Ladies and gentlemen, Taisa McRorie at the keyboards

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Column on Taisa in the Edmonton Sun 

Taisa McRorie playing “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey

 

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Friendly Friday – May 30 – Chapter 1

I was so excited about Friendly Friday on Thursday afternoon I wished my good friend Barth Bradley a happy birthday. “You’re three months early,” Barth said. Exactly. Because that’s what Friendly Friday is all about: paying it forward.

...my buddy Barth

…my buddy Barth

Starting today, and every Friday, we’re going to be sharing the Friendly Friday concept on the Tait on 8 blog.

 The idea was started in 2011 by a women I call Faith. That isn’t her real name, you understand.

And I’m not going to tell her name. Because the truest form of giving, of philanthropy, is when it’s done anonymously.

I invite you to be part of Faith’s vision of Friendly Friday: be good to one another because, simply, it’s the right thing to do.

So … ask yourself:

•is there someone you see at your favorite breakfast spot/coffee shop/pizza joint/burger bar/gym/gas station/newspaper box/bus stop/(you fill in the blank) that you would like to do something for, just because of the way the smile at you?

•is there someone you know who is in the hospital, and you’ve been meaning to go visit, but there use hasn’t been enough hours in your day?

•is there someone who has been on your mind — someone who you haven’t seen or heard  from in a while?

•is there someone who, maybe, you think, you owe an apology?

It’s Friendly Friday. What a perfect time to take action!FFback If you do any of the above, please share it with me.

Send me a tweet, or email (links below.)

If you want to leave your  name, great. If not, that’s great, too.

Or, if you see a great act of kindness, please share that, too.

As the day progresses I’ll update the blog. So check back often and see Friendly Friday in action.

What a great way to start the weekend.

And, of yes: I’m having lunch with my buddy Barth today. I’m buying. Consider it an early birthday present.be-inspired

TAIT’S LINKS

Email: camtait@telus.net      Twitter @camtait

Column on Friendly Friday

Friendly Friday Facebook page

Mock funerals do not further causes — poll(May 29, 2014)

A developing news story at Artspace Co-op began May 7 when personal care workers went on strike. That meant replacement workers were brought in to work with 29 people with physical disabilities with bathing, dressing, meal preparation and other fundamental needs.

Last Sunday Artspace residents had a mock funeral, complete with a coffin and flowers, in hoping to attract empathy for their situation. The idea was their dreams of independent living were gone and buried.

That’s a real, jarring fear. Residents are worried if the issue isn’t settled; they might lose their independence and be forced into extended care facilities.

Was Sunday’s mock funeral effective?

This blog ran a poll asking that question Tuesday and Wednesday.

Seventy-seven per cent voters said the funeral did not tell the Artspace story and did not help further the resolution of the issues.

Sixteen per cent of voters said the event was an effective way to bring attention to the story and help settle things.

Six per cent of voters had other comments.

I am surprised at the overwhelming majority and think it makes a bold statement: such events do not engage people today’s society.

Maybe 40 years ago when people with disabilities had to create such events for basic acceptance.

Things, and attitudes, are different now.

More significantly, though, is social media. It provides several avenues to tell stories: Facebook, Twitter and bogs, to name a few.

We can now provide up-to-date information on what we’re doing, where we are going and how we’re feeling.

Compelling stories can create a following, which can create public pressure, which can create policy change.

Artspace has started a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-SAIL-INC/564867590300524?ref=profile)  to tell their story. I hope they update it often with latest updates. I think it will engage people more.

We live in a much more sophisticated society that is more accepting of people with disabilities than, say, 20 years ago.

With acceptance comes respect. And when you respect someone you listen with concern when they have challenges.

You don’t need staged events. You just need conversation.

We’re listen and reading, Artspace.

And we deeply want to keep your dreams alive.

 

(Cam Tait has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.)

What’s the best way to make a point in 2014? (May 27, 2014)

This is all about you.

How do you a recent event staged by Artspace Co-Op Sunday: a mock funeral, with a coffin and flowers.

But before you make an informed decision you need some information.

The funeral was held to garner support and awareness for an on-going labour issue at Artspace involving people with disabilities.

Since May 7 personal care attendants have been on strike, demanding higher wages. Replacement workers have been brought to carry out the work.

Since 1990, residents with disabilties have pooled their home care funding to hire personal support services. Supports for Artspace Independent Living Inc. has administered funding from Alberta Health Services to run the program.

It’s a grass roots program. Artspace residents direct their own care.

And here is my question I have for you.They are worried they could lose their program, and, ultimately, their independent living because of the strike.

Their fear is a large for profit home care provider will be hired and their independence will be taken away.

Understandably, they want to tell their story and garner support from the public.

Please click here for an Edmonton Sun story.

And here is my question I have for you.

 

 

May 26, 2014: The smile of Curtis Lazar

Cam Tait

CurtisLazar5122In January of 2010 at the Ramada Inn on Kingsway Ave. in Edmonton, one thing stood when I first saw Curtis Lazar: his smile. It was bright and wide, that night, when he was called up to the stage at the John Reid Memorial bantam AAA hockey tournament.

Curtis was 14 years old. But he was already making an impression. Whispers circulated around the banquet room as Curtis accepted his award with the same three words: “Watch that guy.”

The Edmonton Oil Kings did, and they selected him second overall in the 2010 bantam draft. Curtis began his five-year tenure with the Oil Kings in the 2010-11 campaign and, very quickly, became the face of the franchise.

His smile kept getting wider and more meaningful.

And in the last week, there was plenty for him to smile about starting Friday night. That’s when Curtis ended the longest game in Memorial…

View original post 301 more words

May 26, 2014: The smile of Curtis Lazar

CurtisLazar5122In January of 2010 at the Ramada Inn on Kingsway Ave. in Edmonton, one thing stood when I first saw Curtis Lazar: his smile. It was bright and wide, that night, when he was called up to the stage at the John Reid Memorial bantam AAA hockey tournament.

Curtis was 14 years old. But he was already making an impression. Whispers circulated around the banquet room as Curtis accepted his award with the same three words: “Watch that guy.”

The Edmonton Oil Kings did, and they selected him second overall in the 2010 bantam draft. Curtis began his five-year tenure with the Oil Kings in the 2010-11 campaign and, very quickly, became the face of the franchise.

His smile kept getting wider and more meaningful.

And in the last week, there was plenty for him to smile about starting Friday night. That’s when Curtis ended the longest game in Memorial Cup history in the third overtime period when he scored to give the Oil Kings a 4-3 win over the Val-d’Or Foreurs.

But his biggest hockey smiles came Sunday when he hoisted the hardware — the Memorial Cup — after the Oil Kings beat the Guelph Storm 6-3 in London, Ont.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any bigger, it did. That’s when his family joined him on the ice.112CURTIS2

Curtis was part of a core group of Oil Kings — Griffin Reinhart, Henrik Samuelsson Mitch Moroz, Cody Corbett and Tristian Jarry — who made it to the Mastercard Memorial Cup two years ago in Quebec. They weren’t pleased with their  1-3 record, but they got something that would, perhaps, be invaluable: experience.

So when they had another shot — just two seasons later — they knew what it would take to get the job done.

In the end, it paid off. And when the Oil Kings arrive home at the Edmonton International Airport shortly before 12 noon Monday, they will have the Memorial Cup — just seven years after they were award a Western Hockey League expansion franchise.

Remarkable. Absolutely remarkable.

From their first GM Bob Green, their first coach Steve Pleau, to the current coaching staff of Derek Laxdal and Steve Hamilton; from equipment manager Rogan Dean and trainer Brian Cheesman, and so many others who have a hand in the Oil King success, it’s been wonderful to watch.

The smile of Curtis has been a trademark of the Oil King success. He will take it now to the Ottawa Senators where he’ll turn professional.CUTIS3

But whenever he’s in Edmonton he’ll flash that million dollar Curtis Lazar smile.

Because he has many special memories here.

Click. 

 

 

2014-05-26 11.48.51

Curtis chatting with my grandson Nicholas and myself after arriving at Edmonton International Airport May 26, 2014

TAIT LINKS

Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones on the big game

May 24, 2014 — Two Canadian passions come together

The hum from refrigeration system at the east end of Clare Drake Arena was almost deafening Saturday afternoon seconds after public address announcer Garry Meyer asked for two minutes of silence.

Paul Franklin sat in his wheelchair at centre ice. His head was down. A million thoughts must have scampered through his head.

It was January, 2006. Paul was a Canadian medic in Afghanistan when he survived a roadside bomb, but both legs were amputated.

Paul Franklin

Paul Franklin

Sitting at centre ice Saturday he could have thought about how his life has changed. Paul also had memories of friends — damn good friends who shared so much — who were among the 158 soldiers who didn’t return to Canada alive.

So many thoughts. So many unanswered questions.

When the silence ended, Paul had friends wherever he support. On his left were his brothers: Edmonton-based soldiers in one players’ box, ready to hit the ice as a team the as the Warriors.

On his right, several of the Edmonton Oiler greats of yesteryear — Dave Lumley, Kelly Buchberger, Jason Strudwick, Chris Joseph and Fernando Pisani, and coaches Al Hamilton and Ted Green: heroes and champions in their own right.

If Paul looked up, he saw the crowd of 300 in the stands who were there because they wanted to express their gratitude to him, and thousands more like him.

Then — after one official had to return to the referee’s room because,  they forgot the, um, game  puck — the fun began.

Welcome to the 2014 Heroes Hockey Challenge.

Every year a city surrounding a Canadian Forces Base hosts the Heroes Hockey Challenge. When Edmonton was chosen, retired radio executive and Edmonton Sun columnist Marty Forbes put his hand up and said “Let me help.”

Mary said funds are raised for the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry and a local military-based entity: this year it was the Military Family Resource Centre in Edmonton.

It all started Friday at River Cree Resort with a gala dinner with 500 in attendance and former governor general Adrienne Clarkson delivering the keynote address. J’Lyne Nye from the 630 CHED Afternoon News — who has a special place in her heart for the military — was the evening’s MC.

The fun was Saturday. Recently retired Oiler Ryan Smyth played his first alumni game and opened the scoring in a 9-5 win over the Warriors.

...Ryan Smyth introdced on ice // PHOTO PERRY MAH, Edmonton Sun

…Ryan Smyth introdced on ice // PHOTO PERRY MAH, Edmonton Sun

Some of the best hockey came between the two 30-minute periods. That’s when the Oilers alumni played minor hockey players ranging in age six to nine.

It was priceless to see; the Oilers alumni even scored on themselves to help the kids to victory.

Funny how a friendly rivalry can often make us remember the real important things.

On a warm sunny Saturday afternoon two of Canada’s passions — hockey and military — came together to celebrate one another.

We play the game because of the freedom we enjoy as Canadians.

We can never forget those who fought for that freedom decades ago — and those who preserve it today.

TAIT LINKS

Paul Franklin’s Blog

Hockey Heroes Challenge

Sun photographer Perry Mah’s pictures of the event