Archive for Kenaston

Kenaston shows Canadian pride at street party

Nolan Briggs (right) holds a maple-leaf flag in one hand and a stick of cotton candy in the other. He and his brother Devin were visiting with grandparents Eldon and Theresa Owen in Kenaston and took in the village’s Canada 150 festivities on Wednesday.

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — Canada Day festivities got off to an early start in Kenaston on Wednesday afternoon, with food and fun for the whole family.

A section of Third Street was blocked off for a community street barbecue, organized by the village, the Chamber of Commerce, and local clubs and businesses.

Vickie Holder, one of the organizers, said they were pleased with the turnout and the weather. The skies were sunny for most of the afternoon, though the rain finally came around 6:30 p.m.

“We almost made it till 7,” said Holder. “We held out as long as we could . . . It was a very quick, fast-paced clean-up.”

Popcorn, cotton candy, Sno-Cones and mini doughnuts were offered up and down the street.

Attractions included a bouncy castle, balloons and face painting.

Hamburgers, hot dogs and salads were served at the Adams Centre, along with a red-and-white Canada 150 cake.

Multiple businesses were offering draws for raffle prizes, while the volunteer fire department had two vehicles on display, available for guests to check them out.

Members of the Circus Club from Kenaston School provided entertainment, performing tricks and walking on stilts.

Village councillor Brad Owen and his father Eldon were offering rides around the village in a 1926 Ford Model T.

Eldon has owned the car for more than 30 years, having restored it to running condition. The car had previously been abandoned to rust on a section of pasture land.

“I traded a piece of moose meat for it,” Eldon said, recalling that when he found it, the car had no roof and the left rear wheel had rotted off.

Mitch Hunter and his son Pierre, visiting from the Mistawasis First Nation west of Prince Albert, took a ride in the Model T.

Pierre is a home-school student who takes courses through the Distance Learning Centre. The family was in town for school-related matters and decided to take in the afternoon events as well.

“He’s never seen (a car) like that before,” Mitch said, adding that they enjoyed the afternoon. “It’s nice to have it as a community, (and) everyone gets together.”

Friends roast Firby on retirement

Barry Firby reacts to a remark by Manitoba Senator Don Plett during a charity roast in honour of his retirement, held June 17 at Kenaston Place.

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — The guest list ran the gamut from farmers and businessmen to MLAs, MPs and senators.

They were all there for one purpose — to take Barry Firby down a peg in the name of charity.

Close to 250 people were gathered at Kenaston Place on June 17 for a charity retirement roast, with Firby, a longtime coach, political and community organizer, as the “Man of the Hour.”

Firby, 70, and his family organized the event to celebrate his impending retirement from politics, and to support a couple of causes near to his heart.

He told the Leader he was pleased with the response and turnout, adding that there were no hard feelings.

“A roast, of course, is a bit of a different format,” he said. “Everything was meant to entertain. . . We said there was no holds barred, and it was fine.”

His daughter Mackenzie said they began planning the event at Christmas, inspired in part by a previous roast held in honour of the late Senator Doug Finley.

She acknowledged there was some risk involved: “You plan a big event like that . . . You don’t really know what they’re going to say.”


Proceeds from the evening are being divided equally between two causes.

Half will be donated to the Kenaston Community Recreation Board, which works to maintain, support and fundraise for the village’s pool, rink and community hall.

The other half will be directed to the Senator Doug Finley Memorial Fun, created to support young people interested in entering politics. The fund is named in honour of Finley, a campaign director for the Conservative Party who was appointed to the Senate in 2009 and died in 2013.

For the full story, please see the June 26 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.


Kerpan family continues campaign against impaired driving

Allan and Melanie Kerpan hold a framed photo of their late daughter Danille at their home near Kenaston. (Leader photo by Joel van der Veen)

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON — Days before Danille Kerpan died, she had a conversation with her sister Stefanie, the kind of deep talk the sisters often had.

Danille, then 25, talked about her future goals and the things she wanted to accomplish — including her desire to help at least one person.

More than two years after she was killed by a drunk driver, Danille’s family is working to keep that dream alive.

Her picture is prominently featured in two new campaigns against impaired driving, both of which were unveiled recently.

On May 11, SGI released a new 60-second commercial, featuring family photos of Danille and other victims of impaired drivers.

They are shown surrounded by loved ones. Then their images fade from view, representing the void left behind.

The campaign runs from May 14 to June 16, with the ad appearing online, on TV and in theatres.

A second campaign, presented by MADD Canada and the RTL-Westcan Group, was launched in Saskatoon on May 17.

Danille’s photo will appear on 40 truck trailers operated by Westcan in Saskatchewan, along with her name, her age when she died and the words, “Killed by an Impaired Driver.”

Through these campaigns, Stefanie said at the Westcan launch, her sister still has the opportunity to accomplish that dream.

“Thank you, Westcan, for giving Danille the platform to do just what she wanted — to not only change lives, but to save them,” she said.

* * * * *

Allan and Melanie Kerpan live in the same farmhouse west of Kenaston where they raised their four children: Joshua, Tyrel, Stefanie and Danille.

Family photos adorn many of the walls, and images of Danille, from childhood through adolescence to early adulthood, are everywhere.

Some of her keepsakes and possessions are also on display. One item, a description of herself written as a Grade 12 student, seems poignant now, especially in certain parts: “I worry that I will not stay young forever.”

For the Kerpans, the house itself is filled with memories old and new. They now have three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way.

Melanie, a teacher who works from the Distance Learning Centre in Kenaston, said it can be overwhelming when the rest of the family is home. Generally, though, she finds it a source of comfort.

“I feel her here all the time,” she said. “I don’t find it overwhelming. I find it comforting.”

Allan, a farmer and a former MP and MLA, said he struggled with seeing Danille’s face at first.

“The first few days or weeks, I couldn’t look at the pictures without crying,” he said. “Now I’m glad they’re here.”

Danille died Oct. 10, 2014 in a head-on collision on Highway 11 just south of Bladworth, when her vehicle collided with a truck headed north in a southbound lane.

She was one of 59 people killed that year in auto collisions in Saskatchewan where alcohol was a factor.

The driver later pled guilty to impaired driving causing death. He was sentenced to four years in prison and will be prohibited from driving for seven years after his release.

Two-and-a-half years after Danille’s death, the Kerpans face constant reminders that life has changed.

“There is no more normal,” Allan said. “You look at everything differently than you did before.”

He recalled how friends and neighbours appeared to act differently around them, especially in the first year — unsure if they could approach them or talk to them about it.

Gradually, Allan said, people seem more comfortable raising the subject with them, especially as they have stepped into the role of advocates.

In the last couple of years, the Kerpans have made presentations in area schools and become more involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

To read the full story, please see the May 29 edition of The Davidson Leader. To subscribe, contact The Davidson Leader, 306-567-2047.

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.

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.

Obituary: Benko, Clarence

Benko, Clarence “Chuck” John
July 29, 1938 — May 16, 2017

On May 16, 2017, Chuck Benko of Edmonton, Alberta (formerly of Kenaston, Sask.) sadly passed away at the age of 78 years old.

Dad will be greatly missed by his daughters Maria MacLeod, Christine (Dave) DaCosta, Suzanne (Kevin) Clemens and sons Thomas (Dagmar) Benko and Robert (Christine) Benko. Chuck will be forever missed by his brothers Leonard (Betty) Benko, James Benko, Jack (Lois) Benko and sisters Valerine Thurlow and Theresa (Elden) Owen.

Dad will always be missed by his many grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews and relatives from near and far.

He was predeceased by his mother Frances; father John; son Stephen and brother Andrew.

In keeping with the wishes of Chuck, there will be a Funeral Mass held at 11:00 a.m., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Holy Family Catholic Church, 75 Poirier Avenue, St. Albert, AB T8N 6A1.

Interment will take place at a later date. He will rest at the St. Andrew’s Catholic Church Cemetery in Kenaston, Sask.

The family would like to thank the kind, caring, and professional staff in Unit 18 at the St. Albert Sturgeon Community Hospital where Chuck spent his last four months of life.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations can be made to the Alberta Diabetes Foundation 8602 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1.

To send condolences, please visit

Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home, St. Albert Chapel, (780) 458-2222.