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Yearning for a winter junket to balmy Edmonton

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I’ve been dealing for more than a year now with a University of Alberta researcher who wanted me to be a resource for a project looking at the communications strategies of both U of A and the University of Manitoba.

I’d go out to Edmonton for two days and take part in meetings, and at which I’d present to the researchers.

Sounded intriguing, and for once, something that I know something about, given that I’m inundated daily with news releases from U of M, and probably call or email U of M more than anyone else in the media.

Alas, two years in a row now, they’ve failed to receive research funding.

It would have been interesting, given that U of M is far and away the most frequent source of complaints about me, to the extent that the teachers’ union and the religious right aren’t even in the game any more.

A while back, my doctor had me wear one of those blood pressure monitors that takes a reading every half hour for 24 hours, and just as it took a reading, my boss was telling me that a senior administrator had called to complain about one of my stories, and I figure the needle didn’t even budge, given how commonplace such complaints are....but I digress.

Moving on.....

I had occasion to exchange emails with Brandon school board chair Marty Snelling. You know how some people put an extra message at the bottom, or a piece of poetry, or some inspirational tidbit? Snelling lists the years in which the Detroit Tigers won the World Series.

Not important enough, you say? Hey, did you know that before you read it? So now you’re better informed.

Another topic.....

Interesting story in the Thompson Citizen about the ongoing personnel controversies within Mystery Lake School Division, including an interview in which school board chair Robert Pellizzaro took some shots at me.

Pellizzaro has not responded to a single interview request I’ve made to get his input. On the other hand, the Thompson Citizen gave him a chance to have a go at me, without asking me if I wished to respond in my defence.

Oh, well.

It was ever thus, the local paper lets the local person take free shots at the media from the bigger city. It happened with the Ingersoll Times when I worked for the Woodstock-Ingersoll daily Sentinel-Review, it happened when I was with The London Free Press in the Stratford bureau, and it was open season for anyone unhappy with my stories in the pages of the Stratford Beacon-Herald, Listowel Banner, St. Marys Journal-Argus, Mitchell Advocate, and Milverton Sun.

Sigh.

Two years ago I was preparing for safe grad and convocation, and now it’s two years and counting since Grant Park High pitched a story request. Maybe had one each from Kelvin and Sisler in those two years, but not sure....ages since I’ve heard from River East or MIles Mac or Westwood or Vincent Massey. I’ve been to Children of the Earth a few times, Elmwood, Shaftesbury, J.H. Bruns, Glenlawn, Fort Richmond, but seems as though the number of schools calling about innovative programs or projects has really fallen off.

Meanwhile, the entire nation waits to learn will Christine Sinclair be able to play against France with a plastic mask covering her broken nose?

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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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