People Reel: The Last Month in Local Newsmakers

THE PLAYWRIGHT WHO PLAYED THE RIGHT LOTTO NUMBERS

Well-known playwright Berni Stapleton took to a different kind of stage last month, when she accepted a $100,000 cheque from a TAG win. The winning ticket had been sitting around for a while before she checked it. As fate would have it, she’d just wrapped her latest work at the LSPU Hall, a play called Brazil Street, about a character who longed to see Italy. A ticket to Italy was precisely what Berni bought herself upon winning. The rest, she sunk into her home.

THE DAY THINGS CHANGED FOR ANDREW DAY AT A ROHINGYA REFUGEE CAMP

Conception Bay North’s Andrew Day is doing what his country wouldn’t: making a difference in the lives of Rohingya refugees. Day has been in Bangladesh for the majority of 2015, helping more than one hundred thousand refugees. Since fleeing a military led attack on their people in Myanmar, countless Rohingya Muslims have been stateless refugees, denied citizenship under national law. They have been persecuted, and hundreds of them were even killed at the hands of violent mobs. Over 100,000 of them have been chased from their homes, and now reside in numerous unofficial refugee camps – camps Andrew Day went over there to help. By keeping a low profile, and working with non-governmental agencies, Day developed his own way to bring much needed aid – in the form of things like rice, blankets, and livestock – to unofficial refugee camps in Bangladesh, where authorities had successfully blocked such aid, and denied these people any legal protection. Many of these refugees are being used as prostitutes or to move drugs. Sadly, just when he thought his work was done, and was ready to come home, police raided and destroyed the Rohingya refugee camp where he’d been clocking in his time and talents. He stuck around to start helping again.

FRANKIE WARREN HAS DANCED HER WAY INTO CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

Warren, currently studying modern dance at the University of Calgary, will get some serious real life experience and education via the nationally acclaimed Cirque du Soleil, when she performs hip hop dance with them at the opening ceremonies for the Pan American Games this July, in Toronto. At only 19 years of age, Frankie is also teaching the art of urban street dance.

CHARLIE OLIVER LAUNCHES THINKNL TO GET US … THINKING

Charlie Oliver, a local business person and near PC leader candidate, recently launched ThinkNL to get Newfoundlanders thinking and talking about Newfoundland issues. He opted out of politics because he sees ThinkNL’s website as a better route towards changing things for the better here. By presenting information in an accessible manner, the website will strive to get us all thinking more critically, and productively, about local issues and whom we’re voting for and why. The end goal is not finger-pointing, but fact presentation, that promotes solution-generating debates. Check out thinknl.ca for more info.

POLICE PROVE HOW MANY OF US ARE GUILTY OF RECKLESS DRIVING

Undercover police, dressed as things like school crossing guards or construction workers, aren’t out to catch a drug dealer in the act this winter; they’re after drivers on their cellphones, texting, tweeting, tuning into Overcast Radio, or whatever else it is you do on your phones that seems worth putting people’s lives at risk. It’s called Operation Ringtone. More than 500 tickets – at $110 a pop – were doled out in just under two months.

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