Saskatchewan, he was a civil servant in the days when Ross Thatcher, Alan Blakeney and Grant Devine were premiers and later a consultant for Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert. He worked in Ottawa when Pierre Trudeau was in power, then Joe Clark and back again into Trudeau days.

Boyan Dance celebrates 50 years with big show

What started as a small group in a church basement decades ago has since become a thriving cultural organization in Saskatoon.
Since 1967, Boyan Ukrainian Dance Association Inc. has been offering Ukrainian dance instruction to local youth ages four to 18. On April 29, Boyan will celebrate its 50th anniversary with an event at TCU Place that starts at 7 p.m.
“What we have tried to do is piece together part of our history with our present, and we found some video footage of dances from many years ago. We’re going to blend that in with our new dances,” said Boyan president Sherry Rawlyk.
“We have tried to get the word out to as many alumni (as possible) — for old board members, parents, dancers, instructors. So, actually, on our committee is one of the first dancers with Boyan — and then she instructed with Boyan — and so it’s been really good to have all this alumni, because there’s all this history. We’ve spent the past almost two years trying to get pictures and information and year-end concert programs and stuff like that, just to kind of put together a little timeline for people.”

Public firing of Bill O’Reilly a great reckoning

And with wrath did the Lord smite the philistine Bill O’Reilly.
Of course, this assumes God is a man because if God was a woman, O’Reilly and his ilk would have been long gone generations ago.
Some, but not all, of the older generations of men might be feeling a tad sorry for dear old Bill, but women across the generations will not.
Old Bill harassed, verbally abused and sexually molested women for decades with the blessing of his employer, Fox News. Over the years, up and coming young women who objected to his advances or abuse, in many instances, lost their jobs and/or had their careers ruined before those careers could take off.
However, with the advance of technology, it was no longer a “he said, she said” scenario because some women managed to get recorded evidence of the abuse and consequently, if nothing else, got million-dollar settlements. But money doesn’t take away the sting of watching your dreams of a career turn into a nightmare of disappointment.


Fleeing Vietnam
High drama at sea as family attempts escape

This is the second story in a series.
Kim Tran remembers her father standing on their boat with a grenade in his hand.
Phat Minh Tran had a plan to get his family out of war-ravaged Vietnam. If all went well, a tugboat would take his family to the freedom they lost when South Vietnam fell to the North on April 30, 1975. If not, the grenade was an option.
The Trans were among the hundreds of thousands of people who fled from Communist rule in Vietnam. An estimated quarter of those people died. The Trans were lucky ones, although the five years between the war ending and the family arriving in Saskatoon were harrowing on both land and sea.
Phat Minh Tran owned a shipyard in Saigon. His family of 10 children lived on a beautiful acreage. When Saigon fell, Tran moved to a small city named My Tho, where he worked salvaging ships. His family remained in their Saigon home and would for another six months.


Sask. Party support for libraries takes radical shift

“In times of economic hardship such as we’re going through right now, libraries are used even more by people than they are in good times . . . with the cutbacks that the libraries have suffered, library boards have had to reduce the service that they’ve been able to provide to people.
“They’ve had to reduce their material budgets; they’ve had cuts in salaries and hiring freezes; they’ve had the reduction of maintenance and other services, cutbacks of hours of services in libraries, and the reduction of inter-library loans.” — Saskatchewan government committee meeting, Aug. 6, 1987.
That’s right. 1987.
Saskatchewan NDP Opposition MLA Anne Smart was responding to the Devine government’s decision to abolish the Saskatchewan Library, reassigning oversight of public libraries to the Ministry of Education, while simultaneously cutting funding to regional libraries by 10 per cent and city libraries by 30 per cent.
Then-Education Minister Lorne Hepworth countered Smart by first citing how much money libraries had received from his government in the past, and then pointing to the modernization of library systems, including “microfiche and microfilm and all those kinds of things, and computerized access systems . . . of the information age,” as the reason libraries were basically on their way out.