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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

You take the high road …

Assiniboine Community College president Mark Frison has followed in his predecessor’s footsteps by offering interesting pairing of people — along with food and wine — in the private dining room that runs alongside  the annual Grey Owl Restaurant run by culinary arts and  hotel and restaurant management students. Last Wednesday, the guest list included: (From bottom left): Brandon West Progressive Conservative MLA Reg Helwer, CKLQ/Star FM news manager Clay Young, Spruce Woods Progressive Conservative MLA Cliff Cullen, Maple Leaf plant manager Morgan  Curran-Blaney, Frison, Brandon Mayor (and longtime NDPer) Shari Decter Hirst, Brandon Sun managing editor James O’Connor, and ACC director of executive and board operations Steve Horne.

TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Assiniboine Community College president Mark Frison has followed in his predecessor’s footsteps by offering interesting pairing of people — along with food and wine — in the private dining room that runs alongside the annual Grey Owl Restaurant run by culinary arts and hotel and restaurant management students. Last Wednesday, the guest list included: (From bottom left): Brandon West Progressive Conservative MLA Reg Helwer, CKLQ/Star FM news manager Clay Young, Spruce Woods Progressive Conservative MLA Cliff Cullen, Maple Leaf plant manager Morgan Curran-Blaney, Frison, Brandon Mayor (and longtime NDPer) Shari Decter Hirst, Brandon Sun managing editor James O’Connor, and ACC director of executive and board operations Steve Horne.

POP QUIZ: In the Brandon way of thinking, taking the high road could be more likened to:

In the mandated spirit of unity, Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell, left, and Brandon West Tory MLA Reg Helwer were asked to speak together at the opening ceremonies for the 10th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival at city hall on Thursday. The two have been known to spar in the Manitoba legislature.

Enlarge Image

In the mandated spirit of unity, Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell, left, and Brandon West Tory MLA Reg Helwer were asked to speak together at the opening ceremonies for the 10th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival at city hall on Thursday. The two have been known to spar in the Manitoba legislature. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)

a) "The Road Not Taken," a 1916 Robert Frost poem

b) "The Road We’ve Traveled," a 2012 documentary film about Barack Obama’s presidency

c) "The Road Less Traveled," a classic novel by M. Scott Peck

d) Clearly, none of the above.

In a city that actually has a highway nicknamed The Low Road leading out of it, it was good to see the Brandon Folk, Music and Art Society taking the high road when it came to dealing with having its United States pavilion disallowed from this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival.

While the BFMAS was angry its pavilion’s application was declined in the fall after a vote by the festival committee of the whole — the banishment was also questioned by Coun. Jan Chaboyer (Green Acres), who called for a "thorough review" of the management and governance of the festival — the folks who run the annual folk festival have decidely taken the high road lately in the public relations department.

I suggest the BFMAS has adopted an approach far more in the spirit of "The Road Less Traveled" — a classic novel that one review says "continues to enable us to explore the nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life," than any low road some might have predicted.

While there were a few calls for the BFMAS to organize some sort of "guerilla" or unsanctioned pavilion to protest its exclusion, it has instead bought ad space in the Brandon Sun offering "best wishes" to the pavilions and volunteers.

It has also posted a positive message toward the Winter Festival on the marquee of the empty Strand Theatre on 10th Street it hopes to develop into a multi-use community performance and arts centre.

The first section of Peck’s work explores discipline, which Wikipedia says the author considers essential for emotional, spiritual and psychological health, and which he describes as "the means of spiritual evolution."

So as the BFMAS wants to be a part of the Winter Festival in the future, it has decided to take the high road.

I hope that serves as a model of spiritual evolution to others in the city who might feel slighted or wronged.

•••

After not exactly being sharks in the casino file over the past decade, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs now wants even more opportunities to fail. Last week, the AMC issued a media notice that said it wants the same opportunities in Winnipeg which the province has afforded to the private sector.

Winnipeg’s new facility will be located on the second floor of Cityplace, near the MTS Centre. The 5,000-square-foot gaming centre will feature 140 slot machines, two poker tables and four blackjack tables.

It will be operated by Manitoba Lotteries but owned by True North Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Winnipeg Jets.

"Opting to proceed with casino developments outside the established joint gaming table is an unsettling precedent. It illustrates to those who want to develop casinos in Manitoba that they can look beyond the alleged commitment to vet casino development through the joint Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs-Manitoba Steering Committee on Gaming. This undermines our relationship with the province as well as our investments in casino development," AMC Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said in the release.

However, the AMC still hasn’t fully exploited all the opportunities it has been given to develop casinos in Manitoba. That’s why, I suggest, the province has finally found a way to get around its exclusive — but unworkable — native-run casino policy by branding it a "gaming centre."

And that has infuriated the AMC.

"The province’s surreptitious approval of a new privately owned casino in Winnipeg is inconsistent with its dealings with First Nations," Nepinak said, after declaring the gaming centre is indeed a casino. "The province has maintained its position over the last several years that the Winnipeg market is saturated and that another Winnipeg-based casino was therefore, unavailable to First Nations."

But for an outfit that maintains the proposed Spirit Sands development will "return $1.9 million" — despite being on a bumpy highway in the middle of nowhere east of Brandon — to make demands to expand native gaming into Winnipeg is laughable.

And since it also turned its back this year on Brandon’s offer to discuss locating the Spirit Sands casino somewhere inside city limits, it should also be excluded from any future discussions the City of Brandon might have with the province about establishing a gaming centre in the Wheat City.

Sure, go build your Spirit Sands casino by the fall — oh, have you even applied for any permits yet or made arrangements for sewer, water and power? — and watch as Highway 5 floods in the spring and tour buses break axles on that lousy highway.

And just remember you turned down your chance to work with Brandon should good luck of landing a gaming centre in a downtown boutique hotel come our way.

•••

Racist anti-aboriginal slurs and offensive comments have forced a small weekly newspaper in Thompson to rip up its Facebook page.

The story of the Thompson Citizen’s online issues went national for a couple of reasons — the outlandish nature of the racial slurs and because it involved a Facebook page.

The problem with any primarily print media outlet having an online presence is that you have to be willing to pay for staff to operate it and monitor it. Such as we do here at the Sun.

Websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are only really useful when they are interactive. And for the most part, Internet co-ordinators are dealing with people hiding behind false names and who face no recourse for their statements.

So of course, the Citizen — with a free circulation of 4,500 — was asking for trouble if it just posted content from its latest edition and then left the page to fend for itself.

As a point of interest, the Thompson Citizen and a competing paper, the more regional Nickel Belt News, both started in the early ’60s — back when a website involved spiders.

They have since merged, but continue to publish on separate days under their own mastheads.

•••

The Canadian Wheat Board chose the cheesecake route in an advertisement designed to encourage farmers to choose it for marketing grain.

As reported across the country by The Canadian Press, the ad features a 1969 print called "Hi-Ho, Silver," which shows a curvacious young woman in a cowboy hat and skirt straddling a fence.

The admittedly creative caption says: "Still on the fence?"

Dayna Spiring, the board’s chief strategy officer, told CP the vintage image is meant to be edgy and get attention, but it’s not intended to offend anyone.

All I have to say to the Wheat Board is welcome to the real world. And while legislation has ended your marketing monopoly, it shouldn’t have cut out your common sense as well.

Take it from a former SunShine Girl photographer — yes, girls in bikinis are supposed to help sell papers for Sun Media — while sex still sells, it’s also even more a touchier issue than ever.

And that ad was in poor taste.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 1, 2013

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So glad to see that the Sun is taking the "high road" as well when it comes to whining about a Casino...again. I'm looking forward to booking in to this Boutique Hotel that your starting to rave about...which I'm sure has all the permits, planning, and engineering studies already done. Oh, it doesn't even exist on paper? Pity...

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POP QUIZ: In the Brandon way of thinking, taking the high road could be more likened to:

a) "The Road Not Taken," a 1916 Robert Frost poem

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POP QUIZ: In the Brandon way of thinking, taking the high road could be more likened to:

a) "The Road Not Taken," a 1916 Robert Frost poem

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