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4 st marys chapel

St. Mary’s Hospital celebrates 100 years

During the 100th anniversary celebration of religious founders of the Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital Camrose, Bernice Schlaunt-Macfarlane, left, and Audrey Heck placed a carnation in honour of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, who started and maintained a hospital in Camrose.

By Murray Green

Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital Camrose celebrates 100 years of service in the community this year.

“Throughout my health care career, I have been a part of many changes. The impact on patients and families are often wonderful. The Sisters’ (Sisters of Providence) legacy lives on in all of us as we provide the highest care with passion and dignity to our patients here at St. Mary’s Hospital,” said administrator Stacey Brewster.

“This site has a long history, legacy and people have shared memories with me. On behalf of our MP, dear friends, it is a privilege to send heartfelt greetings to each of you in celebration of St. Mary’s Hospital, as well to the medical profession, staff, volunteers and donors who have contributed to the health and wellness of others over the past century. This significant milestone stands a test of time to unwavering dedication and commitment to  provide exceptional health care,” said Brenda Poole, Covenant Health senior director of operations rural acute care, on behalf of MP Damien Kurek.

MLA Jackie Lovely shared her greetings. “When the Sisters were called to Camrose, they were summoned to do something special here, and it wasn’t easy. They saw a need and opportunity to serve. The Sisters recognized the value in service and through their service to give people of this community hope for their loved ones when they were sick or hurt. In the first winter running the hospital, they faced weather of -54 degrees, so really not much has changed,” laughed Lovely.

“People here are known as Can-do Camrose. The service and can-do attitude  is something this institution has had for 100 years. I doubt that will end anytime soon thanks to the employees, administrators and everyone else who keeps working to keep St. Mary’s strong,” said Lovely.

“On behalf of Camrose County and all our residents I want to say, we are so fortunate to have this hospital here. It is so reliable because we can come here to receive superior care. We have hospital people living, working in our community and we so appreciate it. I offer congratulations to the hospital and all of its staff. This is the most important facility in  our community,” said County Reeve Cindy Trautman.

“As Mayor Rudy Swanson said in 1974, ‘This is a integrable part of the community’ and those words 50 years later are still true today. This is a gem for the community. Thanks to the volunteers, staff and donors who support this hospital. We are very blessed to have this facility in Camrose,” said City of Camrose Mayor PJ Stasko.

“If you read the history of the Sisters back in January 1918, the ratepayers met with the mayor to re-affirm the need for a hospital in the community. Because of the cost, the Sisters were invited to help build the hospital in the community. At that time the Sisters played a major role in leading hospitals in Alberta. In 1922, planning was started and soon after in 1924, a 50-bed hospital was built in Camrose for $100,000, which I still find astonishing,” said Trevor Small, Covenant Health senior operating officer.

“It was built to serve the people of Camrose, regardless of race, creed or colour. The hospital was originally staffed with four doctors, two nurses and seven Sisters. Also in 1924, a nursing school was started to train 44 nurses over an eight year period,” Small added.

“A new wing was added in 1949, bringing the bed total to 117 beds and 18 bassinets. The staff expanded to 10 Sisters, eight doctors and 100 staff members. The site continued to expand and in the ‘80s there were rumblings of overcrowding (the new hospital opened in 1989). As we look to the future, we are filled with excitement. St. Mary’s is poised to continue to serve Albertans,” he concluded.

Playoffs begin for men’s Baseball League

By Murray Green

Rosalind Athletics nailed down first place in the Powerline Baseball League regular season.

 Now the second season starts for the remaining four teams.

Powerline Baseball League teams played a 12 game season before heading into playoffs. All weekday games being at 7 p.m.

Vegreville defeated Rosalind 8-2 on July 2. Armena beat The Rivals 9-6 and Tofield knocked off Camrose 7-2 on July 3.

Rosalind bounced back with a 14-2 victory over Tofield on July 4.
Rosalind led the pack with nine wins followed by Vegreville with eight and The Rivals with seven, Camrose and Armena had five wins in the battle for playoff spots.

Each team played on July 9 to wrap up the regular season. Rosalind beat Armena 8-4, The Rivals blanked Camrose 10-0 and Vegreville beat Tofield 10-0.

The playoffs started on July 11 with a play-in game with Armena at Camrose. The Royals beat the Roadrunners 7-5, so Armena moves on to meet Rosalind in the semifinals. The other semifinal match is between The Rivals and Vegreville.

Games are slated for July 16 with Vegreville and Rosalind at home. Then on July 18, The Rivals and Armena are at home.

If game threes are needed, they will be played on July 23. The final series will begin on July 25 unless rain-outs occur.

Glamping retreat proposed for Meeting Creek

By Murray Green

A glamping retreat business is closer to reality after a public hearing that was held at Camrose County during its regular meeting of council on June 25.

A proposed camping retreat owner near Meeting Creek came to council to redistrict land to build a high quality camping and resort area that could be used for small weddings and functions.
Council gave second and third readings to Bylaw 1551 to redistrict Pt. of Block B & C, Plan 2272ET from A-General Agricultural to GREC-General Recreational.

“This property is located on the south side of Meeting Creek and the applicants submitted an Area Structure Plan for the Satori Grove at Meeting Creek. They want to redistrict 9.2 acres on the west side of their property for a glamping retreat area. The other portion of their property will be a home acreage for the owners, who will also manage the retreat,” said planning and development manager Anjah Howard.

The potential development for the glamping retreat centre will be two bell tents, three geodesic domes, two cabins, sauna, event dome and dome greenhouse. The maximum capacity, once it is fully developed, would be 60 people in the daytime and 30 people overnight.

“The rezoning would comply with the Municipal Development Plan to provide recreational opportunities for residents and non-residents, promote recreational opportunities that are accessible and affordable and promote passive and active recreational opportunities. They would ensure that the recreational areas do not negatively impact the natural environment, environmentally sensitive areas and productive agricultural lands,” added Anjah.

Adjacent to the parcel are Urban Residential lots to the north and east, General Agricultural lots to the east, south and west, with a Direct Control to the North. The closest residence is 151 metres from the glamping area.

Access to the area will be from a newly constructed approach. Sanitary water will be trucked in and stored in a cistern, and the guests will be asked to bring their own potable water for drinking and cooking. They intend to either use a composting or incineration toilet system. The grey water will be reused if the regulatory path can be established, otherwise it will be disposed of via septic holding tank. Power load will be minimal as the electricity will be generated using solar panels and a back up generator, there will not be any major yard lights to minimize light pollution.

The plan addresses impacts on adjacent landowners, including littering, trespassing, noise and fires.

A response from one of the adjacent landowners was received (Katalin Horvath), protesting the application. They are concerned about traffic, noise, dust and loss of privacy, which will impact their health. They suggested they were open to solutions such as a fence built to prevent visitors and/or their pets from roaming.
In addition, locating the entrance to the business to the far west corner of their parcel to prevent the traffic from using the rest of the road.

“The issue of fencing, access points and dogs can be addressed in more detail at the development phase. Council cannot put conditions on a redistricting file; the choice is to approve or deny the application,” explained Anjah.

“We strive to ensure Satori Grove is a peaceful retreat for all our guests. We require our guests to comply with quiet hour regulations. During these hours, we ask that all guests keep noise to a minimum to respect the peace and quiet of fellow guests. This includes lowering voices, minimizing electronic device volume and refraining from any loud activities or gatherings,” said Jonathan Drachenberg, owner of the property, along with his wife Cynthia.

The proposal was approved in general with details to be worked out to accommodate the neighbour’s concerns.
5 brcf fun parents

BRCF assists Parents for Fun

Battle River Community Foundation board secretary Sharleen Chevraux presents a cheque to program facilitator Jessica Docksteader and her small friends.

The Battle River Community Foundation awarded a $2,500 grant to the Parents for Fun in Flagstaff Society.

The Parents for Fun in Flagstaff Family Resource Centre has become the hub for early childhood and youth in Flagstaff County. They provide the operations of the facility, programs, events and partnership with 15+ other service providers for children zero to 18 years.

“Our mission is simple: connection, support, referrals, developmental engagement, mental health, community connection, safe spaces to connect, groups to support parents in their parenting journey, and resources that all serve the families and children of Flagstaff County. We strive to continue to hit all these marks for the years to come,” shared program facilitator Jessica Docksteader.

The grant is funded from income earned in the Battle River Training Hub Legacy Fund, Dave and Gail Stolee Literacy Fund, Lee and Gene Penman Fund, Flagstaff Creative Writers Fund and the Foundation’s community funds. These types of funds allow the Foundation board to match annual grant applicants with the interests donors wish to support.

The Battle River Community Foundation exists to support organizations in east central Alberta, which benefit the local communities and have a positive impact on the future.

Grants from the Battle River Community Foundation are primarily made possible through the generosity of individual donors and organizations that have created endowment funds. The principal of these endowment funds is kept intact and the income is made available annually to support local projects and organizations.

Since it was founded in 1995, the Battle River Community Foundation has granted over $9,045,300 to support charitable activities in the Battle River Region.

Homes 4 Hope wants to build in Camrose

By Murray Green

A team from Homes 4 Hope made a presentation to City of Camrose council at the committee of the whole meeting on July 8.
They want to get people off the streets and back into the community as contributors.

“Homelessness describes the situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges, and/or racism and discrimination,” said Heather Barr of FCSS in Camrose.
What does it cost (to support) the homeless?

It costs society $7.05 billion annually on homelessness across Canada with extra police services, social supports, social programs and community involvement.

She pointed out that the reasons for homelessness are lack of housing, income rates, lack of jobs and discrimination.

“Solutions include affordable or low income housing. Solutions include shelters, to transitional or low-income with adequate supports. A lack of support equals the decline in health and well-being of a person and guarantees an uncertain future. By giving enough and/or the right supports to live, you give that person an opportunity to become a productive and contributing member of the community,” added Barr.

Alberta has been identified as being in a housing crisis due to the lack of available low-income or affordable houses.

“Through research data, we have identified that in Camrose 53 per cent of our population are spending greater than 30 per cent of their income on mortgage or rent. We have seen a 45 per cent increase of housing insecurity between 2019–23. Those living housing insecure are more likely to be considered the working poor,” she said.

“We partnered with the University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine and they conducted a survey with our local physicians. Of the 14 physicians of various disciplines who responded, a total of 11 physicians held a current practice in Camrose (three were specialists who only saw referrals). The 11 physicians represent approximately 10,900 patients.

"The following information was found: 2,575 patients identified they were housing insecure; 2,500 patients identified they were food insecure; 2,600 patients were identified to be struggling with addictions and 1,000 patients were referred to a detox or recovery facility outside of Camrose in the last year.”

Homes 4 Hope Canada Foundation provides comfortable housing and abstinent focused recovery programs designed to transfigure individuals caught in cycles of homelessness and addiction, into lives of health and happiness.

“The proposed solution is to build transitional (supportive) housing with 15 units (one or two bedrooms). This transitional (supportive) unit would support the sober-living and hard to house persons.

“Adjacent to this facility, it is proposed to build 36 units (also one or two bedrooms) for low-income persons,” said executive director Michael Duchnij.

He proposed to council that the City donate the land for them to build on that could be a value of up to $1 million.

“The hard and soft costs of the apartment construction would be about $13,067,600. Our ask is council to approve the plan to build a transitional (supportive) housing (15) unit and a low income (36) unit to be built by Homes 4 Hope. We ask council to support the project by providing the land as an in-kind donation,” he said.

Operations support director Alexandra Manners explained the programs that will help people at the sober living facility.

Council received the presentation for information to discuss at a later date.

Air Cadets host annual review

The 644 Camrose Cougar Rotary Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron held the 67th Annual Ceremonial Review on Thursday, June 6 at the Mirror Lake Centre.

The Reviewing Party, consisting of guest of honour and reviewing officer LCol. George Roesler-Yue;  commanding officer Captain Erin Mitchell; Alberta Air Cadet League, Jackie Dewane and Squadron sponsor committee representative Trisha Muirhead.

Cadets marched into the gymnasium in front of family, friends and special guests, then remained at attention for the inspection of the squadron, followed by a march past, and then the presentation to this year’s recipients of awards and medals.

This year’s Squadron Parade Positions included: Squadron Commander, WO1 Logan Mitchell; Deputy Commander, WO2 Hyacinth Ante; Squadron Warrant Officer, FSgt. Tarik Bains; Flag Party Commander, WO2 Hannah Lussier; Flight Commander, Sgt. Dax McGowan; Flight Sergeant, Sgt. Austin Schmick and Cadet Aide de Camp, FSgt. Veroncia King.

Master of Ceremony for the evening event was OCdt. Ethan Mitchell.

8 greg cermak 1980 gmc

Cermak restores a 1980 camper special

Greg Cermak completely restored a 1980 GMC camper special to get it back on the road again. He used original parts, but couldn’t resist lowering the truck to give it feel on the highway.

By Murray Green

Greg Cermak from south of Bashaw owns a 1980 GMC camper special truck.
“It is a heavier truck so mostly used by farmers when hauling livestock trailers or to have campers on the back. I bought this truck from a local guy in Bashaw about a year and a half ago,” said Greg.

“I completely stripped it apart. I put it back together with 100 per cent factory stuff (parts). Nothing has been added to hop it up or anything like that. Everything is original and I wanted it like that,” he explained.

While many of their vehicles are mechanically similar, GMC is positioned as a premium offering to the mainstream Chevrolet brand, and includes the luxury trim Denali.

“The truck has been lowered four and a half inches in the front and six inches in the back. The truck was really rusty when I bought it, so a lot of the panels have been replaced. I just finished, so this is the second time I have driven it,” laughed Greg.

In North America, GMC vehicles are almost always sold alongside Buick (another premium brand) vehicles at multi-brand dealerships.

“This truck has a 350 engine with a turbo 400 transmission and an open differential in the back. That is what the truck came with,” he shared.

“I love vehicles, with six at home. This truck was a project for me to do on my retirement. This is the second truck that I have restored. This is something I do to pass the wintertime,” said Greg.
“I enjoy driving trucks, working on them and coming to car shows to see like-minded people around to talk to,” Greg said.

“From what I can tell and was told, the wood box trucks from 1973 to 1980, there was 3,000 made. This is the last year they put a wood floor in the box in a fleetside. That is kind of unique and another factor that I wanted to own a truck like this,” he stated.

“I wanted something different. I had someone from the local colony that laminated the wood together for me. I had an older neighbour come over and help me put the box together,” informed Greg.

Roots to the GMC brand can be traced to 1900, when the Grabowsky Motor Company was established by brothers Max and Morris Grabowsky in Detroit, and renamed Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in 1902 when the brothers moved operations to Pontiac, Michigan.

“The truck was originally a dark blue metallic. I wanted a lighter blue and this is an original ‘80s Chevy colour. I didn’t pick out the colour, the guy that painted it picked out the colour for me,” added Greg.

The third generation of the C/K series is a range of trucks that was manufactured by General Motors from the 1973 to 1991 model years. Serving as the replacement for the Action Line C/K trucks, GM designated the generation under Rounded Line moniker. Again offered as a two-door pickup truck and chassis cab, the Rounded Line trucks marked the introduction of a four-door cab configuration.

In 1979, the front fascia underwent a minor facelift. While sharing the same stamping as before, the vertical bars were painted dark gray; chrome trim incorporated the turn signal lenses, giving chrome to nearly the entire front fascia. In line with Fleetside/Wideside trucks, Stepside/Fenderside and Big Dooley trucks replace exposed fuel caps with fuel-tank doors.

For 1980, the front fascia underwent an additional update. While GMC trucks carried over the same grille from 1979, Chevrolet trucks received an all-new grille (its first completely new design since 1974).

Square headlights made their appearance for the first time on Silverado-trim models; lower-trim vehicles used a combination of the 1980 grille and the 1979 (round) headlight surround.

The Rounded Line trucks underwent a mid-cycle redesign for the 1981 model year. Largely in response to the 1979 energy crisis, GM engineers again turned to wind tunnels and shed nearly 300 pounds weight.

CWSS discusses Stoney Creek Trail

By Lori Larsen

The City of Camrose boasts over 30 kilometres of beautiful, interconnected, paved, multi-use trails for a variety of activities including  walking, hiking, biking and cross-country skiing, as well as shale trails frequented by hikers, walkers and mountain bikers.
On July 18, join others at the Stoney Creek Centre (5320-39 Avenue) at 7 p.m. for the sixth presentation, The Stoney Creek Trail Master Plan, of the Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Society, in partnership with the City of Camrose, Environmental Education Program series.

The evening’s presentation will inform attendees about the results of the Stoney Creek Trail Master Plan, a collaboration between the City of Camrose, the Camrose Ski Club and McElhanney, on the future of integrated trail use in the valley.

The City of Camrose offers outstanding greenspaces such as the expansive Stoney Creek Trail system enjoyed by walkers, bikers, skiers and hikers alike. As trail usage increases, so does the need for an integrated and optimized trail system. In 2023, the City received a $25,000 grant through the Alberta Northern Region Economic Development grant stream to complete a Trail Master Plan for the Stoney Creek Valley trail system.

The City partnered with the Camrose Ski Club, who supplied the required matching funding, to work with McElhanney to examine the current trail system and provide recommendations for optimized future trail development. City of Camrose presenter Patricia MacQuarrie will highlight some of the results and recommendations of the Plan.

For more information on the CWSS Summer program including the Thursday evening Environmental Education Programs, contact CWSS Summer coordinator Casey Elliott by email at or visit the website at
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Lifesaving Sport Training event to be held here

By Murray Green

Camrose is hosting a Lifesaving Sport Training Camp July 17 to 20.
“This camp is designed for athletes who will be heading to Australia this August to compete at the Lifesaving World Championships with the Canadian National Team or with local clubs to compete at the interclub competition,” said Heather Barr, of the local club.

The sport is rapidly growing in Alberta. “We had over 400 athletes compete at the provincial level in April. Across Canada, the sport is growing as well with strong representation from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Additionally, North West Territories is hoping to have a competitive team this coming season,” she added.

At this training camp athletes attending are from BC, ON, PQ and AB. There will be approximately 36 athletes attending.

“We are focusing on refining skills that will help the athlete with their up and coming competitions at the world stage,” shared Heather.

Lifesaving sport is recognized by the IOC and is a sport that has a combination of swimming and surf rescue events.  It is the only sport rooted in the humanitarian philosophy of drowning prevention. Recently, there has been a bid put forth to have the surf events included in the 2032 Summer Olympics.

“Our national team is represented by 12 women and 12 men in both the youth (15 to 18) and the open (16 to 50) category. These athletes will represent Canada at the World Championships at the Gold Coast in August. Additionally, we have a team from Alberta and a team from BC with athletes attending this camp, who will be competing in Australia in the interclub competition.  Interclub is a space where athletes whose times qualify, are able to compete on the world stage without the pressure of being a part of the national team. It is exciting to have so many Canadian athletes represent our country at this event,” said Heather.

Lifesaving World Championships are held every two years and approximately 50 to 75 countries compete. This year Canada hopes to place among the top countries for this sport.

“This year we have local athletes who are attending the interclub competition. The City of Camrose has been very generous with supporting this training camp,” said Heather.

Crossfire to host U15 softball provincials

By Murray Green

The Camrose Crossfire girls’ softball team will be hosting U15A provincials from July 19 to 21.

The first game for Camrose will be on July 19 at 12:30 p.m. when they take on the Calgary Rockies.

Opening ceremonies will be held at 5:30 p.m. with the Crossfire to play shortly after all of the teams are paraded on and off Kin Park Diamond 2 during the event.

On Saturday, July 20, Camrose plays the St. Albert Angels at 11:30 a.m. and the Lacombe Selects at 4:30 p.m.

If tiebreakers are needed, they will be played at 7:30 p.m. The playoffs will begin on Sunday with games slated to begin at 9 a.m. The final should start at about 2 p.m.

The Camrose team is led by coaches Jordan Riopel, Chris Bird, Guy Basque, Ryan Galenza and manager Melissa Riopel.

Camrose Crossfire consists of players Nikko Dimock, Avery Webster, Ashlyn Mitchell, Josie Hart, Rachel Herder, Addison Galenza, Mackenzie Bird, Rayah Bergen, Aaliyah Riopel, Emily Basque, Brooklynn Hannay and Maddison Eckstrand.

Irma will be hosting the U17 and U19 B provincials the same weekend.

Wenig wins MJT junior golf title

By Murray Green

Connor Wenig, 17, from Camrose secured the Boys Low Overall title in the MJT Junior Boys division with impressive rounds of 74 and 76.

Wenig fired 150 shots at the MJT Ford Series at Olds Golf Club on June 24 to 25. The golf course was in excellent condition and the weather cooperated on the first day, however, players encountered a challenging day two with winds testing the already fast greens.

Joining Wenig as Low Overall Girl was Hannah Thomas, 12, hailing from Calgary, who shot 72 and 77 in the MJT Girls U15 division.
Wenig was followed by Finn Vermette, 16, of Sylvan Lake with scores of 80, 71 (151) and Alex Adler, 17, of Calgary with 74, 77 (151).

Wenig clinched his first win by a single stroke in a close field. He credited his success to the intensive range sessions with his coach.

“It was my first win, and it feels great for my confidence,” Wenig said, adding, “I just focused on playing the shot I was hitting.”
Team MJT at the National Team Challenge Short-Listed Position: Saylar May and Connor Wenig.

MJT Team Canada to Australia (JNJG International) Short-Listed Position: Alex Adler and Finn Vermette.


By Bonnie Hutchinson

What do you want?
So there I was at a favourite restaurant, sitting across from a favourite person, eating a favourite meal, complaining.

I noticed and was appalled. I know better. I even teach people about this. And I was doing it anyway, wasting precious time with someone I don’t get to see very often, complaining.

So why is it that, with a person I treasure, I talked about something that bugged me, rather than happy things I experience every day?

I don’t know.

But here’s what I do know. When I focus on things I don’t like, I start to see other things I don’t like–and still others! Seems there’s never a shortage of things not to like!

Focussing on things we don’t like is bad for us. It causes us to get cranky and judgmental, to think the world is awful, to lose hope and optimism, to stop seeing blessings and opportunities.

If we don’t pay attention and change gears, focussing on things that bother us can ruin a day. I know from experience, if I keep focussing on things I don’t like, I can easily slip into depression or even despair.
Not only that, when I’m focussing on things that bother me, I’ve been informed (gently) that I’m not a whole bunch of fun for other people either!

All of that may be true for you too.

This is not about ignoring what needs attention, or pretending everything is fine when it’s not. It is about getting into a state of mind where you can see positive possibilities. That gives you the desire and energy to tackle tough challenges.

The trick? If something bugs you, ask yourself, “What do I want?” Imagine what you do want. And if you let that percolate, quite often you begin to see glimmers of how you can move in a direction that’s more to your liking.

Research verifies the benefits of focussing on what you do want. For example, in one study, researchers followed up six months after community groups had taken part in a “community improvement” weekend workshop. The researchers wanted to know if anything changed in the community since the weekend event.

Here’s what they noticed. Some communities focussed on problems they wanted to fix in their communities. When researchers contacted them later, it seemed that nothing much had changed. The problems were still there and people couldn’t see that anything had changed–except for one thing. During the workshop, people felt a glimmer of hope. Six months later they felt even more discouraged because nothing seemed to have changed.

Other communities spent time at the workshop focussing on what kind of community they wanted to have. At the end of the workshop, their “to do” list was about things they wanted to experience in their community. These communities had the same kinds of problems as the other communities. However, they just dealt with the problems on the way to creating things that excited them. They reported positive changes in the community. They felt a sense of momentum.

In a book called Leading from the Emerging Future by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, the authors talk about “being pulled forward” by a positive future.
When I think about it, I’ve had that experience–imagining something I would enjoy, and then noticing possibilities I didn’t see before even though they were in front of me all along. As a Sufi expression says, “What you seek is seeking you.”

Here’s what I’ve learned in more than eight decades.

What you focus on expands.

If you focus on things that bother you, you see more things that bother you.

If you focus on things that delight you, you see more things that delight you.

Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to because it will expand.

And even when you know that, sometimes you forget. Sigh.

Catch yourself and move on.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, e-mail I’ll happily reply within one day.