InFocus wraps up another season 2020 grads, rez radio and growing veggies in Grassy Narrows

Don’t miss checking out our link to the Graduates of 2020!


Host Melissa Ridgen wrapped up another season of InFocus with community radio, child and family services updates, junior gardeners and grads.

Community radio is radio for the people, usually by the people.  Across remote regions, community radio stations have been popping up to keep the local population connected through local news and events.  During a pandemic these beacons of event updates, song requests and local news can become a life line.

Doug Thomas of Winnipeg, along with his wife Tracy have been helping First Nation communities set up community radio stations.

After the equipment is installed and some light training, the community is ready to start producing content.

“I think a lot of people have been challenged against the CRT licensing and all these challenges that get the radio station complying with Canadian government licensing,” Thomas said. “We are taking a sovereign approach to First Nations communities. Chief and council are sanctioning the radio stations so we’re putting the radio stations under local control.

“What’s good about that is the local content.”

They said a community can start up a “rez” radio station for about the cost of a nice car.

The season finale also came full circle from our season premiere with an update about a Brandon, Man., family.

The family, whose son was taken at birth by child welfare officials, have been locked in battle with a child and family services agency for 13 months to get him back.

A week-long trial in May, in which they represented themselves,  laid out why the infant should never have been apprehended in the first place. It included several high profile witnesses– and the mother of a child she co-parents with the dad in the case – testified they’re loving, capable parents who deserve the boy back.

“There are definite emotions. Angry that we have to be here, but at the same time, representing ourselves, I don’t think lawyers could be doing a well as job we are doing ourselves,” said the mother, midway through the trial.

“They definitely don’t fight as hard for your children as you do,” the dad added.

A judge is deliberating and APTN News continues to follow the matter.

And we put the spotlight on Grassy Narrows in northern Ontario that has started a program encouraging young people to grow their own food.

“We are trying to get kids interested in gardening,” said gardiner Roberta Keesick,  “Currently ages five to 16 are doing their own little tiny gardens. We provide garden frames, seeds and soil and a garden box 2 feet by 2 feet.”

This community has 18 little gardeners on the go and several more who are interested and are just awaiting their supplies. Keesick will continue to work with the youth through out the summer and get them to harvest.

InFocus wanted to honor all the grads that graduating during a pandemic and not getting the big ceremony they deserve.

We had an overwhelming response to our call for photos and messages.

Since we couldn’t put all of the grads on the show, we created a special photo wall so we could congratulate as many as possible.

See the photos here: Class of 2020

All the best in the future to the Grads of 2020!