Saskatoon-based Cree musicians return from unforgettable Grammys experience – Saskatoon


A pair of Saskatoon musicians have returned from a Grammys experience that included selfies with the Backstreet Boys and a limousine ride booked by Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union.

In 2001, Jacob Faithful co-founded a group called Young Spirit, which included members of the Frog Lake First Nation. Its 16 members now come from across Western Canada and parts of the United States.

Alberta-founded collective Young Spirit to bring 10 of its members to Grammys

The group’s goal is to empower young people through traditional Indigenous drumming and singing, Faithful said, but they never imagined they would make it to Music’s Biggest Night.

“All we wanted to do was send a message out there and be part of something great,” Faithful said.

Faithful was shocked to learn of the band’s nomination, as was his 16-year-old son and band mate, Jarron Gadwa. Both are from Frog Lake, but live in Saskatoon.

“Three weeks ago, I was writing my Grade 11 finals and to know that I’m going to the Grammys, is honestly, crazy,” Gadwa said.

Young Spirit made its Grammys debut Sunday, after the band’s album “Mewasinsational – Cree Round Dance Songs” was nominated in best regional roots category.

Another artist took the award, but Young Spirit had an unforgettable experience, including being driven to their hotel in a Rolls Royce limo arranged by actresses Alba and Union.

Young Spirit attends the 61st annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

John Kopaloff / Getty Images

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“They actually made a cake for us and it had the album cover of our nominated CD,” Gadwa said.

Reaching the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the group walked the same red carpet as the likes of Drake, Lady Gaga and Dolly Parton.

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“I thought it was pretty cool when the Backstreet Boys came up to us and asked to have a picture and [that we were part of their playlists on their phones,” Faithful said.

In a rare occurrence, officials with the Grammys arranged for Young Spirit to perform on the red carpet.

As the drums came out, the commotion of media interviews came to a stop.

“All the cameras turned toward us. It was pretty neat to see these famous musicians taking out their phones and trying to record us singing,” Faithful said.

One organizer said it was the first time she’d seen a red carpet performance like that in her 18 years of experience, Faithful recalled.

“Thank you so much for doing that for us. You just changed the vibe of the whole red carpet,” he recalled the woman saying.

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Seeing Cree round dance music on the international stage shows the “significant gift” that First Nations people have to offer, according to Tribal Chief Mark Arcand of the Saskatoon Tribal Council.

“It really provides … role models for our younger people to get our language and culture back. People flock to it,” Arcand said.

Young Spirit’s next album is set to be released in April.

“If we end up at the Grammy Awards next year, sure,” Faithful said with a shrug.

“But if we don’t, then you know what? We had an awesome time.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Union calls for binding arbitration to end Saskatoon Co-op contract dispute – Saskatoon


The union representing striking workers at Saskatoon Co-op is calling on the company to agree to binding arbitration to settle a contract dispute.

UFCW Local 1400 made the request after talks between the two sides broke down on Friday.

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Judge dismisses petition to remove Saskatoon Co-op board of directors

At issue between the two sides is Saskatoon Co-op’s desire to introduce a second-tier wage scale.

“In the spirit of true negotiation, (we) started to bargain a second tier,” the union said in a press release.

“It provided proposals allowing for a second tier that included a bridge that provided a limited number of employees who had been working at Co-op for four years, to finally move to the main wage grid.”

Co-op said the offer made by the union substantially reduced the wage difference between new and current employees in key positions.

“We came to (Friday’s) discussions ready to make compromises because we wanted to get another offer for our employees to vote on and, hopefully, end the labour dispute,” said Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks in a statement.

‘It was disappointing to see the union go back on an understanding we’d already reached, refuse to consider our counter-proposal and then walk away from the negotiations.”

Striking Saskatoon Co-op employees reject latest contract offer

UFCW said the next step is to submit to binding arbitration, with both sides presenting their last offer.

“Management’s excuse that they would rather bargain is no longer credible,” the union said.

“Their repeated refusals to bargain once again leads us to invite management to participate in the process of binding arbitration.”

Co-op said UFCW has negotiated other contracts that include wage tiers.

“The union continues to push binding arbitration, but they have bargained multiple wage tier agreements with our competitors in Saskatoon without arbitration or labour disputes,” Wicks said.

“Because the proposal we wanted to share with the union is strong and includes compromises that employees have asked for, we’re still optimistic that we can work with the union to share our proposal with employees and give them a chance to vote.”

UFCW picketers rally outside FCL in downtown Saskatoon

Co-op said current employees are still being offered a two per cent annual raise, back pay, signing bonuses, and industry-competitive benefits.

Roughly 900 UFCW members walked off the job Nov. 1, 2018, after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.

Co-op said the retail landscape has changed and a second-tier wage scale will help ensure the long-term vitality of the company.

Sixty per cent of UFCW members who voted rejected an offer by the company at the beginning of January.

Co-op said roughly 200 union members have returned to work since the strike started.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Prince Albert Raiders beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 6-5 Saturday night – Saskatoon


The Prince Albert Raiders (45-7-0-2) have won four straight after beating the Lethbridge Hurricanes (27-16-5-5) 6-5 in Western Hockey League (WHL) action Saturday night.

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Cole Fonstad’s second goal of the game midway in the third period stood as the winner.

Saskatoon Blades win, Prince Albert Raiders clinch playoff spot

Eric Pearce, Parker Kelly, Sean Montgomery and Ozzy Wiesblatt also scored while Boston Bilous made 29 saves for the Raiders.

Jake Leschyshyn had a pair of goals for the Hurricanes as Jake Elmer, Ty Prefontaine and Igor Merezhko added singles. Carl Tetachuk turned away 31 shots in defeat.

Saskatoon Blades fall to Edmonton Oil Kings 3-2 in OT

The Raiders are off until Wednesday when they travel to Swift Current for a game against the Broncos (10-38-2-2).


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Winter weather bringing cold and snow to Saskatchewan – Saskatoon


Another winter blast is creating a mess of snow and cold across Saskatchewan.

Meteorologist Peter Quinlan said temperatures have been dropping down to below -30 C with the wind chill due to a surge of Arctic air.

“The temperature is so low it’s going to create very light, Hollywood-type snow that blows around with a wind of 20 to 50 kilometres per hour,” he said. “That’s why we are expecting near zero visibility, blowing snow right through into the work week.”

Saskatoon braces for heavy snowfall, cold temperatures

Both Saskatoon and Regina are plagued with winter driving conditions. Police are asking drivers to slow down and use caution.

Quinlan said he doesn’t predict the snow will let up in the province anytime soon.

“The first round of snow on Saturday was from a system [called] a frontal boundary stalled over the area.”

He explained the amount of snow received in each area varies across Saskatchewan.

Environment Canada issues winter storm and snowfall warnings in Saskatchewan

“There is another round of snow that is going to bring 10 to 20 centimetres to extreme southern areas of the province,” he said. “Regina could see around 5 to 10 centimetres and that is going to be part of a Colorado low that will sweep into Manitoba. Both of these systems come with gusty winds.”

Quinlan said we haven’t broken any weather records yet, but could later in the week.

Troy Davies with Medavie Health Services said dressing for the cold temperatures is incredibly important as it is easy for skin to freeze and cold weather-related illnesses to set in.

“For skin in this type of weather, it’s minutes with the wind chills we are experiencing,” he said. “You can see frostbite or even cold exposure.”

Saskatoon weather outlook: snowiest, coldest days of the year ahead

Signs of frostbite include numbness and a change in skin colour, particularly to fingers and toes due to their lower circulation.

The cold temperatures sweeping the province aren’t expected to let up until the middle of February

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Winterruption shares snow and multiculturalism in Saskatoon


The two-day Winterruption Saskatoon event allows people the chance to get outside and enjoy the prairies’ winter weather.

This is the second year the event has been held outdoors as a way to get people out of hibernation and take part in traditional outdoor activities.

A community fire is bringing people together to warm up at Winterruption.

Want to warm up to winter in Sask.? Here are a few ways to embrace the cold

Along with spending time outside in the snow, Winterruption organizer Laura Hale said the event is about meeting new people and sharing different cultures.

“[We] use the teepee to come together,” she said.  “In a non-traditional way through a variety of different storytellers.”

A First Nations elder opened the event on Saturday. Throughout the course of the day, many people from different cultures shared stories inside the teepee to bring the community together.

Yonnes Tesfayhaiae is from Eritrea in East Africa. He moved to Canada two months ago and is one of the storytellers sharing his culture’s folktales within the teepee.

“The main message is wisdom and education,” he said. “The main source of wisdom and education are the elders.”

Nordic Skiing, snowshoeing and sledding were all available for people to take part in.

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Tesfayhaiae said he is hoping events like Winterruption help him meet more people in Saskatoon.

“I think Canada is special accepting many people from all over the world,” he said.  “To meet people from all over is somewhat equal to reaching other places.”

Winterruption runs until 10 p.m. on Saturday and is a family-friendly event with activities for all ages.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Saskatoon police show off new screening device for testing drug-impaired drivers – Saskatoon


It’s a new tool to help law enforcement sniff out if someone’s high on drugs behind the wheel. The Dräger DrugTest 5000 has been distributed to six municipal police services and nine RCMP detachments in Saskatchewan as officers begin to train to use the device.

The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) was issued its instrument approximately two weeks ago and held a show-and-tell to demonstrate how the machine works.

352 impaired driving offences in Saskatchewan during December

“This is not an evidentiary device – so what that means is that this instrument is not the evidence that will convict someone or acquit them,” SPS Staff Sgt. Patrick Barbar said.

“It’s only to let officers know whether they need to go further with their investigation.”

In late August, the Dräger DrugTest 5000 was the first device approved in the country by the federal government to screen for drug-impaired drivers.

It will detect if someone has cannabis in their system as well as cocaine.

Here’s how it works: a saliva swab is collected from the person then popped into the machine. From there, it takes the instrument four minutes to analyze before the results blink on the screen and a paper record is printed off for documentation.

While it’s still unclear how much of a problem drug-impaired driving is on Saskatchewan roadways, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) spokesperson Tyler McMurchy said it’s reassuring to know there’s another mechanism to catch motorists that don’t plan for a safe ride home.

“It’s never been a worse time to be an impaired driver and it’s never been harder to get away with it.”

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Given the amount of time it takes to conduct a test and the limitation of the devices, Barbar said it’s likely they will only be used in the event where a field sobriety test isn’t an option, i.e. the motorist is in a cast, a lack of mobility or the individual has been hospitalized after a crash.

“Our goal is not to test as many drivers as possible on this instrument,” Barbar said.

“We plan to rely heavily still on the standardized field sobriety tests. The main reason for that is this detects two drugs, our standardized field sobriety detects a whole gamut of drugs.”

The Dräger DrugTest 5000.

File / Global News

In Norway, the number of drug-impaired drivers detected by police doubled with the device, but 10 per cent of the results were false positives. The instrument is sensitive when used in cold weather, it can’t be tilted and its reliability has been questioned.

SPS admitted it has never left the station, and the 10 people it was used on during its trial were completely sober.

“It’s the only approved instrument in Canada for what it does,” Barbar said.

“Everybody anticipates with this as with any new law that it will be challenged – that’s the nature of our court system, it’s adversarial.”

Sask. families asked to submit names for victims of impaired driving monument

The device cannot be administered at random – an officer will need reasonable grounds to conduct the test which was a concern among medicinal marijuana users.

If people refuse to provide a sample, police said it’s considered an offence that could have criminal consequences.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Saskatoon firefighters respond to three fires on Saturday – Saskatoon


It was a busy weekend for firefighters in Saskatoon, responding to three different fires throughout the city.

The string of incidents began when crews with the Saskatoon Fire Department were called to a garage fire just before 2 a.m. Saturday morning at 1631 Avenue C North.

Firefighters say flames were licking the outside of the garage and had already moved into the attic when they arrived.

Fire destroys home under construction in Greenbryre Estates

Crews extinguished the fire quickly, but remained on scene for about an hour to ensure it was completely out.

Firefighters were then called to a house fire at 201 26th Street West about an hour later.

Smoke and flames were seen coming from the back of the house, which was boarded up and appeared to vacant, firefighters say.

Fire causes over $200,000 in damage to two homes

Firefighters remained on scene, rotating staff throughout the night.

WATCH: Fire destroys home under construction in Greenbryre Estates

Finally, fire crews were called to an apartment fire at 209 Willis Crescent shortly before 7 p.m.

Firefighters say heavy smoke was emanating from a main floor apartment, which led them to evacuate the building.

Saskatoon firefighters spend over 5 hours dealing with Caswell Hill house fire

There were no occupants in the main floor apartment, firefighters say.

Fire crews found the fire in a bedroom and extinguished it.

The cause of all three fires and the cost of the damage is unknown at this time, but no injuries were reported during the fires.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Saskatoon joins world as Women’s March rallies against gender-based violence – Saskatoon


The Amphitheatre at River Landing in Saskatoon saw some heavy foot traffic Saturday morning, as over 100 men and women braved the cold for the third annual Women’s March.

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Kate Lardner of the event’s Saskatoon chapter said more than 15 countries around the world are marching today, showing support for women’s rights.

“There is still disparity between the genders,” she said. “Globally, one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in her lifetime, and in Canada it is especially evident for our Indigenous sisters.”

Mary Ingram, also with the Saskatoon chapter, said they want to see action and advocate for change around the world, including right here in Saskatoon.

“[We want to] share the message of stopping gender-based violence,” she said. “Focusing on violence against transgender women and Indigenous women”

WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at 2019 Women’s March in New York City

People of all ages bundled up and braved the cold, including one passionate 11-year-old, Etta Love. She said 51 per cent of sexual violence happens to youth under the age of 16 and wants to take action for change.

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“That’s me and my peers for the next few years,” she said. “If we’re old enough to be assaulted, then we’re old enough to be angry and be activists.”

The Women’s March began in January 2017, following the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Larder said she believes the grassroots movement can make a difference for all women.

“We’re really hoping to raise awareness for gender-based violence,” she said, “hopefully to advocate for legislation not only for Indigenous women, but all women in general.”

Due to the cold temperatures, the March route was altered from past years. Organizers said they have already begun planning for next year and invite anyone to join them.


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Want to warm up to winter in Sask.? Here are a few ways to embrace the cold – Saskatoon


With temperatures about to drop to -40 with the windchill, it can be hard not to want to hibernate inside. Let’s face it though, winter is still around for a while so instead of fighting it, why not find ways to embrace it?

Here are a few things you could do in and around Saskatoon to keep preoccupied and you might even learn to love our winter wonderland in the process.

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The Fishin’ Hole in Saskatoon.

File / Global News

Hooked on Fishin’

The colder it gets outside this time of year, the busier business is at The Fishin’ Hole in Saskatoon.

“When you get cold weather like -20, -25 – guys wanna go ice fishing,” Fishin’ Hole manager Brian Dygdala said.

“We’ve got a lot of different species of fish but a lot of lakes. So if you want to go to a small little lake and catch some perch, walleye and pike then the next lake and catch some rainbow trout, tiger trout – there’s lots of variety,” Dygdala said.

If you keep it simple, you could have a whole new hobby for less than $100. You’ll want to see where people are setting up their ice shacks in the hopes of catching a fish and remember to bundle up in good gear.

“Wear good clothing, you’re going to be out in the cold. It might feel warm in the city but when you’re out on the lake it can be cold.”

Ways to warm up: From making mittens to drinking wine 

Looking for ways to strip down instead of layering up? Why not try hot yoga at a studio near you to keep Jack Frost from chilling you to the bone.

You can also warm up with a glass of icewine or at Saskatchewan’s Wolf Willow Winery – they offer a sweet mead along the same style. It’s 14.9 per cent alcohol so it is similar to icewine. We’re told it’s enjoyed best as an apéritif or digestif.

There’s also mitten making and mini mukluk workshops at Wanusekwin Heritage Park. The classes range in cost from $40 to $120, all the materials are provided and it’s for ages 16 years old or older.

Settle in for some stargazing

Check out these cold photos taken during the winter months of what the Land of the Living Skies has to offer. Now’s the perfect time to spot the Orion Constellation even from your backyard or take an adventure out of the city with the kids.

“Although the summers nice and pleasant, we don’t have really dark, dark skies,” said Tim Yaworski, member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

“So the beauty of taking a look at the night sky in the winter is – if you got kids, you can do with the kids way before bedtime.”

Northern Lights can be tricky to see this time of year because it’s an occurrence based on the sun. Yaworski spotted a few in the last couple of weeks but said the big thing to circle on your calendar is a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon.’

“This Sunday on the 20th, starting at 9:30 there’s a total eclipse of the moon,” Yaworski explained.

“You won’t even need to go to the country to see it, it’s going to start in the eastern sky and progress until about just before one o’clock in the morning.”

A rockin’ good time

Some fun findings revealed during a survey by Intercontinental Hotels Group show one third of millennials preferred to travel within Canada during the winter months and more than 60 per cent consider our country a go-to destination during winter.

In Saskatoon, if you have a staycation planned – fun is just a stone’s throw away. Crokicurl is back on Broadway, with crews readying the rink over the weekend.

“We were so impressed last year we had hundreds of people come out,” said DeeAnn Mercier, executive director of the Broadway Business Improvement District.

“We had school groups, seniors citizens groups, differently-abled people come out and give it a try – it was so fun.”

What made it so popular is because it’s so different and if you didn’t get a chance to curl in school, here’s your chance!

“This is no pressure, you can just give it a try and see how it goes!” Mercier said.

Crokicurl is set to make it’s debut at Winterruption taking place January 23 to 26 and will stay there until Family Day in February.

“January and February can be quite a slow period for local businesses and it’s a great time of year to be active so we really wanted to do something that encouraged people to get out see what it was all about then maybe go for a hot chocolate or an adult beverage in the area.”

Have some ideas on ways to celebrate the cold?

Residents are invited to share their ideas on other ways to celebrate Saskatoon during the coldest months of the year!

Events will be held starting Jan. 25 in order to help the city and stakeholders develop a ‘WinterCityYXE’ strategy aimed an revealing what makes Saskatoon unique as a four-season community.

If you’ve got some cool concepts up your sleeve, you’re encouraged to attend one of the following sessions:

Winter City Café – Prairieland Park

  • Friday, Jan. 25 (9 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.)
  • Saturday, Jan. 26 (9 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.)

Wintershines – Saskatoon Farmers’ Market

  • Saturday, Jan. 26 (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)

For weather on the go, download the Global News SkyTracker weather app for iPhone, iPad or Android.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Breaking the ‘significant increase’ in crystal meth addictions – Saskatoon


Tracy Muggli, the director of Mental Health and Addiction Services at the Saskatchewan Health Authority, has been working to break the cycle of crystal meth addictions by improving services to users.

The health authority is one of nearly 30 organizations working together in the Safe Community Action Alliance (CSAA). The group has been working since 2017 to improve issues affecting city residents, with the top two being the crystal meth epidemic and the other housing options.

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“Crystal meth is a very addictive drug. It acts on dopamine in the brain, that’s the pleasure point and so people like the high. The other factor is that it’s very cheap,” Muggli said.

Over the last five to six years, the health authority has seen a “wave” of crystal meth. The last influx was back in 2006-07.

“Almost half of the people that present to our services, present as crystal meth users. It used to be around five to ten percent, five to six years ago. That’s a significant increase,” Muggli said.

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Since mid-2018 CSAA has been mapping the client experience of using crystal meth, identifying gaps in their care, and assisting interventions.

“We’re learning that treating people with crystal meth addictions is very difficult. We have to adjust our programming so that people can stay for a longer period of time in treatment,” Muggle said.

She adds that people need time to sleep and recover. Often addicts who come into detox have been up for five or six days straight.

Crystal meth eclipsing opioids on the Prairies

“One thing we know about crystal meth is that it depletes dopamine levels in your system and that can lead to depression and suicidality.”

“We’ve had to be very flexible in our treatment programs and how we address length of stay.”

“It can take a while to develop a desire to live and improve quality of life.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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