Former hockey star Sheldon Kennedy stood in tears at the podium at the 10th annual Beyond Borders Media Awards, wiping his face as he received a prolonged standing ovation.
"It wasn't that long ago I could clear a room, trust me," he said, attempting to lighten the mood at the luncheon at the Fort Garry Hotel.
Nobody wanted to hear about child sexual exploitation by so-called leaders and heroes when Kennedy was young. But as an adult, Kennedy came forward, with the result being Graham James, his former junior hockey coach, was convicted for the five years of sexual abuse he subjected Kennedy to as a teen. Many other men have followed suit, seeking criminal charges against their abusers.
Kennedy received the inaugural Rosalind Prober Award for his inspirational fight against child exploitation. And Kennedy thanked Rosalind Prober, a feisty, longtime warrior against child exploitation, from the bottom of his heart.
He also thanked the media, saying, "They help shape society's views." Beyond Borders award winners included Diana Swain, Timothy Sawa and Angela Gilbert of the CBC's the fifth estate for their work on Scout's Honour and The Lost Boys. Tanya Hvilivitsky and Carolyn Mullin of Niagara Magazine won for their article, The Underground World of Trafficking Humans. Daphne Bramham of the Vancouver Sun won for her integrated media series Stolen Innocence, about sexual tourism in Cambodia. In the French electronic category, Michael Jean of TVA won for his series Cyberpredateurs dans le mire, on how sexual predators use social networking to get to victims. Caroline Montpetit won in the French print category for her article Prostitution juvenile, challenging the idea young girls enter the sex trade for the money.
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EIGHTY of Winnipeg's best chefs, wine connoisseurs and foodies pulled into Breezy Bend Country Club Sunday night for one of their hush-hush gourmet Diner Amical gatherings.
Many of the city's top chefs belong to Chaine des Rotisseurs, a gastronomic guild that goes back to the 1500s and was resurrected in the mid-1950s. It's headquartered in Paris with worldwide groups and Winnipeg's is active, with a few formal multi-course dinners every year and a number of casual events. Each one focuses on the best of the best from the chef who takes on the challenge -- in this case chef Klaus Leiendecker, who dazzled. Chefs spotted in the crowd included Takashi Murakami from St. Charles Country Club, Sean McKay from Bonfire Bistro, newly retired Bernard Mirlycourtois, magical pair Denise Friesen and Jean Louis Danguy, Jeremy Langemann from The Fairmont, and Marco and Carla DeLuca from DeLuca's restaurant.
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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Two years ago this month, yours truly reported on the worst day of Jon Ljungberg's life -- he got fired from hosting Breakfast TV and his marriage ended on the same day. But things have been looking up since then. He's going to be in the movies, and not as an extra. "I got bumped to 'principal actor' as Boston newshound Jeff Franklin in Samuel L. Jackson's thriller Unreasonable Doubt, being shot here." That means he has a page of script, to be filmed Dec 15.
"Now if only I can do a Boston accent," he jokes. Ljungberg grew up in New England, near Boston, and can do a broad accent any time he wants.
"Ten minutes at home and we sound like the bickering Kennedys."
Though Ljungberg's day job is organizing fundraising events for Riverview Health Centre, he's also hosting major events for other fundraisers and doing comic performances across Western Canada.
Does he miss TV? "Oh, I miss it tons, TONS! I still see all the gang, but I miss the day-to-day fun of live television."
And what about his marital status? Single and looking, ladies.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 474-1116, email to Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield, c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.