Archive for Loreburn

Blizzards honour coach with heartfelt ceremony

At left, Dean Blenkinsop, accompanied by his wife Michelle, stands on the ice while hundreds applaud him during a ceremony at the Kenaston Arena on Oct. 28. Also pictured at right is Mark Asbjornhus.

By Joel van der Veen

KENASTON —  Hundreds filled the Kenaston Arena on Saturday night to pay tribute to a coach, teammate, neighbour and friend.

Longtime Blizzards player and coach Dean Blenkinsop was honoured with a brief ceremony at the rink, to retire his number and to recognize his years of service to hockey in Kenaston.

The ceremony was held the night of Oct. 28, prior to a senior hockey exhibition game between the Kenaston Blizzards and the Loreburn 19ers.

Introduced by former teammate Mark Asbjornhus, Blenkinsop walked onto the ice with his wife Michelle following closely behind him.

He stood quietly while the players on the ice and the crowd — estimated at more than 350 people — paid tribute with a standing ovation.

Following a slideshow of photos, a banner was unveiled at the far end of the rink, bearing Blenkinsop’s name and the number 10.

Dean then spoke briefly, thanking the team for the tribute, and saying, “Let’s have a fun night.”

Asbjornhus said the tribute was a “group effort,” calling Dean an “unbelievable guy” who has dedicated many years to the community.

“We’ve been talking about retiring his jersey for a while,” Asbjornhus said, adding as he looked over the crowd on Saturday night, “It seems to be coming together pretty good.”

Blenkinsop, 46, grew up in Hawarden and began playing senior hockey with the Blizzards in the late 1980s.

He continued with the team over the next 25 years, moving off the ice into coaching four years ago.

He was first diagnosed with colon cancer nine years ago, and has been battling the disease on and off since then.

Blenkinsop said he has been open about his fight with cancer, adding that he and his family have received plenty of support from the community.

He and Michelle have three daughters, ranging in age from nine to 13 years, while Michelle also has a 24-year-old son.

Blenkinsop said prior to the ceremony that organizers had kept most of their plans a secret.

“They just told me to show up tonight,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

Afterward, he said he enjoyed the ceremony, adding that the banner was a nice surprise touch. Read more

Obituary: Dodds, James

James Cameron Dodds
February 8, 1927 — October 14, 2017

The passing of James Dodds, of Saskatoon and Loreburn, Sask., occurred on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at his home in Saskatoon at the age of 90 years. Born and raised in Loreburn, Jim attended school in Loreburn and later attended the School of Agriculture at the U of S, where he formed many friendships. Jim was a successful, proud farmer for 60 years and was active in his community, always willing to lend a helping hand. He enjoyed hockey, curling and golfing. In his later years, he spent many hours sitting in his recliner watching the Blue Jays, Roughriders and Oilers. His happiest times were spent at family gatherings and he was an inspiration to his children and grandchildren.

Jim is lovingly remembered by his wife of 61 years, Ruth; and his family Harvey Dodds, Jean (Doug) Jones and children Rory Jones (Kaesha Wenzel), Kelsi (Kevin) Clayton, and Darion Jones (Courtney Friesen); June (Robert) McJannet and children Erik McJannet and Tera (Brock) Thiessen; Karen (Phil) Anton and children Travis (Allyssa) Anton, Kathryn Anton, and Jayme Anton; and Beth (Brad) Holt and children Lauren Holt, Allyson Holt, and Erin Holt. He is also survived by his brother Bob (Carol) Dodds; sister Dorothy (Don) Reuszer; four sisters-in-law Lillian Dodds, Lois Hoiland, Ilene Hoiland and Bernice Fjeld; brother-in-law Art (June) Hoiland and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents George and Robena Dodds; brother Mac Dodds, sister Marion (Rodney) Francis; sister-in-law Mary Dodds, three brothers-in-law Peder Hoiland, Irvin Hoiland and Cecil Fjeld; and niece Janis Fonos.

A memorial service was held on October 20, 2017 from the Strongfield Community Hall with Rev. Ursula Wiig officiating. Interment at the Loreburn Cemetery.

Courting action during Loreburn’s junior RAVE

Loreburn’s Emmitt Hundeby returns the ball during a junior boys volleyball game on Sept. 16. Also pictured are Jackson Allan of Davidson (left) and Dylan Glubis of Loreburn.

By Joel van der Veen

LOREBURN — Whether you were playing, officiating or sitting in the stands, it felt like fall in the Loreburn rink last weekend.

Fifteen teams competed in Loreburn’s junior boys and girls RAVE volleyball tournament on Sept. 16, with the action divided between the arena and the gym at Loreburn Central School.

With fall temperatures setting in, spectators and players on the bench sought refuge in winter coats and heavy blankets, while active players and officials had to find other means to conserve their body heat.

Sue Ann Abbott, who was keeping track of game results, said the rink warmed up as the day went on — “not a great deal, but enough to make it more comfortable for the referees and the people sitting in there.”

Three courts were set up on the concrete floor of the skating rink, while the school gym served as the fourth court.

The day began with round-robin play and ended with playoff games. Ten girls teams and five boys teams competed.

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Hundreds flock to Strongfield for festivities

Randy Urlacher gives spectators a refreshing blast from the fire hose during Strongfield’s parade on July 15. Randy was riding on the back of the Loreburn fire truck along with Luke Glubis, Taylor South and Victor Dutkiewicz.


By Joel van der Veen

STRONGFIELD — Serving three meals for hundreds of people last Saturday made for a busy day for volunteers at the Strongfield hall.

“It just seemed like we went from one meal to the next,” said Brandy Losie, adding that the atmosphere elsewhere in the village was more relaxed.

“It’s small, so people just want to walk around and look where they used to live.”

Strongfield celebrated its 105th anniversary, as well as the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, with a full day of events on July 15.

A pancake breakfast on Saturday morning drew close to 200 people, with around 180 returning for a barbecue lunch and 165 enjoying a pulled-pork supper.

Losie, the village’s administrator, said Strongfield usually has a small summer parade to celebrate Dick Tastad’s birthday, typically held on a weekday.

This year, she said, they decided to hold the parade on a Saturday in hopes of drawing a larger crowd.

They picked July 15, knowing that the Hutchinson-Taylor family reunion was happening the same weekend, with around 60 people expected to attend.

Losie said the scheduling worked out well, adding, “I was happy to see so many people.”

The village received some sprucing-up for the occasion, including flowers planted by organizer Holly Vollmer.

Dozens of kids joined the bike parade, led by Sgt. Mark Langager, a native of the area and now commanding officer at the Outlook RCMP detachment.

They were followed by roughly 30 entries in the vintage car, truck and tractor parade. George Bristow, a former resident and longtime mayor of the village, introduced each entry.

For the full story, please see the July 24 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Party marks 50 years since Gardiner Dam’s grand opening

Pictured are the five control towers atop the Gardiner Dam.

By Joel van der Veen

GARDINER DAM — Roger Baldwin remembers his first day on the job.

Hired in 1962 by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), his first assignment was at the Gardiner Dam, as an inspector for the shafts and tunnels then under construction.

The day he arrived, his supervisor, Dwight Kirton, took him to the top of a shaft 200 feet high.

“Don’t worry,” Kirton told him as they looked down. “It’s the last 12 feet that’ll kill you.”

Baldwin, now 78, was among the former employees who travelled back to the dam on July 14 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its opening.

An estimated 1,000 people were on hand for what was billed as “The Best Dam Party of the Summer.”

The crowd included many former employees of PFRA and the other agencies and contractors who worked on the project.

Dignitaries on hand included Ralph Goodale, the federal minister of public safety, and Scott Moe, the provincial environment minister, both of whom spoke during a brief ceremony.

Also in attendance were the descendants of Saskatchewan’s fourth premier, James Gardiner, for whom the dam was named.

The event was a joint affair organized by SaskPower, SaskWater, the Water Security Agency and the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.

Joel Perry, Saskatchewan Parks manager for Danielson and Douglas provincial parks, said 1,100 hot dogs were served, along with similar numbers for ice cream.

“We lucked out, except with the wind,” he remarked Friday, “though in Saskatchewan, that means it’s good for no bugs.”

Attractions included face painting and a bouncy castle, along with displays from the Saskatchewan Science Centre and conservation authorities.

The visitor centre was open to the public, and area musician Will Ardell performed on stage following the program.

Serving as emcees were Mike Marsh, president and CEO of SaskPower, and Susan Ross, president of the Water Security Agency.

Marsh said the impact of the dam is widespread, including 100,000 homes powered each year by the Coteau Creek hydroelectric station.

The construction of the Gardiner and Qu’Appelle River dams also resulted in the formation of Lake Diefenbaker, which provides water for municipal and industrial use, as well as irrigating hundreds of farms. The lake has also spawned a massive tourism industry that draws thousands of visitors to the region annually.

For the full story, please see the July 24 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Loreburn’s cenotaph restored after 90 years

Legion members, RCMP officers and dignitaries pose following the rededication ceremony for Loreburn’s cenotaph on June 6.

By Joel van der Veen

LOREBURN — In 1927, veterans from Loreburn and area built a monument to their fallen comrades in the centre of their village.

They had hauled rocks — likely from the Wankel farm, west of town — and constructed the stone memorial at the corner of Main Street and Saskatchewan Avenue, near the brick schoolhouse.

Ninety years later, residents of the village gathered to rededicate their cenotaph, and to remember and honour the fallen.

Thirteen men are commemorated on the monument — 11 casualties from the First World War, and two from the Second World War.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, Rev. Ursula Wiig spoke of the importance of continuing to remember their sacrifice.

Recalling the horror of conflicts past and present, she added, “We also want to dedicate ourselves to making a better world.”

The 90-year-old monument was recently refurbished by local volunteers, ensuring it will continue to serve its purpose for years to come.

Andy Wong and his wife May led the repairs, removing and replacing the mortar, which had deteriorated over time. Also, the plaques were cleaned and the letters were repainted by Sue Ann Abbott.

The project cost roughly $1,200, about half of which was covered by a grant from Veterans Affairs Canada. The rest of the costs were covered by the branch’s Poppy Trust Fund and by the village itself.

Around 140 people gathered Tuesday morning for the ceremony. This included close to 100 students from Loreburn Central School, who walked to the site for the occasion.

The date, June 6, was chosen as the 73rd anniversary of the landing at Normandy, popularly known as D-Day.

Joe Sitavanc, president of Loreburn-Elbow Branch No. 251 of the Royal Canadian Legion, served as emcee.

For the full story, please see the June 12 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.