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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.

Council picks fix for Craik’s water

By Joel van der Veen

CRAIK — The Town of Craik has taken one more step towards restoring drinking water for local residents.

Councillors have approved a water treatment method, based on the results of pilot projects carried out at the water plant this summer.

Engineers are working on a detailed design proposal, according to a written update provided to ratepayers, and the town expects to begin seeking tenders for the project in December.

Mayor David Ashdown told the Leader last week that the town is making good progress on the matter, despite some delays and challenges.

“It’s taking a bit longer than personally I had hoped,” he said. “It’s certainly important that we do things right.”

The mayor said he was encouraged by the positive results shown from the pilot projects.

Ashdown said he was hopeful that safe drinking water would be available in Craik in the summer of 2018.

Once the town’s water is found to meet provincial standards, a three-month test period will follow to ensure that the treatment system can maintain that level of quality. Only once that’s finished will the boil water advisory be lifted.

“A certain level of caution” is needed, the mayor said, adding, “Once the advisory is off, I’d like it to be staying off.”

Craik has been under a boil water advisory since August 17, 2010 for “failing to meet minimum disinfection levels.”

The town has faced ongoing issues with a water plant constructed in 2009 by Mainstream Water Solutions, a Regina firm that has since filed for bankruptcy.

The update to ratepayers, prepared by Ashdown, states that restoring Craik’s drinking water “has been and continues to be the first priority” for the mayor and council.

Craik began working with engineers from KGS Group in 2015 to find and compare solutions to its water woes.

Their efforts received a couple of financial boosts starting last fall, when ratepayers voted in favour of directing the insurance payout from the Eco-Centre fire, roughly $380,000, towards the water fund.

At the time, the town estimated that the advisory could be lifted as early as November 2017, though various delays have pushed that prediction back.

A federal-provincial grant of more than $1.42 million for Craik, through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, was announced in January 2017.

The additional funds opened up the possibility of finding a suitable ground water source for the town. An exploratory drilling program began early this year, but five test drills in various locations all came up negative.

As such Craik will continue drawing water from an intake at the Arm River dam east of town. Some modifications will be made to the intake to ensure “the cleanest water possible enters the treatment process.”

Mayor Ashdown said a reliable source of ground water would have been preferable, but ultimately wasn’t an option.

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Churches unite for Reformation service

Rev. Dr. Gordon Jensen, portraying Martin Luther, talks with guests at an ecumenical service on Nov. 19.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Was it ironic that Davidson’s churches gathered in the Catholic parish hall to mark 500 years of the Reformation?

Sonje Finnestad, a Lutheran minister who serves churches in Davidson and rural Loreburn, said she was inclined to see it differently.

“You could say irony,” she said, “or a sign of progress.”

An ecumenical service was held Nov. 19 at the Sacred Heart parish hall to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the schism that led to the formation of the Protestant church.

Finnestad said the service was designed as a unifying event, bringing Christians of all denominations together for a time of shared worship and reconciliation.

The event was organized by the Davidson Inter-Church Association, with all six local churches represented and taking part in the proceedings.

Rev. Dr. Gordon Jensen, a professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, was the guest speaker.

After giving the sermon, he briefly stepped out and returned in costume as Martin Luther, the German theologian whose criticisms of the Catholic church helped to kick off the Reformation.

As far as Luther impressions go, one could say Jensen nailed it.

He answered questions and spoke about Luther’s life, his beliefs and his work as a theologian and reformer.

Jensen told the Leader he’s found that role-playing helps to hold the audience’s interest, more than if he had simply presented a lecture.

“I think it’s more engaging, especially with the ability to ask all kinds of questions,” he said.

Following the service, a medieval feast was served. Organizers provided both the bread and chicken drumsticks, while attendees were asked to bring either salad or dessert.

About 50 people attended, a healthy turnout considering that, as Finnestad noted, “I understand we’re competing with the eastern finals of the CFL.”

The liturgy was based on a common prayer service developed by Lutherans and Catholics for the 500th anniversary.

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