Archive for featured

Kenaston dancers hit the stage

Levi George does a leap over Chloe George, Ayslee Blenkinsop and Lexi Stacowich.

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — Dance students from Kenaston performed an impressive program at their annual recital last weekend.

About 140 people attended the one-hour program at Kenaston Place on the afternoon of May 14.

Dance guild president Tammy Owen served as emcee, introducing each of the nine performances in jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap and creative movement.

In between dances, the students presented poems and sayings relating to Mother’s Day.

This year 23 students between the ages of three and 15 years were registered for lessons in Kenaston.

Owen said the biggest challenge this year was finding an instructor, which took organizers until September.

Tia Shaw, a Grade 12 student in Davidson, agreed to step up and teach lessons in Kenaston, while also teaching dance two nights a week in her own hometown.

“It takes up a lot of time when you’re teaching four days a week,” remarked Shaw, adding that it worked out well and was a good experience.

Owen said the Kenaston students did not take part in any competitions this year. Enrolment is down from the previous year, when 36 students were registered.

She attributed the decline to older students with busier schedules deciding not to continue in dance, adding that she hoped to see some bigger classes next year.

The afternoon program included a raffle with 24 prizes given away.

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

A tale as old as time

Morgan Stephens, Sophie Kearns and Kaylee Watt dance as a trio.

By Joel van der Veen

CRAIK — Belle, the Beast and other characters were brought to life in this year’s recital by the Craik School of Dance.

The dance students presented Beauty and the Beast to an audience of about 65 people in the auditorium at Craik School on May 13.

The one-hour program, inspired by both the 1991 Disney animated film and the recent live-action remake, included roughly a dozen dance routines set to familiar songs like “Be Our Guest.”

Also featured were scenes from the movies, acted out on stage by a troupe of adult and child performers.

Dance instructor Amber Koza-Drimmie Vibert said she began planning the recital around the classic tale last year.

“It’s been my favourite movie my whole life,” she said.

A display in the school foyer included a cardboard stand-up promoting the 1991 movie, as originally displayed in a video rental store.

Vibert said they assigned acting parts a couple of weeks before the recital. After the other actors had made their choices, she tried a few roles and wound up playing Gaston, at the insistence of her students.

Her costume included boots made out of duct tape. Vibert said the character was a good fit for her, calling him “very flamboyant.”

Vibert had 10 students enrolled in Craik this year, ranging in age from five to 21 years. She taught in Craik one night a week and also operated a studio in Eyebrow.

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

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.

Mayor says Craik will recover fraud losses

By Joel van der Veen

CRAIK — Craik’s mayor says he believes the town will be able to retrieve the total amount it has lost to fraud, calculated at close to $40,000.

“I’m confident that we will recover, through various means, all of the funds that were lost,” David Ashdown told the Leader.

Those means include bonds held by the town, as well as the restitution to be paid by former town administrator Jeff Murray, who pled guilty to fraud in January.

According to figures provided by the town earlier this month, the loss to fraud totals $39,416.34.

Administrator Sarah Wells said the town currently has an open insurance claim through SGI, and is waiting to hear what the outcome will be.

“It’s not a guarantee,” said Wells, adding, “We’re definitely going to work with them and see what we can get.”

The mayor said he, the town councillors and employees are working to carefully follow established policies to ensure that Craik won’t be vulnerable to fraud again.

“Personally I’m very confident that a similar situation could not arise,” said Ashdown, adding that while he trusts the staff, “that doesn’t remove my fiduciary duty to check carefully.”

Wells, who began working for the town in November 2014, said her responsibilities to council have been consistent throughout that time.

“I make sure council has all the information to work with,” she said. “My office door is always open for them to come in and inspect anything that they wish.”

She confirmed that she provides detailed financial statements to council, including itemized credit card statements.

Ashdown said these documents are received by council members prior to each regular monthly meeting.

The council reviews and adopts financial statements, payroll and accounts payable at each meeting. Having these documents makes it possible for council members to do cross-references.

“I do a regular review ensuring that the invoice matches the check and the authorization,” Ashdown explained. “We have tightened up the administration considerably.”

The mayor clarified that these are not new policies for council, but that they must be followed in order to be effective at preventing or detecting any financial irregularities.

Ashdown said he draws from his own experience in dealing with public funds, as well as observing best practices from other municipalities.

“We’re very careful to strictly adhere to the policies we already have in place,” he said. “Unless it’s adhered to, it’s not worth anything.”

For the full story, please see the May 15 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Union members have their say on Bill 40

Lorne Hill, chief steward for Unifor Local 3 in Moose Jaw, speaks to workers gathered outside Arm River MLA Greg Brkich’s office in Davidson on May 4.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Members of Unifor stopped by Greg Brkich’s office recently with a message for the Arm River MLA.

About 25 union members gathered on the sidewalk on Washington Avenue during the noon hour on May 4 to protest a recent bill on Crown corporations.

Bill 40, passed in the provincial legislature on April 26, sets a definition for privatization, allowing up to 49 per cent of a Crown corporation, such as SaskTel or SGI, to be sold.

Lorne Hill, chief steward for Unifor Local 3 in Moose Jaw, said the bill amounts to breaking up assets that belong to the people of Saskatchewan.

“This current provincial government has no mandate to put our assets up for sale,” Hill said.

The Unifor members, all SaskTel employees, were in Davidson on May 4 for a provincial meeting. They marched to the MLA’s office during their lunch break.

They carried signs and cheered during Hill’s speech, responding to his criticism of Sask Party MLAs with calls of “Shame!” and “Liars!”

Brkich’s office was closed for the noon hour, and the protest drew few onlookers, but those gathered were not discouraged.

“Whether Greg was here or not today,” said Hill, “we want all members of the Legislative Assembly to know our stance on this issue.”

He accused the government of “risking the assets of future generations,” adding that SaskTel has paid off $500 million in dividends to the province over the last decade.

“That is tax dollars that people don’t have to pay out of their pockets,” said Hill, explaining that the protesters want to promote unity and not division. “We want to support everybody, we want to protect what is rightfully theirs.”

The NDP has also criticized the bill, with opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon calling it “an incredible bertrayal of Saskatchewan people.”

Greg Brkich spoke to the Leader in the bill’s defense on Wednesday, arguing that it would strengthen, not weaken, the Crowns by protecting 51 per cent of them from privatization.

He characterized the bill as “housekeeping” in case an opportunity for partnership comes along.

In the case of SaskTel, he said, partnerships could make the company more competitive by connecting them with new technology.

He also said the bill could bring new investment dollars, giving the example of pension plans.

“There’s lots of Saskatchewan investment money that’s flowing out to entities in other provinces,” he said.

Brkich dismissed opposition criticism of the bill: “The world’s always coming to an end . . . That’s their role, to try to light as many fires as they can at that end.”

He also recalled that former NDP premier Roy Romanow had talked about looking for potential partners for SaskTel, back in 2000.

A news release from Unifor pointed to Manitoba as an example, arguing that the privatization of the provincial telecom MTS led to higher phone bills there.

“It could mean a decrease, too,” Brkich countered in response. “It very well could be cheaper rates and better coverage, with more investment coming in.”

Unifor represents around 3,300 SaskTel employees, including technicians, account and service representatives, and clerical and administrative staff.