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Kenaston dancers hit the stage

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

A tale as old as time

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

Student athletes hot on the track despite cold weather

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

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

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

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.

Local Cadets headed to flight school in Manitoba

Emily Jones of Craik and Jacob Heinrich of Davidson, both Air Cadets in 40 Snowbird Squadron, have been accepted to attend the Cadet Flying Training Centre in Gimli, Man., this summer.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — When Cadet Sgt. Jacob Heinrich learned he’d been accepted to attend flight school in Manitoba this summer, he wanted to celebrate.

At the time, however, he was standing in parade formation with the other members of the 40 Snowbird Squadron, so the celebration had to wait.

“You still have to keep a straight face,” he recalled. “I was biting my lip pretty hard.”

Heinrich, a Grade 10 student at Davidson School, is one of two local cadets invited to attend the Cadet Flying Training Centre (CFTC) in Gimli, Man., this summer.

He and fellow cadet Emily Jones of Craik will spend a month and a half at the centre, training on the Schweizer SGS 2-33 glider.

Both Heinrich and Jones began their cadet careers with 553 Sherlock Squadron in Davidson.

After the local squadron became inactive due to declining enrolment, they and a couple of others transferred to 40 Snowbird Squadron in Moose Jaw.

Local cadets travel to the city one night a week for regular meetings, and more often when they have weekend activities.

Heinrich began the application process for the CFTC in September, attending ground school to learn the basics of aviation.

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

Double bill presented at dessert theatre

Clockwise from top left, Katherine Cool, Geena Heinrich, Jacob Schilling, Sarah Allan and Tia Shaw are pictured in a scene from “Storied,” presented by the Davidson School senior drama club on May 4.

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — An audience of close to 100 people was treated to a double bill as Davidson School hosted a dessert theatre night on May 4, featuring the junior and senior drama clubs.

Up first was the junior club’s performance of “10 Reasons You Should Have Stayed Home Sick Today,” by E. M. Bell.

Directed by Jason Low, the one-act comedy play featured a cast of 10 students in grades 7 through 9.

The 10 reasons included getting stuck with an awkward bus seatmate, facing an impossible pop quiz, and slipping in mud that leaves a suggestive stain on the victim’s pants.

Following was the senior club’s performance of “Storied” by Bradley Watson, directed by Arlene Low, with a cast of 12 actors in grades 10 through 12.

The surreal play follows three teenagers — Tatum (Katherine Cool), Becky (Geena Heinrich) and Kevin (Jacob Schilling) — who find themselves trapped in an alternate universe.

There, they encounter many fictional characters — some they recognize, like Alice (Emily Read) and the White Rabbit (Chase Lyn Dean), and others they don’t, like the Big Blue Metal Thing (Sarah Bublish) and the Sniper in a Tutu (Justin Sandsbraaten).

They eventually find themselves caught in a conflict between “Good Ideas” from classic stories, and “Bad Ideas” that originate in lesser works.

The teens encounter a pair of witches, Brittany (Sarah Allan) and Colleen (Tia Shaw), who explain that they drew them into this dimension by casting a spell.

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


Obituary: George, Phyllis

Phyllis George (Whittle)
November 29, 1912 — May 8, 2017

After a long and very full life of 104 years, Phyllis passed away peacefully at her residence at St. Ann’s Nursing Home in Saskatoon, Sask.

Phyllis was born at Hanley, Sask., on the farm of her parents. She grew up in the area until she was 16, when she then went away to finish her schooling and attend Normal School in Saskatoon.

Once receiving her teaching certificate, she was employed as a teacher in several small schools around Saskatchewan. She taught at Zid School, just east of Kenaston for four years. It was during that time she met her future husband, Peter George. And in 1942, they were married.

They eventually settled five miles west of Kenaston, where they farmed and raised their family and in later years, retired to Kenaston.

Phyllis is survived by: her son Don (Gloria) George, their children Deanne (Al) Bleackley and Jason (Shauna) George; her daughter Norma Nordquist (Byron Vicars), her children Blaine (Sue) Nordquist, Jon (Candace) Nordquist and Adrienne (Stu) Harrop; son-in-law Barry Firby, his children Chad (Regan) Firby, Renee Firby and Mackenzie Firby; as well as 15 great-grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces. Phyllis was predeceased by husband Peter George in 1973, son-in-law Jerry Nordquist in 2005, and daughter Chris Firby in 2012.

Service will be held Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 2 p.m. from Kenaston Place, Kenaston, Sask. Pastor Gene Whitehead presiding. Burial to follow at Kenaston Cemetery.

Hanson’s Funeral Home, Davidson, Sask., in charge of arrangements.

Obituary: McPhee, Audrey Blanche

McPhee, Audrey Blanche (Peggy)
August 12, 1928 — May 5, 2017

Peggy was born in Hanley, Sask. She passed away peacefully in Polson Extended Care, Vernon, B.C., with her children at her side. She is predeceased by her husband Roy, her mother and father, and all her brothers and sisters. Peggy is survived by Jeanette, Larry (Donna); grandchildren Craig and Rob; one great-grandchild Karsen; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The service is to be held in Hanley, to be announced at a later date.