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Bring a shovel to campus

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It was weird being on the U of M campus on Sunday — ghost town doesn’t begin to describe it.

Our Couch Surfer from Sweden arrived in the wee hours of Jan. 2, so I took him on a drive later in the day and showed him around the campus where he’ll be spending the next four months.

I’m really hoping someone will consider shovelling off the steps into buildings before the school reopens Tuesday, especially University Centre. Same with the parking lots — otherwise, a four-wheel drive would be necessary if you’re going to leave B lot by the proper exit. Or have 10 or 12 people standing by to do a lot of pushing.

And a seamless segue.......

I stopped in for a coffee in St. Vital after seeing my doctor, and while picking up a section of the Free Press to read — there’s so much in the paper to read, that I couldn’t possibly have read it all before leaving the house, not if I wanted to be on the road before dark — saw a pile of brochures urging me to re-elect Coun. Gord Steeves.

Early start on the 2014 election?


I received a curious email over the holidays, a guy who wanted me to provide further details about a story he says I wrote about bank card fraud. I emailed back, saying that I have not written a story remotely like that, ever, and suggested he contact my city desk to be directed to whichever reporter wrote the story in which he was interested. Instead, he wrote back to me, urging me again to provide him with further details about ‘my’ story.


Then there was the request from a teacher I’ve met, copied to a student, asking me to find a particular story in our files that would help the student with research on a school paper. I hadn’t written the story, and the subject matter was so generic that it would be hard to track down, so I emailed back to both, asking for help in pinning down the story the student was seeking.

When I didn’t hear back, I plugged in the generic words, and sifted through quite a few stories before concluding that none met the criteria for the student’s paper,, and again asked for more clues. The teacher thanked me for my efforts, told me the student’s deadline had for the student, only silence.

Again, sigh.

I know I’ve vowed never to see another remake, especially American versions of foreign films, but the reviews of True Grit were so good, I really like the Coen Brothers, and the reviews promised that the Coens made the book rather than remaking The Duke, so off we went to the Globe, child the younger for her very first western.

It was soooooooo good.

Back to education.....

The universities open Tuesday, school is back Thursday, lots more action soon. And this is the month that Education Minister Nancy Allan announces operating grants for the next year — sorry, I know you want to concentrate on the hockey game tonight, didn’t mean to distract you with such exciting news.

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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.

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