Dawson Trail Dispatch January 2021

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Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Community Kindness Brightens Up Christmas

Brent Wery was one of the fifteen recipients of a “Nominate a Hero” package.

With COVID affecting every single person, the focus this Christmas seemed to be showing love and appreciation to front line workers, volunteers, and random strangers. Hundreds of seniors in personal care homes were cheered up over the holiday season thanks to “Letters for the Lonely”. Launched locally by Carla Anne Coroy from Steinbach, the letters were a way for her to deal with her stress, while turning it into something of value. “I contacted some seniors’ facilities and shared my idea and as it turned out, it was a hit,” Coroy explained. Initially she began to personally write the letters, but as word spread classrooms, and individuals throughout the region joined the campaign.

Submitted photo

“Initially, I thought I would just write a few letters, but then when I started seeing the interest I was like, uh oh, I cannot do this by myself,” Coroy continued. After setting up a Facebook page, hundreds of letters starting coming in. Jeremy Wiens got creative with his venture called “Nominate a Hero”. A total of 231 nominations across 7 categories were made and fourteen heroes from different communities received a package filled with gifts from local businesses and crafters. “What an awesome experience it was to be able to go deliver all the incredible prizes to these incredible heroes! They were all so appreciative over everything they received and blown away that others nomContinued on Page 2...

January 2021

January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Community Kindness Brightens Up Christmas inated them,” said Wiens. “Living in the southeast is an incredible place to live. You will see that when we started our Nominate A Hero campaign, we never expected it to grow like this.” Some residents found a musical way to boost their neighbour or community’s spirits. Fifteen year old Zenon Horbec from Vita along with his mother Gail, took to the streets with his violin and played a number of “doorstop serenades”. Usually,

Hundreds of letters were written and delivered to seniors in personal care homes throughout the region through the “Letters for the Lonely” campaign. Submitted photos

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around this time of year, he would be playing with his group Ukie Fusion at seniors’ homes and other events, bringing smiles to people’s faces. “This year, Christmas is very different because we can’t gather due to COVID-19 and it is not safe. So we decided to do it a different way by doing a doorstep serenade and a cookie drop off,” said Horbec. In Steinbach, residents along several streets stepped out to sing Christmas carols every Sunday evening during December.

Christmas Eve Carolling Fills the Air in Niverville By Marianne Curtis

Fifteen year old Zenon Horbec from Vita played doorstop serenades throughout the southeast on his violin. Photo by Marianne Curtis

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The community of Niverville was alive with the sound of Christmas carolling after the town’s mayor invited everyone to step out onto their porches to sing three songs in unison. Town of Niverville mayor Myron Dyck said that the idea came from an event during WWI where both sides declared a Christmas truce. “The story is told that soldiers willing to kill for their very different ideals laid their weapons down and took the time to sing some Christmas carols together. I am inviting everyone to sing along with my wife and myself in something I am calling ‘A Community Carol Connection’,” said Dyck. “Regardless of your faith, beliefs, or world views, I am asking us all to step outside onto our decks, driveways, or yard to sing a few songs together so as to support those who could use a bit of a pick me up right now.” Word of Dyck’s invitation soon hit local media and other communities joined in. “In every community in Manitoba there are people who could use a little bit of good cheer, a respite from all things COVID,

something to boost their spirits,” he suggested. “This is not just a Niverville thing which is where I live.” “I would ask that we all come together to sing for those who live alone, for those who are pulling double shifts at our medical centres, for those who may have lost a family member this year, for our seniors who miss their children and grandchildren, for those who are dealing with financial stress, and for each other to show that yes while we cannot visit one another, we are still here for one another,” Dyck added. “Just like when the flood season hits and we go to help sandbag for someone we may not know, or we see someone stranded on the side of the road, we help in a humanitarian way to show we care about them and their plight. So in the same humanitarian way I am asking us to join together to sing, regardless of our beliefs, so as to lift one another’s spirits, especially those who could really use it, and let us let them know that we care about them!” Residents were encouraged to tune into CHVN Radio where three songs were played, including Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel, Silent Night, and Joy to the World.

Public Outdoor Recreation Areas Open In accordance with most recent revisions to Provincial Public Health Orders regarding outdoor recreation, spaces are starting to open up around the region. When it comes to public facilities, each community has their own set of rules based on the risk of spreading the virus. In the City of Steinbach, all play structures, outdoor fitness equipment, toboggan hills, and outdoor rinks will be open. “Currently City staff are preparing the outdoor rink at T.G. Smith Centre and the pleasure skating rink beside the Jake Epp Library. Both rinks will be open as soon as preparations are complete and weather permitting. The T.G. Smith Centre building will remain closed and dressing rooms and washrooms will not be available,” said a

City spokesperson. In each community, anyone using outdoor recreational facilities must follow all provincial public health orders, including maintaining a separation of at least two metres from others, unless belonging to the same household. People must not engage in activities as part of a group of more than five people, unless they all reside in the same household. Organized practices, games or outdoor sporting competitions of any kind are prohibited. In compliance with the Province’s Code Red Restrictions all indoor recreation facilities remain closed to the public. Some facilities in rural communities that depend on volunteers may not open until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

January 2021

Santa Visits Several Communities

Santa made a personal visit to several communities in southern Manitoba to help raise community spirits amid COVID lockdowns. In a pop up event, Santa made a stop in IDC where elves collected food for the IDC foodbank. (Note that this was a separate event from the Santa for Hire ones noted in story below). Photo by Marianne Curtis.

By Marianne Curtis Local Santa impersonator Thom Doerksen said COVID-19 restrictions may have shut down traditional visits with Santa by disallowing gatherings for kids in halls and malls or at seasonal gatherings but that was not going to stop him from spreading holiday cheer. With the assistance of local fire departments and a number of volunteers, Doerksen and his Santa Parade made their way through ten different communities in the region. “This Santa Parade Tour was planned by my daughter Montana and her husband/Elf/float

(Left) Santa lifted the spirits of many as he made his way through the streets of Richer.

driver Glen Hildebrand and my sister from another mister Shauna Sobering,” Doerksen explained. “In eleven days we came up with this plan, and slowly added things to the trailer and truck! Santa could not have made this happen without them.” The Santa Parade toured the RM of Hanover including Kleefeld, Grunthal and Blumenort, then RM of Ste Anne, Paradise Village, Richer, and RM of La Broquerie. “In planning all this, we had many rules to follow and we are thankful for the people for following the rules set in place,” Doerksen continued. “People say all the time Santa is for kids. I tell you, I had so many seniors run to their doors, living room windows and from their cars just to wave and cry out “Merry Christmas”. In short, Doerksen said his season consisted of 15 hours of Santa parade, over 20 personal zoom calls and 10 personal messages, plus a handful of socially distanced Santa stops. “Our team believed the southeast needed a boost in Christmas Spirit and I think for the most part we did a great job,” Doerksen concluded.

(Above) Santa got the help of the Kleefeld Fire Department for this leg of his venture.

Submitted photos.

January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Vaccine Roll-Out Starts in Manitoba As we embark on the year 2021, I hope this year will bring blessings of success, happiness and fulfillment for you and your family. This holiday season was different than years past, but I hope that you were still able to find some joy and reason to celebrate. Our government was proud to fund programming under the Safe at Home Manitoba grant to provide people who stayed home during the holiday season with creative cultural, artistic and fitness activities delivered by local Manitoba businesses in our own homes. I was pleased to enjoy this programming and spend extra quality time with my family over the holidays. As your local MLA, I have greatly missed being out-and-about in the constituency and interacting with all of you. While Zoom and FaceTime are wonderful tools that have been incredibly useful during these times nothing will compare to having face-to-face conversations with my constituents about what matter most to you and your family. I am proud to share that Manitobans have already started to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In December, our province received a very limited supply of the vaccination from the federal government. Since receiving that supply, we have began implementing our immunization plan by offering the vaccine to those most vulnerable including those working in our healthcare system, seniors and Indigenous peoples. The federal government has provided assurance that enough doses of the vaccine will be available to every Manitoban who wants a vaccination. Until then, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and to continue following the public health fundamentals to help fight the spread of this virus and save lives. Once again, I want to wish everyone a blessed new year. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my constituency office at ca.lagasse@outlook.com or 204-807-4663.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

2020: A Year in Review It’s been quite a year in Ottawa. Obviously, COVID-19 was the big story of the year, but there were other things happening in 2020 as well. In February, I had the honour of being appointed to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. This committee reviews the actions of all our agencies in relation to security and intelligence including our military and law enforcement. It is highly sensitive work, and it has been a very rewarding experience. In March, it became clear the coronavirus was going to be a major issue and it became equally clear that the Liberal government had been caught completely offguard - despite repeated warnings from health and intelligence officials. In fact, the Liberals just months before the COVID -19 outbreak made significant cuts and reduced the international monitoring function of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network. In May, Justin Trudeau used the specter and emotion of a tragic shooting spree in Nova Scotia to blindside law-abiding firearms owners with new restrictions while failing to address the real source of the problem: illegal gun acquisition and gun smuggling across the Canada-US border. In June, having spent millions and his last shred of credibility on the world-stage, Justin Trudeau lost his bid and his dream of having a UN Security Council seat. Another in a long line of embarrassing failures on the world-stage. In July, controversial Trudeauappointed Governor General Julie Payette once again made headlines, this time for creating a toxic

work environment at Rideau Hall. She remains under investigation. It was also in July that the WE charity scandal broke. The Liberal government directed nearly half a billion dollars in funding to a charity with close ties to the Liberal Party that had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of the Trudeau family and other Liberal insiders. In August, Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigned after it came to light that two of his daughters worked for WE and that he had received a $40,000 luxury vacation paid for by the organization. Chrystia Freeland was appointed to the finance portfolio. The WE Charity fiasco was just one example in a pattern of Liberals giving contracts to their friends. Embroiled in scandal, Justin Trudeau shut down parliament. This meant he didn’t have to face the daily barrage of questions in Question Period that help to hold him to account. It also stalled the work of parliamentary committees tasked with investigating the WE scandal. When Parliament resumed in the fall, several troubling pieces of legislation were re-introduced including Bill C-6 (Conversion Therapy Ban) and C-7 (expanded Medical Assistance in Dying). In October, I had the honour of being appointed to the Finance Committee. This has given me additional opportunities to hold the Liberals to account for their management of Canada’s economy. In late October and through November, I heard from constituents in our border communities that they were suddenly being required to quarantine when they attended essential medical appointments in the United States. I quickly reached out to the relevant Liberal ministers, as

well as our provincial counterparts, advocating on behalf of our border communities. To date, we have not seen a resolution, but have support from MLA Dennis Smook and our Manitoba’s Health Minister. I am hopeful we will see a common-sense solution in the near future. In December, we saw a fiscal update from the government, with an unprecedented projected deficit of over $400 billion. Around the same time, it came to light that hundreds of billions of dollars in “COVID-19” spending is unaccounted for. Ensuring that Canadians’ hard-earned tax dollars are well-managed has always been a key focus for me and this work will continue into 2021. There was some good news for Canadians in this otherwise bleak year. In August, the Hon. Erin O’Toole was elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Under Mr. O’Toole’s leadership, our Conservative team continues to hold the Liberals accountable for their failures and ethical breaches and offer common sense, family focused solutions to help get Canada back on track. We look forward to earning the trust of Canadians in 2021. For more information on this or any issue please feel free to contact my office toll free at 1-866-3331933 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.

2021 Will Be Better

The year 2020 is now behind us, but it will be one that we will not forget. COVID-19 has left its mark on the world. It has changed the way we do things on a daily basis and undoubtedly it will change the way we look at the future. Hopefully, 2021 will be a better year and we can all return to a new sense of normal. Late December provided some hope in the fight against COVID19 with the approval of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Immunization clinics in the province have opened and the first wave of recipients have received the vaccine. A very limited supply of vaccines is here to protect those most vulnerable to the virus and more shipments are expected to arrive in the coming months to protect Manitobans.

It has been nine months since the first positive COVID-19 case in Manitoba and these vaccines represent a significant step forward in protecting our communities and health-care system, however, we are not out of the woods yet. We must all follow the fundamentals in the fight against COVID-19 and follow public health orders in order to stop the spread of this deadly virus. Over the last few months, I have received calls from numerous constituents from the RM of Piney in regards to the federal government changing the rules for residents of the south-east crossing the border to the US to obtain healthcare services in Roseau and Warroad, Minnesota. Under the new rules imposed by the federal government, any person crossing the border into the US for health services must now quaran-

tine themselves for 14 days upon returning home to Canada. This issue has been raised by all levels of government including the local RM of Piney, myself (the MLA for La Verendrye), MP Ted Falk and our provincial Minister of Health, Cameron Friesen. However, the federal government has yet to take action and resolve this issue. It is my hope that Federal Ministers Hajdu and Blair will work to resolve this pressing issue on an urgent basis.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

January 2021

Front Line Workers Get Vaccinated By Marianne Curtis Immunization clinics have been underway for the past few weeks, and all available appointments have been booked. As of December 30, approximately 2,900 immunizations have been given since the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Manitoba in mid-December. According to a spokesperson for Southern health-santé sud the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available to staff working within the region. “Immunizations are available for eligible Southern Health-Santé Sud staff,” confirmed the spokesperson. “Eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccine is guided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI’s) guidance on the prioritization of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine(s) (updated December 23, 2020),” he added. “In addition, Manitoba officials considered logistics issues, such as unique storage and handling requirements for the first vaccine, when they made decisions about eligibility.”

Eligibility criteria currently includes healthcare workers whose work involves direct contact with patients. They must either work in critical care units; work in longterm care facilities, born on or before December 31, 1969 (changed from 1967); work in acute care facilities, born on or before December 31, 1969 (changed from 1967); or assigned to a COVID-19 immunization clinic or testing site. Individuals should not call to make an appointment unless they meet the eligibility criteria. Starting January 4, the vaccination clinic will take place at the RBC Convention Centre, and appointments are being made for January 4 to 10 with second-dose appointments occurring January 25 to 31, 2021. The phone line is open to eligible health-care workers from 6 am to 8 pm daily until all spaces are filled. To date, about 2,100 first-dose appointments have been made and approximately 4,000 remain avail-

able. The province expects to administer 40,000 doses of the vaccine before the end of January. In addition the province expects a shipment of 7,300 Moderna vaccine doses to arrive early January of which 5,300 will be immediately available to remote First Nation communities. By the end of March, Manitoba is set to receive a per-capita allotment of 228,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine. Once additional vaccine supplies are received in January, an estimated 15,000 residents of personal care homes, who are most at risk of serious and potentially life-threatening illness, will also become eligible to be immunized. Beginning in January, Manitoba will launch an online dashboard to provide statistics about the immunization program. More information about the vaccine campaign in Manitoba is available at manitoba.ca/vaccine.

Supporting Teenagers and Young Adults During COVID-19 Having teenagers confined to home during the coronavirus crisis may not be as labour-intensive as being holed up with small children, but it definitely has its challenges. While younger children may be thrilled at the prospect of having parental attention 24/7, adolescents are likely to feel differently. The first challenge with teens and young adults may be getting them to comply with the guidelines for social distancing. Teenagers tend to feel invincible, points out David Anderson, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, and they may think that the new coronavirus is not as problematic for their age range as it is for older people. Parents are reporting a lot of pushback when teens are told they can’t go out and get together with friends. “They want to see their friends, and don’t see why the social distancing should apply to them,” said Dr. Anderson. It’s important to help your teenagers understand that no one really knows yet how the coronavirus affects people of different age groups and contracting the virus might be very dangerous for your teenager, even though the facts are still unclear. For teenagers and young adults, friends are hugely important. Acknowledge that you know it’s frustrating for them to be cut off from friends. Listen to what they’re feeling, validate those feelings and then be direct about how you can work together to make this situation bearable. Loosening rules about time spent on social media, for instance, will help compensate for the socializing time lost with school closings. Encourage them to be creative about new ways to interact with their friends socially. Parents are reporting feeling pressured and confused about how to help kids with remote learning. With younger children, noted Dr. Ander-

son, it’s more a matter of finding fun activities that can be educational. But with older students, keeping up with expectations from school can be challenging, especially for those with ADHD, learning disorders or organization issues. “I’m completely overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to structure a school day,” one mom told us. “I was never planning on homeschooling my kids. I don’t have training in this.” Help teenagers and college students create a realistic schedule for getting work done in defined periods, building in breaks and times for socializing, exercising and entertainment. The key principle is to, do a session of work first, then reward yourself with something relaxing. Keep in mind that it’s not going to be as effective as school, but it may get to be more effective over time as everyone on the school front, as well as the home front, works to improve remote learning. Teenagers and young adults will do better during this stressful time if they get adequate sleep, eat healthy meals and exercise regularly. Healthy habits are particularly important for young people who may be struggling with anxiety or depression. For many the most painful part of the coronavirus crisis will be losing important experiences such as high school sports seasons, proms, theater productions, high school and college graduations. Give them room to share their feelings and listen without judgment (or without reassuring them that everything will be fine). Some will be worried about missing activities expected to help them with college applications and scholarships. Mindfulness techniques can be very helpful in this kind of situation, where routines are disrupted and we may feel overwhelmed by

frustration and disappointment. Mindfulness teaches us to tune into our emotions in any given moment and experience them without judgment.

January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Summer Jobs Program Opens for Applications Ted Falk, MP for Provencher, highlighted the launch of the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) 2021 employer application process. The Canada Summer Jobs program helps to create work opportunities for youth between the ages of 15 and 30 to develop and improve their skills as they transition into the labour market. Eligible employers in the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors can apply from now until Friday, January 29, 2021. “Youth trying to find work this past year have faced an unstable economic situation as a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions imposed by governments in response to COVID-19,” said Falk. “Getting our local economy back on track is important, and investing in the training of young people is a key element of our recovery.” Temporary flexibilities introduced during CSJ 2020 will be applied to CSJ 2021 to help small businesses operate, including a wage subsidy, so that private and public-sector employers can receive up to 75 percent of the provincial minimum hourly wage for each employee and not-for-profit organizations will continue to receive 100 percent; an extension to the end date for employment to February 26, 2022; and allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis. “The skills young people learn during a summer job help set the stage for a successful future,” Falk added. “I encourage all interested employers to apply.” For more information or to apply, visit canada.ca/canadasummerjobs.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Foodgrains Among Top Charities in Canada For the third year in a row, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank has been named as one of the Top 10 Impact Charity by Charity Intelligence Canada for 2020. Foodgrains Bank executive director Andy Harrington said the repeated public affirmation of our work, and the work of members and partners, is truly welcome and celebrated. “We realize that people who support the Foodgrains Bank place a great deal of trust in us when they make a donation,” said Harrington. “Unlike a local charity, it’s difficult for everyday Canadians to see the impact of our work first hand, so this affirmation from Charity Intelligence is particularly meaningful.”

Charity Intelligence is a third-party independent organization that examines different Canadian charities annually and assigns ratings based on donor reporting, financial transparency, funding need, cents to the cause, and demonstrated impact. “We realize that we are only able to achieve this level of impact and accountability thanks to the relationships we as the Foodgrains Bank and its members have with churches, individuals, local partners and government, in Canada and around the world,” said Harrington. “I’m deeply grateful for the way we’re able to work together for a world where no one goes to bed hungry.” Founded in Landmark, the Canadian Foodgrains is a partnership of Canadian church-based agencies

working to end hunger in developing countries by increasing and deepening the involvement of Canadians, in an effort to end hunger. They do this through community growing projects which involve farmers, volunteers, businesses and church groups gathering together to plant, harvest and sell a crop grown on donated acres. When the crop is sold on the Canadian market the proceeds are donated to the Foodgrains Bank. In addition proceeds from the sale of these crops are augmented by the Federal government. There are currently 260 projects across the country including close to 40 Manitoba grow projects on over 5,000 acres near communities such as Blumenort, Landmark, Lorette and St. Pierre-Jolys.

Government Supports Foodgrains Projects The Federal government has provided the Foodgrains Bank with a special grant to help small-scale farmers affected by the global pandemic. According to Foodgrains Bank executive director Andy Harrington, “The Government of Canada provided us a special

$2.3 million grant to help smallscale farmers impacted by the effects of the global pandemic.” “However, we needed to raise a contribution of $770, 000,” added Harrington. “Thanks to more than 2,000 generous Canadians, we did it! And to top it off, the caring and generosity are all the more mean-

ingful considering the troubling times we’re all living through at the moment.” The funds will be used to provide agricultural support services to help farmers in places like Ethiopia increase their harvest, supporting community savings and loans groups, so farmers can buy seeds and other inputs and assist farmers in getting crops to market. Harrington said the funds help farmers like Asnakech Zema, a farmer and mother of eight living in Ethiopia. “Over the past several years, she’s been improving her family’s crop yields by implementing conservation agriculture techniques,” Harrington continued. “When the pandemic hit in Ethiopia, stay-at-home orders could have impacted her farm and her access to things like agriculture support and inputs.” He noted that thanks to generous donations, Foodgrain’s partner staff has been able to continue supportA $2.3 million grant to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank will go to programs that support ing Asnakech and other community farmers like Asnakech Zema from Ethiopia. Supplied photo members through the pandemic.

New AMM Executive Board Named The Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) firstever virtual annual Convention took place last month and members voted in a new executive board. RM of Portage La Prairie Reeve Kam Blight was named AMM President. “I am very grateful and humbled that my fellow municipal leaders have entrusted me with leading our strong and united association,” said incoming President Blight. “Representing Manitoba’s 137

municipalities is a great responsibility and I am fully committed to enhancing our partnership with other orders of government and stakeholder organizations.” Joining him at the table are RM of Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen and RM of Brokenhead Reeve Brad Saluk. “The AMM has given us great opportunities to meet other like-minded elected officials from all regions of Manitoba,” said Ewen in his campaign bio. “We as an organization need to continue to have an open line of communication with each

and every one of you. Networking with each other is how we grow, learn, and improve our separate regions.” Blight was elected by the board to replace outgoing president Ralph Groening. “President Ralph Groening has led the AMM with distinction throughout his tenure, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic,” noted Blight. “I am proud to have worked alongside him, where I witnessed first-hand his passion for municipal governance and dedication to building a better Manitoba.”

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Ste. Agathe Community Member Honoured with Newly-Minted MB150 Medal To commemorate Manitoba’s 150th anniversary, it is fitting to celebrate Manitobans who are committed to giving back and enriching the places where they live, work, and play. One hundred and fifty Manitobans from across our province, who are quietly making a difference in their communities, are receiving the newly minted MB150 Medal. The 1997 Flood of the Century was a time of disaster for many Manitobans including Ste. Agathe. Located on the banks of the Red River and prone to flood damage, Ste. Agathe’s ring dike gave out in late April of 1997, causing the town to be inundated with over two metres of water. In the words of Jeannot Robert, community member and former municipal councillor, “Instead of accepting defeat by the flood waters, Ste. Agathe experienced a boost of energy and we weren’t giving up. We are small, but we turned that into a positive.” During that time in Ste. Agathe, Robert was always ready to help and describes his average work week of being about 70 hours. He was known in the community as a hard worker and someone you could always ask to be part of your committee or project. “I don’t sit on committees for the pleasure of attending meetings, I find a project and get it done,” said Robert. Under his leadership the Ste. Agathe Community Development Inc. (CDI) united the people of Ste. Agathe. “We were closer to being a family than just being a community,” he said. Residential development ensued,

Ron Schuler, MLA for Springfield-Ritchot with Yvonne and Jeannot Robert, MB Honour Submitted photo. 150 Award winner.

and Ste. Agathe is now 3 times the size it was before the 1997 flood. Not only was Robert the first president of the Ste Agathe CDI that was founded in 1994, he was also a successful business owner, school trustee, and municipal councillor representing Ste. Agathe. He has served years promoting both economic and residential development and was a partner in a local residential subdivision. More recently he has been a strong advocate for the Ste. Agathe Fire hall on Highway 75. One of his greatest legacies for Ste. Agathe is the welcoming and inclusion he promotes for new members to the community. This has resulted in a younger generation eager to be involved and to contribute volunteer hours and efforts that create the strong, close-knit community. “The younger generation has been energized to take over,” noted Robert,

although he is still asked to be a part of their projects and committees because of his knowledge and guidance. Each of the MB150 Honour recipients has a story to share about their role in making Manitoba such an amazing province. Robert’s fingerprints cover the community of Ste. Agathe; and when children play baseball in the park, when fireworks sizzle in the night sky at The Cheyenne Summer Festival, or when parents drop their kids off at the local daycare, they do so on a foundation he helped to lay. “It is an honour to serve you and your family as the MLA for Springfield-Ritchot and it was a privilege to be able to nominate Mr. Jeannot Robert for the MB 150 Medal of Volunteerism. It is well deserved,” said SpringfieldRitchot MLA Ron Schuler.

Stay Off Retention Ponds No matter how cold it is outside, or what the ice looks like, it’s never safe to use retention ponds for winter recreation activities. Despite posted signage warning of the dangers of thin ice, reports are still received that people are going out onto the ice and even building recreational rinks on retention ponds each year.

Ice thickness diagram.

During the winter, water from melting snow or nearby water main breaks continues to flow into the ponds, and is often mixed with street salts that can cause the ice to melt and thin quickly. Recreational rinks on retention ponds like this can become a serious safety hazard. Retention ponds should never be used for

winter recreation activities. Parents and teachers should remind children to stay off the ice and find other ways to play outside safely this winter. If you see someone in distress on a retention pond or any other frozen body of water, call 911.

January 2021

January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Spotlight on Local Author’s First Children’s Book By Andrea Thiessen At a young age, Andrea Thiessen knew she wanted to be an author. She vividly remembers her years in elementary school in Steinbach, where the love of books and writing was cultivated at an early age. There were many days after school; you could find her in the school library thumbing through the stack of books until something special caught her eye. It wasn’t a love of reading that drew her in, however, but more the idea of searching out the names of local authors and how Andrea Thiessen, author. holding a book made her feel. She recounts how she felt when her own personal stories were woven into physical book forms by volunteers at the school who typed out each page and lovingly sewed those pages together, complete with covers made of wallpaper scraps. Seeing her stories come to life became her dream. While the dream lay dormant for many years, the opportunity presented itself in an unusual way long after she married, moved to the farming hamlet of Arnaud, Manitoba and started a family. While serving in her local church with the children’s program, she often adapted material to use in the children’s feature on Sunday mornings. She has written many puppet skits and has three full-length Christmas programs to her credit. Through the encouragement of a dear friend, Thiessen began to research potential publishing opportunities for her materials. Breaking into the book market seemed daunting as most publishers were looking for writers with previous publishing experience. In 2013, she became a self-publishing author through Friesen Press which allowed her complete control over the entire creative process while receiving helpful advice and the support of qualified staff along the way. It also allowed her to explore her love of all things paper. The illustrations started out as an experiment to bring about a vision she had for the story. It involved countless hours of creating templates which would be layered to bring life and depth to her storybook characters on 12x12 sheets of cardstock. While she doesn’t focus on scale and realism, she enjoys adding extra details that add texture and interest for the reader, inviting them to linger awhile longer over each page. The story recounts the tale of a little red kite who finds himself grounded on a windless day. Longing to fly with his kite friends, he sets off in search of the wind, where along the way he meets a wise oak tree, a lazy hound dog and a blue shirt who all share their own experiences with the wind. Through the eyes of a little kite we learn a heartwarming lesson in child-like faith. Little Kite and the Big Wind is Thiessen’s first publication. It is enjoyed by all ages, including adults, but is best suited for children 5 - 11 years old. It’s currently available at Mennonite Heritage Village and Ten Thousand Villages in Steinbach, but can also be purchased by contacting Andrea directly at 204-427-2261 (home) or 204-712-0799 (cell) or by email at thimar@mts.net. Submitted by the Stuartburn Emerson-Franklin Local Food Initiative, initiativelocalfood@gmail.com. Find them on Facebook.

Little Kite and the Big Wind is Thiessen’s first publication.

Submitted photos

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Mitchell School Project Complete Students returning to classes in the new year will be excited to find that the Mitchell Elementary School expansion and renovation project is complete. The project included the construction of five classrooms, a new library, a new multipurpose room and related ancillary spaces. Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen personally announced the $4.2 million addition and renovation project for Mitchell Elementary School two years ago. “It was great to announce the expansion of the Mitchell Elementary School back in November of 2018. But it was even better to see the near final product. Students are going to be welcomed back on January 4 to a greatly expanded area and new library,” said Goertzen. Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen (left) along with other members of the Hanover The project also included an esti- School Division and Mitchell Elementary School celebrate the completion of construction. mated 12,600 square feet of new space and 2,000 square feet of renovated space to provide improved educational support and resource spaces. In Mitchell, enrollment at the kindergarten to Grade 4 has increased at a steady pace in recent years due to immigration and robust housing development in the community, with a growth of 95 students between 2012 and 2018. When the project started the enrollment of 450 students had led to overcrowding, with the school using its library as a classroom and with almost no space for resource teaching support or guidance counselling. Enrollment is projected to continue to grow to 600 students by 2028, the minister noted. Hall to the new classrooms. Submitted photos

Ile des Chenes Publisher Releases Worship Journals

An Ile des Chenes author and publishing company are excited to announce the recent release “Call to Worship: A Personal Worship Service Journal and three Personal Prayer Journals”. Created by author and designer Marianne Curtis, they were designed with the purpose to encourage the user to be intentional in their walk with God, and prayer journeys. “I asked God to give me a project that mattered, and these ideas came to me soon afterwards,” said Curtis. “My instant thought was a convenient place to keep track of everything God leads me to. It could be a verse, a song, but keeping track of how He speaks is important.” The creation of the journals led to the launch of a ministry that will design and print teaching materials for First Nations communities. “This summer, I was led to bring Bibles and teaching materials to one of the First Nation communities in Manitoba. As I was leaving, they asked if I could get them Sunday school materials. I could not afford to buy them any, but I could make them some! Since then it has been on my heart to create them,”

said Curtis. their conversations with God. Call to Worship: A Personal WorCurrently all versions are availship Service Journal was inspired to able for purchase on Amazon.ca. assist believers in keeping track of They will also be available in select notes, music and much more dur- stores in January 2021. ing online worship services, in person services and small groups. A children’s version is in the process of being recreated to become a children’s Sunday School journal, with the help of Florence Sanderson, a known First Nations children’s minister from Winnipeg (Fisher River First Nation) and Steven Fontaine a disabled Aboriginal artist from Steinbach (Sagkeeng First nation). This three person collaboration is producing a child friendly version consisting of 52-weeks worth of colouring pages and lessons in one place for easy distribution to children that may not have access to in-person Sunday school classes. In addition, Curtis created Created for online or in church services, the Call a set of Personal Prayer Jour- to Worship Journal is designed for believers to be nals to encourage Believers more intentional in their praise. to become more intentional in Submitted photo

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Steinbach Won’t Opt Out of Sunday Shopping The province has expedited the proclamation of new legislation that allows retailers to stay open later on Sundays and holidays. According to Finance Minster Scott Fielding, the province wants to provide flexibility to businesses and customers and allow more opportunity for curbside pickup and delivery options as well as longer in-person shopping hours to minimize crowds. “During this critical time for retailers across the province, we believe these updated laws will help many businesses with additional revenues as we head into the holiday season,” said Fielding. The new Bill 4 - The Retail Business Hours of Operation Act (Various Acts Amended or Repealed) eliminates retail shopping hour restrictions so businesses are no longer required to close after 6 pm on Sundays and certain holidays. It

gives all businesses in Manitoba the choice to remain open later on Sundays and during statutory holidays. However, it gives municipalities the authority to pass bylaws, should they prefer to keep some restrictions in place. Steinbach Mayor Earl Funk said the City will not opt out of the new hours as laid out by the province. “As a council, we have never passed a bylaw that has anything to do with Sunday shopping,” said Funk. “We’ve always gone with the provincial policies and the default that they’ve set in place. Council has had many discussions about that and we’ve decided to continue that.” The province expedited the passage and proclamation of this legislation with the recommendation from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Manitoba Chambers of Commerce,

Retail Council of Canada and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. In mid-November, an open letter to government on behalf of those organizations made a shared recommendation to expedite the implementation and passage of the bill. The provincial law is expected to get final approval about April and then it will be entirely up to local businesses to decide whether or not they want to be open on Sundays and holidays. “Businesses will decide whether or not they want to be open. Even myself, that will be a decision I have to make,” Funk continued. He said that employees will have the right to refuse to work on Sunday. Manitoba was the only western Canadian province to restrict retail business hours on Sundays and holidays. The province will maintain its current retail hour restrictions on Remembrance Day.

Local Initiative Offers Free Training Opportunity The manufacturing industry in Manitoba is comprised of more than 1,300 businesses employing over 42,000 workers. In order to meet the demands of the industry, Steinbach’s Workplace Essential Skills Training (WEST) Centre, Manitoba Economic Development and Training, Employment and Income Assistance and four partnering local manufacturing and production companies announce an upcoming training program. This program involves individuals

being specifically trained to meet the requirements of manufacturing and production positions within southeast Manitoba where they can enter the industry and build a career. Some experience in manufacturing, wood working, carpentry, engineering, design, architecture would be an asset. Training will be part-time and, depending on current restrictions, may be a combination of online and in-person training. This opportunity will allow individuals to prepare for today’s

workplace that requires efficient, effective and adaptable workers who have the essential skills necessary to be successful in today’s workplace which is a win-win for employee and employer. There is no fee to participate in this program however, due to limited capacity, interested individuals are asked to register with the WEST Centre to determine eligibility prior to January 11 by forwarding a cover letter and resume to west.steinbach@wem.mb.ca.

Tabs for Oliver! Little Oliver needs your help. His have other children play with him.” (1069 Autumnwood Drive) - bin family is requesting that people save Ollie was diagnosed shortly after outside for drop off, Monday - Fritheir pop can tabs so that they can be birth with Microephaly, which is a day (9 am - 3 pm); Trailblazers Life used to help raise funds to purchase genetic disorder. Some character- Choices Steinbach (B-197 Main St.) him a new wheelchair. istics of this condition are balance - bin outside for drop off, Monday Through a partnership with Tabs and coordination problems, hyper- Friday (9 am - 3 pm), 1244 Dawson for Wheelchairs, Ollie (Olivier) is activity, low muscle tone, spastic Rd, Lorette, - leave on front deck, set to get his wheelchair in 2021 just movements, and delayed motor and and Manny’s Live Bait Hwy #1 East in time for him to start kindergarten speech functions. anytime. in Lorette. A specialized wheelchair would For bulk collection call Ollie’s According to a spokesperson from greatly improve his independence. mom, Lise at 204-955-5501 to make Tabs for Wheelchairs, this campaign Tabs can be dropped off at: Trail- arrangements or to request a box for was started in 2018 by close friends blazers Life Choices Winnipeg counter collection. of Ollie from the slopitch community and it has since grown to a constant flow of tabs simply through word of mouth. Since then, combined efforts have greatly increased awareness of how a simple gesture can go so far when a community of people come together. “Ollie is a very happy little boy and always very social,” stated a spokesperson. “He loves to These boxes are ready to be placed at various Tabs for Wheelchairs is collecting tabs to purchase a wheelmeet people and locations for tab drop-offs. chair for Oliver.

January 2021

Remote Learning Plan Set for Post Christmas Break The Province of Manitoba is mandating a two-week remote learning period for grade 7 to 12 students and offering the same remote learning period for kindergarten to Grade 6 students. This two-week remote learning period will begin January 4, 2021, following the regularly scheduled holiday break. “Current data indicates the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our schools remains low and we want to ensure the return to the classroom is as safe as practically possible,” said Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “By moving our grade 7 to 12 students to remote learning for the first two weeks of the new year and offering remote learning options to kindergarten to Grade 6 students, we are reducing the risk that may be posed as a result of a change in students’ close contacts during the winter break.” Students in grades 7 to 12 will move to remote learning for a two-week period from January 4 to 15. Optional remote learning will also be available to kindergarten to Grade 6 students during this period should families wish to keep their children at home following the holiday break. Regular, in-person classroom learning will be available during this period for kindergarten to Grade 6 students, as well as for any grade 7 to 12 students with special needs that must be accommodated in the school or classroom setting. This two-week remote learning period for grades 7 to 12 will keep close to half of the student population in Manitoba at home following the winter break. Evidence suggests that older students have a higher incidence of contracting the virus, a larger number of close contacts and are more likely to transmit the virus to others as a result. Moving this group to remote learning will reduce the risk of transmission in schools while minimizing the impact on kindergarten to Grade 6 students and their families. Manitoba school divisions have made significant enhancements to the remote learning experience in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are well equipped for this mandated period of remote learning, the minister said. The Provincial Remote Learning Support Centre will be available to assist school divisions and educational staff during this remote learning period. In addition to this remote learning period, Goertzen also announced that the Manitoba government is further protecting Manitoba schools by confirming the full allocation of the Safe Schools Fund. “The pandemic situation is evolving and the Manitoba government recognizes that our schools may face extraordinary funding pressures in the 2020-21 school year,” said Goertzen. “We are pleased to confirm the full allocation of our government’s $100million investment, along with $85.4 million in federal funding, to keep our schools healthy and safe.” The $100-million Safe Schools Fund, established in August 2020, included $48 million in school division savings from the 2019-20 school year and additional $52 million in provincial funding. In late August, the federal government also announced COVID-related funding for education. This total pool of $185.4 million will be used to augment staffing, health and safety, learning and technology. Staffing is a key component of the government’s COVID-19 education measures, Goertzen said. School divisions continue to recruit additional teachers, educational assistants, substitute teachers, custodial staff, bus drivers, clinicians and other critical staff. As of October 31, over $9 million had been invested in additional staffing, with a total investment of over $67 million already projected to be spent by June 2021. The confirmed allocations to support schools are, 2019-20 savings by school divisions ($48 million); per pupil allocations for school divisions and independent schools($76 million) including $44 million to specifically address staffing needs; safe Restart Contingency Fund, application-based funding to support emerging needs ($39.4 million); Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre ($10 million); and personal protective equipment ($12 million). School divisions and independent schools will be able to apply for additional funding for needs not covered by their Safe Schools allocation through the Safe Restart Contingency Fund. The contingency fund will cover incremental expenditures to meet health and safety requirements, address extenuating public health conditions in the region/area that may entail unique cost pressures, and support innovative approaches that may support outcomes for a broader school community, region or the province as a whole.


January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Dawson Trail Dispatch

January The $4.2 million expansion of the Mitchell Elementary School kicked off with an official sod turning ceremony. The project consisted of building five new classrooms, a multi-purpose room and a new library that was officially opened at the end of the year. An Ile des Chenes man needing a kidney put out a public plea for a live donor while raising awareness for organ donation. Shortly after printing the article, sixty-one year old Mitch Beauchemin received a double kidney donation. Unfortunately, he passed away later in the year. Residents in Mitchell and the RM of Hanover collectively mourned the passing of long time Ward 2 councillor Bernie Stahn who died at the age of 61 after a 15-month long battle with cancer. MLA for Springfield-Ritchot Ron Schuler announced four grants totaling more than $220,000 of investment within the RM of Ritchot and the Town of Niverville under the Building Sustainable Communities Program.

In the tradition of past eras, the Tache Fire Department pushed their brand new $353,000 fire truck into the Lorette hall, just like their predecessors who pushed their horse drawn pumpers into the stable.

Karla Storey and Deena Clarke claimed the biggest Bingo prize offered by SPMF Monday Night Bingo in Richer. The women were presented with a cheque of $99,801 by Doreen Pchajek and Anna Smith from the Stacey Pchajek Foundation.


March The Town of Niverville was thrilled that the Province of Manitoba, Sport Manitoba, and Manitoba Hydro announced that the community will host the 2022 Manitoba Games. As host community, the Town of Niverville will have to contribute to the event in excess of $75,000, however the event is expected to bring hundreds of athletes and their families to the community and boost the economy. Celebrate 150 provided $1.3 million to 85 projects across the prov-

ince to help communities deliver one-time, event-based initiatives in celebration of Manitoba’s 150th anniversary in 2020. Making the list were festivals in the City of Steinbach, the RM of Ste. Anne, La Broquerie CDC, South Whiteshell Trail Association, St. Adolphe Community Club, Town of Niverville and Town of Ste. Anne. All events were postponed due to restrictions. Canadian Gold Beverage from Marchand claimed a silver medal at the 30th Anniversary Berkely Springs International Water Tasting Competition for their locally produced and bottled creation “Sparkling Lemon Water”.

The Beaver Days Mascot takes a spin around Falcon Lake during the 46th Annual Beaver Days Festival.

The Town of Niverville hired an independent expert to evaluate the long term and short term sustainability after Dr. Chris Burnett, who had operated the Niverville Open Health after it was announced that he had to step aside to be with his wife Dr. Mairi, who was ailing at the time. In March, the town officially took over operations of the clinic. The RM of Hanover and Kleefeld Recreation Association (KRA) filed a Statement of Claim against former KRA president Nicole Rempel, her husband and a private company for alleged fraudulent activity during her years as a volunteer of the KRA board. It alleges loss and damages worth $102,529, “Be reason of the acts of misappropriation and conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust.” Sixty female Providence College students moved into the newly completed Muriel Taylor Hall. This residence replaced the Bergen Hall dormitory that was destroyed by fire in June 2017. Ile des Chenes native Renée Lamoureux picked up her first JUNO nod with Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for her latest recording, Empower.

(Right) After a seven day journey by dog sled Armand and Kelly Jerome arrive at the Whitemouth River near East Braintree to mark the end of leg one of their historic Red River Métis Expedition 2020 as part of Manitoba 150 celebrations.

The Canadian Men’s Juniors National Team consisting of Jacques Gauthier of Lorette (skip), Brayden Payette (second), Zack Bilawka (lead) and Jordan Peters (vice skip), won the right to compete at the World Championships in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The team returned later in February with gold medals.

The community of St. Malo was celebrating when the long missing deer monuments were finally returned to regally mark the entrance into the community from their new home after being repaired and in storage for over four years.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!


April The Manitoba government sets up five highway checkpoints and started to provide information in airports to help inform travelers about the public health measures in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. We saw virtual communities formed. Within a matter of days, a locally organized Facebook group called Rock the Rec has grown to almost six hundred members. With four administrators, including Town of Ste. Anne councillor Susan Normandeau, the group is providing a unique way for the community to remain active and connected. Group members have access to a variety of different activities that encourage participation without encouraging physical contact.

Once the initial panic of COVID-19 subsided a variety of activities from placing teddy bears in front windows or pictures for the kids to find while on a walk or drive, or even building this family of snowmen in St. Malo helped boost community spirits.

It took only fifteen minutes for to sell out. Organizers of St. Labre ticipating in this year’s event. the twenty-two available racing 200 were thrilled with the response However, the event did end up bespots for this year’s St. Labre 200 to register teams interested in par- ing postponed until 2021.

After sixteen years of managing a part-time role as the City of Steinbach’s first Emergency Planning Coordinator, Denis Vassart retired. Vassart founded the City’s first Emergency Operations Centre Team, recruiting volunteers that work to prepare the City for and respond to major emergencies or disasters including floods, fires and chemical spills.

May At the start of the month a variety of non-essential health-care and retail businesses began to reopen under strict guidelines. All businesses and venues will be required to continue following social distancing and stringent cleaning practices to protect both employees and customers. During these days of unprecedented health concern and responding to the guidance of those managing the crises, community groups started postponing or cancelling planned summer events. Steinbach’s biggest festival Summer in the City was one of the first to pull the plug, followed by Niverville’s Olde Tyme Country Fair. Many garden centres opened their doors after a few tense weeks

With social distancing rules cancelling parties, celebrants like long time Vassar resident Joyce Cayer was emotional when she was surprised with a community birthday parade as she turned 85.

In a special display of support, the Steinbach Fire Department, along with Steinbach EMS and members of the Steinbach RCMP detachment paid tribute to the hard working front line workers with a special parade. Other communities like Niverville and Ste. Anne soon followed suit.

of waiting to see how COVID-19 Once declared an essential ser- quickly as many families turned themselves during isolation, and a would affect their businesses. vice greenhouses sold out of stock to gardening as a means to occupy way to help sustain their families.

June As of June 1, the province continued to safely restore services and open additional businesses while ensuring physical distancing. This included limited access to educational facilities, where physical distancing could be maintained allowing for additional tutorial days, such as one-on-one learning, assessment and specific programming. Ron Schuler, MLA for Springfield-Ritchot was pleased that the Manitoba government is providing $10 million in grants for community development projects including $398,384 for projects in the Springfield-Ritchot constituency. The local congregations of Niverville announced a cooperative approach in conjunction with Niverville Helping Hands with an expanded vision called Love Niverville in reaching out to the social and economic needs of people who live within the vicinity of Niverville, New Bothwell, Otterburne and Ste. Agathe.

The inaugural Corner Farmers Market took place at Can Am Corner, which is a little community gas station located along Highway 59 S a few miles north of Tolstoi. The newly created ‘Corner Farmers’ Market’ is responding to the growing interest in buying local by providing a venue for area producers and consumers to meet.

At the annual Ritchot Regional Chamber of Commerce general meeting, the official decision was made to dissolve and form the new

Southeast Commerce Group. The new organization encompasses businesses in Niverville, RM of Ritchot, Tache and Ste. Anne.

HyLife from La Broquerie donated $750,000 to support six hospitals in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota. Here Jonathan Schmidtke, Client Services Manager Emergency Department (left) and Grant Lazaruk, HyLife President and Chief Operating Officer of Hylife present a check to Dr. Christo Minnaar, Chief of Staff Bethesda Regional Health Centre (centre).

Continued on Page 12...


January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Dawson Trail Dispatch

July The Manitoba government released a planning framework that saw all students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, back in classrooms in September. Teachers and staff returned to classrooms on September 2 and students on September 8. States of emergency were declared in the RMs of Stuartburn, Piney, Reynolds, La Broquerie and De Salaberry after a high volume of rain forced almost a hundred homeowners out of their homes. Some residents were evacuated, homes flooded, and many roads in the area were damaged or have been completely washed out. With COVID-19 cancelling all

August The RM of Reynolds announced the arrival of a weekly health care team in Prawda that is available to residents in the area located in the Reynolds Business Centre. The Boards of Directors of Crosstown Civic Credit Union (CCCU) and Access Credit Union (Access)

The community of Richer celebrated the completion of a $400,000 volunteer driven project that saw the local outdoor rink covered with canvas. The facility, which includes a permanent stage, can now be used for events such as music festivals, gatherings, or even community groups to utilize the rink.

The members of the South Whiteshell Trail Association celebrated when Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko announced the approval of a $75,000 grant under the Building Sustainable Communities Program. The grant will be used to create a skills area hub at the junction of two trails within the provincial park.

large gatherings, including gradua- events until the fall, while others are ceremonies. Community parades Niverville, and schools honoured tion, some schools opted to postpone planning drive-thru convocation were held in Lorette, Grunthal, and grads with special lawn signs.

announced that a decision to merge was made after members voted online and in-branch. The merged credit union will have combined $5.5 billion in assets, over 89,000 members, more than 400 employees, and 26 full service branch locations including Grunthal, Vita and Sprague. The province announced GRowing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) funding of $750,000 to the Seine-Rat-Roseau Watershed

District in southeast Manitoba to support projects that reduce peak flows during floods, retain water during dry periods and capture nutrients in identified ‘hotspot’ areas that would otherwise end up in Lake Winnipeg. Two suspects were charged with first degree murder in relation to the death of 27-year-old, Gerhard Reimer-Wiebe formerly of Steinbach. Reimer-Wiebe’s body was found in Portage La Prairie in June.

Twenty-six cars carrying potash derailed east of Deacons Corner closing one lane of Hwy 59 for several days while crews cleaned up the area.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler presented Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen asphalt keepsakes to represent the official release of responsibility for Old Highway 59 to the RM of Ritchot after years of lobbying the province control over 14 kilometres of road in both Ile des Chenes and Grande Pointe.

September RM of Tache councillor Armand Poirier raised the alarm that the community of Lorette should be concerned about proposed silica sand testing in the area. The issue was raised after Manitoba Conservation and Climate said that testing for one of CanWhite’s proposed silica sand mines that drills into the aquifer was underway. Council was able to stop the drill testing. Police arrested and charged 41 year old Christian Peter Jaques from Richer in connection with a bomb threat phoned into the courthouse

Nick Thiessen, General Manager of 3-Way Builders along with RM of Ste. Anne Reeve Paul Saindon, Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Gilmore, and Operations Manager Kevin Medeiros break ground on a new public works shop in the RM of Ste. Anne.

in Steinbach the previous month. Steinbach RCMP successfully disposed of a suspicious package at the Steinbach Law Courts Building after someone called in the threat. The RM of Piney hosted a number of meetings and conducted a survey to gauge community input that was instrumental in helping develop a sustainable transportation service

plan for the municipality. RM of Ste. Anne Councillor Sarah Normandeau, along with a handful of other individuals was dropped off on an island as part of a unique fundraiser called Rescue on the Island for the STARS rescue team. She was named the fundraiser with a record breaking total of $88,377 raised for STARS.

Steinbach RCMP Constable Ken Friesen who is battling a strain of cancer not covered by Manitoba received a huge boost when the community gathered for a fundraising BBQ in his honour.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

January 2021


October The RM of Reynolds was excited to receive a visit from Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko who personally informed the municipality that they would receive $3.375 million from the Water Services Board for waste water lagoon upgrades and truck haul lagoon. Currently the municipality does not have one. The province announced that disaster financial assistance (DFA) for three high water/weather-related events that hit the province earlier this year was available. Areas hit hardest by overland flooding included rural municipalities (RM) of De Salaberry, Piney, Reynolds, La

This beautiful red bridge is one of two refurbished structures removed from King’s Park in Winnipeg, and relocated by helicopter in the Whiteshell Provincial Park as part of the trail system.

Broquerie and Stuartburn. Norm Gregoire was named as the new Community Liaison for Species at Risk in the RM of Stuartburn. He

is tasked to help protect the twentyfive identified species at risk located Visitation shelters consisting of single-use shipping containers repurposed and fitted-out for within 445,628 hectares of land in- a completely finished visiting facility that will be installed at personal care homes throughout southern Manitoba to allow families to visit family members. cluding Tall Grass Prairies.

November Initially, Code Red causes confusion with residents traveling between municipalities within the Red Zone and those that slipped into Code Orange. However, within a week of publication the entire province went into Red Status with only essential services remaining available. Some parents confidently sent their children back to classes knowing that teachers have been trained and safety measures are in place. As random students have tested positive in schools, praise was heard for how the divisions handled these situations. Overall, parents seem to be pleased with the way schools have been working hard at keeping everyone safe and providing assurances to parents at the same time. The Village of St-Pierre-Jolys is getting $32,400 for their policies and systems project through the Municipal Asset Management program. The province is committed to investing in accessibility improvements, and is dedicating $100,000 to expand the number of beaches where mobility mats were placed to create accessible connections to the water including Falcon Lake Beach at Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Comedian Matt Falk performed before a small group in Grunthal where over $43,000 was raised during a dessert-less fundraiser in support of the Grunthal DropZone.

Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen and his family protected themselves as part of this year’s annual Flu Shot Campaign, which targets the most vulnerable and their caregivers, including specific outreach to the health-care sector and the public service.

December A number of community organizations challenged locals to spread cheer by putting extra effort into their holiday displays. Lighting display challenges and contests took place in Lorette, Ste. Anne, Richer, Niverville, Grunthal and the RM’s of Ritchot and Reynolds to name a few. While only essential services are available, organizations like the Southeast Chamber and the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce got creative with an online holiday shopping guide that helped shoppers find businesses easier during this time of curbside pickup and delivery. The Steinbach Family Resource Centre (SFRC) reported a boom in recent weeks as families join prenatal programs being offered online through the facility as COVID continues to restrict in-person sessions.

Sundown area farmer Randy Tkachyk has launched a YouTube channel called “Life on a Manitoba Farm” which gives viewers an inside look into family farming in the RM of Piney. (Right) The province issued the Church of God near Steinbach a $5,000 ticket in relation to a public gathering that was held in contravention to health orders. The church was fined the following Sunday as well, and church goers were prevented from entering the property by RCMP.


January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Dawson Trail Dispatch

2020 Tax Season: File Early! It’s hard to believe that a year ago we barely heard about COVID-19 and now it is part of our day-to-day conversation and it’s become a major focus of our lives. The past 12 months have seen many COVID-19 related benefits paid by the federal and the provincial governments. Many are not-taxable, but some have tax implications. The non-taxable benefits paid by the federal and provincial governments were focussed on seniors and those with disabilities. There were additional benefits paid to families: CCB (Canada

Child Benefit) $300 per child in May and a special GST Credit was paid to lower income families in April. These were also non-taxable. Owing CRA My biggest concern is for those of you who received the taxable income benefits. I recommend you get your taxes processed and filed early so you know what the result is. Will you owe Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? And how much? Or do you have a much smaller refund than normal? If we get your taxes processed in February or March, it doesn’t

mean you have to pay it right away. But at least you will know if you owe CRA and you can pay it by April 30 without penalty or interest. Or you can make arrangements with CRA about how to repay it. Do not avoid filing your taxes on time. It will just be worse with additional penalties for late filing. As far as we know, the filing deadline is still April 30 2021. CERB Canada Emergency Response Benefit was paid to those who lost all or almost all their employment or selfemployment income due to the pandemic. The benefit was $2,000 per four week period from March to September 2020. There was no tax withheld on these amounts, so many taxpayers may end up with taxes payable when they normally expect refunds. CRB CRSB CRCB The Canada Recovery Benefit replaced the CERB at the end of September for those who still had no work or had reduced income due to the pandemic. The income is $1,000 every two weeks and there is $100 tax deducted. But 10% tax deducted is likely still not enough depending on your other income for the year. So be prepared you may still owe CRA once your taxes are reconciled. The Canada Recovery Sick Benefit is similar: $500 per week for up to two weeks if you were off sick. And the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit is also $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to care for a child or other dependant because you need to stay home and not work. If you received the CRB and your total income for the year is more than $38,000, you will have some of that CRB income “clawed back”. So if you can, buy some RRSPs before March 1 2021. You can get your taxes “estimated” before the end of February to find out if the CRB will be clawed back. RRSPs will reduce your taxable income and save some of your benefits. Manitoba Risk Recognition Program (“Risk Pay”) This program was based on applications to Jun 29 2020. The amount paid was $1,377 (net of 10% tax withheld).

A T4A will be issued February 2021. Manitoba Job Restart Program This was a $2,000 taxable benefit for Manitobans who returned to work and voluntarily stopped collecting CERB. The application period ended July 31, 2020. A T4A will be issued February 2021. There was no tax deducted from this income. Manitoba Caregiver Wage Support Program This financial benefit provides a $5 per hour wage supplement to eligible front-line workers that provide direct patient or residential care to vulnerable Manitobans, between November 1 2020 and January 10 2021. There are two application intakes: December 7 to December 14 2020 and January 11 to January 18 2021. There will be 10% tax deducted and the T4A will be issued for 2020 and 2021 respectively. Work From Home Deduction In December, CRA announced a temporary flat rate of $2 per day to a maximum of $400 deduction for employees that worked from home due to COVID-19. We did some calculating, and if your home expenses are about $1,400 or less per month and you used a shared space and not a dedicated room, the flat rate may be the best way to claim your home expenses. You do not require your employer to provide any form to make this claim. Home expenses for home owners is limited to hydro and maintenance only; or rent for tenants. The $400 deduction will save you $103 to $186 in taxes. The more detailed method may be more beneficial if you had a dedicated space (spare room). It is more work for you to get the numbers all together. Plus your employer needs to complete and sign the T2200 Conditions of Employment form. Keep in mind how much work is involved to save just a bit more in taxes. Tax Service Options CRA opens on February 22: the first day we can e-file your 2021 taxes, but we can prep your taxes before then, so when you are ready, call our office to find out how we will be accepting your tax information. Most government tax slips we can get from CRA: CPP, OAS, EI, CERB, CRB, EIA; all of these we can elec-

tronically access. So don’t wait for them, call us starting early February and we’ll check to see if we can download them. During tax season, we will be following the public health guidelines and will need to minimize client contact in our office. We encourage clients to get their tax information to us by one of the following: - Phone; we can take your information over the phone and verify any tax information we can access from CRA; - Secure email: to send documents electronically; - Drop off at our new secure and convenient drop off chute. Once your tax return is processed we will review with you over the phone or secure email for you to approve before e-filing your tax return to CRA. We can mail your documents to you, or send by secure email, or you can pick up at our new “tax shelter” (shed) at the back of our office. We plan to send our yearly “tax checklist” to you via email if we can. Please email our office: info@ sataxes.ca so we have your email address on file, or call us at 204422-6631. And we will make the information available on our website by the end of January at SteAnneTaxService.ca. Thank you for the trust you have placed in our team at Ste Anne Tax Service. We will focus on your personal taxes from February to April so you can focus on what’s most important to you, the health and safety of you and your family. 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 Coop) or Info@SAtaxes.ca.

Health Agreement Affects Border Residents By Marianne Curtis Provencher MP Ted Falk is pressing the federal government to remove the barrier that prevents residents in the RM of Piney and Buffalo Point First Nation from attending their necessary medical appointments in the United States. Residents from that area currently have access to primary and emergency care from Roseau and Warroad, Minnesota through an agreement with the Province. While this agreement is still in effect, COVID-19 border restrictions are preventing easy border returns for residents. According to Falk, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) recognizes access to medical services as essential. This meant residents could leave and re-enter Canada to get medical care or prescriptions without being forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon return. This changed in mid-October

when the CBSA began informing individuals that such trips would result in a quarantine order. “Many residents from the RM of Piney and Buffalo Point have contacted my office to express alarm that access to health care is no longer being treated as essential at the border,” said Falk. “The Liberal government has cracked down on families simply trying to see their family doctors and seniors looking to pick up their prescription refills.” Falk has reached out to the Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, and the Minister of Public Safety, Bill Blair, to seek a swift resolution when the issue first arose in October. As of the end of December, there has still not been any action on the matter. “I have personally been in touch with Health Minister Hajdu and Public Safety Minister Blair several times over the last two months,” Falk ex-

plained. “Unfortunately, while the ministers have told me numerous times they are working on this, we have yet to see any results.” Falk said that it’s not like residents are asking the government to throw open the borders. “They’re just asking for the ability to visit their doctors and pick up their prescriptions. This is about ensuring that those living in more remote areas can still access health care without barriers,” Falk added. “It’s long past time for the Liberals to make this right.” “I am thankful, at least, for the support of MLA Dennis Smook and provincial Health Minister Cameron Friesen who have been working with me to press the federal government for a resolution,” Falk continued. “Though I’m frustrated with the Liberals’ lack of attention, I remain hopeful we will see a common-sense solution in the near future.”

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

COVID Grounds Transit Plan Pilot The RM of Piney’s recently launched transit plan had to be cancelled with an increase in the pandemic response system. However, work on the transit plan is continuing to evaluate options and opportunities. In September, the RM of Piney, along with independent consultant Connie Gamble conducted an official transportation survey. With the province expecting the senior population to increase by 43 percent over the next twenty years, the municipality is looking at options to improve the quality of life for residents in the region. In December an inaugural trip was planned but forced to cancel once Code Red kicked in. According to Gamble, the transit development plan is an initiative of the RM of Piney encouraged by a 2020/21

Building Sustainable Communities grant in response to recent surveys, community public forums and aligns with a strategic plan to support the betterment of individual lives in the community, more specifically the age in place focus. Discussions have taken place with other municipalities or entities that operate handi-vans, or vehicle chair accessible vehicles such as a MoveMobility vehicle, that can accommodate up to fourteen passengers, but can cost over $110,000. “Communities commonly fundraise towards a vehicle purchase in addition to applying for available provincial or federal grants,” said Gamble. The only transit grant currently available is through the Manitoba Disability Transportation Program

(MDTP) as a one-time $6,000 start up grant, up to $10,000 for a new vehicle and about one-third of eligible operating costs. Gamble said that according to Transportation Options Network for Seniors (TONS) there is a growing concern around the sustainability of handi van operations in Manitoba mostly due to lack of funding support, outdated models of service, transportation dead zones and underutilized vans. “There is a lot of potential but some drastic changes and collaboration are needed,” Gamble explained. The RM of Piney is hoping to create a successful public transit plan that will address a balance between ridership, fares, drivers and funding, she concluded.

Piney Approves Community Grants The RM of Piney council recently reviewed a number of grant applications from groups and organizations based in the municipality. At a recent meeting of council, the municipality agreed to support thirteen community groups with grants totaling $65,793. This year’s Large Recreation Grant of $6,000 was given to the Sprague Community Centre Inc. Two Cultural and Community Identity grants were given to the Woodridge Community Club for $3,750 and the Sprague & District Historical Museum for $3,750.

The municipality decides recreation grants by dividing the area into three recreation districts. Each district was granted $17,500 which is split among various organizations. In District 1, the money will be split between Middlebro Parks & Rec, ($3,825), Sprague Evergreen Seniors Club ($2,180), Sprague Community Centre Inc. ($9,200) and South Junction Community Centre ($2,295). Grants in District 2 are going to the Piney Community Centre ($8,750) and Vassar Community Recreation Centre ($8,750).

In District 3, funds will be going to St. Labre 200 Inc. ($4,250), Carrick Community Club Inc. ($3,489), Woodridge Community Club Inc. ($2,550), Woodridge Community Club Inc. ($1,275), Sandilands Community Organization ($4,379) and St. Labre Community Centre ($1,350). The RM of Piney is still accepting event grant requests until January 10, 2021. Community organizations wishing to receive funding for their event are encouraged to apply.

Niverville Approves Cannabis Retailer A year after holding a plebiscite to allow licensed retail cannabis stores in Niverville, the first application has been approved. A virtual public hearing was held by the Town of Niverville on December 10 where they heard an application to open a cannabis retail store at 41 Main Street in a strip mall that is currently under construction. At the hearing there was just over sixty letters in support of an application by Urban Flavours to amend the variance from a 1,000 foot buffer zone between

the store and school or park. The proposed location is 744 feet from the nearest school. Councillor Nathan Dueck praised the group who campaigned in support of the application. “Victory well deserved to everyone here. There were just over 60 letters in support and a well spoken Barry Piasta telling everyone it is 2020 we should get into the game,” said Dueck. “Please note however that the vast majority of people that actually attended the meeting were not in support. It passed confidently 3-1 in council and

virtually no conditions.” The only condition placed on the retailer is that it be closed Sunday between 8 am-12 pm unlike Winnipeg stores which open at 10 am. Both Red River Co-op and Albertabased Canna Cabana were the first retail stores to consider locating in Niverville. They applied for permission back in July 2019, but the application was denied. Further delays to open caused them to reconsider and Canna Cabana chose another location, and Red River opted out of cannabis completely.

ROC Adapted to Keep Kids Moving Recreation Opportunities for Children (ROC) is ending the year with a report that in spite of COVID restrictions and constantly changing situations the organization had an “unforgettable year”. ROC spokesperson Moni Loewen is thankful that it was unforgettable in so many good ways. “The new year brought lots of planning that ultimately resulted in cancelled events and fundraisers, but it also showed us that with the amazing support of the community that surrounds us and how a little; ok, a lot of adapting can result in some amazing new ventures,” said Loewen. “There were many days filled with ‘what ifs’ and ‘what now?’ but we focused on being a bright spot and filling homes, news feeds, and faces we passed in the street with smiles even from under our masks.” Many of the organization’s events had to run differently this year, including virtually, or at reduced capacity. “Because of all of our amazing supporters, both new and forever friends we saw many of these adapted events turn out to be our most successful to date; and wowza! We are blown away with gratitude,” Loewen continued. “We are so thankful to have so many creative and fun opportunities to be able to share with them, and even more thankful for their trust in us to be a part of their family while navigating this unique time.” Since 2009, Eastman ROC takes a hands-on approach with families to come up with a workable recreation plan and provides more that financial support for sports and physical activities. On average, Eastman ROC works with about thirty children per year in communities including St. Malo, St. Pierre-Jolys, Steinbach, Niverville, Blumenort, La Broquerie, Pine Falls and Beausejour.

January 2021


2021: A Year of Wonder As I stand on the shores of time and wave goodbye to the year of 2020 I feel the urge to reflect back on the year that just was. What kind of things did I accomplish? What joyful highs did I experience? What tragic lows did I live through? I’m sure that we can all agree that our 2020 was unlike any that we’ve gone through before. With the loss of a close family friend, not to the illness of the day but to the ravages of time and circumstance, our family has had its moments of great sadness. Thankfully, we press on and celebrate the life lived and the joys experienced in such a wonderfully long life. Through talking with others I have found that a great many people seem to focus their attention on the tough times and the woes of the moment. While I can be no different, in the last year (maybe even a little longer than that) I have been working on dwelling on the positive things in my life and only giving my complaints a cursory nod. Occasionally, when deeply bothered by something, I will give the woes a quick, short little rant and then allow them to drift off and fade away. I have enough thoughts going through my head without having to carry around a bunch of useless complaints that will only pull me down, better to toss them off and rise up. It would be easy to complain about wearing a mask all day at work and it would be simple to fuss about only shopping for the “essentials” but to what end? All it would do would be to keep me in a state of unhappiness and despair. Life’s too short to live like that. I humbly suggest that we focus more on the things that we do want and focus a lot less on the things that we don’t want. It has been said that what we think about will become. If that’s true, why would I want to prolong the grey grumpy areas of my life when I could increase the areas of lightheartedness and joy. Life’s too short to squander it on the blahs. While I don’t create New Year’s Resolutions, I do like the idea of writing down different things I’d like to accomplish or different skills I’d like to work on throughout the new year. One thing is that I love to write but I often find that I allow other things to distract me from my writing. Another thing that I’d love to do is to be more physically fit. While a Resolution maker would be vowing to “go to the gym every day!” then break it by shoving a cake in the mouth and sleeping the day away. I merely wish to slowly and steadily change my lifestyle to incorporate a few more exercises so that, in time, my fitness will be improved for the long term. On the cusp of this brand new, sparkling year, I look forward to the wonderful and amazing things that will come our way and I am excited. Who will I meet? What experiences will I go through? What great things will I accomplish? My heart beats a little faster at the coming wonder that will make up our 2021. With last year passing away from us and a bright new year beginning, let’s live our lives more fully, reach out and grab the possibilities, set some goals and begin to take the first steps, or the next steps, to achieving that which our heart desires. Until next time, take care and keep your world spinning.


January 2021

Save the Date for our first Celebrate “The Arts Virtual Gala” Will it be Ball gowns and Black ties…or Pajamas and Pumps? The choice is yours. The Steinbach Arts Council is excited to announce that their Paint the Town Celebrate the Arts! 40th Anniversary Fundraising Gala is going virtual. This year’s Fundraising Gala will look a little different, but will still be just as fun and exciting. The Gala will be held at the most exclusive venue in town, your home.

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Dawson Trail Dispatch

It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year and we rely on the funds raised to initiate new programming and maintain operations. The May 2020 Gala was scheduled to bring many people together to celebrate our 40th anniversary but it was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19. That has only inspired the Arts Council to be more determined to celebrate this milestone now. Mark your calendars for Friday, February 12 of the Valentine’s Day weekend for this virtual event.

Providence Names New President

Five months after launching their search, the Providence Board of Directors has appointed Dr. Kenton Anderson as the 15th President of Providence University College and Theological Seminary. According to Johanna Franz, Chair of the Board of Governors, Anderson comes to Providence from Northwest Baptist Seminary in Langley, BC where he has served for 25 years as president and professor of homiletics. He is a distinguished scholar and practitioner best known for his research and work in developing a competencybased approach to Christian education. “As the Board of Governors, we eagerly anticipate the strong leadership Dr. Anderson will bring to Providence,” said Franz. “We look forward to the direction he will provide as Providence continues in carrying out its mission to teach people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service.” Anderson will take over office in June of 2021. “We also want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. David Johnson for his many years of dedicated service to Providence,” Franz continued. “He has served with authenticity and compassion, giving his heart to Providence and the work of building God’s kingdom.” During his thirty-year career at Providence, Johnson has served twelve as a professor, eight as an administrator and the last nine as President. He looks forward to pursuing volunteer opportunities after retirement, completing some long-postponed research and writing projects and doing some teaching on the side. Located in Otterburne, Providence University College and Theological Seminary was founded in 1925. The learning institution has been graduating more than 10,000 leaders with character and knowledge who serve in business, science, industry, churches, missions and non-profits in Canada and around the world.

Dr. Kenton Anderson was recently named as the new president of Providence University College and Theological Seminary. Supplied photo

SAC was proud to present an online concert featuring Julian Pellicano and the WSO on December 15. SAC Members and supporters were Submitted photos able to enjoy this amazing concert from the comfort from their own homes.

This year’s Fundraising Gala is sure to delight, featuring a variety of local artists, entertainment, martini hour, and the jewelry tombola all from the comfort of your home. A delicious meal will be catered by the Friedensfeld Community Centre and delivered to your door, along with beverages and dessert. The classic silent and live auctions featuring our premiere artists will still be available virtually. Items will be displayed on our website a few weeks prior, to open the bidding in advance. Watch the bids drive up the values daily, with the highest bidders proclaimed on the Gala night. A fun twist this year will be the auction of “Artists With Talents” right in your own home. Place your bids online for local artwork or private lessons from professional artists or creative services from ‘artists’ in local businesses. “There has never been a more perfect time to celebrate our 40th Anniversary, and all the amazing talents of our artists and community supporters,” said Cindi Rempel Patrick, Director of Development. “We want to come together, we need to come together and we will do just that in an innovative virtual way, sharing delicious food, drinks, laughter and even dancing if you choose. It’s about community, please come and be a part of this amazing experience!” Winter Registration is Now Open Looking to beat the winter blues or learn something new this year? Look no further than Steinbach Arts Council’s classes for everyone. With socially distanced classes, extra cleaning and smaller class sizes, we are working hard to ensure that the Steinbach Arts Council is a safe, healthy and creative place to learn.

David Graham performed his virtual concert “An Acoustic Christmas” as part of Steinbach Arts Council’s Livestream Concert Series.

Last term we had virtual classes for the first time at SAC. Our students loved being cozy at home while still enjoying a high-quality learning experience. We are excited to offer our virtual classes again in the winter term as well as in-person options. Check out our dance classes, our theatre classes for all ages, Pilates, Art Classes and so much more. Spaces are limited, so register today! Visit our website at SteinbachArtsCouncil.ca or call 204-346-1077 for more information. Membership Appreciation Campaign Are you a SAC member? Purchase a 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! We have enjoyed several virtual

concerts over the last couple of months including Island Breeze, David Graham and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. But we are not done yet! There are more exciting concerts coming soon. On Sunday, January 24 - Madeline Hildebrand, piano. Mark your calendars. This local virtuoso will be kicking the 2021 year off with flair! Known as one of our community’s very own success stories, Madeline will be featured in our first live stream concert of the new year. Watch our website for more details. New Exhibit Coming Soon Local artists, Jasmine Beaucage and Kayla Friesen are excited to share their artwork in the hallway gallery at Steinbach Arts Council in their shared exhibit, Finding Peace Through Art and My Thoughts and Feelings on 2020. Visit SteinbachArtsCouncil.ca to view the Finding Peace Through Art and My Thoughts and Feelings On 2020 exhibit online from January 13, - April 1, 2021.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Saved by His Hope The past year, 2020, was the most challenging year of recent history. Millions worldwide were infected with a new corona virus and many died. Fear and uncertainty has taken over in our society. Is there any hope in this world? In what or who have you placed your hope? Let’s look at government first. They try to solve the problem by bringing in laws and regulations that even they can’t keep. All the Federal parties disagree on how to handle our problems and there’s disparity even within the parties. Our government has passed many new laws and our Federal budget has gone so far in the red, we’ll probably never see a balanced budget ever again. But even with all the helps and aid packages, the corona virus marches on, unemployment increases, businesses close their doors for the last time and fear and unrest prevail. Although some in government have good intentions, the government has tried and failed. Then there’s the medical profession. They put on a brave face, along with their masks and gowns, trying to solve

our problems with medicine. But they can’t agree what treatment regime is the best and when some doctor comes up with a treatment plan that works where he is, others discount it and don’t give it a fair trial. Our lives are at stake and doctors argue over what works and what doesn’t. They only show you charts and statistics which supposedly prove their point. There are so many contradicting statistics that the average person has no idea what to believe. I had a statistics professor in university who made a profound statement. He said, “Figures don’t lie but liars figure.” That pretty well describes the “fake news” we deal with today. Then there are humanitarian organizations and local volunteer groups who are trying their best to alleviate pain and suffering. Many put their whole heart and soul into the effort, but the challenges continue to outweigh the victories. So where is hope today for a troubled world? The Bible accurately describes our world today in Ephesians 2:12, “Hav-

ing no hope and without God in the world.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 15:4 about the Word of God, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Proverbs 11:7 says, “The hope of unjust men perisheth.” But the hope in the Bible is an everlasting hope. Romans 8:24 says, “We are saved by hope.” When a person puts their faith and trust in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, they now have a hope that helps them through every present trouble and takes them to Heaven for eternity. Romans 12:12 says we can even rejoice in that hope. Let me ask you, “Do you have that hope today?” All the hopes of this world may fail you but Jesus Christ (our blessed Hope) will never fail. Why not trust Him today? God bless you and direct you into His Hope!

Spread Year-Round Holiday Cheer to Backyard Wildlife If you’d like to prolong the holiday spirit and share the gift of giving with wildlife, then the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has a suggestion. This year, instead of bringing your old Christmas tree to the curb, the not-for-profit, private land conservation group suggests putting it in your own backyard. Dan Kraus, NCC’s senior conservation biologist, said leaving it in your backyard over the winter can provide many benefits for backyard wildlife. Your tree can provide important habitat for bird populations during the winter months, especially on cold nights and during storms. The first step in letting nature help you recycle your Christmas tree is to put it anywhere in the backyard. Prop it up near another tree, against a fence or lay it in your garden. You can even get the family involved by redecorating it with pine cones filled with peanut butter, strings of peanuts and suet for birds to enjoy. These delicious decorations will provide food for birds while they find shelter in the tree. “Evergreens offer a safe place for birds to rest while they visit your feeder,” said Kraus. “Another benefit is that if you leave the tree in your garden over the summer, it will continue to provide habitat for wildlife and improve your soil as it decomposes.”

By spring, the tree will have lost most of its needles, resembling a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Simply cut the tree branches, lay them where spring flowers are starting to emerge in your garden and place the trunk on soil, but not on top of the flowers. Kraus said the tree branches and trunk can provide habitat, shelter wildflowers, hold moisture and help build the soil, mimicking what happens with dead trees and branches in a forest. Toads will seek shelter under the log, and insects, including pollinators such as carpenter bees, will burrow into the wood. “By fall, the branches and trunk will begin to decompose and turn into soil,” said Kraus. “Many of our Christmas trees, particularly spruce and balsam fir, have very low rot resistance and break down quickly when exposed to the elements. The more contact the cut branches and trunk have with the ground, the quicker it will decompose. Drilling holes in the tree trunk will speed up that process. Our backyards are ecosystems of their own and provide an opportunity to learn about forest ecology. By leaving our Christmas tree in our backyard, we can understand its life cycle and observe its impact on backyard biodiversity. There are other uses for Christmas trees. Several municipalities have drop off sites

Leaving your tree in your backyard over the winter can provide many benefits for backyard wildlife. Submitted photo

where trees are chipped up and composted or used as trail bedding. Some communities place the Christmas trees on shores to help prevent coastal erosion. And some pulp and paper companies collect and burn them for a fuel alternative to oil.

Springfield and Ritchot Receive Library Funding The RM of Ritchot and Springfield public libraries received their annual operating grants this month. According to Ron R. Schuler, MLA for Springfield-Ritchot the provincial Government of Manitoba is providing grants through the Department of Sport, Culture and Heritage to enhance local library services and programs. “Some of my favourite Christmas memories include quiet moments read-

ing a good book, listening to carols and enjoying the lights and decorations that make Manitoba the Christmas Capital of Canada,” said Schuler. “Our libraries provide the resources and tools we need to succeed at every stage of our lives.” These grants will support success in developing strategic plans and policies that provide library services and programs for residents in the Springfield-Ritchot constituency. Through this program, the

Springfield Library is receiving $135,907 and the Bibliothèque Ritchot Library is receiving $36,500. The Ritchot Library funding is split between the Ste. Agathe, St. Adolphe and Iles des Chenes branches. Community libraries play a vital role that not only offers patrons the ability to access books and media, but also provide programming that encourages literacy and community connection.

January 2021


Are You Tired – A Little Lonely? Matthew 11:28-30… 28) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, 30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (NIV) When Jesus walked on the face of this earth, he spoke to people desperately trying to find rest for their souls, and desperately trying to find God and desperately trying to be good, but they were finding the task impossible and were misguided by the same things that leads us a stray. But then Jesus gives this invitation to those of us who are searching for rest. Many religious folks find it most difficult to truly put their trust in Christ. They may be brilliant teachers, they may be gifted leaders or simply good folks, but they can suffer from almost impenetrable blindness. Some folks have a flawless resume. If heaven could be earned from one’s accomplishments, those folks would have bushels left over. But Jesus on the other hand tries to make us aware that the cause of the restlessness in our hearts stems from a personal spiritual nature. We sometimes think that we are so good that we will be welcomed into heaven with open arms just as we are. And we cannot understand why we would have to re-construct our ideas about ourselves. Now look what Jesus says, “Come unto me all you who are exhausted.” His invitation is to those who are exhausted with the search for the truth. To some people it is exceedingly difficult to find God, and, when they have found him, it is next to impossible to tell anyone else about him. Jesus claims that the weary search for God ends when we have found him. Can I reach God by hard work? No! That does not make sense… because Christ gives himself to the pure in heart. He asks nothing from me except that I give him my attention. The way to know God is not by my intellect, but by giving my heart to Jesus Christ, for in him we see what God is like. Jesus says, “My burden is light.” To those who have overcome it will become to them a time of joy. It is not that the burden is easy too early, but it is given to us in love. It is meant to be carried in love, and love makes even the heaviest burden light. When we remember the love of God, when we know that our burden is to love God and to love people, then the burden becomes a song. We should live honestly and reflectively, there will be moments when we doubt, there will be times when we will feel that the whole world is against us and our burdens are too heavy for us to bear, and we cannot cope with whatever the situation might be. How do we keep growing during those difficulties? By risking failure and not always playing it safe. By not placing our security in the temporal. By questioning and probing the uncertain, not blindly embracing the conventional wisdom which fools most of humanity into thinking that God is love and he would never punish people. And by admitting and struggling with our humanity, not denying our limitations and fears. All of us fight our way through doubts to firm up our convictions, we do not want to be counted with those who give up and run. And there are times when it is scary to consider abandoning those safe, secure opinions to face the doubts lurking in the shadows of our hearts. Confronting those little uncertainties almost makes us feel like we are losing it, but then comes the invitation from Jesus Christ… If you tired and worn out, He will give us rest. Happy New Year – All the best In the Year 2021 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 honor Your Name.” Amen.


January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

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).

Thieves Grab Snowmobile

Hit and Run

On December 22 between 9 am and noon, a 2018 Red Polaris switchback Pro-S 800 snowmobile was stolen from the yard of a residence on Deerfield Trail in Steinbach. Snowmobile was pushed on the street heading East on Deerfield Trail. If anyone has any information regarding the theft of snowmobile, you are asked to contact the Steinbach RCMP Detachment at 204-3-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com.

On November 24 Steinbach RCMP responded to a motor vehicle collision on Main Street near Goosen in Steinbach. Fire and Ambulance responded with RCMP and located a vehicle that had struck a tree. There were 3 occupants inside the vehicle, 2 were checked out by ambulance and one was admitted to hospital and had received intensive medical care. The suspect vehicle fled the scene. The suspect vehicle was described to police as a blue truck, no licence plate, with a short box and a louder exhaust. 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 204-3-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com.

Grocery Thieves Apprehended On December 21 at 8:17 pm, Steinbach RCMP was advised by a Real Canadian Superstore Manager of a suspicious female within the store. Officers attended and learned that a 45-year old female resident of Winnipeg had filled 2 grocery carts with groceries and had not paid for them. Subsequently, the officers located her vehicle outside the store. Groceries were observed on the back seat, and a check of the trunk revealed numerous stolen items. The 38-year old male driver, also from Winnipeg, was arrested. He has been remanded in custody related to warrants for his arrest from Winnipeg Police. He was also on court imposed conditions not to attend any Superstore. A store employee then identified a 3rd female accomplice who exited the store without paying. Officers located her in the parking lot. The 40year old female, a Winnipeg resident, was arrested. All 3 persons have been charged with Theft under $5,000.

Cigarette Shoplifter On December 3 at 7 pm the Steinbach RCMP received a report of shoplifting at the First Choice Convenience store in Steinbach. A male entered the store and began demanding cigarettes. He stole a package of cigarettes valued at $19.30 and left the store on foot. The male was described as possibly in his 20’s and was wearing a black jacket with white hoodie and white mask. 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 204-3-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com.

RCMP Investigate House Fire and Search for Resident On December 17, at approximately 8:15 pm, Steinbach RCMP responded to a structure fire at a residence located on Road 52 North, in the RM of Tache. When officers arrived, the house was fully engulfed with flames and the RM of Tache Fire Department was battling the fire. At this time RCMP are trying to locate the resident of the home, 43year-old, Craig Clark, to ensure he is safe. He may be in the Transcona area of Winnipeg. If you have information please call Steinbach RCMP at 204-326-1234.

Arrest Made in Bud Paul Homicide Investigation On December 20, RCMP Major Crime Services investigators arrested a previously identified 36-year-old female suspect for the homicide of Bud Paul, a 56-year-old male whose remains were located in August 2020 in Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation. The female was arrested in Winnipeg and taken to RCMP Manitoba Headquarters for questioning. She was released on December 21 without charges. New information had been received that has led investigators back to Bud’s last-known residence on Hespeler Avenue in Winnipeg on December 17 to do a further search of the residence. Investigators are continuing to look for any information as to Bud’s whereabouts between August 1-10 or any other information related to this investigation. The female remains a suspect in the death of Bud Paul. The investigation is ongoing and no further details can be provided at this time. Anyone with information on this investigation, please contact the tip line at 431489-8551.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

St. Pierre-Jolys RCMP Respond to Armed Robbery On December 19, at approximately 5:45 pm, St. Pierre-Jolys RCMP responded to a report of an armed robbery located at a gas station on Main Street in the community of Grunthal. Officers were advised that three males, one armed with a handgun, entered the gas station and stole the cash register. The suspects are then believed to have fled the scene on foot. At approximately 8 pm, St. Pierre-Jolys and Steinbach RCMP were advised that officers from the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) were attempting to locate a vehicle on Highway 1, near Highway 12, with suspects who matched the description of the Grunthal robbery. These suspects were believed to be involved in recent multiple armed robberies in Winnipeg. RCMP and WPS officers conducted patrols in the Hwy 1 and Hwy 12 area but the suspect vehicle was not located. On December 20, further to this investigation, RCMP arrested a 19year-old male, from the RM of Hanover, for this robbery. The suspect vehicle was later located on a rural property in the RM of Hanover and seized for further investigation. Two additional 17-year-old males, from the RM of Hanover and Steinbach, have since been arrested by RCMP and they continue to search for a fourth suspect. St. Pierre-Jolys RCMP, along with the Winnipeg Police Service, continues to investigate. RCMP are asking anyone wit information in regards to this robbery to contact the St. Pierre-Jolys RCMP at 204-433-7433, call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or submit a secure tip online at www. manitobacrimestoppers.com.

RCMP Search for Cyclist Hit and Run Driver The Steinbach RCMP are investigating a hit and run that occurred on Reimer Avenue and Brandt Street that occurred on September 2 at around 9 pm. A cyclist was hit by a vehicle while crossing the road. The cyclist sustained a minor injury. The suspect vehicle was described to police as a black SUV. 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 204-3-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com.

Dawson Trail Dispatch

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Reminder for Operators of Off-Road Vehicles Every year, RCMP responds to numerous calls about snowmobiles, allterrain vehicles, dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles. Here are the laws that apply to anyone operating an offroad vehicle. When operating an off-road vehicle on public land, ditches, Crown Land, roads, groomed snowmobile trails, etc. the following laws apply: - The off road vehicle (ORV) must be registered; - Must be at least 14 years of age to operate an ORV without supervision; - 12-13 year olds must only operate an ORV under the direct supervision (within direct sight) of a parent; - Must be at least 16 years of age and possess a valid driver’s licence in order to operate across a roadway or shoulder; - Must not operate an ORV with more passengers than the ORV is designed to carry; - Everyone riding an ORV must wear an approved helmet, unless the ORV is equipped with occupant roll-over protection and seat belts, and the seat belts are being used, or the ORV is being used for farming, commercial fishing, hunting or trapping operations; - Must not operate on roadway or shoulder (see Section 34 of the OffRoad Vehicle Act for exceptions for agricultural purposes) - May only cross a roadway or shoulder at an intersection or designated

ORV crossing such as a snowmobile trail crossing, and must hold a valid driver’s licence (see Section 35 of the Off-Road Vehicle Act); - Must not carry open liquor or cannabis; - Must operate the ORV in a safe and prudent manner; - Must have headlights and tail lights on from 30 minutes prior to sunset until 30 minutes after sunrise. When operating on private land such as yards, farm and pasture land: - Ensure you have permission of the land owner; - While some provincial laws such as the Off-Road Vehicle Act do not apply to private property, the Criminal Code of Canada does. Therefore, operating an ORV while impaired or with a blood alcohol concentration or blood drug concentration over the legal limit is a criminal offence, as is operating an ORV in a dangerous manner. “This past year, 50% of fatal ORV collisions involved alcohol and/or drugs,” said Sergeant Mark Hume of the RCMP. “In 60% of the collisions reported to police, the operator was found to be driving too fast and either lost control or struck an object. Of those killed in collisions, 1 in 3 were not wearing a helmet. All of these deaths could have been prevented.”

RCMP Warn of Increased Threatening Scams In the past few weeks the Steinbach RCMP has started to see an increase in CRA and Social Insurance Warrant frauds by telephone. The RCMP are warning to be extra vigilant when receiving, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be someone from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), or the police. These individuals will often request personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number. They may also insist that personal information is needed to remove a warrant, or avoid arrest by the police and could also involve threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. It is important to know that the CRA and the police will never call to request personal information or demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon. When receiving these types of communications, never use any telephone numbers or email addresses provided to you. If in doubt do not provide any personal information and hang up immediately. You can visit the following CRA link for more information canada.ca/ en/revenue-agency/corporate/security/protect-yourself-against-fraud.

School Loses Stereo Equipment to Thief On October 29 the Steinbach RCMP received a report of a break-in to the shed of the St. Joachim School in La Broquerie. Sometime between October 26 at 4 pm and October 27 at 10 am, someone had forced the shed door open and stole several items. The main items that were stolen were 3 large speakers along with other various stereo equipment. 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 204-3-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-8477 or manitobacrimestoppers.com.

Memberships: 2021 memberships available until January 31 for $25 per person, after January 31, for $30 per person. Join now to enjoy our member’s benefits! The staff and Board at Pat Porter Active Living Centre thank you for your continued support, and wish you a happy, healthy New Year. Driftwood Decor: Handmade décor pieces that incorporate driftwood, candles, ribbons and other elements. A variety of styles and sizes available. Please go to 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 will 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 order 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 will be 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! For more information on our programs, activities or volunteer opportunities, Monday to Friday 9 am to 4 pm call Sonja at 204-320-4603 or the reception desk at 204-320-4600.

January 2021



January 2021

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Service to Our Communities!

Dawson Trail Dispatch

“Snow Place Like Home” A Hit

The Hanover Ag Fair Grounds in Grunthal was transformed into a wonderland of brightly colored lights to cheer the spirits during the darkest part of winter, while raising community donations toward Grunthal Caring Hands.

For seventeen days in December, a steady lineup of hundreds of car loads of festival light lovers made the trip to Grunthal, where the Hanover Ag Society hosted “Snow Place Like Home”, the community’s first drive-thru holiday light event. Once the group made sure that they were complying with Covid regulations, the event kicked off on December 17th and ran until January 2nd

Touring the “Snow Place like Home” display.

at the Hanover Ag grounds. It was forced to shut down on only one night due to cold temperatures. There was no admission for the drive-through light show, but donations were collected with a portion of the proceeds going to Grunthal Caring Hands which services the RMs of Hanover, De Salaberry, and Stuartburn. The organizers were very pleased with the response from the public.

Photos by Myriam Dyck

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