Bartley Kives

  • Trying fowl

    In polite society, it isn't acceptable to kill and consume your enemies. But if you're into symbolic domination, consider the case of the Anaheim Ducks, the only one of 30 NHL squads to adopt a relatively helpless, commonly consumed creature as its nickname.
  • Too much at stake in Chipman-Bowman impasse

    During the final weeks of the NHL regular season, the Winnipeg Jets hunkered down and got the job done. The club's owner and the mayor's office, however, remain kilometres apart on their impasse over True North Square - and time really is beginning to run out.
  • Anaheim and Winnipeg: the capital of cold vs. the city on the edge of anonymity

    Over the years, Winnipeg sports fans have grown accustomed to trash-talking the fine people of Saskatchewan at playoff time. Familiarity, as they say, breeds all manner of contempt. And who could be more familiar than our potash-mining, canola-farming, bunny-hug-clad brothers and sisters to the west?
  • Game changer: Epic fantasy TV series could overtake books it's based on

    If you watch HBO's Game of Thrones but have never read George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, you're about to get even with the geeks who have. The fifth season of the richly imagined TV show, which premières on Sunday night, is expected to not just veer away from the Martin novels, but jump ahead of books the notoriously fastidious author has yet to finish.
  • Be sure to enjoy the water this spring

    While the winter was a lousy one for all manner of snow sports, this spring is shaping up to be a good one for paddlers. In Winnipeg, the Assiniboine River is clear of ice, and that means the Red River is as well. The absence of flooding this year means there are few, if any, submerged hazards to consider.
  • Making the playoffs is about shedding past ghosts — but fanaticism is not always a good thing

    The morning after Winnipeg qualified for the NHL playoffs, professional women in the downtown business core were rocking an unorthodox form of Friday casual: jeans, blazer and a Jets T-shirt. Portage Avenue pedestrians were more resplendent than usual in club ball caps. A Winnipeg Jets flag hung from the pole at city hall.
  • Miller won't let stadium stop success

    When Wade Miller assumed the reins of the embattled Winnipeg Blue Bombers, every day was an adventure. Not a happy-go-lucky, feel-good thrill ride like How To Train Your Dragon, mind you. More like a perilous, lethal, what-the-hell-is-happening adrenaline freak-out like the opening scene of Raiders Of The Lost Ark or the Cornucopia bloodbath in the Hunger Games.
  • Rock 'n' roll damnation

    In 2015, it's nice to know AC/DC remains one of the world's top concert draws. This cements the notion rock 'n' roll is a tired and faded institution, so bereft of new ideas it's forced to peddle extremely old ones to an audience that isn't even interested in anything new, anyway. This is, of course, unfair. There are thousands of recording artists still trying to add something to the creative conversation that began in the 1950s, when rock 'n' roll emerged as a fusion of the blues, country, jazz and folk.
  • If this were a joke, it would be funny

    If you're a member of the Manitoba NDP caucus, every day must seem like April Fool's Day. That's the only rational way to take the latest, greatest and most hilarious effort yet to reunite a party divided over the failed winter-long effort to topple Premier Greg Selinger and install somebody else as the leader of the only ruling party any Manitoban under the age of 16 has ever known.
  • No one talks tough on sewage

    When the mayor and council signed off on the city's biggest infrastructure priorities, they once again left Winnipeg's No. 1 need off the list. Over the next six years, the city will spend $1.3 billion on waste-water upgrades that include big-ticket improvements to sewage-treatment plants and combined-sewer replacements.
  • How's my home, James? What the measurement means to flood-prone Winnipeg

    If you're new to Winnipeg, be thankful this isn't a flood year -- especially if your name is James. Water levels in Winnipeg are not measured in metres above sea level but in an idiosyncratic measure known as "feet James," which is the elevation in feet above the normal winter ice level on the Red River to the east of James Avenue in the Exchange District.
  • Curious beluga whales initiate interaction

    As wildlife-watching experiences go, very little compares to getting up close to whales, some of the planet's most immense, intelligent and graceful creatures. Every summer, thousands of beluga whales congregate around river mouths on the southwestern coast of Hudson Bay.
  • NDP clinging to any positive press

    With a futile and divisive leadership campaign out of the way, you'd think Manitoba's New Democrats would love nothing more than to chill out for a couple of weeks. Alas, there is no rest for the rifted. The looming byelection in The Pas, which will place a kibosh on political announcements for more than a month, means the Selinger government had no choice this week but to fire up the press-release machine and crank out a pile of announcements it's been itching to make since the start of the NDP's somewhat civil war.
  • Why was city hell-bent on police-HQ location?

    After four years of bad news about Winnipeg's new police headquarters, residents of this city can be forgiven for suffering from scandal fatigue. In 2011, the HQ budget ballooned to $194 million from $135 million. In 2013, it went up to $210 million. In 2014, the project was criticized in a pair of audits and delayed by electrical damage sustained during a summer rainstorm.
  • The rise and fall of the NDP

    To paraphrase one of the greatest minds of our generation, mid-1990s rapper Coolio, "there ain't no party like a New Democratic Party 'cause the New Democratic Party don't stop." In power in Manitoba since 1999, the NDP has put together one of Canada's longest-running political dynasties, second only in duration to the more than 43-year Progressive Conservative government in Alberta.
  • Audit needed to find blame for stadium fiasco

    For once, it would be nice if The Powers That Be in this long-suffering city would acknowledge obvious problems instead of minimizing the severity of issues when they emerge. The city, province, Winnipeg Football Club and the University of Manitoba have been less than forthcoming about problems with Investors Group Field, a $209-million facility built primarily with public money.
  • 'Old-style politics' despite a promise

    After mere months in office, Winnipeg's rookie mayor is playing semantic games like a pro when it comes to what is and isn't a property tax. On Tuesday, Brian Bowman tabled a city budget that calls for a 2.3 per cent hike in the total pool of taxes collected from city properties in 2015. This move will generate $11.7 million worth of revenue for the cash-strapped city.
  • Property tax or not a property tax — that is the question

    After mere months in office, Winnipeg’s rookie mayor is playing semantic games like a pro when it comes to what is and isn’t a property tax. On Tuesday, Brian Bowman tabled a city budget that calls for a 2.3 per cent hike in the total pool of taxes collected from city properties in 2015. This move will generate $11.7 million worth of revenue for the cash-strapped city.
  • Now's the time for winter camping

    Given all the griping about lousy snow conditions early this season, it's nice to see sufficient white stuff on the ground in time for the peak period for winter camping. The first two or three weeks of March are optimal, because you can enjoy 11 to 12 hours of daylight and milder overnight temperatures but little danger of early ice breakup on larger lakes and rivers.
  • Vice grip: Liquor & Lotteries HQ a daunting choice

    Ideally, Winnipeg would be one of those fast-growing cities where developers compete for downtown space to build highrise residential towers and office buildings. In reality, Manitoba's capital is a slow-growth city with an oversized and underdeveloped downtown. Since the late 1990s, its revitalization has relied upon a mix of public funding, private investment and repeated rounds of government intervention in the form of megaprojects such as the Centennial Centre complex, Portage Place, The Forks and Manitoba Hydro Place.
  • Comedy of errors just keeps rolling along

    If you've ever suffered through one of the lousier seasons of The Simpsons or Saturday Night Live, you know how hard it is to create consistently great comedy. This isn't a problem for the City of Winnipeg. Over the last five years, the creative geniuses at Manitoba's largest municipality have produced one of the funniest serials in Canada, the Winnipeg Fire-Paramedic Station Replacement Program, originally billed as a tragedy but better understood as farce.
  • Tips from a two-wheeled winter warrior

    Dan Lockery considers himself lucky. The Winnipeg cyclist believes he only tied for first in last year's Actif Epica -- a 130-kilometre winter bike race from St. Malo to The Forks -- because weather conditions favoured his fat bike over the skinnier tires used by some of his competitors.
  • Mayor made rookie mistake

    You might not be able to build Rome in one day, but you sure can destroy Camelot in a matter of hours. At the start of this week, Mayor Brian Bowman marked his first 100 days in office by highlighting all his good deeds since he moved into Sam Katz's old digs.
  • Bowman's game of mutually assured destruction

    You might not be able to build Rome in one day, but you sure can destroy Camelot in a matter of hours. At the start of this week, Mayor Brian Bowman marked his first 100 days in office by highlighting all his good deeds since he moved into Sam Katz’s old digs.
  • Mayor's not afraid to step on toes, even friendly ones

    The first lesson politicians are supposed to learn is to dance with the one who brought you. Brian Bowman doesn't want to boogie with anybody. Winnipeg's new mayor spent much of Monday throwing rocks at a popular corporation headed up by a popular man who just so happened to be his biggest backer in 2014.

About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives


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