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CHEERS & JEERS: Potatoes heading into space in June

Arlene McKenna, left, Audrey Gray and Catherine Blanchard scan Ranger variety potatoes crossing a grading table at Craig and Johnny Wallace's storage warehouse in Alma near the end of the 2017 harvest.

JOURNAL PIONEER/Eric McCarthy
Arlene McKenna, left, Audrey Gray and Catherine Blanchard scan Ranger variety potatoes crossing a grading table at Craig and Johnny Wallace's storage warehouse in Alma near the end of the 2017 harvest. JOURNAL PIONEER/Eric McCarthy - The Journal Pioneer

Vegetable plot part of ecosystem experiment on far side of the moon

CHEERS: To China, which in June, will launch the first part of its mission to the ‘dark side’ of the moon - Chang’e 4 - which will position a communications satellite to provide a link with Earth. That satellite will also guide the second element of the mission, a lander and rover, down to a soft landing on the far side of the moon. The lander will carry potatoes, seeds and silkworm eggs to the surface to test whether plants and animals can grow. The eggs will hatch into silkworms, which can produce carbon dioxide, while the potatoes and seeds emit oxygen through photosynthesis. The P.E.I. Potato Board should get on the phone to China right away to offer some of the world’s best seed potatoes for the launch. It would be a marketing coup.

CHEERS: To Charlottetown native Brett Gallant who fell one game short of making the national final in the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Portage La Prairie, Man. Kaitlyn Lawes (Winnipeg) and John Morris (Canmore, Alta.) defeated Jocelyn Peterman (Calgary) and Gallant (St. John’s) 7-3 in the semifinal on Saturday night to advance to the final later Sunday against 2006 Olympic gold-medallist Brad Gushue (St. John’s) and his partner Val Sweeting (Edmonton). The winner will go to Pyeongchang, South Korea, as Canada’s first mixed doubles curling team. Gallant/Peterman had gone unbeaten through the preliminary round.

CHEERS: To Summerside Mayor Bil Martin who has confirmed he will not seek a second term following his huge win over Basil Stewart. Martin always said he was committed to four years and doubted he would seek e-election. He’s a politician who kept his promise. Meanwhile, Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee is keeping supporters and opponents guessing with comments he still weighing his options on seeking another term this fall. Al Douglas has already declared his intention to run for mayor and others may come forward - depending on Mayor Lee’s decision – which he says will come sooner than later. His recent feisty attack against provincial critics of the city’s water use policies suggests he’s leaning towards running again.

JEERS: To CBC Compass, which insists on having spokespersons stand out in the cold and snow while giving updates on recent storm related issues. A highway dispatcher and Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin provided back-to-back interviews outdoors last week on the building’s steps so viewers could appreciate the bone-chilling weather behind them. Meanwhile, the news anchor handling the interview was toasty warm about 100 feet away inside the studio. It might be good TV optics to hammer home the story for viewers, but let’s hope those spokespeople were at last treated to a warm cup of coffee afterwards for their sacrifice.

CHEERS: To Ian Cheverie, the first Islander to win the Les Clefs d’Or concierge. Cheverie, concierge of The Great George Hotel in Charlottetown, was awarded the prestigious award in December. The Golden Keys, as it is commonly known, is a society of hotel concierges who exchange ideas to better serve their guests.

CHEERS: To the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Chairman Paul. H. Schurman says the hall is planning a summer induction ceremony in 2018 and planning is well underway for that gala event.

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