Melissa Martin

  • Bridging city's divide takes talking... and listening

    Winnipeg is a divided city, a fact that most everyone who lives here knows already, in their gut if not in a way they’re prepared to explain or even say out loud. We are divided, and data (or a thoughtful look around) bears it out. Split by the railyard that slices through the city, by the facts of income and ethnicity, and perhaps by urban design that does little to encourage people from divergent neighbourhoods to mingle, we have grown (and are slowly growing) apart.
  • Going off-script — when audience turns on public 'performers'

    There's no real mystery to why a guy was fired after last week's ugly "FHRITP" fiasco, no moral crisis worth wringing hands over -- that part's just math. The calculation goes like this: It's a fact of business that anyone will get fired as soon as they become more of a liability than the investment in them is worth. If the cost of shrugging is greater than the benefit of keeping the employee around, well, guess which way smart companies break.
  • Helping the hurting

    Heavy headlines march, that's just how they move. They roll past us loaded with bad news, an endless parade of other people's pain to blur before our eyes. It never really stops. But sometimes, we crash into a story so viscerally wrong, it forces us to pause: for instance, when a child takes their own life.
  • Police engagement can foster hope

    The week placed a cruel burden on Winnipeg’s most vulnerable shoulders, suddenly loaded with the pall of two more men slain and a thorny wreath of fear. So Tuesday afternoon was heavy, when Winnipeg police announced they’d arrested John Paul Ostamas for killing Miles Monias, Donald Collins and Stony Bushie.
  • We don't need hockey to make us a team

    We all know how it ended now, not with a bang but with a Kesler and a five-pack of goals that put Winnipeg’s Stanley Cup dreams back on the flight to next year. Or rather, that’s how it is recorded in the box score, which has the excuse of being quantifiably objective: the balloon-popping pins of Ryan Kesler’s two strikes for Anaheim and, finally, an empty-netter that didn’t really matter. Time runs out, game over.
  • The underdog won't back down

    For as long as many around Osborne Village can remember, Eric Pyle has been there, the consummate streetwise entertainer strumming classic tunes for coins. This month, the picture shifted. Suddenly, Pyle is a guitar-slinger on a mission, battling for his right to sing on public streets.
  • Truth amid all those dots

    There is a certain clarity insomnia can bring, as if the nighttime solitude beams a spotlight on the facts that stream past throbbing, sticky eyes. So in the streetlit blue of Wednesday morning, wide awake, insomnia holds me fixated on three speckled maps of Winnipeg.
  • Transcona-raised pro wrestler Kenny Omega is literally big in Japan

    TOKYO, Japan — All day long, the formicary train stations of Tokyo spew out many kinds of people: salarymen marching rhythms with freshly polished shoes, bedraggled western tourists, women in kimonos. Even in this improbably smooth sea of shuffling humanity, Kenny Omega stood out, easy.
  • Sweet sorrow in Sapporo

    SAPPORO, Japan -- After the whole shebang was over, a wild final culminating in a feisty new champion, only one phrase seemed to fit just right. In Japanese, that is oyasumi nasai: Farewell to the 2015 World Women's Curling Championship, and good night.
  • In the land of wonder

    SAPPORO, Japan -- Everything you've heard about the toilets in Japan, gleeful tales of magical mystery bum-washing machines, every word of them is true. The stories and photos don't tell the whole of it, of course, because gushing jet-lagged travelogues and artfully filtered Instagram photos never do. Not every toilet here is a "western-style" toilet; some are squat. Of the pedestal toilets, not every one has the ability to erupt jets of warm water directly at your butt.
  • Team Jones has put in the miles to be sufficiently battle-tested for big events

    SAPPORO, Japan -- All these years later, Jennifer Jones still remembers her first overseas adventure, a wide-eyed Swiss caper in search of a certain charm. It was 1994 and Jones, a freshly minted Canadian junior champion, was playing at a cashspiel in Bern, Switzerland. She was all of 19 years old, a fine age to brave the wider world alone, so different than the rugged trailer road trips her family had always taken.
  • Canadian fans at world women's in Japan stand out in a crowd

    SAPPORO, Japan -- Even on Hokkaido, the postcard-pretty island half a world away from Canada's western shore, Jennifer Jones arrived with a cheering section in tow. True, it's a very small contingent, truncated by time and distance, just an echo of the buzz that fills world championships in more traditional curling markets.
  • How curling came to be in Hokkaido

    SAPPORO, Japan -- When curling first came to Hokkaido, there were few pebbled sheets, no curling centres like the one now sprung in Sapporo's southeast corner. Back then, Kuniyasu Tada remembered, he and his friends sometimes tried to roar their rocks across parking lots, or spritz water onto ice at the park.
  • Slowing down the clock of time

    This is what it feels like, to have a liquid facsimile of time punctured through the skin and spurted under your eye: nothing. It feels like nothing. OK, maybe you can feel a little. An occasional cold pop, a fleeting sharp flicker. But the sensations aren't painful, and they don't linger.
  • Jones and Co. have plenty of competition for elusive global curling crown

    The drought has stretched longer than talent alone might have guessed, seven years passed since Canadian women captured world curling championship gold. Fifteen Canadian teams have done it, and Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones skipped the last. Now, it's up to Jones to go into Japan and bring the world championship back.
  • The need for constant vigilance

    Although it feels so very far away in mind and territory, this is a time when Winnipeg — and the world, really — should take a serious look at Ferguson, Mo. There are hard lessons in what exists there, in the rank abuses of power and privilege that fester there, that all of us need to see.
  • Full plate

    Through the snow haze on a weekday afternoon, winter light tumbles into the tiny restaurant and finds Amos Ramon gliding plates out from the kitchen. This is a whole new game Famous Amos is playing now, on the brink of his baseball retirement. Out of the dirt and into the dishes.
  • A sorry state of affairs

    OK, so maybe Morgan Rielly might rather have been anywhere other than where he was that night, hauled up before the TV cameras as time raced toward the game. Still, before the puck dropped between the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto last Friday, the 20-year-old Maple Leafs defenceman reported for duty.
  • A small act of compassion

    MOOSE JAW, Sask. -- On the first day I tried to see the tunnels, a blizzard enclosed Moose Jaw, so thick that every inhale spattered snow inside the nose. Instead, on that Saturday I turned my car around. Wrangled it through the mechanical rodeo of winter roads. Squinted to spot my hotel through the storm.
  • Smash hit

    MOOSE JAW, Sask. — All week, the rocks have been roaring, the 50/50 pots have been soaring and the seats at Mosaic Place have been full of delighted fans. All in all, it was enough to prompt Canadian curling officials, in a press release, to call this week “one of the best Scotties ever.”
  • A love letter to home

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Enclosed, please find a love letter to Osborne Village, on the day of my return.
  • Hate, headlines and hope

    Of all the harsh words spoken about Winnipeg, and hard headlines written, none could ever be more offensive than this: There was a murdered girl in the river. There was a murdered girl in the river. Murdered women in Dumpsters. Women found lifeless and tossed in the bush. In many cases they simply vanished, their gaze fading from the rain-spattered page of some street-lamp poster. Date of birth. Height. Hair colour. Eye colour.
  • Teemu moved on, so should city

    The video is grainy by today's standards, but the scene it shows is so vivid and living, the visual fuzz doesn't flatten the power of the goal. Altogether now -- we all know this part: "Domi, flips it high. Selanne, goes after it. Teemu Selanne breaks it. He SCORES."
  • The complexity of freedom of expression

    My French isn't merely rusty but it is rust itself, flakes of corroded word oxides chipping off my tongue, but I still remember how to count to 12. Un, deux, trois, quatre. One for each cartoonist slaughtered in a Paris massacre: Stéphane Charbonnier, Cabu, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac.
  • Unstable ground

    There was a family I once knew who built themselves a house, raising it on the side of a thickly wooded mountain somewhere near the heaved-up western coast. It was during my first visit, a Prairie girl transplanted, that my anxiety rose. I stepped lightly onto a porch propped over a mossy slope, and peered down to where grade returned to wild and fell away below. "Why doesn't the house fall down?" I wondered, and promptly blurted out whole.

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