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Gardenscape runs from March 23 to 25 at Prairieland Park. Please see our story on Page 4.
(Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)
Pinty’s curling, the Blades, Michelle Obama and more

We will be the home of a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event in 2019. That’s a first.
The Humpty’s Champions Cup, the final event of the season, will be played here from April 23 to April 28 next year.
Here’s the cool thing.
The event will be played at Merlis Belsher Place, the home of the hockey Huskies and a tonne of other great things.
The arena will seat approximately 3,400, which is enough for every curling event that figures to come along with the exception of the Tim Hortons Brier.
For example, we haven’t had the Scotties Tournament of Hearts here since 1991. SaskPlace was too big to give it the intimate feel that smaller venues can. Now there’s a perfectly-sized facility for it. Bring it on.

Vinnick comes home to shake the love around

Since moving to Ontario in 1992, Suzie Vinnick has amassed a shelf full of music awards, all of which salute the ability of the Saskatoon born-and-raised blues guitarist and singer.
Vinnick has won 10 Maple Blues awards, a Canadian folk music award as best contemporary vocalist of the year and earned three Juno award nominations. She has stepped onto an American stage in style, reaching the 2013 final of the international Blues Challenge in Memphis in the solo-duo category.
Vinnick comes back to The Bassment, home of the Saskatoon Jazz Society, on March 16 and one of her new calling cards is Shake The Love Around, the sixth album of her career. Vinnick sings, plays electric and acoustic guitar, bass and lap steel and invited some friends to join in.
True to her Saskatchewan roots, there’s certainly more than a chunk of the Prairies on the new album because she had a hand in writing nine of the 12 cuts.

How many words does it take to cheer me up?

I had a blue, blue week.
I’d prefer not to get into the deeper reasons, but let’s just say I struggle with depression, and the second book thing is not going well. I’ve been stupid busy, and therefore tired. I have body parts that hurt. I am unimpressed with getting old.
If I think about it all too much, whammo. Blue. Dark blue.
This time, my husband took a different approach to cheering me up. I was whining about not feeling useful, vital, important — not to myself, not to my loved ones, and not to society. Where the hell is the point if you’re not accomplishing any of that?
Out of the dark blue (he does this sometimes — shifts gears, changes the subject before you can take a breath) he asked, “how many words have you written in your lifetime?”
Well, that shut me up. I had no idea, and after I quit being stunned, there was a secondary query which has come up before: why haven’t you kept every single thing you have ever written, my dear dope? Ken keeps a photo or a file of EVERYTHING. I’d repeat that to emphasize the point, but I already put it in capital letters.

Classical, choral music featured in upcoming concerts

Are you a classical or choral music fan? Is chamber music your jam? If so, you’re in luck: there are three excellent concerts coming up.
Here’s a quick glimpse at them.
Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky 6
There’s been a lot of praise recently for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO). Audience members have been pleased with the SSO’s diverse programming as well as the high-quality performances on offer.
“Frankly, I think the orchestra is playing the best it ever has,” says executive director Mark Turner. “Our audiences, for the last few months, have been blown away by the SSO sound.”
Audience members should expect another exciting evening on March 24, when the SSO teams up with Canadian pianist Anastasia Rizikov. Rizikov will premiere her first performance of Camille Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor.

When will the U.S. come to its senses and put children first?

Our children are our future.
I hope for the sake of the American public that this adage is true, because it seems to me that it is America’s youth that are leading the charge for a change in their country to create a better and safer society for the future.
It was heart-wrenching to watch the recent coverage of yet another mass shooting in the U.S, where young students were killed because America’s politicians are more concerned about their political careers and election financing than they are about the people they represent.
America’s founding fathers, when writing the second amendment to their constitution in 1791, could not have foreseen a day when the “right to bear arms” would include ownership of deadly automatic weaponry that would be used to kill innocent citizens.
Back then, a weapon would have been of the “ball and musket” variety. It would have an effective range of maybe 175 yards and would have to be reloaded between shots. Nor would they have contemplated sniper rifles so that killing could be done at a distance and victims could not run for cover to save themselves or their children.


If it’s spring, it must be Gardenscape

Chris Rod is putting Saskatoon and Saskatchewan on the map with a national television show.
Rod developed a show that has been appearing on Toronto-based Filipino TV since January. The show happened almost by chance. In late 2016, Rod did impromptu interviews during a fundraiser at a nightclub. The footage was posted on Facebook as the Chris Rod Show. The project grew from those somewhat humble beginnings.
Rod wasn’t a stranger to holding a microphone. He was a DJ, writer and an event planner in the Philippines. He came to Saskatoon shortly after his wife, Kathleen, was offered a contract as a nurse. That was six years ago.
“When her application got approved it was a decision we had to make,” said Rod, whose surname is Rodriguez. “Canada has been very generous to medical practitioners, especially nurses. When she moved up here, it took me a while — probably a year after — to close up everything back home like the business.”
Rod wasn’t thinking about a television show when he arrived in Saskatoon. He wanted to get a job and bring a flavour of his homeland to the Filipino community here.


Fighting the carbon tax is futile

“The way (the previous Saskatchewan NDP government) treated the federal government, was one of hostility, and one that they wanted to approach everything with the idea that they would litigate their way out of problems rather than sit down and attempt to negotiate a deal.”
That was then-Minister of Justice Don Morgan in 2008, after announcing the newly-elected Saskatchewan Party was killing the idea of taking Stephen Harper’s conservative government to court over equalization transfers.
My, how times — and, of course, political alliances — have changed.
By not signing on to the federal government’s Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change plan, Saskatchewan has lost a guaranteed $62 million in funding for emission-reduction programs.
Opposition to a carbon-pricing system — one of the main pillars of the fed’s plan — is Premier Scott Moe’s stated reason for being the only province or territory in Canada to refuse to sign the document.