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Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 27, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba A3 THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2002 Local GOT A NEWS TIP? You can reach us at 571-7430 or toll-free 1-877-786-5786 E-mail :opinion(abrandonsutt.comEnumerators continue to add names to voting list for fall election Enumerators expect to compile a Brandon voters list at least as long as the one used for the civic election four years ago. “The city certainly appears that it’s growing,” says assistant returning officer Betty Kurbatoff. As of yesterday, the voting list had more than 25,000 names. That’s fewer than the 26,313 names enumerators gathered for 1998. However, they’re currently adding about 50 names to the list per day. Enumerators continue accepting callbacks until July 8. After then, the city election office invites anyone not on the list to attend revision days Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 at City Hall. Voters can also make themselves eligible by bringing identification to the polls Oct. 23, when they’ll elect a new city council and school board. There will be only one new poll, at Monterrey Estates on the North Hill. Another one will move from Bethel Temple to Riverview Curling Club. In 1998, only 40 per cent of eligible Brandon voters cast ballots. Weather and issues usually determine how strong voter turn-out is, Kurbatoff says. You’re eligible to vote if you’re 18, Canadian and have lived in Brandon since at least April 23. If you move to another ward after being enumerated, election staff also want you to attend a revision day. You can vote in the ward in which you reside on election day. —Brandon Sun Top young farmers love their work By Kyla Duncan Brandon Sun Two Manitoba farm couples are feeling lucky just to be nominated for one of the province’s prestigious farming awards. The Manitoba Outstanding Young Farmers Program recognizes one of the province’s outstanding farming couples each year. “It’s been a real honour to be chosen. I’m not really a boastful person and I was quite surprised we were picked. We don’t feel we’re any better than anyone else. We just try to do the best we can,” says Randy Wondrasek. Wondrasek and    wife Deanna own a grain and cow/calf operation just outside of Russell. The Wondraseks, both in their early 30s, have been operating the family farm for the last 15 years. Randy says the family is doing well by farming. “It’s probably the most rewarding lifestyle that I think anyone could ever choose,” he says. “There is a lot of freedom that comes with this lifestyle ... it is very rewarding in that you take a lot of pride when something does work out.” The winner is yet to be announced, but Randy says he already feels like a winner. “We feel we’ve done well for ourselves considering we started with fairly old equipment and we’ve worked ourselves up to having most of our (equipment) 70 per cent current,” he says. “We enjoy working the land and doing things together.” The Wondraseks, who have two small children, split time between crops and cattle, but say it’s worth it. “It’s probably the most rewarding lifestyle that I think anyone could ever choose,” Randy says. “There is a lot of freedom that comes with this life style ... it is very rewarding in that you take a lot of pride when something does work out.” Ian Elgert, also nominated for the award with wife Anita, says it feels good to be recognized for your work. “Naturally we’re both very honoured. It’s very flattering,” he says. The two won    the Outstanding Young Farming Couple award for the province’s central region last week. The Elgerts farm about 1,650 acres outside of McDonald growing grain, oil seeds and field beans. The Elgerts, parents of two teenage daughters, took over the family farm about six years ago when Ian’s father retired. “I love (farming;,” Ian says. “You are your own boss, you work outdoors all the time and you just can’t beat the rural lifestyle. “It’s very relaxing.” One of the two couples will be awarded the honour of outstanding young farmers at the awards banquet Friday night in Russell. “ I’m not really a boastful person and I was quite surprised we were picked. We don’t feel we’re any better than anyone else. We just try to do the best we can.” OUTSTANDING FARMER NOMINEE RANDY WONDRASEK COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN Gary Davis moves a small flock of chickens to a new grazing spot on his “holistic management” style farm near Deloraine, yesterday afternoon. The grass supplements the fowls’ diet and makes for a leaner, healthier bird. Holistic farmers growing into lifestyle By Kyla Duncan Brandon Sun A Deloraine family is living and loving the life of holistic farming. “We had the opportunity to start into farming and it was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up,” says Gary Davis, who worked at Manitoba Conservation for 12 years before going into farming full time last year. Gary and his wife Liana decided to take over her parents farmstead, the Dinky D Ranch, over a year ago, at the time introducing the holistic farming method. Gary Davis had no farming background, but combined with his wife’s knowledge and a couple of holistic farming courses his family now operates a multi-faceted farm outside of Delorame. Davis, Liana and their 15-year-old son Brodie now operate the farm and their lives under the holistic management program. The program addresses all aspects of the quality of the family’s life, their production goals and their landscape goals. “Our three-part holistic farming goal is more important than what we grow,” says Davis. The Davis’ aim is to restore the former grain operation to a healthy condition. “This land was a gift to us, and we want it to be a gift to the next person,” says Liana Davis, who still teaches Grade 2 by choice. “This is something we have to do to make a better world.” They are doing this with a diverse operation including about 50 cattle, chickens, turkeys and horses that help fertilize the land. “We basically manage the cattle to manage the grass,” says Davis, who stressed the importance of biodiversity on a farm. “We’re trying to get litter on the land to get it back to quality ... It sounds like pie in the sky really, but that is how the land has to look 500 years from now if (farming) is going to survive.” The Davis’ then use their livestock for profit and for food — even using their one dairy cow for fresh milk, cream and butter for themselves. The Davis’ are part of a holistic support group, which has assisted them in their goals. “There is one fellow in the group who is a cattle buyer, so he does all my marketing research for me. I don’t worry about marketing my cattle,” says Davis. Each of the IO farm families who took holistic courses at the same time, meets each month to swap plans, ideas and support. “I think it’s a great idea for farmers to sit down and re-examine their goals, whether that involves buying a new tractor or planning their vacation time,” says Scott Day, Boissevain-area agriculture representative. Davis shares the sentiment, saying farmers must do what they can to make sure farms are healthy and they enjoy life. “Eventually we all have to come back to the land. Our job is to make that land as healthy as possible for the next person,” Davis says. “I think we take things for granted so much.” BU contract ruffles some city feathers COLIN CORNf AU/8RANDON SUN Construction proceeds on the new Health Studies Complex at Brandon University. Local contractors are miffed that the management contract for overseeing construction was awarded to a Winnipeg firm without a tender. By Roo Nickel Brandon Sun Contractors give Brandon University a failing grade for awarding the management contract of a $5-million construction project without a tender. BU picked Man-Shield Construction of Winnipeg to manage the building of the Health Studies Complex. The job includes input into selection of sub-contractors for more lucrative trade work. “If it’s a pnvate-sector project, it’s their money and they spend it the way they want to. What we’re concerned about are publicly funded projects,” says Jack Cumming, general manager of the Construction Association of Rural Manitoba. “It should be an open, transparent process.” A consultant’s economic development action plan recently called for more transparency in tendering publicly funded projects, referring to “perceived secrecy and favouritism.” The NDP government is footing the entire cost of the university project. Man-Shield has also recently been general contractor of two city projects — the new library-ij/ts building and public safety building — but won the contracts through tenders. Man-Shield’s Brandon manager couldn’t be reached for comment. University vice-president of administration and finance Scott Lamont says in light of concerns, BU will tender similar jobs in the future. But he says the university did nothing wrong. “As far as the university is concerned, there is nothing untoward about it.” Bad feelings about the process will hurt the university in the bank account, Cumming predicts. “I know they’re going to suffer rn their fund-raising.” The university raises about $1 million annually from individuals and private companies. “Certainly we rely on the goodwill of the community in general,” Lamont says. Lamont says the management contract is worth less than $100,000. That places it below the threshold set by the International Agreement on Tariffs and Trades requiring public tendering, he says. Man-Shield got the job after making a proposal to the university on spec, Lamont says. The university was already familiar with Man-Shield’s Harvey Douglas when he worked for the university earlier on Clark Hall. The university is tendenng all other parts of the Health Studies Complex, Lamont says. He couldn’t say why the university didn’t tender the management contract. “I'm not sure I have a good answer. It was not a deliberate effort to shut anyone out.” Cumming says Brandon subcontractors are concerned that most of the trades contracts have already gone to out-of-town contractors. The Health Studies Complex is expected to open in September, 2^H)3.In BriefCouncil to discuss tate of casino The fate of a casino in Brandon will be up for discussion at city council’s next meeting July 8. Coun. Don Jessiman (Green Acres) will present a resolution asking council to accept or reject Sioux Valley’s request to build a casino on an urban reserve. If passed, that motion still wouldn’t define the project’s future, but it will move council closer to ending the debate, Jessiman says. “I think council should get off the pot and make a decision on this thing ” The city is currently waiting to hear from the province about whether the band has met a requirement to gain municipal support Following that, it’s expected to begin negotiations on an urban reserve.New playground planned South End Community Centre will get new playground equipment this year. The city has decided to spend $20,000 on a new playground structure.Condos to be built on Ottawa Avenue An addition of 35 condominiums at 2040 Ottawa Ave. can proceed after city council rezoned part of the land for multiple family homes. The new condos, to be built by Wind in the Willows I Ltd., will be along Ottawa, between 22nd and 20th streets west of Shoppers Mall.Fireworks rules changed New rules for setting off fireworks now apply in Brandon, just in time for Canada Day. City council has amended its fireworks bylaw. People buying fireworks to set off within city limits will still be required to get a permit from the fire chief. Those buying them in Brandon but planning to set fireworks off outside the city must sign a waiver for the the vendor, promising not to tire them off in Brandon.Vandals ransack Souris flowerpots The town of Souns is cleaning up after a vandalism spree Tuesday night. More than 20 large flowerpots put out by a town beautification committee were overturned. As well, smaller flowerpots outside a seniors’ residence were toppled and flowers were stolen from the cemetery. Police have no suspects. —Brandon Sun ;