The Storyteller’s Film Festival is getting ready to showcase some Manitoba talent in the film industry, whether it be writing, directing, or acting. The interest in making films has increased and event organizers are seeing more entries comes from all over the province.
“There will be eight films at this year's Storyteller’s Film Festival,” said Storyteller’s Film Festival Organizer Cheryl Antonio. “Seven of those will be short films and one will be a feature length.
“Submissions for the festival has gone up and they have been coming from all over the province. They went up this year. Also, this year, we had two submissions from one local film maker, however, one of the films, A Conversation About Racism, is about and stars, an Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) member.”

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Tuesday, 09 April 2024 16:14

Manitoba NDP government releases first budget

The newly elected Manitoba NDP government released their first budget as the provincial government last Tuesday. There were several key points within the 2024 budget that impact rural and northern Manitoba, as opposed to just the City of Winnipeg.
“Today’s budget is really about investing in healthcare and lowering costs for the average Manitoban,” said Premier Wab Kinew.
“We think there was too much centralization within the perimeter in terms of healthcare, the ag industry and so many different sectors. We now think it’s time to decentralize and return not just the service, but service centers and hubs to the regions.”

Published in Opasquia Times News
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Healthcare shortages are everywhere in Manitoba and all across Canada, but St. Anthony’s Emergency Department has been hit hard with over a 50 percent vacancy rate in their nursing staff. This led to a social media post put forward by the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) on behalf of the nurses working at St. Anthony’s, who are asking for help.
The post reads, “The public needs to know what is happening in St. Anthony’s Emergency Department in The Pas. We are not ok! We have a 56 percent vacancy rate with two additional nurses off injured.
“We are working with nurses who are redeployed from the medical ward and are partially ER trained, with some not trained at all to work in ER, meaning they have none of the mandatory courses to work here. Agency nurses are coming to help, but some of them have no ER qualifications, or limited ER qualifications. We need help, but shouldn’t be expected to train and mentor while working short under additional stress.

Published in Opasquia Times News
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Tuesday, 09 April 2024 16:09

Lido Theatre building a total loss

It was not the news many people in the tri-community wanted to wake up to on a Monday morning, but it definitely was a shocking way to start the week. At around 4:38 a.m. on April 8, The Pas Fire Department received a call that smoke was coming from the Lido Theatre building.
The Pas Fire Department, along with their Mutual Aid partner, Opaskwayak Cree Nation Fire Department spent 17 hours battling the flames, in hopes to save the building, along with the investigation and clean-up.

Published in Opasquia Times News
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Tuesday, 09 April 2024 08:33

Madge Lake Bible Camp celebrates 70 years

Attending camp as a child can create so many life skills and fond memories. Madge Lake Bible Camp (MLBC) has been well-known in the area for its summer camp opportunities for youth and is now celebrating its 70th anniversary in operation. Since its conception, MLBC has not only grown in size, but in the programming, it offers as well.
“MLBC was founded in 1954, with a desire to have the gospel message become more clearly understood by more people,” said MLBC Camp Director Ryan Wiesner. “Jack Shakotko had a vision to start a Bible Camp, and Walter Zinkiew and others from Swan River, Minitonas, Kamsack, Little Woody, Alpine, Durban, Benito, Pelly, and Roblin all came together to have a work bee to clear the area.
“The first summer, there were only tents at the camp. The next year they added a long building with five cabins in it for the girls. The year after, they added another long building with five cabins in it for the boys. Later, they built a chapel with a kitchen in part of it.
“In 2010, the camp board bought the Riding Stables, and it has added so much to our programming,” said Wiesner. “We offer five weeks of Ranch Camps for ages 10 and up, from beginner to intermediate, and these camps always fill up fast. Hardcore Ranch Camp is our advanced riding camp, where campers get to take their horses on an out trip, riding to different locations in Duck Mountain Provincial Park for a few days. Also at the Riding Stables, we also offer riding lessons, trail rides and wagon rides to the public throughout the summer.
“The camp has grown so much from the tent cabins and chapel it was at its beginning. We now have 20 buildings on site including cabins for campers and staff, a dining hall, a chapel, etc.
“Just two summers ago, we added a biotech to our sports pad, a tarp building over a cement pad that we call the gym, which doubles as storage space in the winter,” said Wiesner. “This has immensely helped our program, especially on rainy days.”
Wiesner has experienced firsthand what it was like to be a youth that attended MLBC. Those memories and experiences have stayed with him all through the years and led him to take a more active involvement at MLBC as he got older.
“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend MLBC as a child,” said Wiesner. “I remember three years, possibly one more, that I got to attend. It was always such a highlight for me and I have many wild stories from time spent at camp.
“Probably what I remember most was the chapel time when the gospel became real to me and later in the evening during cabin devos, I was able to talk and pray with my cabin leader.”
“Camp ministry has always had a special place in my heart,” said Wiesner. “I regularly volunteered as maintenance, cabin leader or even as a cook in the kitchen at various camps in the area, usually, one to two weeks every summer since I was 18. When I was in my mid-twenties, in 2004, my girlfriend at the time, Andrea, who is now my wife, and I decided to go and work at the camp full-time for the summer as cabin leaders.
“The next year, 2005, the camp board called me in April, to see if I would consider being the director for that summer. As I was just graduating from Bible College, I decided I would give it a try, and as they say, the rest is history.”
MLBC has not only grown in size but in capacity and attendance as well. The pandemic didn’t deter youth from returning to camp and last year’s attendance numbers were record-breaking.
“Our attendance has been going up and up the last few years,” said Wiesner. “When I first started as Camp Director in 2005, the camp had 255 campers that summer, which grew to 465 the next summer.
“This past summer we broke the previous year’s attendance record with over 1,000 campers. Lately, it has been very rare when our camps are not at full or nearly full attendance.”
MLBC experienced the challenges, much like other programs and organizations, when the pandemic hit. Staff were creative and found ways to run day camp programming in communities in the surrounding areas, and were able to keep youth engaged during that time period.
“We were unable to run overnight camps in 2020, because of the pandemic,” said Wiesner. “That summer we revamped our program and did day camps in different communities such as Swan River, Roblin, Yorkton and Langenburg. We also did two weeks of day camp at the camp. That year we were still able to see around 400 campers in our day camp programs.
“The next year we had planned for day camps again, but the Saskatchewan government gave overnight camping the green light in June, so we completely redid our schedule and offered overnight and day camps.
“One thing we noticed throughout the pandemic, was how our supporters continued to help the camp in lots of different ways,” said Wiesner. “Financially, we are so grateful for how people continued to help us during that uncertain time.”
With camp programming fully restored, there is a wide variety of camps and programming for youth to choose from. For many years, schools have been doing year-end summer field trips at MLBC as well.
“We have camps for all ages,” said Wiesner. “We have a Squirt Day Camp for ages 3-12 on July 1. We have overnight camps all summer for ages 7 and up. We have weekend retreats for young adults, adults, and seniors. We offer two family camps, the first one is the Family Rodeo Camp from June 14 to 16 and the second one is Family Camp from August 2 to 4.
“We also offer a variety of camp programs. Our Ranch Camps often fill up fast. We have a Wilderness Camp for teens, where they learn basic survival skills. Just a few summers ago, we started offering Sports Camps for kids and teens who love and want to be coached in volleyball and basketball. Junior Sports Camp, for ages 10-13, is July 22-25, and Senior Sports Camp, for ages 13-18, is August 5-10.
“For many years we have been offering programs to school groups that come from both Manitoba and Saskatchewan,” said Wiesner. “Our programming includes a rock wall, archery, canoeing, biking, arts and crafts, field games, geocaching, pond dipping, fire building, and more. We are always looking for creative ways to reach out and support schools in our areas and love having teachers and their classes participate not only in programs but fun and organized ways of creating lasting memories.
“We offer school groups and have a few retreats in June. Our official camp kick-off day is July 1, on Canada Day. We have a Pancake Breakfast in the morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the camp. We also run Squirt Day Camp in the afternoon for kids and families.
“The Stables are open from May long weekend to September long weekend,” said Wiesner. “For more information on all of our camps, or to book a ride at the stables, check out our website www.madgelakebiblecamp.ca. We actually offer programming year-round, to the surrounding communities, geared towards kids, teens and young adults through monthly events. For more information on any of these, check out our socials.”
The hiring of staff for MLBC is a big undertaking and there are lots of different positions and responsibilities to fill.
“It takes a lot of staff, which we call summer missionaries, that come in either a volunteer capacity or in a paid role,” said Wiesner. “We have many support staff that help at the camp as LITs, CITs, cooks, nurses, program staff and maintenance. Other front-line positions are cabin leaders, stables staff, and camp speakers, who all work together to help run the camp, especially with as many programs as we have going on at one time.
“There are many weeks that we are offering up to three different programs at the camp. For instance, we may have the main camp going at the same time as ranch camp, at the same time as sports camp or wilderness camp. While we may be also offering a day camp, either at the camp facilities or in one of the surrounding communities, we are also offering public stable opportunities all at the same time.
“This last summer we had over 90 summer missionaries and that is not including all the amazing adult volunteers that come out to serve in the kitchen, maintenance, and nursing positions,” said Wiesner.
Wiesner enjoys every aspect of MLBC, from the programming for the youth to watching them progress from kids attending to becoming cabin leaders.
“We have many returning campers and staff, and the transformation we get to see over the summer and over the years is amazing,” said Wiesner. “We have campers who have started coming to the camp at age 7 and now are cabin leaders. I love seeing their growth in maturity and in their relationships with God and with the other campers and staff. Seeing kids grow in their faith and in their leadership, skills is very rewarding.”
A big celebration in honour of MLBC’s 70th Anniversary is planned for this coming weekend with some entertainment and a look back at the past 70 years.
“On April 13 we will be celebrating the camp’s 70th Anniversary with a Banquet Celebration,” said Wiesner. “Everyone is invited to attend, there will be no entry fee, but will include a free-will offering. We will have a short program with talented musicians, Travis Kranz and Josiah Paul, sharing some music, a slideshow with older to newer pictures, and we want to honour the builders of Madge Lake Bible Camp, the many volunteers that helped to start and continue the camp throughout the years.
“We have been so fortunate over the years to be surrounded by many people in the various communities that have come alongside the camp and have helped in so many ways. If you or someone you know of has poured into the camp over the years, please consider this your invitation to come celebrate our 70th Anniversary.”

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Tuesday, 09 April 2024 08:29

Spring has Sprung

Spring is arriving in a hurry, with snow melting and water bodies flooding the countryside. Here, in the Municipality of Swan Valley West, water from a saturated field flows across a low area of a municipal roadway.

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Monday, 08 April 2024 09:51

70 years for the Madge Lake Bible Camp

Attending camp as child can create so many life skills and fond memories. Madge Lake Bible Camp (MLBC) has been well-known in the area for its summer camps opportunities for youth and is now celebrating its 70th anniversary in operation.

Since its conception, MLBC has not only grown in size, but in the programming it offers as well.

More in this week’s Review.

Published in Roblin Review News
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Tuesday, 02 April 2024 15:18

Manitoba parks reservations starts this April

The Manitoba government wants you to mark your calendar and start planning your getaway as reservations for campgrounds in provincial parks are set to open on April 8, Environment and Climate Change Minister Tracy Schmidt announced.
“Manitoba is home to some spectacular parks and as warmer weather approaches, more and more Manitobans are preparing to book quality time out in nature,” said Schmidt. “As a parent who takes their children camping every year, I know how important a fast, convenient reservation system is. Our government has taken steps to streamline the booking process so Manitobans can reserve their favourite sites headache-free.”

Published in Opasquia Times Sports
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One never knows the true power of giving, until one is faced with a life altering challenge or medical need. Margaret Lathlin knows all too well about when a loved one is faced with a great need or health challenge. In 2015, one of Lathlin’s granddaughters, Tameka, suffered from Mitochondrial myopathy, Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis and Stroke (MELAS), which is a rare combination of medical conditions that lead to her having several seizures a day, some which lasted hours.
Local fundraising took place to help Tameka’s family with their needs during their most challenging times.
Now Lathlin has another granddaughter who faced a severe medical condition and needed treatment immediately.
“My granddaughter has autism and is non-verbal, so we didn’t know anything was wrong or that she was really sick, until we took her to the doctor,” said Lathlin. “She was taken by medivac from The Pas to Winnipeg and that’s when we learned she was having heart complications. They put her in a coma in Winnipeg, due to her having a hard time breathing, so they had to relax her heart. The operation couldn’t be done in Winnipeg, because they didn’t have the equipment, so from there she was taken to Edmonton.

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Tuesday, 02 April 2024 15:14

Call out for OID Princess Pageant this year

Organizers and directors are already making plans for the 58th Opaskwayak Indigenous Days, (OID) which will be held this year on August 12 to 18. A big part of the events is the OID Princess Pageant and directors have put out a call for all Indigenous girls interested in running.
“It’s really exciting and I’m super pumped to be a part of it,” said OID Senior Princess Pageant Director Jett Bignell. “I ran when I was 17 years old and it was one of my most favourite experiences. I graduated high school and then I ran. It was exciting for me, because I got to be around our elders and involved with the youth kind of like a big sister role model. For the most part, I still talk to many of those women today.

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