THE WAKKER WEEKLY – Issue #1650

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THE WAKKER WEEKLY

Issue #1650 – Posted on: 12-September-2022

BREWERY “HOPP”ENINGS: Bushwakker Head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports that our new LEMON LIME TART ALE, SUMMER WHEAT and KAI’S MUNICH HELLES are currently available on tap, in our offsale and for growler fills too. A batch of PONCE DE LEON BLACKBERRY RASPBERRY WHEAT beer as well as HARVEST OKTOBERFEST LAGER are making their way through the brewery. In addition to taking our beer home in glass bottles and 2 litre jugs direct from our brewpub, you can find a varying selection of 650 ml bottles of Bushwakker beer in a number of REGINA SLGA stores.

 


Thank you Regina! Of the dozen wins we received in the 2022 “Best of Food” Regina Awards, the BEST PLACE FOR A POST-PANDEMIC PARTY win is one which we are very proud. The pandemic is by no means over but many of us have adopted the mindset that it is something we must live with and be mindful of despite our pandemic fatigue. Although the provincial health restrictions were lifted in the spring, many of our enhanced cleaning protocols remain in place. Our Arizona Room received national media attention earlier this year when we designated this small area as a space for vaccinated only patrons. This room will continue to serve this purpose for as long as it is deemed necessary by our long-standing legion of Bushwakker enthusiasts!

 

This Weekend’s September 9th &10th Special Dining Feature is our STEAK ASADA for $22.95. Our Saturday CLASSIC STEAK & A PINT SPECIAL will also be available. Our Monday and Wednesday WINGS & A PINT SPECIAL and Tuesday PIZZA & A PINT SPECIAL are also great value deals.

Our SASK CRAFT GUEST TAP is currently pouring the TANGERINE WIN! SOUR from Regina’s Malty National Brewing. Next up is a RASPBERRY WHEAT from Regina’s Pile O’ Bones Brewing. This will be followed by the TREASURE RED IPA from Malty National Brewing.

SEPTEMBER PREMIUM WINE FEATURES  This month’s wine features are the organic EL ABUELA WINES from Spain. The red is a Tempranillo/Monastrell and the white is a Verdejo/Sauvignon Blanc.  Both are $7.95 for a glass and $21.95 for a half litre.

 


The Bushwakker LOCAL ARTIST WALL for September features the works of RON WIGHT. His artist bio is as follows:

Following a successful 10 years running my independent consulting practice Splitwindow HR Consulting I retired for good in 2017. In the spring of 2019 I took a MIG welding course while wintering in Arizona. The impetus to take the course was the desire to gain some of the skill needed to repair some small rust issues on my 65 Mustang. Returning to Regina I started my metal art journey by making home and yard decor from discarded car parts, horseshoes, vintage blow torches, sheet metal and rebar. As my art evolved I began to focus more on abstract metal art pieces.

Splitty’s Handcrafts continues to focus on creating abstract metal art and a variety of indoor and outdoor decor items that are proudly locally made. My goal is to create sculpture that is unique; that no one has done before. I try hard to resist conformity and mass production. I strive to create metal art that makes a unique conversation piece and is suitable for display or use in your home, garden, office, den, shop or man cave. Splitty’s is always open to undertaking custom work and in fact it is now the majority of my metal art business. I have completed custom work for clients in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, California and Florida.

Contact Splitty’s with your design ideas. I’ll work with you to design the metal art piece that will compliment your indoor or outdoor decor.

Ron Wight   splittyshandcrafts.com

Enjoy Ron’s rustic works all this month!



Sept. 12: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. CALL ME MILDY.  Original jumpin’ blues, diggin’ rock and sweet reggae. 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM.

 

Sept. 14: Wednesday Folk Night. AUTUMN SINGER/SONGWRITER SHOWCASE.   Veteran wordsmith, Neil Child is joined by a multitude of Saskatchewan singer/songwriters including: Steve Abbott, Yianni Pantelopoulas, Keely Coleman, Cori Knelson, Mark Wilson, Sarah Adams and Trent Leggott. 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM.

 


Sept. 15: SCIENCE PUB – “Jurassic Park for Real! Reconstructing fossil insects and dinosaurs with the latest technology” Our wildly popular Science Pub Series has returned for a 10th incredible season. Enjoy lectures on scientific topics of general interest in our Arizona Room over fine craft beer and award-winning pub cuisine. The room opens at 5:00 PM. Avoid disappointment and come down early for dinner and a pint before the presentation which begins at 7:00 PM. This month’s lecture will be presented by Ryan McKellar from the University of Regina Biology Department and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Over the last decade, our ability to peer inside fossils and extract new details has expanded dramatically. Researchers in Saskatchewan now routinely use CT scans, spectroscopy, and 3D scanning to study fossils and share their findings with the public. Local resources like the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron allow us to complete very high-resolution CT scans of both insects in amber and the microstructure of vertebrate bones. The 3D models that are produced from these scans can then be combined with X-ray or infrared spectroscopy to examine which tissues are preserved, and what traces of original chemistry persist after millions of years. Whole-body 3D models have been used to study and describe many new species of fossil insects and a turtle—creating fossil studies with a level of detail that rivals or exceeds work on their modern counterparts. Detailed scans of skeletal fragments and microstructure within fossil bones have helped to shape our search for soft tissue preservation in dinosaurs, and study fragments of ancient birds preserved within amber. When these techniques are combined with 3D scanning and printing, it has allowed museums to present fossil content more rapidly and with much greater detail than ever before. It is an exciting time to be working as a paleontologist in Saskatchewan!

 


Sept. 16:  RIDERS vs EDMONTON ELKS. The second Rider home game of the month gets off to a late start. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM. Be sure to stop by before the game and enjoy our gourmet EDMONTON & A PINT SPECIAL. Come “devour” the competition!


CURRENT HOURS OF OPERATION AND RESERVATIONS NOTES

We are open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. The kitchen closes at 9:00 PM and last call is at 9:15 PM. Fridays and Saturdays we are open from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM. The kitchen is open until 10:00 PM and last call is at 10:15 PM.

Reservations are accepted and encouraged. We accept a limited number of reservations as late as 6:00 PM every day except Fridays. Fridays we accept reservations as late as 3:00 PM. Call us at 306-359-7276 to secure your table. Our two banquet rooms are also available for private party rentals. Call Kelly at 306-359-7276 to book either our main floor Arizona Room or basement Clubroom.


With Masks and Vax Uptake at Standstill, What can Sask. Expect From COVID’s 7th Wave?

By Jennifer Ackerman    Regina Leader Post

Health experts say better and more aligned messaging around masks and booster vaccines going into the pandemic’s seventh wave is needed to make it through in one piece.

One could argue the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic were like a Formula 1 race — pedal to the metal, quick thinking, protective gear, teamwork, rules that bore rewards and mistakes that resulted in devastating consequences.

A quick pit stop to refuel or re-tire slows the drivers’ world down for a moment, blurred faces in the stands suddenly clear, only to distort again as you’re thrust back into the grind for a seemingly endless number of laps.

But thanks in part to vaccines and other treatments now widely available, we’re being asked to trade in our rubber tires for a sport more akin to surfing and sailing. There are fewer rules, wider lanes, and a little more sunshine, but when waters get rough there are still things you can and should do to stay safe.

“That’s why you’re not seeing governments going to mandated policies right now and we’re moving more toward trying to let people know when is risk going up and when is it going down,” says Cory Neudorf, a University of Saskatchewan epidemiology professor and an interim official at the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

“And depending on that level of risk, what should we be looking at in terms of behaviours like putting on a mask again.”

But putting a mask back on — or even asking those around you to wear one — carries different weight for different people. Community obligation and a desire to heed the experts duke it out against pandemic fatigue, ravaged businesses, or the lure of a megaphone message blared out among a convoy of trucks.

Going back to the track after breathing air free of burning rubber isn’t something many people are racing to do.

A new normal

“Nothing has ever completely shut us down. I think about going from 55 employees down to four, having zero cash flow — those were really surreal times,” recalls Grant Frew, manager of Bushwakker brew pub. “We don’t ever want to go through that again.”

So as COVID’s seventh wave begins to lap at Saskatchewan’s feet, Frew grows thoughtful when asked whether he supports messages to voluntarily mask up and stay home when the virus is surging despite how that might impact his business.

“We’re willing to do what is necessary to avoid any sort of disruption or interruption of normal levels of business operations,” Frew says, emphasizing that the restaurant kept its mask mandate for staff for some time even after the province dropped all public health restrictions.


Grant Frew, bar manager at Bushwakker Brewpub, stands behind a freshly pulled pint on June 17, 2020. PHOTO BY BRANDON HARDER /Regina Leader-Post

But at the same time, unless the province reinstated mandates, the restaurant likely wouldn’t go that far again. In the absence of public health restrictions, the pub is focused on the wishes of the majority of its customers. They also continue to run their banquet room as a proof-of-vaccination required space for those who want to dine out, but still want to take extra precautions in a restriction-free province.

“If (masking) was simply a recommendation, then probably what we would do is we would put up some signage again, but this time rather than it saying mandatory masking, it would say masking recommended,” Frew says. “We’re still in recovery mode so anything that sets us back and doesn’t allow us to operate at full capacity is very dangerous.”

That said, he says they’re willing to accept that there will be some fluctuations in business as Saskatchewan residents heed, or not, public health advice in the face of new and incoming waves of COVID-19.

So what is the latest and sagest coming from the provincial government and health experts as Saskatchewan braces for a new surge of the virus?

While he agrees that mandates aren’t the answer anymore, and likely won’t ever be needed again for COVID-19, Neudorf says without better vaccine rates and enough voluntary masking to bring numbers back down when they surge up, Saskatchewan could still face some tough times as the weather takes a turn.

“It probably wouldn’t reach the heights that we saw last fall, but it could still be enough to really strain our health-care system and cause quite a few unnecessary deaths and long ICU stays,” Neudorf says.

This would be on top of already “untenable” situation in Saskatchewan hospitals as emergency rooms in Saskatoon and Regina are full or over capacity and staffing levels are expected to decrease.

In its monthly report issued Aug. 18, the province noted a rebound in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and outbreaks. At the time, chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said people should consider wearing face coverings in indoor public spaces as caseloads rise.

“It’s not just COVID, it’s influenza and COVID,” Shahab says when asked what pressure another uncontrolled wave could have on the health-care system.

“It’s not just: you manage COVID and the pressure goes away. Even during the summer we’ve seen pressures due to staff having worked hard for two, two-and-a-half years, in terms of staffing and hospital pressures and then of course you have to catch up with elective procedures that may have been delayed,” he says. “But also every year in the fall we see a lot of slips and falls that puts surgical pressure on orthopedics for example, so it’s never just one thing. I think we need to … have a full, 360-degree look at what are all the pressures on the health system, not just fixate on COVID.”

That sentiment jives with the province’s plan to combine all respiratory reporting once a month as a starting point, but more frequently if the situation warrants it and the public needs more information sooner.

The reports will speak to COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses like the flu, in an attempt to equip local medical health officers with the information they need to properly advise school divisions, long term care homes, and others on what precautions to take throughout the fall.

But it’s hard not to focus on COVID-19 when, according to an internal SHA report, Saskatchewan has the highest percent of unvaccinated people of any province at 19 per cent. That’s in the neighbourhood of 231,341 people in Saskatchewan who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. Some 157,972 of those are over the age of four and eligible.

Only 42 per cent of the total population has been vaccinated with third and fourth dose, the document notes.

As of Aug. 24, for children ages five to 11, only 57 per cent have had one dose and 43 per cent have received their second dose, according to Shahab. Uptake for children aged six months to four years  is less than five per cent since July 22, Shahab notes while also emphasizing that despite the low number, it’s much better than this time last year when that age group didn’t even have the option to get vaccinated.

Booster uptake for folks 70 and older is higher, Shahab says, with 88 per cent having had their first booster and 55 per cent having received their second booster. But he says booster uptake tapers off in the younger age groups with only 47 per cent of people aged 40 to 49 and 31 per cent of people aged 18 to 29 having had their first booster. Eligibility for a second booster for anyone age 18 or older opened up in mid-August of this year.

Pandemic fatigue

“I’ve said throughout this I’m tired of it too, right? But just because you’re tired of something doesn’t make it go away. We can’t hide our head in the sand either, so I think there has to be clearer messaging around what the implications of low levels of compliance are and better rationale as to why it’s important,” says Neudorf, noting the messages must come from health experts, researchers and government all at the same time.

But when asked whether or not the province plans to step up that messaging as Saskatchewan enters another fall and winter with COVID-19, Shahab says the information is already out there.

“I think the government website still has information on living with COVID, all the things we can do and I think that there’s been so much information that’s been pushed out by government and other partners, the SHA, other health-care providers that I think there’s good awareness of the basics,” Shahab says.

A follow up email from the Ministry of Health sent to the Leader-Post emphasized its ongoing vaccination awareness campaign, which includes paid advertisements, social media posts, regional print publications and ads in theatres.

But with health experts like Neudorf calling for more and municipalities firm in their commitment to follow the lead of the province, a disconnect remains.

“As any responsible organization, we’re going to continue to monitor this, clearly taking direction and guidance from the provincial health authority,” says Regina’s acting city manager Jim Nicol.

Citing the need to be responsive and forward thinking, he says they also don’t want to “turn back the clock and confuse people and have a myriad of different regulations or restrictions.”

“I’m not sure that we’ve turned our attention to renewing any messages,” he adds. “We still have signage up in our facilities encouraging people to wear masks if that’s what they’re comfortable with, we continue to have sanitation stations. But again, if we were getting a sense of a new directional focus from the province, I think we could quickly turn our attention to perhaps stronger messaging.”

As fall approaches, Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark says he’s seen more people wearing masks, a choice he believes is important to normalize and respect, but that he’s heard lineups at vaccine walk-in clinics have been lacking, “a sign that we’re not seeing people go in and get those shots at the level that we need to.”

In terms of the steps the city takes around COVID-19, Clark says Saskatoon will also take the lead from the province and the chief medical health officer.

And yet, as others have done amid previous waves of the pandemic, some businesses and organizations are going above and beyond what the province has in place. Heeding Shahab’s advice from mid-August, the Government House Historical Society is again requiring Victorian Tea attendees to wear masks and the Regina YWCA has implemented a temporary mask mandate at its facilities.

“Look at the numbers. We still have a death a day happening in this province,” Neudorf says when asked what he tells people who act like the pandemic is over.

He said his faith in whether or not Saskatchewanians will do what needs to be done throughout the remainder of this pandemic depends on what they hear.

“Without a change in our communication and clearly communicating level of risk and rationale to the public, I’m not very confident in that right now. Everyone’s fatigued about having to wear masks again and there’s a lot of mixed messages out there … so I can’t fault people for that,” he says.

“If that messaging gets aligned then I have a lot of confidence in the public to be able to step forward in sufficient numbers that it will make a difference.”


TIME OUTBack to Class

A 1st grade class of children were given a picture of a group of women exercising and they were each sitting on a large ball for this exercise.

The children were asked to suggest a headline. The winning entry:

“Never swallow your bubble gum!”