Council does not mandate use of masks

2 masks
Camrose Booster comptroller Don Hutchinson demonstrates the use of masks where physical distancing is not possible.

By Lori Larsen

City of Camrose council members discussed the matter of mandatory face covering during the Aug. 5 regular council meeting and unanimously voted that the use of masks will be strongly recommended when social distancing (two metres apart) is not possible.
Mayor Norm Mayer began the conversation saying that there are other communities that are mandating the use of face coverings (masks) especially in/on public transit or where social distancing can not be realized. “My hopes are we (City) can work around this and that it does not become a mandatory type of thing but a respectful type of situation.”
Mayer referred to 101 emails received by the city regarding the mandatory use of face coverings of which 87 were opposed and 24 were in favour.
Councillor Kevin Hycha commented, “I am really on the fence, but something one of the presenters said today (earlier during public commentary) stuck with me. ‘The last thing we want to do is start over again.’ There are pros and cons for wearing masks. I am not in favour of wearing it, but I will wear it if it does protect others. I would like to hear some more constructive comments from the medical world.”
Councillor Max Lindstrand was encouraged by the most recent number of active cases of COVID-19 (at point of this  meeting was two).
“I would like to see us encourage the public to wear masks as much as possible but not to make it mandatory at this point. We can continue to monitor the situation and it could be that in two weeks’ time we would have a different view on it.”
Councillor Agnes Hoveland said that the situation boils down to trust, consideration and respect.
“It is difficult to decide whether to mandate (the wearing of face coverings) or not. Given the situation we have here in Camrose, unlike many other communities, we are very low. Beaver County, right next to us, is much higher. I have a concern with people coming in from Beaver County and shopping in and conducting business in our community.
“My suggestion would be we strongly recommend  (terminology used by the chief medical officer of health) that masks be worn where two metre distance can not be acquired. If we make it mandatory then there is the whole issue of enforcement, which is very difficult.”
 Hoveland also said that it should be left up to owners of businesses/services to decide whether they want people wearing masks while in their place of business.
She added that the Camrose Public Library board has already mandated that masks always be worn.
“It is tough to know exactly what to do but I would rather see us err on the side of trust and common sense and that people will be considerate. We don’t want any situations where people become confrontational.
“If the owner has chosen to have it that no one can come in without a mask, that is the owner’s prerogative and that requirement should be respected.”
Hoveland made a motion seconded by Lindstrand that the city strongly recommend that masks be worn in all situations where a six foot (two metre) physical distancing can not be sustained.
Councillor Greg Wood supported the motion and suggested administration begin to prepare a bylaw regarding the wearing of face coverings in the event that the situation in Camrose changes and the need to mandate masks becomes necessary.
Mayor Mayer said that if circumstances should change and there is an imminent danger to the citizens the City always has the ability to immediately declare a state of local emergency.

How to make or buy a mask

By Murray Green

Wearing a non-medical mask may help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There are many ways to make a cloth mask. Health Canada has sew and no-sew options. Here are a few suggestions if you’re wanting to make your own.
Choose a fabric or cloth that can withstand frequent cycles through washing and drying machines.
Use multiple layers of tightly woven fabric. Four layers is optimal.
Use a combination of fabrics, such as a high thread-count cotton (e.g. 600-thread count pillowcases and cotton sheets) with spun bond polyproplylene or polyester.
Use different fabrics or colours for each side of the mask. This helps you to know which side faces your mouth and which side faces out.
If you are buying a cloth mask, make sure it has multiple layers of fabric, fits securely against your face, allows for clear breathing and can be laundered.
Find out more about when and how to wear a cloth mask at

Celebrate good food all week long

By Murray Green

Celebrate great food, good times and warm summer days during Local Foods Week Aug. 10 to 16.
Get ready for the provinces third annual week-long celebration of Alberta food and food producers. Local Food Week came into effect as part of the Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector Act (May 2018).
You can celebrate by participating in several activities, such as visiting a local farmers’ market. Take time out of your day to talk to vendors, learn about their products and try something new. Participate in the Alberta Farmer’s Market Association competition by cooking a dish with ingredients purchased from a market vendor, share your dish on social media for a chance to win cash prizes.
You can jump in the car and get your family to a u-pick or participate in a farm tour organized through Open Farm Days (Aug. 15 and 16).
Make a meal with ingredients grown in Alberta, ask your local grocery store what is sourced from local producers, or dine at an independent restaurant in your area that sources ingredients from local farmers and growers.
Share how you eat and support local on social media, using the hashtag #ablocalfood.
Information about Alberta grown food can be found at www.albertalocal
Farmers’ markets, u-picks and buying direct from a farmer or food producer is a great way to diversify our economy, make fresh local food more accessible and ensure families who make and grow our food prosper and thrive. Now more than ever we need to show our local restaurants, businesses, farmers, and producers all the support they need to get back into business.
The Food Artisans have set aside one week to celebrate Alberta grown and made food, but believe people should be embracing, buying, and supporting Alberta food year-round.
In conjunction with Local Food Week and Open Farm Days, Alberta On the Plate is also on Aug. 7 to 19.
A province-wide dine around festival celebrating local food and drink will also be held. Showcasing the incredible bounty grown and produced across the province. Participating restaurants will offer multi-course fixed price menus highlighting local producers, growers, distillers and brewers.
“As a young family running a local market garden farm, we have greatly appreciated the Food Artisans initiative. They have been a fantastic resource to us for connecting and promoting the local producers in our county.  The ‘Producer Nights’ they host have been valuable for our farm, providing us information and guidance from skilled and successful producers in the industry which has helped boost our own business. These Producer Nights have also helped us connect and plug into the other local producers in our area inviting more collaboration, farmer-to-farmer support, and fostering an overall positive community between all of us. The Food Artisans committee works hard, using volunteer hours to support, create awareness and promote local food producers, inviting the community of Camrose to buy and eat local. We are so thankful for this wonderful resource known as the Food Artisans of Camrose County and its team of passionate advocates for all things raised, baked and grown right here at home,” said Andrea Forstbauer, of Grey Arrow Farm in Camrose County.

Expanding COVID-19 testing at participating pharmacies

By Murray Green

Alberta is expanding asymptomatic testing at participating community pharmacies, helping more people access timely COVID-19 testing close to home.
Any pharmacy in the province that wants to participate and is able to meet the safety requirements can now offer testing to Albertans who have no symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19.
The expanded pharmacy testing follows the success of Alberta’s pilot program launched in June. An initial group of pilot pharmacies safely tested more than 10,300 Albertans, increasing testing capacity and helping support a safe relaunch.
To date, almost 677,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed across the province.
“Our innovative pilot clearly showed that community pharmacies can safely provide more Albertans with easy access to testing. Alberta continues to expand its testing capacity and maintain one of the highest testing rates in the world. Strong COVID-19 testing is a key part of our relaunch strategy and will help us continue to protect Albertans from this virus in the days ahead,” said Tyler Shandro, Alberta Minister of Health.
“With cases on the rise in Alberta, we must all do our part in the fight against COVID-19. The actions we each take today will help protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities tomorrow. Testing helps us understand more about the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta,” added Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health and former University of Alberta Augustana campus student.
“We are pleased to see Alberta Health expand the pharmacy-based COVID-19 testing program beyond the pilot. Most of the pharmacist practitioners participating in the pilot have been screening individuals prior to entering the pharmacy and testing by appointment only. Therefore, we encourage those interested in receiving a COVID-19 test to contact their pharmacist in advance, said Margaret Wing, chief executive officer, Alberta Pharmacists’ Association.”
“As a trusted partner to Alberta Health, Alberta Blue Cross is pleased to help deliver this initiative to enable pharmacies to support the reopening of our province for Albertans. This is a great initiative to deliver testing to Albertans, in a medium that is both convenient and accessible. Alberta Blue Cross is committed to supporting Albertans as we navigate together through COVID-19, and we are pleased to support this program,” shared Mark Komlenic, chief executive officer, Alberta Blue Cross.
Each pharmacy will adhere to strict protocols and has the specialized skills needed to protect patient safety. The pharmacy test is a throat swab, which is sent to Alberta Precision Labs for analysis.
Albertans are encouraged to reach out to a participating pharmacy for more information about how to arrange a test. A list of participating pharmacies is available through Alberta Blue Cross.
Testing is available to all Albertans, even if they don’t have symptoms. Asymptomatic testing is particularly encouraged: before or after spending time with individuals who have a higher risk of serious health outcomes (anyone over 65 or with underlying medical conditions); before or after travelling internationally, attending an event with recent travellers or hosting them; before or after participating in activities or events that may have put you at a higher risk of exposure (a large gathering where physical distancing was not followed); for frontline workers who have regular interactions with Albertans, particularly those at higher risk of serious outcomes.
In addition to participating pharmacies, anyone who wants to get tested can continue to book an appointment online with the AHS assessment tool.
Alberta has performed almost 677,000 tests on more than 566,000 Albertans.
Strong testing data helps government and public health officials understand how communities are affected by COVID-19 to make public health decisions.
Only those who have no symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19 can be tested at participating pharmacies.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure must complete the COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link 811.
AHS will directly contact any Albertan who tests positive to discuss the results, begin contact tracing and protect the public’s health.

Economic minister Fir to visit Camrose, Round Hill area

By Murray Green

Alberta Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir will be touring Camrose on Aug. 15.
Fir will be touring downtown Camrose in the morning to see how businesses are doing during the recovery process. She will be touring with Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely. Both are planning to tour Round Hill as part of the Alberta Open Farm Days as well.
Minister Fir was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019, as the MLA for Calgary-Peigan.
Like many other first generation Canadians, Fir comes from a home that understands the meaning of hard work. Born in Cranbrook, she moved to Calgary with her family in 1985 where she saw firsthand the promise and opportunity of the Alberta economy. Fir has been active in her community since then, including her volunteer service in support of Calgary Reads.
Fir earned a bachelor of commerce with a concentration in management of organizations and human resources from the University of Calgary.
She worked as a human resources advisor in Alberta’s oil and gas industry for more than 19 years and has a deep knowledge of the industry, those who rely on it for jobs, and the challenges they face right now.
She is focused on fiercely advocating for Alberta, its industry, world renowned natural beauty, and restoring it as a place that once again attracts the investment and opportunity that drew her family to the province.

Forestburg hosts annual drag races

By Murray Green

The Camrose Cruisers car club will be hosting its annual one-eighth mile Drag Race, Aug. 22 and 23 at the Forestburg Area 53 Raceway.
Camrose Cruisers cancelled its Show ’n’ Shine event due to COVID-19 concerns.
However, organizer Ken Mah has given the green light to holding the drag races in Forestburg. 
You can bring your classic, custom, driver or race car to the track to see how it measures up to similar vehicles.
The 100-footer event was replaced with the eighth-mile race a few years ago. This year will mark the fifth year of the eighth-mile drag racing event at Forestburg.
Qualifying runs will determine vehicle classes. All cars will participate in at least two qualifying runs to determine their respective class. The qualifying runs are not based on reaction time. It will involve two cars racing side by side. There will be two or three classes based on participation and categorized by speed. Elimination and final runs will be based with reaction time. The winners cannot have a faster time than their qualifying times. Doing so would be a disqualification.
The first day will feature racing from 12:30 to 4 p.m., depending on participation. The second day will be competitive side by side racing with eliminations beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Call Ken at 780-679-8347 to enter or for more details.

Explore Alberta at Open Farm Days

8 open farm days
Open Farm Days invites guests to visit participating farms and agriculture producers to discover the origin of their food and get a feel for the amazing work done by farmers and producers.

By Murray Green

Albertans have more opportunities to support local farmers and explore their own backyard this summer with Open Farm Days events taking place across the province.
Open Farm Days will take place on Aug. 15 and 16, with about 80 host farms across the province opening their doors to offer open houses, great local food experiences, tours and an opportunity to buy locally Alberta-grown and produced products.
Open Farm Days will also feature a sparkling sour cherry black current juice this year. The Open Farm Days craft juice was made in collaboration with local partners using Alberta-grown ingredients and can be purchased at DNA Gardens and during Open Farm Days at Annex Ale Project in Calgary and select host farms.
“Alberta’s agriculture and rural tourism sectors have a valuable role to play in driving our economy forward. As Albertans get out to explore everything Alberta has to offer, they should make Open Farm Days a part of their staycation plans,” said Tanya Fir, Alberta Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.
“Albertans want to buy and eat local and Open Farm Days connects them with local farmers. Albertans can now buy direct everything from beer and whiskey, steak and potatoes, fruits and vegetables and everything in between. I encourage everyone to go for a drive and meet local producers to discover the great-tasting food Alberta has to offer. Happy Open Farm Days,” said Devin Dreeshen, Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
“Alberta’s Open Farm Days is truly a celebration of Alberta’s bounty and those who create it. It is an opportunity for people to experience first-hand the innovations in agriculture and the care and stewardship these amazing farmers have to feed the world. Open Farm Days is also the perfect excuse to travel throughout Alberta’s rural communities and experience the beautiful landscape and unique local culture that is Alberta. Although 2020 is a very unique time, the Open Farm Days hosts are ready to greet you and your family into a friendly and safe environment full of wonder and excitement you won’t soon forget,” said Tim Carson, CEO, Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies.
Participating organizers and host farms are working together to ensure Open Farm Days follow all current public health orders and guidance. This year, new measures are being introduced to provide an even safer environment for visitors, with enhanced cleaning protocols, including access to hand sanitizer and handwashing stations.
An online booking system is available to help host farms schedule and manage the number of visitors at their venue.
Virtual tours and instructional videos are available, allowing Albertans to experience Open Farm Days from the comfort of their home.
Due to event gathering restrictions and space limitations, Albertans who plan to visit a host farm are required to book their spot online ahead of time. Farmzy, an online platform created by past Open Farm Days participants and fifth generation Alberta farming brothers Matt and Graham Graff, aims to make real farm adventures easy, and is this year’s official online booking partner for Open Farm Days. Visitors can visit to browse this year’s offerings and book the experiences best-suited to them.
Check out the sites in Camrose County. Located in Bawlf, you can see at Lil Ryley Farms that has a 1920s to 1960s themed market farm, u-pick vegetable garden, chicken and egg operation and a lamb operation.
Mid 1900s restored equipment will be on site with tours and equipment demonstrations.
Kerri and Adam Giesbrecht are the hosts on Saturday, Aug. 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Directions: head east from Camrose on Highway 26, second farm yard on the north side of Hwy 26 after the Highway 854 junction.
The Round Hill Renaissance Community Garden has a community garden to discover how to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit. Experience weeding and harvesting vegetables. Take home a veggie bag if you help in the garden. Recipe cards are available and you can play Chicken Poop Bingo to win prizes.
Host Nicola Irving begins at 11 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. on Aug. 15.
Directions: Round Hill is located 30 kms NE of Camrose on Highway 834. The Community Garden is located behind the Elks Hall, which is in the Community Hall parking lot, beside the campground and ball diamonds.

Proposed legislation could safeguard businesses

By Murray Green

Bill 23, the Commercial Tenancies Protection Act, would protect eligible commercial tenants from having their leases terminated due to nonpayment of rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed, the act would also prevent landlords from raising rent and charging late fees and penalties on missed rent.
The new measures will help address shortfalls in the current Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, and will give eligible business owners peace of mind as they reopen and help with the provincial economic recovery.
“Alberta has the most generous support models for small businesses in Canada, but we know that more supports are needed. We’re listening to Alberta’s business community, and we’re responding to their needs. If passed, these protections will provide businesses with more protection as they reopen and rehire staff as we move through the phases of relaunch and recovery,” said Tanya Fir, minister of economic development, trade and tourism.
The legislation and upcoming regulation covers until Aug. 31 and would apply to commercial tenants with tenancy agreements that would be eligible for the CECRA program, but whose landlords have chosen not to participate and commercial lease agreements where tenants have had to close their business due to public health orders or have had their business revenue decline by 25 per cent or more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If passed, any late fees, penalties or rent increases imposed on a commercial tenant by their landlord between March 17 and Aug. 31 would need to be reimbursed. However, the legislation would not undo any evictions or lease terminations that happened before the legislation was tabled.
“As small businesses move into reopening, many are facing lower revenues and fear not being able to make rent payments. Today’s announcement of commercial eviction legislation will provide a safety net for those small businesses unable to access the CECRA and will help them reopen and continue their operations,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director, Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
“This moratorium legislation will reduce the anxiety and fear small businesses had of being evicted from their premises during the pandemic. Businesses who faced a potential eviction for nonpayment of rent due to substantial revenue decreases can feel a bit more reassured of their chances of reopening,” added Ken Kobly, president and CEO, Alberta Chamber of Commerce.
“Restaurants Canada appreciates the government coming to the table with this much-needed commercial rent protection legislation. The inability to pay rent with little or no revenue for the past few months, combined with the inability to convince landlords to participate in the CECRA program or other rent relief arrangements, is the number one concern for the majority of Alberta’s restaurants. The legislation introduced today will provide the time needed for restaurant tenants and their landlords to agree to long-term rent solutions without worrying about evictions,” Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president, Western Canada, Restaurants Canada.

School health measures include mandatory masks

By Murray Green

New school safety measures to combat COVID-19 include mask use for Grades 4 to 12 students and all school staff. They will be mandatory when school returns for the 2020-21 year.
Mandatory mask use is for students in Grades 4 to 12 and all staff. All students and staff in public, separate, Francophone, charter and independent schools will receive two reusable masks from Alberta’s government. More than 1.6 million masks will be distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Additional single-use masks will be available at schools, if required.
Mask use will be mandatory for staff and teachers in all settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students will be required to wear them in all shared and common areas such as hallways and on buses. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs.
Mask use for kindergarten to Grade 3 students will continue to be optional. Mask use for younger children is a challenge due to difficulties with proper fit and compliance. In addition, evidence shows that children under 10 may be less likely than older children or adults to transmit COVID-19.
The government didn’t offer any suggestions for Grade 3 and 4 split classes.
“The safety of our staff and students continues to be my number one priority. Since cancelling in-person classes in March and developing our school re-entry plan, we have been clear that we would continue to adapt our guidelines as necessary based on current medical advice. These new safety measures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, and we will continue to work with our school authorities to ensure they are equipped for a successful start to the school year,” explained Adriana LaGrange, Alberta Minister of Education.
“After reviewing the emerging evidence, it is clear that masks can play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. I am not making this updated recommendation lightly, but acting on the best current evidence available. While masks are important, I want to stress that they are only one of the many public health measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of students, staff and families,” added Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health for Alberta.
Alberta’s government remains committed to adjusting the school re-entry guidelines based on current medical advice. The chief medical officer of health has been studying the evidence around masking in schools, and this decision is a direct result of evolving medical advice.
School staff will receive one reusable face shield for their use in the schools. Shield use is at the discretion of the individual staff member. Plastic face shields can help reduce exposure, but are not equivalent to masks. A mask must still be worn while wearing a face shield.
About 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be distributed between all school authorities. The specific volume provided to an individual school authority will be based on student population.
Each school will receive two contactless thermometers to assist with managing student and staff health. Thermometer use will be at the discretion of the school authority.
Alberta Health Services are working hard to expand testing capacity and reduce turnaround times for testing, including in-school staff, teachers and students, so that anyone with symptoms or close contacts of cases can be rapidly tested and receive test results promptly.
All supplies will be distributed to school authorities by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Authorities will then distribute to individual schools, staff and/or students based on the needs of their own communities.
Provincial health guidance for a safe return to school will continue to evolve as necessary to reflect the latest evidence on the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Individual school authorities are developing return-to-school plans that meet the needs of their own communities. These plans are based on direction provided under the provincial school re-entry plan, and supporting health guidance documents.

New curriculum to improves student learning

By Murray Green

A new vision to guide education will transform student learning, update curriculum and strengthen the K-12 system.
Alberta’s government is honouring its commitment to end the focus on so-called “discovery” or “inquiry” learning by repealing the 2013 ministerial order on student learning and replacing it with one that will give students a foundation of literacy and numeracy and a knowledge of the rich and diverse history of Alberta and Canada. The new ministerial order emphasizes civic virtues, core knowledge, and outcomes students need to succeed in school and throughout life.
“This new ministerial order on student learning is a return to proven teaching methods that will set Alberta’s students up for rich personal and work lives. Moving forward, education will promote skills development and knowledge pursuit, equipping students to explore opportunities that will help them develop their talents and unleash their potential,” said Adriana LaGrange, Alberta Minister of Education.
The new ministerial order was developed after the government broadened consultations to hear a wider range of perspectives from parents, teachers, and subject matter experts. It places an emphasis on essential core knowledge, evidence and fact-based materials, and focuses on literacy and numeracy as foundational elements woven throughout the entire curriculum.
“As a lifelong teacher, I fundamentally believe that students should gain the knowledge and skills they need to form foundations for successful and fulfilling lives. Literacy and numeracy are the bedrock for successful learning, and I am pleased that the final ministerial order recognizes that importance,” said Angus McBeath, chair, curriculum advisory panel.
Now that the new ministerial order is in place, the 2018 draft K-4 curriculum will be reviewed and future curricula will be drafted for the next grades. All draft curricula will be aligned with the new vision.
Due to delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, timelines for piloting the new draft curriculum are being adjusted. Validation will be expanded from K-4 to include Grades 5 and 6. Participating schools will start piloting this curriculum in classrooms in September 2021. At a minimum, a draft curriculum for Grades 7 to 10 will be ready for classroom validation in September 2022.
It is anticipated that all students attending school in Alberta will be learning from the new K-6 curriculum by the 2022-23 school year.
In August 2019, the independent 12-member curriculum advisory panel was established.
In December 2019, the panel submitted a draft ministerial order on student learning and recommendations on curriculum direction to government.
In February, more than 8,500 Albertans, including education partners, gave feedback on the draft ministerial order during a public engagement.

Landals takes charge in his ’69 Dodge

12 bill landals 1969 charger
Bill Landals has kept his 1969 Dodge Charger original, right down to the first paint colour. He enjoys looking after his pride and joy at home or at car shows. Hopefully, car shows will return next summer.  

By Murray Green

Bill Landals of Camrose owns a bright, beautiful orange 1969 Dodge Charger RT.
“This car is the love of my life,” said Bill, hoping his wife didn’t hear him.
“A friend of mine had it in Camrose and I ended up doing a trade with him. I had a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge that he liked. After a couple of years of bickering back and forth over finer details, we ended up doing a trade,” explained Bill, a MOPAR man through and through.
The Dodge Charger (B-body) is a mid-size automobile that was produced by Dodge from 1966 to 1978, and was based on the Chrysler B platform.
“I’m very happy with the Charger. I really love the body style. My dad restored a 1968 Charger one time and I helped him a little bit with it. I came to really love that body style, so when this one came along, it basically fell into my lap,” added Bill.
“The Charger has a 440 magnum engine with 375 horses. The numbers are matching and it has the original block. The transmission is the 727 automatic on the console with numbers matching to the car as well,” said Bill proudly.
“The car was purchased new in Two Hills in 1969, and I have all of the paperwork on it. The car is restored back to original, right down to the points and ignition, distributor. The only upgrade it has is radial tires instead of the original plies tires. I put the 500 magnum wheels on because this car actually left the factory with a set of those on it and they were not on when I got it,” shared Bill.
“The previous owner had not blacked out the tail panel on it like it was supposed to be. The tail panels were painted the semi-gloss black and this one wasn’t. A friend of mine painted it for me and I changed the wheels and tires on it and that is all that I did to this car,” he continued.
“The car drives beautifully too. This is the only Dodge we own that has power steering and power disc brakes. It is a Cadillac compared to our other two MOPAR vehicles, which are (feel) like lumber wagons.”
Keeping the car as original as possible is the key for Bill. “I’m only going to keep washing and waxing it, and keeping fuel in the car. It is staying original. I wouldn’t deviate from what was on it when the original owner had it.”
Even the paint is back to the right shade. “It is called T5 Copper Metallic and it is the factory colour. It has been painted a few times over the years, but now it is back to the original.”
You can find Bill at a lot of car shows when time allows for it. “We love going to car shows, but it has been tough last year with the crappy weather (and this year because of cancelled shows). Nadine and I hop into the MOPARs and go when we can. I don’t like to go too far because I don’t want to put too many miles on the Charger. I have a Roadrunner that I also play with.”
A new high-performance package was added in 1968 and carried into 1969, the R/T Road/Track. The R/T became standard with the previous year’s 440 Magnum, with the 426 Hemi optional.
The 1969 model year brought few modifications. Exterior changes included a new grille with a centre divider and new longitudinal taillights.
A new trim line called the Special Edition (SE) was added. This could be available by itself or together with the R/T, thus making an R/T-SE. The SE added leather inserts to the front seats only, chrome rocker moldings, a wood-grain steering wheel, and wood-grain inserts on the instrument panel.
In 1969, the B-series engines were all painted Chrysler Engine Turquoise with the exception of the four-barrel 383 four speed and 440 Magnum engines, which were painted Chrysler High-Performance Orange.
The television series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85) featured an orange 1969 Dodge Charger that was named The General Lee.
The car performed spectacular jumps in almost every episode, and the show’s popularity produced consumer interest in the car that still exists today.

RCMP tips for new drivers, road safety

By Murray Green

Though summer activities have been a bit different this year given the ongoing pandemic, there are still a lot of drivers on Alberta roadways, many of whom are newly-licenced. Whether they hold a learner’s licence or recently received their Class 5-GDL, new drivers have limited experience behind the wheel of a vehicle and are still becoming familiar with the rules of the road.
“During the summer season, we experience an increase of vehicle traffic. In August of last year, there were 19 fatalities as a result of motor vehicle collisions across Alberta,” explained Supt. Gary Graham, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “This is why it is important that all motorists–new and experienced–do their part to keep our roads safe this summer.”
According to Alberta Transportation, one in five new drivers is involved in a collision during their first two years of driving. To promote road safety, Alberta RCMP encourages new motorists to remember the following when buckling up: obey all traffic and speed signs; share the road responsibly and provide extra space for motorcyclists and cyclists; practice proactive driving to anticipate hazards and reduce or avoid dangers; never drive impaired or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Abide by the zero-tolerance law.
Supt. Rick Gardner, Alberta Traffic Sheriffs, asks experienced motorists to be mindful of vehicles marked as new drivers. “Maintain a safe following distance on busy roads and highways, allow for extra space when passing, and be patient–give new drivers extra time at controlled or uncontrolled intersections,” said Gardner. “Whether it’s your first time in the driver’s seat or not, road safety is the responsibility of all Albertans.”
For more traffic safety tips, follow @RCMPinAl berta on Facebook and @RCMPAlberta on Twitter.

Outdoor gathering limits

By Murray Green

Albertans can now attend outdoor community events with a limit of 200 people.
The Alberta Health Services increase applies to attendees at community outdoor events such as festivals, fireworks displays, rodeos, sporting events and outdoor performances.
All public health measures, including physical distancing, remain in place. Seated outdoor events will still require the necessary space between families and cohorts within stadium-style seating.
Any large gathering increases the risk of transmission. Evidence suggests that outdoor events have a lower risk of transmission.

Win by eating local foods

By Murray Green

The Food Artisans of Camrose County are a collective of local growers, producers and processors.
Your neighbours in Camrose County and area produce and process a bounty of food. Residents are fortunate with the wide variety of foods they can buy locally from fresh fruits and vegetables to a wide range of meats including beef, pork, poultry, bison and lamb; to honey, cheese, flour and processed cereals, teas, baked goods and decorated cakes.
Follow Food Artisans of Camrose County on Facebook and Instagram. Visit the Camrose County website for a comprehensive list of local food producers
There are many reasons to shop local but here are the main reasons why to buy local foods.
Supports local farmers and processors–farmers receive fair incomes for their work in providing food for us to eat and enjoy.
Local food tastes better. Fresh, top quality, safe food that has not travelled far, and is in season, tastes so good.
Local food offers greater variety of food. You can buy honeyberries, heirloom tomatoes or free range poultry in the grocery store.
Local food is sustainable. Less transportation in shipping food to market; often less use of pesticides. Not all local food is sustainable so talk to the farmer about their management practices.
Local food builds community and being able to chat with the producers at the farmers’ market or visit their farms. That helps build a relationship with the grower or farmer so you can ask how the food was grown or raised, what ingredients are in the food and learn more about where the food comes from. It is fun to visit the farm!
Market gardens offer opportunities to u-pick or we-pick their crop. For a great list of market gardens check out
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) links the consumer with a local farmer. Before the growing season you buy a membership in the farmers’ crop of vegetables, meats, eggs…Once the crop is harvested you receive a regular basket of their food.  Check the local food listing at for CSAs in the area. Alberta Approved Farmers’ Markets in Camrose County include the Bashaw Farmers’ Market on Friday, Rose City Farmers’ Market in Camrose on Thursday, the Camrose Downtown Farmers’ Market on Thursday, the Miquelon Lake Farmers’ Market on Friday and the Camrose and District Farmers’ Market on Saturday. Some of these markets run year round and others are seasonal. For a list of other farmers’ markets check out
Win a Food Artisans of Camrose County local foods basket.
This summer the agricultural communications committee of Camrose County is hosting a contest to encourage you to shop direct from local producers and processors at farm stores, market gardens and farmers’ markets. Enter to win a basket of local foods throughout the summer by completing the contest brochure. You can pick up a copy of the brochure at the county office, local farmers’ markets in Camrose and Bashaw, the Alberta Agriculture office in Camrose, the Camrose Public Library, the Chamber of Commerce office as well as many other businesses around town and county.
Charley Boyd was the winner of the grand prize basket last October. “As newcomers to Camrose last summer, my husband and I were the lucky recipients of the year end basket of local foods from Camrose County. I love choosing local food and it was full of our favourites: frozen cherries, saskatoons, chicken, pork and beef. There were fall vegetables, preserves, honey and flour. This area has so much good food to offer from generous, hardworking producers. Filling in our contest card was a great way to get to know the area (checking out u-picks) and to experience how friendly the community is such as at the farmers’ markets,” she said.
When you are shopping the farmers’ market this summer watch for the Food Artisans of Camrose County logo.

Coffee and conversation with a cop

16 coffee with a cop
Members of Camrose Police Service sit down for a coffee and chat with citizens at the local McDonald’s as part of the Coffee With A Cop initiative. Pictured left to right are CPS Sergeant Scott Sveinbjornson, Camrose resident Steve Benusic, CPS Chief Dean LaGrange and McDonald’s market people lead Darrelynn Fair. Conversation got underway on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at approximately 8:30 a.m. with several patrons at the restaurant as Chief LaGrange and Sergeant Sveinbjornson moved around from table to table striking up conversations, encouraging questions and listening to concerns.

By Lori Larsen

After a short hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, Camrose Police Service (CPS) members and/or (Chief Dean LaGrange) have once again joined in on the discussions that take place during a “Coffee with a Cop” initiative.
“Coffee with a Cop” originated in 2011 in Hawthorne, California and is now taking place in cities across the world including Camrose, where it began in early 2020. The goal behind the initiative is to boost visibility of police members, create even more connectivity with the community and the police service and build stronger relationships between the service and the community.
A member of CPS gets  out into the public in a neutral setting the first Wednesday of every month (unless otherwise indicated), where residents are invited to come out, sit and join them in conversation.
The initiative plays important dual roles in that it offers Camrose Police an opportunity to hear and understand issues that may be concerning residents on a face to face basis and also affords CPS an opportunity to share information and answer questions.
“The objective is to enhance the relationship between the community and their police service, providing effective two-way communication,” said Chief LaGrange. “It’s important the community be able to interact with their police officers, without it being in an official capacity. This is truly the foundation of community policing–officers learning about concerns in the community, the community learning about the challenges facing police, or just simply chatting about last night’s hockey game.”
Since the beginning of the initiative CPS has had numerous “Coffee with a Cop” at the local McDonald’s, and been able to learn more about the community they police.
The community is curious as well, and “Coffee with a Cop” sessions is a way to have some of those burning questions answered in a more relaxed atmosphere, conducive to shared thoughts and opinions.
For more information on the location of the next “Coffee with a Cop” visit the CPS facebook page.
If you are unable to attend in person, but still have a question for a police officer send it to The Camrose Booster for the “Ask the Chief” column at Any questions sent to The Camrose Booster for the Ask The Chief may be printed in the paper.

Spend a holiday exploring Camrose County

By Lori Larsen

The weather is perfect for getting out and exploring the offerings in and around Camrose County. While some annual events have been postponed or changed to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, there is still plenty to do and discover right here in our own County.
Pack a picnic lunch, fuel up the vehicle and load the family into the car. Daily road trips can not only be a great way to find out interesting information but can be loads of fun.
Spend an afternoon learning more about Alberta’s greatest economical asset, agriculture. Visit a local farm or producer (with permission) and let your children experience the origin of most of their food. Visit the Open Farms participating locations on Aug. 15 and 16.
Take home some homegrown or homemade goodies from one of the several Farmers’ markets located in Camrose and Camrose County.
Traverse a lake, river or creek by canoe, kayak, or motorized vessel (where allowed) or walk a trail along the shoreline discovering the flora and wildlife. Spend a day at the lake on a beach or pick up a fishing license and fishing rod and try your luck casting a line (where fishing is legal). The county has numerous recreational waterbodies including: Camrose and District Fish and Game Pleasure Island Fish Pond, Dried Meat Lake, Little Beaver Lake (Ferintosh), Tillicum Beach, Miquelon Provincial Lake Park, Ministik Bird Sanctuary, Buffalo Lake, Battle River and Stoney Creek.
Bring an all new meaning to “take out” with a picnic lunch or dinner at one of the parks situated throughout the county, including: Pleasure Island Fish Pond, Pelican Point Park, Tillicum Beach Park, Nature Conservation Centre, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Ferry Point Landing, Village of Hay Lakes Telegraph Park, or New Norway Campground.
Up for a round of golf? Hit up the greens, from nine to 27 holes, at a county golf course including: Miquelon Hills Golf Course, Double Dam Golf Course and Campground and Silver Creek Golf Course.
Get to know a little of the County history by searching out or visiting historical buildings and places including: Ukrainian Catholic Parish of the Holy Transfiguration, Alberta Pacific Grain Elevator at Meeting Creek, Canadian Northern Railway Station at Meeting Creek, Catholic Church of St. Thomas at Duhamel, Harold Person Log Cabin, Hegre Norwegian Lutheran Church, Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church, Iverson Farmstead, Parkland Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trondhjem Lutheran Church, Verdun School or Webster McLeod Farmstead. For the photography buffs there are a multitude of abandoned farms, farmhouses and other buildings that make stunning photos that can be taken from the roadside respecting no trespassing on private property.
While many of the museums in the county are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, walking around the grounds offers great photo opportunities.
Or simply take a drive around the County. Create your own version of a scavenger hunt looking for delightful attractions such as bale art, a giant oil lamp, sausage, human haystackers or baseball glove.
Make a game with your family to name the different crop fields, spot and name a variety of wildlife or take your photo in front of as many “Welcome to..” signs as possible.
Finish your day with one of Central Alberta’s famous prairie sunsets, appreciating this amazing countryside and realizing there really is something to do from sunrise to sunset in Camrose County.

Wind storm causes damage in Sedgewick

By Murray Green

A severe wind storm ripped through the community of Sedgewick, flattening one building and ripping the roof off the Vision Credit Union building on Aug. 3.
 The flattened building was vacant and owned by Colin Tanton.
“As a result of the wind and deluge of rain, a vacant commercial building on the corner of 50th Street and 48th Avenue completely collapsed, while the roof of the Vision Credit Union bank in the downtown was severely damaged/blown off. As well, a large number of trees were snapped off or uprooted and cleanup is still underway around town to deal with them. The golf course and lake had tree damage in considerable degree. Yet…the citizenry has rallied in conjunction with the town and various groups and recovery is almost complete. Electrical services were out from approximately 7 p.m. on Monday until 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 4, when they were restored by Fortis,” explained Sedgewick Mayor Perry Robinson.
“Our Fire Chief, Tyson Armitage, immediately deployed the fire department to attend for potential hazards and did a reconnaissance of the community and addressed situations as encountered. Council members also made the rounds ascertaining the severity of the incident and discussed potential further measures with our director of emergency management. Chief Armitage determined that to be unnecessary at the time,” shared the mayor.
“Town public works also immediately deployed to assess the situation and assist where required. As well, our dedicated citizenry stepped up and immediately began assisting their neighbours with various urgencies, such as fallen trees and damage to residences, such as missing shingles, etc. While there were electrical lines down, the potential hazards presented by them were completely mitigated by the loss of service to them and the citizenry was advised, where encountered, to govern themselves accordingly. As darkness fell, the situation was securely in hand and nothing remained but to clean up and restore services,” said Mayor Robinson.
“Thanks to the dedicated and conscientious citizenry of Sedgewick, our community responded very successfully to a potentially  devastating situation. We are grateful that nobody was hurt and are thankful for the attendance of law-enforcement and EMS to assist with potential situations requiring their expertise. Repairs, cleanup and restoration work is well underway and, hopefully, we won’t have any more of these nasty weather situations to deal with any time soon. Thank you for your interest in our community,” Robinson added.
The Vision Credit Union lost its roof, the golf course lost many trees, the town Internet tower was damaged and several residents lost trees in their yards.
“The wind tore two-thirds of our roof off and severed our gas line and powerlines. As it was raining, there is water damage in the back half of the building, but nothing too severe considering what it could be. We tarped it all off to mitigate further water damage,” said Sedgewick Vision Credit Union manager Michael Rostad. “There was one other building that I am aware of that was demolished in town, but other than that I believe the majority of the rest of the damage is from trees falling.”
The Sedgewick branch will be operating out of Camrose until the repairs can be completed.
The storm hit the town at about 6 p.m. Between 10 and 35 millimetres of rain came with strong gusting winds that caused damage across Alberta in a strip going west to east, hitting both Sedgewick and Killam.

Warmer weather improves growing

By Murray Green

With warmer weather in central Alberta, the growing season has improved. Rains are still fairly common to add to the growth of plants.
 Quite a bit of hay has been put up in many areas.
First cut hay is behind the five-year average of 96 per cent done with 88 per cent complete, with yields of 2.4 ton per acre and quality rated as 59 per cent good and 19 per cent excellent.
In the Camrose to Provost region, warmer temperatures along with spotty localized showers and hail have been reported over most of the region, according to the Alberta Crop Report.
Overall, crop conditions are five per cent ahead of the five-year average of 75 per cent good and excellent.
Crop stages for spring cereals are mid-way through flowering, while fall-seeded cereals are just entering the dough stage. Oilseed and pulse crops are over 40 per cent podding.
Tame pasture is currently rated as two per cent poor, six per cent fair, 61 per cent good and 31 per cent excellent.
First-cut dryland hay is reported as 27 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.8 ton per acre and quality rated as 76 per cent good and excellent.
Soil moisture ratings are estimated as 90 per cent good or excellent, with eight per cent rated excessive for surface and 91 per cent good or excellent and seven per cent rated excessive for sub-surface.

MacDonald named Clearview superintendent

By Murray Green

Brenda MacDonald was named the superintendent of schools and chief executive officer for Clearview Public Schools starting Aug. 1.
She was Clearview’s deputy superintendent for the past five years.
After an extensive national advertising campaign, Clearview received numerous and excellent applications for the position of superintendent. Following analysis and interviews, the board of trustees was excited to offer MacDonald the position.
“We are looking forward to Brenda’s proven leadership in her new role as superintendent. Brenda has an exceptional record of school and division leadership throughout her 35 years as an educator, during which she has worked as a teacher, school leadership, curriculum coordinator and deputy superintendent,” said Greg Hayden, board chair.
“Brenda is a supremely qualified candidate with experience and a passion for public education, students, staff and Clearview.  Ms. MacDonald has an intimate knowledge of Clearview and, with her ‘get it done’ attitude, will guide the division to exciting new levels. Her new ideas combined with current initiatives will continue the successes we are achieving.  Clearview’s future is bright.”
Brenda began her career as a teacher in Stavely Schools in Livingstone Range.  After moving with her family to central Alberta, Brenda taught in Poplar Ridge in Chinook’s Edge School Division. From 1998 to 2006, Brenda was the curriculum coordinator, and was with Red Deer Catholic as curriculum coordinator from 2006-15. Arriving five years ago as Clearview’s deputy superintendent, Brenda is known as an educator who is consistently dedicated to the success of all learners and the empowerment of all school community members.
MacDonald has a masters in arts specializing in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor of education in high school biology.  Brenda completed her superintendent leadership certifications and, with her 18 years at various central office positions, she has provided success building progressive learning organizations. “Brenda has a passion for rural education and finds the work extremely rewarding. She is a passionate leader who instills trust and prioritizes collaboration, shared decision making and visionary strategic planning.”
Brenda has been married to her husband Doug for 36 years and is very proud of  two married sons, Derrick and Charvel and Dale and Randi. Brenda is anxiously awaiting her first grandchild this summer. She enjoys camping, boating, skiing, biking, swimming, reading and traveling. For several years, she has done humanitarian work with the Rotary Club, supporting teacher and principal professional development in Belize.
“It is truly an honour to have this opportunity to serve the board of trustees, students, staff and communities of Clearview Public Schools. I have a strong connection to Clearview and central Alberta and have enjoyed developing excellent and lasting relationships. Clearview is committed to learning successes and it is going to be a privilege to continue to work with our dedicated and passionate staff,” said Brenda.

Train offers farm to fork tour during Alberta Farm Open Days

By Murray Green

You  can explore Alberta Open Farm Days by train this summer.
Get on the Battle River Railway train in Kelsey at 1 p.m. and view the various farms and crops along the way. After a stop in Forestburg, the train heads back to Kelsey at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15.
Meet your rural neighbours as the Railway partners with Flagstaff County and the Ellis Bird Farm for this special farm-to-fork event in rural Alberta. Meet with local farmers, out in their fields, where they will talk about the crops they raise and the methods they use to provide food for your table. As the train rolls down the tracks, listen to the local wildlife experts from Ellis Bird Farm share stories about the wildlife and birds in the area.
Contact the Battle River Railway for more information.

Flagstaff County concerned about future higher taxes

By Murray Green

Proposed changes to the assessment model doesn’t sit well with Flagstaff County.
Flagstaff County council and administration are extremely concerned about the potentially devastating impact this decision could have on the long-term viability of the entire Flagstaff region.
With the impact of this loss in revenue, Flagstaff County will be required to look at a reduction of services and increases in property taxes.
“While the provincial government’s proposed changes are intended to enhance oil and gas industry competitiveness during this difficult time, these changes would have serious implications for municipalities and small local businesses throughout the Flagstaff Region, where we already face significant economic challenges due to our remote rural location and declining population,” said Reeve Don Kroetch, Flagstaff County.
Municipalities throughout rural Alberta are facing the same grim prospects for their residents.
Based on the four possible scenarios provided by the RMA (Rural Municipalities of Alberta) and financial data from the MFIS (Municipal Financial Information System) database, estimates indicate that Flagstaff County faces a decrease in revenue by as much as 18 per cent (about $5 million).
To compensate for that significant loss, if there were no changes in services, Flagstaff County would be required to increase the residential/farmland mill rate by as much as 191.1 per cent, or increase the non-residential mill rate by as much as 43.3 per cent, or cut full-time workforce by nearly three-quarters.
Raising tax rates to offset the impacts of the assessment model change will have the effect of simply transferring taxes from the oil and gas industry to other businesses and residents.
In reality, Flagstaff County may be forced to enact a combination of both tax rate increases and staffing cuts, as well as reduce service levels and intermunicipal agreements to remain viable. These changes will impact not only our municipality and the services provided to residents and businesses, but also all of the municipalities that comprise the entire Flagstaff Region.
Flagstaff County currently cost-shares with urban neighbours through intermunicipal agreements.
“Flagstaff County has already made significant reductions in programs and services to account for the loss of revenue from unpaid taxes from resource-based companies. Actual bad debt in 2019 totalled nearly $3 million. This year, we have budgeted for $4.5 million in bad debt,” said Reeve Kroetch.
Additional changes to the Police Funding Model, on top of historical unpaid taxes from oil and gas, may influence further reductions in services or property tax increases in the coming years.
Although the implications of the province’s proposed changes are far-reaching, municipalities were not consulted during the process.
Based on the Government of Alberta’s proposed scenarios, the largest oil and gas companies operating in the province will receive a disproportionate share of benefits from changes to the assessment model. Small and locally-owned companies will, on average, receive significantly less benefit, and in many cases will face significant assessment increases.
Flagstaff is contacting Premier Jason Kenney, MLA Jackie Lovely and municipal affairs minister Kaycee Madu to express their concerns over these changes. A decision is expected to be announced as early as mid-August.
Let your MLA know your thoughts on this issue. MLA Lovely can be reached by phone at 780-672-0000 or via email at
Call your Flagstaff County councillor if you have any questions about this or want additional information.

Battle River Research Group crop walks

By Murray Green

The Battle River Research Group will be hosting crop walks on Monday, Aug. 17 and Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Two tours will take place each day at the Forestburg site with a morning walk at 10 a.m. to noon. The afternoon walk begins at 1 p.m.
Contact Khalil Ahmed of the Battle River Research Group Society at 780-582-7308 or for more information.
You can visit to register online. Due to COVID-19, the groups will be small, so register prior to the event.

RCMP remind residents to lock up

By Lori Larsen

Alberta RCMP 2019 statistics reported that July, August and October were the top three months for vehicle thefts, and July, August and September were the top three months for thefts from vehicles.
According to a data sample from 2018, 26 per cent of stolen vehicles had the keys in them and eight per cent were left running.
All total for the year, there were over 12,200 reported thefts from a motor vehicle, and close to 10,000 vehicles were reported stolen, with trucks being the most commonly stolen vehicle.
August reported the highest number of vehicle thefts, over 1,000, and thefts from vehicles, over 1,300, in Alberta RCMP jurisdiction in 2019, numbers that could have been much lower had one simple preventative measure been taken–locking the vehicle.
Other preventative measures suggested by the RCMP include: closing windows; removing valuables such as purses, wallets, shopping bags, change, electronics, sunglasses, anything tempting; removing garage door openers;  parking your vehicle in line of sight or in a well-lit area; using a steering wheel lock; locking your garage; and disabling power to the garage door if you’re leaving for an extended period of time.
For more information on how to protect your auto, visit the RCMP social media #AutoSafety or check out the RCMP Facebook page @RCMPinAlberta or Twitter @RCMPAlberta for feeds on tips and reminders to help reduce thefts of, and thefts from, vehicles.
If you see anything suspicious, report it to your local police service. If you see a crime in progress, call 911. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at or by using the P3 Tips.

Protect hay from damage

By Murray Green

After the wet fall, the last thing you need is to expose your hay to more wet weather.
Protecting hay from weather damage can significantly reduce the cost of wintering cows.
“When hay is carried over the course of a winter, bales weather and lose both weight and quality,” said Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre. “This poses the key question of what kind of value losses occur when storing the bales outside unprotected from the elements.”
Yaremcio said that research on overwinter outdoor bale storage done in the Westlock area found a 5.7 per cent reduction in bale weight over the first winter. “A 1,400 pound bale in July would weigh 1,320 pounds the following spring. The bales were stored in an area that was higher in elevation compared to the surrounding area and the grass was mowed prior to bringing the bales onto the site.”
Yaremcio added that other research reports indicate that weight loss can be as high as 15 per cent, or 210 lb. for a 1,400 lb. bale. “Increased losses are expected if snow is trapped between the bales and during the spring melt if the water does not run off, resulting in increased water damage.”
The damage is not good for your animals. “Weathering also affects the acceptability of hay to livestock,” explained Yaremcio. “Cows will reject or waste up to eight per cent more feed from bales stored unprotected outdoors, as compared to bales placed under a tarp or stored under a shed.”
Bales stored outdoors tend to squat or flatten out during storage. “The total surface area of the bale in contact with the ground and exposed to rain increases, adding to the weather damage over time. Digestibility of the weathered hay can drop 10 per cent compared to hay protected from the elements,” added Yaremcio.”
This loss in consumption and digestibility is further compounded by leaching losses of protein and soluble sugars, or energy.
“Nutrient losses are greater from the leaf portion of the plant compared to the stems. Weathered hay can test two to three per cent lower in protein. Hay that tested 14 per cent after baling can be 10 to 11 per cent the following spring. Energy can be 20 to 50 per cent lower. TDN value of 63 per cent after baling can be as low as 45 to 55 per cent. If the winter is variable with many freeze and thaw cycles, damage will be greater than in winters that are constantly cold.”
Bales made with net wrap withstand weather damage better than those made with twine. “Net wrapped bales can have 10 per cent damage, whereas bales made with twine can have 18 per cent damage,” said Yaremcio. “Hard core bales with high density  (heavier bales) are packed tighter and shed water better than bales with lower density, or lighter bales. So, soft core bales sustain more damage than the heavier ones.”
Weather damage to the outer layers of the bale significantly impact overall bale quality. “A five foot diameter bale with four inches of deterioration affects 23 per cent of the total bale weight. Overall quality is reduced significantly even if it appears that a small layer of the bale is damaged,” he said.
“Spending time to prepare a bale storage site, covering the bales with a tarp or plastic, or placing bales under a shed will provide an economic advantage, especially if a portion of this year’s crop will be carried over into next winter’s feeding period,” explained Yaremcio.
“If a 1,400 pound bale is valued at nine cents a pound or $180 per ton, or $146 per bale with weight loss of 5.7 per cent, a reduction in acceptance, increased waste, by eight per cent and a 10 per cent loss in digestibility increases the cost of providing the same amount of nutrients to the cow to be equivalent to $161 per bale.
“If a 1,400 pound cow is fed 40 pounds of hay for 125 days, it requires 5,000 pounds, or 3.6 bales, of non-damaged or protected hay for the wintering period. Cost of the undamaged hay at $146 per bale is $525.60 per head for the 125 days,” Yaremcio continued. “It works out to $300 per cow more this year than the feed costs experienced last winter.”
“Using the values mentioned above, unprotected hay with the associated weight loss, reduction in quality and increased waste, the cost of providing the equivalent amount of nutrients from the hay and accounting for the losses increases the cost to $672.38 per head.”
The difference in feeding cost is $ 146.78 per cow when associated quality and yield losses are considered when storing hay outdoors unprotected from the weather. “In 1989, Harlan Hughes from North Dakota State University calculated that a $1 reduction in winter feeding costs would improve overall profitability of the operation by $2.48.”
For more information about protecting hay, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).
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By Bonnie Hutchenson

This Day in History

Don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little “news fatigue.”
Don’t want to know any more about COVID-19, the latest political outrage, grim economic challenges, another preventable disaster that killed or injured or destroyed homes of thousands of innocent people…
Part of the problem is that bad news gets more attention than good news. It’s not “news” that most people are kind to each other, fulfill their responsibilities and enjoy one another’s company. Most days most people even manage to have fun and, in some way, make some corner of their world a better place.
I’m glad our Home Town Paper, The Camrose Booster, includes stories of good things that are happening in our communities, even during a pandemic.
But based on what gets reported in much of mass media, you wouldn’t know good things are happening.
In that context, I decided I needed a diversion. It occurred to me to wonder what was going on in historical times. I looked up, “On this day in history: Aug. 11.”
Guess what? A lot of what was mentioned was in the general terrain of battles and political turmoil. Seems like centuries or even millennia ago, that’s what was on people’s minds–or at least on the minds of the people who decided what to record.
But…I discovered a little gem. In at least one part of the world, this day–the day we are calling Aug. 11–this very day was the beginning of counting days. Who knew?
Yep, in 3114 BC, this day that we are calling Aug. 11 was the first day of the Meso-American Long Count Calendar. That’s the calendar which was used by the Mayans and several other Meso-American civilizations.
If we wanted to, if we decided to use that calendar to count days, we could call this Tuesday “Day One of Year 5134.” Happy New Year!
Here are some other diversions–tidbits of things that have happened on this day, excluding disasters, political turmoil and wars.
A few from the 1800s: 1835 George B. Airy begins a 46-year reign as England’s Astronomer Royal; 1858 first ascent of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland; 1866 world’s first roller rink opens in Newport, Rhode Island; 1874 Harry S. Parmelee patents the sprinkler head; 1877 Asaph Hall discovers Mars’s moon Deimos; 1896 Harvey Hubbell patents an electric light bulb socket with a pull chain.
From Aug. 11 in the 1900s, here are some items that caught my attention: 1929 Babe Ruth becomes first professional baseball player to hit 500 home runs; 1933 temperature reaches 57.8°C at San Luis Potosi, Mexico, a world record (and we thought it was a heat wave when the temperature topped 30°C!); 1942 actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a “frequency-hopping spread spectrum” communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi; 1954 BC Lions play their first CFL game. They lose to the Montreal Alouettes, 22-0; 1956 Elvis Presley releases “Don’t Be Cruel”; 1964 Beatles A Hard Days Night opens in New York City; 1989 Voyager 2 discovers two partial rings of the planet Neptune.
Four tidbits from Aug. 11 in the 2000s were: 2008 Airbnb is founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Biecharczyk; 2016 a Greenland shark is declared the oldest vertebrate animal in the world at 392 years by an international team of scientists; 2016 Penny Oleksiak of Canada and American Simone Manuel dead heat for the gold medal in coveted 100-m freestyle at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics tie in Olympic record 52.70; and 2019 Nutritionist Day in Mexico.
And that brings us to Aug. 11 (2020). Your call–what’s the most important thing happening in your life on this day?
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.

Births and Deaths

- To Ruth and Johnny Hofer, of Bruce, a son on July 31.
- To Michelle and Ty Stevenson, of Ferintosh, a son on Aug. 1.

- Roger Joseph Badry of Camrose, on July 30, at 78 years of age.
- Grace Hilda Lemay of Camrose, on July 30, at 94 years of age.
- Thomas Herman Osborne of Holden, on July 30, at 83 years of age.
- Rachelle LaChance Busch of Camrose, on July 31, at 45 years of age.
- Lawrence William Hillaby of Sedgewick, formerly of Camrose, on Aug. 6, at 70 years of age.
- Corona “Toni” Vivian Wannamaker of Camrose, formerly of Belleville, ON, on Aug. 6, at 96 years of age.
- Denis Tessier of Tofield, on Aug. 6, at 71 years of age.
- Diane Gahr of Tofield, on Aug. 6, at 78 years of age.
- David George Ell of Camrose, on Aug. 7, at 76 years of age.