Monthly Archives: September 2013

Derailment photos in Monday’s paper

derailed tanker cars

Tanker cars lay jumbled up after a number of cars derailed mid-train west of Landis September 25. PHoto provided by the Unity/Wilkie/Macklin RCMP.

With the “substantial” train derailment taking place near Landis September 25 being referred to in national media stories, the Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald is pleased to feature exclusive photos of the scene taken by its own correspondent, Alicia Leclercq, in Monday’s paper. See the September 30 issue for the story and pictures.

Also in Monday’s paper:

  • a report on moose-vehicle collisions
  • stories on the accomplishments of area 2013 grads
  • photos from the cross-country run hosted at the Wilkie golf course.

And don’t forget to check out the ads as there are a number of special events coming up!

Harvest progress most advanced in West Central Sask.

Crop Report for the Period September 17 to 23, 2013

Harvest is progressing well despite recent rains in many areas of the province.  Saskatchewan farmers now have 71 per cent of the 2013 crop combined, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Weekly Crop Report.

Twenty-one per cent is swathed or ready to straight-cut.  The five-year average (2008-2012) for this time of year is 60 per cent combined and 23 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut.

Harvest progress is most advanced in the west-central region, with 86 per cent of the crop combined.  Sixty-two per cent is combined in the southeast; 79 per cent in the southwest; 60 per cent in the east-central region; 68 per cent in the northeast and 73 per cent in the northwest.

Of the crop that has been harvested, average to above-average yields are being reported in most areas, however they vary from region to region.  Spring wheat average yields are reported as 46 bushels per acre, durum 44 bushels per acre, barley 68 bushels per acre, canola 38 bushels per acre, and peas 43 bushels per acre.

harvest skies

If you look carefully, you can see a second rainbow in this photo of a stubble field in Saskatchewan, Canada, taken September 23, 2013.

West-Central Saskatchewan (Crop Districts 6B – Hanley, Outlook, Loreburn, Saskatoon and Arelee areas; Crop District 7 – Rosetown, Kindersley, Eston, Major, Kerrobert, Macklin, Wilkie and Biggar areas)

The west-central region is the most advanced area of the province with 86 per cent of the crop combined and 10 per cent swathed or ready to straight cut.  The five year average (2008-2012) for this time of year is 56 per cent combined.  Crop district 7A has 91 per cent combined, 6B 83 per cent combined and 7B has 84 per cent of the crop combined.  Little to no rain was received last week, helping farmers stay in the field.

Estimated yield ranges for the region are reported as follows: winter wheat 30 to 50 bu/ac, spring wheat 30 to 60 bu/ac, durum 37 to 60 bu/ac, oats 65 to 100 bu/ac, barley 50 to 80 bu/ac, fall rye 30 to 40 bu/ac, flax 25 to 35 bu/ac, canola 30 to 48 bu/ac, mustard 1000 to 2000 lb./ac, lentils 1200 to 2400 lb./ac, peas 30 to 60 bu/ac and canary seed 750 to 1500 lb./ac.  Overall, quality is good and many farmers are expecting to wrap up harvest in the next week or two.

Topsoil moisture conditions continue to deteriorate and are rated as 13 per cent adequate, 49 per cent short and 38 per cent very short on cropland. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture conditions are rated as 14 per cent adequate, 44 per cent short and 42 per cent very short.  The region has not received significant rainfall in over a month and all crop districts are reporting that almost half of acres are short of topsoil moisture.

Crop and combine fires have been reported in many areas.

Producers are busy finishing harvest operations, working fields and starting fall weed control.

Stolen bicycles

bike stolen in Macklin

Unity/Macklin RCMP are investigating mischief to property and theft of bicycles which happened overnight around 2 to 3 a.m. on Saturday, September 21, between Times Street and Herald Street in Macklin. The suspects damaged park benches and other items in the park and then stole two BMX-style bicycles from the back yard of a residence.

One stolen bicycle is metallic blue with blue hand grips. The second BMX bicycle was white in colour with orange handlebars.

RCMP are processing evidence recovered from the scene.

Anyone with information is urged to contact RCMP at 306-228-6300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Work rules for students

14- and 15-year-olds can only work 16 hours during a school week

Saskatchewan youth aged 14 and 15 must complete Saskatchewan’s Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course (YWRCC) and abide by Saskatchewan’s Minimum Age Employment laws if they want to work during the school year.

Employers are responsible for ensuring each young worker provides them with a YWRCC certificate, which must be kept on file. Employers must also follow the labour standards, occupational health and safety and minimum age employment laws.

“As school is a priority, it is important that youth with part-time jobs are aware of the minimum age laws,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “There are limits on the hours per week they can work and the start and end times of their shifts.”

Young workers under the age of 16 must have the consent of their parent or guardian to work, are not allowed to work after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, cannot work before school starts in the morning and cannot work more than 16 hours during a school week.

The YWRCC is a mandatory ready-for-work course that teaches youth about occupational health and safety, labour standards laws and their rights and duties as employees. Since 2010, more than 27,000 certificates have been printed.

The course can be taken online at You can also learn more about YWRCC at 1-800-667-1783.

Unity’s fall fair coming up soon

With the Unity Agricultural Society’s annual fall fair and trade show coming up October 4 and 5, it’s time to start mounting those photos, finishing your sewing projects and digging out the recipe books.

Ag society representative, Joan Sperle said, with some new prize sponsors, there are a few different things in the baking portion of the fall fair competition. In addition, organizers have added some categories to the preserves competitions to include items made with locally grown fruit.

Unity fall fair

                            Locally grown apples at the 2012 Unity Fall Fair

Fall fair books can be purchased for $1 at Mitchell Agencies. Mitchell Agencies also has tags available to identify your entries.

Joan said she would “like to see everybody participate.” President Elaine Sperle pointed out your projects don’t have to be perfect to be entered into the fall fair. You never know what could happen!

Elaine also wanted to remind everyone that if you have something you are working on, you can bring it just for display, to show it off to the community. You do not have to enter your item into a specific category for competition.

Delta Co-op and Unity Credit Union are partnering again to put on a silver donation pancake breakfast on Saturday, October 5. Proceeds will go to the Unity Food Bank. During the rest of the fair hours, 3 to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 to 4 p.m. Saturday, the ag society will operate their food booth.

Joan pointed out that, with admission still costing only $2, a visit to the Unity Fall Fair and Trade Show remains “pretty cheap entertainment for a couple of hours.”

And remember, Wilkie is having a Saturday farmers market October 5 as well. Be sure to stop in there to buy your fresh veggies and baking on your way to or home from the Unity fair and trade show.


Broncs Football back on the field

Wilkie vs. Eston

Students and staff at McLurg High School are happy to have a football team representing their school in a six-man division again this year.

With 27 players suited up, they were put into action quickly, with the Broncs’ first game being played Sept. 5 at Kerrobert.

The coaches reported, “We started the game with a big defensive stand and ended up dominating the first half with a physical run game. Kerrobert managed a few big plays that unfortunately ended in TDs. We ran out of gas in the second half and lost our first game 46-23.”

The Broncs played their second game, in front of a hometown audience out enjoying the late summer sunshine, burgers and pop and live football action, Sept. 10.

Although Elrose dominated the game throughout, McLurg put points up on the board too. The final score was 74-38 for Elrose.

no.42 offence o-line instruction o-line qb qb run returning the kickoff throw before the punt broncs o-line

Despite the relative inexperience of the Wilkie team,they were able to put some points up on the board in each of their first two games and they learn more with every game they play. The Broncs tied Macklin in their third game, played at home Sept. 14.


Significant harvest progress

The latest Saskatchewan Crop Report released by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture September 12, covering the week of September 3 to 9, reports great harvest progress and bounteous crops.

combine and grain truck

The combine rounds a grain truck on its way back to the field to pick up and process more golden swaths of canola.

Province-wide, the report said:

Significant harvest progress was made this week, allowing Saskatchewan farmers to move ahead of the five-year harvest average. Thirty per cent of the 2013 provincial crop is combined and 36 per cent is swathed or ready to straight-cut, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report. The five-year average (2008-2012) for this time of year is 28 per cent combined and 31 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut.

Harvest is most advanced in the southwestern region, where 46 per cent of the crop is combined. Twenty-eight per cent is combined in the southeast; 23 per cent in the east-central region; 38 per cent in the west-central region; 15 per cent in the northeast and 16 per cent in the northwest. Warm weather over the past few weeks has helped speed crop development.

Of the crop that has been harvested, above-average yields are being reported in most areas. Spring wheat average yields are reported as 43 bu/ac, barley 66 bu/ac, canola 35 bu/ac, lentils 1600 lb./ac and peas 42 bu/ac. Average yields vary from region to region, depending on seeding conditions and growing season moisture.

Thunderstorms later in the week dropped over 60 mm of rain in some parts of the south. Province-wide, the week’s rainfall ranged from nil to 86 mm. Grasshoppers, wind and heavy rains caused the majority of the reported crop damage.

Across the province, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as three per cent surplus, 59 per cent adequate, 30 per cent short and eight per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as one per cent surplus, 54 per cent adequate, 35 per cent short and 10 per cent very short. Some areas in the western and central regions are very dry, affecting pasture productivity.

Farmers are busy desiccating, swathing and combining.

And in West-Central Saskatchewan:

Thirty-eight per cent of the 2013 crop is combined and 38 per cent is swathed or ready to straight-cut. Most areas recorded no rain during the week, allowing combines to keep moving in the field. Rainfall in the region ranged from nil to 8 mm (Craik area). Crop districts 6B and 7A have 41 per cent combined and Crop District 7B has 32 per cent combined. Crop reporters are indicating yields are well above average in most areas of the region.

Topsoil moisture conditions are rated as 31 per cent adequate, 46 per cent short and 23 per cent very short on cropland. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture conditions are rated as 21 per cent adequate, 44 per cent short and 34 per cent very short. All crop districts in the region are reporting over half of the cropland and hay land is short of topsoil moisture. Crop District 6B is reporting 44 and 50 per cent of cropland and hay land and pasture, respectively, are very short of topsoil moisture. Soil conditions are very dry in the region, as most areas have not had a significant amount of rain for a month or more. Dry conditions have resulted in a few grass, stubble or combine fires.

Grasshopper populations are high, but very little damage was reported as most crops are into the maturity stages. Dry conditions are causing the majority of crop stress.  High winds in crop districts 7A and 7B caused some canola swaths to blow around. Producers are busy harvesting and hauling hay.


STARS in Saskatchewan

By Kathy Heilman

The West Central Municipal Government Committee, made up of towns, villages and rural municipalities in West Central Saskatchewan learned about STARS, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society, from Cindy Seidl at a meeting in Landis in August. STARS operates helicopters equipped with medical equipment to help save lives. Each helicopter is staffed by two pilots, a nurse, a paramedic and sometimes an emergency room doctor.

Seidl, who was born in Wilkie and is the granddaughter of Frank and Josie Miller, and the daughter of Ken and Joan Miller of Biggar, is the Saskatoon STARS base director. She has 18 years of experience as co-ordinator with Saskatchewan Air Ambulance.

When a patient presents at a health facility in rural Saskatchewan with, for example, heart attack symptoms, there are a series of questions to answer to determine the quickest way to get help to the patient. One important factor considered is that STARS takes eight minutes to be in the air while the air ambulance needs 30 minutes. The decision is a co-ordinated effort between emergency room doctors, the transport physician, air ambulance personnel and staff at the health care facility. The decision is made in approximately 60 seconds.

STARS has a range of 250 kilometers, which is the same distance the air ambulance can travel. The air ambulance can fly higher and avoid possible bad weather but needs an air strip to land; STARS can land on a designated spot in any rural community.

In Wilkie, the landing site for STARS is presently at the Wilkie town shop. Heartland representatives at the meeting said plans are in the works to prepare a site near the health centre, to make access to the patient quicker. In Unity, STARS lands in the open field in front of the health centre.

STARS can also be accessed by calling 911, said Seidl. This usually happens when there is a motor vehicle accident or an incident in the country. The same protocol is used to determine who should go to assist. STARS can land just about any place. Those on site – fire department, police, EMTs –can indicate to the pilots the best place to land.

Once the STARS helicopter gets to Saskatoon, it lands at a designated spot at Wilson Greenhouse for patients going to Royal University Hospital (RUH). If the patient is headed to St. Paul’s Hospital, they land at the John Diefenbaker Airport. The Children’s Hospital, scheduled for completion in 2016, will have a helipad right on the building. Currently the majority of the patients transported by STARS go to RUH.

STARS does not charge for picking up patients, but Saskatchewan Health charges $350, which can be recouped with health insurance. Under a 10-year agreement with the province, STARS is funded 50 per cent by the province and 50 per cent from donations and fundraising. Their budget is $21 million a year.

Seidl said the Saskatoon base is the second busiest of all the cities that have STARS service. STARS started out in Calgary, Alta., and now operates out of Edmonton and Grande Prairie, Alta., Winnipeg, Man., and Regina as well as Saskatoon.

Please see page 3 of the September 9 issue of the Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald for additional details in the printed version of this story.

Why I did it

Click here to see the video of Helena Long’s Easter Seals Drop Zone experience:

Read on to find out WHY she went off the roof of a 230-foot tall building:

Helena LongBy Helena Long

People tell me: “I would never be brave enough to do that.”

It did take a certain amount and type of courage to go to the rooftop of one of the tallest buildings in Saskatoon and climb out over the edge. But not as much courage as that of parents who suddenly have to adjust all their hopes and dreams for the future when they discover their baby has a disability.

I’m not as brave as the mother who has to do everything for her 10-year-old daughter – feed and diaper her as if she were still a baby – day after day after day. That mother also blocks out a two-hour block of time in her day to simply sit and hold her child.

She doesn’t use her spare time to watch her daughter’s dance recital or baseball games. She just holds her daughter, who will never walk or talk, for two hours straight, every day, so that – hopefully – her daughter will know she is loved. That kind of parenting takes courage just to get up in the morning.

We all have challenges. We all have a fear of not being “good enough.” We all need to be loved and accepted for who we are.

The people at Easter Seals and the counsellors and support staff at Camp Easter Seal give that love and acceptance to those society sometimes marginalizes. We may not write letters to grandparents suggesting an autistic child be euthanized, as happened  in Newcastle, Ont., but sometimes we stare for too long at someone who looks “different.” Sometimes we don’t know what to say so we don’t say anything when a kind word was really needed.

Easter Seals staff know what to say. What a treasure for a disabled child or adult to have a place to go where they are seen as a child or a person first and their disability comes second.

Remember we all want the same thing: love and acceptance. There is no greater gift we can give the others in the lives– friends, family, acquaintances, strangers on the street.

Please see the September 2nd issue of the Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald if you want to read more about my adventure.

Randy Weekes – Minister of Rural and Remote Health

By Sherri Solomko

Biggar MLA Randy Weekes was appointed Saskatchewan’s Minister responsible for Rural and Remote Health in May, 2012. Last month, he was in Wilkie touring Poplar Courts and the health centre, meeting with staff and long term care residents.

Weekes’s main goal is to get out and visit as many rural and northern communities as possible, and to listen and learn from Saskatchewan people about their health-care concerns. He wants to get on the ground and hear, not just concerns but also some great ideas for solutions from a local perspective.

Asking Weekes about the biggest challenge in providing health care to rural residents, he responded, “Consistent and predictable access to physician services in smaller communities can be difficult. It is this government’s priority to make recruiting and retaining physicians a top priority.”

Regarding concerns on shortages of EMTs and long term care aides in Wilkie, Weekes said, “We know that shortages of health care workers remains an on-going challenge – especially in smaller centres. And once we’ve recruited health care workers, retaining them in a smaller community is sometimes even more difficult. We are always looking at ways to increase the complement of all health care providers – whether that’s through incentives, or more training opportunities. We’ll continue to work with the Heartland Health Region officials to ensure we have appropriate numbers of workers to meet the health care needs of patients.”

He added, “We’re often seeing a trend in the positives … such as the use of nurse practitioners in communities. Nurse practitioners have been well received in many communities that are fortunate to have one.”

He raised another issue, saying, “One other common theme is that various players in the health care system need to do a better job of communication with one another, which means the government and our health care regions have to work harder to communicate effectively with both patients and health care providers. We want to do a better job of consulting and engaging the community as a partner in the health care system …. Touring the province has been a great tool to increase outreach and communication with various communities.”

Weekes makes suggestions and presents ideas to Health Minister Dustin Duncan, based on the feedback, observations and advice he receives during visits to different communities. He said, “I … share the insights I learn on the tours with the Premier and my cabinet colleagues … I always want to ensure that the rural perspective – or rural lens – is considered when our government makes major policy or budget decisions on health care.”

Major concerns or specific requests, for example a new hospital, “are considered as part of the larger budget process.”

Weekes was “very impressed” with Poplar Courts and the health centre, as well as the facilities in Unity. He concluded by saying, “The feedback from all avenues was very much appreciated and I would like to thank everyone at the facilities for their commitment and dedication to providing health care services in this province.”

Minister Weekes can be contacted by at, (306) 798-9014 or Room 208, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, S4S 0B3. More information about him and his portfolio is at