Friday, September 30, 2011

Leader-Post: Remembering lost babies

Shantel Andrusiak and her husband Lyle look over some
keepsakes of their lat son Jayce

Photograph by: Troy Fleece, Regina Leader-Post

By Lisa Goudy

There was sadness in Shantel and Lyle Andrusiak's eyes as they recalled memories of their son, Jayce.

Shantel and Lyle have been married for three years and in early 2010, Shantel became pregnant with their first child. Everything seemed to be fine until, 28 weeks into the pregnancy, she felt like something was wrong.

When they went to the doctor, they discovered Jayce no longer had a heartbeat, but needed to be delivered. That moment - Aug. 18, 2010, at 8: 11 p.m. - is ingrained in their memories forever.

"That was the farthest thing from my mind that I thought was the issue," said Shantel, who is now 34 weeks into her second pregnancy. Her due date is Nov. 11 - 11.11.11. - and they believe it is a sign sent from Jayce, their "own little guardian angel," Lyle said.

"There's not a day that goes by where we don't think about Jayce," he continued. "The fact that Jayce wasn't really born alive doesn't have any bearing on how much we miss him, how much we love him.

"We'll never truly get over this. It has changed us."

They found some solace in support groups, such as the memorial put on by the Regina General Hospital.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the 12th annual memorial is being held at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre Auditorium.

Director of Spiritual Care for the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region Mary Brubacher said the memorial recognizes deaths up to two years of age.

"Most of the people taking leadership in this memorial observance are bereaved parents themselves . and we have a few staff who are bereaved parents," said Brubacher, who had a stillborn daughter. "The strength at the memorial is the teamwork that goes into preparing the memorial."

After the service, parents can write messages to their babies and fasten it to a balloon.

"You can see your balloons go further . and feel more like they're going up into the heavens."

Last year's event occurred only six weeks after Jayce died. This year, Shantel believes it might be even harder, because they've had time to take in what happened.

Shantel and Lyle want to increase awareness of the event.

"I know it'll be something that as long as we live in Regina, we'll go every year and that day will be about Jayce, even once we have more kids," said Shantel. "We obviously want them to know that they had a brother and . his birthday - which we call his Angel Day - that'll always kind of be a special Jayce day for us."

Did you know . . .

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (according to the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region)

Grief Support: Perinatal Loss Support System from the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region

News release from the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region on the memorial gathering

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Leader-Post: Grimson to receive award

By Lisa Goudy

 Despite having lived in Boston for 36 years where he heads up one of the world's most famous universities, Eric Grimson has not forgotten the small city he once called home.
"Growing up (in Saskatchewan), in retrospect, I think it gave me a strong appreciation of the role that other people play in helping you succeed," he said. "The fact that it's hard to succeed without other people helping you and the fact that we're all in some ways dependent on each other for the well being of the community."
Eric Grimson, a Saskatchewan native, who is now
chancellor at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT)

Photograph by: MIT, Handout

"I don't think I've lost my roots," said Grimson, who grew up in Estevan and is now chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

"I've lived in the U.S. now longer than I have in Canada, but I am and still consider myself to be a Canadian and I really value what I got from growing up in a place like Estevan, going to college at a place like U of R."

Grimson lived in Estevan before moving to Regina between his Grade 10 and Grade 11 years. He finished high school at Campbell Collegiate before going to the University of Regina to get his bachelor of science degree in mathematics and physics with high honours in 1975.

Grimson will be back at U of R for its homecoming this weekend where he will be presented with the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Alumni Crowning Achievement awards dinner on Saturday.

While the University of Regina was a much smaller school during his time there than it is today, Grimson can still recall the influence faculty members had on him that have greatly contributed to what he has accomplished today.

"I enjoyed my time at the U of R," he said. "As a student interested in pursuing graduate studies, being in a small place, I had an opportunity to interact with faculty in a way that I might not have had at a much bigger school, so I have very fond remembrances of a set of faculty - especially in the math department - that had great influence on me, gave me great advice, really challenged me.

"It is . partly why I love my current job, because it's my opportunity to try and have a similar influence on a set of students who come from all around the world."

After getting his degree from the U of R, Grimson went to MIT in Boston for his doctoral work. He began teaching there in 1984. On Feb. 10, he was appointed chancellor of MIT.

Leader-Post: Homecoming marks 100th anniversary

by Lisa Goudy

The University of Regina is about to hit its 100-year milestone and the university is having a homecoming weekend full of events in celebration of the achievement.

"It is a great time to take a breath, to bring in our friends, to celebrate those 100 years ... to honour our past, celebrate our present, and set a course for the future," said U of R President Vianne Timmons. "So it's really a fun time."

The event begins with registration today. The major events included in a $40-registration package are:

- An opening reception tonight in the Research and Innovation Centre followed by the President's Art Collection Exhibit at the Fifth Parallel Gallery.

- A pancake breakfast in the multipurpose room on Friday morning at 8 a.m.

- A 5 p.m. pep rally and pregame barbecue on campus on Friday before the U of R Rams play the University of Manitoba Bisons at 7 p.m.

- A tour and lunch at the College Avenue campus at 11: 30 a.m. on Saturday.

- An Alumni Achievement Awards Dinner on Saturday night at The Terrace on Research Drive.

Timmons said there are 50 other faculty events planned during the weekend, such as a party on the Dr. Lloyd Barber Academic Green on Friday at 10 a.m. where a large birthday cake will be cut.

Over 250 participants are registered and she said she expects over 300 people will attend. People are registered from all over Canada and even some people are coming from places in the U.S., such as Florida. Registration is open to alumni, faculty, students, and other community members.

"My objectives are that we do a couple of things: That we really celebrate the 100 years of history, that we also engage our faculty and staff and alumni in the university in getting them aware of how the campus is doing and our campus is thriving. We're up in our registrations on campus," she said. "Things are very positive."

The official date of the 100th anniversary is on Oct. 25, the date the cornerstone was laid for the Regina College campus.

For a full schedule of events and more information, visit

For a full list of events this weekend at the University of Regina's homecoming and for more information on the event, click here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leader-Post: Dog helping to raise cash

 by Lisa Goudy

Roberta Yergens and her dog Kobe have
fundraised $500 for the CIBC Walk for
the Cure.

Photograph by: Don Healy,
Regina Leader-Post

For the first time, the annual Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Walk for the Cure is getting a runner that is cuddly with soft, white fur.

Kobe the bearded Collie is the first animal to be running in and fundraising for the 20th annual run that is to be held in Regina on Sunday.

"My mom's had dogs my whole life and I never really wanted one and my birthday is Dec. 29," said Roberta Yergens, Kobe's owner. "She said she was going to go look at this poor little guy because his owner had passed away with brain cancer and (Kobe had been) kind of been passed around from this place to that place and nobody really wanted to keep him."

Yergens' family has a strong connection to the cancer cause, apart from the dog's previous owner. Her mother's best friend and her grandmother's sister passed away from cancer, as have many other friends and family members.

With Yergens' and Kobe's connections to cancer losses, the motivation to participate in the cancer run was strong.

"This year I decided that my grandmother should come and I'll push her in a wheelchair and Kobe will be on a leash," said Yergens. "There's lots of animals that take the walk, but I think he will be the first to have money."

As of Tuesday, Kobe had raised over $500. He needed to be registered to participate and Yergens said the registration fee is $40, but if over $150 is fundraised, the registration fee is waived. Yergens and her grandmother, Darleen, also had to register and raise their own money.

Between the three of them, they have raised approximately $1,100.

Roberta said Kobe has an instinct of knowing when someone is not feeling well.

"He's almost like a medical dog as well because with his previous owner having brain cancer he would know when he's not feeling good and he does the same thing to me," she said.

"I have post-concussion syndrome and so if I'm not feeling good, if it's my ear or my head, he'll smell that and he'll tell me, 'Well, we need to go have a nap because you're not feeling good.'

"He really does take care of me, so that's nice."

Darleen said she believes in Kobe's medical intuition.

"I think Kobe has done more for her with her syndrome thing than all the medication that they dope her up with," she said.

Roberta said they started fundraising on Kobe's behalf about two months ago by word of mouth. They have received donations ranging from $5 to $100 from people in Alberta all the way to Nova Scotia.

"The one from Alberta was when we were camping one time and they had a pet as well," she said. "So we were just talking about it and they offered to give a donation, which we thought was awesome."

Participants can choose to walk or run one kilometre or five, beginning at the University of Regina or the Conexus Arts Centre, respectively. Prizes will also be given for fundraising efforts.

Yergens participated in last year's walk, which she described as "lots of fun." She is doing the five-kilometre walk like last year and is hoping to complete it in less than an hour with her grandmother and Kobe.

The walk begins at 10 a.m. and is committed to breast cancer research, awareness, and education programs.
Did you know . . .
In 2010, the Walk for the Cure raised $33 million across Canada.
The year 2011 marks the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's 25th anniversary as a prominent leader in research, awarness, and education programs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Leader-Post Elevator Rescue FYI

An occupant at the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina was trapped in an elevator that was stuck on Monday night.

The Regina Fire Service received a distress call at 9:50 p.m. and they arrived on the scene within three minutes. Just as they arrived on scene, the elevator returned to the main floor without assistance from the fire department. The occupant walked out unharmed.

"It's really not that big of an incident," said Deputy Chief of Regina Fire and Protective Services Layne Jackson.

He added that the cause of the elevator becoming stuck in the first place is unknown.

"It was stuck for a short time but just as we were on scene it returned to the floor," said Jackson. "We didn't have to do a rescue."

Leader-Post: RCMP working to solve small-town robberies

by Lisa Goudy

The RCMP is unsure if bank robberies in small towns are becoming more common, despite three occurrences in the last month.

When asked if small-town robberies are a growing trend in the province, Sgt. Sheri-Lynne Fedorowich of the Yorkton RCMP detachment remained neutral on the subject.

"I can't say one way or another," said Fedorowich. "Certainly, it's unpredictable."

Springside was the latest small town to have a bank robbed on Friday afternoon when two men armed with a long-barrelled firearm made off with cash from the town's credit union.

The town of Theodore had its credit union robbed on Aug. 25 and a financial institution was robbed in Quill Lake on Aug. 23.

All three of these incidents occurred during broad daylight.

"I think it stands to reason that crime can happen at any time, any area," said Fedorowich.

Two out of the three robberies occurred in the Yorkton district - Springside and Theodore.

Fedorowich said the RC-MP has joined forces with the General Investigative Section of the Yorkton district and with other RCMP sections to deal with the matter. The support sections, such as the Forensic Identification Section and police dog services, are all working closely in these cases.

"We're trying to consolidate with the other detachments that have ... also been subject to armed robberies in their area," said Fedorowich. "We're trying to ... consolidate our investigations and kind of work together on putting a plan in place to try and solve this."

Ken Anderson, CEO of SaskCentral Credit Unions - which speaks for the joint interests of credit unions in the province - was unavailable Monday.

But in an email from a SaskCentral spokeswoman, the organization said no employees were injured in the robberies.

"Robberies or attempted robberies are a concern for all financial institutions in rural and urban communities," the email said. "We have high standards and protocols in place with regard to security."

The statement went on to say that all credit union deposits are "fully guaranteed."

"The safety of our employees and members is our No. 1 priority. Our employees are trained to deal with these situations," it said.

Fedorowich stressed that having employees educated and aware of what's going on around them is important to aid in the prevention of crime.

"I think that anything's possible and I think that, financial institutions specifically, everyone has to kind of take a look at security systems in place and video surveillance capabilities," she said. "The rural municipalities, if they have ruralcrime watch, I think you have to be aware of suspicious activity in your area."

Activities such as individuals spending an abnormal amount of cash or buying strange purchases should be reported to the police, she said.

"We're just asking the public if they have any information to call Crime Stoppers or us directly, more so on the side of suspicious activity in different community areas," she said. "The matter remains under investigation and like I said, we're working with all our support sections to try and solve all these armed robberies."
More information about the Springside robbery
More information about the Theodore robbery
More information about the Quill Lake robbery

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Leader-Post: U of R students voice concerns over parking

by Lisa Goudy 

University of Regina President Vianne Timmons was on hand for a
public forum on parking issues at the University of Regina on Friday.

Photograph by: Troy Fleece, Regina Leader-Post

Frustrated University of Regina students had a chance to voice their parking concerns on campus publicly.

A public forum on parking issues took place Friday at the U of R where President Vianne Timmons was available to hear students' comments, answer their questions and listen to ideas regarding parking problems on campus.

Concerns included high prices of permits, parking tickets, metered parking and the lack of parking availability.

"I think it went very well. Students have great suggestions and we're going to take them all under consideration and see what we can do," said Timmons after the forum. She said a solution to this will be discussed in meetings starting next week.

The forum was held at the request of the University of Regina Students' Union.
It was well attended by students who voiced complaints such as being far down the permit waiting list, having to park in someone else's spot because there are no spots available where they purchased a permit and having to run out during classes to fill the parking meter.

"Students double park in the parking lots and they take up two spots and it bugs me because I paid my parking," said student Fahreen Surtie. "Taking up two spots is completely unfair for me because then I have to go park at a meter."

It was reported earlier this year that the university sold 25-per-cent more parking permits than there are spaces. Timmons said that is not some sort of money grab.

"We look very much at the traffic flows in and out. Some lots we don't sell any extra passes on, so we monitor that very carefully to try and maximize our parking opportunities," said Timmons, who also said that if passes were not oversold, some students would be upset over seeing empty parking spaces. She also said that she thought the U-Pass for bus transportation would solve several of the parking issues.

"I'm really encouraged that students are interested in the U-Pass and I'm going to work very closely with the students' union if they're willing to look at pursuing that route," she said.

The U-Pass was previously discussed with a referendum to students in March 2009, but the idea was rejected by the majority of students, with 1,887 voting no and only 779 voting yes.

Surtie said she felt the forum was successful.

"It was pretty informative and I appreciate the president coming out to listen to our concerns and take it into account in their meetings next week. It got the students' voices heard.

"I'm all for the parkade idea. I don't care how much it costs, as long as I have parking on campus and I can get to school on time."

Another student, Danielle Tataryn, said she is upset about the lack of parking on campus.

"It is frustrating for people who spend all that money into a parking pass and have nowhere to park when you get there or you're driving around the lot and can't find a parking spot," said Tataryn.

She said that she had stood in line for a permit during the first week of classes and just before she got to the front, the passes were sold out. Fortunately, she said she was high enough up on the wait list that she was able to get a permit.

"I do like parking passes and after not having one for the first few weeks, I know that having a parking pass is a lot better than having to walk and park on a side street," she said. "I tried to do metered parking but for people that are at the school for long periods of time, meter parking gets very expensive."

She said that earlier last week, she drove to a parking lot she usually finds parking in only to discover it was closed for guest parking for a seminar.

"That shut me down a lot and really doesn't help. Parking's already a problem," she said. "I think another parking lot could always be an option." 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Leader-Post: Help for U of R business students

by Lisa Goudy

The announcement of new scholarships has opened the doors for some University of Regina business students to invest in their future.

The Sylvia Aumuller Awards Fund, a newly created scholarship program, was revealed recently at theUof R. Threeundergraduate PaulJ. HillSchoolof Businessstudents will be selected annually to receive $5,000 each.

"This is an extremely generous award," said Morina Rennie, the acting dean of the Faculty of Business Administration. "It is a significant scholarship for our students and it is going to be a huge help to the students that win these awards to be able to pursue their studies in the Faculty of Business Administration."

Rennie said there are 1,600 undergraduate students enrolled in the Paul J. Hill School this year.

"I think that what it will do is help the students, help some of our students pursue their dreams and I can't think of anything better than that," she said.

The fund was created by a donation of $275,000 by Sylvia Aumuller, a former Regina resident and financial accountant with Alex Marion Restaurants who passed away in June 2009.

Sylvia Aumuller's nephew, Ken Karwandy, said that his aunt achieved her degree through correspondence while working full-time.

"She loved her work. But she had to work hard to get to where she was and recognized how tough it was for students who might have to do the same, so that's why this scholarship came about," said Karwandy.

"She wanted to help students who might be academically able to do things but not have the funds to do it or students that might have economic challenges to achieve what she did."

He said he hopes the scholarships will be able to aid students.

"We're happy for Sylvia because it was her bequest," he said. "It was her legacy and we've been able to make that happen through working with the university."

Uof RPresidentVianneTimmons couldn't agree more.

"I'm just thrilled that (the) community sees the university as a place to invest in," said Timmons. "They are investing in the future when they invest in scholarships for students so I think it is truly a lasting legacy they leave."

She also said she hopes this announcement will encourage others in the community to view the U of R as a "worthwhile investment," she said. With the enrolment at the Uof Rcloseto13,000students, Timmons said scholarships are more important than ever.

"It's a real challenge to keep up our scholarship funds with the numbers we have, so it's a real need for us to invest in scholarships for students," she said.

"I just think she (Sylvia) was an amazing woman and left such a wonderful legacy to the University of Regina and many other organizations."

The deadline for applications is Oct. 15. Eligibility requirements for the scholarships can be found online at

Sylvia Aumuller Awards Fund Requirements

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Leader-Post: United Way launches Circle of Care Campaign

by Lisa Goudy

More people will be encircled in care this year.

Daryl Marcia, the campaign chair for the United Way of Regina's 2011 Circle of Care Campaign, announced the campaign goal of $4.2 million Wednesday at the campaign's kickoff luncheon at Evraz Place.

This is an increase of $200,000 from last year's goal, which was exceeded by about $40-60,000, he said.

"There are very many important causes out there and very many important charities out there. United Way takes a lot of pride in helping others help themselves before they truly need help," said Marcia in an interview after the program and video portion of the event, which was attended by more than 400 guests.

"There's always going to be a challenge. That $4.2 million dollars, should we succeed or get better than that, it'll never be enough. We have great opportunities out there but we also have great challenges out there and we can always forge ahead," he said.

Marcia said that the choice to increase the goal this year was based on a consultation with the campaign cabinet that looks at what they've done in the past and information from the community.

"We like to have a little bit of a stretch to $4.2 (million)," he said. "But with the great people that we have with cabinet, we have great confidence that we're going to make it."

He said United Way works with businesses to launch campaigns to raise awareness and money that will go toward 32 funded agencies.

These agencies, such as the Regina Open Door Society, work to improve the average quality of life.

In a video shown during the program, Open Door Executive Director Darcy Dietrich said the society is important because of the caring and support it provides for refugees and other vulnerable people.

"People receive the supports that they require, the basic supports to live day to day. They're going to be looking for opportunities to get involved. That's very much what the Regina Open Door Society is proud of," said Dietrich. "We do that through almost all of our programs."

Dietrich also said that the funding they receive from the campaign is helpful to their continued efforts in the community.

"We so much appreciate the funding we get from the United Way," he said. "It's funding that has a little bit of a flexibility in terms of being able to identify the gaps and fill those gaps with very important services for our clients."

More about the Circle of Care Campaign


Leader-Post: Regina school seeks to improve literacy

by Lisa Goudy

Glen Elm Elementary School is turning a new page.

The school is one of 147 across Canada taking part in the third annual Adopt-a-School program from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

The program runs from Sept. 11 to Oct. 1. Schools were adopted by Indigo, Chapters, and Coles stores to help fill up school libraries and enhance student literacy.

"Putting more books into the hands of students only helps to achieve those goals and children develop this love of reading," said Dianne Gulka-Tiechko, the Glen Elm school principal.

"There's a lot of excitement in the school by being involved with an organization like Chapters."

Gulka-Tiechko said Glen Elm has about 150 students and the goal was to receive one book for every student. So far, she said they have raised enough for approximately 184 books and with more than a week left, that number could easily be higher.

"We're really excited about it," she said. "That really makes a difference to a small school like ours to be able to have more resources added."

Indigo Love of Reading Foundation director Jennifer Jones said the Adopt-a-School program joins with the community to raise funds to improve Canadian literacy.

"Schools do need this level of support, both from Indigo as well as the foundation and the community and we feel we're raising awareness," said Jones.

She said in the last two years, Indigo gave 46,000 books to Canadian schools and she estimated Indigo will put 28,000 books into schools this year.

"We're actually doing really well. We're on trend to raise more money and put more books in the hands of kids than we did last year," she said.

Jones explained the foundation has been in Saskatchewan since its initiation in 2004. It also offers annual literacy grants to public schools across Canada, totalling about $1.5 million per year.

Gulka-Tiechko said Glen Elm received a $45,000 grant over three years that ended last year.

"Since our involvement with Chapters three years ago, our resources have greatly increased and the students have developed a more positive attitude to reading," said Gulka-Tiechko. "We take them to Chapters every year to choose books for our resource centre."

Jones explained there are three main ways people can support their local school through Adopta-School by going to adoptaschool. or at any Indigo, Chapters or Coles stores.

People can purchase Indigo egift cards and for every $25, Indigo gives one book to the school.

Additionally, people can make a donation and every $12 donates one book.
Also, people can adopt a school online at no charge and are then encouraged to share their involvement with others through Facebook and Twitter. Every 100 adoptions translate into one book donated.

"The more people that share their links and drive people back to the site, the greater the likelihood we'll have more books to give to the children," said Jones.

She also said Indigo has a fundraiser challenge, which means that the top fundraiser of each school will receive a $25 Indigo gift card and the top three fundraisers across Canada will get a Kobo eReader.

Gulka-Tiechko said that she appreciates what the program does for the community as well as the school.

"People donate towards the school to purchase books and so it makes the community feel like they have some responsibility and input into literacy in the school, which is a good thing," she said.

"We really thank Chapters for their involvement in putting resources into the hands of children," said Gulka-Tiechko. "Kids' attitudes improve, their literacy levels improve and they're excited about reading books."


Click here to view the progress or to donate to Glen Elm Elementary School.

Leader-Post: Forest week rooted in Sask.

 by Lisa Goudy

Saskatchewan Party MLA and Environment Minister Dustin Duncan was at the Royal
Saskatchewan Museum to kick off National Forest Week by taking part in a
tree planting ceremony.

Photograph by: Troy Fleece, Regina Leader-Post

Saskatchewan forests grew another branch on Monday.

To begin National Forest Week, Environment Minister Dustin Duncan planted a white birch tree on the grounds of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. The event also served as a celebration for the year 2011 being the International Year of Forests declared by the United Nations.

The event was a joint partnership between the Government of Saskatchewan and the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan (NPSS).

"I think in working with an organization like this one today, it brings attention and awareness to the importance of our forests in this province," said Duncan in an interview after the ceremony. "I think the perception from the outsiders outside of Saskatchewan, if you drive the No. 1 highway, you wouldn't realize that half of our entire province is made up of forests."

Duncan said the northern part of the province is all forests and the ceremony serves as a reminder of the significance of forestry in Saskatchewan as part of a national celebration.

"It (National Forest Week) speaks to why we've made significant investments in the provincial forest in terms of combating some diseases and some insects like the mountain pine beetle and the spruce budworm," said Duncan. "Here in the provincial capital, it just helps to raise the awareness and the importance of all that our forest contributes to the province."

The ceremony consisted of Duncan grabbing a shovel, digging in a pile of dirt, and throwing it on the tree before adding a layer of sod. The white birch tree is Saskatchewan's provincial tree and Duncan said the choice of tree is symbolic of what the provincial forests in the province provide.

Chet Neufeld, the executive director of the NPSS, explained that the white birch tree is also economically important to Saskatchewan.

"It is fairly ubiquitous in the province and elsewhere in Canada. It's a fairly common tree and it is important," said Neufeld. "It does serve as habitat for a number of wildlife species and it is an economically important tree for the pulp and paper industry."

The NPSS is a non-profit organization committed to conservation of habitats and plants in the province since 1995. This ceremony was the last in a series of events this year in Saskatchewan to commemorate the International Year of Forests. Past events have ranged from a nature tour in Prince Albert National Park to the circulation of local shrub and tree sprouts to Saskatchewan residents. Neufeld said trees are important to clean the air and to provide natural habitats and the NPSS aims to educate people on trees and forests.

"That's our ultimate goal, to just spread the word, educate everybody we can about how important these things are and how lucky we are to live in a province that still has a really intact natural resource like this," said Neufeld. "We want to just instill in the people how important forests and trees are to our everyday lives no matter where we are."

Leader-Post: Play battles dating violence

by Lisa Goudy

The online movie version of the play

Far From the Heart Facebook group

The complete schedule of the Far From the Heart tour is listed below. The last public showing of the Saskatchewan leg of the tour is Oct. 1 at the Artesian.

Dating violence is being combated in an interactive way.

For the first time, the interactive play Far From the Heart put on by the theatre company Sheatre is touring across central and southern Saskatchewan high schools. The four-week tour has almost 40 shows in 24 locations, starting with a public launch in Regina on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the MacKenzie Art Gallery's Shumiatcher Theatre.

Producer David Sereda said the production aims to prevent dating violence, along with the use of drugs and alcohol, by educating students.

"It's important I think to take a positive approach, you know, to problems and that's why this interactive forum theatre, I think, is quite exciting because it gives people a chance to do the right thing in a safe environment," said Sereda.

The play, which has previously toured three times in Ontario, runs for approximately 20 minutes with young professional actors, but Sereda said the most significant part of the play comes when audience members get up on stage and replace the actors. They replay certain scenes to try and positively change the ending.

"It's really exciting to see students stop the action and get up and try their strategies. Sometimes their strategies work, sometimes they don't work," he said. "No two shows are ever the same because no two audiences are ever the same."

Sereda explained that afterward there is discussion and analysis to discuss what the students tried. He also said community members doing "prevention violence work" can educate students with additional information and to answer questions.

He said the play was well received by the communities across Saskatchewan who booked the performances.

He said Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of sexual assault in Canada. In 2001, the number of sexual offences committed in Saskatchewan was almost double the national average.

A 2009 Statistics Canada report stated less than 10 per cent of all sexual assaults were reported.

These issues are a rising concern in Canada and Sereda said the play will address this.
"It brings people into the issues in a safe way," said Sereda. "Nothing's going to happen because it's a play but the thing is it's portrayed realistically so you have almost like a rehearsal for reality."

Tickets for the launch are $10 at the door and the Saskatchewan tour public performances will wrap up in Regina on Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. with a free performance for Culture Days at the Artesian. There is an interactive movie version available on the play's website, www.farfromtheheart. com. The group is also on Facebook.

FFTH Itinerary

Fri, Sep 16
1:00 PM
preview: Rainbow Youth Centre
Sat, Sep 17
7:00 PM
Launch – MacKenzie Art Gallery
Mon, Sep 19
Riffel High School
Mon, Sep 19
Luther High School
Tue, Sep 20
9:30 AM
Athol Murray College of Notre Dame
Tue, Sep 20
1:15 PM
Athol Murray College of Notre Dame
Wed, Sep 21
9:30 AM
Winston Knoll Collegiate
Wed, Sep 21
1:30 PM
Lumsden High School
Thu, Sep 22
9:30 AM
Pilot Butte School
Pilot Butte
Thu, Sep 22
1:15 PM
Ranch Ehrlo Society
Pilot Butte
Fri, Sep 23
Payepot First Nation School
Fri, Sep 23
Payepot First Nation School
Sat, Sep 24
Community Show at U of Regina
Mon, Sep 26
9:15 AM
Robert Southey School
Mon, Sep 26
1:30 PM
Bert Fox Community High School
Fort Qu'Appelle
Tue, Sep 27
9:30 AM
Balcarres Community School
Tue, Sep 27
1:15 PM
Balcarres Community School
Wed, Sep 28
9:15 AM
Indian Head High School
Indian Head
Wed, Sep 28
1:30 PM
Broadview School
Thu, Sep 29
9:30 AM
Kipling School
Thu, Sep 29
1:30 PM
Kakisiwew School
Ochapowace First Nation
Fri, Sep 30
9:15 AM
Estevan Comprehensive School
Fri, Sep 30
1:30 PM
Estevan Comprehensive School
Sat, Oct 1
Community Show: Artesian, Culture Days
Mon, Oct 3
9:30 AM
O'Neill High School
Mon, Oct 3
1:30 PM
O'Neill High School
Tue, Oct 4
9:15 AM
Bengough School
Tue, Oct 4
1:30 PM
Gladmar Regional School
Wed, Oct 5
9:15 AM
Assiniboia Composite High School
Wed, Oct 5
1:30 PM
Assiniboia Composite High School
Thu, Oct 6
9:30 (9?)
Kincaid Central School
Thu, Oct 6
1:30 PM
Maverick School
Swift Current
Fri, Oct 7
9:15 AM
Macklin School
Fri, Oct 7
1:15 PM
Macklin School
Tue, Oct 11
Sakewew High School
North Battleford
Tue, Oct 11
Cando Community School
Wed, Oct 12
Humboldt Collegiate Institute
Thu, Oct 13
Central Butte School
Central Butte
Fri, Oct 14
Rouleau School