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Canada Post to staff: Stop sorting mail by hand

By Joel van der Veen DAVIDSON — Canada Post is cracking down on rural postal employees sorting mail by hand. The company says all mail received at rural post offices like Davidson must be sent to a regional centre — in this case, Regina — to be sorted automatically. A Canada Post spokesperson said the corporation...

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Kerpans, MADD unveil roadside memorial

By Joel van der Veen KENASTON — For the family and friends of Danille Kerpan, three years has done little to relieve the pain of her untimely death. “It’s a feeling and a situation you can’t possibly describe,” her brother Josh said Tuesday. “If I could bottle it up and give it to everybody, to...

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McNabb, Knights pay tribute to Vegas heroes

By Joel van der Veen LAS VEGAS — As they took the ice for their home opener, the Vegas Golden Knights paid tribute to the men and women who answered the call during their city’s darkest hour. The NHL team opened Tuesday’s game with a ceremony honouring the city of Las Vegas, the victims of...

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Young’s chips in for Davidson’s new Zamboni

By Joel van der Veen DAVIDSON — A local ag equipment dealer is chipping in more than $40,000 towards the cost of a new Zamboni for the Davidson rink. Young’s Equipment — the province’s largest Case IH dealer, with branches in nine locations including Davidson and Chamberlain — recently entered a sponsorship agreement with the town....

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“There’s a lot of broken hearts”: Family, friends mourn Hanley teen

By Joel van der Veen HANLEY — The life of the party. An adventurer. A true friend. In the days since Drew Kolbeck’s death, countless family and friends have shared their memories of the Hanley teen.  Some of these came in the form of posts to his Facebook page. “I’ll miss your crazy dance moves...

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Canada Post to staff: Stop sorting mail by hand

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Canada Post is cracking down on rural postal employees sorting mail by hand.

The company says all mail received at rural post offices like Davidson must be sent to a regional centre — in this case, Regina — to be sorted automatically.

A Canada Post spokesperson said the corporation is simply enforcing an existing policy, and that there haven’t been any changes to the rules.

“To confirm, this is not a new process for Davidson or other rural post offices in your area,” Phil Legault said in an email to the Leader.

At a recent district meeting, rural employees were reminded of the policy, which is intended to standardize services for all customers.

The policy applies to all outgoing mail, whether it’s going to a post office box in Davidson or across the country.

“All mail, regardless of the address or destination, is to be handled and processed the same way to give all customers equal service and standards,” Legault said.

“We have high-speed sorting equipment that allows us to sort the mail faster than the manual sort that was being done locally.”

In practice, a letter mailed at the Davidson post office for delivery within Davidson would often be delivered the same day, as employees took the liberty of sorting those pieces of mail manually.

The added step of transporting the mail to Regina and back will delay the receipt of that mail by at least one or two days.

Canada Post’s website indicates the standard delivery time for local lettermail is two days.

Legault said Canada Post holds regular meetings with employees to review proper mail handling and processing procedures. The existing policy was “noted” at a recent meeting, he said.

Brenda McAuley, national president for the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said the policy puts rural employees in an awkward position, as they try to provide the best customer service.

“They’re the front-line employees, they’re the ones who have to face the customers,” she told the Leader on Friday. “It’s a hard line.”

By telling their rural employees not to sort local mail, McAuley said Canada Post is effectively taking work away from them.

At the same time, McAuley said she understands the company’s position, as they seek to standardize service and also to ensure all mail is being properly counted and sequenced.

McAuley herself was formerly the postmaster in Capreol, Ont., a small town north of Sudbury, and had to follow a similar directive from Canada Post.

She said she was inclined to follow the rules, but at the same time, if someone came in to mail a birthday card to an address in Capreol, “that birthday card wasn’t going to Sudbury.”

“My position has to be, they have to listen to the corporation,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to see a member get in trouble because they’re sorting local mail.”

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Kerpans, MADD unveil roadside memorial

The family of Danille Kerpan unveils the signs for a roadside memorial to Kerpan during a ceremony near Bladworth on Oct. 10.

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — For the family and friends of Danille Kerpan, three years has done little to relieve the pain of her untimely death.

“It’s a feeling and a situation you can’t possibly describe,” her brother Josh said Tuesday. “If I could bottle it up and give it to everybody, to have a sip and understand, that alone would eradicate drunk driving.”

Danille, 25, was killed Oct. 10, 2014 in a collision on Highway 11 south of Bladworth, when her vehicle collided headfirst with a truck headed north in a southbound lane.

The driver of that truck, found to have a blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit, was later sentenced to four years in prison.

Danille was one of 59 people killed in Saskatchewan that year in auto collisions in which alcohol was a factor.

Last week, signs were installed on Highway 11 marking the site of that crash, as a permanent memorial to Danille and a reminder to the hundreds of drivers who pass the site daily.

The signs were unveiled at a ceremony held the afternoon of Oct. 10 at the Kowalski farm shop southeast of Bladworth, roughly a half-mile east of the crash site.

About 45 people were in attendance, including her parents, other family members, dignitaries, media and local first responders.

While roadside memorials for victims of impaired driving have been installed in other provinces over the last two decades, this is only the second one in Saskatchewan.

The first was installed on Aug. 29 north of Saskatoon in memory of Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst and their two children, who were killed in a 2016 collision.

Danille’s parents, Allan and Melanie Kerpan, both spoke during the ceremony.

“There’s still not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Danille and what might have been,” said Melanie, who was initially opposed to having a permanent reminder at the collision site.

She later changed her mind, in hopes that Danille’s story would wake people up to the tragic results of impaired driving.

“People passing it would know that a life was lost at that spot,” she said. “That’s the hope for what we are doing . . . It becomes a real person.”

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McNabb, Knights pay tribute to Vegas heroes

By Joel van der Veen

LAS VEGAS — As they took the ice for their home opener, the Vegas Golden Knights paid tribute to the men and women who answered the call during their city’s darkest hour.

The NHL team opened Tuesday’s game with a ceremony honouring the city of Las Vegas, the victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting, and the heroes who responded in the face of tragedy.

As each player skated onto the ice, one by one, they were joined by firefighters, police and health professionals.

First on the ice was Davidson native and Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb, who was accompanied by firefighter Ben Cole.

Speaking to the Leader on Thursday, McNabb said it was an emotional experience and a memorable way to open their first home game of the season.

“It definitely gave us energy,” he said. “It was a cool thing to be part of.”

The ceremony included 58 seconds of silence, in honour of the 58 people killed by a single gunman during a country music festival in Vegas on Oct. 1.

The victims’ names were projected on the ice during the ceremony, while survivors of the event participated in the puck drop at the game’s start.

Deryk Engelland, who played as McNabb’s defensive partner for the season’s first three games, paid tribute to Las Vegas on Tuesday.

“I met my wife here, my kids were born here, and I know how special this city is,” he said, adding later to the survivors of the victims, “We’ll do everything we can to help you and our city heal.”

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Young’s chips in for Davidson’s new Zamboni

Trevor Ouellette, recreation director for the Town of Davidson, and Cliff Cross, a sales representative for Young’s Equipment, stand next to a new Zamboni ice resurfacer. The machine was delivered to the Davidson rink on Thursday.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — A local ag equipment dealer is chipping in more than $40,000 towards the cost of a new Zamboni for the Davidson rink.

Young’s Equipment — the province’s largest Case IH dealer, with branches in nine locations including Davidson and Chamberlain — recently entered a sponsorship agreement with the town.

The company’s advertising will be featured prominently on a wrap affixed to the outside of the new Zamboni.

“It’s great visibility,” said Cliff Cross, a sales representative for Young’s in Davidson. “It’s probably one of the better things you could put out there for sponsorship.”

Cross was at the rink on Thursday morning for the delivery of the machine, a Zamboni 525 ice resurfacer built in 2011.

Young’s will contribute a total of $42,000 over the next six years.

Cross said the company had proposed the idea a couple of times, adding that they have similar agreements in place in both Weyburn and Moose Jaw.

The proposal got a warm response from the current council, paving the way for an agreement between the town and the company.

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Team behind “Milton’s Secret” visits Davidson

Ryan Lockwood and Stephen Huszar, co-producers of “Milton’s Secret.”

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Bullying and mental health aren’t the easiest subjects to raise with kids and teens.

But producers of the film Milton’s Secret say they hope it will serve as a starting point for some crucial conversations.

The film, released last year, was co-produced by Davidson native Ryan Lockwood.

He and his co-producer, Stephen Huszar, visited Davidson School on Oct. 2 as part of a presentation, focusing on mental health, bullying and mindfulness.

Students in grades 4 through 12 were in attendance for the presentation in the school gym, which included a video preview of the film and a Q&A session with the producers.

Students from Craik travelled to Davidson on Monday for the presentation, while others in Loreburn watched the proceedings online through a live video feed.

Both presentations were organized by Stephanie Prpick-Boss, who grew up in the Davidson area, later spending 20 years in the Northwest Territories before relocating to Saskatoon seven years ago.

Prpick-Boss had attended school with Lockwood, but the two lost touch after graduation.

They reconnected four years ago, when Lockwood had reached out to Prpick-Boss online as he began crowdfunding for his latest film project.

“As soon as I heard that, I phoned him up,” said Prpick-Boss. “From then on, it’s been a great journey.”

She advised the students to cherish and embrace their communities, as well as to follow their dreams and embrace the arts.

Principal Jason Low introduced Lockwood, who graduated from Davidson in 1991.

“We sat here in the school together,” recalled Low, who graduated a couple of years later. “I stayed, and he’s out making movies now.”

Lockwood and Huszar met while attending the University of Saskatchewan. Eleven years ago, they formed the production company Hulo Films.

Milton’s Secret is based on the book by Robert S. Friedman and Eckhart Tolle.

It tells the story of Milton, a 12-year-old boy who is anxious about his family’s future and plagued by bullying at school.

His life changes when he connects with his grandfather, played by Donald Sutherland, and witnesses his unorthodox approach to life.

Huszar, who is also an actor and currently appearing in the series Letterkenny, said the script went through 48 drafts before production began.

The film also features William Ainscough as Milton, along with actress Michelle Rodriguez, best known for her appearances in the Fast and Furious series.

Huszar met Rodriguez at a party and convinced her to join the project. When actors are passionate about a subject, he remarked, “they’ll jump on board.”

The film made its premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival on Sept. 30, 2016, and has since been released internationally.

The company has donated a DVD copy of the movie to the school, as well as a link to watch the movie online. An educational guide has also been developed for teachers to use in sharing the film with their students.

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Obituary: McKenzie, Sharon

Sharon McKenzie

Sharon Carol McKenzie was born at Kamsack on Feb. 20, 1947 to Andy and Mabel Nordmarken. Sharon passed away Sept. 12, 2017 in Prince Albert. A Celebration of Life service took place at All Saints Anglican Church, Davidson on Sept. 27, 2017, and another in Pierceland on Sept. 30, 2017 at the Community Hall.

Sharon attended school in Davidson and graduated in 1965. She went into teaching and her career spanned nearly 40 years.

She was predeceased by her parents Andy and Mabel Nordmarken, her in-laws Ida and Angus McKenzie, brother-in-law Don McKenzie, sister-in-law Rose and her husband Mickey, nephew Terry Wees, and her special little dog Mattie.

She is survived by her husband Les and their dog Tobie, twin sister Shirley and Tom Blenkin, Ferne and Russell Wees, nieces Tracey Blenkin, Shelley Pelletier and Diane Cherry McCook, nephews Trevor Blenkin and Scott Wees, special great-nephew Thomas Neid Blenkin, sisters-in-law Marilyn and Jerry Hill, Gail McKenzie, Virginia McKenzie and families.