I first heard about the Friday Night Light campaign within a few hours of arriving in Prince Albert.
On Boxing Day, former publisher Ian Jensen was interviewing me for the job I now hold. He was showing me around the city and part of our tour included a drive through Prime Ministers’ Park.
Ian was on the committee and it was apparent that it was a cause near and dear to him. I was immediately fascinated with the idea that instead of going hat in hand to government, the community would instead pay its own way.
I returned to Manitoba a day later with a small sense of what kind of community I could potentially be moving to. Since I started here at the end of February, I’ve been very open about how exceptional I find elements of this city.
I can honestly say that I wasn’t surprised when it took the Friday Night Lights committee just two weeks to reach their goal. I quickly understood that the heart of this city could be found in the collective effort of the volunteers who strive to improve it.
The harder thing to understand was the motivation.
Max Clunie was gone before I got here; the people that spoke to me about him described him as an amazing young man with unlimited potential. He had a wide circle of friends who loved him.
In fact in some ways he sounds like a much younger Ben Darchuk. Ben, a local businessman, was killed in a car accident this summer. His friends struggled to find a way to pay tribute to him, eventually settling on the Friday Night Lights campaign as something Ben would have appreciated.
I never met Max and Ben but they’ve been on my mind a lot lately.
Randy Emmerson and David Thorpe approached me about the Friday Night Lights a couple of weeks ago and I’ve since met them for breakfast twice.
As they laid out the complete history of the campaign, I realized that it wasn’t a story that I would be assigning to someone else. Instead, I would tackle the job on my own, both as a thank you to Ian but also a salute to Max and Ben.
After my first meeting with Randy and David, I returned to the office and wrote more than 700 words as the outline of the story.
The long story will appear later this week. I hope it gives readers a sense of how many people worked hard to bring this project to fruition.
And needless to say, we’ll be covering the Friday Nights launch when it happens on Friday.
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Our small newsroom has worked hard to bring you an extensive election package, which will be part of your Thursday edition of the Daily Herald.
With just one candidate reaching office by acclamation — congratulations Mark Tweidt in Ward 7 — a number of fascinating battles are shaping up.
The three-way tilt between a strong incumbent mayor in Jim Scarrow, a popular longtime councillor in Greg Dionne and the hard-charging outsider in Dean Link leads to any number of election-day scenarios.
With a pair of councillors stepping down and Greg Dionne leaving Ward 2 to run for mayor, we’ll have at very least three new faces on council. And no fewer than five incumbents are facing challenges.
As the public forums and debates begin, I once again urge people to cast their ballot on Oct. 24. I’m a strong proponent of the idea that if you don’t vote, you forfeit the right to be taken seriously when you complain about the city. If you vote for a losing candidate, at least you were part of the process.
I was asked to moderate the forum on Thursday at the Indian Métis Friendship Centre, which will take place at 7 p.m. It will include both the mayoral candidates and council hopefuls.
I urge you to attend if you’re interested in hearing the people who will lead our city through some interesting challenges in the next few years.
• • •
I’m hoping that what I write next creates a lot of work for me.
We can’t be everywhere and we can’t cover everything. But something I would like to do is have a page every week filled with pictures from community events around the city. Whether it’s a minor hockey game, a choir performing, cribbage time at the senior’s home or any number of other events, we would like that page to reflect the community that we serve.
Of course I do need to put some rules in place to ensure the page meets some quality standards.
Here are the Daily Herald’s requirements:
• The picture must be a reasonably high quality .jpg and it must be a good size. We can’t run pixelated images because they won’t print well.
• We need to know where and when the image was shot. If it’s a sporting event, we need you to include what teams are playing and where the game was held. We aren’t interested in the score as much as we are in the action.
• Every picture should have the name of the photographer included.
• I can’t guarantee that every picture will get in. And we obviously can’t run a picture every week from the same team or event.
• If your image is really dark, it would probably be extremely muddy in newsprint.
• Blurry photos also don’t reproduce well.
• Photos taken on your smart phone are probably not good enough quality to print unless they are taken outdoors in the sunlight.
I would strongly recommend putting the words PHOTO PAGE in capital letters in the title bar of your email so that we can easily identify and sort it.
So, get shooting!