City of Camrose administration presented 2023-24 draft budget to council

By Lori Larsen

City of Camrose Administration presented City Council with a draft of the 2023-24 City Budget during the Committee of the Whole Council meeting held on December 5.

City of Camrose Financial Services general manager Travis Bouck summarized. “The Draft City Budget includes proposed tax increases of five per cent in 2023 and five per cent in 2024.”

According to Bouck these increases will offset the impact of high inflation, but also invest in the following key areas: increased  resources for summer road maintenance and parks maintenance; improving services for scheduling of City facilities; investing in cybersecurity measures; increasing economic development activities and investing in system upgrades for permitting, licensing and asset management initiatives.

The 2023-24 City Draft Budget also includes increases to water and wastewater rates of five per cent, in 2023 and five per cent in 2024, which Bouck explained offsets the inflationary costs and necessary funding of large future capital requirements. Increasing electricity franchise fees from 15 per cent to 16 per cent in 2023 and 17 per cent in 2024 is proposed in the 2023-24 City Draft Budget which is required to generate funding to offset provincial cuts to grants provided for municipal infrastructure. “Without this we can’t fix roads, build playgrounds, etc.,” said Bouck.

“All in all, the average homeowner will likely be paying $17 more per month in 2023 and $18 more per month in 2024 property taxes, utility rates and franchise fees.”

Other significant changes that residents may notice is a reduction of the Cart Fee for Solid Waste from $2.80 to $1 and a new Organics Processing Fee of $1 per month on utility bills.

In addition, the Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority draft budget includes the transition from a landfill to a transfer station in 2023 which will result in some changes to service levels. “Reduced days of operation and increased tipping fees will likely begin upon the transfer station becoming operational which is expected in October, 2023 based upon the current draft budget of the Camrose Regional Solid Waste Authority,” explained Bouck.

In addition to presenting the City of Camrose 2023-24 Draft Budget to council on December 5, the City will be hosting a Budget open house on Thursday, December 8 from 5 until 8 p.m. at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre, with a presentation by Mayor PJ Stasko at 6 p.m.

For more information on the City Draft budget visit the City of Camrose website at www.camrose.ca/budget.

Temporary overnight closure of Tofield Emergency

By Murray Green

The Tofield Health Centre Emergency Department (ED) will be temporarily closed overnights in December due to staffing challenges.

As of December 1, the ED will be closed from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. seven days a week, and will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Patients presenting to the ED during the hours of closure will be referred to emergency departments in surrounding communities or to the local medical clinic for follow-up with a family physician, as appropriate. EMS will divert patients to facilities in Camrose or Viking for emergency care, as needed.

Residents are reminded to call Health Link at 811, which is available 24/7, for non-emergency, health-related questions. Patients are asked to call 911 if they have a medical emergency.
AHS is grateful for the support of surrounding health care centres and medical staff, and thank the community for its patience and understanding during this time.

AHS will continue to work toward resuming regular operating hours in the New Year.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system.

Daysland Hospital physician hours

By Lori Larsen

Alberta Health Services announced that  the Daysland Health Centre Emergency Department (ED) will continue to be without overnight on-site physician coverage Monday to Thursday throughout December.

 The ED will be closed from 10 p.m to 7 a.m., Monday to Thursday, due to a lack of physician coverage during those times. Weekend physician coverage for the ED remains in place.

 The ED will continue to be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 24 hours a day, Friday through Sunday.

 Patients presenting to the  Residents are reminded to telephone Health Link at 811, which is available 24/7, for non-emergency, health-related questions.

Crush grab first place

By Murray Green

The Camrose Crush defeated the Morinville Kings in a wild 7-5 contest in the North Central Hockey League, November 26.

RJ Reed and Ryley Bennefield led the offensive charge with four points each. After a scoreless opening period, the teams exploded for seven tallies in the middle frame. Dayton Murray started Camrose off with a marker. Reed, on a power play, Bennefield and Cole Gibson garnered the other goals. In the third, the Kings scored on a power play before Camrose fought back with three tallies. Reed netted two and Jarod Hovde added a single marker on an unassisted play. Netminder Connor Dobberthien turned away 52 of the 57 shots he faced.

The next home game for the Crush is on December 10 when they host the Lacombe Generals at 8 p.m.

Merry Christmas Fund falling short

By Murray Green

The Camrose Merry Christmas Fund and Christmas Hamper Program was launched 57 years ago.

Margaret and Chuck MacLean were thinking about doing something worthwhile and meaningful for those who are in a less fortunate position at Christmas time, so they started the fund.

“This year, we have reached $24,000, but we need to raise $35,000 to pay for the food hampers that we deliver. I’m told that more families are in need of large hampers, so I’m thinking the cost may go up. We need more than 300 hampers,” said fund co-chair Morris Henderson.

The Camrose Merry Christmas Fund works in conjunction with the Camrose and District Neighbor Aid Center. The fund is an independent non-profit charity that collects money from the community and uses it to purchase large quantities of food to be packaged as Christmas hampers.

The Neighbor Aid Center receives names of people considered less fortunate from many sources, including social services, the churches of Camrose and many people phoning in on behalf of someone they think is in need.

For many years the organization packed and delivered more than 200 hampers. Now the number of hampers has ranged from 200 to 280 each year.

“Our fundraising goal for this year is $35,000 so that we can provide 300 food hampers,” said Morris.

You can help support this worthwhile cause by making a cash or cheque donation at the Royal Bank or Camrose Fire Hall.

Volunteer your time to assist with packing or delivering hampers. They start packing on Wednesday, December 14 and deliver on Saturday, December 17 starting at 9 a.m.

Consider promoting a donation to the Camrose Merry Christmas Fund at staff Christmas parties, rather than spending money on small gifts for co-workers.

For more information email mchampers@telus.net. Donations can be mailed to Camrose Merry Christmas Fund, c/o Morris Henderson, 3412-61A Street, Camrose, AB 4V 3M2.

Lions Grey Cup raffle winners

By Lori Larsen

The Lions Grey Cup raffle ended with a few happy winners in Camrose.

The first quarter winder was Randy Sroka, second quarter was Owen More and third quarter winner was Roland Richard, each taking home a cool $100 cash.

The final score winner was Gordie Blatz pocketing $300, just in time for the holiday season.

The remaining proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Rose City Handivan Society.
9 silent santa kinettes

Kinettes toy drive assists children

Camrose Kinette Club members, from left, Erin Upton, Kathy Schwab, Stephanie Hvenegaard, Kin Kid Ayva Bruneau and Camrose Firefighter Tony Pauls collected toys for the Silent Santa program. Kinettes still need items for all age groups.

By Murray Green

The Camrose Kinette Club is in danger of not meeting the demand for gifts in the Silent Santa program.

“We packed up very few items last year to carry us over. We are in short supply of gifts for children of all ages,” said club member Kathy Schwab.

“Although our toy drive  on 48th Avenue was last Saturday, we are still short of toys, games, books and clothing for all ages. You can still drop off items at the Duggan Mall, Superstore, Shuman Insurance, Peavey Mart and Canadian Tire,” Kathy said.

 “We accept cash donations or gift cards which are used to purchase gifts for children where donations have run short,” added Kinette president Amanda Dyer.
The group is looking for gifts for all ages however the most needed group is those 12 and up.

Gift ideas include hair dryers, pocket books, gift cards for fast food restaurants, bowling gift certificates, swimming passes and movie gift certificates.

“The hampers are packed and passed off to the Merry Christmas Fund who then distributes the toys with the food hampers,” Amanda added.

Cash donations can also be dropped off at Shuman Insurance. If you have, questions about Silent Santa call 780-678-4496.

Deadline for donations is December 17, but the club will be collecting past the due date in order to provide gifts to as many children as possible.

To have your name added to the Silent Santa list visit www.neighboraid.ca and read the instructions on how to apply. You can also call Neighbor Aid at 780-679-3221. Toy and food hampers will be delivered December 17th by community volunteers. Tax receipts are not issued.

Volleyball girls at provincials

By Murray Green

The Camrose Composite high school senior volleyball teams competed in provincial championships on November 24 to 26.
Camrose won their zone championship, but went 1-4 at provincials. The Trojans defeated RF Staples from Westlock 25-22, 10-25 and 15-6. However, they lost to Strathcona, the host Lethbridge squad, Springbank and Peace River.

Strathcona, the winner of their pool, placed fourth in the tournament. On the boy’s side, the Trojans also went 1-4. They defeated McCoy (Medicine Hat) 25-20, 20-25 and 15-6. They lost to Barrhead, but stole a 41-39 game, Peace River, Cochrane and Strathcona.

Barrhead went on to win provincials, beating Peace River in the final. Cochrane, who won the pool, placed fourth to show the Trojans they were in a tough pool in Lethbridge.

Five properties designated as historical resources

By Lori Larsen

During the City of Camrose regular council meeting held on November 21, council gave three readings and ultimately approved five bylaws designating five properties in Camrose as Municipal Historic Resources, effective February 1, 2023.

The five properties designated are: 4802-49 Street, 4831-48 Street, 4801-49 Street, 4810-48 Street, and 4706-48 Street.

City of Camrose Planning and Development manager Aaron Leckie explained that City administration had received applications from the registered owners of the aforementioned properties, requesting designation of Municipal Historic Resources.

The Heritage Survey and Inventory identifies 41 historic or culturally significant sites within the City of Camrose and currently the City has six registered Heritage Resources.

Leckie explained that this was an exciting moment for the City, Heritage Advisory Committee and  many of the property owners and how administration arrived at councils’ consideration of Municipal Historic Designation for these five properties.

“In 2011, the City, in partnership with the Province of Alberta (including funding), undertook Heritage Survey and Inventory, which is the establishment of Statement of Significance on 41 properties in Camrose to identify what aspect about them, socially, culturally or historically are worth protecting,” said Leckie adding that it doesn’t provide any ability to protect the resources, just identify them.

“In 2017, the Heritage Advisory Committee was formed after deliberations regarding a rezoning and the form and character of a home.”

Leckie said that part of the terms of reference identified that the Heritage Advisory Committee is to advise council on matters related to historic resources and municipal heritage polices.
According to Leckie, in 2021, City Council of the time, approved the Heritage Advisory Committee  business case to establish a Heritage Management Plan for Camrose (also in part funded by the Province of Alberta), and provided actions for the next 10 years to better manage those historic resources.

“The Plan moves beyond just identifying the resources, to actually taking the action to engage with those owners, protect those resources and ensure that it does speak to a certain period of time in Camrose and that they are worth protecting.”

Leckie said that the addition of these five properties extended beyond the target of designating two additional historic resources a year. “I know the Heritage Advisory Committee looks forward to continuing discussions with many other owners that are on the inventory and they are also looking at updating the inventory next year and adding resources that can be protected in future years.”
Leckie said that while the municipality does have the authority to designate properties without home owners consent, administration and the Heritage Advisory Committee, through the Heritage Management Plan, took the approach of having home owners make the application and understand what it means to have a Heritage Municipal Resource. “Including restrictions and opportunities for renovation and rehabilitation and further opportunities for partnership with the Province for access to a significant stream of grant funding, up to $50,000 per year for restoration.”

Leckie stressed the importance of having home owners with a vested interest in having their properties designated as a Municipal Historic Resource and realizing what it means to have a historic resource.

“What it means for the community of Camrose and what it means for them going forward as home owners and future homeowners and the importance of those properties as described in the Statements of Significance, speaks a lot to this community.

“Also, the success administration has had and the privilege of working with many homeowners in historic areas, that are willing to step up to the plate and undertake this important initiative so that Camrose will be reminded of the past and these homes are preserved in the best way they can moving forward.”

For more information on the Heritage Manage ment Plan go to www.camrose.ca/en/your-government/resources/Documents/Heritage_Management_Plan.pdf.

Churchmice play offers comedy and drama

By Murray Green

The Bold, the Young, and the Murdered is the latest masterpiece performed by the local Churchmice Players.

You can still view this play at the Bailey Theatre on December 8, 9 and 10 with dinner at 6 and play at 7:30 p.m. You will enjoy the evening filled with dining, laughter and drama. Churchmice Players have brought together a brilliantly talented cast in this hilarious murder mystery comedy.

The local cast disguise the real FBI agent in the show really well. Who is undercover and who is the murderer? Test your detective skills as you watch the story unfold.

The writing of the original script by Don Zolidis could have been better and tighter, but the Churchmice Players overshadowed the shortcomings with amazing directing (Mike Hicks) and acting skills.
The storyline begins with a second rate day-time show in its last days: its hunky hero has self-esteem issues, its villainous old man is more interested in soup and its heroines are slightly psychopathic.

The executive producer gives the squabbling cast an ultimatum: Complete one episode overnight or the show dies. But when the director ends up murdered, and other cast members start dropping like flies, it seems like his threat might actually come true. Can these misfits discover the murderer before the show is literally killed off?

The cast from Churchmice Players are Dale Adam, Ethan Carr, Veronica Dennis, Brian Dumont, Ryerson Kowalchuk, Bailey Lassesen, Andrew Little, Max MacIntyre, Bradley Moshuk, Marla Moshuk, Alex Novakowski, Carolyn Olson, Kevin Schole and Vanessa Torkelson.

Contact boxoffice@baileytheatre.com or phone 780-672-5510 for tickets or more information.
14 balcom 71 el camino

Balcom relishes driving his El Camino

This 1971 El Camino rides smooth like a car, but is built truck tough by owner Gary Balcom. The El Camino offered style and carrying capacity for automobiles owners who didn’t want to drive a half-ton around town.

By Murray Green

Gary Balcom of Camrose owns a 1971 GMC El Camino.

“I picked up this car in Edson. It had a horrible life, so I decided to bring it back home and make it a real car again,” said Gary.

“Someone really drove it hard and hit everything they could find. Everything is new on this car, the motor, transmission, suspension, body, doors and hood. Everything is new except the frame,” explained Gary.

“I’ve had over 70 El Caminos. Ever since I was a little kid, I really liked the El Camino. They are different and not every one has one. It is a car, but can haul like a half-ton. They are a full frame car/truck. For me, it was a toss up between getting a 1970 or ’71. Since I have a 1970 Chevelle, I decided to get a ’71 El Camino,” he shared.

The Chevrolet El Camino is a coupe utility vehicle that was produced by Chevrolet between 1959-60 and 1964-87. Unlike a standard pickup truck, the El Camino was adapted from the standard two-door Chevrolet station wagon platform and integrated the cab and cargo bed into the body.

“I built the car to be original, except for the rims. It has a 300 horsepower 350 engine with a Turbo 400 transmission behind it, which is pretty much stock. This was an original small block car so I replaced it with what it had before,” he added.

“The only thing different is the colour. It was brown before. Now it is Honda 2020 blue. I like how this looks black in certain lighting,” said Gary.

“This El Camino is pretty plain. It has power steering, power brakes and really big sway bars. That is pretty much it for options,” he laughed.

“Stereos and power windows were very rare in pre-’72 models. Just lap belts and the motor is exactly what you get. This is a check the oil, check the gas and go for a drive kind of car. This was built to drive. If you want to go to Calgary, you jump in and go. You don’t have to worry about it overheating or anything, it was built to drive,” said Gary.

“I like the looks because they are different. You are not going to see one on every corner. When people see nice cars, they know exactly who owns it. Owning a one-of-a-kind car is something specia, at least in my mind. I built this car for me, not anyone else. That is why it is the way it is,” said Gary.

“I like to go to car shows, but not sit there for six hours. I like to hit three on a weekend, go talk to some people and leave,” Gary said.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if GM spent millions on making the car ride this way, I don’t need to spend thousands on after market stuff to change it. GM is smarter than I am and that is the way I look at it. I like to have everything  stock.”
 
FUN FACTS

Although based on corresponding General Motors car lines, the vehicle is classified in the United States as a pickup. GMC’s badge engineered El Camino variant, the Sprint, was introduced for the 1971 model year. The 1971 El Camino got fresh front-end styling (again shared with the Chevelle) that included large power beam single unit headlights, a reworked grille and bumper and integral park/signal/marker lights. For 1971, mandated lower-octane unleaded fuel necessitated a reduction in engine compression, and GM’s AIR system, a smog pump, was added to control tailpipe emissions.

Power and performance were reduced. Engine offerings for 1971 included the 250-six, small-block V8s of 307 and 350 cubic inches; and big block V8s of 402 and 454-cubic-inch displacements.

Horsepower ratings of those engines for 1971 ranged from 145 for the six to 365 for the 454. A rebadged El Camino, the GMC Sprint debuted in 1971. It shared the same engine and transmission offerings as its Chevrolet counterpart.

The 1971 editions had the least production with 41,606 units made. The 1972 El Caminos wore single-unit parking and side marker lights on their front fenders, outside of a revised twin-bar grille, but little changed.

Snow angels

By Lori Larsen

Enjoying a walk in the outdoors can be challenging during the winter months, having to sometimes traverse slippery, snow-covered sidewalks.

In an effort to ensure residents can still enjoy the great outdoors, Walkable Camrose in partnership with the City of Camrose and the Camrose Seniors Coalition is operating the Snow Angels program, the goal of which is to promote a safe winter walking environment for everyone in the community.

“We do this by recognizing those who give of their time and energy to clear snow from sidewalks and walkways for a friend or neighbour who can’t,” said Walkable Camrose chairperson Emily Sangster. “These generous people are our Snow Angels.”

The program is simple. Residents are encouraged to contact Walkable Camrose at walkablecamrose@gmail.com or send a message through the Walkable Camrose Facebook page  anytime they have seen or know of a “Snow Angel” who assists others with clearing sidewalks.

“Just send us the name and address of the person who benefits from the Snow Angel’s help, and we will deliver a certificate signed by Mayor Stasko for that person to give their Snow Angel,” explained Sangster.  “To respect the Snow Angel’s privacy, we don’t ask for their name or contact information.”

Walkable Camrose has been active since 2012 as a committee of local social service organizations, City staff, provincial agencies, and interested citizens.

The mission of Walkable Camrose is to recognize and promote the value of walking for recreation and transportation, with four specific priority areas:
 
  • promoting safe and healthy environments for all citizens
  • promoting increased inclusive mobility for all citizens
  • promoting built environments that enhance walkability
  • and promoting a culture of walking.

For more information on Walkable Camrose, contact through email at walkablecamrose@gmail.com.

 
16 cchs wall of fame

ÉCCHS Wall of Fame 2022

École Camrose Composite High School 2022 Wall of Fame inductees pictured left to right are Dr. Jennifer Watt, Micheal Holmes, Tom Spila and Cliff Drever.

By Lori Larsen

The newest inductees to the École Camrose Composite High School Wall of Fame were celebrated at a luncheon and ceremony held on November 18 at the ÉCCHS library.

Inductees Micheal Holmes, Dr. Jennifer Watt, Cliff Drever and Tom Spila were joined by family, friends, committee board members, students and guests during a luncheon and the official ceremony.
In the usual fashion, guests rose as the inductees were formally piped in by piper Alex Oliver, then one by one, the inductees were introduced by ÉCCHS students and then inductees shared a bit about their stories and words of wisdom for current Grade 12 students.

Emcee Jim Ofrim, past ÉCCHS principal, opened the formal ceremony with a brief history on the Wall of Fame. “When we first came up with this Wall of Fame a number of years ago, we did so for three main reasons. First, to recognize former students and teachers who have established themselves as leaders in their chosen vocations and who have also made significant contributions to society.

“Second, to celebrate the proud history of CCHS (now ÉCCHS) which today’s inductees and all these retired teachers (present at the ceremony) have helped contribute to.

“Third, to inspire students and challenge yourselves in future careers and in the service to others.”

Prior to hearing from the 2022 inductees, 2021 inductee Dr. John Pattison-Williams, who was unable attend the day’s ceremony, was introduced.

Introducing 2022 Wall of Fame inductee Micheal Holmes was Janaya Iverson.

Micheal began with a little humour. “Just to be clear, there is not a teacher in this school who would have ever expected that I would be here today.”

He  spoke briefly about his work with the Government of Canada and the connection between Camrose and where he has gone in life. “I am a proud Canadian and I think that is something that has been primary in choosing that career option and working over the course of 33 years in the job I have chosen.”

Micheal described employment with the Canadian government and the opportunities it offers. “It is important we have representation from everyone across the country in those institutions.”

He related his experience in his career, particularly working in the policy field and being afforded the opportunity to travel abroad and that he is currently based in Washington.

He said that growing up, he always had an interest in history and politics (to some extent). “It was something that was always talked about at our dinner table, something that was ever present in a lot of ways and there were opinions expressed around our dinner table.”

Michael said that after a discussion with his mother on what he could do with his future, and upon her suggestion to become a diplomat, he studied political science and eventually moved to Ottawa to pursue that career.

He spoke about the four key factors he believes impact career choices: good fortune, good luck, hard work and taking risks.

In relating his connection to Camrose he said, “It has provided me with a source of strength and support, a cache of life experiences, a practical awareness of how many Canadians live day to day and what matters to them that I have tried to bring to the workforce over the last 33 years.”
Student Emmanuel Pastolero introduced 2022 inductee Dr. Jennifer Watt.

Jennifer began with an touching tribute to her mother, “My mom is someone who has given so much to this community, made it her home and our home when we were growing up. So this recognition means a lot to her.”

Jennifer spoke about  how honoured she was to be among the other inductees and her connections to fellow inductee Michael Holmes, who held out a helping hand when she was a young student in Ottawa; and Tom Spila, who was her music teacher in high school and taught her that hard work and dedication always pays off and demonstrated the type of teacher she wanted to be, is and continues to be.

“I am a teacher educator now, so I teach teachers and I often think about the kind of teachers I had in my life. I had a lot of influential and memorable ones right here in this building.”

Jennifer recognized the students present during the ceremony and throughout the school for the courage and strength they demonstrate to be themselves.

“I think it is one of the major reasons I became a high school teacher and one of the reasons it is a great honour to work in high school research, to try to find out ways to make schools more meaningful and compassionate places.

“We need to recognize that the high school experience is not always easy for everyone, for all sorts of reasons.”

Jennifer shared her final thoughts with students to remain interested, ask questions, be curious, raise a protest, be fierce and search for justice.

“We need people who are curious and are passionate and willing to stand up and ask hard questions and demand complex, difficult and messy answers. You are who we need.”

Student Lyndon Simpson introduced 2022 inductee Cliff Drever.

Cliff began by saying he really enjoyed his time at CCHS (now ÉCCHS) and made many lifetime friends along the way.

He related his journey as, what he admitted to being, a lifelong entrepreneur beginning with the purchase of a cow with money he saved from his paper route when he was in Grade 6. “My father always encouraged me to work hard and get at it.  His best words (of wisdom) were ‘work harder or start earlier’. It pays dividends.”
Cliff said that growing up, he always had role models and advised students to do the same. “Find someone in the field you are interested in and ask them questions and you will just be amazed at how far they will go to help you become proficient in the field you are interested in. People really love to share with young people everything they know.”

He spoke about exploring adventures and how he and his wife, Bev, moved back to Camrose to take over the family fuel business and how pleased he is to see his family taking over that business today.
“We are very fortunate to have longevity in our family. My grandfathers put in 72 crops. One day, I was kind of bemoaning to him how tough this farming was and he said, ‘Eh, the first 50 years are the worse. Then it gets slightly better.’”

Cliff offered information on other business opportunities and tips on some of the challenges and successes.

“I believe that it is really important to challenge yourself and set goals and do what it takes to achieve them both personally and professionally,” remarked Cliff. “I encourage you to figure out what it will take to make things happen and get at it.”

On a final note, Cliff said, “We live in a great country with highly skilled professionals who were able to attend our schools and universities and colleges.
“I recently had a stem cell transplant that was successful because of the skills that are taught in our schools and universities. These highly skilled professionals give us all the chance to live longer and healthier lives. As Canadians we are so fortunate.
Student Simone Doucet introduced 2022 distinguished faculty member Tom Spila.
Spila, a retired music teacher of 44 years, humourously announced to the crowd of supporters and admirers of the amazing work he has done for the music program and students, that after so many years of renting their residence in Camrose, he and his wife Crystal finally purchased a home a couple years ago.“So I guess that means we are going to be here for a few more years.

“I feel that I have been very fortunate to have spent almost all of my teaching career here in Camrose,” commented Tom. “I have had wonderful support from the community, school district, staff, parents, colleagues, students, especially administration.”

Tom said that through his years of teaching at the Comp, he has been supported by administration in building a comprehensive music program that followed his personal philosophy.

“I had a philosophy in mind that every student should have the opportunity to be involved in music and every student was entitled to a good experience.”

Tom thanked the phys ed department at CCHS (now ÉCCHS) for allowing him to “share” students, so any student wanting both sporting and music opportunities were given that chance. “Talking to colleagues across the province, I know that is not the norm.”

Tom recognized colleague and friend Bob Bailey for his continued support and his work for providing excellent music programs and thanked support staff, students, the community and extended family, but mostly his wife Crystal.

“Her advice played an important part in developing the music program. I have great ideas–many that wouldn’t have seen the light of day (if not for her help).”

Humbly recognizing that there were some students he may have been unable to reach, Tom apologized. “It was never my intention to create a confrontational relationship. I always pondered on things, maybe sometimes too much, before acting, but I like to think what I was doing was best for the students.”

On a final note, Tom advised students to take advantage of all that ÉCCHS has to offer. 

Stuff an ambulance

By Lori Larsen

After one-year hiatus, Stuff an Ambulance returns on December 10 for its 14th annual event, in the Safeway parking lot, 6008-48 Avenue, from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Under the umbrella of Alberta Health Services, Camrose Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be parking ambulances and stuffing them with donations for the Camrose Neighbor Aid Center Food Bank.

Members of the Camrose Emergency Medical Services and Community Response Team and volunteers will be accepting donations of food and nonfood items (see lists below), and cash or gift cards.

Event organizer, Primary Care Paramedic Laura Rinas is delighted that once again members of EMS will be out serving the community in another fashion.

“We are so grateful to be able to put this event on each year and are thankful for the community of Camrose,” said Rinas.
Recognizing the importance of ensuring everyone in the community can experience food security, Rinas said the donations are greatly appreciated. “It has been hard on everybody. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to give back a little bit.”

The event also offers members of the community a chance to talk to and get to know the public service employees who are responding to their needs, often in the most dire of times.

“We always look forward to these events, because we can talk to the community and get to know the people around and let them know that we love responding to them.”

Items for donation include nonperishable items such as any canned items, specifically fish or meat (flaked chicken, ham), pasta and pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned soups (vegetable/mushroom/chunky),  canned fruit or vegetables,  soup crackers, granola bars, cookies, crackers, juice boxes, fruit cups and pudding cups.

Non-food items needed include: toilet paper, soap, shampoo and deodorant.

Cash donations will be used to help purchase food and other items needed, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.

Camrose Safeway will be selling pre-packaged hampers for anyone wishing to donate to the Food Bank or the Stuff an Ambulance initiative.

On December 10, drive towards the flashing lights in the Safeway parking lot and make a donation and help make the holiday season more enjoyable for all Camrosians.

 
17 wilf keller at rembrance tree

Remembering loved ones

Wilf Keller hangs a delicate red stocking ornament adorned with the letter “D” and Dorothy written above it in memory of his wife Dorothy, who passed away seven years ago.

By Lori Larsen

For so many people, this time of year is an opportunity to gather and celebrate with loved ones.

However, for others, it may be the first or the 10th or however long, Christmas season they will spend without a special person in their physical lives and may act as a reminder that there is an empty chair at the dinner table.

While being without those people in our lives who have passed on may be difficult, and seeing and feeling the emptiness in our lives sad, remembering them and honouring their lives is vital in a person’s journey through grief.

Cemeteries play a concrete role with a way to physically give time to those who have deceased. They offer a quiet place to reflect and re-connect and a peaceful time to contemplate and remember.

For that reason, and in an effort to encourage people to visit the cemetery, City of Camrose Parks Department senior operator/supervisor and municipal arborist Kim Vassberg decided to run with an idea she had learned while attending the Western Canadian Cemetery Conference.

“I wanted to dedicate a tree in the cemetery where people can come and hang an ornament in memory of a loved one,” said Kim.

The Tree of Remembrance initiative invites anyone to come hang ornaments on the beautiful tall spruce tree located in the Valleyview Cemetery centre island to honour departed loved ones and share the joy of the season with those who are no longer with us in the physical world.
Personalize your ornament with the name and or photo of your loved one and securely hang it in a spot on the tree, where each time you pass you will be reminded of their presence in your heart.

Like local Camrosian Wilf Keller, who hung a simple red stocking ornament with a beautifully inscribed letter “D” above which is printed the name Dorothy, his wife who passed away seven years ago.

Christmas is an especially important time for Wilf to make what has become daily visits to the cemetery and spend time with Dorothy, if only in spirit.

“We were together for 55 years,” smiled Wilf fondly remembering his life with Dorothy.  “It doesn’t stop, just like that, she will always be part of my life.”

With the hopes that the tree will become adorned with special tributes to people who touched lives and left impressions in hearts, the ornaments will remain on the tree until January 8, unless taken down earlier by the person who placed them there.

Any ornaments not collected after January 15 will be taken down by City staff.
The City asks that nails or screws not be used to attach ornaments to avoid causing damage to the tree.

For more information or if you require assistance with hanging an ornament, contact the City at 780-672-9195.

The Remembrance Tree is a wonderful way to remember loved ones and celebrate how their time on earth enriched our lives.

 

OLMP girls gather volleyball experience

By Murray Green

The Our Lady of Mount Pleasant (OLMP) senior girls’ volleyball team gained a lot of valuable experience at 2A provincials on November 24 to 26.

Although they had an 0-5 record, they were in a tough division and the experience will be valuable next season. The Royals went to three games against Edmonton Christian. They also lost to Magrath, Notre Dame of Calgary, Rundle of Calgary and Vauxhall.
“We were in a tough pool with three of the top four teams in our pool. The number one issue for us was getting to provincials with five Grade 10 starters, one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 player. That was a milestone for us,” said coach Greg Ryan.

Notre Dame won provincials in the finals against Magrath. Vauxhall earned the bronze medals.

“The boys team that won this year were 0-5 last year. So, you have to get to provincials to gain the experience for next year. You have to understand how everything works the first time and then go for next season. We played some really good matches. We lacked a little experience and the ability to close out some of the sets. There were lots of things to like about this team,” explained coach Greg.

“Five of the six starters play on the Precision club (Camrose club volleyball) so they are going to continue to play at the U16 level and have another three or four months of high level competition. That will help them grow and they all play together,” coach added.

“We have a great group of players. All year, we had Grade 10s playing Grade 12 players. That is two age groups up in Volleyball Alberta. You can see the growth and how much confidence they have gained. Next September becomes a jumping off spot and taking provincial experience into next season,” said Greg.

“It was interesting to see by the time we played Vauxhall, our players were playing to their speed. One of their players is in the Volleyball Canada program as a 17-year-old. She is going to be considered a national team player. We started to step up to that level and had some nice plays in the middle. That was really good volleyball with some good blocking and attacking,” shared Greg.

“You start to see the flashes of brilliance that you know are coming. We are on the right track because we can play at the speed. We can’t consistently play at that speed yet, but we can see the flashes beginning and some really fine playing,” he added.

“Club volleyball and high school volleyball become an interesting marriage. You look at the teams that qualified from zones in our zone were New Norway, Bawlf, OLMP and ÉCCHS. Three of the teams medalled. We have a strong area when it comes to volleyball, with good coaches I might add. The club teams make the high schools better and the high schools make the club program better. It bodes well for the future of volleyball.”

Share your thoughts about childhood shots

By Murray Green

There is a lot of information available to Albertans around immunization, especially when it comes to routine childhood immunization.

According to Alberta Health Services, starting at two months of age, Alberta’s childhood immunization schedule aims to immunize against diseases at the safest and most effective ages and stages. This can be stressful and confusing for parents and caregivers, from keeping up with appointments to ensuring the safety and well-being of your child.

They want to hear your thoughts, ideas, concerns and opinions on immunizations, particularly for your children. If you are a parent or caregiver of a child or children between the ages of newborn and 15, take a few minutes to complete a survey and share your thoughts and opinions on childhood immunization. Look for the survey at ahs.ca/childvaccine and complete by December 31. Results will be kept confidential.

Canada Post assists Daysland School

By Murray Green

The Canada Post Community Foundation informed 101 organizations across the country that they will receive a grant to support their efforts to improve the lives of Canadian children and youth.

A total of $1.3 million in grants were awarded for this year. The recipients include grassroots organizations from every province and territory.

Local funds went to assist the Society of the Friends of Daysland School.

There were also up to three $50,000 Signature Grants for organizations with a national scope and a new annual Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation Signature Grant. Little Warriors from Sherwood Park is one of the proud recipients of a Signature Grant, which is the biggest category of grants offered.

Canada Post is committed to fostering reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, including through funding of community programs that support Indigenous children and youth. All 2022 grant recipients are listed on the Canada Post Community Foundation website.

This year’s stamp, issued on September 19, will raise funds for distribution in 2023 and is available for purchase. Stamp booklets can be purchased and donations made at local post offices, with funds going to organizations that operate in the province or territory in which they are raised.

 Established in 2012, the Foundation is a registered charity that operates at arm’s length from Canada Post. It has granted more than $12.3 million to 1,100 initiatives for children and youth nationwide.

To donate to the Canada Post Community Foundation, purchase a booklet of stamps at a local post office or visit canadapost.ca/community.

Provincial champions

By Murray Green

The Our Lady of Mount Pleasant (OLMP) Royals senior boys volleyball team captured the 2A provincials on November 24 to 26.

The Camrose team went undefeated in pool play with wins over Notre Dame, La Crete, Oilfields, Rundle and Immanuel Christian to place first heading into the playoff round.

OLMP beat Edmonton Christian in two straight games to reach the final match. The Royals beat Kate Andrews School 2-1 to earn the gold medals. Edmonton Christian went on to grab the bronze medals.
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Reflections

By Bonnie Hutchinson

What makes you laugh?
 
It’s “ho ho ho” season–and no lockdown! That got me thinking about things that make me laugh.

Naturally, somebody has researched laughter. According to Robert Provine, Ph.D., who wrote a book called Laughter, “One of the remarkable things about laughter is that it occurs unconsciously. You don’t decide to do it. While we can consciously inhibit it, we don’t consciously produce laughter. That’s why it’s very hard to laugh on command or to fake laughter.”
I started remembering cards, one-liners and incidents that made me laugh.
Front of a birthday card:  “The years have been kind…”

Inside the card: “…but gravity’s not doing you any favours!”

I still get the giggles when I think about that card.
 
***

Provine said, “Laughter is social and contagious. We laugh at the sound of laughter itself. The first laughter appears at about 3.5 to four months of age, long before babies are able to speak. Laughter, like crying, is a way for a pre-verbal infant to interact with the mother and other caregivers.”

I remember going to conferences and hearing many knowledgeable and interesting speakers. Fascinating stuff. Two days later the only things I remembered were the jokes.
Something my grandmother said about my father: “There must be music in him–because none ever came out.”
 
***

Provine: “Contrary to folk wisdom, most laughter is not about humour; it is about relationships between people. Over a 10-year period, we studied over 2,000 cases of naturally occurring laughter.

“We found that most laughter does not follow jokes. People laugh after a variety of statements such as ‘Here comes Mary,’ ‘How did you do on the test?’ and ‘Do you have a rubber band?’ These aren’t jokes.
“We don’t decide to laugh at these moments. Our brain makes the decision for us. These curious ha-ha-ha’s are bits of social glue that bond relationships.”
 
***

Mother’s Day card (I actually received this card): “Mom, I’m sorry you had all the pain, the agony, the anguish…”

Inside the card: “…but enough about my brother!”

My daughter thought this was funny. My son may have been less amused.
 
***

Provine: “No one has actually counted how much people of different ages laugh, but young children probably laugh the most. At ages five and six, we tend to see the most exuberant laughs. Adults laugh less than children, probably because they play less. And laughter is associated with play.”
 
***

Front of a birthday card (I actually received this one too): “One good thing about getting old…

Inside the card: “…Nobody wants to borrow your clothes.”
 
***

Here’s my all-time favourite laughter story–and it’s even true.

My dad was a stickler for safety. At work he was insistent about safety goggles and proper procedures for using machinery. At home when he mowed the lawn, no matter how hot the day, he put on coveralls and work boots and wore leather gauntlets. (Under the coveralls, he was still wearing his white shirt and tie!)

Once when Dad and Mom were in their seventies, Dad got up in the night to go to the bathroom. On the way back to bed, he stubbed his toe. It really hurt. He said some words.

A voice from Mom’s side of the bed said, “You mean you weren’t wearing your steel toed boots?”

They both started to laugh, and then they got the giggles. When one would begin to stop laughing, the other would start again. As Dad said, “Two old coots in the middle of the night, laughing their heads off in the dark.”

And that is my favourite mental image of my parents.

Actually, who cares why we laugh? We do and it’s fun. The phrase, “I could die laughing” might not be a bad way to go!
Happy ho-ho-ho season.
 
***
 
I’d love to hear from you. If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, email me at Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com.
I’ll happily reply within one business day.
Laurel nadon 2019
Homespun By Laurel Nadon

Homespun

By Laurel Nadon

Wildlife lesson learned

We were visited by a muskrat last weekend. We thought it was so fuzzy and cute, waddling around outside of our house, leaving the coolest tracks with footprints on each side and a tail drag mark down the middle. I stepped outside onto the concrete patio in my slippers to take photos and a video of the little critter. He was in my strawberry planters when I started the video, happily munching on the hay that is on top of the plants for the winter. I said, “Hey, what do you think you’re doing in my strawberries?” He slid down, slowly making his way toward me while I continued to video. Then suddenly he lunged at me from the snow onto the patio and started to run at me! I hollered at him in my stern, back-off-animals voice, completely forgot to turn off the video, and raced back through the door. The muskrat kept wandering around, and then started scratching at the door.

My husband, who built our house, is quite protective of it getting damaged. He decided the muskrat, while cute and furry, needed to go back to his own home. He grabbed a shovel as he went outside and was surprised when the muskrat lunged at him and bit the shovel. My husband escorted it back to the trees in the shovel, and we didn’t see him again. The video was quite funny, and has me telling my family what just happened since I hadn’t turned it off.

(My brother later told me that sometimes muskrats go exploring in the winter, or have domestic squabbles and somebody gets kicked out of the lodge. No wonder he arrived so cantankerous if he had just been kicked out!)

That afternoon, as we had an epic game of Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights, whenever I looked outside, my daughter asked if I was looking for my “attacker”. The kids all thought it was quite hilarious, Mom and then Dad being attacked by a vicious, but small and cute muskrat. After supper that night, I said that we had learned an important lesson–all wild creatures need their space. My daughter said, “Mom, we already knew that.” Okay, so maybe it was a reminder of something we already knew.

Of course, this is a lesson that I know when it applies to large creatures. Once, in our pre-children era, my husband and I went for a hike in the mountains with a good friend. We set up a tent, then hiked across a steep area over to a wild hot spring that we knew about nearby. We relaxed there for quite awhile, then our friend headed back to our camp area. After a bit, he radioed us on our walkie talkie that we had along (this was way before everyone carried a cell phone). He said that there was a grizzly bear above him, rolling rocks down the mountain while it searched for food. Our friend set about preparing a pot of boiling water in case it came too close. We cautiously made our way back to the tent on the trail below the bear.

Normally, we would have started cooking supper at that point, but there was no way we could do that with a bear so close by. We quickly packed everything back up, keeping an eye on where the grizzly was. By this time, it was growing dark. We put our backpacks on and hiked down the mountain with our headlamps on, making lots of noise and arriving back at the truck along the highway late at night. I had never been so grateful to see my vehicle as I was then. We had definitely known to give that particular kind of wild creature its space.

Last weekend, it was the muskrat’s cuteness that tricked me. Perhaps my muskrat lesson was that even small, cute-looking wild creatures need their space.

Births and Deaths

DEATHS
  • Nina Kathrine Nolls of Edmonton, on November 27, at 44 years of age.
  • Joyce Caroline Sherstobitoff of Camrose, formerly of Saskatoon, SK, on November 30, at 81 years of age.
  • Vivian Selin of Camrose, on December 1, at 93 years of age.
  • Allen “Thomas” Coultis of Camrose, on December 3, at 92 years of age.