Donna Minkus

Donna Minkus

Charleswood community correspondent

Donna Minkus is a community correspondent for Charleswood.

Recent articles of Donna Minkus

Safeguards required to protect the vulnerable

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Safeguards required to protect the vulnerable

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

November is Alzheimer Awareness Month— a time to raise awareness of a devastating disease that affects one in nine people over 65, and that ratio will likely increase with an aging population, according to the Alzheimer Society website (alzheimer.mb.ca).

Having a family member who suffers from dementia, I have concerns about the health-care system’s ability to handle the increasing numbers, and also about the procedures and resources that are made available to those already afflicted with this horrific illness.

My concerns begin with the process of assessing and panelling an individual for care, and continue through placement in care. There has been messaging aimed at educating families about how to navigate the system when dealing with an individual who may need to go into care. However, that messaging often conflicts with what actually happens.

For example, information written by a specialist in senior care and published in the Winnipeg Free Press, states that family should be involved in the decision-making about placement. What happens is a long-term care co-ordinator assesses and panels an individual for personal care, with input from a caregiver. A case co-ordinator, in conjunction with the caregiver, determines when the individual goes into care. That decision is based on information provided by a caregiver who is no longer willing or able to deal with a person who has dementia, for instance. There is no safeguard in place which offers family members the opportunity to become involved in either of these decision-making processes.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

Dreamstime

Alzheimer’s disease affects one in nine people over 65, and that ratio will likely increase with an aging population.

Generational knowledge is the best knowledge

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Generational knowledge is the best knowledge

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

There seems to be a day to mark everything these days so I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that Sept. 11 was National Grandparents Day. That discovery was a good fit with a thought that had been percolating in the mind. Namely, do grandparents play a significant role in a child’s life?

I didn’t develop a close bond with my grandparents, mainly because of longevity issues. So, I have wondered if I had been deprived of an important life experience. After reading Bill Massey’s second book, I think I may have.

Of Poets & Pioneers is the story of Bill’s relationship with his grandfather, Will Massey. Through narrative and poetry, Bill shows how his grandfather inspired and guided him, and influenced the path he would take in his life journey.

Growing up in troubled and poverty-stricken home, Bill spent his summers with his grandfather, where, through conversations and adventures, the world opened up for him. Many of his grandfather’s experiences are recorded in prose and poetry, dating back to the early 1900s, when Will was a young man. Bill contributes several poems in tribute to his grandfather and others in his family. The narrative and poetry in this book underscore the importance of family lessons and knowledge passed down from one generation.

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

Of Poets & Pioneers is the story of Bill Massey’s relationship with his grandfather, Will Massey. It’s also a fine example of how generational knowledge is passed on.

Community support helps overcome adversity

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Community support helps overcome adversity

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

I wrote a column several months ago suggesting Charleswood is not keeping pace with some other suburban communities, and needs to grow both in terms of business and population.

I was recently reminded of some of the benefits of the “small-town feel” that characterizes Charleswood Kristy Tarasoff, co-owner of Ear Architects Hearing Care, at 3412 Roblin Blvd., got in touch to tell me how the Charleswood community has reached out to help her and her family through a very difficult time in their lives. I profiled Ear Architects in a previous column, so Kristy wanted to fill me in on how the business was coping after a life-altering accident, and also let the people of Charleswood know how much she has appreciated their help and support.

Kristy explained that her husband Trevor and son Andrew were in a car accident on Jan. 31, while vacationing in Arizona. Trevor, who is also her business partner, suffered a traumatic brain injury. While Andrew was able to return home after a week in an Arizona hospital, Trevor spent five weeks in hospital and she travelled to be with him. After Trevor came home, he went to Riverview for treatment and rehabilitation. He is still recovering.

Dealing with the fallout of this accident meant she had to close the business for three months. Not only was her family’s livelihood affected, she had to lean on businesses in the community of Charleswood and some outside the community to help with patient care.

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

Kristy Tarasoff (centre), is owner and hearing instrument specialist at Ear Architects Centre on Roblin Boulevard. She is flanked in this file photo by her niece Sydney Stefanson (left), and administrative assistant Jessica Wilson.

Continued support vital for Ukraine

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Continued support vital for Ukraine

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

Those who attended the Roblin Community Leaders luncheon on June 3, heard how the war in Ukraine is not only affecting the Ukrainian people, but also all of us. In a presentation entitled Get real in times of war — how to support Ukraine, Olga Shmelova, who immigrated from Ukrainian eight years ago and is now director of mental health and addiction at Resource Assistance for Youth (RAY), provided insight and ideas about how we can support those caught in this crisis.

“When war started in Ukraine, people had 30 minutes to decide to stay or go — a decision that was forced upon them when the Russian army invaded their country,” Shmelova said. “The Ukrainian people went to sleep on Feb. 23 and woke on Feb. 24 to explosions.”

That was the beginning of what she called a “genocide”. Neither Invasion nor genocide is new to Ukraine, she noted, pointing to the invasion of Crimea in 2014. What is new is the resilience and spirit of the Ukrainian people fighting for their freedom and their future.

While this war is being fought on Ukraine soil, the whole world is affected, she stressed — from sky-rocketing gasoline prices to images of devastation and starvation. Many people are experiencing mental health and anxiety issues.

Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

Olga Shmelova, who immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in 2014, spoke at the Roblin Community Leaders luncheon in June.

‘Reverse retirement’ gifts support zoo

Donna Minkus 2 minute read Preview

‘Reverse retirement’ gifts support zoo

Donna Minkus 2 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

Some of us wonder what to do to celebrate our retirement. Brian Wotton, who recently retired after years of service to Super 8 Winnipeg West and Motel 6 Winnipeg West, part of the Schinkel Properties Hospitality Division, knew exactly what to do. For his retirement, he took it upon himself to make a donation to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory for the Animal Care Fund of the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

His “reverse retirement” gift, as he calls it, includes a personal donation of $500, plus a framed print of an exciting style of artwork, depicting a mother polar bear and her two cubs.

The print, called Motherhood, by Dustin Crocker from Hamilton, Ont. is done in the freehand ‘stipple’ artform, which involves using dots to form a picture.

In addition to the framed print that was presented to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory, Wotton acquired several prints of the same artwork, and has presented the framed prints to the Super 8 West, Super 8 East, and Motel 6, and Schinkel head office. All prints are signed by the artist.

Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

The management team of Schinkel Properties, Super 8 Winnipeg West, Super 8 Winnipeg East and Motel 6 Winnipeg West hold up their framed prints.

Charleswood needs more people to grow business

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Charleswood needs more people to grow business

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2022

In my March 8 column (“Assessing the future of Charleswood”, Free Press Community Review, West edition), I raised concerns about what I thought to be a lack of business growth in Charleswood. Reader Raymon Grewal wrote to suggest that it is not only business growth that is declining. It is also Charleswood’s population. This surprised me. People want to live in Charleswood so I assumed the residential area had continued to grow.

However, his email included a link to a website that maps out the areas of Winnipeg that gained and lost population during between 2016 and 2021.

“Almost all neighbourhoods in Charleswood lost population, and the ones that gained population grew much slower than the City of Winnipeg’s average population growth during this time period,” he pointed out.

Grewal, who is currently studying urban development, offered some suggestions as to why this may be happening. I have paraphrased his observations and suggestions in the following synopsis:

Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2022

Reader Raymon Grewal contends that more multi-family housing in Charleswood, such as the Westboine Park Housing Co-op, will help revive and renew the area.

Assessing the future of Charleswood

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Assessing the future of Charleswood

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022

As a community correspondent for Charleswood, I’ve been writing a column for The Metro (now Free Press Community Review West) for the past five or six years. I started doing some freelance writing after I retired and The Metro was one of the assignments I landed. During that time, I have written about a range of issues and events about and surrounding the Charleswood community. But the majority of topics have involved Charleswood’s past. For instance, I often covered the Charleswood Historical Society’s presentations, writing articles about how Charleswood came to be the community it is today, highlighting many of the leaders who have contributed to its development.

While I have enjoyed sharing with readers what I have learned about the history of Charleswood, I have started to wonder if I should be looking for more opportunities to write about Charleswood’s future. In particular, the future of the business community.

During the 33 years I have lived in Charleswood, I have seen some closures, changes of ownership and a few new businesses. But I can’t say I have seen a lot of growth. Maybe I’m not in the know or perhaps that’s normal for suburban businesses — but does it have to be? Shouldn’t those who have to courage to start a business in our community be able to find a path to sustainability?

Some support systems are available for businesses. For example, Myrna Driedger, MLA for Charleswood, sends regular emails to community leaders advising them about events, updates and opportunities that affect the business community and the community at large. There is also an established network that provides supports to businesses in the city’s western communities. The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce acts as a guide for business owners to access information and resources and also provides networking opportunities. According to its website, 4,000 businesses in the western part of the city are taking advantage of this organization. Those who haven’t made that connection yet may want to think about doing so in the near future.

Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022

As a community correspondent for Charleswood, I’ve been writing a column for The Metro (now Free Press Community Review West) for the past five or six years. I started doing some freelance writing after I retired and The Metro was one of the assignments I landed. During that time, I have written about a range of issues and events about and surrounding the Charleswood community. But the majority of topics have involved Charleswood’s past. For instance, I often covered the Charleswood Historical Society’s presentations, writing articles about how Charleswood came to be the community it is today, highlighting many of the leaders who have contributed to its development.

While I have enjoyed sharing with readers what I have learned about the history of Charleswood, I have started to wonder if I should be looking for more opportunities to write about Charleswood’s future. In particular, the future of the business community.

During the 33 years I have lived in Charleswood, I have seen some closures, changes of ownership and a few new businesses. But I can’t say I have seen a lot of growth. Maybe I’m not in the know or perhaps that’s normal for suburban businesses — but does it have to be? Shouldn’t those who have to courage to start a business in our community be able to find a path to sustainability?

Some support systems are available for businesses. For example, Myrna Driedger, MLA for Charleswood, sends regular emails to community leaders advising them about events, updates and opportunities that affect the business community and the community at large. There is also an established network that provides supports to businesses in the city’s western communities. The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce acts as a guide for business owners to access information and resources and also provides networking opportunities. According to its website, 4,000 businesses in the western part of the city are taking advantage of this organization. Those who haven’t made that connection yet may want to think about doing so in the near future.

Help HSC’s RR5 unit help patients get moving

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Help HSC’s RR5 unit help patients get moving

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022

On Nov. 30, which was Giving Tuesday, charities across the city, province and country sought donations to help their causes.

The Health Sciences Centre Foundation was one of them. Having made Metro readers aware of the need for donations such as iPads and laptops for COVID-19 patients about a year ago, Natasha Havrilenko, marketing and communications manager at the HSC Foundation, wondered if I might be able to help again.  

Although the deadline for my column didn’t coincide with Giving Tuesday, I agreed to help raise awareness of the need to raise funds for equipment, such as a sports wheelchair, for the HSC’s RR5 unit.

The RR5 unit helps build and improve independence and quality of life for patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries, endured amputations and been diagnosed with neuromuscular disorders. The specialty adult rehabilitation unit provides beds, teaches skills, and helps patients who have lost muscle, mobility and limbs to become as independent as possible before returning to the community.

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022

Dreamstime.com
The Health Sciences Centre Foundation hopes to raise money for equipment -- such as a sports wheelchair -- for its RR5 rehabilitation unit.

How the Harte Trail came to be

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

How the Harte Trail came to be

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Having written columns about Charleswood’s history in the past, I was looking forward to Eileen MacDonald’s History of Charleswood presentation to learn more about topics I may be able to cover in the future.

Unfortunately, I was unable to access the Zoom presentation offered by South Winnipeg Senior Resource Centre.

Suffice to say, I’m not great with technology. I was, however, able to obtain the topics she covered and decided to zero in on Harte Trail, having enjoyed many walks along this pathway. The following information is a brief summary based on the Charleswoood Historical Society presentation, as well as sources including Friends of the Harte Trail, who can be found at www.hartetrail.com

Locals know the Harte Trail, a 6.5 kilometre strip of wilderness, as a great place to walk, run, cycle, cross country ski or just explore nature. But, what many may not know is that Harte Trail is actually on an old railway bed. Some of the original wooden railroad ties to which the steel rail were attached can still be seen. Over the years plants, shrubs and trees have grown up and the natural growth acts as a shelter for a path that now has a crushed limestone surface.  

Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Supplied photo
This plaque along the Harte Trail in Charleswood explains the trail’s origins and how it came to be.

Museum offers glimpse into Charleswood’s past

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Museum offers glimpse into Charleswood’s past

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

Anyone interested in learning about the history of Charleswood will want to spend a couple hours wandering around the Charleswood Historical Society Museum, where you’ll not only get a glimpse of the past through the hundreds of artifacts on display, you will also hear about the families who settled in the area, and became influential in Charleswood’s heritage.

Located at 5006 Roblin Blvd., the museum is a small space in the old municipal building, which also houses 55-plus Active Living.  While the space is a little tight for the myriad of pictures, memorabilia and items from days gone by, the recently revamped museum boasts new shelving and display cases that allow artifacts to be displayed more efficiently.

Upon entering the museum, the first display you’ll see is an antiquated wicket flanked by numbered letter boxes. This was the original Charleswood post office, which was located in Kelly General store — the main store in Charleswood in the early 1900s.

Historical pieces are displayed in chronological order, starting with the buffalo, and artifacts from First Nations and Métis history. Compartmentalized “rooms” showcase items that would have been used in that era. For example, the kitchen features a coal-oil stove (used in summer when a wood-burning stove would make a room too hot), cooking utensils and wooden storage containers for items such as flour and bread.

Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

Anyone interested in learning about the history of Charleswood will want to spend a couple hours wandering around the Charleswood Historical Society Museum, where you’ll not only get a glimpse of the past through the hundreds of artifacts on display, you will also hear about the families who settled in the area, and became influential in Charleswood’s heritage.

Located at 5006 Roblin Blvd., the museum is a small space in the old municipal building, which also houses 55-plus Active Living.  While the space is a little tight for the myriad of pictures, memorabilia and items from days gone by, the recently revamped museum boasts new shelving and display cases that allow artifacts to be displayed more efficiently.

Upon entering the museum, the first display you’ll see is an antiquated wicket flanked by numbered letter boxes. This was the original Charleswood post office, which was located in Kelly General store — the main store in Charleswood in the early 1900s.

Historical pieces are displayed in chronological order, starting with the buffalo, and artifacts from First Nations and Métis history. Compartmentalized “rooms” showcase items that would have been used in that era. For example, the kitchen features a coal-oil stove (used in summer when a wood-burning stove would make a room too hot), cooking utensils and wooden storage containers for items such as flour and bread.

Individual rights must coincide with public interest

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Individual rights must coincide with public interest

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2021

As a resident of Charleswood who frequents the Charleswood mall — there are few stores on the strip that I’m not in weekly and if we’re talking Safeway and  Shoppers it’s more like daily — I was pleasantly surprised to find most customers stayed masked during that brief period when they we were allowed to unmask.

They wore them even though they weren’t required to do so and most outlets didn’t require mask use. Some threw caution to the wind, however, so here we are back to mandatory masking indoors and pulling out our vaccine card to gain entry into many establishments.

The government or regional health or whoever makes decisions about loosening restrictions assumed the unvaccinated were responsible enough to get their shot so they could not only protect themselves but others around them. Now there is no choice in the matter. Front-line workers must get vaccinated.

Despite the flip-flopping on mask-wearing and delay in vaccine mandate, this is one of the times I agree with a government decision to mandate for the public good. I am not a proponent of government superseding individual rights. But when the rights of individuals put others at risk, those rights are forfeited.  

Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2021

As a resident of Charleswood who frequents the Charleswood mall — there are few stores on the strip that I’m not in weekly and if we’re talking Safeway and  Shoppers it’s more like daily — I was pleasantly surprised to find most customers stayed masked during that brief period when they we were allowed to unmask.

They wore them even though they weren’t required to do so and most outlets didn’t require mask use. Some threw caution to the wind, however, so here we are back to mandatory masking indoors and pulling out our vaccine card to gain entry into many establishments.

The government or regional health or whoever makes decisions about loosening restrictions assumed the unvaccinated were responsible enough to get their shot so they could not only protect themselves but others around them. Now there is no choice in the matter. Front-line workers must get vaccinated.

Despite the flip-flopping on mask-wearing and delay in vaccine mandate, this is one of the times I agree with a government decision to mandate for the public good. I am not a proponent of government superseding individual rights. But when the rights of individuals put others at risk, those rights are forfeited.  

Still waiting for the joy of summer

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Still waiting for the joy of summer

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 13, 2021

Everyone is tired, it seems. Tired of talking about COVID-19, tired of COVID restrictions and tired of the constant threat that each wave won’t be the last.

I thought it was just me but after talking to others about how their summers were going, it seems many are feeling the same way. Things just feel off. No one really knows why. Maybe we’ve become so accustomed to behaving in a prescribed manner that when we come close to something we used to call normal, it feels strange.

In real normal times, July is my favourite month. This year it came and went and I’m still waiting to feel the joy of summer. Did the hype around the province’s 4-3-2-One Great Summer campaign raise our expectations too much?  Or maybe it’s the relentless smoke from the fires that’s putting a damper on things.

For the most part, things are pretty much the same. Despite the fact that more than 70 per cent of Manitobans are fully vaccinated and almost 80 have had at least one dose of a vaccine, it seems some of us are still convinced that if we happen to walk too close to someone or touch an object someone has touched, we just may get infected with the virus.

Friday, Aug. 13, 2021

Photo by Mikaela MacKenzie / Win
People walk along the Red River near The Forks on a recent smoky day. Has the endless haze contributed to sapping the fun from this summer?

Folks walk along the river walk at The Forks, as seen from Tache Promenade, on a smoky day in Winnipeg on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Standup.

Winnipeg Free Press 2021.

Shining light on the plight of factory animals

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Preview

Shining light on the plight of factory animals

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Friday, Jul. 9, 2021

 

There have been a couple articles about the Little Red Barn Micro Sanctuary in Charleswood lately and as an animal advocate myself, I wanted to add my congratulations to the compassionate young woman - Jessica Walker - who founded the sanctuary and plans a career in animal welfare. Katlyn Streilein’s article “A second chance for barnyard animals,” (The Metro, June 3) reported how Jessica had saved 1,700 hens from slaughter - hens that have been kept in battery cages and hadn’t seen the light of day.   Aaron Epp’s article “Animal magnetism,” (Winnipeg Free Press, June 19) expanded on the thousands of rescues that followed - among them chickens, pigs, sheep, dairy cows and horses. The catalyst for the sanctuary was a science fair project where Jessica learned about factory farming and the environmental impact of animal agriculture.  What she discovered compelled her to start and run the animal sanctuary.  While creating the sanctuary is an admirable undertaking and the animals that have found a home there are very lucky, it is impossible to rescue every animal headed for slaughter. What needs to change is the mindset of those who believe it is OK to keep animals in cages and slaughter up to 1,000 an hour.  The change in mindset must include our government, which encourages and supports the expansion of industrialized hog barns.I have written to three government officials to express my concerns on this front.First, to the deputy minister - my focus of concern was the use of gestation crates in hog barns. Sows spend most of their lives in crates so small they cannot move or turn around. The crates were supposed to be phased out in 2024 (having given producers 10 years to make the change) and now producers are asking for an extension to 2029.   I received a response stating appropriate regulations are being enforced.I then wrote to the Minister of Agriculture about the pending ag gap legislation, which would deny concerned citizens the opportunity to protest against inhumane treatment and abuse of animals in factory farms. I understand that the legislation has quietly passed. Finally I wrote to Premier Pallister because the regulations under which the hog barns operate are the problem, including: systemic animal abuse - particularly the use of gestation crates; a highly subsidized industry with roughly 94 per cent of the meat exported along with most of the profit to foreign investors while 100 per cent the waste stays in Manitoba; too many hog barns (590 to be exact) many of which have more than 5,000 pigs per barn - creating more manure than the soil can absorb so the waste runs into rivers and streams that drain in Lake Winnipeg, resulting in growth of blue-green algae, which is toxic to humans and animals.It is not enough for the government to enforce regulations. It needs to change the regulations to address the problems that factory farms, and in particular hog barns, create for the animals, the communities in which they operate and the environment.       Eventually, we will evolve into a society where systemic animal abuse will not be tolerated. Education is the key to this evolutionary process and hopefully the next generation, with people like Jessica Walker, will lead the way to enlightened animal welfare.  

There have been a couple articles about the Little Red Barn Micro Sanctuary in Charleswood lately and as an animal advocate myself, I wanted to add my congratulations to the compassion young woman - Jessica Walker - who founded the sanctuary and plans a career in animal welfare. 

Katlyn Streilein’s article “A second chance for barnyard animals,” (The Metro, June 3) reported how Jessica had saved 1,700 hens from slaughter - hens that have been kept in battery cages and hadn’t seen the light of day.   

Friday, Jul. 9, 2021

Photo by Mikaela MacKenzie / Win
Jessica Walker is the founder of the Little Red Barn Micro Sanctuary.

Protocols unfair to those living alone

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Protocols unfair to those living alone

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 18, 2021

By the time this column comes out, some of the provincial public health restrictions may have been lifted and we’ll be on our way back to something that resembles normal life.

Let’s hope so because like many, I’m beginning to feel like I’m living in another dimension. One where aloneness is the required state.

I’ve been reviewing the ups and downs, sidesteps and backtracking of the protocol measures that have been in place over the past 15 months or so and it is little wonder many of us are feeling conflicted.

Last spring, when the restrictions began, we knew what to do and we were OK with them, because we thought this would last only for a short time. It was once restrictions start changing that things got confusing.

Friday, Jun. 18, 2021

By the time this column comes out, some of the provincial public health restrictions may have been lifted and we’ll be on our way back to something that resembles normal life.

Let’s hope so because like many, I’m beginning to feel like I’m living in another dimension. One where aloneness is the required state.

I’ve been reviewing the ups and downs, sidesteps and backtracking of the protocol measures that have been in place over the past 15 months or so and it is little wonder many of us are feeling conflicted.

Last spring, when the restrictions began, we knew what to do and we were OK with them, because we thought this would last only for a short time. It was once restrictions start changing that things got confusing.

Take decluttering, downsizing step by step

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Take decluttering, downsizing step by step

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Friday, May. 21, 2021

If you’re planning a move or just want to simplify your life, start by getting rid of what you don’t need, according to Lisa Sinnicks, The Seniors Moving Company, who led a Zoom workshop on decluttering and downsizing for the South Winnipeg Senior Resources Council.

Downsizing is a process whereby you reduce things and space to make day-to-day life simpler, Sinnicks says.  It’s a balance between managing the belongings you have and what you need to make your home your home.

You need a strategy for downsizing, she points out. When you touch a piece of paper you need to make a decision about it.  Anything that is updated annually (like property taxes) you can get rid of the last copy.  When tackling areas like a linen closet, get rid of what you’re not using any more.  Sheets, for example, can be donated to a pet rescue.  In the kitchen, sort through pots and pans. If you have two sets, keeps the one you use.

Have a box open and as soon as you fill it, tape it up and start on the next one.  Otherwise you may go back in and change your mind about items you’ve discarded.

Friday, May. 21, 2021

Dreamstime.com
When decluttering, you may be able to repurpose some items rather than get rid of them.

Lobster Fest set to return in 2021

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Lobster Fest set to return in 2021

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2021

The Rotary Club of Winnipeg-Charleswood’s Lobster Fest is back - with a different format - but the same great meal will be available through curbside pickup on May 29.    

What began as a garden party at the home of Rotarian members Nancy and Dave Morris, the Lobster Fest fundraiser has become a 35-year tradition for the club and is usually enjoyed at Eric Coy Arena, except for last year when it was cancelled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year, a decision was made to change the format to comply with COVID protocols, so we could continue the event,” said Jim Forestell, chair of the Rotary Club’s Lobster Fest committee.

The 2021 Lobster Fest will be held on Sat., May 29 and, while the dinner selection will be the same - pre-cooked lobster or chicken - the meals will have to be picked up at Varsity View Community Centre, at 315 Laxdal Rd., Forestell explained.

Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2021

File photo
The Rotary Club of Winnipeg-Charleswood’s Lobster Fest returns this year as a curbside pickup fundraising event on May 29.

Hearing is essential to connecting in a pandemic

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Hearing is essential to connecting in a pandemic

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021

Living with hearing loss is a challenge in normal times but when the pandemic took hold and mask-wearing became the norm, some people began to notice difficulties hearing people talking through masks.

Hearing and communication is essential, especially now, says Kristy Stefanson-Tarasoff, a registered hearing instrument practitioner and owner of Ear Architects Hearing Care, located at 3412 Roblin Blvd..

“We need to be able to hear and understand what’s going on around us to have that human connection,” Kristy says. “My passion is to help people to hear and understand hearing loss, and the benefits of early treatment.”

Kristy completed the hearing aid practitioner program while living in Calgary and worked in the industry for more than 10 years before moving back to Winnipeg in 2018. She opened Ear Architects Hearing Care the following year in Charleswood, the community being a good fit for her business.

Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021

Supplied photo
Kristy Tarasoff (centre), is owner and hearing instrument specialist at Ear Architects Centre on Roblin Boulevard. She is flanked in this photo by her niece Sydney Stefanson (left), who is 17 and has been wearing hearing aids since she was three, and Jessica Wilson, who is studying for a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer.

Show your support for affordable housing

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Show your support for affordable housing

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

It was reassuring to read Cindy Gilroy’s column (“Putting a focus on affordable housing needs,” The Metro, Jan. 20) issue of in which she stated that the City of Winnipeg had made a $2 million investment in affordable housing from the federal Safe Restart funds.

Gilroy went on to say that she is committed to working with City Hall to develop a housing plan that addresses a growing gap in affordable housing.

Having recently reconnected with the Right to Housing Coalition - an organization that advocates for affordable housing for low-income people in our city and province - I became aware that, while the investment was welcome news, it doesn’t begin to solve the problem of inadequate affordable housing.

According to Right to Housing, there are over 9,000 households on the wait list for public housing in Manitoba. On any given night there are 1,500 homeless people in Winnipeg. These numbers will grow if the province continues to sell public housing.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

It was reassuring to read Cindy Gilroy’s column (“Putting a focus on affordable housing needs,” The Metro, Jan. 20) issue of in which she stated that the City of Winnipeg had made a $2 million investment in affordable housing from the federal Safe Restart funds.

Gilroy went on to say that she is committed to working with City Hall to develop a housing plan that addresses a growing gap in affordable housing.

Having recently reconnected with the Right to Housing Coalition - an organization that advocates for affordable housing for low-income people in our city and province - I became aware that, while the investment was welcome news, it doesn’t begin to solve the problem of inadequate affordable housing.

According to Right to Housing, there are over 9,000 households on the wait list for public housing in Manitoba. On any given night there are 1,500 homeless people in Winnipeg. These numbers will grow if the province continues to sell public housing.

Support the HSC Foundation’s COVID-19 fund

Donna Minkus 5 minute read Preview

Support the HSC Foundation’s COVID-19 fund

Donna Minkus 5 minute read Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

 

Health-care workers have been at the forefront of patient care since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in our city and province. To show gratitude and acknowledge those who have sacrificed so much, the Health Sciences Centre Foundation has created a special fund that supports front-line workers and their patients.   The HSC Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund was established in March 2020 and continues to evolve in response to changing needs.I became aware of the fund when my nephew, Randall Hofley, who is from Winnipeg but now lives and practises law in Ottawa, made a contribution  and invited family members to help reach a goal he had set in the Hofley-Minkus family name. His invitation to participate included a link to the donation website, so I decided to check it out. I listened to an interview with Jonathan Lyon, president  and CEO of the HSC Foundation, and learned that the fund initially provided patients in intensive care with iPads so they could connect with loved ones, and that telephones and televisions were also provided to patients in hospital wards. Since patients could not have visitors, they could talk to their families on the phone, and the televisions helped them pass the time, allowing front-line workers to focus on their care.   Information provided by Natasha Havrilenko, HSC Foundation’s marketing and communications officer,  indicates the fund has provided complimentary phone, television and video chat services for patients at more than 500 beds and these technologies will continue to be funded for at least the next four months.   The fund also provides support for front-line workers through its “feeding the front-lines” initiative, which provides complimentary meals to frontline health care workers at HSC.As the pandemic unfolds and needs change, the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund has purchased a wide range of equipment to fill various needs. For example, equipment for patient care includes 35 high-flow nasal cannula machines (which deliver oxygen) to keep people off ventilators for as long as possible. Equipment to support HSC’s virtual COVID-19 outpatient program for people recovering at home was also purchased and includes tablets, thermometers and oximeters (which measure oxygen levels).  The foundation wants the fund to be available for the duration of the pandemic so it will continue to raise money to meet emerging needs. For instance, three portable ventilators are required when transporting patients and at bedsides outside the intensive care unit.Manitobans are known for their generosity and the foundation is asking all who are able to step up and make a donation to the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, according to their means. Any amount will be appreciated, and those who make a donation of at least $15 will be provided with a tax receipt.To find out more or to make a contribution, visit www.hscfoundation.mb.ca or call 1-204-515-5612. 

Health-care workers have been at the forefront of patient care since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in our city and province. To show gratitude and acknowledge those who have sacrificed so much, the Health Sciences Centre Foundation has created a special fund that supports front-line workers and their patients.   

The HSC Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund was established in March 2020 and continues to evolve in response to changing needs.

Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

Dreamstime.com
The HSC Foundation’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund was established last year and is collecting funds to help buy things such as iPads for use by hospital patients.

Learning to fight a universal bully

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Preview

Learning to fight a universal bully

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

At this time of year, we are usually making resolutions for the new year. But at the close of 2020, our sights are set on another kind of resolution — protecting ourselves from a bully called COVID-19. This analogy came to mind while listening to the never-ending commentary on a virus that seeks out the vulnerable, attacks the weakest, and threatens those who want to help. To following through — how do we deal with this universal bully?  One way is to try to avoid it by social distancing and wearing masks, as we have been doing. Another way is to muster a defence, and according to one medical expert, that means getting healthy so we can boost our immune systems and fight the virus. Even when the vaccine is distributed, there will likely be other viruses, he said. What we can do at an individual level, in addition to the protocols of hand washing, mask-wearing and social distancing, is protect ourselves by developing good habits that include eating nutritious food, exercising and getting a good night’s sleep.Of course, that advice only works for those of us who are relatively healthy in the first place. What about the most vulnerable,   such as those in personal care homes? As we know, COVID-19 has preyed upon the older population and those who have underlying health conditions and, after it attacked the weakest, it sought out those who cared for them.COVID-19, however, didn’t create the systemic problems that allowed it to take hold in personal care homes. It exposed them.  The shortage of staff has been a disaster in the making for some time.  As anyone who has any involvement with a loved one in a care home knows, more resources are needed to provide proper care to our elderly.  Now everyone knows. And just maybe this long-standing crisis will finally be addressed.This pandemic has exposed weaknesses in other areas of health care as well, including the lack of mental health resources. Anyone who has mental health issues is more likely to be affected by the stress, anxiety and loneliness this pandemic has delivered, according to mental health experts. Will there be help for those who need it?  There have been attempts to find something good that has come out of this pandemic, but I have a little trouble with the sentiments offered up.  I do acknowledge that it has taught us a few lessons — that shaking hands really isn’t necessary, and that blowing out birthday candles adds virus particles to the frosting.   Now that we know about “moist talk”, I don’t know if I’ll ever again feel comfortable eating at a table for four — or any number, for that matter.Once we get the vaccine, maybe we’ll forget these lessons and resume some kind of normalcy. But until we actually get a needle in an arm, our best defence against this bully COVID is to try to avoid it by following protective protocols, staying healthy and hoping that the powers that be can come up with the necessary resources to fix a failing health care system.

At this time of year, we are usually making resolutions for the new year. But at the close of 2020, our sights are set on another kind of resolution — protecting ourselves from a bully called COVID-19. 

This analogy came to mind while listening to the never-ending commentary on a virus that seeks out the vulnerable, attacks the weakest, and threatens those who want to help. 

To following through — how do we deal with this universal bully?  

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

Dreamstime.com
COVID-19 has been a universal bully.

Travelling with trepidation

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Preview

Travelling with trepidation

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

 

I recently had my first experience with travel since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. I know I’m bad. Non-essential travel was discouraged when code red was implemented in the province. But we had made travel plan sto go to Victoria, B.C.  when the case numbers were low in Manitoba, and since cases were almost non-existent in Victoria at the time of our scheduled departure, we decided to go ahead with our trip.We did wonder about restrictions for travellers from Manitoba to Vancouver Island, but numerous calls to the B.C. COVID-19 hotline provided reassurance that there were no restrictions for travellers or requirements for isolation upon arrival.My biggest concern about making the trip was wearing a mask for an extended period of time, and social distancing on the flights.We were disappointed to find that our flight to Calgary was full. What happened to promises of socially distanced flights? I think I know. The flight we had booked was re-booked to an almost-full flight, so I was glad that we had reserved seats. It was unfortunate that the person next to me had his elbow in my ribs for most of the flight but other than that annoyance, it was OK. It was also reassuring that everyone flight obeyed the mask rule as well as the request to exit row-by-row, instead of the stampede that normally takes place when the seat belt signal is turned off.The three-hour layover in Calgary airport wasn’t good. There were very few people in the airport and basically all the restaurants are closed. That was too bad, as we thought we would have a reprieve from mask-wearing while we relaxed in a restaurant over lunch. Instead we had a quick bagel and sat in the socially distanced chairs.The flight to Victoria was uneventful except for an upset person in the next seat who announced he had paid $36 for the aisle seat that he had reserved and thought it was in business class — the row in front of us. I could have told him that business class seats cost considerably more than an additional $36 but didn’t want to carry on a conversation in such close quarters, even though we were wearing masks.My concern about mask wearing for roughly eight hours was unwarranted. As it turned out, it didn’t bother me as much as I had anticipated. I’m not saying it was pleasant but I guess it’s mind over matter. And I now have a greater appreciation for those workers who have to wear masks all day.I guess the bottom line is whether going ahead with the trip was a good idea. It wasn’t done without trepidation but we did enjoy the fact that most everything is open in Victoria — although masks are required — and we could walk around and enjoy the greenery. By the time this column comes out, we should be home and hopefully the COVID-19 case numbers will be down. I am looking forward to seeing the sun again. 

I recently had my first experience with travel since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. 

I know I’m bad. Non-essential travel was discouraged when code red was implemented in the province. But we had made travel plan sto go to Victoria, B.C.  when the case numbers were low in Manitoba, and since cases were almost non-existent in Victoria at the time of our scheduled departure, we decided to go ahead with our trip.

Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

Dreamstime.com
Air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic gives pause for concern but a recent trip to Victoria proved relatively uneventful for correspondent Donna Minkus.

Let’s not lose sight of the long term

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Let’s not lose sight of the long term

Donna Minkus 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

A line from the movie The Godfather: Part III comes to mind while reflecting on the recent COVID-19 numbers.

In that film, Al Pacino as Michael Corleone says “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”I think many of us are feeling that way. We thought we were out of the COVID woods (so to speak) but here we are, pretty much back to where we were in March.  Hopefully this surge in numbers is a short-term situation.

What seems like just a few days ago, I woke up to what I call the sounds of the city: the hum of traffic, cars starting, kids talking as everyone prepared for their day at work or school. I thought we were back to normal.

A little too optimistic, I’m afraid. But I’m not going to use my space to complain about the current state of affairs. In fact, as a baby boomer, I feel pretty fortunate to have reached a stage in life where the coronavirus is the first universal challenge our generation has had to contend with.

Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

A line from the movie The Godfather: Part III comes to mind while reflecting on the recent COVID-19 numbers.

In that film, Al Pacino as Michael Corleone says “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”I think many of us are feeling that way. We thought we were out of the COVID woods (so to speak) but here we are, pretty much back to where we were in March.  Hopefully this surge in numbers is a short-term situation.

What seems like just a few days ago, I woke up to what I call the sounds of the city: the hum of traffic, cars starting, kids talking as everyone prepared for their day at work or school. I thought we were back to normal.

A little too optimistic, I’m afraid. But I’m not going to use my space to complain about the current state of affairs. In fact, as a baby boomer, I feel pretty fortunate to have reached a stage in life where the coronavirus is the first universal challenge our generation has had to contend with.

Are we really ‘all in this together’?

By Donna Minkus 3 minute read Preview

Are we really ‘all in this together’?

By Donna Minkus 3 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in our province, country (and the world), we’ve been hearing the expression “we’re all in this together.”

It bothered me in March and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Six months later I’m still not feeling the togetherness but now I think I know why.

In reality we’re divided — on a number of fronts. First, there was the divisiveness of wearing a mask. People who wear masks say those who don’t cover their faces are putting others at risk. Those who don’t want to wear a mask say their rights are being infringed upon. Then there are those who only wore a mask when they had to, such as when they went into a facility that required a mask for entry. Now that there’s a mandate requiring masks in all public places, that option is off the table. But while the confusion about masks will be reduced, the angst of those who don’t want to mask up will ramp up.

So, why aren’t all of us feeling and behaving the same way, given we have the same information about COVID? Could it be because the pandemic risks are not the same for all of us?

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020

Dreamstime.com
As the pandemic wears on, division and rifts over individual rights versus public health have become pronounced and bitter.

Are we really ‘all in this together’?

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Preview

Are we really ‘all in this together’?

Donna Minkus 6 minute read Friday, Oct. 2, 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in our province, country (and the world), we’ve been hearing the expression “we’re all in this together”.   It bothered me in March and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Six months later I’m still not feeling the togetherness but now I think I know why.In reality we’re divided — on a number of fronts. First there was the divisiveness of wearing a mask. People who wear masks say those who don’t cover their faces are putting others at risk. Those who don’t want to wear a mask say their rights are being infringed upon. Then there are those who only wore a mask when they had to, such as when they went into a facility that required a mask for entry. Now that there’s a mandate requiring masks in all public places, that option is off the table. But while the confusion about masks will be reduced, the angst of those who don’t want to mask up will ramp up.So why aren’t all of us feeling and behaving the same way, given we have the same information about COVID?  Could it be because the pandemic risks are not the same for all of us? Some have to work and board a bus to get there and wear a mask all day. Others are working from the comfort of their homes (no mask required). And still others are staying home because they have lost their jobs due to COVID or there just isn’t a job in their field. It’s good the government is helping those who need it but, regardless of the situation, I think if I was one of those people getting on a bus to go to work every day I’m not sure I’d be feeling we’re all in this together.As the virus wears on, the divisiveness is deepening and it reaches into our social lives and even our homes. In the new normal of social distancing, the easiness of greeting friends and family with a hug is gone. The comfort of inviting others over and sharing a meal has become foreign. And going to a restaurant while adhering to all the pandemic protocols, which now includes wearing a mask, is no longer the social experience it once was.What is even more disconcerting is what this climate of distancing might be doing to young children, who — depending on how long this goes on — may not remember the real normal. I had an experience along these lines while walking in my neighbourhood when the pandemic began. I was veering off the sidewalk to let a woman and her young daughter pass when I heard the little girl say “Mommy, she’s afraid of us.” It was sad to hear and left me wondering whether a generation will grow up thinking it’s “normal” to step aside (two metres, if possible) when someone is approaching.We all are in this pandemic but each of us is living our own reality, and we’ve never been more apart. No platitude — however well intended — is going to change that.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in our province, country (and the world), we’ve been hearing the expression “we’re all in this together."   

It bothered me in March and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Six months later I’m still not feeling the togetherness but now I think I know why.

In reality we’re divided — on a number of fronts. First there was the divisiveness of wearing a mask. People who wear masks say those who don’t cover their faces are putting others at risk. Those who don’t want to wear a mask say their rights are being infringed upon. Then there are those who only wore a mask when they had to, such as when they went into a facility that required a mask for entry. Now that there’s a mandate requiring masks in all public places, that option is off the table. But while the confusion about masks will be reduced, the angst of those who don’t want to mask up will ramp up.

Friday, Oct. 2, 2020

Dreamstime.com
As the pandemic wears on, division and rifts over individual rights versus public health have become pronounced and bitter.