After 33 years at the helm, Vern Ellis is saying goodbye to the Gilbert Plains Co-op Agro Centre.

Although Vern's last day isn't until the new year, the Agro Centre held a farewell barbecue yesterday.

Tons of people came out to enjoy free burgers, chips, and pop and have a chance to congratulate Vern on his retirement.

The new managers are Kory Lulashnyk and Katelynn Musey.

A Grandview cartoonist has released a book full of cartoons that take a journey through the 2018-19 Edmonton Oilers’ season.

Lance Maxwell has been cartooning since the late ’90s and started drawing Oilers cartoons at the 2016 Winter Classic between Edmonton and Winnipeg.

The book is a chronological record of what happened in the Oilers’ season in cartoon form. Each drawing takes Maxwell about an hour to draw.

He chooses what to draw based off of something unique that happens in the game.

The book is available on Amazon if you’d like to check it out, click here.

A Manitoba attraction is starting to gain international attention. 

The snake dens in Narcisse, Manitoba have been listed in the New York Times annual list of top places to see. The listing has garnered attention from outlets like the BBC.

Around 70,000 snakes make their way to mate in the pits located in the Interlake region every year. Five species of snakes breed in the pits, one of them being the red-sided garter snake which have the largest range and is the most abundant species of garter snake in the province.

Den sites include a variety of topography including shale cliffs, rock piles, animal burrows, and sinkholes. The snakes are most active around the May Long weekend and then return to the denning area in late August and September.

Premier Brian Pallister held a press conference yesterday afternoon at 2:30 where he announced the provincial election will take place on Tuesday, September 10th, 2019.

Pallister says his government has accomplished most of what it had set out to do and needs a fresh mandate. N.D.P. leader Wab Kinew says he is ready and will focus on health care during the campaign.

Speculation of an early election ramped up last week when the provincial government announced a media blackout. 

The Trudeau Government has approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after it was stalled by a court ruling last August.

Despite the expansion creating jobs for middle-class families, many people are questioning Trudeau’s reasoning.

Trudeau believes concerns about Indigenous consultations and environmental reviews have been solved.

Protests and legal challenges are already being prepared. Two BC First Nations are among those getting ready for legal action. Environmentalists are also questioning the renewed approval after Trudeau declared a climate emergency earlier this week. The David Suzuki Foundation, a science-based environmental organization from Vancouver says they are still concerned about tanker traffic, noise, and the possibility of an oil spill off the West Coast.

Trans Mountain Corporation C-E-O Ian Anderson says the pipeline expansion is a major milestone for shippers, communities, workers, local business and Indigenous People. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will allow more oil to transport to BC ports and tankers which will fetch a better price abroad.

Students at Whitmore School spent part of their day helping to provide meals to the food bank.

They were filling meal bags full of rice and beans. Each bag contains more than 20 grams of protein and can feed up to five people.

Wayne Olsen, the Community Minister at The Church Of Christ, saw the project on a visit to Calgary and he then spearheaded bringing it to Dauphin.

One member of the program in Calgary made the trip to Dauphin along with his daughter to help the kids pack the meals.

The goal of the day was to make over 12,000 meals which will be donated to the food bank and to schools in the area with meal programs.

The principal of Whitmore School, Lesia Jensen says that the opportunity for students to give back is something that the school couldn't pass up.

Single-use plastics being banned in 2021 will create a big change for most people.

Merv Starzyk, Mayor for the RM of Yellowhead shares how that’ll impact residents in Yellowhead.

“You’re going to probably find a certain number of residents will oppose the ban because of some alternate uses they have for the bags. On the flip side, I think the council would probably be in agreement that we’d like them eliminated.”

He says there’s always an alternate material to use other than plastic. Reusable straws, containers, and cloth and paper bags are available to avoid plastics.

Starzyk adds they’d still be in favour of banning plastics if they were phased out instead of being done all at once.

The gates for Dauphin's Countryfest are set to open in just over a week. Weekend passes are still available for $279 or you can also pick up your day passes.

"Ticket sales are pretty brisk right now. A lot of people were waiting for the last minute and the nicer weather which we're having right now," said Rod Waloschuk, General Manager. "Having some rain as well has put people back into the spirit of having a good time next week."

To kick off the festival, we will be hosting the 730CKDM Countryfest Kick-off party featuring the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Tickets for that is just $30. Day passes for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are $99. 

On top of the party, Thursday will also include something else special.

"You can also expect some sort of a cake cutting ceremony. It's going to be a great celebration," added Waloschuk. 

Old Dominion will be the headliner on Friday starting at 10:30 p.m. Jason Aldean headlines on Saturday at 10:00 p.m. while Toby Keith headlines on Sunday starting at 9:30 p.m.

"We've got so much for everybody. Starting on Friday with the new country acts and it doesn't really get any bigger in country music than Jason Aldean right now," said Waloschuk. "On Sunday with the whole birthday bash and bringing back a lot of the 90's artists when Dauphin's Countryfest just started. A lot of people are saying Sunday is the best day and it's reflected with the ticket sales."

Tickets are on sale right now at Dauphin's Countryfest.

A 22-year-old woman has been handed a hefty fine after speeding through a construction zone just north of Ericksdale.

RCMP officers clocked her going 178 km/h in a clearly marked 100 km/h construction zone.

The woman was given a serious offence notice for a license review with MPI and slapped with a $2092 fine.

According to Manitoba RCMP, that’s the highest fine issued so far this year for speeding in a construction zone.

The highest regular speeding ticket in 2019 was $1,256 for a driver speeding 92 km/h over the limit.

Update: The RCMP have announced Blaine Birkholz has been safely located.

The Thompson RCMP thanks the public and media for their assistance.

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Thompson RCMP are on the lookout for a missing man.

On June 11, Police received a report of a missing man from Thompson.

Blaine Ashley Birkholz has not been heard from or seen by his family in over four months.

Birkholz is described as 5’10, 180 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and is very transient in nature. He is believed to be in Winnipeg, The Pas or Thompson.

The RCMP are asking anyone with information to call the Thompson RCMP at 204-677-6911, call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or secure tip online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com.

Fusion Credit Union announced that it will be giving over $900,000 in payouts to its members this year.

$500,000 will be given out as patronage allocations to its members and $400,000 in cash payouts to members under 19 and 65 and over.

A patronage allocation is a value returned to a member of Fusion Credit Union based on their relationship. The amount of each member is different, as it represents a portion of their interest paid and earned last year.

Members will see their allocation on their statements. Business account holders will see the change around the end of June and Personal account holders will see it on their July statement.