Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie

Club Information

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Portage La Prairie

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
Canad Inns
2401 Saskatchewan Avenue W
Portage La Prairie, MB  R1N 3L5
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The Portage Rotary Club thanked all the people who played heroes and villains during its Jail and Bail in 2014 during its weekly meeting at Canad Inns on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Rotary was able to raise $21,000 for its charitable causes. Rhonda Lodwick raised the most at $2,500. (Svjetlana Mlinarevic/The Graphic/QMI Agency)

The Portage Rotary Club thanked all the people who played heroes and villains during its Jail and Bail in 2014 during its weekly meeting at Canad Inns on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Rotary was able to raise $21,000 for its charitable causes. Rhonda Lodwick raised the most at $2,500. (Svjetlana Mlinarevic/The Graphic/QMI Agency)


Portage la Prairie Rotary Club thanked its many volunteers and members for all their help and support in 2014, especially during the club’s major fundraiser of the year, Jail and Bail.

“The Rotary Club has a large membership that dedicates a lot of time and effort to community projects and fundraisers, but the important thing is we love people who are non-Rotarians that are able to come out and support us and able to volunteer at some of our events, so we felt we needed the opportunity to give back to those people that have given to us as well,” said Preston Meier, public relations manager for the club.

The 2014 Jail and Bail raised more than $21,000 for the club and the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC). Local realtor Rhonda Lodwick raised the most with a total of $2,400. PCRC executive director Mary Lynn Moffat said the money will be split between the two organizations and used to improve walkways and north end park development.

“This is one of the largest fundraisers because it’s split between the two organizations. From PCRC’s standpoint, as well as Rotary, it’s a great event and a very important event because it not only gets a handful of people involved, it gets the whole community involved,” she said, noting this wasn’t the largest sum Jail and Bail has ever raised as its first year saw more than $26,000.

Jail and Bail happens every other year as it trades off between the RCMP and the RCAF Galas so the next one won’t be until 2016.

New Member

The club also welcomed a new member into its fold. Christine Verwey received her pin from former president Jean-Marc Nadeau.

Nadeau shared his experience of being a Rotarian while working with NATO in Afghanistan in 2011-12. Working as an RCMP officer, Nadeau trained Afghani police. While travelling back-and-forth from Afghanistan, Nadeau stopped in Frankfurt, Germany, where he met a Rotarian from India and began chatting with him.

“The pin is something that’s recognizable internationally,” said Nadeau. “We got to exchange some stories and some value and it was great to have that opportunity. More over, being in Afghanistan, I had lunch with the president of the local club in Kabul. Rotary is a worldwide organization and wearing the pin you will allow you to meet people in all your travels.”


places rotary grant laverendryeschool dec302014Left to Right: Guy Moffat, Karly Friesen and Stephanie Brown

Portage's La Verendrye School's play structure project got some help from the Portage Rotary Club on December 30 at the club's luncheon.

The Rotary Club presented a $600.00 cheque to Stephanie Brown and Karly Friesen of the school, and Brown explains the project.

"It's been a process that we've been taking a part of the last -- almost -- four years now. It stemmed because our playground was falling apart. We really had a huge drive over this past summer and we were able to order up a playground and it's been installed in September."

She notes her surprise when the young students' provided their input when asked for suggestions.

"Then I said, 'Is that everything?' And they said, 'Well, we need garbage. Where are we going to put the garbage. And we need more benches. We don't have enough benches.' I personally was blown away because I hadn't foreseen that students, or children, at that age would actually think about. They were actually considering  all people. They were thinking about their parents bringing them, or being able to watch them. You know, having siblings that could sit there. They thought about themselves just hanging out. And then they actually thought. 'Well, we need to put some back in the shade.' They actually even thought about placement and where's the best spot for them."

Brown adds they could use your help.  

"As far as looking into our Phase 2, if somebody is interested, whether they have the knowledge of grant applications, or if they want to help out manually, to help with projects that we are thinking about in the near future, probably the easiest is to call La Verendrye School."

La Verendrye School's phone number is (204) 857-3478.


people stacy turner jan062015Pictured: Stacy Turner

The Fifth Portage Cubs were the highlight at the Rotary luncheon this week.  

Section leader Stacy Turner says they live up to their motto, "Be Prepared", by teaching kids to be ready for life.  

"We just came today to give a little bit of a rundown on what the Fifth Portage Cub Scouts do in our community and how we help the community and what the community does for us. Being prepared is always telling somebody where you're going, always making sure you have a safety kit in  your car, and what goes in that safety kit, and how to tie a knot. Little things like that that you don't think you'll ever use but you use."

Turner outlines the program.

"Just some of the fun things we do. The kids do learn and do unique things, but all the fun and extra things the kids get to do, I think, are really amazing -- camps and things like that. We do a big drive in August, so I think that maybe in August people can start looking for us and hear about us and come visit us and find out what we're all about."

She adds some programs were closed due to lack of new membership, but in the last three or four years they have been growing. She gives some highlights of this coming year.

"This year we have some really neat things the kids are going to learn about. No-trace camping which is making it as if you've never been there before. So, nobody can tell you that you've been there. So, they're learning how to do that, and clean up after themselves. And we'll be going to Rushing River, Ontario, to check out some camps there, and meet some new friends. We go to a Survivor Camp and an overnight at the Planetarium."


people hayley bedard dec302014Hayley Bedard

The Portage Rotary Club luncheon highlighted a local high school student's volunteer work this week.  

Hayley Bedard attends Portage Collegiate Institute. She explains her presentation focused upon her trip to Kenya in 2013 for which she received a scholarship to travel along with twenty four other students from across Canada.

"I was asked to come here to talk about my volunteerism, and a big part of that was my trip to Kenya because that is what really got my passion started in real life.  Before that it was mostly just interesting issues, but that trip was the first step that I made towards putting action into my passion and really thinking about what I wanted to do with it in the future."

Bedard notes how she became interested in social justice.

"My sixth grade teacher read to us the story of "Free the Children" by Craig Kielburger. And so, that kind of opened the door for me to all these social justice issues. And I just kind of discovered that's what I am impassioned about. So, it's really thanks to her I know about all of these things."

She shares how she started the Students for Change program.  

"I started Students for Change with my grade 8 teacher.  And then I handed down the group to Ally Nadeau, after I left. So she was in charge while I was in High School.  So they just kind of helped the group grow and start actually doing some things to help the community."

Bedard says her goal before graduating from high school is to raise $10,000.00 to help a Kenyan girl attend four years at a "Free the Children High School." She adds the Rotary Club is interested in allowing her to use their room at the PCU Centre to hold a fundraiser by selling purses in the next couple of months.  


Rotary Club members Preston Meier and Shannon Neff pose for a selfie with Santa Claus after he made a surprise appearance at the Rotary Club's last meeting before Christmas at the Canad Inns on Dec. 23. (Johnna Ruocco/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)
Rotary Club members Preston Meier and Shannon Neff pose for a selfie with Santa Claus after he made a surprise appearance at the Rotary Club's last meeting before Christmas at the Canad Inns on Dec. 23.
A festive mood was in the air at the Rotary Club’s final meeting before Christmas on Dec. 23 at the Canad Inns.
Mayor Irvine Ferris was up as speaker and gave an overview of what council has been working on since their election in October, with an emphasis placed on communication, adding council will be having quarterly meetings in a location other than city hall to make the meetings more accessible.
“This council will be more engaged with the citizens it represents. I think that’s really, really important. There’s many different ways to communicate but just putting the emphasis on it, you’ll see council putting more effort into that and hopefully we do a better job of it,” he said.
Another way of opening the doors to better communication is coming to events like the Rotary meeting, he said.
“This is a very good cross section of our community, we’ve got a lot of business people and this is also a service club that’s been extremely active in the community on many, many different fronts,” Ferris said. “So keeping them up-to-date on what’s going on I think is helpful as they plan their year ahead too.”
Rotary president Craig Bennet agrees.
“(We had Ferris speak) just to give us an idea of what’s going on and some of the future outlooks that he has,” Bennet said. “We always enjoy having him to our meetings, and we wanted to keep our meeting a little bit traditional with just some of the focus of where we go and what we’re looking at for next year and where we want to help out.”
And while the first half of the meeting was a traditional Rotary meeting, the second half was anything but, and included the Rotarians belting out “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as well as a special guest.
“We always like to end off the year with a bit of fun, recognize some of the Rotarians that have helped us out and some of the community businesses that have helped us out as well and just kind of bring a little bit more fellowship to one of our meetings, instead of the traditional meetings we usually have.”
Santa Claus, who bore a striking resemblance to Rotarian Derek McCutcheon, dropped by for a surprise visit to hand out presents to Rotarians on the nice list.
“Santa, you’ve gotta call him early, let me tell you, to get a hold of him, he’s a busy man right now.”

people craig bennett jean marc nadeau july082014Rotary President Craig Bennet (right)

Craig Bennet says it was a very good year for the Portage Rotary Club.  Bennet notes he took over as president in July, but earlier in the year under the leadership of Jean-Marc Nadeau the club was able to pay off its commitment to the PCU Centre---which was a big deal.  Bennet says they were also able to retain the naming rights for the Rotary Republic of Manitobah Park, adding the Rotarians committed some money to the PRRA so they can upgrade the facilities at the park.  He notes during 2014 they also worked with the PRRA and Cody Buhler in looking at the Rotary golf disc course which will open next spring.


people daniel garcia rotary2 dec022014Daniel Garcia

A South American foreign exchange student is enjoying Portage la Prairie's seasonal weather.  

Daniel Garcia arrived here three months ago and shares his highlights.

"I'm from Colombia. In this moment I'm on exchange for Rotary in Canada. The cold, the snow... I like it."

Garcia adds his school sxchedule at home in Cali, Colombia, is a little different than here in Canada.  He begins his schoolday at 5:00am with clases starting at 7:00am and closing at about 1:30pm.  The sun is already risen by 5:00am in Colombia.

Brad Poole is member of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program in Portage la Prairie.  Poole explains the program.

"Students in the Rotary Youth Exchange program apply to their Rotary districts all over the world. Once they've gone through the selection process the students will have indicated  three host countries that they would prefer to go to.  And of course Rotary International tries to match students with their number one country at all times."

Poole adds, "The exchange students arrive in their host countries and at their host clubs. They typically spend just about eleven months there immersed in the culture and traditions of their host community as well as their host country. Danny Garcia, our exchange student, is enrolled at PCI as a student, and is an active member with the club. He provides us with updates on his exchange year."

He notes Garcia is primarily in Canada to learn more of the English language.  

Poole adds the program is always looking for host families. For those who think their schedule may be too busy to host a student, that is actually a perfect situation for them to tag along to all your events and experience more of our culture.  To host an exchange student for two or three months, send an email to Rotary President Craig Bennet by clicking here, or Youth Liaison Kathy Belton by clicking here.  Their website is here.



Joe Masi, executive director of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, speaks about issues facing the city and RM of Portage la Prairie during the Rotary Club and Portage la Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s joint meeting on Nov. 4 at Canad Inns. (Johnna Ruocco/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Joe Masi, executive director of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, speaks about issues facing the city and RM of Portage la Prairie during the Rotary Club and Portage la Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s joint meeting on Nov. 4 at Canad Inns.

The Portage la Prairie Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie are calling their second joint meeting a resounding success.

The meeting, held Nov. 4 at Canad Inns, featured Association of Manitoba Municipalities executive director Joe Masi as a guest speaker.

“We’re very happy to talk to these groups, you look in the audience and they have a lot of influential people here who can add their voice to what municipalities need,” Masi said.

“These are people who have a lot of influence and can help push the agenda along with our association, so for me it was a double pleasure to speak to people I know very well but also to give them the message that we need some help as municipalities.”

The packed room heard Masi speak about the key issues facing the city and RM of Portage la Prairie.

“Infrastructure costs and projects are very important to this area and we’ve been working on a number of programs like the Gas Tax and the Building Canada and so on.”

The cost of policing is another issue that is a concern in the Portage area, said Masi, and the AMM is working with the city to find efficiencies.

“We’ve also got bylaw enforcement, a very important issue to all municipalities, and the speed zones, so a lot of issues were raised by the city and the RM at our convention and we’re happy that some of these have gone forward and we’re making progress on them.”

He said a major issue many taxpayers don’t realize is that on average for every tax dollar in Canada, the federal government gets 50 cents and the province gets 42 cents, while municipalities receive eight cents.

“We just need a better balance, eight cents just isn’t enough to provide this infrastructure, your recreation, we know the costs of what it takes to build the PCU Centre and these things so that’s ultimately the long term solution is apart from all these programs, we need a long term predictable funding source separate from property taxes,” Masi said.

One issue the AMM has lobbied on in order to see predictable funding is seeing municipalities receive the one per cent increase in the PST.

“When the province brought in the sales tax increase we wanted to see that dedicated to municipalities, the province took most of it, we got a bit of it,” Masi said, noting the road program announced in Portage Friday comes from the increase.

Communication is key

The second joint meeting between the two organizations is a fantastic way to increase the communication between different groups in the community, said chamber president Dave Omichinski.

“If we have a better understanding within the community of people and people know what other people or groups are doing, then we can leverage that, you’re reducing redundancy. ‘If I’m going to chase this project, you don’t need to, or you can provide a supportive role or vice versa,’” he said.



people presley bolton oct 21Presley Bolton says the six days at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp were unforgettable

A local Portage Collegiate Institute student had a chance to thank the Portage la Prairie Rotary club for the opportunity of a lifetime. Presely Bolton was the speaker at yesterday's weekly Rotary luncheon, and shared her experience at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp in Clear Lake. She spent six days at the event, taking part in a wide range of activities, varying from survival skills training and scavenger hunts, to serious discussions about social issues.

She says she became immediately interested in attending the camp, after hearing such great things about the opportunity from Brianne Klassen and Quinn Ferris.

"I talked to Quinna and Brianne who went last year, and they said only good things about it. It sounded like such a good experience and I didn't want to miss out on that."

While Bolton says she didn't know anyone going into the camp, that changed as early as the bus ride out to Clear Lake.

"I wasn't expecting everyone to be so open and so sweet with everybody. We all became friends so, so fast."

On top of the many exciting activities that took place over the six days, those at the RYLA camp also had an opportunity to discuss some serious matters such as gender roles and eugenics. She said the combination of serious topics and fun made for an intersting week.

"It was good because after a serious heart-to-heart sort of thing, then we'd go out for a swim or go canoeing so it really equaled out."

She says she took home many new skills from the camp, noting the survival skills, as well as the leadership lessons covered over the week. She reccomends the opportunity to anyone in Portage who is looking for an unforgettable experience.



people dave patsackDave Patsack provides an update on 2015 RBC Cup preparations

The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club's received on update on the preparations for the 2015 RBC Cup in Portage. Committee co-chair Dave Patsack was the guest speaker at the weekly Rotary luncheon meeting and explains things are moving along well.

"Everything is on track, we could possibly use more sponsorships. We could possibly use a few more volunteers in certain areas, but we'll know better by the end of the month when I have my meeting as to how many we really need. We have no red lights up right now and we hope it stays that way."

Those who are hoping to volunteer, or are looking at becoming a sponsor can email the committee at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Meanwhile, He says the tickets for the games have been going quickly and those who want seats close to the action should act quickly.

"The main update today was the fact the tickets are going well. If you want to reserve a seat you should get your seat now. Although there's 650 left, they're not all premium seats. There's some that are down lower so if you want to get a good seat you should get it now."

Patsack's also been looking into the economic benefits of the RBC Cup. He's been taking the time to look at economic reports in communities that have previously hosted the event. He says the event in Dauphin resulted in an economic spin-off of just over $1.1 million, while the 2013 RBC Cup in Summerside, Prince Edward Island resulted in approximately $1.5 million in economic spin-off.

"There's a huge economic spin-off for the city and for the RM. There's hotels and gas stations in the RM, not just the city. It's going to be a great event and the biggest thing is it's going to give us the opportunity to promote the city, the RM, and our community."

He notes TSN typically also films a profile of the RBC Cup host city. He says they'll be working with the RM and the city to help discuss what areas should be highlighted in the promo.



people sydney taylorSydney Taylor shares her experiences with Portage Rotary

Portage's Sydney Taylor had an opportunity to share her experience at the Adventures in Citizenship event in Ottawa back in May, during the Portage Rotary Club's weekly luncheon meeting this week. The opportunity was funded through the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club, and she says she was immediately interested after hearing about the trip from of her teachers.

"It was just the fact I could go to Ottawa and be on my own for five days, to be able to meet 200 people and experience what we have in Canada."

She says one of the highlights of the trip was the chance to take in a citizenship ceremony. She says it was very emotional, and called it an eye-opening experience.

"It made me feel so lucky and grateful. We don't understand what we actually have. Everybody cried and everybody had tears in their eyes because all of the little kids were jumping up and down, excited to become Canadian citizens."

During the trip, she also had a chance to visit the Parliament building and Ottawa University. She says it was exciting to visit Canada's capital.



people stephanie BEVACQUACommunity Outreach and Fundraising Coordinator Stephanie Bevacqua

The MS Society's hoping to expand some of their programming in Portage la Prairie. Community outreach and fundraising coordinator Stephanie Bevacqua was the presenter at Portage Rotary's last luncheon meeting, and provided an update on programs offered to those in Portage living with multiple sclerosis. She says they're actually looking at expanding on one of their popular programs that's in place in the community.

"We have something called the 'Coffee Crew'. It's held once a month and I'm looking to increase it actually, but right now we have one. It's a group of people that have MS who meet the second Wednesday of each month at Season's Restaurant, we switch it up sometimes. They talk about their experience, and find out about new developments with the research and what not, so it's great."

One of the programs that Bevacqua's hoping to bring to the city will help those living with the disease get out of the house and into the community through various activities.

"We have a new program that I'm hoping to start. It's called 'Out and About'. We're going to take people living with MS and we're going to take them out of just going out to the restaurant and eating. We're going to take them out and make cacti plants in pots, and they can take those home. We're going to make centrepieces for the holidays, such as wreaths and fun stuff like that. They just get out and experience something different."

During her presentation, she also provided Rotary members an update on their research. She says they're going to be slightly shifting their focus to help accommodate more of those who are living with the disease.

"We have one treatment that's actually happening here in Manitoba. We're looking at stem cell research in terms of remyelination. That's an important key. We have previously focused our efforts on finding treatments for relapse-remitting. Now, for the other types of the kind of progressive forms of MS, we're focusing research on those areas."

She says they're always looking for support from the community. Bevacqua's in Portage la Prairie twice a month, and those hoping to help support the MS Society can call her at 204-988-0904.



Karen Lambert of the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, Portage la Prairie branch, spoke to club members during Tuesday's meeting about the stigma of Alzheimer's Disease and how they can get educated. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Karen Lambert of the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, Portage la Prairie branch, spoke to club members during Tuesday's meeting about the stigma of Alzheimer's Disease and how they can get educated. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club heard from Karen Lambert from the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, Portage la Prairie branch, at Tuesday’s meeting where she talked to members about the stigma of Alzheimer’s disease and what they could do to help.

“Stigma it’s embarrassing and it’s hard for people to accept and to deal with. If a person has cancer or diabetes or heart disease it’s talked about but if a person has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia people tend not to talk about it,” said Lambert following the meeting. “(It’s) denial or just a protective attitude that they don’t want people to know there is something wrong with this person’s brain or the way they are thinking.”

She feels the solution to the stigma is to educate the public more and to teach those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia that it is nothing to be ashamed about.

“It’s a disease like any other disease. Find out the facts, learn as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to talk about it with people so that they can understand that it’s okay to have dementia,” said Lambert. “They didn’t do anything to catch it.”

Locally there are many support groups that offer help to those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

“In Portage here we have one that’s 9:30 a.m. the third Thursday of each month at Douglas Campbell Lodge, there’s another at 5 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month also at Douglas Campbell Lodge,” said Lambert. “That’s open to anyone – family or friends that are caregivers. It’s a support group just for them to be able to vent and share of the things they are going through. The good and the bad.”

There are also support groups in the rural areas: in Treherne the first Thursday of every month; in Gladstone the second Thursday of each month; and in MacGregor the third Wednesday of each month.

If someone thinks that they have Alzheimer’s disease or know someone that might have the disease it is best to speak with a family doctor about your concerns.

“Take note on what some of the symptoms are and what some of their concerns are. Make an appointment with their doctor, share these thoughts with them, and get the person totally checked out,” said Lambert. “Sometimes early signs of dementia can be caused by something that’s acute that’s treatable. Don’t panic that it’s a dementia, rule out everything else first.”

The Memory Walk for 2013 will be taking place in Portage la Prairie on June 5 and in Gladstone on June 13. Other dates in the area will be announced soon.

For more information visit or call the North Central Region office in Portage la Prairie at 239-4898. Office hours are Tues. to Thurs. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Jenn Bach, Kim Wilton, Charles Morrison and Robin Dudgeon of the Plap City Rollers roller derby league took the time to present to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday afternoon, about their league and the upcoming bout season which begins on May 11 in Brandon. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Jenn Bach, Kim Wilton, Charles Morrison and Robin Dudgeon of the Plap City Rollers roller derby league took the time to present to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday afternoon, about their league and the upcoming bout season which begins on May 11 in Brandon. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)


The Portage Rotary Club heard from members of the Plap City Rollers roller derby team during Tuesday’s meeting where they discussed the newest sport emerging in the city.

Referee Charles Morrison and skaters Jenn Bach and Kim Wilton, who skate under the derby names Chuck Morris, Lynn Detta, and Kim-Jong Wheels respectively, spoke to the club about the history of their league, some common misconceptions about derby, and their upcoming bouting season, which begins on May 11 in Brandon.

The league was started in the spring of 2012 and there are currently about 12 women on the team, which is called the Headstone Honeys.

Bach said what attracted her to the game was its aggressive and competitive nature. She has gained many things since joining including both social and physical benefits.

“It’s been amazing. First and foremost it is amazing exercise. My cardio and my body strength have improved tremendously in the last year,” said Bach. “I was new to Portage la Prairie two years ago and so I didn’t really have a lot of involvement with the community and the roller derby team has really allowed me to be a part of the community and learn more of what’s out there. It’s been really nice to have the opportunity to be a part of something.”

She added she often gets asked some pretty interesting questions when people find out she is involved in the sport such as if it is staged or if players are allowed to punch each other.

“To answer those: no it is not staged it’s like any other competitive sport we go out there and play our best and hope for the win; in terms of whether or not we can punch each other no that is not the case,” said Bach. “It’s like any other sport. There is some body contact that is allowed and there is other body contact that isn’t allowed. It’s a matter of staying within the confines of the game.”

Kim Wilton noted that since the sport was revived in Austin, Texas about ten years ago the sport has continued to grow all around the world including in the province of Manitoba.

“It’s been growing and growing. It seems every month there’s a new league starting up. I know there is talk of one starting up in Turtle Mountain in Manitoba, which is great. It gives us more people to skate against,” said Wilton. “I think it’s growing because like I say it’s just a lot of fun to play, fun to watch and it’s just a good time.”

Both skaters agree that anyone thinking about coming to a bout should certainly do so as the game is very exciting, easy to understand, and fun for people of all ages.

“It is going to be exciting. If you’ve never seen roller derby in person before you are about to be surprised. There is no sport like it, you will never go watch a sport that is quite as exciting as watching roller derby,” said Bach.

“I think they will be impressed with what a great sport it is to watch, how dynamic it is, and how you get involved and really rooting for things,” said Wilton. “We’ll have a halftime show and I think it will really just be good entertainment. It’s going to be that American-Canadian banter – who is going to take the game.”

Anyone who would like to get more information is encouraged to email or visit the league on Facebook at Plap City Rollers.



TSFRC on the move

Cathy Vanstone, executive director of the Tupper St. Family Resource Centre, came to speak to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about the big move the centre will be making to the old bingo hall at the end of March. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Cathy Vanstone, executive director of the Tupper St. Family Resource Centre, came to speak to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about the big move the centre will be making to the old bingo hall at the end of March. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Tupper St. Family Resource Centre will soon have a new name and a new location once it moves at the end of March.

Along with a new location at the former Portage Sport and Cultural Association (PSCA) bingo hall the Tupper Street Family Resource Centre will have a new name, the Family Resource Centre – Parenting Families in Central Plains after they make the move on March 25.

“Our programs are remaining in operation right up until the week before we move. We wanted to move in a way that had the least disruption to our clients as possible. We have no programs the last week of March because of Spring Break week but we will be working hard in moving,” said Cathy Vanstone, executive director of the Tupper St. Family Resource Centre.

Making the move along with them will be the Child and Family Services of Central Manitoba Family Enhancement program who will make the move prior to that date and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Portage la Prairie who will make the move on March 27.

The move was one Vanstone said was much needed to allow the centre to run programs and allow more families to take part.

“Two things intersected: one, our lease was up, and two, was our need for a larger space. The opportunity to purchase the building that we’re moving to was presented and we are able to move into it,” said Vanstone. “It’s exciting. The space will be very user friendly and allow even larger groups to participate in some of our programs.”

But the work is far from over once they are in the new building as there is nearly $200,000 of renovations that still need to be completed.

“Certainly, the work is going on. It will be ready for us to move into but all of us are working together to do the fundraising related to the renovation costs. All of us are collaborating on that as it is greatly needed,” said Vanstone. “Some of the fundraising is done through foundations and through groups that share our mandate. However, we will continue to seek support from our community partners – that includes other agencies, that includes businesses, that includes individuals and service clubs.”

Vanstone notes that the centre has had amazing support from community in the past and she hopes those relationships continue as things move forward.

To make a donation come to Tupper St. Family Resource Centre at 20 Tupper St. or call (204) 857-9011.




Source of Strength Making A Difference At PCI.

rotary girls feb262013

A student based peer program at P.C.I. School in Portage la Prairie is providing youth an outlet of support. Members of Sources of Strength, spoke to members of the Portage Rotary Club yesterday about the initiative. S.O.S utilizes the power of peer social networks, to prevent suicide, bullying and substance abuse.

Jen Kostuchuk is one of the students who has been involved with S.O.S. right from the beginning. She says it has a very important message. "If you bottle it up for too long, you're going to have a point when you just have to talk to someone and that's why we're here. We really want to be able to be there and know that you can talk to us. We are trust worthy people and we want to help you as much as we can, in the way that we have been trained."

Student Katie Burke has been involved, right from the start and says the effort is making a difference, as she sees that more young people understand what Sources of Strength is all about and are opening up to their peers and adults about sensitive issues. She says it's wonderful to see the project having the desired effect. "Everybody struggles with something and being a part of this group you see more people. You hear about other peoples stories or people, they notice you and they come and talk to you and you can help more people." says Burke. "I think it's very positive for our school."



Doug Kit, safety sales specialist with Acklands Grainger, holds an AED.

Doug Kit, safety sales specialist with Acklands Grainger, holds an AED.


The Portage Rotary Club learned about automated external deliberators (AED) on Tuesday from Acklands Grainger Safety Sales Specialist Doug Kit.

“We’re getting a lot of requests from companies about more information about AEDs because of the publicity about the public law, so we thought it would be a good idea, because it can save thousands of lives every year that’s why we thought it was important to do the presentation,” said Kit.

The province of Manitoba passed legislation in December 2012 requiring the installation of AEDs in high-traffic public places such as gyms, arenas, community centres, golf courses, schools and airports by January 31, 2014.

Kit’s presentation gave background information on the device, how to use it, as well as, the cost and when it should be used.

According to Kit, Acklands has sold more than 200 devices since the province passed the new legislation.

“We sold a lot last year when were starting to get the word out on AEDs and legislation certainly kick started a lot of newer business,” said Kit.

Kit said devices retail between $800 and $1,500.



Dave Patsack, co-chair for the 2015 bid to bring the RBC Cup to Portage la Prairie in 2015, spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, updating them on the bid's progress. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Dave Patsack, co-chair for the 2015 bid to bring the RBC Cup to Portage la Prairie in 2015, spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, updating them on the bid's progress. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY


The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club heard from Dave Patsack at Tuesday’s meeting where he discussed Portage’s bid for the 2015 RBC Cup.

Portage la Prairie is currently facing off against Cobourg, Ont., which is 90 kilometers east of Toronto, for the chance to host the upcoming hockey competition.

“We are feeling pretty confident right now, we have no reason not to. We’ve got a great facility, we’ve got a great team, and a great community with lots of experience,” said Patsack. “We haven’t had any negative feedback from Hockey Canada and everything we’ve brought has been positive. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Patsack, who co-chair the bid committee, submitted the bid last month. Hockey Canada now has to evaluate the bids before making its final decision in May.

“We may have to go to Hockey Canada or they might come out here. There will be a site inspection and we will make a presentation to them as well as to what the budget and the whole program will be about. They’ll also to go Colburg and here the same thing from them and then take that information back,” said Patsack.

The presentation should include a sales pitch promoting the city of Portage la Prairie and also will lay out a projected budget.

“Basically, it’s a sales pitch as to why we should have it. We will highlight the fact that all the teams will be staying within seven to ten minutes of the arena; we’ll talk about having lots of junior hockey teams within an hour and a half of Portage so we’ll have a fan base for support; we’ll talk about the facility itself being new and state-of-the-art; and also our rich history of community support in regards to our successful hosting of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (and others). We have a real strong history of success,” said Patsack.

The projected budget for putting on the 2015 RBC Cup is $580,000 along with a projected revenue of $680,000. That leaves $100,000 which will be distributed to the five teams playing in the cup as well as out in the community.

Each of the five teams taking part in the Cup will receive $10,000 each, that will leave $50,000 which Patsack’s committee plans to send out into the community.

“That is going to be divided up 30 per cent going towards a scholarship for a Portage Terrier graduate who is continuing post-secondary education; 30 per cent of the profit is going to go back to the PCU Centre to be used for facilities and a bidding pool; 20 per cent is going to go to Portage Minor Hockey to development programs; 10 per cent is going to go to the BDO Centre to help it as a third ice surface; and 10 per cent is going to go to Arron’s Chance 2 Play,” said Patsack.

The only thing the bid committee can be sure of is expenses. The rest is based on ticket sales, sponsorship funds, and of course the help of many volunteers. But the affect the cup will have on the community is priceless.

“The positive impact on youth coming to see that type of hockey being played, I don’t think you can really put a dollar value on that,” said Patsack.


Ken Keith, executive director of Central Plains Inc. (CPI) spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, where he announced the organization is now known as Portage la Prairie Regional Economic Development (PRED) to better reflect its current membership. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Ken Keith, executive director of Central Plains Inc. (CPI) spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, where he announced the organization is now known as Portage la Prairie Regional Economic Development (PRED) to better reflect its current membership.

The Portage Rotary Club heard from Ken Keith at Tuesday’s meeting where he discussed changes coming to Central Plains Inc.

Ken Keith, executive director of Central Plains Inc. announced that the economic development agency would be changing its name to the Portage la Prairie Regional Economic Development (PRED) Inc.

“There has been a fair bit of wonderment I suppose on what’s happened to CPI. I heard a lot about CPI for over 40 years and suddenly they are not there – not taking press interviews, the website is down, all that kind of thing,” said Keith. “It was more of wondering what is happening to our economic development representation.”

Things really changed after funding from Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) withdrawn in 2012. At one time CPI served as many as 16 municipalities in the Central Plains region but now only serves the RM of Portage la Prairie and the City of Portage la Prairie. The new name better reflects its current membership.

“It just so happened that the city and the RM have enjoyed longstanding collaboration. They have long seen the need to get that economic development back to the left and go forward and advance to get into the new economy that we experience today,” said Keith.

Along with a new name has come new goals and priorities – to become the number once centre in rural Manitoba for small and medium sized businesses. PRED also wants to focus on business development, engaging the local business community, retaining businesses in the area, and marking the region to attract new businesses.

“We have many, many short term goals but we can’t accomplish them all right away. Each one that we have fits in with our long term strategic plan so everything we do really needs to fall in line,” said Keith.

Three short term goals for the 2013 years are to: engage businesses and offer them services to start-up or expand; establish a business advisory board; and to market the region properly.

“Council and businesses alike really see the need to take or receive comments and opportunities for the business community and sit down with the voice of the community from time to time and this is going to go a long way to help organize it,” said Keith of the establishment of a business advisory board.

Among his marketing priorities is to encourage Portagers to shop local.

“I mentioned that there are 20,000 residents in this community. That’s a pretty large internal market. I can’t fault the average person for going into Winnipeg and enjoying themselves but I think that there is a fair bit of leakage where residents could be buying local and supporting their community,” said Keith. “When they do that it also generates business owners to stock more of what is in demand and become sharper. I think there is a huge opportunity for that. Not to say that we shouldn’t focus on bringing business from outside but start working on what we have already.”


Wayde Drain and Margaret Lesperance spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about Toastmasters in Portage la Prairie. The club meets once a week at the Portage Collegiate Prince Charles Building to help participants improve their public speaking and quick thinking skills. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Wayde Drain and Margaret Lesperance spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about Toastmasters in Portage la Prairie. The club meets once a week at the Portage Collegiate Prince Charles Building to help participants improve their public speaking and quick thinking skills. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club heard from Margaret Lesperance and Wayde Drain at Tuesday’s meeting where they talked about the Toastmasters Club.

The Toastmasters has been running in Portage la Prairie for the last 33 years where it teaches people better public speaking skills and how to think on their feet. The meetings average four to six people with around 12 people in the club right now.

Toastmasters meets on Monday evenings (except holidays) at 7:00 PM at the PCI Prince Charles School. All adults are welcome to attend.

“It’s a small group and I like the constructive criticism that they do. When you do a speech they say this is what you’ve done good, here’s some room for improvement, and you end off with what you’ve done good again,” said Wayde Drain.

For Drain among the most important skills a person can learn from Toastmasters is confidence.

“I thought, what do I need this for? I’m a farmer. But there’s always a situation where you are going to be put on the spot or you’re going for a job interview. You don’t want to go to a job interview and be all stammering and humming and hawing and you’re stuck for answers,” said Drain. “That’s where Toastmasters really shines, and that’s what employers really like because they see the confidence in you. They see the confidence in your hand gestures, your movements, that’s Toastmasters.”

Margaret Lesperance has been in Toastmasters for nearly 20 years and now refers to herself as a lifer.

“I love it and I think it’s a good thing. I love the people that it attracts – it attracts people that want to better themselves, want to better their community, their relationships,” said Lesperance. “It’s just good all around. It makes better citizens, better communities, and a better world.”

In the near two decades she’s been with the club she has noticed many changes in herself.

“I think maybe self-confidence, I think maybe I’m more assertive. In an organization or a gathering I want to talk to people whereas before I would hesitate. I feel more forward,” said Lesperance. “Everything that happens in Toastmasters is a learning experience.”

To get more information call Wayde at 239-7001, visit or come down to a meeting and try it out.


Melanie Vieira, a flight paramedic in Manitoba, came to speak to the Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) Foundation. The Province of Manitoba signed a multi year agreement with the helicopter ambulance service which is valued at $10 million per year. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Melanie Vieira, a flight paramedic in Manitoba, came to speak to the Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) Foundation. The Province of Manitoba signed a multi year agreement with the helicopter ambulance service which is valued at $10 million per year. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club heard from representatives of the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) Foundation during Tuesday’s meeting.

The Province of Manitoba signed a multi-year agreement with the STARS air ambulance last year, which is currently costing $10 million per year. This helps to cover maintenance to the helicopters, operational costs, as well as training for the employees of STARS.

Melanie Vieira is a flight paramedic who has been working for STARS since November of 2012. She explained that the medical personnel are cross-trained in order to do all the jobs necessary during a flight.

“When we come into STARS air medical crew we generally have quite a bit of experience. When we start our training with STARS all the medics and nurses start receiving the same training. At the end of it, we could essentially function in either seat,” said Vieira.

But the training doesn’t stop after the initial start up it continues over the career of the paramedic or nurse with STARS.

“It’s ongoing training. We have quarterly requirements that we have to meet. In a year there is so much training we have to do, and over two years there are requirements that we have to meet. It is very much ongoing and mostly physician led,” said Vieira.

The feedback that she has been getting from families of patients assisted by STARS has been very positive.

“They are generally pleased that this patient is getting where they need to be a lot faster. They are pleased that their family is getting that high level of care that we do provide from the sending facility or scene to the receiving facility,” said Vieira.

STARS also spoke with the club in order to peak interest in donations to keep the air ambulance a free service for families it assists.

“It’s huge because right now we’re at the point in our tenure here in the province where it’s all about advocacy and it’s all about communication. In order to get support people have to first know who we are,” said Shandy Walls, manager of major gifts for the Manitoba branch of STARS. “A group like Rotary is really to us the best vehicle because we are talking to them directly and they are leaders in the community, they are business owners, and they are people who really care deeply about their community.”

When Walls goes out on these type of presentations to the public she often hears a lot of questions about the types of calls that the STARS chopper responds to as well as questions about the way that STARS is funded.

Statistics presented recorded that 59 per cent of calls for the STARS helicopter service are inter-facility transfers while 41 per cent are scene calls. Scene calls can be broken down into: motor vehicle collisions (49 per cent), medical (14 per cent), recreation (13 per cent), SAR and other (five per cent), industrial (three per cent), and agricultural (three per cent).

While the government of Manitoba provides funding to keep the service running STARS is also seeking grassroots support as well. One such initiative that will help build this support is Manitoba version of the CEO Rescue in the Rockies which has been successful in Alberta.

“Basically, we take CEOs from companies in the province, they come to the base in the morning. We start off with a breakfast, we have a little media tour, and then we fly them off to the undisclosed remote island. They will be there probably four to five hours only with their telephones raising funds and calling people,” said Walls. “Once they’ve raised successfully their $100,000 then we pick them up and fly them back and we are going to be having a reception at Assiniboine Park that evening.”

Calgary has had five oil and gas CEOs, which have raised $2.5 million in the last two years. It is expected that Manitoba may need a few more in order to reach that $1 million yearly goal. One CEO already scheduled to take part is McCallister Farms owner Chris McCallister from Portage la Prairie.

For more information on how you can donate to STARS visit



Project Wants Your Input

joyce schreader harmony jan222013Joyce Schrader

Your opportunity to be part of the Harmony Project through the Portage la Prairie Family Abuse Prevention Centre is here.

The three-year project is gathering data on domestic violence in this region, and needs your feedback.

Executive Director Joyce Schrader says you can fill out a survey on-line, or use a drop-box. She believes it's crucial to have as many men and women participate as possible, because the more information available, the better it is to develop a community plan.

Schrader's seen some data already, and while she can't talk about it, says themes are emerging. She expected some, while others were unforeseen.

Schrader adds the surveys have been designed to be easy and quick, to allow them to find out what's happening in the community.

The PCU Centre, the hospital, Portage Friendship Centre, Red River College, and AFM have drop-boxes.

Here's a link to the on-line survey.


Our local Portage Rotary club is now on TWITTER! Follow us Rotary@portrotaryclub for all the current local Portage Rotary updates. Portage Rotary club follows Rotary International and will retweet from them to all following us. Any questions -  email Preston at


Tuesday Jan 29  2013

Barrett speaks to Rotary Club

Superintendent Hazen Barrett pictured at the Portage Rotary Club's Tuesday meeting where he discussed what is new with the Portage la Prairie School Division. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Superintendent Hazen Barrett pictured at the Portage Rotary Club's Tuesday meeting where he discussed what is new with the Portage la Prairie School Division. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)


The Portage Rotary Club heard from Superintendent Hazen Barrett during Tuesday’s meeting where he discussed what is new with the Portage la Prairie School Division.

Items that came up during his Rotary presentation included the large number of retirements the division expects in the next five years, as well as the division’s desire to lobby to keep natural gas buses in production.

Teacher retirements

The Portage School Division is doing its best to prepare for the coming retirement of a large number of teachers in the next five years.

At last count there were 31 teachers over 55 working in the division during the 2012-2013 school year.

“Over the next five years we probably anticipate over 65 to 70 teachers who will be able to retire. Out of that probably 50 per cent of our administrators will be eligible for retirement,” said Barrett. “Our supervisors, our managers, our principals that’s a fairly significant hole to fill and boards across the Province and across the country are dealing with that right now.”

This can prove to be especially difficult with specialty staff such as French Immersion teachers.

“It’s very costly to continue to recruit for these positions but you simply just have to keep doing it or else you don’t have the bodies to cover the classrooms,” said Barrett. “We’ve been very lucky because we’ve had a very supportive board in terms of pursuing initiatives to keep the employment roles filled here in Portage. I hope that we can continue to be that successful.”

A number of years ago the Portage School Division was very successful in hiring a full range of school clinicians.

“One of the things that our board did just a few years back that paid off big time was look at return of service agreements with school clinicians such as speech pathologists and psychologists, helping them finish their education in return for an agreement for them to come and work for the school division,” said Barrett. “That paid off big time for us as we’re one of the few divisions in the province of our size that has a full complement of school clinicians. I attribute that in large part to the board’s initiative in pushing that through.”

Natural Gas Buses

The Portage School Division is among the few in the country to be employing natural gas buses – 14 out of 21 buses as well as two spares.

“Those buses, you can’t acquire those anymore in an average sized bus. You would have to go to an extra long bus, which is useless to us as a division. It wouldn’t even be able to fit in our maintenance garage,” said Barrett.

He has found that the natural gas bus, although more expensive during initial purchase, saves nearly 50 per cent in fuel costs each year.

“Right now a few school divisions in our country and in the United States that have natural gas buses are talking with governments about the possibility of having discussions with the industry about restarting the natural gas bus movement,” said Barrett.

The board is continuing to look at this issue but has not approached the Province yet.

“It certainly makes sense to us as a school division that this continues on and I think they’d like to have some discussions not only with the Province but with the School Boards Association as to what could take place,” said Barrett.



Jack Meseyton of E.F. Moon Construction spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, where he discussed the company's last 50 years in business and where it hopes to head in the future. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Jack Meseyton of E.F. Moon Construction spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, where he discussed the company's last 50 years in business and where it hopes to head in the future. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club heard from Jack Meseyton of E.F. Moon Construction, Tuesday, where he spoke about their 50 years in business.

Meseyton is 50-50 partner with Mark Moon in running E.F. Moon Construction since Ted and Cal Moon retired in 2007.

“This is our 50th year in business. The company was founded in 1962 by Ted Moon,” said Meseyton. “

The company deals in heavy construction – excavation, road building, sewer and water, demolition, cartage – and almost anything that can be done with heavy equipment.

“We are in a highly competitive industry with now eight to twelve bidders on public projects. Margins are tight, it’s not an Internet get rich quick scheme by any means,” said Meseyton. “We work hard for what we do.”

E.F. Moon has worked on a number of important projects including all the site work where Walmart currently stands; excavated the Kenaston underpass in Winnipeg; and all the bulk excavation for the James Richardson airport terminal in Winnipeg.

“Those kind of projects are once in a lifetime projects. In our lifetime there’s never going to be another terminal built in Winnipeg,” said Meseyton. “It’s exciting to be part of those type of things.”

Other projects are Manitoba include work in Brandon, Pinawa, Riding Mountain, and Thompson.

“We try not to worry what the other people are doing because you can only worry about yourself. But you do have to keep an eye on the competition,” said Meseyton.

E.F. Moon does its best to buy local and chooses to keep its projects within Manitoba. The company has also become known for its support of the community including the PCU Centre as well as its loyal employees, many of whom have been working for them for many years.

“While competition has increased recently we believe the future bodes well for us and our employees. There’s always going to be ups and downs but if we stay focused we will be fine and we will be around to help support local initiatives as long as they need them,” said Meseyton.




The Portage Rotary Club heard from from Jennifer Campbell, the coordinator of the Momentum project for the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) during Tuesday's meeting. Portage was one of 16 communities across the country to be chosen for the initiative. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club heard from from Jennifer Campbell, the coordinator of the Momentum project for the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) during Tuesday's meeting. Portage was one of 16 communities across the country to be chosen for the initiative. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Jennifer Campbell of the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) spoke to the Rotary Club, Tuesday, about the Momentum project, which has been building over the last couple of months.

Portage la Prairie is among 16 other communities across Canada who are taking part in the project, which is being commissioned by the Status of Women Canada. Both PRCR and the Portage Family Abuse Prevention Centre have projects being supported by Status of Women Canada.

“The initial desire coming out of the three year project is empowering and building on the capacity of women in our community to build a stronger community,” said Project Momentum coordinator for the PCRC, Jennifer Campbell. “It’s giving them the tools that they need to take the steps that they want to take in their life.”

Campbell has been meeting with groups of women aged 18 to 35 to discuss economic security in Portage la Prairie – both the good and the bad.

“Economic security is a touchy issue, money is a touchy issue and people don’t really want to go there,” said Campbell. “Once I’ve got them there I’ve just found that they’re so responsive and they’ve just been so engaged in the conversation and leave feeling happy. Sometimes people just want to be heard and they want to feel like somebody is listening and somebody cares.”

That is exactly what PCRC plans to do – take the data gleaned from the focus groups and put it into action.

“What I can say is that we are going to be listening to the community, we’re going to be listening to the women and we’re going to find out what they feel they need,” said Campbell. “We’re really looking at our key priority areas and that’s when we’ll start to know where we’re going to put our focus and how we’re going to do it.”

Key barriers that have emerged from the focus groups include transportation, employment, childcare, and housing.

“Those seem to be the key areas that people just keep bringing up. It’s finding the one area that they need help with the most and focusing on that,” said Campbell. “That’s going to be different for each individual, we can’t take a cookie cutter approach to this because one size does not fit all in this project.”

Campbell hopes that the report will have a real positive effect on the community when all is said and done.

“I don’t want this to end up being a report or something that sits on a shelf and doesn’t go anywhere. I want us to take out those key items and then put them into motion, I want to see action happening, I want to see the community coming together on this and moving forward,” said Campbell.

A mens focus group is also in the works to help gain male perspective on economic security in the city.

“It’s something that I would like to get out there because I’m not getting the response that I was expecting. It’s imperative that we get their perspective,” said Campbell.

Transportation and a $25 stipend will be provided. Those interested in taking part in the focus groups can call Jennifer Campbell at the PCRC at (204)240-7272 or email



Riley Trimble and Rachel Verwey spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about their trip to Regina in November for the Adventures in Agriculture conference. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Riley Trimble and Rachel Verwey spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about their trip to Regina in November for the Adventures in Agriculture conference. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club heard from Rachel Verwey and Riley Trimble at Tuesday's meeting, where they learned about the pair's trip to Regina for the Western Canadian Agribition conference.

The two grade 12 students took a trip to Regina from November 21 – 25, sponsored by the Portage Rotary Club through the Adventures in Agriculture program, where they not only attended the Western Canadian Agribition conference but they toured Red Head Equipment, the John Deere factory, the Weyburn Inland Terminal, the University of Regina as well as others.

“I’ve shown cattle for my family and for other people, and I’ve worked in that agriculture field so to go out and see Agribition, the biggest show in Western Canada was something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Rachel Verwey.

The trip gave the two students the chance to see first hand some of the different occupations that are available in the agriculture industry and to get to do some pretty cool stuff.

“I showed us so many different options and told us that we can do whatever we want. If you’re looking to get into the agriculture business it’s pretty much wide open,” said Verwey.

But the trip wasn’t all learning and tours there was fun too. The students attended a rodeo, played laser tag, and got the chance to stay with Rotary host families during the trip.

“I really liked the rodeo. It’s something I’d never really seen before and to see at such a huge level – these were professional bull riders, and these were professional cowboys – it was kind of neat,” said Verwey.

“(My favorite part) was the Red Head Equipment factory and part of the cattle show too,” said Riley Trimble.

Both found the experience incredibly rewarding in helping them consider possible career opportunities after graduation.

“I always knew that I wanted to do a degree in agriculture but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after. Being able to see some of the different things I kind of have a better idea of what direction I’m going to take,” said Verwey.

Verwey hopes to pursue a degree in agriculture and possibly go into agronomy, while Trimble would like to get into heavy diesel mechanics.





Rotary hears from Exchange Student


Rotary exchange student Kaori Miwa gave a presentation to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, where she discussed herself and her home country. She arrived from Japan in Aug. of 2012. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Rotary exchange student Kaori Miwa gave a presentation to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, where she discussed herself and her home country. She arrived from Japan in Aug. of 2012. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Japanese Rotary Exchange student Kaori Miwa gave a short presentation to the Portage Rotary Club at Tuesday’s meeting.

The 17-year-old from Inazawa, Japan arrived back in August. She has been staying with host families and attending school at Portage Collegiate since then.

Back in Japan she was in her second year at a private school. She explained that at home she lives with her mother, an elementary school teacher, her father, who works in an office in the import/export business, as well as a brother, sister, and grandparents.

Inazawa has approximately 130,000 inhabitants is located almost 360 km southwest of Tokyo. Inazawa is known for its plants and gingo nuts as well as its naked man festival known as a Hadaka Matsuri.

Miwa will be returning to Japan at the end of the school year.

Pond Hockey

The Portage Rotary Club also got an update on the Western Canadian Pond Hockey Championship which is scheduled to take place from Feb. 22-24 on Island Park.

“Things are coming along quite smoothly. We’ve gotten great feedback from the community for sponsorships, it’s actually been overwhelming,” said Rotarian Travis Foster.

It is expected that the cut off date for sponsors will be by the end of this week, giving the committee time to prepare material before the event.

“We are going to cut it off this week so that we can now start getting our signs made up and the programs put together. We don’t want to have anybody,” said Foster.

“For registration we are currently up to 13 teams. I know of probably about three more that are just waiting for it to come through. We will likely cap it at about 20, I think that would be more than enough teams to fill the weekend. Being three weeks away we’re probably going to reach the 20 teams.”

Foster also discussed partnerships with two local organizations – the Portage Fire Department and the Oakville Seals hockey club – that will make the event a success. Both groups are hoping to volunteer some of their time in exchange for a donation to a good cause.

“Just to give our committee a little bit of freedom the firefighters are helping us out in flooding the ice…in return they have asked for a donation after everything is said and done to their cause,” said Foster. “I believe they are going to be putting it towards their donation to the BDO Centre for the Community.”

The Oakville Seals hockey club is also hoping to lend a hand with the reffing and scorekeeping during the event.

“They have told us that they will take care of the entire weekend of reffing and score keeping for a $500 donation if their team gets up and running for start up fees either to help with jerseys or things like that,” said Foster.

For more on the pond hockey championships you can visit the website online at www.portagepondhockey.



places rotary nov062012L to R: Dean Cairns of the Rotary Club. Faye Maly & Michelle Laidlaw of North Memorial School

The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club is helping out the North Memorial School breakfast program. The group has collected about 2 dozen boxes of cereal and made a financial donation of $250.00 in an effort to support the program.

Principal Michelle Laidlaw says the breakfast program has been running for about 15 years and offers students a healthy breakfast of cereal, toast and juice. Laidlaw says it's wonderful to see this type of local support.

"The support by clubs like Rotary, is the difference between providing breakfast and not being able to do so. We rely heavily on the community for donations, both for cereal and for other supplies. So if we don't have those things, then we can't provide the service."

Laidlaw says when it comes to support, every little bit helps.

"We figure, we've been running for approximately 15 years and currently we're averaging about 30 students a day." she says. "Our calculation was, that we believe we've served about 72,000 breakfast to date, since the program began

Rotary Club President Derek McCutcheon says they are pleased to be able to support a project like this, that's offers a good meal for children in need.

"There's lot of cereal (collected). These folks could use it." says McCutcheon. "These people have really put themselves out to help & that's huge in our eyes."



The Portage Rotary Club announced at Tuesday’s meeting that the Jail and Bail fundraiser nearly met its $20,000 target by fundraising just over $17,000 with more still pouring in.

The Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) community facilitator Mary Lynn Moffat made the announcement to her fellow Rotarians.

“I just wanted to take a minute to thank the club and all those that came out to help out for Jail and Bail and those of you that agreed to be arrested. It was a phenomenal day,” said Moffat. “I must admit more money just arrived, but to date we raised $17,437.00 in one day of Jail and Bail and there is more to come.”

Neepawa Rotarian Dave Bennet spoke to the Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about his experience in the group study exchange he took part in during October of 2011.

Bennet and four young people from Rotary District 5550 spent 28 days in England where they visited District 1210 in the West Midlands bordering Wales. Bennet led the expedition and was joined by Brennan Brooks a probation officer from Saskatoon; Shaunna McKim a city police officer from Regina; Alicia Smith a senior policy and rate analyst from Moose Jaw; and Jody Jury an agricultural specialist from Eden, Man.

Craig Dunn of Craig Dunn GM met with the Portage Rotary club on Tuesday to update them on the state of the auto industry both at home and abroad.

Dunn first took members back to the recession in 2008 where vehicle sales in North America dropped from 17 million to 10 million the following year.

"To say the auto industry has changed significantly in the last three years is probably an understatement. Every manufacturer felt that crunch," said Dunn.


The Portage Rotary Club and the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) held a jail and bail fundraiser at the PCU Centre, Thursday which saw community members take part to raise funds to extend the walking and biking paths in Portage la Prairie.

Nearly 30 community members including Coun. Brent Froese, Portage MLA Ian Wishart, school division superintendent Hazen Barrett, and fire chief Phil Carpenter spent some time behind bars in a mock jail for a good cause.

Mock trials were held with all of the trappings – judges, lawyers, sheriffs, clerks, fake charges and fake mugshots - and then participants were put in jail where they had to raise a specific amount of bail money determined by the court.

The Portage Rotary Club heard from Kelly Small from the Province of Manitoba who got the club up to speed on the Health e-Plan program.

Small, who is a program consultant for Health e-Plan and the department of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors has been traveling to different places across the province talking about Health e-Plan.

“Health e-Plan is an online interactive health testing tool that the province launched in June of last year. It’s free, it’s bilingual, it’s completely confidential and available to all Manitobans 18 and older,” said Small.

The history of a local french fry factory has its roots south of the border where a budding entrepreneur once realized his dream by developing a frozen french fry that would turn into a billion-dollar business.

At Portage la Prairie Rotary Club at the Canad Inns on Jan. 3, Chris Tompkins, the unit director at the local Portage Simplot plant, told Rotary members the fascinating story of how the company's founder JR (Jack) Simplot first developed his french fries in Idaho in 1946.

It was described as the classic rags to riches tale and one that is sure to inspire anyone who ever had a good idea and a little determination to make it a reality.


Students preparing for their futures have a variety of options to choose from including considering careers in the trades.

Carol Stewart, career counsellor with Portage Collegiate Institute, spoke at Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about opportunities for students considering careers in the trades as well as the overall benefits that are available to students in connecting with business in Portage.

She said the community can liaison with students to benefit both parties. Through establishing connections with employers, students can gain valuable experience while employers or other organizations can benefit by having eager young people to help fill their needs.

Portager Mark Verwey briefed the Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about his 2010 trip to Kenya with the Free the Children organization.

Verwey said in 2010 he experienced two things: turning 50 and reading Free the Children by Craig Keilburger.

"Call it a midlife crisis – I just decided I had to do something different. What I decided to do was to learn more about the organization Free the Children and then go to Africa to find out what they were doing," said Verwey.


The Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) is teaming up with the Portage Rotary Club to raise funds for an extension of the city’s walking path through a jail and bail fundraiser.

The fundraiser will take place on Feb. 23 at the PCU Centre from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We’re basically going to be arresting a number of community members and it’s up to them to raise their bail to get out of jail. Their friends and family can support them or they can give money to keep them in jail,” said Mary Lynn Moffat, community facilitator for the PCRC.


The Portage Rotary Club sent two PCI students Madison DeLong and Shelby Page to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Camp in 2011. The girls shared their experience with the club at Tuesday’s meeting.

The week long advanced program camp was held at the Anglican Church Camp at Clear Lake, Man. in August of 2011.

Shelby Page is in grade 11 at PCI while Madison DeLong is in grade 12. Both are involved with the social justice group at PCI, and with Peer Helpers. DeLong is also the secretary on student council.

Over all the girls said RYLA was an incredible experience that they are very thankful for.

Rotary (In a Nutshell) It never gets old.....
Mary Lynn Moffat from the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) spoke at Tuesday's Rotary meeting where she updated the club on some of the event the PCRC has undertaken so far this year and what they have coming up.

Moffat identified five priorities that are laid out in PCRC's five year plan which is set to expire in 2014. Those priorities are: housing, poverty reduction, community engagement, affordable recreation and leisure, and capacity building.


Portage Rotary Club made a significant donation to the PCU Centre on Feb. 3 by giving $32,000 for the centre.

This is the latest contribution that Rotary Club has made to the facility as part of its capital campaign support.

"This is our second installment to the City for the PCU Centre," said Brad Poole, president of Portage Rotary Club. "Our commitment is over five years as a club. Obviously, it's a large sum of money. We are on target to be done with our commitment in a four -year time period."

Rotary's commitment to the PCU Centre is for $125,000 in total. So far, it has contributed about $60,000, which includes the $32,000 grant it made on Friday.


The City of Portage la Prairie proclaimed Feb. 23 Rotary Day with the signing of a proclamation at City Hall, Friday.

International Rotary Day on Feb. 23 is significant not only to recognize the many things Rotary clubs do in communities around the world but also to celebrate 105 years of service since the club was created back in 1905. The Rotary Club in Portage la Prairie will celebrate 61 years of service on Feb. 23.

Rotarians Preston Meier and Brad Poole were present for the signing of the proclamation.


Portage Rotary Club stepped up on Friday and made a donation to Westend Daycare in Portage la Prairie.

Janice Delf, executive director of Westend Daycare, said the $500 it received from Portage Rotary Club will help Westend Daycare purchase a play slide for its new play yard.

“I’m excited,” she said. “The yard is ready to go, so when it comes to spring we will be ready to go out and play.”

Brad Poole, president of the Portage Rotary Club, said its important to its members to stay active in the community, so making the contribution to Westend Daycare as part of its community giving efforts was meaningful.

“As an organization, in the 61 years that Portage Rotary Club has been in town, obviously there has been a lot of local projects … (and) we want to keep up our commitment,” said Poole.

Portage Rotary Club members had a chance to hear about how Christmas is spent in Brazil during Tuesday's meeting at the Canad Inns in Portage la Prairie.

Rotary Exchange student Bruna Chideroli, who is from southwestern Brazil, has been staying in Portage with her host family and gave a talk about what Christmas is like in her homeland at Rotary.

Chideroli, 17, who is attending Portage Collegiate Institute this year, said she is accustomed to going to mass on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, and then returning home for a dinner with her family.

Sunset Palliative Care enjoyed a special gift from Portage Rotary Club on Friday.

The local Rotary Club made a donation of $500 to the Portage area organization.

Dr. David Kinnear, chairman of the board with Sunset Palliative Care, was pleased to see new funding support the organization’s work.

“We are thrilled to have the cheque from Rotary to be dedicated to improving the Memory Garden on the Island,” he said. “We have plans to improve the walkway, to put a small decorative fence up around the Memory Garden. I’m sure we’ll find a use for it.”

“It’s a beautiful little area for people to come and reminisce, and we are looking forward to it being improved,” added Kinnear.

When Portage Rotary Club met Tuesday the group had an opportunity to learn more about Rotary International Foundation's work around the world to help eradicate polio, which still exists in some countries.

Portage Rotary Club had its luncheon meeting at Canad Inns in Portage la Prairie and saw the documentary film The Final Inch, which has been nominated for an academy award, as part of its session.

Portage Rotary member Doug Pedden, who is in charge of the local Rotary club's international service, discussed the importance of the film and the local club's contribution to helping eliminate polio in other countries.


The Portage Rotary Club hear from the co-chairs of the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts Tuesday about some of the challenges and successes they faced planning the event.

The event held at the PCU Centre from Jan. 25-29 has been called one of the best Scotties yet, and is something co-chairs Jo-Anne Inglis and Diane Sadler called their dream.

“Until 2010 we felt we could not feasibly host the event in Portage la Prairie for two reasons: Curl Manitoba requires that the event be held in an arena setting to give the Manitoba curlers the arena experience before they go to the national event; and secondly, the Scotties is a 16 team event unlike the Safeway Select Championship which is a 32 team event – it could not be successfully held at the Centennial Arena due to cost considerations,” said Inglis.

 The Portage Rotary Club got a little lesson in fire safety on Tuesday afternoon thanks to the group's special guest speaker, Phil Carpenter, chief of Portage Emergency Services.

The chief spent about half an hour telling the Rotarians about Portage Emergency Services and about fire prevention.

The Portage Rotary Club heard from Don Boddy at Tuesday's meeting, who discussed his work with Employment Development and Placement Services (EDAP).

Employment facilitator Don Boddy has worked with EDAP since 2005.

"The EDAP program has been around since 2000. It's a federal provincial program that pays money to SAM Inc. to run my program. It was designed to fill a gap for people with disabilities that weren't really fitting in anywhere. The gaps are huge in the systems," said Boddy.

 Portage Rotary Club had an opportunity to learn more about the work of Sunset Palliative Care Inc. when it met for its weekly luncheon at Canad Inns in Portage la Prairie Tuesday.

With Sunset Palliative Care, Pat Chimney said the organization has been busy with its projects and is progressing into more work with the Memory Garden located at Island Park.

 The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club and the RCMP Central Plains Division are set to host the second annual RCMP Regimental Ball.

This year the ball takes place Sept.10 at the Canad Inns with proceeds from the evening going in support of Rotary youth projects, such as Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, youth exchanges inbound and outbound, playgrounds, scoreboards at Republic of Manitobah Park and Portage Collegiate Institute future projects.

The SAM Inc. organization has been able to provide employment to those who are mentally challenged, while at the same time providing a service to the community.

The organization in Portage la Prairie will be heading into its 25th year of service next year and is moving along well.

Tom Wishart, manager of SAM Inc., visited Portage Rotary Club at Canad Inns Tuesday to give Rotarians an update on SAM's activities.

Canadian Armed Forces member Trevor Jessau addressed the Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about his current tour in Afghanistan and his previous work with the Canadian military.

Jessau is currently on leave from a tour of Afghanistan. He came home to Canada on Saturday to take part in his daughter's wedding and will be returning to Afghanistan on Friday. Jessau is currently stationed in Shiloh, Man. with the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, and lives in Brandon with his fiancé.

 Tana Silverland is cycling across Canada with no previous experience, no support team, and no personal funding for her journey. She is making the journey from the Yukon to Newfoundland on the power of complete strangers and on her way through Portage on August 30 she stopped to address the Rotary Club.

SOS Children's Fund is a charity that is currently operating in more than 130 countries around the world. Since it's formation in 1949 it has grown to attract the support of well-known individuals like the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Mike Holmes. The charity has operated in Canada since 1969 and is currently running a children's village in Surrey, BC.

 Giving older workers a little help in getting back into the work force is the focus of a new program offered through Portage Learning and Literacy Centre.

On Tuesday at the Rotary Club luncheon at Canad Inns in Portage la Prairie, Cynthia Keith, who runs the POWER program at the Learning Centre, spoke to Rotary members about the program, which aims to help direct those over the age of 55 who want to re-enter the workforce. The Power program stands for Portage Older Worker Employment Resource program.

 Dr. Lisa Graham of the Heartland Naturopathic and Wellness Centre in Portage spoke with rotary Tuesday about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and providing a good example for the next generation.

Graham argued that living in North America we have it made. We have time, space, and this beautiful country where we can eat and live like kings and queens. But there are some urgent medical problems that we need to address, one of them being childhood obesity, 8 year olds with plaque in their veins who are popping cholesterol meds.

 Joyce Schrader, the executive director of the Portage Family Abuse Prevention Centre, addressed Rotary Tuesday on the province of Manitoba's Workplace Initiative to Support Employees (WISE) on Family Violence.

The WISE on Family Violence toolkit, said Schrader, offers employers information and resources to help employers recognize and support staff who are affected by domestic violence.

The RCMP Regimental Ball took place yesterday at Canad Inns where the RCMP celebrated with residents at the Portage Curling Club.

The event, which is put on every year to raise money for the youth and was sponsored by the MLCC and the Royal Bank, gave residents the opportunity to interact with each other and establish better community relationships in a formal environment.

 District governor Eva Vida spoke to rotary club on Tuesday about the state of rotary and the message for the 2011-2012 year.

Vida, who governs district 5550 which covers northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, got a chance to meet with Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee at a district governor's training session in San Diego recently. At the training session Banerjee unveiled his theme for the 2011-2012 year, which is 'to reach within to embrace humanity'.

 Royal Canadian Mounted Police across the country are focused on youth and that's just fine with Central Plains RCMP community liaison officer Shannon Neff.

"We have a high priority with youth," Neff said, while speaking to the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday. "We think it's really important engage with youth and spend time with them and to have a positive relationship with them."

 Jennifer Sarna, executive director of the Portage Regional Recreational Authority (PRRA) was the special guest speaker at Tuesday's Rotary Club luncheon.

Sarna kicked off her presentation by telling the Rotary Club about the changes and developments that the PRRA has undergone since it stopped being a department of the city. Though both the city and RM still fund the PRRA, Sarna said it is growing and developing as a non-profit business with a vision to encourage community-wide participation in recreational sports.

 Larry Muirhead, chair of Habitat for Humanity's Portage la Prairie chapter and former president of the Portage Rotary Club, spoke with the club at a luncheon Tuesday.

Muirhead's talk focused on the changes to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. With the Winnipeg chapter of the organization becoming a regional branch Muirhead said the number of homes being built in Manitoba should increase.

 Orvil Cairns was the guest speaker at Tuesday's Rotary luncheon.

The local real estate agent took the opportunity to speak about the booming housing market, while addressing some questions from his fellow Rotary members.

Affordable housing, bidding wars and the future of the housing market were hot topics during the talk.

Cairns is a member of the Portage Rotary Club.

 Executive Director of Portage and District Recycling, Ferdi van Dongen, was the Rotary Club's guest speaker on Tuesday afternoon. Van Dongen took the opportunity to update Rotary members on the issue of recycling in rural Manitoba.

Portage District and Recycling, a not-for-profit contract company, started in 1989 and is one of the largest recycling businesses in rural Manitoba, offering recycling services to more than 75 communities, towns and rural municipalities across south western and central western Manitoba. Portage District and Recycling operates three recycling plants out of Portage, Dauphin and Virden.

 Stephen Maybury, the CEO of Southport Aerospace Centre, addressed a Rotary Club meeting Tuesday at Canad Inns where he was able to discuss new development going on with the company.
 Claire Bourgois, from France, is visiting Portage la Prairie this summer working as an intern with a number of organizations.

She was seen at the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation annual general meeting on Friday as she is also interning with the PCRC.


Manitoba's current flooding situation has temporarily washed away Saturday's (May 14th, 2011) planned RCMP Gala.

The Portage la Prairie RCMP and the Portage Rotary Club sent out a joint press release Tuesday to announce that due to the local flood emergency that has arisen this week, the Rotary Club and the RCMP decided to postpone the event.

"With the flood affecting many people in our area and with many people sandbagging and helping others," the release said, "both the Rotary and RCMP committees for the gala agree that this event needs to be postponed."  

The Rotary Club aims to announce a new date when it is set but that date will depend on the availability of the Air Command Band, which is the main entertainment for the event.  

Ticket holders for Saturday's postponed gala are asked to wait for the new date to be announced in hopes that it will work for ticket holders.  

Refunds will be given to those who need them after the new date is announced.

Courtesy of the Portage Dail Graphic



La Verendrye School students will enjoy added safety now when playing sports in the school gym with the help of some local donations.

At the school Tuesday, a number of community groups provided funding to help the school purchase eight thick mats that will be positioned against the walls in the gymnasium to provide a cushion for students who are playing basketball and other sports. The addition of the mats will help enhance student safety at the school.


Food was on the minds of many of the Portage Rotary Club members who attended the recent luncheon with guest speaker Lynda Lowry, chief operating officer/general manager of Food Development Centre.

Rotary Club members gathered at Canad Inns Tuesday to hear how the local facility is advancing in the variety of foods it makes, as well as in the actual size of the location in northeast Portage la Prairie.

 Portage la Prairie area residents who might find they have some paper back or hard cover books, old music CDs and VHS & DVD movies that are collecting dust would be interested in this event.

The Portage Rotary Club is looking for donations for its first ever Gigantic Used Book, Magazine, CD Music and Movie Sale.

The Rotary Club of Portage and the Portage Mall has teamed up to put on a huge used book, music and movie sale at the Portage Mall from June 8 to June 12.


Photo: by Angela Brown... Bill Smith, left, and Jack Wilson, with Third Quarter, visited Portage Rotary Club at Canad Inns Tuesday to discuss a pilot project to match up older

 A project that has started up in Portage la Prairie hopes to help older workers match up with employers looking for help.

Bill Smith is program director with Third Quarter, a national program made available through the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce. He spoke to Portage Rotary Club at Canad Inns Tuesday about the program.

Smith said many people over the age of 50 who are either retired or approaching retirement are often looking to find a position in the workplace where their work skills and experience are appreciated.

Through Third Quarter, a pilot project that is funded by the federal government, prospective older workers can hook up with employers via the Third Quarter website.

The Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie and the city's RCMP are teaming up again this year for the 2nd Annual Portage RCMP Gala Evening on May 14 at the Canad Inns.

Last year was the first in many years that the event took place in the city and the Rotary's chairman for the event, Wayne Klippenstein, was pleased with the results. "Last year was the first time the rotary club and the RCMP partnered for this kind of event and it was very successful," Klippenstein said. In fact, the evening was so well received that popular demand brought it back.

 The Portage Rotary Club invited retired Assiniboine Park Zoo director, Doug Ross, to speak at its weekly lunch meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

"I always feel like I'm from Portage," said the Charleswood Rotary Club member whose parents were born and raised in this city.

Ross spoke about the multi-million dollar expansions that are taking place throughout Assiniboine Park.

 Portage la Prairie Rotary will be holding a sale starting Wednesday. (JUNE 8, 2011)

The used book, magazine, CD and movie sale runs from June 8 to 12 at Portage Mall.

The event takes place between 1 pm and 8 pm Wednesday to Friday; Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm.

Tuesday's Rotary meeting was all about community. The club heard from representatives from the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation about their work to better Portage. The club also made an impromptu decision to donate to the crisis in Japan.

Donny Todoruk, the club's president, started the meeting by asking members to consider what the club was capable of giving. "My question to our club is this," Todoruk said, "Can we contribute? Do we want to contribute? What can we contribute?"
Dear Fellow Rotarians of District 5550

Attached is a letter from District Governor, Harvey Hanson, regarding the current relief efforts underway by Rotary in connection with the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Rotary District 5550 is also committed to help in this humanitarian effort.  Please read the Governor's letter and discuss this at your next Club Meeting. 

On behalf of DG Harvey Hanson, thank you.

John Borst
District 5550 web-editor 

Follow this link: Disaster Relief Letter


 The Portage Rotary Club is getting ready to launch another book sale in lieu of their recent sale being a huge success.

The Rotary Club is calling out to all Portagers and surrounding RMs to donate any used books, CD music and movie for the sale of which the Rotary Club and the Portage Mall are running in conjuction.

The sale will take place starting Wednesday Nov. 16 to Sunday Nov. 20 at the Portage la Prairie Mall.

From Wednesday to Friday, the sale goes from 1 p.m to 8 p.m. On Saturday, the sale goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. while Sunday's sale lasts from noon until 4 p.m. Sunday will also be a discount day.



people pat cherneskyDistrict Governor Pat Chernesky discusses Rotary International's goals

Members of the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club have a clear idea of the the international organization's goals, following last night's meeting. The meeting featured a presentation by district governor Pat Chernesky of the Nipiwan, Saskatchewan Rotary Club. She notes while much of Rotary's goals have remained the same, it's important to make sure each club's on the same page.

"There's a different international president every year, and that president sets his goals and expects districts to follow behind. The goals do change every year. Polio's been a goal for a long time but sometimes, depending what's happening in Rotary, the goals are prioritized differently. We need to bring that to each district, to each club and hopefully they'll follow and pursue those goals."

One of the highlights of Chernesky's presentation included an update on the eradication of polio. Chernesky says while the disease used to be much more prevalent, the efforts of those across the world have started to pay off.

"It's a big deal. Like I said, it's a cornered rat right now in the most difficult corners of the world to eradicate. We're really hoping it's going to be eradicated."

She notes many of the countries that were previously struggling with vaccinations have started to become more comfortable with the immunizations.

She also discussed the vaccinations in Canada. While she says about 80 to 85 per cent of Canadians are currently vaccinated for polio, they're hoping to see more than 90 per cent immunized. She explains one of the challenges they're facing is the lack of education regarding immunizations, and some of the myths surrounding vaccines. She encourages anyone with questions regarding the safety of immunizations to talk to a health professional.

Another one of the goals mentioned was the need for more members. Chernesky says while they've seen fewer members over the last few years, things are starting to pick up.

"We're seeing here that I think we're picking up a little bit. Clubs are very concerned about keeping members they have and about bringing in new ones. They're working very hard. I said one member per club, so 47 (in the district), I think we'll do better, I have a feeling. This club is awesome, this club is a wonderful club in the community. They're very visible and they're doing a super job."

On top of getting some new members, they're also hoping to attract younger members. Chernesky explains that while the youth may be our future, they're also our present.

"One of our Rotary presidents said 'We always say youth are our future.' He said 'He said youth are our now, we need to get them involved now, in service, in volunteerism and all of things that they're doing'. This club's doing great in terms of many, many youth programs and leadership training in youth and so on."

Chernesky's district includes most of Saskatchewan, all of Manitoba, and northwestern Ontario.



people bill ryan peter fedakBill Ryan and Peter Fedak were this week's presenters at Rotary

Members of Portage la Prairie's Rotary Club know a little bit more about the partnerships behind Southport's flying training school. Allied Wings site manager Bill Ryan and Retired Commandant Peter Fedak presented at Rotary's weekly luncheon yesterday, and Fedak says their main message was how successful their partnership between Allied Wings and the Royal Canadian Air Force has been.


"Since 1992 it's been operating and now it's come to maturity with Allied Wings under the CFTS contract to show that it can work with a government, military and civilian partnership. It can work very well and produce excellent results and that was the main message here, to show how the partnership here works and has for the last 22 years."


Meanwhile Ryan explains that the partnership between the Royal Canadian Air Force allows maximum efficiency for their programs.


"It's the efficiencies of business as opposed to the government. The government's very good at governing, but you can see more and more that the government is turning to business for their efficiencies and their best practices to help them provide a service at a cost-effective price."


Ryan says about 80 per cent of pilots with the Royal Canadian Air Force get their wings at Southport, adding it's important for them to share their success with the community.


"The importance is that we're a big part of the community. We provide a lot of jobs and it's important that they know what we do and to see how important it is. Like I said, it's 80 per cent of the Canadian Forces pilots. There's a lot of people around here that don't know that and a lot of people around Canada that don't know that. It's important not just for jobs, but for what happens here."


He adds Allied Wings will be at Southport until 2027, and they're hoping their success will ensure their involvement in any future programs.



logo fort la reine museum

The Portage la Prairie Rotarians heard a presentation about the Fort la Reine Museum at their weekly luncheon yesterday. Executive director and curator Tracey Turner says it was an exciting opportunity to share with the club members some of the museum's successes and hopefully get a bit of feedback about where the community would like to see Fort la Reine go in the future. Turner notes they've added several major implementations to their programming over the last few years, including the addition of temporary exhibitions which make the museum a more dynamic place with new things to see all the time. She says they also have new programming in terms of interpretive tours which focus on four different themes: the fur trade, the building of a nation, the pioneer and settlement of the Portage district, and social movements.

Turner notes they've implemented parallel programming as well, adding there are lots of small events throughout the summer in which folks can participate. She says at this point they've already doubled and are approaching tripling their admissions from two years ago. Turner notes in these difficult economic times when a lot of museums are struggling in terms of attendance, Fort la Reine is actually building its capacity and its base. She adds that means they're doing something right and they can keep on trying new things.

Turner says the museum not only establishes significant employment opportunities for young folks, it also injects a lot of money into the local economy by attracting tourists and travelers to Portage. She notes people who come to the museum stay and spend money at hotels, campgrounds and restaurants, so Fort la Reine is an important part of the cultural hub for visitors to our region.



people cody buhlerCody Buhler

The Portage Rotary has purchased the naming rights for the disc golf course which was recently approved for Island Park.

Local radio personality Cody Buhler, who's been spearheading the disc golf project, spoke to Rotarians today at their regular weekly luncheon. Buhler says he wanted to share with the members of the club how things have been progressing, noting the project is going very well. He says they've seen a lot of support from the community, including from business owners who are stepping up to sponsor holes.

Buhler adds they have six sponsors confirmed and contributions have come in from some private donors, along with a grant from the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation.

He says their goal is to raise approximately $10,000, which would be enough to put everything in the ground. Buhler notes if things go according to plan, they hope to have enough funding to start installing the disc golf course this year.



places rotary Astronaut Jeremy Hansen 2 july292014

The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club welcomed a very special guest today to their weekly luncheon. Future Canadian Astronaut Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremy Hansen spoke to the group about his preparations for a mission to the International Space Station.

Hansen, who has been doing some additional helicopter flight training at 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School over the past few weeks, says it's great to bring his story to communities like Portage la Prairie

"It means a lot to me, because society really invested in me. There were a number of people, teachers, my parents, the Air Cadet program was a huge one, but there was a number of people who invested in my when I was young and gave me the skill sets I needed. Picked me up when I needed some support. Told me things were possible. So I just wanted to share that message with young Canadians and just let them know that we're very fortunate as Canadians."

Hansen says the message he wanted to share, especially with many on the youngsters who were in attendance, was one of perseverance.

"There are always challenges. It's a great thing to discuss, especially with kids because everybody faces them. So for me, I faced a lot of challenges going through pilot training, In fact, when I joined the Forces, I was not allowed to even apply for pilot. It took me about 2 years, I had to (originally) pick a different trade. Then after 2 years, persistence paid off and I was able to eventually switch to pilot. So not everything just falls in your lap. Sometimes you have to work for it."

Hansen has been a part of the Air Force for 20 years and training in the Canadian Space Agency for 5 years. He, along with his wife and children currently reside in Houston, Texas, where he participates in a training program with NASA. it's expected that Hansen will likely be sent on a mission to the space station, within the next five years.



people craig bennett jean marc nadeau july082014L to R: Jean Marc Nadeau and Craig Bennet

There's a new president at the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club. Craig Bennet officially took over from outgoing President Jean-Marc Nadeau at yesterday's meeting. Bennet says he's excited to be stepping into the role, noting he's ready for the challenge.
"I'm looking forward to (the year). Jean March did an amazing job." says Bennet. "We can try to make some decisions with where we want to go, in the year ahead and see where it takes us."
Bennet says this could be a year, where the Portage Rotary Club expands its focus on its already strong community fellowship endeavours.
"This year, is possibly a year for us to perhaps to step back and not push as hard in the fundraising. Maybe pursue more of the fellowship activities. We're still looking at getting new people in and increased membership. New people in with new ideas and hopefully starting up some new joint ventures, as well."


places rotary prra park sign june262014

The Portage Rotary Club is teaming up with the PRRA once again, this time at Republic Park.

President Jean-Marc Nadeau says this partnership actually stems from the very inception of the park, because Rotary was involved at the on-set years ago. Nadeau notes they're renewing that partnership and moving forward with naming rights to the park after committing $50,000.00 for upgrades and enhancements. He says the new sign is not only beautiful but much easier to see from River Road, so they're pretty happy with it. Nadeau notes the Rotary Club is all about being involved with kids and giving them opportunities for growth, leadership and sports, adding Republic Park speaks to all of those things.

Mayor Earl Porter says the city is very fortunate to have a club which is so community minded and helps fund projects like these. Reeve Kam Blight of the RM of Portage echoes those sentiments, noting the Rotarians aren't satisfied with just staying the course but they strive to be better and do more. Blight adds no sooner had the club paid off its commitment to the PCU Centre than they were immediately looking for other ventures to support




The Portage Rotary Club and the Fort la Reine Museum teamed up yesterday to help spread the message of giving peace a chance, by holding the first ever Peace Ride.

The motorcycle ride began at the museum and travelled to Austin, Treherne, and St. Claude before returning to the museum. Rotary Club past president Wayne Klippenstein says planning a new event like this came organically.

"Not a lot of thought went into the fact that it was a John Lennon exhibit, it was just the fact that the word peace, Rotary, rock and roll, motorcycles, it all kind of just melted into a concept. Looking at the participation we already know we made the right decision."

He says the Rotary Club has their usual fundraisers each and every year, but this allowed them to venture into new territory.

"It's something new it terms of a fundraiser. The partnership with the Fort la Reine Museum is also very exciting. To come together, put together a motorcycle ride with some good laughs, some good comradery in conjunction with an exhibit of the calibre that we have in town here, it's just exciting for everyone."

Almost 40 bikes were on hand to take part in the inaugural event, and Klippenstein says he was very happy to see the support they received. With that, he notes they plan to make this an annual event.





rotary cheque3 jun092014Rotary President Jean-Marc Nadeau hands the final instalment of the club's commitment to PRRA General Manager David Sattler. They're joined by City Councillor Brent Budz

A five year commitment by the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club was fulfilled this morning at the PCU Centre. The final instalment of the club's $120,000 contribution to the project was presented to the PRRA. Rotary President Jean-Marc Nadeau presented the $36,500 cheque, and says the accomplishment feels great.

"It's five years that we committed to this, and we did in four. Our members have worked extremely hard to get this done early, so that we could move on to other projects, but yet enjoy the"

rotary cheque2 jun092014The five Rotary presidents who oversaw the club's commitment to the PCU Centre -- Guy Moffatt, Donny Todoruk, Brad Poole, Derek McCutcheon, and Jean-Marc Nadeau

Nadeau isn't surprised Rotary finished the commitment ahead of schedule.

"I've never been involved in a project with Rotary in my last four years as a member where we failed. Of course, now I'm setting up the bar, but our members have committed to this, and we've got some great accountants in our club that wanted to get it done early, and we did."

rotary cheque1 jun092014Those attending the cheque presentation -- City Councillor Brent Budz, Rotary's Chris Tompkins, Guy Moffatt, Kathy Belton, Derek McCutcheon, PRRA GM David Sattler, Rotary's Brad Poole, Jean-Marc Nadeau, Donny Todoruk, RM of Portage Citizen Rep Patricia Hoyse, and Rotary's Preston Meier

PRRA General Manager David Sattler calls Rotary's support significant.

"Without their support, the building wouldn't be here. And that goes to all the founders and builders of the centre. This is a huge opportunity for Portage. We get new opportunities coming in all the time, requesting to see the facility for larger events. We're going to experience in 2015 with the RBC Cup, which is a national event, where all the eyes will be focused on Portage for about ten days. Without their support, we wouldn't have that."



Written by Brenden Harris on Wednesday, 04 June 2014

people leisa miness jun072013CMHA Executive Director Leisa Miness

The Portage la Prairie Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has set their plans for Clara Hughes' arrival in the city. During Tuesday's rotary meeting, Executive Director Leisa Miness discussed some of the things that will be happening during the June 13th event.

"What's going to happen is she's going to come into town and we're going to have a huge gala fundraiser supper for her. She's going to be the keynote speaker. We'll have other guests throughout the evening, Rachel Ashley's going to be there singing her hit song 'I Know'. We're also having a silent auction, door prizes and Bell is doing lots of giveaways. It's going to be a fun-filled evening."

She says on top of being a great evening to learn more about mental health, the event also marks an important step to reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.

"I think when people see that there's someone out there like Clara talking about mental health and reducing stigma, it's going to open up that door to sort of say 'Yes, it's okay to talk about, I'm not alone and I can get help'."

Miness adds that it's important for the community as a whole to take steps to recognizes mental illness, due to the amount of Canadians that will experience mental health challenges in their lives.

"It's always important when you're trying raise awareness around mental illness and mental health, and decrease stigma as well. You need to remember that one in four Canadians will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime, so this impacts many, many people."

The stigma around mental health issues and awareness has been one of the issues the Canadian Mental Health Association has been working to address. While Miness says there has been progress in the fight, there's still more that needs to be done.

"I think we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I think we're definitely in the right direction. We're definitely getting there and people are listening. This community is very caring, very open and very responsive."

Hughes will be arriving in Portage during the Clara's Big Ride event on June 13th, with the event beginning at 6:00 in the evening.



Linda whitfield rotaryLinda Whitfield presents Manitoba's new brand in Portage la Prairie

Members of the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce have received on update on Travel Manitoba's plans for tourism. Linda Whitfield of Travel Manitoba presented to the groups during their joint meeting on Tuesday, providing an update on their latest campaign brand dubbed 'Canada's Heart - Beats'.

During her presentation, Whitfield compared their brand to Portage la Prairie's 'City of Possibilities' brand, saying Manitoba was also a province full of potential. One of the focuses of the presentation was emphasizing that the campaign aimed to address all aspects of the province.

"I think by getting Winnipeggers out to see the rest of Manitoba, for one, in addition to these videos on different aspects of the province and it covers all regions, so we're not just promoting Winnipeg attractions. We're really encouraging Winnipeggers to get around Manitoba and also for people in other provinces to see not just Winnipeg, but every region of the province."

She notes all communities across Manitoba could see the benefit of the initiative by working with Travel Manitoba to promote their area as a possible tourists destination.

"I think in every region in the province there are opportunities to capitalize on those things. The student and youth market for example doesn't apply just to Winnipeg, it applies to every area so there's potential there. New comers to Canada, there's potential there. I think by knowing what we're doing and leveraging our efforts on the national and international front, that can certainly have dividends for every region."

Whitfield notes the interest in the Tourism interest has increased since the recession in 2008, and says they're anticipating a five per cent increase in tourism in the province over the next few years.

"In 2014 and 2015 the conference board predicts that as economic conditions improve --ever since the low of 2008 they're continuing to improve-- they expect that rate of (tourism) growth will continue for the next couple of years at least."

Manitoba started their latest branding earlier in the spring, replacing their previous 'It's Manitoba Time!' campaign



people luc imperiali copyPortage Rotary Club exchange student Luc Imperiali at this week's Portage la Prairie School Division board meeting

From the hills of Switzerland to the prairies of Manitoba.

That's the journey Luc Imperiali has been on after becoming an exchange student at Portage Collegiate Institute. He says it's been quite the experience so far and he's enjoying seeing all the sites of the province. He adds he's really enjoyed everyone Portage la Prairie has to offer.

"Portage has a lot of opportunities, they have a lot of great things. There's a public park, a big airport, the PCU Centre for playing hockey in the winter, they organize a lot of great things here."

Imperiali adds he had been to Canada before a couple of years back on a family trip, although that visit was to the west coast, so seeing the east coast and the prairies has been amazing.

He says before he returns home on July 12 he hopes to get a tour of Southport as he has an interest in aviation, as well as taking in the complete graduation experience, which he describes as "like the Hollywood films" including the cap throwing tradition and prom.


Local Rotarians welcomed the chair of the Community Foundation of Portage and District at this week's luncheon yesterday. As the Foundation turns 20 on June 2nd, Lou Antonissen talked to members about how far the organization has come. He says the formation of the Foundation is one of their biggest highlights.
"Beyond that, the growth of the foundation has been exponential in the last 20 years. People come to our door every day, every second day with cheques, with money to add to the fund which enables us to give back to the community"
He says a new office at the William Glesby Centre is also a part of their growth.
"We never had an office before, and it's part of growing up. You now, we started  with all volunteers, we have a full time executive director now. We're in the midst of hiring an assistant for her. But it's just the question of the organization growing up , we needed to have a store front visibility for people to be able to come in and identify".
He adds as the Community Foundation has gotten bigger, people in the community don't now what the organization is all about and speaking with Rotarians was an educational chance.
Member of  CFPD have organized an anniversary celebration dinner on the evening of Monday, June 2nd at the William Glesby Centre. They would like all supporters of the Foundation to join them for a memorable evening.
Tickets for the anniversary celebration are $50 per person. To order your tickets (or to reserve a table) call the Glesby Centre at 204-239-4848.



Members of the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club had a chance to learn a little bit more about a local organization that aims to help those new to the country become established. Don Boddy of the Newcomers’ Welcoming Centre at the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre spoke to the club during their weekly meeting, outlining their work with those immigrating to Canada. Boddy says he was interested in the work, noting the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.

"I'm really fascinated by a majority of people, and you multiply that by a million when you meet people from around the world and hear their stories. The idea of helping people come to Canada or be established in Canada really excited me. I worked in the learning centre before, so it was good to go back."

He notes they help those new to Canada face a variety of challenges during the immigration process. He says everything from daily tasks to paperwork are faced by those coming to the country.

"Loneliness is a big issue and helping them really connect to the community and establish friendships. Many of them are here without family or supports. The other things is helping them get through all of the documentation and staying up to date with all of the processes of getting established in Canada. The there's the stuff that you and I face like jobs, housing, family issues and all of that stuff."

Boddy says the organization helps between 75 to 100 people on the average month, addressing everything from English speaking skills to driving. The newer program only has two directly involved with the centre, and he says they're hoping to have some volunteers help them to address the needs of their clients.

"Anybody who enjoys people, there's all kinds of things that people can volunteer with. If you like to do office kind of work, we can use you there. If you like connecting with new families, teaching English as a second language or teaching people how to shop, what groceries to buy or how to prepare food, there's many opportunities. Anything that they like, we can probably use them as a volunteer."

He says it's always exciting to see how excited their clients are to receive the help to become established in the community.



PEOPLE SHERRIE PALMERSherrie Palmer discusses the Compass program at Tuesday's Rotary meeting

Members of the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club now know a little bit more about the work done at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba Compass Residential Youth Program in Southport. The program's supervisor, Sherrie Palmer, presented to the club, outlining the work of their program. During her presentation, she noted the eight week program aimed to stop the addictive behaviours of youth who had voluntary attended the program.

The first two weeks of the program focus on the assessment of the young people, in order to ensure they don't need any additional supports or should be enrolled in another program. The following four weeks, focus on giving the youth the proper tools to combat their addictions. For the final two weeks, those involved in the program prepare to return to their home communities by taking a look at the resources available to them, and ways they can prevent a relapse.

Palmer notes one of the reasons they're able to run the successful program is the inclusion of a teacher in their facility. While the youth continue to focus on overcoming addiction, they're able to continue to pursue education.

"Most of the clients that we see, one of the primary things that will help them when they go home is to be involved in school. Our teacher plays a huge role in helping them get back on track. Sometimes we have kids that are able to maintain school, they bring their school work with them and the teacher helps them not to get further behind."

Palmer notes rather than aiming to address the community's issues as a whole, they focus on those near the individual who can help to ease their transition to an addiction free lifestyle.

"We might have a young person coming from a community, and we're going to spend a lot of time talking with them, working with their family and with other people. We'll talk to their school and maybe a social worker or counsellor involved and look at ways they can transfer back to their home community."

She adds they've had ongoing success with their program with youth across the province, and says addictions programs outside the province have taken notice.

"This is a relatively small world in terms of people who provide addiction services, so over the years we've had programs from other provinces give us a call and say 'We're struggling with this' or 'We hear that your doing that and we're wondering what you can tell us. We have had other provinces come and visit us to learn more about the program to see if there are things that they can take away to improve their program."

Palmer also notes their location has helped to create a more successful program. While addictions services based in Winnipeg or other communities could allow participants to get on a bus at a moments notice and leave, the location in Southport means a long walk to the highway. She says this means clients aren't able to leave the area spontaneously.


Maureen Owens, regional outreach manager, spoke at the Rotary Club's weekly lunch meeting on Tuesday, March 25 at the CanadInns about different types of heart disease and strokes as well as risk factors and preventative measures. (Johnna Ruocco/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Maureen Owens, regional outreach manager, spoke at the Rotary Club's weekly lunch meeting on Tuesday, March 25 at the CanadInns about different types of heart disease and strokes as well as risk factors and preventative measures. (Johnna Ruocco/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Rotary Club got a lesson in keeping their hearts and brains healthy from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Maureen Owens, regional outreach manager, spoke at the Rotary Club's weekly lunch meeting on Tuesday, March 25 at the CanadInns about different types of heart disease and strokes as well as risk factors and preventative measures.

She said women are more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than men.

“Women are a little bit more vague with their signs and symptoms, so where men will have the central radiating chest discomfort, women may have more upper body discomfort, so into the arms, neck and jaw, so then it's not as recognizable that this is a heart attack so women don't recognize as soon,” Owens said. “Then when they get to the emergency room the same thing, sometimes they're not diagnosed as quickly as men because their signs and symptoms are more vague.”

She said the number one thing a person can do to lower their risk of having a heart attack or stroke is increase their physical activity, because it affects so many other risk factors.

“It helps you manage your blood pressure, your cholesterol, your stress, your diabetes, your weight,” she said.

But the other main preventative measure people can take is to quit smoking.

“That's a big one, the chemicals in cigarette smoke can increase your plaque build up in the arteries,” Owens said.

Owens was pleased to be able to speak at the Rotary meeting and bring HSF's message to more people.

“People don't always know that they can control their risk of developing heart disease and strokes, if we can get people thinking about that and making some small changes in their lifestyle, it can go a long way to preventing them and their family members from having to go through heart attack and stroke,” she said.

“(Heart and stroke) is one of the leading causes of death for men and women in Canada, and that 80 per cent of those deaths are preventable because of risk factors and lifestyle modifications.”



rotary lisavoth jason portage day careJ

ason Andrich-Arkley and Lisa Voth

Phase one of renovations at the Portage Day Care Centre are expected to be completed by the fall. That's according to Executive Director Lisa Voth, who spoke to the Portage Rotary Club at this week's luncheon.

She says the extra space in the facility will help the families currently in the waiting list for child care.

"It's going to add additional spaces for the community which is in desperate, desperate need at this point. And it just gives families choices, so licensed care, it gives them a place to have their children so they work, go to school, seek employment, and be a viable part of the community."

Voth adds the expansion of the facility will allow them to accept five or more children.

Project Manager Jason Andrich-Arkley was also a guest speaker at the Rotary Luncheon. He says the renovations at the Knights of Columbus Hall still have a long way to go.

"It really needs to be taken right down to the studs as they say, and totally upgraded. But once we can get through that in phase one, we'll have a completely clean environment for the kids."

Andrich-Arkley adds the estimated cost of the renovation is expected to be between $250,000 to $350,000.

Phase 2 of the renovation should completed in the next 2-3 years.



places rotary meeting jan282014Brianne Klassen and Quinn Ferris

Two PCI students were the guest speakers at this week's Rotary luncheon in Portage la Prairie.  Quinn Ferris and Brianne Klassen took part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp last August and spoke about this enriching experience to the lunchtime gathering.  Ferris says taking part in the RYLA camp was great, noting they covered such a wide range of topics and had the chance to participate in a number of fun activities.  Ferris notes it was a wonderful opportunity to learn leadership and discover your own potential as you leave high school and go into post-secondary education or start a career.  He adds the entire experience far exceeded his expectations.

Klassen says she also didn't expect half of what she got from attending RYLA and would definitely go back as a camp counsellor if she had the chance. She notes she's very thankful she had the opportunity to meet such great people, adding she feels like she has fifty-four new friends.  Klassen says they talked about everything during the camp, including subjects such as peer pressure and homophobia, and there were plenty of fun events like scavenger hunts and playing the Amazing Race.  Klassen adds the camp helps young people get comfortable with themselves, gain confidence, and learn about leadership.  

Ferris says it was wonderful to see your own potential and the difference that you can make in your community.  He notes it definitely set him up well going into his senior year, adding it drove him to make the most of his final year of high school and be the best he can possibly be


Brian Gilbert, president of MIG Insurance Group, speaks to the Rotary Club at their weekly lunch meeting on Jan. 7 about changes in the insurance industry and the impact the industry has on the economy. (Johnna Ruocco/Herald Leader/QMI Agency)

Brian Gilbert, president of MIG Insurance Group, speaks to the Rotary Club at their weekly lunch meeting on Jan. 7 about changes in the insurance industry and the impact the industry has on the economy. (Johnna Ruocco/Herald Leader/QMI Agency)

Brian Gilbert, president of MIG Insurance Group, spoke to the Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie on Jan. 7 at their weekly luncheon about the insurance industry.

The 34-year veteran of the industry spoke to the club about MIG’s business in Portage and the province, as well as the industry as a whole in Manitoba and Canada.

Gilbert emphasized that MIG is a Manitoba owned company, something that is becoming a rarer and rarer find.

“The industry 10 years ago was very fragmented and there was lots of small independent insurance brokers in every community across the country and that has really changed in the last few years, we’ve had more consolidation of large groups buying up big blocks of brokerages,” said Gilbert.

“Sometimes it’s nice having an owner in a community who still runs the business and I think they’re usually a large part of the community, they’re at Rotary, they volunteer for coaching hockey, all those sorts of things that make a community great, they contribute to, and not saying that it’s not the case when it’s a branch of another operation but I just think it’s a little different.”

But big changes in the industry aren’t enough to change Gilbert’s love of it.

“It’s a terrific people business, we interact with people all the time and that’s the best part of the business, everyday is a little different and I just really enjoy the interaction with all our customers.”


The Portage Rotary Club welcomed guest speakers Matthew Newham and Michelle Cudmore-Armstrong to speak on behalf of the Portage Plains United Way at their meeting Tuesday.(Jesse Marks/Portage Daily Graphic/QMI Agency)

The Portage Rotary Club welcomed guest speakers Matthew Newham and Michelle Cudmore-Armstrong to speak on behalf of the Portage Plains United Way at their meeting Tuesday.(Jesse Marks/Portage Daily Graphic/QMI Agency) 

The Portage Plains United Way has announced that they have 36 days to reach their fundraising goal of  $250,000, with 43 per cent raised so far.


The Portage Rotary Club welcomed guest speakers Matthew Newham and Michelle Cudmore-Armstrong to speak on behalf of the Portage Plains United Way at their meeting Tuesday.


“Every year, dollar requests from our agencies grow larger and our need for your support grows with that. Your contributions to us provide those in our community with the help they need,” said Newham, vice president of the Portage Plains United Way, “The generosity of this community truly astounds me. No matter what non-profit agency you’re donating to, they are very well supporting this community.”


The United Way, registered since 1968, relies heavily on the community for support, and receives only a small operating grant from the province of Manitoba. They must call upon the community for resources for distribution among their 10 agencies. So far they have raised $107,500 towards their goal.


“We bring the community together in support of essential agencies and programs. Together we create partnerships and investments, so that kids can be all that they can be. Our goal is to inspire healthy people and strong communities, and bringing people from poverty to possibility,” said Cudmore-Armstrong, executive director of the Portage Plains United Way.


Those that the United Way help are spread across the Central Plains region, and aren’t only limited to Portage la Prairie.


“We’re anywhere from Austin, Macgregor, St. Claude, Treherne, Elm Creek, and so on. We’re massive. That is my mandate, to get out to all of these communities and let them know that they’re also part of this fundraising team,” she added.


To donate to the United Way you can go down to their office at 20 Sask. Ave East, online at or by calling (204)857-4440.



people eileen warthe nov192013Eileen Warthe

The Portage la Prairie Rotary Club welcomed Eileen Warthe as their guest speaker for this week's luncheon.  Warthe, area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, says the shoebox campaign helps give kids hope all around the world.  Warthe notes there are so many heartwarming stories of children who have received shoeboxes, including one little girl in war-torn Bosnia who was living with hunger and need.  She says this child wanted to give up on going to school and give up on on life itself, adding one day the girl was very late getting to class because her runners were so worn out they no longer offered protection from the rain and cold.  Warthe notes the child was surprised to find her classmates joyful about receiving shoeboxes, and when they encouraged her to go get one for herself she asked why she would need a box since she had no shoes to put in it.  Warthe says when the child was finally coaxed to take a box, she began to weep because inside was a brand new pair of white shoes in her exact size.  She notes at that moment the girl knew someone loved her.

Warthe adds a boy from Russia received a small towel in his shoebox and it turns out he had been sharing a towel with six other children in his orphanage.  She says later,  after that child was adopted and taken to the United States, he saw the shoebox his new family was packing and remembered how one of those gifts had given him hope and changed his life.  

Warthe notes these kinds of stories motivate people across Canada to pitch in for Operation Christmas Child each year.  She adds even though most of them will never get to meet the kids who receive their gifts, they make a tangible difference by sharing love and meeting a need.  Warthe says although we never know what we're going to put in that box,  so often it seems to be just the right things that a child truly needs.  She adds each of us can indeed make a difference in our world.



people terry tully nov052013Terry Tully of Prairie Players

As Prairie Players prepares for their latest pproduction, the group is looking back on their history. Member Terry Tully was the guest speaker at yesterday's Portage Rotary Club luncheon, and says the group started with humble beginnings, but fans remember their work.

"We really appreciate the fact that people have enjoyed our past performances, and are looking forward to ones coming up. It's always gratifying to hear that they remember you from this particular show, and they'll name it. So, when you realize that some of these events stick in people's minds for that long, you realize the significance of what you're doing."

Tully says the actors are a close knit group.

"I like to think of Prairie Players as sort of a family. When you've been with them long enough, you get to know everybody. You get to the meetings, everybody cooperates towards one particular goal. It really is a wonderful organization."

He explains the group has grown significantly since its beginning.

"The history of the group started very humbly, and as it grew and grew, we moved from one facility to another, enhancing the technical side of our performances. Also, we're promoting our actors and directing workshops to get new directors, and different kinds of shows we're putting on."

Their latest production, a comedy called 'Rumors', runs November 13th to the 16th at 8 p.m. The final two productions will be in dinner theatre format. Tickets and more information is available at the Prairie Players website.




Portage la Prairie Rotarians heard from one of the club's exchange students at their luncheon this week.  Meagan Boswell says she first got involved with a club in Winnipeg as part of their short term exchange program a few years ago.  Boswell notes when the club she had originally been accepted into decided they didn't have the means to send out a student for a long term project, they went out of their way to find another club, and that's how she wound up with the Portage organization.  When she learned she'd be going to Brazil she was simultaneously excited and extremely apprehensive, noting living in a place where you don't know much of the language can be a real challenge.  Boswell adds she's always loved South America so that part was exciting, but was also worried because she only knew what it's like to live in Canada.  

She spent most of her time in a city called Campo Grande, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul located in the middle of the country.  Boswell notes one thing that surprised her was how similar it was to Winnipeg in many ways, adding it's very industrial.  She says one difference, however, is that even though people are very busy there they do take a lot of time out to relax as well.  Boswell notes her experience as an exchange student has helped her grow and mature, adding she learned a lot about herself and about so many cultures because she had the chance to meet people from all over the world.



people peggy may rotary oct222013

Peggy May

Southport's CEO was the guest speaker at this week's Portage Rotary Club luncheon.  Peggy May says she loves meeting the people who make it all happen in our community, noting it's also great to share a little bit of information about what they're doing out at Southport.  May says an economic impact study is underway, as a tender was awarded last month and they're expecting a draft by the end of December.  She notes the data they've been using when they go out to market their facilities and services is from 2006, adding that's fairly dated information because typically you'd like to have an economic impact study done at least every three or four years.  

May says it's important for her to get a good snapshot of what's happening at Southport and what their worth is to the wider community as well as the worth they can provide back to their own stakeholders.  She notes when they're looking for new commercial development, it's very important to be able to put a value on things and share that with potential customers.  

May adds they've recently completed a land use plan, which will be very helpful as they move forward.  She says some of their buildings are aged and will have to be removed, noting it's important as well to define areas for customers who may be looking for a specific piece of land.  May says they've had to plan how the roads will work and if some roads need to be eliminated, adding they also had to determine what was the most affordable way to deal with sewer and water systems. 


<img alt="Inspector Ron Russell speaks to the Rotary Club about his background and what’s new at the Portage la Prairie RCMP detachment on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Johnna Ruocco/Herald Leader\QMI Agency" src="" />

Inspector Ron Russell speaks to the Rotary Club about his background and what’s new at the Portage la Prairie RCMP detachment on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Johnna Ruocco/Herald Leader\QMI Agency

Portage la Prairie RCMP Inspector Ron Russell took some time to be the guest speaker at the Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday.

Rotary invited the top cop to talk about himself and the changing direction of the Portage RCMP.

“We’ve taken what was formally our General Investigative Section or GIS unit, they used to be five, they’re now four and its a crime reduction unit,” he said.

“So we’ve targeted them wherever we see crime trends or blips or where we get information, their focus is now to act on that and also run projects.”

Russell gave the example of the warrant apprehension round-ups. There have been two of these round-ups done in Portage, both Russell said have been highly successful.

He said there is a greater probability that someone with an outstanding warrant is going to re-offend compared to a person without any outstanding warrants for them.

“So if we’ve got somebody that’s doing break and enters or theft from autos and there’s an outstanding warrant for them, for us to get them off the street and before a judge again increases the likelihood that the judge is maybe going to put them somewhere for a little while and give the citizens of Portage a bit of a break in most areas.”

He said the detachment’s search warrants have increased 100 per cent from April to September of this year compared to the same time frame in 2012, and the amount of information they receive and can act upon has tripled.

Russell said he was happy to have the opportunity to speak to Rotary.

“This is the community that I serve and that the rest of the members serve, and it’s a good opportunity for us to share information about some of the things that we’re doing in the community,” said Russell.

“The people that I serve, a lot of them haven’t met me, they don’t know who I am, they don’t have an opportunity to ask me questions firsthand which I welcome the opportunity to address.”

He said it gives him the opportunity to push out the message about the great work being done by the detachment, both prior to and since he took command almost a year ago.

“We’ve got a very solid core of police officers here doing a great job for this community.”



rotary veg1 sep262012Last year's Rotary Vegetable Sale -File Photo

You can find vegetables for Thanksgiving dinner and support a good cause at the same time, later this week. The Portage Rotary Club is hosting their 35th Annual Vegetable Sale at the Portage Co-op parking lot, beginning Wednesday. Garth Clary gives more details.

"We're starting Wednesday at 2 o'clock until 5. Then we go Thursday, Friday from 9-7, and Saturday from 9-5. We're at the Co-op parking lot. We've got potatoes, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkins, Spanish onions, cooking onions, parsnips, turnips, broccoli and beets."

Clary explains the funds raised stay here in Portage.

"Most of it stays in our community. We do different things. We do the Rotary Fountain, and the Rotary park, our kiddies park there. It's a great place for the kids to play."

He feels community support has been great over the past 34 years, and hopes this year will be the same.

"Well, the community is fantastic. They've really supported us over the years and we really appreciate them coming out and getting their vegetable for the Thanksgiving dinner. It's a great way to have a great Thanksgiving dinner."



places rotary2 oct012013Ed Thompson

The district governor for Rotary International District 5550 was the special guest at the Portage Rotary Club's luncheon yesterday.  Ed Thompson says he's been busy visiting the 48 clubs in the district, which stretches from Saskatoon to Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, then east through all of Manitoba and into northwestern Ontario.  Thompson notes he has five clubs left on his tour and will finish with his own club in Winnipeg later this month.  He says he knows the Portage rotarians well and they're a great club who do a lot in this community.  

Thompson adds one of the Rotary organization's many projects on the go is the fight to eradicate polio around the globe by the year 2018.  He says even in Saskatchewan and Manitoba health professionals are worried about parents not allowing their kids to get vaccinated for polio, noting the concern is that someone could fly in from Pakistan or Nigeria---where the disease is still prevalent---and affect children here as well.  Thompson adds it's very important that they get the job done and eradicate polio to keep kids safe and healthy all around the world.  

He notes he's enjoyed his visit with the members of Portage's Rotary Club, adding you don't truly appreciate how great volunteers are until you go to places where there are none.  Thompson says it's a very poor existence when that occurs, so he encourages everyone to pitch in and become a volunteer.



 places rotary1 oct012013 copy

Two media sources in Portage la Prairie received recognition from the Portage Rotary Club at their meeting yesterday. Preston Meier of the Rotary Club explains they wanted to recognize media sources for their coverage.

"On behalf of the Rotary Club, it's an initiative that we have created to give back to our stakeholders. A lot of the projects and so on that we do, we couldn't get out there if we didn't have the support of the media, and that's why it's extremely important to us. To have Golden West Radio as one of the first recipients of these coins, it means a lot to us. They certainly give us a lot more back than sometimes we give them, so we certainly appreciate Paul here today, and being able to accept that award on behalf of Golden West."

Paul Harland, Station Manager for Golden West Radio in Portage says it's great to be recognized.

"It was pretty special for Golden West to receive that acknowledgement and we're proud to work with the Rotary here, they do great work in Portage. We're happy to partner with them and be a part of what they do and giving back to the community in all their efforts. It was special for Golden West to be a part of that today."

Clarise Klassen, outgoing Managing Editor of the Portage Daily Graphic accepted the award for the Graphic and says it was nice to be recognized for the coverage media outlets provide.

"It was a pleasant surprise to know we were receiving the first coins out of the 100 that Jean-Marc could hand out, the first ones he gave were to the media for the work that we do. I think CFRY as well as ourselves are good at promoting the community and what happens in there, and it's nice to see that recognized every once in a while."


Gordon Lilley, district registrar for land titles, gave a presentation to the Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about land titles. (Svjetlana Mlinarevic/Portage Daily Graphic/QMI Agency)

Gordon Lilley, district registrar for land titles, gave a presentation to the Portage Rotary Club on Tuesday about land titles. (Svjetlana Mlinarevic/Portage Daily Graphic/QMI)

Gordon Lilley, district registrar for land titles in Portage la Prairie, made a presentation to the Portage Rotary Club regarding changes to the register’s office.


Lilley announced the land register’s office will now be digital.

“It’s the way of the future, actually the way of the present,” he told the crowd.

The province recently granted a licence to a private sector provider from Ontario named Teranet, to digitize and maintain the Manitoba land titles system. The 30-year licence cost the province $75 million in an up-front payment with an annual licensing fee of roughly $3 million a year, according to Lilley.

“They announced they are spending approximately $30 million of their money, not tax payer money, to upgrade the land titles system,” he added, noting the government didn’t give up ownership of the data.

The new digital system will have no affect on the public, as it is just an administrative measure.

“You’ll still come to the Portage office to search or to pay for searches,” said Lilley.

The importance of a land title registry system, according to Lilley, is that it protects the homeowner in defining land boundaries, maintaining property rights and ownership.

“A good land title or registry system, in any part of the world, there’s two elements in it. You have to know the extent of title … where are the boundaries? Also the quality of the title, who owns this piece of land?,” he said, adding in a functioning economy “land is the true measure of wealth and without a land registry system commerce is hindered.”

“If you’re a lender and you want to facilitate wealth development in some way, who do you know who you’re lending to?,” said Lilley. “If you don’t have that, you have uncertainty.”

Manitoba has had some form of land registry since 1870


Luc Imperiali, 18, from Grenchen, Switzerland, is this year's Portage Rotary Club exchange student. (CLARISE KLASSEN/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Luc Imperiali, 18, from Grenchen, Switzerland, is this year's Portage Rotary Club exchange student. (CLARISE KLASSEN/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)


An exchange students from the Swiss Alps is adjusting to what life is like on flat land.

“I will enjoy it. It's a completely different from Switzerland, so, a new experience!” said Luc Imperiali, this year's exchange student for the Portage Rotary Club.

He shared his initial impressions of Manitoba at the club's meeting Tuesday, along with his goals for the year, and some information about himself and his home country.

While he enjoys math and physics, the 18-year-old high school graduate says he is taking advantage of some of the optional course offerings at Portage Collegiate Institute, such as interactive media.

“In this course, you get to learn how to make 2D animations, also I take pre-calculus so I refresh that knowledge so I don't forget.”

He also is looking forward to getting involved in local events and learning local sports, saying he has already tried flag football and is anticipating his chance to learn to play hockey.

“I played floor hockey in Switzerland and I can skate, but I've never put them together,” Imperiali said.

His goals for his time in Canada including expanding his English vocabulary, learning more about Canadian culture, seeing many places, meetings lots of great people and having a great year.

Imperiali said he doesn't want to miss out on any opportunity to try something new.

“I say to everything yes. To everyone who asks me to do something, I will say yes,” the engaging young man said following the meeting.

Imperiali comes from Grenchen, Switzerland, where his father owns an engineering company and is a Rotarian and his mother works part-time in health care. He also has a younger sister. He has a passion for airplanes, and even built a model plane that fly, and took a two-week course this summer on learning to pilot an aircraft. He also enjoys skiing, a typical Swiss pastime, but told Rotarians he has never tried a chocolate fondue.

Grenchen, population 16,000, is know for watchmakers Swatch and Breitling, as well as BMC bicycle brand. It is located at the foot of the Jura Mountains in the northwest corner of Switzerland. Its main language is German, although Switzerland has four official languages: French, German, Italian and Romansh (a combination of German and Italian). Switzerland has a population of 8 million people living on 41,285 square kilometres, while Imeriali pointed out its 250 times smaller than Canada.

When his exchange year is complete, Imperiali will fulfill his 300-day military requirement which is expected of all Swiss men, and then study to become a construction engineer in the fall of 2015.



people feb102013 jeanmarcnadeau

Jean-Marc Nadeau

The Portage Rotary Club is working on developing a new strategic plan.  President Jean-Marc Nadeau says the purpose is to focus the organization on specific goals for the next three to five years.  Nadeau notes the club's mandate is to raise funds, participate and give back to the community, adding they also work with youth.  He says Rotary members are being asked to consider what challenges the group will be facing for the next several years and how they will measure their success as they rise to meet those challenges.  

Nadeau notes he's worked with a number of different organizations in this community, and developing a strategic plan has helped each of them focus on the future.  He adds the Rotary Club is hoping to have a good solid draft of a plan by the first of October.  Nadeau says the more work you put at the front end of a strategic plan in terms of research and consultation, the better document you'll have for the long run.



places rotary lunch-aug272013Four new members were welcomed at yesterday's Rotary luncheon.

The President of the Portage Rotary Club is pleased to see their membership growing. The club welcomed four new members yesterday, and Jean-Marc Nadeau says it's great to have such a diverse group of people, which includes bank managers, teachers, and retirees. He explains the club is quite active locally.

"Recently at the LVS school, we helped donate the basketball courts for the kids to play there, and we've been involved with the bike path and walking paths around the community," he says. "All around it's a great organization."

Nadeau adds Rotary also has a strong international component, with thousands of members around the world. He explains the organization puts a great deal of focus on youth to help develop the future leaders of the community.


Lynne Parker shares at Tuesday's Portage Rotary Club meeting about Pals on the Playground (POP), a new program planned for three Portage la Prairie Schools this fall. (CLARISE KLASSEN/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Lynne Parker shares at Tuesday's Portage Rotary Club meeting about Pals on the Playground (POP), a new program planned for three Portage la Prairie Schools this fall.  

Things will be going POP outside three Portage la Prairie schools this fall.

A new playground program, called Pals on the Playground, is being offered at Fort la Reine, North Memorial and La Verendrye schools for five weeks this fall and another 12 weeks in the spring.

“We're starting in September and we will be at one of the three schools, one night a week at each school,” said co-ordinator Lynne Parker. “We'll be at the playground from 6-7:30 p.m. I've gotten donated a Canadian Tire Jumpstart community activity kit; it has $1,500 worth of equipment that the kids can use, like parachutes, juggling stuff. We're going to have some balls, hula hoops and skipping ropes.”

The “pals” part of the program will be positive adult volunteers who will get involved in the playtime and act as mentors and role models as well as supervisors, Parker described.

“There was some concern at one playground of a little bit of bullying going on. It's where the idea for it came from,” she said. “So if we can get some people together to volunteer to come out and spend that hour and a half and give these kids a chance to play with some positive interaction, and maybe with the kids who are doing the bullying, maybe we can get some positive stuff going on for them, too.”

Parker presented the new program as well as her work as the recreational supervisor for the local Recreational Opportunities for Children program, funded through the province's Children and Youth Opportunities department to the Portage Rotary Club Tuesday.

“I got a couple (volunteers) today from Rotary, which was awesome,” Parker said, adding all volunteers need a criminal record check and a child abuse registry check.

When asked why she is so committed to working with children, Parker said: “When you're around the kids, you are just energized when you see those smiling little faces. It just gives me the energy to go and play with them and know they aren't sitting at home watching TV or playing on a computer or possibly any other negative things that may be going on around the home.

“'It takes a village to raise a child' I think is so true. It's our responsibility as community members to work with these kids so we can break that cycle for some of them, give them the opportunity to see some positive stuff.”

The POP program is being funded by a Manitoba Justice Lighthouses grant. The same funding was used by Parker to offer a Pow aboriginal dancing program for children and youth last spring, something that was such as success it is being brought back to LVS later this fall.

“At the end of October, we'll start up with the Pow program again,” she said.

When speaking to Rotary, Parker hoped to interest Rotarians in volunteering their time on the playground as well as helping to purchase two bicycles and helmets to be given away at the end of the POP program in the spring.

Rotary president Jean-Marc Nadeau endorsed Parker's efforts, encouraging Rotarians to support worthwhile projects and people like Parker.

“With my past career, I saw those children going down the wrong path,” said Nadeau, an ex-RCMP inspector.

He expressed his hope that programs like POP and Pow will keep kids on a good path and “out of the ditch.”

To volunteer for the program, contact Parker at her office in the Portage Friendship Centre, 204-239-6333.



places-rotary lunch stephanie arnottPortage Terriers Director of Marketing Stephanie Arnott and Vice President Jeff Dubois
The Portage Terriers are ensuring their games are a true family friendly experience. The team has begun its season ticket drive for the new season and shared some of the details with the Portage la Prairie Rotary Club on Tuesday.

Club Director of Marketing Stephanie Arnott says they are trying to make sure there is something for everyone. She says the team would like to attract 400 season ticket holders and notes part of reaching that goal includes giving the people what they want, by providing an entertaining family oriented night out.

"From the marketing sense, it's giving the people what they want. Being entertained at the games at a reasonable price. Where they can bring their families and enjoy their night out."

Arnott says part of reaching that goal is the new sign up a friend promotion, where last year's season ticket-holders have the chance to sign up a new season ticket-holder and save $40.00 each off the regular season ticket price.

Though representatives with the club focused most of the discussion on this season, questions surrounding the 2015 RBC Cup were still on everyone's mind. Team Vice President Jeff Dubois says it's great to already see this level of excitement in the community.


Lt.-Col. Peter Fedak spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about some new initiatives taking shape with the Canadian Forces at 3CFFTS in Southport. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Lt.-Col. Peter Fedak spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about some new initiatives taking shape with the Canadian Forces at 3CFFTS in Southport. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMi

Lt.-Col. Peter Fedak of 3CFFTS in Southport came to speak to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about a number of new initiatives going on at the military flight training school.

Fedak, the commandant of 3CFFTS, had come to speak to the club approximately one year ago about his goals for his then new position, which included integrating members of the school as well as their families into the wider community.

He is continuing on that mission now one year later, where a Military Family Resource Centre has been created to help military families in particular to get involved in the community.

“When they arrive, what I’m trying to do is make sure that positive image of Portage la Prairie is portrayed, all of the resources are available to them to see what can be done, so they will choose to live here,” said Fedak. “For me that’s a win on both sides – my officers are here in town they’re not worried about that drive home, plus the families are close by and they get involved in all of our social events and everything as well.”

The Centre with its four staff will support families by connecting them with local resources such as jobs, schooling, childcare, fitness facilities, homes, and even social and mental health resources. It can be challenging for families who have moved from across the country and have a family member in the military who can be called away from home.

“I do send my pilots away for three or four days at a time, that’s always when something breaks, that’s always when something goes wrong, so where do you find those resources? You don’t have that family link here…but that’s where this MFRC and now the Morale and Welfare Services are there to give that support structure to help our families integrate into the community then to provide links to resources if they don’t have them already,” said Fedak.

Fedak also announced that there would be changes coming to the night flying program which sees helicopters flying over homes in the early hours of the morning.

“We have a lot of places we’re not allowed to fly at night just because as we fly along it does annoy people. It’s in the summer – when we start flying at 10:15 p.m. and they land at 2:15 a.m. that’s right in the middle of the night in the middle of the week. In the winter the problems go away because we’ll fly from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” said Fedak.

He notes that 3CFFTS is cognizant of the noise and the disruptions they make and are hoping to improve things.

“For us moving a couple of trips onto the Jet Ranger, which is much quieter, and also eliminating one trip all together. That’s three less trips, that’s 172 less flights on the 412 at night across the year, which will hopefully make an impact,” said Fedak. “We’re also going to look at changing where we go and try to find a place where they can always go at night…and that’s where they’ll always go to do their landings and circuits rather than picking random locations. Then we can just mitigate the noise impacts.”


Portage & District Recycling CEO Chris Tompkins speaks to members of the Rotary Club during Tuesday's meeting about what is new and exciting in the world of recycling. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Portage & District Recycling CEO Chris Tompkins speaks to members of the Rotary Club during Tuesday's meeting about what is new and exciting in the world of recycling. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club received insight into the ever expanding recycling industry when Chris Tompkins from Portage & District Recycling Inc. (PDRI) spoke at a lunch meeting, Tuesday.

Tompkins took over the role of CEO of PDRI in March from Ferdi van Dongen and had seen its reach continue to grow since his arrival.

“Portage Recycling is a private contractor and what we do is we contract with municipalities, such as the City and Rural Municipality of Portage, to offer them recycling collection and processing,” said Tompkins. “Everything we collect ends up being made back into new material.”

For those in the city curb side collection is available while others are able to take their recyclables to depots where it is picked up and then sorted and processed from the Portage la Prairie plant.

“Between our three sites Portage, Dauphin, and Virden we cover from the Saskatchewan border, to the North Dakota border, up to Lake Winnipegosis, and as far east as Portage. There is only a couple of places, Brandon being one of them, we don’t service, but we service the rest,” said Tompkins.

Since March PDRI has picked up a number of other communities to further expand its reach.

“Since I came in on March 1 we’ve picked up seven or eight different communities in the area, and it represents probably a 20 per cent increase in volume of material we’re handling as a company,” said Tompkins. “The staff is pretty excited about the growth, they’re pretty excited about how busy we are, and they take their jobs all pretty seriously. They are a great group of folks and it is exciting to see the company continuing to grow.”

Also, over the last number of years the industry has expanded to include recycling of products such as electronics, oil based and latex paints, batteries, and fluorescent lights.

“We collect paint – both oil based and latex paint – and they are processed. The oil based paint is turned into a fuel which helps preserve natural resources, of course, and the latex paint is processed back into lower grade latex paint that is sold in developing countries to help those people afford to be able to buy paint. That’s a pretty cool thing to have,” said Tompkins.

Both electronics and batteries are broken down into their basic components and the repurposed to make other products and batteries.

“Florescent lights are great, they last forever, but for a long time there was nothing to do with them but throw them in the garbage. We now recycle those. The mercury is reclaimed and they are made into new lights,” said Tompkins.

This has now been expanded to not only happen in the Portage la Prairie plant but in PDRI’s other plants as well.

“We just signed up our Virden and Dauphin facilities to collect paint and lights, they have never done that up there before. That’s going to start in the next couple of weeks so those parts of the province will be able to do that,” said Tompkins.

For Tompkins the goal of Portage Recycling over the next couple of years is to educate individuals living in their existing markets about recycling rather than continuing to expand into more communities.

“There aren’t a whole lot of different communities we can touch now that logistically make sense. But what we hope to do is educate those communities on here’s what you can recycle. If we take ‘x’ number of tonnes from the city of Portage today, let’s double that next year by getting more people involved, getting more people recycling,” said Tompkins. “Ultimately our goal is to keep product out of landfill and the more we can do that, the better we are.”


Nadine Birston and Natasha Repko from the Potato Festival spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about the organizing committee's plans to celebrate a decade of free family festivities on Aug. 10. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Nadine Birston and Natasha Repko from the Potato Festival spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about the organizing committee's plans to celebrate a decade of free family festivities on Aug. 10. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club heard from members of the Portage Potato Festival during Tuesday’s meeting where they discussed plans for the rapidly approaching event.

Co-chair Nadine Birston and organizing committee member Natasha Repko fielded questions from Rotarians as well as updated them on what the homegrown festival will have to offer in 2013.

“We’re at a point now where we’re just doing all the wrapping up of small details. We’re actually in a really good place this year, we’re quite pleased,” said Birston following the meeting. “I think that maybe after a few years we’ve gotten more organized. We know where we want to set up, now we are just working on the finer details of what it’s going to look like.”

In addition to the regular children’s entertainment, free fries, and many local musical guests the 2013 Potato Festival taking place on August 10 will feature a show by STARS Air Ambulance including take-off and landing, a dunk tank which will see local celebrities ‘dunked’ for the sake of fundraising, and a ‘Couch Potato’ team couch push around Island Park organized by Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Portage la Prairie. Musical guests will include a variety of local acts in addition to headliners Myles Goodwyn and April Wine.

Birston encouraged Portagers to keep an open mind – although organizers will try their hardest to keep the main stage outside - if inclement weather strikes festivities may have to be moved inside the PCU Centre.

“We are attempting to have a true outdoor festival with the main stage being outside, and we are having a beer gardens as everyone has been asking, but (we need) to be realistic about the forecast. If it’s not going to be friendly to us the Thursday before we would be making a decision as to whether or not we are going to have to pull it inside,” said Birston. “If we have to pull it inside we still hope that people appreciate that and still attend. It is a great line-up of musical acts that we are having that evening.”

The talk also focused on the volunteers at the Potato Festival as it takes 50 to 60 bodies to make it happen each year.

“We are really lucky our volunteers often end up taking more than one shift. That says to me that they must enjoy their day, we must be doing something right. They keep coming back every year, so that’s always nice,” said Birston.

Co-presenter Natasha Repko was a volunteer last year before joining the organizing committee which she said has been a very positive experience.

“It’s fun and it’s a great group of people. Definitely the thing I got out of it is feeling more part of the community and seeing that there is quite a few people in the community that want to come to this particular event because it is family oriented,” said Repko.

Go to or visit the Portage Potato Festival on Facebook for more info.


Co-chair Guy Moffat pictured at Tuesday's Rotary club meeting where he discussed the latest advances made by the Portage Bike and Walking Path Committee, including further details on work which is scheduled to be completed this year. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Co-chair Guy Moffat pictured at Tuesday's Rotary club meeting where he discussed the latest advances made by the Portage Bike and Walking Path Committee, including further details on work which is scheduled to be completed this year. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club learned at Tuesday’s meeting that Portage will see the first phase of the bike and walking paths come down this summer.

Guy Moffat, co-chair of the Portage Bik and Walking Path Committee, spoke to the club where he discussed what has been done so far and what is still to come.

Bike and walking paths were on the minds of many in the community last year after a series of community consultations took place. The cause also received a lot of funding including $26,000 raised by the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC) and the Rotary Club during the Jail and Bail event and a grant of $11,000 from Neighbourhoods Alive.

“We’ve had a lot of momentum in the last two years towards the bike paths and lanes. We’ve had community consultations and done a lot of work,” said Moffat. “We identified that we needed to come up with standards for the city of Portage la Prairie so that…there are standardized barriers keeping in mind first of all safety but also the aesthetics to help beautify the community.”

The committee is doing a tonne of research on what is done elsewhere in North America and in Europe in order to differentiate between bike paths and vehicle lanes when the roadways are being shared.

“We are working right now through provincial guidelines – because there is no standards out there. We’re looking at Europe as well to see what they have done in order to propose to the City something that can actually be adopted in the bylaws so that when there is any expansion going on that it is done uniformly. We don’t want to do it half way and we don’t want to do it wrong the first time,” said Moffat.

It is expected that work will be completed to lay crushed limestone for paths on the south end of Goodale Drive and in the North Memorial Park area near 6th Ave. E.

“The timeline is hopefully by early fall. We have been working over the last three months over many meetings to refine our policy and a program that we can actually take to the city so that the city engineers and mayor and council we be able to have a read over it and it will be acceptable for many years in the future. It’s going to be keeping safety and aesthetics of the community in mind,” said Moffat.

What the committee needs from the community right now are volunteers to assist in the laying of the limestone for the new paths in order to meet the July 30 deadline.

“That’s the main goal right now. We have to have that done by July 30, which we are on target to do. After that it is standardization of signage for the pavement as well as the bike lanes,” said Moffat. “We are going to be developing that into the fall and hopefully get paint on pavement in 2014 as long as all of our plans come together the way they should.”


Sarah McDonald, the outbound exchange student for the 2013-14 year, was one of a group who spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about the Rotary youth exchange program. McDonald will be going to Finland for 10 months and leaves in August. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Sarah McDonald, the outbound exchange student for the 2013-14 year, was one of a group who spoke to the Portage Rotary Club, Tuesday, about the Rotary youth exchange program. McDonald will be going to Finland for 10 months and leaves in August. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI

The Portage Rotary Club got a very interesting update during Tuesday’s meeting on the long term Rotary exchange program, which will continue to take place in 2013-14.

The club heard not only from some of the members of the exchange committee – Kathy Belton, Brad Poole, and Craig Bennet – but also heard from the outgoing student for 2013-14, Sarah McDonald, who will be going to Finland for 10 months in August.

“I’m just ready for it to happen and be graduated high school and ready to try everything when I get there,” McDonald told the club.

McDonald noticed change in sister who did a Rotary exchange to France a couple of years ago and was inspired to apply as well.

“I just think that as long as you’re willing to be open to everything that it will change you in the best sort of ways.,” said McDonald. “I know my sister came back with a greater sense of self, and a different culture, and she just absolutely loved her time there.”

She is looking forward to doing a number of different things once she arrives on August 4 including experiencing Finnish Christmas.

“I definitely want to learn as much of the language as I can, I definitely want to have a traditional sauna, and experience Finnish Christmas as well,” said McDonald. “I’m very excited about that as well. I have heard that I might be eating reindeer which will be a bit of a change from turkey.”

Youth exchange committee member Brad Poole mentioned the importance of the Rotary exchange not only for the students attending but for the organization as a whole.

“They are an ambassador for our country when they are out. When they return home they have a broader sense of the world, a broader sense of social responsibility, and a broader sense of the importance of friendly relations from country to country and person to person,” said Poole. “It’s often said that it’s hard to start a war with a friend, and at the heart of the Rotary exchange program is international friendship. That’s why it’s so important to ourselves, the club, and Rotary International.”

Committee member Kathy Belton mentioned the benefits for host families housing the incoming students from other countries, which her family has done three times in the past.

“We had three foreign students come at three different times and it just opened our eyes. First off, as to how international Rotary is, but also the different cultures that are out there, and to see the kids grow in maturity while they are here,” said Belton. “It opened our eyes as to what a wonderful country that we have and to be able to showcase it to somebody else and then to learn some of their culture.”

The Portage Rotary Club is still seeking host families for the incoming exchange student for 2013-14. The student, 18-year-old Luc Nicolas Imperiali is coming from Grenchen, Switzerland; he enjoys skiing, building wooden models, and traveling.

Contact any of the members of the youth exchange committee - Kathy Belton, Gayle Patterson, Kerry Unger, Brad Poole, or Craig Bennet – to become a host family or get more information on the Rotary youth exchange program


Portage and District Chamber of Commerce president Mathew Henderson took the time to speak to the local Rotary club, Tuesday afternoon, about what is up and coming with the chamber. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Portage and District Chamber of Commerce president Mathew Henderson took the time to speak to the local Rotary club, Tuesday afternoon, about what is up and coming with the chamber. (ROBIN DUDGEON/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

The Portage Rotary Club got an update on the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce during Tuesday’s meeting from chamber president Mathew Henderson.

“The Chamber is starting to really change our committees to put more of a focus on our strategic plan. The initiatives within the strategic plan are assigned to a specific committee where people are aware of what it is they are going to be doing as a board member of the Portage Chamber,” said Henderson.

He also discussed the proposed 1 per cent PST hike announced by the Province earlier this year. The Chamber feels it is not friendly to small business and could be managed more effectively.

“We put out a call to our members to get their feedback – most of it was negative based on the impact it will have on small businesses, and the buying power it will have on individual consumers - which will also push more people to go to United States where goods are already cheaper,” said Henderson. “The infrastructure fund is something where there is very little accountability and there is very little plan. The Chamber really wants more accountability and to better see where the funds are going.”

Another initiative that Henderson discussed with the Rotary Club was a partnership with the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (DOTC) to get more Aboriginal youths employed in Portage la Prairie.

“The DOTC has this initiative to bring a lot more of their younger people identified between the ages of 18 and 24 into the workplace and be work ready for employers within the Portage area,” said Henderson. “We are working with them to identify different businesses that are looking for employees within that skill set.”

The Chamber is now looking to collect resumes from the youths to pass on to local businesses.

“They can identify whether or not the skill sets that are out there is something that will help fit a need for them,” said Henderson


Doug Pedden and Craig Bennet presented to their fellow Rotarians during Tuesday's meeting where they discussed changes to funding formulas of the Rotary Foundation which will allow districts to better decide where funds will be spent. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)

Doug Pedden and Craig Bennet presented to their fellow Rotarians during Tuesday's meeting where they discussed changes to funding formulas of the Rotary Foundation which will allow districts to better decide where funds will be spent. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE GRAPHIC/QMI Agency)


The Portage Rotary Club heard from two of its own at Tuesday’s meeting where they discussed changes to the funding formula of the Rotary Foundation.

“We were talking about the Rotary Foundation which is a big part of Rotary International. What it is, is Rotary has its own foundation and they use it to build communities around the world for different projects in the third world and in local communities,” said Rotary member Doug Pedden who spoke alongside Craig Bennet. The two are the Foundation directors for the Portage club. “They use it for different types of projects such as health projects, parks, schools in other countries, and stuff like that.”

During the meeting Pedden and Bennet spoke about the benefits of becoming a Paul Harris Fellow. One can become a fellow by donating $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation. Only the interest from that money is spent, and it goes towards various different projects.

“Most of the Rotarians are Paul Harris Fellows a lot of them are sustaining members as well. It’s more to explain to them how the new system is going to work and the benefit of being a Paul Harris Fellow is even greater now than it was before,” said Pedden.

Perhaps the best part is that local districts now have more control over how that money is spent.

“Before decisions were being made at Rotary’s head office in Chicago and it was becoming too bureaucratic and taking too long. This is a much more simplified system and its set. The funding formula was a little iffy before and this way is a much more methodical and logical way,” said Pedden.

How the Portage club will benefit from this is yet to be seen. It all depends on the upcoming president and the planning they are able to do before their term in order to get things done.

“It’s important for us to have our executive positions in early so we can talk about what kind of programs we are going to be looking at. I think a lot of the programs are going to be locally development that our club is going to be looking at,” said Craig Bennet. “In previous years we have done international projects, but those are a lot tougher to do, there is a lot more planning that goes into that




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