BREAKING BAD NEWS... He's had a burst pipe that flooded and closed his historic Royal Albert Arms Hotel for months; and he's had a public bun-fight of a relationship with his business partner. Now, Daren Jorgenson has simply had enough. He says he has a deal that's supposed to close Wednesday that will allow him to sell the property. If -- and I repeat -- if it goes through, that's good news for Jorgenson, who was full of hope when he paid $900,000 six years ago to purchase the hotel and an adjacent building. But the deal is bad news for the Exchange District and the local music scene. That's because the prospective buyer is Ray Rybachuk, Jorgenson's estranged business partner in the Royal Albert and a man with a criminal record that includes money laundering, assault, obstruction of justice, mischief and, according to a criminal-background check, ties to the Manitoba chapter of the Hells Angels.
More recently, Rybachuk was arrested in July after a man allegedly carved up the roof of the Chalet Hotel with a chainsaw and wrecked the washrooms of the strip bar in the same establishment to a total tune of $50,000 in damages. Rybachuk, who is reportedly a part owner of the property, faces three counts of mischief for those two incidents in mid-July and another occurrence in March. Rybachuk also faces two counts of uttering threats to damage or destroy property. Rybachuk is presumed innocent of all the charges. Last week, when I met Jorgenson by chance in the crowd during the Jets-Oilers game, he mentioned the deal, saying not only has he had enough of that hotel scene, he's had more than enough of the soap opera that went with it. All he's waiting for now is a certified cheque that's supposed to be in his lawyer's hands by Wednesday. Late Monday afternoon, Jorgenson responded to an email. "Delayed now..." As I was saying, if it goes through.
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CONGRATULATIONS TO... Legendary Winnipeg DJ Tom McGouran and his longtime partner-in-love, Stacy Roteliuk, who were married Saturday in a ceremony officiated by the groom's even longer-term partner in radio shenanigans, Larry Updike.
In the process, Larry managed to break the bride and groom up -- laughing, that is -- even as he joined them in holy matrimony.
The wedding's venue was the casual and fun confines of the Park Theatre Caf©, which Tom later described as "a really cool place." There were 150 guests, including Tom's family from Toronto and Stacy's from Nebraska and B.C. Plus, of course, the couple's close friends.
Winnipeg's Curtis Newton Band was there and supplied the music, although they weren't alone. There were special guest musical appearances from family members on both sides.
"It was a magical night," Tom said.
A night that was announced the next morning on Facebook by Larry.
Now, if a Winnipeg radio station would only officiate at Tom and Larry's re-engagement we could be even happier. For both couples.
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COMING REALLY SOON TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU... If you want to see a feel-good and inspiring documentary -- and contribute to helping kids from the North End -- check out Behind in the Count, the story of the 1965 CPAC 11- and 12-year-old baseball team and how this rag-tag bunch of bad news bears from the North End won the Little Canadian Baseball championship. Don Marks, who writes occasionally for the Free Press op-ed page, was on the team, and he put the piece together. It's showing Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Garrick Entertainment Centre on Garry Street. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door, and the proceeds are going to Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre.
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GOING OUT ON A LIMB... If you have family buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, or even if you don't, you might want to drop by the Hespeler Avenue entrance on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to witness lives being saved.
Members of the International Society of Arboriculture's Prairie division will be swinging through the trees, pruning dead branches and preventing the spread of Dutch elm disease among the hundreds of American elms in the park-like setting. It's the second year arborists have volunteered their services and it's a good time to drop by and applaud their efforts to save the elms of Elmwood Cemetery.
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AND FINALLY... My old elementary school is really old now. Linwood School is celebrating its 100th anniversary next month, Oct. 18-20, and I've been asked to pour tea and get the word out for the reunion. For more information, visit www.linwoodreunion.com. Check out the former students who have confirmed their attendance.