Matthew Liebenberg

Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

The Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre and 17 partner organizations hosted an event on Market Square in downtown Swift Current to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21. The event was part of a provincial campaign against racism by the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) with the theme “Show Racism the Door.” This was the second year that organizations in Swift Current participated in the MCoS campaign on this day, which is observed around the world to highlight ongoing efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Representatives from partner organizations spoke at the event. People participated in a game that helped to highlight the event's themes of moving away from stereotypes and prejudice, and of building a community of acceptance and respect. Thereafter they wrote down messages of respect and acceptance that was placed on a door to cover words of disrespect and intolerance.

 

The Swift Current Skating Club celebrated a successful season with the On Broadway ice show at the Innovation Credit Union i-plex, March 19. The club's ice show is an annual event to showcase the talent of their skaters in front of family and friends, who attended in large numbers. Skaters wore colourful outfits and performed routines that where choreographed to the sound of music from some famous musicals, varying from The Sound of Music to Grease and The Lion King. The performance concluded with a grand finale, when all the skaters were on the ice. This was followed by an awards ceremony, during which six rising star awards were presented to skaters. The award recipients were Hart Johnston (First Blades 1), Georgia Unger (First Blades 2), Vaeda Johnson (First Blades 3), Sadie Schamber (CanSkate 1), Erika Olson (CanSkate 2) and Karley Tait (Rising Stars). A gift was also presented to Tracy Hansen, a member of the club's coaching staff, who is retiring after 19 years as a professional coach, of which around 16 years were spent with the Swift Current Skating Club.

 

Award-winning Saskatchewan country music artist Codie Prevost performed in Swift Current on March 18 at a concert that was a fundraiser for the Lyric Theatre's building renovation fund. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales also benefitted the Hockridge and Thomson families in the city, who have to deal with expenses due to the medical condition of a child. Amisha Hockridge (13) was born with microtia, a rare condition that can affect the heart, spine, kidney and bowel. She already had 13 surgeries and she is preparing for another one. Amisha and her family attended the Codie Prevost concert. They were able to meet him before the start of his performance and she was invited by Prevost to perform a song  during his concert. She sang the Ed Sheeran song Thinking Out Loud. Three-year-old Bella Thomson was born with a rare form of severe combined immunodeficiency. She has spent over 600 days in hospital since birth. She has already undergone 12 surgeries and there will be at least two more. For more information about the journeys of these two children and community efforts to support them, go to the Facebook pages Amisha's Microtia Battle and Isabella's Mustard Seed.

 

Write Out Loud hosted two award-winning artists and storytellers from Val Marie at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current, March 15. Madonna Hamel has produced award-winning radio documentaries for the CBC, her one-woman monologues have been performed around North America, and her art installation My Mother's Apron, which was on show last summer at the Prairie Wind and Silver Sage Ecomuseum in Val Marie, has been extended for another season. Her series of vignettes, My Sister's Apron, will be performed in Regina in April. Interdisciplinary artist Joseph Naytowhow has produced traditional and contemporary stories and songs that have been recorded and performed nationally and internationally. His passion for sharing cultural knowledge has made him a sought after speaker, performer and educator, he has been working with various university education departments on cultural research projects, and he recently completed a short book of fiction based on his residential school experience. The two artists have met in Val Marie and they have been cooperating on a storytelling event that took place at the Prairie Community Centre in Val Marie, March 18. The next event in the Write Out Loud series will feature poet Linda Monahan on April 19 at 7 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre.

 

The Swift Current SPCA Bookstore plays an important role in the fundraising efforts for the animal shelter, but without the support of volunteers it will be impossible to keep the store open.

The plan for the redevelopment of the former St. Joseph school site in Swift Current was presented to councillors at a regular council meeting, March 13.

The Chinook School Division achieved a budget surplus of $1.3 million during the 2015-16 school year, even though the organization expected to have a budget deficit of $2.7 million.

The City of Swift Current has awarded the tender for the replacement of the main arena ice floor slab in the Innovation Credit Union i-plex to a Regina company.

Various activities and accomplishments from the 2015-16 school year were highlighted during the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division’s annual meeting of electors, March 8.

Students from Great Plains College and the Chinook School Division as well as members of the public participated in an event in Swift Current to to raise awareness about the impact of residential schools on aboriginal people and the need for action towards reconciliation, March 14. The morning event “Truth and Reconciliation: Let's Walk the Talk” took place at the Great Plains College. It was hosted by the Southwest Multicultural Association in association with the City of Swift Current, Living Sky Casino and the college. Dr. Brian Gobbett of Great Plains College presented a pictorial history about residential schools and reconciliation efforts. Elder Noel Starblanket of the Star Blanket Cree First Nation spoke about his residential school experience. The event concluded with a walk to Market Square, where four students from Maple Creek Composite School (Angelo Catalasan, Mandla Mthembu, Jarod O'Toole, Keara Zoerb) read out various steps towards action and change to achieve reconciliation. Participants then enjoyed a lunch of soup and bannock at the Lyric Theatre. Elder Noel Starblanket also spoke that evening at an event hosted by the Swift Current Branch Library.

 

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