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Updated: 6 min 58 sec ago

Champions Cup commences in Saskatoon

1 hour 37 min ago
An international field got the rocks rolling at Merlis Belsher Place Tuesday afternoon. The Humpty’s Champions Cup commenced with two draws, one in the afternoon and another in the evening. John Shuster’s reigning Oympic gold-medalist team — playing with John Morris at skip while Shuster attends the world mixed doubles championship — opened with a 7-2 win over Japan’s Yuta Matsumura. Anna Hasselborg’s Swedish team, skipped this week by Eve Muirhead, beat Allison Flaxey’s Winnipeg team (skipped this week by Laura Walker) 7-1, Winnipeg’s Kerry Einarson beat Russia’s Alina Kovaleva 6-5, and Ottawa’s Rachel Homan beat Sweden’s Isabella Wrana 6-4. The Champions Cup features teams that have won major events through the 2018-19 curling season. Tuesday’s night-time games were still being played at press-time. Wednesday’s draws are slated for noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Three Saskatchewan teams are playing in the Cup, and Wednesday’s action includes Regina’s Matt Dunstone meeting Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher at 4 p.m. In the 8 p.m. draw, Saskatoon’s Kirk Muyres takes on Calgary’s Kevin Koe, and North Battleford’s Robyn Silvernagle plays Walker. The men’s final goes Sunday at 10 a.m., and the women’s final at 2 p.m.  

Feds announce $54 million in safety investments for northern Sask.

5 hours 17 min ago
The federal and provincial governments are combining to provide around $100 million in funding for public safety projects in northern Saskatchewan communities. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale announced Tuesday in Prince Albert that the federal government will invest $54 million, much of it to be matched by the province, for crime prevention and natural disaster mitigation. Members of the Canadian Forces put out a hot spot from wildfires near Montreal Lake, Sask. in 2015. The federal government is providing more than $40.2 million as part of two northern wildfire prevention projects. “By investing in solid projects that help prevent crime and help mitigate the impacts of climate change, we are building community capacity and resilience, enhancing safety, and positioning Northerners to better withstand, combat and recover from adversity,” Goodale said. The communities of Ile-a-la Crosse, Pelican Lake First Nation and Witchekan Lake First Nation successfully applied for funding as part of a national crime prevention strategy competition focused on rural, remote and Indigenous communities. Each will receive $400,000 over the next two years to address youth crime. The money will be used in part to assess the needs of youth and provide them with mentorship and services. “The scope is flexible — aimed at what will be most effective,” Goodale said. The federal government also announced more than $40 million in funding for two northern wildfire prevention projects. The first will update SaskPower’s distribution network and clear and maintain up to 10,000 hectares of forested area around its facilities in order to reduce the frequency and intensity of fires. SaskPower will match the federal investment of about $19.8 million. For the second project, the provincial Environment Ministry will work with the federal government to protect 85 at-risk communities from wildfire threats. A total of 141 forest fuel mitigation initiatives will take place across nearly 1,400 hectares of provincial Crown land and nearly 1,100 hectares of municipal land. The federal government announced $20.5 million toward the project, with remaining eligible costs to be funded by the province, SaskPower and municipal governments. Another $12.5 million in federal funding is set to be matched by the province for upgrading and rehabilitation of more than 50 kilometres of the structurally-deficient, flood-prone Highway 55 east of Carrot River.   Funding for the wildfire and flood project comes from the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF), part of a 10-year federal infrastructure investment plan. Related

Saskatoon homicide: City's third of 2019, 32-year-old man dead

6 hours 37 min ago
The death of a 32-year-old man in Saskatoon is now being investigated by police as a homicide. An autopsy was performed Tuesday, at which time the man’s death — previously described as suspicious — was declared a homicide, Saskatoon police said in a news release. On Saturday around 9:30 p.m., Saskatoon police and Medavie Health Services responded to a report of an injured man in the 200 block of Avenue K South. The man was transported to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Saskatoon police major crimes and forensic identification sections, along with the provincial coroner, continue to investigate. The victim’s name was not released by police. His death is the city’s third homicide of 2019. Two teen boys have been charged with second-degree murder in the March 12 shooting of Mark Enwaya. The 31-year-old was found around 7 p.m. in an alleyway in the 100 block of Avenue Q South and declared dead at the scene “as a result of the discharge of a firearm,” police said. Two boys, ages 15 and 17, have been charged with murder. Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, they can not be identified. In the first homicide of the year, 37-year-old Blake Jeffrey Schreiner is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his spouse, Tammy Brown. Brown, 39, was found dead in her River Heights neighbourhood home on Jan. 31. Police responded to the house on Kootenay Drive around 8:30 a.m. after receiving a report about an injured person. Related

Colten Boushie documentary examines history of racism, oppression on the Prairies

7 hours 8 min ago
TORONTO — Documentary filmmaker Tasha Hubbard didn’t know Colten Boushie, but when she heard about the killing of the young Indigenous man, it was all she could think about. Boushie, a 22-year-old member of the Red Pheasant First Nation, died from a gunshot to the back of his head after the vehicle he was in with friends drove onto a rural farm property near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016. Last year a jury acquitted farmer Gerald Stanley of second-degree murder after he testified his gun went off accidentally when he was trying to scare off young people who were on his property. The case sparked racial tensions, rallies and hateful online comments, and Saskatchewan-raised Hubbard, who is Cree, recalls being stunned by news of his death while driving with her son and nephew, who were both nine at the time. She first felt grief for the family and then wondered, “What is this going to mean for the young boys in my life?” ( function() { pnLoadVideo( "videos", "-dk1wkeXeLQ", "pn_video_433896", "", "", {"controls":1,"autoplay":0,"is_mobile":""} ); } )(); “I just kept looking at them and thinking, ‘How are you going to be viewed when you’re 22?”‘ Hubbard, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, said in a recent phone interview. “The social media response to celebrating a young person’s death was just so disgusting. It’s like, ‘Is that really how we’re viewed?”‘ Hubbard ended up making a personal documentary about the case. “Nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up” makes its world premiere Thursday as the opening-night film for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, which runs through May 5. The film will also screen at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, which runs May 2-12. Hubbard narrates and appears in the doc, which looks at the inequity and racism in the Canadian legal system that came to light through the trial, and the Boushie family’s pursuit of justice. Saskatoon filmmaker Tasha Hubbard. The director, writer and producer also puts the lens on her own life as she examines the history of colonialism on the Prairies and what kind of future is in store for her son and nephews. The word “nipawistamasowin” in the film title means “a small group of people standing up for themselves or standing up on behalf of the larger group,” said Hubbard. Hubbard is from Peepeekisis First Nation in Treaty Four Territory and has ties to Thunderchild First Nation in Treaty Six Territory. ( function() { pnLoadVideo( "videos", "moryYqGwVDw", "pn_video_555817", "", "", {"controls":1,"autoplay":0,"is_mobile":""} ); } )(); In the film she explains she was adopted and raised by a homesteading family in southern Saskatchewan. Her birth dad, whom she got to know as a teen, lives on Red Pheasant and is married to Colten’s aunt. And Colten’s cousin, Jade Tootoosis, is married to Hubbard’s cousin. But Hubbard said she wasn’t close with the Boushie family before making the doc. Hubbard wasn’t even looking to make a film when Boushie was killed. She had just finished the acclaimed documentary “Birth of a Family” and was busy with that, she noted. But she was so struck by what had happened, she felt compelled to document it. Gerald Stanley enters the Court of Queen’s Bench for the fifth day of his trial in Battleford, Sask., on February 5, 2018. A Saskatchewan farmer acquitted in the fatal shooting of a young Indigenous man has pleaded guilty to a gun charge. Gerald Stanley pleaded guilty today to one count of unsafe storage of an unrestricted firearm. After speaking with the National Film Board of Canada, which produced “Birth of a Family,” she realized her upbringing in Saskatchewan could help contribute to the doc as it looked at stereotypes, oppression and pervasive, ingrained thinking in the media, movies and education system. “I think sometimes you acknowledge, living as an Indigenous or person of colour in this country, people live with racism and people deal with it and acknowledge it. But to come to terms that that could be celebrated I started to cry telling my producer this and she said, ‘This is really powerful.”‘ Hubbard said she hopes the film will help draw attention to the Boushie family’s suggestions for changes to the legal justice system to address issues including jury selection. “This is the time — and it was the time 10 years ago, it was the time 20 years ago, it was the time 30 years ago,” said Hubbard, who also wrote and directed the 2004 doc “Two Worlds Colliding.” “I just want my boy and every other person’s Indigenous child to be safe and free to walk on our own land. It’s that simple.” Related

Saskatchewan prepares for wildfire season

8 hours 18 min ago
A large grassfire that had been bearing down on the Town of Biggar Monday continues to burn but is moving away from the community. Jeanne-Marie de Moissac, reeve of the Rural Municipality of Biggar, said the fire started Monday around 12:30 p.m. and began moving toward town, prompting the community to declare a state of emergency and warn citizens that they may be asked to evacuate. The fire was of significant concern until Tuesday around 4 a.m., when the wind began pushing the fire away from town. “With the wind changing direction we really feel like Biggar is safe now and, although the fire is still out of control and still very dangerous, it’s away from our population which we have to feel is a blessing,” de Moissac said in an interview Tuesday morning. Read more here. Related  

Blake Schreiner committed to stand trial for first-degree murder in connection with wife's death

9 hours 35 min ago
A man accused of killing his spouse has been committed to stand trial for first-degree murder at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench. On Tuesday, the Crown and defence consented to skipping a preliminary hearing for Blake Jeffrey Schreiner and proceeding straight to the trial phase. Schreiner, 37, appeared by video from the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, where he’s been in custody since his spouse Tammy Brown was found dead in their River Heights neighbourhood home on Jan. 31. Preliminary hearings are held to determine if there is sufficient evidence to go to trial. Lawyers will sometimes waive the process, for various reasons. It could take months before a trial date is set. Last month, a not criminally responsible (NCR) assessment was ordered for Schreiner to determine his mental state at the time of the offence. The conclusion of the assessment was not divulged in open court; however, the case is proceeding in the normal course. Schreiner was originally charged with second-degree murder in connection with Brown’s death, but the charge was later upgraded to first-degree murder. Family members have told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that Brown was a Saskatchewan Polytechnic employee and mother of two young children. Related

Letter of the Day: We need carbon tax for sake of future

12 hours 5 min ago
“The sky is falling … The sky is falling …” Chicken Moe, Andrew Scheer and others are running around trying to get us all in a panic because of the carbon tax. Four provinces had to start paying a federal carbon tax April 1. Notice that four provinces started; the other six already have a provincial carbon tax. B.C. was one of the first and their economy is just fine. This is all about elections. This is all about provincial versus federal power. This is about Liberal versus Conservative (Sask. Party here). This is all about politics. Yes I know that it is for all parties, at both government levels. Really people, get it together — we need something like this for the environment. For the air we all breathe. For our grandkids and great-grandkids. Can we elect adults to run our governments? Marilyn Loken Saskatoon   SHARE YOUR VIEWS The StarPhoenix welcomes letters, which are limited to 250 words and must include the writer’s name, street address and phone number. Submissions will be verified and edited before publication. We publish the names and community of all letter writers. Do not send email attachments. Writing more than one letter a month is discouraged and “open” letters are not accepted. Send to: 204 Fifth Ave. N., Saskatoon, Sask., S7K 2P1 Fax: 306-657-6437 Email:

Hope for Nate: Maymont boy needs an organ donor

12 hours 35 min ago
As 11-year-old Nate Starycki runs around the house with his eight-year-old brother Deagan, there’s seemingly little to differentiate between them. Each has a shock of blond hair and a voracious appetite for Cinnabon. They take turns making sure youngest brother Gunner, nearly two, stays out of trouble and off their mother’s last nerve. But the boxes of medication tucked in Nate’s closet, the access port in his chest and the rope of hundreds of multicoloured beads that snake around him on the floor — each representing a medical procedure, appointment or hospitalization — tell a different story. Read more here.  Related

Letters to the editor April 23, 2019

15 hours 28 min ago
Carbon tax could hurt our economy It is with deep concern that I write this letter as Canada finds itself in a dismal state of political and economic disarray. This climate has been fostered by our current government’s domestic financial policy, regimental forms of taxation and the added carbon tax, which has had unproven benefits to the betterment of the world. We are all aware that this is only the introduction of the carbon tax and in order for it to be effective, drastic increases to the tax would have to occur. This could lead to many unintended consequences, including but not limited to the devastation of the Canadian economy and the standard of living we have enjoyed. There is much proof that this government does not have the best mind of Canada in their decision making. The economy of Western Canada is currently suffering from the retaliatory actions imposed by India and China by stopping the exports of our commodities (lentils and canola) which are the very basis of a producer’s paycheque. The steel and aluminum tariffs inflicted by our great friend, neighbour, and trading partner to the south further cripple our economy. These pale in comparison to the discount imposed on our captive Canadian oil production. Western Canada needs its grain markets and pipelines. It does not need a carbon tax. Doug Brownridge Arcola   Carbon tax “The sky is falling … The sky is falling …” Chicken Moe, Andrew Scheer and others are running around trying to get us all in a panic because of the carbon tax. Four provinces had to start paying a federal carbon tax April 1. Notice that four provinces started; the other six already have a provincial carbon tax. B.C. was one of the first and their economy is just fine. This is all about elections. This is all about provincial versus federal power. This is about Liberal versus Conservative (Sask. Party here). This is all about politics. Yes I know that it is for all parties, at both government levels. Really people, get it together — we need something like this for the environment. For the air we all breathe. For our grandkids and great-grandkids. Can we elect adults to run our governments? Marilyn Loken Saskatoon   SHARE YOUR VIEWS The StarPhoenix welcomes letters, which are limited to 250 words and must include the writer’s name, street address and phone number. Submissions will be verified and edited before publication. We publish the names and community of all letter writers. Do not send email attachments. Writing more than one letter a month is discouraged and “open” letters are not accepted. Send to: 204 Fifth Ave. N., Saskatoon, Sask., S7K 2P1 Fax: 306-657-6437 Email:

Opinion: City solicitor should report directly to council

16 hours 2 min ago
By Janice Mann With no public discussion and without any stated reason, city council has, by changing the reporting structure of the city solicitor, done a disservice to itself and to the citizens it serves. People in positions of power do not always act in an ethical manner. This is why there are laws regarding activities during elections, why municipal governments have implemented codes of conduct, and why the Senate has found it cannot continue to operate on the honour system. While one wants to think that people will always do the right thing, this does not always happen. Sometimes poor decisions get made, and questionable actions get taken, just because the person was fixated on achieving a certain laudable goal but lost sight of constraints such as budgetary issues, competing interests, city council approvals, statutory restrictions, and transparency requirements. Checks and balances are extremely important in municipal government in order to ensure that people do not abuse their power. In some cases systems are implemented after a situation has arisen; however it is better if they are there all along, in the background, working to ensure that elected officials and employees alike act in a legal and ethical manner. Having the city solicitor and city clerk report direct to city council is arguably the most valuable means that city council has to ensure that this happens and that its will is carried out. While these positions report to the city manager on all the administrative functions they perform, they report directly to city council for their professional and statutory responsibilities. They are also hired, and fired, by city council. This means that their positions are independent and neutral — that their legal, procedural and other statutory responsibilities are undertaken without interference from the city manager. While in some ways it is more challenging to report to a body comprised of 11 people than to report to just one person, the opposite is true when it comes to giving advice, especially relating to a contentious issue where that advice is looked upon by some individuals as an impediment to achieving their goal. The city solicitor can give unpopular advice to city council with confidence that there will not likely be enough votes to terminate his or her employment. A city solicitor reporting to the city manager does not have that comfort level and would not want to be giving too many legal opinions that thwarted the city manager’s agenda. It is disheartening that this city council does not understand the value of having the city solicitor as a direct report. Why would city council not want a city solicitor whose loyalty was to city council, and by extension the citizens of Saskatoon, rather than one whose loyalty would be solely to the city manager? The report of the governance and priorities committee is remarkably short on detail for a decision of this magnitude. It states that the committee explored whether the existing council-solicitor reporting relationship “still meets the needs of council, the administration and our citizens”; however, it gives no information as to the results of that exploration. How does the existing relationship not meet the needs of council, the administration and our citizens? Instead, the report focuses only on what some other, unnamed, cities are doing, without any analysis as to why what they are doing is better. Since when did Saskatoon become a follower rather than a leader? City council is deluding itself if it thinks that setting out “protocols” in a policy will ensure that it receives the same pure, unfiltered advice that it has always had from the city solicitor. Yes, Councillor Block, change is hard. But change for no good reason is especially hard, and I hope that the citizens of Saskatoon don’t end up paying for this particular change. Janice Mann was Saskatoon City Clerk from 1988 until 2012.

Bad weather, power outages contributed to unreasonable delay: lawyer

16 hours 4 min ago
Delbert Isadore Herman will have been waiting for 876 days when his trial on a pair of assault charges begins next month in a makeshift northern Saskatchewan courtroom. Herman’s trial on two other charges — uttering threats and breaching release conditions — is also set for May 16. If it goes ahead as planned, he will have been waiting 576 days on those charges. Herman’s lawyer is applying to the court to have both sets of charges thrown out on the grounds that his constitutional right to a trial within a reasonable amount of time has been breached. According to applications filed by lawyer Blaine Beaven, the delays are largely due to bitter winter weather preventing the court party from flying to La Loche from Meadow Lake, as well as a separate adjournment caused by a power outage. “I think applications like this really raise the question: Does time to trial mean something different if you live in the south, where there’s lots of courthouses and lots of judges, or if you live in the north, where the judge has to fly in to give you justice?” Beaven said. Both applications cite R v. Jordan, a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision that established new standards for what constitutes an unreasonable delay between the laying of charges and conclusion of a trial. The landmark case — which Beaven and other Saskatchewan lawyers have previously used to get charges tossed — sets an 18-month window during which provincial court cases must be tried. Cases before a superior court must be adjudicated within 30 months. Canadian judges threw out more than 200 cases, including murders and sexual assaults, in the first year after R v. Jordan became law. Since then, Saskatchewan judges have granted seven Jordan applications and rejected an additional 11. Excluding delays caused by the defence, which do not count toward those totals, Beaven said in the applications that Herman has been waiting 24.5 months on the assault charges and 19 months on the breach and threats charges. A provincial court judge ruled in 2010 that weather contributed to an unreasonable delay, but Beaven believes his applications will be the first in Saskatchewan to test the same argument under the principles in R v. Jordan. Crown prosecutors have until April 25 to file their own submissions with the court, before arguing the matter before a judge the following day. Ministry of Justice spokesman Noel Busse said Public Prosecutions cannot comment with court proceedings pending. However, prosecutors are continuing initiatives aimed at moving cases through the courts, including expediting disclosure, assessing cases as early as possible, and “removing cases that do not meet the prosecution standard,” Busse said. “Not every matter needs to go to trial to achieve appropriate accountability, and identifying those cases and finding alternative ways to conclude them frees up room to get other cases to trial sooner,” Busse wrote in an emailed statement. In an interview last May, Saskatchewan’s top prosecutor, Anthony Gerein, acknowledged that while perfection may not be achievable, the comparatively small number of Jordan applications suggests the provincial justice system is working well. In an interview, Beaven — who does much of his work in remote communities — said extreme cold weather and power outages should count toward the total delay because they are common occurrences in the north that can be addressed. A generator would solve the possibility of power outages delaying proceedings, while scheduling trials outside the coldest months and adding a fourth northern judge would minimize the effects of low temperatures preventing the court party from flying, he said. “It’s a lack of foresight and planning for these things that we know all the time,” said Beaven, adding that his aim in bringing the application is to serve his client as well as improve the comparatively new practice of holding court in remote communities. “Why is it okay if somebody was charged with these offences and it took this long in Saskatoon for whatever reasons and they got a stay, but maybe not up north, because we don’t resource adequately? That’s where I see the crux of this.” The lawyer went on to note that while Herman is not in custody, he has spent almost two and a half years under onerous release conditions, the breaching of which could land him back and jail, and wants the matters settled. “After a certain point of time, it’s bad for everyone.” Related

Federal funding announced for Saskatoon airport

16 hours 4 min ago
A partnership between the Saskatoon Airport Authority and the Kelowna International Airport will receive $840,000 in federal funding from the Western Economic Diversification Canada program to help promote tourism and sustain flight routes between the two cities. The funding announcement was made Thursday in Kelowna by Stephen Fuhr, MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, the federal minister of innovation, science and economic development.  “Today’s investment in the Saskatoon Airport Authority, partnered with the Kelowna International Airport, builds on our competitive advantages and will result in better access for international travellers to Kelowna and Saskatoon, boosting economic growth and creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians,” Bains said in a statement. The airports will also use the federal money to create strategies to increase transborder air passenger traffic while also showcasing the cities as tourist destinations through marketing campaigns in major cities throughout the United States.  “We continue to hear from our community about the importance of enhancing our air service connections for economic development, tourism and business,” said Stephen Maybury, President and CEO of the Saskatoon Airport Authority. “The funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada will support our efforts to sustainably grow connectivity through air service options that are valued by the province of Saskatchewan. We are proud to partner with Kelowna International Airport and would like to thank Western Economic Diversification Canada and the federal government for supporting Canadian airports in attracting essential air services to our communities.” 

Trudeau stopping in Saskatoon for private meetings

17 hours 4 min ago
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not expected to make any public appearances during his scheduled visit to Saskatoon this week. Instead, the prime minister — who spent Easter weekend in British Columbia — is scheduled to attend “private meetings” when he arrives in the city on Tuesday, according to his itinerary on Monday. The Prime Minister’s Office declined to provide details of the private meetings. Trudeau was last in Saskatoon in September, for the Liberal Party of Canada’s annual caucus retreat. He spent two days in the city, during which he also held a town hall event at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. That visit led to a minor controversy after a video of his private meeting with Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations leaders and First Nations chiefs from across the province was leaked online. Trudeau’s last visit to the province came in January, when he and Premier Scott Moe spoke at an event marking the third anniversary of a deadly high school shooting in La Loche. Related

Hope for Nate: Maymont boy needs an organ donor

17 hours 4 min ago
As 11-year-old Nate Starycki runs around the house with his eight-year-old brother Deagan, there’s seemingly little to differentiate between them. Each has a shock of blond hair and a voracious appetite for Cinnabon. They take turns making sure youngest brother Gunner, nearly two, stays out of trouble and off their mother’s last nerve. But the boxes of medication tucked in Nate’s closet, the access port in his chest and the rope of hundreds of multicoloured beads that snake around him on the floor — each representing a medical procedure, appointment or hospitalization — tell a different story. Nate was born prematurely at 34 weeks with gastroschisis, a condition that occurs when the abdominal wall forming in utero doesn’t fully close around the umbilical cord. As a result, part of the intestines and potentially other organs can form outside of the body. Complications from his condition led to intestinal failure. Now, Nate awaits an organ donor. “It was very important to myself and to my husband that we treated him like a normal kid,” said Nate’s mother, Jennifer. “We’ve definitely raised him to be proud of all of his imperfections, all of his complications, his scars, his tubes, his different things that he has that follows him around, and to be proud and to show them off.” Nate Starycki, 11, lives with intestinal failure. He is currently on a donor list, but the situation is dire. Nate, right, and his brother Deagen play with his collection of Lego on their farm near Maymont, Sask. He spent his first two and a half years in and out of hospitals in Saskatoon and Calgary. While Nate is able to eat, he can’t absorb nutrition from food and is fed intravenously through Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN), a method that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. He is hooked up to an IV from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. After a series of infections led to the loss of most of his major vein sites for TPN access, the Staryckis — with assistance from the David Foster Foundation, a non-profit that supports families with children awaiting life-saving organ transplants —  were sent to SickKids Hospital in 2013 for an assessment. Doctors gave him an IVAD, a chest port implanted under the skin and his last feasible option for TPN. His parents have spent the last five years working to get Nate off of TPN because it can be harmful to the liver. Last summer, they tried taking him off TPN entirely. After four months, though, Nate became ill and rapidly lost weight, despite being on 12 medications, supplements and two feeds, and drinking seemingly-endless amounts of Pedialyte. “He was essentially starving to death,” Jennifer said. In November 2018, the transplant team decided he needed another assessment. Every doctor agreed that if he were their child, they would proceed with a transplant. “We were always in hopes that his intestine would eventually work properly,” said Nate’s father, Dane. “But then to hear it from that team of professionals to say that this is our only alternative, that was it.” Nate, left, and his brother Deagen play with Nate’s Beads of Courage, beads received for procedures that he has undergone in hospitals. Nate has had four abdominal surgeries. His parents stopped keeping count of other procedures after 30 or 40, but Nate has been collecting Beads of Courage, a program where children receive a bead for treatment milestones. He was added to the list on Dec. 19 for an intestinal and liver transplant. The decision about whether he will also require a new stomach will be made once he is admitted. If the Staryckis receive the call, they will have 12 hours to get to Toronto. “So we have to hurry up and wait, as the saying goes, and still try to live life while knowing that at any moment the phone call can come,” Jennifer said. Nate’s illness is complicated further by the family’s rural location. TPN can’t be delivered to their farm near Maymont, 55 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon. The family frequently travels to Calgary so Nate can see specialists from the Alberta Children’s Hospital. “I don’t know how many times that we’ve been asked by people in different provinces, ‘Well do you think you can just move closer? Can’t you just buy a farm closer to Calgary?’ ” Jennifer said. “We laugh. That’s definitely how Dane and I have got through tons of stuff, is just laughing. Like, what else do you do?” Jennifer and Dane are amazed by Nate’s positive attitude in the face of his illness. Nate “smiles through everything,” Jennifer says. He’s already looking forward to taking over the family farm when he’s older. “I mean, of course he’s strong, but how strong he is throws me off every time because he just keeps going,” she said. “He’s just a happy kid with a great belly laugh.” Related

From near and far, top pro curling teams hit Saskatoon for Champions Cup

17 hours 4 min ago
Saskatoon’s Merlis Belsher Place is making a dramatic switch from hockey to curling this week. The University of Saskatchewan Huskies’ gleaming new arena is hosting the World Curling Tour’s Humpty’s Champions Cup, which marks the end of the 2018-19 professional curling season. “The ice will be fantastic, lots of movement, and the very best teams. That’s what a Grand Slam is,” said Kevin Martin, the longtime skip who now works as a commentator for Sportsnet, during a recent stop in Saskatoon. “Between the Grand Slams and the Olympics, that’s why the game has grown so much, no question. With the Grand Slams, the premise is international teams, the best of the best. If you end up with nine teams from Sweden, that’s the way it goes — if they’re that good, great. The best against the best brings out some real good rivalries.” The Cup, which commences Tuesday, is the season’s Grand Slam finale. It’s drawn the season’s big winners — 15 men’s teams, 15 women — playing for a $250,000 purse. Reigning world champions Niklas Edin (Sweden) and Silvana Tirinzoni (Switzerland) are both in town. Here’s some things to know with the event close at hand. SASK IS IN THE HOUSE Three Saskatchewan-based teams are playing in the 30-foursome field, including two on the men’s side. Saskatoon’s Kirk Muyres, who qualified after winning a Tour Challenge Tier 2 event, will compete at the Cup, as will Regina’s Matt Dunstone. The latter qualified by winning the Dekalb Superspiel in Morris, Man. On the women’s side, North Battleford’s Robyn Silvernagle — who reached the semifinal at the recent national Scotties — is in the fold thanks to a win at the Red Deer Curling Classic. THE WOMEN’S FIELD Besides Silvernagle, the women’s teams include Chelsea Carey (Calgary), Kerri Einarson (Gimli, Man.), Allison Flaxey (Winnipeg; team will be skipped by sub Laura Walker), Anna Hasselborg (Sweden; team will be skipped by sub Eve Muirhead), Rachel Homan (Ottawa), Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg), Min Ji Kim (South Korea), Alina Kovaleva (Russia), Vlada Rumyanceva (Russia), Casey Scheidegger (Lethbridge), Jamie Sinclair (Chaska, MN), Briar Hurlimann (Switzerland), Silvana Tirinzoni (Switzerland), and Isabella Wrana (Sweden). THE MEN’S FIELD Besides Muyres and Dunstone, the men’s event features Brendan Bottcher (Edmonton), Reid Carruthers (Winnipeg), Niklas Edin (Sweden), John Epping (Toronto), Brad Gushue (St. John’s), Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie), Kevin Koe (Calgary), Yuta Matsumura (Japan), Bruce Mouat (Scotland), Ross Paterson (Scotland), Yannick Schwaller (Switzerland), John Shuster (Duluth, MN.; team will be skipped by sub John Morris), and Tyler Tardi (Langley, B.C.). THE EVENT The Champions Cup is a relatively new WCT event; it’s designed to bring the year’s top winners together one final time. This is the fourth annual get-together — the first was held in Sherwood Park, Alta. in 2016, with Reid Carruthers and Jennifer Jones winning top prize. Rachel Homan and Brad Jacobs won in 2017, and Homan repeated in 2018, with Brad Gushue taking the men’s title. THE SCHEDULE Everything starts Tuesday afternoon with a 4:30 p.m. draw at Merlis Belsher Place, followed by another draw at 8 p.m. Sportsnet will begin televising draws Thursday at noon. Other draw times are: Wednesday: noon, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. Thursday: 8:30 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. Friday: 8:30 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. Saturday: 8:30 a.m. (tiebreakers, if necessary), noon (women’s quarter-finals), 4 p.m. (men’s quarter-finals), 8 p.m. (men’s and women’s semifinals). Sunday: 10 a.m. (men’s final), 2 p.m. (women’s final). Related

RCMP says area near 'out of control' Biggar grass fire being evacuated

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 19:37
The RCMP says a grass fire southwest of the Town of Biggar is burning “out of control” and it is directing its main efforts in the area towards assisting with evacuating the area. According the RCMP, the fire is burning in the area between Highways 4 and 51, and Tower and Duperow Roads. Police are asking members of the public to avoid the fire zone and to obey officers’ and emergency responders’ instructions if leaving the area. Firefighters are at the scene. On April 20, a total fire ban came into effect in the Town of Biggar due to dry conditions, according to a Biggar Fire Department Facebook post. Last week, firefighters from Saskatoon brought a large grass fire burning near Cranberry Flats under control nearly seven hours after it began. The efforts to extinguish the fire included the use of a Ministry of Environment water bomber. More updates to follow. Related

Saskatoon Stars 1-1 at Esso Cup

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 19:06
After finishing in second place at last year’s Esso Cup, the Saskatoon Stars are in Sudbury, Ont. to take another shot at claiming the top spot. Saskatoon had a good start to the tournament on Sunday as Grace Shirley recorded a hat trick to help the Stars defeat the Stoney Creek Sabres 6-4. Unfortunately, the Stars’ second game on Monday ended in a 7-3 loss to the As de Quebec. Saskatoon trailed 2-0 after the first period, and while they managed to tie the game early in the second period, Quebec scored four goals in a row to end the frame and maintained that lead to the final whistle. With the loss, Saskatoon drops to a 1-1 record. On Tuesday, they’ll take on the two-time defending champions, the St. Albert Slash. Roughnecks rock Rush 18-8 The Saskatchewan Rush (10-7) were on the hunt for a win and a home playoff game when they faced the host Calgary Roughnecks (10-8) on Saturday, but instead came away with an 18-8 loss. Calgary never trailed, instead outscoring Saskatchewan in the first three quarters and only losing the fourth quarter 2-1. Dane Dobbie led the Roughnecks with four goals and four assists, while Saskatchewan’s Mark Matthews had one goal and five assists. Saskatchewan will get another chance to earn a home playoff game in their final regular-season game this weekend as they host the Colorado Mammoth (6-11). A win by the Rush or a loss by the San Diego Seals (10-7) in their game against the Buffalo Bandits (13-4) will clinch the Rush first place in the Western Conference and a home playoff game. Saskatchewan men’s U18 rugby 7s team takes bronze It was a bronze-medal finish to the Tropical 7s rugby tournament in Orlando for the Saskatchewan men’s U18 team. Saskatchewan went 4-0 in the round robin, but lost close back-to-back playoff games and ended up in third. On the women’s side, Saskatchewan was 1-3 in the round robin, but won both of their playoff games to finish 11th. Danielle Drury earns racquetball bronze Saskatoon’s Danielle Drury is coming home from the Pan American Racquetball Championships in Columbia with a bronze medal in tow. Drury and partner Jennifer Saunders of Winnipeg, narrowly lost their semifinal against Columbia, 15-13, 3-15 and 8-11 to finish in third place.

Saskatoon constable, armed forces member gets conditional discharge for off-duty sexual assault

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:00
An 18-year member of the Saskatoon city police and 25-year member of the Armed Forces was in the depths of alcoholism when he sexually assaulted a female friend at a Remembrance Day event in 2017, a Saskatoon provincial courtroom heard. Robert Keith Brown, 45, groped the woman’s breasts three times during a function at the Sgt. Hugh Cairns VC Armoury in Saskatoon, according to the facts presented at Brown’s sentencing hearing on Monday. Defence lawyer Brad Mitchell said his client, who was off-duty, had been drinking since noon and his memory of the assaults is “spotty, at best.”      Brown pleaded guilty in February to one count of sexual assault. He was charged on April 24, 2018 and suspended from duty after a months-long investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service. Court heard the victim had slipped her arms under Brown’s arms and made silly gestures while he was standing at the bar. Brown later did the same thing to her, but grabbed her breasts. The woman initially laughed it off, until Brown did it again. She told him to go find her husband — an attempt to deflect his attention, Crown prosecutor Bill Burge said. Brown came up to her a third time, grinding his body into her backside and pinching her nipples. The victim said it felt “like being punched.” Burge said Brown is a “high-functioning member of society who certainly knows right from wrong.” The incident will have long-lasting effects on the woman, who described broken relationships and a distrust of men in her victim impact statement, and warrants a suspended sentence with a criminal conviction, he argued. Twenty-four letters of support were filed in support of Brown, an “extremely respected member of the community” whose judgment was clouded by alcohol, Mitchell said. Brown was sober for 13 years before relapsing in 2009. Mitchell noted he stopped drinking after his arrest and is committed to sobriety, taking counselling and addictions programming while reconnecting with his Indigenous culture. He has no criminal record or disciplinary action against him, court heard. Mitchell argued a conditional discharge would allow Brown to continue working while addressing root cause of his offence. “Police officers have a special role to play in our society. They are persons who the public looks to for support, help and to protect (them). And for that reason, an incident like this is especially disappointing,” Judge Leslie Matsalla said before imposing the defence’s suggested sentence of a conditional discharge. He said the sentence would not be contrary to the public interest, and any concerns can be addressed through conditions like continued programming and counselling. If Brown complies with his conditions, the discharge will be purged from his criminal record after three years. Matsalla also ordered Brown to complete 75 hours of community service and write an apology letter to the victim. In a statement, Brown apologized for the “hurt and shame” he caused her and her family. “I do recognize that I crossed her personal boundaries,” he said. “I have made many changes in my life over the past 12 months to show that actions speak louder than words.” Related

RCMP investigating fatal crash near Big River

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 12:43
A 24-year-old man is dead and a 47-year-old woman had to be extricated from a vehicle after a single-vehicle collision west of Big River. On Saturday around 1 a.m., members of the Big River RCMP detachment responded to a rollover 30 kilometres west of the community, according to RCMP in a news release. RCMP say the 24-year-old man was fatally injured in the crash and died at the scene. A 47-year-old woman was found trapped inside the front passenger seat of the vehicle. Using hydraulic rescue tools — commonly known as Jaws of Life — emergency crews freed her from the vehicle, at which time she was airlifted to hospital in Saskatoon with undetermined injuries. Early in the investigation, police determined there had been a third occupant in the vehicle at the time of the crash. RCMP learned Saturday afternoon that the third person — a 17-year-old boy — had been picked up by a passerby along a gravel road between the site of the collision and a nearby community. The teen suffered what RCMP described as minor injuries in the rollover. The investigation into the crash is continuing, according to RCMP. Big River is located roughly 200 kilometres north of Saskatoon. Related

Saskatoon firefighters rescue unconscious man from burning apartment

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 11:18
A man in Saskatoon was rescued by firefighters after he was found unresponsive in a burning apartment suite. Fire crews responded Monday around 7 a.m. to a 911 call about a burning suite and a person possibly trapped inside at an apartment building at 124 Avenue P South, according to Saskatoon fire in a news release. The first crew at the scene noted black smoke coming from a second-storey apartment window in the three-storey building. Within 10 minutes, search crews found an unconscious man and also located the area where the main body of the fire was burning. Firefighters immediately removed the man from the building. He was treated on scene by paramedics and then transported by ambulance to hospital with undetermined injuries. According to Saskatoon fire, the blaze was contained to one suite and was brought under control quickly. No other injuries were reported. Damages are estimated at $30,000. According to an investigator, the blaze was incendiary. Residents were allowed back into the building after carbon monoxide levels were determined to be safe. Related