Election Day

Election Day

Today is election day in #Warman (and I believe all civic elections in Saskatchewan).  I already did my civic duty, I voted in an advanced poll.  The issues in this election of utmost importance to me are:

– open, accountable, and engaging the community to offer the best representation. I want city hall to be working with community and its partners in productive ways.
– safety, we have a need for a more visible RCMP or Police presence in Warman to help curb the rising crime problem
– business, we need to fill the business spaces we have open, find creative ways to get more retailers in and keep our existing businesses healthy. Properly engage and work with the local Chamber of Commerce whenever possible
– health care, our clinic needs to retain and attract more doctors and we need to be able to service our residents health care needs without constantly travelling to the other cities. family practice, bloodwork, etc.
– fiscally responsible, when we need to spend money, spend it wisely on things taxpayers need or have identified want. have a larger vision of how you can drive business and tourism within our city when spending tax dollars. I’d also examine how much land we have being serviced and if we need to do anymore until the stock we have is being used.
– a code of conduct must be enacted for our mayor and council. I only became recently aware we didn’t have one at all. Regardless who is voted in, this is very important. It is helpful to mayor/council to know what is and isn’t acceptable, and puts the city in a better place to deal with complains and issues with guidelines clearly drawn up. Here is the code of conduct for the City of Saskatoon as an example: https://www.saskatoon.ca/sites/default/files/documents/city-clerk/code_of_conduct_for_members_of_city_council.pdf I encourage you to read it and see if you think this is important to be in place.

This is the first time I’ve ever really gotten passionate in an election, and certainly the first time I supported a candidate with a sign on my lawn. But based on the things I’ve seen in my 6+ years in Warman and the ways things are working (or not working) I felt it important to use my voice whenever possible. Positive Change.

If any of these are concern to you, and you want to know how I voted, PM me. I can tell you whom I voted for and why I thought they were the best candidates for the concerns above.  I chose mine based on the criteria above, and who I thought would have the best plan to tackle those issues and who is going to engage with the taxpayers best during their term (not just at the months, weeks, days leading up to this election)

And regardless your candidate, go vote. #votewarman

PS – this post is Public, feel free to share. My views and opinions belong to me and are my own. They do not imply any support from any third party.

Warman Chamber of Commerce – my time as director

Warman Chamber of Commerce – my time as director

Two years ago I let my name stand and was voted on to the board of directors with the Warman Chamber of Commerce. Today marks the last day of my term. It is a little bitter sweet saying goodbye as it was really rewarding work and with our wonderful group, we were able to accomplish a lot, more than most realize.

First off I want to thank my fellow directors, both past and present. It was an engaging bunch of business minds that had a great balance of working together and pushing each other.  The work ethic and the dedication of this group is quite amazing. I learned a lot and have made some valuable and lasting relationships with some really great people.  Thank you to Jamie, our executive director, our board wouldn’t have been able to come nearly so far without you.

Secondly, to the other businesses out there, join your chamber of commerce, attend the functions, if you can spare the time sit on the board of directors. Your expertise and partnership will be invaluable to the people around you and selfishly, you will benefit a lot. As a member we have benefited so much from the relationships we built and information we shared, and will continue to do so. The membership fee and time spent will more than make up its value I assure you.  We are a better business because of it.

And lastly, I wish the new board of directors continued success. My hope is that you continue to grow and do the excellent work that began with the hard workers before me. I hope to see you celebrate your accomplishments a bit more in the future so people know the excellent work being done for our community. The Warman & Martensville Business Excellence awards, the vendor lounge a the Warman Open for Business Expo, the annual golf tournament, the Service with a Smile customer service award, the Warman business map, the advocation for local business like lobbying against the Planning Bylaw that so nearly passed, the formation of the Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee. These are just some of the many things your chamber of commerce has been able to accomplish.

I’m confident with the bright and talented people forming the new board of directors, our Warman Chamber of Commerce will only continue on this path to success.

Thank you again for having me and for all that I was able to learn. I look forward to seeing everyone at the wonderful Warman Chamber of Commerce business functions.


Back from the Banjo Bowl

Back from the Banjo Bowl

Well, we made it back from another Banjo Bowl trip.  This year we took most of the week to make a family vacation of it.  We traveled by way of Weyburn to break up the long drive and to have a visit with Grandma & Grandpa Siwy.  Our first stop on the way was to see Grandma Janice and check out her fancy bird hotel. (She was featured in a full page article in the Indian Head newspaper!)  After a quick visit, some snacks and a care package we continued on our way.  We tried catch up with some cousins too but the timing didn’t work out… so on to Weyburn for the night.    Home cooked meal, a good nights rest and off we went to Winnipeg.

We spent a couple nights in the Holiday Inn – Winnipeg Airport West.  The place was under a bit of construction but it was quiet and the staff was very friendly. The place had a nice suite for us that gave us a separate room for bedtime (perfect for putting Cole down for the night while we stayed up to watch a movie).  It also had a nice pool area with an awesome play structure that Cole enjoyed.   We spent a fair amount of our time those two days enjoying the facilities, but we did manage to venture out to check out the Lego store!  Cole was in heaven, so much so that he had trouble narrowing down a choice to take home.  He opted to go with a Lego Batman Car.

On checkout day, we planned to meet out friends at the Manitoba Children’s Museum to spend the day.  To our surprise (and sadness) the museum was closed for most of the week.  Apparently they close this week every year to do a massive clean, but I suggest they revisit that.  There were a LOT of parents that made the same mistake we did.  At least there was a fun playground there to kill some time.

Next stop, and our home for a few days, was the Johnson residence, just outside of Rosenort, MB.  I always enjoy going to the football game, but this is always our highlight of the trip, catching up with old friends.  They have 3 boys around Cole’s age, so it was adventure city for our time there.  They spent a bunch of time playing outdoors and then back inside for some Lego building sessions.  Erin was even able to sneak in some family photos.  I also took a few hours to travel to Steinbach to catch up with an old friend from my high school days.  We had a quick bite and had a chance to catch up on the families and what is new.  Happy to hear he is still a Rider fan!

On the Saturday, we were lucky enough to get a sitter (2 actually) that would watch the boys while we were off the Winnipeg to watch the banjo bowl.  There was a bit of nervousness going as this year our beloved Roughriders are in the tank.  We got there and I was surprised to find out Brendan had hooked us up with some *premo* seats.  We were sitting at the 55 yard line, and had food and beverage service in our seats.  We were surrounded by fans in blue, but only took a beat of good-natured ribbing and had some good conversations with the locals.  Sadly the game was pretty bad, too many penalties, far too common of the new CFL lately.

Sunday we hit the highway and headed back to Weyburn.  The timing was a bit better this way and we were able to catch up with the cousins this time.  I got to meet the little ones and we had a little backyard playtime before heading back to Weyburn to take in the KFC All You Can Eat Buffet!  I always joke about going there and this time the in-laws had it planned for us to coincide with the Customer Appreciation Week.  I can say, I don’t KFC as much as I used to.  That probably is a good thing.  Another nights sleep and back home to close out the vacation.  It went WAY too fast and WAY too much time on the car, but it was great to catch up with old friend and get the see another Roughrider road game.

Upon my return I heard about an incident involving a young fan getting beer poured on them at the game.  I took to twitter to voice my opinion that all the Winnipeg fans shouldn’t be painted with the same brush as the offenders that did this.  We had this happen a few years ago when some manure was dumped on a players driveway (or neighbors driveway to be more accurate).  It is not representative of the fans, and that we were treated very well.  That led to my second CBC interview on the radio in a couple weeks as CBC Manitoba interviewed me for the noon show to discuss our experience and as my thoughts.  You can listen to the interview here:


For those that didn’t hear my earlier interview, it was with CBC Saskatchewan regarding the Khalif Mitchell signing.  I never did get an audio version of it, but you can read a bit about it on the CBC Saskatchewan website.  It was a neat experience making it on to the radio a couple times… hopefully I can do it again some time.  And I’m happy to say Mitchell’s time with the Roughriders is already done.

That’s all for now,


Another ball season in the books… going out Champions!

Another ball season in the books… going out Champions!

Well, another season of slopitch has come and gone. We wrapped up the weekend in style. After over twenty years playing ball, I finally was a able to cross one goal off the list. Our team won the SPN Coed ‘C’ division provincial championship. We started off so-so on Saturday losing 2 of 3 with a really tough schedule. We held tight for a while against one of the best teams in the province, The Dream Team (2016 Intermediate ‘A’ NSA World Series champs) but came up just short. We then lost a heartbreaker to the PA Astros (eventual SPN Coed ‘B’ division co-champions) before we righted the ship against Regina Reign. That put us in the tough ‘C’ division (2nd from the top, SK doesn’t run an ‘A’ coed event).

We started off Sunday with all guns blazing against a tough veteran Pilsner Power team. We were able to hold off a late rally to pull that one out. Next up came a VERY tough Steelers team (2014 Coed D National Champions, 2015 Coed C Silver medalists, currently the top team in the Saspa league). Luckily we were able to keep the hot bats rolling and we were able to upset the Steelers. That put us in the final against Got Bush from Unity, another very solid team. Defense was the focus of this game, as both teams put on a display. We were able to put up a few early and hold off a last minute charge to win by 1 run. Winning a championship is always rewarding, but when you do it against very tough teams, against friends/players that you respect a lot, it means that much more knowing how tough the road was.

It was a nice way to finish off a tough season. This year I’ve been battling illness a bit and to be honest, for the first half of the season even going to the diamonds was difficult. It is the first time I can recall not wanting to play ball. The coed team also struggled in league this year, and I struggled a bit to find my place on the new squad. The men’s team (White Sox) had a pretty decent year and is a great group of guys, so that was a bit of a pick me up when I was fighting to enjoy the season. Things finally started to pick up in July and it started to become fun again. I was finally starting to feel a bit more like myself, and we had a really fun tourney in Aberdeen that helped a lot. We wrapped up with a silver medal at Nationals with the Jays, a 3/4 finish at Provincials with the White Sox, and this Provincial Championship with the Jays. I was happy to have accomplished a lot. As I told my teammates, my one goal this year when joining the Jays was to help this team get over the hump, so getting a Provincial Title was extra rewarding. I finally felt like I contributed what I was hoping for, and they reward me with helping me accomplish something I’ve wanted for so long.

So, the gear is going to be packed up again for another winter. Now I get to take a week and head to Winnipeg with the family for a vacation to make up for some lost time. They sacrifice so much by allowing me to be absent and enjoy my biggest passion. So next week I hope to make up for a bit of lost time and have a really fun week off with them. I then look forward to the fall when I get to start curling again for the year. The White Sox qualified for Nationals next summer, so I’m looking forward to taking the men’s team to a Nationals event for the first time next year. I’m sure I will be doing a little bit of fundraising and sponsor hunting this winter to prepare for that (anyone looking to sponsor a competitive team heading to Nationals, please let me know!), so I guess ball won’t be completely off my mind until spring 🙂

Thanks for a great season everyone, and I look forward to next year,


PS – Red, your picture is always creepy.

Raspberry Pi – the little gadget that could

Raspberry Pi – the little gadget that could

Be forewarned….. this is gonna get a bit techy.

This past weekend I was home alone.  Erin was off to Medicine Hat for a wedding shower, and Cole was at the lake visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  I don’t often get a solo weekend to myself, so I did what any guy *batching it* would do….. work on the computer?  I spent a good chunk of time on the weekend (when I wasn’t watching baseball, football and catching up on Making a Murderer) tweaking another project on a Rasperry Pi.  I have 3 in the house and another couple on the way (upgrades).

What is a Raspberry Pi you ask?  I talked about it briefly in a previous blog post.  It is a small, barebones, low power computer.  It comes with a board/cpu/memory/usb ports/sd card slot/video out/nic (and wifi/bluetooth on the model 3).  No case, no keyboard, no power, no storage.  But it is all about the size of a wallet and can be had for around $50.  These little mini computers are just perfect for building projects that require low power (you can run from battery if you like), small footprint, and little storage.  Since initially being released a few years back, they have upgraded the machine to be more powerful and have a few more bells and whistles while keeping the same price point.

At the moment there are 3 projects I have worked on using a Raspberry Pi:


This is what I started with.  I have a big storage server (unraid, a topic of a future blog post) that I have all my media on (TV/Movies/Music) so I was looking for a small/low powered computer to hook to my TV and allow me access to all those items.  Openelec was a perfect fit.  It was a relatively simple install to an SD card.  Then you hook up to your TV and off you go.  The Pi has an HDMI port built in so it was a simple hookup to the TV, pointing Kodi to my network storage and it was pretty much setup.  If your TV supports CEC (pretty much all new TVs do) you will even be able to control the device with your TV remote.  It is a great/low cost way to access all your media you have available.  If you hook up an external drive to the Pi you can run everything right from there.  With Kodi you can add a tonne of plugins.  There is streaming, integration into other devices, etc.  There is so much it can do.  This is a great way to get started in the Kodi world.  If you want a full featured home theatre computer, her is a great project to look in to.


plex1Once I set up my Plex server (see my previous post), I wanted something that integrated a bit better than Kodi did (with PlexBMC/Kodi plugin, which works OK if you want Plex with Kodi).  RasPlex is an alternative project to take your Raspberry Pi and make it into a Plex client.  Again it hooks direct to your TV with HDMI and with a CEC TV you can control with your TV remote.  If you get the new Model 3 Pi you have wifi built in.  Otherwise you need to hook up to your network via a cat5 cable or an add on wifi usb device.  Setup is even simpler.  If you have a Plex server already running, it is usually as simple as writing the SD card, hooking up to your TV/Network and powering on.  Then you are off and running.  If you run a plex server, this project is an absolute must for the TVs in your house.  RasPlex is one of the best clients around.



z9mi595[1]RetroPie is my latest project.  RetroPie allows you to hook up video game controllers to your system (usb/bluetooth), install rom dumps of old video game systems, and then allow you to start gaming like you did in the old days.  Lots of old systems are supported.  I spent the better part of my weekend configuring it to run Nintendo, Gameboy, Gameboy Colour, Super Nintendo, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Turbo Graphics 16, Nintento 64, TRS-80 CoCo (my first computer as a kid), Sony Playstation and more.  It requires a lot of patience and some techy know-how to get setup, so it isn’t for the faint of heart.  But with a little time invested you can re-live your youth with this system.  Some folks have taken this to the next level, building fancy stand up arcade boxes to house this Pi and give your basement rec-room that vintage arcade feel.  Once I get the project set up the way I want…. I may even tackle that as a project.  For anyone that lives the old retro gaming vs the new systems, this project is a must.


OpenHab is my next planned project.  I have a few devices that are taking advantage of automation.  I have a couple lights on remote.  I plan to expand adding other devices (smart thermostat, computer controller, etc).  The OpenHab server (which you can run on Raspberry Pi) will allow you to manage all those devices and control with phone/computer/controllers.  In there you can write programmatic control of your devices (turn the lights on at random times while you are gone, email me if someone opens the door, phone me if the furnace quits, etc).  I’m pretty excited to get this one going.


So that is a summary of the projects I have on the go, but there are many more on the net.  Many peripherals have been built for the Pi that have allowed people to use them in new/creative ways.  Touch screen monitors, environmental sensors, robotic controls, unique power systems with device control are just a few.  People are building smart touch screen calendars and smart mirrors for the home.  Others are building smart in vehicle entertainment systems.  Security monitoring, portable gaming, inexpensive internet appliances, the combinations are endless.  And you can pretty much get started for under $100 all in (that will get you a kit with Pi, case, power supply, memory card and cables).  If you are technically inclines at all, I highly recommend giving it a try.


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