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By Bonnie Hutchinson

When it’s good,
it’s very, very good

Technology is a gift when it works. When it’s good, it’s very very good.
For example, I appreciate that, throughout the pandemic, technology has enabled many of us to stay in touch with most of the people who matter to us. It’s not the same as a hug, but at least we’ve been able to see and hear one another.
Technology allows us to communicate with people around the globe. In an online course I’m taking this year, every week I get to speak with people in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. It’s so enriching.
It’s also fun when the person in San Diego is eating early breakfast Tuesday. The person in Hamilton is drinking mid-morning coffee Tuesday. The person in Amsterdam is having late afternoon tea Tuesday. The person in Brisbane is having a post-midnight snack Wednesday. And we’re all having a conversation in real time!
On the other hand, when technology is bad, it’s very, very bad. It can cause more hassle and havoc than any mere human could make happen.
That leads to my technology challenge of the week.
An email inbox simply disappeared. It went away. It evaporated. It is no more.
Nobody knows why. Nobody knows where it went.
Unfortunately, the email account that disappeared was also where my calendar lived, and my contacts.
I missed at least one event and possibly others. I tried to remember whatever appointments or events might have been in my online calendar, but I didn’t remember everything.
Once upon a time in the olden days, we had appointment books in which we’d write events and appointments. For a few years after I began to use an online calendar, I kept a paper appointment book too. Eventually I stopped doing that and just used the online calendar on my desktop.
I dabbled with also using the calendar set-up on my phone, but stopped because I’d put something in one calendar but not the other. Nobody could show me how to synchronize the phone and desktop calendars except by manually entering the same items on both calendars. That just seemed too much of a hassle.
Yep, too much of a hassle–right up until my desktop calendar evaporated. Right up until the phone call from someone wondering where I was because we had an appointment.
Among other things, this is a wake-up call.
This experience is making me think it might be worth the hassle of keeping two different calendars on two different platforms, even if it means keeping both of them up to date manually.
It’s also making me wonder if all small businesses – and maybe all households–ought to have two different systems on two different platforms for any part of their operation that is essential. At a minimum, this experience is making me realize I need to be more rigorous about back-up.
In the early days of working electronically, I was diligent about backing up that day’s work at the end of every work day. Gradually I stopped bothering to do that and waited until projects were complete before I saved them on memory sticks.
And now? Now that I’ve experienced the bother of losing my calendar and contacts? Now that I’ve lost a week’s worth of email messages including some from clients? I’m thinking daily back-up is not that much of a bother!
If in the past week you sent an email to, I didn’t reply because I didn’t receive it. Your message is somewhere in cyberspace. Presumably that email address will be working again by next week, and I’d love to hear from you then.
2 mg rd service

We remembered them

Comrade Lloyd Dool honours the veterans.

By Murray Green

The Camrose Remembrance Day service not only honoured all past, present and future veterans, it also reflected of the 75th anniversary on the end of the Second World War.
With physical restrictions still in place, the Lougheed Centre had about 100 attendees indoors for the service.
“We are honouring the one million plus Canadians and Newfoundlanders volunteers who answered the call to war in Europe 1939 to 1945. We especially honour the 42,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice and did not return to their loved ones,” said Comrade Dora Grettum.
The commemoration will also focus on the 75th anniversary of the Victory over Japan, Sept. 2, 1945. “Along with those who served in Europe, we also honoured the 1,975 Canadian solders who served in the defence of Hong Kong. There were 567 solders who also made the ultimate sacrifice by being killed or died in the terrible conditions in prisoner of war  camps. We will remember them all,” she added.
Comrade Lloyd Dool spoke about the affects war has on its veterans.
“Over time Remembrance Day has come to mean different things to different people. For some the loss is a memory that is all too painful. Remembrance is also about gratitude for sacrifice,” stated Dool. “Many of us recognize what others have given up to allow us our lives the way we do today. Remembrance Day also holds out for peace, a longing for learning to live together without violence and to find a way to embrace difference. Remembrance Day strikes a chord deep within us because, as well as whatever traditions and elements mean to us, we carry a deep seeded fear that our veterans and our families who were affected by war will be forgotten.”
Veterans often remember the words of the poem In Flanders Fields. “The torch is ours to hold. Today, (Nov. 11) do that with respect, with dignity, with humbleness and with commitment. Lest we forget,” concluded Dool.
Call the Camrose Legion Branch No. 57 at 780-672-3325 for more information on ways to support the organization.

Christmas cards spread a little cheer

By Murray Green

Kathryn Egan of Camrose has a habit of cheering people up. Each Christmas season, she sends between 200 and 300 cards to various people, often strangers.
“I started doing this when my mother had Alzheimer’s, she has since passed. I arranged for cards to be sent to her and the other residents in the same facility. I thought it made a difference, maybe only momentary for some people, but for others that moment carried with them for the entire day as they told others about the card. That’s where it started, and where my heart was when I went with it.”
She then kept expanding to other places with seniors in care. “I started sending Christmas cards to people in senior home facilities, because I know they can become lonely. I wanted to give a card to people who may not receive very many, or any Christmas cards, during the holiday season. It was my way of giving them some cheer, or putting a smile on their face,” said Kathryn.
“I started in Edmonton where I was living at the time. The last four years, I’ve increased to about 300 cards in Camrose.”
This year, she sent out a request to receive more cards. “I had so many cards, and you don’t mail as many anymore. So this was a way to use some of them up. But then I was running low, and asked a few people to donate some so I could continue to send them,” continued Kathryn.
With Camrose being so generous, she now has about 700 cards to pass on to others. “I usually write a message in them. This year, it might look a little different, because other volunteers want to help me,” she said.
Kathryn presents the cards to places like The Bethany Group to distribute to residents in the Louise Jensen Centre. “At first, I didn’t know organizations or facilities were out here. This year, with help from others, it could be expanded. My church has offered me space as long as we social distance and take precautions. Imagine yourself in long-term care, spending your nights alone. It can be lonely, especially at Christmas. I thought, what can we do to make them feel loved and important, and not just alone.”
Kathryn tries to personalize the cards without actually knowing the seniors. “I add a personal touch, add stickers or something they can feel and touch, like sparkles. Sometimes the workers read the cards to the residents.”
A volunteer has offered to do calligraphy on them. “It’s just another way to add a personal touch. When I do the cards by myself, it takes about a month and a half, so I’ve started already,” said Kathryn.
Giving cards is a bit of a lost art, especially with the higher cost to mail them. “I used to love mailing them, but it does get expensive.”
This project also gives her a gift at Christmas. “It is very rewarding, just to make people happy.”
Because of COVID-19, the cards need to be delivered a week sooner, so they can be isolated before the cards are given to the residents.
“I am low on stickers, so if anyone has some to give, that would be wonderful. I would accept some other things that can go on the cards, just no glitter.”
To donate stickers, or to volunteer your services in addressing cards, contact Kathryn at

Province implements more restrictions to stop spread

By Lori Larsen

On Nov. 12, the Government of Alberta announced additional health measures to help protect vulnerable Albertans and stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the province.
As of Nov. 16, at 8 a.m. there were 9,618 active cases in Alberta.
There were 262 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 58 in intensive care, and the total number of COVID-19 deaths was 407.
Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are at their highest point since the pandemic began.
“We must take action at this critical point to contain the rapid growth of COVID-19 in our province,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “Through our actions, we can support the health care system, keep schools open, protect vulnerable Albertans and keep the economy operating throughout the province. This is our chance. If Albertans respond to these and other public health guidelines now, we won’t need more restrictive measures in the future.”
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw added, “We must reduce the spread of COVID-19. In addition to these measures, I am asking all Albertans to look at our lives and reduce our social and close contact interactions wherever we can. If we can connect virtually or through other means, we need to make that change. By working together, we can protect each other, reduce the spread and protect our health system.”
Beginning Nov. 13, the following new public health measures will apply.
All restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs in regions under enhanced status must cease liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. The restriction will remain in place until Nov. 27.
There will also be a two-week ban on indoor group fitness classes, team sport activities and group performance activities in Edmonton and surrounding areas, Calgary and surrounding areas, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer and Lethbridge.
Additional public health measures will also be implemented in all regions under an enhanced status. These measures will be in place until further notice: maximum attendance of 50 at wedding or funeral ceremonies; it is recommended all faith-based activities limit attendance to one-third capacity per service; residents should not hold social gatherings within their homes and should not plan social gatherings outside their community; and it is recommended that employers in office settings implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.
All existing guidance and legal orders remain in place in all areas.
If these measures are not successful, it will be necessary to implement more restrictive measures.
As of Nov. 16 at 8 a.m., Camrose is listed as Enhanced with 22 active cases. Camrose County had six active cases.
Residents are reminded to take all precautionary measures including: washing or sanitizing hands frequently, maintaining social distancing of at least two metres, wearing face coverings while in public spaces and civic facilities as per the mandatory bylaw, reducing social gatherings and outings; and staying home when feeling unwell.

Lighting up Christmas Lane

By Lori Larsen

In the early morning hours of dawn and the later darkened hours of dusk, the City of Camrose comes to life with the twinkling of lights, and the rise of a variety of blow-up characters and displays depicting the joys of the season. So begins the Christmas season light tours including, for the second year, Christmas Lane on Marler Drive.
The magic begins on Friday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m., and will continue to bring smiles to faces until Sunday, Dec. 27 at 11 p.m.
“There will be food trucks each weekend, with the exception of the Christmas weekend,” noted Camrose Christmas Association chairperson Shauna Chrabaszcz.
The food trucks will be located at the east end of Marler Drive on the greenspace across from Rudy Swanson Park and the old railway tracks closer to the west/central end of Marler Drive. Hours of operation include 5 until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and 5 until 9 p.m. on Sundays.
“There will also be two mini donut trucks this year, along with other trucks offering a full menu and perogies, so make sure to get your fix,” suggested Chrabaszcz.
“We also will have opportunities to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be on location at 6111 Marler Drive on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, from 6 until 8 p.m. until Sunday, Dec. 20.
This year, the Camrose Christmas Association has added even more excitement on Christmas Lane during the holiday season with “Santa’s Block Party” to be held on Dec. 19, from noon until 8 p.m. It will take place at the east end of Marler Drive, across from Rudy Swanson Park.
“This will be a COVID friendly event, so space is limited, and people are asked to book their times through the Camrose Christmas Association Facebook page by sending a private message to the page, or by emailing us at Camrose.Christmas.
For updates on Christmas Lane, visit the Camrose Christmas Association Facebook page. “We encourage participants taking part in the events to post pictures to the page as well.”
The more the merrier.
Residents and visitors are reminded to use extreme caution while walking or driving down Christmas Lane or on any light tours throughout the City. If traffic is increasing behind your vehicle, safely pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and let others pass.
Residents are also reminded to maintain physical distancing while walking down Christmas Lane, and to use respect while admiring the beautiful displays on private and public property.

Vision supports Stollery

4 stollery vision
Vision Credit Union CEO Steve Friend, left, presents $150,000 to Cyndi Matthews, senior development officer with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and community liaison Cliff Denham.

By Murray Green

Vision Credit Union believes in helping the Stollery Children’s Hospital in a big way. The Camrose-based banking institution recently donated $150,000 to go towards the Stollery Child and Youth Mental Health in the Emergency Department Campaign.
“We are expanding child and youth mental health care through the Stollery Emergency Department. This campaign is supporting the creation of integrated child and youth mental health services. Due to a variety of historical reasons, the presence of child and adolescent mental health services at the Stollery site has been limited to a very small Consultation Liaison (CL) Team. This has created a lack of coordination and collaboration between pediatrics and child psychiatry/mental health. This has negatively affected patient care for those attending the emergency department and for those children and youth receiving services from the Stollery Children’s Hospital,” explained Cyndi Matthews, senior development officer with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Currently, 2,500 children and youth attend the Stollery emergency department per year, and 500 to 600 could be diverted from the emergency department to the newly established walk-in clinic per year. About 1,200 new children and youth could be seen in the new urgent follow-up clinic per year.
“There are currently over 2,100 initial calls per year to the Children’s Mental Health Crisis Phone Line, plus 2,000 follow-up calls. Fifty to 100 youth per year are admitted to a Stollery inpatient bed for medical care after an attempted suicide, overdose or serious self-harm. These children would (in the new model) be seen by a psychiatry, mental health therapist and/or social worker.
“The integrated child and youth mental health services will create a 24/7 integrated mental health/psychiatry team by increasing the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists and other mental health professionals based at the Stollery on a regular basis. Secondly, it will renovate and expand to create additional space that will support full functions of the integrated team including clinic and therapy rooms, offices and workstations for physicians and staff,” added Cyndi.
“The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation has committed a total of $6.4 million over a four-year period. Year one, the projected cost is $500,000 to $600,000. Hiring will begin this fall to staff the 24/7 care within the Stollery’s emergency department. Once the space within Walter C. McKenzie is determined to build the new clinic, therapy rooms, offices and workstations, the capital component of the project will begin.”
Donor investments are vital in expanding round-the-clock mental health support to children, youth, and families within the Stollery emergency department. The Stollery will be able to create integrated mental health services within the emergency department, boost helpline support to be 24/7, along with a separate walk-in clinic space to help to increase timely access to an expert team of nurses, social workers, therapists, and child and adolescent psychiatrists.
When families are in crisis, the emergency department at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton is often the first place they go. “Whether it’s a physical or mental health crisis, the need and urgency are the same. The reality is that navigating this complex health system can be a challenge for parents and families,” said Cyndi.
The stress and worry that comes from seeing a child in pain from extreme psychological distress, ranging from depression, extreme anxiety and trauma, to extreme aggression, self-harm and thoughts of suicide, can be frightening and overwhelming. Especially when you consider that 70 per cent of mental health problems begin in childhood and adolescence; mental health affects one in two Canadians by age 40; and half of those with chronic disorders show symptoms by age 14.
“To help close some of the gaps that exist when it comes to accessing vital child and adolescent mental health care, we have launched a five-year, $6.5 million fundraising campaign to bring integrated, clinical mental health services to the Stollery emergency department. This expanded care model will eventually deliver round-the-clock, expert pediatric mental health services in the moment of crisis and will include specialized bedside support for kids and adolescents who present with mental health concerns.”
In order for mental health service providers to get a firm understanding of the type of care required, they must meet directly with children and youth and their family members. “The emergency room is not an ideal location. Hospital emergency teams want to provide quieter, calmer and more private alternatives for those patients and families who don’t require immediate medical attention: comprehensive assessments, potential treatment and connections to various community services,” said Cyndi.
The Stollery emergency department currently responds to as many as 2,300 adolescent mental health concerns a year. To further address this need and to help reduce current wait times, therapists and nurses will provide patients and families with 24/7 access to clinical emergency mental health services at the Stollery emergency department and through a crisis phone line service.
The on-site walk-in clinic at the Walter C. Mackenzie Stollery site is available for children and youth who present as low risk as an alternative to waiting for an emergency department assessment.
Unique to northern Alberta, the Stollery emergency department will have highly-trained child psychiatrists, therapists, nurses and social workers working alongside emergency physicians and clinical support staff to provide mental health examinations and risk assessments.
A specialized team will work with patients and families after a suicide attempt to make sure children and youth have access to available community supports before being discharged.
It gives the ability to attract and retain future generations of skilled child and adolescent psychiatrists and mental health experts. It also gives parents choices. Providing families with options will make sure children and youth are getting the right types of emergency mental health services at the right time. When a parent walks through the doors of the Stollery emergency department, pediatric mental health experts will provide a range of options based on how that child is presenting, resulting in shorter wait times; proper assessment; and improved access and connections to additional pediatric mental health care services.
“Our community donors and our partners at Alberta Health Services tell us that child and youth mental health remains a top priority at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Donor investments are vital in expanding round-the-clock mental health support to children, youth, and families. In response to the growing need and increased urgency–and through the support of our generous donors–we are committed to completing this important project within five years as part of the Stollery Children’s Hospital’s approved list of urgent funding priorities,” concluded Cyndi.
To learn more about current intake services, contact central intake/assessment services at 780-342-2701, which provide a single intake service for child and adolescent community mental health clinics across the Edmonton zone.
To learn more about the investments in mental health programs and services at the Stollery, to donate or to make a major gift donation, contact Cyndi Matthews at 780-989-7495 or

Camrose Heritage

By Lori Larsen

Heritage plays a intrinsic part of the future. It offers clues into the past and how society functioned and evolved. It also helps people develop an understanding of their traditions and culture. The heritage of a city is vital in determining politics, business and where the city stands in the larger picture of the world.
Camrose is no exception and has grown from a deep rooted and rich history of diversity and culture.
For years, many citizens of Camrose have recognized the value of the community’s history and have been actively interested in the history of Camrose and how the community came to be, but more importantly, how it affects where the future will lead.
Properties and areas of cultural heritage value or significance provide a link to the original settlement and specific periods.
The hamlet settlement was first developed around the commercial core of 50th Street (Main Street) and expanded out in a circular manner.
The first residences were constructed in 1905, located along 48th and 49th Street. In 1912, planners were conscious of the advantages to building south and east of the town center, including proximity to the three rail lines, power station, and better drainage systems.
The CPR, Grant Trunk Pacific Railway and the CNR had a great impact on the development of Camrose, resulting in intense economic and population growth.
A Historic Survey and Inventory was completed in 2011 by a volunteer task force and initially 100 sites were identified, of which 40 complied for the inventory with Statements of Significance. Currently, there are six sites listed on the Alberta Register of Historic Places.
In 2017, City Council created the Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC), consisting of two councillors and volunteers. The purpose of the HAC is to provide input and guidance to City administration and council on matters relating to historic resources and municipal heritage policies and programs. The committee encourages and advocates for the preservation and safeguarding of historical structures and sites.
With the assistance of a Provincial Government Grant from Alberta Culture Heritage Preservation Partnership Program, the HAC and Fireweed Consulting are developing a Heritage Management Plan that will provide the community with an innovative, sustainable and realistic framework. This will inspire the preservation and long-term viability of its unique heritage resources. This plan will help to preserve and conserve key historic buildings, residences, sites, structures and cultural landscapes in Camrose.
Background research has begun, and two workshops have been completed. Goals for the plan include: to grow and protect heritage, develop incentives, tie heritage to tourism and economic development, public engagement and heritage partnerships.
In order to effectively guide the preparation of the plan, an online survey is offered on the City website at or on the City Facebook page. 
“Our community has many examples of historically significant buildings,” commented City of Camrose councillor and HAC chairperson David Ofrim.  “First, recognizing them, and then by taking steps to preserve them, we will help maintain our community’s roots and character.  Beyond buildings, the Heritage Management Plan will also recommend how we can preserve other facets of our heritage including Arts and Culture. To that end, I would encourage our citizens to complete the survey to help guide our planning.”
Submissions for the survey are due on Friday, Nov. 20. For additional information or comments, contact councillor David Ofrim or the City Planning Services at 780-672-4428.

New United Church minister

By Murray Green

It was a natural homecoming for Camrose United Church’s new minister.
The Rev. Helen Reed, Diaconal Minister who prefers to be called Helen, called the church home for many years as her family grew up and she was a dedicated leader for the youth. In fact, she was originally sponsored by Camrose United Church when she advanced her calling.
“It is almost a coming home for me. It was the right time,” shared Helen.
After 10 years of serving in communities such as New Norway, Oyen, Cereal, Acadia Valley and Alsask, she decided to come home  to Camrose United Church on Oct. 1.
The church council decided not to have full services yet because of COVID-19 numbers increasing.
“People are really lacking connection right now, and we need to have some sort of services. I’m thinking of groups between three to 10 people at a time. People would have to register to be a part of the group,” suggested Helen.
“The groups would receive the same service. I’d call them Small Ministries. Each service would be about a half hour each, and it would allow people to receive the connection that they need. Singing in church is not allowed right now, but we could have music played in some form at the Small Ministries.”
The United Church also has a service on their website that people can follow each week. “The service has reached a larger audience than we ever thought. People who didn’t come to church, for various reasons, can now listen to the service online. It also allows for greater flexibility, because you don’t have to listen to it on Sunday morning, you can listen to it whenever it is convenient for the listener,” explained Helen.
Her intention, with council’s blessing, is to have both Small Ministries and a website service to reach a greater audience.
As well as bringing people together through Small Ministries, Helen wants the children to feel connected as well.
“We are working on putting together a package that they can pick up at church. It would include a lesson and a craft around a theme. What I would like to do is have them send in a picture or video of their craft, and we can show them to everyone on the website.”
Contact the church office at 780-672-2176 for more information.

Inclusion through music

By Lori Larsen

On Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., join the Fine Arts and Humanities Department of the University of Alberta Augustana Campus for a virtual vocal Lecture and Recital featuring Jonathon Adams, a Two-Spirit, nêhiyaw michif (Cree-Métis) baritone.
Adams was born in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton). He is currently based in both tio’tia:ke (Montréal) and Amsterdam.
Jonathon has studied with Nancy Argenta, Emma Kirkby and Suzie LeBlanc, is a Britten-Pears Young Artist, and a fellow of the Netherlands Bach Society. A specialist in baroque performance practice, Jonathon has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe with renowned conductors Ton Koopman, Phillippe Herreweghe and Helmut Rilling, and with ensembles such as Ensemble BachPlus, and Vox Luminis.  Numerous solo engagements include upcoming recordings and concerts with the Toronto Symphony, Netherlands Bach Society, Pro Coro Canada and Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal.
Alongside collaborative pianist Dr. Roger Admiral, in addition to skillful and inspired interpretations of works by John Download, Henry Purcell and Métis songs of 17th and 18th century New France, Jonathon will share Indigenous perspectives on the study and performance of Western classical music in the era of colonization.
This free lecture recital is made possible through the generous support of an anonymous donor and Augustana Dean’s office, and is available for all to enjoy through the Augustana Campus YouTube channel.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Augustana Campus music department is committed to providing the Camrose community with diverse opportunities to fully experience and appreciate the powerful healing qualities of music.
 For more information or for a direct link to the YouTube channel, please contact or call 780-679-1673.

Drive by Christmas parade

6 parade last year
Last year’s Christmas parade featured floats beautifully decorated. This year, residents are encouraged to drive the route and admire businesses and individuals participating.

By Lori Larsen

COVID may be changing the way things are done, but it isn’t breaking the spirit of a group of dedicated volunteers belonging to the Camrose Christmas Association, who insist on ensuring residents still have a joyful Christmas.
While the idea of a bringing the parade to residents is not feasible this year, the Camrose Christmas Association has come up with an idea to bring you into the parade.
“Last year was our first annual Camrose Santa Claus Parade,” said Camrose Christmas Association chairperson Shauna Chrabaszcz. “This parade was birthed with an idea by our own Angie Haddock, and grew from there. Many in the community banded together to make it happen, and we pulled it off in six short weeks, with very few hiccups. It was so much fun that we decided that we would make it a yearly event.”
However, due to COVID-19 and Alberta Health recommendations and restrictions, the committee has had to rethink how the parade can occur this year.
“We just knew we had to do it again, just different this year, so we came up with the concept of a Drive-by Parade.”
Instead of having a traditional parade with parade-goers lining the streets to watch it go by, on Nov. 27 between 5 and 9 p.m., residents and guests to the City are invited to get the family (cohorts) into a vehicle and drive around Camrose, checking out how a variety of local businesses organizations, along with private residences, have decorated  and are spreading cheer for the holiday season.
“Each will be doing and offering something unique and different to their business, and it is going to be so much fun,” said Chrabaszcz. “This way, people can pack the kids up in their jammies, grab some hot chocolate from their favourite vendor around town, or supper from one of the many food trucks participating on Christmas Lane and follow the parade route that will be published on Camrose Now!, the Camrose Christmas Association Facebook page and the City of Camrose Facebook page.
“Make sure to take a drive down Christmas Lane too, while you are out driving through the parade route, as it is will opening  the same night,” suggested  Chrabaszcz.
While driving around town, motorists are reminded to abide by all traffic laws, avoid impeding regular traffic, and use extreme caution, especially if roads are hazardous.
What a fun and wonderful way to experience cheer while exploring the wonders the community has to offer.

A gift of music to seniors

By Murray Green

Maya Rathnavalu and Darryl Dewalt will be providing a soothing afternoon of music at the Bailey Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m.
 Maya is an accomplished violinist who has performed at the Bailey before will be accompanied by Darryl on the piano, who is the music director at the Camrose United Church.
This show, A Gift of Music to Salute our Seniors and their Caring Circle, will be live-streamed at AM.
“This began as an invitation from the Bailey Theatre for Maya to perform as part of their Salute our Seniors series and then Maya’s conversing with me, then doing some playing with me to explore the possibility of doing this concert together,” explained Darryl. “We do see this as a way to support the Bailey Theatre in very difficult times, where bringing in outside performers seems likely to be a financial challenge, given the limits on audience size that must be in place to satisfy Alberta Health requirements.  And hopefully this can lift the spirits of the audience; we are aware people are really missing live music right now, among many other things.”
The community is still trying to offer music despite concerns for audience members at a concert when new daily COVID-19 cases are at such a high number in the province. “That means, while we do get to share some music with the audience, we expect we will have little direct contact with those in attendance, as we obey distancing rules.  That, unfortunately, limits one of the most enjoyable aspects of performing,” added Darryl.
“Both of us are much more comfortable being able to spend lots of time rehearsing together for something like this, as opposed to a more typical soloist/accompanist arrangement, where most preparation is done independently, with limited time rehearsing together. That helps us prepare better, and also allows us to push each other, try some different musical things along the way, and make musical decisions together. We find it easy to work together, have lots of respect for each other’s abilities and are gracious about each other’s limitations. We hope that the audience will share the joy we have playing together.”
Although the two musicians know each other well, they haven’t performed a lot together, only at church services.
“My recollection is that our last public performance outside of Camrose United Church was outdoors when Camrose hosted the Alberta Cycling Tour a number of years ago. We have, however, played together frequently, sometimes specifically for church, and sometimes playing together just for the chance to play some music styles that we don’t otherwise often play. We have, for instance, gotten together just for the challenge of playing some Bach and Handel sonatas, and have occasionally played some of this for a church service.”
For this concert, they are playing music that is not quite so demanding, technically, which allows them a little more musical freedom and also to be more accessible for the audience.
“We’ll play a variety of music, including some beautiful, romantic melodies and some music based on dances, including a bolero, a minuet, and a csárdás.  Lots of fairly typical violin repertoire, which I have played very little of, which makes it interesting as new music for me. We’re mostly playing pieces Maya has played before, though not necessarily recently, so the challenge there, for both of us, is bringing new life to music she has played often at different times in the past.”

Fire department created No. 2 with International

By Murray Green

The first motorized truck with the Camrose Fire Department was in 1927 with a Model AA Ford.
Not too long after, the department added a 1928 International to the fire hall. The truck came with extra hoses and ladders to assist the local firefighters.
Camrose wanted to restore an old fire truck in 1980 as a centennial project. The fire department located the old International and bought it back for $5,000, and then proceeded to restore it to its original glory.
“We actually fixed the International first. We bought it from Dell Haggerty in New Norway, and he drove it back to Camrose for us. Mechanically, it was in pretty decent shape. It cost us $2,500 to repair, which was a lot of money back then to raise for an organization,” said Randy Haugen, of the fire department.
The International Harvester Company (often abbreviated by IHC or IH, or shortened to International) was an American manufacturer formed from the 1902 merger of McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company.
The truck was still in action when Camrose received it. “The box on it was changed a bit, more like a wagon box, but it was still running fine when we received it back. We cut the box down to make it look original again,” said Dennis Sandstrom, a retired member.
The entire community got behind the project and supported the idea of restoring old number two. “Instead of the department owning the truck, we put it in the museum’s name and our name. We gave our share of it to the City for insurance purposes. We still have access to it and work on it once in a while, but the City and museum own it and house it. Once in a while, we call on older members to help us out on how to fix things and they help us out.”
Dennis started at the fire department in 1972 and retired in 2005. “I helped with the restoration and it was fun to do,” he recalled.
“We actually had a fire on the truck in the parade a few years ago. It was quick thinking on the driver’s part. He stopped, grabbed the extinguisher and put it out before any damage was done,” said Randy.
The truck is currently located at the Camrose and District Centennial Museum and is strictly used in parades or for special occasions.
“Over the years, the trucks have been taken out for weddings or a special birthday. Sometimes in the summer, the guys take it for a drive to keep it running and operating,” shared Randy. “This way the younger members know the trucks are not just sitting there, they get to be used and it connects them with the past and the older members.”
Most of the younger members wouldn’t get a chance to drive an older truck like an International if it never left the museum.
“On the front, you will notice holes where a windshield was attached in the wintertime. We never put one on because we couldn’t find the original. It would get cold driving, so they would put this windshield on. We don’t use it in the winter, so we just didn’t bother with it. We didn’t have a good picture of it to make one either,” explained Randy.
“It is sad to say, but the truck is used for more funerals now than weddings. If families of members want to use it in weddings, funerals or special occasions, then we try our best to make it happen.”
The fire department and the two vintage fire trucks have led major parades in Alberta, including the Calgary Stampede and the Edmonton Klondike Days. “We went to them thinking we would enter the parade, and both parades asked us to lead the parade and have the mayor join us,” said Randy. “We won awards at both parades in the antique division. Bitz O’Riordan would lend us a trailer to haul the trucks to the parade at no charge.”
Not counting 2020, the truck is still used at local parades such as New Norway and Wetaskiwin. It also goes to a few truck and car shows.

Police caution motorists to slow down, drive for conditions

By Lori Larsen

Despite knowing that it is inevitable, the sudden onset of winter in these parts can still catch motorists off guard.
Warming and cooling temperatures topped with a large accumulation of heavy, slushy snow is a recipe for hazardous road conditions, so motorists are asked to drive accordingly and with extreme caution.
Before you even head out on the roads, make sure your vehicle is in good driving condition.
Check your mechanical, electrical, heating and cooling systems to make sure they are functioning properly. Ensure your battery is fully charged. Have winter tires installed–they are vital for snowy and icy roads–and maintain the tire pressure. Always have a spare tire and make sure that it is maintained. Make sure your windshield wipers are well maintained and functioning properly, and the vehicle has winter grade windshield wiper fluid. All lights on your vehicle should be working so you’re vehicle is highly visible. Check the exhaust system for leaks, and if you are ever stuck in your vehicle in snow, make sure a window is slightly open to allow proper ventilation. Lastly, try to keep your fuel level full or as near full at all times.
Stock your vehicle with a winter driving kit that includes: warning devices such as traffic triangles or flares; a bag of sand or salt (or kitty litter); snow shovel; booster cables; snow brush; ice scraper; extra windshield wiper fluid; traction mats and a tow rope; extra clothing/boots/blankets; an emergency first aid kit; flashlight (with extra batteries); matches or lighter; and a cellular phone.
Don’t drive off until your vehicle is clear of any snow or ice, make sure windows are cleared by warming your vehicle up, but never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed garage.
Camrose Police Service traffic enforcement officer Constable Sarah Day offers the following tips on how to stay safe in winter driving conditions.
Begin by always buckling up before starting to drive. “Seatbelts must be buckled at all times,” reminded Constable Day.
The most important piece of advice is to slow down.
“Driving at reduced speeds is the best measure against any incidents while driving on hazardous roads,” said Day, “Especially when approaching intersections. The stopping and driving away at intersections makes them particularly slippery.”
Black ice is invisible, so always be alert to the possibility of it being on the roads or under fresh snowfall, and drive accordingly.
Day also advises to never use your vehicle’s cruise control during wet, icy or snowy road conditions. “It is important that you are in control of your vehicle at all times.”
Following too closely is always a dangerous driving habit, but even more so when roads are slippery. “Stopping distance on an icy road is double that of stopping on a dry one. For example, from around 45 metres (140 ft.) at the speed of 60 km/hour, to 80 metres (over 260 ft.) on an icy road surface,” explained Day. “So lengthen the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.”
Drive with low beam headlights on, which are not only brighter than daytime running lights, but turning them on also activates the tail lights.
“It is so important that your vehicle be visible, especially during the winter months when there is less daylight and the possibility of snowy weather.”
The City works diligently to get roadways clear, but it can be very difficult to keep up with Mother Nature. So give yourself extra time when travelling to account for slower speeds, hazardous roads and possible delays. Always keep a safe distance back from snowplows, graters and salt/sand/anti-icing trucks. Give them the room they need to clear the roadways and make them safer for all.
Certain parts of roadways can pose more danger than others, such as hidden intersections, school zones, playground zones, crosswalks, steep hills and bridges. “Use extra caution on bridges,” said Day. “They will act like an icy surface even if ice is not visible on the ground surface.”
Remember to be a defensive and patient driver. “Be totally aware of what is going on around you and what other motorists and pedestrians are doing. Be ready to react at any time and this will save lives and decrease the risk of property damage.”
Braking on slippery/icy roads can be much more dangerous. If it does not require you to slam on the brakes as hard as possible (person ahead stops suddenly, something runs out in front of your vehicle), squeeze braking (also known as threshold braking) along with declutching (manual shift) will slow your vehicle down carefully and efficiently.
If your vehicle does not have anti-lock braking, then use the heel-and-toe method. Keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to press the brake pedal firmly just short of locking up the wheels. Release the pressure on the pedal, and press again in the same way, then repeat this until your vehicle comes to a full stop.
If your vehicle does have anti-lock brakes you can also use the heel-and-toe method, but do not remove your foot from the brake pedal until the vehicle comes to a complete stop.
While driving, steer with smooth and precise movements. Making quick jerky movements while braking or accelerating can cause skidding.
If your vehicle does begin to skid, Day advises, “Firstly, try not to panic, look where you want your vehicle to go, and smoothly steer in that direction and do not brake or accelerate. Take your foot off the accelerator and put your vehicle into neutral.”
Experts agree that during a skid, it is important to reduce the forward motion of the vehicle in order to stop faster.
On a final note, Day said the most important driving safety tip for hazardous road conditions is to simply slow down.

Midnight Madness changes this year

By Lori Larsen

This year’s Midnight Madness will be taking on a bit of a different format in order to accommodate COVID-19 Alberta Health restrictions and recommendations.
The event will extend over three days, Thursday, Nov. 26 until Saturday, Nov. 28, with extended shopping hours. Residents and visitors can enjoy the many shops and services Downtown Camrose has to offer while maintaining physical distancing and ensuring they are abiding by protocols set out to protect employees and customers.
Beginning Thursday, Nov. 26, with the tree lighting at the end of 50th Street, businesses are encouraged to offer late shopping until 9 p.m. Then on Friday, Nov. 27, the usual shopping will happen until midnight, followed by Saturday, Nov. 28, with shopping until 6 p.m.
Business hours may vary from business to business.
While unable to host events during Midnight Madness, Downtown Camrose encourages residents to take in the beautiful ambience of 50 Street and support local businesses who, in turn, support the community.

Recycling containers helps environment

By Murray Green

Recycling your used items can help the environment in Camrose County.
You can recycle old tires at your local tire shop when you purchase new ones, or take them to West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Site. If you stack the tires yourself, there is no charge.
Used oil, up to 20 litres, can be taken to the landfill at no charge. Cardboard is accepted in both flattened and unflattened versions. The recycling bins at West Dried Meat Lake will take the following household recyclables:  paper (newsprint, magazines, junk mail and phone books), metals (empty and rinsed tin cans, pie plates, and cans), and plastic beverage containers. Film plastics (black garbage bags, grocery bags, stretch and shrink wraps) are not accepted.  The Kingman Transfer Site also accepts paper and cardboard for recycling.
The following items cannot be recycled at depots: Waxed cardboard, paper towels or tissues, ceramics, china, light bulbs or mirrors, styrofoam packaging of any kind, clothing, disposable diapers, kitty litter, hypodermic needles, syringes or medical supplies, aerosol cans, hazardous materials, liquids of any kind, household décor (carpets, rugs or curtains), gift wrap, gift bags and wrapping tissue are not accepted.
Agricultural plastics are accepted at West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill through the Clean Farms program.
Containers such as aluminum pop or beer cans, plastic water and juice bottles, milk jugs and cartons, tin juice cans and juice pouches can be taken to the local bottle depot for refunds.
Liquid waste will not be accepted at the West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill.
West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Site, at SW 14-44-21-W4 (from Highway 21 turn east on Highway 609 about a half mile), is open for County residents from Monday to Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Recycling bins are on site.

Grateful Grannies assist those miles away

7 gg gnomes
The Grateful Grannies Christmas Market features a variety of homemade crafts that would make perfect, unique gifts for the holiday season, including their AIDS Angels, left, and adorable Gnomes, above. They are gifts that will have the potential to reach out around the world.

By Lori Larsen

As the Christmas season draws near, no doubt many people will be thinking a little differently about how they will be celebrating the season.
The Camrose and area Grateful Grannies Christmas Market is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year–a remarkable decade of giving back.
This year, however, the organizers have had to think outside the box in order to accommodate Alberta Health recommendations, still offering the wares of the market while keeping patrons and volunteers safe.
The Grateful Grannies Market will be held at Duggan Mall during the Saturday morning Farmers’ Market for four weeks, starting Nov. 28 until Dec. 19, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
“At a time of year so steeped in tradition, we are being forced to make drastic changes to how we celebrate and enjoy each other’s company,” said Christmas Market chairperson Janet Galenza. “The Grateful Grannies have also faced many challenges this year.   We have tried to keep both our members and the public engaged in our fundraising goals, while trying to ensure both the safety of our families and the safety of others.”
Galenza indicated that the Grateful Grannies hope this is a temporary measure for this year, but that they do appreciate how well received they were by the organizers of the Farmers’ Market. “We sincerely appreciate their generosity in accommodating our group.”
In previous years, members of the Camrose and area Grateful Grannies would have gathered for “working bees” to construct a variety of feature items for the market, including the very popular AIDS angels and Scandinavian gnomes, which are available for purchase at The Lefse House year round. These items will be available at the market as well.
“We always have a good variety of other crafts from our many talented members, such as pottery, quilting, sewing and other items,” said Galenza.
“This year, we were planning to celebrate the 10 years that the Grateful Grannies have been raising funds for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, but our gathering plans have unfortunately been put on hold until it is safe to do so. However, we are all still proud of the fact that we have raised almost $200,000 in the past 10 years with the sale of angels, accounting for almost $25,000 of that. These angels are also available for purchase year round at Quilting from the Heart.”
Galenza added that the yearly Christmas Market usually provides them  with $5,000 to $7,000 to send directly to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. “It is our biggest fundraiser of the year, so we are hoping the community will continue to support our cause.”
Reaching worldwide
The Grateful Grannies are a dedicated group of grandmothers and grand “others” who, along with hundreds of other groups across Canada, raise money to support the African grandmothers. These grandmothers are working tirelessly to raise their orphaned grandchildren, whose parents have died in the AIDS/HIV pandemic that continues to exact a toll on sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, this year, COVID has been an immeasurable burden with additional stress placed on food supply, health care access, employment, school restrictions and isolation requirements. “Without the social safety net that we are so lucky to have in Canada, these families in Africa are facing many challenges,” said Galenza.
The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign raises money to finance community-based organizations which identify where funding is most needed and support these areas of need. “Grassroots movements such as ours are starting to make many transformative changes in dealing with the demands of fighting diseases such as AIDS/HIV.”
The Grateful Grannies of Camrose and area encourage people to continue supporting their cause by either donating craft items, or attending the market and picking out a unique handcrafted gift for those special people in your life and assisting others a world apart.
This year has people fusing new traditions with old traditions, and the tradition of giving may be taking on a new form. For many, it may mean a deeper connection to those receiving the gift, and how a gift can give beyond the recipient.
For more information or to donate handcrafted items, contact Janet Galenza at 780-679-2676.

Bringing awareness to substance use disorders

By Lori Larsen

For those struggling with addiction, one of the greatest hurdles to get over is combating the stigma that accompanies substance use disorders. Add to that the intense situation in which the world finds itself right now, and the journey towards recovery must be, at times, overwhelming.
In an effort to increase awareness and provide education on the often sensitive topic of addiction, November 22 to 28 has been declared National Addictions Awareness Week 2020. The theme, selected this year by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) is, “Change Begins with Me!” with a focus on stigma.
Stigma, which can take the form of discriminatory attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, is often fueled by language.
The simple act of thinking before one speaks and choosing wise and compassionate language can be the beginning of not only reducing the stigma that surrounds addiction, but helping those who struggle with it to heal.
Recent statistics provided by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction reported that one in 10 Canadians, from all walks of life, are struggling with problematic substance use today, and that 83 per cent experience barriers to recovery.
Despite popular belief, substance use disorder is a health condition, not a choice, that can be successfully treated, especially when accompanied with a movement away from stigmatizing language to wiser words and educated action.
Stigma can be associated with a circumstance, quality or person, and can have lasting impact on a person, as well as their family and friends. It is associated with poor social, physical and mental health, and can lead to feelings of guilt, lack of control, stress anxiety and fear.
Stigma often makes a person feel guilty or bad about themselves, and may lead to isolation and disconnection.
Everyone is capable of stigmatizing, but are equally capable of reducing stigma and being part of the solution. Choose your words carefully to show support and empathy. Model acceptance and compassion, and bust myths and misunderstandings by providing facts from credible sources. Be the vessel of change, and kindly correct others who use words or actions that are hurtful to others.
Try to avoid judgement and live by the mantra of “walking a mile in another person’s shoes”. Encourage kindness, compassion and understanding.
Children are especially vulnerable to stigma and can be the victims of cruel judgement brought upon them by others as the result of a family member’s substance use and addiction.
Children, too, can feel embarrassment, shame, guilt and loneliness, and may take on unnatural roles within the family to help relieve tension.
Helping children understand and teaching them to reach out to someone they trust and can talk to about what they are feeling is imperative. Checking in with children and paying attention to their feelings will help them build coping skills and increase their own understanding.
Most importantly, help children to understand  that the stigma people may place on them or the ones they love who have substance use addictions is not legitimate–reassure children that it is not about them.
For  more information about National Addictions Awareness Week, visit the website at
For more information on substance use and addiction, including other resources visit

Thrift Shop gives back

 By Lori Larsen

For 52 years, the Camrose and District Thrift Shop has been accepting generously donated items, ranging from clothing to miscellaneous  pieces, to be sold to a new home and for an amazing cause, giving back to the community.
Back in 1968, when the Thrift Shop got its humble beginnings, a few pastors and priests of local churches identified a need in Camrose and surrounding communities for a not-for-profit organization that could provide affordable items to those in need.
The idea of the Thrift Shop took flight and has not set its wheels down since. In fact, it is a success story with a wonderful twist–it not only provides affordable options, but the money it brings in goes to support a slew of crucial not-for-profit services and organizations that support all Camrose and area residents.
In its 52 years of existence, the Camrose and District Thrift Shop has donated well over $2,000,000 in one way or another, to the community and individuals in the community.
The board meets once a month to go over applications for requests for donations to determine how the funds will be distributed.
“It goes by need,” explained Thrift Shop board president Horst Schreiber. “People (individuals or not-for-profit organizations) state their case and have the documentation, then the directors of the board decide on the amount they will donate to the people or organizations they feel qualify.”
By donating gently used clothing and miscellaneous household items to the Thrift Shop, residents are able to see the profits of their gifts given back to a variety of good causes.
Over the years, the donations have varied as much as the items that have graced the shelves of the very organized shop, including a standing policy of the Thrift Shop to provide a $50 credit to anyone who has been burned out by fire. “As well, assuming they have nothing and depending on their situation, renters or owners,  we donate, too. The highest that I can remember is $58,000 in one year. All that from $6 jeans,” smiled Horst.
“Social services do provide some referrals, mostly for transportation needs,” said Horst. “We also purchase mobility scooters for people. The process with AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) is up to 18 months, and we can make a decision within a month.”
The Thrift Shop employs five paid employees and has a board consisting of 11 volunteer directors.
Dedicated board
Directors on the board are not only responsible for determining which organizations or individuals will be the deserving recipients of funding, they also set policy and hire staff.
Throughout its long history in the community, the Thrift Shop has been fortunate to have many volunteers sit on the board.
Ed Rostaing boasts the longest history to date, having been volunteering with the Thrift Shop from the very beginning. He is proud to say it has been 52 years of pleasure serving the community.
But Ed is also the first to say that there have been many others who have contributed to the success of the Thrift Shop.
“In the beginning, the Francoeurs offered us a space to start. They said if it turns out or it doesn’t work, at the end, never mind the rent. Just clean it up and walk out of it.”
Ed also mentioned three generations of Syrnyks who operated the shop.
But for Ed, the most influential person was Morris Leiren, the first president of the board and charter member, who was able to convince Ed that volunteering was the right thing to do.
Another long-serving volunteer (12 years) with on the Thrift Shop board is Ashild Lyseng. “I had a friend who was on the board, and they were looking for more people to join,” said Ashild. “I like to be into things and help, and I really enjoy it. We meet nice people and do a good job of helping out the community.”
Besides being on the board, over the years volunteers have also helped with sorting items, which is a mountainous task, and repairing items before putting them out for customers.
Ed recalled one particular volunteer from years back, who was quite skilled at snipping buttons off of clothing. The buttons were then strung on a thread and put into a drawer.
“We had the biggest button collection I think in North America,” smiled Ed. “In fact, people who lived in Arizona, when they would come to see their friends here, would come in and go through the button drawer. We sold a lot of buttons.”
It takes many generous hands to ensure that organizations such as the Thrift Shop continue to support those in need in the communities, and Ed spoke highly of several individuals over the years who have stepped up to the plate, including numerous volunteers who have sat on the board and others who have had a positive impact.
“We have to recognize Louis (the Greek) Skagos,” said Ed, of the shop’s landlord. “He has been wonderful at keeping the rent reasonable to assist with the continuation of the Thrift Shop, so we have been able to give that much more back to the community.”
On a final note about volunteerism, Horst, Ed and Ashild all said that without volunteers, initiatives such as the Thrift Shop would not be possible.
Building community
When speaking of the lives the Thrift Shop has impacted through generous funding, Horst said the best part is being able to actually see the recipients’ reaction and know that the funding means so very much to them.
Horst related an example that occurred recently, when the mother of a child with severe disabilities received funding. “She (the mother) has to take him  (her child) to Edmonton once a week for treatments, which cost $280 each, but it is helping him. So we gave her $4,000 towards the treatments,” smiled Horst.
“Another family had a child with disabilities who  needed a special carseat chair that cost $5,000.” And the Thrift Shop stepped up to help.
Ashlid recalled the donation of a bicycle built especially for another child with mobility disabilities.
“We get requests for all kinds of things like that,” she said, with a degree of pride.
“I remember a fairly young man in a car accident who was paralyzed  from the waist down,” said Horst. “The Thrift Shop bought him a motorized wheelchair.”
The donations not only assist individuals in the community with specific needs, but also contribute to the overall well-being of community through not-for-profit organizations and service and support organizations.
“The City Police requested patrol bikes once, 25 or so years ago,” said Horst, “So they could patrol the areas where cars couldn’t go. They even gave us a plaque thanking the Thrift Shop for the generous donation. It’s all about giving back to the community.”
Another funding initiative that may not have been as obvious to the community occurred about 15 years into the existence of the Thrift Shop. “The board was approached by the RCMP,” recalled Ed. “They found out they might  be able to get a national donation. It really wasn’t our mandate, but after they spoke to us about it and explained there was no other place they could get that kind of funding and the benefits of this piece of equipment they needed, we ended up paying for the majority of a level three lie detector,” which Ed said was the only one of that calibre in the country. “They did, however, tell us we had to be silent about it for five years,” he laughed. “It cost us somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000. It was a vital piece of equipment for assisting in prosecutions. We felt good about that after a while.”
The Thrift Shop has also funded a vital piece of equipment for St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose. “They were having a public fundraiser, but it seemed like the last $20,000 was just not coming in, so we up and paid for it, and they were able to get that piece of equipment.”
Perhaps two of the most memorable funding projects for Ed happened as a result of what he would say is more than a coincidence. “The Bethany Home for Children, we were giving them, I think the record will show, $500 a year, and then we boosted it to $1,000. Then one stormy night in Camrose, we got the urge to give them $5,000.”
When two ladies representing the Thrift Shop, took the cheque to them in the morning, half the roof on the dorm was missing.
“That can happen once, but about five years later for some reason or another, we felt generous again. It was this time of year, and it was cold. I can’t remember the exact amount of the donation, I am sure it was more than $5,000 this time,” remarked Ed.
Two ladies once again took the cheque over to the Bethany Home for Children, only to discover the boiler had just broken down.
Other organizations have benefitted from not only the thoughtful decisions made by the Thrift Shop board, but the generosity of the community who donate the items in the first place.
Future goals
On looking towards the future, Horst said the board is in the process of starting another funding investment ($100,000) with Battle River Community Foundation, on top of the already $25,000 BRCF investment that donates funds towards health and wellness initiatives. “The Board is in the process of determining specifically what the investment funds from the $100,000 account will go towards.”
Currently, the Thrift Shop is limiting intake due to lack of space, but encourages residents to come in and check out the items it has to offer.

Working to boost Alberta’s recovery

By Murray Green

Alberta’s government is supporting the energy industry and municipalities to attract investment and create good jobs, while delivering certainty for investors and taxpayers as Alberta recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supports to energy companies will include an exemption from property taxes for three years when drilling new wells and building new pipelines. The government will also eliminate the Well Drilling Equipment Tax province wide for new drills.
Additionally, the government will lower assessments for less productive oil and gas wells, while continuing the recently introduced 35 per cent assessment reduction on shallow gas wells for three years. These measures are to provide much-needed certainty to industry, investors, municipalities and other taxpayers, now and into the future.
“We are acting now to encourage new oil and gas development that will create jobs and boost Alberta’s recovery. Alberta needs to be as competitive as possible to attract investment into our communities. We know our municipal partners are committed to do their part to create jobs and support Albertans through this challenging economic time. We are working to secure a brighter future for our province by supporting both industry and communities,” said Tracy Allard, Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs.
“This announcement reflects an effort to achieve a fair balance between enhancing oil and gas industry competitiveness and supporting municipal viability. RMA appreciates the efforts of minister Allard to reach out to municipalities to better understand how important the current assessment model is to supporting municipal infrastructure and operations, and the efforts of the entire Government of Alberta caucus in supporting these short-term initiatives,” said Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta.
“Municipal taxes and assessments for oil and natural gas are one of the biggest competitive issues facing this province today. The Alberta government’s action to incent new drilling and provide relief to mature wells is a crucial step to help restore investor confidence and preserve and create jobs for Albertans. Rural Alberta is key to the success of the oil and gas industry and we are committed to continuing to work with the municipalities and the province on this issue going forward to rebuild our energy industry and bring prosperity back to Alberta,” added Tim McMillan, president and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
“The decision by the Alberta government on municipal taxation is a positive step forward to not only support Alberta workers and the economy, but also to support all Alberta municipalities and rural communities,” replied Tristan Goodman, president, Explorers and Producers Association of Canada.
“AUMA is encouraged that Alberta’s government listened to feedback from municipalities and understands the importance of striking a balance between local government costs and industry competitiveness,” explained Barry Morishita, president, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
“CEPA appreciates the steps the government has taken to determine the best path forward for adequate and reasonable assessment of pipeline assets,” said Chris Bloomer, president and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.
Through extensive consultations with municipalities across the province, Alberta’s government heard that now is not the time to make comprehensive changes to the way it assesses oil and gas wells, the machinery and equipment at these wells, and the pipelines associated with them.
Companies paid a one-time well drilling equipment tax based on the depth of the well.
There were 1,547 wells drilled between January and August of 2020. In 2019, there were 3,069 wells drilled. In 2018, there were 4,173 wells drilled.

Births and Deaths

- To Kendra Rathwell and Daniel Peters, of Ohaton, a girl on Nov. 2.
- To Savanna Bollo and Shawn Stadsnes, of Tofield, a boy on Nov. 5.

- Arthur “Art” Reginald Reeves of Camrose, formerly of Bashaw, on November 5, at 89 years of age.
- Hans Emil Christensen most recently of Tofield, on November 6, at 104 years of age.
- Orville Zwack of Camrose, on November 6, at 95 years of age.
- Cindy Sue Remanda of Miquelon Lake, on November 10 , at 61 years of age.