By Ethan Paquet
Nov. 12, 2016
Music saved my life, Myles Goodwyn told a crowd of about 60 people during a book signing in Charlottetown Saturday.
The April Wine guitarist and lead singer was promoting his new memoir, Just Between You and Me at The Pour House, a Charlottetown bar and restaurant.
Goodwyn said he was afraid not many people would show up, as Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada.
“I always love coming to Prince Edward Island, especially trying to sneak off without paying [the bridge toll of] $40.”
While he is not a writer, Goodwyn said it is not hard to write about his memories, and that writing the book has offered insight into a past which he could experience all over again as an intellectual adult.
Goodwyn said in his youth his family was poor and did not have running water.
The family would go to a nearby lake to collect water and boil it on a wood stove to kill the bacteria, and would make snares to hunt rabbits to eat.
A difficult time for the budding musician, Goodwyn said he would spend lots of time by a white granite stone in his backyard,
“It was my happy place.”
Goodwyn said he first experienced music when he saw both The Beatles and Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show, and was amazed at what he saw.
“When I listened to music on the radio, I was silent until [the song] was over. I didn’t want to interrupt the music, because I thought [the musician] would hear me.”
After receiving his first guitar at age 11, Goodwyn began forming bands, though none were as important to Canadian rock music as April Wine.
Goodwyn said the name of the band was decided as it did not make sense, and all other bands at that time did.
“Led Zeppelin, that one had meaning…April Wine meant nothing.”
Talking about songwriting, Goodwyn said an artist doesn’t know which songs will be hits, but the more successful ones seem to come easier than the ones which may take years to write.
“I knew Just Between You and Me had something special about it because my coffee was still warm by the time I’d finished writing it.”
Goodwyn said he worries about the future of the planet and how it may affect his children.
“Terrorism worries me the most because you can’t beat it.”
He also joked about the recent U.S. presidential election and how he does not support a Trump presidency.
“Two things I don’t like to discuss are religion and politics, but why God allowed Trump to be president, I don’t know.”
After nearly 50 years of performing, Goodwyn said the most important thing he has learned is to spend more time with family.
“After spending time touring, I’d be off the road for only a few weeks and then it would be time to start that cycle over again.”
Goodwyn concluded by performing a small set of songs much to the appreciation of the crowd and signing books and records for the attendees.
By Emily Acorn
Jan. 25, 2017
Ann Sheehan’s first job paid $3.25 an hour. She worked at a Georgetown fish plant pulling meat out of crab legs.
The 16-year-old worked hard and valued every penny she earned. But there was a problem. Sheehan was the fourth oldest in a family of 13 brothers and sisters. The family was supported by one income.
Her mother began to take part of her paycheques, eventually taking all of her money. The family started arguing. It turned nasty.
But Ann had a plan.
Carol, Sheehan’s friend and co-worker was heading to Charlottetown to visit her sister and niece. Ann told her parents she was at work and hopped in Carol’s car. They stayed with Carol’s sister.
Carol returned to Georgetown. Sheehan didn’t.
Sheehan started her journey to a better life at 16-years-old with zero dollars to her name. She babysat Carol’s niece and got two part-time jobs. She began a savings plan.
Today, at 57, Ann’s savings account continues to grow. She bought a house, had a son and was able to send him to school. She is currently UPEI business centre’s custodian and for the past three years she has been giving a lecture to students about her journey with saving and the tricks she has learned along the way.
Sheehan tells the students her biggest motivation for saving money is her dreams.
“I became a workaholic. It was my dream.”
Sheehan learned the value of a dollar at a young age, but it’s never too late.
Jamie Crawford and Brittany Stewart are expecting their first child. They have made some life changes to prepare for the life of parenthood.
“We’re cutting out all of the unnecessary spending,” said Stewart.
In just six weeks of no alcohol, cigarettes, or restaurants the couple has managed to save $800 each.
“I couldn’t believe how much money I was spending on crap,” said Crawford.
Jerrod Burgoyne is an insurance broker from Charlottetown. His best advice on saving is to rarely use your credit card.
“Don’t use it unless you plan on immediately paying it off.”
A big problem he sees at his branch is new clients being over-insured at previous branches, said the 23-year-old. People see the big money their beneficiaries will get and think it’s great, but then they’ll have a bad month and get behind on payments, he said.
“Then boom, there’s a couple thousand dollars down the drain they’ll never see again.”
By Daniel Brown
Feb. 3, 2017
Rev. John Lacey remembers the 1980s, when his friend was diagnosed as HIV-positive.
Whenever Lacey visited his friend, he would avoid using the towels out of fear of becoming infected.
In 1989, Lacey’s friend died due to the infection. Because of this, Lacey aimed to better understand HIV-AIDS.
“It made me aware of this whole phenomenon.”
In 1991, he helped create a board on P.E.I. to educate people about HIV-AIDS.
Lacey is not on the AIDS PEI board anymore, but he was invited to speak at an event on Feb. 1 at the UPEI Chaplaincy Centre.
The event was to celebrate World AIDS Day and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week, which takes place in early December but was delayed due to inclement weather.
It consisted of presentations, a candlelight vigil for victims of HIV-AIDS, and music by the aboriginal drum group Lone Cry Singers.
While it still exists today, there used to be much more shame in being HIV-positive. People would hide their diagnosis due to the nature of the infection, especially from family, Lacey said.
“The big thing around that time too was the fear factor.”
HIV-AIDS only spreads if someone with it has sex or shares blood injection equipment. When Lacey first started the organization, the mandate was simply to tackle the many misconceptions surrounding it.
“Now it’s broader. Much broader.”
AIDS PEI has branched out, aiming to improve the lives of those with HIV-AIDS, those affected, and those at risk.
Cybelle Rieber is executive director of AIDS PEI. She provided a brief timeline of AIDS, noting advancements in medicine and its global effect.
In 2015, 1.1 million people died of AIDS, Rieber said.
“Our numbers are not going down. HIV did not go away, and we still have a lot of work to do.”
The organization is very involved with the aboriginal community, because HIV-AIDS has taken a huge toll on them. It is also doing more with the LGBTQ+ community by starting a youth group and holding workshops, Rieber said.
“[It’s] opportunity to reflect, create space for healthy dialogue, and overcome stigma.”
Throughout its 25-year history, AIDS PEI has had many HIV-positive individuals affiliated with its board, which helped them spread their message.
Troy Perrot-Sanderson was diagnosed as HIV-positive when he was 21-years-old. The P.E.I. local became used to others being uncomfortable around him due to the infection.
“Most of the time I used humour to get past that little bit.”
Perrot-Sanderson was originally thought to have only five years to live, which pushed him into a shell, he said.
Twenty-four years later, Perrot-Sanderson considers himself lucky, and is very grateful for the support he gets from his family, his friends, and AIDS PEI.
“It is what it is. You live with it.”
By Cassidy Jones
Jan. 26, 2017
Politicians and the media need each other.
At least that’s what P.E.I. MP Sean Casey told students at Holland College during his presentation on Jan. 23.
A common misconception about MPs is that they only work when they’re in Ottawa, and often the media don’t understand that, Casey said.
“My job in P.E.I. is to go where the people are and talk with them.”
One day a month, he spends his day knocking on doors, he said.
“I find it really important and appreciated to get out there.”
And when he finds something that the people want the government to know, Casey takes it with him to Ottawa, he said.
“I land it on the lap of someone who can do something about it.”
And sometimes that means standing up in the House of Commons, he said.
As for his relationship with the media, Casey carries along a card with him that he received after becoming an MP and completing his media training.
On the card is a list of nine or so beginnings to sentences, which is how an MP is instructed to answer a question from a journalist.
Teresa Wright, the Guardian’s chief political reporter, laughed when she heard about this card.
She always knew that politicians were sent to media training, Wright said.
“But to know they carry around crib notes in their wallets is something else.”
When it comes to question period in the House of Commons, Casey and Wright have differing opinions.
Nothing gets done in question period, Casey said.
Teresa Wright takes issue with that.
“That’s why the public has been becoming more cynical towards the government.”
Question period is the chance for the Opposition to get the answers, Wright said.
“How much better would it be if they gave real answers to these questions?”
When you’re on the government side, it’s your job to be accountable to the Opposition and to Canadians, she said.
“Politicians in power want to take credit. And the Opposition wants to criticize.”
And when it comes to working with the media, the Opposition tends to work with them a lot more, Wright said.
“We’re critical for them.”
The relationship between the media and the government is a lot like a marriage, Sean Casey said.
“You need each other but you don’t always get along.”
But politicians need the media a lot more than the media needs them, Wright said.
“They want to be able to get their message out. We’re critical for them.”
But sometimes, the news value doesn’t include a politicians quote, Wright said.
Late in 2016, P.E.I. government announced that they were looking at putting money towards buying new buses for the Stratford, Charlottetown and Cornwall loop.
However, when the budget was announced, it was clear that the only buses that Trius Transport could afford would be used buses.
Casey said the public was angry with the government, saying they were treating Islanders poorly and “screwing them over”.
The Guardian published an editorial on the story, but did not ask any politicians for a comment.
Casey wasn’t happy and wrote a letter to Wright, asking why she hadn’t asked for a comment so that they could explain to the public their decision.
Wright said she hadn’t requested a comment because the story wasn’t about the government, it was about the people and how the news of used buses affected actual Islanders.
“I found it to be a mental chess game,” Casey said.
But it’s all just a delicate balance, Wright said.
“Our job is to bear witness to what happens in our community.”
By Chloe Goodyear
Jan. 13, 2017
Mary Whitehead’s autistic grandson was in the P.E.I. public school system for six years before she and her family decided to try homeschooling.
He was in the public school system more for the social aspect than the academic, she said.
“He needed the public school system to practice his speech, to learn the social skills, to learn what a community was.”
After her grandson, Joshua, completed Grade 6, they decided it would be in his best interest to homeschool him instead of sending him to their local junior high.
“If it was ever going to work at a junior high level, it would have been at this school. But for us, it was looking like he was going to fall through the cracks.
“Nobody could guarantee us that they would be able to modify the program to suit him, which was disappointing. Not surprising, but disappointing because that’s what should have happened.”
At that point they decided to take his future into their own hands.
“The original idea was just to do it for the junior high years and put him back in the public school system for high school. But homeschooling just worked so well and was a good fit for him.”
It’s an unusual decision, she said.
“There’s not very many that homeschool with specials needs children, although that is becoming more and more the norm.”
Louise MacAdam knows something about homeschooling.
She was homeschooled and homeschooled her four boys from kindergarten until they completed their high school requirements.
The stigma around homeschooling has gone down significantly, she said.
“People would be concerned about socialization or separating children.
“Our parents decided to homeschool us and at that time it definitely was not the run of the mill, any means. You felt a bit odd ball, but at the same time we were not unhappy with the choice.”
It’s not always the easiest decision and it takes a certain kind of person to be able to homeschool, she said.
“It’s challenging. It requires a strong commitment on the parent’s part. As a parent you have to be quite disciplined about actually doing it and getting down to it each day.
“It is somewhat counter-cultural. So one has to change one’s mindset from the usual going-to-school mindset, expectations and so forth.”
Even though it has its challenges, it is also quite rewarding, she said.
“It opens the whole family up to new ideas and exploring all kinds of things together. I’ve learned a lot of things through homeschooling that I probably wouldn’t have come across if I hadn’t been doing it.”
By Ben Macintosh
Jan. 12, 2017
Tristan Atkins played the last game of his high school volleyball career in November. Soon after he started looking for another place to play.
His spring volleyball coach told him of a league that had started in September.
Atkins joined Volleyball P.E.I’s fall senior men’s league Dec. 4. He got to play three times before the league ended Dec. 18.
“It was really nice, everyone knows one another so there’s always friendly competition no matter what we’re doing.”
Atkins started playing in Grade 7, since then he has played spring volleyball, Canada Games volleyball and high school volleyball.
Thanks to the interest shown, Volleyball P.E.I. has decided to hold a winter session of its league.
Atkins was thrilled.
“When I got the email saying there was enough interest I was really happy. Our first game got cancelled because of the storms on Jan. 8, but we’re starting on Jan. 15.”
The league features 18 players, some still in high school and others middle aged.
Originally the league needed 24 people for play to start.
But with the commitment of those registered, and the promise there are a few others who want to play, but haven’t registered yet, the league went ahead.
Isaac Kirkland is a UPEI business student. He graduated from high school in 2016. He started playing volleyball in Grade 7. He has played in the Volleyball P.E.I. league for two years now.
“My favourite thing about this league is that I get to play volleyball again. It doesn’t have the same competitiveness as in high school, and you’re not practicing every day, but it sure beats not playing.”
Now the winter league gives him a chance to play almost all year long, said Kirkland.
“If you’re only playing for a couple months of the year, the other months you get rusty and your skills get worse. This new league gives me a chance to stay fresh and improve.”
Kirkland and Atkins played together in high school. Once the league was announced, Atkins contacted Kirkland and other former teammates.
Atkins said, “Well since we had already played together it was only natural we’d make a team. The chemistry gives us the best chance to win.”
The winter league takes place Sunday nights from 7:30-9:30. There is still room for more people to join. All skill and fitness levels are welcome. Anyone interested should contact email@example.com for more information.
Often volleyball is viewed as a female game and that deters men from playing, Kirkland said.
“Volleyball is not just a girl’s game. This is a good outlet for men to show their volleyball potential.”