Archive for Davidson

Kerpan family continues campaign against impaired driving

Allan and Melanie Kerpan hold a framed photo of their late daughter Danille at their home near Kenaston. (Leader photo by Joel van der Veen)

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — Days before Danille Kerpan died, she had a conversation with her sister Stefanie, the kind of deep talk the sisters often had.

Danille, then 25, talked about her future goals and the things she wanted to accomplish — including her desire to help at least one person.

More than two years after she was killed by a drunk driver, Danille’s family is working to keep that dream alive.

Her picture is prominently featured in two new campaigns against impaired driving, both of which were unveiled recently.

On May 11, SGI released a new 60-second commercial, featuring family photos of Danille and other victims of impaired drivers.

They are shown surrounded by loved ones. Then their images fade from view, representing the void left behind.

The campaign runs from May 14 to June 16, with the ad appearing online, on TV and in theatres.

A second campaign, presented by MADD Canada and the RTL-Westcan Group, was launched in Saskatoon on May 17.

Danille’s photo will appear on 40 truck trailers operated by Westcan in Saskatchewan, along with her name, her age when she died and the words, “Killed by an Impaired Driver.”

Through these campaigns, Stefanie said at the Westcan launch, her sister still has the opportunity to accomplish that dream.

“Thank you, Westcan, for giving Danille the platform to do just what she wanted — to not only change lives, but to save them,” she said.

* * * * *

Allan and Melanie Kerpan live in the same farmhouse west of Kenaston where they raised their four children: Joshua, Tyrel, Stefanie and Danille.

Family photos adorn many of the walls, and images of Danille, from childhood through adolescence to early adulthood, are everywhere.

Some of her keepsakes and possessions are also on display. One item, a description of herself written as a Grade 12 student, seems poignant now, especially in certain parts: “I worry that I will not stay young forever.”

For the Kerpans, the house itself is filled with memories old and new. They now have three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way.

Melanie, a teacher who works from the Distance Learning Centre in Kenaston, said it can be overwhelming when the rest of the family is home. Generally, though, she finds it a source of comfort.

“I feel her here all the time,” she said. “I don’t find it overwhelming. I find it comforting.”

Allan, a farmer and a former MP and MLA, said he struggled with seeing Danille’s face at first.

“The first few days or weeks, I couldn’t look at the pictures without crying,” he said. “Now I’m glad they’re here.”

Danille died Oct. 10, 2014 in a head-on collision on Highway 11 just south of Bladworth, when her vehicle collided with a truck headed north in a southbound lane.

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

The driver later pled guilty to impaired driving causing death. He was sentenced to four years in prison and will be prohibited from driving for seven years after his release.

Two-and-a-half years after Danille’s death, the Kerpans face constant reminders that life has changed.

“There is no more normal,” Allan said. “You look at everything differently than you did before.”

He recalled how friends and neighbours appeared to act differently around them, especially in the first year — unsure if they could approach them or talk to them about it.

Gradually, Allan said, people seem more comfortable raising the subject with them, especially as they have stepped into the role of advocates.

In the last couple of years, the Kerpans have made presentations in area schools and become more involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

To read the full story, please see the May 29 edition of The Davidson Leader. To subscribe, contact The Davidson Leader, 306-567-2047.

Gust takes cancer fight to the streets

Erin Gust (centre) had her head shaved in March as she underwent treatment for a brain tumour. Offering their support are (from left) Jill Gust, Erin’s daughter Georgia, and her sister-in-law Erin Kinder.
(Contributed photo)

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — After she was diagnosed with a brain tumour last fall, Erin Gust began the fight of her life.

Now she’s taking that fight to the streets of Davidson, and inviting the rest of the community to join her.

Gust is organizing a fundraiser, The Movement of Hope, for June 11, with proceeds going to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Participants are invited to walk, bike or run the route of their choice — either 1 km, 3 km or 5 km.

Registration will begin at 1 p.m. at Davidson Town Hall, with the participants leaving at 2 p.m.

Gust, 35, said she feels well enough to walk despite some continuing issues with her right leg: “I’m probably only doing the 1K.”

Seven months ago, she visited her family doctor, Dr. Lang, after experiencing weakness in that leg. He immediately referred her to a neurologist, who sent her for an MRI scan at the beginning of November.

Within a couple of days, Gust was told that doctors had found a tumour and were recommending a biopsy.

Gust underwent surgery on Dec. 5, when doctors removed an anaplastic astrocytoma, a grade-III tumour.

She began radiation treatment in February and finished on April 10.

Currently she is undergoing chemotherapy, taking medication in five-day stretches followed by three-week breaks.

Gust said she will continue on this regimen for six to 12 of these cycles, while also undergoing MRI scans on a regular basis.

She said she has handled the treatment well, adding, “Actually, I’ve been really lucky . . . I’ve been pretty much side-effect free.”

She said her family, including her husband Billy and their three children, have dealt with the situation really well.

When Gust shaved her head in March, several family members did the same as a sign of solidarity, including her sisters-in-law Erin Kinder and Aileen Martin, their cousin Jill Gust, and her mother-in-law Lorraine Gust.

“The support we’re receiving from the entire community has been absolutely overwhelming,” she said. “There’s no way we could do this on our own, and we haven’t had to.”

To read the full story, please see the May 29 edition of The Davidson Leader. To subscribe, contact The Davidson Leader, 306-567-2047.

Al-Katib receives Business for Peace award at Oslo gala

Murad Al-Katib, CEO of AGT Food and Ingredients, received the Business for Peace award in Oslo on May 16. He is pictured here with Darla Lindberg, CEO of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.

By Joel van der Veen

REGINA — Murad Al-Katib’s career has taken him around the world, but at the same time he’s always stayed close to his roots.

Al-Katib, 44, is the president and founder of AGT Food and Ingredients, which distributes lentils, chickpeas and other pulse crops to more than 120 countries around the world.

“We’re in the business of feeding the world,” said Al-Katib, who was born and raised in Davidson.

He maintains close connections in the area, saying it plays a very important role in his business, which posted $2.1-billion in revenue last year.

Al-Katib made headlines this spring when he was announced as one of four recipients of the Business for Peace award.

The awards were presented in a ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo, Norway on May 16.

He was the first Canadian to receive the award, which places him in highly prestigious company, alongside other honourees like Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk.

He was nominated by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, whose CEO, Darla Lindbjerg, also attended the ceremony.

During the dinner, Al-Katib found himself hobnobbing with global leaders like Haakon, crown prince of Norway, and former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. (The latter was responsible for chairing the Brundtland Commission and its pioneering 1987 report on sustainable development.)

The citation recognized contributions made by Al-Katib and his company to sustainable agriculture and to providing food for millions affected by the Syrian refugee crisis.

AGT is a major partner with the United Nations World Food Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Though their efforts, more than 4.5 million parcels of essential food items were distributed to refugee families, equivalent to roughly 700 million meals.

Al-Katib said these projects are evidence of how companies can effectively address the issues facing society as a whole.

“Business leaders doing their business in a socially responsible way is what will contribute to advancing society,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs will be the ones who will solve problems like clean drinking water, pollution and food security . . . It’s not going to be governments.”

To read the full story, please see the May 29 edition of The Davidson Leader. To subscribe, contact The Davidson Leader.

Tip jar emptied twice by SARCAN burglars

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — A recycling facility in Davidson was the target of two break-ins in a span of just over two weeks.

According to a press release issued by the Craik RCMP detachment, the SARCAN facility at the north end of town was entered in the early morning hours of April 30.

The building was entered again 16 days later on the morning of May 16.

Both times, police said, the culprit or culprits stole the contents of the tip jar, the proceeds from which are divided among employees.

Debbie Vicente, who manages the Davidson facility, said she was unable to comment on the incidents due to corporate policy.

The SARCAN facility has been in operation locally since 1988 and is operated by Interlake Human Resources.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact Craik RCMP at 306-734-5200 or Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Student athletes hot on the track despite cold weather

Competitors in the bantam boys 100-metre dash included Sam Thomson (far left) and Connor George (second from right) of Kenaston, and Logan Nelson-Schneider of Davidson (far right).

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — A chilly spring day greeted young athletes from around the district as they gathered at Davidson School on Wednesday.

Davidson hosted eight other schools, including nearby Kenaston and Loreburn, in the east sectional track and field meet.

Paulette Killoh, one of the staff organizers, said the events ran on schedule for the most part.

Davidson hosts every three years, she noted, adding, “Every time you host you get a little better at it.”

Though the skies were sunny and clear, the temperature hovered between 5°C and 10°C for much of the day, and wind was also a constant presence.

Athletes, supervisors and spectators were bundled up warmly, some wrapping themselves in blankets and sleeping bags to guard against the frigid air.

Volunteers had to keep a close watch on the track during the hurdles events as the hurdles themselves were prone to falling over in the wind.

Killoh said they decided to hold the high jump in the high school gym, to avoid having similar problems with the bar.

It was a successful day for many of Davidson’s athletes, several of whom enjoyed first-place finishes in multiple events.

For the bantam girls, Maggie Boehm took first place in both the 100-m dash and the triple jump.

Among the midget girls, Jordan Matheson was first in the 100-m dash, long jump and triple jump, while Tylar Oliver was tops in both the 200-m and 400-m events.

Nolan Allan was first in three bantam boys events: the 100-m dash, high jump and long jump. Deiondre Boychuk led in the 400-m and 800-m events, while Hunter Herback was first in both discus throw and javelin throw.

Clay Murfitt, competing in the junior boys division, took first in the 100-m dash, 100-m hurdles and shot put.

For the senior boys, Jacob Schilling led in the 400-m and 800-m events.

Loreburn’s Anika Lakinger took first in shot put and javelin throw for the bantam girls, while Abigail Graham led in the 80-m hurdles and triple jump for the junior girls.

The top six competitors in each event are invited to move on to the district meet, which will be held the weekend of May 26 and 27 in Outlook.

Killoh said some Davidson athletes who qualified for districts would be unable to compete due to other commitments such as hockey or volleyball.

For the full story, detailed results and additional photos, please see the May 22 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Town to consider business licenses

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — A new bylaw to license businesses in town will be on the table at Davidson’s next council meeting.

The bylaw would target businesses that aren’t currently paying commercial property tax in town, such as home-based and online operations.

During their regular meeting on Tuesday, councillors discussed some of the bylaws in use in other towns.

Mayor Tyler Alexander said a bylaw would bring in revenue while also enabling the town to track such businesses for promotional purposes.

“I agree personally that we should do something,” said the mayor, suggesting that a bylaw could be enacted by council soon to take effect at the start of next year.

Alexander expressed approval for the bylaw currently in effect in Outlook, where fees for business licenses generally range between $50 and $150 per year.

Administrator Gary Edom agreed to prepare a draft of a bylaw for council’s approval at the June meeting.

The subject of an updated business license bylaw has been discussed by council on and off over the past couple of years.

Bylaw 352, “The Licensing Bylaw,” was passed by council in April 1981, under Mayor Milan Puckett and administrator Bud Larson.

The bylaw officially remains on the books, although it has not been enforced in decades and is now outdated. Edom said it is due to be repealed.

The licensing bylaw required tradespeople, businessmen and operators to register and pay a license fee in order to carry on business within the town.

It makes provision for a license inspector to carry out enforcement, and sets out fees for everything from ambulances ($1 per year) to piano tuners ($10).

For our full report from town council, please see the May 22 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.