Briefs continued – for Nov. 26, 2009

Bad gasket smokes oil battery: A faulty gasket has been ruled the culprit in a fire at EOG Resources’ oil battery-processing facility in the R. M. of Brenda near Waskada. The fire was called in at 11 a. m. on Nov. 12, with flames still visible half a mile away by 4:30 that afternoon. Due to possible explosion hazards, roads were shut for a square mile around the site while crews from Deloraine, Waskada and Weyburn, Sask. worked to control the fire. Damage estimates weren’t yet available Nov. 19. “Diamond anniversary” farmer passes: Funeral services were held Nov. 18 at Swan Lake for local farmer Ceasar Van De Kerckhove, profiled on the front of the Co-operator last year upon seeding his 75th crop (“Not ready to retire after 75 crops,” May 15, 2008). Van De Kerckhove died in hospital Nov. 13 at age 85. Having seeded crops since age nine, aided for years by a team of Belgian horses, he told reporter Bonnie Baltessen that while he more recently would leave other field work to his family, he enjoyed the challenge of seeding. “With seeding, you gotta go straight,” he said.

Mounties seek firebugs:

RCMP at Carman are looking for the people responsible for nine uncontrolled grass and bale fires near Hwys. 2 and 13 at Elm Creek since Nov. 11. The fires have been “deliberately started” in dead grass along roads, and in farmers’ bales on private property, RCMP said. The most recent was on Sunday, when Elm Creek firefighters and Carman RCMP responded to a grass fire two miles west and half a mile north of Elm Creek. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477) or Carman RCMP (204-745-6760). CN breaks off talks, Teamsters say: The union representing about 1,700 engineers at Canadian National Railway (CN) says the company has declined to set dates for more talks toward a contract to replace the one that expired Dec. 31 last year. “To our surprise, CN has declined and we have not seen any change in their position over the weekend,” Teamsters Canada Rail Conference president Daniel Shewchuk said in a release Monday. TCRC members have already given their bargaining team a strike mandate if need be.

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