Here’s my column that ran this week in which I slam a proposal floating around in this province to get rid of elections to the school boards.
Consultations have been on and the talk has been about reducing the number of boards, and to have them made up of appointed people. Nobody around here likes this proposal at all. It is so bad, in fact, that even Sask. Party government supporters are opposing it. This idea of unelected boards needs to hit the trash can, now.
Unfortunately for me, there was no mayor’s race to follow — Ryan Bater had won that race by acclamation a long time ago — but the council race was very competitive and I did my best to update our newspaper’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. It was hard, though. Among other things, the Facebook page I logged into kept on crashing, and kept on refusing to upload my pictures from inside City Hall. Somehow, we managed to get the results out, but it was a frustrating evening in a lot of ways.
Also, people kept on sending in messages asking us “what are the results in Battleford?” And the truth is nobody at City Hall had any idea what was happening in Battleford, because nobody was getting any updates from there at all. In fact, after the entire vote count was finished in North Battleford, I even went over to Battleford to see what was going on at the count there and find out if there had been any news. As it turned out, the doors had been locked at 8pm and they were still doing their count behind locked doors. So I sent out a Tweet basically saying they were still in there, counting votes. Eventually, we finally did get the results, but that was an adventure in its own right.
Overall, I’m glad this election is over, it was getting exhausting. While I enjoy political coverage, I wish this election in the Battlefords had been more lively than it was; the North Battleford mayor’s race was done on nomination day, there were no public election forums (except for a meet and greet at the Chamber offices) and voter turnout was low.
I would much rather have followed the exciting Saskatoon election, which saw a very hot three-way mayor’s race and a campaign that had gone on for several months, with plenty of election forums and debates set up. In that vote, Charlie Clark unseated Don Atchison, the man Rick Mercer once deemed the “Craziest Mayor in Canada”. (This was before Rob Ford came along, obviously.)
What might have put Clark over the top was an endorsement from, of all people, Zach Galifianakis. Who said Saskatoon wasn’t cool?
Not only did we have the Husky oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River that has sent communities scrambling to replace their water supply, but now we also have tornadoes! Seriously — it’s getting to be as bad as Oklahoma or Kansas. This past weekend, we had F-2 tornadoes hitting near the Yorkton-Melville area, one of them causing lots of damage to a farmhouse, and then just yesterday another one hit near Regina Beach!
Just today, our own region as well as central Alberta has also been under a tornado watch. As if we needed any more things to go wrong after this oil spill.
What’s next for us now, an earthquake? A missile strike by North Korea? Who knows?
Oh, and to top it off, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are a crummy 1-4 in the CFL under Chris Jones, and have just been slapped with fines by the league for violating the import ratio. So yeah, this whole province is in a good mood right now.
You are starting to see more promotion of it now, particularly at the various SIGA casinos which have been hyping UFC for the longest time. In fact, I may get to cover one of their pre-fight events. Randy Couture is scheduled to be at Dakota Dunes Casino on Whitecap Dakota First Nation on Saturday, and we got a media invitation from SIGA so as it stands now it looks like I’ll go — out of boredom, really.
The thing that bugs me the most has been the general lack of local media coverage for this UFC fight. I’m finally seeing quite a bit of coverage now in the Star-Phoenix, but apart from them it’s been terrible, and quite honestly I don’t get it.
Maybe I’m simply tuning into the wrong local TV and radio stations. In fact, that’s likely the entire problem — I need to listen to more FM hard-rock stations instead of these AM ones that tailor their programming to the boring people.
The province’s radio sports talk shows (AM radio, obviously) have barely spent any time on the UFC. I think CKRM spent about ten minutes on the UFC yesterday. Mainly, these folks continue to devote most of their efforts towards their nonstop obsession with the CFL and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (Who, I should point out, are 0-7.)
With all due respect to the ‘Riders, they aren’t going to be shown on Fox Sports 1 to millions of people in the United States, or around the world for that matter. This UFC Fight Night 74 event may not be the most compelling card in MMA history in terms of big names, but it’s the first UFC event in Saskatchewan and the biggest sporting event in the province this week, or even this year for that matter. Based on what I’m reading about what is in store at SaskTel Centre, it sounds like Saskatoon is in for quite a production. The card itself seems solid, and I understand ticket sales are strong.
People ought to be bloody excited! And who knows, maybe they are, but you wouldn’t know it from our media.
In any event, if you want any real coverage of this, forget CKOM/CJME, CKRM, and everyone else here, and tune in to MMAJunkie Radio on SiriusXM. Hopefully, they’ll say something about the fight. It’s sad that in order to find coverage of a Saskatchewan fight night that you must listen to a show from Las Vegas, but at least these guys are knowledgable.
As well, look for tons of articles on MMAJunkie at USA Today, and also SB Nation’s MMA Mania. There is also Fox Sports. And there are a few other sites such as MMA Fighting, MMA Weekly, Sherdog, Bloody Elbow and others. It is so cool seeing Saskatoon mentioned on various MMA fight websites that usually talk about big events in Vegas and places like that.
Here’s a roundup of some of the news out there about the fight night:
First, here is the card as it stands now.
Also, as you know there has been a slight change to the card as Neil Magny has replaced the injured Rick Story in the fight against Erick Silva.
Sportsnet has up this story about the Canadians on the card.
Here is a schedule of events going on throughout the Fight Week, which includes the UFC Experience, open workouts and autograph sessions with some of the fighters. I notice there will also be ones with the ring girls Chrissy Blair and Vanessa Hanson.
Finally, here’s a story about Brock Lesnar dissing Dana White’s sales abilities compared to Vince McMahon, a piece in which we are reminded that UFC Fight Night 74 in Saskatoon is up against WWE SummerSlam and therefore is going to be killed in the TV ratings.
Yikes! Well, hopefully somebody will tune in the fights on Sunday.
I am spending this evening watching the weather coverage focusing on southern Saskatchewan. The forecast for down there is frightening. There is a tornado watch in the southeast and the storm chasers have all descended on that area looking for the storm action. In many other parts of the province, there are predictions of very heavy rain and some major flooding.
Yikes! At least where I am, all we are getting is just some rain. We’ll let someone else get the really bad stuff, for a change. I’ll keep you posted.
The news from the other day is that the Saskatchewan government is finally legislating an athletics commission, with the commission expected to be up and running and able to accept applications by April. Rumors have been rampant for months about Saskatchewan as a possible locale for a UFC event, most likely at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon. This latest news about a fight commission should get the rumor mill flying even more, because up to now this lack of a commission was the one big holdup to getting MMA events held here.
According to the story that ran in the Star-Phoenix, UFC Canada has circled August 23 for an event in Canada, and has apparently placed holds on several buildings.
Here’s some food for thought: August 23 falls on a Sunday, and the event on that date is slated to be a “Fight Night” for Fox Sports 1. The longstanding rumor has always been that the first UFC event in Saskatchewan would be a “Fight Night”, not a pay-per-view event.
Other food for thought: I did some digging and found out the Saskatchewan Roughriders host a CFL home game the day before, on August 22 versus Calgary.
My point is, any UFC event on August 23 would have no direct competition with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which leaves the UFC free and clear to set an event for that night in the wheat province with no fear of a conflict and with every expectation of a sellout crowd. Surely Tom Wright, UFC Canada director of operations, realizes this as he used to be commissioner of the CFL.
Just adding to the rumor mill, folks. Doin’ my job.
You know what? I am sick and tired of our local big shots going around bragging to people here about how Saskatchewan is seen as a “destination” and “the place to be” when the evidence clearly points in the other direction.
Take this news yesterday about United Airlines pulling their Denver direct flights from Regina and Saskatoon. It was bad enough when United dumped their direct flights to Chicago six months ago. Now, they’ve dumped Denver, and keep in mind, we’ve had direct flights to Denver for years.
This surely means more annoying hassle for Saskatchewan travellers looking to go anywhere half decent. It’s bad enough we frequently have to change planes in Calgary or Edmonton or Toronto to get anywhere. Now we can’t even get to Denver without having to stop somewhere else first. That will surely add more time to the trip, and add to the cost. Plus, keep in mind, the real reason many people went to Denver was so they could transfer anyway. People travelled through Denver to save money on trips to LA or possibly Hawaii. Now, that option is gone.
I guess Delta direct flights to Minneapolis aren’t going away, and WestJet has direct flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix, but this United news is not good. Maybe Delta will pick the Denver route up, or WestJet, or someone else (Frontier?).
Travel inconveniences aside, this will likely not have a huge impact in the grand scheme of things. What this really is is more of a blow to Saskatchewan’s pride. It makes us look bad. For all the talk we are supposed to believe about how all the buzz is about our booming province and how everyone is dying to come here, the reality is we are still being treated like flyover country, same as always. Real destinations don’t get their only direct flights to Denver cut, or their only direct flights to Chicago cut. This is simply insulting.
In other news, local people are excited because Hillary Clinton is speaking tonight in Saskatoon at TCU Place. I guess because Hillary is here, this must mean we aren’t the boonies after all, right? We must be important!
Well, if we are, where’s the airline service to prove it? There. That’s my rant for tonight.
I have come to the sad conclusion that Saskatchewan is dull and boring. The proof came when I tuned in the local news the other day and found out the top story in all Saskatchewan was that it was hot out. Upwards of 40 Celsius with the Humidex, they said.
Folks in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cancun et al. must surely be doubling over in laughter at us. And they should, because a couple of days of hot weather is not news — not even in Saskatchewan, where life is usually miserable. But the way this was reported here by various places, you would have thought the hot weather was some sort of crisis.
When the best that local newsrooms can do for stories is have hot weather lead the news, it proves only one thing — this place is boring!
Sunshine and good weather is not news. This, however, is. (Be glad you are not in Ferguson, Missouri, right now.)
A word of advice to Saskatchewan people: enjoy summer while you can, because it won’t be long before it’s over.
You may have noticed a lot of empty seats at the Saskatchewan Roughriders home opener. No wonder, given the amount of flash-flooding that hit several communities today. Among the cities and towns that had state of emergencies were Yorkton, Melville, Carnduff, Redvers, and several others. Regina itself had several areas of town flooded. What a mess down there.
Fortunately for me up here, the situation was not as bad, but this is hardly what you would call a fun day — except the Riders won the game, pretty convincingly, so I guess that was the only good news.
I don’t know why I don’t simply pack my bags for Cancun like some of my coworkers are, given the continued horrendous winter conditions here in Saskatchewan. The weekend weather could dip as low as minus 40 Celsius before you are even counting the windchill. With the windchill it could drop below minus 50 C! In the month of March!
Even by Saskatchewan standards this is a new Arctic low. And folks in charge still think they can attract new workers here with these conditions.
Anyway, look on the bright side. At least we are not getting smog, like in China.
Are there any more winter escape deals to be had, anywhere south of here? Please, no offers for trips to Atlanta, I know all about their snow already.
We are now deep into mid-October, and while the weather around here in Saskatchewan is certainly colder than it was before, so far the snow is staying away and that is really the one thing I care about. I can handle a little cold, but snow? Well, that thought is just too depressing.
Other places, however, have had snow troubles of their own — particularly South Dakota which had to dig out from its recent BLIZZARD. Wow, so soon!?!
Normally I would say “better them than us,” except in this case their ranchers lost an enormous amount of cattle. That’s no good. Anyway, that’s what happens when winter shows up in your neck of the woods unexpectedly early.
Normally we would still be in hurricane mode in the Western Hemisphere, but as you know hurricane season has been pretty much a bust so far, with only the odd tropical storm making life hairy for some people in Mexico.
Other than that, it has been Asia who has been getting hit hard. This weekend Cyclone Phailin hit India and I watched some of the local news channels from India cover that one live. Those TV folks on NDTV and CNN-IBN looked like American hurricane reporters the way they were covering that storm.
There was a point in time when I was younger when I had this misguided notion that hurricanes and cyclones and typhoons might be entirely different things. Turns out these are pretty much all the same type of storm. The only difference is basically where and when they develop — apparently, cyclone season runs on a somewhat different calendar.
That’s all I really wanted to say about the weather. The reason I have this weird preoccupation with the forecasts right now is because it was around this same time last year that things really turned for the worse around here. The snow showed up way too early, and stayed right though spring. I guess I am hoping to see no repeat of that, so maybe we might have a snow-free Christmas around here, for a change.
Unfortunately the longer range forecast is suggesting there could be snow as soon as this weekend. Great — exactly what everyone in Saskatchewan is wanting to hear. Still, the forecast is also predicting there shouldn’t be too much of it and that it should melt quickly if it does show up.
Well, good. As far as I am concerned, at this point in the year every day that isn’t a snow day is a good day.
Unfortunately, I was too exhausted from my recent Denver trip to go to the Paul McCartney concert in Regina. I had looked into going, and there were apparently still tickets available but I was simply too lazy to snap any up.
A lot of the talk this week was about how the concert was still not sold out. The theories were going around about how a lot of Saskatchewan people were passing up McCartney tickets because of his anti-meat-eating stance. The cattle producers were apparently not amused one bit.
Anyway, it sounds like the people who did go to Mosaic Stadium for the concert were not disappointed. This concert was the biggest story in Saskatchewan yesterday.
I tuned in to CKOM yesterday and McCartney actually called the station to do a live interview just before the show. Here’s that account here.
Here’s a report on what transpired with today’s storms in Saskatchewan. Fortunately, it looks like the twisters touched down mainly in unpopulated rural areas.
A scary weather day is unfolding in Saskatchewan. Much of the southern portion of the province including Saskatoon and Regina are under Tornado Watches. There were already Severe Thunderstorm warnings out for a few places but those are now lifted, for the time being anyway.
Here’s what the Weather Network had to say about the situation. Chris Scott of the Weather Network already tweeted there were going to be “‘Oklahoma-style’ t-storms for Saskatchewan today.”
Whenever any forecasting higher-up invokes the word ‘Oklahoma’ to describe the weather situation, folks had better take notice. That’s exactly the type of word used to get peoples’ attention.
I have a few links to share on where Saskatchewan folks can get weather information today. Obviously, there’s Environment Canada Weather (including their radar page) and the Weather Network, but Twitter is a good resource by using the hashtag #skstorm.
As well, Tornado Hunter Greg Johnson plans to be live streaming today, and I expect the same activity over at TVN Weather. Also good in these weather situations is CKOM and CJME who usually cut in for live coverage in storm situations.
That’s all I have for now. Hopefully these storms today won’t be too terrible.
Just want to let you know people in Saskatchewan are very happy Winnipeg is hosting UFC 161 tonight at MTS Centre — but we’re also a little annoyed. Why them, and why not us?
People here in Saskatchewan want to get the ball rolling to bring a UFC event to Saskatchewan as soon as possible, especially since we have venues here to be able to do it. Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon is exactly the right size for the UFC. Even folks at the UFC seem interested in the idea. Heck, if they wanted to have a fight outdoors, they could even set it up at Mosaic Stadium. Yet nobody on high in Saskatchewan seems to be in any hurry to get an athletic commission established to make any UFC event a reality any time soon.
So while we are all sitting back and doing nothing, Manitoba has gone and beaten us to the punch yet again. This is getting to be sad and pathetic.
You know, folks in Saskatchewan like to look down on Manitoba and say what a nothing province that place is, compared to all our wonderful jobs and natural resources and so on. We keep on telling ourselves how great we are compared to them, but we really do need to face the reality that the province next door to the east has a lot more going on than we do these days.
Here’s some of what they have that Saskatchewan doesn’t have: (1) a film industry (we kicked ours out), (2) a major — underline, major — comedy festival, (3) professional baseball and a baseball stadium (Winnipeg Goldeyes), (4) an NHL TEAM!! (Winnipeg Jets), and (5) a brand-new CFL football stadium (something we might get one of these days).
I think they even have the ballet, too, come to think of it — not that I’m excited about that.
Now, Manitoba is going to have a sold-out UFC event and Sask. still isn’t even close. We ought to be embarrassed! We seem all too interested in passing up on sure-fire tourism dollars and exposure all over North America. People in Saskatchewan love the UFC and want to see fights here, yet nothing is happening. Just this week, CTV News did a story on how local fans aren’t getting a chance to see any UFC card here, all because we are too slow to get an athletic commission started. So as a result, our fans are having to leave the province to see fights, and our fighters are having to leave the province to fight, too.
For the moment, it looks like the closest we are going to come to seeing the UFC in Saskatchewan is watching the fight on TV at the local bar, as usual. Anyway, we really need to get moving with getting the UFC here. I’m sick and tired of seeing Manitobans have all the fun in life. That’s my rant about that!
Our hip province of Saskatchewan is hosting the 2013 JUNO Awards in Regina. Live blog coverage of that event can be found from the Leader-Post here. I plan to say more about this and other big events coming to our province in the days ahead.
Read a story where the UFC’s Canadian director of operations Tom Wright talked openly about bringing the UFC to Saskatchewan and possibly hosting an event here. His comments have understandably gotten all the local fight fans excited. Of course, the issue he identifies in the story is the familiar one of having no fight commission in place to regulate the pros.
It wouldn’t take much to change that, though — all you have to do is create a commission and then the UFC could come here in no time.
Honestly, I don’t know what this province is waiting for; they should get on with doing a deal to bring the UFC here. Among other things, the most suitable venue, Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, is exactly the right size to host a major UFC card. It would be the biggest sporting event to ever hit Saskatoon should it happen, and likely the biggest in this province, too –even more than the Grey Cup. There is no doubt an event here would sell out in no time flat.
Heck, I see how all these bars and casinos around here promote the UFC, and I see how much business they do on fight nights. These places are packed, folks.
One night, our newspaper held our Christmas party at a local establishment that was showing UFC fights, including one with Georges St.-Pierre. That place was just packed with fight fans cheering for GSP. So there’s no doubt in my mind the UFC would be a hit here in this province, just as it is everywhere else in Canada.
If you were to ask me when would be the perfect time to host a UFC fight card, the perfect time is the spring. There’s a whole dead period right between hockey and the football season, from April to mid-June, when there really isn’t much going on sports-wise in Saskatchewan. That would be the perfect time for a UFC card — it would bring tons of tourists to the province and liven up life in general.
I say whatever needs to be done to get the UFC fights here, get it done — quit waiting already.
Just wanted to say that I will be heading to Saskatoon to cover the Saskatchewan NDP leadership convention this weekend for the Regional Optimist.
Despite the fact that I’ve been covering the news for a while now and have covered other conventions, summit meetings and political gatherings, this will actually be my first leadership convention as an accredited journalist. (At least, I hope they’re going to let me in. I sent in my form to them earlier this week.)
So I’m looking forward to covering it for that reason. I’ll feel important, just like all those CNN, Fox News and MSNBC journos who covered the American conventions last year.
I won’t be there for the entire convention but I do plan to be there Saturday for the balloting. Don’t expect a lot of live-blogging here or Twitter updating — I’m saving up most of my stories for next week’s paper. I do intend to do some night-by-night updates on what is happening over these next three days, even though I am really only planning to be there for one of them.
Also, hopefully I’ll be able to find some video and streaming links that will stream the convention live, so that all you political junkies will be able to follow the proceedings on voting day.
This past week I had the opportunity to cover the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) Convention in Saskatoon. I was there for two of the days of the convention at TCU Centre, including the last day — the bear pit of cabinet ministers on Wednesday.
Here’s one of my convention stories from the Monday session here. Also, here’s a story on my interviews with the local mayors from the Battlefords, plus a story on a resolution that was backed by the town of Cut Knife requiring election candidates to pay up their taxes.
Also, I have even more stories from the convention running in next week’s paper. This convention was loaded with good stuff to report on.
This is a big week for leadership contests in Canada, including here in Saskatchewan, where the four hopefuls vying for the NDP leadership continue to campaign.
Tomorrow night, they are to be in North Battleford for an all-candidates forum, one of many they have been holding around the province in the runup to the March vote in Saskatoon.
I plan to be there at the event tomorrow, but I thought I would link first to the articles I have written profiling the candidates during their campaign tours up here in the northwest region.
My story on Trent Wotherspoon is here, the one on Cam Broten is here, and the Ryan Meili story is here. Also, I am scheduled to interview Erin Weir soon as well, so once that is posted I’ll link to it as well.
As well, the federal Liberals have their leadership race going and hosted their first all-candidates debate over the weekend from Vancouver. The only candidate I’ve interviewed from that race so far is Deborah Coyne from when she came through Saskatchewan a while ago, and you can find that article here.
At the time I wrote that piece, I noted there were about a dozen hopefuls who claimed to be running. I notice the field has shrunk considerably since then down to, ahem, nine people.
I should note also that the Ontario Liberals are due to hold their convention this weekend to choose a new premier in Ontario — quite possibly a female one like in much of the rest of Canada. I should certainly tune into that race, because usually the Liberal leadership conventions there are pretty interesting. In fact, the last one they held was way back in 1996, and that didn’t finish until something like five in the morning.
I mention all this here simply as a reminder to myself to tune in to the voting sometime on Saturday — otherwise I might miss the whole thing.
Just wanted to let you know that election results will come in tonight for mayors, councils and school board elections all over Saskatchewan, starting at 8pm local time.
I am covering North Battleford results but there really isn’t going to be much excitement here as the mayor got in by acclamation. Still, you can find results of the other races at www.newsoptimist.ca.
Personally, I will not be doing much Twittering tonight — in fact, I’ll be watching the World Series game up to 8pm –but you’ll be able to find results updated on our newspaper’s Twitter feed.
Most of the interest provincially is in the race between incumbent Don Atchison and main challenger Tom Wolf for mayor of Saskatoon, as well as the nine-person field in the running in Regina where the stadium issue is a big one.
Here are a few links to where you can find municipal election results elsewhere in the province. CTV Saskatoon is here, here is Global Saskatoon and here is CKOM Saskatoon. CTV Regina, Global Regina and CJME are here. CBC Saskatchewan has results across the province and you can find other results at the Star-Phoenix and the Leader-Post. That is all for the moment.
We are under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch where I am at the moment, but tomorrow promises to be an even hairier day for people across Saskatchewan with the real threat of Supercell Severe Thunderstorms and possibly even tornadoes.
Our local professional Tornado chaser in Saskatchewan, Greg Johnson, is sounding the alarm about a big threat of tornadoes, particularly in and around the Moose Jaw-Regina area tomorrow. He’s pointing to dire Environment Canada look-aheads and some scary-looking weather data like the Energy Helicity Index for the region. Basically the whole southern part of the province looks like it will explode tomorrow.
We’ll see how bad it gets, but when you get dire forecasts like these ones so far in advance, it usually means bad news and bad weather. I remember seeing the forecasts for the big tornadoes that hit the US earlier this year. Those were also forecast well in advance, and everyone knew the day before the tornadoes arrived that they were going to get hit.
Given this grim outlook and the large number of professional storm chasers descending on this province right now, I think people in Saskatchewan should take the tornado and supercell threat seriously and keep a close eye on the weather reports tomorrow.
Tornado forecasting has come a long way. It would be wise for Saskatchewanians to watch the skies tomorrow, and also cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Welcome again to News from Nowhere for this Monday night. I have a few items to share with you this night about all the happenings going on out there.
I guess the first piece of business is to mention Nik Wallenda’s highwire crossing over Niagara Falls on Friday, which ended up a success. Of course, at the end of it all Canadian officials asked him for his passport. It figures.
In other news, the Greek pro-bailout party won the election, so Europe is breathing a little more easily tonight. The whole continent may not end up hurling itself off the cliff after all.
And Rodney King, the man whose beating by LA cops ultimately led to the infamous LA Riots, is dead.
In local news, Friday was Saskatchewan’s day of the tornadoes.
A whole whack of them were seen by people and some of them even touched down. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of excessive carnage, though there was damage.
In auto racing news, the 24 Hours of Le Mans saw the top three finishes recorded by Audi, Audi and uh, Audi.
The NASCAR race in Michigan, on the other hand, was won by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
In box office news, it was a real down weekend, especially for this weekend’s flops: Rock of Ages and Adam Sandler’s absolutely lame-looking That’s My Boy.
As for me, my monthly column is up (talking mainly about crime) and my Cairns on Cinema June update on where the box office stands, are both now up.
And that is all for now.