Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sexual assault suspect sought in North Battleford, SK

North Battleford RCMP report they are investigating a sexual assault which occurred at approximately 1 am Saturday March 29.

A woman was attacked by an unknown male suspect as she was entering her home on Gregory Drive,  in North Battleford, SK, where she was physically assaulted  by the male suspect who also threatened the victim with a knife.  A brief struggle ensued before the victim was able to activate an audible alarm which frightened the subject away.

The suspect is described as Caucasian, younger in appearance, with dyed blonde hair down near the bottom of his neck, wearing a black toque, a long coat, with dark clothing and wearing multiple silver hoop style earrings. Police released this composite drawing of the suspect March 31.

composite2014340344

 

The investigation is continuing, anyone with any information is asked to contact the North Battleford RCMP at 1-306-446-1720 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Spring highway weight restrictions eased for farmers

The Saskatchewan government is making it easier for farmers to haul their product to awaiting rail cars.

In response to the backlog in grain movement out of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure has taken steps to ease seasonal weight restrictions on some highways.

“Our government is committed to assisting farmers in getting their grain out of the bins and to market as quickly as possible,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Don McMorris said. “While we will continue to protect our investment in highways during the spring thaw, we will allow for some exceptions to spring road bans to facilitate farmers’ urgent transportation needs.”

Shippers and farmers may apply to Ministry District Offices for permits that will allow for heavier than published spring weights. Circumstances where permits could be granted include roads where ministry staff determine heavier loads will not cause undue road damage, or during colder than seasonal temperatures. Haulers must hold a permit to access the heavier weights. This flexible approach applies only to agricultural commodities.

Next week’s Press-Herald newspaper

Plenty in the paper again next week, starting off with an important article about the shortage of EMTs in the area, particularly in Wilkie, SK. You will also find an ad for people interested in training as first responders and EMTs – Heartland Health Region will assist with the costs.

You will also find articles on:

  • the World Day of Prayer,
  • the McLurg High School Science Fair;
  • who’s playing at the third annual Leipzig Music Festival; and
  • of course, an update on the Outlaws’ progress through league and provincial playoffs

Combine that with info on upcoming events, job opportunities and sales and it’s well worth the $1 at the store, if you don’t have a subscription!

EMS

Grain transportation issues

How have the grain transportation issues affected you?  Please comment!

A simple drive down area grid roads in and around Wilkie, Saskatchewan, will give you a good indication of the impact of the shortage in allocation of rail cars for grain. Even when still covered with snow or blending into the surrounding snowy landscape, long raised ridges reveal the presence of grain storage bags in many fields.

With bins still full from last year’s record crop, if farmers can’t make deliveries to terminals, they have nowhere else to put the grain.

North West Terminal CEO Jason Skinner said it was in December the rail car allocation began to drop. Comparing December 2013 to February 2014 with December 2012 to February 2012, the number of rail cars available has been “significantly” less.

As has been noted in numerous media reports on the issue, compounding the problem is the fact that demand to ship grain is high as a result of the record crops last year.

Skinner said the situation will definitely affect the bottom line for NWT. Like other grain companies, they are incurring demurrage costs and contract delay penalties. He also noted once shipping opportunities are lost, “you don’t get those back.”

The inability to deliver and sell grain affects cash flow for farmers and, with seeding time near and input bills coming up, the terminal gets many calls asking about the opportunity to deliver grain.

rail cars at Wilkie, SK

Oil cars are shunted at the CP siding in Wilkie, SK earlier in March, 2014. Although some people are blaming increased shipping of oil by rail for the glut of grain that continues to sit in Prairie terminals and farmers’ bins, the railroads report that the extended, very cold winter meant trains had to be shorter and moved slower.

Senior editor Mark Szakonyi, based in Washington, D.C., covers railroads, U.S. transportation and trade policy, sourcing and ocean shipping for JOC.com. He reported NC president and CEO Claude Mongeau as describing the 2013-14 winter as “brutal and unusual.”

Mongeau also gave Szakonyi the following information on rail car issues in Canada: with extended cold periods over the winter, there was little opportunity for CN to make up delays; speeds had to be reduced by about 9 per cent; air brake systems malfunction in extreme cold, requiring trains to be shortened anywhere between 10 and 15 per cent.

With the railroads running shorter, slower trains, other businesses also have been affected. For example, Sifto Salt in Unity, SK, reports they have also been having trouble getting rail cars for shipping their bulk product.

How have the grain transportation issues affected you? Please comment!

Take advantage of Saskatchewan tax credits

Tax season is upon us, and Saskatchewan people are encouraged to take advantage of an array of provincial credits as they fill out their returns.

“We provide a range of credits that can help Saskatchewan people keep more of what they earn,” Finance Minister Ken Krawetz said.  “Our Graduate Retention Program for recent post-secondary graduates is especially popular, and we also have credits for Saskatchewan people with lower incomes, recent first-time homebuyers, people with children enrolled in sports programs or cultural or recreational activities, as well as workers who are required to purchase tools as a condition of their employment.”

Provincial tax credits include:

First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit

  • A non-refundable income tax credit of up to $1,100, based on the first $10,000 of an eligible home purchase (a similar federal credit of up to $750 is also available).

Active Families Benefit

  • A refundable income tax credit of up to $150 per child 18 years of age or younger that helps Saskatchewan families with the cost of their children’s participation in cultural, recreational and sports activities.  For more information, visit the Saskatchewan Parks, Culture and Sport website at www.pcs.gov.sk.ca/afb.

Graduate Retention Program

  • Income tax credits provided over a seven-year period that refund up to $20,000 of tuition fees paid by eligible post-secondary graduates who live in Saskatchewan and file a Saskatchewan tax return.  For more information, visit the Saskatchewan Advanced Education website at www.aeei.gov.sk.ca/grp.

Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit

  • A refundable income tax credit paid quarterly to assist lower-income Saskatchewan people.  The credit is paid in conjunction with the federal Goods and Services Tax Credit.  For more information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/rltd_prgrms/sk-eng.html.

Employees’ Tool Tax Credit

  • A non-refundable income tax credit that helps with the cost of purchasing, replacing or upgrading eligible tools by qualifying employees as a condition of their employment.  The credit consists of a one-time trade entry amount and an annual maintenance amount.

“We hope all Saskatchewan taxpayers take advantage of the provincial credits they qualify for, saving money to spend on their families or keep for a rainy day,” Krawetz said.  “In 2014 alone, tax reductions introduced by our government are expected to save Saskatchewan people more than $479 million.  Since 2007 Saskatchewan people have saved more than $2.8 billion as a result of these measures.”

Last year in Saskatchewan, nearly 7,000 new homeowners claimed the First-time Homebuyers Credit, more than 45,000 families claimed the Active Families Benefit, about 50,000 recent graduates claimed the Graduate Retention Program tax credits, more than 270,000 households claimed the Low-Income Tax Credit, and about 6,000 tradespersons claimed the Tool Tax Credit.

For more information about eligibility or about how to claim any of the credits, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca.

The next Press-Herald

Monday’s Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald has a little bit of everything – news, opinion, sports, arts, new ideas, personal interest stories, pretty pictures, upcoming events, job opportunities, special sales, etc.

  •  news items include local impacts of the grain transportation crisis and Delta Co-op’s annual general meeting and review of their 2013 year;
  • opinions on this week’s provincial budget;
  • senior hockey updates as the Outlaws are in the finals for both provincial and the NSRHL championship banners;
  • find out who the adjudicators will be for the upcoming Unity Music Festival;
  • read a heartwarming story about a very unique birthday present idea.

And that’s not all – basketball wrap-up, information on eating disorders, Cindy Vanderlinde tells us about Disability Savings Plans, recognition of a veteran, the ever-popular RCMP report and more! You don’t want to miss next week’s paper; it really does have something for everyone!

McLurg wrestlers at provincial finals

Coach Chris Kent and his wrestling team are becoming a familiar sight at the annual Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association provincial wrestling tournaments. This year’s event was held at Walter Murray Collegiate in Saskatoon.

Despite a nagging injury, Taylor Hoffman placed fourth in her class, prompting Kent to say, “She was a gold medallist to me.”

Mclurg at provincials

McLurg wrestling coach Chris Kent gives Taylor Hoffman a few words of advice and encouragement before she steps on the mat for her next match at SHSAA provincial wrestling in Saskatoon, March 8.

James Grbic also had a top six finish, ending in fifth place overall in the male 130 kg class.

The provincial competition was not without its disappointments however, as regional gold medallist Dustin Davies broke his collar bone in his first match Saturday, eliminating him from moving further. Dustin will graduate next year and so this was his last year of high school wrestling.

Shawnie Johnson had a difficult start, facing the gold and silver medallists in her first two turns on the mat.

With Wyatt Pongracz competitive in his matches and only being in Grade 10, Kent is expecting big things from him over the next two years. Nick Nielsen is another student who will no doubt be making a return trip to provincials next year.

Overall, the wrestlers had another successful year, even finishing one tournament with a 30-3 record.

Kent said, “I am thankful to the physically and mentally tough rookies and vets that have lasted. Every year we start with a large number and every year we lose some along the way; this always happens. Wrestling is an unbelievably physically and mentally tough sport … Those who stay become champions, in sport and in life.”

RCMP Report for March 4 to 10

Wilkie RCMP Report for March 4 to 10, 2014

Members transported an individual to Battlefords Union Hospital for assessment.

There was one false 911 call.

Police assisted in directing traffic after a semi broke down on Highway 14 until the vehicle could be moved off the road.

One 24-hour roadside suspension was issued during a traffic stop.

RCMP received a request to be present when an individual was retrieving property from another individual.

Police received a complaint of an impaired driver. Patrols were made but the vehicle could not be located.

RCMP received a report of an intoxicated female who had taken a vehicle from a residence. The vehicle was located and the 29-year-old female driver was charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle.

Police assisted a business by having an unwanted person leave the establishment.

RCMP stopped a vehicle leaving a drinking establishment. The 51-year-old male was charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle.

Police attended a complaint of uttering threats. The complainant left the residence for the night.

Persons with information about crimes being committed in the Wilkie, SK area are urged to call the Wilkie RCMP at (306) 843-3480. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may also call Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or *8477 on the SaskTel Mobility Network.  Crime Stoppers will pay up to $2,000 for information which leads to the arrest of person(s) responsible for any serious crime.  Crime Stoppers is anonymous and does not subscribe to call display, nor are your calls traced or recorded.

You can also submit a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com

Outlaws in provincial final

The Wilkie Senior Outlaws have advanced to the provincial final, after defeating Hudson Bay 2 games to 1 in the best-of-three northern semifinal. The Outlaws concluded the series in decisive fashion, beating Hudson Bay 9-0 in the third game, in Wilkie, SK, March 16.

Senior men's hockeyWilkie had won the first game 7-3 but Hudson Bay came back with a 6-3 victory in the second game, setting up the third and final game.

The Outlaws will now meet the Radville Nationals in the Saskatchewan Hockey Association Senior C final.

What’s in the paper next week?

Look for pages of ag-related articles and pictures, along with advertisements from local and area businesses in Monday’s Unity Wilkie Press-Herald as part of our annual Salute to Farmers. Also in the March 17th edition will be:

  • the latest on the Outlaws’ drive towards both league and provincial titles;
  • information on Wilkie’s minor hockey teams and the upcoming Wilkie, SK Minor Hockey annual meeting; and
  • McLurg wrestlers’ provincial results and season wrap-up.
provincial wrestling

McLurg’s Taylor Hofmann is in blue, at SHSAA provincial wrestling in Saskatoon March 8.