Archive for Elbow

Straker plays to packed house at Elbow’s Civic Centre

Singer-songwriter Jeffery Straker performs during a concert at the Elbow Civic Centre on Sept. 3.

Singer-songwriter Jeffery Straker performs during a concert at the Elbow Civic Centre on Sept. 3.

By Joel van der Veen

ELBOW — Jeffery Straker warned patrons at his concert last weekend not to mess with the lady running the merch table.

Dawn McTavish, his former piano teacher, was lending a hand by selling CDs, T-shirts and other items at the back of the Civic Centre auditorium.

“When I didn’t practise, she cuffed me upside the head,” he joked, “so just keep that in mind.”

Straker, a singer-songwriter and pianist originally from Punnichy, entertained a crowd of more than 100 in Elbow on Sept. 3.

The auditorium was filled nearly to capacity for the evening show, a fundraiser for the village’s community park.

Straker had played in Elbow previously as an opening act at another show, and was welcomed back warmly, with at least one audience member wearing red canvas shoes in imitation of his trademark footwear.

McTavish was Straker’s piano teacher for six years, offering lessons from her farmhouse near Raymore.

She has since retired to Elbow, where she plays piano for the Line 19 Choir. (Their repertoire includes an arrangement of one of Straker’s songs, “Prairie Tune.”)

McTavish described him as a “dream student,” adding, “I shipped him off to Regina when he got too good for me.”

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

Pastures seek plan to curb spurge growth

Pasture manager Ross Sigfusson speaks to guests during a tour of the Willner-Elbow community pastures on June 6.

Pasture manager Ross Sigfusson speaks to guests during a tour of the Willner-Elbow community pastures on June 6.

By Joel van der Veen

ELBOW — There’s no magic bullet, and if they’re going to stop this problem from spreading further, they’ve got to step up their attack.

If the language used by directors of the Willner-Elbow community pastures last week seems aggressive, there’s a good reason for it.

Leafy spurge was the focus of a public tour of the pastures, held the afternoon of June 6.

Despite efforts to control the invasive spurge, the noxious weed has continually spread, now covering an estimated 12,000 acres of pasture land on the east side of Lake Diefenbaker.

“It’s an ongoing battle,” said pasture manager Ross Sigfusson, who led the tour on Monday.

The event was hosted by the Willner Elbow Grazing Corporation (WEG) and the South Saskatchewan River Agri Environmental Group Plan.

Around 40 people were in attendance for all or part of the event, riding quads across the pasture and stopping periodically at points of interest.

The group included pasture patrons, area ranchers, representatives from other pastures and farm organizations, government employees and officials, and members of the media.

The tour was intended to increase awareness of the spurge and its ongoing spread, and to get various parties committed to a co-ordinated approach to bringing the weed under control.

Guests also got an up-close look at a current measure being used to combat the spurge: intensive grazing by a herd of 1,600 sheep and goats.

For the full story, please see the June 13 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

New vehicle on display at fire BBQ

Around 100 people attended a barbecue hosted by the Loreburn Volunteer Fire Department on April 20.

Around 100 people attended a barbecue hosted by the Loreburn Volunteer Fire Department on April 20.

By Joel van der Veen

LOREBURN — The latest addition to the Loreburn Volunteer Fire Department was front and centre at a recent fundraising event.

The department recently purchased and outfitted a quick response vehicle, at a cost of $37,000, with support from Enbridge and the Rural Municipality of Loreburn.

The vehicle was on display at a toonie barbecue held April 20 at the fire hall, where over 100 people from Loreburn and district stopped by to check it out and enjoy a quick bite.

Procuring the vehicle was an ongoing project, led by fire chief Steve South, village councillors Grant Abbott, Victor Dutkiewicz and Randy Urlacher, RM employees Dwayne Stamnes and Matt Hauberg, and local resident Ryan Tastad.

The area around Lake Diefenbaker was identified as an “extreme risk” zone by the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System (CWFIS) in its April 20 report.

The report also indicated extreme risk across much of southwestern Saskatchewan, while other areas across the province ranged from moderate to high risk.

The CWFIS report is updated on a daily basis with the risk level for each area fluctuating from day to day.

Both local fire chiefs indicated that their departments both have steady, dependable crews of volunteer firefighters who are accustomed to responding to wildfires.

Loreburn fire chief Steve South said his department already responded to one grass fire in late March, sparked by a burning barrel, and put it out in around an hour and a half.

“It didn’t get too bad or anything like that,” he said, adding that prior to that, it had been six months since the department was last called out. “It’s pretty quiet here, compared to some places, I suppose.”

South, who began serving as a volunteer around 2000, said the department tends to be busier in the summer and fall, noting that the recent dry weather will likely play a factor.

On average, he said, they handle a couple of wildfires each year. The department has around 25 volunteers, said South, adding, “We usually have a pretty good turnout.”

For the full story, please see the May 2 edition of The Davidson Leader.

Loreburn students take charge in hosting Leadership Day

Classmates Brennan Kakakaway and Hayoung Ryu check out Morgan Tastad's miniature hockey rink at Loreburn Central School. Students in Shauna George's Grade 3/4 class displayed their individual Genius Hour projects to visitors during the school's Leadership Day on Wednesday morning.

Classmates Brennan Kakakaway and Hayoung Ryu check out Morgan Tastad’s miniature hockey rink at Loreburn Central School. Students in Shauna George’s Grade 3/4 class displayed their individual Genius Hour projects to visitors during the school’s Leadership Day on Wednesday morning.

By Joel van der Veen

LOREBURN — In four years, the Seven Habits have firmly taken hold at Loreburn Central School — and now, according to one mother, they’re showing up at home.

Darla Wonnick told the story Wednesday of a recent conversation she had with her daughter Annika while trying to solve a problem.

“Well, Mom, are you thinking win-win?” Annika asked her mother.

“Well, Annika, not now,” she replied.

Wonnick, a mother of two and a member of the Loreburn School Community Council, went on to describe the positive impact the Seven Habits have had on the school.

“We walk down the hallways of our school, and we see a huge difference,” she said. “There is excellence happening everywhere, and we are able to recognize it and talk about it.”

She spoke on Wednesday to Loreburn staff and students, as well as roughly 70 guests, gathered in the gymnasium for Leadership Day.

The event, now in its third year, serves as a demonstration of how the “Leader in Me” program has shaped the way Loreburn students work, play and interact together.

The program, developed by FranklinCovey Education, has been implemented at 2,000 schools across the globe. Loreburn began incorporating the program, including the Seven Habits, into its curriculum four years ago.

According to the publisher, The Leader in Me is “a whole-school transformation model, developed in partnership with educators, that empowers students with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.”

The program aims to transform schools in three primary areas: teaching leadership directly to students and integrating it into their lessons; empowering staff and students to have a voice in their schools; and making students active agents in their learning.

Each year, Loreburn invites guests — including community members, teachers, parents and students from other schools — to witness the effects of the program.

“We are always working on improving ourselves to become the people want to be,” said principal Jill Long, adding that the Seven Habits have “provided us with a community language that has become part of our school culture.”

While students can easily repeat the habits from memory, Long said she has also seen tangible changes in their behaviour and attitudes.

“Kids are holding themselves accountable more,” she said. “They feel that they have a voice in what happens at the school.”

The students were front and centre on Wednesday, from greeting guests with handshakes at the door to answering their questions as they ate lunch.

Long said the students did the majority of the planning for the event, which was designed with an Olympics theme, including medallion-shaped nametags.

For the full story, please see the April 25 edition of The Davidson Leader.

Music festival hosts grand finale

Grade 4 students from Davidson School perform on their ukuleles during the grand finale of the Central Saskatchewan Music Festival on Wednesday.

Grade 4 students from Davidson School perform on their ukuleles during the grand finale of the Central Saskatchewan Music Festival on Wednesday.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Friends, family and music lovers filled the Sacred Heart Parish Hall on Wednesday for the grand finale concert for this year’s Central Saskatchewan Music Festival (CSMF).

The program featured 31 music and speech arts performances, introduced one by one by emcee Sharon Riecken.

This was the 56th year for the annual festival, which ran from March 21 to 23 and saw an increase to 140 entries this year, compared to 101 the previous year.

“We were just ecstatic,” said festival president Nancy Wilkins in response to the growth in participation.

She also suggested that the festival take a cue from Lethbridge and change its name to reflect the growing contribution of the speech arts performers, which represented more than a third of the entries.

Riecken proved an affable host, offering a quip or a compliment for each performance.

In response to Reece Johnson and Finn Low’s “If I Were in Charge of the World,” she expressed approval, adding, “Just hope it’s not Trump.”

She also said the festival is “an awesome opportunity for our young people to show their unique talents year after year.”

Deputy mayor Tyler Alexander brought greetings on behalf of town council and paid tribute to the volunteers and teachers behind the festival, as well as the hard work of the students.

He recalled taking part in the festival years earlier and added, “I’m so happy to see it still going strong.”

While some of the Grade 2 and Grade 5 speech arts students were missing from Wednesday night’s concert, their comrades went on for a successful performance despite their diminished numbers.

For a complete list of performers and awards plus a selection of photos, please see the March 28 edition of The Davidson Leader.

Obituary: Greene, Viola May

Viola May Greene

Viola May Greene

Viola May Greene
1920 – 2016

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Viola Greene, aged 95 of Davidson, Sask.

Vi leaves to mourn her son Byron (Iris), Lance and Kayla; son David (Amber), Devin (Renee) Jorja and Finley and Derek (Meaghan) and Kaleb; son-in-law Dennis (Julie) Demeester and family Darla (Scott) Dillon, Riley, Zach and Samantha; and Dwayne (Lisa) Demeester.

Viola was predeceased by her husband Keith and daughter Donna.

An Anglican service was held Thursday, Feb. 4 at 2:00 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Davidson. Rev. Susan Anholt officiated. Interment was at the family plot in the Davidson Cemetery. Hanson’s Funeral Home was entrusted to arrangements.

The following tribute to Viola was given by her grandson, Devin Greene.

Viola May Reding was born on May 10, 1920 in Wakaw to parents George and Juditha Reding of Cudworth, Sask. Vi was the third of four children: there was older brother Alvin, older sister Myrtle, and younger brother Edwin. A fifth child, Lillian, died as an infant. They grew up on the family farm near Cudworth.

After finishing school in the late ‘30s, like many other young women at the time, Vi attended Normal School in Saskatoon to train to be a teacher.

Grandma mentioned this “normal school” many times, and it was something I always struggled with. Why was it called “normal” school? Could anyone go there? It seemed special or different, was it really? Was there an “abnormal” school? Eventually, I found out it was just the name of the school people went to in order to become a teacher.

By the early ‘40s, Vi was teaching in one-room schools in the Davidson area. She taught at Bengough, Lothian and Rosemae. A neighbouring farmer at Rosemae must have caught her eye, and in 1944 she married Keith Greene.

Vi and Keith lived on the Greene family farm, near Rosemae school. For those of you not familiar with all of the names of the rural school districts of 70 years ago, this is 20 miles west of Davidson, where my parents Dave and Amber still live.

I’ve seen some pictures of the farm from that time. The words sparse, barren, isolated quickly come to mind. It was flat bald prairie, with only a tiny house and barn. There were no trees. The entire house is the size of my parent’s current kitchen.

In 1948, they had their first child Donna. The next year they thought it would be a good idea to plant a couple thousand trees. Then after Byron was born in 1951, they planted a few thousand more. Since I’m sure the first round of planting thousands of trees by hand with a baby in tow went so well, a second child must have helped out lots. David was born in 1955. They didn’t plant any more trees.

Life in rural Saskatchewan could at times be lonely. There was always so much work to be done on the farm, it often seemed like there was little time for socializing. But Vi made time for it. She was a member of the Woodmere Sunshine Club (a social group of local farm women). She’d often visit and have coffee with the Dahls, Carrolls, Hewitts or other nearby neighbours. Together with Keith, they enjoyed regular square dancing, and were members of clubs in both Loreburn and Davidson. They also were heavily involved in the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society.

On the farm, Vi loved animals. She loved the cows and gave names to them. Blondie was her favourite milking cow. She loved to garden, and always had a big one. Even when they had moved into town, she still had a patch in the back yard that was always very bountiful. She had a green thumb and a knack for getting anything to grow. One of her favourite indoor plants was an amaryllis that had been given to her mother for a wedding present. It has been grown and split many times since. Some of us have bulbs from it now. For her, it would flower beautifully. The rest of us are struggling to achieve the same level of success as she did.

In 1978, they moved into town and retired from farming. They travelled in the winter months to Europe, South America, Hawaii and other places. But she always loved the farm, and enjoyed coming out to see it. She made a point to always come out at least once during harvest, so she could see the crops and maybe get a ride in the combine.

Most of my own memories of Grandma come from when I was going to school in Davidson and my brother Derek and I would stay at Grandma’s. Sometimes it was just after school for a couple of hours; sometimes it was overnight, because the buses couldn’t run due to a winter storm. We’d often play games: Grandma taught me how to play cribbage, whist and hearts. Or we’d play Rack-O (a card game) or Scrabble. She was particularly good at Scrabble, and difficult to beat. There was often a card table set up in the living room with some kind of giant puzzle on it that we would sit at for a bit and put in a few pieces.

Like most grandparents, she had a candy cupboard, and we were always quick to check it out. Usually there were peppermints or hard candy, but if you were lucky there were macaroons or rosebuds. These didn’t last long, however, because they were also some of Grandma’s favourites.

Grandma was very social and always enjoyed having tea or coffee with someone to visit. In the morning, she’d often walk down the street to Winnie Scott’s house for a coffee. Other days she would go with Nettie Dahl to the A&W. She loved her time at the senior’s centre and was a regular there. As a kid, I loved going there too, always with the hope of being able to play shuffleboard.

Grandma always had this quiet sort of confidence around her. She was this sweet old lady, but if she wanted to go somewhere, or do something, she did it. You did NOT make her doctor or dentist appointments on Tuesdays or Thursdays, because that was senior’s day. You didn’t interrupt her when Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! were on.

Donna and Dennis were building a new house on the farm and she wanted to see it. So, she grabbed some of her friends, and drove out there and checked out the construction.

If you took her somewhere (like a family supper) and she was ready to leave, you knew. She wouldn’t say anything, but would simply go get her coat and shoes on and wait by the door. That was the sign she was ready to go home.

Not that many years ago, my mom caught Grandma and Nettie Dahl using a ladder in her backyard to pick apples off her apple tree. Mom asked what they were doing. “We want to make apple pie and the best apples are at the top of the tree. Don’t worry, the neighbours can’t see us.” Which is just the thing you’re most worried about when a couple of 90-year-old ladies are climbing ladders to pick apples.

Another example of her “matter-of-factness” was told to me by Grandma just last year. It was the story of when my Dad was born. It was March of 1955. It had just snowed and Grandma knew it was time to have the baby. So did they head straight to the hospital in Davidson? No. They hitched the tractor to the front of the car and took it through the snow to Loreburn. Then they caught the train down to Moose Jaw, so they could leave Byron and Donna with Grandpa’s parents. Then they took a bus back up to Davidson to the hospital to have David. I like to think it was Grandma’s own will power that prevented my dad from being born in the middle of a field or the back of a bus.

Grandma had a habit of “collecting things” from auctions or garage sales and over time, these started to accumulate. Eventually her kids gradually started trying to remove things from the house. While she didn’t like this, she would put up with it to a point. Inevitably, someone would go too far, and attempt to get rid of something Grandma did not want to get rid of, and she basically kicked them out of her house. Donna once got a “Haven’t you got somewhere else to be?” Dave got a flat out “I think you should go now.”

Grandma was one of the sweetest people I ever knew. She was always happy, cheerful, and laughing. I’m sure she must have gotten mad some of the time, but I never saw it. The maddest I saw her get was when a contestant on Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! got an easy answer wrong. Thank you Grandma for all you did for your family and friends. We love you, and we miss you.