Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipeggers open hearts to longtime activist

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A SURPRISE CALL WITH A HAPPY MESSAGE... My phone rang late Monday afternoon, but the caller didn't have to introduce himself.The voice was unmistakable.

Nick Ternette was returning my call to his wife Emily.

After what he's been through, I wasn't sure if he was taking calls.

But the city's favourite left-wing activist, friend of political causes and people on the fringe had some news.

Great news.

Nick, of course, had been felled a few weeks ago by flesh-eating disease and ended up losing both legs and all of his teeth.

There was a time, Emily informed me, when he was in danger of losing his life, too.

But he seems way better now.

"I'm alive and kicking," Nick said.

He's survived one major surgery and five more relatively minor operations to clean up any infection on his stumps.

He had a heart attack during one of the surgeries.

"But I survived it, I'm told."

Now he's starting rehabilitation, although he's not expected to be home again soon.

Meanwhile, there was more good news. Winnipeggers have been bestowing praise on him in letters, and digging out their chequebooks too in response to calls to help the Ternettes in their time of need.

As of Monday, Nick reported, the Royal Bank at the corner of Arlington and Portage has $18,000 in donations sitting in an account for the Ternettes.

"The majority of these people I don't know personally," Nick said.

In case you're wondering, the largest single donation is $500.

And there are people, Nick says, who have given $50 and $100.

To get him home in a special wheelchair, and to have the house retooled, they're going to need all of that.

Thank you on behalf of Nick and Emily.

"ö "ö "ö

TICKETS FOR A GREAT CONCERT AND A GREAT CAUSE... Rossbrook House, for those who don't know, is a non-profit organization in Winnipeg's inner city that offers children and youth "a place of refuge, 365 days of the year, 24 hours on all weekends and school holidays."

That's why it's a great cause.

And Saturday's AC/DC appearance at Canad Inns Stadium promises to be a great concert, so it's only fitting, I guess, that Rossbrook House is raffling off tickets to the event.

First prize is four tickets and a $100 Boston Pizza certificate. Second prize is two tickets. And third prize is a $50 Boston Pizza gift certificate.

The raffle tickets are only $10.00 each or three for $25. You can still get them by calling Phil or Sister Maria at 949-4093

But you've got to hurry.

The draw is Thursday at noon.

"ö "ö "ö

STOP THE PRESSES, THE WORLD'S OLDEST NEWSPAPER BOY IS A GIRL... It looks as if 78-year-old Free Press carrier Harry Smith, who recently claimed the title of The World's Oldest Newspaper Boy, has competition. Altona has a carrier named Michael Tarnick, who is also 78 and who, his doctor will be happy to hear, has lost 10 pounds over the last year and a half walking his route, and meeting and greeting people around town.

"I haven't felt this good in years," Michael reports.

Then someone wrote in to nominate 79-year-old Ernie Ullberg, who has trucked the Free Press and dropped off singles up Swan River way for more than 20 years. And someone else nominated another 79-year-old, Bob Wells, who delivers papers in Southdale pulling a wagon or a sleigh, depending on the season.

So who gets the title now?

Well, let's give them all a share the title of World's Oldest Paper Boys.

Although, out at Lion's Manor in Stonewall, there is someone even older delivering the Free Press.

Her name is Ivy Edward.

And at age 95 she's got to be The World's Oldest Paper Boy/Girl/Person.

Or at least she's our oldest, bless her heart.

Bless all their hearts.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2009 B1

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