Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Year in Review: The flood of 2015

Wakamow Valley is seen in its flooded state on March
18, 2015. Moose Jaw firefighter Koel Nerland rescued a
woman from this vehicle on the evening of March 17, 2015.
Lisa Goudy/Times-Herald
By Lisa Goudy

It didn't match 2011's historic flood, but Wakamow Valley was submerged in water for a few days this spring.

The Moose Jaw Fire Department issued a flood advisory warning for the Moose Jaw River because of ice jams on March 17. Firefighters went down to the valley and around 7 p.m., the flooding hit. Koel Nerland, firefighter with the MJFD, was on scene when the flooding started.

"I couldn't believe how fast it came. It was literally 10 minutes and this whole thing was completely flooded. It was very noisy. You could hear trees breaking," said Nerland. "The water over here came so fast that we would've got the fire truck stuck so we backed it up."

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Spreading the Christmas spirit

Local woman delivers meal with homemade pudding to a stranger who spent Christmas alone

By Lisa Goudy

Wayne White was unable to come home to be with his mother for Christmas. But he still wanted to do something special.

White, who lives in Ontario, had three brothers, but he is the only one still alive. The middle brother died in 2012 and the youngest brother died in 2013. His father also died a number of years ago. His mother, Edna, is 88 years old and lives in Moose Jaw.

"Mom's the only one, basically, with the exception of a cousin and a sister-in-law, still alive in Saskatchewan," White explained.

Read more

Monday, December 28, 2015

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Fire causes $75,000 damage to apartment

A fire caused $75,000 in damage to an
apartment fire on the 1200 block of First
Avenue Northwest on Dec. 27, 2015.
Lisa Goudy/Times-Herald
By Lisa Goudy

Seven people have been displaced after an apartment fire over the weekend. 

On Sunday, the Moose Jaw Fire Department responded to an apartment fire on the 1200 block of First Avenue Northwest. There were no injuries and the fire was quickly contained.

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Stay safe for New Year's

By Lisa Goudy

Members of the Moose Jaw Police Service will be out in full force for New Year's Eve.

"We're going have a complement of officers working the night shift and obviously our focus will be on responding to anything in progress or anything that's occurring," said Sgt. Rick Johns with the police service, "but also we'll be looking at focusing on impaired drivers and making sure people find a safe ride home."

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: From fear to courage

Woman opens up about domestic abuse she endured with her ex-husband
 A woman who was a victim of domestic abuse
for two years opens up to share her story.
Times-Herald photo illustration by Lisa Goudy

By Lisa Goudy

A woman living in fear. Her life and her child's life threatened. Fleeing from danger to the Transition House. This is her story.

At her request, the woman did not want to use her real name. We shall call her Jane.
She has been living in Moose Jaw for about a year. Before that, she lived in Regina with her husband, whose mother is bi-polar. He was her only family in the area.

"When I married him, he told me that his mom has mental illness, but I didn't judge him," Jane said. "Later on, piece by piece, I started to see signs, but I tried the best that I could and I tried to fix things."

It became increasingly apparent to her that he had a mental illness. For two years, she was a victim of domestic abuse with fights and threats.

Read more

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Lisa's Corner: Take a second to slow down

By Lisa Goudy

"Hurry up and wait."

The first words of Jordin Sparks' song 'One Step at a Time' are a contradiction, but its message rings true. What's the hurry? Why are we always in a hurry?

Whether it's rushing to be somewhere for some appointment or constantly thinking ahead to what tomorrow will bring or wishing a future date would arrive now, it seems we're always in a hurry to get somewhere else and for the future to arrive. Sometimes it's as if living in the now isn't a preferable option for a lot of people. Why focus on today when tomorrow could be so much better? Or the next day? Or the day after?

It's important to always have hope, but we can't lose sight of today and constantly hurry up. Such is the case for today.

Read more

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: 'Clearly, alcohol is a problem for him'

Man sentenced in provincial court to 90 days for concealed weapon charge, among others

By Lisa Goudy

Judge Margaret Gordon looked at Derek Brumfeld as she said, "I wish you well, sir. You're got to stop drinking."

Brumfeld, 32, of Regina appeared in Moose Jaw Provincial Court on Wednesday where he was sentenced to 90 days incarceration less the remand time of 61.5 days for several charges, including several charges for failing to attend court, theft and possession of an imitation weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public.

On Wednesday during his sentencing, Crown prosecutor Rob Parker spoke mainly to two of those charges.

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: City mails out pre-payment tax notices

By Lisa Goudy

This week, residents will receive pre-payment tax notices.

"It's something that the city does every year. Our pre-payment notices give the public the opportunity to give the public a discount for paying their property taxes prior to the actual due date of June 30 of each year," said Brenda Hendrickson, city treasurer. "So if you pay in the months of January, February and March, you will receive a one per cent discount for doing so."

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: City releases November building permit report

By Lisa Goudy

The largest single permit the city issued last month was for a new bulk storage warehouse for hazardous substances.

Valued at $1.43 million, the permit was one of eight commercial and industrial permits issued last month. There were four permits for alterations, repairs and additions - one for a shop, valued at $23,000, one for a restaurant valued at $950,000, one for a cemetery valued at $8,500 and one for an office valued at $600,000.

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Court notebook - Dec. 23, 2015

By Lisa Goudy

Updates from Moose Jaw provincial court.

Myles and Kyle Neill remanded into custody

The two men charged in relation to Sunday’s home invasion made their first court appearance in provincial court on Wednesday morning.

Myles Neill, 26, and Kyle Neill, 22, are both charged with break and enter and assault with a weapon relating to Sunday’s home invasion.    

Read more

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Canada Post offers city payment for community mailboxes

Councillors hesitant to sign for the memorandum of payment totalling $16,600
Community mailboxes are seen this summer.
File photo/Times-Herald

By Lisa Goudy

Councillors were presented with a dilemma stemming from a letter from Canada Post regarding community mailboxes on Monday.

At the executive committee meeting, city administration presented a memorandum of payment that they had received from Canada Post offering a payment of $50 per mailbox for 332 sites for a total of $16,600 to recognize the administrative work the city did during the installation of citywide community mailboxes.

"We wanted to bring that to council's attention before we accepted payment or denied payment," said Michelle Sanson, director of planning and development. "We don't want to be showing that we're supporting the community mailbox initiative. They have assured me that that is not the case by doing that."

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Police arrest and charge two men relating to home invasion

By Lisa Goudy

Two adult Moose Jaw men have been arrested and charged in relation to Sunday's home invasion.

On Tuesday at 10:20 a.m., police arrested 26-year-old Myles Neill and 22-year-old Kyle Neill at two separate residences in Moose Jaw. Both are charged with break and enter and assault with a weapon. 

Read more

Monday, December 21, 2015

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Changes coming to transit fare system

Council votes to introduce semester pass, raise transit rates 
A city bus sits on High Street on Dec. 1, 2014.
Lisa Goudy/Times-Herald

By Lisa Goudy

Students will soon have an option for a new bus pass.

At Monday’s council meeting, the transit department presented their annual fare increases options report for council consideration. Among other items, council voted in favour of establishing a new pass for students.

“We’ve had a number of requests over the past few years for semester passes,” said Mark Sture, transit manager with the city.

Read more

Moose Jaw Times-Herald: Digging deeper into new water treatment plant agreement

Coun. Brian Swanson is seen
at a recent council meeting.
Lisa Goudy/Times-Herald
By Lisa Goudy

Moose Jaw only uses 17 per cent of water from the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant, but pays for 26 per cent.

"We're paying more than we should," admitted Coun. Brian Swanson.

Regina owns the other 74 per cent. Moose Jaw's population is 33,000, compared to Regina's population of 200,000. In 1951, the date of the original agreement, Moose Jaw's population was about 33,000 and Regina's population was 100,000.

Read more

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A journey deeper into ‘Star Wars’

Image source:
By Lisa Goudy

‘May the Force be with you.’

While it’s yet to be seen if the new ‘Star Wars’ movie, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will live up to all of the hype it’s been getting, it’s certainly one of the most talked about cinema events of the year.

Here are a few fun facts about ‘Star Wars’ that you might not know:

1. Non-English languages for names – George Lucas is known for using non-English languages for names. For instance, Darth Vader’s name comes the Dutch word for ‘father’ and Yoda’s name comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘warrior.’ John Williams also used a 13th century Welsh manuscript for the chanting in the composition, ‘Duel of the Fates.’ He translated the following into Sanskrit: “Under the tongue root a fight most dread, and another raging, behind the head.”

2. A shoe and a potato are asteroids – Any ‘Star Wars’ fans are familiar with the asteroid sequence in ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ It has also generated a number of special effects stories. A number of crewmembers stated one of the asteroids is a shoe and another is a potato.

3. Han Solo could’ve been a green monster – A number of things changed in pre-production of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ and the character of Han Solo was one of them. He was originally imagined to be a green-skinned monster with a set of gills. Thank you, George Lucas and team, for changing your mind. Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is perfect the way he is.

4. ‘I have a bad feeling about this.’ – There are seriously a lot of bad things happening in the galaxy where ‘Star Wars’ takes place and this line is the saga’s most repeated line. Originally uttered by Luke Skywalker in ‘Episode IV’ other characters who said it include Han Solo in ‘Episode IV’, Princess Leia in ‘Episode V,’ C3-PO in ‘Episode VI,’ Obi-Wan Kenobi in ‘Episode I’ and ‘Episode III’ and Anakin Skywalker in ‘Episode II.’ We can only wonder if these bad feelings will continue in ‘Episode VII.’

5. Ewoks take over the Wookies – In ‘Return of the Jedi,’ an army of Wookies were originally supposed to help out on Endor. However, Lucas decided to use a smaller furry animal, which became the Ewok. Funny enough, though, the word ‘Ewok’ is never mentioned in the movie. 

*** This article also appeared in the Dec. 16, 2015 edition of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald's weekly publication, UnCut.

Christmas movies by the box office numbers

Image source:
By Lisa Goudy

Christmas is just around the corner.

There are many Christmas movies we can watch this time of year and we tend to stick to our Christmas favourites.

But what about box office success of Christmas movies? Many Christmas films don’t make tons of money in the theatre, as far as movie dollars are concerned. Just look at ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ That film is now a classic, but in the theatres it was a massive failure that couldn’t even recoup its production costs.

That said, according to Box Office Mojo, here is a list of the Top 10 highest grossing Christmas films, ordered by lifetime gross. Don’t take this to be a list of the best Christmas movies, though, because how much a film makes at a box office isn’t always equivalent to how enjoyable the movie is. Interestingly enough, the newest Christmas movie that made the cut was released in 2009.

With that, here’s the list:

10. ‘Fred Claus’ (2007) – This film, starring Vince Vaughn, made $18.52 million at the box office and has a lifetime gross of $72.01 million. Released on Nov. 9, 2007, the film is about Santa’s brother Fred who is a troublemaker. His criminal ways get him into big trouble and Santa bails him out, bringing him to the North Pole to work off his debt my making toys. However, Fred doesn’t make things easy for his brother.

9. ‘Christmas with the Kranks’ (2004) – This film, based on John Grisham’s book, ‘Skipping Christmas,’ made $21.57 million at the box office when it was released on Nov. 24, 2004, and it has a lifetime gross of $73.78 million. RThe film, starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, follows a couple who are finally alone for the holidays who plan to take a Caribbean cruise over Christmas and do away with Christmas traditions. However, this doesn’t sit well with neighbours.

8. ‘The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause’ (2006) - If there’s one thing Hollywood does a lot of, it’s sequels and remakes. Such is the case for the second and third in Tim Allen’s three ‘The Santa Clause’ films. The third installment made $19.50 million at the box office and it has a lifetime gross of $84.50 million. Released on Nov. 3, 2006, the movie is about Santa inviting his in-laws for a visit while dealing with Jack Frost’s plan to take over the North Pole.

7. ‘Four Christmases’ (2008) – This film, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, made $31.07 million at the box office and it has a lifetime gross of $120.15 million. The film follows an unmarried couple whose exotic vacation plans fall apart and are then left with traversing a quartet of family get-togethers.

6. ‘A Christmas Carol’ (2009) – This is a classic tale by Charles Dickens and this version of the film made $30.05 million at the box office and it has a lifetime gross of $137.86 million. Jim Carrey stars as miserable Ebenezer Scrooge who believes Christmas is all humbug, but when he encounters three ghosts of the past, present and future, his night takes a very different turn.

5. ‘The Santa Clause 2’ (2002) – Yes, it’s true. The second installment of Tim Allen’s ‘The Santa Clause’ films also made the list and it made more than the third film. The sequel, released on Nov. 1, 2002, made $29.01 million at the box office and has a lifetime gross of $139.27 million. This film is about Santa’s son who ends up of this year’s naughty list.

4. ‘The Santa Clause’ (1994) – Tim Allen’s film ranks fourth on this list of highest grossing Christmas films, having made $19.32 million when it opened on Nov. 11, 1994. With a lifetime gross of $144.83 million, the movie follows a divorced father who has custody of his son on Christmas Eve, but after the death of a man in a Santa suit – and a visit to the North Pole – he is told he’ll take Santa’s place before the next Christmas comes.

3. ‘Elf’ (2003) – This Will Ferrell film had a successful opening weekend when it opened on Nov. 7, 2003. It made $31.11 million at the box office that weekend and has a lifetime gross of $173.40 million. This isn’t bad for a film about a man accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler, raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves and as an adult travels to New York in full elf uniform to look for his real father.

2. ‘The Polar Express’ (2004) – This film made $23.32 million when it opened on Nov. 10, 2004. Starring the voice of Tom Hanks, the film about a young boy embarking on adventure to the North Pole on The Polar Express – based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg – has a lifetime gross of $183.37 million.

1. ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (2000) – Who can go wrong with the Grinch? Well this film starring Jim Carrey certainly didn’t go wrong at the box office as far as Christmas movies go, as this ranks as the highest grossing Christmas release. When it opened on Nov. 17, 2000, it made $55.08 million. Its lifetime gross is $250.04 million.

Honourable mentions:

1. Home Alone (1990) – While this movie wasn’t included in Box Office Mojo’s list of ‘Movies About the Holiday Grosses,’ it was included on the ‘Movies set during the holiday but not about it’ category. However, for many people this also a timeless Christmas film. When it opened on Nov. 16, 1990, ‘Home Alone’ starring Macaulay Culkin made $17.08 million. Its lifetime gross is $285.76 million. This puts it ahead of The Grinch and into the No. 1 spot for the highest-grossing Christmas film of all time.

2. Christmas Vacation (1989) – This didn’t make the Top 10 list of either Box Office Mojo list – it ranks No. 12 on the ‘Movies About the Holiday Grosses’ list – but it’s a classic film that deserves a mention. Released on Dec. 1, 1989, the film starring Chevy Chase made $11.75 million at the box office and it has a lifetime gross of $71.32 million. After all, as Clark Griswold would say, “I did it.”

3. ‘Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993) – A debate has long raged among fans as to whether this is a Christmas film or a Halloween film. Truth be told, it has elements of both, but director Henry Selick told Entertainment Weekly this year that, “It’s a Halloween movie.” That said, it’s still included on the Box Office Mojo’s list as it does incorporate elements of Christmas when Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king Jack Skellington travels to Christmastown to kidnap Santa Claus and take over the role. The film only made $191,232 at the box office, but it has a lifetime gross of $75.08 million.

*** This article also appeared in the Dec. 16, 2015 edition of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald's weekly publication, UnCut.