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Town turns out for Movement of Hope

By Joel van der Veen DAVIDSON — As hundreds of people hit the streets of Davidson on Sunday afternoon, they had a vivid illustration of why they were there. Erin Gust, a brain tumour patient and the organizer of Sunday’s run-walk-bike event, was among the walkers at the Movement of Hope. “The 1K was a little

Just the beginning for Davidson’s graduating class

By Joel van der Veen DAVIDSON — Thirteen years ago, they entered Davidson Elementary School as blank books, stories waiting to be written. Now, 2,275 school days later, they’re ready for the next step. As valedictorian Andrew Read addressed his classmates and an audience of more than 300 last weekend, he reminded them of how

Renos continue at Craik fairgrounds as Lions plan summer event

By Joel van der Veen CRAIK — A $75,000 grant from Federated Co-op Ltd. will provide a major boost to ongoing renovations at the Craik fairgrounds. The funds, provided from the company’s Community Spaces Program, will be spent on upgrades at the site, including renovations to the agricultural building, concession stand and one of the ball

Goats add playful twist to yoga class

By Joel van der Veen BLADWORTH —  A herd of goats, a yoga mat, and thou. These were the ingredients for a unique experience at the farm of Mary Smillie and Ian McCreary at Bladworth on Monday night. Around 45 people visited the farm for a session of “goat yoga,” led by local instructor Lois

Excitement grows for pool’s opening

By Joel van der Veen DAVIDSON —  Swimmers in Davidson are counting down the days until the town’s new pool officially opens. Jessica Foster, a founding member of the swimming pool committee and now also a town councillor, said she’s been stopping by the pool on a daily basis to see the progress. “Every day

Town turns out for Movement of Hope

Erin Gust and her family — including her kids Will, Eva (obscured) and Georgia, and her mother Pat Dougan — push the Davidson town bell to mark the start of the Movement of Hope on June 11.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — As hundreds of people hit the streets of Davidson on Sunday afternoon, they had a vivid illustration of why they were there.

Erin Gust, a brain tumour patient and the organizer of Sunday’s run-walk-bike event, was among the walkers at the Movement of Hope.

“The 1K was a little harder than I thought it was going to be,” she said afterward.

Gust, who has undergone surgery and radiation treatment and is now in the midst of chemotherapy, was easy to spot with her shaven head.

Her condition also affects her walk, giving her a noticeable limp. The tumour’s location on the left side of her motor strip means it affects the right side of her body.

In spite of this, Gust wore a smile for much of the day, clearly thrilled at the turnout and the results.

The June 11 event raised around $22,000 for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, which provides support for medical research and also offers programs and resources for patients and their families.

“This is amazing,” Gust said as she surveyed the crowd gathered in the auditorium of Davidson Town Hall.

She was joined by much of her family, including her husband Billy and their children William, Eva and Georgia, and her parents Stuart and Pat Dougan.

Participants had the option of walking, biking or running on either a 1-km, 3-km or 5-km route. Arrows were painted on Davidson’s streets to guide them in the right direction.

Registration was held in the town hall auditorium, with the crowd moving outside to the starting line around 2 p.m.

Gust and her family used the town bell to mark the start of the run, with dozens of blue balloons being released at the same time.

“Our love is in the air today, and that’s what our balloons signify,” said organizer Karen Reich.

For the full story, please see the June 19 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Just the beginning for Davidson’s graduating class

Davidson School held its annual graduation exercises on June 10.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Thirteen years ago, they entered Davidson Elementary School as blank books, stories waiting to be written.

Now, 2,275 school days later, they’re ready for the next step.

As valedictorian Andrew Read addressed his classmates and an audience of more than 300 last weekend, he reminded them of how far they’ve come and the highs and lows they’ve faced over the years.

“This is where we first solved one plus one, and then a few years later, we learned to solve for x, and there isn’t even any number,” he recalled.

Though the graduates are excited for what’s to come, Read noted the importance of the foundation they’ve received: “The beginning is the most important part.”

On June 10, Davidson School honoured the 17 students who make up the class of 2017, holding its annual graduation exercises in the gymnasium.

Arlene Low served as mistress of ceremonies. She donned a red-and-white striped hat for the occasion, mimicking the Cat in the Hat, and read all her lines in rhyme, a la Dr. Seuss.

Paulette Killoh introduced the graduates one by one, while vice-principal Cathy Rettger and trustee John Collins presented the diplomas.

Geena Heinrich sang “O Canada,” followed by the principal’s remarks.

Jason Low recalled his own graduation ceremony (HOW MANY YEARS AGO) and talked about the “bubble” that surrounds students as they make their way through school.

“Inside this bubble you feel invincible,” he said. “You feel like the buble is going to be with you your whole life.”

Inevitably, though, the bubble bursts, and graduates must find their own paths, he said.

He offered some advice to the grads and also recognized their efforts, as well as the contributions of parents and staff who guided them to this point.

Concluding his speech, Low made note of Murad Al-Katib, who graduated from Davidson High School in 1990, and who had won the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 award the same day as the grad.

“Sitting here on this stage today, anything is possible,” said Low, following a round of applause from the audience.

A highlight of the ceremony was a brief presentation made by Shawn Spencer and Barrett Prettyshield, two band council members from Carry the Kettle First Nation, located an hour east of Regina.

They came to present a colourful star blanket to graduate Jade Thomson, a member of their band, in honour of her achievement.

“We jumped on our horses,” joked Spencer, drawing laughs from the audience. “I think the only business I’ve ever had in Davidson was grabbing a Teen Burger and heading to Saskatoon . . . (but) it’s a beautiful town.”

Speaking later to the Leader, Spencer said the council has made a practice of recognizing its members for their achievements at various levels.

He expressed their appreciation to the school and community for providing Thomson with her education.

For the full story, please see the June 19 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Renos continue at Craik fairgrounds as Lions plan summer event

Members of the Craik and District Lions Club were on hand Thursday to accept a cheque for $75,000 for upgrades to the Craik fairgrounds from Co-op Community Spaces.

By Joel van der Veen

CRAIK — A $75,000 grant from Federated Co-op Ltd. will provide a major boost to ongoing renovations at the Craik fairgrounds.

The funds, provided from the company’s Community Spaces Program, will be spent on upgrades at the site, including renovations to the agricultural building, concession stand and one of the ball diamonds.

Gayle Skeet said there are also plans to build a new ticket booth at the entrance to the 23-acre site, as well as an entertainment stage, to be known as the Co-op stage.

“The grant is going to be spent for the betterment of the community,” said Skeet, secretary of the Craik and District Lions Club, which is taking charge of the project.

Members of the local club were on hand Thursday evening to accept the five-figure cheque from two Palliser Plains Co-op representatives: general manager Mike Sigouin and board member Mark Wegner.

“It’s important that we give back and make investments in our community and people, which is what Co-op Community Spaces is all about,” Sigouin said in a prepared statement.

The Community Spaces program supports recreation, environmental conservation and urban agriculture projects. A total of 27 projects are being supported through the program this year, receiving a combined total of $2 million.

The Craik and District Lions Club has seen significant growth in the past five years, growing from six to 24 members.

Club members are getting ready for the second annual Craik Fair, following the success of last year’s event.

The year 2017 marks 100 years of Lions International, and the club has selected the fairgrounds as its Legacy Project.

The Craik Fair, scheduled for Saturday, July 29, will expand this year with the addition of a gymkhana event, organized by a resurrected Craik Ag Committee.

For the full story, please see the June 19 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Goats add playful twist to yoga class

Janelle Shewchuk (left) and Julie Nykiforuk sit in a lotus pose during a goat yoga class on Monday.

By Joel van der Veen

BLADWORTH —  A herd of goats, a yoga mat, and thou.

These were the ingredients for a unique experience at the farm of Mary Smillie and Ian McCreary at Bladworth on Monday night.

Around 45 people visited the farm for a session of “goat yoga,” led by local instructor Lois Dueck.

It’s exactly what the name suggests: a yoga class given inside the goats’ pen, with the animals freely walking around, nibbling on grass and sometimes getting up close and personal with the participants.

Dueck, who has been teaching yoga for 12 years, said she wasn’t sure what to expect heading into Monday evening.

She had visited the farm previously to meet the herd and said she found it easy to warm up to the goats, who seemed to have a calming effect.

“It brought all levels and ages together, and that was very cool,” said Dueck. “Being outside was very nice, too.”

Dueck remarked that she’d expected the goats to be more curious, noting that they were drawing closer to the yoga group as the evening went on.

The goats appeared comfortable despite the presence of the large group. Some drew close enough to be petted or held, or to nibble on a participant’s shoelace. Occasionally a few of the goats would startle, leading to a brief, harmless stampede.

“People really have to try it to know what it’s like,” said Dueck. “I’d be up for doing it again, for sure.”

Smillie began raising goats six years ago, starting with 12 animals. Currently, her herd includes 30 nanny goats, 14 replacement doelings (one year old) and 42 kids.

The event was inspired by videos of goat yoga that were recently posted online. To Smillie, goats and yoga sounded like a natural pairing.

“Yoga should be about feeling good and relaxing,” said Smillie. “It seemed to work.”

She contacted Dueck, who was immediately on board. She said afterward that she was pleased with the response, adding that several more would have come if not for prior commitments.

More sessions are planned for the future, said Smillie, adding that she would appreciate feedback from those who attended the first.

For the full story, please see the June 12 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Excitement grows for pool’s opening

Davidson’s new pool is expected to be ready for public swimming by June 19.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON —  Swimmers in Davidson are counting down the days until the town’s new pool officially opens.

Jessica Foster, a founding member of the swimming pool committee and now also a town councillor, said she’s been stopping by the pool on a daily basis to see the progress.

“Every day there’s people who’ll stop and visit with me,” she said. “I think the whole community’s been watching every step of this.”

Recreation director Trevor Ouellette said Friday that the pool’s opening, originally scheduled for June 16, would be delayed slightly due to equipment issues.

The town is aiming to have the pool ready for use for Monday, June 19.

He said Friday that the delay was due to “technical issues with the mechanical system not being ready to go,” and declined to elaborate.

Previously, Ouellette said he’s also happy to have reached this point, though he’ll feel a little more at ease once the pool has been operating for a few weeks and the proper chemistry has been achieved.

An official grand opening ceremony will be held at the Hamilton Street facility on June 30.

Workers filled the pool with water between Monday and Tuesday. Its total capacity is roughly 690,000 litres, and its deep end is 3.75 metres deep.

Sod is being laid alongside the pool, while grass is being seeded further away.

The fence around the pool, a key requirement for health and safety regulators, was completed the morning of June 2. It stands eight feet high, with a foot-and-a-half of barbed wire at the top.

The diving board, three metres high, was installed last week. Anti-bacterial, anti-slip flooring was installed in the poolhouse in May.

The facility is officially known as the Panther Swimming Pool, in honour of its largest sponsor.

Panther Industries donated $250,000 towards the project. The company’s logo has been installed on the floor at the entrance to the poolhouse.

Another major sponsor, the Kinsmen Club of Davidson, is also being recognized with its logos being placed in both change rooms, on the floor near the exits to the pool.

Guests arriving at the pool will enter through the poolhouse, which houses the office, change rooms, and the mechanical and chemical room.

From the front entrance, the office is straight ahead, along with two family change rooms. The men’s change room is to the left and the women’s is on the right.

The bright, spacious new building is a radical departure from the old poolhouse, which was small, dimly lit and not easily accessible for those with limited mobility.

The new building is fully accessible, as is the pool itself, thanks to the beach-style entry at the northeast end.

A sponsor wall will be installed adjacent to the office, providing information about the project and listing platinum, gold and silver sponsors.

The mechanical and chemical room is located at the west end of the building, taking up about 15 per cent of the overall space. The poolhouse has a total floor space of 1,731 square feet.

“We tried the best we can to have a zero-maintenance building,” said Ouellette, noting that the PVC walls inside don’t require painting.

For the full story, please see the June 12 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Loreburn’s cenotaph restored after 90 years

Legion members, RCMP officers and dignitaries pose following the rededication ceremony for Loreburn’s cenotaph on June 6.

By Joel van der Veen

LOREBURN — In 1927, veterans from Loreburn and area built a monument to their fallen comrades in the centre of their village.

They had hauled rocks — likely from the Wankel farm, west of town — and constructed the stone memorial at the corner of Main Street and Saskatchewan Avenue, near the brick schoolhouse.

Ninety years later, residents of the village gathered to rededicate their cenotaph, and to remember and honour the fallen.

Thirteen men are commemorated on the monument — 11 casualties from the First World War, and two from the Second World War.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, Rev. Ursula Wiig spoke of the importance of continuing to remember their sacrifice.

Recalling the horror of conflicts past and present, she added, “We also want to dedicate ourselves to making a better world.”

The 90-year-old monument was recently refurbished by local volunteers, ensuring it will continue to serve its purpose for years to come.

Andy Wong and his wife May led the repairs, removing and replacing the mortar, which had deteriorated over time. Also, the plaques were cleaned and the letters were repainted by Sue Ann Abbott.

The project cost roughly $1,200, about half of which was covered by a grant from Veterans Affairs Canada. The rest of the costs were covered by the branch’s Poppy Trust Fund and by the village itself.

Around 140 people gathered Tuesday morning for the ceremony. This included close to 100 students from Loreburn Central School, who walked to the site for the occasion.

The date, June 6, was chosen as the 73rd anniversary of the landing at Normandy, popularly known as D-Day.

Joe Sitavanc, president of Loreburn-Elbow Branch No. 251 of the Royal Canadian Legion, served as emcee.

For the full story, please see the June 12 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.