Helen Lepp-Friesen

Helen Lepp-Friesen

Fort Garry community correspondent

Helen Lepp Friesen is a community correspondent for Fort Garry. You can contact her at helenfriesen@hotmail.com

Recent articles of Helen Lepp-Friesen

Ants love peony nectar in July

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Ants love peony nectar in July

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

What do ants and peonies have in common? Peonies, sometimes known as the ‘king of all flowers’ provide a brilliant burst of colourful fireworks in July. With the arrival of the buds, and later flowers, come the ants. I used to think ants were damaging the flowers and therefore set out to research remedies, only to discover that ants and peonies have what science coins “biological mutualism,” defined by the integrated pest management program at the University of Missouri as the concept of different species benefiting from each other’s actions and behaviour.

Peonies have nectar-producing organs on the outside of the buds. The nectar is made of sugars, amino acids, and other nutrients that provide good nourishment for ants. When a scout ant discovers the nectar, it announces where the party is on ‘Antstagram’. The post is in the form of a pheromone or scent trail back to the nest; other ants then follow the scent trail from nest to peony flower. The announcement works.

While the ants benefit from the peony’s nectar, they also provide a valuable service in exchange — namely protection for the peony. Ants want to be the single beneficiaries of the peony nectar and therefore chase away all other insects that could harm the blossoms. It is a temporary mutual arrangement; once the peonies have finished blooming, the ants leave, and protection is no longer necessary. Ants find nourishment in the peony’s nectar and while the ants hang around the bud and flower, they chase away other insects that may cause damage to the flower. It’s a win-win situation for both. Food in exchange for protection.

Now I need to go research whether grass and ants have a relationship of mutualism since ants seem to be taking over and destroying parts of the front lawn and I don’t think grass secretes nectar.

Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

Peonies and ants share ‘biological mutualism’, the concept of different species benefiting from each other’s actions and behaviour.

Manta swimmer heading to Acadia University

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Manta swimmer heading to Acadia University

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2022

For some teenagers, getting up at 8 to make it to school on time seems like an early start. For Vincent Massy Collegiate Grade 12 student Myles McTavish, getting up at 5:45 a.m. to make it to the pool by 6 is just part of his everyday routine. Being part of the sports program at VMC gives him some flexibility in his schedule.

About seven or eight years ago one of McTavish’s friends invited him to try swimming. After an initial assessment, he decided to continue and has been a competitive swimmer with the Manta Swim club since Grade 5. His favourite events are the 1,500 freestyle and the 400 individual medley, which is a combination of all four strokes in this order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.

McTavish’s training regimen includes nine trips to the Pan Am pool per week — four early mornings and five weeknights. Gym and dry land training are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays. He didn’t start with 18 hours of training per week but slowly graduated from twice per week to three times to his current regimen.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 completely affected his training.

Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2022

About spring and loss

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About spring and loss

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

Spring is a time of new life and renewal. We usually see buds appearing on trees and bushes, and green shoots breaking through the ground from once drab brown lawns. This spring seems to have a different sense about it with its starts and stops, thaws, fresh snow, and plenty of rain. Although the pandemic has changed to endemic, COVID-19, with its starts and indecisive stops, is still among us. Individually and collectively, we have all suffered loss in the last two years.

As people slowly emerge from their winter hibernation and see friends and community members again, I hear about the loss that people have suffered – loss of partners and having to grieve in isolation. My mother passed away a year ago, my mother-in-law a few months ago. People have experienced loss of jobs, premature loss of careers, loss of friendships and relationships, people have been unfriended and have unfriended because of differing philosophies and ideologies on COVID-19.

As if COVID-19 hasn’t caused enough loss, lives are lost every day as a senseless war rages in Ukraine and we witness tragedy on the news without apparent evidence of it ever ceasing. If my father and his family had not immigrated as refugees to Canada from Ukraine almost 100 years ago, that could be my family and me fleeing for our lives now. People are witness to atrocities they will never forget. My condolences to the families in Ukraine that have suffered loss.

Although things here are supposed to be getting back to pre-COVID times, things will never be the same again because loss and memories stay with us — loss of family members, relatives, close friends, premature loss of physical and mental health due to isolation and loneliness, loss of friendships and relationships to ideological disparity. Families have been torn apart and communities have suffered loss. Dormant gardens, yards, and sidewalks collect winter’s tears this spring.

Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

Spring in Winnipeg feels rather bittersweet this year.

Paddles for all

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Paddles for all

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2022

In 2019, artist, wood-, metal-, and leather-worker, historian, and sort-of-retired vagabond teacher Mark Blieske made a canoe paddle every week of the year. The 52 paddles were on display at Festival du Voyageur in 2020, where Blieske regularly demonstrates his skills. The only thing Blieske enjoys more than making canoe paddles is helping others make paddles.

Blieske, credits Indigenous designers for the canoe paddle.

“Indigenous people figured this out from scratch,” he said.

“I was a tinker and have been a tinker all my life,” Blieske added. His father was a metal-worker and working with metal and wood came naturally for Blieske. After graduating from high school, he studied industrial arts, which he taught for 36 years at Selkirk and Lockport Junior Highs. During his tenure as an industrial arts teacher, he also took students on two to three extracurricular canoe trips per year, totally 86 canoe trips over the course of his tenure as teacher.

Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2022

Mark Blieske is pictured with some of the many canoe paddles he has made over the years.

Meet the man running the new FreshCo

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Meet the man running the new FreshCo

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021

Kevin Mark, the new owner and manager of FreshCo at the corner of Pembina Highway and McGillvray Boulevard is not new to retail. Mark began his career in grocery stores 20years ago as courtesy clerk with Safeway in the same location, where he worked for eight years.

He eventually became assistant store manager and then moved to become store manager of a Sobeys Cash and Carry on Dufferin Street near Arlington Bridge.

When Safeway announced plans to convert some of its stores to FreshCo, and the Pembina/McGillivray location was one of them, Mark knew what he wanted and put in his application. He was very excited when he was successful.

“I love FreshCo. I love the brand. There was definitely a lot of emotion,” Mark says of the store’s grand opening on April 1. What Mark likes about FreshCo is its selection of ethnic foods.

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Kevin Mark is owner/manager of the FreshCo located in the former Safeway at the intersection of Pembina and McGillivray.

A salute to Winnipeg Transit drivers

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A salute to Winnipeg Transit drivers

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Tent cities used to emerge downtown along the river in the summer, but in recent years they have expanded to other neighborhoods, including Fort Garry.

A tent community appeared in the median on the corner of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Pembina Highway this summer, and when it turned cold, it disappeared leaving its remnants behind.

Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected the unsheltered population in Winnipeg with more people becoming de-homed and living on the streets than in years past.

Bus shelters have become homes. I regularly cycle by a bus shelter at the corner of Broadway and Osborne Street and have observed its changing contents. One day the shelter overflowed with a person’s belongings, including toiletries strewn on the ground, such as sanitary napkins and a toothbrush.

Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Bus shelters have become temporary homes for those without shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orange to remember – always

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Orange to remember – always

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

In May 2013, the Commemoration Project and Reunion invited students of the former St. Joseph Mission Residential School students in B.C. (which operated from 1891 to 1981), their families, and the community to remember the residential school experience and to work towards healing.

During the event, former St. Joseph Mission student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad related her memories of her first day at residential school when she was six years old. She proudly wore the new orange shirt that her grandmother had given her. But school authorities took the shirt from her and she never saw nor wore the orange shirt again.

The reunion events inspired the creation of Orange Shirt Day, which was observed for the first time on Sept. 30, 2013, because September signaled the beginning of the school year. Since 2013, people across the country have been encouraged to wear an orange shirt each Sept. 30 to symbolize the loss of culture, self-esteem, and language experienced by Indigenous children in residential schools.

This year, Orange Shirt Day was declared a national holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Orange shirts were seen everywhere and thousands of people wearing orange shirts in Winnipeg walked five kilometres from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to St. John’s Park on Main Street, singing and drumming along the way.

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Thousands of Winnipeggers walked five kilometres from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to St. John’s Park on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Forest piles are allegories for life

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Forest piles are allegories for life

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Fort Garry artist and painter Ingrid McMillan regularly walks through Crescent Drive Park, where she notices ever-changing lines of trees, patterns, light, colours, and now the sneak peek of fall. The forest and the people who frequent the park have inspired her art.

Art has always been a part of McMillan’s life, starting when she was very young and setting up art projects in her room on weekends was a natural pastime.

When she was 12, she began painting lessons with a German painter after her Saturday morning German lessons. Once she reached high school, McMillan consciously chose not to take art because she thought she should consider a financially viable career option.

McMillan decided to go to art school after all when, after her children were born, some  of her paintings were accepted into the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s rentals and sales program. In university, she studied art and art education.

Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Painter Ingrid McMillan wondered who was creating the orderly piles of wood in Crescent Drive Park - the she found out.

Fort Garry, home to the king of butterflies

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Fort Garry, home to the king of butterflies

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

As part of its wandering life, the monarch butterfly makes Crescent Drive Park in Fort Garry its home for the spring and summer months (along with other parts of the city).

Exceptionally strong and resilient, monarch butterflies have rightly earned their name as the king of butterflies. The monarch butterfly is one of the largest in its species with a wingspan of 10 cm. Some monarchs can fly up to 3,000 kilometres during migrations of up to 50 lilometres per day, and they are able to find their warm, ancestral winter homes when they get there.

Upon their return, instinct leads them back to their spring and summer homes. For this reason, they have been called “the Wanderer.”

In one life cycle, monarch butterflies undergo four stages and in one year, four generations are born. The four stages are the egg, the larvae or caterpillar, the pupa or chrysalis, and the beautiful adult butterfly.

Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

Helen Lepp Friesen
Crescent Drive Park in Fort Garry is home to many monarch butterflies.

May we never forget

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May we never forget

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2021

On Thurs., May 28, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (saykwepem) Chief Rosanna Casimir confirmed that the remains of 215 Indigenous children had been found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.

The discovery of the remains of Indigenous children is not just a First Nations tragedy. If we are all relations, this is a national tragedy that affects all of us. Indian Residential Schools were part of the colonial practice of assimilation by forcibly removing Indigenous children from their homes, placing them in government and church run boarding schools with the intent to scrub the children of their language and culture.

In Canada, Indian Residential Schools operated from the 1870s, with the last school closing in 1996. According to the Residential School Settlement, there were 139 residential schools across Canada and 14 of them were in Manitoba.

Over the years, when former chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair has been asked why (First Nations people) can’t just get over it and move on, his answer has been:

Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2021

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Orange ribbons at École Viscount Alexander honour the remains of the 215 Indigenous children discovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Well done, Fort Garry

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Well done, Fort Garry

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Monday, May. 31, 2021

Over the long weekend, when I listened or watched the news, the first thing I heard was how people were gathering in large groups, oblivious to the new public health orders.

At the beginning of May, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said:

“I’m saying to those folks, you will pay your fine. And if you do not, you will not be driving your car. We will not issue you a driver’s licence. You can put your car up on blocks and you can leave it there until you pay your fine. And if you don’t drive, we will garnish your wages. You will pay.”

What motivates people to compliance? Reward or punishment?

Monday, May. 31, 2021

Helen Lepp Friesen
While the weather on the Victoria Day weekend wasn't the best, people who did venture out took care to follow public health orders, as in La Barriere Park.

Do blue-light glasses really reduce eye strain?

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Do blue-light glasses really reduce eye strain?

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Tuesday, May. 4, 2021

Although the pandemic caused a financial loss for many companies, optical companies that sell blue light blocking glasses have seen an exponential growth in sales last year, says Web MD.

Previous frequent users of blue-light blocking glasses were people who relied on computers for work, as well as video and online gamers, but the pandemic has expanded the market, since almost everyone has now become a heavy computer user.

As a relatively new product on the market, the limited research does not yet endorse nor denounce the effectiveness of blue light blocking glasses.

So do blue-light blocking glasses really reduce eye strain? Blue-light blocking lenses claim to protect eyes by blocking or filtering the glare of the blue light from digital screens.

Tuesday, May. 4, 2021

Supplied photo
Many of us have spent more and more time staring at screens and/or attending virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, blue-light blocking glasses, which claim to block the glare of blue light screens, have thus become popular.

Anti-Racism Week an important initiative

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Anti-Racism Week an important initiative

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Friday, Apr. 9, 2021

“What would Winnipeg look like without racism?” was the theme of the City of Winnipeg’s first Anti-Racism Week from March 21 to 27.

At the virtual launch of Anti-Racism Week, Isha Khan, host MC, and chief executive officer of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, stressed the importance of a week such as this and challenged every Winnipegger to take responsibility to do their part in challenging racism.

Khan said taking responsibility starts by acknowledging racism.

“We have to do the work of listening to Indigenous people, Black people, and all people of colour to even begin to appreciate the impact racism has in our community every day,” Khan said.

Friday, Apr. 9, 2021

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
“What would Winnipeg look like without racism?” was the theme of Winnipeg’s first Anti-Racism Week, from March 21 to 27.

Mobile ski library offers free use of equipment

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Preview

Mobile ski library offers free use of equipment

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2021

Some libraries have books and some have skis. The Winter Trail Association, a local non-profit organization, has been busy grooming ski trails to give as many Winnipeggers as possible the chance to get out and ski trails right in their own neighborhood. No driving required.

Nelson Flett has been breaking and grooming ski trails since late November and not with a machine. He dons his skis and goes out and breaks ski trails the old-fashioned way.

The Winter Trail Association has been able to groom ski trails in 30 parks across the city, including Centennial Park, Whittier Park, Bunn’s Creek, Kleysen Park, Dakota Park and Kirkbridge Park, among many others.

The group also operates a mobile equipment library featuring donated skis, skates, sleds, and snowshoes. Its mobile ski library launched on Feb. 19 and will deliver a trailer of skis and snowshoes to three city parks per day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the snow melts (which may not be too much longer). The ski library remains open for three hours at each park. 

Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2021

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Nelson Flett and volunteers with the Winter Trail Association show off the organization’s mobile ski library.

It’s far from Groundhog Day in Fort Garry

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It’s far from Groundhog Day in Fort Garry

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

Like in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, in which an egocentric weatherman is caught in a time loop reliving Groundhog Day over and over again, pandemic life may have some of those characteristics of repetitive monotony.

We may not be going far this winter, but a walk around my Fort Garry neighborhood is evidence that people are not caught in a time loop but rather going the distance in imagination and creativity and making the best of a stay-at-home winter.

The Red River winding through Fort Garry has turned into an outdoor activity park with a cleared trail for walking, plenty of ice rinks in all sizes, landscaped with Christmas trees, fire pits surrounded by chairs and benches, and homemade hockey nets built for practice.

I came across a backyard that was fashioned into an ice slide that traversed the whole yard.

Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

Helen Friesen
Pandemic life does not resemble Groundhog Day in Fort Garry, where people are doing their utmost to make the best of their surroundings, as are the local wildlife.

The ice-sculpture man cometh

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The ice-sculpture man cometh

Helen Lepp Friesen 7 minute read Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

Fort garryIf a superhero character hailed from Manitoba, he could be called Iceman. Winnipeg ice sculptor John Wade could be that iceman. His talent is taking blocks of ice and turning them into beautiful pieces of art; ice swans, ice pedestals with business logos, multilayered display tables, ice bars, shot glasses, and snowflakes are a few of the masterpieces he makes for customers. “I love sculpting ice,” says Wade who sculpts ice not only for fun, but as his full-time business. I’ve been sculpting for many years,” says Wade, “before I had the opportunity to start my own home-based business about 12 years ago.” Wade’s primary venues are weddings, anniversaries, birthday celebrations, receptions, conventions and fundraising galas. People sometimes hire him to make a sculpture for their front yard just for winter enjoyment. Running a successful ice sculpting business takes perfectly translucent ice, which, believe it or not, is not easy to come by, even in a place like Manitoba.Wade makes his own ice. To make crystal-clear ice suitable for sculpting, clear with no cracks, he runs city tap water through three filters to extract common sediments. While it is freezing, he runs pumps to circulate the water. During the freezing process other non-desirable elements in the water, such as chlorine, fluoride and calcium, either evaporate or are forced to the surface. It takes approximately four days for the blocks of ice to freeze in 50-gallon vats. Once the process is complete, the blocks are then harvested, measured to a 10-inch thickness and the non-desirable surface “white ice” is trimmed off and discarded, resulting in clear ice, ready to store for his next creation. The four block making vats occupy one part of his workshop. Next to them are two 10-foot by 12-foot walk-in freezers, where Wade stores his ice blocks. A block weighs over 200 kilograms when first harvested. Once the waste is trimmed off, they are ready to be sculpted.On the day of my visit, Wade was working on a large snowflake, which sat on his work table. He chiselled as we talked; ice chips and spray flew around as the snowflake came to life.  Carving ice requires special tools. A broad assortment of chisels, chainsaws, an iron, and a blowtorch, can be seen on Wade’s work bench. Each tool has a specific function. Once Wade finishes a sculpture, he stores it in the walk-in freezer. To transport his creations, he wraps and insulates the pieces and assembles the art on site, whether in a hotel lobby, the head table at a wedding, or someone’s front yard. Wade came to sculpting ice from culinary arts. While working in commercial kitchens, the ice sculptures at venues really caught his attention. In the mid-’80s he befriended a couple of local chefs turned sculptors, Larry MacFarlane and Tom Pitt, who shared many skills and secrets. About 20 years later, when MacFarlane was ready to move on to other ventures, Wade bought some of his equipment and he into sculpting ice full-time. “It was just supposed to be a hobby, weekends and evenings to start,” Wade says. “According to my wife, I was not allowed to quit my full-time day job yet. Well, a couple of years later, with business growth, I said goodbye to the day job. I consider it a real privilege to be able to work out of my home full-time as an artist, in my hometown.” Wade moved out of his garage shop after eight years, and leased a 1,600-square-foot space.“It’s not finished yet,” he  says. “However, the space is operational and does the job.”  For more information, contact John Wade at johnwade@shaw.ca or visit his website johnwadeicesculptures.ca  Helen Lepp Friesen is a community correspondent for Fort Garry. You can contact her at helenfriesen@hotmail.com

If a superhero character hailed from Manitoba, he could be called Iceman.

Winnipeg ice sculptor John Wade could be that iceman. His talent is taking blocks of ice and turning them into beautiful pieces of art; ice swans, ice pedestals with business logos, multilayered display tables, ice bars, shot glasses, and snowflakes are a few of the masterpieces he makes for customers. 

“I love sculpting ice,” says Wade who sculpts ice not only for fun, but as his full-time business. I’ve been sculpting for many years,” says Wade, “before I had the opportunity to start my own home-based business about 12 years ago.” 

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

Supplied photo
Winnipeg ice sculptor John Wade shows off one of his creations.

Creating holiday recitals for care homes

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Preview

Creating holiday recitals for care homes

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020

Jaden Tanner, a Grade 12 student in the international baccalaureate program at Kelvin High School, began taking music lessons when she was two-and-a-half years old and piano lessons at age four.

For the past three years, she has been under the tutelage of Fort Garry piano teacher Leanne Hiebert. When COVID-19 put a big damper on the ritual of holiday recitals, Tanner decided recitals just needed to be reimagined.

After a virtual Halloween recital, Tanner’s mom asked what the plan was for the annual holiday recital, since care homes customarily hosted them. Without recitals, not only would the students miss out on performing at care homes, but care home residents would miss out on enjoying the show.

“I knew that I wanted to be able to continue to share music this year, and had to figure out a plan of attack,” Tanner says.

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020

Supplied photo
Jaden Tanner records herself playing piano for one of the virtual holiday recitals she's set up via YouTube.

Needed: Civil discourse

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Needed: Civil discourse

Helen Lepp Friesen 4 minute read Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

As I write this article, a winner in the U.S. presidential election has finally been announced, but I wonder who the winner actually is after months and weeks of contentious rallies, violent protests, and vitriolic rhetoric flying from and at all sides.

We Canadians smugly stand on the sidelines and pat ourselves on the back, priding ourselves that we are not like those Americans. The Pew Research Center in the U.S. says that words most used by Canadians about the states include “Trump” and “president” along with negative words such as “chaos,” “confused,” “bully,” “discrimination” and “racism.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was recently reported to have said: “Thank God that we’re different than the United States and we don’t have the systemic, deep roots they have had for years.”

 Although Quebec Premier François Legault acknowledged incidences of racism and discrimination in Quebec, he quickly moved to say that our discrimination at least isn’t systemic and “it’s not as serious or as widespread as in the U.S.”

Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

ca.usembassy.gov
USA and Canada Flags

Serious about moonlight

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Preview

Serious about moonlight

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

The phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ has come to refer to the second full moon in the same month.

On Oct. 31, a blue moon will rise. Blue moons are a rare occurrence and therefore the idiom has come to mean something that does not occur often.

The last blue moon was in 2018. In fact, there were double blue moons that year — Jan. 1 and 31 and March 1 and 31.

 A double blue moon is very rare and occurs only three to five times in 100 years, says Vigdis Hocken of timeanddate.com

Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

Dreamstime.com
The phrase 'once in a blue moon' referes to the rarity of two full moons occurring in one month. Moons that actually look blue, due to smoke or haze, are even more rare.

Late bloomers in Fort Garry

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Late bloomers in Fort Garry

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Friday, Sep. 25, 2020

School has started again, although not exactly like last year. The temperature has already dropped to almost freezing, and the leaves have started to turn colour — all signs of fall and the change of seasons.

When trees turn brilliantly yellow, orange, and red, they offer us one last bright bouquet. Nature writer Katharine Sanderson says that autumn leaves turn bright colours as the trees conserve nutrients before winter. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in leaves that captures the sunlight’s energy. In the fall, the tree breaks down the green chlorophyll in its leaves and reabsorbs and redistributes the nutrients to the trunk and roots. When winter comes, and sunlight is scarce, the tree depends on the nutrients stored in its trunk and roots.

Nature researchers say that when leaves turn yellow, the chlorophyll loss reveals the carotenoids that were in the leaves before. Leaves turning red is when the tree generates a new anthocyanin, which is a pigment.

Change in colour serves as a sunscreen for the leaves as they reabsorb nutrients. The colour increases the leaf temperature, which also protects the tree from the cold. Researchers say that the pigment may serve as an antioxidant, which helps trees survive the frigid winter.

Friday, Sep. 25, 2020

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Leaves are changing colour and the season's late-blooming flowers have arrived, all of which point to the changing season.

A charming staycation at Seven Sisters Falls

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A charming staycation at Seven Sisters Falls

Helen Lepp Friesen 4 minute read Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

When COVID-19 shut down the economy in the middle of March, the hospitality industry was especially hard hit.

Fran Mir-Robertson and Rick Robertson, hosts of The Staff House B&B in the hamlet of Seven Sisters Falls in the Whiteshell area of eastern Manitoba, felt the downturn as their beautiful bed and breakfast sat empty for months.

Now that the economy is slowly opening up but travel outside the province is not encouraged just yet, staycations have become more prevalent and business has picked up at The Staff House

Rick, a retired teacher, guidance counsellor, photographer and sculptor had for years nurtured a dream of opening a bed and breakfast. In 2008, when Manitoba Hydro started selling townsite homes down the road from the Seven Sisters Dam, he put in an offer on the former Manitoba Hydro employees’ staff house.

Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
Rick Robertson and Fran Mir-Robertson run The Staff House B&B in Seven Sisters Falls, Man.

Meet the Fort Garry Morning Glories

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Preview

Meet the Fort Garry Morning Glories

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Monday, Jul. 27, 2020

A friendship motto states:  “Make new friends but keep the old, for one is silver the other gold.”

Fort Garry gold can be found at the Tim Hortons at 1059 Pembina Hwy. every day, where a group of friends that have known each other for more than 20 years meet for laughter, stories and, of course, coffee.

The Tim Hortons manager calls them the Morning Glories. Liliane and Jane have been part of the group since the beginning (along with their departed friend Victoria). Others have joined over the years, filling in the gaps.

More than 20 years ago, Liliane and Victoria met in one of those ‘downtown bus stop’ meeting scenarios.

Monday, Jul. 27, 2020

Photo by Helen Lepp Friesen
(From left) Liliane, Moneca and Jane are part of the a coffee group known as the Morning Glories.

Systemic racism exists in Canada, too

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Preview

Systemic racism exists in Canada, too

Helen Lepp Friesen 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 3, 2020

We joined the 15,000 people downtown for the Justice 4 Black Lives awareness-raising rally on June 5.

In case Canadians think we aren’t like the United States when it comes to systemic racism and police brutality, and can somehow be absolved of responsibility, think again.

Nike recently released a video ad that included these statements:

“For once, don’t do it. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent. Don’t think you can’t be part of the change. Let’s all be part of the change.”

Friday, Jul. 3, 2020

Sou'wester
Correspondent Helen Lepp Friesen was among the crowd of 15,000 who gathered at last month’s Justice 4 Black Lives rally in Winnipeg.

Marg Ackerman receives Fort Garry Award

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Marg Ackerman receives Fort Garry Award

Helen Lepp Friesen 2 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 3, 2020

The Fort Garry Award is an award meant to honour everyday heroes in our community.

By way of this article, longtime Fort Garry resident Margaret Ackerman, is today being presented with the Fort Garry Award, after being nominated by her friend Pat Walker and the Pembina Trails Trefoil Guild.

Pat and Margaret (Marg) met at the Victoria Hospital, where they were both employed 36 years ago, and they have been friends ever since.

About her friend, Pat says: “Marg is one of these people that is just a go-getter. She does things in a quiet way and people won’t even notice that she’s done them.”

Wednesday, Jun. 3, 2020

Sou'wester
Marg Ackerman is described as a quiet “go-getter” who always seems to anticipate the needs of others.