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An inspiring figure

I was saddened by your Jan. 14 story The road not taken about my old friend the late Bill Edmondson, especially given the negative slant attributed to his entire life. I knew Bill from 1978 to about 1982, and during that time, he was anything but the tragic figure portrayed in this story.

I met Bill when I joined an insurance company in 1978. He was the executive sales trainer. He wore a suit and tie every day. He was intelligent, articulate and very motivating. The entire class of adults that I was with really responded to his leadership, so much so that most of us went on to earn sales awards the following year.

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All of us thought very highly of him, and it is from this experience that I got the inspiration to eventually become a teacher. So for this reason alone, his life was hardly a waste. I know for a fact that I was not the only person he inspired.

Bill also moonlighted as a guitar player in local clubs in the Vancouver area, both with a partner in a duo and also as a solo artist. He was a very accomplished guitar player, singer and harp player. I only heard him mention once that he played drums for Neil Young. He never dwelled on it or bragged about it.

In fact, the story he told me was that he had to teach himself how to play drums for three months prior to getting a job with his friend Neil. He told me it only lasted about three or four months, and I was always under the impression that it was never that big of a deal to him. It was just one of many good experiences he recounted about his years in Winnipeg.




Doubly stigmatized

I note in your Jan. 3 article Bid to reshape dementia attitudes that there is a tendency for people to see the disease and not the person who is suffering from it.

Unfortunately this is a common experience for those individuals with Alzheimer's disease, as it is for anyone with just about any type of mental illness. What is truly disturbing, however, is how this attitude is reflected in the minds of policy-makers when it comes time to allocate health-care resources. Here we have a group of patients who are doubly stigmatized by being both elderly and with mental illness, and cannot effectively advocate for themselves.

As a psychiatrist who provides care to the elderly, I can only hope that as we have an increasing number of people who fall into this double jeopardy of age and mental illness, the message will eventually get through. We cannot forget about these people when it comes time to plan how our health-care system will respond to their needs.




Spanking has a place

Regarding your Jan. 12 article Pain and suffering: corporal punishment, I strongly disagree with your experts' views.

Yes, spanking can be used out of anger and can be, in fact, a cruel abuse. But removing spanking totally from the picture leaves even fewer useful ways of discipline.

Just look at society today: The increase of rebellion is not a product of spanked children but rather a lack of discipline and a no-fail "positive parenting" view.

In summary, spanking should be done carefully and with good reason, and it should never be used out of anger or turn into any such form of abuse; rather, it should be a form of discipline that is more effective than the positive-parenting techniques.




Make snow tires mandatory

I think it is time for Manitoba Public Insurance to require all Manitoba drivers to drive with snow tires in the winter. Not only would there be fewer rear-end collisions, but we would not see long lineups at green lights as vehicles try to get moving on all-season tires.

Perhaps instead of putting all their extra money into roadwork, they could subsidize the cost of winter tires and make Manitoba a safer place to drive.




Price of pro-development

Re: So long silos, committee says (Jan. 16). So the city is requesting more money for legal costs? Could it be that this pro-developer council is seeing the consequences of that policy? What the developer wants, the developers gets, no matter what the regulations and guidelines say.

The appeal committee and board of adjustment are also toeing the city hall line. Maybe more citizens should sue the city for its egregious policies.




Crass politics at city hall

Re: Maddin to mayor: keep pool in picture (Jan. 12). As a friend of Sherbrook Pool I was hoping to hear that the city has some plan to repair and reopen the facility. The release of the proposed 2013 city budget has left me cold.

I call it crass politics when the only rec-facilities grants announced are to the Reh-Fit Centre (south Winnipeg and suburban) and the upgrades to the library and pool in St. Vital.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure these community places need work, too. But I am tired of the pandering to suburban soccer moms.

We pay lip service to inner-city issues and we don't like the crime and poverty rates there. But when it comes time to pony up some cash, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.




Consistently competitive

Re: Teams to watch (Letters, Jan. 11). In my opinion, both the universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg's basketball teams currently have hard-working, competent coaches who are doing their utmost to develop consistently competitive programs in Canada West.

Kirby Schepp at the U of M and Mike Raimbault at the U of W are focused on recruiting in Winnipeg and Manitoba. They would very much want to keep the local talent at home.

Because they now compete with other excellent university teams, the Bisons and Wesmen don't have an easy path to a championship, but these guys are doing their utmost. I do wish the Wesmen Classic could get better teams, but I don't believe it is through lack of attention by U of W organizers.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 19, 2013 A16


Updated on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 10:53 AM CST: adds links

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