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Reflections

By Bonnie Hutchinson

Intrusive questions
and belly laughs

Once about 30 years ago, I had surgery and decided I was never doing that again.
Except for the fact that it can save your life, surgery has no redeeming features. It really hurts. It requires you to allow people you don’t even know to cut you open when you’re unconscious. The follow-up pain can last for days, weeks or longer. It’s undignified. It causes pain. Thirty years ago, surgery left large ugly scars. Did I mention that it hurts?
Nope, never doing surgery again. And I didn’t.
I didn’t, that is, right up until a diagnosis for which the recommended treatment was surgery. Yuck.
***
By the time various tests happened and it was surgery day, I was not at all looking forward to it, but was surprisingly not anxious. My friend, the retired nurse who’d actually been an operating room nurse with the surgeon, said, “She’s best of the best.” Reassuring. In the lead-up before surgery day, I talked to about a dozen other women who’d had some version of my surgery. That was helpful too. So. Surgery day. No food or water. Check into big city hospital early. More tests and preparation, including a trip to Nuclear Medicine to get blue dye injected in my bloodstream. (My caretaker for the day quietly sang the Spider Man song. “Is she strong? Listen, Bud. She’s got radioactive blood,” which is still rattling around in my mind.)
Several hours waiting. Wheeled into a pre-op room. Left alone for about an hour, doing my best to manage my thoughts. Into the operating room. Wake up in a different room. I’m in a fog, not really taking anything in. Wheeled back to my caretaker and the post-op nurses who are looking after several of us. We’re each behind a curtained area–visual privacy–but, of course, we can all hear each other.
We hear a nurse’s phone conversation on the other side of the curtain. “I can’t do that.” Pause. “But she’s an elderly lady and she’s under anesthetic.” We hear other words, like “incident” and “risk” and “Bonnie Hutchinson”.
My caretaker leaves our curtained area and says, “Excuse me…” Turns out that during the operation, one of the nurses was splashed with some kind of body fluid. From me. I am not at risk. I am the risk!
More blood taken. Forms to fill out.
I’m still heavily anesthetized. Also, I’m still hearing “elderly lady” and having a minor identity crisis. I’m hooked up to so many tubes in various locations that the most recent additional blood sample has to be taken from a vein in my hand.
Okay. The form. My caretaker asks the questions and writes my answers. After contact information, the questions get a little intrusive, asking about various health conditions. My caretaker–usually a tactful person–is starting to get the giggles, asking me the questions.
“Have you been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease?” “No.”
“Have you paid for sex in the past six months?” “No.”
“Are you a sex trade worker?” “No.” “Have you had multiple sex partners in the past six months?” “I wish!”
My caretaker’s contained giggles turn into outright guffaws. She says, “I’ll take that as a no,” and signs the form with a flourish, still chortling.
***
I figure I’m one of the lucky ones. Aside from impeccable care from diagnosis to surgery to post-surgery check-in phone calls and live online classes about follow-up exercises and diet, I got to have actual belly laughs on surgery day.
My caretaker pointed something else out. From original suspicion of a problem to multiple high-tech diagnostic tests, three different medical teams on surgery day, plus follow-up from various other medical support people, the whole adventure cost our family $18 for a prescription medication and $15 for a day’s parking on surgery day. We are so fortunate!
***
I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send a note to Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com. I’ll happily reply within one business day.

Permission required on private land

By Lori Larsen

With the promise of warmer temperatures comes the desire to be outdoors more, with many people seeking to explore areas in and around Camrose County.
Anyone wishing to access any form of land, whether it be public or private, has a responsibility to ensure they have proper permission prior to accessing the land.
According to the Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) My Wild Alberta website, land access is broken down into categories.
On all private land, a person is obligated by law to first contact the landowner or the landowner’s designated contact person for permission. The landowner has the right to permit or deny access for any reason. Anyone caught trespassing can face a fine of $575 for the first offence.
Alberta has approximately 100 million acres of Crown land, but not all Crown land is managed the same way.
The following are categories of Crown land and the protocols on access.
Contact is not required on public land use zones or in parks, natural areas and recreation areas.
Contact is required for some Provincial Grazing Reserves. For information on contacting AEP, visit www.alberta.ca/accessing-provincial-grazing-reserves.aspx prior to entering.
Agricultural Crown Land
If you wish to access agricultural Crown land, you must first contact the leaseholder and provide information about your visit. Although leaseholders must allow reasonable access to the land for recreation, there are circumstances where the leaseholder may deny access or apply conditions under the Recreational Access Regulation.
For detailed information on access to agricultural Crown land in Alberta, visit www.alberta.ca/recreation-on-agricultural-crown-land-user-responsibilities.aspx.
In all cases of accessing land, it is imperative to use respect. AEP, along with the Alberta Conservation Association, has initiated the Use Respect Program. The purpose of the program is to build awareness of the rights and responsibilities of recreationists, agricultural leaseholders, and landowners, particularly as they pertain to recreational access to lands.
Under the Use Respect program, yellow and green signs have been placed along the fences and borders of agricultural (private) and Crown lands that contain contact information of the leaseholder, landowner or a designated contact person.
Using respect includes: packing out everything you pack in, including garbage; parking vehicles so the approach to the land is clear; refraining from lighting fires without consent; leaving gates in the same state in which they were found (for example, closed if found closed); and not causing any damage to the lease land or the property of the agricultural leaseholder.
Unfortunately, abuse of private lands has caused a rightful sense of distrust among landowners. If everyone follows the laws and protocols, more landowners may be willing to allow access.

World Day of Prayer service held virtually

By Murray Green

The World Day of Prayer is a worldwide ecumenical women-led movement. It is generally celebrated the first Friday in March (March 5 this year) in many countries around the world.
The World Day of Prayer service in Camrose has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Camrose World Day of Prayer committee invites you to go to WICC.org to watch the 2021 World Day of Prayer virtual service. The website also has information about how to make a donation to the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada and learn more about the grant programs they offer.
This year’s World Day of Prayer service materials were written by committee members from the country of Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a double chain of 13 principal and many smaller islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean. The islands are volcanic and coral in origin. They lie about 800 kilometres west of Fiji, and nearly 1,800 kilometres east of Australia.
The South Pacific Ocean is prone to earthquakes, cyclones, volcanic eruptions and rising sea levels. ​On April 6, 2020, Vanuatu was hit by Cyclone Harold, which had made its way across the Pacific, destroying many islands in its wake.
Most people are of Melanesian descent, with a Polynesian minority on the outlying islands.
The history of World Day of Prayer in Vanuatu was pieced together through conversations and research by the current committee. The first World Day of Prayer service was reportedly held on March 8, 1946, in the Presbyterian Paton Memorial Church in Port Vila. World Day of Prayer was introduced by Canadian missionaries Mrs. Amy Skinner and Mrs. Catherine Ritchie. The Women’s Interchurch Council is the home of World Day of Prayer in Canada, and has a mission to pursue justice, peace and reconciliation by standing together in prayer and action.
That tradition continues with women and men around the world in 113 languages. In Camrose, it would have been the 68th anniversary of a live service. The purpose of the World Day of Prayer is to pray with immediate application. Women in Canada were not even considered persons under the law until 1927. Women still struggle to be heard on issues that affect them, such as peace negotiations, disaster recovery, policy development and human rights.
The World Day of Prayer connects people in authentic, meaningful ways across social, geographic and political barriers by giving a voice to women through sharing  their concerns through prayer. Christians in more than 1,200 communities across Canada will gather to learn about, pray for and celebrate environmental issues in solidarity.
The World Day of Prayer has its roots in an ecumenical day of prayer organized by women in Canada and the United States in 1920. This event became the international World Day of Prayer in 1922, and Christians around the world began celebrating this event on the first Friday of March.
You can watch the virtual service on video on Camrose church websites.

Senior vaccinations start at slow pace in province

4 senior vaccines
Camrose and area people, age 75 and over, wait for about an hour for the vaccine to reduce the chance of getting COVID-19. The long lines at Alberta Health Services started on Feb. 24.

By Murray Green

On Feb. 24, the first day of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, many local seniors waited outside for about an hour, even though they had scheduled appointments.
People aged 75 and over across Alberta were encouraged to book an appointment, but the demand to receive the vaccine left the system moving at a snail’s pace. In Camrose, the morning wait was about an hour, and things improved in the afternoon to just a 45-minute wait.
Comments like, “Good thing it wasn’t cold (-40C)like last week,” could be heard throughout the lineup at Alberta Health Services.
Albertans who were born in 1946 or earlier can book their vaccine online or by calling 811. Appointment availability will be determined by vaccine supply.
“Having more vaccine arriving in our province means we can continue protecting our most vulnerable citizens as quickly as possible, starting with those who are most at risk of severe outcomes. Immunizing our seniors against COVID-19 is another important step forward in keeping our families, our communities and our healthcare system safe,” said Tyler Shandro, minister of health.
“Despite reassurances that the online vaccine booking tool was capable of handling a large volume of bookings, Alberta Health Services fell short of Albertans’ collective expectations,” he said.
“Access for eligible seniors to receive a vaccine is crucial. Reach out to seniors who are age 75-plus in your life and offer assistance if they need help with their appointments. For seniors who have no means of getting to a vaccination appointment, help is available. Once a vaccination appointment is booked, they can call 211 for a referral to a local transportation provider,” added Josephine Pon, minister of seniors and housing.
Seniors 75 years of age and older will be directed to vaccination clinics that are closest to where they live. Isolated seniors and those with mobility challenges can call 211 for information on help finding a ride to an appointment.
“We know that age is the greatest determining factor in whether someone may experience severe outcomes due to COVID-19. I want to remind our eligible seniors that vaccines are safe and effective. Now that it is your turn, please arrange to be immunized to protect yourselves and those around you,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.
Alberta Health Services is also offering the vaccine to all residents in retirement centres, lodges, supportive living and other congregate living facilities with residents aged 75 or older. AHS will contact these facilities directly to arrange appointments.
In sites where eligible seniors interact with residents younger than age 75, health officials will offer the vaccine to everyone living in the facility in order to reduce the overall risk of disease transmission, severe illness and death.

County updates emergency bylaw

By Murray Green

Camrose County updated its municipal emergency management bylaw at the council regular meeting on Feb. 9.
The bylaw has been updated and amended to reflect the new Provincial Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation (LEMR) that recently came into force.
Municipalities must identify the committee’s membership and chair by title or position in their Emergency Management Bylaw. The command, control and coordination system prescribed by the managing director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency will be used by the local authority’s emergency management agency.
Municipalities must identify a training plan for staff assigned with responsibilities under the emergency plan.
Councillors shall complete any courses prescribed by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency in accordance with the Act. Any employee of the County who has been assigned responsibilities respecting the implementation of the Emergency Management Plan shall complete any courses prescribed by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency in accordance with the Act.
Council gave three readings to the bylaw that was carried.

Chamber facilitates '40 Meal' project

By Lori Larsen

When times get tough, helping hands come from many directions, reaching out to those in need.
Camrose and District Chamber of Commerce recently implemented the 40 Hot Meal Project initiative, which began last year in Medicine Hat, the brain child of realtor Torrey Mattson.
The goal of the 40 Hot Meal Project is to support a few local restaurants suffering from the fallout of COVID-19 pandemic imposed health restrictions and recommendations, and assist in meeting higher demands of food banks by providing hearty meals to those in need. The project was quickly supported by local businesses and individuals in Medicine Hat and area, raising over $50,000 since the beginning of December 2020.
“Like the folks in Medicine Hat, we have a very keen interest in seeing our local business community thrive and continue its incredibly generous support of our not-for-profit sector,” explained Camrose and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Sharon Anderson.
“All this requires are community champions, the partnerships between your food bank, restaurant industry and generous business community, and it will be a win, win, win!”
Anderson went on to explain that 100 per cent of the money raised through sponsorship will be spent directly at local restaurants that are preparing individually packaged frozen meals, which are then delivered to the Camrose Neighbor Aid Center (Food Bank) for the hamper program.
“Our goal is to raise sufficient funds to provide 240 meals each month,” added Anderson. “We already have six local restaurants who are eager to participate, and a few interested sponsors.”
Sponsors can be local businesses, individuals, or a groups of coworkers, all wanting to do their part in helping those in the community who find themselves in need.
Anderson indicated that the framework of the project would entail sponsors willing to sponsor a minimum of 40 meals and donate them to the local food bank.
“Sponsorships starts at $250. The Chamber will match sponsors with a restaurant to provide 40 meals for the Camrose Neighbor Aid Center’s  Food Bank. However, we will gladly accept smaller donation amounts which will be combined to make up $250 increments.
“The participating restaurants will be required to provide affordable meals, in freezer friendly, individually packaged, large quantities, all in an effort to replace lost revenues due to dine-in service shutdown.”
Sponsors and restaurants will be connected through an email program facilitated by the Camrose Chamber in order to arrange direct payment between the two.
“Arrangements will be made to deliver the sponsored meals to the Camrose Neighbor Aid Center (located at 4524-54 Street) on scheduled dates, ensuring that the Food Bank isn’t overwhelmed with deliveries at any time.”
A Facebook page will be facilitated by the Camrose Chamber to highlight restaurants and offer recognition for sponsors.
Sarah MacKenzie, one of the creators of the Medicine Hat project, said, “This is an amazing initiative that has the potential for significant food security and economic impact if implemented across our region, province and even country.
“The program, as designed, doesn’t add a significant administrative burden to the food banks, as it serves their existing food hamper clients (restaurants deliver to the food bank directly), does not create administrative burden for the organizing individual(s) or businesses (sponsors pay food providers directly), and provides an immediate revenue injection into a local restaurant industry struggling through an unprecedented time.”
The project injects funds back into the community by sponsoring local restaurants that employ community members and, in turn, supports other local businesses and not-for-profits. It also offers those struggling in the community with food security and a “dining in” experience that may be otherwise unattainable, showing them that generous fellow community members also understand their need for a break.
Chamber president Jason Heise said he is excited to see this project come together in the community, and extends his thanks for the generosity of our business community.
For more information or inquiries regarding the 40 Hot Meal Project, contact Sharon Anderson at the Camrose and District Chamber of Commerce by email at exec@camrose chamber.ca or by telephone at 780-672-4217.

Augustana to hold virtual sessions

By Murray Green

The music program at University of Alberta  Augustana Campus continues to build on firm musical tradition, but with an eye to the future.
Over the last two years, and through the dedicated work of many, the music curriculum has been redesigned to prepare music students for flexible and practical careers, whether teaching music in school classrooms, in private studios, in choirs, or within the broader context of public health. As well as honing performance skills, the new curriculum emphasizes pedagogy–the art and science of teaching–and also offers opportunities for students to examine the profound benefit that only music can offer to enhance and maintain health and well-being.
The music program has launched a Pedagogy and Wellness Hub. It will start off at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 9, with a presentation from celebrated British choral music educator, voice teacher, and researcher, Jenevora Williams.
As March is considered to be Music Heals Month, the Pedagogy and Wellness Hub will celebrate via a community sing together with the choirs at Augustana, special guest and music therapist, Mendelt Hoekstra, and choristers from his Momentum inclusion choir in Ontario. The Camrose community is invited to virtually join voices in song and in wellness on Sunday, March 14 at 2 p.m. For additional information about U of A Augustana’s Pedagogy and Wellness Hub, visit aug.ualberta.ca/musicevents.

Alternative budget presented to Alberta citizens

By Murray Green

Since 2015, the Alberta Party has presented a Shadow Budget to give Albertans an alternate view of how the province could be run.
The number one role of government is to look after its people, and people are a major focus of the Alberta Party’s 2021 Shadow Budget:  People, Economy, Jobs, which presents a budget scenario with a $15.94 billion deficit in 2021-22, and a $4.98 billion deficit in 2022-23.
“Phase one of the Alberta Party plan is to get people back to work. Small businesses in the service economy have been the hardest hit due to government shutdown orders. Camrose and area has not been immune to this. The Alberta Party would provide ATB and Credit Unions with $600 million for small business operating loans to empower owners and operators to rehire staff and grow so our people can return to their jobs or start new ones,” said Kevin Smook, the president of the Alberta Party Camrose Riding.
Fifty per cent of this will be forgiven. The Alberta Party would also double the small business deduction from $500,000 to $1 million to support growth and development.
To enable municipally-led construction, the Alberta Party would create the Municipal Infrastructure and Employment Program. “For example, this program would provide the City of Camrose, towns, villages and counties with 70 per cent funding for projects identified as priorities to create economic opportunities for today’s workers and tomorrow’s economy. Total provincial funding would be $1.5 billion over three years. This is in contrast to the UCP budget released Feb. 25, in which municipalities will be the biggest losers, with MSI capital funding being reduced by 25 per cent over three years.”
The pandemic has shown just how important stable, quality broadband internet connectivity is to commerce, health and education in the 21st century.  “The Alberta Party would leave it up to municipalities to connect their citizens in the best way possible by creating a $500 million program called Connect Alberta, a grant program for municipalities to provide state-of-the-art internet connectivity to their citizens.”
Long-term thinking is essential for sustainable growth and steady expansion of the economy.  “Achieving these goals requires a strong post-secondary education system that prepares our people (our greatest natural resource) for the economy of the future, and empowers them to create future prosperity. The Alberta Party would restore all post-secondary funding cut by the current government. Our advanced education institutions not only support research and development across dozens of fields, but also directly inject billions of dollars annually into the Alberta economy,” suggested Smook.
 The economic value of the University of Alberta Augustana Campus cannot be overlooked. There is a total impact of $111.7 million on Alberta and $73.8 million on Camrose and surrounding area from Augustana.
“In the 2019 election, the Alberta Party introduced Children First, an ambitious expansion of early learning and child care, helping families afford child care so parents are able to return to work. A new Ministry of Early Education would place a focus on early learning and early childhood in Alberta.”
Agriculture is one of the largest and most important industries. “The Alberta Party would introduce an incentive program for greenhouses to locally grow foods that are currently imported into Alberta, such as peppers, herbs, spices or lettuce. The Alberta Party would also invest another $300 million to support value-added agriculture production, so more consumer-ready food is produced here at home.”
The complete Alberta Party Shadow Budget can be found online at alberta party.ca.
The Camrose Constituency for the Alberta Party welcomes your comments, suggestions and input. Email camrose@alberta party.ca for more information.

Crisis line for mental health proposed for Canadians

By Murray Green

Battle River Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek is lobbying for a crisis line for mental health.
He asked Camrose County Council for a letter of support at the Feb. 26 meeting.
“I move that Camrose County Council endorses this 988 crisis line initiative and that administration be directed to send a letter, under the Reeve’s signature, indicating such support to the local MP, MLA, federal minister of health, the CRTC and local area municipalities to indicate our support,” said councillor Jack Lyle, in support of Kurek.
Administration had received an email from local MP Damien Kurek.
“Over the past year, I have heard about the challenges with maintaining strong mental health and the devastating consequences of that on people, families, and communities. Mental health is a serious issue that needs to be talked about more than just on awareness days. Although there are some supports available, they are not widely known, and they need to be. In addition, they need to be accessible to everyone, not only to people in major cities. While there have been significant steps taken in the past few years, it is not enough, and more needs to be done still. On Dec. 11, 2020, the House of Commons passed a motion introduced by Conservative MP Todd Doherty, through unanimous consent, to bring a national three-digit suicide prevention hotline to Canada. That, given that the alarming rate of suicide in Canada constitutes a national health crisis, the House call on the government to take immediate action, in collaboration with our provinces, to establish a national suicide prevention hotline that consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into one easy to remember three-digit (988) hotline that is accessible to all Canadians. I’m asking that all municipalities across Battle River-Crowfoot consider passing a motion. In order to make 988 a reality, we must continue to put pressure on the government and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Personally, you can also support the cause by signing our electronic petition at petitions.our commons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2772. The past year has been a challenging year, and the mental health implications have been severe. As local leaders and, especially during this period of difficulty, our constituents are looking for leadership. This is one small step we can all take,” shared Kurek.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for suicide prevention services by 200 per cent.
The existing suicide prevention hotlines require the user to remember a 10-digit number and go through directories or be placed on hold.
Camrose County Council recognizes that it is a significant and important initiative to ensure critical barriers are removed to those in a crisis and seeking help.

Camrose police presents report on mental health calls

By Lori Larsen

The police are, more often than not, first responders to situations involving individuals suffering from mental unwellness.
While their first priority is the safety of the public (including the subjects of the occurrence) and themselves, the breadth of their duties extends beyond having to mitigate possible escalating situations, investigate, and report and direct the file to other organizations that can offer further support.
During the Feb. 16 Committee of Whole meeting, City of Camrose council heard a presentation on a report conducted on Camrose Police Service (CPS) Mental Health Occurrences (calls for service).
The information in the report was collected by Jazmyn Borgel, a practicum student with British Columbia Institute of Technology and past resident of Camrose, in partnership with Camrose Police Service Inspector John Corbett and crime analyst Barb Fowler.
Both Borgel and Fowler presented highlights of the report, which provided an analysis of mental health related occurrences responded to by CPS for all of 2019 to the end of the third quarter of 2020. The data was obtained from CPS records management systems from the Camrose area.
According to the report, the number of mental health occurrences from January to September 2019 totalled 252, compared to January to September 2020 of 282.
In total for the year 2019 from January to December, there were 310 occurrences recorded. The projection for January to December 2020 is 376.
The demographics were broken down further into gender, age, intoxications, history of mental health, apprehended, and resident versus non-resident.
In 2019 (January to September), 125 (40 per cent) of mental health occurrences involved females and 185 (60 per cent) involved males. In 2020 (January to September), the percentages changed to reflect 51 per cent males and 49 per cent females.
“Comparing the instance of mental health occurrences over both years, females showed an increase in reports, and males showed a decrease compared to the same time last year,” noted Borgel.
Age factors indicated in 2019 were: ages 0-19 accounted for 15 per cent; 20 to 29, 27 per cent; 30 to 39, 22 per cent; 40 to 49, 14 per cent; and other, 22 per cent.
For 2020, ages zero to 19 accounted for 11 per cent; 20 to 29, 16 per cent; 30 to 39, 29 per cent; 40 to 49, 18 per cent; and other, 26 per cent.
“The data indicates that as a person’s age increases past 40, their chance of experiencing a mental health occurrence (involving the police) decreases.”
For both years, the data indicated that most mental health occurrences did not involve the use of intoxicants, while most of the occurrences, for both years, were reported from individuals with a history of mental health experiences.
Between January to September 2019 and January to September 2020, the comparison showed 187 in 2019 versus 210 in 2020 for mental health occurrences and the level of apprehension.
Both years’ data indicated that 74 per cent of the mental health occurrences did not result in an apprehension.
“Many of the individuals were spoken to by the police, had family to look after them, or were referred elsewhere,” said Borgel in the report.
According to the report, 83 per cent of the mental health occurrences in 2019 (January to September) involved residents of Camrose, and 87 per cent in 2020 (January to September) were Camrose residents.
“This indicates that services are focused on residents versus non-residents of Camrose,” said Borgel.
While all occurrences involved the presence of at least one officer, the data showed that, in some instances, three or more officers were needed. For the period of January to September 2019 and 2020, 40 per cent of the occurrences required two officers; in 2019, 30 per cent required one officer; while in 2020, it was 28 per cent. In 2019, 18 per cent of the occurrences required three officers, and 12 per cent other; while in 2020, 22 per cent required three officers, and 10 per cent other.
“What we found was most mental health occurrences needed one, two or three officers present,” reported Borgel.
Other agencies listed in the report which had some involvement in the mental health occurrences included St. Mary’s Hospital, EMS, designated psychiatric facilities, local social agencies, children services, police detachment services, schools, other hospitals in Alberta and churches.
“St. Mary’s Hospital was the most used agency to which police referred or utilized for both years.
“It is important to note that the top three agencies that are involved for these mental health occurrence reports are within the healthcare system.”
However, for all of  2019 and 2020 (January to September), the majority of mental health occurrences involved only the police.
Reports of mental health occurrences came from a variety of sources, the majority of which, for January to September 2019 and 2020, came from family members or the subject of the occurrence themselves.
“Analysis of the monthly data for both 2019 and January to September 2020 has shown that the month of May was one of the busiest with mental health occurrences overall. The  busiest month  from January to September 2019 was May with 19 per cent of occurrences; while from January to September 2020, August was the busiest with 16 per cent of occurrences. This change in 2020 may be due to COVID-19, rather than  factors that were present in 2019.”
Data collected also indicated that in 2019, Fridays were noticeably higher for mental health occurrences, while in 2020, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesday were higher.
“As there was not a huge gap in variability from Sunday to Saturday, services are still needed every single day of the week.”
For both years, there were two general peaks during the day for mental health occurrences, the first occurring from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and the second from 3 until 7 p.m.
“It might also be helpful to have mental health professionals available for assistance during these times which may be outside the average work hours,” suggested Borgel.
With regards to specific locations within the City for mental health occurrences, hot zones included St. Mary’s Hospital, Mount Pleasant Drive and Downtown.
“What we found was a person’s residence or a residence was the top location for mental health occurrences to occur for both 2019 and what we had for 2020.”
Council inquires
Councillor Kevin Hycha inquired to Camrose Police Service Chief Dean LaGrange as to whether or not CPS requires or would be revamping training for police officers, in light of the information presented in this report.
 LaGrange responded, “This information is part and parcel of the PACT (Police and Crisis TEAM) and Hub programs that we are currently working with Alberta Health Services to get off the ground. Our crime prevention officer Kelly Bauer is being morphed into a dual role, where he will look after crime prevention as well as be the PACT officer.”
LaGrange said the goal is to get Alberta Health Services to provide a mental health nurse resource to be available to respond to mental health occurrences as well. “We provided Alberta Health Services with a copy of this report as well, to hopefully demonstrate a need within the community.”
Councillor Agnes Hoveland inquired about the non-resident status described in the report. “Are they citizens or residents, or are they in hotels/motels, or do they come to Camrose to seek existing resources, but are not as yet residents?”
Fowler indicated that the residents were defined as such if it could be proven they were residents of Camrose; non-residents did not have a permanent Camrose address.
LaGrange added that he is familiar with some instances of CPS dealing with people in Camrose using the resources of social agencies available in town, but are not residents of Camrose.
Hoveland commented, “I think it is exciting to see that this information might provide some impetus to the regular provision of a multidisciplinary team to deal with mental health issues. We have known for a long time this has been needed.”
LaGrange indicated that it is one of CPS’s top priorities and, that as evidenced by the report, there is enough call volume and that it is a currently a political hot topic.
Lindstrand asked specifically if the presenters  could comment on the reasoning for some changes. “Why is there a relative increase in the occurrences involving women during this time period? Does it have something to do with the job market? Could you comment on the fact that there are older individuals involved than there were previously; and also, is it fair to conclude there was more severity in the cases in that there were more officers required to respond.”
LaGrange responded to Lindstand’s question about the severity of calls. “When you put in all of the stressors that people are going through right now in terms of the economic conditions, the pandemic, the lockdown–it really pushes people’s stress to the limit, and I think we are seeing that reflected in some of the calls.”
In response to Lindstrand’s two other inquiries about an increase in female and older people demographics, Fowler said that the report focused more on the collection of statistics and where the needs were identified.
For complete details on the report, visit the Camrose Police Service website at camrosepoliceservice.ca. The link is located at the bottom of the page under Documents.

County approves a regional fire hall

12 nn fire
New Norway Fire Department volunteers bring out all the heavy hitters during a practice night.

By Murray Green

Camrose County has approved that the current fire services provided out of the Edberg, New Norway and Ferintosh fire halls be amalgamated into one Regionalized Fire Service, operating out of one newly constructed fire hall to be located on SE-14-44-21-W4, which is in the area of all three halls.
“I move that Camrose County council award the design/build construction of the proposed new Regional Fire Hall located at SE-14-44-21-W4 to Align Builders for the submitted price of $699,680 plus GST, with funding to come from the Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) and fire reserve funds,” said councillor Jack Lyle.
Municipal intern Chris Willms said 12 proposal were received, and that Align Builders provided the most complete building with an added bonus of disaster building designation.
The new regional fire hall is anticipated to be constructed with a much greater level of energy efficiency, which will equate to the overall costs to operate the Camrose County Fire Services reduced, because of economies of scale and the efficiencies that can be built into one new building versus continuing to operate the current three older fire halls.
The size of the new fire hall has been anticipated to be 50’ x 100’, which will have multiple bays, allowing between five or six fire apparatus to be stationed in this fire hall at all times. The fire hall would also include a mezzanine with a lunch room, office area and training space.
In 2020, the Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) grant was announced for municipalities in Alberta. This grant was two-fold, in that it is meant to provide business for private companies, and it is also meant to facilitate municipal projects that would otherwise not be completed. Ultimately, a new Regional Fire Hall is a project that would not be financially feasible without this grant.
Lyle asked about the benefits of a disaster building. Willms explained it would be a place to prepare for emergency situations.
Post Disaster Rated Building are buildings used for emergency response vehicles and personnel, such as fire halls, paramedical and ambulance services. These types of buildings require a Geo Technical Investigation and are constructed to still be operational during a disaster.
“A request for proposal is different than a tender. You evaluate requirements, proposals, look at best value, get more information; but the price should be the ceiling,” explained public works manager Zach Mazure.
Prior to the decision, the current fire hall volunteer fire chiefs were consulted on what they would like to see in the new facility.
A wide range of prices was received, with also a great range of services supplied. Administrator Paul King reported that some bids were missing such things as 600 yards of gravel or windows.
The County decided not to go ahead with the Bawlf grader shed construction so the funds could go towards the fire hall.
“By not going ahead with the grader shed, it allows us not to dip into reserves as much. It is important to have reserve funds for emergencies,” added councillor Brian Willoughby. “Bawlf might not be happy with me, but we should use the grader shed money towards the fire hall, because it is more important right now,” he added.

Family Violence Action Society receives grant

By Murray Green

Family Violence Action Society Camrose and District has been approved in Phase 2 of the Community Grant Funding Program for $43,507.
As part of Alberta government’s plan to support evidence-based programs, organizations have applied for grants to support their work aiding the mental health and addiction recovery of Albertans.
“Family Violence Action Society helps individuals understand family violence, gain healthier relationship skills and move forward. I’m proud to support this grant of over $40,000 from Alberta’s government that will support life-changing programs in Camrose,” said Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely.
This program is a key part of the government’s strategy to support the mental wellness and addiction recovery of Albertans during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The grant that we are receiving is from Alberta Health and it’s for Mental Health and Addiction COVID-19 Community Funding–Response Phase. The grant is for funding projects that enhance community mental health and addiction-related supports. The project for which that we requested funding is our child and youth counselling program. The outcomes we plan to achieve is to enable Albertans to have their social well-being/mental health recovery needs met, which have been compromised due to COVID-19. We want to engage individuals/families in implementing ways to meet the social well-being/mental health recovery needs during the pandemic, and provide additional social infrastructure to support the well-being/mental health recovery of Albertans who are either directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19,” said Lyndel Kasa, FVAS program director.
Alberta’s government will continue supporting evidence-based funding programs, and ensuring that resources are there for those struggling with addiction issues. “In the past few years, we have seen a rise in requests for help for children and youth who have experienced trauma, family dysfunction, family violence, and are having difficulty managing anger. This next year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are anticipating even more of an increase in the need for support as children and youth continue to struggle with the impact the pandemic has had on them and their families. With the added stress and time together caused by a public health crisis like COVID-19, families with unhealthy relationships are more likely to experience child abuse. Social isolation is a risk factor for family violence, and the social distancing and self-quarantine or isolation during the pandemic can make it more challenging to access valuable relationships and stay connected. Children are more likely to be experiencing worry, anxiety and fear, and not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes include excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating and sleeping habits, and difficulty with attention and concentration. When schools closed in March, children lost the sense of structure and stimulation that is provided by that environment, and now they have less opportunity to be with their friends and get the social support that is essential for good mental well-being,” Lyndel said.

Support for businesses to create jobs, cut emissions

By Murray Green

Emissions Reduction Alberta’s (ERA) Energy Savings for Business Program is now accepting applications for projects that create skilled jobs, boost investment and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in small- and medium-sized industrial and commercial facilities.
The program, with up to $55 million in funding available, will decrease operating costs for Alberta businesses, while diversifying the economy and helping to meet long-term sustainability goals. The program is anticipated to stimulate over $196 million in new investment.
The Energy Savings for Business Program offers incentives to eligible Alberta businesses and non-profits to choose commercially available high-efficiency products and on-site energy generation technologies. Up to $250,000 is available for each project, with a maximum total of $500,000 per parent company to cover the cost of adopting new products and services.
This is a focused economic stimulus program; funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until they are fully committed. Contractors are urged to register for eligibility now; pre-approval is required for all projects.
“The Energy Savings for Business Program supports a critical component of the economy–small- and medium-sized businesses. The program will give Alberta companies and contractors fast access to cost-effective incentives. It will accelerate the adoption of technologies that significantly reduce GHGs and help position Alberta as a leader in sustainable resource and energy use,” said Steve MacDonald, CEO of ERA.
“Funding through the program will play a critical role in supporting economic recovery in Alberta. This investment makes it possible for businesses like ours to quickly hire staff for positions that have long-term career potential. Implementing commercial-ready technologies will also lead to operational efficiencies and cost reductions that free up much needed capital and address longer-term environmental sustainability priorities,” added Tayber Yastremski, principal, Sustainable Projects Group.
“The program will get skilled technicians and tradespeople working quickly, this is important now more than ever. The program will boost productivity and reduce operating costs and emissions. It’s a critical step in support of economic growth and diversification in the province,” said Kyle Fawcett, cofounder and managing director, Sunaltapower.
“Businesses need to be more competitive. The program does this by giving owners an incentive to improve their energy usage profile, improve productivity, permanently reduce energy consumption, and create jobs at a time when Albertans desperately want to get back to work. Having highly efficient operations and buildings not only helps businesses succeed, it also reduces greenhouse gas intensity. This benefits society as a whole,” Tracy Grills, president and CEO, Eco Lighting Solutions.
Energy Savings for Business supports local skilled trades, contractors, and suppliers such as HVAC businesses, insulation companies, lighting systems installers, and electricians. All participating contractors must register to become eligible to participate in the program. Eligible contractors will be required to complete applications for pre-approval and submit all required documents. Before the program launched, 270 contractors from across the province already registered to participate.
The program is designed to support the more than 160,000 small- and medium-scale enterprises in Alberta. Projects must occur at facilities located within the province. A wide range of cost-effective energy efficient products and on-site energy generation technologies are eligible: compressed air, process heating, refrigeration, food service, HVAC, motors and drives, water heating, solar PV, combined heat and power (CHP), lighting systems, building envelope and windows.
The program is open to all industries and business types across Alberta except for Large Emitters as defined under the TIER Regulation, new construction, federal and provincially owned buildings, and the institutional sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals). Projects must occur at facilities located within Alberta.

Energy bills usually higher in winter

By Murray Green

The Alberta Utilities Commission reports that a typical electricity bill in Alberta, consuming 600 kWh per month, tota​ls around $115. Costs will vary depending upon the distribution service area, the municipality where you live, your energy use and billing period.
Distribution and transmission rates may be different in each area of the province because they incur different costs to build, operate and maintain their system depending on how big the system is, how new it is and how many customers are sharing the cost. A distribution company that serves rural areas will cost more than a system that serves urban areas because the utility has to build, operate and maintain more poles, wires and facilities to serve each customer.
Distribution charges are typically higher than the energy charges.
Energy charge (19 to 35 per cent of your bill) is the per unit cost (price per kilowatt hour) for the electricity used during the billing period. This charge is the cost for the commodity itself, and does not include the cost to deliver power to homes and businesses.
Prices are based on the competitive energy market. Energy charges vary between retailers, who purchase energy in the market through a combination of long-term and short-term contracts with suppliers. If you do not choose to sign a contract with a competitive retail service provider, your rate will fluctuate each month, and your regulated rate (also called the regulated rate option) is approved by  the AUC.
Customers have a choice to sign a fixed or variable rate contract with a competitive retailer. Go to ucahelps.alberta.ca/cost-comparison-tool.aspx for competitive retail service providers.
Administration charge (13 to 23 per cent) covers the cost to your retailer to provide billing and customer services. It is a fixed charge either based on the number of days in the billing period or a fixed charge per month.
Distribution charge (24 to 52 per cent) covers the cost incurred by the distribution company (which is typically a different company than your retail provider) to bring electricity from the transmission system to your home. It includes costs for building, operating and maintaining their distribution systems.
The charge is composed of a fixed fee, based on the number of days in the billing period and variable component, based on your energy usage in the billing period. The fixed component is included because, even if you do not use any electricity for the billing period, the distribution company has still incurred the costs associated with delivering energy or making energy available to you when you need it (e.g. poles, wires).
Transmission charge (13 to 23 per cent) recovers the costs incurred to safely and reliably plan Alberta’s transmission grid and transport electricity via the transmission grid from where it is generated to the distribution system. Transmission charges for residential customers are based on their energy consumption during the billing period. For larger customers, a more complicated tariff is in place which, in addition to energy consumption, is also based on the required demand level.
A rate rider (zero to five per cent) is a temporary, additional rate on a customer’s bill, which is separate from the monthly rates that are charged for electricity usage. A rate rider can be a credit or charge.
Local access fee rider (five to 10 per cent) municipalities charge distribution companies for the right to exclusively serve its residents and to have utility infrastructure on municipal lands. These costs are then passed on to the utility customers. The municipality determines the level of the fees.
A transmission adjustment rider (zero to one per cent) is a charge or refund to reconcile the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) charges paid by the distribution company with those charges collected from customers in a previous period. Each quarter, the AESO recovers or refunds accumulated deferral account balances, which are comprised of differences between revenues and costs incurred in providing system access service to the distribution wire owners. The distribution wire owners, in turn, add an adjustment rider, which could be a charge or refund, to their delivery charges at the beginning of each quarter (Jan. 1, April 1, July 1 and Oct. 1). This adjustment reconciles current costs to date and estimates transmission costs into the next quarter.
A balancing pool adjustment rider (zero to one per cent)​ is designed to collect or refund charges that are flown through the balancing pool credit or charge from the AESO. Each year, the balancing pool is required to forecast its revenues and expenses to determine any excess (or shortfall) of funds. Based on this forecast, the balancing pool determines an annualized amount that will be remitted to (or collected from) electricity consumers over the year. Pursuant to the Electric Utilities Act, the benefits and costs associated with the balancing pool are shared among all electricity customers in Alberta.

International truck still working hard

15 international truck
This 1930 International A4 truck is still used at Camrose and District Centennial Museum functions, and is a nice truck to drive. It was repainted to close to the original green, red and black colours.   

By Murray Green

The Camrose and District Centennial Museum is the home of a 1930 International A4 truck.
“In 1930, International came out with a model A and B. They had from A1 all the way up to A8. This A4 was a two-ton. The rad was nickel and this particular truck was heavy built, but came from the factory with a single wheel axle in the back. Instead of duals, it was single, which was rare,” explained museum volunteer Dave Fitchie.
“They had big tires and were made for hauling. We fixed it up because the cab was shot, windows were busted. We did quite a bit of body work, and we installed new seats,” added Dave.
“We painted it green and black like the original, pretty close to the original colour. I couldn’t find the exact original colour, because I had to buy a five-gallon pail of it. This is a nice truck,” added Dave. “Judging by the serial number, it was the fourth one built in Canada. It is a four-speed.”
International trucks have been built and sold by the International Harvester Company (renamed Navistar International in 1986) from 1909 until the present.
“The truck was just a frame. We built a rack on the back, bought some wood, and made it with a tongue and groove system. By looking at pictures of different trucks, we came up with our own idea. The slats should be wider, but we didn’t have the material. We used materials out of old rail cars. The racks do come out, but it is not easy. You have to undo some bolts. The bolts are smooth in the box, and you have to undo the carriage bolts from the sides or bottom. That was so your load wouldn’t catch on the bolts,” he shared. “The end gate will come on and off by pulling them off.”
The truck box was simply painted similar to the way it would have come. No varnish was added. “You could only get the box in this colour. Some were made with International red, but they could only be bought by the dealer for his own truck,” said Dave.
“I went to a flea market and car show in Hershey, Pennsylvania a couple of times. A couple of tables were selling parts for International right from day one, but they never heard of an A series truck. It came out in the beginning of the depression, and was a poor seller. There is a website that tells out how to paint the truck, what the colours are supposed to be,” said Dave.
The large headlights were to be painted with the standard green colour, but sometimes they were painted black instead.
“You didn’t know which colour your model would get. The black body, red wheels and chassis was normal, standard. It had a gold pinstripe around the door and cab. It was all dictated in their paint committee letters. International Harvester had a paint  committee for everything they built. They had every last detail, how much paint and what it was going to cost. Sometimes, they would come up with an idea to save six or seven cents on each vehicle. At that time, it was a lot of money.”
FUN FACTS
Originally marketed to farmers, the trucks were immediately successful and were sold to businesses in cities as well.
During the 1930s, a time when Americans were experiencing the Great Depression, the styling of the popular International Trucks was changing. The new models were called the “C” series and were successfully introduced to the public. They offered a great design with flowing lines for the front fenders, along with redesigned radiator shells, which were now slanted and had a slight V-shaped design. The slanted design windshield gave the truck models that popular aerodynamic look which most consumers thoroughly enjoyed.
Motors were usually 279 six-cylinder. Transmissions were either a four- or five-speed with additional reverse. Special equipment that could be ordered were a fully enclosed cab with a one-piece windshield, rear vision mirror, high-tension ignition, shock absorbers, booster brakes, a larger 17-gallon gas tank and various balloon tires.

Name that puppy

By Lori Larsen

Some future law enforcement members are just too darned cute, oh and furry, with four paws. They are the future canine officers for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and they need names.
The RCMP is reaching out to Canadian residents aged four to 14 for some assistance in naming the puppies that are about to become Canada’s future RCMP police dogs.
The Police Dog Service Training Centre (PDSTC) in Innisfail is asking young Canadians to suggest names for 13 German Shepherd puppies that will be born at the Centre in 2021.
The rules for the contest are somewhat easy. The names for the puppies must begin with the letter “P”. Contestants are reminded that these are working police dogs, not pets, so bear that in mind when coming up with a name.
The names must have no more than nine letters, and must have one or two syllables.
Contestants must live in Canada and must be four to 14 years old.
Only one entry per child will be eligible, and all entries must be received by March 18.
To enter the contest, visit www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/depot/name-the-puppy-contest.
The winning names will be chosen by the PDSTC staff. A draw will determine the winning entry in the event of multiple submissions of the same puppy name.
There are 13 chances the name picked may be a winner, and even if the name is not picked for this round of pups, the names not selected will be considered for other puppies born during the year.
The 13 children whose names are selected will each receive a laminated 8” x 10” photo of the pup they name, a plush dog named Justice and an RCMP water bottle.
Entries for the puppy naming contest will not be accepted through regular mail service or email. They must be submitted online. However, the RCMP encourages children to still send in drawings and paintings after entering the contest online by emailing their artwork to the Police Dog Service Training Centre at puppy-chiot@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Contest winners and the winning names will be announced on April 28 on the RCMP website and social media.
The PDSTC is home to the RCMP national police dog training program and is a part of RCMP Depot Division. The Centre has earned a great reputation for breeding top-quality working German shepherds and for training dogs with outstanding searching and tracking abilities.
What a thrill to be able to say you named one of Canada’s up and coming finest and furriest.
For more information on the PDSTC and the puppy naming contest, visit www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2021/rcmp-launches-the-2021-name-the-puppy-contest.

Scammers never give up

By Lori Larsen

Scam artists are constantly finding new ways to defraud people out of their hard-earned money. Camrose Police Service crime prevention and community relations officer Constable Kelly Bauer reminds residents to be extra vigilant about the possibility of being scammed.
“If it is too good to be true, then it likely isn’t true,” began Constable Bauer.
Recently, there have been several separate reports to CPS involving residents who were, or nearly were, scammed out of money.
On Feb. 13, staff from a local financial institution advised police that a senior was sending funds through Western Union and believed it to be suspicious. It was confirmed that no money was lost, and the senior’s daughter was updated and is assisting with her mother’s finances.
“Children need to speak to their aged parents about fraud,” advised Bauer. “Most children probably feel that it wouldn’t happen to their own parent until it is too late. It’s worth the conversation to avoid a parent being victimized.”
On Feb. 8, police attended an address in Camrose which was the subject of five different complaints from people, who said they had attended a residence to purchase a quad, but no one was at the home.
All five potential buyers had provided a deposit and were there with cash to complete the purchase. The fraudster randomly used the Camrose address as part of an online scam.
“Fraudsters will create a deal that appears to be too good to resist,” explained Bauer. “Everyone loves getting a great deal, so victims turn a blind eye to the fact that it may be fraudulent. Buyers are willing to put down a deposit before doing any type of checks because they don’t want to lose the purchase to another buyer. The lure of a good deal is simply too great, as evident by multiple different parties all making a deposit on the same ATV.”
Scammers will pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads on classified websites, or may reach out to victims through social media platforms or email
The ads are usually accompanied by photographs, sometimes taken from legitimate websites, or even taken at local businesses. The scam lures victims in a hurry, by pricing the items at a low, unbelievable (because it is) price, and will often say “must sell” with a viable reason, such as moving or being recently unemployed.
On Feb. 4, a female reported to police that she was the victim of a Facebook scam, where she had sent $300 worth of Steam gift cards and gave her personal banking information.
“Never give out personal information to anyone you do not trust,” reminded Bauer.
On Feb. 22, Camrose Police received another complaint of a resident being scammed through an online fraudster.
A seller in Camrose had listed their home for sale through a realtor. An online fraudster used the same online photos and advertised the house for rent on Facebook. A group of unsuspecting University of Alberta Augustana Campus students needing a residence for the new school year then sent a damage deposit to the fraudster to secure the property.
“We have become quite accustomed to making online purchases,” remarked Bauer. “Buying items, booking trips, making reservations or even securing a rental property have become common in a digital world.
“Don’t let the familiarity of online transactions cause you to drop your guard. The majority of the time, the purchase is credible, but far too often, people simply get caught in a scam. Keep in mind that there always is an element of risk with online transactions, so you need to do whatever you can in the given situation to ensure that your purchase is legitimate.”
Bauer suggests taking  an extra step, such as viewing the item or the property, or if you are unable to attend in person, having a friend view it for you. “If you don’t have those options, asking for a copy of their City property assessment is another step that could be taken to ensure it is legitimate.”
Scams are as varied as the people being scammed, and even though there has been and continues to be an extensive amount of information communicated about scams, people still find themselves being caught off guard, the end result of which usually costs them.
For more information on scams and how to report fraud, visit the Government of Canada antifraud centre website at /www.antifraudcentre-centreanti fraude.ca/index-eng.htm.

Special Olympics Camrose athlete awarded LETR Athlete Award

By Lori Larsen

Special Olympic Camrose athlete Justin Sitler has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), as well as his continued work within the community to promote Special Olympics.
In a letter addressed to Justin, the provincial director for Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Alberta, Braylon Hyggen remarked, “On behalf of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Alberta Operations Committee, I am reaching out to notify you that you have been selected to receive the 2020 Alberta LETR Athlete Award.
“We want to thank you for all the work you have done for LETR, as a volunteer and fundraiser, in your community and throughout the province. You have been a true champion for LETR in Alberta.”
On Feb. 22, Justin was presented with his award at a COVID-minded outdoor ceremony at the Solicitor General Training Centre in Edmonton.
The Alberta LETR Athlete Award recognizes outstanding Special Olympics Athletes who have contributed to the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run on a local and/or provincial level.
 The criteria for the Alberta LETR Athlete Award specifies that the nominee must be registered in a Special Olympics Alberta program and must have participated in or volunteered at LETR events over the past calendar year (2019).
The recipient of the award is defined as someone who contributes to the Law Enforcement Torch Run in spirit, dedication and enthusiasm in an effective fashion and isan active promoter of the LETR.
“I’m proud to be among all the athletes across Alberta to receive the provincial award,” thanked Justin. “And I am happy to have raised money in the events I have participated in to help us athletes play our sports. I am proud, but also humbled at the same time.”
Justin has been an active Special Olympics athlete for 10 years. For the last six years, he has been extremely active with Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) events in Camrose and the province.
Justin has put in a great deal of volunteer hours collecting donations for the Free our Finest; served pizza with Camrose Police Service for Cops, Pops & Pizza; cycled, ran and walked for the Virtual Summer Series; cheered on the police team in Battle of the Badges; and raised over $7,000 in two years participating in the chilling annual event, the Polar Plunge.
Passionate about his sports, Justin spends summer months on the ball field covering third base or bringing in runs. In the winter months, he enjoys bringing down the pins on the bowling lanes or getting in a workout at the walking track.
When he is not out in the community promoting Special Olympics, he can be found doing photo ops, interviews and videos to promote LETR events happening across the province, and assisting his mother Lorrie (Special Olympics director of Business Development and LETR) with the delivery of LETR resources throughout the province.
Not only is Justin a good sport and supportive teammate, but he is an example to all of us on the benefits–physically, mentally and socially–of staying active.
He is also a wonderful ambassador of Special Olympics and a shining example of what can be accomplished when a community stands behind its residents.

Kucy joins Golden Eagles golf team

By Murray Green

Devin Kucy will be attending the University of Minnesota Crookston on a  men’s golf scholarship.
Kucy, who went to Our Lady of Mount Pleasant Catholic School, signed a Letter of Intent to golf for the 2021 season on the Golden Eagles team.
“Devin works extremely hard at his golf game, and has that desire and commitment to become the best player he can be,” said head coach Brad Heppner. “Devin has played many high level golf tournaments in Alberta and has done very well. I’m excited to have Devin become a member of the Golden Eagle men’s golf team as he will have an immediate impact to our team.”
Kucy will help to continue to elevate the Golden Eagle men’s golf program. The Golden Eagles are scheduled to start the 2021 season March 22 and 23 at the Washburn University Invite in Topeka, Kansas.
UMN Crookston is wanting to build on their improvement in 2020 as they ended the season by shooting two of their best rounds.
Kucy has won numerous junior golf titles in Canada. He was named the Golfer of the Year for OLMP in 2019. He was named the Athlete of the Year for his school in Grades 7 and 9. Kucy placed in a tie for 16th at the IMG Junior World Championship Qualifier in May 2019. He has an 18-hole average of 73.3.
Devin is the son of Kyla and Joe Kucy. He plans to major in business at UMN Crookston. His brother Mason Kucy plays golf at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware.
His dad played football at the University of Alberta. His uncle Ed Kucy played football at the University of Arizona and in the Canadian Football League for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos. His sister Jayla is a high ranked junior in Canada.

Chamber to honour businesses

By Lori Larsen

This year, it is especially important to recognize the small businesses within our community for not only their outstanding service, but to appreciate even more the efforts they have had to make to stay viable during these challenging times.
The Camrose and District Chamber of Commerce is once again recognizing businesses during the 36th annual Business Excellence Awards. Nominations are encouraged in the following categories: Home Based Business (three employees or less); Small Business (zero to 24 employees); Customer Service (individual); Community Spirit (not for profit); Business Excellence/Franchise (25-plus employees); Ambassador (individual); Woman in Business (individual); and Young Entrepreneur.
If you wish to nominate a business or individual, you will need to supply the name of the business or individual, a contact name and telephone number, and why you are nominating the business or individual in 100 words or less.
The deadline for submissions is April 30.
The Chamber is anticipating their Awards Gala, which was postponed in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, to be held on May 21.
For more information or to fill out a nomination form, visit the Chamber website at http://camrose chamber.ca, email info@camrosechamber.ca or telephone 780-672-4217.

Births and Deaths

Births
- To Jeri and Chad Samoisette of Camrose, a son, on February 16.
- To Jaden Ross-Teeter and Derek Baker of  Camrose, a son, on February 18.

Deaths
- Angeline (nee Eleniak) Tomko, on February 21, at 94 years of age.
- Ronald James Hagen of Camrose, formerly of  Consort, on February 23, at 82 years of age.
- Shirley Joan Bakke of Spruce Grove, formerly of Camrose, on February 21, at 80 years of age.
- Lois Jane Stovar of Bawlf, on February 24, at 85 years of age.
- Margaret Whaley of Camrose, on February 24, at 91 years of age.
- Robert Hazen, of Camrose, on February 25, at 97 years of age.
- Shirley Grace Pringle of Camrose, on February 26,at 83 years of age.