Sandy Nemeth

Sandy Nemeth

River Park South community correspondent

Sandy Nemeth is a community correspondent for River Park South and chair of the Louis Riel School Board. Email her at snemeth8@mts.net

Recent articles of Sandy Nemeth

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

River Park South

If you’ve driven down St. Mary’s Road to access the south Perimeter Highway or the garden centre strip, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I refer to Riverbend Dairy Farm and the barn featuring the cut-out of a bull.

Up until recently, they have been a tangible part of the legacy of the Gobert family and their many contributions to nearby communities including what is now River Park South. All that has changed however, and as I type this the foundation of the house is all that remains, soon to be gone as well, with the legacy living on in pictures, memories, and stories, and in artifacts held by the St. Vital Historical Society and Museum. It is all happening to make way for a new interchange designed to improve traffic flow as Winnipeg and surrounding areas grow and traffic increases. The plans, timelines and supporting studies and drawings are all on the Transportation and Infrastructure portion of the Government of Manitoba website if you want to learn more.

There has been a fair bit written and reported about the Gobert family and farm since announcement of the project, with some insights, anecdotes, and history shared that I’ve found very interesting. I’ve driven by ‘the farm’ literally hundreds of times and only now am I coming to appreciate the connection the farm has had to our community dating back to 1932.

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Correspondent Sandy Nemeth has recently been moved to learn more about Riverbend Dairy Farm, at the northeast corner of St. Mary’s Road and the Perimeter Highway.

Appreciating the art and science of blade sharpening

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Appreciating the art and science of blade sharpening

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

Deep in a dark corner of the garage, a reel mower has languished for years. It’s light and easy to use, quiet, requires little maintenance, and with the price of gas these days would be very economical. But languish it has.

Thankfully, we have a new homeowner in the family, with a smaller lawn, who expressed interest in taking it when offered. So out of the garage it came, and across the lawn it went for a test cut, leaving in its wake a chewed-up swath of grass indicating the dullest blades imaginable.

After a few calls to see what it would cost to have the blades sharpened, I turned to the River Park South and Lovin’ It Facebook page, posted a photo and a question, and then waited to see if someone in the local area had the tools and know-how to get the job done.

I had one reply which, as it turns out, is all I needed. It was from Monique, who suggested River Park Sharpening. A quick Google and Facebook search followed, and that’s how I learned about Rob Cosco, RPS resident and expert sharpener. One look at www.wpgsharp.com and I was drawn into the world and language of sharpening knifes, scissors and, yes, lawnmower blades of any kind. Yay! In 24 hours, the mower had a new lease on life, a very happy owner, and, as an added bonus, there’s a tiny bit of extra space in the garage.

Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

Community correspondent Sandy Nemeth has recently come to appreciate that blade sharpening is as much an art as it is a science

Standing strong against the elements

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Standing strong against the elements

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

For this column, I return us to one of my favourite places, located on the outskirts of River Park South, and known as Henteleff Park. Many in RPS will be familiar with this oasis of nature, which is accessible and enjoyable at any time of the year. Those in the expanded readership area of the Community Review East are encouraged to make the trip to investigate, explore and enjoy the trails through the park and along the river directly across from the University of Manitoba.

Secreted away along one path is a unique tree I’ve been keeping my eyes on for years. Despite an appearance that suggests otherwise, it is still alive, as evidenced by the leaves you’ll see way, way, up high. Squirrels roam its branches, woodpeckers search it for food, and I’ve seen an owl sitting on a main branch, looking down at the forest.

On windy days the tree sways and creaks in rhythm to the gusts of wind. When the trunks move in opposite directions, and the space in between widens for a moment, I wonder when it will all be too much. One of these days I expect to find that the sight that greets me will be very different than the one in the photo. I’d love to see its root system; clearly a well-supported one that has protected, nurtured and fed the tree for a long time, and which anchors it extremely effectively.

Through a global pandemic, I counted on the tree staying just as it is. No matter what Mother Nature threw at it, it would bend, adapt, adjust, accommodate, and ultimately survive, a metaphor for COVID-19 and its impact on the human world. Every time I see this tree, I’m reminded that what doesn’t break us can make us stronger, offer important lessons, and encourage us to grow and deepen our roots to provide the foundation that will keep us upright when the going gets tough.

Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

Every time correspondent Sandy Nemeth sees this tree, she’s reminded that what doesn’t break us can make us stronger.

Education funding review timely and necessary

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Education funding review timely and necessary

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

Last month, school divisions in Manitoba finalized their budgets for the 2022-2023 school year and submitted their plans to the Manitoba government. For each school board and senior leadership team, including those of the Louis Riel School Division conversation focused on two intertwined areas, as they have for several years.

The first: How to manage finances when provincial funding from the province is not keeping up with increased expenses? The second: Given inadequate funding, how do we keep resources in the classroom and protect the programs and services that support student success.?

Impacts of these challenges have already been felt, with jobs lost and programs cancelled in several school divisions across the province.

With a review of the education funding model in process, the hope is that adequate, predictable, sustainable, and equitable funding will flow to school divisions with a new formula optimistically scheduled to be in place for the 2023-2024 school year. The Manitoba School Boards Association is advocating for a portion of funding to continue to be levied locally to ensure the unique needs of each school division community can be supported. This speaks to the second challenge mentioned above.

Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

Last month, school divisions in Manitoba finalized their budgets for the 2022-2023 school year and submitted their plans to the Manitoba government. For each school board and senior leadership team, including those of the Louis Riel School Division conversation focused on two intertwined areas, as they have for several years.

The first: How to manage finances when provincial funding from the province is not keeping up with increased expenses? The second: Given inadequate funding, how do we keep resources in the classroom and protect the programs and services that support student success.?

Impacts of these challenges have already been felt, with jobs lost and programs cancelled in several school divisions across the province.

With a review of the education funding model in process, the hope is that adequate, predictable, sustainable, and equitable funding will flow to school divisions with a new formula optimistically scheduled to be in place for the 2023-2024 school year. The Manitoba School Boards Association is advocating for a portion of funding to continue to be levied locally to ensure the unique needs of each school division community can be supported. This speaks to the second challenge mentioned above.

The magic and meaning of flowers

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The magic and meaning of flowers

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022

As I type this, a bouquet of flowers I received still look as beautiful as the day they arrived two weeks ago. I was so pleased that I stopped in at Myra Rose Florist on St. Marys Road to let them know. I’ve always believed that if I am going to take the time to make a group or business aware that they didn’t get it quite right, I should also let folks know when my expectations were exceeded, which was the case here.

The first time I read The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, I was intrigued by the message a choice of flowers can send — intentionally or otherwise. It’s a book I’ve read many times over, always drawn to the characters, their intertwined lives and the conversations had not with words but through blooms and bouquets. Daffodils for new beginnings; just like the season in which they arrive, marking the turn from winter to spring. Gerbera daisies for cheerfulness, coneflower for strength, eucalyptus for protection or, for something different, the gift of cabbage for profit — at least according to Victoria, the main character in Diffenbaugh’s novel. Alternately, she might choose begonia to communicate caution, purple hyacinth to ask for forgiveness, or lobelia for malevolence.

Three of my favourite flowers, meanings completely aside, are poppies, snapdragons, and columbine. I’ll let you discover the symbolism of each one yourself. Suffice it to say however, that each is unique and pointed in what they could convey — again, intentionally or otherwise.

Recent statistics reveal that the cut flower industry in Canada is worth about $602 million. With just under 3,000 floral retailers employing just over 5,000 people it’s quite literally a blossoming industry. In doing a bit of research, I learned that Thailand exports more than $80 million in orchids each year, flowers from Kenya are exported to over 60 countries and Ecuador is one of the top exporters of roses. It’s a growing market for sales, both in-person or online, and shows no signs of going anywhere but up.

Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, inspired correspondent Sandy Nemeth to learn more about the meaning behind various floral gifts.

Seeking peace and respite? Try Modo Yoga

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Seeking peace and respite? Try Modo Yoga

Sandy Nemeth 5 minute read Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022

 

Karen Beauchemin and Lise Mireault are more than sisters-in-law and members of my community. I have recently come to know and appreciate them as passionate and invested practitioners and teachers after attending one of their yoga, meditation, and sound healing sessions at Modo Yoga’s Waverley studio.For Karen, the path to meditation and sound healing as therapy was informed by her own journey through the medical system. It was a journey so emotionally and physically draining that it compelled a second journey of examining life choices made and being made, supported by an exploration of holistic healing modalities. As Karen’s meditation practice broadened, she noticed a reduction in the level of stress and anxiety she was experiencing which afforded some important personal insight. In 2018, Karen’s exploration of sound healing began. It wasn’t long before she knew she had something valuable to offer to those who were navigating stressful lives, which for many was only exacerbated by the presence of a global pandemic.  Lise reconnected with her practice in 2011, subsequently retiring in 2014 from a 29-year career supporting at-risk students to explore teaching yoga. Certified in modo yoga and modo calm, and with extensive experience in restorative yoga, yin yoga, and mindfulness meditation, she can wonderfully articulate the value of regularly making time to pull back from overstimulation and the frenzy of everyday life. I value the hour I spend with her each week in restorative practice.Karen and Lise ultimately teamed up to offer folks an opportunity to decompress, get some healing, and try something new. They wanted to start locally and did so with a successful first class of restorative yoga, meditation and sound healing at Dakota Community Centre in May 2021, where Lise is a long-time yoga instructor.The hot room at Modo Yoga  Waverley is their new location and where I experienced the warm, calming, relaxing and restorative impact of the joining of their experience and backgrounds.Skeptical of giving it a try? Karen and Lise would encourage you to keep an open mind. At the absolute least you will come away listening to some beautiful music, feeling more relaxed and less stressed. At best you will have had a new experience that you’ve enjoyed and may want to take part in regularly, met some like-minded people, and expanded your perspective and understanding. For more information on these classes, you can reach Karen and Lise at beauch@mymts.net. Lise teaches Wednesday to Friday at Dakota C.C.Sandy Nemeth is a community correspondent for River Park South and a Louis Riel School Board trustee. Email her at snemeth8@mts.net 

Karen Beauchemin and Lise Mireault are more than sisters-in-law and members of my community. I have recently come to know and appreciate them as passionate and invested practitioners and teachers after attending one of their yoga, meditation, and sound healing sessions at Modo Yoga’s Waverley studio.

For Karen, the path to meditation and sound healing as therapy was informed by her own journey through the medical system. It was a journey so emotionally and physically draining that it compelled a second journey of examining life choices made and being made, supported by an exploration of holistic healing modalities. 

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022

Supplied photo by Reg Beauchemin
Karen Beauchemin (left) and Lise Mireault at Modo Yoga.

Local tea shop offers plenty of variety

Sandy Nemeth 5 minute read Preview

Local tea shop offers plenty of variety

Sandy Nemeth 5 minute read Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022

As I write this, my tea steeps in a favourite mug. On this day I want the sweetness that the sprinkles in DavidsTea birthday cake tea will provide — an acceptable substitute for the holiday baking I’ve had too much of over the last few weeks. Yesterday it was Nirvana from Cornelia Bean, a cardamom, fennel, and licorice infusion that is perfect after a winter walk. In the lead-up to the holidays, I had a new and different tea every day in December, courtesy of a very intuitive gift giver and the genius behind a tea advent calendar.Tea is not a warm-weather drink for me, however when the leaves start to turn in the fall and cooler weather arrives it becomes somewhat of a ritual to brew a cup to enjoy after a walk, during a meeting, while immersed in a book or tackling some required reading. Yes to caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon flavours, especially in a rooibos tea, and a hard pass on ginger, lemon, peppermint, or anything floral (if you were wondering).  This makes me the opposite of a tea purist, apparently, which I will just have to live with although admittedly I am becoming more and more interested in the health benefits of the various varieties. I know I’m drinking more tea than I did a year ago, and I’m not alone; tea consumption in Canada and elsewhere is increasing and shows no signs of slowing down. Did you know tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world after water?With my supply dwindling I recently paid a visit to BREWTeas, which is in the heart of River Park South. I’d heard so many good things about its service and selection, and the fact it also showcases and support Manitoba makers was added incentive. If I thought choosing from the 200 varieties of loose-leaf teas was going to be relatively easy, I was wrong. After narrowing it down I left with caramel, which promised the sweetness I like in the rooibos I favour (fun fact, rooibos is an herbal ‘tea’ made from the fermented leaves of the aspalathus linearis shrub found in South Africa and not from the tea plants native to China and other East Asian countries). It didn’t disappoint and the bonus was discovering a local artisan shop in the process. Don’t take my word for it, experience it for yourself; BREWTeas is online, on Instagram, and at 1500 Dakota St., next to Sobeys.Sandy Nemeth is a community correspondent for River Park South and a Louis Riel School Board trustee. Email her at snemeth8@mts.net

As I write this, my tea steeps in a favourite mug. On this day I want the sweetness that the sprinkles in DavidsTea birthday cake tea will provide — an acceptable substitute for the holiday baking I’ve had too much of over the last few weeks. 

Yesterday it was Nirvana from Cornelia Bean, a cardamom, fennel, and licorice infusion that is perfect after a winter walk. In the lead-up to the holidays, I had a new and different tea every day in December, courtesy of a very intuitive gift giver and the genius behind a tea advent calendar.

Tea is not a warm-weather drink for me, however when the leaves start to turn in the fall and cooler weather arrives it becomes somewhat of a ritual to brew a cup to enjoy after a walk, during a meeting, while immersed in a book or tackling some required reading. Yes to caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon flavours, especially in a rooibos tea, and a hard pass on ginger, lemon, peppermint, or anything floral (if you were wondering).  

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022

Sandy Nemeth
BREWTeas on Dakota Street offers 200 different kinds of loose-leaf tea.

Let’s continue to grow and prosper

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Let’s continue to grow and prosper

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — River Park South is a supportive and caring neighbourhood of folks who will act when asked to do so, provide what’s needed when the call goes out, and lend their voices to the conversations that build and nurture a community that continues to grow and prosper.

Yes, there are those who seem to thrive on introducing an element of negativity whenever possible (I see it with increasing frequency on social media); however, and without fail, cooler and more rationale heads usually prevail to set a more positive and helpful tone.

 A case in point was a recent exchange on the RPS Facebook page. Specifics aside, a contributor observed that recreational opportunities, social services and supports, programs and resources for families, food banks, and access to addiction and mental health supports and services were key to crime reduction and prevention. It was noted that although RPS enjoys lower crime rates because many of these supports exist here, there is always room for improvement.

I agree 100 per cent.

Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — River Park South is a supportive and caring neighbourhood of folks who will act when asked to do so, provide what’s needed when the call goes out, and lend their voices to the conversations that build and nurture a community that continues to grow and prosper.

Yes, there are those who seem to thrive on introducing an element of negativity whenever possible (I see it with increasing frequency on social media); however, and without fail, cooler and more rationale heads usually prevail to set a more positive and helpful tone.

 A case in point was a recent exchange on the RPS Facebook page. Specifics aside, a contributor observed that recreational opportunities, social services and supports, programs and resources for families, food banks, and access to addiction and mental health supports and services were key to crime reduction and prevention. It was noted that although RPS enjoys lower crime rates because many of these supports exist here, there is always room for improvement.

I agree 100 per cent.

Garden centres a feast for the senses

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Garden centres a feast for the senses

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021

At any time of year, the greenhouses and garden centres on south St. Mary’s Road are a feast for the senses. To be surrounded by lush and thriving plants as we move into winter, however, is a saving grace on several levels.

With the holiday season in full swing, there is an enhanced selection of gifts, beyond what is typically a very robust offering. This means I can easily spend a couple of hours just outside River Park South feeling completely removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immersed in an oasis that is good for the soul, often accompanied by a purchase (or two).

I feel completely confident in saying that on the St. Mary’s garden centre strip you can find a gift for that ‘impossible to buy for’ person on your list, or for the one who seems to have everything already. Soy candles? Check. Gourmet foods both sweet and savory? Check. Jewelry, clothing, loungewear, toys and games? Check times five. If you want ethically and renewably sourced ornaments and decorations, and a completely sustainable approach to growing and gifting, you can find that too. Whether you want simple with only a little embellishment or eye-popping glitz, glimmer, and shine, you’re covered.

Then there are the plants. All year round they are plentiful in selection and abundance, however this time of year is for the addition of poinsettias, amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs, wreaths, Christmas cacti, and Christmas trees including one inspired by the Grinch himself.

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021

Photo by Sandy Nemeth
The entrance to Sage Garden Greenhouses (above) is a doorway to an oasis that is good for the soul.

LRSD students support Socktober

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LRSD students support Socktober

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021

As it has for the past four years, Main Street Project launched its Socktober campaign with a goal of collecting 20,000 pairs of new socks by the end of October to ensure its sock needs are met for the upcoming winter. In Louis Riel School Division, students are doing what they can to see this goal is achieved.

At École Marie-Anne-Gaboury, J, a student in Grade 8, has organized an annual sock drive for the past several years. Known as someone always looking for a way to help those in need, J and the ÉMAG school community had a goal to collect 500 pairs of socks in October, which will go a long way to support MSP and the folks who come through their doors.

At École George-McDowell, the goal is 1,000 pairs. As part of the school’s ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ initiative, and with a Sock-ometer tracking their progress, the entire school community has embraced the collecting of socks. As part of the initiative, students and staff work in collaboration to identify ideas that build and support community both inside and outside the school and their hard work is paying off.

This focused effort resulted in 290 pairs of socks being donated in the first week as the Sock-ometer (and Mme. Péloquin’s class, which is collecting and counting the socks) will confirm.

Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021

Supplied photo
École George-McDowell students who are part of the Random Acts of Kindness initiative stand in front of the school’s Sock-ometer, which tracked their progress during Socktober, a drive throughout October to collect socks for Main Street Project.

Checking out pandemic reading habits

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

Checking out pandemic reading habits

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

“This is a courtesy message for NEMETH, SANDY. Your library card will expire on Aug 26, 2021. Please renew in person at any Winnipeg Public Library branch; you will need to bring ID with your current address on it.”

Reading this, those of you familiar with the PBS series Arthur may, as I did, start humming ‘Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card...”  

Which is true.  When our kids were young, Arthur the Aardvark, was a hit in our house, and we spent a lot of time at the library. Both translated to all kinds of fun and while we don’t watch Arthur any longer, our library cards are still in regular use.

When my card renewal notice arrived, it prompted me to think about what libraries have looked like in the time of a global pandemic. Did engagement increase? What genre of books was most popular?

Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Photo by Sandy Nemeth
Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers has been a popular title at the Louis Riel Library during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student opportunities will disappear with Bill 64

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

Student opportunities will disappear with Bill 64

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2021

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that the Louis Riel School Board (LRSD Community Information on Bill 64 on Facebook and @LRSDschoolboard on Twitter) is highlighting 64 of the programs offered in the Louis Riel School Division. (There are significantly more than 64, by the way.)

In all the angst and nervousness around what Bill 64: The Education Modernization Act could mean for public education in Manitoba, and as we continue to navigate a global pandemic, it’s important to remind ourselves of the investments that ensure our students are engaged and successful through their kindergarten to Grade 12 journey.

Career planning in LRSD is supported by our Career Internship Program, myBlueprint and Propel along with a variety of options and experiences for career exploration including (but certainly not limited to) the Youth BIOlab partnership with St. Boniface Hospital.  

In addition to a growing French immersion program, which includes Grade 4 middle immersion, LRSD students can learn Spanish and Ojibwe. If you believe, as poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did, that music is the universal language of all mankind, then the choice to participate in choral, choir, band, ensemble, guitar, jazz, vocal jazz, musical theatre, and technical music production must be highlighted, too.

Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2021

Supplied file photo
Louis Riel School Division's board is highlighting 64 of the programs offered in LRSD on some of its social media platforms.

Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021

I recently met up with a friend for dinner.  It was nice to catch up in person and reflect on the last year - the restrictions imposed and the pausing of so many routines and activities.   

We were outside but it felt strange, even in the context of recently relaxed COVID restrictions. Surrounded by mask-less groupings of friends and families, and reveling in a new-found level of ‘freedom’, we agreed it felt weird to be enjoying a meal in a public place, and with someone who wasn’t a family member.  

I’m hard pressed to remember anything remarkable about 2020 that wasn’t pandemic induced or disruptive. In the rearview mirror one month will be remembered like the other 11 - masks, distance, with some tedium, anxiety and apprehension thrown in for good measure.  Now, well past the mid-point of 2021, any little step toward a return to previous freedoms cannot come soon enough - and we are getting there. Slowly, but surely. The mere idea of being able to choose a restaurant where I could eat with someone outside my family circle, surrounded by strangers, was a heady feeling indeed.  

Not everyone feels the same way and for some, the transition to mask-less group interaction in an indoor environment will take some getting used to. I get it.  

Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021

Photo by Sandy Nemeth
The Manitoba Road Trip Guide arrived in mailboxes recently and it’s packed with ideas for exploring the province.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat…

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

Neither snow nor rain nor heat…

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Monday, Jul. 12, 2021

If you live on either Blackwater Bay or Southwalk Bay in River Park South, you have likely seen Dylan and William Dixon on their Lance delivery route. They round the bend every Thursday like clockwork, to the point we can almost predict the exact minute the weekly local news and flyers will be delivered.  

If you get the Lance with your newspaper, you may not pay much attention when they come down the street, however the commitment and consistency through rain, snow, heat and cold over the last 18 months is worth recognizing, in my opinion. I thought you might be interested in knowing more about the Dixon brothers - two of the most friendly, personable, articulate and genuinely nice young people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

By the time you read this, another school year will be in the rearview mirror; Dylan will have completed Grade 7 and William Grade 4, both at H.S. Paul School. They are looking forward to the change of routine that will include family camping trips, hanging out with friends, and extra time to spend on things they like to do. Dylan is a video game enthusiast, while William is looking to trim the time it takes him to complete a Rubik’s cube.

When asked what they like about delivering the Lance, it becomes clear that the money they earn is a huge motivator. They also talked about the value of the exercise they get on their 40-minute, 87-house route.

Monday, Jul. 12, 2021

Sandy Nemeth
Dylan (left) and William Dixon have been delivering The Lance in River Park South for the past 18 months.

Building community, one houseplant at a time

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Building community, one houseplant at a time

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 7, 2021

I’ve never had much of a garden to speak of, but I’ve always had houseplants. Aside from a few minor mishaps due to over-watering (or lack thereof) and other things, I’ve become pretty good at ensuring they grow and thrive, even to the point where one plant can become several. More than once I’ve rescued a co-worker’s spindly and neglected plant and been rewarded with a healthy and vibrant return to life after some focused TLC.

Not surprisingly, there is a burgeoning plant community in Winnipeg - one that friends Riel Lynch and Jannica Reyes have embraced while navigating a global pandemic.  

What began as a desire to connect an increasingly isolated community with a small plant giveaway has literally grown into a collective where progress is shared, plants are traded, and advice provided. Along the way, a broad and diverse community has come together around a shared interest, garnering support and interest from folks drawn to @wpgfreeplants on Instagram.

Since October of 2020, Riel and Jannica estimate they have gathered and given away over 600 plants (including some that I donated). They’ve met tons of people in the process, and I am confident in saying they’ve had a positive impact at a time when ‘positivity’ has been badly needed and often in short supply. Indeed, research supports the value of what they are doing - plants in your home or office can reduce stress, improve concentration, boost productivity, and improve air quality. And on cold winter days, who doesn’t love a green and growing connection to nature?

Monday, Jun. 7, 2021

Photo by Sandy Nemeth
Yes, it’s true... free houseplants are available in Winnipeg courtesy of @wpgfreeplants on Instagram.

It’s incumbent upon us to understand Bill 64

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It’s incumbent upon us to understand Bill 64

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 12, 2021

On March 15, the long-awaited release of the review of K-12 education in Manitoba arrived in the form of Bill 64 - The Education Modernization Act.   

While the review itself contains many recommendations reflective of the comprehensive consultation that took place, there is general agreement that very few made it into Bill 64.   

Rather, what is proposed has been described as a complete, and some say radical, overhaul of the entire public education system including the centralization of decision making, and putting the governance and oversight of the system directly and solely in the hands of parents.   

Bettereducationmb.ca houses the complete inventory of all Department of Education documents, plans and reporting related to Bill 64. At the time of writing, strategy advisory groups have been, or will be, established under the headings of: Teachers’ Idea Fund; Student Advisory Council; Curriculum Advisory Panel; Funding Review Team; Minister’s Advisory Council of Inclusive Education; Taskforce of Poverty and Education; Indigenous Inclusion Directorate Advisory Council; and an Attendance Task Force.

Wednesday, May. 12, 2021

Image by Sandy Nemeth
If you’d like to dig into the nitty gritty of Bill 64, bettereducationmb.ca houses all documents plans and reporting related to the bill.

Finding new flooring in River Park South

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Finding new flooring in River Park South

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2021

An internet search returned this definition of ‘carpet’: “1. a heavy often tufted fabric used as a floor covering; 2. a surface or layer resembling or suggesting a carpet.”

I’d add a third to read: “At the age of 10+ years, said carpet may or may not resemble the dictionary definition any longer’.”

This was certainly the case in the now-defined ‘spare room,’ where there was a surface of some sort, the definition of which was coming up for debate with increasing frequency. A few days of work, a few coats of paint, and several square yards of ‘tonal retreat’ later the spare room has a whole new look and feel. No debating what’s on the floor any longer; it’s soft, comfortable, dreamy new carpet.

In talking with the team at River Park Flooring, it became clear that multiple considerations and choices were going to require an investment of time in making a final decision. In the end carpet won out over laminate, hardwood, and vinyl plank.  

Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2021

Photo by Sandy Nemeth
Carpeting is still a great flooring choice, especially when you can no longer define what exactly covers the floor in the old room of a grown child.

Puzzling my way through the pandemic

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

Puzzling my way through the pandemic

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021

In the past year I’ve completed more puzzles than I’ve attempted in my entire life, which is about five.  OK, fine, that’s not entirely accurate - ‘more 1,000-piece puzzles’ would be more precise. Still, it’s something, and not necessarily a claim I could make were it not for COVID-19.

If I’m being honest, I have never quite understood the appeal of puzzles - too much sitting and not enough of an outcome for the hours invested. But then a global pandemic became something I had to navigate and some gnawing anxiety, a restless mind, and a much slower routine to my days compelled me to say ‘yes’ to the offering of a puzzle from the henceforth dubbed ‘puzzlemaster’ in my circle of friends.  

It arrived one cold November day, depicting Ariel and Prince Eric gazing into each other’s eyes while surrounded by the characters of Little Mermaid. Then there was a second Little Mermaid-themed puzzle featuring the Sea Witch Ursula, followed by a Lion King puzzle, the completion of which yielded seven duplicate pieces. Currently I’m at work on Alice in Wonderland.

If you sense a theme you are correct, the puzzlemaster is a devoted Disney fan.

Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Doing jigsaw puzzles has become a soothing pastime for correspondent Sandy Nemeth in the past year.

What will the 2021 census tell us?

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

What will the 2021 census tell us?

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2021

I cannot recall the exact reason I went searching for the 2016 census data specific to River Park South. Perhaps it was compelled by a conversation about growing communities, the diversity of those communities, or just a curiosity about who we are. The real intrigue for me is how the numbers, in any of the categories, will have changed between 2016 and the next release of data from the 2021 census.  

The lead-up to the 2011 census was a time of great growth for our corner of the city, reflected by a population increase of 14  per cent. The following years saw things slow with a 7.9 per cent increase between 2011 and 2016. Any guesses as to where we will be in 2021?

In 2016, those in the 50-54 age range who made up the highest percentage of residents. I’d be willing to bet that will trend downward somewhat due to the growth in the southernmost part of RPS drawing first time homebuyers and young families.

Languages? In 2016, 81 per cent spoke only English, 0.3 per cent spoke only French and 1.1 per cent spoke neither.

Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2021

Statistics Canada
The 2021 census will give us a better picture of what our community now looks like.

Music learning ‘in tents’ at École St. Germain

Sandy Nemeth — Louis Riel School Division trustee 3 minute read Preview

Music learning ‘in tents’ at École St. Germain

Sandy Nemeth — Louis Riel School Division trustee 3 minute read Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

In November 2020, large event tents were set up outdoors at three Louis Riel School Division schools to ensure physical education classes could continue after gyms were repurposed as classrooms.  

At École St. Germain, Jennifer Engbrecht, music specialist, saw an opportunity and leveraged the use of the tents to ensure that repurposing her music room as classroom space would not mean musical learning was compromised for her Grade 2 to Grade 5 students.   

You read that correctly. She is teaching music class outdoors. In winter. In Winnipeg.  

Drawing on 25 years of experience, and with Mother Nature as a teaching partner, Engbrecht has found being outside offers students a variety of new and unique learning opportunities. Using small instruments, enjoying drama activities, creating snow art while listening to orchestral works, and dancing with their shadows keeps students active and engaged. Learning how to compose music with a snowsuit as your instrument inspires creativity. Connecting changes in sound to changes in temperature and wind or practising balance while surrounded by calming music ensures no two classes are ever the same.  

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

Supplied photo
Students practise keeping their balance while listening to calming music during an outdoor music class in a tent outside École St. Germain.

BDWF aims to foster mental health, wellness

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

BDWF aims to foster mental health, wellness

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021

Aug. 14, 2020 is an important day for River Park South. It’s the day Better Days Wellness Foundation  was incorporated, and for Diana Botelho-Urbanski, Cami Daeninck and Sarah Graveline, it’s also the day their desire to see more conversations about mental health taking place in schools took a big step forward.  

The idea for BDWF was born of student voice. In reading applications for the Jaedra Winter Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually at Collège Jeanne-Sauvé (CJS), it became clear to Daeninck that an important aspect of addressing youth mental health in schools was to engage directly with students themselves. After all, there is no one who can better inform the path to take in the pursuit of mental wellness than those for whom the need is so great.   

Fueled by a desire to promote conversations about mental health, and wanting to honour the memory of two peers, these three young people are being the change they wish to see in the world. It starts in their own community, and at CJS, from which they all graduated in 2016. 

 Providing opportunities for students to have conversations about the importance of good mental health, and creating supportive and comfortable environments where these can take place, is the goal of BDWF. Funding student-led initiatives is the focus of the non-profit organization.    

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021

Aug. 14, 2020 is an important day for River Park South. It’s the day Better Days Wellness Foundation  was incorporated, and for Diana Botelho-Urbanski, Cami Daeninck and Sarah Graveline, it’s also the day their desire to see more conversations about mental health taking place in schools took a big step forward.  

The idea for BDWF was born of student voice. In reading applications for the Jaedra Winter Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually at Collège Jeanne-Sauvé (CJS), it became clear to Daeninck that an important aspect of addressing youth mental health in schools was to engage directly with students themselves. After all, there is no one who can better inform the path to take in the pursuit of mental wellness than those for whom the need is so great.   

Fueled by a desire to promote conversations about mental health, and wanting to honour the memory of two peers, these three young people are being the change they wish to see in the world. It starts in their own community, and at CJS, from which they all graduated in 2016. 

 Providing opportunities for students to have conversations about the importance of good mental health, and creating supportive and comfortable environments where these can take place, is the goal of BDWF. Funding student-led initiatives is the focus of the non-profit organization.    

Christmas Eve in River Park South…

Sandy Nemeth 2 minute read Preview

Christmas Eve in River Park South…

Sandy Nemeth 2 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

’Twas the night before Christmas in River Park SouthAnd words of glad tidings sprang from my mouth

I had wrapped all the gifts, and baked all the treatsAnd gone for a late walk down the neighbourhood streets

The roads had been cleared and the sidewalks were bareMany houses were decorated with lights and with flare

When what to my wondering eyes should appearBut Santa, in a sleigh, being pulled by reindeer

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

Supplied photo
Most of us will be happy to ring in 2021, even if the fireworks we celebrate will mostly be imaginary.

Community engagement helps keep us afloat

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

Community engagement helps keep us afloat

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

My first column as community correspondent for River Park South was published in The Lance on May 13, 2019. At the time I reflected on how much I valued, among other things, the community engagement and sense of connectedness that existed in River Park South.  

A mere 18 months later we are collectively navigating a global pandemic that has impacted how we work, learn, and interact as individuals, as families and as a community.  Not surprisingly, engagement and connection are still alive and well in our corner of the city.

I’m reminded of this whenever I’m out for a walk, in the hellos and waves from perfect strangers. I see it on social media in the creation of restaurant bingo, and the reminders and encouragement to support local businesses. It is constantly reinforced as we acknowledge the herculean efforts of our front-line and essential service workers who are giving like no one else these days.

It’s in the robust and thriving Buy Nothing Project RPS Facebook group; one of hundreds worldwide built on a foundation of gratitude, inclusivity, honesty, and human connection.

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

Photo by Sandy Nemeth
A giant Santa Claus has been inflated near the intersection of Warde Avenue and Paddington Road in River Park South.

Say hello to your new little friend

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Preview

Say hello to your new little friend

Sandy Nemeth 3 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020

Tell someone you are enamoured of ‘Tillandsia’ and you may receive a puzzled look in return. Use the common name ‘air plant’, however, and you may receive a knowing nod instead.

I have a long standing fascination with air plants. As a plant lover who enjoys time with her hands in the dirt, the initial thought of a plant that was basically self-sufficient, needing no soil in which to live and barely any water, had me scratching my head.  If there was no soil and little watering, what was the point? Fast forward a few years and I’m officially hooked on what I consider the most unique plant form around.

Air plants come in all shapes and sizes; large, small, tall, shorter, narrow and broad. Some have fuzzy leaves and some smooth, some quite wide and others very thin. They vary in colour, too — shades of green to silver or even coral. Most flower in ideal conditions; prolonged bright light, not too hot or cold, and the right amount of water, just like a regular, soil-bound plant.

Equally intriguing to me as the plants themselves are the ways they can be displayed. While most look nice on their own, there is a whole other look to be achieved when they are seen in pairs or groups. A unique plate, bowl, glass vessel, or terrarium is an instant and unique home. If you have a creative someone in your life ,perhaps your air plant might find a whimsical abode, as my newest acquisition has.  

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020

Photo by Sandy Nemeth
Tillandsia, or air plants, make perfect gifts for those in your life who seem to have just about everything.