YEAR IN REVIEW: Reporter goes from throwing axes to reporting family’s worst fears

News Jan 01, 2016 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

The coolest story I wrote this year has got to be about axe throwing.

Yeah, I know. I didn’t know it was a thing either. Yet, I discovered this summer axe-throwing leagues are popping up, not only around the Greater Toronto Area, but across the country.

Matt Wilson is the founder of the Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL), whose home base can be found on Sterling Avenue, just south of Bloor Street West. He insisted I give it a try and was kind enough to give me some pointers as we chatted about how he started the league and how it has grown since its inception.

It’s way tougher than it looks – and he makes it look pretty effortless. It took me several embarrassing throws before my axe actually made contact with the bull’s-eye . And, then it simply hit the boards and fell off. It didn’t help that I was wearing platform sandals – not high ones, but still. I was determined to puncture the bull’s-eye. And when I did, what a rush it was. I can see how the sport (yes, it is) can be addictive.

Wilson told me it’s a “big mental game,” and I don’t disagree.

Find out more at www.batlgrounds.com

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1ZfRwT3

•••

HAPPY ENDING FOR MISSING WOMAN WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA

I have three sisters so I could only imagine what Eva Szeman went through last winter when her sister, Judy, 41, went missing.

She disappeared on a Tuesday morning in January. The resident of High Park Manor located across from High Park was last seen in Mississauga where she had stopped in at her family’s home on the way to a job interview. Judy lives with schizophrenia and her sister believed she wasn’t taking her medication and had no means of financially supporting herself.

I felt an obligation to help this family. Writing a story – or what turned into three stories – was the least I could do. I wanted to be as gentle as possible in my conversations with Eva and with the words I wrote. I put myself in her position when I spoke with her in the park before she and friends went searching for Judy.

Although the search did not unearth any further clues, Judy did turn up two months to the day she disappeared – healthy and safe. She was in Hamilton. Eva described feeling elated. I hate to admit it, but I was surprised. So many of these kinds of stories do not have a happy ending. It felt good to report it. That’s one of the big reasons I like writing community news – for the most part, it is good news.

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1Oc7ky5

FEDERAL ELECTION NIGHT SURPRISE

I love election night. Okay, I kind of love/hate it. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait. The anticipation is killer. And, I was sure the NDP’s Andrew Cash would be re-elected MP in Davenport. Well, pretty sure. Like, kind of sure. So I parked myself at his election night headquarters. Lula Lounge, far earlier than I needed to and waited for the results to roll in.

To my surprise, Liberal Julie Dzerowicz pulled ahead immediately. I was sitting with a photographer from NOW magazine and we watched the results come in on Twitter on her phone.

As ridings across Canada turned red one after another, and Dzerowicz remained in the lead, I decided to jump in a cab and hightail it to her campaign party headquarters at the Casa Das Beiras Cultural Community Centre. I still wondered if I was doing the right thing – it was still relatively early. Anything could happen.

The community centre was pretty quiet when I arrived, all things considered. Liberal supporters were glued to the TV screen. It seemed to take forever for Dzerowicz to be declared winner.

When she was and she finally arrived, she seemed to shake with happiness.

I wanted her to get to the front of the room already for her victory speech, but of course there were so many people who wanted to shake her hand or give her a hug. Turns out the microphone wasn’t working and I was worried my phone wouldn’t be able to record Dzerowicz’s speech. I pounced on her as soon as she was finished before anyone else could grab here to ask additional questions. I then found myself a quiet corner in a stairwell to call my editor to file quotes for that night’s online story.

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1PaZMPx

YEAR IN REVIEW: Reporter goes from throwing axes to reporting family’s worst fears

News Jan 01, 2016 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

The coolest story I wrote this year has got to be about axe throwing.

Yeah, I know. I didn’t know it was a thing either. Yet, I discovered this summer axe-throwing leagues are popping up, not only around the Greater Toronto Area, but across the country.

Matt Wilson is the founder of the Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL), whose home base can be found on Sterling Avenue, just south of Bloor Street West. He insisted I give it a try and was kind enough to give me some pointers as we chatted about how he started the league and how it has grown since its inception.

It’s way tougher than it looks – and he makes it look pretty effortless. It took me several embarrassing throws before my axe actually made contact with the bull’s-eye . And, then it simply hit the boards and fell off. It didn’t help that I was wearing platform sandals – not high ones, but still. I was determined to puncture the bull’s-eye. And when I did, what a rush it was. I can see how the sport (yes, it is) can be addictive.

'I hate to admit it, but I was surprised. So many of these kinds of stories do not have a happy ending. It felt good to report it.'

Wilson told me it’s a “big mental game,” and I don’t disagree.

Find out more at www.batlgrounds.com

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1ZfRwT3

•••

HAPPY ENDING FOR MISSING WOMAN WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA

I have three sisters so I could only imagine what Eva Szeman went through last winter when her sister, Judy, 41, went missing.

She disappeared on a Tuesday morning in January. The resident of High Park Manor located across from High Park was last seen in Mississauga where she had stopped in at her family’s home on the way to a job interview. Judy lives with schizophrenia and her sister believed she wasn’t taking her medication and had no means of financially supporting herself.

I felt an obligation to help this family. Writing a story – or what turned into three stories – was the least I could do. I wanted to be as gentle as possible in my conversations with Eva and with the words I wrote. I put myself in her position when I spoke with her in the park before she and friends went searching for Judy.

Although the search did not unearth any further clues, Judy did turn up two months to the day she disappeared – healthy and safe. She was in Hamilton. Eva described feeling elated. I hate to admit it, but I was surprised. So many of these kinds of stories do not have a happy ending. It felt good to report it. That’s one of the big reasons I like writing community news – for the most part, it is good news.

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1Oc7ky5

FEDERAL ELECTION NIGHT SURPRISE

I love election night. Okay, I kind of love/hate it. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait. The anticipation is killer. And, I was sure the NDP’s Andrew Cash would be re-elected MP in Davenport. Well, pretty sure. Like, kind of sure. So I parked myself at his election night headquarters. Lula Lounge, far earlier than I needed to and waited for the results to roll in.

To my surprise, Liberal Julie Dzerowicz pulled ahead immediately. I was sitting with a photographer from NOW magazine and we watched the results come in on Twitter on her phone.

As ridings across Canada turned red one after another, and Dzerowicz remained in the lead, I decided to jump in a cab and hightail it to her campaign party headquarters at the Casa Das Beiras Cultural Community Centre. I still wondered if I was doing the right thing – it was still relatively early. Anything could happen.

The community centre was pretty quiet when I arrived, all things considered. Liberal supporters were glued to the TV screen. It seemed to take forever for Dzerowicz to be declared winner.

When she was and she finally arrived, she seemed to shake with happiness.

I wanted her to get to the front of the room already for her victory speech, but of course there were so many people who wanted to shake her hand or give her a hug. Turns out the microphone wasn’t working and I was worried my phone wouldn’t be able to record Dzerowicz’s speech. I pounced on her as soon as she was finished before anyone else could grab here to ask additional questions. I then found myself a quiet corner in a stairwell to call my editor to file quotes for that night’s online story.

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1PaZMPx

YEAR IN REVIEW: Reporter goes from throwing axes to reporting family’s worst fears

News Jan 01, 2016 by Lisa Rainford Bloor West Villager

The coolest story I wrote this year has got to be about axe throwing.

Yeah, I know. I didn’t know it was a thing either. Yet, I discovered this summer axe-throwing leagues are popping up, not only around the Greater Toronto Area, but across the country.

Matt Wilson is the founder of the Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL), whose home base can be found on Sterling Avenue, just south of Bloor Street West. He insisted I give it a try and was kind enough to give me some pointers as we chatted about how he started the league and how it has grown since its inception.

It’s way tougher than it looks – and he makes it look pretty effortless. It took me several embarrassing throws before my axe actually made contact with the bull’s-eye . And, then it simply hit the boards and fell off. It didn’t help that I was wearing platform sandals – not high ones, but still. I was determined to puncture the bull’s-eye. And when I did, what a rush it was. I can see how the sport (yes, it is) can be addictive.

'I hate to admit it, but I was surprised. So many of these kinds of stories do not have a happy ending. It felt good to report it.'

Wilson told me it’s a “big mental game,” and I don’t disagree.

Find out more at www.batlgrounds.com

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1ZfRwT3

•••

HAPPY ENDING FOR MISSING WOMAN WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA

I have three sisters so I could only imagine what Eva Szeman went through last winter when her sister, Judy, 41, went missing.

She disappeared on a Tuesday morning in January. The resident of High Park Manor located across from High Park was last seen in Mississauga where she had stopped in at her family’s home on the way to a job interview. Judy lives with schizophrenia and her sister believed she wasn’t taking her medication and had no means of financially supporting herself.

I felt an obligation to help this family. Writing a story – or what turned into three stories – was the least I could do. I wanted to be as gentle as possible in my conversations with Eva and with the words I wrote. I put myself in her position when I spoke with her in the park before she and friends went searching for Judy.

Although the search did not unearth any further clues, Judy did turn up two months to the day she disappeared – healthy and safe. She was in Hamilton. Eva described feeling elated. I hate to admit it, but I was surprised. So many of these kinds of stories do not have a happy ending. It felt good to report it. That’s one of the big reasons I like writing community news – for the most part, it is good news.

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1Oc7ky5

FEDERAL ELECTION NIGHT SURPRISE

I love election night. Okay, I kind of love/hate it. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait. The anticipation is killer. And, I was sure the NDP’s Andrew Cash would be re-elected MP in Davenport. Well, pretty sure. Like, kind of sure. So I parked myself at his election night headquarters. Lula Lounge, far earlier than I needed to and waited for the results to roll in.

To my surprise, Liberal Julie Dzerowicz pulled ahead immediately. I was sitting with a photographer from NOW magazine and we watched the results come in on Twitter on her phone.

As ridings across Canada turned red one after another, and Dzerowicz remained in the lead, I decided to jump in a cab and hightail it to her campaign party headquarters at the Casa Das Beiras Cultural Community Centre. I still wondered if I was doing the right thing – it was still relatively early. Anything could happen.

The community centre was pretty quiet when I arrived, all things considered. Liberal supporters were glued to the TV screen. It seemed to take forever for Dzerowicz to be declared winner.

When she was and she finally arrived, she seemed to shake with happiness.

I wanted her to get to the front of the room already for her victory speech, but of course there were so many people who wanted to shake her hand or give her a hug. Turns out the microphone wasn’t working and I was worried my phone wouldn’t be able to record Dzerowicz’s speech. I pounced on her as soon as she was finished before anyone else could grab here to ask additional questions. I then found myself a quiet corner in a stairwell to call my editor to file quotes for that night’s online story.

Read the full story here: bit.ly/1PaZMPx