Letter to the Editor

Media got it  wrong, says coach I want to set the record straight on what I really said to the Whitehorse Star last week regarding the U-14…

Media got it

 wrong, says coach

I want to set the record straight on what I really said to the Whitehorse Star last week regarding the U-14 boys’ soccer team, and how I really feel about the hazing situation.

This is a very sensitive issue to many people and I realize there is a possibility for many readers to develop an opinion on the matter, especially if people, like myself, have their comments twisted and misrepresented by an overzealous reporter trying to stir the pot rather than print the truth.

To start, contrary to remarks by Doug Green in a letter to the editor (printed in this paper), I neither held a press conference nor did I seek out the media to comment. A Whitehorse Star reporter called our house and I had a conversation with him about the matter.

The unfortunate part is that he did not accurately report what I said to him about my position on the matter, and then made it look as though I endorsed or condoned what happened to the boys in PEI.

Now, the only way I can accurately state my feelings is to write this letter.

I do believe the boys who have been suspended from soccer for their part in the hazing incidents are good kids. I have known them all since they were in Grade 1 and know they will learn from this and be better people because of it as time moves on.

I also feel that they made a real error in judgment, and what they did was wrong.

Good kids as well as good adults — let us not forget — do make mistakes as we make our way through life. And when you make these mistakes, there are almost always consequences for your actions.

The Yukon Soccer Association formed a panel to deal with this matter. It consulted other sporting bodies and local school administrators on how to best deal with this, and action was taken.

We will, of course, all have different points of view on if the punishment was too lenient or too harsh, but in the end the boys erred, they have now received their punishment and we must all try to move on in a positive manner.

In media reports, Green has referred to me as insensitive and uneducated, yet we have never met. I suppose this is because he, and perhaps many others, simply read the Whitehorse Star article that I was “quoted” in and took that to be the gospel truth.

I informed the Star reporter that I did feel very badly for the boys who were hazed, and I would be upset too if it were my son or daughter on the receiving end of this. Yet that, of course, was excluded from the article.

As far as me commenting on whether these actions were of criminal behaviour or not, I simply never made such a judgment. In fact, I specifically told the Star that I would not make such a judgment on this as it was in the hands of the panel, and that I did not want to comment.

I have heard some really good things about Green and his work in the schools, but I am disappointed and surprised that, after 26 years as a respected law-enforcement officer, he would simply read what was printed in the Whitehorse Star and then fully believe my remarks were accurately reflected.

If he were so upset with me, he could have called and I would have told him how upset I was with the way my comments were twisted and misrepresented.

I could then have also told him what I really felt.

Perhaps I would have gained some new perspective from him, and he from me, regarding our feelings on the matter.

Perhaps then he would have judged me and this whole situation differently.

To summarize, even good kids make bad judgments, and when they do there are consequences. I am sure they wish they could turn back the clock and change what happened, but life does not work that way, does it?

I know they are sorry for what they did, and that they will learn and be better people because of it.

I truly empathize with the boys who were hazed, and I hope they continue to play and enjoy team sports in the years to come.

I don’t expect anybody to forget what happened, but I would like to think that there will be an ability to forgive once their suspensions are up.

Let’s take a good look in the mirror and ask if we have ever done something wrong in our lives, regretted it a great deal, and then been forgiven by our family, peers or community so we could redeem ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

Thank you for the opportunity to be fairly heard.

Monique Bennett


Type 2 diabetes — are you at risk?

November is diabetes month, a great opportunity to assess your risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Currently 2.4 million Canadians are affected by diabetes.

By 2010, that number will rise to more than 3 million. In addition, more than 6 million Canadians are living with prediabetes, which increases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and all its complications.

Studies have shown that, on average, people have type 2 diabetes for up to seven years before being diagnosed.

During this time, high blood glucose levels can cause serious complications, including heart disease. Whether you are someone living with diabetes, or one of the millions of Canadians age 40 and over at risk, it may be time to learn more about what you can do to reduce your risk factors or live healthier with diabetes.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Your body gets energy by making glucose from carbohydrates — bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and fruit.

To use this glucose; your body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas. It helps your body control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes.

If you have type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.

Prediabetes refers to blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Having a blood test can determine if you are at risk.

Lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on your risk of progressing from prediabetes to diabetes.

Leading an active lifestyle and eating well can have a positive impact on your health.

The most common risk factors for type 2 diabetes are: being 40 years of age or older, having diabetes in the family; being a member of a high-risk population, such as those of aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent; having a history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol; being overweight, especially around your abdomen.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes are an important part of taking action.

There are a number of signs and symptoms: unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight change (gain or loss) extreme fatigue of lack of energy, blurred vision, frequent or recurring infections, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, inability to achieve an erection, tingling or numbness in hands and feet.

The risk for type 2 diabetes is higher as you grow older, so the Canadian Diabetes Association recommends getting your blood tested at the age of 40 and every three years after that.

If you have risk factors you should be tested more frequently or start regular screening earlier. It is worth talking to your doctor if you have any risk factors or symptoms.

The effectiveness of lifestyle changes in preventing the progression to type 2 diabetes has been proven in two large studies: the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study and the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Both of these studies showed a low-calorie meal plan with reduced fat intake and moderate-intense physical activity of at least 150 minutes per week had impressive results.

These changes resulted in a 58 per cent reduction in the number of people who progressed from prediabetes to diabetes over the next four years, even though weight loss was modest.

This is good news; increased physical activity and a healthy balanced diet can help prevent the onset of diabetes and other health concerns.

Everyone will benefit from physical activity and making it a part of your daily routine.

Some of the well-known health benefits include weight loss, stronger bones, improved blood pressure control, lower rates of heart disease and some cancers, not to mention increased energy level.

If you have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes regular physical activity will improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and help manage your blood glucose levels.

Aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking, cross-country skiing, running and even dancing work your heart and lungs and increase your cardiovascular fitness.

Resistance exercise such as weight lifting increases muscle strength and complements the benefits of aerobic exercise.  For good health Canada’s physical activity guide recommends 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before increasing your physical activity level.

Good nutrition and healthy meal planning can be a preventative approach to living diabetes free.

When it comes to eating and making good nutritional choices, there are a few healthy guidelines worth following.

Limit the amount of high-fat food you eat such as fried food, chips and pastries.

Eat three meals a day at regular times no more then four to six hours apart.

Limit your sugar and sweets such as desserts, pop, jams, and honey.

Have at least three of the four key food groups at each meal. For eating well Canada’s food guide suggests: fruits and vegetables, grain products, milk and alternatives, meat and alternatives.

Include high-fibre foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes and grains (pasta, rice).

Make low-fat choices (e.g. skim milk, lean ground beef, cut visible fat off chicken and meat, use small amounts of added fats when preparing or cooking foods, such as salad dressings and oil).

The best gift you can give yourself involves becoming aware of the risk factors and signs and symptoms of diabetes.

If you have any of the risk factors or are experiencing signs and symptoms visit your family doctor.

The ultimate gift is making lifestyle choices that embrace an active lifestyle and include healthy nutritious foods. 

If you have type 2 diabetes and are interested in learning more about living well with diabetes, you are welcome to attend an information session.

It will be held November 27th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Whitehorse General Hospital cafeteria.

This opportunity is brought to you by the Diabetes Education Centre in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart and the CDM Collaborative.

Please RSVP to the Diabetes Education Centre at 867-393-8711.

This article submitted by RPAY.

One Native Life lauded

Richard Wagamese’s column in the November 12 issue of the Yukon News could be referring to anywhere in this country, not just the North.

Usually there are standard explanations and arguments used by both parties when two or more people begin to argue over aboriginal issues.

Wagamese offers a refreshing outlook, equating all of us who come from a savage beginning.

You offer something beyond the common defensive stand that puts nonaboriginal people (like me) on edge because we see and hear a dead-end argument arising.

Thank you, Wagamese, for opening our eyes to reality. Thank you also for your honesty in describing weaknesses as well as strengths.

You might find it interesting to learn that a paragraph caught my attention as I was sorting through newspapers on my kitchen table. I actually read your entire article before looking at the name of the column and realizing that you were of aboriginal origin.

Sylvia W. Preto