School Mergers and the Maybe Not-So Missing Memorabilia

For the record, in compiling the candidate profiles for the current prairie dog issue and for this blog, I did absolutely no fact checking of the assertions made by the various candidates -- no fact checking, whatsoever.

And while I'd cringe a little when I'd stumble on claims by candidates that property crime is going up in Regina (based on the 2008 to 2009 stats, it's going down.... the number of crimes against people on the other had, is creeping upward), I simply didn't have time to dig into every claim by all 40-plus candidates. I was kind of hoping any errors would get ferreted out by their opponents over the course of the campagn.

Well, this afternoon in my inbox I received my first critique of a candidate profile. The e-mail comes from Barb Saylor who is one of the outgoing members of the Public School Board. She takes exception to some comments made by Cindy Anderson, a candidate for that board in Subdivision 4. I'm reprinting the pertinent portion of Barb's email below....
"I must correct an impression left by Cindy Anderson as to the disposition of memorabilia from Robert Usher and other closed schools. She was on the transition committee, as her profile states, so she knows that there was indeed a plan, which included the transfer of sport-related plaques and trophies to a special cabinet beside the gym door at Thom; the tracking down of families whose students had memorial and other plaques in the schools; and a website with photos and descriptions of memorabilia, so that members of the public could ID them and claim them, if they wished. No doubt some unclaimed material was taken by members of the community, and that would be the items "in boxes, dispersed...." Items from Stewart Russell School went to Judge Bryant, including, with the blessing of Mr. Russell's family, his portrait and bio. I don't know specifically about items from Herchmer School, but consistency of practice already demonstrated would lead me to think that many are at Wascana School and others await the brand-new school to be built on the Herchmer site. This school will replace both Herchmer and Wascana, and will combine the heritage of both. My son's Grade 8 graduation picture will take its place somewhere in that building, whose construction and grand opening I plan to be around to see."
You can read Cindy's original comments on the Public School Board profiles page. If anyone wants to provide more insight into the disposition of memorabilia from closed schools, our blog is comment-enabled....

UPDATE [27/10/09, 09:47am]: A comment from Cindy Anderson has been posted which, in the case of Usher, disputes Barb Saylor's impression of how school memorabilia was handled. You can read it in the comments section below....

Election Issue: The Downtown Neighbourhood Plan

In the most recent prairie dog, we ran the top six municipal election issues as we saw them: poverty, the rental crisis, urban sprawl, transportation, recycling and waste, and recreation. I turned in a blurb on the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan that was bumped and seeing as it's otherwise just sit useless in my hard drive, I thought I'd post it here...


After many consultations, draft reports and delays, on September 21, city council passed it’s new Downtown Neighbourhood Plan entitled “Walk to Work”. It lays out a comprehensive and progressive vision for the centre of the city that will see it transformed over the next 25 years into the heart of Regina’s cultural, civic and business life.

If all goes according to plan, the moonscape of surface parking south of Victoria will become sites for new development, biking and walking will be better accommodated, transit will be improved in and out of the core, more residential development will begin to spring up downtown, and street-level business will be courted and encouraged.

All in all, we should slowly see downtown Regina become a greener, more vibrant and user-friendly place to be.

Already, plans have been unveiled to revitalize Victoria park and the streets around it, and a new condo-complex and hotel has been unveiled for downtown’s western gateway on the site of the Plains Hotel.

City hall seems pretty happy with the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. There were figurative high-fives all round the day it passed council, and it seems to be moving full steam ahead.

So why is it an election issue?

Because as the plan unfolds, there will be room for a new council to interpret it, ignore it, circumvent it or -- dare I suggest? -- sabotage it.

Sure, it will be made into a bylaw and incorporated into the Official Community Plan, but council has shown this is no guarantee that it will be followed in the long run. Over the last year, apartments were converted to condominiums despite objections from city staff and city policy. Apartment blocks were approved in commercial zones in contravention of guidelines in the Official Community Plan.

No plan or policy, it seems, is sacrosanct forever.

And yet to be fair, when I have pressed sources within the city's administration about this, they have responded that the various elements within the plan are too interconnected for any of its parts to be ignored, rewritten or interpreted in ways contrary to their intent. Here's hoping they're right.

Despite the boons it promises for the city, the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan is not without costs. And they may be costs that future councils will be unwilling to carry.

Without cheerleaders on council -- and based on their profiles and public statements alone, it’s not always obvious who among the challengers for council are such -- the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan could conceivably wither and die.

More Candidate Profiles: Who Else is Running for Public School Board?

The last few profiles are trickling in. Here are two more candidates for Public School Board....

Subdivision 2
APRIL BOURGEOIS says she's running because she became alarmed to find out her kids were in a school slated for closure and believes the current school board doesn't represent the majority of Reginan's views. Read April's complete profile.
April is running against incumbent Barbara Young and you can read her profile in this post.

Subdivision 4
CHAD BLENKIN says he's running because he believes the school board needs strong leadership to secure our children's future and he has the experience to be a strong candidate for that role. Read Chad's complete profile.
Chad is running against Cindy Anderson and Frederick Rackow. You can read their profiles here.

I anticipate one or two more profiles will come in tonight and tomorrow so be sure to check back for those.

And, if you haven't already, be sure to check out the profiles for the mayoral, city council and Catholic School Board races and the complete list of Public School Board profiles.

31 Days of Horror: Les Diaboliques

Les Diaboliques (1955) has one of the most frightening endings ever shot on film. And the less said about the film, the better for people who haven't seen the movie.

Director Henri-Georges Clouzot was a master of suspense. His 1953 film Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fears) is one of the most intense films ever made. It featured a group of men who end up driving some highly unstable explosives to a burning oil rig.

Les Diaboliques is based on the novel Celle qui n'était plus (She Who Was No More) and there was a rumour that Clouzot and Alfred Hitchcock raced to buy the film rights to Les Diaboliques from novelists Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Clouzot won and Boileau and Narcejac wrote another novel, D'Entre les Morts (From Among the Dead), especially for Hitchcock who made it into Vertigo (1958).

I really don't want to give too much of the plot away. The film stars Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot and Paul Meurisse. And I think that's all I want to reveal. There was a very crappy remake made in 1996 that starred Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani and was directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik - the man responsible for the really crappy The Avengers movie. This film, unlike the remake, is masterpiece of terror and a must see.

Former Regina Musician Wins Songwriting Award

Best-known to Regina audiences as a founding member of the local alt-rock band Rah Rah, Kyrie Kristmanson has enjoyed continued success as a musician since leaving the city a few years ago to study music and humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa. In 2007, she received the Canadian Folk Music Award for Young Performer of the Year. Today, it was announced that she had won the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award from the Ontario Arts Council for her song "Song X". (CBC Radio)

The award (which comes with a sweet 1,000 cash prize) goes to an emerging Ontario folk, roots or country singer-songwriter. It's named after the late Juno-winning country roots artist Colleen Peterson who also made her mark along with Sylvia Tyson, Caitlin Hanford and Cindy Church in the group Quartette.

Recently returned to Ottawa after a year spent studying Medieval women troubadours in Lyon France, where she also opened concerts by Feist in Paris and Hawksley Workman in Paris and London, Kristmanson will perform at the National Arts Centre's Fourth Stage in Ottawa on Nov. 3.

So congrats to Kyrie, and best wishes for continued success.

Candidate Profiles: Who's Running for Catholic School Board

To date, we've looked at the Public School Board race, the city council race and the mayoral race. Now, finally, we take a look at the candidates running for Regina's Catholic School Board.

The Catholic board, incidentally, runs on an at-large system as opposed to a ward system, so the seven people who get the most votes out of the nine running will become board members.

After going over the profiles, it turns out that for some strange reason, it's only in the Catholic School Board race that we have candidates who identify themselves as Spocks -- up until now, we've been awfully Kirk and Scotty heavy. Also, the Catholic Board boasts what I consider the best selection of arch enemies, including Father Time, the Borg and Satan. To find out who picked what, read on....

says he is running for re-election because children represent the future and deserve the best preparation possible. Read Jerry' complete profile.

says she is running for re-election because she wants to advocate for Catholic education and maintain its distinctiveness. Read Vicky's complete profile.

says he is running because education has been a life-long passion. Read Gerald's complete profile.

JOHN STEVENSON says he is running because he believes in the importance of quality, Catholic education, and that the Catholic school system should not be taken for granted. Read John's complete profile.

RICK TURCHENEK says he is running for re-election because he has the skills and abilities to address the challenges the board will face in the future. Read Rick's complete profile.

BERT YAKICHUK says he is running because he is concerned about the long-term viability of quality Catholic education. Read Bert's complete profile.

We are still hoping to get profiles from Robert Bresciani, Donna Ziegler and Frank Fiacco. When we do, we'll post them.

Six In The Morning

In case anyone's wondering, Saskatoon's just fine. People are happy, they're filling the pubs, they're smashing glasses and making their poor servers cry. All in all it's a regular carnival of parrr-taaay. Also, beware of downtown clothing stores, they may hurt your credit card. Owie.


NO-SMOKING RIDES Province is considering banning smoking in cars with children and smoking on outdoor patios. Hard to argue with the first, but the second? Hmmm. Any of you smokers have opinions on this? (CBC)

PROMOTING THE CITY OR STEALTH CAMPAIGNING? Mayoral contender Jim Elliott criticizes Mayor Pat Fiacco for participating in the Bon Jovi concert announcement. (Leader-Post)

CANADA SHIPS PREGNANT WOMAN TO HER DEATH Here's a horrible story that's a good reminder of why refugee claims need to be taken seriously. Notable quote: "On Tuesday, Parliament's citizenship and immigration committee voted 6-5 to establish an appeal division to hear the cases of failed refugee claimants. All five Conservative MPs voted against it." (Toronto Star)

AMERICA, ALBERTA AND THE TARSANDS The United States is sending mixed messages about Alberta's money-making, civilization-threatening oil sands project. Here's a report from late last week. (Globe and Mail)

ACCUSED MASS-MURDERING SON OF A BITCH BOYCOTTS HIS TRIAL Eat shit and die, Radovan Karadzic. (Guardian)

AFTER REFORM The New York Times' Paul Krugman writes about his country after health care reform becomes law. Good piece! (New York Times)

Candidate Profiles: Who's Running for Public School Board?

So far we've looked at the candidates for the mayor's office as well as the candidates running for council. Today, we're looking at the candidates running to become school trustees. First up, the race for spots on the Regina Public School Board.

If you're wondering who chose what superpower and where your potential trustee likes to eat, the answers are below. Plus, we didn't forget to ask the candidates where they stand on the school board's controversial 10-year renewal plan...

Subdivision 1
TIMOTHY STOBBS is the winner by acclamation in Subdivision 1. He says he ran for school board because his son is in the system and he wants to be involved in it. Read Timothy's complete profile.

Subdivision 2
APRIL BOURGEOIS says she's running because she became alarmed to find out her kids were in a school slated for closure and believes the current school board doesn't represent the majority of Reginan's views. Read April's complete profile.
BARBARA YOUNG says she's running for re-election to school board because she wants to empower teachers and help all students become successful learners. Read Barbara's complete profile.

Subdivision 3
LARRY DAVIS says he's running because he believes the current board has not been entirely forthcoming about the school closure process. Read Larry's complete profile.
SHAUNEEN PETE says she's running because, through her 20 years of involvement in the education system, she has gained an understanding of what the community values in education. Read Shauneen's complete profile.
DALE WEST says he's running for re-election because he wants to continue the good work that has taken place over the last term. Read Dale's complete profile.

Subdivision 4
CINDY ANDERSON says she is running because she believes the current board has lost touch with what parents are telling them about their schools. Read Cindy's complete profile.
CHAD BLENKIN says he's running because he believes the school board needs strong leadership to secure our children's future and he has the experience to be a strong candidate for that role. Read Chad's complete profile.
FREDERICK RACKOW says he is running because he wants to increase resources for all students and teachers in the system Read Fred's complete profile.

Subdivision 5
CARLA BECK is the winner by acclamation in Subdivision 5. She says she ran for school board because she wants to promote the value of small, walkable, neighbourhood schools. Read Carla's complete profile.

Subdivision 6
DEBRA CONLIN says she is running because she wants to be part of making positive choices regarding the future of the public school system. Read Debra's complete profile.
KATHERINE GAGNE says she is running because she wants to give students and teachers the benefit of a strong school system. Read Katherine's complete profile.
DON WREN says he is running because education is the foundation of a person's life and he wants to help provide children with the education they need to fulfill their potential. Read Don Wren's complete profile.

Subdivision 7
ANGELA FRASER is the winner by acclamation in Subdivision 7. She says she ran because she is passionate about education and wants to be part of the decision making that affects the school boards present and future. Read Angela's complete profile.

UPDATE [17/10/09, 10:10am]: I've just added April Bourgeois and Chad Blenkin's profiles to this list.

Pick of the Day: My Evil Twin

If you pick up the Oct. 22 edition of prairie dog you'll find my review of this exhibition in the AfterHours section. It's the final instalment in a three-part series on the theme of the double or doppleganger curated by the MacKenzie Gallery's Timothy Long.

In pop culture, as I note in the review, the evil twin is a narrative staple. Here's video excerpts from two famous examples to show what I mean -- the classic Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror where Kirk, Scotty, Bones and Uhuru get switched with their counterparts in a parallel universe when an ion storm causes a transporter glitch; and a Hallowe'en-themed episode of South Park called Spooky Fish where the boys face danger when a portal opens into an alternative universe due to a pet store owner's desecration of an old Indian burial ground. (YouTube)

That tradition is alluded to in this show, particularly in the work of Toronto artist Kristan Horton who's created a photo-montage replicating select scenes from Stanley Kubrick's 1964 Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove. But at its core the show, which also includes work by Janieta Eyre (Toronto, and whose work is pictured above), Maria Hupfield (Vancouver) and Julian Rosefeldt (Berlin), affords viewers a fascinating opportunity to explore complex issues like individual identity, the vagaries of human behaviour, cloning and even ethnic stereotyping.

My Evil Twin runs until Jan. 4. Oct. 30, the gallery is hosting a screening of David Cronenberg's twin-themed thriller Dead Ringers. Then on Nov. 5 Robin Poitras and Benoit Lachambre will present a dance performance tied to the exhibition.