Telling Tales out of School

with Nick Martin

Email Nick Martin

  • My tax dollars at work

    I hit a dog on the way to work this morning, the first time in my life that that’s happened.

    It was just all so fast. I was driving north on Arlington, around Magnus, when this huge brown dog raced out of a back lane on my right and directly into my path, without slowing down, without looking. I braked, but there was still a considerable impact, and the dog was knocked down and slid 15 to 20 feet out in front of my car.

    To my amazement, it got right up and kept running, this time taking to the southbound lanes while running north on Arlington at full speed, no sign of a limp.

    I couldn’t believe that the dog couldn’t be injured in some way, and regardless, it was running loose, and had been running at top speed coming out of that back lane; something was wrong with that dog even before we collided.

    So I looked up the number of city animal services and called. I went through a bunch of voice mail options, before the system bounced me over to 311, whereupon I went through still another pile of voice mail options, before being advised by a pleasant-sounding robot that I was going on hold until someone became available.

    I held, and held, and held.

    I finally gave up, and this time tried Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter out on Portage west. I got a real human being, one sympathetic, but unable to dispatch help; she advised that I try emailing 311.

    By now, it was half an hour since I’d last seen this poor dog, but I went through the city website and found the email box, which required all kinds of personal contact information be included, and that I fill in a code so that the system would know that it, at least, was dealing with a human. While I was doing all this, I tried phoning 311 again just in case, and was back on hold.

    Finally, I fired off my email with all the information I would have given over the phone, and received back an automated reply acknowledging receipt of my email. And then gave up on hold on the phone for a second time.

    That was two hours ago, and no word from the city by phone or email.

    I hope that dog is OK.

  • I'd really like to, but...

    I received a speaking invitation last Friday from Pro Tem, my old university paper at Glendon College of York University.

  • Floor it, speed up, drive ever-faster on campus!

    This is one complaint I certainly didn’t expect to get in February — a reader unhappy with a story I wrote last summer about enforcement of the 30 km/h speed limits on much of the University of Manitoba campus.

  • Liberals come calling

  • A leak about WSD

    I’m scanning the tweets this afternoon as a good twit does, and jumping right out at me is one posted by a veteran educator who’s listing three first names and congratulating them for making the short list for a senior job in Winnipeg School Division.

  • Why your school property taxes will go up, another chapter

    Sometime this week, Education Minister James Allum will announce education funding for the $2.1 billion public school system for 2014-2015.

  • My failure to appreciate modern culture

    I was reading today in The Uniter, the U of W student publication, about a local graphic novel — what I called a comic book back in the day — that will be available for sale around the end of February.

  • Blowing our minds over school taxes chapter 1

    It’s a given that Tory leader Brian Pallister and taxpayers federation head Colin Craig will have a total hissy fit when Education Minister James Allum announces public education funding around the end of January.

  • I expected more people would talk to me

    You may have wondered why a story I did recently on the vague federal proposal for aboriginal education legislation wasn’t more comprehensive.

  • Warmest wishes from an infidel

    Of course you may wish me a Merry Christmas. And I may respond with a smile, or a thank you, maybe even a same to you.

  • Plethora of projects for aboriginal education

    Here’s a posting from this morning’s Academica Indigenous Top Ten, a roundup of news items about indigenous education, to which you can subscribe by going on www.academica.ca.

  • I am like so totally a prude

    I’m starting to wonder about staying on Couchsurfers.

  • A brief reprieve for drenching in Axe

    Some people still stink in the Brandon School Division.

  • Any smart people looking for a job?

    In keeping with my being ever helpful to the University of Winnipeg — OK, OK, except for those 219 times — I’m doing my bit to help UW out of a pickle.

  • Global report card comes in darkness

    So, will the world end for Manitoba public education at 11 a.m. Paris time on Tuesday?

  • Donors? Did you get a tax receipt, Greg?

    That was an interesting little ceremony that Canadian Mennonite University held this week, Tuition Freedom Day.

  • Burned

    This has been a really, really crummy day.

  • The principal came on the PA

    I was writing a Grade 11 English composition exam when the principal came on the PA to the entire school to tell us that JFK had just been killed.

  • I can't provide the help you need

    I received an email yesterday from a student at a university somewhere in Manitoba — given what an educated bunch you are, you’d recognize the name of the school in a heartbeat.

  • What happens in Minnedosa may not stay in Minnedosa

    The additional money that teachers in Minnedosa and area are getting in their long-awaited contract may not seem all that significant, but bear with me — even if you’re not a member of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation or a Tory looking for any scraps that can be somehow tied to the NDP.

About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

Ads by Google