Volunteers are a big part of what makes the Dauphin Friendship Centre strong.

The Food for Thought program was the most volunteered with 1400 volunteer hours being put in.

Dauphin Friendship Centre Program Coordinator Lindsay Sanderson says volunteers are important for the DFC because it gets the community involved, people can build up resume skills, and a lot of the events the DFC puts on wouldn’t be able to be put on without volunteers.

Sanderson says a lot of other programs and events wouldn’t happen or run as smoothly without their volunteers.

If you’d like to volunteer you can go to the friendship centre and fill out a volunteer form.

Sanderson says they held a volunteer appreciation evening with the theme volunteers are the stars of the show.

Consumers in Manitoba have been hit with major price hikes since recreational marijuana use was legalized last fall.

Statistics Canada reports the average cost of a gram of dried cannabis shot up 17.3 per cent nation-wide, which is about $8.04 since legalization. In Manitoba, it went up 27.7 per cent.

New Brunswick saw an even bigger prices jump of 30.5 per cent.

The agency is basing its conclusions on price quotes gathered on its crowdsourcing application and is urging caution when interpreting the self-submitted data.

The fire department has released its first-quarter report.

The Dauphin Fire Department has responded to 51 incidents in the city and RM.

The split is 45 in favour of the city and 6 responses in the RM.

Fire Chief Cam Abrey says 33 per cent of their calls are false alarms, 25 per cent are kitchen fires, motor vehicle collisions make up 14 per cent, and to round off the top 4, 8 per cent of the fire department’s calls are structure fires.

Over the past few years, false alarm calls have stayed pretty consistent while kitchen fires have risen.

Kitchen fires are typically caused by unattended cooking.

Structure fires are also up this year.

The four structure fires they responded to were in the Dauphin Marketplace Mall when sparks from an angle grinder caused a fire in the maintenance room, the basement of Smitty’s when greasy rags and aprons self-ignited, the bond building fire which is still under investigation by the office of the fire commissioner, and the mobile home fire which also remains under investigation by the office of the fire commissioner.

Dauphin’s Gerald Thiele is a Ducks Unlimited Canada Volunteer of the Year in Manitoba.

 In a release, the organization says he is an ambassador who helps raise critical funds for wetland conservation through DUC’s annual fundraising dinner and auction in Dauphin. Noting Thiele believes strongly in educating the next generation about the importance of conservation and has helped his DUC volunteer committee establish a bursary for local high school students enrolling in post-secondary studies related to environmental sciences.

 Brad Porath, the manager of events and volunteer relations for DUC in Manitoba, says Thiele is one of the hardest working volunteers, and he puts in the time to do whatever is needed for their fundraising dinners.

 “Water conservation is an important issue now and will be in the future,” says Thiele. “Canada is blessed with an abundance of fresh water that needs to be protected. I volunteer for Ducks Unlimited Canada because they have the staff and the knowledge to play an important role in protecting this resource.”

Thiele has volunteered with DUC for 21 years.

April 7th to the 13th is National Volunteer Week. The organization says it’s an opportunity to recognize people like Thiele who share their time and talents to help make a difference in their community.

DUC is supported by more than 5,600 volunteers across the country. This includes more than 760 in Manitoba.

Norman Bone has been re-elected as chief of the Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Nation.

Chief Bone is a former Grand Chief of Treaty 2.

He is also a member of the Council of Chiefs, Executive Council, Governing Council of the First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory and chairs the West Region Tribal Council.

Chief Bone has a portfolio in Community Development and Relations.

The other council members elected for the four-year term are Allison McKay and Barry Bone who were re-elected, and Marjorie Blackbird and Bradley Burns who are newly elected.

There have been reports of a helium shortage that could lead to higher prices for the gas.

Helium is used in its liquid form in MRIs as a coolant.

We reached out to Shared Health to find out if there would be an impact on the machines, like the new one in Dauphin.

Petr Kresta, the chief operating officer with diagnostic services, says there are minimal impacts to diagnostic services. Noting the machines use very little helium per year.

Shared Health has a contract with an equipment service provider, who manages regular maintenance, including replenishing the helium in the machine.

The provincial government announced a two-year extension of the Canada-Manitoba Agreement on Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction with the federal government.

The province says it will move forward on grant commitments of $1.5 million under the French Second Language Revitalization Program. It will also see $1.2 million go towards the Program for the Enrichment of French in Education.

 “These programs enhance the linguistic and cultural identities of students so they can continue their studies in French and use the language throughout their lives,” said Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen.

The First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory says they are feeling left out in the cold regarding the announcement.

Grand Chief Eugene Eastman says they receive very little funding to preserve their languages. As a result, their school-based language programs are limited.

“We have the same needs as other language groups but the difference, we have nowhere to go home to relearn our language, this is our home. Our schools need proper funding to teach our languages, like the French and the minority groups who live in our territory,” said Eastman.

Eastman added, “Every school division with Indigenous students, should have an Indigenous language programs. To date, there are very few Indigenous language programs in Manitoba; this should change, as a measure of reconciliation.”

Ojibway is the primary language spoken in Treaty 2 First Nations communities, followed by Dakota and Cree.

The keynote speaker at the lunch series yesterday spoke about the importance of an economic strategy.

President of Johnston Group Dave Angus goes over his role in helping the Parkland.

“The reason I’m here is I co-chaired an economic development initiative for the province, looking at creating an economic strategy for Manitoba. I came here to explain some of our findings and how Dauphin and the Parkland can leverage what we created.”

A big positive is the people in the area, as well as some great assets, and there is huge potential in the area.

The Chamber needs to get better at making connections, the Parkland needs to integrate into organizations about economic development and develop relationships.

Angus says there is a great opportunity for economic growth in the Parkland.

The third Dauphin Arts Fest went on last week.

Somewhere between 500 and 750 kids performed at the Dauphin Arts Fest this year.

Chair of the Dauphin Arts Fest, Martijn Van Luijn thought it was great.

He adds that even though the event was scaled down due to illness, the event went off without a hitch.

He says the scaled-back version is definitely a one-year thing, they want to add things back to Arts Fest.

If someone has an idea for Arts Fest and would like to get involved, let them know and they’ll try to add it.

A 15-year-old male is in stable condition after being shot by a shotgun yesterday morning in Easterville.

RCMP say the victim was taken to the nursing station and then to the hospital.

Another 15-year-old male was arrested and charged with attempted murder with a firearm among other things.

The teen charged will appear in court on April 11th and police continue to investigate.

Charlie Major and George Canyon could be on the way to Grandview this summer. 

As a part of "Our Birthday, Your Party", seven communities around the province have been chosen and the winning community will be getting a concert from Major and Canyon.

"Oh, it's absolutely exciting. When we made the application we weren't sure what chance we had," said Ryan Balak. "When we were named one of the seven finalists, we were very excited."

The rest is up to you!. Until Friday at midnight, you can vote for Grandview and if they receive the most votes, Major and Canyon will be heading to the GACC. It's very simple, all you have to do is head to "Our Birthday, Your Party" and vote. You can do so once per device until the deadline.

Grandview is joined by Oakville, Arborg, The Pas, Oakbank, Hamiota, and Boissevain. 

"Everyone in the Parkland should vote for this," added Balak. "All of the money from the event will be going into different projects from around town. It will be a really good time if we win this so make sure you vote."

The winner will be announced on Monday, April 15 and the concert will be sometime in May.