Dawson Trail Dispatch December 2020

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Christmas Issue

Communities Brighten Up Christmas with Lights

Hanover Ag Society is hosting a drive through lighting event in Grunthal after receiving a generous donation from Portage La Prairie.

By Marianne Curtis As the threat of COVID-19 shuts down holiday festivities both on a community level and within ev-

Submitted photo

eryone’s home, families are combatA number of community organi- gathering in person is being dising the darkness by lighting up their zations have challenged locals to couraged, packing your immediate streets in a way that would make the spread cheer by putting extra effort family into the car and touring the Griswold’s proud. into their holiday displays. While Continued on Page 2...

Communities Brighten Up Christmas with Lights Continued from Page 1...

Kleefeld residents have been chaldifferent communities is being en- unless otherwise permitted. couraged. Just remember to social Here are some of the events that are lenged to decorate their homes and distance, and limit vehicle occupants taking place in various communities nominate themselves or their neighbours. On December 19, people are to those within your own household, throughout southern Manitoba.

encouraged to pile into their cars and tour the community to see all the lights, then vote online on Facebook at Kleefeld Recreation for their favorite display. The winner will receive one of several prizes up for grabs. In Grunthal, Hanover Ag Society is hosting the first ever Snow Place Like Home from December 17 to January 2 at the Hanover Ag grounds with a “storm date” set for January 7- January 23 (depending on restrictions). Light Up Lorette is being organized by the Lorette Family Fun Group. Residents are registering to be placed on a map, and prizes will be awarded for the most decorated placed. Maps will be available online on Facebook on December 15. The Village of St. Pierre-Jolys is hosting Light Up the Village, and encouraging residents to show their small town pride. The lights will be officially turned on December 2, and prizes are being

given out in five categories. Judging takes place December 21, so expect the town to be bright. For the first time, the RM of Reynolds invited residents to get competitive while spreading a little cheer by initiating a municipal wide decorating contest running from November 15 to December 22. The RM of Ritchot is hosting a holiday lighting contest and residents in Ile des Chenes, St. Adolphe, Ste. Agathe and Grande Pointe have stepped up for the challenge. Maps can be found on ritchot.com. The community of Richer is encouraged to participate in the Annual Christmas Yard Decoration Contest hosted by the LUD of Richer and supported by local businesses. There are multiple prize packages that will be handed out to winning participants. The Paradise Village Residents Association is also sponsoring prizes in their community encouraging residents to participate in a Holiday Decorating Contest.

Hanover Ag Hosts “Snow Place Like Home” By Marianne Curtis For seventeen days in December, festival light lovers are encouraged to make the trip to Grunthal, where the Hanover Ag Society is hosting “Snow Place Like Home”, the community’s first drive thru light event. Naomi Murray, with the Hanover Agricultural Society has invited businesses to partner with the Hanover Ag Society to help make this inaugural event a huge success. “We, at the Hanover Ag Society have been working tirelessly trying to find ways to gather our community for a safe family-friendly event and we are pleased to announce that the City of Portage La Prairie has gener-

ously donated many of their Christmas Light Displays from their past Christmas Drive Thru Event,” said Murray. “We believe this will be a fantastic opportunity for the region to get out and take in a safe, familyfriendly activity.” Many of the pieces previous displayed in Portage La Prairie have been relocated to Grunthal. The event will run from December 17 - January 2 at the Hanover Ag grounds with a “storm date” set for January 7 - 23 (depending on restrictions). Admission to this event will be by donation with a portion of the proceeds going to Grunthal Caring Hands which services the RMs of Hanover, De Salaberry, and Stuartburn.

A number of community organizations have challenged locals to spread cheer by putting extra effort into their holiday displays. Submitted photo

Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit Announced On November 18, our government announced that it will be providing $10 million for a new Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit to help address urgent staffing needs in disability services, child care, and child welfare sectors. COVID-19 has created unexpected staffing challenges, and this has led to additional costs for agencies and facilities. The Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit will help address staffing challenges related to the pandemic, such as overtime costs, replacement staff, paying for sick leave, and covering costs should a facility close for a short-term isolation. These benefits are meant to give facilities the ability to operate safely while ensuring that those Manitobans who require services continue to receive quality care. These benefits are available to Community Living disABILITY Services residential home providers, child and family services group home providers, and child care centres. You can apply at gov.mb.ca/fs/pandemic-staffing-support-benefit or for more information call 1-866-906-0901. It’s important that we all do our best to stay safe and healthy during these times. One way we can do that is by getting the flu shot. I know that in these times catching the flu seems like a secondary concern, but it’s an extra layer of protection this year. I want to encourage everyone who hasn’t already gotten their flu shot to please go and get one. On top of that, another way to stay safe and healthy is to follow the public health fundamentals. Following the advice of health officials, our government made the decision to increase all of Manitoba to code red on the Pandemic Response System. In light of our current circumstances, it’s more important than ever to follow these guidelines. The main message behind the current health orders is stay home – do not socialize outside of your household, and if you feel sick please do not leave your home. Only leave your house for essential purposes and if you must go out make sure to socially distance and wear a mask. We can get through this if we all work together. While this year has been uncertain and difficult, Christmas and New Year’s should still be a time of joy and celebration. Even though we can’t have big family gatherings like we’re all used to, we can still celebrate in other ways. I’m looking forward to safely ringing in the holiday season with my family. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office at ca.lagasse@outlook.com or 204-807-4663.

The Year That Was 2020 has been quite a year. A year unlike any in recent memory. COVID-19 has touched all of us in one way or another. Some have lost family members. Others have lost jobs or businesses. All have lost the sense of peace and security that comes from the normalcy of everyday life. In some ways we have drawn closer to each other as a community, and in others we have become even more divided. As we take time this Christmas season to reflect on the year that was, it is my hope that in the midst of the sorrow, the anger and the fear, families will take the time to look for the positives and reflect on the things that matter most. For me those things are my faith and my family. As a person of faith, I am thankful for the angel’s message, delivered to shepherds long ago, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.” This message of peace and goodwill was delivered into a world deeply divided by politics and religion. A world filled with violence, inequality, oppression, and fear. Such a message would have

seemed just as implausible in the first century as it does to us today. Equally implausible was the root of that promise. A helpless baby born to a virgin. The Christmas story is a good reminder that faith untested is not really faith at all. I am also thankful for my family. I am blessed by my wife, Irene, my children and grandchildren and COVID-19 has only deepened the bond of love and appreciation I have for them. Many people have expressed that this year has brought them closer together as a family. I do recognize, however, that this is not the reality for everyone. For many people, family can be a source of chaos, and COVID-19 has only made things worse. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions we have seen a heartbreaking rise in domestic abuse, child abuse, addiction and suicide. Other families have been left divided, either by geography or the politics of the virus. Moreover, Christmas is a time when the loss of a loved one is most deeply felt, and many have lost loved ones. It will take a long time to heal as a society. My prayer is that this holiday season can be one of healing for those

families. It is my hope that during this Christmas season, Canadians will reach out to each other (as they are able) and help begin that healing process. Sometimes, just a phone call to let someone know you care can have results beyond what we can imagine. COVID will not be here forever. This too shall pass. What we learn from this experience, whether we allow it to destroy us or make us stronger—as individuals, as families, as communities and as a nation—begins with each of us. May this Christmas season be one where we seek to be bringers of goodwill, hope, unity and peace. For more information feel free to contact my office toll free at 1-866333-1933 or at 204-326-9889. Visit me on Facebook at Facebook.com/ TedFalkMP. You may also write my office at 76 PTH 12N, Steinbach MB, R5G 1T4 or visit my website at tedfalk.ca.

New Manitoba Bridge Grant for Business COVID-19 continues to create major disruptions not only here in Manitoba, but across Canada and around the world. Record numbers of cases are putting a strain on health care systems everywhere. Cases of COVID-19 are filling Intensive care beds in hospitals and leaving fewer beds for victims of serious accidents, heart attacks, surgery, and many more ailments. We must slow the community transmission of this virus now. As of November 20, Manitoba has had updated public health orders added to the Critical (code red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. These updated orders will further restrict gathering or shopping for non-essential purposes. These tighter restrictions are need to significantly limit social contact and act as a circuit-breaker to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba. If you need more Information on the Public Health Orders or the list of items deemed essential you can find them on the province’s Pandemic Response System website at manitoba.ca/ covid19/restartmb/prs/orders.

On Tuesday, November 24, the Hanover School Division and surrounding schools moved into Critical (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. A total of 19 schools from the Hanover School Division, one school from la Division scolaire franco-manitobaine in La Broquerie, one funded independent school, and seven non-funded independent schools moved to a system of remote learning. These changes were made in light of the widespread community transmission of COVID-19. There is news that a vaccine is hopefully just around the corner, but it will still be a while before this vaccine can be distributed by Health Canada and administered by the Province. Meanwhile, we must all do our part to stop the community transmission of this virus and help protect one another. Experts across the world agree that the best way to slow down this virus and protect our communities is to limit our number of contacts. We all need to stay home as much as possible and obey public health orders to significantly disrupt the transmission of this virus. Our government knows that this is disruptive to businesses. To

help, we’ve announced the new Manitoba Bridge Grant that will provide $5,000 dollars upfront to businesses, not-for-profits, and charities directly impacted by the restrictions under the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. Some examples of places that are currently eligible includes restaurants, bars, recreation and sports facilities, museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls, as well as organizations like charities, notfor-profits and faith-based organizations that have been adversely impacted. To see if your business qualifies and to apply for the Manitoba Bridge Grant program please visit .manitoba.ca/supportsforbusiness. The deadline for applications is December 15. I look forward to hearing from you with your questions or concerns. I can be reached at 204424-5406 or at dennis.smook@ leg.gov.mb.ca.

Patience Will Be Needed in the New Year We have all just become aware that our supply of COVID-19 vaccine will come from another country because we have no pharmaceutical businesses left in Canada to manufacture enough doses very quickly. To mass manufacture a vaccine we would have to retool. Inevitably, it is faster to buy a vaccine from elsewhere to eradicate this pandemic which has put our lives on hold. This virus has certainly shown us where our weakness lies. Because we don’t have enough time to retool and ramp up manufacturing we are concentrating on purchasing a sufficient supply and putting our efforts into how to distribute it. Collective patience will be needed. This vaccine must first be approved by the regulatory agencies in the countries where the vaccines will be manufactured even before it arrives on our shores. Further, the vaccine must be approved by Health Canada so when you hear the opposition in

Parliament demanding to know a delivery date immediately, this is a wee bit disingenuous and premature to say the least. Months before the arrival of a vaccine and the hope that it offers, I believe some of the provincial governments are suffering with more problems now with this second wave of this virus than the first. The Federal Conservatives are saying that they can do this better and are making the rounds with their political pitch to the provinces. However, if they were to ask the regulators in Germany or the US the precise date for delivery or what the supply viability is, would they receive an answer faster than the governing Liberals and would it be accurate? Getting our supply after the Europeans and Americans have started to inoculate enough of their citizens to create herd immunity may help to reassure some of us who may be nervous about the vaccines. Ironically

that even after so many premature deaths and societal upheaval, some people will have difficulties with a vaccination. And yes, unfortunately many questions still remain like how much immunity time will we acquire? Will we need regular vaccinations or will this virus be eradicated after a number of years of concentrated vaccine effort just like small pox in 1980? What we didn’t count on is that this virus seems much more transmissible during the second peak, catching some provincial governments by surprise. More testing, more contract tracing needs to happen. And it seems we didn’t count on either of the anti-maskers or certain religious organizations willing to let others get sick or die so that they can be “free” because their freedom is so much more important than anyone else’s. It has been shocking to see this unfold. And that one religious group in this area has the audacity to

call themselves a church of God. Cult is more like it. I certainly am not suggesting you, the cult members think like me but I am asking that you keep this irresponsibility to yourself and stay away from the rest of us. There are dozens upon dozens of responsible churches in our area who are supporting their neighbours and frontline workers by sharing this communal effort to minimize the risk to others. In opposition, the Ohio based Church of God, and its local congregation, are a slap in the face to our dedicated community oriented places of worship that selflessly work and give. For the time being wear a face mask, hand sanitize often and keeping six feet apart is still the name of the game. Keep your family safe, at a distance, find other ways to celebrate, pick up the phone, send an email, write a letter, or try Face-Time,

New Location and Expanded Services for Eden Health Care

Eden Health Care Services (EHCS) is pleased to announce a partnership with the Bethesda Foundation for a new location at the Stonebridge Wellness Centre. This space will allow Eden to bring together more of their programs and services into one central location and allow for possible expansion of services in the future. The new location is at the corner of Stonebridge Crossing and Heritage Parkway and is expected to open in spring 2021. In addition to the services that have been provided at the current Eden East location (21 Loewen Blvd) for many years, the new space will allow Eden to provide the clinical mental health professionals, recovery of hope professional counselling services, Segue career options employment services for youth, mental health supports for housing tenants, a wellness library and house the Eden Foundation. “As part of the Steinbach medical community, I am very pleased with the move Eden is making.

Steinbach is a fast growing community, with significant unmet mental health needs, and we will be pleased to work with Eden to expand their services,” explained Dr. Curtis Krahn, Steinbach Family Medical Clinic and Bethesda Foundation in a release. “Eden has an excellent reputation, their range of services is impressive, and we look forward to developing that further.” This centralizing of Eden services in the area, has long been a dream of forward-thinking community leaders in Steinbach going back as far as 1936 when the Vogt family spearheaded a hospital building effort that eventually also accepted patients with mental health issues. Beginning in 1996, community members including Dr. Paul Peters, Peter Barkman, Wes Reimer, Ken and LillyAnne Giesbrecht along with Gilbert Berg and many others, shaped a more contemporary dream for mental health services that included the development of Penfeld Court to provide housing for those

Outside view of the new unit. The new location is at the corner of Stonebridge Crossing and Heritage Parkway and is expected to open in spring 2021. Supplied photo

who were under-housed. Another foundational contributor ensuring a stable presence in Steinbach has been the Penner International family. Their provision of an office space at 21 Loewen Blvd over the past 12 years has provided stability to serve the needs of people on a mental health journey living in the eastern side of the province. Without the favorable terms of the lease agreement with the Penner family, the permanency of Eden East; as it was identified at the time would have been in great jeopardy. This opportunity has been made possible thanks to the Bethesda Foundation that has provided a $250,000 donation to assist them in taking this next step to help create a space for the Eden programs and services to come together. Eden is grateful for all of the generous support that has been received from the Steinbach community in the past and we hope that we can continue to receive such generosity to support this vision of wrap around mental

health services for Steinbach and surrounding area. Eden Foundation is presently seeking additional donors and supporters to ensure the expanded services in Steinbach are sustainable and able to meet the growing needs of the community. For more information on how to support mental health services in the Steinbach area, please contact Earl Reimer, Director of Eden Foundation at 204325-5355 or earl@edenhealthcare. ca.

Skype or Zoom. Next year is just around the corner. We can certainly miss one holiday season so that we can all be together sometime next year.

Wedding Industry Left Fighting for Government Supports By Marianne Curtis As the provincial shut downs leave small businesses scrambling to make ends meet, some are seeing small relief from various federal and provincial programs. However, wedding venues, event planners, photographers and even florists have been left hanging with no bookings, and no supports in sight. Elisabeth Schalla owner of the Rustic Wedding Barn in La Broquerie is one of many local businesses in southern Manitoba who have been forced to close their doors and will not see any government supports in place, unless the industry gets included. “Venue owners have been hit the hardest by these lockdowns and restrictions. Photographers work at home, florists still deliver flowers, people get married in their backyards and still have weddings in less safe environments and less rules,” Schalla explained. “People really do not understand how much money goes into the economy because of weddings. Millions of dollars are spent each year on weddings. It’s good for the economy. But everyone thinks it’s unimportant.” When open, the Rustic Wedding Barn is one of the most coveted venues in the region, but a forced shut down has left Schalla scrambling. Normally her busy season is from May to November, but she was only able to open in August and by then most weddings had been cancelled or moved elsewhere. “As I am based on people, with gathering sizes at five, I can’t even host the smallest wedding as there are usually four parents, a bride and groom, and an officiant,” Schalla explained. “I have several events where the couples cancelled due to this, for this winter alone. Although weddings in winter are slower, I still lose out on staff parties as well. I also had a Christmas Market booked, but that got cancelled as well.” These cancellations are affecting the bottom line, and while the government announces programs, this industry has been left out. “I did not qualify for any of the loans or grants for one reason or another,” Schalla confirmed. “As I

don’t have a product to sell and am based purely on gatherings, I really have no way of working anything out. Every idea I came up with required capital of which I couldn’t risk spending in order to make my payments. The income has disappeared, but the bills have not. La Broquerie is not giving property tax breaks, Hydro is not offering any help, property insurance is big bucks and has given no relief.” Shelley Samborski, owner of Simply You Photography in Ile des Chenes was also forced to shut down due to COVID. “Because I do not rent or own a studio I would not qualify. One girl [I know] talked to someone in government and she said to her, ‘oh you’re just a photographer’,” recalled Samborski. “If you have to collect provincial tax you should qualify for this loan (The Bridge Loan). Pretty simple. It’s a big slap in the face.” Brenton Thompson of Summer Bounce and Tentation Rentals is affected by the lack of community and special events, including weddings. “We have lost approximately 80% of our 2021 business due to restrictions since March 2020 and will probably see the effects well into 2022. It’s been horrible for us and many businesses like us,” explained Thompson. “We do support health orders as we all want to get back to normal, and we realize that the longer it takes the virus to go away the harder it will be to bounce back from this. A hard reality some face is many event businesses may not make it.” Getting creative to run his businesses while respecting the public health orders has been his focus.

“Since March when we noticed the lockdown would drastically affect how we worked we decided to bring fun and entertainment online and deliver live game shows and trivia games via Facebook Live and Zoom,” said Thompson. “We’ve also helped some charities put on events and raise funds virtually. We’ve done a few small live charity events and we’ve also helped raise awareness for other charities through live social media channels.” Tapping into the support programs made available by the different levels of government took some extra lobbying to ensure he could tap in and that, he explains, has just happened but he believes it should not have had to be so difficult. “…we’ve had to turn over every rock and have been able to access various forms of federal funding. We’ve really had to be on the ball and keep a watchful eye as so easily we can fall through the cracks. Running a business requires keeping up some overhead that we can’t just put on pause. Overhead like insurance costs, licensing, hydro, and payroll,” said Thompson. “The provincial government has rolled out multiple programs since the spring that we were ineligible for. The latest was a bridge grant that the wedding and event industry was excluded from simply because some did not operate out retail spaces. This was very upsetting and many are still fighting to be included. Thankfully we and a few others have been.” “We know everyone is having a hard time, and we’re not placing blame on the government for the situation, but if small businesses are the backbone of the economy then small businesses need to be properly represented when decisions are being made about our futures. We need a seat at the table or else we’ll be forgotten.”

Elizabeth Schalla, owner of Rustic Wedding Barn near La Broquerie is disappointed that her industry has been left out of all government support programs. Supplied photo

Schools in RM of Hanover Return to Remote Learning Public health officials advised that as of November 24, the Hanover School Division and surrounding schools have moved to Critical (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. Acting on the advice of the chief provincial public health officer, schools have notified families and staff. This change is being made in light of the widespread community transmission of COVID-19. The decision to move to Critical (red) is not a reflection of school-based virus transmission according to the Manitoba Government. A total of 19 schools from Hanover School Division are affected, as well as one Division scolaire franco-manitobaine school, one funded independent school and seven non-funded independent schools. Schools are working to move to a system of remote learning. The Critical (red) level results in all students moving to teacher-led

remote learning at home; accommodating, where possible, K6 children of critical services workers who cannot make alternative care arrangements, so these students may attend school. While at school, these students will participate in and receive support for the same teacherled remote learning that their classmates learning from home receive; and students over the age of 12 who are children of critical services workers and have disabilities or special needs that preclude them from staying home independently will be accommodated, wherever possible, at the school and receive supervision and remote learning support. Although school divisions are not responsible for student transportation during a Critical (red) level, the government is exploring options, including the possibility of continuing minimal bus transportation. For Schools Critical (Red) PRS level means that all students move

to teacher-led remote learning. Schools and school divisions will endeavour to accommodate K–6 children of critical services workers who cannot make alternative care arrangements so that these students may attend school. While at school, these students will participate in and receive support for the same teacher-led remote learning that their classmates who are learning from home are receiving. Students over age 12 who are children of critical services workers and who have disabilities or special needs that preclude them from staying home independently, may also be accommodated at the school and receive supervision and remote learning support. Additionally, schools and school divisions may use their discretion to accommodate high-risk students in order to mitigate serious concerns of disengagement.

Meat Fundraiser Underway for Cadets By Marianne Curtis

The 3234 MB Horse Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps from St. Pierre-Jolys are looking for support while they host a meat raffle draw where four lucky winners will claim a quarter side of beef, cut and wrapped. Alan Clayton is the treasurer for 3234 MB Horse Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps. He said funds raised from the meat raffle will go towards purchasing gear to outfit a recently purchased trailer. “We bought a trailer to store our gear before COVID started, so now

we are raising money to outfit the trailer for the cadets with tents, mats and things,” Clayton explained. “By storing our items in the trailer locally, we can control and sanitize our items and keep our group safer.” To help the troop raise money, four - quarters of beef were donated by Brodeur Farms in Lowe Farm. Raffle tickets are available in St. Pierre-Jolys at Oma’s Down Home Cooking, Shell, Esso and the Town of St. Pierre-Jolys office. This should have been the third year that the troop paraded in St. Pierre-Jolys, since relocating from

Morris. However, due to restrictions, about fifty cadets are now forced to meet virtually which has lead to the loss of some members while others have stepped up creatively to keep morale up by creating online games and other activities. “Some kids dropped out because they were unable to travel this summer,” Clayton continued. “We are trying to keep kids motivated with game nights, and other online activities.” The Royal Canadian Army Cadet program focuses on leadership and citizenship skills for youth aged between 12 and 18. Before COVID, the troop trained every Thursday evening from September to June at the St-Pierre Community Hall. Now they meet online. “I like cadets because everyone is welcome, we have a great group of kids,” Clayton praised. The youth participate in a wide variety of leadership, sports, citizenship and community service activities. Youth from St. Pierre-Jolys and surrounding communities are welcome to join at any time. For more information on the 3234 MB Horse Royal Canadian This game created by one of the cadets will be played virtually online during one of the 3234 Army Cadet Corps or to purchase Photo by Marianne Curtis call Alan at 204-712-5836. MB Horse Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps game nights.

Decoy Op Nabs Poachers by Hadashville

Officers in eastern Manitoba conducting a decoy operation on November 14 apprehended two brothers in the Rural Municipality of Reynolds near Hadashville. Officers saw two men in a truck shoot at the decoys from a road almost an hour after sunset. Although the investigation is ongo-

ing, a number of charges are being contemplated including discharging a firearm from a vehicle and hunting at a prohibited time of day. A shotgun and a flashlight were seized. Three other men in the vehicle were not hunting and do not face charges at this time.

Pandemic Affects Christmas Hamper Programs By Marianne Curtis This year’s Christmas hamper program looks a little different than other years. Normally at this time, schools and businesses are in full swing collecting toys and food items, but due to COVID this has changed significantly. While some organizations are still putting together food packages for recipients, others are simply collecting money and giving grocery store gift certificates. We have compiled a one-stop list of the groups, along with changes if applicable. RM of Ste. Anne, Town of Ste. Anne and Richer - Register for a Christmas Hamper from Accueil Kateri Centre fill out the online form at accueilkatericentre.ca. Hampers to be picked up Saturday December 19, 2020 between 10 am and noon at 132 Centrale Avenue, Ste. Anne.

Grunthal Caring Hands Foodbank serves Grunthal, Kleefeld, Pansy and Sarto. For Christmas Hamper Registrations, visit grunthalcaringhands.org. RM of Ritchot including Ile des Chenes, St. Adolphe, and Grande Pointe - are available from the IDC Foodbank by calling Suzanne Tetreault at 204-878-3189. This year donations are not being collected so monetary donations are encouraged. They can be dropped on in IDC at the rectory. Niverville and New Bothwell - Christmas hamper registration is taking place online request only at nivervillehelpinghands.org. Phone requests will not be accepted.

RM of Reynolds including Hadashville, Prawda, McMunn, East Braintree, Rennie, Molson/Julius, Ste. Rita, Reynolds Ponds, Whitemouth - call Elsie Henderson 204-3482313.

RM of Tache - for residents of RM of Tache - Irene will be taking registrations until December 11. Her number is 204270-0273. This year, they will be giving out food vouchers and gift certificates instead of traditional hampers. To donate call Robert Rivard at 204-270-0506.

RM of De Salaberry including St. Malo, Dufrost, Otterburne and St. Pierre-Jolys - call Marcelle/Robert Lahaie 204-433-7227 or email requests to robmarlahaie@ gmail.com or Leo Roch at 204-7120833 or leoroch@mymts.net.

Steinbach Community Christmas - is for residents of the City of Steinbach and RM of La Broquerie including La Broquerie, Marchand, Zhoda, and RM of Piney including Sandilands, St. Labre, and Woodridge. All hamper registrations must be done online. No paper registrations this year. Visit steinbachcommunitychristmas.com.

RM of Piney including Sprague, Vassar, South Junction, Menisino, Wampum, Piney, Middlebro - is being organized by the Piney Chamber of Commerce. Contact Kari and Jason Sylvester at 204-437-4683 or email karisylvester76@gmail.com.

RM of Stuartburn including Arbakka, Caliento, Gardenton, Lonesand, Sirko, Stuartburn, Sundown, and Vita - call Jane Roman at 204-425-3745 or email jmroman@mymts.net.

RM of Franklin for residents in the RM of Franklin including Arnaud, Tolstoi, Ridgeville, Woodmore, Greenridge, Carlowrie, Dominion City, Rosa, Roseau River - contact Linda Steinert 204-427-2622 or linda@mynetset.com.

Local Chambers Release Holiday Shopping Guides With COVID-19 shutting down all shopping except for essentials, communities are looking for other means to get the word out to holiday shoppers. The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce has created an online holiday shopping guide that helps others find businesses easier during this time of curbside pickup and delivery. “2020 has been a challenging year, especially for our local businesses,” stated a spokeperson from the Chamber. “We want to provide local businesses with a place to promote their products and services, as well as make it easy and convenient for Manitobans to shop and support local this holiday season.”

Businesses who made the deadline will be included in the Support Local Holiday Guide. To access the guide, look for the Support Local Holiday Guide Posters complete with QR Code for Shoppers. The Southeast Chamber of Commerce’s online local shop, holiday guide includes businesses in the RM’s of Ritchot, Ste. Anne and Tache. This information can be found at southeastcommerce.com. Further south, the Stuartburn Emerson-Franklin Local Food Initiative put out their own local shopping guide for the second year in a row. The guide includes local craft and bake sales, artisans

and businesses carrying local products. To access the guide, or for more information on the Stuartburn Emerson-Franklin Local Food Initiative contact initiativelocalfood@gmail.com or on Facebook. The province has also launched the new #ShopLocalMB campaign which has enlisted a local design company to tell the stories of Manitoba businesses, entrepreneurs, makers and creators. The messages will reinforce reminders of how to shop safely, which includes using delivery, in-store pickup or drive-thru options whenever possible, and following public health fundamentals if in-person shopping is required. It is featured on the Province of Manitoba’s website.

Kleefeld Meal Train Feeds Frontline Workers A group of volunteers in Kleefeld have stepped up and created a meal train with the purpose of bringing meals to frontline health workers. Organized by Jen Friesen, the meal train’s first language is food, so they bring meals to people in the community. The Kleefeld Meal Train provides meals to recipients within the Kleefeld school catchment or attend Kleefeld Evangelical Mennonite Church. “Our Kleefeld Meal Train Team would

like to thank all our front line health care workers who are working tirelessly to get us through this pandemic,” said Friesen. “We would like to thank all of our health care workers by leaving a freezer meal or two on their doorstep!” Local residents working in the health care field can either put in their own names or be nominated by someone in the community. “If you know someone in the health care field who has been stressed by CO-

VID-19 we’d love to hear from you so we can provide you with some meals,” Friesen continued. “We also want to recognize that we just do the organizing here,” Friesen added. “It’s all our wonderful volunteers who sign up to bring meals, whether hot or frozen, that keep Kleefeld Meal Train running!” Anyone wishing to either nominate a front line worker, or help provide meals are encouraged to contact Jen Friesen at jenfriesen22@gmail.com for more information.

Niverville Musician Signed by Christian Label

Jordan St. Cyr performed in his home town of Niverville for its 50th anniversary. Photo by Marianne Curtis

On November 10, Niverville musician Jordan St. Cyr was signed a recording contract with American Christian music label BEC Recordings. This summer, St. Cyr released “Fires” a song inspired by his daughter. The single has received airplay on forty-one stations in Canada and the US. “Fires,” written by St. Cyr along with Micah Kuiper and Krissy Nordhoff, is the title track to his upcoming album slated to release the spring of 2021. “I‘m incredibly grateful for this opportunity to partner with BEC Recordings,” said St. Cyr. “The work they’ve done with their artist roster is inspiring and I’m excited for the impact this new relationship will have.” St. Cyr, a husband and a father of two boys and two girls, shares, “Fires” is a song that has become an anthem in our house. It has helped us

heal and is giving us a new perspective on pain and suffering.” He goes on to explain how on the day after his youngest daughter Emery was born; she had an MRI that revealed a rare brain condition. “What we were told next changed our future forever; the left side of her brain was dying. That day, we experienced equal parts joy and sorrow. Our hearts were in a million pieces and for the first time in our lives, our need for God was greater than anything else,” St. Cyr explained. “Since then, we’ve had more doctors’ appointments than we can count, and Emery has had seizures and several emergency hospital visits. We still have so many more questions than answers but, as we continue to place our hope and trust in Jesus, our faith continues to grow deeper and we wouldn’t trade that for anything.” St. Cyr wrote “Fires” two years ago

while on a trip to Nashville with the Full Circle Music Academy writing camp. He was inspired by a young man named Nathan who attended the Academy’s writersin-the-round event, working as a valet as well as holding down two other jobs to make ends meet. Nathan was so touched by the message of the songs that were performed that night so he left a note; thanking the songwriters for the hope he had been given. The note ended up being shared on socials and went viral. While this young man working three jobs was about to lose everything he owned, enough money was quickly raised to save his home and pay off debt. “Looking back,” he recalled, “I realize now that God gave me Nathan’s story so I could walk through mine with my daughter to help me along the way and allow my faith to rise up, to know God has not left me in this trial. Rather, He is walking it with me, guiding me through the pain and refining and purifying my heart that I may know him more.” With the song continuing to be heard on stations across the country, he concluded, “The depth at which ‘Fires’ has resonated with hearts across the country has been amazing to see. This song is reminding people of the courage they have in Christ to walk through the battles they are fighting knowing He is walking right alongside them.”

Prairie Grove Church Hosts COVID Friendly Farewell The congregation of Prairie Grove Church, north-west of Lorette found a unique way for their church family to bid good bye to their leadership on November 29. “Our church family did a surprise farewell drive-by for our pastor couple,” explained Darnell Plett, a member of the church. “It was lots of honking, fireworks and a large plywood sign that we placed on their lawn. We’ve bought them 5 lbs of their favorite cheese and have collected cash donations toward travel expenses and furnishings for their next gig.” Plett added that the church would have preferred to celebrate with feasting and tributes, but they were happy to be able to modify their One of the many vehicles that paraded through the community of Prairie Grove as church plans to keep everyone safe. Submitted photo goers bid farewell to their pastor couple.


Community Rallies Around Family After Loss of Son The community of St. Malo is mourning the loss of a seventeen year old teenager, who passed away in Edmonton after undergoing what should have been a life saving heart surgery. Earlier in November, prayer requests were flooding the region as Alix Chouinard head to Edmonton for surgery. On November 25, he passed away due to complications from heart disease. Alix was very involved with his school, the community, the local Cadet program and in his church. He is being fondly remembered as a kind man with a good heart who loved God, and serving those around him. As the family adjusts and grieves, the community is rallying around them and Dan Drouin, Director of YFC St. Pierre-Jolys and friend of the family created a GoFundMe page to help raise $10,000 to help The community of St. Malo is rallying behind the family of Alix Chouinard after his sudden the family make arrangements to passing after heart surgery in Edmonton. Submitted photo bring him back to Manitoba.

“We all know Alix. We love him and he will be missed dearly. He has left an impact on so many people by spreading love, joy and the good news of Jesus,” stated fundraiser organizer Dan Drouin. “Alix has had trouble with his heart for a number of years now, but after an operation in Edmonton, his body took a turn for the worse. As a community, this is a way that we can care for Alix’s family.” At the time of print, the fundraiser had already collected over $14,000. “The funds raised will be used to assist the family during this emergency and for the weeks following. This is to offset the cost of travel, food and lodging for Alix’s siblings, who will be going to see him one last time. Any remaining funds will be used to help cover the costs of funeral expenses,” explained Drouin. “As we know, no family should have to worry about such costs during a tragedy.”

RM of Ste. Anne Hires New Richer Fire Chief The RM of Ste. Anne has announced the appointment of Chris Wilkins as the new Richer Fire Department Fire Chief. According to Jennifer Gilmore, RM of Ste. Anne CAO, Wilkins has served on the Richer Fire Department since 2013, having been promoted to the position of Fire Captain in 2018. “Chris has proven himself

within the department over the years and we look forward to continuing our professional relationship with Fire Chief Chris Wilkins in his new capacity,” stated Gilmore. “It feels good being the new chief. It will be a good challenge taking on something new like this. Currently we have 17 well trained men and women on the department,” Wilkin’s stated. “I think the previous chief did a great job running

the hall so at this time I don’t feel the need to change anything.” Applicants had until November 5 to put in their resumes after the RM of Ste. Anne put out a call to hire a new volunteer fire chief and deputy chief for the Richer Fire Department. David Reitch has been named as the new deputy chief. Wilkins succeeds former Fire Chief Ed Belisle who submitted his

resignation as of November 11 but plans to remain as a volunteer. “The RM of Ste. Anne and Richer Fire Department wish to recognize former Fire Chief Ed Belisle for his valuable work and contributions over the past years, we look forward to his continued service within the Department,” Gilmore added. “He will continue his duties as a volunteer firefighter for the Richer Fire Department.”

Steinbach Develops Safe Dwelling Bylaw The City of Steinbach is in the process of adopting the Dwelling Safety Standards in a new by-law. Its purpose is to ensure all Steinbach residents have safe housing. Residents are invited to find out if their home meets the minimum safety standards by answering a survey currently posted on the City of Steinbach website. According to the City of

Steinbach, the new by-law will address minimum obligations that property owners must provide within residential dwellings. “The by-law is for the safety and health of Steinbach residents. It ensures all homes are equipped with basic safety measures to protect the people that live in them,” said a notice by council. “It applies to all new and existing residential properties within the City of Steinbach including primary and secondary dwellings.”

Per the new bylaw, minimum safety measures such as a proper egress, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide alarms will be required to be installed in all primary and secondary dwelling units. A primary dwelling is the main residence where someone lives, usually a house or apartment. A secondary dwelling is a self-contained unit sometimes referred to as an accessory dwelling or secondary suite with an entrance separate from the main

dwelling. Secondary dwellings are often rented out. The Safe Dwelling by-law is expected to be finalized by early 2021. A person may request an inspection of the dwelling from the City. If the property is compliant, the City will issue a Certificate of Compliance for the residential dwelling unit. Compliance certificates are valid for 3 years, unless conditions of the property change. Inspections can be requested by calling the City of Steinbach.

Scam Targets Niverville Residents

The Town of Niverville is warning residents to be alert after a resident reported to receiving a phone call appearing to be from the office. According to a notice sent out by the Town of Niverville office, the resident was told that their account was compromised. “Please be advised that the Town is NOT making these calls,” said the notice. Residents are urged to let anyone who does not have internet access or may otherwise not be informed that this occurred. Typical scam phone calls follow

a pattern. The call comes from a toll-free number. In some cases, they falsify Caller ID to display a trusted number. The caller then asks a few questions and then states that your account is in arrears and must be paid immediately. Payment options are then provided that could include making a payment through a retailer, paying through a PayPal account, wiring cash payment, or giving a credit card number. The Town of Niverville does not make reminder calls to residents, nor do they accept payments by

phone, PayPal, e-transfer or would they ask to wire money. Residents are reminded to never give personal information to someone they do now know over the phone. Any concerns can be addressed to the Town office at 204388-4600. Anyone who may have been contacted by a suspected scammer is encouraged to report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or by calling 1-888-4958501.


Government Accused of Ignoring Public on CanWhite Sands Project Dear Editor, On November 5, 2020 the Province of Manitoba posted on their Public Registry website all of the public and Technical Advisory Committee comments and the proponent’s response to these comments with respect to CanWhite Sands Corp. proposed silica sand development project. The Manitoba Director of Environmental Approvals also determined not to recommend to the Manitoba Minister of Conservation and Climate that a hearing be held by the Clean Environment Commission because potential environmental effects and potential mitigation strategies are well understood. We are at a loss to understand how all the potential environmental effects and potential mitigation strategies are well understood regarding this development project, when the government of Manitoba steadfastly refuses to review CanWhite Sands Corp. mine and mining method as part of the current provincial environmental review process. The Manitoba Director of Environmental Approvals also requested that CanWhite Sands Corp. hold a public meeting, at a date yet to be determined, to address concerns related to their proposed silica sand project. A CanWhite Sands Corp. (proponent) led public meeting process in no way meets the formal requirement to have the company submit third party technical information and data

on their mine and mining method and submit said information as an Environmental Act Proposal under the Manitoba Environment Act, so that both the public and government experts can review the entirety of CanWhite Sands Corp. proposed development as one project. Even the government of Manitoba’s own Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) were questioning why the mine and mining method was not being done in conjunction with the company’s processing facility, when one of the TAC members stated… “the processing plant will require that the necessary supplies of sand be secured; we recommend that the approvals associated with these two applications be linked.” More importantly, a proponent led public meeting process, as outlined, does not in any way meet the standard of a Section 35 Consultation process that must be undertaken when there may be an infringement on Aboriginal and Métis rights by CanWhite Sands Corp. proposed project. Also, how does the public get concerns addressed, through a proponent led public meeting process, about CanWhite Sands Corp. mine and mining method when there is no requirement on the part of CanWhite Sands Corp. to submit any third party technical information and data about its mine and mining method for public review well in advance of such a public meeting occurring?

Furthermore, any proponent led process should in no way proceed until the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change has made a determination, as per requested by five different entities, to designate the proposed project as an Impact Assessment Agency designated project for review and assessment under the Federal Impact Assessment Act. As stated previously on a number of occasions, we have lost trust in the Provincial review process, as the outcome has clearly been predetermined by the government of Manitoba with respect to the CanWhite Sands Corp. proposed development project. And for the above reasons, our participation in this proponent led public meeting would only lend credibility to an already extremely flawed Provincial environmental review process. Therefore, we again call for a joint Federal/Provincial Panel Review process to be undertaken that assesses and reviews CanWhite Sands Corp. processing facility, its mine and mining method as one project. Signatories: Boreal Action Project Camp MorningStar Council of Canadians –Winnipeg Chapter Organic Food Council of Manitoba Our Line in the Sand Manitoba Eco-Network Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition What the Frack Manitoba Wilderness Committee

Province Accused of Having Too Much Faith in Their Process Dear Editor, The Environmental Approvals Branch has denied the request of over 1,700 Manitobans to undertake a combined review of CanWhite Sands Corp. Vivian Sand processing Facility and its proposed mining, located in the drinking Water of thousands of Manitobans, with review by Manitoba’s Clean Environment Commission to include public hearings and participant funding. In her letter, Director of the EAB, Shannon Kohler is “confident that the environmental assessment and licensing process can proceed without a Clean Environment Commission hearing. The potential environmental

effects and potential mitigation strategies are well understood; therefore, a hearing would not add any new information in that regard.” This claim is inexplicable and the very reason that in 2015, just 1 year prior to CWS coming into Manitoba, that the Manitoba Law Reform Commission published a highly critical report on Manitoba’s Environment Act and the assessment and licensing process. In their report they state that staged licensing, such as that in use to assess CanWhite Sands project today, goes against principles of sustainability and prevents a full and comprehensive investigation into cumulative effects thus limiting understanding of

mitigation strategies. Since 2015 all elected governments have ignored the law’s recommendations. Including the present government and our elected official, currently responsible for the Environment Act and the licensing process, Minister Sarah Guillemard. In my opinion, all those in the Manitoba legislature should act now or start engraving your legacy. RIP Water, Air, Land (our life support system), health care, justice, reconciliation, science, public education, higher education, parks, and wilderness. AKA Civil Society. Tangi Bell Anola, MB

Call for IAAC Process with Full Technical Data on Entire CWS Project Dear Editor: Our Line in the Sand Citizen’s Campaign calls on the Manitoba Minister of Conservation and Climate to suspend the current Manitoba environmental review process and request that CanWhite Sands Corp.(CWS) include the mining portion in their new hydrogeological study of the Processing Facility and submit third party technical information and data on its unconventional mining method. This needs review as a joint fed-

eral/provincial public panel process, as a Class 3 Development project as per the Manitoba Environment Act. In a letter dated November 9 to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, CWS stated they have arranged to conduct a hydrogeological review of the Facility only and will not be proceeding until it is completed in March 2021. This data has not been presented in the current Environmental Act Proposal; hence the current review should be suspended.

The Manitoba Director of Environmental Approvals, on November 5 declined to hold Clean Environment Commission hearings on the CWS proposal and did not address the request of a combined assessment of the Facility and the mining. Instead the Director requested CWS to hold a community meeting. This in no way meets the Section 35 requirement that consultations be held with Brokenhead Ojibway Nation and the Manitoba Métis Federation, directly

impacted by this project. There appears to be a persistent pattern of proponent failure to disclose essential information. Only as responses to reviewer comments, has the proponent cited details on used, acidified water being returned to the aquifer. This increases the many serious water contamination issues this project presents. A hydrogeological review is meaningless without a clear definition of the water demand for the entire Proj-

ect. To separate a hydrogeological study without a full analysis of all the processes, prevents acknowledgment of the cumulative impacts from the Project and simply goes against good science. We stand with our rural neighbours and community organizations active in calling for true transparency and a comprehensive environmental assessment of CanWhite Sands Corp. proposed mining and processing facility. Janine Gibson


ROC Raffle Goes Online

Tickets for the Recreation Opportunities for Children (ROC) 50/50 draw are selling like hotcakes as the organization sets the goal to raise $100,000. With only 20,000 tickets printed there is a great chance for someone to win half of the jackpot which could amount to a max of $50,000. “Unfortunately, we are no longer able to sell our tickets in person at our permanent ticket locations at this time due to the newest set of government restrictions,� stated a spokesperson. Tickets can be purchased online at roceastman.ca/shop5050 for $5 each and confirmation number will be sent via email. The website accepts Credit Card, Visa Debit and Apple Pay. New for this year, tickets can also be purchased via etransfer with ticket number issued via email. To make arrangements to purchase by etransfer, respond to the email you will receive with name, phone num-

ber, mailing address, email address and the number of tickets you would like to purchase. The final draw is December 21 at 12 pm at Clearpspring Centre. The grand prize winner is taking home half of the total, with potential winnings of $50,000. The draw is open to all Manitoba residents, tickets are $5 each and available for purchase online at roceastman.ca/shop5050 until December 18, or as long as tickets are available. Recreation Opportunities for Children (ROC) Eastman provides services to reduce barriers to recreation participation for children living in the Eastman region of Manitoba. They assist families with activity fees, equipment/supplies and transportation where support is unavailable. The organization works with children from Steinbach, Beausejour, Niverville, Lac du Bonnet, Vita, Powerview-Pine Falls, Woodridge, Whitemouth, Oakbank and more.

See www.roceastman.ca/shop5050 for tickets

Kent was the lucky winner of the $500 early bird prize.

Submitted photo


MMF Offers Assistance to Businesses During Code Red Closures

St. Pierre-Jolys Restaurant Opens Midst COVID

Rob and Jaylene Kewley are excited to be bringing their award winning recipes to St. Pierre-Jolys.

By Marianne Curtis With code red restrictions forcing all eating establishments to close their dining rooms and switch to take out only, Rob and Jaylene Kewley are following their dream and opening a family restaurant in St. Pierre-Jolys. On December 2, Oma’s Down Home Cooking will open their doors to take out orders. In the meantime, the Kewleys have spent a few months preparing their award winning recipes to an actual brick and mortar location in the community. The Kewley family is well known in the region after winning the Kleefeld Honey Festival Chili competition a few years ago. Since then, the couple along with their daughters Brooke and Katrina have been creating their own unique recipes

for catering events and competitions. “We were going to create, sell and market our sauces and recipes but then we decided that instead of doing that, we would let people come to us,” Rob explained. “Everything is created from scratch and one hundred percent homemade, real down home cooking with local products.” He admitted that opening right now is risky, but the way everything came together is keeping the family encouraged. “We have a great spot here and we are looking forward to being very involved with the community,” Kewley continued. “We already have plans for doing car shows; hosting a Frog Follies event, weekend BBQ during the summer and other things. We don’t want to be just

Photo by Marianne Curtis

another business in the community.” The risk of opening during COVID has not been an easy one, but the Kewleys have relied on their faith to keep them motivated and inspired. “When we first looked at this place, it was not feasible,” he added. “This summer, everything fell into place with the building. Our competition sponsors have been helpful as well from cookware to ingredients.” Based on projected interest, the Kewleys have hired eight staff members from the community to keep things, “Local and family oriented.” Once restrictions are lifted, Oma’s Down Home Cooking will be opening for dine-in services that also include space for larger gatherings and meetings.

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is setting aside $5.5 million to assist Métis businesses during code red closures in the Winnipeg area caused by a steep rise of COVID-19 cases. Eligible businesses will be able to receive a nonrepayable grant of up to $10,000 if they commit to staying open after code red restrictions are lifted. “Not only has Canada answered the call and offered a wide variety of supports tailored to businesses and entrepreneurs across Canada, but they have also recognized the importance of partnering with Indigenous Governments to help address our unique needs,” said MMF President David Chartrand in a November 2 news release. “We have openly praised the Trudeau government and their response and approach to this unprecedented challenge that is COVID-19.” The MMF made the decision to provide funding in recognition of the negative impacts that the mandatory closures will have on all businesses. “During the first wave, the MMF offered $40,000 loans to Métis entrepreneurs. This helped, but is it enough?” said President Chartrand. “Investments made by small and medium businesses are the backbone of our economy. No one hesitates to collect their taxes, but yet some leaders hesitate to offer support in their times of need. But rest assured, our Métis families and businesses can rely on their Métis Government to support them in these uncertain times. Our Provincial Government has failed you; we won’t.” This funding will be available to all Métis Citizens including those still in the application process for receiving their Citizenship. Noted examples of eligible businesses that can apply include are restaurants and bars, fitness facilities, retail stores, spas and beauty salons, hotels and many other businesses. Métis entrepreneurs who are negatively affected by the recently implemented code red and orange restrictions and closure in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas can contact the Louis Riel Capital Corporation at 1-800-387-6004 for more information and to apply for this new funding.


Sundown Farmer Shares Adventures on YouTube By Marianne Curtis A farmer from the RM of Piney has taken to social media to share the adventures of living on a family farm in Manitoba. Randy Tkachyk along with his wife Joyska and two daughters live on a 1,200 acre family farm near Sundown that was established back in 1907. “We operate a grass fed cow/calf operation, custom grazing and a handful of chickens for meat and eggs for family and friends,” said Tkachyck. “The chickens were introduced two years ago to help our soil health and increase the grass production. I’ve been making decisions on the farm since 1997.” More recently, Tkachyk started broadcasting videos on YouTube for a series called “Life on a Manitoba Farm”. In his videos, he performs day to day tasks like

fence mending and tending to the livestock. “We started broadcasting videos because we all have a story and wanted people to be aware of the farming experience. I would have liked to know what my grandfather and father were facing with making a living and the challenges involved to survive and/or expand back in the early to mid 1900s,” Tkachyk explained. “Things like weather, marketing, finances and family life. The videos are a modern way to document farming for future generations.” Tkachyk said that it is also an opportunity to network with farmers from around the world even though a fifteen minute video can take about two hours to upload. “I also like watching other farmers on

YouTube and I learn a lot from them. I feel I have a lot to offer others as well. We, as farmers have so much in common,” Tkachyk continued. “I like to tell people about our operation because farmers are a minority in the world and I believe people need to know where their food comes from. People are interested in our operation. I also want the non rural to know farming and food production.” While Randy is the face on the camera, he enjoys that his entire family is involved. “My wife Joyska always looks at the videos before I post them,” Tkachyk added. “Our two daughters Jessi and Jordyn like what I’m doing and like it when they get to be in the videos.” To check out operations at the Tkachyk farm, look for Life On A Manitoba Farm on YouTube and click subscribe.

Sundown farmer Randy Tkachyk shares his adventures of living in the RM of Piney on a new YouTube channel called Life on a Manitoba Farm.

NaNoWriMo: The Conclusion

Well ladies and gentlemen; the month of November has come to an end. For those of you that read my last month’s article titled, NaNoWriMo, you’ll know that I was taking part in a month long writing project where the goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Since I have to write and submit this column before the end of November so that it can be ready for publication and into your hands for the beginning of December, I cannot tell you what my exact word count will end up being. However, if you see me on the street, feel free to ask me how many words I finished the month with and I’ll be happy to tell you. There are a few things that I can tell you about how the month of November went. For those of you who have never tried this

annual project but would like to, please read on and take notes if you wish. One of the major things that I have learned by participating in NaNoWriMo is that it is a marathon that will test not only your imagination, your creativity, your typing stamina but it will also test your ability to sit in a chair. Now I’ve always been a person that likes to move around, whether I’m at work or hanging around the house, I like to move. Sitting in a chair for an hour or more typing words is a difficult task for me but I like to break up my writing sessions by taking quick short walks around the house. Sometimes, I will even pace about my writing room to stretch my legs and allow my mind to wander. A month of writing will also test a person’s resolve to accomplish the task of writing so many words. There are times when I think that I’m flying along and will finish the whole amount in a single sitting but, when I check my word count, I find that I’ve only written a thousand plus words. This used to confuse me but I’ve come to realize that my mind is actually flashing along faster than my fingers are typing and that is why it feels that I should have done so much more than I really had. My mind also fills in all the details of the settings and the people while my keyboard can only take in so much at a time.

There are also times when I really don’t feel like writing. After all, I’ve done it every day for the last three weeks and now I want a break. Don’t get me wrong, by all means, breaks are necessary, but the damage can be done when one day of a break can turn into two, then three. Luckily for me, I only took one day off from writing throughout the whole month. I think that I’ll rest my tired fingers in December and let my computer snooze for awhile too. Last year, I kept a list of the number of words that I wrote each day, and then at the end of the month, I tallied up each day’s writing to see the grand total of 34,255 words. While I didn’t hit the 50,000 words objective, I did create the first draft of a great novel. This year, while writing this column, I have surpassed last year’s total for a grand total of 35,610 words but... I still have several days to go. While I am quite sure that I will not finish the 50,000 within these few, final days, I do believe that I will pass the 40,000 word mark. While the amount won’t be reached in time for the conclusion of the month, my novel writing will continue, albeit at a slower pace, and the finished novel will be an excellent one that will certainly be worth a read. Until next time, take care and keep your world spinning.


Local Producer Spotlight

Holy Hanna Art

Holy Hanna Art owner Hanna Brandt of Gardenton expressed that nature has always called to her and as a child, she spent as many hours as possible with her dog or horses all alone in the woods, listening to the trees and squirrels and birds. Since she was also very creative, it was only natural that, as soon as she could hold a crayon, she tried to replicate what she saw and felt. “For my high school graduation, my family gifted me with an easel, oil paints and brushes. A whole new world opened up for me,” she said. “I began producing art that surprised me. Landscapes and animals came to life in front of me.” Later when their first child was learning to walk, he resented his stiff little shoes. She asked herself how this problem could be fixed. “I got a deerskin, created a pattern and sewed a pair of soft little moccasins, which he loved immediately,” said Brandt. “And so, nearly forty years ago, began my leather crafting escapade. From moccasins to mukluks to mittens and gloves to fixing saddles and baler belts. For me, anything is worth a try and everything is art. Painting pictures, fixing a fence, welding up a horse drawn sleigh, carving, felting or making swords with the grand kids. All are important and valuable to me.” “Lately I’ve taken up painting silhouettes and making greeting cards. Pictures speak to the heart and so I put unique captions on my

cards that speak to the heart rather than merely addressing an occasion, she said.” “My vision for the future is to host workshops and retreats with creative themes,” she said. “Crafting, horses and sharing my heart with others is very energizing for

Hanna produces horse themed hand-painted greeting cards and leather crafted items. Submitted photos

House Sales Brisk in Southeast By Marianne Curtis The Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) is reporting that October homes sales continued to surpass historic levels with a total of 1,640 sales making it the highest month of activity for October, on record. “Following peak sales activity levels in the summer months this year homebuyer demand has remained strong moving into the fall market,” said MREA President Glen Tosh. “As a result, our data indicates 500 additional residential sales last month compared to the average level of sales in October over the past five years.” In the southeast, the story has been the same, with a record number of sales. However, there has also been a shortage of listings, according to Royal LePage real estate agent Candice Bakx-Friesen. “The story of 2020 has been a continuing shortage of homes on the market. Supply of homes is low but demand has remained high,” confirmed Bakx-Friesen. “Normally into November and December you will find that the market quiets down. But sales have remained steady in November.” With robust home sales in Manitoba since June, over $4.42 billion in total sales dollars year-to-date (YTD) exceeds the previous year-end record of $4.27 billion set in 2019, Tosh added. While total YTD sales are up 12.1%

me and I hope to bless many in this way.” The best way to see what I do or order my art is through my Etsy shop at etsy.com/ca/shop/HolyHannaArt, Instagram (#holyhannaart), or email hannabrandt04@gmail. com.

over the same period last year, fewer homes have been placed on the market in 2020 and new listings are down 8.2%. “In residential investment properties we have seen the same type of demand, where people are looking to invest in real estate as a safe place to diversify their portfolio. This can include rental properties or purchasing a piece of land,” Bakx-Friesen continued. “Looking to 2021, no one can predict what the real estate market will look like. But with the discussion in the news of vaccines rolling out early next year, coupled with the strength of sales numbers we saw in 2020, I expect 2021 will be another strong year in residential sales in Manitoba,” Bakx-Friesen predicted. In October, 1,640 residential properties sold in October, up 31.1% over October 2019. These sales account for $518.7 million in total dollars, an increase of 45.5% over the same month last year. The impact of COVID-19 is a concern for all realtors in the province and MREA continues to remind realtors to follow public health guidelines. While Manitoba is under code red restriction, MREA strongly recommends against holding open houses. For monthly residential market statistics visit realestatemanitoba.com/ monthly-market-statistics.


Memberships: 2021 memberships are now available for $25 per person. Join now to enjoy our member’s benefits! Believe in the Magic of Christmas! Stockings for Seniors: Make a local senior’s Christmas a little more special this year! There are 2 packages to choose from. They will include Meals on Wheels gift certificates for Steinbach and Grunthal residents (or freezer meals for all others) and some goodies. Nominate a senior you know or have us choose someone we know. Purchase a package for us to bring to them, include a card or letter to go with it. We will do no-contact delivery of stockings the week before Christmas. To purchase the Stocking go to our webpage patporteralc.com or call 204-320-4600. Pkg. A $25: 2 meals and 1 stocking filled with goodies. Pkg. B $40: 4 meals and 2 stockings filled with goodies. Delivery Area: Steinbach, RM of Hanover, La Broquerie and Ste. Anne.

Driftwood Decorea: Handmade décor pieces that incorporate driftwood, candles, ribbons and other elements. A variety of styles and sizes available. Please visit patporteralc.com for details or call 204-320-4600. All proceeds go towards supporting the Centre during these difficult times. Centre Closure: The Pat Porter Active Living Centre will be closed to all non-essential programming and services until further notice. We are following the public health authority recommendations and encouraging you to stay home as much as possible and make sure we all reduce our contacts. This is for your safety, my safety and the safety of all of our loved ones. The number of positive cases of COVID-19 is increasing in our area and we need to get those numbers down together. This is a community effort and we can do this! We remain open for essential services: Meals on Wheels in Steinbach and Grunthal will remain open for meal delivery only, please make sure you call by 9 am if you would like to or-

der a lunch. If you need help with shopping, mobility equipment or transportation call to make arrangements for us to provide assistance. All of our fitness programs are online via Zoom for free. We encourage you to participate; active living is good for both mental and physical health. If you, or someone you know just needs someone to talk to, please call us 204-320-4600 and one of us will gladly spend some time with you. Staff will be at the Centre from 9 am – 4 pm if you need support or assistance. Please feel free to call and we can assist you. We are here for you. We are in this together and we will come out of this together. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home! Merry Christmas and a fantastic start to the New Year from your friends at Pat Porter Active Living Centre. For more information on our programs, activities or volunteer opportunities from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm call Sonja at 204-3204603 or the reception desk at 204320-4600.

A New Christmas Tradition When I spotted this meme last year, our Christmas issue had already gone to print. Disappointed that I missed the deadline, I decided to proceed with it anyways, and shared the image on social media. Initially, I posted it to challenge my readers. Reading a chapter from the Book of Luke once a day for twenty-four days seemed like a simple enough challenge. A few hours after posting, I received an email from an old friend I had lost contact with a few years ago. He’d relocated to Banff, and we lost touch. Opening the message, I was stunned to see his simple request, “Can you do me a favour and send me a chapter every day?”

A new Christmas tradition.

I suggested that he download a Bible app or better still, I could snail mail him an actual bible. Nope, he wanted me to email him a chapter every day. So, I did. Every single day before I went to bed, I cut and paste a chapter and pressed send. As I did this, I started to read the story myself. Growing up Catholic, I knew the bible story back and forth, but this time was different. You see, I had been baptized on Easter, and this time my faith was new, fresh and eager. I was on fire to learn more about the Christmas story and the story behind Jesus. Where I was unable and uninterested in reading scripture before, this time I was soaking it up, and along the way I

was shocked to discover that I was understanding it in a whole new way. It was talking to me! Until December 1 last year, I was unable to read The Bible, so imagine my surprise when Christmas Day arrived and I realized that I was done. That night, as I went to bed, I was faced with a choice – I could put my Bible aside and quit, or I could continue reading and find out more about God’s plan for my life. Well, I am amazed to report that I have not been able to go to bed a single night this year without reading a chapter or two before going to bed but my knowledge and understanding of Faith has been eye opening and life changing. I used to be the biggest skeptic and at some points of life “anti-God”. Now, I eagerly attend online worship services, participate in online bible studies, and read The Bible daily – something I never thought I would or could do. So today, as we get ready to celebrate Christmas amid COVID- 19, I would like to suggest that if you are a believer, then dig deeper into His Word. This is the time to wake up. For non-believers who are curiously searching for hope amidst the chaos, I invite you to participate in this challenge. Merry Christmas – may the Blessings of the Season be upon you and your loved ones.


Pre-Natal Classes in High Demand By Marianne Curtis The Steinbach Family Resource Centre (SFRC) is reporting a boom in recent weeks as families join prenatal programs being offered through the facility. Carmel Wiebe, founding board member confirmed that pre and post natal programming at SFRC has seen a boom in recent weeks as families have limited support during the COVID-19 Pandemic. “Support is even more limited right now as support groups, public health visits, and many social connections and programs are postponed or cancelled outright,” said Wiebe. “But growing families still need reassurance, support and resources to support the health of their growing pregnancies and newborn babies.”

Wiebe further stressed the importance of having access to resources, education and support as families navigate the changes and fears that go hand in hand with pregnancy and having a baby in the middle of a global pandemic. There has been an increase in attendance in the Special Delivery Club, a prenatal support program that offers ongoing support, connection and education on a large variety of topics that cover everything from what to expect during labour, to nutritional requirements of pregnancy. “With the pandemic, many agency priorities have shifted into managing COVID, and many previously available

resources for new moms are on hold. Growing families are no less in need of support, but we are feeling the strain as more and more families are referred to our Centre for their pre and postnatal needs,” Wiebe continued. “If you are working from home or home with your kids during the day, take advantage of our bimonthly afternoon group, covering the same information and topics.” The Centre has prioritized remaining open for drop in access to resources through all stages of COVID-19 thus far, a critical component to supporting families experiencing higher levels of isolation, anxiety, and resulting in greater need for community resources and education.

Would You Like to Assist Local Seniors? Volunteer Drivers Needed: Seine River Service for Seniors (SRS) is looking for a few volunteer drivers that can be available to give rides to seniors who need a hand to get to appointments and some shopping. If you have a bit of free time, feel free

to call Melanie Bremaud, Community Resource Coordinator for SRS. She can be reached at 204-424-5285 or email labseinerss@gmail.com for more information. Seniors’ Group Wants to Connect with Seniors: Are you a senior and need

someone to talk to? Seine River Service for Seniors has volunteers standing by to chat. Give us a call at 204-424-5285 and we will be happy to set you up with a friendly voice to talk with. This Holiday Season we want to reach out and talk! Never feel alone and make a new friend.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms – Why We Love Them and You Should Too! Carbon monoxide (CO) is “the silent killer”– a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that you can’t detect on your own. If you have a carbon monoxide alarm, a beep can mean the difference between life and death. Who needs a carbon monoxide alarm? Anyone using sources of combustion heating like wood stoves, fireplaces of any kind, gas and oil furnaces, and natural gas appliances such as water heaters or stoves. The incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, wood, kerosene, propane, and natural gas used to power these items naturally produces carbon monoxide fumes. Chimneys get clogged, appliances malfunction or have venting issues, and today’s airtight homes increase the chance of CO accumulation. In short, stuff happens – be prepared! We love carbon monoxide alarms. Why? - They notice things we don’t. Carbon monoxide gas is colourless and odourless, undetectable by humans. When you breathe in carbon monoxide it gets into your blood stream and prevents your red blood cells from carrying oxygen. This causes symptoms that can be mistaken for the flu and can lead to death. - They keep you informed. Carbon monoxide alarms constantly monitor CO levels, alerting you with an audible alarm when gases reach dangerous levels. Many digital models display both current and peak readings of CO over a time period, with some digital models even registering levels below the alarm threshold. - They are reliable. In fact, they are the only safe way to monitor CO levels in your home. Carbon monoxide alarms use a CO gas sensor to identify and measure the concentration of carbon monoxide in your home in parts per million (ppm).

When dangerous levels are detected, an electronic pulse is sent to activate the alarm – the higher the levels, the faster the response. Are your carbon monoxide alarms safely installed? - One alarm: A single alarm should be located near the sleeping area where it can awaken sleeping occupants if CO gas is detected, before toxic levels are reached. - Additional alarms: Locate one alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, and in every bedroom for extra

protection. One alarm near or over an attached garage is also recommended. - What not to do: Don’t install carbon monoxide alarms directly above or beside combustion appliances. Also avoid installing them within 15 feet of heating or cooling appliances, in very humid areas like bathrooms, and in areas where they may be obstructed by furniture or draperies. Protect the ones you love – install a carbon monoxide alarm today. For more information go to hydro.mb.ca.


Church of God Flaunts Health Regulations By Marianne Curtis The provincial government continues to take actions to protect Manitobans during the COVID19 pandemic and advises that personnel empowered to enforce public health orders were out in full force on Black Friday. Manitobans are also reminded that leaving the province to shop is discouraged. The province advises that the Church of God near Steinbach was issued a $5,000 ticket in relation to a service that was held on Sunday, November 22. The next day, Pastor Heinrich Hildebrandt issued a statement that said that while The Bible teaches Christians to be good citizens and obey reasonable government demands, it does not teach, “Blind obedience to the authorities when oner-

ous restrictions are placed on our freedoms.” “The question is; what is essential?” Hildebrandt asked. “There must be an allowable expression of faith that is deemed essential while we are allowing the sale of products at establishments that allow the sale of alcohol, coffee, donuts, cannabis and fast food.” The Dawson Trail Dispatch reached out to the US head office of Church of God in Greenville, Ohio, but did not get a response at press time. According to their website, Church of God operates twenty-one churches around the world, including four in Canada, two in Ontario, one in Alberta and the one in Manitoba. In an article posted on the US Church of God website on October 13, 2020 called “When Chris-

tians Disobey” written by Susan Mutch, the writer answers the question, if Christians should be compliant to public health orders and the closure of churches. “We do believe in obeying the laws of the land and teach our people to have respect for those in authority, whether police officers, presidents, or kings. They are also instructed to pray for them. More importantly, we exalt God and His laws as supreme above all. Should the two conflict, we will obviously obey God rather than man, just as the apostle Peter did when the Jewish authorities commanded him to cease teaching about Jesus,” Mutch stated in her article. “Had the early Christians been compliant to the governments of their day, they would not have ended up in prisons or suffered

martyrdom. Their “defiance” has helped both to preserve Christianity in the earth and to bring honour to God’s name.” While the US Church of God and its Canadian churches has taken this stance on the matter, other churches in southern Manitoba have spoken up with an open letter signed by twenty-three Steinbach and area pastors and churches. “As pastors and leaders of churches of Steinbach and Area we want to make it clear that we support them (the province) in this call. The Manitoba government has allowed faith communities to continue to meet and minister where possible. For this we are grateful. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, we as churches have sought to follow

the guidelines the province has given us and have encouraged our parishioners to do the same. As a result, we have moved our services and ministries online,” read the letter. “Do the current public health orders limit our freedom? Yes, but they do so for the greater good of our society (Romans 14:6)… We believe that the sacrifices asked of us at this time – mask-wearing and physical distancing, for example – pale in comparison to the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf,” the letter concluded. While the Church of God has stood contrary in the face of the Federal and Provincial health regulations, other churches have welcomed the opportunity to take services online instead of cancelling things completely.

Local RCMP Enforcing Public Health Orders By Marianne Curtis

The provincial government continues to take actions to protect Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic and advises that personnel empowered to enforce public health orders were out in full force on Black Friday. Manitobans are also reminded that leaving the province to shop is discouraged. The province advised that the Church of God near Steinbach was issued a $5,000 ticket in relation to a service that was held on Sunday, November 22. Despite the fine and public health orders the church planned to gather again on November 29. On November 27, the Manitoba RCMP stressed that participating in any type of large gathering at this time is a contravention of the Public Health Orders

Officers write out a ticket for the pastor of Church of God south of Steinbach after he held religious services in contradiction of provincial public health order. Supplied photo

currently in place by the Province of Manitoba. Contravening these orders puts people at risk, and we all have a role to play in keeping Manitobans safe. “Our goal is certainly not to hand out a bunch of tickets,” said Steinbach Detachment Commander S/ Sgt Harold Laninga. “We want to keep everyone from coming to a large gathering in the first place. It is important to us that all citizens are aware of what the current orders are so they can abide by them. As always, our first and foremost goal is to keep everyone safe, and in these unprecedented times, that means staying at home.” According to the RCMP, the Public Health Orders supersede all other acts in the interest of public safety. All places of worship must be closed and drive-in religious services, even if you remain in your vehicle at all times, are not permitted. Gatherings of more than five people at any outdoor or indoor public place are prohibited. Laninga said RCMP will continue to work closely with the Province of Manitoba and partner enforcement agencies to protect the citizens of Manitoba. There is a new $298 fine for not wearing a mask in indoor public places. Fine amounts for violating public health orders have been set at $1,296 for tickets issued to individuals, and $5,000 for tickets issued to corporations. Almost 3,300 personnel across various agencies are empowered to enforce public health orders to protect Manitobans continue. This includes RCMP, law enforcement agencies, provincial employees and municipal partners. The number of personnel who are trained and actively enforcing public health orders continues to grow.


Nurses Union Alarmed About Lack of Masks The Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) is raising alarm and claiming that at least five personal care homes in Southern Health do not have N95 masks available onsite. According to a release, reports from five homes, including Menno Home in Grunthal and Villa Youville in Ste. Anne indicate N95 masks are not available to staff caring for residents. Both of these care homes are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and currently listed as “critical”. “Nurses caring for COVID posi-

tive or presumed cases must have fit-tested N95 masks available, for the safety of staff and residents alike. It’s completely unacceptable that this far into the second wave, there are care homes in Manitoba that are not providing adequate PPE to staff,” stated the release. Under an agreement between MNU and Shared Health, which has also been agreed to by the Southern Health Authority, nurses must be provided with an N95 mask upon request, when caring for a COVID suspect or COVID posi-

tive patients. MNU has filed grievances with the region to immediately address the issue. “It’s appalling that these care homes are failing to provide adequate PPE in the midst of an outbreak. It puts staff and residents at significant risk. It violates the basic rights of health care providers. Immediate action is required to get N95 masks into these facilities, and to complete fit-testing as quickly as possible.”

Local Businesses Named Top Employers By Marianne Curtis Access Credit Union along with Red River Coop was recently named among a list of the top thirty employers in Manitoba. According to Access Credit Union President and CEO Larry Davey, this is the seventh year and a row that Access Credit Union has earned recognition as one of the province’s top employers. “For seven years, this recognition has highlighted the excellence of our staff and their engagement in creating a truly outstanding organization,” said Davey. “As our organization grows through our merger with Crosstown Civic Credit Union, we look forward to continuing that tradition to deliver exceptional service internally and to our members every day.” Access Credit Union operates

twenty-six branches throughout the province, including Vita, Sprague and Grunthal. Access was recognized for creating a culture of innovation where employees can test and implement new ideas to overcome challenges and deliver solutions. Other benefits of working at Access include paid training and continuing education, flexible hours and work locations, matched pension plans, competitive salaries, and the opportunity to contribute to community. Red River Coop, who operates a grocery store in Lorette was also honoured. They were recognized for increasing pay for employees when COVID-19 hit. As an essential service provider, Red River Coop’s food services division quickly provided its front-line employees with an appreciation pay

premium (to $2.50 per hour) as well as offering onsite management employees additional pay (to $250 per week) from March through to mid-June. Now in its 15th year, Manitoba’s Top Employers is an annual competition that awards special designation to employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. The criteria for becoming a top employer include the physical workplace, work atmosphere, health and financial benefits, vacation and time off, training and skills development, communication, and community involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine who offers the most forward-thinking programs.

Illegal Hunting and Poaching Escalates This Season Conservation officers have been busy this season after a significant increase in illegal hunting throughout the province. In the early hours of November 10, conservation officers observed a group of hunters using a high-powered LED light bar and spotlight to hunt from a vehicle near St. Labre. Officers stopped the vehicle without incident and arrested two men, one from St. Pierre-Jolys and another from Steinbach. A 2001 GMC Sierra truck as well as a rifle, various hunting equipment and two flashlights were seized. Four days later, on November 14, conservation officers conducting a decoy operation apprehended two brothers in the RM of Reynolds near Hadashville. Officers witnessed two men in a truck shoot at decoys from a road almost an hour after sunset. Although the investigation is ongoing, a number of charges are being

contemplated including discharging a firearm from a vehicle and hunting at a prohibited time of day. A shotgun and a flashlight were seized. Three other men in the vehicle were not hunting and do not face charges at this time. On October 10, the Wildlife Amendment Act (Safe Hunting and Shared Management) took effect with the goal of ensuring a safe hunting environment. Conservation officers have conducted patrols to enforce Manitoba’s new Wildlife Amendment Act (Safe Hunting and Shared Management) across the province. To date, this resulted in 31 charges for serious wildlife offences, warnings to 19 individuals for night hunting without a permit or for hunting in a moose conservation closure, charges to eleven individuals for possessing illegally taken wildlife. This led to the seizure of eight vehicles, 16 firearms and restitution

orders totalling $20,500. Under the new regulations, night hunting is now illegal in Manitoba on all private land. The province also implemented a permit system to allow opportunities for rightsbased hunting on some Crown land, with different requirements for northern and southern Manitoba based on extensive CrownIndigenous consultations that contributed to the development of the legislation. In southern Manitoba, night hunting is prohibited except with a permit that allows rights-based hunting on Crown land, subject to terms and conditions establishing where it can be done safely. Anyone with information on illegal activities is asked to call their local Manitoba Conservation and Climate office or the Turn In Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-782-0076.


Providence’s Annual Harvest Festival Goes Virtual For the first time, the Providence community celebrated the Harvest Festival in a virtual format. Those who attended were encouraged to grab a treat, settle in and enjoy a unique glimpse into the story of Providence from the comfort of their own home. The event saw more than $20,000 raised through gifts that will help Providence continue to offer a high-quality education, infused with Christian faith to the leaders of tomorrow. Gina Turnbull, Fund Development Coordinator at Providence said that now was the time for the institution to try something new. “It was kind of exciting to be forced outside the box and to feel the support of those we spoke with, especially our sponsors, who said, ‘Hey, you can do this,’” said Turnbull. “It was so encouraging to still feel that sense of connection with the wider community of Providence.” “Seeing that friends and alumni from across Canada and the world were able to join us confirmed that there was a unique opportu-

nity in doing this event in a completely different way,” she added. President David Johnson invited participants to join in prayer for the challenges facing Providence, as well as join in giving financially to the institution as a thanksgiving gift for God’s faithfulness even during this pandemic time. A highlight of the evening was getting a look into the life of a first-year student on campus. Jesudamilola (Dami) Abiona filmed “A Day in the Life of” segment, featuring her own campus experience and why she chose to study at Providence. Alumnus Jason Mandryk spoke all the way from the United Kingdom about his experience as a Providence student and the impact he has been able to make on the worldwide church through Operation World. The evening concluded with a special performance by Howard and Joel Jolly, alumni and father-son duo, who warmed many hearts with their perfect harmonies in “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.

Viewers were taken on a tour led by Dr. Nicholas Greco through Muriel Taylor Hall, the brand-new facility on campus, which includes residences, classrooms, lounges, kitchen space and more. Submitted photo

Announcing SAC Annual Fundraising Campaign “You may feel like it’s a drop in the bucket. But every drop counts!”said Cindi Rempel Patrick, Director of Development at the Steinbach Arts Council, describing the importance of this fundraising campaign. “Whether big or small, every donation has a positive impact which empowers SAC to remain sustainable, as well as capture the potential to thrive and provide a high standard of affordable arts programming for the region.” COVID-19 has certainly presented challenges to everyone in the community, including charitable organizations such as The Steinbach Arts Council; however, the level of optimism is high as the organization has been passionate about creating a safe, healthy and creative place to learn. There is no better time than now when children, families and seniors need an outlet for creativity and artistic expression values, essential to promote positive mental and physical wellbeing. Although COVID-19 has reduced the number of programs and events this fall, classes in dance, music, theatre, wellness and visual arts at the Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre provide that healthy outlet for all ages, and the funds raised in this campaign encourage this mandate to be successful. The Steinbach Arts Council is excited to announce their annual fundraising campaign is off to a great start. There are several components to this campaign, and several ways to contribute to the organization. The first component is the focus on approaching businesses in the Corporate sector. SAC feels fortunate to receive numerous donations from local businesses in the form of concert and event sponsorships, naming

of studios, general operations, or directed towards capital and improvement projects. Financial barriers to accessing any programs are removed as donations are dedicated to support bursary and scholarship funds, enabling families and emerging young artists these opportunities to participate. Generous individuals also contribute to this campaign supporting the general operations and upkeep of the Centre, as well as special projects. The second component is new to this year’s campaign, introducing a vigorous SAC Membership Campaign to the public. Not only will their membership support the Arts Council overall, but it provides each member with a Membership Appreciation package of promotional offers from supportive local businesses, along with other benefits. Resident memberships are only $15 (non-res $20) and family memberships are $30 (non-res $35). All RM of Hanover residents receive the resident pricing, due to the subsidy provided by their RM council. We are also excited to announce that online donations are now an option, go to steinbacharts.ca home page, or at sac-online.ca/donate.php. To donate by check or e-transfer, contact Cindi Rempel Patrick at crpatrick@steinbacharts.ca. Memorial and Leave A Legacy Funds are also avenues for donation options. For details visit steinbacharts.ca. Steinbach Arts Council is a registered non-profit charity and tax receipts for over $15 are provided. For more information contact Cindi Rempel Patrick, Director of Development at 204-346-1077 or crpatrick@steinbacharts.ca.


History in the Making Galatians 4: 4-7 ... 4) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5) to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.” 7) So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (NIV) Every Christmas you and I must come to terms with the birth and nature of Jesus Christ. Christians make some incredible, wonderful, and miraculous claims about the birth of Jesus... and we should because in our text today we are told that when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son. Have you ever thought that there was a right time for Jesus to come? It is an incredible statement. Does this mean that there was only one time in all human history when everything was perfectly in line for the first coming of Jesus? That there was no other time when Christ could have come? We believe that is precisely what the Bible is saying. It tells us that Jesus Christ came at just the right time. Our celebration of Christmas highlights that perfect timing of His coming. As our text for this month says, when the right time came, the time that God had declared it would happen, Jesus was born of a Jewish woman by the name of Mary. We know the Christmas story so well, but how often does that understanding cause us not to remember or overlook what happened in the

Land of Palestine before Christ was born? I know this is true of me. We get so excited with our own planning that we lose sight of all the preparations and activities behind the scene in Palestine before the birth of Christ. Just as we organize and plan, our Christmas activities there were preparations made for this special event. The Christ Child from heaven was about to be born in a manger. There were legislative preparations for His coming. Scripture teaches that God directed the crucial events so that all prophesy would be fulfilled. Little did Caesar Augustus know when he was in power and called for a census, he was doing God’s will? That census required all the people to return to their place of birth to be counted. That meant that a pregnant woman and her husband had to make a historic journey to Bethlehem. Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, was guided by the Holy Spirit of God to the place prophesied in the Old Testament where Christ would be born. Can you see the hand of God at work here? God had planned how this was to happen long before this night in Bethlehem. He had a purpose for this event. You can feel the love and compassion in the heart of God as His plan of salvation is revealed to all peoples. By faith, we remember the first coming of Christ. At the right time, God sent His Son, and He... that is Jesus, can be faithful to do things in my life and your life at the right time as well. We are invited to become children of God, heirs together with

Christ and He is leading us to reign w i t h Him in eternity, to be victorious in this life. Christmas brought a new beginning, a reminder of that special event at just the right time. 11) Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12) This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 (NIV) Thus when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law. Unable to contain heaven’s joy any longer, the angels would explode with the cry of jubilation, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men ... To God Be the Glory Great Things He Has Done. Merry Christmas ... Have a wonderful New Year. Would you pray this prayer with me? “Lord Jesus, come into my heart? Forgive my sins. I want my life to change. My thoughts and my attitude need to change. I do not have the peace in my heart that I yearn for. I really want that Peace, joy and happiness that will fulfill my heart’s desire. Please let the Holy Spirit help me be the kind of Christian that will honour Your Name.” Amen.

The Privilege of Forgiveness When we think about Christmas, our thoughts go back to that first Christmas just over 2000 years ago. Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem to pay their taxes and while there, Mary delivered her boy child in a stable because there was no room in the inn. This little baby Jesus was the Son of God sent down by His Father to live as a human on earth. Why would the Father have His Son do such a thing and why would the Son agree to it? About 4000 years before this time, God created the entire universe (Genesis I) and He put the first two humans, Adam and Eve, on the earth in a perfect environment, called the Garden of Eden. They disobeyed the clear instructions of God and by this, sin entered our world. Ever since this time, all human beings are born in sin. If we die in our sin, then the Bible says we will end up in Hell, separated from God forever in a place of torment. But God, in His love, provided a way to have sin taken care of. In the Old Testament times, an animal was killed and innocent blood was

shed to cover man’s sin. But then God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth as a perfect human sacrifice, not just to cover man’s sin; but to take it away forever. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When Jesus Christ died on a cross and let His blood be shed, I John 2:2 says He did that for the sins of the whole world. Now John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even them that believe on his name.” This Christmas can you honestly say you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour to forgive all your sins and to make you a child of the living God? Ephesians 1:7 says of Christ, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” The ultimate purpose of Christ coming to earth that first Christmas was to provide forgiveness of sins to anyone that would turn to Him and

believe on Him. If you have made that decision, then you are a Christian. God has completely forgiven you for sinning against Him. Now He gives you the ability and privilege to practice forgiving others for what they do to you. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving on another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” I remember the day I received Christ as my Saviour. Knowing my sins were forgiven and taken care of brought a feeling of relief, release and joy. The same kind of thing will happen when we forgive others who have hurt us. This Christmas, don’t hold in unforgiveness. Instead, forgive and experience the real joy that God intended for all of us to have. God bless you as you respond to God’s calling on your life.

Did you know that The Steinbach Arts Council is a non-profit charitable organization? And we are knocking on your doors to participate in our annual Corporate Giving Campaign. A cash donation of any size or a donation in the form of goods and services is greatly appreciated and eligible for a tax receipt. Any donations over $100 will also receive an SAC membership for the 2020-21 season, which offers you many perks and discounts at local businesses. Your donation may be directed towards a program sponsorship, studio naming, a contribution to a bursary/scholarship or offer it freely to assist SAC with general operations, upgrades and new equipment purchases. Interested in giving your time? We also welcome a gift of your time and talents. If you would like to volunteer or offer some skills at SAC for an event, in the office or on a board/ committee, we accept that with open arms as well. Thank you for your consideration of the Steinbach Arts Council in your giving plans. Your support will help us to create a safe, healthy and creative place to learn. Please call Cindi Rempel Patrick, Director of Development at 204-346-1077 or email crpatrick@steinbacharts.ca for more info. Membership Appreciation Campaign: Purchase an SAC membership to support the Arts Council and receive great benefits and discounts from local businesses. Keep checking our website for additional promo discounts from community businesses. Purchase a SAC membership on our website or call the SAC office to start receiving discounts. Virtual Concerts are Here: Visit our website for our virtual concerts happening this season, featuring local musicians, live streamed for your enjoyment! Our plans include many more concerts and performances, so visit our website often for updates. Join us for a free live stream concert, An Acoustic Christmas with David Graham, on December 4t at 7pm. Visual Arts: Soul Stories Exhibit: Local artists, Bev Unger and Olivia Peters have adorned the halls of the SAC with their breathtaking artwork in their exhibit, Soul Stories. At this time, in accordance with public health regulations, out hallway gallery is closed to the public. But you can still enjoy their artwork! Our hall gallery exhibit is going virtual. Visit SteinbachArtsCouncil.ca to view online until December 16, 2020. Shop Your Local Arts Centre: We’re excited to offer a variety of beautiful local artwork from photography, landscape, to contemporary, there is something for everyone. We have welcomed new artists and artworks to our Buy or Lease Original and Print Program. Shop your local Arts Centre to purchase an original or print artwork as a great Christmas gift this year. Call the Steinbach Arts Council for more information. Virtual Classes Are Going Great: This past month has been one of rapid changes for everyone. SAC has met these challenges head on and continues to offer creative and innovative ways to learn online. Students are enjoying learning from their homes and connecting with their instructors and classmates. Give the Gift of Creativity: Winter programs are coming soon. With socially distanced classes and extra cleaning we’re making sure the Steinbach Arts Council is a safe, healthy and creative place to learn. Check out our 10-week dance classes, our theatre classes for all ages, Pilates and French. Programs make excellent gifts; give the gift of creativity this Christmas! Visit our website SteinbachArtsCouncil.ca or call 204-346-1077 for more information. Merry Christmas from the Steinbach Arts Council! Have a safe, healthy and joyful season!


Providence Registration Opens for Winter Classes With COVID and the upcoming cold forcing folks to stay indoors, now may be the time to sign up for winter classes online. In preparation for the new year, Providence recently opened up registration for Winter 2021. Providence’s ‘Winter 2021’ plan prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of students and the community. “As we plan for you to return to classes this winter, we want you to know that our faculty and staff will walk alongside of you to ensure you have a successful term at Providence,” stated a spokesperson. “We will continue to maintain a quality Providence education that provides personalized teaching and learning environments.” With student health a priority, Providence’s student Development department has put additional supports in place and will continue to offer services such as counselling and residence care throughout the year. “The Providence campus will be open to residence students for the winter semester. Even in the critical code red and/or restricted code orange, where most of our courses are offered online, we are excited to have you on our campus,” continued the spokesperson. Residence students will be welcomed back into the buildings upon their return from Christmas break, and any need for quarantine will be arranged with the Residence Life Coordinator. “We will continue to provide course content in a variety of formats, helping to make the learning experience accessible to everybody. In-person class participation will continue as the #RestartMB COVID-19 Response System levels allow,” they concluded. Online engagement will also continue in all classes, allowing for synchronous and asynchronous participation.

Walk, Talk, Give We have heard many times the unprecedented and challenging times we are living in; and likely will for months to come. I hope all of you are staying home, staying safe, and staying healthy. I normally give some yearend tax tips for my December article, but this year I will give my tips on staying healthy: physically and mentally. Walk Get out and walk. It’s simple. Anyone (almost anyone) can do it. No special equipment needed. It can be done every day or even a few times a day. If you can, go outside and walk in the fresh air, regardless of the temperature. Bundle up. And get out to nature; find a park to walk in. I prefer to walk first thing in the morning when it begins to get light. It’s normally the least windy time of the day and I can “get it out of the way”. It’s a great way to start each day. I seem to be “revved up” for the day. I feel better physically and I think it helps me mentally too. Having my four-legged personal trainers to motivate me helps too. Get your arms moving and pumping. If you can, get some walking sticks or poles. They make walking a bit more interesting. Plus I walk straighter and more upright when I use my walking sticks. And I can walk a bit faster and lengthen my stride. As a bonus, it has prevented me from falling when I have “tripped” on something. If you need a cane or a walker, definitely use them. After my mother broke her hip, she used a walker to continue her walking routine. The walker was good insurance and gave her peace of mind; it was there “just in case”. It kept her walking. If she didn’t have it, she likely wouldn’t have walked as much or as far or as straight. And after my father had a mini stroke, he started to use a walker too. They both walked daily using their walkers and sometimes a few times a day. Mostly outside, but if the weather was not good, they would walk up and down the hallway of their apartment complex. They believed if you stopped moving you start dying. So keep walking and keep living.

how important it is to talk with another person every day. We cannot visit in person with family and friends as I write and restrictions will likely be around off and on over the next many months (or years?), so make sure you stay connected with others. Some of you have likely discovered “virtual” meetings like Zoom and Facetime. And you would think that seeing and talking to someone would make you feel more connected, but a report I read said that you don’t necessarily need to see others to stay in touch. Just hearing their voice does just as much for feeling connected. A sense of connection does not seem to come from being able to see another person but rather from hearing another person’s voice. So pick up the phone and talk to someone: a family member, a friend, a neighbour. Just having a phone conversation with someone else can make a big difference to our daily lives. If you don’t have someone to call, contact Seine River Services for Seniors, at 204-424-5285; they do connect seniors who can phone each other daily to stay in touch and stay healthy. Give

There’s something satisfying in giving back to the world around us. So if you can afford it, make a charitable donation this month. Many people received special payments this year from the federal and provincial governments (extra GST credits, senior benefits, disability benefits). If you really don’t need the extra money, consider giving it away. As Winston Churchill once aptly stated, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Numerous studies have shown that giving money to others or to charity will put a much bigger smile on your face than spending on yourself. If you can this month, give to a charity. The more local the better, because then you can see the good you have given. Some great organizations you can consider could be our local food bank (Accueil Kateri Centre or Tache Food Bank), our local hospital (Ste. Anne Hospital Foundation), other local organizations that help families, those that help the homeless, and other local community groups in our area, or Winnipeg. Try to keep it in the province. It’s easy to find a local charity organization to donate to. If you have never donated before, I challenge you to donate this month; your financial help is desperately needed. If you doTalk nate regularly, can you donate a I heard and read recently bit more?

Giving to others might take money out of your wallet, but it could mean the difference between life and death for some people. You never know how far a dollar might go. A tiny stone can create a massive ripple when thrown into water at the right moment. And here is my only tax tip for the article: if you normally have taxes payable each year, you will also get a tax refund by claiming your charitable donations. (Line 43500 on your notice of assessment or tax summary shows you had taxes payable in 2019). Caregiver Wage Support Program On November 27 a new provincial benefit program was announced. The new program pays an extra $5 per hour wage supplement to certain front-line workers that provide direct patient or residential care to vulnerable Manitobans between November 1 2020 and January 20 2021. You are eligible if you work in one of the following positions: Health Care Aid, Housekeeping, Youth care Worker, House Supervisor, Recreation Worker; in one of the following facilities: personal care home, retirement residence, homeless shelter, CFS group home, family violence prevention shelter. To apply, go to the Province of Manitoba website and search for Caregiver Wage Support Program. Apply December 7 to 14 for the period November 1 to December 6; apply January 11 to 18 for the period December 7 to January 10. The payment will be made within five business days after application (likely by cheque). This Christmas season already seems different than normal. I wish you a healthy and safe Christmas. Pick up the phone and talk to family and friends and neighbours. Get out and walk. And Give. Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Frohe Weihnachten, Glaedelig Jul. From your Ste Anne Tax Service team. Anni Markmann is a Personal Income Tax Professional and Certified Financial Planner; living, working, and volunteering in our community. Contact us at 204-422-6631 or 36 Dawson Road in Ste Anne (near Co-op) or Info@SAtaxes.ca.


RCMP FILES If you have any information in regards to any item here you are asked to contact the Steinbach RCMP Detachment at 204326-4452 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com or text “TIPMAN” plus your message to Crimes (274637).

RCMP Look for Stolen Trailer On November 21, Steinbach RCMP were advised of a stolen trailer taken from a storage yard located on Westland Drive. The trailer is described as a red, 18 foot Suretrac Novae car trailer that was stolen on November 19 or 20 sometime overnight. Police are looking to speak with anyone who may have information regarding this occurrence. If you have any information regarding the above incident or any other information in regards to the above matter, you are asked to contact the Steinbach RCMP Detachment at 204-326-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com.

Motorcycle Stolen from Back of Truck On November 9 the Steinbach RCMP received a report of a theft of a motorcycle. The theft occurred over night on November 8 at approximately 11 pm from a residence near Henry Place in Steinbach. The motor cycle is an orange KTM SF450F with an Alberta License Plate KNB26 that was in the box of a pick up truck parked in a driveway when two unknown males removed the bike from the truck and left on foot pushing the bike. If you have any information in regards to the above you are asked to contact the Steinbach RCMP Detachment at 204-326-4452 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com or text “TIPMAN” plus your message to Crimes (274637).

Search Warrant Snags Weapon On November 7 Steinbach GIS and Steinbach RCMP executed a search warrant where a sawed off shotgun was recovered from a vehicle. This shotgun is presumed to have been used in a Winnipeg Police file where the shotgun was pointed at the victim. This vehicle was used in three gas thefts in the Steinbach area as well. Charges are pending against a 32-year old male whom resides in this area.

St. Pierre-Jolys RCMP Seize Drugs and Guns On November 10 at approximately 11 am, St. Pierre-Jolys RCMP along with the assistance of the East District Crime Reduction Enforcement Support Team (CREST), the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST), executed a search warrant at a residence on Leclaire Road in the RM of Ritchot. Officers located a marihuana grow operation inside the residence. RCMP seized approximately 40 marihuana plants, 225 grams of dried marihuana, 18 firearms, other weapons and drug paraphernalia. A 37-year-old male was arrested and is facing charges of Possession of Illicit Cannabis, Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Selling, Cultivating more then four Cannabis Plants and Cultivating Illicit Cannabis, under the Cannabis Act. He is also facing criminal charges of Firearms Storage Contrary to Regulations x4 and Possession of a Prohibited Weapon.


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