Archive for featured

Province honours “Lentil King” with Order of Merit

Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield is pictured with Saskatchewan Order of Merit recipient Murad Al-Katib.
(Photo courtesy Government of Saskatchewan)

By Joel van der Veen

REGINA — When Murad Al-Katib came home Wednesday night, his teenage son Tariq greeted him with a hug and told his father he was proud of him.

In the last two years, Al-Katib has been celebrated and honoured on the global stage multiple times.

But as he told the Leader last week, there’s something special about being recognized by those closest to you.

On Wednesday, Al-Katib was one of 10 inductees into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the province’s highest honour, presented at a ceremony in Regina by Lt-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield.

As a first-generation Canadian, Al-Katib said the honour meant a great deal to him.

“This is home, this is Saskatchewan,” he said in an interview with the Leader. “We were raised with that pride, that this was our (home) and our province.”

Al-Katib, a native of Davidson who now lives in Regina, is president and CEO of AGT Food and Ingredients, one of the world’s largest suppliers of pulses, staple foods and food ingredients.

The citation from the province called him one of Saskatchewan’s “greatest homegrown success stories,” crediting him with creating jobs here and linking the province’s producers to new and emerging markets across the world.

He was also recognized for his philanthropic work, based on a philosophy he has called “compassionate entrepreneurialism.”

Last year AGT worked with the United Nations, Red Cross and other organizations to distribute more than 4.5 million food parcels to refugee families.

Al-Katib said receiving the award was an emotional experience, as he stood alongside nine other people, noted for their accomplishments in the arts, education, business, government and military.

For the full story, please see the Dec. 4 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

“Heartland” fans enjoy a day on the set

From left, Cathy Sperling, Maggie Boehm, Ashton Schneider, and Jack and Marie Schneider attended a “Fans as Extras Day” on the set of “Heartland,” on the Calgary Stampede grounds on Nov. 23.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Ashton Schneider recently had the chance to see his favourite TV show come to life.

The 15-year-old from Davidson, along with four family members, witnessed a taping of the CBC show Heartland in Calgary in late November.

They were part of a “Fans as Extras Day,” during which they were on the set for five hours as the cast and crew shot scenes for the upcoming season finale.

The scenes take place in an arena, and roughly 1,200 fans were invited to the set to fill the stands as extras.

Ashton made the 1,500-km trip with his cousin Maggie Boehm, his grandmother Cathy Sperling and grandparents Jack and Marie Schneider.

While all of them are fans of Heartland, Ashton says it’s his favourite show, and he’s seen most of the episodes, some of them multiple times.

“He was just so excited,” said Cathy. “I think it was really a highlight for him . . . To think that you could ever get that close.”

For the full story, please see the Dec. 4 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Wind delays work on Strongfield curling rink

The frame for Strongfield’s new curling rink (pictured on Nov. 28) is now complete. The addition of tin roofing and siding is expected to wrap up this week.
(Photo courtesy of Brandy Losie)

By Joel van der Veen

STRONGFIELD — Once again, prairie winds appear to be conspiring against Strongfield’s curlers.

A July 20 wind storm flattened the village’s curling rink, a popular gathering place for more than 50 years.

Before long, plans were underway to build a new rink, a simplified structure that would allow curling to continue.

Inclement weather has delayed construction, but organizers are hopeful that the rink will be ready in time for curling season.

Amanda Glubis, who serves on the recreation board, said she has her fingers crossed that curling will be able to start the first Monday in January, as per tradition.

“If the wind would co-operate, they’d have been done a long time ago,” she said last week. “It’s getting into a busy time of year for everything and everyone . . . The crunch is on.”

Construction on the rink began in early fall. The wooden frame was finished in mid-November, and crews installed tin on the roof last week.

Strongfield’s mayor, Jeff Vollmer, said they hoped to have tin siding in place this week.

“Every time it gets nice out it gets windy,” he said Wednesday. “Hopefully in the next few weeks they can get a lot done.”

Wind is especially problematic when workers are handling large sheets of tin, Glubis said, adding, “It’s not a fun job.”

The new rink will measure 52 feet wide by 154 feet long and stand 16 feet high.

It will look significantly different from the old rink, which featured a curved wooden roof, but it will serve the intended purpose.

“We’ll be able to use it for suppers and curling, and that’s what we wanted,” said administrator Brandy Losie.

Contractors had to adjust the size slightly when they came up against the concrete pilings from the old rink, which had been installed at an angle.

An insurance payout from the old rink is expected to cover the cost of the basic structure, at around $120,000.

For the full story, please see the Dec. 4 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Coach: defence will be key to big year for sr. boys

Davidson’s Derek Schmiedge goes for a basket during Thursday’s senior basketball game against Watrous.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — It might be his biggest team yet, and coach Kim Rettger is hoping that means another big year on the court.

Rettger, Davidson’s senior boys basketball coach, said the team has at least four players measuring 6’4” or higher, bucking the trend of past years.

“We’re very big,” he said, adding that this year’s team also has the deepest bench in recent memory.

With the level of skill shown by each player, Rettger said he hasn’t set a starting lineup, since any of them would do well as starters.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m excited,” he said.

Davidson’s senior boys opened their season Thursday afternoon, hosting the Winston Wildcats from Watrous.

The home team established an early lead and stood ahead at 53-22 after the second quarter. The final score was 93-57 in Davidson’s favour.

Mark Rettger led the scoring with 32 points, including two successful three-point shots.

Following closely behind was Clay Murfitt, who scored 22 points, including a three-pointer later in the game.

The roster has 12 players this year, including three Grade 12 students: Mark Rettger, Parker Smith and Reegan Taylor. (Smith suffered an ankle injury early in Thursday’s game, the extent of which was not immediately clear.)

Five boys moved up from the junior team: Riley Berry, Gabe Charette, Nathan Chomyshen, Andrew Moore and Keegan Shaw.

Rettger said junior coach Garrett Bailey has done a superb job preparing the boys for senior play, using similar techniques and training.

“We’ve got like a farm team, if you will,” Rettger said. “It makes a difference.”

For the full story, please see the Dec. 4 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Morning fire strikes auto body shop

A boiler fire spread to the north wall of Legend Autobody and Paint on the morning of Nov. 24.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Quick action by firefighters helped to minimize the damage after a fire broke out in an auto body shop in Davidson on Friday morning.

Barry Millham, who owns and operates Legend Autobody and Paint, said the fire originated from the boiler in the north end of the building on Railway Street.

Employee Trevor Reich discovered the fire shortly before 8 a.m. and called Millham, who was still at home.

Millham said he drove straight to the shop and called 9-1-1 soon afterward.

They tried to fight the fire using a fire extinguisher, but before long the flames had spread to the north wall.

He said the fire department arrived within a few minutes, giving them “two thumbs up” for a prompt response.

While the fire hall is located only one block away, Millham said he was still impressed given the fact that firefighters still needed to travel there and suit up before attending to the fire.

“They were here in record time,” said Millham. “That was pretty awesome.”

Fire chief Clayton Schilling said they received the call at 8:08 a.m., with 10 members responding.

Firefighters removed siding from the north wall, allowing them to combat the hot spots and quickly extinguish the fire.

They remained on scene till roughly 9 a.m. There were no injuries.

The building suffered little in the way of structural damage, while most of the interior damage was smoke-related.

Power, heat and water were shut off on Friday morning, and Millham said he wasn’t sure how soon the shop would be able to open again.

“We haven’t had time to process anything,” he said. “We just have to deal with things as they come up.”

He said he was dealing with “a lot of unknowns — what we’re going to do while we get this fixed up, how quickly we can get rolling again.”

Millham has operated his business in town since 2004 and moved to the current location in 2007. The shop employs himself, his wife Janice and two other people.

Bronze-medal win ends prov. weekend on high note

Members of Davidson’s senior girls volleyball team celebrate during their semi-final game in provincial playoffs on Nov. 18.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — As they prepared for their final game Saturday, the pressure of playing in provincials was catching up with Davidson’s senior girls.

They’d travelled to Kenaston for the last of their pool games, ending with a 2-2 record.

They stayed there for their quarter-final game over Raymore, then lost in the semi-final to Île-a-la-Crosse, sending them back to Davidson to the bronze-medal game.

“They were excited and happy to be playing (for) the bronze, but they were tired,” said coach Sandra Baldwin.

But that changed when they stepped into the Davidson gym.

Music was booming, the room was full of energy, and the stands were packed with family and friends, ready to cheer them on.

“It was really powerful for the girls,” Baldwin recalled. “They were back in their gym playing their game.”

The Davidson girls defeated Birch Hills in two sets, winning the provincial bronze medal and ending the weekend on a high note.

SHSAA representative Shannon Stephenson and Affinity Credit Union’s Dixie Dean presented the girls with their medals in a heartwarming and emotional ceremony.

Davidson School was the host for the 2A senior girls provincial volleyball championships on Nov. 17 and 18, with Kenaston serving as the second gym.

The Muenster Cougars, coached by Joel Taphorn, defeated the Île-a-la-Crosse Huskies in two sets (25-7, 25-13) to win the gold medal.

For the full story, please see the Nov. 27 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.