A way to save lives: A Deadly Wandering – Book Review

An excellent resource on texting and driving

April 2, 2017

By Shondell Babb 

Everyone should read “A Deadly Wandering”, by Matt Richtel, especially in this electronic age.


It’s an important book about the lives tragically lost, because of texting and driving. The previous research outlined in the book has helped modern day society arrive at the current laws and conversation about texting and driving.

Richtel’s writing style is easy to read, his interviewing notes are meticulous and he incorporated a vast array of related scientific and statistical research into the topic.

However, there should be a condensed version of the book, to cut out the overwhelming and unnecessary details about all the characters.

State Trooper Bart Rindlisbacher instincts dead-on.

What I loved about the book is how Rindlisbacher was convinced, based on this observation and instinct, that it was Reggie’s’ texting that caused the accident. He was determined to prove the cause-and-effect and eventually did.

Outstanding scientific research outlined

I liked how all the emerging neuroscience research in areas like attention, distraction and internet addiction were intertwined.

Psychologist Dr. David Strayer’s scientific research outlined in Chapter 24—proving that texting and driving is comparable to driving drunk—was mind blowing.

“Also in 2003, he made a presentation at the International Symposium on Human Factors showing that cell phone use impaired drivers to the same level as .08 blood alcohol content, the level of legal intoxication in most states.” ­–p. 229

Too many useless character details 

But the insightful research gets bogged down by too many character profiles. If extra fat like that was trimmed, the book could be cut down from the 390 pages. It makes me wonder why the book editor didn’t cut the clutter.

For example, Chapters 8 and 15 were devoted entirely to Terryl Danielson’s traumatic childhood and career as a victim’s advocate. Terryl has a supporting role in the story. Reggie’s accident took place in 2006, yet the following details were included in the book:

“TERRYL, AFTER MUCH CONSULTATION with April, decided to go on a LDS mission, to Costa Rica, in July 1989.”– p. 131

The only relevant details in Chapter 15 are that Terryl met Jackie Furfaro (victim’s wife) at Air-Bound gym. Yet this unnecessary chapter droned on for seven pages.

Why this book decreases distracted driving temptations

Reading the book affected me through repetition. Reading about research and repeated commentary on the subject matter of texting and driving helped to hammer the message home, even though I am aware of the no-texting legislation in Winnipeg.

The statistics are always what impresses me since they’re based on legitimate research and facts, not someone’s opinion.

More texting and driving awareness campaigns needed

In Chapter 27, Dr. Greenfield calls youth who are raised on electronic devices “Generation D”.

“They’re so amped up on dopamine that when it’s not firing, they feel dull, dead,” he says. And that means they need to move on to the next thing, quickly, rather than staying with something. “They have no threshold for attentional capacity.” -P. 217-218

The section goes on to explain that youth aren’t the only demographic that’s concerning, but they’re more vulnerable because their brains and frontal lobes are still developing

Since many people are addicted to mobile devices, the temptation to text and drive is still high, which means on-going campaigns are necessary to save more lives.


99 pieces of art on the wall

Winnipeggers support local artists in droves, despite cold weather

Shondell Babb, CONTRIBUTOR
January 23, 2017  By The Projector

99 Pieces of Art on the Wall, The Projector

img_8172First Fridays, 99 Pieces of Art on the Wall Exhibit on Friday, January 6, 2017. Lorial Todd, 50, and Anthony Kenny Charles, 60, contemplating the sunset in Kerry Knudson’s Gone Fishing portrait, 2016.

img_8182First Fridays, 99 Pieces of Art on the Wall Exhibit on Friday, January 6, 2017. Jennifer LaBella, 63, (left) and Shirley Myren, 70, admiring The Shield of Shaka Zulu vase, by artist C. Wawruck-Hemmett.

Showcasing various artwork since 2010, First Fridays in the Exchange District has become one of the best days of the month.

The first First Fridays of the New Year took place on Jan. 6. There were dozens of events happening throughout the Exchange District that included some new exhibits.

Jennifer LaBella was one of 40 First Fridays feature artists at the packed Cre8ery Gallery & Studio’s opening reception for the 99 Pieces of Art on the Wall exhibit and sale. LaBella saw the vase called, The Shield of Shaka Zulu, by C. Wawruck-Hemmett, and said the vase distinguished itself as something that should belong to her.

“I was admiring the vase. I’ve been to East Africa, in Kenya and Tanzania a number of times and so that piece really spoke to me,” said LaBella. “I like the motifs that she put on the vase: she put zebra print on it, which is a favourite animal of mine I saw in Africa.”

“This is the first 99 Pieces of Art on the Wall that has been juried, where three members are chosen as ‘anonymous jurors’ that select the best 99 pieces of art for the exhibition, out of the 140 pieces that applied to be part of the event,” said Jordan Miller, the executive director of Cre8ery Gallery & Studio.

Through the First Fridays exhibits, various artists get more public exposure by being featured in a permanent gallery like Gurevich Fine Art, or they can be part of an artist-run centre like aceartinc.

Sue Gordon is one of the co-founders of First Fridays who saw the shows on a trip to Kansas City and decided to bring the First Fridays concept to Winnipeg. There is a $50 membership fee to have your event included on the monthly brochure.

In February, First Fridays will host the Art Talk/Art Walk event at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café. Artist Derek Brueckner and curator Andrew Kear will discuss “Art and Tears,” a talk about emotional responses to artwork.



Women’s March on Washington – Winnipeg – Grassroots Activism – Shondell’s Favourite Things.

Women’s March on Washington sends global message of solidarity.

January 21, 2017

Shondell Babb

It was a phenomenal feeling to be a part of the Women’s March on Washington – Winnipeg today. Brothers, sisters, children and elders of all nationalities stood in unity against the general attack on human rights represented by Trump’s Presidency. Well over 1,000 Winnipeggers took over Portage Place Center Court at 11:00 AM for the rally.

Alexa Joy Potashnik, the Founder of Black Space Winnipeg, was the articulate host that kept the crowd’s energy alive. When speaking to the large crowd, Potashnik encouraged everyone to get more involved, “This is a great turn out. We need to have this kind of support for all of our protests and events to raise awareness,” said Potashnik.


January 21, 2017, Women’s March on Washington – Winnipeg. Over 1,000 people crowd Portage Place Center Court.

Protesters, activists and allies were encouraged to state their reasons for joining in solidarity by using the hashtag: #whyimarch. I was marching for women’s rights and general human rights.


Postashnik, the Racialized Student Commissioner at Canadian Federation of Students – MB, isn’t afraid to speak out on issues, stating that the event planning needs to be inclusive for all people. The founder of grassroots organization Black Space, said that her organization wasn’t initially invited as a coordinator of the event, but she took the initiative and got involved. www.womensmarchwpg.com.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“It’s the women who have the power to

heal the families.” – Elder May Louise

Elder May Louise was the first speaker that inspired the crowd to ignite movements to help and protect women and children. Elder May Louise sat on a task force for human trafficking for a year and spoke specifically to men, urging them to ‘stop the madness by speaking to other men’. “‘We must challenge the men…and we have to say to them, ‘Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop having sex with children. Stop it.'”, said May Louise.

After the emblazoned speeches by various activists, the crowd was led through the misty rain by the Buffalo Girl Drum Group, who’s powerful sounds burst through the air-demanding that we be seen and heard. Portage Avenue was shut down to traffic during the proceedings. Protesters uttered numerous chants: “Hey hey! Ho Ho! Gender violence has got to go” and “say it once say it again, no excuse for violent men,” said the crowd in unison.


The January 21, 2017, March on Washington – Winnipeg. Portage Avenue was shut down to traffic, as over 1,000 people marched in solidarity to Main Street and back.


January 21, 2017, March on Washington – Winnipeg. Protesters gathered in front of Portage Place and some went inside for the closing ceremonies. Photo: Lori Todd.

There were some bolder, racier signs created to send clear messages in response to Trump’s scandalous recordings, where he was normalizing sexual harassment.

There was a feeling of unity and empowerment that came with being part of a global demonstration, that garnered media attention in every city. There is a movement called the uprising as well that is representative of this new generation that will not tolerate racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia and hate.

We made our voices heard today on an international level and we won’t stop speaking.

I have participated in other protests and believe peaceful community activism is important to evoke change. On July 20, 2016, I attended and performed spoken word poetry at the #blacklivesmatter protest at the Manitoba Legislative building. Black Space organized this event to stand in solidarity across North America, for the black men and women across the continent unjustly slain by police forces.

Below is a list of the 7 core organizing groups of March on Washington – Winnipeg:

Women’s Health Clinic www.facebook.com/whcwpg

IRCOM Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba

WGSSA – Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association of University of Manitoba https://www.facebook.com/UMWGSSA

Black Space Winnipeg https://www.facebook.com/BlackSpace204

CUPE Local 2348 https://www.facebook.com/cupe2348

Winnipeg Labour Council https://www.facebook.com/Winnipeg-Labour-Council-291591290865352/

Rainbow Resource Centre https://www.facebook.com/RainbowResourceCentr

 – 30 –

Shondell’s Favourite Things: Remote Car Starter

January 14, 2017

Shondell Babb

Every week, I will feature one of my ‘Favourite Things’, in hopes of sharing some of the wonders of life, as well as incredible products and services that some brilliant minds have created.

Favourite Winter Things: Remote Car Starter

Extreme weather warnings were issued for the blizzard that pummeled Winnipeg on Thursday, January 12, including frostbite and hypothermia risks. The video above, courtesy of the University of Manitoba’s Instagram page, captured the blowing snow that whipped around the city with -43° celsius wind chills and wind gusts up to 90 km/h, which reduced visibility to near zero.


In -43° conditions, who really wants to bundle up to brush mounds of snow off of a freezing cold vehicle with leather seats, start the car, then run back inside, finish getting ready, then bundle up to finally leave again? No one. But many people still do it.

Enter the automatic car starter that will change your life! My Toyota RAV4 has a car starter — which is one of the best inventions — ever!


Toyota RAV4 – Started with Astrostart remote car starter


Astrostart remote car starter

Particularly in Winnipeg’s extreme weather conditions, having the luxury of starting my car remotely is a dream.

The main benefit of investing in a car starter is that you can start the car from the comfort of your home for 1-20 minutes, from up to 1,500 – 2,000 feet away. Heating up your vehicle in Winnipeg’s sub-zero and extreme temperatures is essential, to avoid damaging the mechanical and moving parts. The benefits of remote starters definitely outweigh costs, that range from $399.00 – $799.00. The cost includes installation, comes with two key fobs and various other options like an LCD screen, or multi-vehicle operation, etc.

Of course, you can enter a warm car when you’re ready to leave and drive away.

Below I profile the Astrostart remote car starter since that’s the brand in my vehicle. There are many options available like 1-way, 2-way, Smart Start and Luxury remote starters.

Product Description: Digital 1-way RF system with up to one-mile range. Product Features:

  • One, 1-way, 5-button SST transmitter 
  • 2-way antenna
  • Multi-vehicle operation
  • Manual transmission compatible

I recommend Absolute Autoguard, which specializes in car starters, if you are want to make your winter experience easier. If you have an older vehicle and just need to replace the key fob or get a key cut, they offer that service. The prices are substantially cheaper than a dealership, that may charge up to $100.00 to replace the key alone. At Absolute Autoguard, the key fob case, batteries, and getting my chip key cut cost me only $65.00. They also stock the plastic cases for key fobs, batteries, etc, so if the internal computer chips and parts work well, you can save money by just replacing the plastic case alone. I booked an appointment and the service was fast and friendly.


So, if you don’t have a car yet or a car starter installed in your vehicle, I highly recommend it. Like myself, you will realize the convenience and comfort of investing in a remote car starter and it will become one of your favourite things too!

NEWS Worthiness Makes Covers

Winnipeg Free Press, October 24, 2016

Winnipeg Jets Cover Story

By Shondell Babb

October 29, 2016

Blog Challenge 6


Kalen Barnett (left) and Christian Thiessen, both 11, are thrilled to be at the 2016 Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic!

The Winnipeg Free Press Monday, October 24 cover page featured a crowd shot of the 2016 Tim Horton’s NHL Heritage Classic, from the Point of View of 2 excited youth fans in the stands. The 2016 Tim Horton’s NHL Heritage Classic, held outside on October 23 in Winnipeg at Investors Group Field, was between the Winnipeg Jets and The Edmonton Oilers, making it a timely cover page.

The 2016 Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic adds prominence to the hockey game, sine it brings hockey legends to town from each rival team such as Wayne Gretzky (Winnipeg Jets) and Teemu Selanne (Edmonton Oilers), who play the alumni game on the Saturday before NHL game with the current teams.

20161029_133328The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-0, but the atmosphere was great from the shot taken. People that weren’t in attendance at the game, would have still watched from sports bars and living rooms all across Winnipeg and Manitoba, so the impact was huge! The announcers and commentators noted the event was still an overall success for the city of Winnipeg, despite the loss.

Since many local Winnipeg and Manitoba residents would be discussing the Winnipeg Jets 0-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, whether they attended the game or not, there is great currency in the cover photo shot. The Winnipeg Jets franchise in terms of proximity, is a well-known and popular organization to Winnipeg residents.

Winnipeg residents are huge hockey fans and enthusiastically support their local sports team. ‘Go Jets go!’, is often the cheers heard to support the beloved team. So, anything about the Winnipeg Jets will garner human interest.

– 30 –

Good Journalism: Amy Goodman Arrested Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy.


Amy Goodman, Producer and Journalist of Democracy Now!

Amy Goodman should not have been arrested for covering the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, known on Twitter as #NoDAPL. Amy Goodman, is an award-winning journalist of news program Democracy Now!

The Dakota Access Pipeline will travel through 50 counties to transport oil from North Dakota to South Dakota, to Iowa, into Illinois. The website states:

“Protecting landowner interests and the local environment is a top priority of the Dakota Access Pipeline Project.”

Yet the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota’s privately owned burial and cultural site was decimated by construction workers, intensifying pipeline opposition, along with fears the drinking water will also be contaminated.

Landowner Cyndy Coppola, whose property lays in the path of the pipeline, was arrested for blocking pipeline construction. Journalists from Unicorn Riot have also been arrested for criminal trespassing.

On September 3, Democracy Now! filmed Dakota Pipeline security guards attacking protesters with guard dogs and pepper spray. On September 8, Goodman was warranted and arrested for criminal trespassing, then a rioting charge. District Judge John Grinsteiner dismissed the charges.


Amy Goodman reporting from the Dakota Pipeline protest, September 3, 2016.

“The United States First Amendment Rights – Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law… prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”

The Associated Press (AP) in New York, prides itself on being a trusted news agency commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism.

How can citizens get news information that impacts them, if no one is reporting on it?

As Rebecca Bengal from Vogue Magazine so aptly summarizes Amy Goodman’s arrest: “Journalists, when they cannot get out in the streets to cover the sieges of the world, are themselves under siege.”

Find out more about:

Democracy Now!

The Dakota Pipeline Project

Dakota Pipeline Violence

Unicorn Riot Journalists Arrested for covering Dakota Pipeline

Iowa Landowner Arrested in Riots

Dakota Access Security Guards Attack Native Americans

Judge Dismisses Goodman Riot Charges

American First Amendment Rights

Associated Press (AP) Professional Journalism

Vogue on Goodman Arrest