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Professional sports fan Cameron Hughes was a hit at the April 16 Rush game. Hughes, who is based in Ottawa, has cheered for home teams 1,125 times during his career. (Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)
Rush attendance over the moon

Saskatchewan Rush games have become known as experiences.
More than 15,027 of us packed into the SaskTel Centre on April 16 to experience the team’s final regular-season game.
A total of 105,637 people watched those nine National Lacrosse League games here. That’s an average of 11,737 per game. The 15,027 fans at the last game raised the roof so high after every Rush goal — and even for a sweaty guy throwing t-shirts into the crowd — maybe a row or two of seats could be added at the top of the building.
Along the way, games became like rock concerts. Young people have made the experience fun. Some even wear their clubbing finery to games. You get everything in the stands from John Deere mesh to micro mini.


Perry always welcome at our home

There was a Mallard duck on our roof one day last week. He must have been there 15 or 20 minutes, and didn’t bat an eye when my husband and I went out to gaze at and photograph him. Him. He had the bright coloration of a beautiful and healthy male Mallard.
“What’s he doing there?” I asked my better half.
“He says he’s a peregrine falcon,” said better half, who thinks he’s funny.
But I thought, yes, exactly. I’ve personally never seen a duck on a roof. Falcons like roofs. Ducks do not. Falcons are predatory birds; ducks eat grain and other plants (along with a few little fish.)
Here’s the other thing. Mallards are hardly unknown in cities, but don’t nest in trees, or, like, on roofs. I have this on good authority: Hinterland Who’s Who, that Canadian institution of nature information.

Silver Spoon memories
Jan Gitlin reflects on 26 years of celebrity guests

As the 26th annual Silver Spoon Dinner approaches, Jan Gitlin, one of its founders, is putting the finishing touches on this year’s plans.
The Silver Spoon, sponsored by Saskatoon CHW (Hadassah-WIZO) and Congregation Agudas Israel, will be held May 9, and its star attraction this year is Canadian singer-songwriter-pianist Chantel Kreviazuk. A special part of the evening is the introduction of the Sterling Award winner presented to a woman for outstanding volunteer service in Saskatoon.
Gitlin said the dinner concept began in 1991 when Hadassah was looking for a new fundraising event after its long-running annual bazaar lost some of its market appeal because of the sudden popularity of neighbourhood garage sales.
The first of the guest stars were virtually chosen by committee, but since 1994, she has been the main connection with speaking bureaus and entertainment agencies. She now holds the double roles of celebrity chair and media relations chair. She seeks the talent, signs the agreements and is first on hand with a limousine to greet the guest stars at the Saskatoon airport.

Lockdown policy needs review after terrifying experience

When I went to school, we had fire drills — a noisy, but usually exciting affair.
The alarm was violently loud. We would line up beside our desks and dutifully march outside. A quick scan of the exterior of our (brick) school would always reveal the obvious — everything was fine.
Which was always a bit of a letdown.
Teachers would do their headcounts, often while sneaking in a quick cigarette, and then we’d all stream back inside.
Now the drill du jour is the lockdown drill, used to prepare the students for a school shooter. It’s a somewhat more involved procedure, with an announcement over the loudspeaker advising teachers and students that there’s, well, a lockdown in effect. The teacher then locks the door, hits the lights, and together with the entire class, huddles in whatever “hiding” spot they think best ensures a cover from an active shooter.

A riotous good time: Art melds with pop culture

The Artists’ Loft on a sunny spring afternoon is a riot: a riot of colour, and a riot of humour.
On the colour side, bright paintings depicting landscapes and animals are on the walls, lying on the floors, stacked sideways ready for hanging. Artists’ Loft owners Denyse Klette and Cheryl Tuck-Tallon apologize for the “mess,” but what is an art studio supposed to look like when an installation is looming?
On the humour side, there is plenty of joking and laughter, mostly when Austin Powers comes into the conversation. But what does a comic movie character have to do with art?
Well, not a lot, but the rather naughty humour in the movie comes thematically into Artists’ Loft next show and sale, called Mini Me: Yeah, Baby, Yeah.
For the uninitiated, a character known as Dr. Evil in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is sent back in time and cloned. The clone, however, is only one-eighth the size of Evil, who promptly dubs him Mini Me.


Partnerships help make our city strong

Question: You delivered your State of the City address on April 19. What is the state of the city?
Mayor Atchison: The state of the city is strong, vibrant and successful. We are a city with hope and opportunity for everyone and every family. There are three figures that help tell that story: 90,000 people have moved here in the last 15 years, 50,000 jobs were created in the last decade and the economy has grown by 70 per cent since 2005. The current economy is certainly challenging, but there are always challenges. We have to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Standard and Poor’s continues to give the city a Triple A credit rating. I keep hearing from some people that the city is going broke. Not true. For the 13 years of my term, Standard and Poor’s has always given us a Triple A rating. You can’t get any better than that. There is no organization more open and transparent than our city is with Standard and Poor’s.

Kudos to the Blades for their community spirit

During the boom decade, the quest of civic leadership has been to grow our city to a half million people. With the rapid growth we have seen came some of the big city downsides, such as excessively high housing costs, large property tax increases and higher crime rates. Hand-in-hand with that came growing policing budgets, a greater need for the food banks and a general demand for more services. As it is with all booms, some profited greatly and others fell by the wayside.
It seemed like our nice, neighbourly, family-friendly city was giving way to a dog-eat-dog society. And then a group came forward to remind us that Saskatoon still has a small city heart and soul. I speak of the Saskatoon Blades and their request for city council support to build an outdoor rink in the inner city.

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.