Prince Albert Daily Herald
Prince Albert's only locally-owned daily newspaper
Updated: 33 min 2 sec ago
A La Ronge-area author is receiving acclaim from some of the toughest critics — children. Last month, Miriam Koerner was named the winner of the Snow Willow Award for her book Yellow Dog. The award is chosen by Grade 7 and 8 students from across Saskatchewan. The other winners were Laura Monster Crusher by Wesley King of BC and Underneath the Sidewalks from Claire Eamer, another BC author. The winning authors had their books celebrated at St. Angela’s school in Saskatoon, where students performed skits of their favourite books. Korner also had a second book shortlisted for one of the Willow Awards, When the Trees Crackle with Cold: A Cree Calendar – pīsimwasinahikan, a picture book collaboration between herself and Cree elder Bernice Johnson-Laxdal. “It was a really big honour because it was voted on by students in Saskatchewan,” Koerner said. “WhenI wrote the book, I wrote it for many kids in the north because there weren’t many books they could find themselves in. It was very nice to be recognized across the province, and that kids in the south were interested in reading about stories from up here.” Yellow Dog is about a boy named Jeremy who gets pressured into pulling a dog’s tail and goes back to make amends. He learns about sled dogs and stories from an old man about what life was like when he was young. Jeremy gathers his own stray dogs and starts training his own team. The awards aren’t the first wins for the pair of books by Koerner. Yellow Dog was also nominated for the Silver Birch, Red Cedar, Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice and Rocky Mountain Book Awards. When the Trees Crackle with Cold won Koerner a Saskatchewan Book Award and a Moonbeam Gold Medal. Koerner raises sled dogs herself. Her books come from a mix of her own experiences running sled dogs and by meeting people along the way. “It’s not very common to see a dog team n the north anymore,” she said, “so people will stop along the trail and say ‘nice looking dogs you’ve got. I used to have a dog team’ and then they would start telling stories about what life was like growing up with sled dogs.” Those stories, she said, inspired the tales told to Jeremy by the old man. The stories about going out with the dogs are based on her own experiences. The awards come just as Koerner is launching her latest novel, titled Qaqavii (pronounced Kakavee). The book is set in Churchill, Man., and Nunavut, where Koerner spent four years racing with “some of the finest Inuit mushers and learning from the elders there. “I went back to the community several times. I had a lot of help in that book from people in the community of Arviat.” That includes a character in the book who only speaks Inuktituk. She used stories she learned from the people of Arviat that were later translated for the book. Unlike Yellow Dog, which tells the story of sled dogs from the Northern Saskatchewan perspective, Qaqavii is an Arctic story. It was just released in March. It tells the story of 15-year-old Emmylou. When she arrives in Churchill, all she can think about is leaving before she becomes polar bear food. But her outlook changes when she meets Barnabus, a young Inuk training sled dogs for the Arctic Quest. Her real adventure begins when she falls for a spirited puppy by the name of Qawavii. So far, Koerner said, the feedback has been positive, including from Arviat residents. Koerner’s books about sled dogs have been inspired by her own experiences with dog teams. When she came to Canada about 17 years ago, she became fascinated by the history of sled dogs in the north. “It wasn’t all that long ago that sled dogs were used for transportation. I was really curious about those times when sled dogs and snowshoes and canoes were the only ways of travelling in the north, because that’s how I like to travel, “ she said. “That inspired me. Then, I wrote a book I would have liked to read when I was young.” She said the recent novel explores important themes. “It’s not just my own adventure story,” she said. “It also touches on some of the things that have been done to Indigenous people, like colonization and the relocation of arctic people.” The process of writing these books has allowed Koerner to learn more about different peoples’ histories and their connections with sled dogs. “After hearing stories from the trap line here, going to the Arctic, there is a whole different connection to sled dogs in the north. I think the Inuit have a very strong connection that’s til there today when it comes to sled dogs,” she said. “I think I found that really interesting and fascination. That’s what inspired me.” Qaqavii can be ordered through Red Deer Press, local bookstores or Amazon.
A local service club is doing its part to help a Prince Albert child receive his lifelong wish. Tuesday afternoon the Royal Purple Elks #50 presented a $500 donation to the Make a Wish Foundation and to Anthony Chester, a 15-year-old boy whose family is one of eight in Prince Albert currently waiting to have their wish come true. “Once you’re part of the Make a Wish Foundation we say you’re part of the Make a Wish Family,” said regional manager Allyson Toye. “We are the world’s largest wish-granting organization. We grant wishes to kids between the age of 3 and 17 with a life-threatening medical condition.” The wishes come in four categories — wish to have, wish to meet, wish to go and wish to be. The average wish costs $10,000. Just over three-quarters of all wishes are travel dreams in the “I wish to go” category. Chester, whose wish falls into the “have” category, will see his wish fulfilled later this week, in part, thanks to the Royal Purple Elks #50. The group wanted to contribute “to help this boy out and make his wish come true,” said Peggy Ganton of the Royal Purple Elks. Donations such as Tuesday’s from the Royal Purple Elks and others from corporations and individuals are what allow the Make a Wish Foundation to fulfill wishes. “$10,000 per wish is a lot of money,” Toye said. “We’re working on 102 wishes across our province, and eight in our area. That’s $80,000 we’re putting into this community so donations … we greatly appreciate.” One of the best parts, Toye said, is watching families’ reactions when the children’s wishes come true. “Watching a wish come true is one of the most magical, heart-warming experiences, she said. “Anything you can think of and dream of coming true — being a part of it, you won’t see a dry eye.” The Royal Purple Elks are just happy to help. “It feels really good to help this kid out,” Ganton said. “I know how it would feel if it was one of my kids. I hope he enjoys it.” For more on Chester’s story and wish, please see Saturday’s Daily Herald.
Defending WHL champions to pick 60th overall on Thursday Having an Ed Chynoweth Cup in your back pocket certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to bringing European players over to the Western Hockey League. However, according to Prince Albert Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt, the team’s recent success in developing talent plays an even bigger role in having success in the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. “Even if you go back to before my time when (Leon) Draisaitl was here, we’ve done a good job of doing the work that comes into recruiting import players,” Hunt said. “I know that we missed on (St. Louis Blues prospect Dominik) Bokk (in 2017), but we’ve been able to bring guys like (Simon) Stransky, (Vojtech) Budik and (Aliaksei) Protas in the draft and we had the opportunity to get (Sergei) Sapego last season from the Tri-City Americans. The championship certainly helps and it certainly puts us on the map for guys that might not be familiar with us, but it’s just a small part of the process.” Although they have the 60th and 120th overall selection for Thursday’s draft, which gets underway at 9 a.m., the Raiders will only be using their first round pick. “Because Sergei is eligible to come back as an overager, he’s allowed to go on a special list and that allows us to make the one pick,” Hunt said. “It’s a wait and see process as to if he’ll be back next year. He’s currently at Toronto Maple Leafs camp and he’ll be making a decision soon of he’s going to be playing in North America or in Europe. “Our intention is to bring back Aliaksei back for a second season unless he were to make the Washington Capitals roster out of training camp this fall, which would be fantastic for him.” Although Hunt has not decided on what position he’ll be looking to add a player to, he does have a list of prospects that he’s been working on with newly named director of player personnel Curt Brownlee. “We have a list of about 90 players and we’re currently shuffling the order or our list after doing our research on them,” Hunt said. When it comes to next year’s roster, the Raiders will be losing four forwards as Noah Gregor, Dante Hannoun and Sean Montgomery age out of the WHL, while Parker Kelly is set to begin his professional hockey career with the Ottawa Senators organization. Forward Brett Leason could come back to the team for his overage campaign, but he’s expected to join the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears after being drafted by the Capitals in the second round of the 2019 National Hockey League Draft on Saturday in Vancouver. Starting netminder Ian Scott is also moving on as he joins the Toronto Maple Leafs system, while the Raiders will need to sort the overage situation on the blueline as Zack Hayes, Max Martin, Jeremy Masella, Brayden Pachal and Sapego are all eligible to return. The Swift Current Broncos will have the first overall pick in the draft as a result of having the worst record in the WHL last season. The Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have the second and third overall selections.
Although they missed out on their goal of making it to the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League’s senior division Tier I playoffs, the Prince Albert Outlaws were able to end their campaign on a winning note. After finishing the regular season in fifth place, the Outlaws captured the Tier II title for the second straight year as they cruised to a 14-7 victory over the Saskatoon Steelers at the Kinsmen Arena Sunday night. “Not many guys can say that they’ve ended their last two seasons with victories, so it’s a nice feeling,” Predators coach Lawrence Holizki said. “We had one of our guys (Brody Holizki) in the hospital today so it was great to get a win for him. It’s been an emotional day but it was a good one for the team.” It was a dominating performance for the Outlaws on offence as they fired 57 shots at the Steelers net in their final game of the campaign. Brendin Currie led the way for the hosts with two goals and five assists, while Jordan McDougall had three goals and two assists. “Our offensive players were motivated for this one,” Holizki said. “They came out of the gates firing and left nothing to chance “You could just go down the entire lineup to talk about the players that stood out there. Jordan had three goals on the transition, Cody Schwan quarterbacked the offence and our goalie Lucas Wells had a couple of assists to go along with some big saves.” Drew Dziadyk had four goals and Brad Schnitzler dished out for helpers for the Steelers, who were coming off of a 17-7 home win a night earlier over the Meewasin Valley Plainsmen in a semifinal game in Saskatoon. Although there’s still almost a year until the 2020 campaign begins, the Outlaws do know already that they’ll be welcoming a new player to their lineup as Prince Albert Predators captain Carson Remy will be moving up to the senior ranks after aging out of the PGLL’s junior division. “That should only make our team stronger,” Holizki said. “In our losses this year, I think that came from having a short bench. It’s always tough to have a full squad due to work commitments and things like that, but we’ve shown that we are a good team when we can have everyone come out.” The Saskatoon Brewers took home their fourth straight senior division Tier I championship on Sunday as they routed the Regina Heat in a 23-4 affair.
A dream is about to become reality for one Prince Albert youth following a donation to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Prince Albert chapter. Thanks to the SaskTel Saskatchewan Dreams Come True corporate challenge, one youth and their adult mentor will have a chance to go on a weekend kayaking trip in northern Saskatchewan. The trip includes lodgings at Elk Ridge Resort, as well as gift cards covering meals and transportation. “The great employees over there stepped up and raised the money so we could send this little sister on a weekend to Waskesiu,” Big Brothers Big Sisters development coordinator Natasha Thompson said. “She’s always wanted to try kayaking…. We love to be able to expand the world of young people and expose them to new opportunities, and this is one that this little sister had expressed an interest in.” SaskTel employees got creative with this year’s fundraiser. In addition to regular events life bake sales, barbeques, raffles and 50/50 draws, the group also held a hot wings eating challenge. Employees were successful enough to not only pay for the kayaking trip. They also donated $490 worth of movie passes to the Prince Albert program. “We were not expecting all the cinema passes, which is wonderful for the bigs and littles in our program,” Thompson said. “We are always looking for ideas and activities and things for our matches to do together. We generally focus on low-cost, no-cost activities and we do have some passes, however, there are never enough, especially movie passes. Those are very popular.” Prince Albert Big Brothers Big Sisters was just one of several provincial non-profit groups to receive funding from SaskTel employees. In total, the group gave out $16,000 in cash, as well as $1,200 in gift cards and more than 150 pieces of sports equipment. Anyone looking to donate time or money to Big Brothers Big Sisters can call 306-922-1299. The organization needs volunteers to help with the Spudnut booth at the Prince Albert Exhibition, which runs from July 30 to Aug. 3.
It’s taken long days and hard work, but for the more than 50 Wesmor Public High School students who walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, it was all worth it. Wesmor bid a fond farewell to the Class of 2019 in an enthusiastic ceremony at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Tuesday. The journey hasn’t been an easy one, but graduates like valedictorian Julianna Pitzel say that’s what made the final day so sweet. “I’m just really proud to be graduating,” a beaming Pitzel said following the ceremony. “It’s been a long journey. It’s full of a lot of difficulties that I faced throughout the school year, but I’m just so proud to be here with my class.” Pitzel first enrolled at Wesmor last year. She was older than most of her classmates, but still looking to get her high school diploma. She’ll graduate a few months before she turns 20, with awards and recognition she never expected. She’s already registered for classes with the University of Saskatchewan next fall, and she credits Wesmor with helping her get there. “It’s taught me to overcome a lot of adversity, that I can keep pushing through and achieve my goals, that everything is worth it in the end,” she explained. “I’m really going to cherish the lessons of hard work, effort (and) determination that it took to get here.” Wesmor Public High School Class of 2019 valedictorian Julianna Pitzel (centre) accepts Governor General’s Academic Medal from Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division trustee Arne Lindberg (left) and Wesmor principal Gina Sinoski (right). — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald Pitzel isn’t the only graduate who overcame challenges to get their diploma. She was inspired by the strength her classmates showed during the school year, and encouraged by the school’s strong and diverse community. She gave a shout-out to all her First Nations and Métis classmates during her speech, which drew loud applause from those in attendance. “I think that it’s a highly misconceived school,” Pitzel said. “I think a lot of people have, maybe, stereotypes and misconceptions about the school. I know I didn’t fully appreciate it until I came here either. Like I said in my speech, there are so many strong people … and they all stick it out to graduate too. I’m just inspired by their strength.” That strength and diversity is what Wesmor staff will remember about the Class of 2019. Principal Gina Sinoski said they’ve tried in install a spirit of reconciliation in the student body. She hopes Wesmor grads, regardless of their ethnicity, will remember they’re all treaty people, and work towards creating communities where everyone feels welcome. “I am proud of all their hard work (and) all their perseverance,” Sinoski said. “Some of our students have rough roads to travel, but they get themselves to school every day because they see this as a goal, and they are going to make our community better in the future.”
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities unveils accessible playground, one of only five in Canada thanks to philanthropist Malcom Jenkins Children flooded a new playground in Prince Albert on Tuesday morning with big smiles on their faces, some of them likely because they’ve never quite had the experience. This is a 10,000 square foot accessible playground, adhering to people with physical and intellectual disabilities. It’s part of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities’ five-year Play Finds a Way movement. Their goal is to build one of these playgrounds in every province and territory by the end of 2022. With the help of local Canadian Tire Owner Malcom Jenkins, Saskatchewan’s lucky recipient was Prince Albert. Jumpstart Charities President Scott Fraser said there should never be any barriers to play. “It’s a right. It’s really a right of a child and no kid should be denied access to play and sport,” he said. “Free play brings along so many benefits, right? It stimulates the brain, imagination, physical, cognitive and emotional strength: all great things we want to promote with our kids.” Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities President Scott Fraser speaks at the opening of Alfred’s Playground on June 25, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald) The playground contains several aspects that everyone can use to have fun. First, it has double-wide ramps so people with wheelchairs and walkers can freely move around. It also has plenty of revamped traditional playground equipment. The back of the swings are built higher than conventional ones for upper body support. The seesaw and merry-go-round are low to the ground so kids can be easily transferred from mobility devices. The slide is made up of rollers so there’s no static that interferes with hearing aids. The playground also sits on a unitary base, allowing anyone with mobility issues to easily transport around the park. The roller slide at Alfred’s Playground is wide enough to fit two people and it ensures static won’t interfere with hearing devices. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald) It brought back memories for Paralympic skier and Jumpstart Ambassador Brittany Hudak, who’s from Prince Albert and worked at Canadian Tire here. “Like most athletes, my journey to the Paralympics began simply by just having access to play, whether it was outside playing with friends or trying a new activity in gym class,” she said. It built her confidence, resilience and led her to try skiing for the first time at 18 years old. “No kid should miss out on the countless opportunities and life lessons fostered by sport and play because of accessibility barriers, which brings me to this playground. It does so much more than provide access for kids of all abilities. It creates an inclusive space where kids can grow and learn together through play. It allows the imagination of a kid to run wild and can even be the place where they discover something that they love.” Hudak gifted a signed race bib from the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games to Jenkins. He automatically slipped it on over his shirt, joking that they must be the same clothing size. Paralympic bronze medalist Brittany Hudak, whose hometown is Prince Albert, speaks at the opening of Alfred’s Playground on June 25, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald) Sitting on a bench in the back corner of the park was Marina Thorson. Her three-year-old son attends Hope’s Home, a daycare for children with complex medical needs. She observed him playing. “He can come and play with children with disability and it becomes more of a norm, not something that people think differently of. Everyone can play as an equal and it’s just, it’s powerful,” she said. Several dignitaries spoke about the importance of the playground to the city. They included Fraser, Hudak, Jenkins, Jenkins’ granddaughter who runs their family foundation and Mayor Greg Dionne. All referenced Jenkins’ contributions to recreation in Prince Albert. He also funded two new basketball courts and a skatepark that both opened recently. Jenkins humbly replied, saying it’s all thanks to Canadian Tire customers. He said he simply recycles the money back into city assets like the playground. “Seeing those kids get off that bus, I mean, seeing the space grow over the last year, right? I come by in the evening and see the rubber’s down, the rides are up, etc. But it’s always been naked, for lack of a better word, no kids, but you had it in your mind how it’s going to be,” he said. “There’s swarms of kids on every ride and none of them said ‘How do I work this?’ or ‘What is this?’ They just got right on to it. It’s magic.” “One of these kids is going to be the Prime Minister of Canada in about 40 years, and I want them brought up right and I want them healthy.” He added how he feels sports are being left out of the school curriculum: “In many cases it’s been removed for wanting more computer studies, etc. All valuable things, but you can’t take that away. That’s an essential part to me, an essential part of life.” Alfred’s Playground is located next to the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse and is open 24/7. Jenkins said he’s also spoken to people from nearby seniors homes about how they, too, can make use of the playground, even if they observe the children playing while sipping on coffee. Jumpstart Charities is breaking ground on three more accessible playgrounds across Canada by the end of this year. A glimpse at the unveiling of the accessible playground beside the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse—This is one of five currently completed across Canada, but @CTJumpstart’s goal is to have one in every province & territory by 2022. @cityof_pa #ypa #SK pic.twitter.com/6WeTDDTHfq— Jayda Noyes (@jaynoyesSK) June 25, 2019
Three men have been charged with drugs and weapons offences after an Integrated Street Enforcement Team investigation (ISET) arrested several people in a raid at a west flat home Friday afternoon. Just before 5 p.m., ISET, patrol and canine units executed a search warrant at a home in the 800 Block of 13th Street West. Inside the home, police found a loaded .22 sawed-off rifle, a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, packaging materials, two digital scales, a small bag of methamphetamine, 10 syringes loaded with meth and about $67 in cash. Other weapons, including a sword, fish bat and pellet gun were also seized. Police also found a specialized fat bike that had been reported stolen during a break and enter earlier this month. A 38-year-old man was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant and is facing new charges of possessing a dangerous weapon, careless use of a firearm, possession the proceeds of crime, possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing stolen property. A 28-year-old was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and a 56-year-old is facing charges of possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking. All three made their first court appearance Monday. ISET is made up of members of the Prince Albert Police Service and the RCMP.
The Prince Albert Raiders will be welcoming a familiar foe when they raise their 2019 Western Hockey League championship banner to the rafters at the Art Hauser Centre. The team announced Monday that the Saskatoon Blades will serve as the Raiders’ opponent at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20 for their first game of the 2019-20 WHL campaign. The East Division rivals will then complete their home-and-home set on Saturday, Sept. 21 in a 7 p.m. contest as the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon. The Raiders posted a 6-2 record in last year’s season series with the Blades and also beat them in six games in a best-of-seven matchup in the Eastern Conference semifinal round. The full 2019-20 regular season slate for the Raiders will be announced on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. In other Raiders news, incoming rookie defenceman Nolan Allan and forward Tyson Laventure were among the 112 players that have been invited to Hockey Canada’s Under-17 development camp, which will take place in Calgary from July 19-26. The camp will help to determine who will be on the three Canadian teams at this year’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which will be held from Nov. 2-9 in Medicine Hat and Swift Current. Allan, who is from Davidson, is one of two Saskatchewan born players at the camp as he’ll be joined by Regina product and Medicine Hat Tigers forward prospect Cole Sillinger. Among those taking part in the camp are 2004-born forwards Matthew Savoie and Shane Wright. Savoie, who signed his standard player agreement with the Winnipeg Ice earlier this month, is expected to make his full-time WHL debut in the 2020-21 campaign. Wright, who was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada earlier this year, will start his major junior career this fall with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs. Meanwhile, Raiders forward Cole Fonstad was one of 43 players that have earned an invite to Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp, which will be held in Plymouth, Mich. from July 27 to Aug. 4. The players will be split into two teams for the camp and play against Finland, Sweden and the United States during the week, as Hockey Canada brass begins the process of determining the roster for the 2020 World Juniors in the Czech Republic. Prince Albert product Braden Schneider, who is gearing up for his third season on the Brandon Wheat Kings blueline, is one of 12 WHL players to earn an invited to the camp.
‘Emma Lake Action and Understanding’ and ‘Muskeg Lake Cree Nation: A Story of Community and Climate’ focus on awareness and preparedness The North Saskatchewan River Basin Council (NSRBC) and its partners have launched projects in Emma Lake and Muskeg Lake Cree Nation to make people more mindful of the impacts of boating activities and climate change. The non-profit received about $100,000 in funding from the federal government for each project, both of which began in April. The first, which is called ‘Emma Lake Action and Understanding,’ focuses on the impacts of boating activities. General Manager Katherine Finn said the project consists of testing the water quality, repairing shorelines, putting up signs and an education campaign. “The impact of boating is hard to quantify at this point, but certainly the more boats, and especially boating activity near the shoreline, increases the wave action and the turbidity in the lake,” she said. This can lead to several negative consequences for the water quality. Finn said with materials suspended in the water, it’s difficult for the sun to reach the lake’s vegetation. It also integrates nutrients into the water which can cause algal blooms. When the algae dies and decomposes, it causes a drop in oxygen and kills fish. Additionally, it can create something you may have been taught to keep an eye out for while swimming in the lake on a hot summer day: blue green algae. “It produces a neurotoxin that can have quite a significant impact on humans and animals and pets and anyone who may consume any of the lake water,” said Finn. Side effects may include stomach pains, diarrhea and skin rashes. The NSRBC is creating a short YouTube video as part of their educational campaign, which is meant to engage wake boarders. “(It’s) not to criticize or try to inhibit their boating activity, but just engage them in having some awareness of the potential impact from those heavier waves or watercraft,” emphasized Finn. The education campaign consists of a survey and handing out informational flyers to businesses in Prince Albert that sell boating equipment. The second project is called ‘Muskeg Lake Cree Nation: A Story of Community and Climate.’ It focuses on preparedness of the possible health effects from climate change, with an emphasis on learning through traditional First Nations knowledge. The project, which hopes to engage First Nations youth, includes creating a storybook, a YouTube video and an emergency response plan and installing a weather station. “We really wanted to engage the youth and have their input and have meaningful engagement with them—mostly because it’s their future,” said Finn. She said climate change can result in health risks from flooding: mould can grow in your house if it’s flooded or it can contaminate ground water. On the opposite end of the spectrum, wildfires have the potential to burn houses down and inhaling the smoke can cause breathing issues. The YouTube video is for awareness of how to be prepared for climate change and the storybook will encompass how the community has adapted. Throughout their adaptations, youth will be learning about the environment from their elders. ‘Muskeg Lake Cree Nation: A Story of Community and Climate’ is a one-year project, while ‘Emma Lake Action and Understanding’ takes place over two years. The Emma Lake project’s funding is through the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program and is in partnership with Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the District of Lakeland. NSRBC received funding for the Muskeg Lake project from the Indigenous Services Canada’s Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program and is in partnership with the Prince Albert Model Forest (PAMF) and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC). Muskeg Lake Cree Nation is about an hour southwest of Prince Albert. Emma Lake is about 40 minutes north of Prince Albert.
“we kept the tradition alive pretty well all over Canada.”– Michel Dubé, President of the French Canadian Society of Prince Albert Prince Albert’s Francophone community celebrated St-Jean-Baptiste Day, or Fête Nationale, on Monday—a day to commemorate their French language and culture. It was particularly special for École Valois school, which may be moving next year from its location on 10th Street East. That’s according to French Canadian Society of Prince Albert President Michel Dubé. “We thought it would be appropriate to end the school year on kind of a fun note with the community,” he said. The French Canadian Society of Prince Albert and École Valois collaborated to host the event. It consisted of games for the kids, an adult versus children soccer game and a barbecue. Catharine Topping, the student services teacher at École Valois, said it’s touching to see the students and their families participating. “The fact that they are in a French school and that they’re celebrating that culture with us, too, and they appreciate that and the music and just that feeling of being together as a school,” she said. Prince Albert’s Francophone community celebrates St-Jean-Baptiste Day by dancing to French music at École Valois School on June 24, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald) St-Jean-Baptiste Day is a statutory holiday in Quebec on June 24. The day is rooted in a religious story, but is now generally a celebration of the French culture. It dates back to the 1600s, developing from lighting a fire to mark the summer solstice (June 21). It then became associated with John the Baptist, who baptized his cousin Jesus. It was declared a provincial holiday in Quebec in 1925 and emerged to a national Quebec holiday in 1977, when the celebrations transitioned to have a more secular meaning. Dubé said the city is home to about 2,000 Francophones, and that number is only increasing because of newcomers. “For some of them it’s the first time, so (St-Jean-Baptiste Day) gives them a bit of insight into our past and what’s important to us.” Additionally, he said French immersion programs are on the rise. “I think there’s an overall interest and people are realizing there’s an advantage to having more than one language and especially in Canada, it’s an official bilingual country,” said Dubé. He added the population is likely aging in Prince Albert, but is increasing in numbers nevertheless. “Because a lot of us are from old Quebec roots and descendants of Quebecers and people who move there, we kept the tradition alive pretty well all over Canada really. There’s something happening in every city and every province in the country today.” Dubé said some choose to celebrate St-Jean-Baptiste Day on a different day. Saskatoon, for example, marked St-Jean-Baptiste Day on Sunday so they could celebrate over the weekend.
This archery tournament has regular bows and arrows and scorecards, but the target is unlike any other. Participants in the sixth annual Shoot for the Vitals aren’t aiming trophies or medals. There’s no first place prize, although high scores and personal bests are definitely a bonus. Instead, the roughly 100 archers who take part are hoping to raise money and awareness for organ and tissue donation. It’s an event that’s grown from roughly a dozen participants when it started, and now draws archers from across Saskatchewan. They’re all united by one thing: a desire to help those in need of a transplant. “One cause supports the other,” says Randy Rathy, an APA Archery pro staff shooter taking part in the event. “For us, the cause is great. We put everything behind it to make it better. “It’s something that affects everybody,” adds Jim Street, another APA archery pro staff shooter. “Maybe not today, but things change.” Street’s support for Shoot for the Vitals is personal. His mother had her organs donated when she died at the age of 42, and he’s never forgotten her foresight, and how it helped others. He also likes that it’s a Saskatchewan-based event put on by a local family, but family connections remain his biggest motivation. “We got up one Sunday morning and mom was putting peas and carrots and things in jars and she didn’t get to come home that night,” Street remembers. “She never did come home, but because of her donation, a couple more lives got to live on, so to me, it’s always been a passion.” Rathy and Street both live in Saskatchewan, but regularly travel to tournaments in Alberta and Manitoba. While there, they’ll start spreading the word about Shoot for the Vitals, with the hopes of convincing as many archers as possible to join up. Every year, they run into more and more archers who have a friend or a family member in need of an organ donation, and are eager to take part. However, it’s still an uphill battle to convince people, from all walks of life, just how great the need is. “The bulk of people put their heads in the sand until it comes home to their family,” Street says. “Then it’s like they’re all panicking and running and wondering where they can (get a donation). When there are things like (Shoot for the Vitals) they just go…” He finishes by shrugging his shoulders. “Once it touches your family, then of course, the support is there,” Rathy says. “(Shoot for the Vitals) is something, I hope, that in the near future will really grow.” The family that’s organized this event since the start is more than happy for that support and dedication. Ralph Harris and his nephew Tyler created it as a way to raise money and start a conversation about organ donation. Family members are all over the grounds manning booths and giving directions. As avid hunters and archers, they saw an archery shoot like this one as the perfect fundraiser, and the community has eagerly offered its support. “The archery community is a great thing,” says Harris, who serves as the event’s vice-president. “If there’s a need, people will come and help you. It’s a great sport too.” For Harris, this fundraiser is intensely personal. Pulminary Fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs, runs in the family. His sister Karen died in March 2014 while waiting for an organ donation. Now, he has the same disease too. Despite the struggles, he’s in high spirits, and focused on making Shoot for the Vitals the best event it can be, for as long as he possibly can. “We’re fighting through it to make it work,” he says. “It’s important for us to do this here to help the community out.” More than 1,600 people are added to organ donation lists every year in Canada. The Harris family has donated more than $15,000 since Shoot for the Vitals started.
RCMP are looking for a 30-year-old inmate who escaped from a non-secure correctional facility vehicle on June 21. Grant Kenneth McKenzie was last seen in the area of Brown Street and La Ronge Avenue after escaping the vehicle as it was traveling through La Ronge. McKenzie is described as 5’8” and 190 lbs with short brown hair and brown eyes. He has an average build and possesses a number of tattoos, including a skull on the top of his head, the word “Kaidence” on the right side of his neck, a cross on his upper left arm and a cannabis leaf on his right arm. Anyone with information about McKenzie’s whereabouts is asked to call La Ronge RCMP
A woman who pleaded guilty to 17 offences in what a judge described as a 43-day-long “drug-fuelled, rural crime spree” has received more than twice as much jail time than the Crown and defence jointly suggested. Provincial court Judge Steven Schiefner took the rare step on June 13 of rejecting a joint sentencing agreement, ruling that the Crown and defence’s submission would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Erin Mindy Whitefish, 29, of Big River First Nation, had entered a guilty plea for a myriad of charges, including weapons offences, fleeing police, using a firearm while fleeing, break-and-enter, theft and assault. The charges included a May 24 break-in in the RM of Debden where over $5,000 of property was stolen, including firefighting equipment and clothing, infrared cameras and portable emergency radios. She also was involved in a rural break-in the next day where a farmer had firearms and fuel stolen while he was out in the field. The farmer gave chase, rear-ending Whitefish’s vehicle. He continued following her for about 8 km when after stopping in a field, someone from the suspect vehicle fired about a half dozen shots in his direction. Later that same day, police located the vehicle. It took off, leading officers on a chase through several communities, including Ahtahkakoop and Debden, at speeds reaching 195 km/h. Schiefner called Whitefish’s actions on May 25 “shocking.” Her other offences included stealing four vehicles and two license plates, fuel and property damage and an assault on another inmate at Pinegrove. Lawyers had submitted a 15-month sentence for Schiefner’s consideration, followed by a period of probation. With credit for time served in remand, that sentence would have led to Whitefish being released that day. Instead, Schiefner imposed a sentence of 970 days, less 479 days credit for time served. That gives Whitefish an additional 16 months and 11 days to serve from April 11. She was sentenced to time served for some of her thefts and the Debden break-and-enter. Schiefner wrote that judges are not to depart from joint recommendations, which often take into account concessions made by both parties, unless the sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or if it otherwise goes against the public interest. In fact, he wrote, the court may accept submissions that appear “unduly lenient” when the Crown has obtained concessions as a result of a plea. Despite the Crown’s acknowledgement that its evidence on some of the cases was weak, Schiefner found that the recommended sentence placed too much emphasis on mitigating factors and concessions obtained by the Crown. Especially, he wrote, because one of the charges, using a gun while fleeing from committing an indictable offence, comes with a minimum sentence of one year consecutive to any other charges. That would have meant that all of the other charges — including the thefts, the prison assault and the high-speed chase — would have required total sentences of three months or less served concurrently. “In my opinion, the sentence as recommended would have caused the public to conclude that the justice system had failed,” Schiefner wrote. “The sentences I would have been required to impose would have been wholly disproportionate to the gravity of the offences … would have failed to adequately denounce the danger and violence associated with Ms. Whitefish’s conduct, or the fact that she repeatedly and perniciously preyed on the vulnerabilities of rural residents, or the violence she directed at another inmate while on remand, or the shocking number of individuals she violated in 43 days. The resultant sentence … would not have promoted respect for the law or acknowledged the harm caused by her actions.” Whitefish’s lawyer, Dale Blenner-Hassett, was not available for comment.
The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) assisted in a suspicious fire and a natural gas leak on Sunday. Police were called at about 7 p.m. to a vacant building on the 2100 block of 5th Avenue West. Officers helped the Prince Albert Fire Department after a report of a suspicious fire. A news release said no one was in the building at the time. Shortly after, at about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, officers were called to help SaskEnergy and the Prince Albert Fire Department in a reported ruptured gas line. The incident happened while a resident was doing yard work on the 100 block of MacDowall Crescent. They evacuated surrounding homes and no one was injured. These incidents were two out of 237 calls the police responded to between Friday evening and Monday morning. The majority of them were for intoxication and disturbances.
A 10-year-old boy is in hospital recovering from serious burns to his face and hands. Parkland Ambulance responded to the call in the R.M. of Shellbrook at 7:09 p.m. on Friday–the boy was standing too close to a fire pit while someone was starting a fire. Paramedics took the boy to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in stable condition.