Reflections

<strong>Reflections</strong>

By Bonnie Hutchinson

Revenge of the “on hold” people

This column has a long preamble to two short happy stories and something that made me laugh.
The preamble. I have for months been putting off a phone call to a phone and internet company to tell them I’d like to receive my statements online instead of in the mail.
I tried to set that up using the link the company provided, but I can’t make their link work.
This is the same company that, every time I want to set up an automatic email message saying I’ll be away until a certain date, has a system I can’t seem to make work.
Every time I have phoned about that problem, they walk me through the instructions and then they, too, run into the same problem I do. Sometimes the technical person is able to set it up manually, and sometimes even that doesn’t work.
This should be a five-minute task, max. Last time I wanted to set up the automatic message, I invested an hour and quarter waiting on hold and eventually talking to a technical helper who had a hard time figuring out how to work around the problem I’d encountered.
Apologetically he explained that, “Our technical people are working on it.” If they are, I haven’t noticed. I’ve been encountering the same problem for more than a year.
***
My heart sinks every time I think about having to phone that company, because I’ve never yet been able to get through to a human being in less than 15 minutes. Sometimes (when the problem was such that I had to wait until I could get through), I’ve waited for 45 minutes.
At least they no longer have a message that says, “You call is important to us…” which is clearly not true. If my call was important to them, they’d answer. They still have the message that says, “We’re experiencing unusually high call volumes,” which is also clearly not true. If it was unusual, I wouldn’t always have to wait so long.
Grump, grump, grump.
Last time I was waiting and waiting, my grown-up mind pointed out to me that my grumpiness doesn’t change a thing about the situation except to make me feel worse. That was a useful train of thought. I set myself the challenge of being as “Zen” as I could. So at least the company is perhaps helping me build character.
***
All this is a preamble to two happy stories and something that made me laugh.
Yesterday I had to phone a credit union and a phone company (a different phone company). I dreaded both calls, not because they were difficult, but because I expected to have to wait a long time to speak with a person. I chose to make the calls at a time when, if necessary, I could take half an hour.
The first call was to the credit union. They answered immediately, I explained what I wanted, they handled it right then, and the call was done in less than five minutes. Wow!
The second call was to the phone company. Again, someone answered right away, I explained what I wanted and they handled it immediately. Wow Wow!
The two calls combined took less than 10 minutes. How wonderful to have my time respected by not one but two large companies. I felt a bit discombobulated!
***
And here’s what made me laugh, just a few minutes later. I read an article about how customers are using social media to get back at companies who provide bad service or products. The article included a Twitter post from one of my old heartthrobs – Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise.
He wished to set up a new Time Warner Cable account and met with long wait times, disconnects, forwards, call backs and more. He posted this tweet:
“All I wanted to do was set up a new account with @TWCable_NYC but 36 hours later I’ve lost the will to live.”
I’m still laughing.
***
If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send a note to
Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com

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Tulip fun fibre art workshop to be held

By Murray Green

A Crayon Tulip Fun workshop to create fibre art will be held at the Chuck MacLean Arts Centre on Saturday, March 18.
Participants will be introduced to fibre art techniques using crayons blended with heat on fabric.
Local artist Mary Wilton will lead the classes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. She has also had her work displayed in the Art Walk for the past 11 years. “Art has always been part of my balance in life.”
To register call 780-672-9949 or visit www.camroseartssociety.ca/events/fibre-art-creations/.

Barenaked Ladies band adds Camrose

By Murray Green

Canadian icon band Barenaked Ladies selected Camrose as one of their three Alberta stops on the upcoming Canada 1 Five 0 Tour.
The Barenaked Ladies (BNL) will be on stage at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, Nov. 2  for an 8 p.m. show.
Lougheed Centre subscribers will receive first chance to purchase VIP tickets on March 14. Tickets will go on sale to the general public Friday, March 17 at 10 a.m.
“We have 24 gold VIP tickets and 76 silver VIP tickets available. It includes such things as merchandise, access to the sound check, autographed photo and a commemorative event ticket,” said Nick Beach, Lougheed Centre manager. “I asked the question (about if they would consider coming to Camrose), but I thought they would be too expensive. The agent said this is what the band wants to do to celebrate Canada’s 150. If Edmonton people want to see them, they have to come out here, or Fort Saskatchewan.”
If you are a season subscriber, or Pick 6 purchaser you can call, or visit the box office before they go on sale to the general public.
“It is a really big show for us. When I booked Steven Page (former BNL member) last season, it was because I wanted to bring him to the Camrose audience. It just coincides that we are making the announcement a week before Steven’s show,” added Nick.
“These guys are Canadian icons and it will be the biggest show that we have had so far,” he added. “To us, that is like getting the (Tragically) Hip or Bryan Adams. It’s the same class of artists. People are used to seeing these artists in a stadium or arena. This will show other artists that we can host top-name performers in Camrose at the Lougheed Centre. It is exciting.”
The intimate setting is great for the Canada 1 Five 0 Tour for the BNL. “Our entire theatre of 573 seats takes up the same space they reserve for VIPs at stadium or arena concerts. It will be like every person here will have a close view of the band, like they are in your living room. Most people don’t get that close at bigger city concerts,” explained Nick.  
The band is currently composed of Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson and Tyler Stewart.
Upon forming, the band quickly developed a cult following in their native Canada culminating in their self-titled 1990 cassette becoming the first independent release ever to be certified gold in Canada. The band then received a major record deal with Reprise Records. Its label debut, Gordon, was released in 1992.
The band’s style has evolved greatly throughout its career, and its music which began as exclusively acoustic quickly grew to encompass a mixture of a wide array of styles including pop, rock, hip hop and rap. The band’s following translated into immediate success with Gordon in Canada with a number of popular singles including “If I Had $1,000,000” and “Brian Wilson,” but it was not until the band’s 1996 live album, Rock Spectacle with its singles, live versions of “The Old Apartment” and “Brian Wilson”, and its 1998 fourth studio album, Stunt, that the band finally found success in the United States.
The band is also known for their light-hearted, comedic performance style and humorous banter between songs; improvised raps/songs are staples at most concerts.
They have won multiple Juno Awards and have been nominated for Grammy Awards. The group has sold over 15 million records including albums and singles.
The band released a new live album, BNL Rocks Red Rocks, early in 2016. It was the band’s first commercial live release since the departure of Steven Page in 2009, who ironically play at the Lougheed Centre on Thursday, March 16.
Last fall, the band recorded with New York City a cappella group, The Persuasions, to record a 12-track album composed of reworked BNL songs along with some Persuasions songs. The new album will soon released.
“BNL will donate $1 from every ticket sold to Music Canada which helps less fortunate people take music lessons, helps purchase music equipment for school and children,” said Nick. “BNL will have an opening act, but we don’t know who that will be yet.”
BNL also play in Fort Saskatchewan on Nov. 3 and in Red Deer on Nov. 6.

Presley show at Bailey

By Murray Green

Elvis Presley remains one of the most significant singers of our time and even after his death his legions of fans keep growing as does his legacy.
Kelso Entertainment presents the Elvis and Friends Tour to Camrose at the Bailey Theatre on Tuesday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m.
The show is a tribute to Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Alan Jackson. Award winning tribute artist Adam Fitzpatrick along with Joe Kelso and Jake Stolz perform on stage.
 There will never be another “King”, but there are those few who come closer than the rest and Fitzpatrick is one of those select few that does. With his growing reputation of excellence as an Elvis tribute artist, Fitzpatrick is fast gaining recognition for his natural ability.
Tickets are available online at www.baileytheatre.com/tickets, at the Bailey Box Office.

City looking for approval on the sale of two lots

By Lori Larsen

City council approved  the listing for sale of Lot 26A located at 4723-51 Street but did not approve the listing for sale of Lot 24A located at 4724-49 Street during the regular council meeting held on March 6.
City of Camrose director of Planning and Development Aaron Leckie reported to council that both lots had been redistricted from Special (Historical) Residential District (SRD) to Direct Control (DC) at the Feb. 21 regular council meeting.
Leckie cited the following reasons for administration recommending the sale and possible development of the lots.
It is the highest and best use of vacant land, it does not impact future roadway widening, it provides an opportunity to prove that redevelopment in historical neighbourhoods can be sensitive to existing development even with reduced footprint, it represents a catalyst project for the consideration of reduced footprint redevelopment in other desirable areas of the city, it helps to fill the gap for a demonstrated demand for new and innovative types of housing primarily as a result of the rising cost of home ownership, it provides the opportunity for the city to sell excess land in inventory and turns a vacant and municipal tax exempt property into a use that contributes to the tax base.
Lot 26A would be proposed to be sold for not less than the assessed value of $60,520 and Lot 24A not less than the assessed value of $80,270. Both lots would also be subject to redistricting and subdivision costs and GST.
Lot 26A
“There was no opposition noted from any of the adjacent owners,” commented Leckie “In fact, the owner directly to the south of the property was in favour of the development proposal once they had the opportunity to look through the regulations of the DC district, which actually make it more restrictive rather than less restrictive compared to the SRD district.
“We have had a number of inquiries. We have not been actively listing or vending this to anyone, but it has become apparent that at least one adjacent owner and a couple of local builders and developers have been following the redistricting process and have expressed interest.”
Council comments
Councillor Bill Sears commented that in review of the City’s Strategic Plan he noted it specifically states identifying all the vacant sites the city owns and a clear goal to try and sell or encourage development on those sites.
Councillor David Ofrim inquired as to whether or not the lot could be purchased by Camrose Dental Health Care to accommodate extra parking.
Leckie responded. “It would be an issue because we moved it to the DC district which doesn’t identify commercial parking so we would have to change the zoning again.”
The motion to approve the listing for sale of Lot 26A was carried.
Lot 24A
The motion to approve the listing for sale of Lot 24A was met with a little more resistance from council.
Councillor Greg Wood expressed his concern with the sale of this lot. “This one, I have a little more issue with.  I think we may be premature listing this one for sale.”
Councillor Sears stated he personally took a look at the lot and noted there was really only room for, at the most, four parking stalls. “I hope that is not an issue of parking. I do not know why we would be turning down development when there is a demand for this lot. I don’t want to be a council that is unfriendly to development.”
Councillor Agnes Hoveland voiced concern over the elimination of parking for the businesses located directly west of Lot 24A (McSliquors and Monte Carlo Steak and Seafood) in the event of 48th Avenue widening. “This would actually eliminate half of the parking that they have. They lease the parking from the city now. If the lot were sold and it eliminates another two, is there any reason to believe that the lease agreement with this business would change?  Is there any future impact with the Transportation Master Plan that would impact that agreement?”
City manager Malcolm Boyd replied. “The expansion of the roadway would impact the lease agreement and that is when the lease agreement would be cancelled.”
Councillor Hoveland continued. “So that business would virtually have half of the parking that it currently has, plus less the parking that is behind that lot currently?
“I would be reluctant to do anything with this right now until we see exactly what the ramifications are going to be.”
Councillor Kevin Hycha inquired about a concern regarding deliveries to the businesses, brought to council during the Feb. 21 regular council meeting by resident Dave Chamberlain, property owner adjacent to the lot in question.
Boyd indicated that the resident’s concern was that deliveries were impeding access to the back alley. “While a truck is parked there to offload, he (property owner) doesn’t have access off 48 Avenue to get up the back alley.”
Leckie explained. “If we hold onto this lot to see what the future of 48th Avenue and road widening would be, even with some projections, it would be quite a long wait. It is some time after the year 2036 that the widening of 48th Avenue would occur.
“We agree with council and with the adjacent owners that there is a parking issue and we looked through all the configurations and cannot find a parking solution that actually utilizes that lot.”
Mayor Norm Mayer also expressed concern with selling the lot. “I still have a problem and I know you are talking 15 or 20 years down the road, but I am nervous about a premature sale where the city may end up having to buy it back at a higher cost somewhere down the road. If it is there now, we could probably generate some more dollars in the way of rental out of it to accommodate the loss of taxes.”
The motion to approve the listing for sale of Lot 24A was lost with a 4-4 vote.

Steele reflects on the music of George Jones

By Murray Green

Award-winning singer and song writer Duane Steele and his band will take you on a journey of George Jones’ life through stories and songs.
The tribute to one of the top country artists will be held at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre on March 17, beginning at 8 p.m.
“I’ll be playing his songs and telling some stories about the artist and what he was going through. I’ll go from the ’50s to the ’90s and cover his career until the last few years. It is hard to cover 40 to 50 years of music in one night,” said Duane. “This will be the opening show on the tour for me.”
Steele will sing the hits of Jones that spanned five decades including his duets with Tammy Wynette to the number one country song of all time “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
You’ll also hear the stories of Jones’ life, which echoed the country songs he sang filled with success, failure, hard-drinking and heartbreak. The Legend of George Jones is a must-see for Jones fans and country fans alike.
“I was asked a year and a half year ago and I actually turned it down because I thought I couldn’t do George Jones justice and I wasn’t ready for a tribute concert,” said Duane. “I’ve always been a huge fan of George Jones and when we were a lot younger we played many of his songs. Now the time seems right, before I bring out some of my new music.”  
In a career that lasted more than 50 years, Jones evolved from a young honky-tonker to a music icon as he recorded more than 150 albums and became the symbol of traditional country music. His music continues to inspire artists of all genres.
“As an entertainer, I looked at this as a huge challenge and something I could dig my teeth into. I love the music and the styling of George Jones. It is going to be fun to express his songs the way he did and tell his story,” said Duane. “He is probably one of the greatest country music singers on a record. He was an interesting man and had a whole catalogue of music.”
When Duane started playing in a band, he often sang his songs. “We (band members) asked each other who sounds like George Jones the most. He has a rich history of music and we played his songs.”
The Hines Creek singer has made his home in Red Deer for the past 15 years. “I call central Alberta my home and have played in Camrose at the Bailey before, but this will be the first time in the Lougheed Centre. It is a great venue and I like a more intimate setting, rather than playing in bars when I first started. I’m excited that Camrose will be our first show.”     
Duane is among Canada’s top country recording artists and songwriters with a professional career dating back to 1984. “I will be playing a song off my new album called Country Folk that I want to share with the audience to give people a look into my background growing up in the Peace country.”
Duane has toured the world headlining his own shows and opening for some of the hottest acts in country music including Shania Twain, Terri Clark and Trisha Yearwood. Duane’s pure voice and authentic country sound make him the ideal artist to pay tribute to the legendary George Jones.
To purchase tickets visit the Lougheed Arts Centre website at www.camroselive.ca or call the Lougheed Box Office at 780-608-2922 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. It is also open one hour prior to all performances.

Grilling cookoff assists children with physical disabilities

By Murray Green

The Grillin’ and Chillin’ Barbecue Cookoff Club was founded last year by a handful of local people who wanted to perform charity work in the Camrose area, while having a lot of fun.
The group was organized last November and held a fundraiser on Feb. 4 at the University of Alberta Augustana Campus. Zumba instructor Olga Ojeda led the way with an energized Zumbathon session.
“Our goal is to raise money to help children with physical disabilities purchase customized wheelchairs, walkers and medical equipment. Another goal is to raise money to help lessen the financial burden for the families and help children to grow to their full potential,” said Guy Johnston, of  the Grillin’ and Chillin’ Barbecue Cookoff Club.
On June 23 to 25, the group is planning a three-day barbecue competition at the Ohaton Sports Grounds.
“We hope to at least double the amount we raised before at this event. We will have a cookoff and children’s games all day Saturday. It is a family-orientated event with a variety of games. Camping is available for the weekend. Entry fee for the cook-off includes camping and offers cooks a chance for prizes such as a smoker for meats,” added Guy. “Pulled pork, ribs, kabobs and chicken will be available for purchase. We will also have a beer garden with a live band Saturday night.”
A draw for a raffle prize will be held on Saturday to raise funds for Courtland’s Hope in Camrose. Some tickets will be available prior to the draw.
For more information contact Guy at 780-672-7530 or 780-281-0654.

Page writes chapter with trio

By Murray Green

Canadian music iconic band Barenaked Ladies entertained fans for 20 years with high energy and well crafted songs.
Lead Steven Page left the band in 2009 to develop a solo career and his writing skills are also reflected in his material since then.
Page will be performing at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Theatre on Thursday, March 16 at 8 p.m. The Juno Award winner is known for his strong voice and lyrics that contain humour as well as a message to which we can all relate.
“I’m going to be playing a mix of my new music, some from my early solo career and some Barenaked Ladies songs that go way back too. I know what it is like to go to a concert. You want to hear some of your favourite songs, but bands just want to play their new stuff. I want a mix,” said Page. “People want to hear some new music to listen to what you have been up to, but I also know the older songs created memories for people and  are important to them. I’m lucky to have songs like that in my catalogue and I’m happy to perform them.”
Page has spent eight years developing his own name in music outside of the Barenaked Ladies, but is still connected through his songs that have lasted the test of time.
“When you play in a big arena, you can only go through every so many years. I was in Edmonton last summer, but I came back to Alberta recently to play with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra and now I’ll be going back to play Camrose. We are lucky in Canada to have high-quality  theatres outside of the big cities, such as they have in Camrose and Medicine Hat, and all over the country,” said Page. “It is always great to travel across Canada and it is familiar. I like the feeling of being home throughout Canada. To have a place in people’s hearts is pretty awesome.”
He reflects positively on his past. “I’m not as embarrassed about my old music as some people think. I look at what I wrote as a teenager and say, wow, I did a pretty good job. Over the years, I have learned how to write songs and what I like in a song. I’ve learned not to be afraid to push myself,” he explained. “I always have written songs that have been stylistically eclectic and lyrically interesting or challenging.”
In Camrose, he will be performing as a trio. “I have been two-man shows for years with these two guys and I finally brought them both together to have a trio.”
Page will be with Craig Northey on guitar (with the Odds) and Kevin Fox on cello. “Craig is one of my closest friends and Kevin is the first person I call to go play music festivals. Playing without a drummer allows the music and words to come out more.”
Page often follows where the music takes him. “When I make a record, I never know what it is going to sound like until it is finished. At the end of the day, it still sounds like me and fans will say this is Steven Page. I think that is a great compliment because I have brought something that is familiar to the table, but I have trusted myself and that makes it more fun.”
Even on stage, Page likes to bring unpredictability. “I like to think every night is a special occasion for both us and the audience. We build a rapport with the audience and what happens on stage may not happen with any other audience. I want people to walk away feeling they experienced something unique,” said Page.
“I like to perform old songs such as ‘Old Apartment’, ‘Brian Wilson’ and ‘Jane’ and I’ll keep performing them, but I will change a few others each concert. I like to pull some out of the hat to keep it fresh and fun for us.”
One song he doesn’t perform is ‘If I Had $1,000,000’ because it was a duet with Barenaked Ladies co-founder Eddie Robertson. “It was intended as a duet and it would feel weird or cheap if I tried to duplicate it. As much as people like the song, without that banter between us it runs the risk of being an imitation of what we used to do. I don’t want to disappoint people and have them think less of it. I’d rather have people walk away who are pleasantly surprised.”   
To purchase tickets visit the Lougheed Arts Centre website at www.camroselive.ca or call the Lougheed Box Office at 780-608-2922 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. It is also open one hour prior to all performances.

Simons wins Alaska's Iron Dog snow race

<strong>Simons wins Alaska's Iron Dog snow race</strong>
Ryan Simons, left, and Cory Davis win the Iron Dog race.

By Murray Green

Ryan Simons of Camrose and his snowmobile racing partner Cory Davis captured the Iron Dog title in Alaska by crossing the finish line in Fairbanks a couple of hours before their next competitor on Feb. 25.
The race spans 2,036 miles and the two-person team has to cross the finish line together in the event that is held before the famous 1,000 mile dog sled race.
“We started at Big Lake, near Anchorage, went to Nome and then turned around and headed to Fairbanks,” explained Ryan. “I have competed in all of the big events in North America. I have been fairly successful, but this one was on my bucket list to try and win one day.”
Snowmobile engine breakdowns resulted in non-finishes and an eighth-place result to drive Ryan to compete again. “This was the first time that we didn’t have engine troubles. It’s not fun repairing snowmobiles in those cold temperatures and windy conditions,” he added. “It is a sense of accomplishment to win the event.”
Tyler Aklestad and Tyson Johnson were in the lead the day before, but were disqualified for receiving help in the race.
They appeared to be on their way to a second straight victory in the northern marathon, but race marshals saw a picture posted on the internet showing spectators pushing down on their two snow machines during a fuel stop.
“We were in second at the time of our last layover and Cory is friends with Tyler and Tyson and we were chatting with them. They broke the news to us of the disqualification, because the race officials already phoned them. That changed our strategy because we were two-and-a-half hours ahead of the next team. We could run a slower and steady pace and not push our machines as much. There was no sense in pushing it. The race was essentially over then,” said Ryan.
Now the team has to decide if they are going to defend their title. “If I could just show up and race it, then I would do it for many more years, but the race takes so much prep work. Just preparing and organizing for it eats up at least a month-and-a-half of your winter. It is a time thing. You get your sleds running well and they are stripped down to nothing and you ship them up there in crates and then they are put back together again. Then it takes time to get everything running great again. You are never done, you try and get it running the best that you can in the time you have. We could still be working on them today, put it that way,” he shared.
“This is the only race I entered this year. I’m kind of retired from competitive racing, but I wanted to enter this one,” he added. “You don’t race for the prize money, you race for the pride of winning. I have a lot of sponsors, so we didn’t have a lot of expenses.”
Crossing the finish line first makes up for the disrupted sleep and mandatory layovers. “The hardest thing is dealing with the weather conditions. There is nothing fun about it, it literally hurts. We hit 52 below (F) and you don’t want to take your gloves off and work on your sled.”
Ryan has raced competitively since he was about 17. “Racing just comes naturally to me. Thankfully I have my family support, fiancee and young son Blair to thank and be thankful for. It has been my life for more than 15 years. To win a race like that is good and it has a huge following.”

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Bawlf hosts 1A hoop provincials

By Murray Green

Bawlf School is hosting the Senior High Girls 1A Basketball Provincials March 16 to 18.
The Bawlf Wildcats posted a 10-0 league record and advanced to zone playoffs, even though they have secured a spot in provincials.
“We are ranked number two in the province for 1A girls and we have definitely improved throughout the year. Our goal is to go for the gold,” said Grade 12 student Demi Vermeer. “Stirling, ranked number one, have won the last four provincials in a row. We played them last year in the final and lost. This year, we want to win it even more. We are closer to them (skill-wise) than we were last year. Since I’m in Grade 12, I would like to win a medal and end the year by making a mark.
“We are stronger as a team this year. We have a lot of depth and more players have stepped up. Instead of five players, we have a solid bench, which helps.”
In her first year at high school, the team won bronze and last year the team earned silver, so the natural progression is gold medals. “Yes, of course, that would be nice, definitely. Our team is good in a lot of areas and we seem to click and have fun,” she said. “Stirling even has more depth than us, but we want everyone to contribute. It helps us a lot when we can rest, knowing we have a bench that is good under pressure. Then when we go back in we can play well because of that rest. Not only does it give you a physical rest, but you get a mental break.”
The team has lost in tournaments against 3A schools. “Going against tougher teams has tested us on defence. Our defence is strong, but it helped playing better teams. We just can’t be sloppy on defence and that is what we have to avoid.”
Demi plays the post position and is often called upon to score some points. “It adds pressure, but I like to make plays. In a pressure game, I know that I can pass to someone else in order to get open. It adds pressure, but to me that is the exciting thing,” she continued. “I like pressure games because that is what makes you better and it’s more fun.”
Bawlf went to Eckville to play in the zone tournament. “Viking and Hay Lakes will be the teams to beat. Our league is the strongest, so that has helped us all year. Since we are hosting provincials, a second team from zones will move on as well. It is possible to have a  third team as a wild card, depending on rankings,” explained Demi.
“We are second, Viking is eighth and Hay Lakes is 10th. From the beginning, we have said we want to earn a spot and not go just because we are hosting. We want to win zones.” Hosting in Demi’s final high school year is ideal for her. “It is great for the community. Some people are overwhelmed because of the amount of work that goes into it, but in the end everyone is going to be happy that we had the opportunity to host, especially with the new school. It is good to host when you know your team is strong.”
Demi indicated that the coaching on her team is one of the major reasons they are strong again this season. “We had one coach since Grade 8 and another since Grade 9, so everything is familiar. The players have been together since Grade 8, so we know each other pretty well and know how we react in certain game situation.”
The Wildcats have 15 players. “It is a big team, but it is nice because we don’t have to worry about if we have enough players for practices or games,” said Demi. “You can have higher intensity practices with more people.”
Demi is going to the University of Alberta, Augustana next year to play soccer.

Augustana students perform two plays this spring

By Murray Green

The University of Alberta, Augustana campus drama department will be showing two plays during their March 16 to 18 and March 22 to 25 productions at the Augustana Theatre Centre. All shows are at 7 p.m.
Director/supervisor Kevin Sutley leads the cast in I Shot A Duck and A Human Write that involves about 20 students.
A Human Write is a story, written by Amy Sutton, about an actress/writer whose thoughts end up being characters in the play.
“The characters are voices in her head as she tries to come up with a story,” said Sutley. “We have nine actors, one person and eight others who are ideas for her next play she is trying to write. They all work together to resolve that issue. It is a fun way to explore where the creativity to write comes from.”
I Shot A Duck was written by Jason Chinn of Edmonton for Augustana students. Late 40s bride Johanna (Amy Wright) marries Rufus (Bennett Wilson), 25, with the help of her drag queen friend Shonelle (Vincent Major) in front of a crowd of friends and family with mixed opinions.
“It is a story of a mother and two daughters. The mother and one of the daughters are actresses and the other is a performance artist,” explained Sutley. “This is more of a family drama. It spans four seasons and several years. It starts with a romance, marriage and the intrigue that happens. Over time the husband becomes interested in one of the daughters, which causes problems.”
Tickets to the plays will be available at the door.

Vikings ready for curling nationals

By Murray Green

The Augustana Vikings curling teams host the 2017 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Curling National Championships March 22 to 25 in Camrose at the Rose City Curling Club.
The Augustana Vikings hockey team defeated NAIT 3-2 in overtime, but lost 4-1 and 3-1 to be knocked out of the playoffs.
Augustana needed three games to eliminate the Red Deer Kings in the first round of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference playoffs, March 3 to 5.
The Vikings won 3-1 in the opening contest, lost a tough 2-0 game in the second to force a third game that Augustana won 4-0.
The Vikings were hungry to conquer in the deciding match and dominated the game early. Owen Sobchak started the scoring in the first. Connor McLaughlin scored twice in the second and Adam Osczevski put it out of reach with a tally in the third frame. Skip stopped all 27 shots on goal.

Camrose and District Community Band holds spring concert

<strong>Camrose and District Community Band holds spring concert</strong>
Murray Green, Camrose Booster Tom Spila, leader of the Camrose and District Community Band takes the musicians through a practice prior to the spring concert to be held on March 26 at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre.

By Murray Green

The Camrose and District Community Band will be joined by a special guest, the Fort Saskatchewan Community Band, on Sunday, March 26 in a spring concert.
Under the direction of Tom Spila, the band will perform at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose at 2 p.m.
There is no admission charge for the popular event that features musical guests from the Fort Saskatchewan Community Band.
The Camrose and District Community Band is comprised of local musicians and University of Alberta, Augustana Campus students. “Fort Saskatchewan will open the concert before we play. Augustana students will be playing a selection of songs by themselves as well,” noted Spila. “We end the show by playing a few songs with everyone together. It’s a special concert in the fact that we have invited another band to play with us and involve different groups. Last year, we had the Wetaskiwin Strings and the CCHS band. Fort Saskatchewan invited us to play there with them, so we are returning the favour.”
The bands will perform a variety of selections, including standard concert literature, marches, jazz and movie themes. There will be light refreshments following the concert.
“We have 63 members, which is the largest we have ever had. More people know about our band and we have more former students going to Augustana and are playing with us,” said Spila. “Along with the numbers, the quality of the band is always improving because we have a fuller sound.”
Formed in 1983, the Camrose and District Community Band was started by a group of 13 interested local musicians, under the baton of Spila, for the purpose of providing a recreational adult band for the community.
“This has been a very rewarding experience for me. I enjoy the Community Band and this concert showcases how good the band is. It is unique to have a band of this size in a city this size. Although I’ll be retiring from the high school in June, I will be continuing with the Community Band.”
“Music is a great thing. Once you learn to love it, music is forever,” said band president Ray Hook. “I have played for seven years and have been the president for the last six years. I am the liaison between Tom and the band and help with some organization. I learned to play the baritone in high school and loved it. I always wanted to play and I have been in community bands everywhere. I played in the drum and bugle band at the Royal Military College, but then didn’t play again for some time.”
He has played in many bands in several communities across Canada. “I’m blown away by the size and quality of the Camrose band. Tom has been amazing in molding everyone together. It is a thrill to play for this band.”
While the focus of the band is educational, the group provides a wonderful social outlet as members thrive musically and make new friends at the same time. Membership is open to anyone over 18 years of age, and ranges from 18 years of age to 90 plus. The ensemble is governed by an elected executive with help from various committees. The band’s repertoire consists of a wide variety of styles.
“The way Tom sells it is that you are here because you love music, not to be criticized on how you play. He is an excellent teacher,” said Ray. “It’s been an honour to be the president. It’s an honour to play in the band.”
Performances include local trade shows and events, public concerts and festivals. The band membership consistently totals over 60 musicians representing a wide array of occupations and people from all walks of life. For many years now, Augustana students with experience on an appropriate instrument have been able to join in the band as full members while receiving university credit for their work.
Rehearsals take place Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Camrose Composite High School band room. The season runs from late September to late May. The band welcomes all newcomers, so if you are interested, come out to the concert and feel free to talk to members of the band or call 780-672-1051 for further information.
The season wraps up with a concert in the park near the Bill Fowler Centre on May 23.

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Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches bound for Puerto Vallarta

<strong>Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches bound for Puerto Vallarta</strong>
Lori Larsen, Camrose Booster Camrose Rotarian Jeff Bonnor, one of many volunteers, sets a walker onto a truck along with wheelchairs, other walkers, canes, crutches and parts to be delivered to the airport, then transported to Puerto Vallarta Rotary Club affiliates for distribution to people in dire need of the equipment and a helping hand.

By Lori Larsen

The Rotary Club of Camrose are once again wheeling a helping hand to people less fortunate.
Since 2000, the Camrose Rotary Club has been collecting wheelchairs and other medical equipment and then sending them to an affiliate Rotary Club in Puerto Vallarta (PV), Mexico.
On March 9, members of the Rotary Club along with other volunteers loaded 141 wheelchairs, 67 walkers, crutches and canes (along with parts) onto a McTavish Deliveries truck, to be transported to the airport for delivery to the Puerto Vallarta Rotary Club.
As one of the Club’s many initiatives, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and canes were collected from residents, health care institutions and the provincial government’s AIDS to Daily Living program and generously stored in The Brick warehouse.
Once the PV club receives the equipment, they transport it to a warehouse for repairs (if necessary) and then it is distributed to people in need and who are unable to afford the much-appreciated equipment.
The wheelchairs, as well as other medical equipment, are delivered to Discapacitados Vallartenses A.C. Puerto Vallarta, a support group for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities that ensures the wheelchairs and other equipment are distributed to the people who need them. A nominal deposit may be charged to prevent the equipment from being sold, for people in desolate situations, the equipment is given to them in an effort to make their lives better.
Don Rebus, Camrose Rotarian, spoke about the gratitude expressed from the PV Rotary. “I was talking to our Puerto Vallarta contact Ivan Applegate Curiel,” noted Rebus. “He is the Rotarian in the PV club who organizes everything down there. He (Curiel) told me how much he appreciates the long history of our relationship which has helped many people that we will never meet.”
Rebus commented on how this initiative allows residents to see the far reaching affects of the volunteer work of the local Rotarians.
“The club also appreciates all the support from residents and local businesses for this initiative,” said Rebus, without which such worthy causes would not be possible.

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Births and Deaths

BIRTHS
- To Kristie and Shea O’Riordan, of Camrose, twin sons on February 28.
- To Miriam and Peter Waldner, of Camrose, a daughter on March 2.
- To Dana and Chad Hamm, of Camrose, a daughter on March 3.
- To Isabel and Ray Thiessen, of Camrose County, a daughter on March 3.
- To Holly and Layne Isaac, of Edberg, a daughter on March 5.

DEATHS
- Dan Foster Tennant, of Camrose, on February 26, at 57 years of age.
- Carol Huebner, of Hay Lakes, on March 4, at 65 years of age.
- Jennifer May Vowles, of Camrose, on March 6, at 52 years of age.
- Carol Marion Dunster, of Camrose, formerly of Garner Lake, on March 6, at 77 years of age.