Competition and camaraderie


For dancers from the eight different studios who competed at Dance Blast over the weekend, competition and cooperation go hand in hand.

The annual four-day event draws nearly 500 dancers from two Prince Albert dance studios, as well as from six others based in surrounding communities. Dancers have a chance to hone their skills and compete for close to $10,000 worth of awards.

It’s one of Saskatchewan’s largest dance competitions, but for the performers, it’s about the camaraderie as much as it is the competition.

“Even though (the dancers) are competing against each other, they’re always helping each other out,” Dance Blast organizing committee president Derrick Smith said. “If somebody needs their hair done or forgot something, they’re always willing to share and jump in and help people out.”

Smith is in his second year as organizing committee president, but he’s been involved in Dance Blast since his daughter began competing roughly a decade ago.

He said they try to put on an event that will help memories for the young dancers who attend, while still providing a high level of competition.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 14 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Bishop, Seniors Advocacy Centre thanked by the Vatican


Bishop Albert Thévenot of the Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert received an unexpected heads up that he was receiving an award from the Seniors Advocacy Centre.

At the time, however, he didn’t know what to make of it.

Thévenot was speaking with Luigi Bonazzi, who represents the Vatican State as the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, and received congratulations on his award. It was a puzzling experience.

“I was trying to figure out what he was talking about because I had heard nothing about it,” the bishop chuckled during an interview. “Everybody kept such a good secret.”

That conversation came full circle on Friday when Thévenot received a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio, congratulating Thévenot on the award and thanking him and the advocacy centre for their work.

“On behalf of Pope Francis I, I wish both you, Bishop Thévenot, for your example and witness, and the members of the Prince Albert Seniors Advocacy Centre for all that you are doing to promote the rightful dignity and place of the elderly, not only within Prince Albert, but the entire province of Saskatchewan,” the letter read.

It was an unexpected surprise for Thévenot, who never thought he’d receive a letter like this.

A big step forward


Parking and infill lots were just two of the issues being looked at as City of Prince Albert administrators held their final zoning bylaw community consultation on Thursday.

The consultation at Gateway Mall was the last in a series of events designed to receive feedback about proposed changes to the zoning bylaw.

The city wants to create a larger variety of housing in its residential areas, and encourage mixed-use development, which would see commercial areas accommodate residential uses.

John Guenther, Prince Albert’s director of planning and development services, said there were a number of obstacles to consider, but overall the changes would prove beneficial.

“This should help stimulate business opportunities too because of the (increased) flexibility you allow for industrial and commercial (zones), as long as it doesn’t impact

the big three: noise traffic and smell.

Parking is one of the biggest issues for administrators going forward. Guenther said the city has fairly relaxed parking laws, especially in the downtown area, which is important because the amount of parking has a large effect on the cost of new developments.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 10 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Getting smart with fire safety


The City of Prince Albert is looking to increase fire safety in the community with the introduction of FireSmart principles into the new zoning bylaw.

The FireSmart system is designed to help protect resident living north of the North Saskatchewan River from naturally occurring fire hazards in the province’s forests.

Larry Fremont, a registered professional firefighter and education and prevention coordinator with the Ministry of Environment, said the changes are designed to stop fires even during high-risk dry spells.

“The fact is that a lot of the (northern Prince Albert) subdivisions are backed by Pine forests,” Fremont explained. “Pine forests by their nature are very vulnerable fire wise, so there are certainly, homes on the edge of that forest that are potentially at risk.”

Fremont said residents are starting to take more of an interest in fire safety since Saskatchewan’s 2015 fire season, where nearly all communities north of Prince Albert were evacuated. The 2016 fire disaster in Ft. McMurray only increased that interest, and reminded residents of a pair of local fires in 2002 and 2010.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 11 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Focusing on family


Lena Burns spent eight years in residential school, four of which were in Prince Albert.

Originally from James Smith Cree Nation, the mother of three left home when she was five years old to begin her new life at school. Burns remembers those years as dark ones where her teachers tried to separate her from her family.

But, the experience did give her a deep appreciation for the family she left behind.

“I had that family connection, that sense of belonging, that sense of who I was,” Burns remembered. “That’s carried me through many adversities in my life, and that’s what has brought me here today.”

For Burns, memories of the time she spent with her mother and grandfather helped her get through those difficult times.

On Wednesday, she was sharing her experiences as part of Completing the Circle: Stronger Children through Stronger Families, a panel discussion held at the Prince Albert Multicultural Council as part of International Women’s Day.

Burns said she thought it was the perfect time to share her story, which she hoped would inspire others.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 9 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Taking the fight out of food


Nutrition experts around Prince Albert are looking to put an end to bad advice.

With March signaling the beginning of Nutrition Awareness Month across Canada, local dietary experts are trying to get residents to think twice about where they get their nutrition information.

“Food and nutrition can be confusing,” said Cathryn Abrametz, a public health nutritionist with the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. “Sometimes it’s a struggle for Canadians to know what to eat, especially when the taste, nutrition, cost and convenience of food are all important factors.”

As part of nutrition month, Abrametz and other food experts are getting involved in “Take the Fight Out of Food,” a national campaign to help end any frustration and confusion.

Abrametz said studies show 49 per cent of all Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the Internet, social media or blogs. However, that advice is creating confusion instead of clarity.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 9 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.


Nutrition tips

  • Eat a meal without distractions (TV, phone, computer, etc.)
  • Eat a meal together with your family or friends
  • Let kids help prepare meals and snacks
  • Try food you have never eaten before
  • Eat food grown in Saskatchewan
  • Try flavours from around the world

Mayoral fund sparks debate


The Mayor’s Compassion Fund was once again the subject of discussion at Monday’s city council meeting as Prince Albert’s elected officials debated a motion to allow tax-deductible donations.

Since being approved during budget debates in November, Mayor Greg Dionne said several residents have come forward offering to donate money for the fund, including one person who donated $1,000.

The new motion is needed to allow the city to issue receipts to donors while keeping in line with Revenue Canada regulations.

Dionne said he never expected people to donate, but there needs to be more clarification on the matter now that residents have started doing so.

“Since the inception of this fund, we’ve had quite a few citizens come forward and want to make donations to it,” he said. “We did accept one donation, and then we realized that we had to have approval from council to issue a tax receipt.”

In November, council voted to approve the $4,000 fund, which would allow the Mayor to pay small expenses for local residents when they have been wrongly billed or penalized by the city. Payments are made solely at the discretion of the mayor, and limited to residents who are in good standing with the city.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 8 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Council backs Crowns


Prince Albert City Council is formally calling on the provincial government to abandon any plans to sell off Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations.

On Monday, city councillors voted 7-1 to approve a motion that will see the city draft a letter opposing Bill 40 and any plans to sell of Saskatchewan’s Crowns, either in whole or in part.

Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky brought the motion forward during the council session. He said selling any of Saskatchewan’s 22 crowns would harm Prince Albert residents more than it would help them.

“They (crown corporations) make money for the province that helps us fund the expenses to run a decent province, so why would we sell?” Nowoselsky explained in an interview.

Since passing the motion, Nowoselsky said he’s received a lot of support from Prince Albert residents, but there are a few complaints. He talked to one resident who felt city councillors should stay out of provincial politics, but Nowoselsky said municipal politicians have to speak up on issues that affect the city.

“If the province loses money, the city is going to get less money. Taxes will go up, our people will get hurt, services will be reduced.”

Nowoselsky added that he was confident a majority of Prince Albert residents would reject a bid to buy the Crowns.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 8 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Late winner stuns Raiders


The Prince Albert Raiders stayed right with the Swift Current Broncos for 59 minutes on Tuesday, but the 60th minute did them in.

Parker Kelly scored twice and Ian Scott stopped 30 shots, as the Raiders fell 4-2 to the Broncos on a last minute winner.

Raider coach Marc Habscheid credited his team for carrying the play during the third period, but added that poor defensive zone coverage cost them.

“I just thought our coverage was soft on both goals and you can’t do that,” Habscheid said. “You’ve got to be more aggressive and I thought we just gave them too much room on both of them.”

A total of 1,886 fans trekked through the blowing snow to watch Sunday’s contest. Parker Kelly gave them something to cheer about early in the game when he deflected a Simon Stransky shot past Bronco netminder Jordan Papirny.

The powerplay marker was Kelly’s first of two on the evening, but the Camrose, Alta. product said he would prefer two points to two goals.

“The pucks just been finding me,” said Kelly, who now has five goals in and nine points in his last four games. “But more importantly, we’ve got to keep pushing for those wins and get to 10th place.”

Sean Montgomery nearly made it 2-0 for the Raiders after converting during a wild goal-mouth scramble. The play was initially ruled a goal, but was overturned upon video review.

The Broncos tied the game up a few minutes later when Lane Pederson notched his 20th of the season on a play that through a scare into Raider fans. Raider netminder Ian Scott appeared to limp off the ice after the goal, but the issue turned out to be an equipment problem and not an injury.

“A (skate) blade came out and we couldn’t get it back in,” Habscheid explained. “He had to take the whole skate off, so we had to switch goalies there.”

Nicholas Sanders stopped both shots he faced during four minutes of work, with Scott returning for the second period no worse for wear. The Raider netminder made a number of tough saves to keep the score tied, including stopping the Broncos’ leading scorer Tyler Steenbergen on a breakaway.

Scott’s play earned high praise from his teammates.

“I think when Scotty plays like that, we owe it to him to play harder and tonight I feel bad,” Kelly said. “He just gave us everything, and it just sucks that we couldn’t get that two points for him.”

Kaden Elder broke the deadlock and put the visitors up 2-1 just after the halfway point of the third period. The lead lasted less than three minutes before Kelly tied things up by slapping in a rebound following a Cavin Leth shot.

The game seem destined for overtime before Steenbergen gave the Broncos the lead on a quick snapshot with 58 seconds left to play.

“I thought that last goal was a good goal,” Habscheid said. “That was a good shot. We backed in way too much. (Steenbergen) shot passed a screen. That was a good shot, good golf. Our gaps got soft on that one and he made a good shot.”

Ryley Lindgren cemented the victory with a long-distance empty netter, making the final 4-2.

The loss drops Prince Albert to 18-42-5-2 on the season, while Swift Current improve to 34-20-4-6. The Raiders are off until Friday when they begin a home-and-home series with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.

@kerr_jas •

SLA celebrates 75 with One Book One Province


The Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) wanted to do something special to celebrate its 75th anniversary, and they’re hoping the province will join in the festivities.

Throughout March, the SLA is encouraging Saskatchewan residents to read The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir, as part of the One Book One Province community reading initiative.

Anniversary events will be held across the province with the goal of educating the public about an important time in Saskatchewan’s history.

“We did, I would agree, pick a very controversial book to start our program with, but it was such an important story that everyone should be getting,” said Ann Liang, who is organizing Prince Albert’s SLA event, scheduled for March 8.

Merasty, who passed away on Feb. 27, and co-author David Carpenter were both planning to attend the Prince Albert event to discuss the book. Carpenter told organizers he is still committed to coming, as are members of Merasty’s family who live in the Prince Albert area.

Liang said Merasty’s death means it’s even more important for people to hear his story.

For the rest of this story, please see the March 4 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.