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Poodle perfection: Siba wins best in show at Westminster

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NEW YORK — Primped and poised, Siba the standard poodle owned the ring.

Even with the crowd at Madison Square Garden chanting for a popular golden retriever, the statuesque Siba strutted off with best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club on Tuesday night.

Adorned with black puffs and pompoms, the 3-year-old Siba was the absolute picture of what many see as the epitome of a show dog.

Not everyone shared that view. As judge Bob Slay studied Siba in the best-of-seven final ring, a fan shouted out: “No way, Slay, no way!”

Slay stuck by what he saw.

“She’s beautiful and has that something,” handler Chrystal Murray-Clas said.

Bourbon the whippet finished second. Daniel the golden retriever was clearly the crowd favourite — a golden has never won at Westminster — and fans chanted his name as Slay deliberated.

Bono the Havanese, Wilma the boxer, Conrad the Shetland sheepdog, and Vinny the wire fox terrier also made the final grouping.

Poodles come in three sizes and this was the 10th time one of them has become America’s top dog, the first since 2002. A standard last won in 1991.

Siba put on an entertaining performance in the nonsporting group juding Monday night, doing the downward dog yoga pose before circling the ring. A day later, she was again at her best.

She won’t get much rest, either. Siba was set to wake up early to hit the morning TV shows, eat lunch at famed Manhattan restaurant Sardi’s, pose on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and perhaps walk onto the stage at Broadway musical “Beetlejuice.”

The Westminster winner receives no prize money in a sport where owners can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their pet. Instead, the reward is a silver bowl, lucrative breeding rights and a lifetime of bragging rights in dog lore.

And in canine competitions, the poodles often rule.

But this is true, too: In the world of dogdom, among all the beagles, retrievers and terriers, there’s nothing that polarizes people like a poodle.

Especially the big standard size, with their fancy coifs that would put the supermodels now in town for Fashion Week to shame.

“I don’t care for the cut. I understand it’s for function, to keep their joints warm, but not for me,” Carol Sebastian of Aberdeen, New Jersey, said earlier in the day.

Sitting with four of her spinone Italiano pals, snacking near Ring 1, Sebastian offered another view on the pooch pageant.

“I think if they cut the poodle in a different way, they’d have a lot more fans. They’d get beyond frou-frou.”

Either way, Siba sure looks the part of the Park Avenue crowd, even though she’s from Allentown, Pennsylvania —–— sleek, with shiny black hair and a shaved backside.

“I always say, don’t let the haircut fool you. This is a smart, athletic, active dog that was originally developed in Germany as a water retrieving dog,” longtime dog expert David Frei said.

With a more simple trim, he figured, “the world could unabashedly root for them. In the meantime, I will anyway.”

Poodles come in three sizes, and they’ve done just fine at Westminster. Standards have won best in show five times, miniatures three and toys twice.

Siba was showing for the last time, set to retire after this event.

“She had the something extra at a young age,” Murray-Clas said.

Longtime handler Clint Livingston said he saw Siba two years ago at a show in York, Pennsylvania, and predicted a great future.

“I fell in love with her,” Livingston said.

He also understands the poodle predicament.

“They’ve been glamorized and for them, it’s a beauty pageant,” he said. “But underneath all that hair and everything, there’s structure and function.”

To Sebastian and her spinone Italiano friends, there are two sides to the poodles.

“They’re beautiful dogs and super smart. There’s something for everyone,” said Andi Gabler from Fredricksburg, Virginia. “They’re wonderful dogs. But would I want one? No.”

“Our dogs like to roll in the mud,” chimed in Becky Tevis from Portland, Oregon. “We’re not that fancy.”

Fact is, neither is Siba. A picky eater, she’s not.

So how did she prepare for the nonsporting group judging Monday night at the Garden? A gourmet meal? Nope.

Rather, a fast-food fix: a grilled chicken sandwich from a handy McDonald’s.

And no reason to change the winning formula.

Tuesday night, Siba went back for what became a most happy meal.

___

AP freelance writer Ginger Tidwell-Walker contributed to this report.

Ben Walker, The Associated Press













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Woman returning from Iran is B.C.’s sixth case of new coronavirus

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VANCOUVER — A sixth case of the novel coronavirus has been diagnosed in British Columbia after a woman in her 30s returned to the province from Iran.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday the woman’s case is relatively mild and a number of her close contacts have already been put in isolation.

She said health officials are working on a detailed investigation of the woman’s travel and when her symptoms started to help determine if they need to notify those who travelled with her on the same aircraft.

Henry said the diagnosis shows B.C. has a robust system for identifying people who have the virus.

“This one, clearly, is a bit unusual in that the travel to Iran is something new,” she told a news conference.

“Iran has recently started reporting cases and we’ll be working with our national and international colleagues to better understand where she may have been exposed to this virus prior to her return to Canada.”

Henry said earlier this week that four of the five people already diagnosed with the virus were symptom free. The fifth person, a woman in her 30s who returned from Shanghai, China, is in isolation at her home in B.C.’s Interior.

Henry said over 500 people have been tested for the virus in B.C. and many of those tested positive for the flu.

Three cases of the virus have also been confirmed in Ontario.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Government needs to produce plan for dealing with veterans’ backlog: Ombudsman

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OTTAWA — Veterans ombudsman Craig Dalton says the federal government should clearly explain how it plans to eliminate a backlog that is keeping thousands of former service members waiting to find out if they qualify for benefits and aid.

The number of unaddressed applications for disability benefits and other assistance continues to grow despite repeated government promises to fix the problem.

Most recently, Veterans Affairs Canada revealed that there were 44,000 applications waiting to be processed at the end of September, which was a 10 per cent increase from six months earlier.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay says eliminating the backlog is his top priority and the department is trying to move files along faster.

Yet Dalton says the government has not laid out a clear plan that includes specific actions and targets.

Dalton also says the government needs to invest more money and resources into tackling the backlog, which he worries is leaving some veterans at greater risk of financial and health problems.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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february, 2020

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG(january 12) 2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

sun02feb(feb 2)7:00 pmsun15mar(mar 15)8:00 pm7:00 pm - (march 15) 8:00 pm Festival Hall, 4214 58 St, Red Deer, AB Event Organized By: Country Pride Dance Club

thu20feb(feb 20)10:00 amsun23(feb 23)4:00 pmRed Deer RV Show10:00 am - 4:00 pm (23)

tue25feb5:30 pm7:30 pmDiabetes Discussion Drop InLearn about Type 2 diabetes5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

wed26feb7:30 pm11:00 pmCeltic Illusiion7:30 pm - 11:00 pm

thu27feb5:30 pm7:00 pmMonthly Mindfulness Drop-In5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

fri28febsun01mar54th Annual Sport & Outdoor Show4:00 pm - (march 1) 9:00 pm

fri28feb6:00 pm11:00 pmFriday Family DanceFamily Dance6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

fri28feb7:00 pm11:00 pmBattle of the Bands for Crime Prevention7:00 pm - 11:00 pm Burgundy's Food & Stage, 5008 48 ST Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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