NL Book Awards Presented
Six local authors were honoured during the 12th annual Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards. These rotating awards recognize excellence in local writing in children's/young adult literature and fiction in one year, and in non-fiction and poetry the following year. At a recent ceremony at Government House, Bernice Morgan (author of Random Passage and Waiting for Time) received the 2008 Downhome Fiction Award for her latest novel, Cloud of Bone. The 2008 Bruneau Family Children's/Young Adult Literature Award went to Janet McNaughton (author of Catch Me Once Catch Me Twice and Make or Break Spring) for her latest novel, The Raintree Rebellion. Along with the honour, Morgan and McNaughton each received $1,500. Other finalists for the 2008 Downhome Fiction Award included Russell Wangersky for The Hour of Bad Decisions and Kathleen Winter for boYs, while Catherine Hogan Safer (What If Your Mom Made Raisin Buns) and Robin McGrath (Livyers World) were on the short-list for the 2008 Bruneau Family Children's/Young Adult Literature Award. Each finalist received $500.
Daniel Cleary is Number One!
After the Detroit Red Wings' 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins during game six of the finals, #11 Daniel Cleary (or "Dan the Man" as he's come to be known in Newfoundland and Labrador) became the first player from this province to win the Stanley Cup. The 29-year-old Riverhead, Harbour Grace-native has received enormous support from his hometown throughout the playoffs. A 22.5-metre-long red and white banner reading "Go Red Wings Go" was proudly draped across the ship the SS Kyle, the historically grounded ship in the harbour. During the final two games, the town hosted a hockey party at the local arena, serving up free wings for those who came to watch the action on a big screen. As a member of the championship team, Cleary's name will become the first from Newfoundland and Labrador to be etched into history on Lord Stanley's Cup. He'll also have the honour of introducing another first to the province - bringing the Stanley Cup home to Riverhead during its year-long tour of players' hometowns. Only two others from this province have ever made it to the Stanley Cup final: Keith Brown and Alex Faulkner (who also played for the Red Wings).
Jack Byrne Dies
Jack Byrne - Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, former provincial cabinet minister and MHA for the Cape St. Francis district - recently passed away after an undisclosed illness. Byrne was first elected MHA for the district St. John's East Extern in 1993, after serving as mayor of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove for six years. Since then, Byrne was re-elected four times to the newly-named district of Cape St. Francis, which encompasses communities on the northeast Avalon.
Truxton Shipwreck Survivor Receives Honorary Degree
Lanier Phillips was one of nine outstanding individuals to receive honorary degrees during Memorial University's 2008 spring convocation. Phillips' first encounter with Newfoundland was born of tragedy in 1942, when the USS Truxton went aground near St. Lawrence during a blizzard. (See "Putting the Past to Rest" in the November 2006 issue of Downhome.) Out of the crew of 156, Phillips was one of 46 survivors rescued by the people of St. Lawrence. He was the only African-American to escape the ship, while other black sailors stayed on board fearing harsh treatment from the locals. The compassion, instead of repression, that Phillips encountered in St. Lawrence led him to fight against repression later in life, and he eventually marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King. Other recipients of honorary degrees were former Land and Sea producer, writer and director, David Quinton; fisheries activist, Gus Etchegary; former senior civil servant in the Irish government, Walter Kirwan; geographer and writer, David Lowenthal; and Gladys Osmond, a tireless humanitarian. Aboriginal leader and advocate, Mary May Simon; public servant, arts supporter and volunteer, John Perlin; and John Ford, WWII veteran who survived the atomic bomb explosion in Nagasaki, also received honorary degrees.
New Mayor for St. John's
Garnering about 58 per cent of the ballots in a June byelection, Dennis O'Keefe is the new mayor for the City of St. John's. Marie White, the other mayoral candidate, received approximately 42 per cent of the vote. Defeating Paul Sears and Fred Winsor for the position of deputy mayor was Ron Ellsworth, and Debbie Hanlon is the new councillor for ward four. The byelection was called after former Mayor Andy Wells resigned his position in March to become chair of the Public Utilities Board.