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West Nile Virus approaching Heartland Health Region

The risk of contracting West Nile Virus is at its peak over these last few weeks of summer and health officials want to remind people that proper prevention along with remaining vigilant are the best weapons to avoid becoming sick.

Dr. David Torr, consulting medical health officer for the Heartland Health Region, said a human case of West Nile Virus has been confirmed in southeastern Saskatchewan this year and the history of the virus indicates it flows from east westward. He said there are already positive pools of West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes in Regina and in the Five Hills Health Region, so it is only a matter of time before it comes to Heartland and people need to protect themselves from getting bit.

“This is sort of a tricky time when some of the nuisance mosquitoes are diminishing in numbers and people tend to focus on the nuisance mosquitoes whereas the Culex tarsalis (West Nile Virus carrying mosquito) is more of a quiet biter,” said Torr. “It’s not like the nuisance mosquitoes that are sort of very distinct and very noticeable. It tends to bite in the dusk and in the dawn time periods and especially in the evening when people are sitting outside.”

Torr said the Culex tarsalis also thrives in the hot weather conditions that this area has experienced over the past month, so the expectation is the number of these mosquitoes flying around is high. He said the likelihood of more mosquitoes out there means more are feeding on West Nile Virus infected birds and then more humans are going to be bitten by the subsequently infected mosquitoes.

Davidson resident Gloria Morrison found a dead crow under a fir tree on her Garfield Street property last Monday and said she immediately thought of West Nile Virus. She said they haven’t decided what to do about the bird yet, but may send the crow to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) to get it tested.

Dr. Trent Bollinger, a veterinarian with CWHC at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, said they have confirmed one dead crow found near Allan in early August died from West Nile Virus. He said they have also determined a dead Red-Tailed Hawk found in Saskatoon this summer also had the disease.

To read more please see the September 1 print edition of The Davidson Leader.

Rising ice rental fees force Davidson JAA to explore financing options

Members of the Junior Athletic Association (JAA) are exploring their financing options after the Town of Davidson recreation office raised the ice rental fees they charge the JAA for this upcoming season.

Leah Herback, treasurer of the JAA, said the association pays a flat rate per team to the town for ice rental and that is going up by $2,500 this year to bring the total amount charged to the association to around $14,500 for the year. She said members of the JAA now have to decide what plan of action they need to take this season to offset that added cost.

Herback said the JAA raises money to pay this ice rental charge through player registration fees, putting on tournaments and charging fans at the door who come to watch the games. All money that is raised through kitchen sales at the rink goes directly to the town.

She said this added $2,500 charge to the JAA doesn’t necessarily mean player fees are going up this season, as they will try to find ways with their other two money-raising options to make up the difference. Herback added the addition of a midget hockey team in Davidson this winter should also help bring in more funds to the association.

“Because we’re having a midget team that will be more hockey in Davidson, so hopefully the door and another tournament will make up for the increase,” said Herback. “Because there will be a lot more midget games going on there will be more revenue from the door.”

Trevor Ouellette, recreation director for the Town of Davidson, said increased ice usage and increased costs to run the ice plant as well as keeping the lights on longer as a result of having a new midget team is the reason for the increase in the JAA ice rental fees. He said the increase is not an attempt to reduce the town’s subsidy to the JAA and they are still paying “probably half” of what other associations in nearby towns such as Watrous are being charged.

Ouellette said ice rental rates charged to the Monday night recreational hockey league is also going up this season, while the Cyclones, Babes on Blades and Tractor Bellies fees are staying the same as last year. The amount charged to out-of-town teams for holding tournaments in Davidson is also going up due to the high demand the town has for their ice and the little time available during the season to rent it out.

To read more please see the September 1 print edition of The Davidson Leader.

RCMP investigate Wee-Too Beach death

An investigation is underway into the recent death of a Wee-Too Beach man found submerged in Last Mountain Lake.

Kam Hay, acting sergeant for the Craik detachment of the RCMP, said members of the local force assisted the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team (URT) and members of the Southey RCMP detachment in locating the remains of the 78-year-old male Aug. 22. The identity of the man is not being released at this time.

The Wee-Too Beach resident was found submerged in water on the west side of Last Mountain Lake near a dock where his belongings were found two days earlier. The Southey RCMP first received a complaint of a boat found adrift on Last Mountain Lake between Fox’s Point and Wee-Too Beach Aug 20 and it was subsequently towed to Rowan’s Ravine Marina.

The boat was identified as belonging to the man. He was not located at his residence and his truck and trailer were found at the boat launch at Wee-Too Beach. An initial search of the shoreline in the area yielded negative results and the URT was called in to continue the search.

“They came out the day before with sonar and attempted that because they have to have three people there…before they can actually go into the water searching,” said Hay. “They tried the sonar the first Thursday and were unsuccessful with the sonar, so then they brought in another diver and were able to go into the water the next day.”

Hay said the divers found the body close to the dock. He said the man was not wearing a life jacket and there is no suspicion of alcohol being involved in the death.

“We’re still trying to investigate what the cause of death was, whether it was accidental or a medical issue (being) probably the two leading suspects, but right now we don’t know exactly what happened,” he said. “There were no witnesses to the event.”

Loreburn prepares for RAVE tournament

Over 200 girls are coming to the Village of Loreburn this weekend with the intent to put on a show for the many community members who make this annual trip to one of the largest volleyball tournaments in rural Saskatchewan possible.

The girls make up the rosters of 16 different senior girls volleyball teams that will be competing in the sixth annual Really Awesome Volleyball Experience (RAVE) tournament held at the Loreburn Rink and Loreburn Central School Sept. 5 and 6. Eight junior boys volleyball and an equal number of junior girls volleyball teams will follow the senior girls into Loreburn on Sept. 13 for the second leg of RAVE.

“It’s just a lot of volleyball,” said Vanessa Tastad, president of the Loreburn Recreation Board and an organizer of the event. “The kids don’t have a lot of breaks. They’re getting a lot of games in and it’s at the start of the year, so that seems to be good.”

Tastad said the Loreburn Recreation Board puts on the tournament in partnership with Loreburn Central School and both split the profits made through RAVE to help fund different initiatives over the following year. She said the board would be using the money from the annual fund-raiser to help cover operating expenses at the Loreburn Rink during the winter season.

Community help from manning the booth to working the gate along with just the initial set-up of the three courts at the rink is key, said Tastad, noting it would not be possible to put on a tournament of this size if it wasn’t for the way residents of Loreburn, Elbow and Strongfield embrace it every year.

“We ask our community people to help fill in shifts for the booth, which is huge because the booth is the big money maker at the event,” she said. “The community does that and we add extra items throughout the tournament, like we try to have more healthy items. We ask the community members then to donate the food to it, so we have fruit cups and veggie bags and perogies.”

Arlene Norrish, an assistant at Loreburn Central School and co-organizer of RAVE, said their portion of the money raised at the tournament helps fund some of the school’s programs and activities they do for the kids during the year. She said they have managed to bring in around $2,000 for each organization in past years at RAVE, but really the main purpose of the tournament is to get the girls together for a volleyball season kick-off.

It’s “mostly teams from within our Sun West School Division, but there are a few from outside our division,” said Norrish. “Loreburn is actually combined with Davidson this year because we (have) a low number of girls. We’ve only got three Loreburn girls for the senior tournament and they are actually playing with Davidson, but they wanted to keep RAVE going and are enthusiastic about coming out and helping to try to keep this tournament alive.”

Sandra Baldwin, coach of the Davidson/Loreburn RaiTecs, said the Loreburn girls and 10 Davidson kids that make up the senior girls volleyball team this season are “very excited” to hit one of the three courts at the rink or the fourth one set up at Loreburn Central School this weekend for their first tournament action of the year.

To read more please see the September 1 print edition of The Davidson Leader.

Forget-me-nots plant memorial for Marjory Crabbe

The memory of Marjory Crabbe will live on thanks to a heartfelt ceremony and dedication at the Coffee Pot planned by the Davidson Forget-me-nots for this September.

“We just wanted to do something, dedicate something, in appreciation for all the work she did,” said Mary Ann Chomyshen, a member of the Forget-me-nots. “We chose the Coffee Pot because it was on the walking trail and she did a lot of walking, Marj, but there was no specific reason. It was just someplace for her.”

The Forget-me-nots, a local group of volunteers dedicated to helping families affected by Alzheimer Disease, have planted a willow tree near the bridge on the walking trail and will unveil a plaque dedicated to the memory of the recently deceased long-time Bladworth resident and Alzheimer help awareness crusader Marj Crabbe at a 1 p.m. ceremony on Sept. 17 before their annual Coffee Break fund-raiser. Crabbe passed away this spring shortly after the sudden death of her beloved husband Jim.

Sandra Zoerb, a fellow member of the Forget-me-nots, said Crabbe was passionate about raising funds for research into helping Alzheimer sufferers due to her own mother’s fight with the disease. She said Crabbe was there at the beginning of the Forget-me-nots, which is an evolution of an earlier Alzheimer counselling group run by Helen Johnson and Phyllis Mason, and her involvement centered mainly on raising money for research into a cure and communicating with affected families about help programs that are in existence.

“She ran with this fund-raiser for the Alzheimer Society through the annual Coffee Break and just made it her own,” said Zoerb. “She took every skill that she had and it just blossomed.”

Zoerb said Crabbe used her computer savvy and friendships to encourage people to support the cause and served as the main contact for business support of the Coffee Break. She was also the one who made sure business staff knew the Forget-me-nots would be at their door on the Coffee Break day with a tray of cookies and a donation container for contributions.

“We tried to make them really good looking trays of cookies and she was a huge part of that,” said Zoerb. “She knew that a good looking tray was important and I don’t know how many dozen sugar cookies with blue icing, that’s the colour for Forget-me-nots, she personally made just so we had a colour splash on each tray that went out to the businesses.”

To read more please see the August 25 print edition of The Davidson Leader.

Bikers ride for child abuse awareness

A great number of Davidson’s children lined its streets earlier this month to demand a safe environment for abused kids and applaud the work of a prospective motorcycle organization with a goal of ensuring this right as they paraded by.

The kids were cheering on the Child Abuse Motorcycle Awareness Ride that made a stop in Davidson Aug. 16 to travel up and down its roads in a parade led by Mayor Clayton Schneider. The 19 Regina-based bikers who took part in the ride from the Queen City to Saskatoon are striving to become the second Canadian chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) to go along with BACA Saskatoon.

“This is outstanding,” said Ron “Trouble” Frigon, as he surveyed the many children who played together in Arnold Park after the motorcycle parade had ended moments earlier. “This is more than we imagined.”

BACA is a non-profit organization that was formed in 1995 in Utah to rally a community there to support a wounded child. The body of bikers who work in conjunction with authorities to protect children has expanded from this first group to include chapters across the United States as well as in Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands and Canada.

The sight of a strong group of burly leather-clad bikers riding in formation though a small town evokes images of the outlaw bike gangs found in “The Wild One” or “Sons of Anarchy” and the parade down Main Street in Davidson under an overcast sky was no different. The light that dispelled this notion was the young kids lining Washington Avenue waving their arms in support as the throng of bikers roared past.

“This all is just people that are for the cause of child abuse awareness,” said Frigon. “It’s a worthy ride. It’s a worthy cause and you know the ride makes people aware.”

Schneider said the BACA cause of empowering children to not be afraid of the world they live in is one that is very dear to his heart. He said it was thus “an honour” to be able to lead the parade through Davidson.

To read more please see the August 25 print edition of The Davidson Leader.