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Plenty of style at spring dance recital

Avery Ebenal faces a team of dancers — from left, Macy Palmer, Brooklyn Ruehlen, Jesselynne Palmer, Hannah Gust, Meghan Allan, Mackenzie Beck, Brookelynn Wick and Bella Thomson — in the opening jazz dance, "Enough."

Avery Ebenal faces a team of dancers — from left, Macy Palmer, Brooklyn Ruehlen, Jesselynne Palmer, Hannah Gust, Meghan Allan, Mackenzie Beck, Brookelynn Wick and Bella Thomson — in the opening jazz dance, “Enough.”

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Family, friends and guests filled the gym at Davidson School for last Sunday’s spring dance recital.

The students of the Davidson Dance Club presented a 90-minute show on the afternoon of March 19.

The program featured a total of 30 performances in a variety of styles, including jazz, ballet, tap, creative movement, hip hop, lyrical and musical theatre.

In past years, the spring recital was held at the end of the season, typically in May.

This year, organizers decided to bump it up by a couple of months, giving students the chance to practise their routines before going on to competitions.

“You are their very first audience,” said Kelly Allan to the capacity crowd.

Allan served as master of ceremonies along with Richelle Palmer, introducing each performance.

The club had 74 dancers registered this year. Most of the students live in Davidson, with a small number travelling from Kenaston, Elbow and Craik.

Irene Williams of Regina was the sole adult instructor this year, spending two nights in Davidson each week during dance season.

Tiara Shaw, Emily Read and Sarah Allan also served as instructors, while Hannah Gust, Avery Ebenal and Chase Lyn Dean were teacher-helpers.

For the full story and a full page of photos, please see the March 27 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

STC closure a blow for local bus riders

The STC bus bound for Regina is seen leaving the Davidson bus depot in this file photo.

The STC bus bound for Regina is seen leaving the Davidson bus depot in this file photo.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — For Gloria Williams and others like her, the STC is more than just the bus. It’s a means of independence.

Williams, a Davidson resident, said she regularly uses the bus to travel to Saskatoon or Moose Jaw for medical appointments, or to buy material for her quilting.

Since the local bus stop was moved to the east side of Highway 11 five years ago, she’s had to ask people for rides there and back, something she hates doing.

“There’s nothing worse than pestering people,” said Williams. “I want to go and do it on my own.”

For Williams and those like her, the province’s announcement Wednesday that the STC would be shut down by the end of May was a significant blow.

Crown investments minister Joe Hargrave said Wednesday that the government would end operating and capital subsidies to the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) for the coming fiscal year.

The company will close as a result, with freight being accepted for delivery until May 19 and passenger services ending May 31.

In a news release, Hargrave said the subsidies from the government had reached “unsustainable levels.”

Ten years ago, the government paid $25 in subsidies per passenger, but the cost has since increased to $94 per passenger.

The STC would require $85 million in subsidies to continue operating over the next five years, Hargrave said, adding that the government believes that money would be better spent elsewhere.

Arm River MLA Greg Brkich echoed those sentiments in an interview with the Leader on Wednesday afternoon, saying the government could not keep subsidizing STC at that level.

“How long are we going to keep doing it every year?” he said. “You have to make some tough decisions.”

Brkich said he recognized it would affect residents in his riding — maybe one or two in each town, he guessed.

Williams said she was angered by the announcement. She knows other people in town, both seniors and younger residents, who rely on the bus.

For the full story, plus additional coverage of the 2017 Saskatchewan provincial budget, please see the March 27 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Modern learning on display as Kenaston School hosts expo

Grade 4 student Kash Ringdal demonstrates iPad apps to his uncle Luke Ringdal and Chantalle Bussiere during Kenaston School's learning expo on Thursday.

Grade 4 student Kash Ringdal demonstrates iPad apps to his uncle Luke Ringdal and Chantalle Bussiere during Kenaston School’s learning expo on Thursday.

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — To older eyes, the school of the 21st century may seem somewhat foreign, and each classroom looks a little different.

Open the door, and you might find students working in groups or on their own, under a teacher’s direct supervision or at their own pace.

They may be paging through a textbook or using a tablet or computer to guide their learning.

Even the posture is different. They might be sitting behind a desk, curled up in a cozy chair or even sprawled out on a yoga mat.

“A lot of people don’t quite get what we do in school these days,” said Kenaston School principal Greg McJannet. “They want to know how learning happens nowadays.”

That was the impetus behind the school’s first-ever learning expo, held Thursday night with upwards of 150 people in attendance.

McJannet described the event as a student-led showcase of what modern learning looks like in Kenaston.

Rather than forcing all students to learn the same way, the new approach recognizes that each one learns differently. Teachers become facilitators, allowing students to guide their own education.

Thursday’s event was planned in much the same way, McJannet said, explaining, “We really place the onus on kids to share and talk about what they learn with parents.”

The afternoon began at 3:30 with scheduled teacher and parent conferences.

Afterward, chili and buns were served by the Grade 9 practical and applied arts class, with the meal sponsored by the Kenaston School Community Council (SCC).

The expo kicked off with a performance by the circus club, featuring plate spinning and acrobatic acts.

Dr. Guy Tétrault, director of education for Sun West School Division, spoke about the division’s Personalized Electronically Blended Learning (PeBL) initiatives.

“It’s a very different world out there,” Tétrault remarked. “You as parents want us to ensure that your kids are ready for it.”

Kenaston SCC chairperson Tara Rink also spoke about the council’s role and activities, later introducing the other council members and encouraging interested people to attend their annual general meeting on April 26.

Afterward, parents and other guests toured the school, visiting classrooms where students had set up stations and demonstrations.

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

Murray gets 90 days in prison for fraud

Jeff Murray, former administrator for the Town of Craik, leaves Moose Jaw provincial court on Wednesday morning with his lawyer, Gail Wartman.

Jeff Murray, former administrator for the Town of Craik, leaves Moose Jaw provincial court on Jan. 25 with his lawyer, Gail Wartman.

By Joel van der Veen

MOOSE JAW — Craik’s former administrator is headed to prison after admitting to defrauding the town to the tune of more than $14,000.

Jeffrey Todd Murray, 42, was sentenced to 90 days in the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre, which he will serve on weekends.

In addition, Murray received three years of probation and was ordered to pay back the entire sum by which he defrauded the town, plus a $200 victim surcharge.

As he handed down the sentence, Justice Daryl Rayner told Murray that multiple factors were at play in his decision.

The greatest aggravating factor was the fact that he took advantage of a small town, said the judge.

“It’s not a large corporation, it’s not someone who can well afford to suffer losses,” he said.

“Craik has suffered a loss . . . Money is what we’re talking about, but it’s also a loss of trust.”

Murray had entered a guilty plea to a single count of fraud, representing a total of $14,181.30 in misspent funds, in an appearance in Moose Jaw provincial court on Jan. 25.

He returned to court on Thursday for a sentencing hearing, accompanied by his wife Karla and other relatives.

Murray appeared calm upon his arrival in the courtroom. For most of the hearing, he was in tears, at times shaking while he listened to the submissions.

He spoke briefly to the judge, expressing his remorse to his fellow townspeople and to his family.

“I am very sorry for what I have done to the taxpayers of the Town of Craik,” he said quietly. “I take full responsibility for my actions.”

In his submission, Crown prosecutor Rob Parker provided background information.

Murray served as the town’s administrator from 2010 to 2014. He was placed on leave in April 2014 as the evidence of his activities came to light.

Previously, Murray faced 33 counts of fraud, laid in March and May of 2016, totalling $41,079.81.

Those charges were withdrawn earlier this year and a single charge of fraud, representing roughly one-third of the former total, was laid by the Crown.

Murray was accused with using the Town of Craik’s Visa card to make more than $12,000 in unauthorized purchases at various businesses, ranging from Cabela’s to Princess Auto.

For the full story, please see the March 20 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Fire destroys Pavelich farmhouse

The Pavelich farmhouse northeast of Kenaston was destroyed by fire March 8.

The Pavelich farmhouse northeast of Kenaston was destroyed by fire March 8.

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — Carmelle Pavelich can instantly remember what time it was when her son Dallas phoned to tell her the family home was on fire.

It was 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8 when she took the call.

“I was just about to say my rosary,” she said. “I went immediately out there . . . I watched it for three-and-a-half hours. I sat in my vehicle out on the road there and I watched it.”

The two-storey farm house — located six miles east, two miles north and another half-mile east of Kenaston — was built in 1919.

It had been the Pavelich family’s home for more than 55 years. Her late husband George had purchased the farm from his uncle Rocko.

Carmelle said she and George moved in on their second wedding anniversary on April 18, 1961. She gave birth to their oldest son Kurt two weeks later.

“It was a well-built house,” she recalled. “It was sure cold in the wintertime, though.”

They raised three children, including their daughter Joy and their youngest son Dallas, in that house, constructing an addition in the mid-1970s.

“There’s so much loss you can’t even begin to think about it,” said Carmelle. “It’s just like a death.”

Dallas and his partner, Lynda Sereda, were living in the house most recently.

Lynda was home alone the evening of March 5 when she discovered the fire. She left the house right away, grabbing a pair of Dallas’s work boots on the way out.

Having left her phone behind, she went to a neighbour’s house to call Dallas, who was on his way to Saskatoon for a shopping trip.

Upon taking Lynda’s call, Dallas immediately called 911 to report the fire before phoning his mother with the news.

Ken Remmen, deputy chief of the Kenaston Volunteer Fire Department, said they received the call around 8:30 p.m. A total of 14 members responded.

A benefit night was being organized for Dallas and Lynda on Saturday, March 18 at the rink, with wings on the menu and music by Will Ardell.

A trust fund has been established for the couple, and donations are being taken at the Kenaston village office and at Affinity Credit Union.

For the full story, please see the March 20 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Police seek suspect in Holdfast bank robbery

A suspect in a March 10 robbery at a financial institution in Holdfast is depicted in security camera images provided by police.

A suspect in a March 10 robbery at a financial institution in Holdfast is depicted in security camera images provided by police.

By Joel van der Veen

HOLDFAST — Police are on the hunt for a suspect following an armed robbery at a financial institution in Holdfast.

According to police, a male suspect entered a bank in the village on March 10 around 1:10 p.m., demanding cash and bearing a weapon.

He received an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene in an unknown direction in an older, dark-coloured Chevrolet extended cab truck, possibly with another person.

The suspect is described as a male and roughly 5 feet, 10 inches in height with a stocky build.

Photos of a suspect were circulated to the media on Tuesday. The security camera images depict a heavy-set person wearing a bright orange Under Armour hoodie and blue jeans with their face obscured.

Sgt. Greg Doell of the Craik RCMP detachment said he could provide few details on the incident as police continue their investigation.

He confirmed that a weapon was involved but said police are still determining the facts “as to what the weapon was.”

No one was injured during the robbery, said Doell.

Police did not identify the financial institution that was targeted in the incident, but Holdfast has only one such institution, a branch of Conexus Credit Union.

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