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Canada Post to staff: Stop sorting mail by hand

By Joel van der Veen DAVIDSON — Canada Post is cracking down on rural postal employees sorting mail by hand. The company says all mail received at rural post offices like Davidson must be sent to a regional centre — in this case, Regina — to be sorted automatically. A Canada Post spokesperson said the corporation...

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Kerpans, MADD unveil roadside memorial

By Joel van der Veen KENASTON — For the family and friends of Danille Kerpan, three years has done little to relieve the pain of her untimely death. “It’s a feeling and a situation you can’t possibly describe,” her brother Josh said Tuesday. “If I could bottle it up and give it to everybody, to...

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McNabb, Knights pay tribute to Vegas heroes

By Joel van der Veen LAS VEGAS — As they took the ice for their home opener, the Vegas Golden Knights paid tribute to the men and women who answered the call during their city’s darkest hour. The NHL team opened Tuesday’s game with a ceremony honouring the city of Las Vegas, the victims of...

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Young’s chips in for Davidson’s new Zamboni

By Joel van der Veen DAVIDSON — A local ag equipment dealer is chipping in more than $40,000 towards the cost of a new Zamboni for the Davidson rink. Young’s Equipment — the province’s largest Case IH dealer, with branches in nine locations including Davidson and Chamberlain — recently entered a sponsorship agreement with the town....

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“There’s a lot of broken hearts”: Family, friends mourn Hanley teen

By Joel van der Veen HANLEY — The life of the party. An adventurer. A true friend. In the days since Drew Kolbeck’s death, countless family and friends have shared their memories of the Hanley teen.  Some of these came in the form of posts to his Facebook page. “I’ll miss your crazy dance moves...

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Sun sets on a tragic summer on Lake Diefenbaker

By Joel van der Veen

ELBOW — Peace pervades Lake Diefenbaker on a late September evening.

Few are out on the water, though a sharp eye can spot the odd boat far in the distance.

A lone paddleboarder makes his way across the horizon. From this vantage point, he is just a silhouette on the brilliant light painting that fills the sky — wispy, orange-tinted clouds against a pale blue backdrop.

The lake is calm and serene, almost deceptively so.

A sudden storm can catch boaters by surprise, and sometimes with fatal consequences.

The sun has set on another summer on Lake Diefenbaker — the deadliest one in recent memory.

Between late July and early September, four people drowned on the lake in three separate incidents.

Of those people, two lived in Loreburn and one was a Saskatoon resident. The fourth was an adult male whose place of residence was not made public.

Only one of the deceased — Ken Houben, 61, of Loreburn — was identified publicly.

After years without a drowning on the lake, local officials say this year’s death toll took them and other residents by surprise.

“We’ve never experienced a summer like this,” said Elbow mayor Rob Hundeby, a lifelong resident of the village. “Obviously, the (village) grieves with them . . . It’s a devastating loss.”

Cpl. Doug Gardiner, commanding officer for the Elbow RCMP detachment, acknowledged that the year had been “extremely unusual.”

Gardiner said he has worked in the region for five-and-a-half years. During that time, he said, there had been no drownings reported on the lake until this summer.

The corporal said he could not comment on the individual incidents as they remained under investigation.

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Staffing increase at health centre made permanent

By Joel van der Veen

DAVIDSON — Increased staffing levels at the Davidson Health Centre are here to stay.

Three new positions added last year on a temporary basis have been made permanent, management confirmed to the Leader recently.

Gayle Riendeau, acting president and CEO of Heartland Health Region, said that the trial period for those positions was extended in the summer.

Ultimately, she added, “we came to the conclusion that the enhancements we had made were meeting the needs at the site.”

The “staffing enhancements” were among the measures introduced by the health region last year with the goal of improving the centre’s efficiency, safety and quality of care.

The three additions included a licensed practical nurse (LPN) working on the night shift — 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The region also created an assistant head nurse position, working three eight-hour shifts per week, or a total of 24 hours each week.

Finally, a combined lab/X-ray technician joined the staff for eight hours per week.

The three positions were announced in October of 2016, when they were filled on a temporary basis.

In the months that followed, the region continued to hold regular meetings between staff and management to discuss and address concerns.

“We’ve found it to be beneficial . . . in helping to resolve issues,” Riendeau said, adding that the meetings would continue, as would the strive to keep improving service and outcomes at the facility. “You’re never done making quality improvements.”

This past August, management again met with staff and the union local representative to inform them that the positions would be made permanent.

Riendeau said the positions were reposted with the new terms and it was her understanding as of mid-September that “they’ve all been filled.”

Local nurses went public with their concerns over staffing levels at the centre in August 2016, after the region chose not to fill a vacant relief nursing position there.

In a visit to Davidson town council, several nurses reported that the situation at the centre had become unsafe, posing a risk to the safety and health of both patients and staff.

In the weeks that followed, several patients also spoke out, describing how service interruptions at the centre resulted in them being sent home or transferred to other facilities.

In September, local staff met with rural and remote health minister Greg Ottenbreit in Davidson. The three temporary positions were announced the following month.

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Craik kids blown away by Tornado Hunter

Connor Watt and Jaden Wall get a close-up look at the truck used by Chris Chittick and the Tornado Hunters crew.

By Joel van der Veen

CRAIK — For Chris Chittick, following his dream has taken him to some close calls.

On May 31, 2013, he and his crew were tracking a pair of tornadoes near El Reno, Okla., when the two twisters merged into one.

The resulting storm was two-and-a-half miles wide, the widest ever recorded.

With their camera still running and thousands of people watching the live stream online, driver Ricky Forbes steered their truck into the ditch — their best hope of avoiding the storm.

The truck continued rolling with debris flying all around them, including a two-and-a-half tonne farm truck.

Chittick caught some air as the truck went over a bump, inadvertently closing his laptop computer and cutting off the stream suddenly.

His mom, who was watching online, called him moments later: “I think it’s time for you to grow up, get a real job, become a teacher, baker, whatever.”

But he said he has no plans to give up the life of a full-time storm chaser, saying that even near-misses like the El Reno storm have only served to increase his curiosity and passion.

Chittick, a member of the team from TV’s Tornado Hunters, visited Craik School on Monday morning.

Students, staff and visitors got to see video footage of some extreme storms, along with firsthand stories from Chittick’s unusual career.

They also got to check out one of the two trucks used by Chittick and his team — outfitted with custom equipment and covered with a bulletproof Kevlar composite material.

Chittick, a native of Michigan who now lives in Regina, has been observing nature’s might up-close for nearly 20 years.

He began chasing storms in 1998 while still a university student, driving west during his summer breaks. He spotted his first tornado in southeast Wyoming in 2000.

“I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said. “I’m a big believer in following your dreams, following your passions.”

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Obituary: Kenny, Paula

Paula Susanna Kenny

Paula Susanna Kenny was born on June 4, 1916 to Jules and Marie LePoudre, and passed away peacefully on Sept. 7, 2017 at the age of 101. S

he was predeceased by her husband Harold; grandson Lyndon; great-grandson Hayden; sisters Mary, Andrea and Susan; brothers Andre, Paul, Octave and Clifford; and young brothers Andre and Octave in Belgium.

Paula will be lovingly remembered by her children Jean (Bob) Wilson, Gerald (Pat) Kenny, Marlene Chanski and Roy (Corinne) Kenny, 14 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, sister Leona Gartner and many nieces and nephews.

Paula loved working in her yard and won awards for her beautiful flowers. She planted a garden every year until the age of 99, and many friends and relatives enjoyed her fresh vegetables. Gramma was a cheerleader at many of her grandchildren’s sporting events, and she had a never-ending supply of ice cream, pizza pops and toonies for them. Your memory will live forever in our hearts.

We will dearly miss you, Mother, Gramma and Great-Gramma.

Obituary: Kolbeck, Drew Rae

Kolbeck, Drew Rae
Sept. 9, 1999 — Sept. 23, 2017

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. Drew leaves to mourn his parents Jeff and Tanya, brothers Dustin and Drayden, grandparents Bill and Diane Byrd, Dan and Kathy Kolbeck; great-grandma Audrey, aunts, uncles, cousins Twila and Dave Livingstone (Parker and Mason), Travis Byrd (Kailey, Trace, Luke) Cyndi, Cori and Mike Hallgrimson (Nic, Jacyln, Mason), Val and Dean Sigurdson (Bret, Josh, Sam), Chris and Jamie Kolbeck (William, Rylan).

Drew was predeceased by Granny Anne and Uncle Nic. Drew lived life fast and played hard with no regrets. His smile and personality lit up the room, he left a lasting impression on everyone he met. Drew loved dirt biking, cat walking, quadding and all extreme sports. Drew loved spending time with his friends. He always told his mom, “It’s not about the miles per gallon, it’s about the smiles per gallon.” We would like to thank the first responders, RUH trauma and ICU teams and Dr. Kelly for the outstanding care and compassion Drew received.

The Vigil of Prayers was held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Kenaston. The Celebration of Life Service was held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 at the Hanley Centennial Hall, Hanley, Sask.

For those so wishing, memorial donations in memory of Drew may be directed to local charities: Hanley First Responders or the Hanley Fire Hall, with cheques payable to the Town of Hanley. Donations may also be made to the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association.

Arrangements in care of Hanson’s Funeral Home of Davidson.


Obituary: Manz, John

John Manz

With heavy hearts we are so sad to announce the passing of John Manz on Sept. 21, 2017.

John fought and hung on as long as he could but it eventually overtook him. He passed away at the Davidson Health Centre with his family by his side.

John was born in Davidson on April 2, 1932. He attended Campbell School and after completing his schooling he started farming and working on the oil rigs. On March 4, 1955 he married Nola Wightman and together they bought the Manz family farm. It was a busy farm that was located near most of his brothers and sisters. His family always helped each other out whether it was butchering, moving machinery, fixing farm equipment . . . they seemed to be there for each other. In dad’s wallet he had a piece of paper with all his brothers’ and sisters’ names, birthdates and when they passed away.

John enjoyed all outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, playing ball, and especially the Manz Family Reunions. He always asked about all his nieces and nephews and took special interest in how they were doing. John was very social and enjoyed being on the go and helping his neighbours, friends and family. He liked to tease and joke around with everyone. He looked forward to having company and a good game of cards. Dad loved spending time with his children and grandchildren and always helped out anyway he could. His many acts of kindness and unconditional support will be hugely missed.

John would want all his family acknowledged: wife Nola Manz; daughters Glenda (Everett) Chester and Noreen (Wayne) Obrigewitsch; son Owen (Mel) Manz; grandchildren Stacy (Josh) Pohlman and Jana Chester and Leslie Chester, Mitchell (Stephanie) Obrigewitsch and Kendra (Chris) Kostyk and Caitlin Obrigewitsch, Justin Manz and Jascia Manz; great-grandchildren Weston and Rylie Pohlman, Ophelia and Bronson Obrigewitsch and Oliver Kostyk; sisters-in-law Joan Manz and Marj Wightman; and lots of nieces and nephews, too many to mention.

John was predeceased by parents John and Caroline Manz; parents-in-law Mary and Ken Wightman; brothers George, Conrad, Leonard, Jim, Jake, Martin, Walter and Eddie; sisters Alma Campbell and Erna Arend; brothers-in-law John Campbell and Joe Arend; and sisters-in-law Elsie, Emma, Joyce, Jackie, Madeline, Shirley and Helen.

A celebration of life will be held at Noreen and Wayne’s farm with immediate family. Memorial donations can be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Davidson Health Centre. The family placed their trust in Hanson’s Funeral Home, Davidson.