Category Archives: Elbow

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.

Line 19 figure skaters host fundraiser at Loreburn rink

Members of the Line 19 Figure Skating Club — clockwise from top left, Emma Griffin, Jordyn Dorward, Bobbi Jo Snustead, Brooklyn Lemcke and Madison Snustead — skate around the Loreburn Arena on Thursday during a club fundraiser.
Members of the Line 19 Figure Skating Club — clockwise from top left, Emma Griffin, Jordyn Dorward, Bobbi Jo Snustead, Brooklyn Lemcke and Madison Snustead — skate around the Loreburn Arena on Thursday during a club fundraiser.

By Joel van der Veen

LOREBURN — A full hour of skating can work up quite an appetite.

Fortunately, organizers of the Line 19 Figure Skating Club’s skate-a-thon fundraiser had thought of everything.

A total of 13 young skaters, plus one parent, took part in the hour-long event on Thursday, doing repeated circuits of the Loreburn Arena as spectators tracked their progress.

When they were finished, the skaters and other attendees were served a hot, tasty meal consisting of perogies, ham, corn and coleslaw, along with a selection of tempting desserts.

The skaters had collected donations — either as pledges based on the number of circuits completed, or as a flat amount — in support of the club.

The youngest on the ice was Cedric McIvor, four-and-a-half, while Eli Hundeby and Emma Griffin, both Kindergarten students, were the youngest to remain on the ice for the whole hour.

Skaters were given a break at the half-hour mark to allow them time for a drink of water, and then returned to the ice.

Club treasurer Carmen Heinrichs said this was the second time they have held this event, the first being in 2014.

The club has a total of 58 skaters registered this year, drawing from a large area that includes Strongfield, Loreburn, Elbow and Davidson, and reaches as far west as Macrorie.

Many of the skaters had commitments with other sports and activities on Thursday, said Heinrichs. The club members range in age from almost four to 15.

The Line 19 club’s carnival is coming up on Feb. 28 and will feature performances set to music spanning the 1970s through the 1990s.


New era dawning for area grazing pastures

Jan Ludwig herds cattle belonging to Siroski Farms from the corrals to the pasture in this 2012 file photo.
Jan Ludwig herds cattle belonging to Siroski Farms from the corrals to the pasture in this 2012 file photo.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — After more than 75 years, the sun has set on an era for the former PFRA pastures at Willner and Elbow.

The cattle were brought off the fields last month, and now patrons are preparing for the first season under new management — themselves.

Despite a new Liberal government in Ottawa and calls to halt the transfer of the former PFRA grasslands, Ian McCreary said last week there’s little hope that the course will change at this point.

“Our sense is it’s going to be very difficult for them to change anything for our year,” he said. “It’s unlikely that we can avoid the transfer process . . . Governments tend to move not entirely quickly.”

McCreary sits on the board of directors elected last spring to oversee the Willner-Elbow Grazing Corporation, which is leasing the two pastures that had been operated by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration dating back to the early 1940s.

This will allow ranchers to continue using the land that has been available to them for generations, but not without a steep increase in the fees they must pay.

Such is the new reality facing ranchers, three years after the Conservative government announced its plans to end the Community Pasture Program.

This involved divesting the 85 pastures that were operated through the program — 62 of which were in Saskatchewan — on a gradual basis between 2013 and 2018.

The McCraney pasture was part of the first group of 10 to be transferred to the provincial government for the 2014 season.

This year, the Willner-Elbow pastures — with a combined total area of 36,200 acres, enough room for about 2,100 cattle and another 70 bulls — began the transition. The province takes over the pastures in March and will then lease them to the corporation.

McCreary said that existing patrons have paid their deposits and that the pastures are already expected to be about 75 per cent filled with existing cattle for the 2016 season.

The corporation has advertised that it will accept additional cattle, though current patrons will have first dibs on available capacity.

McCreary said the interest received so far indicates that the need for the pasture land is evident. He added that the “cattle cycle” is currently at a peak phase, with the average calf price last year reaching over $1,500.

“There’s a lot more interest in livestock now than there was when the process started,” he said, noting that cattle prices cycle through peaks and valleys.

He also said the corporation is optimistic that the current manager, Ross Sigfusson, will return for the 2016 season.

Lease fees are a new part of the equation for patrons. The province will charge around $135,000 for the season, representing about a third of the corporation’s total annual budget. As a result, McCreary estimated, grazing fees will increase by 30 to 40 per cent over what patrons paid last year.

The corporation also continues to grapple with the presence of leafy spurge, an invasive plant that displaces native vegetation in fields.

McCreary estimated that between 9,000 and 12,000 acres on the two pastures are affected by the spurge, making it a significant concern.

An existing sheep grazing program has helped address the problem on a short-term basis, as sheep will eat the spurge and leave the grass behind, but McCreary said a long-term solution is needed.

With the shift in Ottawa resulting from the Oct. 19 election, several nature groups, including Nature Saskatchewan, have called on the federal government to put an immediate pause on the transfer of former PFRA grasslands.

A news release issued Oct. 29 said a plan is needed to sustain the ecological values of sites like the Govenlock community pasture, protecting species at risk while allowing for ongoing use by cattle ranchers.

Nature Saskatchewan excutive director Jordan Ignatiuk said all signs have indicated the process is unlikely to stop, despite the change in power.

“We don’t expect that there’s going to be a reversal,” he said, noting that his organization is still encouraged by the Liberal government’s apparent commitment to the environment.

While it’s been difficult for Nature Saskatchewan to monitor the situation closely due to the sheer number of pastures, Ignatiuk added, “To some degree we’ve got an idea of what’s happening.”

The McCraney pasture began the transition process two years earlier and has been operated under a patron-directed corporation since then. McCreary said the Willner-Elbow patrons have been able to watch and learn from that transition.

For the full story, please see the Nov. 9 edition of The Davidson Leader.

Crane raises boat from rocks

Mark Janke and Chris and Keith Bryenton of Coppertop Towing in Elbow secure tow straps under a pontoon boat they were tasked with recovering from the rocks of the Qu'Appelle dam at Lake Diefenbaker.
Mark Janke and Chris and Keith Bryenton of Coppertop Towing in Elbow secure tow straps under a pontoon boat they were tasked with recovering from the rocks of the Qu’Appelle dam at Lake Diefenbaker.

By Tara de Ryk

ELBOW — A crane plucked a 3,500-pound pontoon boat off the rocks of the Qu’Appelle dam Aug. 28.

It was all in a day’s work for Mark Janke, owner of Coppertop Towing, and for crane operator Jarred Beattie of Alliance Crane out of Moose Jaw. Both are often tasked with recovering a variety of vehicles, but for both, recovering a wrecked boat out of Lake Diefenbaker was a first.

The boat landed on the rocks after strong winds in early August ripped it from its mooring and sent it sailing down the lake.

“I bet the waves down here were a good eight feet high that day,” Janke said. The wind and waves sent the boat on a collision course with the Qu’Appelle dam. The pontoon boat wound up wrecked on the rocks, one of its pontoons ripped to shreds.

Its resting place was at the midway point of the dam, making a recovery from shore impossible. Towing the wreckage to land by boat was also unfeasible because one pontoon was destroyed and the other was waterlogged.

Janke said the boat owner’s insurance company asked him to come up with a plan to recover the watercraft.

“I decided the safest way to do it was by crane,” Janke said.

He had to get permission from CP Rail to use the right-of-way across the dam for the recovery. Janke said officials from Environment had been out earlier and removed fuel and contaminants from the boat.

Janke hired Alliance Crane and Beattie arrived around 10:15 a.m. Friday morning with the mobile crane. He angled it on the driveway beside the railway tracks and extended a series of booms high into the air, across the dam and over the lake.

Below, Jahnke and helpers Chris and Keith Bryenton worked out a way to secure the boat to the cables.

Balancing and securing the weight of the boat proved tricky due to the outboard motor and the wrecked pontoon, which made it difficult to secure the cable.

After about one hour of adjusting the straps and chains in various combinations, success was achieved and the pontoon boat was raised out of the lake and onto Janke’s flatdeck truck.

Janke was pleased with the job.

“When it’s (the boat) broke up like this…I calculate for the worst and hope I get lucky,” he said. “I brought it out the best I could without putting another mark on it.”

He was helped by the weather. There was hardly any wind and the lake was calm.

Beattie said he does a lot of salvage work, including recovering rolled semis and farm machinery, but “boats are kind of a rare lift.”

Janke said the pontoon boat would be delivered to a wrecker in Saskatoon.