Bill Redekop

  • Have shop, will travel

    BRANDON -- Cory Popplestone wants to make your life easier. He wants to take all those time-consuming visits to the service garage for stupid little things such as repairing a flat tire, or rebalancing your wheels, or a stone chip in your windshield, or even a burnt-out turn signal bulb, and save you the trip.
  • Grappling with an identity crisis

    SOURIS -- It took Vern May four years to perfect the body slam, but it was the piledriver that finished his career as a professional wrestler. The body slam is where you maximize the surface of your body that hits the mat, after being flung head over heels by your opponent. That not only disperses the impact of the fall but makes the loudest, hurtin'-est sound.
  • Let's talk turkey, all 60 of them

    SOURIS -- When people say Souris has a bunch of turkeys living there, that shouldn't be viewed as a reflection on the denizens of this pretty southwestern Manitoba town. It's meant literally. Wild turkeys moved in about 10 years ago. At first it was just a dozen or so and no one minded. This fall, their numbers grew to about 60. They started to turn into a menace.
  • Unexpected advantage of flooding

    SHOAL LAKES -- The Great Flood of Noah's Ark may have spelled disaster for most legged creatures, but fish call it something else: the good old days. Flash-forward several millennia. Manitoba has withstood above-average precipitation and flooding for more than a decade. Lake levels and water tables have risen steadily.
  • Morden opens its arms

    MORDEN -- Anna Repina, who arrived in Canada less than two months ago from Odessa in southern Ukraine, doesn't keep just one online blog: She keeps three. One is a travel blog, another is a blog about her experience with the immigration process to help others, and the third is about her new life in Canada.
  • New Selkirk library a community effort

    SELKIRK -- The first community library of the Red River settlers was in Lockport, just six kilometres south of Selkirk, comprised of books donated by Lord Selkirk. The first public library outside Winnipeg was also built here thanks to Andrew Carnegie, the American philanthropist of libraries. In 1909, Carnegie paid the shot to build Selkirk's library, as he did with three other libraries in Manitoba (all Winnipeg), and 125 in Canada (mostly Ontario), and 2,509 around the world.
  • Ancient barns reborn in home

    MORDEN -- Cracks and nail holes? They add character. Weathered, with scraped or peeling paint? All the better.
  • Manitoba farmer has a keen eye for disquieting images

    PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- If you were told the photos are of a fence post, a line of fence posts, a snow cone on top of a fence post, a scrawny-looking tree, a stand of trees, fungus on a tree, that might not sound like much of a sales pitch. But somehow, farmer Stan Wiebe turns the simple and commonplace -- much of it on his farm -- into a startling exhibit of rural Manitoba arcana. His excellent 46-photo show, Almost Black and White, is on display at the Portage and District Arts Centre until Feb. 14.
  • Salvaged tin used to create lovely works

    RUSSELL -- Tin is in for Tyler Kilkenny. Tin ceilings in homes and buildings actually went out of fashion a century ago, replaced by lath and plaster.
  • Refugee loves to 'make laughing'

    ALTONA -- The man called Dieudonne (pronounced as if his name were D.O. Donny) invents these great turns of phrase when translating his thoughts from his native Kirundi into English. His greatest joy, he says, is "to make laughing with the people."
  • Council siblings keeping it classy

    ALTONA -- Mayor Melvin Klassen has never had to admit he "was wasted" to explain his council vote, and brother Ted has never threatened the Altona police chief for investigating his brother's after-hours partying. The Klassens are brothers on a municipal council, but comparisons to the Ford brothers in Toronto, Mayor Rob Ford and Coun. Doug, end there.
  • Hollywood fast lane too much for artist

    BOISSEVAIN -- They weren't exactly days of debauchery, but artist Darcy J. Watt's time in Hollywood included swimming naked in the Playboy mansion grotto and a party life that was as hectic on weeknights as on weekends. He got a job at the Fox network until it became apparent his duties included serving as sexual stand-in for his female boss's husband.
  • Short block long on valour

    SELKIRK -- The funny thing about John Sinclair being struck by two bullets during fighting in France in the Second World War was who found him. Sinclair was one of 29 men who enlisted at the same time in 1942 from a single block on Dufferin Avenue in Selkirk.
  • Rural co-op keeping it local

    BOISSEVAIN -- There's a scene in the TV comedy series Portlandia, where a couple in an eco-friendly diner, after being shown a photo of the chicken (when still alive) that they are about to order, and told its name, ask whether it got along with the other chickens. Rural Roots Food Co-operative isn't quite like that, but everyone here puts their names behind their product. From the farmer who grows your parsnips, to the rancher who raises the beef, to the baker who kneads the bread dough, they all get a byline.
  • Against the grain: elevators as art form

    HOLLAND -- People's memories of grain elevators are of harvest time and delivering that first truckload of grain, or just of an elevator breaking up the prairie horizon or as a signpost you're almost home. So it makes no sense when Joel Bouchard, who has more than 130 paintings of grain elevators, messes with people's memories by adding another prairie icon people aren't so nostalgic about: snow.
  • Robyn's burgers are nothing to beef about

    HIGHWAY 12 AND 317 JUNCTION -- Before a diner leaves Robyn's Drive-In, she makes a point of detouring around some tables so she can pass the counter on her way out. "The food was excellent," she says, nodding to the cooking staff in back.
  • Rural discontent growing

    BOISSEVAIN -- A new surge of protests is spreading through rural Manitoba and it isn't Idle No More. In Boissevain, farmers and townspeople recently protested the closing of their provincial agriculture extension office. In Grandview, a town hall meeting was held over the shutting of its Manitoba Conservation office, costing five local jobs. The positions were relocated to Dauphin.
  • 'Playground for adults' boasts sunset views

    CARMAN -- Watching a sunset, or watching a baseball game in the distance, or just breathing in fresh air and listening to songbirds -- while working out. That's the concept in Carman where people are discovering that while exercise is good, exercise and fresh air is better.
  • You can bet the farm on housebarns

    NEUBERGTHAL -- It turns out some people weren't slipping into the barns just to check on the livestock after all, a century ago in this heritage village. Neubergthal, renowned for its Mennonite house barns, once had a liquor problem. Not only was alcohol the ruin of several farms, but at least three families operated stills in a village of 40 housebarns. Part of one of those stills is a museum piece here.
  • Tapping sweetness from birch trees

    GRAND MARAIS -- There's the Call of the Wild in the birch syrup produced here. It doesn't have that saturated sweetness of mass-produced syrups. An apt comparison might be wild game versus store-bought meats. Beyond the wow factor, birch syrup has a sweet tang that lingers, similar to a wine. One taste, and you want to sit in the corner like a bear with a jar of honey.
  • Oldest 4-H club in nation continues to shape youth

    ROLAND -- That this small Pembina Valley village holds bragging rights as the oldest 4-H club in Canada is an honour, indeed. But less mentioned is that Roland was Canada's first 4-H club by just a matter of days. Seven other 4-H clubs started up in Manitoba that year, 1913, in the towns of Darlingford, Manitou, Neepawa, Oak Lake, Starbuck, Stonewall and Warren.
  • Birtle Collegiate students learn to construct entire homes

    BIRTLE -- If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy, in the immortal words of Red Green. That could also be the motto at Birtle Collegiate.
  • Mennonites return good for evil in town

    When some Mennonites arrived in the Ukrainian village of Molochansk in 2000, local people were suspicious. In the Russian Revolution and Second World War, the 80,000 Mennonites living in Ukraine were completely displaced: killed, or shipped to Siberian gulags, where scores died; relocated to the eastern Soviet Union, especially Kazakhstan; or escaped to the West. Mennonite buildings, but not Mennonites, are all that remain in the farming town of Molochansk, as in most other former colonies in southeastern Ukraine.
  • A simply terrific Tim's

    SAGKEENG FIRST NATION -- Treaty number, please. Ummm...
  • This joint relieves pain, but if you try to pull a fast one, you'll be the one getting smoked

    BRANDON -- During Prohibition, some people could still obtain alcohol legally, only not through the local pub or liquor store. They got it from a pharmacy. People would go to a doctor for a prescription to consume liquor for, ahem, "medicinal purposes," wink, wink.


Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

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