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By Bonnie Hutchinson

Remember to breathe

So, there I was, lying on a gurney under a CT scanner. Two radiology people were asking me to hold my breath for 30 seconds. I could do it.
At a time when so much seems beyond my control, it was good to know there’s something I can impact. I can hold my breath for 30 seconds. Woo hoo!
On the way to writing this column, I was thinking about what I’d been thinking about over the past few days. Events in our province. Events in the world. I realized that almost everything I thought about was something I wished were different!
On the other hand, when I thought about my personal life–the tiny moments and the bigger things–almost everything I thought of had a gift. Acts of kindness and generosity. Belly laughs. People reaching out to one another. Beyond my own little life, there was nature. Pussy willows. Birds building nests. Hints of spring green unfolding.
I took a deep breath. And what flashed in my mind was a memory.
Once when I was upset, I was babbling out a blather of distress to a dear friend. She listened. When I finally stopped babbling, she said one word: “Breathe!”
I was startled. Then I took a deep breath. And something changed. I could actually feel my heart rate slow down and a few muscles relax. I wasn’t exactly calmer, but I was not wound up as tightly.
Just moments after that memory, what should pop up on my screen but an article about breathing. I considered that a hint.
The article that popped up on my screen described a book about breathing. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art is by James Nestor, a journalist. He began to be interested in breathing about 10 years ago. It was a tough time in his life–job stress, relationship stress, living in an old house that was falling apart, and frequent bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis. A doctor recommended that he take a breathing class.
In the breathing class, participants sat on the floor. A voice on a cassette tape instructed them to inhale and exhale slowly through their noses, over and over again. In the first session, Nestor was skeptical, but settled into the exercise. To his surprise, over the next few days, his sleep improved and his stress level went down. That began his interest in breathing.
Over the years, he met ocean divers who trained themselves to hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes. He read scientific studies. He surveyed ancient Chinese texts. He learned ancient yoga breathing techniques. He volunteered to be a subject in numerous experiments.
At one point, he took part in a study at Stanford University. The study looked at what would happen if people were to breathe through their mouths for 10 days. What happened? Lots. In Nestor’s case, his blood pressure rose. He had 25 apnea events (like mini-choking episodes) while he was sleeping. Bacteria settled into his face. He looked and felt terrible.
In contrast, as he learned more about proper breathing techniques, his physical and mental health improved.
Nestor’s book reflects what he learned. He explains why breathing deeply puts less stress on the heart and why humming is good for you. Why inhaling for five and a half seconds and then exhaling for five and a half seconds might be breathing’s magic pace. Chapter titles are like instructions: Exhale. Slow. Hold It…
Feeling a bit stressed by whatever is going on in your life? Breathe! And keep breathing. Slowly. Through your nose.
Deep slow breathing won’t change your world, but it will help you be better able to deal with whatever is going on in your world. Best of all, it can’t harm anything. Try it!
And maybe we’ll only have another six weeks of winter!
I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send a note to I’ll happily reply within one business day.

Seasons Camrose supports food bank

By Murray Green

Seasons Retirement Communities in Camrose made a $2,000 donation to the Camrose Neighbor Aid Center.
After more than a year of living with COVID-19 restrictions, life has not been easy for many in our area. During it all, Camrose Neighbor Aid Center has remained a primary source of community support.
“During the past year, many in the community have gone out of their way to support Seasons as we faced the challenges of COVID-19,” said Janet London, general manager, Seasons Camrose. “With our $2,000 donation, we recognize the kindness of others by doing our part to support those in need in our community.”
Seasons Retirement Communities has been a partner with Food Banks Canada since 2016. Since then, the company has donated a total of $180,000 in funds and food.
For more information, visit www.seasons 

Alberta increases vaccine rollout

By Murray Green

Alberta’s government will bring in four new measures starting immediately to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as infections and hospitalizations rise.
The new measures will mean about 500,000 more Albertans will be eligible to be vaccinated starting last Wednesday.
“We are in a race between the vaccines and variants and, finally, doses are arriving in significant numbers. We will use these to aggressively expand our rollout, speeding up the timelines and expanding the ways that we get the doses to Albertans. We will meet or surpass our promise to offer every adult a first dose by June 30,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
“Our health officials are working hard to make new shipments of vaccine available to Albertans as soon as they arrive. I strongly urge Albertans to get immunized as soon as they are eligible. When it’s your turn, sign up for your shot, show up for your appointment, and follow up for your second dose,” added Tyler Shandro, minister of health.
Anyone born in 2005 or earlier with eligible underlying health conditions can book appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine at participating pharmacies or with Alberta Health Services (AHS) online or by calling 811.
Those currently eligible under Phase 2B are Albertans with underlying health conditions born in or before 1973. This amounts to about 150,000 Albertans. By expanding to those born in 2005 or before, 500,000 more Albertans will be eligible.
Information on eligible health conditions, including examples, is available at
Albertans aged 55 to 64 who do not have a chronic health condition can now make an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, consult with your doctor if this is an option for you before booking an appointment.
Effective immediately, anyone born between 1957 and 1966 can book appointments at participating pharmacies across the province. AHS began booking appointments on Monday, April 12.
The risk of COVID-19 infection is far greater than any vaccine risk.
Based on current evidence, Albertans who are age 55 and older who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are at least 10 times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit from COVID-19, and at least 45 times more likely to need hospital treatment for COVID-19, than they are to experience any form of rare, treatable blood clots.
Eligible Albertans in this phase can choose to wait to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine which will be available to them when Phase 2D opens in May.
Bookings for rapid flow clinics in Red Deer are now open. More clinics will open in Edmonton and Calgary this week.
Bookings can be made with Alberta Health Services (AHS) online or by calling 811.
Alberta will soon expand its vaccine rollout at participating pharmacies to allow walk-in bookings.

Dust off your putter, the course is open

2 golf course
The Camrose Golf Course opened for business on April 9 with limited hours and, of course, weather permitting.

By Lori Larsen

The City of Camrose Council approved the early opening of the Camrose Golf Course on Friday, April 9, with limited hours, weather permitting.
Resident golfers will be delighted to get back out on the greens and experience a round of fresh air and exercise, but are reminded that the COVID-19 protocols set in place in 2020 in accordance to Alberta Health Services will apply again this year.
First and foremost, stay home if you or anyone in your household is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have travelled outside the country in the last 14 days.
Arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to your booked tee time, and wait in your vehicle until 15 minutes before your booked time.
Avoid any congregating before, during and after your round.
“All golfers are required to check in at the Pro Shop,” explained Golf Course superintendent Darren McDermott. “Masks are required in the shop and we will permit only one tee time group at a time, while remaining two metres apart.”
McDermott also wanted to remind residents that the Golf Course will not be allowing walk-ons. All golfers must have a booked tee time.
“Staff will turn you away if you just show up looking to get out.”
Restrooms on both the course and in the Clubhouse will be open, but are limited to one person at a time.
Only one person per power cart will be permitted unless golfers are from the same household, and the number of power carts are limited, so golfers are encouraged to come prepared to walk the course.
The putting green will be for the group that is on deck only. There will be a maximum of four golfers at a time on the putting green, and golfers are reminded to remain six feet/two metres apart at all times.
The Practice Hole (old #9 hole) is for practice by appointment only. For more details, telephone the Pro Shop at 780-672-2691.
Proceed to the tee only when the group ahead of you has left. Do not bunch up on the next teeing area. Only one group is allowed per teeing area. Once again, remain six feet or two metres apart at all times.
Do not touch any pieces of your playing partners’ or other players’ equipment, including towels, clubs, balls, tees or head covers.
The following items will not be allowed or available on the course: sand and seed bottles; rakes in sand traps (use your foot to tidy up the sand trap after hitting); and ball washers Pencils and score cards are available upon request.
Golfers are asked to refrain from shaking hands before or after rounds, playing through (keep up to the group in front of you) and touching the pins (leave the pins in). When playing through, maintain social distance. Only one group is allowed per teeing area or green.
After you have completed your round of golf, dispose of any trash you may have in the nearby receptacles and return power carts to the area designated by signage.
Leave the golf course immediately after your round and go straight to your vehicle. Golfers are once again reminded to remain six feet/two metres apart and to not congregate anywhere.
“The Government of Alberta has given the golf industry the green light to operate and it is absolutely essential that all season pass holders and guests take these policies and procedures seriously,” said McDermott.
For more information on the Camrose Golf Course, visit the website at or contact by telephone at 780-672-2691.

Council approves temporary outdoor patios

By Lori Larsen

During a special council meeting held on April 9, in response to the latest restrictions imposed by Alberta Health Services (AHS) on April 7, specifically regarding the health order for all restaurants, bars and lounges to cease indoor food and beverage service, but allow for patio service, the City of Camrose council approved a temporary Seasonal Outdoor Patio Policy.
“Feedback from our business community has indicated both a desire for temporary patio allowances and a requirement of City approval for other regulatory approval processes in order to provide food and beverage services,” explained City of Camrose Community Development general manager Patricia MacQuarrie.
Administration presented a proposed policy to regulate temporary Seasonal Outdoor Patios through an expedited review process in order  to support local restaurants, bars, and lounges in continuation of their services.
The policy includes direction on an approval process of two types of outdoor patios.
The first, boulevard patios, are those located directly adjacent to a main floor food service establishment, such as those located Downtown, for the purpose of serving food and beverages in an outdoor setting to seated patrons. In accordance to AHS restrictions, these patio areas would consist of more than two tables and four chairs.
The second, private property patios, are those installed within a defined area within the boundaries of private property, such as a parking lot, for the purpose of serving food and beverages in an outdoor setting to seated patrons, and consisting of more than two tables and four chairs.
The policy outlines all COVID-19 AHS protocols and requirements including: physical distancing of two metres in place between groups of patrons; a maximum of six individuals from the same household per table; hand sanitizer available for patrons’ use; and contact recording/tracing system of patrons.
The policy will require business owners to develop and submit a Concept Plan which includes:
A proposed patio location;
Entrance and exits where demarcated boundaries are required;
Location of tables and chairs with a minimum distance of two metres between each seating area;
Expected occupant load;
Signage; and,
Any other information determined by the Development Authority.
Patios must be kept adjacent to the business frontage and not encroach upon the frontage of abutting property owners, unless written permission is explicitly granted by the adjacent owner.
“The policy is intended to only apply during the COVID-19 Public Health Order restricting in-room food and beverage service,” said MacQuarrie.
Council concerns
Councillor Agnes Hoveland was concerned with any type of tent structure still causing the spread of COVID, and how the enforcement of the regulations for family members only would be carried out.
MacQuarrie said that the policy could be amended to reflect concerns over canvas/tent structures to include: structures with sides must have all four sides open throughout all operational hours, as per Alberta Health Services guidelines, however, they may be closed during non-operational hours to protect business property.
As for the Hoveland’s concern over enforcement, MacQuarrie indicated that the temporary Seasonal Outdoor Patio Policy would not address the issue of enforcement, and that it would be up to the individual restaurants to enforce the AHS order.
City manager Malcolm Boyd used several examples of private property patios for specific businesses throughout Camrose to demonstrate the variables that could exist and the importance of allowing the City an appropriate amount of time to review each application and ensure all public safety measures are being followed.
In accordance to the policy, the patios shall only be permitted between April 1 and Oct. 31, weather permitting, while COVID-19 Public Health Orders restricting indoor dining are in effect. The License of Occupation is valid for one calendar year only.
“We have heard from a number of businesses who are interested in having these temporary patios, so we have created an expedited process that will have the permits turned around in less than 24 hours, hopefully,” concluded MacQuarrie. “We are ahead of the pack on this, as I don’t know any other municipality that has passed this type of policy (as of Friday at noon) in order to get our restaurants and lounges back to business.”
For complete details on the Seasonal Outdoor Patio Policy, visit the City of Camrose website at

Sidewalk cafés and patios offer Downtown options

6 camrose sidewalk cafes
Downtown Camrose businesses could soon be enhanced with sidewalk cafés and patios.

By Lori Larsen

The City of Camrose council, with input from administration, are examining the feasibility of the development of council policy (permanent) with a goal of licensing and regulating sidewalk cafés and street patios in Downtown Camrose.
The recommendation came to council based on a request brought to the City on March 15 from a Main Street business to allow boulevard and on-street seating associated with adjacent uses. The City also received a letter from Downtown Camrose supporting the request.
City of Camrose Planning and Development manager Aaron Leckie noted, “At this time, it seems as many as four Main Street businesses are interested in exploring this. Some of them would be on the street directly, some would be on the boulevard adjacent to the sidewalk, and some would be a combination of both.”
According to Leckie, the vision and rationale submitted by the business aligns with the vision and guiding principles of the  Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (DARP), as well as the DARP policies  specific with Precinct D: Historic Main Street.
“Further to that, COVID-19 occupancy restrictions make this a worthwhile endeavour to explore in an effort to support local businesses.”
Councillor Agnes Hoveland was in support of the idea and exploration and development of a policy. “I think it is very attractive and would draw crowds.”
Councillor PJ Stasko also said he is in favour of trying to make the idea work where possible. “I think whatever we can do to benefit the businesses and help them recover would be very beneficial.”
Councillor Kevin Hycha inquired about the policy regarding safety measures.
Leckie indicated that administration has just begun researching other municipalities listed in the report to learn how they are dealing with some of the issues. “One of the important issues is on traffic management and how to mitigate, as much as possible, conflicts between patrons at the cafés, and moving vehicles.
“Some municipalities require them (cafés/patios) to be raised. Some require something more permanent.”
He noted that because of the location (Main Street), traffic may not be as much of a concern as it would be on busier roadways, but that the City will definitely be looking into traffic safety.
Councillor Max Lindstrand shared councillor Hycha’s concern about safety, but also agreed with councillor Hoveland. “In principle, I like the idea. In Red Deer, they close down a block or two in the summer for pedestrian traffic only. I have concerns with whether or not we would have to shut down a portion of Main Street to vehicle traffic. That might be worth exploring.”
Mayor Norm Mayer raised the question as to how much frontage would an establishment be able to use and the consideration of blocking out some parking to adjacent businesses.
Leckie replied, “That seems to be one of the key  issues to address. We have access to the relatively recent data in the Downtown Parking and Transportation Study that would support some closures based on the utilization of blocks.
“We (City) would take a business-by-business approach. Based on what I see in other municipalities, it would likely be only the parking stalls directly in front of the business (proposing a sidewalk café or patio) that would potentially be closed for parking and utilized for outdoor cafés and patios.”
At this point, Leckie did not have enough information on double-fronting or corner properties, but indicated that further exploration would be done.
Council policy was passed in 1997 to allow for restaurants and retail businesses to utilize the boulevards in the commercial areas of Downtown for sales and service. “However, this  policy was rescinded in February 2018, as it  was largely outdated, and most approvals were dealt with through the Special Event Permit process,” explained Leckie.
Mayor Mayer suggested administration continue researching the matter and return to council for further discussion once more concrete information is obtained.

Kodiaks douse Dragons in last game before break

By Murray Green

Stingy team defence, creative speciality teams, and strong goaltending in hockey is a good recipe for winning some hockey games.
Camrose Kodiaks used that formula to beat the Drumheller Dragons 6-2 on April 3. For the first time this season, the club posted a record over .500 in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
After a scoreless opening period, Blake Kondor started the offence rolling with a tally five minutes into the middle frame.
Drumheller netted the next goal shorthanded, but Camrose rallied on the power play when Connor Gourley connected. The teams exchanged markers before the period ended. Griffen Fraser garnered the go-ahead tally on the power play as well.
In the third, Justin Barker (on a power play), Gourley (his second) and Callum Gau added goals to extend the lead.
Goalie Griffin Bowerman turned away 38 of 40 shots to keep the Kodiaks in the game, especially in the first half of the contest. Camrose fired 29 shots at the Drumheller net.
The Olds-Camrose game on April 4 was postponed.
As the result of a positive COVID-19 test in the Camrose Kodiaks cohort, all team activities of the Kodiaks and Dragons are suspended for 14 days as per the AJHL’s Return to Play protocols.
The Kodiaks, if or when approved, will play other teams, such the Calgary Canucks, Brooks Bandits and Okotoks Oilers. No word yet on the next home game for Camrose or if fans will be allowed.

National organ, tissue donation week

By Lori Larsen

The decision of registering to become an organ or tissue donor could  mean the difference between life and death or quality of life for someone in dire need of your help.
Mayor Norm Mayer, on behalf of the City of Camrose, declared April 18 to 24 National Organ and Tissue Donation Week.
Over 4,400 Canadians need an organ or tissue transplant every year and, on average, 250 patients will die waiting for one.
The goal of National Organ and Tissue Donation Week is to create awareness and help increase the numbers of Canadians willing to actually register their decision to donate.
Currently, 90 per cent of Canadians support organ and tissue donation, but less than 32 per cent have registered to donate.
To register your decision to donate your organs and tissue, join Canada’s Lifeline at _BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds.
One single tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 75 patients. Blood, plasma, platelets, stem cells, organs and tissues are vital in everyday medical care and research. For more information on becoming a donor, visit

Ries named honourary member

By Lori Larsen

Augustana professor and director of Music Ardelle Ries was named an honourary member of the Kodály Society of Canada in acknowledgment of her outstanding service to music education in Canada.
Ardelle is a strong advocate of the role music plays in all facets of life, specifically in education, and has shown her dedication to the craft both through her work at University of Alberta Augustana Campus and through her commitment outside of the college.
“I am so honoured to have been recognized by the Kodály Society of Canada and am deeply grateful to my teachers, colleagues, choristers, students, family, and friends who have helped me along my life-long pedagogical journey over the last 36 years,” remarked Ardelle.
Jody Stark, assistant professor of music education at the University of Manitoba and current president of the Kodály Society of Canada, conferred this honour upon professor Ries at the Kodály Society annual general meeting last summer.
“From time to time, our association honours someone who has made a marked impact in the Canadian Kodály community. It is my great privilege today to confer an honourary membership on our beloved professor Ardelle Ries,” said Stark.
Ries studied conducting at the University of Alberta, where she completed her Doctor of Music degree and holds an advanced musicianship diploma from the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary, where she has also served as a faculty member. While in Hungary, Ardelle also taught at the Kodály Conservatory.
The Kodály Society of Canada is a vibrant national service organization that has provided professional learning support for music educators across Canada for nearly 50 years.
“Ever since I began teaching, I have been deeply influenced and inspired by the philosophies of Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist and music educator, Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967),” said Ardelle.
“His philosophy that all people have musical ability, music education should be universal and begin at a young age and that all music education should be based on singing, speaks to the depths of my soul.”
Along with her roles as  professor and music director at Augustana, she is also the Augustana choral conductor, president of the Alberta Choral Association, advisor to the Alberta Kodály Association and a director of the Kodály Society of Canada.
“Committed to Kodály’s ideas, my career has been dedicated to music education, music advocacy, and the development of professional learning opportunities for others.”
In 2017, Ardelle chaired the International Kodály Symposium on behalf of the Kodály Society of Canada and the Alberta Kodály Association. The Symposium brought a world of music to the residents of Camrose and area and was so successful that it was able to infuse funds into both the Alberta Kodály Association and Kodály Society of Canada.
Ries has also served on the board of the International Kodály Society, and has taught the musicianship and conducting components of Kodály teacher education programs at Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, a program that she helped to start. Ardelle has been an inspiring role model of Kodály philosophy and pedagogy for students and colleagues across the country.
Ardelle has been the recipient of numerous awards for her dedication to music education in the province of Alberta. She has been recognized by Choir Alberta, the Alberta Kodály Association, the U of A Augustana Campus Faculty, the Alberta Council of Disability Services, the Association for Life-Wide Living of Alberta and the Camrose Association for Community Living.
“One of my favourite quotes of Zoltán Kodály reads (and this quote is deeply meaningful now in the age of COVID-19), ‘While singing in itself is good, the real reward comes to those who sing, who feel, and think with others. This is what harmony means. We must look forward to the time when all people in all lands are brought together through singing and when there is universal harmony.’”
Ardelle offers her passion for music to the entire community of Camrose and area, as well as through initiatives such as the SingAble Choir.
But it is Ardelle’s pure joy for all things music that endears her with not only her students and colleagues, but so many people in the community who have benefitted from her effort to share the gift of music.

New local book launches Alberta series

10 author book
Battle River Writing Centre writers Lenard Calon, left, Cathie Bartlett and Janet Enns show the newly completed book Arts that Flow as Stories from Our Landscape: Alberta to which each of them contributed. The book is the first of a three-part series.

By Murray Green

The Battle River Writing Centre has released Arts that Flow as Stories from Our Landscape: Alberta that includes many local artists.
This is the first book in a three-part series. It features Alberta artists who submitted paintings, and then authors described or wrote about what was in the rendering as stories and poems. Jane Ross of Camrose County was the editor and leader of the project.
“Back in 2015, Darryl Bereziuk from Alberta Archeology Survey asked if members of the Battle River Writing Centre would consider writing responses to the visual artworks commissioned by the Alberta Heritage Art Series. After considerable thought, the writers agreed to take the project on,” said Jane. “This book is like a reflection of writing meditation. Each writer seemed to have an intuitive connection to a specific art piece.”
The result is a beautiful hardcover book that is an anthology of Alberta artists and Battle River writers. The book is a project of Battle River Writing Centre and the Association for Life-Wide Living (ALL) of Alberta, in cooperation with Alberta Culture, Archeology Government of Alberta Survey and the Government of Alberta, Historic Resources Management Branch Alberta Culture and Tourism.
“I was very honoured to have my work included in this beautiful book. My work is based on the Fort McMurray and Slave Lake fires. The idea that fire can be constructive and serve a purpose was my idea and a part of Native history,” said Cathie Bartlett, a writer featured in the book. She wrote Cultural Burning after the wild fires of Alberta. “I researched the use of fire in Aboriginal history and then it was easier for me to write.”
Each participating writer chose a poster showing a work of art, researched the subject and wrote a poem or piece of prose or, in one case, a song, conveying his or her response to the artwork.
“For me, it was the first collaboration I have done. I put a poem to a painting and I had a hard time figuring out what to do at first, but in the end, I was very happy with the way it turned out. It makes you feel that what you are doing has some value,” said Battle River writer Lenard Calon of Heisler, who wrote Sun’s Up. “We were very fortunate to write about artwork that was very good.”
The artwork topics include Lives on Pots (ancient pottery), Writing on Stone (preserving the past), Mazama Falls (volcanic eruptions), Trapper’s Cabin (early building), and Cultural Burning (Alberta on fire).
Quotations from earlier and contemporary writers are interspersed throughout the anthology on richly coloured pages.
“I’m new in the creative writing world, and as I wrote my response, I found out it was a poem, which was my first forte into writing poetry. It was a big surprise for me that it was actually published. It was humbling that you can work with a group of people and receive the support you need,” said fellow Battle River writer Janet Enns, who wrote Ice Fishing. “When I saw the picture, it really grabbed me. The picture spoke to me and was about fishing up north. I just started writing to reflect what I saw in my life, looking through a ice fishing hole.”
The exercise in writing about someone else’s vision created a whole new second vision or view.
“The painting artists were commissioned back in 2012 during a water ceremony. In 2015, Jane was contacted to write a response to the pictures that were painted. Then the painters and writers were joined by submitting them for the book,” added Janet.
The book features 18 pairs of artists and authors. Although the artists are from across Alberta, the majority of writers are from the Battle River Writing Centre.
Other local writers include Vivianne Tremblay Grue of Camrose, Diana Zinter of Halkirk/Gadsby, Jane and Jack Ross of Camrose County, Niel Parker of Camrose, Lori Feldberg of Wetaskiwin, Russell Schnell of Castor, Colleen McGinnis of Wetaskiwin, Rosemary Griebel of Castor, Isabel Didriksen of Gwynne and Irene Hewitt, former of Camrose.
To order a copy of the book, email or phone 780-781-2487.

County important to Chamber members

By Murray Green

Camrose County Reeve Cindy Trautman updated Camrose Chamber of Commerce members on its status at the Chamber regular meeting on April 7.
“Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the County, it has been able to continue operations. Staff modifications were made to keep services running and open to the public. Although we had some events cancelled due to COVID-19, for the most part, operations have continued,” said Reeve Trautman.
“As a rural municipality, roads and infrastructure are a big part of what we do. The County has 11 grader areas covering over 2,500 kilometers of roads. These grader operators take pride in covering their areas throughout the year, grading in the summer and plowing in the winter. In 2020, Camrose County completed shoulder pulling in the construction process of 45 kilometres at a cost of $100,000,” she added.
“One of the hidden key components of the roadways are culverts. Camrose County has over 8,000 culverts and every spring, they are put to the test to keep the spring run-off moving. Culverts have a huge impact on infrastructure. The agricultural staff and beavers are in a continual battle throughout the summer to keep the water moving as nature intended. And the beavers are also working as nature intended.”
Another key component to roads is gravel.
“The County operates four gravel pits within the County, and has spent more than $1 million in crushing gravel and just over $500,000 in gravel distribution across the County. In 2020, the County purchased a quarter that shows good deposits for future use. We try to endeavor to cover a third of the County each year.”
Camrose County is more than gravel roads and farmland. “It has nine hamlets and is home to many rural subdivisions. In these areas, the County provides water and wastewater, supplies contracts for garbage and maintains the streets. About 25 per cent of the County population is in urban areas, and the residents of these communities enjoy the small town rural life, while supporting the small civil groups that make their home in the County,” explained Reeve Trautman.
“The halls and agricultural societies make up the cultural life. Ferintosh became a hamlet within the County in January 2020. Ferintosh has 202 residents and has a picturesque spot along Little Beaver Lake.”
The dissolution process took two years. The total tax base added to the County through the dissolution is approximately $55,000 annually for the County.
“Recent infrastructure studies have shown the need for $800,000 in immediate upgrades and millions more in the next few years.”
The County has searched for ways to serve the public more economically. “We are proud to offer recycling at the seed cleaning plant, in Kingman, Kelsey and the West Dried Meat Landfill. This cost reduction was 75 per cent less for County ratepayers. The WDML offers much more than household recycling. Camrose County, along with three other municipalities, are partners in the landfill. WDML has been a leader for more than 20 years,” Reeve Trautman added.
“Camrose County is an economic driver in the area. We are proud to support the community, and we made purchases or services with 120 businesses in the Camrose area last year. That is more than $10 million in economic impact. Recreation services took centre stage in 2020, when the County worked with the City to come up with an agreement in recreation services. Besides the City, the County operates along with 10 other recreation groups.
“The County operates day use areas and campgrounds in Tillicum Beach and Pelican Point. The County has a Nature Conservation Centre. The County is starting construction on a new seed cleaning plant. This state-of-the-art facility will be located just outside of Camrose in the Millang Industrial Subdivision. The new 10,000-square-foot seed cleaning plant will be entirely self supporting and will serve area farmers. The new plant will increase storage capacity, reduce wait times and allow easier access to farmers.
“We have weathered a difficult year with financial pressures on the County, just as families have been impacted across Alberta. Council works hard with the residents’ interest in mind.”

Inspect, maintain vehicle belts

By Murray Green

Responsible vehicle ownership involves taking inventory of the automobile and ensuring it is working at peak capacity. Hundreds of parts work together to keep vehicles on the road, but quite often drivers do not look under the hood until something is amiss.
Routine maintenance is widely acknowledged as a critical component of responsible vehicle ownership, but many motorists may not know how to care for their cars. Belts are one example of components that are integral to efficient, well-running vehicles. Belts are some of the most crucial moving parts in the engine. Belts transmit power between shafts, and all belts, from serpentine belts to V-belts to timing belts, all serve important functions.
A serpentine belt is a long, snaking, winding belt that keeps parts such as the water pump, alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning running smoothly. Serpentine belts transport power to automotive accessories. A failing serpentine belt can cause enormous and expensive headaches, including overheating and loss of steering power.
V-belts, also known as drive belts, are usually found in older vehicles. Unlike serpentine belts which run through various parts, V-belts run through one or two accessories. Older cars with many bells and whistles will have multiple V-belts and should one break, it may not cause as much of an issue as if a serpentine belt were to falter.
Timing belts connect the crankshaft to the camshaft, helping them stay in sync. Failing to pay attention to a timing belt can result in an expensive engine repair.
Belts have finite service lives, and heat and wear and tear are usually their nemeses. It is important to look for fraying or cracking of belts. Even belts that look new may have worn out grooves that lose their grips on matching pulley grooves. Mechanics often use special gauges to check belts.
Belts also may need to be replaced due to oil or grease contamination that can damage the rubber or synthetic rubber. It is important to check the owner’s manual and seek advice from a qualified mechanic about when belts should be serviced.

Sport Fury arrived with modern features

12 plymouth fury sport
Plymouth was ahead of its time with this 1969 Sport Fury edition. The Browns wanted to purchase this car because of the rare features and modern conveniences.   

By Murray Green

Judy and Dennis Brown of Camrose own a 1967 Plymouth Sport Fury III two-door fast top.
The Sport Fury comes with a 383 commando engine and a vinyl top. “It features a rare factory cruise entitled Auto Pilot Cruise Control. It also has a rare fan operated flow through ventilation that pushes the air through the vehicle,” explained Dennis.
The Browns purchased the car in September 2004 from an estate in the Lloydminster area. The body was just repainted the year before and doesn’t have any rust. “It was for sale in Rocky Mountain House, and the owner had the Chrysler dealership in Rocky. He bought it from the estate sale, and re-did the upper part of the motor and had a painted,” shared Dennis. “He owned a lot of muscle cars as well. The car is original except for the paint. Rally wheels were added, but they were an option on the car when it was new.”
The Plymouth Fury is a model of automobile which was produced by Plymouth from 1955 to 1989.
“We’ve always liked the Plymouth Fury, so when the Sport Fury model came up, we wanted to have a look at it.”
The Sport Fury, with about 100,000 miles on it, features power steering, and brakes. It has front torsion bar suspension for a smoother ride.
“When I got it home, it didn’t run that well. I took it to Tim Hansen, west of Hay Lakes, to get it tuned up and to fix a leak in the carburetor. It has been running smooth ever since,” said Dennis.
The Sport Fury has an “S” in the VIN number, indicating it is listed as a special. That means it has some rare features not found on most models of this year. One of those items is the factory air conditioning with the flow through system.
“We have since met people who worked on the car before we bought it. We noticed it wasn’t original paint. We met the guy who painted the car and he told us that it was the original colour.”
The Plymouth Sport Fury that the Brown’s own was manufactured in Windsor, Ontario.
“I think it’s great that people are restoring older cars and getting excited about the history of vehicles. We enjoy going to car shows and hopefully we can have some this year,” said Dennis.
“I remember going to dances in Round Hill when we were younger, and taking cars to the dances. We didn’t go to town very often, but these cars were amazing and we wanted to go for rides. Very seldom would our parents let us take our car. We would hitchhike and were pretty lucky to get a ride in. The problem was getting a ride back. Sometimes, we had to walk back 17 miles. We would come in just to see the cars, or go to Bailey Theatre shows. I soon wanted to own a car, rather than walking 17 miles.”'
The 1969 models featured Chrysler’s new round-sided “Fuselage Look” styling. The Fury was again available as a two-door hardtop, two-door convertible, four-door hardtop, four-door sedan and four-door station wagon. For 1970, the VIP was discontinued, and a four-door hardtop was added to the Sport Fury range, which also gained a new hardtop coupe.
The 1969 models included the Fury I, Fury II and Fury III, the sport-model Sport Fury and the top-line VIP. The 225 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine continued as standard on the Fury I, II and select III models, with the 318 cubic-inch V8 standard on the Sport Fury, some Fury III models, and all VIP models plus the station wagon; a three-speed manual transmission was standard, with the TorqueFlite automatic transmission optional. From 1966 to 1969, a luxury version of the Fury, called the Plymouth VIP (marketed as the “very important Plymouth” in 1966) was fielded, in response to the Ford LTD, Chevrolet Caprice and the AMC Ambassador DPL. These models came with standards such as full wheel covers, vinyl tops, luxuriously upholstered interiors with walnut dashboards and door-panel trim, a thicker grade of carpeting, more sound insulation, and full courtesy lighting.

BRSD to replace current office

By Murray Green

The Battle River School Division (BRSD) will be moving its division office in the future.
They will be moving into the former Augustana building on 38 Street.
Funding for school modernizations and replacement is provided by the province. However, funding for repairs or replacements of administrative buildings and other non-school buildings for a school division must be paid for by the division itself.
At BRSD, it has been an ongoing process of attempting to maintain the existing administration building. However, after careful consideration, it has been determined that allocating more funding to repairing the substantial deficits of the existing division office is not worthwhile.
At its meeting on March 25, the BRSD board approved purchase of a building located on 38 Street in Camrose. The building is of sufficient size to permit consolidation of division-wide staff into one site, including those who work in the current division office, as well as those who work in the support services centre and, in the longer term, those who work in facilities and transportation shops.
The new building is also designed in such a way that more division meetings and training sessions can be held on site, rather than BRSD having to rent space. The board agreed that existing buildings will be sold to help offset the cost of this project.
Before the purchase can be finalized, BRSD will require ministerial permission. This process began immediately following the board meeting. The goal is to occupy the new building at some point in the next school year.

Slow down when driving, lives depend on it

By Lori Larsen

Nobody wants to see red and blue flashing lights suddenly appearing in the rearview mirror of your vehicle, or to open an envelope in the mail to find a piece of paper bearing a photo of your vehicle along with notice of traffic violation, but if you call the tunes, you must pay the piper.
Speed is a one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collisions, and every year in Canada, approximately 800 people die and another 3,000 are injured in collisions where speed is a contributing factor. Overall, it is estimated that 20 per cent of collisions occur as a result of speeding.
When it comes to excessive speed and motor vehicles, three facts remain. It takes more distance to brake the faster the vehicle is travelling; the risk of a collision occurring increases, as does the severity of the crash.
Braking distance is generally affected by three things: the driver’s perception; the reaction time of both the driver and the vehicle; and the vehicle’s braking capability.
“The faster you are driving, the more braking distance you will require,” explained Camrose Police Service traffic enforcement officer Constable Sarah Day. “So if you double your speed, it can make your vehicle’s braking distance up to four times longer.”
Driving faster means you will have less time to react to dangers or avoid obstacles. As well, your brain is taxed with processing more information in a shorter period of time, which can directly affect your vision. With more information to process, the brain tends to ignore a good deal of peripheral information such as cars or pedestrians entering a person’s field of vision from the side, or warning lights from ambulances, police cars and other emergency vehicles.
Not only does the severity of injury increase for the operator and passengers in the motor vehicle with speed, but injuries sustained by pedestrians hit by a motor vehicle increase dramatically when speed increases.
“The likelihood of death for a pedestrian hit at 40 km/hour is approximately 30 per cent, while the likelihood of death for a pedestrian hit at 60 km/hour is around 90 per cent. That 20 km/hour may not seem like much when you are driving, but the impact can be devastating. Add to that an even higher risk for elderly or children,” said Day.
As well, posted speed limits decrease significantly in playground, school and construction zones.
“These are areas of high pedestrian traffic and pose far greater risks,” said Day. “Children are unpredictable and have little understanding and concept of traffic regulations and etiquette. Operators must be prepared for them to run out of anywhere.”
Motor vehicle collisions also have the potential of causing injury, or death to the operator and passengers. “In a collision, the impact of a vehicle travelling at 50 km/hour on the operator of the motor vehicle is the equivalent of falling from the top of a four-storey building,” said Day. “When that speed increases to 100 km/hour, the impact is equal to falling from the top of a 14-storey building.”
Speeding will also increase the chance of a rollover, especially in higher vehicles such as trucks or SUVs, and increases the potential for the operator to lose control of the vehicle.
Posted speed limits, according to the Government of Alberta, are the maximum, legal speeds permitted in ideal conditions. However, operators of motor vehicles are reminded to always adjust the speed of their vehicle according to road and weather conditions.
“Don’t drive beyond your capabilities. Inexperienced drivers are at a higher likelihood to be involved in speed-related collisions.”
Besides the inherent dangers of speeding, doing so can be costly.
“Increased speeds equal increased fines and increased demerits.”
Generally speaking, the fines for speeding over posted speed limits are as follows:
one to 16 km/hour over, $81 to 146 with two demerits.
17 to 30 km/hour over, $156 to 249 with three demerits.
31 to 50 km/hour over, $264 to 495 with four demerits.
51 km/hour and over, $650 to 2,000 with six demerits and may also result in licence suspension, in which case you do not get demerit points applied to your driving record.
Besides the cost of the fine, speeding violations will impact your vehicle insurance rates.
In an effort to ensure the safest roads possible for everyone, Camrose Police Service joins other law enforcement agencies across the province in educating the public on the dangers of speeding.

When to install summer tires

By Lori Larsen

With inconsistent weather patterns in the early spring, it is always difficult to know exactly when a person should switch out the winter tires on their vehicles to all-season or summer tires.
For the most part, the automotive industry suggests when the temperatures are consistently above plus seven, winter tires can be changed.
Apparently, below that temperature winter tires start outperforming summer tires and all-season tires when it comes to braking and grip.
While leaving your winter tires on a bit longer may not necessarily pose a risk of accident, leaving them on year-round will end up costing you more in the long run. Once the temperatures rise, there will be increased wear and tear on your winter tires, and you may also notice a decrease in driving performance such as turning and accelerating.
Winter tires are typically composed of softer rubber and have larger treads which makes them better for gripping the road in wet or cold conditions.
Generally speaking, if you leave your winter tires on year-round, you sacrifice the fuel economy and the performance and lifespan of the tires.
When it comes to choosing all-season tires over summer tires, the choice is entirely up to you. However, because Alberta’s weather can be so unpredictable and the chance of a late spring snowfall or hail is not entirely out of the question, all-season tires offer a little more flexibility for spring and fall driving, as well as added performance in cooler temperatures and wet conditions.
However, it is vital once the temperatures begin dropping again in the fall and the chance of snow is imminent, that you replace your summer and all-season tires with winter tires that promise better performance when it comes to braking, and better manoeuvrability in snowy road conditions.
Once the threat of spring snow storms is over and the temperatures are rising consistently, make an appointment with your local automotive specialists to have your winter tires switched out to summer or all-season tires.

Stay safe tips for barbecue season

By Lori Larsen

’Tis the season for breaking out the barbecue utensils, uncovering the barbecue, filling the propane bottle and getting your grill on.
There is nothing like the taste of barbecue, and Albertans generally have to wait some long winter months before they can slather on the sauce, but before getting too ahead of yourself, Camrose Fire Department would like to remind residents of a few safety grilling tips.
Firstly, keep your grill (gas or charcoal) at least 10 feet away from your home or other structure (garage, carport, patio, shed, quonset) and, if possible, even further.
“Flare-ups can easily catch nearby structures on fire and the heat from your grill can melt siding,” noted Camrose Fire Department fire and life safety educator Captain Jeff Knopf.
Before setting food to fire, give your grill a good cleaning and maintenance checkup. Then, clean your grill after each use to avoid grease and fat build-up.
“Grease is the major source of flare-ups,” said Knopf.
Always check gas barbecues for possible leaks. To check your grill for gas leaks, make a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rub it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open). If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.
Your grilling area should be free of decorations, flower baskets, tea towels, pillows and other flammable materials, and never place your grill under a patio umbrella.
“A lot of today’s decor is made of very flammable material,” said Knopf. “So it is best to avoid putting anything near the grill.”
Have a spray bottle of water handy in the event that you do have a minor flare-up. Spraying it with water can calm the flame instantly.
Always have an operable fire extinguisher within reach of your grill.
“This is very important, but even more important is knowing how to properly use a fire extinguisher,” explained Knopf. “Do not waste time trying to figure out how to use it, instead call 911.”
Statistics have shown that a good number of fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling 911 (fire) and letting the professionals handle the job.
Never turn your gas grill on while your grill lid is closed. “This can cause gas to build up inside your grill. Then, when you do light the grill and open it, a fireball can explode in your face.”
Never leave a grill unattended. Fires can double in size every minute. Take all the utensils and items you will need to grill with you and stay focused on the task at hand.
Never overload your grill with food, especially with fatty foods.
“When too much fat drips down on the flames, it can cause a major flare-up, which in turn can light other nearby items on fire.”
Never use a grill indoors. “Not only is this an extreme fire hazard,” said Knopf, “But grills release carbon monoxide, a deadly colourless and odourless gas that goes unnoticed and has the potential to kill you, your family and pets.”
Nothing says summer quite like grilling. Just remember these simple tips, and you and your family can enjoy outdoor grilling without having firefighters show up uninvited.

Coal mining letter requested of council

By Lori Larsen

During the April 5 City of Camrose regular council meeting, council discussed emails from seven residents expressing opposition of coal mining in Southern Alberta.
Councillor Agnes Hoveland commented, “I would support that we as a City, as other municipalities have done, submit a letter in support of the opposition to the coal mining on the eastern slopes.
“We know there is evidence of impact to the water preserve and the whole drainage issues regarding coal mining, so I would certainly support that. We (City of Camrose) were the first city to line up with the Blue Dot initiative, and I think this is consistent with that philosophy.”
Councillor Wayne Throndson said, “The request makes me uncomfortable for a few reasons. Firstly, I think this is squarely a provincial and federal mandate, not a municipal mandate. I think individual councillors can voice their opinions on their own, but to ask a municipality to weigh into this issue, I think that is way out of our lane.”
Throndson added, “Also, if we are going to do this, I would like to hear from the coal miners.  We are hearing one side of the story, there is always another side. I would prefer not to get involved in this debate as a council.”
Councillor Max Lindstrand remarked, “I hear what councillor Throndson is saying, in terms of being concerned about it not being something that relates specifically to municipalities. However, I share councillor Hoveland’s view on this. I think we should join other municipalities in registering our concern, because water is everyone’s concern. If there is going to be this mining done on the slopes of the Rockies that has potential to do damage to the water supply of many municipalities, I think we should fall in line with other municipalities and write a letter indicating our concern about coal mining in the slopes of the Rockies.”
A motion was made to support a letter in this respect.
Councillor Greg Wood commented, “I would like to see the wording of the letter before it goes out. I don’t have an issue if it is a letter of concern about making sure things are properly looked at. But an outright denial of ‘don’t do it’, without the facts, I am not comfortable with that. As councillor Throndson said, there is more than one side to this issue and if things are being done responsibly and environmentally safe, I think there is always room for discussion. If it is a letter of concern, that’s one thing. But if it is an outright letter saying (they) shouldn’t be doing it, then I am not sure I could support that letter.”
Mayor Norm Mayer responded‚ “I don’t disagree that it is not in our jurisdiction as such, but we are being approached by our local electorate. They are looking for our support to the provincial and federal  jurisdictions. I think we could send a letter of support, whether it would be considered or not to any extent, supporting other municipalities who are even more directly affected than we are.”
The motion was passed and Mayer recommended a letter be drawn up by administration, then circulated to council prior to sending out.

BRCF assists Daysland


The Battle River Community Foundation awarded a grant to the Daysland Hospital Foundation.
The grant is from income from the Silverdale Farms–Elmer, Caroline and Vern Lohner Fund. The Fund was established by the Lohners to support their local hospital. This was the first grant from the Fund, which will provide an annual grant to the Daysland Hospital Foundation that may be used for projects selected by the Hospital Foundation Board.
The Battle River Community Foundation exists to support organizations such as this 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 principals 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 $7,250,000 to support charitable activities in the Battle River region.
To learn more about the Battle River Community Foundation, contact Dana Andreassen, executive director, at 780-679-0449.

Be sure to update your vaccines

By Murray Green

Alberta Health Services announced that April 24 to 30 is National Immunization Awareness Week.
When was the last time you updated your immunizations? If you can’t remember, it may be time to get them done. It is recommended that adults in Alberta receive: a booster dose of tetanus/diphtheria vaccine every 10 years; an adult booster dose of pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, combined with one of the tetanus/diphtheria boosters (dTap); the dTap vaccine for pregnant women every time they are pregnant; hepatitis B vaccine for unprotected adults born in 1981 or later (some adults born before 1981 may need this vaccine if they are at risk for hepatitis B e.g. health problems, type of work, lifestyle, contact with the virus); measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine for adults whose immunization records do not show the recommended number of doses of measles, mumps or rubella vaccine;    chickenpox vaccine for unprotected adults; annual influenza vaccine for all Albertans six months of age and older;  and pneumococcal vaccine for all adults 65 years of age and older and adults with certain health problems.
To find out which vaccines are recommended for you and to book an appointment for immunization, call your nearest community health centre or public health centre. If you are not sure where your nearest community health centre or public health centre is, you can call Health Link at 811. Bring any immunization records you have to the appointment, especially if you were immunized in another province or country.
For more information about immunization, go to Immunize, Immunizations at, or call Health Link.

Births and Deaths

- To Karen and Matthew Bernes, of Camrose, a son on March 30.
- To Sabrina Heydorn and Dan Twerdohlib, of Camrose, a daughter on March 31.
- To Desiree and Jarret Hayes, of Lougheed, a daughter on April 1.
- To Mary Grace and Albert Pidernal, of Beaver County, a daughter on April 1.
- To Kelsey and Derek Oslund, of Beaver County, a son on April 2.
- To Delphie and Kent Siemens, of Edberg, a son on April 2.
- To Kendra and John Badry, of Daysland, a son on April 4.

- Micheal Raymond Alexander Barnesky of Wainwright, on March 27, at 36 years of age.
- Peter Zak of Leduc, formerly of Camrose, on April 2, at 93 years of age.
- Gail Juliann Johnson of Camrose, on April 3, at 70 years of age.
- Marion Bennett of Camrose, on April 3, at 98 years of age.
- Clara Emma Bradley of Camrose, formerly of Kimberley, BC, on April 3, at 101 years of age.
- Darrell Rousell of Camrose, formerly of Hay Lakes, on April 4, at 69 years of age.
- Blair Martin Dyberg of Wetaskiwin, on April 4, at 67 years of age.
- Gene Edward Williams of New Norway, on April 5, at 74 years of age.
- Clarence Raymond Holmberg of Camrose, formerly Drayton Valley, on April 5, at 73 years of age.
- Michael Vincent  Crossman of Camrose, formerly of Antigonish, NS, on April 7, at 57 years of age.
- Karen Ruth Thompson of Camrose, on April 7, at 69 years of age.