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Catching up

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I bumped into John Prystanski at the University of Manitoba on Wednesday.

Prystanski was a city councillor when I covered city hall for the Free Press alongside Freep reporter Radha Krishnan Thampi in the early ‘90s.

Prystanski represented the North End ward of Point Douglas from 1989 to 2002. After he left city hall he operated a chrome plating business for a short time.

He’s now 44 and in his second year of law school at the U of M.

Prystanski said in the past couple of years he’s done various contact work which required a lawyer’s signature. Rather than spend money hiring a lawyer for that kind of work he said he decided to become one.

Prystanski is still involved with the Westland Foundation http://westlandfoundation.ca/ which he created in 1993. The foundation is a not-for-profit organization and a federally-registered charity that helps young people from the inner-city get a post-secondary education.

The foundation is about to launch a fundraising campaign towards an endowment fund to help even more kids get an education, he said.
To date $1 million has been raised for the Westland Foundation Education Fund.

The funds raised have been endowed with the Foundation's four partners, Red River College, U of M, University of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Foundation.

In 2008, Westland Foundation began awarding scholarships at RRC.

Prystanski said the foundation wants raise an additional $3.5 million to expand the scholarship program to the U of M and the U of W.

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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