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These tomatoes give me the munchies

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Dorothy Dobbie, the Winnipeg publisher of Manitoba Gardener, Ontario Gardener and Alberta Gardener magazines found herself in an awkward spot recently when she was doing her regular gardening-advice gig on CJOB Radio.

When a caller asked about her nephew's mysterious "tomato plants," she says, she began to suspect right away that the unsuspecting caller had a room full of marijuana plants. A recording of Dobbie and the caller has since been posted on Youtube and has generated more than 9,700 hits.

With gardening season kicking into gear, the former Conservative MP is also promoting Book of 10 Neat Things, co-written with her daughter Shauna. The paperback coffee table book, from Dobbie's company Pegasus Publications, focuses on fascinating facts about gardens and nature.

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At least 21 Canadian cities have signed up to have a poet read at a council meeting as a celebration of National Poetry Month.

The challenge to put poetry on the civic agenda was issued last month by Regina's mayor, Pat Fiacco, in response to a request by the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild and the League of Canadian Poets.

So far Brandon is the only Manitoba city known to have taken part in the challenge. Mayor Shari Decter Hirst says Brandon University poet Di Brandt read a poem that combined several local references and metaphors for change.

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A Winnipeg-born lifelong police officer has put 50 years of his experience with law enforcement into a new self-published memoir called Parting Shots: My Passion for Policing.

Robert F. Lunney joined the RCMP in 1953 and spent 21 years with the Mounties before becoming chief of the Edmonton police. He returned to Winnipeg in 1997 to be city commissioner responsible for fire, police, ambulance and parks and recreation, before becoming chief of the Peel Region (Ontario) police and later an international policing consultant.

The Winnipeg portion of his memoir includes his perspective on the 1988 shooting of J.J. Harper and the subsequent Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, which put police-aboriginal relations under the microscope.

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Winnipeg poet, fiction writer and editor Sarah Klassen launches her latest book of poetry, Monstrance, at 8 p.m., April 18, at McNally Robinson.

The poetry collection, her fourth, explores "the ongoing challenge of how to live with compassion, hope and faith" and "reflects on the spiritual and physical dimensions of living in a conflicted world."

Klassen, a recipient of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poetry for her book Journey to Yalta, was born in the Interlake, lives in Winnipeg, and has taught English in Winnipeg schools and at summer institutes in Ukraine and Lithuania. This is her eighth book.

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There's never been a shortage of politicians who make things up as they go along.

But if novelist Fred Stenson is successful April 23 in the Alberta provincial election, Canada will have its first Giller-nominated political yarn-spinner.

Stenson, best known for his trio of historical novels The Trade, Lightning and The Great Karoo, is running for the Liberals in the provincial constituency of Calgary-Lougheed. Current polls place the far-right Wild Rose party ahead of the centre-right Progressive Conservatives, which means Stenson probably won't have his writing time interrupted by caucus meetings in the years ahead.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2012 J8

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