Wednesday November 26, 2014

Tribute sought for the Battlefords' Rueben Mayes

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An effort is underway to dedicate a sports field in the Battlefords in honor of famed NFL running back Rueben Mayes.

A letter was submitted to North Battleford's Parks and Recreation, Culture and Heritage Committee seeking permission to name one of the practice fields at North Battleford Comprehensive High School after Mayes, a product of the Battlefords. The matter was discussed at the monthly Parks and Recreation Committee meeting at City Hall Monday.

In the letter from Mike Humenny, president of Battlefords Minor Football and a member of the coaching staff at NBCHS, the plan is for the dedication to coincide with Mayes' visit to the Battlefords in June at the Living Sky School Division's yearly banquet.

Mayes is the guest of honor at that banquet. He is also scheduled to speak to the student body at NBCHS June 14.

Humenny told the committee recognition of Mayes was a long time coming.

“I think it's a bit unrecognized in town the accomplishments he did in the NFL. I think there were two or three guys in the province had gone on to the NFL.”

According to Humenny's letter, the dedication would “recognize Rueben's immense accomplishments in the sport of football and inspire youth and high school football players for years to come.”

The committee responded with enthusiasm for the idea and unanimously supported a motion recommending the naming of the practice field for Mayes. That recommendation now heads to the full council for final approval.

Mayes, who played high school football at NBCHS in the early 1980s, went on to a record-setting career at Washington State in the Pac-10 before being drafted by both the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders and the NFL's New Orleans Saints.

He ended up signing with the Saints and enjoyed seven successful seasons in the NFL, racking up a number of honours for his play. He won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 1986 and was twice selected to play in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu. He played several seasons with New Orleans before concluding his career with the Seattle Seahawks.

In other items from Monday's parks and recreation meeting:

A letter supporting provincial heritage status for Saskatchewan Hospital has been drafted and signed by committee chair Don Buglas. It now goes to the Battlefords Heritage Society. The society plans to use it in submissions to get the province to make that designation, in order to protect the historic hospital from the wrecking ball when it is decommissioned from active service in the coming years.

Parks and Recreation Director Keith Anderson updated committee members with his latest report on progress with the Credit Union CUPlex construction, which was essentially a repeat of the report he had given at council the week before.

While there was no new news to report there was discussion about the damage from vandalism from the previous month. Anderson noted an estimated $65,000 in damage resulted, and an insurance claim has been put in by the contractors.

As well, some of the seating for the theatre was damaged, said Anderson. About 14 custom seats were damaged, but they weren't so badly damaged that they can't be used, he added.

For the time being the damaged seats are being installed, but Anderson said an order has been placed for new seats to replace the damaged ones. Those should be installed after arrival in an estimated in an estimated 12 weeks.

Four community grant requests were approved at the meeting: the Battlefords Boys and Girls Club for $3750.90 for their summer splash park, Western Development Museum for $4,000 for Those Were the Days, Battlefords Minor Football for $2,000 toward purchase of 75 to 80 sets of equipment, and $,2500 to Common Ground Collective and Battlefords Allied Arts Council to go to a magazine startup.

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