4 tsm 2

Tsunamis take the meet by storm

By Lori Larsen

Excited to once again be the host of a province-wide meet in the home pool, the Camrose Tsunami Lifesaving Club had an extremely successful meet on March 10 and 11, finishing with second place overall.

“We had 250 athletes compete this past weekend,” shared Camrose Tsunami head coach Heather Barr. “Clubs came from all over the province: Jasper, Hinton, Lacombe, Wetaskiwin, Cochrane, Calgary, Okotoks, Drayton Valley and Spruce Grove.”

Besides placing second overall, the Camrose Tsunami Club experienced a record 48 athletes competing in this meet.  “That was a record number of competitors at a single meet for the club,” noted Barr, adding that it was an incredible event all the way around.  “We had so many fantastic people from our community coming out to volunteer. It was greatly appreciated.”

In preparation for the provincial championships to be held March 31 to April 2, to be hosted in Camrose, Camrose Tsunami athletes continue training and honing in their skills.

“We are expecting an even larger number of athletes to attend this two and a half day event,” said Barr roughly estimating 300 athletes to attend.

“Morning events will be our younger swimmers on Saturday and Sunday. The Friday evening and Saturday, Sunday afternoon will be our older swimmers.”
As always, spectators are welcome to attend and witness the focus, strength, and fitness required to complete the arduous competitions.

Barr asks that anyone wishing to attend the Friday evening Simulated Emergency Response (SERC) Competition, to be at the pool and seated prior to the 5 p.m. start. The Junior competition will start at 8:30 a.m. on the Saturday and Sunday and the Senior competition will start at 1 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday.

For more information on the Camrose Tsunami Lifesaving Club, visit the City of Camrose website at www.camrose.ca/en/recreation-and-leisure/programs-and-courses.aspx#Camrose-Tsunami-Lifesaving-Club.

Acreage, Garden Show revamped

By Lori Larsen

The CRE is excited to put a new spin on a favourite, the CRE Acreage and Garden Show, which will be held on Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday April 16, noon until 5 p.m. at the CRE, 4250 Exhibition Drive.

“This is the second Acreage and Garden Show,” explained CRE executive director Dianne Kohler. “There is going to be some new features.”

Along with a variety of businesses showcasing their products and services, this year the CRE is offering trade show booths to any Camrose and area not-for-profit or registered charity, free of charge.

Kohler explained that this would be an opportunity for the not-for-profits to showcase what they are all about, provide attendees with information about services and programming offered, volunteer opportunities, fundraising initiatives and connectivity to other organizations in the community.

“We (not-for-profits) all need exposure coming out of COVID and we can all help each other,” remarked Kohler. “There are so many connections that happen when the non-profits get together.”

Not-for-profits add immeasurable value to our community by providing a large variety of services and programs that not only fit the social needs of residents, but in many instances provide much needed assistance to those in need and the most vulnerable in our community.

“In our vision to be collaborative, we hope to be able to offer this service to not-for-profits in Camrose and area going forward at all CRE owned events,” said Kohler.

“We are approaching the trade show from two angles. Showcasing the many ways residents can get involved in their community through these not-for-profits, highlighting the need for volunteerism, but also the positive benefits of it while continuing to offer education and information on acreages and gardening.”

The Show will still include beneficial information to attendees focused on enhancing life in rural areas including acreages, small farms, lake lots and homes and provide helpful tips and education for every type of gardener, from beginners to advanced.

The Free Learning Stage will feature speakers presenting on: solar energy; adding children to agriculture operations; land stewardship (Green Acres Program); the RCMP on rural crime; gardening experts on how to keep your garden beautiful all year round with planting and seeding and garden colour matching.

“We have also added three workshops, for an added cost,” said Kohler.

Saturday, April 15 will feature a workshop by  Toso Bozic, CEO and Tree Expert at ATTS Group. “This will be a four hour workshop with lunch, and the cost of the whole show admission included in the price of workshop.”

On Saturday, April 15, Karen Lethbridge from  Cherry Grove Florist, out of Wetaskiwin area, will be presenting a workshop on how to build a terrarium, for adults only. “Participants will be taking home their finished terrarium, so the fee for this workshop covers the cost of supplies.”

On Sunday, April 16, Lethbridge will be presenting another workshop for adults and children, which will also include a cost recovery fee.

Any not-for-profits in Camrose and surrounding areas can apply for a free trade show booth at the 2023 CRE Acreage and Garden Show, registering online at https://cre.ab.ca/events/cre-acreage-and-garden-show/.

For more information  on the 2023 CRE Acreage and Garden Show, visit  the CRE website https://cre.ab.ca.
6 coyotes

Coyote sightings on the rise

Coyotes are often timid and will usually quickly leave the area once humans are present. However their ability to adapt to survive has made them bolder and easier to spot.

By Lori Larsen

As one of the native species to Alberta, coyotes can most often be seen wandering around the countryside in fields and skulking back into wooded areas, but have also been spotted in more urban areas, searching for food and shelter, and becoming more habituated to humans and human habitat.

Appearing as a cross between a fox and small collie or German shepherd, coyotes typically weigh between nine to 14 kilograms  (20 to 30 pounds). They are noted to be highly curious, intelligent and adaptable animals that feed primarily on rabbits, mice and squirrels, but as omnivores, also feed on vegetation. With a diet that is sustained largely on rodents, they are a valuable natural tool in pest-control.
Increased sightings

However, the incidence of coyotes sightings closer to residences in the County and appearances within City limits have residents somewhat concerned.

“The coyotes are flourishing,” explained Camrose and District Fish and Wildlife District Officer Lorne Rinkel, attributing their increase in population to a number of variables.

“It started snowing on Halloween (last year) and then got really cold creating a hard snow pack, which has remained to date.

“That works to the coyotes’ advantage because they just run along on top, but the bigger prey (deer) break through the snow. So coyotes in this type of winter are very successful in taking down mostly deer.”

Rinkel said that as a result of the harsher winter conditions, the ungulates, mostly deer, are having a difficult time finding food sources and have resorted to feeding off farmers’ haystacks, which unfortunately, more often than not, results in their death because they cannot properly digest that feed. “This creates another easy food source for the coyotes. I don’t think they are suffering at all. They are having a good winter.”

Another natural food source that has been available to coyotes has been geese that have died as a result of the Avian flu.

“They have had a smorgasbord since last April,” commented Rinkel, adding that information recently released by the Alberta  government indicates that the Avian flu is jumping to other species, including coyotes. “As adaptable as coyotes are, if the coyote doesn’t die from it, they have yet another very available food source.”

While it is not the case this winter, Rinkel said if the coyotes’ natural food sources are depleted, they will come in for urban delights, such as dog or cat food. “When they are up on a porch or closer to a homestead, it is usually hunger driven or in February during mating season.”

He said that the majority of the calls received by Fish and Wildlife concerning coyote encounters occur in February and are usually filtered out by the dispatch centre, providing callers with recommendation and referrals.

“Whenever we do respond to call outs about confrontations between humans and coyotes, it is most often during that season, and there is almost always a domestic dog involved.”

Rinkel noted that during the mating season, coyotes will pack up and the males will cover a lot of ground. “They will attempt to call out domestic dogs and they use that strategy for two purposes. Either they are luring out female domestic dogs that may be in heat–I have seen coydogs, a cross between a coyote and dog–or it is territorial. They will call a dog off its property and attack and they will kill the dog.”

He said that in February, coyotes become even bolder and very vocal. “They do a lot of communicating, yipping and yapping.”
Rinkel speculated that another reason for an increase in the coyote population, hence increased sightings, may be the fact that there was less coyote hunters, trappers and snarers this season.

“From all the people I have spoken with, hunters, trappers and snarers, there is not a lot of trapping/snaring of coyotes occurring relative to the last five years,” which he said may be attributed to the low pelt prices. “People snare generally for profit, so when the pelts are going for lower prices, combined with these tougher winter conditions of drifted snow and high fuel costs, not a lot of people are snaring or trapping for profit.”

He did, however, say that there are some people who are still trapping and snaring as a method of control, but overall it is down. “I haven’t had a single complaint of a domestic dog being snared and generally I have four or five (per year).”

While snaring or trapping can be used to control pests, Rinkel reminded residents that in order to do so, they require a trapping license and it must be done during the legal trapping/snaring season.
“However, any Alberta resident can shoot a coyote al year without any licenses, as long as they have access to property (ownership or permission). And then hides do not have to be salvaged. It is just a varmint animal.”

Coyotes birth the end of March and into April, and after productive winters, such as they have experienced this year, can have anywhere from 10 to 14 pups in a litter, which may also explain the sudden increase in coyote numbers.

“When coyotes have their pups, they are in a den and the mother will guard the den, including from domestic dogs roaming or even on a leash. In April/May, we will get the occasional call of coyotes following people with dogs. There is generally a den in the vicinity.”

Rinkel advises that if you should encounter a coyote, back off, make loud threatening noises, maintain eye contact with the coyote and never run. He advised throwing a stick or other object at the coyote and keep yelling at it until it leaves the area.

“It is very rare that coyotes will bite a person. It does occasionally happen, and almost always there is a domestic dog involved. It is like anything in life, people need to be aware and take precautions to ensure the risk of an encounter is lessened.”

Rinkel added that he has never encountered coyotes trotting down the streets in Camrose. “That’s not to say they aren’t around or here at night, but unlike other cities, I have never seen them in daylight on Camrose streets.”

Rinkel also noted that generally coyotes will not take down livestock. “Rarely they may grab a sick or unattended calf, but the herd is very protective and coyotes have a hard time getting into the calves.”
Reducing risk

Rinkel recommends the number one way of reducing the risk of encountering coyotes close to home is to  remove all possible attractants (food sources) such as pet food, fallen fruit and garbage from your yard. “If there is nothing to eat, they will move on, unless they are there because it is mating season.”

Other tactics people can use to reduce the risk of coyotes entering urban areas are: ensure property fences are in good repair; close off decks, patios, outbuildings and any areas that may be accessible to coyotes for shelter; install motion-activated lights in your yard; clean up dog and cat feces; and supervise your pets whenever possible, especially during mating season.

“The key is to make all human contact unwelcome and unpleasant for coyotes, or any wildlife for that matter,” said Rinkel.

According to Rinkel, there are two animals in North America that are specialists in living in urban Alberta–coyotes and deer.

“Coyotes are number one, because they are the most adaptable animal for living amongst humans. They can modify themselves to make it work. Normally, they would have a fear of humans, eat wild food and use wild cover. But they can very easily adapt to using backyards as cover and feeding from garbage or pet food.”

He noted that other than humans, a coyote’s only real natural predator are cougars that will go out of their way to kill coyotes, because they are a threat to their food sources.

“I like to refer to coyotes as generalists. Animals have to be a generalist in order to survive, adapt quickly. The more specialized an animal becomes, the less adaptable they are,” concluded Rinkel, adding that any animal or human, for that matter, that can adapt to general life situations has a better chance at survival.
For situations involving aggressive encounters, phone the Report-A-Poacher number at 1-800-642-3800 and report the details.

Recognizing concerns by County residents regarding coyotes, Camrose County Agriculture Services Board adopted a Coyote Control policy in December of 2021. The purpose is to assist livestock producers in reducing or preventing predation of domestic livestock by coyotes.

Under Section 6 of the Agricultural Pest Act, the duty of the local authority shall be to take active measures to prevent the establishment of, or to control or destroy pests in the municipality. Coyotes are deemed a nuisance under Section 3 of the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation; therefore, under Section 14, a person may be issued control devices under Form 8 “Agreement to Use Nuisance Control Devices”.

For complete details on the policy, visit camrose county.civicweb.net/document/505/.

Perhaps the “Wile” coyote cartoon is really not far off the mark. He was portrayed as indestructible, tenaciously seeking out food sources and extremely adaptable, including concocting absurdly complex contraptions to catch his prey.

We could learn a lot from their behaviour and, by staying educated and using precaution, can coexist with them.

High school hoop team in provincials

By Murray Green

The École Camrose Composite High School basketball senior boy’s earned fourth spot in 3A provincials.

The senior boys finished league play in third place and were ranked sixth in the province prior to the final championships.
St. Joe’s of Red Deer won the central zone and Wetaskiwin is the host, who came in second.  The Trojans beat H.J. Cody for third place in the zone and earned the wildcard berth.

Wetaskiwin Comp hosted both the girls and boys 3A basketball provincials March 16 to 18.

ÉCCHS played the number 11th ranked St. Martin de Porres School in the opening game for both clubs with Camrose winning 83-72. The Trojans played third ranked Brooks in the next round and came out victorious 92-82.

The Trojans earned the right to play Holy Trinity in the semifinals on March 17 and lost 96-81. In the bronze medal game, Camrose lost 92-83 to Strathmore.
7 brcf to sos

BRCF grant funds for SOS

Battle River Community Foundation Board member Carol Rollheiser, left presented the cheque to Leslie Barott, Community Resource specialist for SOS Program Camrose (Service Options for Seniors) Society.

The Battle River Community Foundation awarded a $2,000 grant to SOS Program Camrose (Service Options for Seniors) Society.

This grant supports the Society extending their Senior Resource Outreach Program throughout Camrose County.

The grant is funded from income earned by the Foundation’s Community Funds, a group of named, endowed funds which allow the Foundation Board to select grant recipients from applications received annually. These funds provide the most flexibility to meet changing community needs over time.

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 are 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 $8,679,700 to support charitable activities in the Battle River Region.

Camrose Police arrest suspect in Downtown Camrose shooting

By Lori Larsen

Camrose Police Service  continue to investigate a shooting that occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on March 11 in the downtown area of Camrose.

According to police reports, a male reported that while driving in the 4800 block on 50th Avenue, his vehicle was shot at numerous times. The male driver suffered minor, non life-threatening injuries as a result of this incident.

Four persons of interest from the area of the shooting were initially questioned by police in relation to this incident and ultimately determined not to have been involved.

An investigation further revealed that sometime between the evening of March 9th and the morning of March 10th, an unoccupied, parked vehicle had also been shot two blocks away from the other incident and a male suspect was identified as the person responsible for both shooting occurrences.

On the evening of March 14th, with assistance from the Wetaskiwin and Central Alberta District RCMP Crime Reduction Units, and the RCMP Emergency Response Team, a 51-year-old Camrose man was arrested and taken into custody without incident.

A search warrant on the male’s residence resulted in the seizure of several firearms, ammunition, and other evidence related to the shooting offences.

Police believe the male to be the only person responsible for these offences, and are not searching for further suspects.

The male suspect has been charged with Attempted Murder, Assault with a Weapon, and numerous weapons offences.

His bail hearing was adjourned and he remains in custody. His first appearance is set for Camrose Provincial Court on March 22.

The Camrose & District Victim Services Unit are actively supporting those who have been impacted by these incidents.

City offers arts, culture grants

By Lori Larsen

In an effort to ensure Camrose residents can be appreciated for their contributions to the arts and culture community within the city, the Camrose Arts Council, on behalf of the City of Camrose, distributes grants every year to provide financial support to not-for-profit organizations of individuals’ arts and culture projects, meeting the criteria as outlined on the City of Camrose website.
Applications for the grants are due every year on March 30th and September 30th. Grants can be awarded for project funding up to $5,000.

For complete details on the Arts and Culture Grant Funding Eligibility and Application Policy visit www.camrose.ca/en/your-government/resources/Documents/Grant-Funding-Eligibility-and-Application-Policy.pdf

As advocates for a collaborative arts and culture community within the City of Camrose, the Camrose Arts Council’s mandates include: keeping City council informed about arts and culture activities; acting as a governing body to distribute grants as delegated by the “Arts Council Grant Funding Bylaw” for arts and culture initiatives; and viewing the Arts Council Board Terms of Reference.

The Camrose Arts Council Board is comprised of five members at large (residents of Camrose) and two city councillors.

The Camrose Arts Council meets on the third Thursday of each month at 5 p.m., unless otherwise determined.

For anyone interested in applying for an Arts and Culture grant prior to the March 30 deadline, applications can be downloaded from the City of Camrose website at www.camrose.ca/en/your-government/ resources/Documents/Grant-Funding-and-Eligibility-Application.pdf.

Completed applications can then be emailed to the Camrose Arts Council (camroseartscouncil@camrose.ca) or dropped off at City Hall to the attention of the Camrose Arts Council.

École Charlie Killam School band represents

By Lori Larsen

Recently some École Charlie Killam School (ÉCKS) students had an opportunity to experience a province-wide event to share their passion for music with like-minded other students and gather some invaluable information to help improve and advance their own skills.

“The ÉCKS band program was once again well represented at  the  annual Alberta Band Association Junior High Provincial Honour Band held on March 4 at the Red Deer Polytechnic,” said ÉCKS teacher and music director Bob Bailey.

The Junior High Provincial Honour Band is a program that consists of strong music students throughout the province who have been  recommended by their band teachers.

This year’s ÉCKS participants in the honour band were Grade 8 Band members Emily Basque (clarinet), Lucas Bonzi (tuba) and Naaz Parashar (baritone), recommended to the program by Bailey (band director).

“The students come together for three days of intensive rehearsal under the direction of a provincially renowned band director. This year’s conductor was Verna Ahner, of Calgary,” explained Bailey, who himself was bestowed the honour of directing this group a few years ago.

Lucas Bonzi commented, “It was a great experience. I learned a lot from Ms. Ahner and many other skilled players.” Grateful to have been recommended, Lucas added, “I want to   thank Mr. Bailey for nominating me and allowing me to have this splendid opportunity.”

Also thankful to have been recommended and hopeful to be selected again next year, Emily Basque said, “It was a huge honour to be recommended and then selected. I had a super amazing time. There aren’t words to describe how much fun it was.”

Naaz Parashar was also delighted to have been given this “golden opportunity”, as she described it. “The rehearsal times were very fierce and really amusing also. I’ve learned a lot and I’m thrilled to show off my new skills to the school band.” Naaz also thanked Bailey for recommending her to the program.

The Alberta Band Association Junior High Provincial Honour Band event culminated in a gala concert on the last day, where students performed to a sold-out house of over 500 guests on the main stage auditorium.

Opportunities such as these would not be possible if not for the support of teachers such as Bob Bailey, school staff and administration, and parents dedicated to the advancement and growth of the students and recognizing the extra time and effort these students put in to become the best they can be.


Two piano events slated for Augustana Campus

By Murray Green

The University of Alberta Augustana Campus will be hosting two music events featuring world renowned artist Sontraud Speidel, professor of piano at the Music University of Karlsruhe, Germany, on March 27 and 29.

 Professor Speidel will teach Augustana students in a masterclass Monday, March 27. On Wednesday, March 29 at 7 p.m., for the first time in more than a decade, he will be reunited with Edmonton pianist Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp in a recital showcasing an exciting range of music from early romantic sensibility to percussive techniques of the mid-20th century.

The concert will feature music of Franz Schubert, Fanny Hensel, Robert Schumann, and Grazyna Bacewicz. Professor Speidel is a winner of international competitions, has performed in recitals and with orchestras around the world, and has been a distinguished visiting professor in Bologna, Brussels, Oslo, London, Taipei, Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Sacramento and Montreal.

Both events will occur in the Augustana Chapel of the Faith and Life building with free admission. Coincidentally, March 29 (the 88th day of the year) is World Piano Day.

Fun casino night to be held in New Norway

By Murray Green

A Jersey and Jeans Fun Casino Night will be held to raise funds for the New Norway School athletic department.

Hosted by Elevate Community Foundation, the fun casino is slated for Saturday, April 15 at 7 p.m. in the Silver Creek Multi-Plex.

“We are raising funds to assist the New Norway athletic department due to higher-than-normal transportation costs and rising fees. The athletic department could use extra funds to be able to provide options for all students who are interested in athletics,” said Stephanie Wedgewood, one of the organizers of the event.

“The New Norway School provides an excellent academic and athletic program to youth in our community,” Stephanie added.
The evening will include silent auctions, live auction 50/50 tickets, prizes for top earners and door prizes.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the New Norway Gas Bar, GOAT Coffee in Camrose or email tickets@elevayecommunityfoundation.com. This is an age 18-plus event.

City discusses landfill status

By Lori Larsen

During the City of Camrose March 13 regular council meeting, council approved funding of the 2022 operational loss at the Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority (CRSWA) in the amount of $2,467,537, effective December 31, 2022.

In a post council meeting interview, City of Camrose Financial Services general manager Travis Bouck explained, “The Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority is comprised of the City of Camrose, Camrose County and the Village of Bittern Lake. The three parties together oversee the operations of the landfill located within the City of Camrose and the City manages the day-to-day operations at the landfill.”

Bouck said that in 2022, the Authority made a decision to cease landfill operations and transition to a Transfer Station.

“Prior to 2022, the Authority believed that the existing landfill would be in use until 2056 based upon estimated usage at the time.”

Bouck explained that upon ceasing operations, a landfill must be closed and monitored for a minimum of 25 years in accordance with provincial regulations.

“Rather than having to do closure and post closure procedures for 25 years starting in 2056,  we are now going to have to do that for 25 years beginning in 2025.”

The Authority expects to have the Landfill capped and closed by 2024.

“The current plan is to construct a transfer station in 2023, and in 2024, close the landfill and cap it and then all monitoring activity would commence in 2025 and continue for a minimum period of 25 years, in accordance to the Provincial guidelines.”

In order for that to occur, Bouck explained that there needs to be enough money available now to fund the closure and post closure activities.

“When we thought we didn’t have to start the monitoring activities until 2056, we estimated that we would generate a lot of investment income on the current amount of money we had set aside so that we would have enough to pay for everything in 2056,” he explained.

“But due to expected annual operating losses in the future, the decision was made by the Authority to close the landfill now and transition to a transfer station as soon as possible. As a result of this, we don’t have 20-plus years of investment income to generate the money necessary to pay for the closure and monitoring activities–we have to start spending money in 2024. As such, we need to set aside additional funds estimated at $2,467,537 right now.”

Bouck explained that in order to come up with the $2,467,537 needed to fund the closure and post closure activities as required by the province, the City is proposing to use a reserve totalling $785,748, that was set aside to construct new landfill cells which would bring the amount needed to $1,681,789.

Bouck added that all members of the Authority are responsible for the closure and post closure activities and the funding required from each member is based upon their historical percentage of use over the last 20 years. This is equal to $1,572,473 for the City of Camrose, $104,271 for Camrose County and $5,045 for the Village of Bittern Lake.

“This cost is a result of making a decision to close the landfill earlier than previously anticipated and should be considered in comparison to the potential annual operating losses that were expected to be incurred in the future.”

Moving forward, the Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority has proposed the 2023 budget, which Bouck said will include a projected operating deficit of approximately $230,000.

“The CRSWA determines the tipping fees that are to be charged which are generally set to cover the operational and capital costs required to operate the landfill,” explained Bouck.

“The landfill business has increasingly become a volume based business. The landfill site within the City of Camrose is not optimal for a long-term large-scale landfill operation with height restrictions, ground water levels and the physical layout. Lower cost alternatives within the region may provide high volume businesses with a more affordable alternative and this decreases the volume at the CRSWA landfill site. Fees are increased in order to make up for the loss in volume, more volume is lost due to higher fees, fees are increased again and the cycle continues until you only have very small number of  customers remaining.”

Bouck said that this is not a viable solution–hence the decision to transition to a transfer station at this CRSWA location.

“With that in mind, it is currently difficult to see a situation whereby the landfill will be able generate the revenue to cover the costs based on the volumes that we are seeing at the landfill,” said Bouck.

He explained that the bylaw does state that the Authority cannot approve a budget that has a deficit of more than $5,000,   and that the CRSWA’s latest budget expectation is roughly a deficit of $230,000. “Which is why it is going to the respective councils for approval,” said Bouck, adding that the City continues to look for opportunities to generate additional revenues and cut additional costs to reduce that amount.

Bouck said the Authority has already taken action to reduce the number of operating days from six to four, in attempt to reduce those costs, however, further reduction in those hours would have a significant impact on the residents of the members of the Authority and are therefore not being considered.

“We continue to examine all opportunities to reduce the deficit and even turn a profit. But we currently do not have enough confidence in potential opportunities to include those measures in a budget,” said Bouck. “We need to have a budget approved and if we think we are going to have a deficit, we want people to be aware of it.”

For complete details on the report presented to council on March 13, visit the City of Camrose website at www.camrose.ca.

Downtown BIA disestablishment vote

By Lori Larsen

During the City of Camrose regular council meeting held on March 13, council received and filed the declaration of sufficiency of the petition to Disestablish the Downtown Camrose Development Business Improvement Area bylaw 3264-23.

After the petition was received and filed, council gave first reading to Bylaw 3264-23–A Bylaw to Disestablish the Downtown Camrose Development Ltd. Business Improvement Area.

Mayor PJ Stasko clarified with Isaak that once the petition has been received by council as sufficient (March 13), council must give first reading to the bylaw within 30 days of it being received in accordance to the Municipal Government Act, Business Improvement Area Regulation.

Isaak said yes and that the petition was received on February 27.
After first reading of Bylaw 3264-23 was given, council then approved three motions regarding a taxpayer vote on the disestablishment of the Downtown Camrose Development Ltd. Business Improvement Area.

The first motion approved was for the date for the Taxpayer Vote on the Disestablishment of the Downtown Camrose Development Ltd. Business Improvement Area be scheduled for Tuesday, April 4 (in Council Chambers from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.).

The second motion approved was that Kim Isaak be appointed as returning officer to carry out the duties of the Taxpayer Vote on the Disestablishment of the Downtown Camrose Development Business Improvement Area, and that Ben Cowan be appointed as the Substitute Returning Officer who would take on full duties of the Returning Officer in the event that the Returning Officer is incapable of carrying out the duties.

The third motion approved was the question to appear on the ballot for the Taxpayer Vote on the Disestablishment of the Business Improvement Area to read as “Are you in favour of Bylaw 3264-23 – A Bylaw to Disestablish the Downtown Camrose Development Ltd. Business Improvement Area?”

The petition to disestablish the Downtown Camrose Development Ltd. Business Improvement Area bylaw was first received by council from members of the Downtown Business Improvement Area on February 27.

During the February 27 regular council meeting held at 5 p.m., Byron Campbell, Carmen Krause and Glenn Fox spoke during Public Commentary on their concerns regarding the Downtown Camrose Business Improvement Area and a petition to disestablish the Downtown Camrose Business Improvement Area.
During the March 13 regular council meeting held at 5 p.m., Kyra Gusdal, new Downtown Camrose manager spoke during the Public Commentary in rebuttal of the comments made by Glenn Fox during the February 27 meeting. Gusdal also provided information on the benefits of having a Downtown Camrose Business Improvement Area.

City of Camrose Deputy manager Kim Isaak explained, “Once the vote does occur and if there is a majority vote for the disestablishment of Downtown Camrose Business Improvement Area, this bylaw is going to come back to council for second and third readings.

“If the majority votes to keep the Downtown Camrose Business Improvement Area intact, then council would not give second and third reading to the bylaw.”

Isaak indicated that the City will be sending letters to all businesses in the Downtown Camrose Development Area outlining the date, time and location of the vote.


Police chief career recognized

By Lori Larsen

During a Camrose Police (CPS) Commission meeting held on March 15, CPS Chief Dean LaGrange was awarded with the Police Exemplary Service Medal on behalf of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General of Canada, and presented by Member of Parliament Damien Kurek.

The Police Exemplary Service Medal was created in August of 1983 as a way of recognizing police officers who have served in an exemplary manner, characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency and who have served for 20, 30, 40 and 50 years.
Chief Dean LaGrange was recognized for 30(+) years of service, 31 as of July 2023, with a dedicated career beginning in July 1992 with the Calgary Police Service.

LaGrange moved throughout the ranks with CalgaryPS  in several different areas including: patrol, traffic services, strike force, major events and emergency management.

In January 2011, he was promoted to the position of Inspector and worked in the CalgaryPS Traffic Unit until January  2014, when he moved over as the Inspector in District #2. In March 2016, he became the Duty Inspector in charge of Patrol, K9, Tactical and Covert Units.

In the beginning of 2018, LaGrange retired from Calgary Police Service with over 25 years of meritorious service, then continued service to the public as Inspector of Operations Support with Red Deer RCMP in charge of GIS, K9, Traffic Services, Forensics, Downtown BEAT and Professional Standards.

In July 2019, the City of Camrose welcomed LaGrange as the Chief of Police.

Outside of his commendable service in policing, Chief LaGrange served a tour in Afghanistan under the International Policing Program, is currently the vice president of Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, and volunteers in the community and province as a board member for Rotary and with Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR).

He is also the recipient of the Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (OOM) and will be attending Ottawa in April of this year to receive his merit from the Governor General.

Chief LaGrange continues to be a integral part of the Law Enforcement community, dedicated to not only the safety and protection of the residents of Camrose but to the members of Camrose Police Service as well.

City welcomes spring fun

By Lori Larsen

The warmer weather and melting snow is bound to stir up a little spring fever in people and what better way to welcome in new beginnings than with some fun new classes and activities.

The City of Camrose Recreation and Culture department is happy to announce the upcoming spring classes and activities, a little something for everyone.

Beginning March 24 to May 12 (Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m.), join in on some Adult Watercolour Classes.

Thursdays (5:30 until 7 p.m.), March 23 to May 11, youth aged seven to nine can enjoy some art classes, and youth aged 10 to 12 are welcome Wednesdays (5:30 until 7 p.m.).

Are you looking to improve your fitness, increase your strength and balance? Come out for Therapeutic Fitness classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 28 until May 4 from 10 until 11 a.m.

Or, stretch it out during your lunch with Lunch Yoga held Mondays until April 3, from 12:10 until 12:50 p.m.

New to the City’s lineup is the Barre Yoga Class held Tuesdays until April 4 from 12:10 until 12:50 p.m.

“Barre is a ballet inspired fitness class, blended with elements of yoga and Pilates, set to music,” explained City of Camrose Community Services Department recreation coordinator Jayda Calon.

“Barre targets all the muscles in the body, with extra focus on the glutes and core.”

Or try a little dance with your fitness with the Line Dance Keep Fit  classes held on Wednesdays,  May 3rd until June 21 from  11 a.m. until noon.

“This class is for the beginner or a dancer who wants to improve dance ability,” noted Calon. “It will help you to understand the control and movement of your favorite dance styles like Tango, (Burlesque), Jazz, Latin, Swing, and much more.”

With family in mind, the City has introduced some new programming aimed specifically at bringing families (all ages) out to enjoy some fun together.

Family Faux Stained Glass workshop will run March 25 from 2 until 5 p.m. Family members will create a faux stained-glass project using a canvas, glue gun, and pastels. “This unique project is a fun way to create the look of stained glass without the glass,” said Calon.

On April 8 from 2 until 5 p.m., a Watercolour Galaxy Workshop will have families learning the basics of water-colour though step-by-step instruction.

“Come out and create a watercolour galaxy forest scene by using unique techniques to create texture.

Workshops for adults include Flower String Art to be held on April 22 from 2 until 5 p.m., when attendees will learn all the techniques of string art, while creating spring flowers.

On May 20, a Two-Sided Spring and Summer Wood Sign workshop will take place from 2 until 5 p.m.

“This workshop will involve attendees creating a double-sided spring/summer wood sign by using stencils and learning how to freehand spring/summer designs.

If you want to keep children busy during those no school days, then the City Kids’ Camps could do the trick.

Super Hero for a Day camp runs on April 11 from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. for children ages six to 12. The camp will include superhero crafts, games and activities. “Come dressed as your favourite superhero and share your superpowers,” encouraged Calon.

With a mission to provide services and amenities that contribute to an exceptional quality of life for citizens, the Recreation and Culture Department continues to strive for that  through their programming.

“The Recreation and Culture Department works hard to provide these services to our community as we see the value and importance in making sure fitness, art, camps, and much more are accessible and available,” remarked Calon.

“These classes and programs have been quite popular and well attended. We have seen substantial growth in registration numbers since COVID and they are continually growing.”

With a goal of  accommodating growth and the demand for recreational programming, the City is always looking at new ways to expand their programming.

“Our aim is to offer a variety of programming and a space that is welcoming and open to anyone in our community to enjoy and learn,” said Calon.

For more information on the City Recreation and Culture programming or to register for any of the programs visit www.camrose.ca/programs, telephone 780-672-9949, email recreation@camrose.ca, or visit the Chuck MacLean Arts Centre in person at 4809-52 Street (lower level of the Wild Rose Co-op store).

County doesn’t support new landfill funding

By Murray Green

Camrose County council, at their March 14 meeting, discussed items coming out of the Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority (CRSWA) meetings on both February 6 and March 9.

“At the February meeting both the Village of Bittern Lake and Camrose County advised the Authority of their intention to withdraw from the authority, which basically means when the landfill moves to a transfer site, that it will be without membership from both Bittern Lake and Camrose County,” said County administrator Paul King. “A revised amending agreement was presented at the March 9th meeting, which included clauses related to shortening the membership withdrawal period from one year to one month, and that despite withdrawal residents of Camrose County and the Village of Bittern Lake would still be able to use the landfill and future transfer site provided they are willing to pay the $150 per tonne tipping fee. The last part of the amended agreement was the liability for the reclamation of the site over 25 years.”

At the March 9 meeting, both Bittern Lake and Camrose County expressed concerns, with the landfill amending agreement, around the costs and liability associated with the closure and post closure of the landfill.

“We, (Camrose County Administration) checked with our legal counsel and they have advised us that the County should not sign that amending agreement at this time. The amending agreement puts the County on the hook in perpetuity for any costs of closure or post closure. We took that issue back to the authority,” stated King.

The County has no issue changing the date of leaving the landfill agreement from one year to 30 days as proposed by the authority or the clause dealing with ongoing access.

“The way the agreement reads says the County agrees to pay forever and ever for as long as the Authority asks the County to pay, no matter what it costs the Authority. And, if we leave the authority, we will not have any say in the matter of costs either. Bittern Lake unanimously declined based on the same concerns over mismanagement and liability,” explained King.

“The Authority went on to discuss the operational deficit for 2022 of $2,476,537, which was going to be funded from construction reserves of $785,748 and apply that against that deficit. The Authority then wants a cash injection of $104,829 from the County and $5,072 from Bittern Lake, and the city would pay the difference of $1,580,858. The County suggested an alternative to the Authority, to record an unfunded liability and to use investments of current reserves and interest to fund that liability over time without an additional cash call,” he added.

The City of Camrose passed a motion to fund their portion of the cost at a council meeting on March 13.

“The County has issues that their numbers keep changing. Every meeting, the numbers change and we have a discrepancy,” said councillor Don Simpson, who represents the County on the Authority. “I believe the Authority costs for closure are unreasonable. The Authority have funds budgeted to deal with leachate, but once you cap it, you should not have future problems if it is done properly,” Simpson said. “If we do decide to pay this amount, it would have to include a letter from the Authority saying the County are not liable for funding in the future. We cannot be involved in this for 25 years.”

In 2021, the Authority hired WSP to do a closure, post closure analysis. “Members of the Authority had previously been advised that when the Authority constructed new cells the previous cell was being capped and closed. That did not happen. And oh, by the way, we have 20,000 cubic meters of garbage outside the footprint of the landfill that needs to come back into the permitted boundary.

The money that had been collected by the authority prior to 2021 for closure and post closure was about $2.5 million,” explained King. “The Authority then recorded about a $3 million liability at the end of 2021, that needed to be funded for closure costs. There was a one-time cash call to bring this reserve fund up to about $5,300,000 where it needed to be at. The County paid $75,000 and Bittern Lake added $12,500 and the City added roughly $2.7 million.

At the end of 2021, the authority assumed it would operate the landfill for another 30 years. When the Authority discovered, in 2022, they were not making enough money to fully fund the long-term liabilities, the Authority began raising their tipping fees to cover those costs from $40 to $70, then $100 and in January of 2023 to $150 a tonne. What happened then is that most commercial clients, decided to haul their waste somewhere else for rates around $40 or less per tonne. So, now they are not generating any money and decided to go to a transfer site instead of a landfill,” shared King.

In mid-2022, the Authority passed a resolution to transition to a transfer station and plan for the closure of the existing landfill site. “The estimated cost to close the landfill site and cap everything is about $4,662,000 and closure and post closure is estimated at about $3,159,00. It is not going to cost $113,000 a year for 25 years to close the landfill. Once it is closed, the costs will be minimal and should decline over the years” said King.

When questioned about governance of the Authority, councillor Simpson replied, “The waste authority board that governs the Camrose Regional Solid Waste landfill includes three municipal partners: the City of Camrose (the managing partner), Camrose County and the Village of Bittern Lake. The authority is made up of three voting representatives from the City, the County has one voting member and Bittern Lake has one voting member as well.”
“I move that council receive the information regarding the Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority as information,” said councillor Doug Lyseng.

On another agenda item dealing with the CRSWA, it was discussed that Camrose County council denied a request last December to approve the proposed Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority 2023-24 operation budget with a deficit of up to $320,000 in each year and requested the authority come back with a balanced budget as the agreement states that the authority shall not incur an annual operational deficit any greater than $5,000 without unanimous consent of all member municipalities.

At the Authority meeting held on March 9, a revised 2023 landfill operational budget was proposed with a deficit of $232,400 and member representatives were requested to take this back to their respective Councils for consideration.

“I move that Camrose County council respectfully deny the request to approve the proposed Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority 2023 operational budget with a deficit of up to $232,400, and request that the Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority come back with a balanced budget as per the agreement,” said councillor Tina Sroka.

Over the past number of years, the CRSWA has been dealing with a shortfall of funds in the closure and post closure reserve for the landfill. The CRSWA agreement would dissolve when the landfill closes and change to a transfer site.

According to environmental regulations, any landfill must establish and fund a reserve account to cover the future costs of the site after it is no longer used as a landfill.

The Landfill Authority Agreement states (section 6e) that the authority shall not incur an annual operational deficit greater than $5,000. Consequently, council denied approval of the proposed budget and sent it back for review to meet the details of the agreement.    

Alternatives for residents are available, which include the Kelsey Transfer Site, Kingman Transfer Site, Meeting Creek Transfer Site and the West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill.
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Kallal restores old ’63 snow plane ride

Jerry Kallal, top, restored a 1963 snow plane to travel around the prairies.  Kevin Ball, lower right, helped tear down the old plane to prepare for restoration. The planes were invented to replace the one horse open sleighs.  

By Murray Green

Jerry Kallal of Tofield owns a 1963 Crosby Snow Plane.

Snow planes became popular in the 1930s through to the early 1960s. They served as transportation to go over snowdrifts and impassable roads.

“The sled was originally built in Crosby, Minnesota. This unit is one of the few snow planes built with a serial number in Crosby, Minnesota.

“I acquired the sled in April 2020.  The restoration process has taken me over two years,” said Jerry.

Jerry’s dad, Charles Kallal, had several different snow planes leading to the interest in owning one.

He purchased the sled, west of Edmonton,  from Tim Sevenson, who had purchased it from Marvin Robinson of Yellowknife.  Marvin acquired it from Alberta Government Surplus.

“The unit had sat outside for more than 20 years and thus required a lot of work to do a complete restoration,” stated Jerry.
The original engine Lycoming 0290G is a surplus ground power unit GPU. This engine needed a complete overhaul. “I acquired a running 0290 D (125 HP) aircraft engine, which has aircraft induction and dual magnetos making plenty of power. I ordered a new wood propeller from Sensenich, a propeller manufacturer, in Florida,” he shared.

“The engine firewall had to be replaced. Norm Duffy offered to replace the firewall which was made from three-quarter inch fir plywood and had to be fiberglassed in. Fiberglass preparation, for the outside body, took 90 hours and was done by Jerry’s brother, Vern Kallal. Painting was completed by Zach Smuk at Tofield Autobody,” said Jerry.

The unit also required a new Sensenich propeller and propeller cage.

A new propeller guard was built. A new engine mount was also built for the Lycoming engine. New stainless exhaust with heat exchangers for the cabin’s heat, was completed by my friend Warren Varty.

“Building the skis was a bit of a stumbling block. Finally, after some research, I created a proper mold so steam bending the ash wood could take place.  The skis were originally made of ash and I wanted to restore it to original as possible. The process of finding wood of this size was difficult. The wood was nine inches wide and nine feet long and was finished with three layers of fiberglass. Clear epoxy was added to add strength and to show the natural wood grain. It was finished with three layers of fiber clear epoxy.”

Jerry has restored more than 12 snowmobiles, with this endeavor being the most challenging and time consuming.

“The project turned out to be a lot more work than expected, but my motto is, do it right and even improve upon the original,” explained Jerry.


A snow plane travels low to the ground, like a sports car, skimming across a snow-covered farm field as if over a choppy lake. You almost think it will lift off.

The snow plane has full electronics with generator, starter, high and low beam headlights, tail lights, and a two speed heater motor. It all had to be rewired by Jerry. The snow plane glides easily over the snow. Caution has to be used as it does not have breaks. Luckily, Jerry is a pilot with experience flying airplanes on skis. Propeller driven vehicles utilized a control by which the operator could tilt the machine from side to side, in effect raising one ski and lowering the other to negotiate up to 45-degree side slopes and permit high-speed turns without skidding.
The design was improved on by allowing the skis to carve their edges into the snow as traditional snow planes’s rear skis will skid laterally during a turn. The ski system apparently made no impact on the commercial or amateur snow plane industry as it did not appear to be used in practical application. Perhaps because of the mechanical complexity of the original design, very few snow planes actually exist.

In 1963, Polaris built a snow plane that did not use ski action, this results in the rear skis skidding across the snow surface through turns.

Snow planes are well suited to travel on frozen lakes and snow covered fields or roads but are not suitable for use in mountains or on rough ground.

Epilepsy Awareness Month

By Lori Larsen

On March 26, citizens across the country are reminded to wear the colour purple in recognition and support of people with epilepsy.

The entire month of March has been recognized as Epilepsy Awareness Month, with the goal of spreading the word about epilepsy and how everyone can make a difference in the lives of those who live with epilepsy.

It is estimated that one in 100 people in Canada will be diagnosed with epilepsy and many more may experience one or more seizure episodes at some point in their life.

The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance describes a person diagnosed with epilepsy as one who has had:
  • at least two unprovoked (or reflex) seizures, or
  • one unprovoked (or reflex) seizure and are very likely to have another, or
  • a diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome.
 “I feel it is important to increase awareness of the condition itself, recognition of a seizure, treatments available, and first aid for a person who is experiencing a seizure,” said local advocate for Epilepsy Awareness Month, Janet Greer, adding that epilepsy is not a disease but a condition that impacts the central nervous system, one that she herself lives with.

“My daughter and son tell me the seizures started in 2016, but were attributed to stress,” said Janet.  “They became concerned and reached out for help on my behalf.”

In 2018, the condition had progressed to the level that it could no longer be ignored or attributed to some other issue, requiring the   assistance of a neurological professional. “For my personal health and safety and my family’s, life as I knew it had to transition.”

Janet explained that it is often easy for seizures and epilepsy to go undetected because of the loss of memory that often follows a seizure.

“It’s not contagious,  although it can run in families and it’s not a reason for dismissal of an employee or a reason not to hire an individual or exclude an individual from activity.

“People with epilepsy lead productive, active lives.”

While adjustments had to be made in Janet’s life, specifically having to give up driving, she has adapted.

“The City of Camrose is a fairly good walkable city overall, there are a few challenges, but it allows for independence without driving possible, at least in the daytime.”

It’s because of funding for research in the advancement of treatment and continual education and awareness that people with epilepsy can lead happy, productive lives.

The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance recommends the following actions if you see someone having a seizure.

Remain calm. Most often, a seizure will run its course and end naturally within a few minutes.

Time the seizure and call 911 if the following occurs:
  • the seizure lasts more than five minutes,
  • the seizure repeats without full recovery between seizures,
  • the person is pregnant or has diabetes,
  • the person is injured from the seizure,
  • the seizure occurs in water,
  • you are not sure if the person has epilepsy,
Protect the person having the seizure from injuring themselves by:
  • moving sharp objects away and protecting them from other objects,
  • if the person falls to the ground, rolling them on their side when it is safe to do so,
  • placing something soft under their head,
  • mitigating any potential dangers (they are in a motor vehicle, near a pool, in a crowd, near a fire),
  • if the person wanders during their seizure, staying by their side and gently steering them away from danger.
When the seizure ends, provide reassurance and stay with the person if they are confused.

Whenever in doubt call for emergency medical assistance.
For those seeking more information or assistance with epilepsy, the Edmonton Epilepsy Association (edmontonepilepsy.org), Epilepsy Association of Calgary at (www.epilepsycalgary.com) or the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (www.canadian epilepsyalliance.org) offer resources and information.

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Kodiaks swept by Okotoks in playoffs

Nathan Sullivan of the Camrose Kodiaks watches the puck sail over the net in a playoff game against the Okotoks Oilers in the first round at the Recreation Centre.

By Murray Green

Camrose Kodiaks lost four straight games against the Okotoks Oilers in the opening round of the Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs.

Camrose lost 5-3 and 3-2 in the first two games of the series. The Kodiaks came out of the gate strong to build up a 3-1 lead after the opening period in the second match, March 11.

Noah Alvarez notched two markers, one on a power play and the other shorthanded, and Ryan Sullivan provided the scoring.

Okotoks fought back with a tally in the middle frame and added three more in the third period to take the win.

Goalie Freddie Halyk stopped 28 of 33 shots fired his way, while the Kodiaks recorded 28 shots on goal.

In the opening contest, the teams played a scoreless opening period. Both clubs scored once in the middle frame with Alexander Brisson scoring for the Kodiaks.

After an Oilers power play marker, Nickolas de Beurs scored the equalizer for Camrose. It wasn’t until about two and a half minutes left in the contest that Okotoks took the lead for good.

Goalie Halyk turned away 28 of 31 shots, while Camrose fired 21 shots at the Oilers’ cage. 

In the third game, Okotoks scored twice in the third period to come from behind and win 3-2.

Camrose scored first on a shot from Cooper Sharp. The Kodiaks added to the lead with an Alexander Brisson goal in the middle frame. However, three Okotoks tallies in a row changed the game.
Halyk stopped 35 of 38 shots in the Camrose goal, while, the Kodiaks fired 26 at the Oilers’ cage.

In the fourth game, all of the scoring action was in the second period. Okotoks netted two goals in a minute to break the scoring drought. Camrose fans were fired up when Lucas Lemieux cut the lead in half a minute later. However, Okotoks also replied a minute later to record four goals in less than four minutes.

The Oilers added an insurance shorthanded tally to seal the game and the series on March 15.

Halyk turned away 28 of 32 shots directed his way. Camrose recorded 27 shots on goal.

Bear facts

Myles Gauld of the Kodiaks was named to the southern All-Rookie team. He garnered 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points in his first year in Camrose. He was also named the rookie of the year for the Kodiaks.

Camrose will have a spring camp on April 21 to start building a team for next season.

Fire trucks used on ambulance calls

By Murray Green

Last week, we heard about a boy in Airdrie that took a ride in a fire truck to the hospital after suffering a broken leg. Although the boy didn’t mind the ride, Alberta ratepayers are not happy about it.
“County firefighters have been dispatched in the past when  ambulance response times are delayed,” said Camrose County protective Services manager Mike Kuzio. “It costs us more than $200 when a fire department responds to an EMS Assist call.”
Alberta Health Services are quick to dispatch fire services as first response because they don’t have to pay for the services.

“The bill has to be absorbed by the County (so all ratepayers pay for fire response) when they are called into service by AHS,” said County administrator Paul King. “We don’t get paid for that. We don’t recover any costs.”

The other downside of using fire response, is that not all firefighters are trained for EMS Assist incidents.  What happens if it is more serious than a broken leg?

“I’m curious about motor vehicle accidents (MVC) on Highway 21. Do we still have an agreement with Alberta Transportation to do ambulance type work as first responders? Why isn’t AHS paying?” councillor Doug Lyseng asked.

“Yes, we have mutual aid agreements with Alberta Transportation. Hay Lakes and Bashaw Volunteer Fire Departments are the busiest, by far, with MVC call outs. If Hay Lakes is called out, they (the village) invoice the County and the County will then invoice Alberta Transportation,” said Kuzio, about motor vehicle accident calls.

“For EMS Assist Calls from AHS the County doesn’t bill anyone, we eat the costs, 100 per cent,” added Teresa Gratrix, County assistant CAO. “There is no negative for them (AHS) to call out fire services because they don’t have to pay. Fire Services are being called out without (AHS) knowing if they are really needed. In their minds, they are thinking let’s call fire services every time. It doesn’t cost them anything.”

Fire Services are being called for EMS assists across the province.
Some fire departments in southern Alberta are not attending AHS calls because they are not reimbursed, which is causing emergency concerns.

County council agreed to send the bills to AHS to clearly indicate the costs to the County, even if they won’t be paid by Alberta Health Services, rather than to stop emergency calls.
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Vikings women’s curling bring home the gold

Tavis Roch of the Augustana Vikings screens the NAIT Ooks goalie, while a teammate fires a shot at the net in semifinal action at the Recreation Centre.

By Murray Green

The Augustana Vikings compete in the 2022-23 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

Augustana Vikings lost two straight games against the NAIT Ooks to be eliminated from ACAC playoffs after receiving a bye in the opening round.

Augustana lost 4-2 and 3-1 on March 10 and 11. In the first game, the Vikings built up a 1-0 and 2-0 lead with goals from Gerrik Ripley and Jack Hamly.

However, NAIT came out flying in the third period and scored four straight tallies to win the contest.

Goalie Daniel Moody of the Vikings stopped 25 of 28 shots directed his way. The Vikings counted 32 shots on goal.

In the second game, the teams were even in the first frame, but NAIT scored twice in the middle frame to take command of the contest. The Vikings cut the lead in half when Conrad Phillips scored late in the third period. However, the Ooks scored two minutes later to put the game out of reach. Goalie Moody turned away 26 of 28 shots fired his way. Augustana recorded 21 shots on goal.

Red Deer and NAIT are playing in the league final.

The Augustana women’s basketball team captured silver medals in the ACAC playoffs and advanced to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championship.

The Vikings start their championship campaign against the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) champions, Humber Hawks on March 15.

First-year coach Megan Wickstrom and the Vikings won its third-ever ACAC medal and their first berth to CCAA nationals since 2014 and just their second in team history.

The Vikings women’s and men’s curling teams both collected silver medals in the ACAC championships. They moved on to the national bonspiel.

CCAA and Curling Canada held the 2023 Curling National Championship from March 15 to 19 in Sudbury, ON. The Vikings women’s curling brought home the gold medal. Details to come in upcoming edition.

The Vikings had three men’s players Corbin Diprose, Marcus Sawiak, and Beau Cornelson earn all-conference rewards, while Josie Zimmerman was named ACAC Female Curler of the Year.

Volleyball U18 girls move up

By Murray Green

Camrose Precision Volleyball Club U18 girls lost a heartbreaker in the final match.

They competed  in Division 2 on March 4 and 5 in Edmonton.
“After a difficult Premier 1 that had some serious ranking issues, the U18 team had to battle its way through 16 teams to earn one of two spots to move into Division 1,” explained coach Greg Ryan.
“In the final match against Grande Prairie, the team lost 18-16 in the third set. It was an exceptional effort, a real test of grit for the entire team. Jenelle Martens from Camrose was especially effective as an out side hitter.”

Since the team placed in the top two, they are promoted to Division 1. That means they are now in the top 16 out of 100 teams in the province.

Covenant Health receives Top 75 employer accolades

By Murray Green

Covenant Health has been recognized nine times as one of Alberta’s Top Employers. That includes Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital Camrose.

“We are honoured to be named as one of Alberta’s top employers once again. Each of our decisions and interactions–whether in the boardroom or at the beside–must help to create a positive environment for staff, volunteers, physicians, patients and residents,” said Sarah Cameron, chief human resources officer.
“This award reflects how we live our mission and values daily, providing quality, compassionate care to shape our relationships with those who serve and those we serve in our communities. Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we approach challenges, and I am proud of our teams for continually finding new and innovative solutions.”

More than half of Covenant Health’s 17 facilities are located in rural Alberta communities, providing acute and continuing care services, as well as valuable employment for community members.

“Our teams at rural acute and continuing care sites are an instrumental part of this achievement. The courage and leadership they demonstrate to create vibrant communities of health and healing is inspiring,” said Bonnie Tejada, chief mission and ethics officer.

“It is the collective effort of all of our teams–individuals working together–with compassion, respect and integrity, every day that gives us the opportunity to achieve this recognition year after year, and live our mission.”

St. Mary’s Hospital was opened by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in 1924 in response to an invitation from the mayor of Camrose. As demand for services grew, the Sisters expanded the hospital and even began a nursing school to sustain nursing in the community.

Today, St. Mary’s Hospital is a modern healthcare facility that serves Camrose and the surrounding area with acute care, mental health, palliative care and other services.

The rehab team at St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose has found a creative way to put forward a friendly face even when their smiles are covered by surgical masks.

Physiotherapist intern Molly Ellert suggested they make and wear Bitmoji name tags, an idea quickly embraced by the rest of the team. Each member chose what their avatar would look like. The fun name tags are an effective icebreaker and can be especially helpful in putting dementia patients at ease.

St. Mary’s Hospital provides  emergency care, child health, community cancer centre, coronary care, critical care, surgery, geriatric services, gynecology, mental health, obstetrics, orthopedics, palliative care, stroke services and urology.

According to 2020-21 statistics St. Mary’s has 610 staff members, 38 volunteers, 7,125 outpatient visits, 15,228 emergency visits, 285 births and 76 acute care beds.

EICS focuses on holistic wellness

By Murray Green

Elk Island Catholic Schools (EICS), which includes Saint Patrick School and Our Lady of Mount Pleasant (OLMP) School received a $440,000 grant funded by Alberta Education’s Mental Health in Schools Pilot that will elevate its holistic mental health supports for students.

Here Comes the Sun, the pilot project, runs through June 2024 and is in partnership with St. Francis Xavier Church in Camrose, members of the Indigenous community, EdCan Network and the Edmonton-based wellness organization PEPY.

These partnerships enable school chaplains, health champions, and Indigenous mentors to develop additional skills that will further help EICS students, families, and staff to more proactively support and strengthen their overall well-being.

“Our EICS administrative procedure highlights our belief that student wellness is a core necessity for learning. I am excited for the opportunity that this grant provides for our division to further refine its focus on systemic wellness in light of our faith,” said EICS superintendent Paul Corrigan.

Through this grant, St. Francis Xavier Church’s Rev. Kris Schmidt will educate participating staff about Sacramental Life and Spiritual Health and PEPY model founder Steven Csorba will present key methods for utilizing spiritual, social and physical health to develop resilience and wellbeing.

From the Indigenous community, elder Gary Gairdner and knowledge keepers Eva Stang and Rob Davies will share health and well-being wisdom and traditions, as well as provide training to host circle talks–a form of open communication that is rooted in demonstrating respect for the others and building interconnectedness.

Staff who participate in Here Comes the Sun will then share this knowledge in their schools to further strengthen individual and community wellness.

“Systemic wellness is a division priority and a key pillar in our assurance plan at EICS. This grant supports us tremendously in our goal of supporting staff and student well-being spiritually, physically, and mentally,”  said Jody Seymour, the EICS director of student and staff formation.

Jacobson brings action music

By Murray Green

The Bailey Theatre has a great line-up of shows planned for this season. Here are some of the highlights.

Charlie Jacobson is a blues songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in Red Deer. It is not uncommon to see him weaving throughout crowds and jumping from drum kit to table, while singing his heart out, and never losing a note on the guitar. He plays at the Bailey on March 24 at 8 p.m.

The Bailey Buckaroos have special guests featured each month with a classic country music extravaganza, which is fun for the whole family. The seventh of 10 shows is on Sunday, March 26 starting at 2 p.m.

Love, Lies and the Doctor’s Dilemma is a dinner theatre brought by Curtain Call Community Theatre. Dinner is served at 6:15 p.m. Show-only balcony seating is also available for these performances on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Charlie A’Court, Lloyd Spiegel and Suzie Vinnick, presented by Rose City Roots Music Society, play blues music here on April 14 at 8 p.m.

Join multi-award-winning artists, Canadians Suzie Vinnick and Charlie A’Court, and Australian Lloyd Spiegel, for a dynamic evening filled with songs, stories and laughs as they take their roots ’n blues kitchen party from coast-to-coast.

Godfrey Blaque returns to the Bailey Theatre. This local five-piece group continues to rock the house with over 50 years of performance experience. Join them on Saturday, April 21 at 8 p.m.

Co-op names new directors

By Murray Green

 The Wild Rose Co-operative Association annual general meeting on March 13 was hosted at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre.

The board of directors are Doug Hampshire, president; Meghan Gunderson, vice president; Graham Galletly, director, re-elected for a three-year term; Jason Sharkey, director, re-elected for three years; Brent McPherson, director; Daniel Szott, director; Michael Rostad, director, re-elected for three years; and David Child director, elected for three years.

Co-op has locations in Camrose, Killam, Sedgewick, Viking, Galahad, Alliance and Hardisty.

Water is the most important asset

By Lori Larsen

Protecting our water, one of the most valuable commodities world wide, is the responsibility of everyone, so we can ensure there will be a healthy supply for years to come.

As a way to spread the word and educate the public on the importance of water conservation and the protections of valuable water sources, every year on March 22 the United Nations (UN) observes a World Water Day, highlighting the importance of fresh water.

Every year they celebrate with a different theme focusing on topics relevant to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), which is in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal. This year’s theme “Accelerating Change”, focuses on accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis.

Locally Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) has taken the lead with year round programs and initiatives aimed at protecting our watersheds and educating the public on what they can do to assist including a partnership with the City of Camrose to offer WOW (Waste in Our Watershed) tours to Grade 4 classes. The program was initiated in 2016 and has reached more than 1,000 students since then.

After a hiatus due to COVID, the BRWA once again started offering the tours in fall 2022. Students spend the day touring various facilities in Camrose to learn about the solid waste that leaves their homes, as well as the water they consume and wastewater they produce.

“It’s very eye opening for them to see where things go, as many don’t think about where their waste and their water go, it just goes ‘away’,” said BRWA education lead Kandra Forbes. “Many students (and adults) also don’t realize the direct connection Stoney Creek has to their water source. Being able to show them the full cycle and see the lightbulb go off is very rewarding.”

The tour includes stops at Camrose’s wastewater treatment lagoons, Aberhart Bridge and Driedmeat Lake, the water treatment plant, lunch at one of Camrose’s green spaces, Centra Cam Recycling and the City of Camrose landfill.

By the end of the tour, students better understand the waste produced in Camrose and are able to take action on water conservation and waste reduction.

“We couldn’t do this tour without our City of Camrose and Centra Cam partners, who truly seem to enjoy interacting with the students and showing them the work they do,” noted Forbes.
Forbes explained how the BRWA tour fits in perfectly with the 2023 World Water Day theme of accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis.

“This means encouraging our community to make a difference by changing the way we use, consume and manage water in our lives, and being curious about where our water comes from and where it goes. We often take for granted the quality and amount of water we use every day, and our ability to just turn on the tap.”

BRWA Watershed Programs manager Sarah Skinner said. “Our actions locally have an influence on people, communities, and ecosystems downstream who also rely on these water sources.”
If you would like to learn more, the BRWA has a virtual tour of Camrose’s solid and liquid waste streams on their website at www.battleriverwatershed.ca/youth-programs/waste-tour.
1 bonnieapr2021


By Bonnie Hutchinson

A day in the life of brain fog
For the past few months, as a side effect of some medical adventures, I’ve been super aware of my foggy brain. I am not thinking as clearly as I like to believe is my “normal” brain capacity.

Example: I’m walking down the street with my daughter. I ask her a question. Then I remember that she answered that question about five minutes ago.

Another example. I’m holding a document in my hand. I set down the document to look for something else. I turn back to where I set the first document down. It is not there. Twenty minutes later, I find it–but not where I “remembered” that I had set it down.

I’ve never been physically strong or coordinated. To compensate for less-than-stellar physical coordination or strength, I’ve counted on my ability to think–my brain capacity. That’s mostly worked. However, on the day I’m writing this, I’ve had yet another brain fog incident. Am I losing my survival tactic? Scary!

The incident: I was meeting a friend at a concert. When I arrived at the venue in a taxi, I reached for my phone to text her the location of where I was standing. My phone was not in my purse.

“Must have left it plugged in at home,” I thought.

Ah well, no biggie. My friend spotted me easily without a text message.

When I arrived back home, my phone was not plugged in. It was not on my desk or any horizontal surface, nor was it in a purse, coat pocket or any other pocket.
I could not find it.

Tried to remember the last time I had the phone in my hand. Hah! I was holding the phone as I got into the taxi that took me to the concert. I didn’t have the phone at the concert venue. I must have left my phone in the taxi.

No problem. Phone the taxi company and get it sorted. Oh, right. Couldn’t phone the taxi company because I didn’t have a phone!

Next morning on a Zoom call, I told  friends about my missing phone. One of them–bless her!–said she would phone the taxi company on my behalf to see if I’d left my phone in the taxi. Happily, the taxi company was able to connect her to the taxi driver. He confirmed that I had indeed left my phone in the back seat of the taxi and agreed to drive to my home to return the phone. The story ended happily with me clutching my phone.

Sizing up the situation, I’m left with four thoughts.

First, I’m even more aware of how dependent many of us are on our phones. Our entire lives are on our phones.

Second, brain fog is costly–in time, energy and money. It took a split second for me to forget my phone in the taxi. The next morning, I’d planned to do actual useful tasks. Instead, I spent about five hours fretting, talking about, waiting for and eventually reconnecting with my phone. By the time I’d paid the taxi driver for his trip, the phone was in my hand and my heart stopped palpitating, I was about as alert and clear-thinking as a limp rag–useless for doing actual useful tasks. Plus, leaving my phone in the taxi was just one of several brain fog incidents that week.

Third, I’m confident that my post-medical-procedures brain fog will gradually clear away. However, I’m keenly aware that in my over-80 age group, not everyone’s brain will return to what was normal for them. I ache for people in the early stages of dementia, who understand what they’re losing but cannot prevent it. I also ache for people with loved ones who are physically alive but not really present because of some form of dementia.

Fourth, I’m hugely grateful for family, friends and taxi drivers who are supportive and clear-headed even when I am not–a circle of life and love.

I’d love to hear from you. If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, email me at Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com.
I’ll happily reply within one business day.
Laurel nadon 2019
Homespun By Laurel Nadon


By Laurel Nadon

Art of bargaining

The first time I realized that my husband was terrible at bargaining while souvenir shopping, we were backpacking in Cambodia 15 years ago and we were 11,840 kilometres from home. A local man was selling instruments at the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. They were made of coconuts, with strings, a bow, and an intricately carved dragon head. I knew as I listened to him play that we would likely never get it to make those same beautiful sounds again. My husband listened in awe and then offered him the amount of money that he was asking.

I was shocked. That’s not how bargaining works! And they expect you to bargain in a lot of countries. The next problem we faced was how to get the instrument home (the post office in Siem Reap had chunks of cardboard on the ground that we could make into a box if we wanted, so we chose instead to carry it around until we were in Vietnam. But that’s a whole different story.)

I immediately took over all bargaining. I discovered that the goal is for both parties to feel like they have gotten a good deal. I learned that you got a better price if you wanted two of something, prices were better in the afternoon than morning (it’s better to carry fewer things home), to stay friendly and joke with the salesperson, and that under no circumstances, could I act as if I actually really wanted the item that was for sale!

I used to refer to this process as bartering, until I looked it up for this column (after my dad casually said that bartering didn’t involve money) and discovered that in bartering, goods are exchanged, not money. Other words to describe what I’m talking about are wheel and deal, wrangle, quibble, drive a hard bargain or negotiate. Whatever you want to call it, the process can be highly entertaining.

Once in Mexico, I tried on a dress and loved absolutely everything about it–the fit, colours and design. I think it would have been impossible for me to suppress my glee. And the sales lady could tell. As I continued to wander, less than nonchalantly, through the store, she didn’t return the dress to the high up rack it had come from, because she knew. We continued to wheel and deal until I realized that we were haggling over the equivalent of $5 Canadian and I would rather be sitting on the beach or in the pool, so we settled on her last price.

The only time I broke my rules completely and offered a salesperson the price that they wanted, was when we watched a couple painting in Thailand at a stall in the market. Their paintings had beautiful, warm colours and detailed depictions of bamboo huts beside the water. They were asking the equivalent of $30 Canadian and for that kind of talent, I wouldn’t think of offering them anything less.

My daughter often takes part in my bargaining while shopping. Three years ago we were on a family trip to Mexico and I went to the nearby market one morning to look at a blanket for my brother and sister-in-law as a thank you for watching our house and dog while we were away. I just looked that day, and then went back the following afternoon with my daughter. After a bit, the salesman recognized me from the day before. I told him that I was back in the afternoon, because that’s when prices were best. He laughed. I negotiated a price for two blankets, one for us as well, and we both felt like we had gotten a good deal.

On a recent trip to Mexico, an opal ring caught my daughter’s eye as we walked past a beach vendor. We hadn’t discussed any lingo for making these kind of deals, but she had heard enough of my bargaining stories. When I asked her if it was okay, she knew that was my way of finding out if she liked the ring or not. “Okay” really meant “I love it, and I can’t bear the thought of leaving it behind.” She agreed that yes, it was okay. The price we settled on was half of what he started with!

Sometimes when we go back to the same place on a trip, I will think that we don’t need any more souvenirs. But invariably there is a painting, metal wall turtle, or piece of jewelry that calls to me, and will forever help me remember the holiday. I enjoy bargaining, and it’s good revenue for the local people too.

A ceramic turtle called to my 11-year-old on our last trip. The sales lady wanted 300 pesos (about $21 Canadian) so I offered 100 pesos. “No, amiga, it is very good price,” she told me. Suddenly my son piped up beside me, “How about 150?” I was so proud. Nothing like passing down the art of bargaining.

Births and Deaths

  • Marvin Edward Veale of Camrose, on March 8, at 80 years of age.
  • Austin Pereira of Camrose, formerly of Daysland, on March 9, at 27 years of age.
  • Kenneth Charles Zook of Tofield, on March 10, at 96 years of age.
  • Lloyd Stanley Zinck of Camrose, formerly of Sydney, Nova Scotia on March 11, at 93 years of age.
  • Oscar “Bert” Beck Nordin of Camrose, on March 12, at 93 years of age.
  • Donald Gilbert Gunderson of Bawlf, on March 12, at 75 years of age.
  • Ruby (nee Woods, Martin) Borgstrom of Camrose, on March 13, at 103 years of age.
  • Archie Wayne Hendel of Holden, on March 14, at 74 years of age.
  • Larry Patrick McKenzie of Camrose, on March 16, at 74 years of age.