2013: The Southwest Booster news year in review

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The year 2013 was a memorable year, with the phasing out of the penny at the cash register and the introduction of 10 digit dialing for all Saskatchewan residents back in May.

We take this opportunity to look back at the past year at the standout headlines from across the Southwest.

January 10

Batco Manufacturing expanding into Urban Forest Recyclers facility

Batco Manufacturing will be relocating into the current Urban Forest Recyclers Inc. facility in order to more than triple Batco’s current manufacturing space, Ag Growth International Inc. highlighted in a major announcement earlier this week.

Ag. Growth International announced an agreement to acquire the 114,000 square foot UFR facility, an acquisition substantially expanding Batco Manufacturing from their current 33,500 square foot facility on Swift Current’s North Service Road.

Batco Manufacturing is the largest belt conveyer manufacturer for grain handling products in North America, boasting twice the market share of their next largest competitor. AGI also has a large presence in Eastern Europe, allowing Batco to expand their product line presence overseas with some well received reaction.


Additional influenza immunization clinics offered across Southwest

A series of Southwest communities are hosting influenza immunization clinics this week in response to the high number of respiratory illness cases occurring across the region.


January 17

Swift Current United Way reaches ambitious 2012 campaign goal

Swift Current United Way has reached its 2012 campaign goal of $100,000 thanks to the generous support of the Swift Current and area community.


January 24

Weather causes road woes in Swift Current

Mother Nature has certainly not been fair to Swift Current motorists over the past two weeks. Swift Current continues to dig out from the first major blizzard of 2013, but over the weekend a flash freeze added glare ice to the challenges facing motorists.


February 7

City of Swift Current annexation approved at 15-times compensation

The Saskatchewan Municipal Board’s Municipal Boundary Committee has ruled in favour of the City of Swift Current’s annexation application in a decision handed down late Friday afternoon.

In the Municipal Boundary Committee’s 40-page ruling they determined the City will pay the RM of Swift Current 15-times the annual tax loss rate for the annexed land over a seven year period. The total amount paid for the property will be approximately $3.17 million, with an annual payment of just over $450,000.


February 14

2014 Sasktel Men’s Tankard awarded to Shaunavon

Shaunavon has been announced as the short notice host community for the 2014 SaskTel Men’s Tankard, with 16 of Saskatchewan’s best men’s curling teams descending on the community on Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, 2014.

The Shaunavon Curling Club stepped forward to host the five-day provincial curling championship in 2014 in place of previously announced Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw had backed out as the scheduled hosts of the 2014 championship in the beginning of December after utilizing a large amount of manpower to host the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling.


February 21

STC cuts only bus service route connecting Southwest

The Saskatchewan Transportation Company is planning to cut their only bus route servicing the Southwest effective May 18.

This past Friday the provincial government announced they were supporting a cost-cutting move by STC which will result in the elimination of the Eastend to Swift Current and Eastend to Mossbank bus routes. While counted as a single route, the service operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Eastend through Shaunavon and into Swift Current, while on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it makes the Highway #13 run from Eastend to Mossbank and back.

Minister responsible for STC Don McMorris said the cost saving move would save $100,000 on this route alone. STC has also announced they will be discontinuing the Blaine Lake to North Battleford route, and service between Regina and Lanigan.


R.M. of Swift Current disappointed in compensation total and payment timeframe

The R.M. of Swift Current has had the opportunity to discuss the recent decision of the Municipal Boundary Committee of the Saskatchewan Municipal Board regarding the application from the City of Swift Current to annex the commercial strip on the west end of the City to Lac Pelletier Trail.

The RM is very disappointed in the decision to approve the City’s application with a compensation of 15 times tax loss and also in the fact that the compensation is to be spread over seven years.


Royal Saskatchewan Museum to operate T.rex Discovery Centre

An agreement in principle has been reached with the Board of Directors of Eastend's T.rex Discovery Centre Inc. that will see the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) assume the on-going operation of the centre this spring.


February 28

City approves shared funding with Chinook for new track at SCCHS

The City of Swift Current and the Chinook School Division have each approved shared funding to construct the first allweather eight-lane track in southwest Saskatchewan, based on tenders that were solicited in January 2013, with the contract awarded to Playtech Enterprises Inc. for synthetic surfacing and the civil tender awarded to South Rock Ltd.

The Chinook School Division approved their contribution of $645,355 plus taxes at their Feb. 11 board meeting, subject to City Council’s formal approval. The total cost of the track and field project to be cost shared is $1,290,710, and will see the six-lane dirt track replaced by an eight lane all-weather synthetic surface track.


March 21

Swift Current municipal taxes rise by average of 8.9 per cent

Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer presented the 2013 Municipal Budget at the March 18 Swift Current City Council meeting.

Current municipal taxes will rise by 8.95 per cent following Swift Current City Council’s approval of the 2013 Municipal Budget on March 18.

The budget impact will result in an approximately $81 increased tax bill for the average homeowner, with Council approving a budget featuring $64.7 million in expenses and capital expenditures. Funding for city basic services will be achieved with a increase in the residential base tax equal to $50 per year and a 5.3 per cent tax adjust for commercial and multi-family property owners. An additional 3.6 per cent tax adjustment will support enhanced programs and services plus capital investments.


SWT Sportsman Dinner generates $40,000 donation for Lycium Theatre

The first annual SWT Sportsman Dinner was a picture perfect fundraiser for Gull Lake’s Lycium Theatre, with the inaugural event an overwhelming success.

Organizers were able to pass over the $32,000 net proceeds from the fundraiser, along with an $8,000 SWT corporate donation, to ensure the event generated $40,000.


March 28

Cypress Regional Hospital covered walkway a reality

Fittingly, windy and snowy weather roared outside while a celebration was held in the warmth of a new covered walkway entrance at the Cypress Regional Hospital during an official unveiling of the much anticipated project.

The new covered walkway at the Cypress Regional Hospital was made possible by a generous bequest through the estate of Jessie Alberta Grant, a former employee of Health Region No. 1, with the idea becoming reality only nine short months after being announced in June of 2012.


April 4

Region mourns loss of Lt. Col. Iver Clifton

Distinguished Canadian Forces member, community volunteer and Neidpath farmer Lt. Col. Iver Clifton is being remembered by the community for his significant contributions to the region and to his country.

Lt. Col. Clifton served with the Canadian Forces and was appointed as Aide-de-Camp for three Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governors.

He was the final commanding officer of the 14th Canadian Hussars regiment headquartered at the Swift Current Armouries from 1954 to 1968.

On Oct. 26, 2012, he was honoured at a ceremony renaming the Swift Current Armouries (Recreation Centre) as the Lt. Col. Clifton Centre, and was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on Nov. 14, 2012. Iver Clifton was born at Hodgeville on Oct. 11, 1930 and farmed at Neidpath.


April 11

Southwest anticipating above normal runoff, avoids higher flooding potential

The Southwest continues to remain outside the very high and well above normal runoff areas according to the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency’s April forecast.

The entire Southwest remains listed in the above normal runoff potential category, and a map released on Monday highlights that the runoff is nearing completion in an area between Leader and north of Maple Creek. Currently the Southwest is the only area in the province where runoff is underway in significant levels.


Dynamic Swift Current Centennial partnership announced

The City of Swift Current 2014 Centennial Committee announced a vibrant partnership with the Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association for the 2014 Centennial Homecoming Weekend, now to be held in conjunction with Frontier Days 2014, and announced the Centennial theme: “It’s Time to Come Home.”


Cypress Health developing business case for Wellness Centre

The Cypress Health Region sees a need for a community Wellness Centre as part of the Integrated Facility, to be situated between the Cypress Regional Hospital and the two schools, and has been meeting with potential community partners to evaluate their level of interest.


April 25

First rural Simulation Training Centre in province officially opens in Swift Current

Another dream of Swift Current’s Dr. Tara Lee was realized April 19 when the Cypress Health Region officially opened the Lee/Irwin Simulation Training Centre and Cenovus Energy Inc. Control Room at the Cypress Regional Hospital.

 This innovative project is a collaborative effort that engages the resources of the Cypress Health Region and Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation, and was generously supported by a $100,000 donation from the Lee/Irwin family presented at last year’s Radiothon and $35,000 from Cenovus Energy Inc., reflecting the contributors’ commitment to supporting healthcare and continuous learning opportunities.

Located in the West Wing of the Medical/Surgical Department at the Regional Hospital, the Simulation Training Centre will build and maintain the skills of health professionals in the use of new equipment and practice techniques on simulated patients, and will also incorporate a mobile unit so the health region’s rural locations can benefit from the technology.


May 2

Grass fire engulfs Grasslands National Park’s West Block

Approximately 200 people battled a 6,070 hectare (15,000 acre) grass fire that started just west of Grasslands National Park’s west border, south of the Village of Val Marie, and cut a swath along the Frenchman River that ranged from one to five kilometres in width and stretched about 20 kilometres long.

The grass fire began some time on Saturday in the RM of Val Marie, and is thought to have been agricultural in origin. It was driven southeast by winds gusting from 40 to 80 kilometres per hour.


Ardell saluted with SCMA Rising Star Award

Will Ardell launched himself into the spotlight at the 24th Annual Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards Gala by winning the SCMA's 2013 Rising Star of the Year.

Ardell was the top nominated Southwest musician in this year's nominee list, winning the Rising Star Award on the strength of his debut double album All About the Ride (country) and Leaving (rock) which has raised eyebrows and generated buzz on both sides of the border since its release in March 2012.


Cypress Hills Eco-adventures enjoys a double win at Sask Tourism Awards of Excellence

Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures was a double winner during the 24th annual Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala in Regina on April 25.

Both Jori Kirk and Krista Berg were saluted with honours during the annual event which shines a spotlight on some of Saskatchewan's most innovative and visionary tourism entrepreneurs.

Kirk, President/CEO and Founder of Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures, was saluted with the Fred Heal Tourism Ambassador Award.

The Service Excellence Award (Individual) was presented to Berg, a Canopy Tour Guide with Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures for the past two seasons.


May 16

STC officially discontinues Southwest bus route

The Highway Traffic Board formally approved a cost cutting request to eliminate a trio of Saskatchewan Transportation Company routes, including the Eastend/Swift Current/Mossbank route.

The service discontinuance will be effective on Jan. 1, 2014, a change from the original May 18 proposed route elimination date.


May 23

Benson and Funk earn bronze medals at Canada-wide Science Fair

Both Chinook School Division students attending the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Lethbridge earned bronze medals for their impressive projects.

Grade 12 Hazlet School student Nathan Benson was saluted with a bronze medal in the Senior discovery category for his project Long Term Effects of Hyper Gravity on Plant Growth.

Jordan Funk, a Grade 7 student at O.M. Irwin Middle Years School, had a successful debut at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, capturing a bronze medal in the Junior Innovation division for his project You Can’t Beat Free Heat.


May 30

Local teens inspire with Five Days for Change

Their smiles could barely mask the emotional exhaustion of 10 Swift Current youth who tripled their fund raising goal during this past weeks Five Days For Change initiative.

The students endured a five-day challenge of being homeless, sleeping on the ground and giving up the comforts of home while raising awareness of homeless youth in Swift Current.

They did, however, have smiles on their faces after raising $15,474 in support of the Southwest Street Culture Housing Committee’s efforts to help build an eight bed youth shelter in Swift Current.


Four more Family Medicine residents graduate in Swift Current

May 24 was another special evening for the Family Medicine Residency Program directed by Dr. Tara Lee, as four more physicians graduated for a total of eight residents since it began.



Organizations: Great Plains College, Ag Growth International, Cypress Regional Hospital Centennial Committee Royal Saskatchewan Museum Shaunavon Curling Club Swift Current City Council Municipal Boundary Committee of the Saskatchewan Municipal Board T.rex Discovery Centre Wellness Centre Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures Salvation Army Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Wallace Construction Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association Fairview School Highway Traffic Board University of Regina Hazlet School O.M. Irwin Middle Years School Street Culture Housing Committee RCMP Innovation Credit Union Lyric Theatre Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation Market Square Swift Current Comprehensive High School École Centennial School Ecole Centennial School/All Saints Catholic School Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology Fresh Start Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority Canadian Wheat Board Wellness CentreThe Cypress Regional Health Authority Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel SaskPower Trustee Bargaining Committee Filipino Association of Swift Current Southwest Regional Intersectoral Committee Chinook School Division Saskatchewan Transportation Company

Geographic location: Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada Moose Jaw Shaunavon Maple Creek Saskatoon Blaine Lake North Battleford Lanigan SCCHSThe Grasslands National Park Gull Lake Neidpath Village of Val Marie Frenchman River Riverside Park Lac Pelletier Regional Park Village of Chaplin Philippines

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