Matthew Liebenberg

Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

Luke McMaster took music fans on a journey through Motown and soul music during his performance at the Living Sky Casino Sky Centre, Feb. 5. The former member of the Canadian duo McMaster and James is now achieving success as a solo artist and songwriter who has collaborated with superstars such as Rihanna. McMaster entertained a large audience with his interpretation of songs by different artists such as Michael Jackson as well as songs from his solo albums All Roads and The Heart of Soul as well as his upcoming album Trending. McMaster's performance at the Sky Centre was presented by the Swift Current Arts Council as part of the 2015-16 Stars for Saskatchewan concert series in the city. Fans of Latin rhythms can look forward to the appearance of the Luis Mario Ochoa Cuban Quartet at the next concert on Feb. 15. More information about the concert series is available at www.scartscouncil.ca

 

The First United Church in Swift Current hosted a refugee sponsorship supper and silent auction on Jan. 30 to kickstart the fundraising campaign to bring a Syrian refugee family of four to the city. A total of 111 items were donated for the silent auction. Refugee Sponsorship Working Group Chair Amy Popick made a presentation about the initiative to bring a refugee family to Swift Current. The church has formed a refugee sponsorship working group and the application to sponsor a family was submitted on Jan. 27. A family will arrive three to 16 weeks after the federal government receives an application. The total cost to sponsor a family of four for a year will be around $23,000 of which the federal government will contribute $10,000. The refugee sponsorship working group has established a number of committees to coordinate efforts to raise funds and to prepare for the arrival of the family by finding accommodation, setting up the household, and making links with various community organizations to ensure the family will receive the necessary support to settle in.

 

The Swift Current Comprehensive High School Senior Ardens hosted three teams at the Fab 4 tournament, Jan. 29 to 30. The Ardens placed second after losing one match in overtime against the Eagle Butte Lady Talons, which remained undefeated to win gold. The Ardens had a good start at their home tournament with a 83-38 win against the Lloydminster Comp Barons on Jan. 29. The Jan. 30 game against the Eagle Butte Lady Talons had to be decided in overtime after both teams scored 47 points during regular time, but the Lady Talons had the edge and won 54-51. The Ardens finished the tournament with a 62-45 win against the Shaunavon Silhouettes. The photographs show action from three games: Shaunavon Silhouettes vs Eagle Butte Lady Talons, Swift Current Ardens vs Lloydminster Comp Barons, and Ardens vs Silhouettes.

 

Family Literacy Day was celebrated with various activities at an event in the Swift Current Mall, Jan. 27. The event, which was hosted by the Southwest Literacy Committee in partnership with Great Plains College, included reading sessions with celebrity readers, various children's activities and a children's used book sale. Around 120 Grade 3 students from four local schools participated and each student received a copy of the book Adventures of Sheila the therapy dog by Debbie Fedorovich. The students were encouraged to read a story every day to their pets at home. Talla, a therapy dog with St. John Ambulance in Swift Current, attended the morning session with St. John Ambulance Swift Current Training Centre Manager Jan Loeppky-Mackay, who read a story to the students. Swift Current Branch Library Manager Andrea McCrimmon spoke to students about the importance of reading. The theme of this year's Family Literacy Day was “Wag a Tail for Literacy” to tie in with the Swift Current Branch Library's Read to a Dog program, which takes place every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Children can practice their reading skills with Talla, who is a good listener and she takes the stress out of learning to read.

 

The Canadian economy is facing a challenging time during 2016 as it tries to adjust to the new reality of lower oil and other commodity prices along with a weak Canadian dollar.

The Swift Current Titans Wrestling Club hosted its 17th annual home tournament at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School, Jan. 24. It was the largest tournament ever and there were over 230 wrestlers in attendance. Twelve Titans wrestlers received gold medals at the tournament, while six wrestlers were presented with silver medals and seven received bronze medals.

 

A celebration of Scottish culture took place at the annual Robbie Burns Night hosted by the Swift Current Green Braes Pipes & Drums at the Legion Hall in Swift Current, Jan. 23. People enjoyed a roast beef supper with neeps and tatties (turnip and potato) and haggis. Ian Young presents an address to the haggis before the start of the meal. Highland dances were performed by students from The Dance Studio while the the Green Braes Pipes & Drums provided an impressive band performance.

 

People enjoyed a unique dining experience at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) 3rd annual Dining in the Dark event hosted by the Living Sky Casino in Swift Current, Jan. 22. They ate their three-course meal while wearing occluders to block their vision. CNIB dining coach Ashley Nemeth provided guidance to people to eat their food without the benefit of sight. Nemeth, who has been legally blind since birth due to ocular albinism, lives in Indian Head with her husband, three children and guide dog. She has used the services provided by CNIB since childhood and is now actively involved with the organization to do advocacy and outreach work. Singer-songwriter Tommy John Ehman and cousin Rob Ehman, who are both from Craik, Saskatchewan, provided musical entertainment at the event. Tommy John was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye condition, in 2005 but he continues to write and perform his music. Dining in the Dark is a signature CNIB event hosted in urban centres across the country to raise funds in support of programs for people who are blind or partially sighted. Swift Current is one of four locations in Saskatchewan hosting this culinary adventure in recent years. Similar events have taken place in the communities of Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Yorkton. There are 180,000 people in Saskatchewan with some form of vision disease and 25,000 people in the province are blind or partially sighted.

 

The Swift Current Curling Club hosted 14 teams for the SaskTel Men's Southern Provincial Qualifier from Jan. 21-24 to determine the three teams that will advance to the SaskTel Tankard Provincial, which will take place in Kindersley from Feb. 3-7. Three teams from Swift Current, skipped by Reagan Hadden, Max Kirkpatrick and Clayton Wicks, competed at the event, but they were unable to advance to the provincial championship. Regina's Scott Bitz qualified in the A event, while Estevan's Brent Gedak qualified in the B event with a 9-8 win over Fox Valley's Ryan Deis. Swift Current's Max Kirkpatrick still had an opportunity to qualify in the C event, but he lost 6-4 to Deis in the final game.

 

Saskatchewan author Madelon Smid, who lives near Swift Current, spoke about the challenges facing someone living with a chronic disease at an event at the Swift Current Branch Library, Jan. 20. She has just released a new book Chronic Challenge: Living Well with Chronic Disease that is based on interviews she did with people across Canada about their efforts to cope with chronic disease.

 

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