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By Bonnie Hutchinson

Treat me like you treat him
 In this Valentine’s Day week, I’ve been remembering what I came to believe about “love” as I was growing up. Maybe you came to believe some of the same things.
I was enchanted by “happily ever after” stories–whether fairy tales or romance novels. My mom, however, was not impressed by Hollywood love stories. She was especially contemptuous of celebrities talking about the great new love of their life. “Hmp,” Mom once said after listening to an actress talk about a new romance. “If they want someone to talk about love, they should ask someone who’s been married to the same person for 40 years and been through hardships together. That’s who knows something about love. Anyone can be excited in the early days when you’re still on your best behaviour.”
On the eve of my first marriage, Mom gave me two books. One was a fat recipe book that told you everything a woman of that era ought to know about cooking for a family:  components of a proper meal, how to pluck and clean a chicken, how to set a table for guests when you had no servants. Oh yes. It also had recipes.
The second book was about (blush) marital sex. Mom was clearly uncomfortable, but thought it was her duty to tell me a few things–or at least, to give me the book. One of the things she said was, “Your father and I seem to have an unusual relationship–based on what I’ve heard other women say.”
This was not much past the era when advice to women was, “Just lie back and think of England.” Mom was not explicit, but I got the impression that, in contrast to other women she knew, she did not think of England.
She once said, with some bemusement, “I never expected to be happy in my marriage. Getting married is just what you did. Being happy wasn’t what you expected.”
Then she paused and said, “It was kind of a nice surprise.”
Once, out in a restaurant with mom, I noticed an older couple in a booth, not talking at all. Mom noticed me noticing them and said, “Sometimes young people see an older couple not talking and think, ‘Isn’t that too bad? They have nothing to say to each other.’”
That, of course, was exactly what I was thinking.
“I don’t think that at all,” mom said. “I think, isn’t that nice? They are so comfortable together they don’t need to talk.”
I formed beliefs about “love” from watching and listening to my mom, but I also learned something about love from my dad. One incident made me laugh and also made me think.
One rainy day, mom had just washed the floor in the front entry. Dad came in the front door and tracked in mud. Mom was not pleased. She let dad know that.
Not long afterwards, the dry cleaner man rang the doorbell to deliver some dry cleaning (Yes, in those days, dry cleaning was actually picked up and delivered).
Mom opened the door and greeted the dry cleaner man. She invited him to step in, but he said, “No, my boots are muddy.”
Mom said, “Oh don’t worry about that. It’s easy to wipe up. Come in out of the rain.”
The dry cleaner man did that. And yes, there were muddy tracks on the floor.
Dad observed this. A few minutes after the dry cleaner man left, dad asked mom, “Do you love me?”
Somewhat taken aback, mom answered, “Yes.”
“Do you love the dry cleaner man?” dad asked.
Even more taken aback, mom answered, “No.”
Dad said, “Well, stop loving me! Treat me like you treat the dry cleaner man.”
This Valentine week is a great time to treat the people we care about most as least as considerately as we treat people we don’t love. Enjoy!
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.
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Welke takes charge, Kodiaks to enter 22nd straight playoff run

By Murray Green

Mckenzie Welke of the Camrose Kodiaks continues to work hard as he scored in overtime to lift his team to a 4-3 victory over the Whitecourt Wolverines on Feb. 4.
Welke was named the hardest working Kodiak in January and his excellent play has carried over into February.
Camrose opened the scoring with Cody Laskosky connecting on a power play just 1:16 into the contest. Laskosky also received recognition as the top player in the league last week.
Whitecourt tied the game later in the period, but the Middle frame was all Kodiaks as Welke, his first of the night, and Connor Brock added to the lead to make it 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The Wolverines still had some fight left in them as they replied with two tallies in the third to force overtime.
Goalie Cole Tisdale stopped 31 of 34 shots directed his way. Camrose also recorded 34 shots on goal in the evenly played game.
It was the Kodiaks that made the most noise in the third period against the Drayton Valley Thunder as they scored four markers to earn a 5-2 come-from-behind victory on Feb. 1.
Griffen Fraser scored between two Thunder goals in the middle frame.
In the third, Lane Brockhoff, Lynden Grandberg, Erik Miller and Laskosky all added single markers to complete the comeback.
Netminder Griffin Bowerman turned away 28 of 30 shots in the Camrose net.
The Calgary Canucks scored first, but Camrose garnered five straight tallies to take control of the game and won 6-2 on Jan. 31.
Fraser and Grandberg replied in the opening period to give the Kodiaks a 2-1 lead after the first period.
In the second, Miller, Laskosky and Callum Gau padded the lead. After the Canucks replied, McKenzie Welke completed the scoring on a power play in the third period.
Netminder Logan Breen made 22 of 24 saves. Camrose fired 40 shots on the Canucks’ cage.
Camrose will host the Olds Grizzlys on Feb. 15, the Calgary Canucks on Feb. 21 and the Canmore Eagles on Feb. 23 to wrap up the regular season. The first two games begin at 7 p.m. and the final game starts at 2:30 p.m. in the Encana Arena.
Camrose has now its playoff run to the 22nd straight year.
Bear facts
The Hockey Skills competition is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 16 at 3:45  p.m. with the Fountain Tire Skills Day for atom age and younger players. There will be two sessions with a maximum of 25 skaters and five goalies in each session.
Register at Fountain Tire Camrose (east end or downtown) and it includes ice time, a hot dog and refreshment, a souvenir from Fountain Tire and a game ticket to the Kodiaks Feb. 21 game.
After the skills day at 6:15 p.m. the Kodiaks will be on the ice with several minor hockey players and they will participate in a skills competition. Kodiaks join minor hockey players for some team events.

BRSD considers closing Round Hill School

By Murray Green

The Battle River School Division has to reduce its expenses by more than $4 million next year, in order to operate within the funding provided to them by the province.
To start the process, board members passed a series of motions to consider closure or consolidation of schools for next fall at a regular meeting on Jan. 23.
The first community meeting was held in Round Hill on Feb. 6. “We went into the meeting looking for answers. Parents want what is best for our families. The community and people who live in Round Hill want to keep the school open. If people want to sell their house in five years and we don’t have a school there is no draw to our community. Right now we have great community support and our hall is almost always booked, with some form of activity. If the school closes, we feel that our community diminishes,” said Karmen Bowal, a parent of two children at the school.
“We also look at the flip side. We know the school division is facing a deficit. If we remain open, it is concerning to know that there would be cuts, such as staff and options, is that in our best interest? We already have combined classes and are nervous to see triple grades,” added Karmen.
Currently, Round Hill has split classes for Grade 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. Only kindergarten and Grade 9 are stand-alone classes.
“Our enrolment has remained steady and hasn’t decreased, in this year it actually increased. Our private kindergarten joined the division and now our school could add them into our enrolment count. The projected enrolment seems to remain constant,” shared Karmen.
BRSD is monitoring the junior high enrolment. “Our junior high numbers are getting smaller and that is a concern. Across the division, the majority of high schools have received critical minimal enrolment letters due to shrinking class sizes. We had received this letter in the past, so it leads us to think who would be the next to be closed? Students want different options and opportunities. I feel this is a major concern that we need to address and get to the root of this problem,” said Karmen.
“It’s no secret that enrolment numbers are going down. They haven’t done enough to draw or keep students in Battle River. More enrolment means more funding. We want to see the board’s options. Are they just thinking of closing schools, or what are the other options, what is the long-term plan? We are aware they are going to reduce the number of trustee members. We value that decision. The division is short of money and we don’t pay school fees. Maybe we go back to paying. The division has about 5,900 students and even at $100, it raises around $590,000 explained Karmen. We need to increase our enrolment across the division and when you close schools, you lose enrolment.”
The risk of closing Schools is that some of the students would go out of the BRSD boundaries and enrolment could go down again.
“Even if they close Round Hill School, the students could go to a private school in Kingman or to an Elk Island Catholic school and BRSD could end up losing more students again,” shared Karmen. “I think they are missing the point of making our schools stand out.”    
Parents understand that the school facilities across the area need on-going maintenance and upgrades to keep up to standards, but closing schools is only a short-term solution in saving money.
“We understand that we have an aging school, but they (BRSD) have repaired the boiler and roof in 2017. Our parent society and the community has invested a lot in the school. Within the last five years the community has added a new playground, an outside basketball court, chromebooks for the classrooms, tables, chairs, a piano, and a screen and projector for a brand new score clock.”
People in the Round Hill community care about the school. “Parents and community volunteers come in and help with hot lunches, breakfast club or whatever is needed. I’m scared to see what our community would look like with the school closed.”
Parents want to see options like what a four-day week would look like and if it would save enough busing money to make a difference. We need to see more options like different programming and maybe school fees.”
BRSD changes, if passed, would be effective as of June 30.
At the public meeting in Round Hill on Feb. 6, board chair Norm Erickson spoke to the enrolment declines facing rural school divisions across Alberta and beyond.
“The reality is that there are fewer families living in rural areas,” he said. “When our school division was formed 25 years ago, we had 7,880 students. Now we have less than 6,000. Farms are bigger, families are smaller. Funding for schools is based on student population. As overall numbers decline, the dollars go down too,” he added.
“Our priority is to keep teachers in front of students and ensure we can provide a quality educational program. For many years we’ve allocated extra money to our smallest schools in order to keep the programming and staffing levels up. We are simply not able to keep doing that. We worry that moving forward without those extra dollars could mean students in our smallest schools will not be well served.”
With the reserves now depleted and a strong message from the government that no additional dollars can be provided, Battle River is considering a wide range of actions in order to reduce spending, but still keep service to students at the forefront.
Those actions range from decisions to reduce the number of trustees and people working in division-wide positions to potentially adding school fees; from having fewer Professional Development opportunities for staff, to extending the length of time between replacement of school buses and computer equipment; from reducing school administrator time, to potentially closing or consolidating schools.
“All options are on the table,” said Erickson. “We’re looking at everything. We know there is no “magic $4 million solution.” It’s going to take a number of changes to balance the budget. We can’t focus on just one school–we have to do what’s best for students in our whole division.”
Erickson also shared results from the online public consultation the BRSD board has done. “More than 1,100 people took part in the first round and about 950 in the second round,” he said. “In the first round, people told us they believe it’s important to have staff available to support students in classrooms. They also told us students need a diverse range of opportunities and choices in order to receive a quality education. In the second, round, when we asked for ideas on how to provide opportunities and still live within our financial realities, the number one suggestion was to close or consolidate schools.”
The board voted to consider the closure of Allan Johnstone School in Hardisty, closure of Round Hill School, relocating Grades 10 to 12 from Ryley School and consolidating Holden School and Ryley School into one K to 9 school site.
Allan Johnstone School has an official enrolment of 44 students in Kindergarten to Grade 9 this year and a school utilization rate of about 24 per cent.
Round Hill School has 86 students (end of September number) from K to 9 and the school utilization rate is around 32 per cent.
Ryley School has an enrolment of 95 students, including 35 in high school and 55 in Grades 7 to 9. Their partner school, in Holden, has 118 students in Kindergarten to Grade 6. Both schools have room to accommodate all the students in the area.
Projections do not show a significant change in enrolment for next year at any of these schools.
A public meeting will take place at Allan Johnstone School on Wednesday, Feb. 12 starting at 7 p.m.
The board will vote on whether or not to proceed with these closures and consolidations on Thursday, March 19.
“The board members may vote to keep these schools open,” Erickson explained. “We won’t know until the votes happen. If we do that, we’ll have to find other ways of reducing by $4 million. Either way, tough decisions will have to be made.”

Parents should start saving early

By Murray Green

Build a college fund by saving early to help finance children’s college educations.
A robust college savings account can help future students avoid considerable debt.
College is the next logical step for many newly minted high school graduates. The National Center for Education Statistics indicated that, in fall 2019, roughly 19.9 million students were slated to attend colleges and universities in the United States. Statistics Canada stated that, for the 2015-16 school year, the most recent for school statistics, just over two million students were enrolled in Canadian universities and colleges.
Families need to begin thinking about how to pay for college as early as possible. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average college graduate’s student loan debt is $37,172. And the most recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates the overall student loan debt in America alone is roughly $1.3 trillion. The average expense of sending a child to college has been rising at double the rate of inflation for more than a decade, offers CNBC.
Open a tax-advantaged college savings plan. A savings plan can be designed to encourage saving for future education costs. The person funding the account pays taxes on the money before it’s contributed to the  plan. Funds can be used for education expenses. There are two types of plans: prepaid tuition plans and education savings plans. The prepaid plans allow account holders to purchase units or credits at participating colleges and universities. With education savings plans, account holders open investment accounts to save for qualified future higher education expenses, including room and board.
Invest in a Coverdell Education Savings Account. A Coverdell account is a tax-advantaged method to contribute up to $2,000 per year to a child’s account. Individuals need to be under a certain income level to contribute. The funds will grow free of federal taxes.
Consider a Uniform Transfer/Gift to Minors account. This is a custodial account that holds and protects assets for beneficiaries, who are typically donors’ children. The custodian controls the assets until the minor reaches legal age. The money will not grow tax-free, and it can be used for purposes other than school expenses. The account also may count against the student and parent when applying for financial aid, which is something to keep in mind.
Open an IRA. IRAs are often associated strictly with retirement savings. However, they also can be used for qualified college payments as long as the contributions have been made for at least five years, advises Nationwide Insurance.
Use a standard savings account. Even though it may not grow as quickly as investment accounts, routinely saving money in a savings account can be another means to saving for college.
Starting early can give families ample time to save substantial amounts of money for youngsters’ college educations.

Stoney Creek Lodge to be redeveloped

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Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon announced a $5.2 million face lift for the old Stoney Creek Lodge on Feb. 4 at the Heritage Building (Rosehaven Care Centre). The project is expected to start this year.

By Murray Green

Camrose and area seniors will have 40 new continuing care living spaces that will allow them to remain close to family and friends and in their community.
Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon announced a $5.2 million investment to redevelop the seniors lodge to accommodate new continuing care spaces in Camrose, Feb. 4.
Construction on renovations is expected to begin this year. The building was last renovated in 1982 and was considered to be structurally sound.
Pon, MLA Jackie Lovely, Mayor Norm Mayer, chair of Camrose and Area Lodge Authority Max Lindstrand and chair of Bethany Group Odell Olson worked together to make  this renovation possible.
Although Stoney Creek Lodge had between 62 and 65 beds before it closed, the upgraded facility will have 40 beds that will be redeveloped to incorporate continuing care.
The project is a partnership with government and Alberta Health Services (AHS), the Camrose and Area Lodge Authority and the Bethany Group. The Bethany Group will operate the facility and partner with AHS to provide the health services.
“It is so important that seniors receive the supports they need to remain in their community of choice. Our government is proud to invest in this project that will bring more continuing care services to seniors in Camrose and area, and we are grateful for the support of our partners. I am also pleased to see that this project will create jobs and help our economy grow, while getting Albertans back to work. Camrose has about 10,154 seniors in this community who now can live closer to home,” said Pon.
“That is the best birthday present I could have ever asked for, one I can share with the entire community. This is a positive step to support local seniors to age in their community near family and friends,” said Lovely, about the announcement on her birthday.
“We are appreciative to the Government of Alberta for its contribution to the care of seniors in our community. The Stoney Creek Lodge has a long history of excellent service for seniors and this refurbishment project will improve the quality of life for many more in the Camrose region. Stoney Creek Lodge provided a lot of homes for a lot of years and it will be nice to see it revived again,” added Mayer.
“The Lodge was built in the ’50s and served Camrose for many decades. We are delighted that the Stoney Creek facility gets a new lease on life and will continue to serve those in Camrose and surrounding area. The Camrose and Area Lodge Authority looks forward to seeing the development of this project,” said Lindstrand.
“The addition of 40 beds for designated supportive living is a welcome one, serving both the needs of residents and creating new jobs for its ongoing operation. As the community and surrounding area changes, so does its needs, and the redevelopment of an existing building to support the residents of Camrose and the county makes sense,” said Olson. read more

Earnshaw dedication postponed until next year in Ohaton area

By Murray Green

The Camrose and Ohaton communities will be honouring former Flying Officer Ken Earnshaw, of the Royal Canadian Air Force of the famed RAF 617 Dambuster Lancaster Bomber Squadron, next year.
Earnshaw was a hero in the Second World War.
The Camrose and Area Men’s Shed announced its intention to honour Earnshaw, who grew up in Ohaton, attended Camrose High School, taught at Whitebush School in Bashaw – an Albertan distinguishing himself Above and Beyond The Call of Duty during the Second World War.
Flying Officer Earnshaw had completed, against fearful odds, his full tour of 30 combat missions since being posted to RAF 50 Squadron in November 1942. He had earned and was entitled to, repatriation to Canada. When called upon in April 1943 to be a replacement Navigator for 617 Squadron “M” for Mother Lancaster, he readily accepted. On such courage is heroism defined.
“Our project, for which we will not be deterred or distracted, is a quality monument for the ages. The anniversary of the historic dam buster mission, May 16 and 17, 1943, was our 2020 target for completion of the monument design and unveiling at a ground site in Ohaton,” explained Neil Leeson, of the Men’s Shed.
“With regret, we were unable to secure permission for a location worthy of Earnshaw’s legacy. We have undertaken discussions to secure a site. As a result of this temporary setback, in order to honour Earnshaw in the right way at the right time, we are postponing the ceremony until May 16, 2021.”
Earnshaw is buried at Rheinburg War Cemetery in Germany.

Alberta to launch film industry tax credit to draw more productions

By Murray Green

Alberta’s film industry will be able to attract more productions and opportunities with the launch of the new Film and Television Tax Credit program, it was announced on Jan. 29.
Application intake for the program is now open and will support projects that create Alberta jobs, boost investment and raise Alberta’s profile on the small and silver screen.
The program offers productions a refundable tax credit to help cover Alberta production and labour costs up to a maximum of $10 million per project. Applicants may be eligible for either a 22 per cent or 30 per cent tax credit for productions that are Alberta owned.
“We want our province to be a destination that attracts talent, investment and business from across Canada and around the globe. This credit, combined with our low tax environment and breathtaking landscapes, makes Alberta an attractive destination for big-budget television and film projects which inject millions into our economy and create jobs for Albertans,” said Tanya Fir, minister of economic development, trade and tourism.
“Disney has a long history of creating content in Alberta and we recently celebrated the launch of TOGO on Disney+, which was filmed in the province. We are pleased to see that the Alberta government is launching a film and television tax credit and we look forward to working with them to continue to create stunning content using Alberta’s landscapes and crews,” added MaryAnn Hughes, vice-president, production and investment planning, The Walt Disney Company.
“The new film and television tax credit will help bring foreign investment and film and television productions to Alberta. Local producers will be able to create and attract high profile projects that support local businesses and create jobs for local crews, creating spinoff benefits for communities across Alberta, while growing our world-class film and television sector,” shared Tom Cox, managing partner, SEVEN24 Films.
“Calgary is a growing hub for film and television productions, with many large-scale films already hiring local crews and supporting local businesses. The Film and Television Tax Credit program will draw even more productions here, and I look forward to seeing more studios using the Calgary Film Centre and other facilities in southern Alberta and making investments in our versatile and growing film sector,” said Luke Azevedo, commissioner, film, television and creative industries, Calgary Economic Development.
The tax credit is part of government’s commitment to grow Alberta’s cultural industries by 25 per cent over the next decade. The new program will provide industry with certainty that will translate to long-term growth in the sector.
According to industry estimates, more than 3,200 Albertans are employed in the province’s motion picture and video industry.
According to Statistics Canada data, every $1 million of production activity in the screen-based production sector creates about 13 Alberta jobs.
Every $1 million of government investment under the Film and Television Tax Credit program is expected to support about 60 Alberta jobs.

Probus to learn about Victim Services

By Murray Green

The Probus Club of Camrose will be welcoming guest speaker Rachel Coventry to discuss the role of Camrose and District Victim Services at its annual meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the Norsemen Inn.
Probus is a club of retired seniors that meets monthly to mingle, listen and learn from a broad variety of speakers. Guests and new members are special and always welcome.  Just show up–no invitation required.

City lobbies to extend transportation contract

By Murray Green

The City of Camrose council sent a letter to the minister of transportation to ask for a 16 month extension of the Rural Transportation Pilot Project, known as the Camrose Connector bus.
With the support of a wide range of regional stakeholders (local municipalities, health care sector and education sector), administration submitted applications for operational funding for a couple of two-year pilot transportation projects on Mar. 27, 2018. After several iterations, the  province announced that both applications were successful on June 28, 2018.
At the regular council meeting on Feb. 3, the mayor and council agreed to seek an extension for the project that has worked well bridging the gap between Camrose and Edmonton.
“I think it is too early in the Connector bus’ operation to really know the full impact of it within our community. It is gratifying to see the ridership increasing since its outset,” said councillor Max Lindstrand. “I think this is perfectly reasonable to request  this and I strongly applaud the effort to put it together.”
Red Arrow provides  the shuttle service. The Camrose Connector service  began operations  on  Sept.  4, 2018 with a regularly  scheduled route (three trips per day, Monday to Friday) from Camrose to various locations in Edmonton.
The primary focus  was designed to provide access to specialist medical services in Edmonton. Over the first six months, the ridership averaged 424 riders per month. In spring/summer 2019, the service saw a slight dip in ridership to averaging  372  riders per  month, but this was likely due to a decrease in university  student passengers.
Based on an analysis of the ridership data and input from surveys, a revised service schedule was launched on Aug. 25, 2019.
These revisions included removal of the Tuesday route to accommodate a Sunday route.
They saw a reduction of the under-utilized Camrose St. Mary’s hospital stop and an addition of a new stop in Hay Lakes.
With these changes, the  average from September to December 2019 increased to 566 riders per month.
Survey data indicates that users of the Camrose  Connector do so 27 per cent for medical purposes, 16 per cent for educational purposes, 14 per cent for work related  purposes and 43 per cent for other purposes.
Administration prepared a package the City   submitted  to  the  Province  of  Alberta, requesting an extension of funding for the bus for an additional 16 months from September 2020 to December 2021.
Various letters of support were added to the package including testimonials.
The total funding request amounts to $55,995 in 2020 and $186,859 in 2021, which would include an  allowance for  administrative support to continue  to ensure no direct costs  to  the City of Camrose.
In the nearly  two  years  that this program has  been  in effect, we have dramatically increased patient access to non-emergent health care by providing this affordable transportation service.
The Camrose Connector continues to improve the quality of life for residents within the region by providing a safe and reliable option for regional transit, with a focus on providing access to specialist medical facilities within the City of Edmonton.
Access to transportation has a newfound opportunity for independence for seniors, and they are continuing to illustrate demand for this service.
Ridership levels remain consistently higher than what the City had previously documented.
Survey responses show that people strongly feel that  it  is  essential to  continue the service beyond  the  end  date  of  the  pilot.
With a  continuation  of  this  service, the City can  ensure  that  patients  with limited options for mobility are able to access services in a more proactive manner and rely less on one of the highest cost per user services, the emergency department.

Country singer Hooper breaks out with cabin fever

By Murray Green

In between Big Valley Jamboree appearances, Danny Hooper tends to get cabin fever.
His current Cabin Fever Tour includes a stop in Camrose (his favourite city) and the Bailey Theatre for a show at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 20.
“Camrose has always been my second home. I went to Camrose Lutheran College (now Augustana)and was the first Catholic elected student union president. Everybody I ran against lobbied for more choir practice and Bible study. My campaign platform was to get rid of the curfew in the girl’s dorm. It was a great campaign because I had a landslide victory,” laughed Danny.
“That was the mid ’70s. In between my first and second year, I entered CFCW’s first ever Country Star Search contest at Klondike Days, in between the Kielbasa eating contest and log-sawing contest, and I won a recording contract,” shared Danny.
“In 1976, I released my first album, while I was attending college. I was nominated for a Juno award as Best New Male Country Artist and I thought this was pretty easy, so I quit school,” explained Danny.
“I hit the road for 48 or 49 weeks of the year, hitting every small town and every bar, and learning how to entertain,” he added. “The longer I was in it, the more I learned it wasn’t a very easy business at all. In 1979, my dad Don and I opened Danny Hooper’s Stockyard night club.”
That move got him off the road and closer to home and family. He has emceed the Big Valley Jamboree, this one coming up will be his 27th year.
“I’m on a real high right now, the happiest place I’ve been in my life and having more fun. I have a brand new album coming out that I just recorded. This is my 11th album and I think my best work. It will be released the week I’m in Camrose, so a treat for local residents.”
Back in 2002, his father passed away and he stepped back from music for awhile. Now he is excited to share his music again.
“We have a new version of the song “John Deere Tractor Keys” on the album and fans can look forward to that. It is the 25th anniversary edition. I lot of people will remember that song and we have done it a little different this time,” he added.
Danny was an award-winning former co-host of the CFCW morning show and wrote a newspaper column.
He will be performing all his original hits including “He’s Buying Roses Again” and “I’ll Get Along,” as well as his new songs on  his new album.
This is  a whole brand-new show from his last appearance in Camrose.
“I have evolved as an artist. More life experiences have changed my writing and I have matured with deeper songs now,” said Danny.
“I can’t wait to get back to the Bailey. We are doing four shows on this tour in old theatres and the Bailey one is the one I’m most looking forward to. I spent a lot of time in the Bailey on Thursday nights, cheap movie night, and sat in the back row with my favourite girl. Then we headed across the street after and it had a lot of good memories.”
He said the building was restored wonderfully and he looks forward to visiting it again. “It is one of the true gems to perform in. I love the intimacy and history. I believe a building like that has a soul and energy.”
Early in his career, Danny’s father offered him some good advice. “He told me that I didn’t have to move to Nashville to be a star. The best country music fans in the world are in Alberta. He said I could make a living staying close to home and he was right. Alberta  has the best fans and if you look after them, they will look after you. About 80 per cent of the music sold in Canada is from Alberta.”
He also pointed out that CFCW also had a part in that. “I had a guy out in Bruce tell me last Saturday that the radio in his barn has been on that station since 1954. The only time the dial was changed was from 790 to 840.”
Danny still has a passion for playing country  music, especially in Camrose.

Chicago sizzles with Churchmice razzle dazzle

By Murray Green

When you mix glitter, glamour, razzle dazzle, great local talent and all that jazz, you create a Churchmice Players mega hit entitled Chicago.
Last year, the Churchmice Players produced Momma Mia! and some people thought that brilliance could not be duplicated. And yet, here we are. Another superior performance is currently on stage with this major hit.
This Broadway show premiered in 1975 and it has won many awards along the way. The Churchmice cast proved to be just as worthy as those who played the parts before them.
Jane Gusdal as Velma Kelly, Brittany Johnson as Roxie Hart and Ken Mastel as Billy Flynn all shone with great vocals and superior acting. In fact, Brittany and Ken’s puppet scene is worth the price of admission alone!
Although the stars shone through as they should in Chicago, the supporting cast is what held the glitter and glamour together with solid performances and dance routines. Dustin Muise and his assistants Duncan McDougall and Signe Peake made the choreography seem, well seamless. 
Two cast members went above and beyond to ensure the audience not only enjoyed the musical, but enjoyed a few laughs as well. Todd Sikorski as Amos and Carolyn Olson as Mary Sunshine are certainly crowd favourites.
The set design and costumes also pulled this show together to create the 1920s atmosphere.
Upcoming performance dates in February are on the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. except the final matinee performance starts at 1:30 p.m.
The production team includes producer Theo Thirsk, director Scot Lorenson, choreographer Muise, choral director Olson, set designer Todd Sikorski, costume designer Peggy Noble-Cappie and production advisor Dave McDougall.
The story revolves around the roaring ’20s Chicago, chorus girl Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her husband Amos to take the rap, until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on her. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another murderess Velma vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces.

Nordlys shows Nyback film at festival

By Lori Larsen

Nordlys Art and Film Festival is excited to welcome Douglas Nyback back to Camrose for a special appearance during the screening of the film The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, on Saturday, Feb. 15 at  2:45 p.m.
Originally hailing from Camrose, Doug started his path to a now very successful career in theatre and film arts under the tutelage of Charlene Brown, Tom Spila and Dave McDougall.
He graduated from École Camrose Composite High School (ÉCCHS) in 2003 and literally 18  hours after completing his biology final, he was in New York where he began studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in midtown Manhatten.
 At around the age of 11, Doug’s parents enlisted him in voice lessons with Charlene Brown, a well known voice instructor in the Camrose area.
“Honestly, I was quite a little jerk about it. I was a typical Camrose boy who wanted to play hockey. I did the voice lessons for  a couple of years, but really  didn’t practice much. Then Charlene, quite rightfully, dropped me from the roster.”
Doug admits he was upset about being let go from the lessons because despite what was seen as a lack of interest, he really enjoyed singing and the  lessons. “I spent the next two or three years trying really hard to get back into her roster. I found out about Churchmice Players while taking a drama class with Dave McDougall at the Comp. He was in The Music Man (at the time). I auditioned for the play and was successful and that is when I really fell in love with musical theatre. I became a major musical theatre nerd,” laughed Doug.
“I loved acting and there is something about  musical theatre that is like life. The emotions run so high and the only way you can communicate it is through singing and there is something about that. That really resonated with me.”
Doug admitted he was not a particularly popular student in high school so it was refreshing and somewhat empowering to do a show and have people applaud and recognize him. “That felt really great and it still does to this day.
Doug feels fortunate to have had so many wonderful influences in Camrose, including Tom.
“He let me audition for his choir Chorazz in ninth grade and that was right about when everybody in school found out that I was singing in musical theatre. To be honest, socially, it was not easy. He (Tom) let me into that world and I immediately found a group of people that really accepted me for me, and celebrated my talents and that was really wonderful.”
Doug said he was not necessarily a strong academic student, but the one area he did excel in was English and he ended up in the advanced English class with Caroline Simonson (now assistant principal at ÉCCHS).
“I will never forget, I was in the 11th grade going into 12th grade English and in the first class we were reading Wuthering Heights and she (Caroline) came in and said, ‘So Heathcliff can’t embrace the love of his life until after she died, isn’t that sexy.’ My 11th grade brain was blown right open. I started writing short stories and writing plays and novels that I had never finished. She got me so excited about the written word. Caroline started that love in me and now I am in the process of selling one of my first scripts.
“I feel so incredibly lucky to have had those three people at the Comp at that time and a group of students who were all just as into it as I was.”
Doug said, fortunately, Charlene did take him back on roster once he proved to her that he was willing to work for it. “Nobody was inside my corner, outside of my parents, more than Charlene. “I don’t think I would be where I am today without that perfect cocktail of influences in my life and, on top of that, having parents who were with me every step of the way and supported a kid who wanted to do something that was unconventional, generally, let alone in a small town in Alberta. All of those people were with me 110 per cent.”
He completed the two-year program at American Musical and Dramatic Academy in 16 months, diving into his craft and beginning to realize what he was meant to be. “It was a crazy culture shock, but at the same time, it felt like I was arriving home. I was just so ready to go to work.”
Despite the enormous difference in size between rural Camrose and New York City, Doug said the atmosphere was not much different. “Even though it was more gruelling, the work wasn’t that much different than that of the work I was doing in Camrose.
He worked some theatre in and around New York and Maine and eventually met his now production company Monolith Pictures partner, Michael Goodin. “He was an inspiring filmmaker and I was an inspiring actor. We built the company, then I moved to Toronto when my visa expired,” said Doug. His time in Toronto has served him well with work including leading roles on SyFy’s Incorporated, People of Earth, Carter, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, Defiance, and Amazon Prime’s American Gods, as well as work on Hell on Wheels and Murdoch Mysteries.
He has also done extensive work as a script advisor and story editor including work with the Canadian Film Festival best feature film winner The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova,  due to be shown at the Nordlys Festival.
“It is an absurdist drama,” said Doug of The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova. “A quirky, fun, dramatic comedy about two estranged siblings (brother played by Doug and sister played by fellow actor and good friend Katherine Fogler) whose dying grandmother  gives them a quest to return to Poland together to retrieve the bones of her childhood dog.
“They come to realize they are sent on this quest so the brother and sister can come together. It is a heartwarming tale and beautiful family story.”
This part attracted Doug for various reasons. He admired and respected film director Zach Bernbaum, relished the fact that he was able to travel to a much different part of the world (Romania), was able to play a more interpersonal part removed from the darker characters he has been playing of recent, and was impressed with the overarching theme of love.
He is excited to return to Camrose during the Nordlys Festival and share with the audience the amazing experience he had during the filming of the movie and visit with friends and family.
“It means a lot to me to bring something I have really worked hard for back to the community that has really supported me and continues to support me.”

Cancer support group to meet at library

By Murray Green

The Camrose Cancer Support Group will be launched with a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the Irving Room of the Camrose Public Library.
“Together we can help support each other through sharing our stories, questions, knowledge and experiences,” explained Margo McPhail, a cancer survivor.
The first meeting is intended to gather cancer survivors, cancer patients and caregivers to support each other in tough times.
The support group will offer assistance for others with cancer and for caregivers so they know what to expect as well.
Caregivers need a different kind of support. Margo is willing to hold the meetings twice a month, unless people feel they need more. That will be determined at the first meeting. She is also involved in the Hospice Society of Camrose and Camrose Victims Services to help others.
For more information contact Margo at 780-608-7990 or Joan at 780-672-9579.

McDonald enjoys his ice cream truck

14 macdonald 69 chev
Although this 1969 Chevrolet truck doesn’t have farm chores to do, it is still used for ice cream runs on hot summer days. Adam McDonald always wanted to revive this classic, smooth looking truck.

By Murray Green

Adam McDonald is a proud owner of one of the most popular vehicles of its time, a 1969 Chevrolet C10 truck.
“The truck was originally owned by Garth Olson in Bashaw. My friend Adam Barry, a high school friend, purchased it from him. After a lot of years of him having it, the truck was sitting and he wasn’t doing much with it. I was able to work out a deal with him for it. It has been a five year project to get the truck to where it is today,” explained Adam.
The 1967–72 Chevrolet C/K is one of the most popular, reliable and easiest-to-drive classic pickups you can find. This particular generation marks the turning point when Chevrolet realized it could offer truck buyers modern conveniences and comfort options in the same way it did for sedan shoppers.
“We built it from the frame up, gutting the motor out of it and transmission. We put in a new motor, transmission, painted it, added new chrome and a grille,” shared Adam.
“It looks pretty nice now. I have a 383 stroker engine with a 40LB transmission to match the motor. I have always liked the looks of these trucks because they look sharp. Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I got to see a lot of these trucks on the road. The trucks have smooth lines and are always sharp looking,” he added.
When this particular generation of C/K appeared towards the tail-end of the 1960s, Chevrolet still considered its pickup program to be a commercial effort, with the vehicles aimed primarily at tradespeople, businesses and farms.
“I always wanted one, and when I saw this truck  crying to be re-done, I had to get it into my hands. It had an older 350 engine  that was beat up and tired. I watched the old car shows, and a lot had 383 stroker engines in them, so I thought about doing the same,” Adam said.
“Other than the motor and transmission, I tried to keep it as original as I could. I wanted to keep the nice lines and the original headlights. You see some young guys chopping them up for short boxes or lowering them, but I really like the original style,” stated Adam.
“It looks like it did back in 1969, with a little extra on the inside when you hit the gas pedal.”
He also re-configured the wood box in the back to make it look brand new. “I used pine and it was a bit of a chore to install. I ripped out the old box and then installed a kit I had purchased. Using the runners and lining up the pine is a job to keep them straight. However, it is well worth it in the end,” added Adam.
“This truck is now my Sunday ice cream driver. I take the kids/wife and go for ice cream in the summer. I just have fun with it. I haven’t been to car shows, this is the first one, because it was just finished not too long ago,” he said last summer in Bashaw.
C/K is a series of trucks that were manufactured by General Motors. Marketed under the Chevrolet and GMC brands, the C/K series included a wide range of vehicles. While most commonly associated with pickup trucks, the model line also included medium-duty and heavy trucks. “C” denoted a two-wheel drive; “K” denoted four-wheel drive. In 1969, the design introduced a steeper hood angle, the word Chevrolet spelled out on a center grille bar and the Bowtie logo moving to the middle of the hood’s leading edge. This was also the first year for the egg crate grille.
The 327 V-8 engine (1967-68) was dropped in 1969 in favor of the 350 variant engine. Along with the new engines came a new grille design for Chevrolet trucks and a more upright hood for both Chevrolet and GMC trucks. A utility variant, known as the K5 Blazer (Jimmy), was also introduced with a shorter wheelbase of 104 inches (2,642 mm). Some internal cab changes were also made, most notably the switch from a hand-operated parking brake to a foot pedal, and a more modern looking two-spoke steering wheel with plastic horn button replaced the previous year’s three-spoke wheel with chrome horn button. Also new this year were upper and lower side moldings, which added another two-tone paint option. read more

Family Day Carnival supports animal shelter

By Murray Green

A Family Day Carnival with games and activities for children will be held at Retro (5017-51 Street) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 17.
Activities include face painting, silent auctions, 50/50 raffle, karaoke, balloon animals, games and a visit from Brodie the dog.
The proceeds of the Family Day Carnival will go to the Camrose and Area Animal Shelter.
“We have confirmed that Brodie will be in attendance from noon until 2 p.m.,” said Lynn Horsman of the Animal Shelter Society.
Brodie, a dog rescued from Old McDonald Kennels, has over 40,000 followers on Instagram after his story of survival was shared by Camrosian Brad Ames, now living in Red Deer, and girlfriend Amanda Richter.
Once Brad’s sister Janaya Iverson from Camrose met Brodie, she had to do something to bring awareness to the important work that animal shelters do.
For more information on the carnival or to adopt a pet, contact the shelter at 780-608-0091.

Breaking Loneliness film to be shown

By Murray Green

The Camrose Seniors Coalition will be presenting a documentary about people finding ways to escape loneliness and social isolation.
Two screenings of Breaking Loneliness, a documentary by filmmaker Brandy Yanchyk will be shown on Friday, Feb. 21 at 1:30 and 7 p.m. in the Heritage Building (old Rosehaven Care Centre).
Brandy will also be joining in to discuss the topic of social isolation and loneliness.
Phone Maria Labreau at 780-672-0141 for more information.

Women’s volleyball Vikings make noise with two wins

17 aug women's vb
Karen Wagner, left, and Rebecca Petrie of the Augustana Vikings women’s volleyball team blocked this rally from Madison Blain of the Lakeland Rustlers in a match in Camrose on Feb. 8. The Vikings won 3-2 and moved into first place with a 18-4 record. The Vikings have won 14 straight matches as they prepare for playoffs in Medicine Hat in Feb. 27 to 29.

By Murray Green

The women’s Vikings defeated the Concordia Thunder in two straight 3-1 matches on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
In the first match, the Vikings were led by Rae Metrunec with 13 kills, Karen Wagner with nine assists and Wagner with 15 digs.
In the second meeting, the Vikings were led by Metrunec with 12 kills, Dedrick with 30 assists and Rebecca Olenick with 10 digs.
Augustana is in second place and Medicine Hat is hosting the playoffs Feb. 27 to 29.
The men’s Vikings dropped the two-match series with 3-0 and 3-2 losses.
In the first match, the Vikings were led by Owen Murray with 10 kills, Calder Thompson and Benjamin Linsley with seven assists and Evan Richard with nine digs.
In the re-match, the Vikings were led by Greg Kaliel and Murray with 13 kills, Linsley with 39 assists and Thomas Zimmerman with 16 digs. Augustana is in seventh place with a 4-16 record.
Augustana wraps up the regular season in Fort McMurray to play Keyano on Feb. 21 and 22.
The women’s team split a series with Concordia. Augustana won 69-63 at home in the first game and lost 73-68, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
In the first outing, the Vikings were led by Megan Hebert with 17 points, while Tobore Okome chipped in with 14 on the night.
In the return match, both Okome and Tayah Fiveland netted 16 points on the evening.
The Vikings are in fourth place with a 10-6 record. Medicine Hat is hosting the playoffs.
On the men’s side, Augustana won 102-86 and lost 85-79 to split the series as well. In the first game, Austin Brulotte led the offence with 25 points and Nathan Bowie supported with 18 points.
In the rematch, Michael Stasuik scored 17, while Spencer Marion added 13 points.
The men’s Vikings are in second place with an 11-5 record. Augustana is hosting the playoffs March 5 to 7.
Augustana hosts the Lakeland Rustlers on Feb. 15 at 6 and 8 p.m. in league action.
The Augustana Vikings had a week off in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference hockey action.
The Augustana Vikings are in fifth place with an 9-11 record in the ACAC.
The Vikings host the Concordia Thunder on Feb. 14 with a 7:30 p.m. start time in the Encana Arena.
The Vikings ladies’ rink are tied for first place at 8-4 and advanced to provincials.
The mixed team have a 5-5 record and a third place overall standing. That was also good enough to send them to provincials that are set for Feb. 28 to 29 with Portage hosting the championships in Lac La Biche.
A round-robin format will determine the standings in the Page playoff system. read more

Residents asked to add input to Fair Deal

By Murray Green

A Fair Deal Panel will take place in Camrose with local residents having a say in forming a presentation to Canada.
The Panel is currently exploring strategies to improve the province’s position with Confederation and share Alberta’s economic interests.
The Panel will meet on Feb. 12 at the Norsemen Inn  from  7 to 9 p.m.
The provincial government is seeking input on reshaping the federal deal that has had this province paying more to help less fortunate provinces. But since the downturn in the economy, led by poor decisions by the federal government, it has put Alberta in a position to offer less assistance.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) presented recommendations based on results from a national survey of small business owners, including several Alberta specific questions. A key finding is that Alberta businesses strongly support additional education to the rest of Canada on what is happening in the province. Another key finding shows that both inside and outside Alberta, the majority of small business owners believe that energy development and environmental protection can go together.
Some of the ideas also include having the province collect its own taxes, opting out of some federal programs, create its own pension plan and forming its own provincial police force.
To obtain a ticket to the Fair Deal Panel event in Camrose, visit Camrose

Recognize anxiety

By Murray Green

Everyone frets or feels anxious from time to time. Mild to moderate anxiety can help you focus your attention, energy and motivation.  However, if anxiety is severe, you may have feelings of helplessness, confusion and extreme worry that are out of proportion with the actual seriousness or likelihood of the feared event. Anxiety affects the part of the brain that helps control how you communicate. This makes it harder to express yourself creatively or function effectively in relationships.
Physical symptoms of anxiety include trembling, twitching, or shaking; feeling of fullness in the throat or chest; breathlessness or rapid heartbeat; light-headedness or dizziness; sweating or cold, clammy hands; feeling jumpy; muscle tension, aches, or soreness; extreme tiredness, sleep problems, such as the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, early waking, or restlessness.
Emotional symptoms of anxiety include restlessness, irritability, or feeling on edge or keyed up; worrying too much; fearing that something bad is going to happen or feeling doomed; and inability to concentrate, such as feeling like your mind goes blank.
You can help prevent anxiety attacks by avoiding caffeine, especially in coffees, teas, colas, energy drinks and chocolate.
Exercise during the day. Even a brisk walk around the block may help you stay calm.

How to get out of debt

By Murray Green

Debt can quickly sneak up on a person. However, it can take much longer, sometimes decades, to get out of debt. And that’s a big concern when considering just how much debt the average person has incurred.
According to Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning and Progress Study, the average person has about $38,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages. A survey from the insolvency firm MNP found that 31 per cent of Canadians do not make enough to cover their bills and 46 per cent are a mere $200 or less away from failing to pay debts at month’s end.
Avoid new debt at all costs. Stop using credit cards, cease taking loans, do not buy any big-ticket items and scale back on general purchases.
The avalanche method is a way to pay off debt. According to NerdWallet, a popular online financial resource, the debt avalanche approach encourages debtors to pay off debts with the highest interest rates first. That seems like an effective way to get out of debt quickly. However, in a 2016 investigation for the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that the snowball method, which prioritizes paying off the smallest debt balance first and then moving on as debt amounts increase, is the most effective strategy. It tends to have the most powerful effect on people’s sense of progress because they gain momentum by watching debts disappear.
Cut back nonessential spending, such as cable subscriptions or gym memberships for the time being. Repurpose that extra money to pay off existing debt.
Customers can call customer service centres to see if they can lower debt by negotiating a better interest rate, said Since much of a credit card payment goes toward monthly interest charges and not toward the actual balance, this can be a way to get a handle on debt. Some people prefer to use a balance transfer to get a lower rate on another card and try to pay off the balance before the promotional rate expires.

Brodie shows that all pets deserve a home

By Lori Larsen

Never judge a book by its cover and never underestimate the power of love. That is exactly what previous Camrosian Brad Ames, now living in Red Deer, and girlfriend Amanda Richter did when they took a chance on a shelter dog named Brodie.
Not necessarily in the market to get a pet, Amanda was browsing the website of Old McDonald Kennels in Red Deer when she saw Brodie’s photograph and drew Brad’s attention to the dog and his plight to find his forever home.
“I saw Brodie and I was instantly drawn to him,” said Amanda. “Brad was even interested and so I said ‘Let’s just go meet him. I want to see what his personality is like.’ ”
The couple went to meet Brodie and, oddly, as Amanda stated, Brad was the one who suggested taking the dog home.
The rest is an incredibly happy beginning to a story that has, literally, gone international.
The couple ended up adopting the eight month old mixed breed, knowing that because of an unfortunate incident when he was a pup that left him with facial disfigurement and a blind eye, he might not otherwise be adopted.
“There are so many animals in shelters that need to be adopted and it is just such a nice thing,” said Amanda, adding that people are often looking for the perfect dog, but perfect is in the eye of the beholder and despite Brodie’s unique looks, he stole their hearts with his abundant energy and zest for life.
Once Brad’s sister Janaya (Iverson), from Camrose, met Brodie she knew she had to do something to bring awareness to the important work that animal shelters do and that every pet deserves a home; so she created a calendar featuring adorable photographs of Brodie and posted it on social media.
“We thought we could get Brodie’s message out there about the awareness of adopting dogs (pets),” said Janaya.
“I posted this on social media and have received requests from all over the world for calendars. Brodie has over 40,000 followers on Instagram.”
The Iverson family are no strangers to adopted furry family members, having four dogs, a bird and a cat that has since passed away, all rescued.
Amanda and Brad hope to be able to bring Brodie to the Camrose Animal Shelter’s upcoming fundraiser, to bring even more awareness to the importance of giving forever homes to these loving and devoted animals.
The money raised from the calendars sold thus far has been donated to Old McDonald Kennels, the shelter responsible for taking dogs picked up by Camrose County.
The message that both Amanda and Brad want to come out loud and clear is that there are many animals out there waiting for their forever homes.
“Don’t overlook the dogs (animals) in shelters and, even if you are not in the position to adopt an animal, then donate funds, food, blankets, toys or your time. Anything will help.”
For more information on the Old McDonald Kennels, visit or for information on the Camrose Animal Shelter, visit

BRCF assists with Animal Shelter programs

By Murray Green

The Battle River Community Foundation awarded a grant to the Camrose and Area Animal Shelter Society for spay and neuter programs.
The  Camrose and Area Animal Shelter Society received$2,500 to subsidize costs for a community based low income families neuter/spay program and microchip program for cats in Camrose.
The grant is from income from the Jean and Fred Molnar Fund and the Alice Ofrim Fund, both of which are Field of Interest Funds, dedicated to addressing animal welfare needs.
“We are hoping that the cat owners would pay a certain amount and the Camrose Animal Hospital will give us a discount, so this grant would pay for the remainder of the surgery costs,” explained Susan Hertel, shelter manger for the society.
To adopt one of the 89 felines at the shelter, visit Bay 8, 4617-41 Street on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We ask people to come in and meet the cats before they adopt, so they can be matched with a good fit and home,” added Susan.
The Battle River Community Foundation exists to support projects and programs 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 principal of these endowment funds are kept intact and the income is made available annually to support local projects and organizations.
Since it was founded in 1995, the Battle River Community Foundation has granted over $6,370,000 to support programs and facilities operated by organizations like the Camrose and Area Animal Shelter Society.

Agri-food sector attracts immigration workers

By Murray Green

Canada is committed to attracting the best talent from around the world to fill skill shortages, drive local economies and create and support middle-class jobs in communities across the country that will benefit all Canadians.
Canada is launching a new three-year economic immigration pilot that will fill labour shortages, particularly in meat processing and mushroom production, within the agri-food sector and help meet Canada’s ambitious export targets.
“This pilot is another example of how immigration is helping to grow local economies and creating jobs for Canadians,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
The agriculture and agri-food industry is an important contributor to Canada’s economic growth and vitality, supporting one in eight jobs across the country. Agricultural exports hit a new record in 2018, reaching $66.2 billion.
Over the past several years, industries such as meat processing and mushroom production have experienced ongoing difficulty in finding and keeping new employees. This new pilot aims to attract and retain workers by providing them with an opportunity to become permanent residents.
“The success of our Canadian farmers and food processors depends on their ability to recruit and retain the workforce they need to capture opportunities at home and abroad. This pilot will help to ensure that employers in the agriculture and agri-food sector have the people they need to get the job done, to help drive our economy and to feed the world,” added Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot complements Canada’s economic immigration strategy, which includes the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Global Skills Strategy, a revitalized Express Entry and an expanded provincial nominee program.
“Our government is always looking for ways to promote growth in rural communities. This pilot provides those communities who rely on the agri-food sector, the opportunity to address their labour market needs. It builds upon commitments made in Canada’s first-ever Rural Economic Development Strategy and the successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot,” said Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development.
“Today we are delivering on something that employers, unions, and migrant workers have been calling on government to do for over a decade–temporary foreign workers who come to this country and work hard filling permanent jobs should have a fair and reasonable chance to become a Canadian, regardless of the job they are filling,” continued Rodger Cuzner, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
 Employers in the agri-food sector who intend to be part of the pilot will be eligible for a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment.
A maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, plus family members, will be accepted for processing in any given year. This represents a total of approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the three-year duration of the pilot.

Eat healthy for your heart

By Murray Green

Since February is Heart Month, it is a time to think about cardiovascular health.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in Canada. Roughly 2.4 million Canadians are affected by heart disease.
If you are worried about your heart’s health, one of the most important changes you can do is to start eating a heart-healthy diet. Small steps can create big, healthy changes.
Here are some tips that may help make your heart healthier.
Eat a variety of fruit and vegetable servings every day. Dark green, deep orange, or yellow fruits and vegetables are especially nutritious. Examples include spinach, carrots, peaches and berries.
Eat a variety of grain products every day. Include whole-grain foods that have lots of fibre and nutrients. Examples of whole grains include oats, whole grain bread and brown rice.
Eat fish at least two times each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best for your heart. These fish include salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring and sardines.
Stay at a healthy weight if you can. Your health care provider can give you more information on how to manage your weight.
Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Try to choose foods such as lean meats and meat alternatives like beans or tofu; fish, vegetables, beans and nuts; non-fat and low-fat dairy products;    polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, such as canola and olive oils, to replace saturated fats, such as butter.
Read food labels and limit the amount of trans fat you eat. Trans fat raises the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and also lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol in the blood. Trans fat is found in many processed foods made with shortening or with partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils. These foods include cookies, crackers, chips and many snack foods.
Limit your sodium intake. Most people get far more sodium than they need. Try to limit how much sodium (salt) you eat. For good health, less is best. This is especially important for people who are at risk for or already have high blood pressure. Try to limit the amount of sodium you eat to less than 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day. If you limit your sodium to 1,500 mg a day, you may be able to lower your blood pressure even further. And if you can’t reach these goals right now, try to eat 1,000 mg less sodium a day than you are now eating.
Limit alcohol intake to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Limit drinks and foods with added sugar.

Recycle your empty grain bags

By Murray Green

Since it’s winter on the prairies, it is time to empty grain bags to move last fall’s harvest to dryers and then to market.
For growers who use grain bags, that means recycling them instead of landfilling, storing or worse, burning them. For some Alberta farmers this year could be the first time they’ve had an option to recycle. That’s where Cleanfarms comes in.
Under the new Alberta Ag-plastic Recycle It program led by the Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG) and operated by Cleanfarms, farmers will find it more convenient to locate places that will take empty grain bags and twine for recycling.
For year one of this three-year pilot, Cleanfarms has established 20 collection sites throughout the province. Most are currently taking rolled, tied grain bags of any size and twine for recycling. Some, however, just take grain bags and a few take only twine. The full roster of collection locations and what they take can be found on Sites in the program include Ryley and Camrose County’s West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill.
“West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill (WDML) is pleased to be one of the 20 collection sites in the province for the CleanFarms-Ag. Plastic Recycling Program. WDML accepts for recycling the agricultural plastic that is black on one side and white on the other side, as well as plastic twine. Ag-plastic and twine must be clean/uncontaminated and separate from all other garbage in order for it to be recycled through this program.  Clean black and white Ag-plastic can be put in the recycling area at WDML at no charge. Camrose County has a baler specifically used to bale the Ag-plastic to prepare it for pick up in the CleanFarms recycling program, so it does not need to be rolled in order for it to be accepted at WDML. If the Ag-plastic is contaminated or excessively dirty, the farmer can be charged a cleaning fee ($60/hour) and the plastic may have to be disposed of in the landfill,” explained Darren King, West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill manager.
According to a recent survey conducted for Cleanfarms, 92 per cent of Alberta farmers (growing crops or livestock) would be very (68 per cent) or somewhat (24 per cent) likely to participate in a recycling program for grain bags if a collection site was in their area. Similarly, 86 per cent said they would be very (56 per cent) or somewhat (30 per cent) likely to participate in a twine recycling program if a collection facility was in their area.
Farm plastic waste studies undertaken by Cleanfarms estimated Alberta farmers generate as much as 2,500 tonnes of low-density polyethylene grain bags and up to 3,000 tonnes of polypropylene twine annually and all of this is available for recycling.
“Alberta farmers are ready and willing to recycle used grain bags and twine, and with approximately 5,500 tonnes of viable agricultural plastic available to be recycled, that’s an unbeatable combination for a successful program. Plus, those recovered resources will be made into new products for farm use. This new Alberta recycling program is a win for everyone,” said Cleanfarms general manager Barry Friesen.
Recycled twine is used in many different applications, including roofing tiles and new twine.
Farmers preparing to recycle grain bags should know they need to shake them to remove debris, roll and tightly secure them with twine. Some collection sites have rollers and compactors available, so farmers should contact sites for information beforehand.
Twine should not be mixed with any other plastics and needs to be shaken to remove debris, placed loose in a Cleanfarms recycling bag and tied closed.  Recycling bags are available at rural municipalities and ‘Alberta Ag-plastic. Recycle It!’ collection sites.
Farmers should contact collection sites for hours of operation and to schedule a drop-off time if assistance is required for unloading. Information is provided at
The pilot is being funded through a grant from the Government of Alberta and administered by Alberta Beef Producers.
Cleanfarms is a non-profit industry stewardship organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural plastic packaging and product waste. Recycled agricultural plastics are made into new products such as farm drainage tile, flexible irrigation pipe and plastic bags.
The APRG is a group made up of over 20 stakeholder organizations from sectors across Alberta representing municipalities, producers, non-profits, recyclers and retailers among others. For a full list of members and more details visit

Markets attract young shoppers

By Murray Green

Young shoppers are going for more natural and organic foods.
“The iGeneration is also known as Generation Z or post-millennials,” said Ava Duering, competitiveness analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
Comprised of tweens, teens and young adults aged 18 to 23 years old, they are the first generation born after the inception of the Internet. Because of this, they are named for their involvement with technology and access to information.
Duering indicated that they are an important group for marketers to understand for two reasons.
They are entering their prime earning and spending years and will soon occupy the desirable 18 to 34 demographic. They are quickly replacing millennials as the young, influential trendsetters.
According to Statistics Canada, the iGeneration comprised about 15 per cent of Alberta’s population in 2016. “Alberta is a younger demographic compared to the rest of Canada so the iGeneration has a greater impact on our economy,” said Duering.
They have various food preferences as well. “According to International Food Trends 2018, 60 per cent of adult iGens have had Japanese food in the past three months, versus 25 per cent of baby boomers. This trend holds for nearly all international food types from Indian to Korean.”
They are moving towards plant based food. “The percentage of iGens enjoying plant-based meals nearly doubles from junior high students to high school grads and almost half of the iGens say being vegan is ‘cooler than smoking.’ According to market research firm NPD, the iGeneration has higher consumption rates of organic food than any other group.”
They are very health conscious. “They are focused on natural, organic, allergen-conscious foods. These attributes have a stronger appeal than low fat and low-calorie. According to a Tufts University report, about 41 per cent of the iGeneration say they would pay more for food they perceive as healthier, compared to 32 per cent of millennials and only 21 per cent of baby boomers.”
The Internet has a huge impact on how the iGeneration views the world. “For them, no question is too complicated to answer. They want to know where their food comes from, how it was grown and harvested, and how it ended up on their plate.”
Duering said that since iGens represent about 15 per cent of Alberta’s population, the province’s producers and processors should capitalize on this growing market.
“Organic and plant-based food provide continued growth opportunity. Technology is critical in attracting the iGen. A strong digital presence and providing the ability for online shopping is key to market products to this group. Food product labelling, with detailed descriptions of ingredients and sources, helps in the purchasing decision making process for iGens.”

City council salutes members at large

By Lori Larsen

During the City of Camrose regular council meeting held on Jan. 20, council and administration took time to recognize the continued dedication and efforts of volunteers who sit as members at large on various committees, councils, boards and commissions.
Mayor Norm Mayer, on behalf of council, thanked the members at large for their service.
“Thank you all on behalf of council. As our citizens, we appreciate your volunteering and assisting us with the various committees with which you have served. Thank you kindly.”
Recognition was given to Blain Fowler and Barry Graham, Camrose Airport Commission;  Valerie Sims, Judy McLean, Laurel Warkentin and Lisa Borin Miller, Camrose Arts Council; Robert Ford and Rick Myers, Camrose Police Commission; Alan Corbett and Elizabeth Luck, Camrose Public Library; Tom Calhoun, Community Transit Advisory Committee; Julie Girard, Municipal Planning Advisory Committee, and Lucy Ernst and Jillian Wideman-Lyon, Social Development Committee.
Members at large present during the meeting were congratulated and presented with their certificates by City of Camrose councillor PJ Stasko and manager Malcolm Boyd.

Year of the rat, but not in Alberta

By Murray Green

Although this might be the year of the rat, you won’t find one in this province. At least, not for long.
Phil Merrill, provincial rat and pest specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, has been the face and the voice of the Alberta Rat Control Program for more than 30 years.
“Someone must have had incredible foresight and said we don’t have rats and we’re only going to battle them in the east. We can do this,” said Merrill.
The rats had arrived in Saskatchewan in the late 1920s and moved to the Alberta border in the 1950s.
Before a rat breeding population could take hold, the provincial government launched the Alberta Rat Control Program.
“We were half ready for them,” explains Merrill. “Our government was organized enough that we put the health department in charge of them because we didn’t want the disease factor to come into Alberta. The health department looked after it for one year. They then thought it was an agricultural problem and turned it over to the agriculture department.”
At that time, the rats were moving from one farm to another and the program started with about 800 infestations. Every rat found along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border was eliminated.
“There were a lot of farms that were infested, and the rats had gone 18 miles into Alberta,” he said, looking back. “It took us a lot of years to whittle that down. We didn’t eradicate them in one year.”
In fact, 10 years later they still had hundreds of infestations a year. “About 30 years later, we had it whacked down to 20 or 15 infestations a year. Finally in 2000, we had zero infestations in that rat control zone. Now we just maintain that rat control zone and we get one to three rat infestations a year, coming overland from Saskatchewan.”
Merrill said that the number one reason for the program’s success over the years is due to government dedication.
“They (the government at the time) said we don’t want rats and we’re going to put money into it. They backed it up with legislation that said that rats are illegal.”
The other advantage is Alberta’s geography, a cold north, mountains to the west and southwest, and open and unfriendly prairie to the southeast.
“So, it’s just the east that we need to have our rat control zone,” he explained.
Merrill noted that farming innovation and changes in practices have helped contribute to the success of the program. Pig and chicken barns are now enclosed and built with cement floors. Farmers don’t store as much grain on the farm. When they do, it’s in steel instead of wooden granaries, built with steel or cement floors.
“You turn a rat in one of those facilities and they can’t live because they have no place to burrow and can’t get away. The risk has dropped a whole lot on our farms. That has helped us tremendously.”
As for changes to the program in the last 70 years, Merrill said that it is basically the same, but it changes direction.
“We have a higher risk right now from rats coming into the province via transportation means such as recreation vehicles and commercial trucks. We are finding we have to step up our urban pest control because we are getting more coming in on recreation vehicles. Our direction changes a little bit, but it is the same basic program. We don’t want rats and when a rat comes, we get rid of it.”
If you spot what you think is a rat, call 310-RATS (7287). All rats, even pet rats are illegal in Alberta.

February is heart month in Alberta

By Murray Green

Since February is Heart Month, it is a good time to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining and improving heart health – something we can all do for ourselves and for our communities.
Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death for women in Canada and the second highest cause of death overall.
“My ministry is working with Alberta Health Services on an assessment of initiatives that show great promise to reduce the risk for Albertans. This work will identify the most effective community programs for early detection, treatment and control of heart disease and allow reinvestment in the most effective activities,” said Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.
“We’re building on a long record of leadership in cardiac care. Our clinicians and treatment are second to none – they’re trusted by patients and families and a source of pride for all Albertans. We can all do our part to help reduce the devastating impacts of heart disease. Know your risks and reduce them by maintaining a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, staying active, living smoke-free, minimizing alcohol consumption, and getting advice and help when you need it,” he added.
“This Heart Month, I encourage all Albertans to take time to learn about your heart disease risk factors and what steps you can take to decrease them. And take a minute to find out more from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.”

Putting around city in the snow

By Lori Larsen

Don’t let this cold snowy weather “tee” you off. Instead why not grab three friends and some makeshift golf clubs and join Camrose Habitat for Humanity in the fifth annual family fun Putt Up a House snow golf tournament to be held Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
This event is not just for the golf enthusiasts. In fact, it is the best opportunity for non-golfers and golfers alike to get out and have a blast while supporting a great cause.
Teams of four golfers will trek, via your vehicle not golf cart, around  the city of Camrose, visiting the locations of 18 holes, all sponsored by local businesses and organizations.
“We have so many wonderful sponsors and donors who support Habitat’s mission of building strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable home ownership by supporting this event,” said Habitat for Humanity Camrose project coordinator Brenda Murdock. “We have had sponsors that have supported Putt Up a House Tournament since the beginning when no one knew what snow golf was.”
Participants will be given a foam stress ball to use and are encouraged to use their imagination when it comes to clubs.
In the past, participants have enjoyed donning team costumes and the organizing committee invites this year’s teams to do the same. The goofier the golfers, the better.
“Everyone is encouraged to be creative and have as much fun as possible,” smiled Murdock. “We have had golfers who have played with us every year since the tournament started. To those adventurous, fun-seeking, wintertime people, we say thank you.” Murdock encourages others who have not taken part to give it a go. If you are dressed warmly and have a responsible driver (pun intended), the event can be a lot of fun.
Registration this year can be done online which will make the day run a little quicker and smoother, or it can be done the day of the event beginning at 11 a.m. A shotgun start for golf will get things rolling at 12:30 p.m., lasting until approximately 4:30 p.m.
Once the golf rounds are completed, head to the Camrose Resort Casino for the evening banquet. Cocktail hour begins at 4:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 5:30. This year, 50/50 tickets are being sold both prior to the event at hole sponsors (see the website for listing), ReStore or during the morning of the event itself. The winner might have a chance to walk away with $2,500 – a pretty good purse by any golfer’s standard.
The event has averaged 60 golfers, and the numbers keep rising; 78 composing 21 teams in 2019. In 2017 and 2018, the event revenue totaled approximately $9,000, and in 2019, it totalled approximately $13,000.
The success of the event also relies heavily on the generosity of community donors and hole sponsors. “It is an awesome opportunity to interact with players and promote your business.  Profit and not-for-profit organizations are all welcome.”
The holes are located throughout the city (map provided) at picturesque  locations and may include more than one hole per location to cut down on the amount of driving and to encourage some friendly competition between teams.
“That was the best thing that we learned and improved after the first few years,” remarked Habitat for Humanity Camrose executive director Cody McCarroll. “There were suggestions that there was too much driving and requests for clusters of holes that increased the social aspect of the tournament.”
If you are not one to trek through the snow in cooler temperatures, there is the option to attend just the banquet.
“We are happy that this unique fundraising idea has caught on with the community,” said McCarroll. “We are very thankful for all the golfers, volunteers and sponsors who have supported  this event. We wanted to do a fundraiser that was a little bit different – a good outdoor, event that includes exercise and some family fun.”
For more details or if you wish to sponsor a hole  or provide a location, visit the website at  or contact Brenda Murdock at

Births and Deaths

- To Jessica and Thomas Girard of Bittern Lake, a daughter, on January 26.
- To Kristin and Jordan Bassett of Camrose, a son, on January 28.
- To Laurel and David Williams of Killam, a son, on January 29.
- To Danielle and Darrell Thomas of Alliance, a daughter, on January 30.

- Ellen Marie Lindberg of Camrose, on February 1, at 86 years of age.
- Ruby Luella Sorensen of Camrose, on February 1, at 95 years of age.
- Bertha Lillia Rakoz of Camrose, on February 2, at 91 years of age.
- Gayle Lynn Edwards of Vegreville, formerly of Edmonton, on February 3 at 50 years of age.
- Eileen Elizabeth Wallace of Camrose, on February 6.
- Joan Margaret Schultz of Camrose, on February 6, at 83 years of age.
- Margaret Rose Flad of Camrose, formerly of Bodo, on February 6, at 80 years of age.