Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Monday, July 20, 2009

The R Family cruises into Prince Rupert, the passport office stops in as well, changing times at the Ministry of Children and Nathan Cullen says he's still investigating the Veniez era at Ridley Terminals, some of the highlights of the Monday edition.

PRINCE RUPERT A HIT WITH THE 'R FAMILY-- Last weeks arrival of the weekly cruise ship Norwegian Star provided the city with one of those seven stages of celebrity seperation, as the 'R Family Cruise made its first ever stop in Prince Rupert.

As we outlined on the blog last week, the gay and lesbian friendly cruise organizers, booked passage on the Norwegian Star on its weekly Alaskan cruise run, making Prince Rupert one of its stops and the subject of a front page, headline story in the Monday edition (see story below)

Elsewhere in the Daily, some details of the upcoming mobile passport office visit to the Northwest, (see Podunk previous) which offers up local residents the opportunity to submit their completed passport applications to Passport Canada officials during their Northwest blitz.

The rather confusing few days for the Ministry of Family and Childrens services was also examined in the Monday edition. As mentioned in the blog last week union and government officials have exchanged interpretations as to the changes coming to the local offices, changes which have the union decrying job cuts and the government suggesting that the union isn't being completely clear in the scope of the changes to come. (see story here)

And Dan Veniez may be out of his office, but he's not yet forgotten. Skeena-Bulkley Vally NDP MP, Nathan Cullen, outlined for the Daily News how he is still investigating the happenings at RTI during Mr. Veniez's term at the controls of the coal terminals operations. (see story here)

The Sports section reviewd the successful basketball year for a former Rupertite Sarah Williams, who is now playing her university sports for Nanaimo's Vancouver Island University

Total pages in the Monday edition (12)
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Monday, July 20, 2009

Pages one and five

It was the first time the cruise stopped in Prince Rupert.

The Norwegian Star pulled into Prince Rupert Thursday . in partnership with R Family Vacations, a vacation line that is geared toward the gay and lesbian community, but open to anyone.

Founded by Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli O'Donnell, the partner of Rosie O'Donnell, R Family has offered vacations on Norwegian Cruise Lines for seven years.

Port Agent Doug Moore of Prince Rupert said Thursday there were 501 children on board the R Family Cruise.

"Normally there are around 150 kids on the boat," he explained, as he stood on the Atlin Terminal dock.

Each week Moore goes out to the ship before any of the passengers embark, acting as a liaison between the ship and the port.

Once the ship leaves Seattle to head north, Moore receives the manifest listing the guest and crew.

"I only work hands-on with the passengers if there's a medical situation," he explained.

The Segrist family hails from Bend, Oregon. On Thursday evening they were chatting with Moore on the Atlin Terminal dock and said they were really enjoying the cruise.

Parents Kurt and Elizabeth Segrist, who is in her 30s, aren't that much older than their two daughters, Erin Coleman-Hicks and Caitlin Coleman, both in their 20s.

"It's nice not to have to explain your family," said Elizabeth. "People on the cruise are very accepting."

Steve Bratton and Skip Ralph from New York were on their second R Family cruise and said seeing Alaska was incredible.

After suiting up in Prince Rupert to go whale watching for the first time, they looked up to hear eagles making noises in the trees nearby.

"We're excited to see eagles too," said Ralph.

Christine Danroth of Prince Rupert had the opportunity to meet Kaminsky and presented him with t -shirts designed by one of the members of Prince Rupert's Queer Youth Alliance.

"People were asking me where they could buy the t-shirts," Danroth said.

A single mom, raising an infant son she adopted recently, Danroth said she saw many families like hers coming off the cruise ship.

She also heard a big group of teenagers talking as they got off the boat.

"They said they were so glad to be where they didn't have to explain their family. Why you might have two moms or two dads. I think this cruise line rocks and I'm going to go on it next year," Danroth said as she suited up to watch the whales.

Rosie O'Donnell wasn't on board, but the Segrists said the celebrity roster did include Ross Mathews of 'Ross the Intern' fame from the Jay Leno show.

Caroline Rhea, who played Helga on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and took over the Rosie O'Donnell Show, was also on board.

A third notable was Sharon Gless, who played Cagney on the television series 'Cagney & Lacey', and who recently starred in the 2009 movie, Hannah Free.

Fourth on the list was Cheyenne Jackson, a Broadway singer originally from Idaho, who now lives in New York.

And, said Moore, 70 members of the Seattle Gay Men's Chorus were on the cruise as well.

Rupertites reported seeing a Captain Jack Sparrow-like character walking around downtown.

"He came in and visited our shop for five or ten minutes," said Dianne Wampler of Frank's Studio Hair Design."

"He said he was from Alaska and was part of the entertainment on the ship. He was pretty cool. He had the hair and the mannerisms down. I told him he was pretty game to be walking around town."

"When one passer-by asked him why he was dresses like that he answered in true Sparrow style, "Because I can."

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