Category Archives: Society

Thank You Delta Hospital, Fraser Health

A big shout out to staff, nurses, and doctors at Delta Hospital in Delta, BC.

I had an inguinal hernia repair yesterday, and was very thankful to have what had gradually become a near-grapefruit-sized protrusion taken care of.

Everyone was welcoming, friendly, professional, and reassuring.

The care was excellent, and I am very grateful to have had the procedure. I know many surgeries have been postponed due to Covid, and assume they got me in because the day procedure took about half an hour, plus a couple of hours of monitoring/anesthesia recovery time, so I wouldn’t be taking up a bed.

Thank you for the work that you do! Particularly in what has been a very tough couple of years for healthcare professionals.

Fraser Health was excellent in keeping me apprised of earlier openings as cancellations popped up, and with prep/post instructions.

Byrne Creek in Burnaby Running Like Chocolate Milk

Here we go again! This has been happening far too often over the last few months, when it shouldn’t be happening at all.

This is near the end of the Coho and Chum salmon spawning season in Byrne Creek, and the impact of all this silt on the redds, or nests of eggs, laid by spawning salmon over the last two months is likely very detrimental.

byrne creek looking like chocolate milk burnaby bc

This is high up in the watershed, above the ravine, and it’s a steady flow for significant periods of time, so it’s unlikely to be natural erosion. At the time I took this photo there was insignificant rain, barely a drizzle.

I would guess a construction site being pumped out.

Streamkeeper volunteers have been calling these events in to the City of Burnaby, and I’ve heard that other citizens have as well.

City staff are usually very good at tracking down where these flows are entering street drains. I hope they catch the offenders and levy the maximum fine possible.

Glad Media Is Reporting ‘Sponge’ Concept – What Took so Long?

I’m glad mainstream media ran a story like this, but to make it sound like something new is innacurate.

These ideas have been around for decades, and volunteer streamkeepers and wetlandkeepers have been pushing municiaplities for more infiltration for what seems like forever.

The best way to protect local creeks and urban and suburban watersheds is through the sponge concept of getting as much rainwater into the ground as possible instead of piping it away.

Heck, BC municipalities are supposed to have developed Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs) that are supposed to have watershed protection components years ago, but many are nowhere near being fully implemented.

Remembering the Soviet-Inflicted Holodomor Famine in Ukraine

In 2008, the Canadian Parliament passed an act so that throughout Canada, in each and every year, the fourth Saturday in November shall be known as “Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day”.

In commemoration of the Soviet-inflicted Holodomor, I’m sharing part of the introduction that I wrote to Maria: A Chronicle of a LIfe, a novel of those terrible times written by Ulas Samchuk, translated by my aunt Roma Franko, and edited by me, after the passing of my Mom who edited many volumes of Language Lanterns Publications translations of Ukrainian literature into English.

“To see a world in a grain of sand…” These words by English poet William Blake are interpreted to mean that minute, apparently inconsequential events in a life can represent universal truths.

“Oles Samchuk’s character Maria is such a grain of sand––or perhaps in the context of the novel, she is such a kernel of grain.

“The life of this uneducated peasant woman spans great upheavals in Ukrainian history from approximately the 1861 emancipation of serfs in the Russian Empire under the Tsars, to the unimaginable horror of the communist-induced mass starvation in Soviet Ukraine in the early 1930s that killed millions, and is now internationally recognized as an act of genocide.

“Samchuk dedicates his novel “to the mothers who were starved to death in Ukraine in 1932-33,” yet the story is much more than that, taking the reader through three sections: A Book about the Birth of Maria, A Book of Maria’s Days, and A Book about Grain. Each is important in its own way, as Maria grows, matures, and reacts to the changes going on around her.

“She may be just a bit of flotsam carried by a tsunami of social and political change, but her loves, her trials and her toil through her three score and ten (the author tells us that she lived for 26,258 days, or nearly 72 years) enable us to picture an often harsh existence that prompted hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian peasants to abandon their beloved villages and emigrate in search of land and freedom. . . “

Sharing My Mom’s Love of Teaching

Today would have been my late Mom’s 88th birthday.

Sharing our love for teaching in a post from my old blog, 14 years ago.

April 19, 2007

Thank You South Slope Elementary

I would like to thank South Slope Elementary students in Burnaby for the package of thank you cards that I received today. It was unexpected and greatly appreciated.

They have participated in the Salmon in the Classroom program for many years. They receive chum salmon eggs from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and care for them in their classroom until they hatch as alevins. They feed them until the tiny fish reach the fry stage, and then the kids release them into Byrne Creek.

As volunteer streamkeepers, my wife Yumi and I have had the privilege of guiding the kids to the creek for several years now.

This year’s South Slope Elementary release was particularly meaningful to me, because my Mom was dying of cancer.

It was uplifting being with the kids that morning, and seeing them so full of life and wonder.

Later that day I told Mom about the fry release, and though she was heavily medicated, she indicated that she understood, and was happy.

She loved kids, she loved teaching, and she was a teacher of teachers.

She died the evening of the fish release, surrounded by love.


I am happy that the day she died, my Mom knew that Yumi and I were teaching children.


Old Photo of My Uncle Paul

As I come across more old photos, this looks like my Uncle Paul.

As I recall the story, he suddenly collapsed and died during recess in the yard of a one-room schoolhouse in Saskatchewan.

I think it was an undiagnosed heart issue.

There’s another photo that I remember of my paternal grandmother stricken with grief at his funeral as his coffin was carried out of the tiny prairie church.

Such raw pain etched on her usually stoic face . . .

She was one of toughest pioneer women I’ve ever known, dedicated to work, family, and church, and yet so accepting and loving of us all.

I was named after him.

I love that in this photo he is holding books and a trophy, for I have always loved reading, writing, and editing.

uncle paul cipywnyik books trophy

Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters

ORANGE SHIRT DAY: Every Child Matters

orange shirt day burnaby bc

Deer Lake, Burnaby, BC.

We would like to acknowledge that we live on the unceded and traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations.

Stream of Dreams Watershed Education/Community Art Program

It was great to be back in an elementary school helping to deliver the Stream of Dreams Murals Society watershed education and community art program!

stream of dreams Dreamfish

There has been some remote program delivery, and while getting the message across, it doesn’t compare emotionally with being in  a school.

With careful protocols, some adjustments to delivery, and repeated and thorough sanitization between each class, today’s sessions went smoothly, and several teachers said they loved the program!

And of course team members, teachers, and students are masked at all times.

Team members are cross-trained to do both the watershed/environment education part of the program, and supervising kids through the Dreamfish painting.

The fish will eventually be installed as a beautiful mural on the school’s chain-link fence to remind students, their families, and the entire neighbourhood that All Drains Lead to Fish Habitat!

Nikkei Mini Matsuri in Burnaby

We took in the Mini Matsuri (festival) at Nikkei Place in Burnaby, BC, today. It was scaled down due to Covid, but it was still a lot of fun. Great food, displays, and entertainment.

nikkei matsuri burnaby bc

Let’s move on to the food!

Yumi and I split an Okonomi Japadog, split an order of shrimp takoyaki, had one sweet red bean taiyaki each, and split an order of gyoza.

Don’t think we’ll need to cook any dinner today! 🙂

nikkei matsuri food burnaby bc