Bhutchinson 2013 pc20160506 11400 1s5t6z

Reflections

By Bonnie Hutchinson

What’s your best
post-Corona world?

 
On a rainy day–the slow-soak-in kind of rain, perfect for newly-planted crops and gardens–I’m reading an article called, The Post-Corona World. The article, translated from German, is by Matthias Horx of the Zukunfts Institute, a think tank in Frankfurt, Germany.
It’s uplifting!
The article says it’s okay to quote freely as long as the source is identified (which I did in the first paragraph). I suspect we can all use a little uplifting, so here goes.
***
First, the process, which Horx calls “RE-gnosis.” Horx introduces it this way: “At the moment I am often asked when Corona ‘will be over’ and when everything will return to normal. My answer is: never. There are historical moments when the future changes direction. We call them bifurcations. Or deep crises. These times are now.
“The world as we know it is dissolving. But behind it comes a new world, the formation of which we can at least imagine. For this I would like to offer you an exercise…we call it the RE-gnosis. In contrast to the PRO-gnosis, we do not look ‘into the future’ with this technique, but from the future back to today. Sounds crazy? Let’s try it: “Let’s imagine a situation in autumn, let’s say in September 2020. We are sitting in a street café in a big city. It is warm and people are walking down the pavements again…looking back, what will we be surprised about?”
***
Horx then goes on to imagine things like…“We will be surprised that our social distancing rarely led to a feeling of isolation.” We reached out to contact old friends. We may have felt closer to relatives, friends and neighbours.
“We will be amazed at how quickly digital cultural techniques have suddenly proven themselves in practice.” Through Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and other technologies, we’ve opened many doors.
“We are astonished to see how much humour and humanity actually emerged in the days of the virus.” It was humanity, more than technology, that made the biggest difference. We no longer think technology can solve everything. It’s a tool among other tools, not a panacea.
“We will be amazed at how far the economy could shrink without collapsing.” A new “glocal” economy is emerging–localization of the global.
“We will be surprised that even the loss of assets due to the stock market crash does not hurt as much as it felt in the beginning.”
***
Horx also describes an experience at least some of us have had. “A massive loss of control suddenly turns into a veritable intoxication of the positive. After a period of bewilderment and fear, an inner strength arises. The world ‘ends,’ but with the experience that we are still here, a kind of new being arises from inside us.”
***
Even more than these ideas, I appreciated Horx’s conclusion. Hope it does something uplifting for you too: “Every deep crisis leaves a story, a narrative that points far into the future. One of the strongest images left by the corona virus are of the Italians making music on the balconies. The second image was sent to us by satellite images that suddenly showed the industrial areas of China and Italy free of smog. In 2020, human CO2 emissions will drop for the first time. That very fact will do something to us.
“If the virus can do that, then can we possibly do it? Maybe the virus was just a messenger from the future. The drastic message is: Human civilization has become too dense, too fast, and overheated. It is racing too fast in a direction in which there is no future.
“But it can reinvent itself. System reset. Cool down! Music on the balconies! This is how the future works.”
***
I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send a note to Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com. I’ll happily reply within one business day.
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Laurel nadon 2019
Homespun By Laurel Nadon

Homespun

By Laurel Nadon

Gone birding

I’ve never really noticed birds before. My husband will identify blue-winged teals, redheads, buffleheads and so on when we are canoeing. I felt like I only had so much brain space, and this was just something I didn’t have room for.
Now suddenly I want to know the difference. I am grabbing binoculars and wandering over to sloughs and ponds to watch and try to identify. I am asking my bird-loving older brother questions like, “I saw two small brown birds with white streaks down their whole bodies, what kind of bird do you think that is?”
I like running in the spring and fall as the seasons are changing. I love running beneath a canopy of little, bright leaves as they are unfurling each spring. I have decided that when I awaken before 7 a.m., I will run in our pasture and also make a point of noticing birds. I lace up some old runners because the soft earth squishes up and moisture trickles between my toes as I dart across the still wet spring runoff areas. The birds don’t seem to notice me at 6:20 a.m. On one morning jog, I spotted a Great Horned Owl swooping to distract me from her three owlets, robins hunting for worms, red-winged blackbirds, two redhead ducks fighting over females, a Lesser Scaup, American Coot and a Ruddy Duck. I breathlessly return home from jaunts outside and thumb through a bird book before I forget what I saw.
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I had no idea there was a cute little duck in my neck of the woods with a blue bill. A blue bill! It is apparently the only member of the stiff-tailed duck group found in Alberta, and now I often spot the tail up in the air first, the blue bill second. I have learned to identify a horned grebe, a yellow headed blackbird, the difference between a raven and crow, and how to tell a hairy and downy woodpecker apart. When I saw the redhead ducks, I raced home to make sure I wasn’t mistaking them for canvasbacks, with their longer necks, sloped beak and red eyes.
Trying to remember all of this means finding a way of memorizing, which somehow makes me think of high school science classes. It also has been quite funny for my kids to help come up with ways for mom to learn birds. I say the word crow softly and then Raven loudly, while flexing some muscle as a memory trick to remember it is larger. American Coot, sound like a flute. (Though when we heard them again, we had to change it to American Coot, sound like a toot, which of course led to more giggling.)
Two woodpeckers recently (and loudly) crashed into one of our front windows. One shook itself off and flew away. The other lay on the ground for about five minutes recovering, flying away only once our dog came over to give it a sniff. My second thought when they struck was that we needed to keep the dog away. But my first thought was: now is that a downy or a hairy woodpecker? (Quick kids, how long is its beak?)
On a recent date night, we went for a walk around Mirror Lake. I was paying attention to what birds I saw so that I could practice my identifying skills. Then I saw a bird a little way up a tree with long tail feathers. I gasped, pointed it out to my husband and wondered aloud what type of bird it could be. As we got closer, I realized it was…a scarf tied onto a tree branch. Oh the disappointment for a new birder!
I’m amazed that something that has been there all along can bring me such delight in discovering. Hopefully this extra time at home will give us more time to enjoy nature and the changing seasons. Once we start noticing something, we start to see it everywhere. read more

BRSD board approves a very tight budget

By Murray Green

The Battle River School Division board of trustees approved a budget for the 2020-21 school year on May 14.
The budget reflects difficult decisions on reduced spending, due to the division’s financial realities.
With declining school enrollment and increasing costs, BRSD has struggled to balance its budget in recent years.
Last year, BRSD used reserve funds to offset instruction funding deficits and avoid making significant cuts to schools and classrooms. Those reserves have been depleted. There are also changes to the funding of Inclusive Education and PUF programs that will impact services next year.
As a result of the existing shortfall and the funding changes coming for next year, BRSD would require approximately $6 million more in order to completely cover costs for 2020-21. The division has received $4 million in “bridge funding” from the government to help slow down the pace of change.
The bridge funding offsets about two-thirds of the $6 million shortfall, lowering the number of reductions that must take place.
Changes include a reduction in the spending/staffing allocation for every school, department and program. This reduction will result in fewer staff for BRSD next year.
Reductions in spending on PD, equipment, resources and conferences are planned.
We have already seen a move towards the permanent closure of Allan Johnstone School in Hardisty, along with the consolidation of Holden and Ryley Schools into one K-9 school site, with the closure of Holden School and the re-allocation of Ryley high school students.
Battle River Online School and Camrose Outreach School will be merging together at one location.
An introduction of a technology fee will be charged to parents this fall.
“We know change is necessary, but it’s a lot. We’ve been talking about this reality for quite a while and trying to find solutions that would reduce the impact on students in classrooms as much as possible,” said board chair Norm Erickson.
“We’re grateful for funding flexibility that allows us to make decisions we think work best for us. We’re grateful for the bridge funding that allows us to protect services to students in classrooms, and to slow down the pace of change. But we also know that bridge funding is temporary. We will experience another $4 million in reductions by the 2022-23 school year. That means we’ve still have many difficult decisions ahead.”
The BRSD board of trustees agreed to move the scheduled date of their June meeting from Thursday, June 25 to earlier in the month, on June 11.
They will wait until closer to the date of the meeting to determine whether the board members and staff will gather in one location or continue to meet virtually.
Superintendent of schools Rita Marler reported that many conversations have taken place with Alberta Education and other education stakeholder groups, as a variety of plans are considered for re-entry to school next fall.
The province has asked school divisions to consider how they would manage a range of scenarios.

Fatal collision Holden resident

By Lori Larsen

On May 19, at approximately 8 a.m., Tofield RCMP responded to a report of a single vehicle rollover on Township Road 494 east of Tofield.
The preliminary investigation indicated that an SUV was travelling eastbound on Township Road 494 and a rollover occurred.
The adult female driver suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was transported by EMS to hospital.
A 60-year-old passenger from Holden was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Local Kidney Walk goes virtual this year

5 kidney walk
Camrose Kidney Walk supporters and friends celebrated the first event last year. Due to COVID-19, this year’s walk and fundraising event will be virtual on June 7.

By Murray Green

The second annual Camrose Kidney Walk will have a virtual format this year.
Because they are not gathering as a community as a result of COVID-19, the June 7 walk will be held individually in a virtual format. Participants are encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood or wherever they feel most comfortable. This can be indoors, on a treadmill, in their backyard or around a park.
You can register and donate at www.KidneyWalk.ca (select Northern Alberta and the Territories as your region). For more information, email Samantha.Potkins@Kidney.ca or call (toll free) 1-800-461-9063 ext. 224.
“Our look is different. Our commitment to kidney care is stronger than ever, so be inspired to visit our website,” said Manuel Escoto, community development and communications manager for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.        
Camrose had its first Kidney Foundation Kidney Walk in Camrose last September. “We planned on hosting a second annual event on Sept. 19, but given how COVID has impacted everything, we’ve switched it to a virtual walk for June 7,” explained Manuel. read more

CORE to help elder Albertans

By Lori Larsen

Knowing exactly what resources are out there to assist during COVID-19 and how to find them can be confusing for many elders.
In an effort to make navigating the systems easier, Collaborative Online Resources and Education (CORE), a new online hub, has been developed that will coordinate community services for older Albertans and seniors. It will be available during the COVID-19 pandemic and possibly on into the future.
CORE will make it easier for organizations to share resources and coordinate services, with a focus on key COVID-19 issues, including transportation, food security, social isolation and home supports.
The online hub cost $40,000 to develop and the Alberta Government and partners will invest about $720,000 in interagency programs and initiatives that will be coordinated through CORE.
Funding partners include Alberta Health Services, Alberta Blue Cross and the Federal Government. The United Way of Calgary and Area will administer the hub and act as the project’s fiscal agent
“We are using this technology to better serve Alberta seniors. Older individuals are among those most at risk for COVID-19. We believe the online knowledge hub will enhance the way organizations support seniors during the pandemic, and help keep them safe as we move forward with our relaunch plans,” said minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon.
Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte commented, “The Government of Canada is proud to support the adoption of United Way’s CORE knowledge hub together with the Government of Alberta. By helping community organizations coordinate their services for seniors, this platform will help ensure more seniors in Alberta receive effective, responsive support. That has never been more important than during the pandemic. We are committed to protecting and enhancing seniors’ quality of life.”
Dr. Richard Lewanczuk, senior medical director, Health System Integration, Alberta Health Services, indicated that there are a variety of resources that exist in the community to support seniors. “Sometimes they are hard to find, so we are pleased CORE is coordinating these resources, making them accessible in one single location to provide an easy way for Alberta seniors to access information they need to improve wellness, independence, and quality of life.”
President and CEO of Alberta Blue Cross Mark Komlenic added that amidst the pandemic and public health measures, helping seniors maintain connections to healthcare and community resources is critical. “As an organization that interacts with over 640,000 Alberta seniors, Alberta Blue Cross is so pleased to be supporting this initiative.”
CORE Alberta will feature the following: online forums to access training, share resources and promote best practices; a link to Alberta 211 for seniors seeking direct supports; and information about volunteer safety, protocols, guidelines and links to funding opportunities and resources to address challenges related to COVID-19.

Additional support for Canadian seniors

By Murray Green

Seniors across the country will be receiving some financial assistance due to COVID-19.
Many seniors are facing significant health, economic, and social challenges. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced measures to support seniors. It invested $1.3 billion in a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit in April. More than four million seniors benefited from this top-up, which gave an average of $375 for single seniors and $510 for senior couples. They also invested in community organizations that provide practical services to Canadian seniors, including the delivery of groceries and medications.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a series of additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis. These measures include:
Providing additional financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network.
Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by Oct. 1.
The Government of Canada will continue to monitor and respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
“As workers, neighbours, parents, grandparents, spouses, caregivers and volunteers, Canada’s seniors have shaped this country and contribute to our communities every day. They are among the most threatened by COVID-19, and we will support them and work to keep them safe,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.
“Protecting the most vulnerable remains at the core of our response to COVID-19 and seniors are particularly feeling the impacts of the pandemic. Whether it be vulnerability due to physical or mental health, isolation or simply struggling to get groceries and the supports they need, the measures announced today will help seniors during this difficult period,” added Bill Morneau, minister of finance.
“Seniors have helped shape the Canada we know and love today. Supporting seniors during this difficult time is essential. With an additional $300 for OAS recipients, plus a further $200 for GIS recipients, we are helping Canadian seniors get the support they need during the pandemic,” said Deb Schulte, minister of seniors.

Kurek asks tough questions for ministers

By Murray Green

Battle River Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek asked various ministers tough questions in the House of Commons on May 20.
Kurek spent more than six minutes grilling the government in Question Period on topics that affect the Camrose area, trying to get answers and results for his riding. He started with firearms.
“The government has no place in the midst of a global crisis to future their political agenda. I have a few questions about this,” started MP Kurek. “Can the minister of public safety confirm if they have found any errors in the firearms reclassification OIC (Order In Council), yes or no?”
“In response to that, I remind the members that unfortunately during this COVID crisis, we have seen an increase in gun fines. We have seen a significant increase in domestic violence and tragically, we have even seen a mass shooting, and all while the proliferation of weapons is totally unsuitable for society has continued, so we have taken action to end that proliferation and have prohibited those weapons,” suggested Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Public safety and Emergency Prepardness.
“I urge the minister to be careful with the words he uses, because a weapon is something used with intent. We are talking about firearms used by law-abiding citizens,” said Kurek, to get the topic back on track.
“I don’t know how many staff in his department were assigned to make these regulatory changes in the midst of the global crisis,” said Kurek.
“I will take this opportunity to commend the hardworking men and women in safety and in my office who, not withstanding the many challenges of COVID, have responded and continue to do the work that is necessary to keep Canadians safe, for which all Canadians should be grateful,” boasted Blair, while avoiding the question.
Kurek asked about the dates of the original changes. “We campaigned on this and made a commitment to Canadians that we would take action on this. We brought forward orders in council on May 1 and we have fulfilled our promise,” added Blair.
“There are far more questions than answers on this issue that Canadians, and specifically law-abiding citizens, have and any citizens who are concerned about executive overreach have. Will he (the) minister accept the province’s constitutional right to appoint their own chief firearms officer, yes or no?” fired Kurek.
“The Government of Canada will always uphold Canadian law and the Firearms Act. I invite the member of the opposition to perhaps offer an explanation on why he believes these weapons that were designed for soldiers to kill other soldiers in combat are suitable for use in civil society,” commented Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Public safety and Emergency Prepardness.
(Clarification: Actually none of the newly banned hunting or target-shooting firearms were ever used by the Canadian military.)
“Using Liberal logic, I expect the minister to ban rental vehicles, kitchen knives and maybe even baseball bats (because they can cause harm),” added Kurek in Ottawa.
“I have businesses in my constituency that are falling through the cracks because of the lack of supports from this government. Struggling businesses were denied CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account) and yet breathed a sigh of relief when the RRRF (Regional Relief and Recovery Fund) was announced, only to be denied again. This was supposed to be a fix and, once again, Canadian businesses were let down by this government. Can the Liberals commit to reach out to fix the gaps that exist in these programs?” asked Kurek.
“Actually, yesterday we did fill one of those gaps by providing dividends and contracts, and to have access to CEBA. We will continue to look at those gaps and make our programs available to businesses,” said Mona Fortier, Canadian Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance.  
“I look forward to a phone call so those gaps can be specifically addressed,” responded Kurek.
“Many members of my family and constituents have been hit hard across farms and ranches and across Canada. I want to ensure that the supply chain is secure. Can the minister of agriculture answer as to why her government is letting down so many producers by not providing the certainty they need in these uncertain times,” said Kurek.
“We have a wide range of risk management programs and they were in place regardless of the crisis.”
“I would ask farmers to apply to the Agri-stability program and see what they are eligible for,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
“My last question is on an article published in The Hill Times by the information commissioner, saying that the federal government needs to send a serious message to their departments about the freedom of information requests. Can the government make a commitment to make sure the freedom of information requests during this COVID pandemic are still honoured and that privacy doesn’t take a back seat,” added Kurek.
“A quick answer from the minister. I’d like to reassure my colleague that, despite the very difficult position we are in, the information commissioner is aware of the importance of the situation of access to information,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, president of the Treasury Board.

Financial support offered to farms

By Murray Green

The Canadian Emergency Business Account has potential to provide up to $670 million directly to farmers from the forgivable portion of Canadian Emergency Business Account interest-free loans.
It is estimated that the expanded eligibility to the CEBA announced on May 19 more than doubled the amount of farmers eligible for the CEBA benefits.
The changes allow an estimated additional 36,566 farms nationwide to access the CEBA, for a total of over 67,000 eligible farms across Canada. This equates to up to $2.68 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian farmers, 25 per cent of which is forgivable.
Each farmer can access up to $40,000 in interest-free loans, which, if paid off by the end of 2022, entitle the farmer up to $10,000 of that amount to be forgiven.
“The announced expansion of the eligibility to the Canada Emergency Business Account is a big deal for farmers across the country. We heard from many farmers that the Canada Emergency Business Account did not work for them, because many did not meet the payroll criteria. We listened to their concerns and changed the eligibility to ensure a total of 67,000 farm operations without payroll, 36,500 more, can now access the program,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
“In dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, our government has consistently said that we are prioritizing speed and we continue to fill the gaps.”
For those farmers who are still unable to access CEBA, they can turn towards the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
“Farmers can be assured that we have their back and we are continuing to roll out supports for our agriculture sector,” added Bibeau.

Non-motorized watercraft policy

10 mirror lake canoe
A new City of Camrose policy allows non-motorized recreational watercraft (with some exceptions) on water bodies in Camrose, including Mirror Lake.

By Lori Larsen

During the May 19 City of Camrose council meeting, council voted in favour of accepting the Use of Non-Motorized Recreation on City of Camrose Water Bodies Policy.
After the discontinuation of the City of Camrose Swan Program last year, the City has received inquiries on the use of non-motorized recreational watercraft on Mirror Lake specifically, and other Camrose water bodies.
The draft policy was reviewed by the City’s insurance providers, resulting in signage with the guidelines for the proper etiquette and use of the City of Camrose Water Bodies to be installed. Access is presently permitted, but you have to follow Transport Canada and all other regulations.
Permanent signs posted around the water bodies in key locations will include the following guidelines.
Water bodies where boating is prohibited will be marked using appropriate signage.
Users must comply with all City of Camrose, provincial,  federal and Transport Canada regulations applicable to the size and type of boat; no gas or electric motors; no sailboats; no boating between dusk or 10 p.m. (whichever is sooner) and 7 a.m.; all boats must be carried manually from the approved parking  areas to the water; and there will be no harassing wildlife.
Non-motorized recreation includes canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and less than 12-foot paddle boats.
The policy will prohibit the following type of recreation: boats with gas motors, boats with electric motors, sailboats, inflatable boats, inner tubes, inflatable mattresses, rafts, tube boats and float tubes.
The City of Camrose water bodies allowing non-motorized recreation will be open from the beginning of May until the end of September from 7 a.m. until dusk or 10 p.m. (whichever is sooner).
 Council inquires
Councillor Agnes Hoveland asked if there are currently any water bodies contained within the City that are excluded.
Community Services general manager Ryan Poole responded, “At this point in time, the City hasn’t been excluding any ponds other than the two that had the swans on them (which will now be included). The wording in the policy about excluding was put in there in case, down the road, the City of Camrose had a reason to exclude a pond. The Golf Course ponds will be excluded with signage, naturally.”
While councillor Max Lindstrand approved of the idea of more significant use of water bodies in Camrose, he voiced concern over the depth of the water in Mirror Lake. “The water in places is virtually zero depth and the amount of sludge gives me some safety concerns.”
Mayor Norm Mayer indicated that this will be the responsibility of the non-motorized boat owners to navigate where depth is satisfactory.
Councillor PJ Stasko inquired as to whether or not the City would be in charge of providing some sort of docking area.
Poole replied, “We wrote in the policy that boats have to be manually transported to the lake from an approved parking lot. That way the boats can be put in if carried by a person anywhere on shore which prevents the City from having to put in a formalized boat launch.”
Poole added that there are a number of areas on any of the lakes that are accessible for putting in a (non-motorized) watercraft. read more

SOLE renewed until Aug. 5

By Lori Larsen

The City of Camrose manager Malcolm Boyd provided an update to council on the State of Local Emergency, which has been continued to Aug. 5, during the regular meeting held May 19.
Boyd began with the status of Emergency Coordination Centre indicating that staffing levels continue to be monitored and that the change to four-on, four-off shifts schedule continues to be working.
“This schedule allows us a certain level of redundancy and ensures that we have enough vehicles to transport staff safely.”
Boyd said that there has been a reduction in summer staff this year, however, the City’s ability to continue providing services would not be affected due to the redeployment of other full-time staff. Councillor Max Lindstrand raised a question about payment for those now working during weekends, and Boyd confirmed that because of the revised schedule, overtime rates were not applied to any of the scheduled weekend work.
With regards to the supply of Personal Protections Equipment (PPE), Boyd said the City was in good shape.
“The ECC recently issued a planning guide for reopening,” explained Boyd. “It mirrors the stages that the Province’s Relaunch Strategies are based on, and we are using these stages as triggers for relaxing some restrictions.”
Boyd continued with a report on the status of City operated outdoor facilities.
“Courts, including basketball, pickleball and tennis, are presently closed, but we are looking at options for reopening.
“With an association like the Pickleball Club which can take responsibility for compliance, then I think we have some ability to open up. However, it is difficult to envision with a contact sport like basketball, how it can be played without contact. I don’t see us putting basketball nets back up. We are working through a process to see how they can be reopened safely.”
Since the meeting held on May 19 the decision by the City based on information provided by the province, was made to re-open courts as of Friday, May 22.
Boyd reported that City operated dog parks have signage posted outlining guidelines to be followed.
“The Camrose Gun Club (outdoor) just reopened. A specific document was provided by the Chief  Medical Office with requirements to gun clubs.  The Camrose Gun Club came forward with guidelines and signage and indicated they are prepared with PPE and sanitization equipment, so they have been allowed to reopen. We are talking with the biathlon club to see if they can come up with the same thing.”
In speaking on the use of City operated playgrounds Boyd said, “It was clarified in a provincial meeting of directors of emergency management this morning, that the intention for the responsibility for cleaning playground equipment was to lay with the user.”
Boyd added that a parent/guardian has to take responsibility for ensuring that a piece of playground equipment that their child/children is intending on using is cleaned before being used.
Based on that information a decision was made on Thursday, May 21 to re-open City operated playgrounds and sports courts as of Friday, May 22, providing users follow posted guidelines.
Boyd explained that all garage sales will continue to be banned until July 3. “It has always been the Province’s  position to leave the decision on garage sales up to municipalities, and most of the 20 municipalities that administration contacted have decided that garage sales are banned. Specifically 10 have banned, eight are strongly discouraging them and two are business as usual (allowing garage sales.)
Reporting on inquiries received to the City by local businesses wondering if they can or cannot open, Boyd said the City’s response is, unless it is specifically stated that the business cannot open, they can reopen as long as all controls listed in the public health orders are maintained.
He commented, “Optimistic feedback regarding the May long weekend, kudoed Albertans because there was no spike in provincial fires, which usually occur over the long weekend, and no spike in reported noncompliance with health orders.”
Finally, Boyd reported information shared during a recent Camrose Community Stakeholder meeting indicating: the Camrose and District Primary Care Network are starting to see more patients as people come back to clinics; Alberta Health Services are focusing on relaunch plans; Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital Camrose indicated their patient numbers are also increasing and they are considering standing down their Emergency Coordination Centre in the next weeks; and Battle River School Division said their playgrounds are also still closed and they would be following the lead of the City.

Superintendent leaving

By Murray Green

Superintendent of Clearview Public Schools Peter Barron is leaving his post at the end of July to assume the role of superintendent of Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools.
“I am immensely proud of the results we have achieved in Clearview over the past six years. We have an outstanding staff and very supportive communities. Although I am excited to take on this next challenge, the timing is not ideal, given the outbreak of COVID-19. I am confident, however, that schools will be back in session in the fall and I will work to ensure a smooth transition,” said Barron.
He also supported many provincial initiatives, including the development of the new funding formula with Alberta Education and served on the committee for the Alberta Rural Education Symposium.
“As a board, we want to thank Mr. Barron for the excellent work he has done for us during his tenure as superintendent,” said board chair Greg Hayden.
“My six years with Clearview are the highlight of my professional career. I am blessed to have worked here and to have made so many friends. I wish everyone, students, staff, and parents the very best in the future. I look forward to finishing the current school year here in Clearview and the chance to personally thank all those with whom I have had the privilege to work,” added Barron.
13 purple martin

Celebrate World Earth Day

City of Camrose Wildlife and Greenspace Stewardship coordinator, Brittany Woelk, left, and husband Liam Malloy install a new purple martin house on an existing pole located just outside of the Stoney Creek Centre.

By Lori Larsen

Celebrate World Environment Day (WED) on June 5 with appreciation for our natural world and all of its wonderful gifts.
This year’s WED theme is biodiversity which refers to every variety of life that can be found on earth including plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms, as well as the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live.
Beginning in 1974, World Environment Day is now celebrated in more than 143 countries throughout the world. It has been a major campaign for environmental issues ranging from marine pollution, human overgrowth, and raising awareness about global warming, sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.
Work being done in Camrose and area by stakeholders such as the Camrose Green Action Committee, Blue Dot Camrose, City of Camrose Wildlife and Greenspace Stewardship Society, Battle River Watershed Alliance, Camrose and District Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch and Camrose Fish and Game Association, continues to educate the public on the importance of preserving and protecting wildlife and the environment.
City of Camrose Wildlife and Greenspace Stewardship (WGS) coordinator Brittany Woelk returns to the position this year, fulfilling a bit of a different role for the program in light of restrictions in place due to COVID-19.
While her role has changed, the Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Society’s goal remains to educate people on nature, environmental issues and solutions. “Even though our education events will not be happening this summer, we will be reaching out in different ways to educate the public about ongoing nature-based information,” explained Woelk.
In support of World Environment Week, Woelk asks residents to engage on promoting biodiversity.
“Each individual person can play a part in maintaining biodiversity. Some examples are planting flowers for the pollinators, disposing of hazardous material safely and using more environmentally friendly products.”
Woelk said the City of Camrose Greenspace Master Plan is a perfect example of how the City supports biodiversity in an urban setting. “The plan lays out many different aspects of nature areas that the City of Camrose should contribute to and maintain in the future.
“Camrose has many natural spaces that allow for plants and wildlife to thrive. Even the simple things such as the butterfly and hummingbird gardens can provide a food source for the small creatures and also attract pollinators. The natural wetland areas are important for the integrity of biodiversity and should be treated and monitored as an asset.”
By providing education and awareness information, WGS hopes to encourage residents to explore and respect their natural surroundings.
“These different contributions to the City’s natural areas play a huge role in maintaining biodiversity in an urban setting.”
For more information on the  Wildlife and Greenspace Stewardship Society and to view information supplied by WGS, visit them on Facebook.
To contact the City of Camrose Wildlife and Greenspace Stewardship summer program coordinator, email wildlifestewardship@camrose.ca or telephone 780-672-0544.
The Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) makes great strides in protecting Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds, which cover the aspen parkland and grassland ecoregions. “I like to consider our watershed a bioregion. That means that all of the natural and human made communities are interrelated and interconnected,” explained BRWA Education and Outreach coordinator Nathalie Olson. “We all rely on the same prairie-fed river as our water source. When one area of our watershed is hurting because of drought or pests or anything, it impacts us all.”
BRWA provides educational programs and continually builds on awareness to enlighten all residents of the watershed areas on the importance of maintaining these vital natural resources. “We offer hands-on education programs to schools across the region. Our trips give students the opportunity to get to know their local biodiversity, either in a wetland or in the schoolyard. We love working with farm kids because they are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
“Of our 30,000 km square of watersheds in Battle River Watershed, only 0.6 per cent is officially protected as parks or natural areas. The majority of the land is owned by farmers making them the most important stewards. How farmers and other landowners treat their lands is how our watershed is treated.
“There are so many amazing people doing fantastic work as stewards of our watershed. Our Traversing Terrain and Experience Atlas covers some of these stories and highlights the ecological and community diversity of this region.”
Camrose Green Action Committee (CGAC) works toward improving Camrose as a green community by providing research into environmental “best practices” in other communities and informing Camrose citizens in order to create an enhanced understanding and appreciation of prudent environmental practices.
CGAC chair Rob Hill shares his thoughts on the important role initiatives such as WED play in educating and encouraging action. “Humanity really must change the way we live with our natural world and it is not only because humans have pushed one million species to the edge of extinction. The truth is the financial cost of inaction is simply too great.”
Hill related the current situation in the world to a dire need for change. “Luckily the changes that are coming will create opportunities. As terrible as this pandemic is, people in large cities are breathing clean air and seeing blue skies like never before. When we stop measuring quality of life simply in terms of how much stuff we can acquire, then we will have taken a step toward a truly better quality of life.”
He further suggested ways that Camrose citizens can make a difference in, not only this community, but the world. “We in Camrose have to accept that to maintain our quality of life, we will have to be open to change. Rather than throwing garbage in a landfill to contaminate the environment, many communities now use garbage to generate energy. Rather than buy fruits and vegetables from large destructive farms in Mexico, increasingly it is possible to find Canadian indoor-grown produce in our supermarkets. In Canada, there are now over 3,000 such operations. Why not Camrose?”
On a final note, Hill made reference to a powerful century old quote made by Native American Chief Seattle. “‘We don’t inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.’ But we are using up the earth like its for us only–polluting the air and water, stripping the earth of resources, cutting the forests and sweeping over the last of pristine nature.”
One of the major roles of World Earth Day is to bring to light concerns regarding the protection and preservation of our natural world, the likes of which include crime against wildlife and the environment.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife, specifically the Enforcement Branch, is tasked with the duty of ensuring all Alberta residents and guests to the province not only respect Alberta’s natural resources, but abide by the laws intended to protect them.
Report any suspicious or illegal hunting and fishing activity, dangerous wildlife encounters and serious public land abuse by telephone at 1-800-642-3800 or online at www.alberta.ca/report-poacher.aspx.
While June 5 is the official day designated as World Earth Day, it acts as a springboard for all citizens to look around at what this earth has to offer and do whatever one can to ensure it continues to do so. read more

Protect yourself from data loss with back-ups

By Murray Green

If you missed World Back Up Day, you need to back up and do it again.
With more people working from home because of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to back up your work on your computer.
Employees are faced with a new technological setup that they may not be comfortable with. As people trade their offices and desktop PCs for laptops and home Wi-Fi networks, it is vital that people protect computers and data at home. This year’s World Backup Day was even more important than ever.
The day is a reminder that highlights the dangers of failing to backup important documents and files. There are many ways you can lose data, from a simple mistake like a coffee spilled over a laptop to a technological failure such as a crashed application.
A particularly worrying threat, however, is the prospect of falling victim to a targeted hack. This is a major hazard, as not only does it give the hacker access to the victim’s files, but it also gives the hacker the opportunity to blackmail the victim for data return.
For individuals, the loss of data often carries a sentimental cost, but for businesses, the economic consequences can be even more severe. Data loss can cripple organizations, causing both reputation harm and financial damage. Despite these risks, many businesses remain unaware of the best ways to protect their data.
With that in mind, cyber security leader ESET Canada provides tips to help make sure your data is protected.
Educate employees on the dangers of data loss. Ensuring that employees know how to safely edit, move, or delete files on or between servers, or spot the signs of a spam email which can save you from larger hassles down the road.
It is crucial to activate automated backups as a standard practice. Remembering to physically back up data every time you use a file is time consuming and unreliable. With an automated system in place, you can ensure that your data is constantly being backed up. This drastically reduces the likelihood of a disaster caused by human error.
You should also make sure that you have a process established in the event of an employee making a mistake. Staff should know to report the loss to an administrator as soon as possible.
In order to ensure your software is always up to date, turn on automatic updates for all applications. Hardware and system errors are one of the main culprits of data loss, and keeping your systems updated is a great step to increase your data security.
Adjusting control settings to restrict employees’ access so they can only edit files and folders that are relevant to them should be a top priority. If an employee can’t access a file, he or she can’t accidentally delete it.
Every organization benefits from good backup technology and processes. In light of World Backup Day, take a second to consider what would happen if you were to lose your key files. If this is a worrying thought, it is time to back up your files, even if you missed the actual date.

Beloved cancer care cat missing

By Lori Larsen

So many people rely on the companionship of a beloved pet, a pet that loves unconditionally and never judges. Caron McKenzie is no exception, and has cherished her cat Ottis since the day their lives came together back in 2010 when her children gave her the cat while she was going through cancer treatments.
Unfortunately, Ottis has gone missing and Caron is reaching out to the community for any help.
“He is very important to me,” said Caron in an email she sent to The Camrose Booster. “He was my chemo kitty while I was fighting cancer.”
Sadly, this is not the first time Caron has reached out for help to locate Ottis. Four years ago, he went missing, leaving Caron frantic.
At that time she  exhausted as many avenues as she could to report her cat missing in hopes of having him returned safe and sound, including flyers and an article in The Camrose Booster. She received telephone calls indicating sightings, but to no avail. Then approximately six months and nearly 100 kilometres away, Ottis was located, identified and brought back home.
Ottis is described to be an orange tabby and was last seen on May 7. The Camrose Booster, on behalf of Caron, is asking anyone who may have spotted a lost cat fitting Ottis’ description (orange tabby) to contact Caron by email  caronjmckenzie@gmail.com or telephone 780-608-6344.
Let’s see if we can bring Ottis home to Caron.

Indoor gun range stays put

By Lori Larsen

City council voted in favour of amending motion 385/19 made in August 2019 approving the demolition of the Drill Hall in 2020. The amendment to motion 385/19 will allow the indoor gun range (contained on the Community Centre site) to remain on that site.
Currently, the indoor gun range is used by the local gun club and Camrose Police Service (both at no cost), and is rented by at least two external security  companies. Rental income  from  this  facility is minimal, averaging  just under  $2,500 per year between  2015 and 2019.
Councillor Max Lindstrand voiced concern over the aesthetics of the building should the gun range remain intact. “Is it going to look a little strange, because it won’t match the profile.”
City of Camrose manager Malcolm Boyd replied, “It won’t match the profile in terms of height, but there will be some attempts made to make it match by using some of the siding salvaged from the existing building to reface the north side of the gun range.”
Councillor Kevin Hycha asked if there were any other facilities within the City’s limits that could be used to house the indoor gun range.
Boyd responded that the indoor gun range requires certain criteria around containment. “Not every building works. That building (the current location) is designed for those requirements. If we commissioned a new building, it becomes expensive because of those requirements. There would be a very significant budget impact to consider constructing or replacing.”

New advice line assists Albertans

By Murray Green

Alberta Health Services has launched a Rehabilitation Advice Line for Albertans over the age of 18 living with disabilities in the community.
The Alberta-only service–available by calling toll free 1-833-379-0563–connects callers to allied health clinicians who can help them access services close to where they live and provide information about activities and exercises that help with physical concerns; strategies to manage the day-to-day activities affected by these concerns; rehabilitation services that are open for in-person and/or virtual visits; community-based organizations that can support them.
The service is available seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

Vikings hockey team still in limbo

By Murray Green

The University of Alberta Augustana Campus board and the Augustana Vikings Men’s Hockey Alumni Association are in negotiations on how to fund the program next year.
With a projection of less funding, the university has already cut some programs and terminated the fitness centre. One of the options discussed around the table was cutting the Vikings men’s hockey team.
“When we heard the hockey program may be eliminated, the association wanted to find out what we could do to save it. We have donated funds over the past five or six years to the university, so we are a stakeholder even though we don’t make any decisions,” said David Ritz, president of the Augustana Vikings Men’s Hockey Alumni Association.
The entire process has taken a lot longer than expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic of not meeting and bringing Ian Reade, athletic director of the University of Alberta up to speed on the situation.
“We are working with them to see what we can do in the future. It is helpful to have him (Ian) in the discussions as well,” shared David. “In the last couple of weeks, we have started to make some ground. It isn’t as simple as dollars and cents anymore. It is about how are we going to try and run things with certain things run by Augustana and some things run by us.”
Augustana is still weighing options on how to fund the hockey program. “Instead of waiting for the answer, we decided to be proactive. We wanted to see what we could do as a community,” added David.
The hockey program costs between $100,000 and $200,000 to run. Fort McMurray’s Keyano College is toying with the idea of getting back into the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association in hockey. If that happens, an extra trip or two up north adds to the expenses.
“That number can go up or down by 25 per cent right now. We want some concrete numbers in place over the next two weeks. We are negotiating how much Augustana puts in and what the funding is for. As well, we need to know how much to come up with and what the financing would pay for,” he added.
“We didn’t want to see the nursing or therapy program go and they (Augustana) are having a tough time with these decisions. Because of that and COVID-19, it has pushed hockey to the background, as it should. Hockey is just a small portion of what they are dealing with on cutbacks at the school.”
The alumni are looking at a one-year short-term solution as well as long-term answers.
“We want to help make a decision for the players soon, so they know what to expect for next year,” he said. “We are fighting for the community because we know the connection it has with the community of Camrose as well. We don’t want to be in a position of making Augustana come up with more at the expense of other programs either. We are trying to do what is best for our alumni, the community and the university as well. The negotiations have gone on longer because of so many moving parts.”
The association has had people pass on ideas on how to solve some of the issues.
“I thank everyone who has supported the alumni association, those who called with ideas and there are a lot of people affected by this. News like this rocks a community, especially a university in a rural setting,” said David. “Between the alumni association and the university, we are all trying to work together to make this come together for the Vikings program. Losing programs and the hockey team hits close to home. Students go to Augustana because of the rural setting and we want to protect that as much as we can. Hopefully, the hockey program is one thing we can save.”

Faulkner gets his favourite truck back

By Murray Green

Lindsay Faulkner treasured his 1977 Ford truck several years ago, but couldn’t keep it.
When he received an opportunity to get another F250, he seized his chance.
“This truck is a 1977 F250 camper special. I wanted another old truck because I like the technology of stuff back then…simple…then I can fix it instead of going to a garage,” explained Lindsay.
The sixth generation of the Ford F-Series is a line of pickup trucks and medium-duty commercial trucks that were produced by Ford Motor Company from the 1973 to 1979 model years.
“I sold my older Fords years ago because I had moved away and I always regretted it. Now that I have found another, I have it lettered up for my business and get to drive it almost every day except in the winter months,” shared Lindsay.
“This truck came from Vancouver Island and it had never seen snow, so the body is rust free. My shop is over on Highway 21, at the corner of Township Road 472. It a performance shop for Harley Davidsons called Holeshot Engine Works.”
The term F150 is for half-tons and the F250s were three-quarter ton trucks.
“After more than 30 years of letting go of my Ford F250, I thought I’d never find another quite like it. Last year I did, but it was in Campbell River, BC. So I took a chance and bought it sight unseen just using the pictures they had sent me,” continued Lindsay.
“I flew out to Victoria, BC and a friend picked me up from the airport. He asked me if I wanted to see the truck that night or in the morning. I called the owner and ended up going to get it that night. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the shape it was in.”
The truck featured  the original owner and it had its original paint. It had a 460 cubic inch engine and a C6 transmission.
“I walked around it numerous times thinking this cannot be true. I spoke with my friend quietly and said this truck has never had any real use. It didn’t have a fifth wheel, it didn’t have a reese hitch, all it had was a 1-7/8 ball on the bumper,” said Lindsay.
“The owner overheard our conversation and said, ‘What do you mean no use? It has pulled my boat.’ I asked what size of boat and he said a 12’ aluminum,” laughed Lindsay.
A 460 motor pulling a small aluminum boat isn’t even testing the truck, even if it is going uphill both ways.
“So he handed me the keys, signed the paperwork and installed my Alberta plates to it, so I could drive it home to Camrose.”
Now the truck is labeled for his business and is all business.
FUN FACTS
The 1977 models received a redesign of exterior trim, with the cowl insignias made smaller and moved near the windshield. The bed received a rectangular fuel door to conceal the gas cap. The fuel tank located behind the seat was discontinued due to safety concerns. It also would be the last year of the medium-duty F-500. Starting in the 1977 model year, Ford dropped the super from Super Camper Special in favor of calling the F-350 models with camper packages Camper Special, a name that was previously only assigned to F-250s with camper packages.
The sixth generation F-Series underwent a slight revision of its trim lines. The base and Sport Custom trims were dropped (with Custom becoming the standard trim). The Ranger and Ranger XLT returned, with the Ranger Lariat trim introduced in 1978 with cloth interior trim, specific two-tone body and tailgate trim. The model line was offered with several appearance packages.
The 1977-79 Free Wheeling package (offered on the Custom and non-Lariat Rangers, along with the Bronco and Econoline), consisted of multi-colored tape stripes, silver or black interior, white-letter tires, and optional alloy wheels, bed-mounted roll bar, and bumper-mounted push bar.

Tire care can save you money

By Murray Green

Last week was National Be Tire Smart Week from May 13 to 19, to remind motorists to properly inflate their tires for the summer driving season.
Surging gas prices have made fuel efficiency a higher priority for Canadian drivers, according to a new national survey conducted by Leger in mid-April for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC).
Nine in 10 drivers surveyed (92 per cent) say fuel economy is now a higher priority for them and 90 per cent understand that proper tire inflation maximizes mileage and reduces fuel costs.
Drivers are right to think they can save at the pump by ensuring their tires are properly inflated. Industry studies show motorists can improve their gas mileage by 0.6 per cent on average–up to three per cent in some cases simply by keeping their tires inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure.  Additionally, underinflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2 per cent for each one PSI drop in the average pressure of all tires. Driving a vehicle with just one tire underinflated by 56 kPa (eight psi) can increase vehicle fuel consumption by four per cent.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2017, Canadians purchased 43 billion litres of gasoline. With a 0.6 per cent gas mileage improvement resulting from proper tire inflation, drivers would have avoided having to buy 258 million litres of gasoline and saved about $348 million. Saving this much gasoline would also avoid the release of 593,000 metric tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, which equals the emissions of 125,000 vehicles in a year. (Based on $1.35 per litre and one litre of gasoline producing 2.3 kilograms of CO2).
Tire industry research shows that one third of drivers typically have at least one tire underinflated by more than 10 per cent and one in ten have at least one tire underinflated by 25 per cent or more.
The survey’s findings reveal a clear disconnect between understanding proper tire inflation improves fuel economy and knowing when and how to measure tire pressure.
Only 21 per cent of drivers measure their tires’ inflation pressures monthly, which is the industry-recommended interval for pressure checks.
About 63 per cent are unaware inflation pressures should only be measured when tires are cold.
The other 34 per cent refer to the air pressure stamped on the tire’s sidewall when identifying the correct pressure for their tires. The imprinted sidewall pressure is the maximum pressure a tire can contain under maximum load. Prolonged driving at this inflation pressure can result in uneven tread wear and reduced traction, particularly on wet surfaces.
About 11 per cent rely on visual inspections to determine the correct inflation pressure for their tires. A tire can be underinflated by 20 per cent or more and look normal.
“With gas prices surging to a five-year high, it is not surprising Canadian drivers want to make smart fuel efficiency choices,” says Glenn Maidment, president of TRAC. “Consumer education is clearly needed now more than ever to bridge these persistent tire inflation-related knowledge gaps that prevent optimal fuel efficiency, cause drivers to waste their hard-earned money and help protect the environment.”
Find the recommended inflation pressure for your tires on the vehicle placard.

Pedestrians and motorists share the roadways

21 pedestrian safety
Motorists and pedestrians both have a responsibility to ensure they share roadways safely.

By Lori Larsen

The longer days of sunshine equate to more people out and about, which for motorists means an increase in pedestrian traffic sharing roadways.
Camrose Police Service and Walkable Camrose would like to remind motorists and pedestrians to abide by all traffic laws and provide the following tips on making roadways safe for all users.
 Motorists
 Light up. Begin by ensuring that all lights are operating properly on your vehicle(s). Working head lamps, tail lamps, brake and clearance lamps, turn signals and flashing emergency lamps are required on all vehicles. They notify pedestrians, cyclists and wildlife of presence and intentions.
Good line of vision. Seeing pedestrians, cyclists and wildlife first is key in maintaining safety. Ensure your windows  are kept clean and free of distractions. Do not block rear windows with cargo and remove items from your dashboard that can obstruct your view. Ensure all mirrors in your vehicle are attached, maintained and unobstructed.
Mind the signs. Be aware at all times of the posted speed limits and pedestrian crosswalk signs and traffic devices. Intersections pose a higher risk, so proceed with caution when approaching them and be sure to check in all directions for pedestrians or cyclists before proceeding through an intersection. Always stop when posted.
Be alert. Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is not only unlawful, but extremely dangerous. However, fatigue can also worsen your driving abilities.
Pedestrians
Pedestrians and cyclists share an equal responsibility to ensure their safety and the safety of others.
Be seen. Wear clothing, especially during the darker hours, that make you highly visible to motorists.
Use sidewalks or trails. Whenever possible, use sidewalks or designated City trails. If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
Make every effort to use properly marked crosswalks and intersections. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. “Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely,” said Camrose Police Service traffic enforcement officer Constable Sarah Day. “Then continue watching for traffic as you cross.”
Stay alert. While listening to music is a quick way to add up the steps, it can also be a distraction. Be sure you can hear traffic noises at all times and slow down when approaching intersections, look both ways and indicate to drivers your intention to cross, or activate traffic control devices where applicable.
“People often press the button at a signalized crosswalk and proceed to cross the intersection,” reported Walkable Camrose chair Lucy Ernst. “It’s important to stop and make eye contact with the driver to ensure the driver is aware of your intent to cross. And don’t assume that because the car in the lane closest to you has stopped that other cars will stop too. You should make eye contact with each driver. Alberta Transportation has a great message that makes it easy to remember in these situations: ‘When eyes lock, it’s safer to walk.’”
Texting or talking on your cellphone can be just as distracting while walking. Keep your head up and  be aware of your surroundings, including traffic and road and trail conditions.
Be mindful of vehicles backing out of garages and driveways or coming out of alleys.
Youth safety. When walking with young children, lead by example.  Where possible, have them walk on the inside of the pathway or sidewalk away from traffic. Approach intersections together or just ahead of them making sure they come to a complete stop and are aware of all traffic.
 “Be aware of where the child or children are at all times and never let them run out onto a roadway,” commented Day.
Walking pets. Always have your pet on a leash while walking. Constable Day remarked, “Pets can be unpredictable and unleashed pets pose danger to not only the pet and motorists, but owners who may run after them to slow them or catch them.”
Never assume. Being totally aware of what motorists are doing will keep you safe. Never assume a motorist will see you. Stop or yield or obey traffic devices.
“Where possible, make eye contact with motorists so you are both aware of each other,” added Constable Day.
Walk sober. Alcohol or drugs can impair your ability to make sound judgement and can interfere with your walking capabilities. If you are tired, give yourself a moment to rest and be at your best.
“We have a beautiful trail system in Camrose that community members of all ages use regularly, whether by walking, running or biking,” commented Ernst. “The paved trails have safety signage throughout that we ask people to abide by to make them safe for all users. There are areas along the berm that require trail users to cross intersections where the space is shared with motorists. This area is very important for eyes to lock with drivers to prevent collisions.”
All users of the trail systems are reminded to abide by the COVID-19 rules and maintain physical distancing of at least two metres; allow room for others to pass safely; do not congregate on the trails; and where possible, use gloves or a bag (dispose of afterwards in a proper container) to touch public services.
A few mindful tips are steps in the right direction. read more

Job program to create positions

By Murray Green

A program will provide the energy industry with access to up to $1 billion, creating jobs to immediately get Albertans back to work.
The Site Rehabilitation Program, mainly funded by the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide grants to oil field service contractors to perform well, pipeline and oil and gas site reclamation work. Starting now, the program is expected to create about 5,300 direct jobs and lead to the cleanup of thousands of sites.
The program will also provide additional economic benefits, such as indirect employment, helping support various sectors of Alberta’s economy, including restaurant and hotel workers and many other businesses, as it begins to reopen and recover after the effects of COVID-19.
“Alberta’s energy industry is the largest subsector of Canada’s economy, as well as one of its biggest job creators. We are creating almost 5,300 jobs for Alberta’s energy workers, while completing important work decommissioning and reclaiming abandoned pump jacks, pipelines and wells. This will ensure that sites are properly addressed, benefiting landowners and Albertans across the province,” said Sonya Savage, Alberta Minister of Energy.
This program has an initial focus on providing grants to service companies that have been significantly impacted by the unprecedented economic downturn. The program will provide funds in $100 million increments.
The first $100 million will be available for service companies to do eligible work anywhere in the province. Future increments may be allocated for work conducted in specific regions within the province, directing funds where they can have the most significant environmental benefits.
All laws, regulations, directives, and environmental and occupational health and safety standards, including physical distancing and COVID-19-related health guidelines, must be followed in carrying out the work.
The Site Rehabilitation Program will provide grants of between 25 and 100 per cent of total project costs depending on the ability of the oil and gas company responsible for the site to help pay for cleanup and will be paid directly to the oilfield service company completing the work.
Contractors can apply for a grant online during the following dates and must meet all eligibility and project requirements.
Until May 31, it will be open to service companies significantly impacted by the unprecedented economic downturn for contracts of up to $30,000 per application across Alberta. This $100 million increment will focus on projects that are eligible for 100 per cent government funding.
From now to June 15, it will be open to service companies for contracts of up to $30,000 and eligible for 100 per cent funding. This $100 million increment will focus on sites where some operators have failed landowners and where the government is paying compensation to landowners as required under the Surface Rights Act.
Future increments will be developed for larger projects. Application and eligibility information, as well as the online application portal, is available at alberta.ca/siterehab.
Grant-funded work must be done in Alberta, putting Albertans to work.
Eligible work includes closure work on inactive wells and pipelines, including remediation and reclamation; and removal of abandoned in-place pipelines.
Alberta has a strong regulatory system requiring that the thousands of oil and gas structures across the province, including pump jacks, pipelines, and wells, be properly decommissioned and their sites brought back to a land condition similar to the state they were in before the infrastructure was built. This work ensures that the sites are safe for landowners and Albertans, and there are no negative impacts to the environment.

Energy sector to receive help

By Murray Green

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney responded to the federal government’s energy stimulus package last week.
“How we come through this economic crisis will depend in large part on the survival and the successful recovery of our country’s largest industry–the energy sector–on which some 800,000 Canadian jobs depend. We thank the federal government for taking this important first step to support the folks who work in our energy sector,” said Premier Kenney.
“The $1 billion partnership to address inactive wells aligns with Alberta’s commitment to ensuring our resources are developed in an environmentally sustainable fashion. This funding will immediately save or create thousands of jobs, keeping energy service companies going during these devastating times. It will also help us bring sites back to their original condition, leaving a cleaner environment for future generations. The $200 million loan to the Orphan Well Association will also help these efforts, demonstrating our commitment to producing Canadian energy under the world’s highest environmental standards.
“More support is needed to deal with the crisis in Canada’s energy sector, but this is a great first step. Our energy sector is facing its biggest challenge ever, and we need to be sure that industry can access the capital it needs to survive and thrive in future years. When the auto sector and the banks were threatened during the global financial crisis a decade ago, the economic strength of Alberta, powered by the energy industry, ensured that Canada was able to provide the urgent support they needed. We will continue to work with the federal government to ensure that the energy sector now gets the support it needs.”

Kurek answers questions during town hall meeting

By Murray Green

Battle River Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek shared his concerns and thoughts with his constituents during a town hall meeting on May 20.
Kurek often holds town hall meetings to gather information on what his constituents are concerned about and to offer his insight.
“COVID-19 is still on everyone’s minds and we are still studying the impacts it has had on people’s lives. As we learn about the virus, we respond to the needs, and I have heard from thousands of constituents who have faced challenges. The effects are very real across the country. We are doing our best to help with information for the programs,” said Kurek from Ottawa.
“The gun bans (coined as the Liberal gun grab)and the Liberals turning a tragedy in Nova Scotia (smuggled weapons) into their political advantage in the midst of a global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, it is absurd, quite frankly shameful,” said Kurek. “I was disappointed with the Liberal response in Question Period about this.”
He said the government needs to address the real issues like crime in this country and smuggling across the Canadian and United States borders.
“I am concerned about some of the challenges democracy is facing. We have a Prime Minister who thinks he can replace parliament with 30-minute tightly choreographed press conferences where the so-called news agency gets the lion’s share of the questions, none other than the CBC. Parliament exists to represent Canadians, and the Liberals can’t hide from that,” continued Kurek.
“I’m in favour of opening up economies again. In the beginning I wasn’t sure, but now it is time. We should have had a preventative response, but the government called us fear mongers. We wanted flights stopped from countries who were known to have COVID-19. Now we have been able to flatten the curve and the process is open to re-starting the economy,” explained the MP.
He answered a question on CEBA about receiving funding to reopen.
“If you use a personal account, a sole proprietorship, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be available to you. Another question was on how long it takes from the time an announcement was made to the actual time you can apply or receive it. The Prime Minister has his daily ‘Cottage Chronicles’ and then answers choreographed questions and then we don’t see him for the rest of the day. The time from the announcement to figuring out what is real, is frustrating. It takes weeks and weeks.”
He spoke about the frustrations on both sides of the rental funding. “Both are frustrated with the amount of red tape that is involved in the process. If one of them, the tenant or landlord, don’t want to go forward, it creates red tape. Middle and small businesses don’t have a team of lawyers to go through it,” he added.
He was asked about the staggering debt the government has rung up.
“This is all hedged in secrecy because the government refuses to go to parliament or release numbers. It is absolutely unacceptable. We have projected two terrifying numbers. One is that our national debt may surpass $1 trillion this year. Now it gets even scarier, because our national debt with our assets taken out of it, the CPP $300 billion plus the number of government buildings, in actual fact the amount of debt as a nation has already passed a trillion. That is net debt that Canada owes. What is also terrifying is that government expenditures may pass a half of trillion this year. Never did I think we would be in a place like this. These are your dollars. I work for you and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
He encouraged everyone not to be afraid to reach out for help. Go to www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans for more information. If you need more help, contact Kurek’s office: 4945-50 Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9 or telephone 780-608-4600 and fax 780-608-4603. You can email Damien.Kurek@parl.gc.ca as well.

Births and Deaths

Births
- To Lennie and Glenn Dayondon, of Camrose, a son on May 5.
- To Jesenia Martinez and Miguel Mota, of Armena, a son on May 6.
- To Maria and Mark Skriver, of Camrose, a son on May 7.
- To Rachelle Jackson and Robert Dabbs, of Forestburg, a daughter on May 13.
- To Kelsey and BJ Ness, of Lougheed, a daughter on May 14.

Deaths
- Sherlyn May McKay, of Camrose, formerly of  Moncton, NB, on May 10, at 73 years of age.
- Phyllis June Brosinsky, of Camrose, on May 12, at 80 years of age.
- Norbert Joseph Rehman, of Camrose, on May 15, at 87 years of age.
- Ralph Sorenson, of Killam, on May 15, at 93 years of age.
- Devin Nordstrom, of Camrose, on May 16, at 34 years of age.
- Harold Schacher, of Camrose, on May 16, at 93 years of age.