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Reflections

By Bonnie Hutchenson

Zooming on with it

It’s almost a week since Canada Day, but I’m still smiling about one of my highlights of that day. I got to see and speak with four generations of family members from four time zones and three continents.
Through the magic of Zoom, we got to hear “Happy Canada Day” (sung to the tune of “Happy Birthday”) by the youngest grandson who lives in Singapore. We got to chat with family members in Brisbane, Australia. (For our Singapore and Brisbane family, it was July 2.) We got to visit with another grandson in New Brunswick. And we had our Alberta folks in Camrose, Calgary, Edgerton and Edmonton.
We even had a slide show of photos we’d all sent ahead of time to my sister and her husband who orchestrated all of it.
I was feeling so fortunate. It was a treat to see and speak with nieces and nephews I haven’t seen for several years. And I thought how different our lives are, compared to our grandparents.
***
Contrast.
In about 1918, my English grandmother travelled across the Atlantic Ocean with her infant son, my dad. She’d married a Canadian soldier during the First World War. He had not yet been released from service, but she was travelling ahead to Canada to await him.
From Halifax, she travelled by train across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to Edmonton where her mother-in-law lived. Quite a contrast from her tiny British Island home.
When she left England, she knew she would never see her father or brothers or sisters again (her mother had died). When she left, she knew she was seeing them for the last time.
I remember that when I was a little girl, my grandma would be really happy on the days when she got a letter from her sister Em. The letters would take weeks or even months to arrive, so by the time she read them, the news would be old. And she would write back knowing her letters would take weeks before her sister would see them.
I’ve been told that her mother-in-law was not a pleasant person. In fact, her mother-in-law suggested that she should go back to England, but leave the baby behind.
When her husband arrived, they moved to a homestead in the Duhamel area, where they were far from the nearest neighbour and could hear the coyotes howling at night. Not exactly like London, England, where my grandmother had been the head of a department in a large store.
***
I’ve heard the story of someone else’s grandmother who came from Wales. Her husband had come ahead to East Central Alberta near Provost. She followed later with their two small children.
She arrived at the train station in Wetaskiwin. He was there to meet her with an ox cart. He’d nailed a chair on the wagon for her to sit. It took two days for them to get to where he’d built a rough cabin on a quarter section.
When she told the story to one of her grandchildren, he asked, “What did you do?” She said, “I cried for three days. Then I got on with it.”
***
Here on the prairies, that’s the story of most of our ancestors. They came, in those days mostly from Europe, and they left behind families and friends they would never see again.
Many, like my English grandmother, had not lived outside of a city in their lives. They came to a wilderness. They lived on quarter sections of cheap land, far from neighbours. They looked out at a barren landscape and listened to coyotes howling at night. And they got on with it.
These are tough times in Alberta. We’re not the first and we won’t be the last. And we’ll get on with it. Possibly helped by Zoom visits with faraway people we cherish.
***
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. read more

Vikings hockey will return

By Murray Green

The Augustana Vikings hockey team will be returning next year.
After about four months of negotiations, the University of Alberta Augustana Campus and the Augustana Vikings Hockey Alumni Association reached an agreement to ensure the continuation of the hockey program at Augustana. However, the work is far from finished.
An agreement between Augustana and the alumni association was signed on June 28 to ensure the continuation of the Augustana Vikings hockey program in Camrose.
“The longevity and success of the Vikings is entrusted in this agreement,” said Augustana dean Demetres Tryphonopoulos. “And I would like to offer our thanks to our alumni hockey association for their imagination, spirit of generosity, passion for the program and hard work. Without this group’s initiative and persistence, none of this would have been possible.”
Both Augustana and the leaders of the alumni association, president David Ritz and vice president Dean Prpick will need to keep moving forward in order to ice a team for the 2021-22 season.
The alumni association is continuing to gather support and fundraise for the team. “We still have a lot of hard work to do,” said Prpick. “There has been a lot of support in the greater hockey community for the Augustana Vikings, but the job is really just getting started.”
The Vikings were one of the first members of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and have been operating for about 52 years. The Vikings have also hosted an international hockey tournament, the Viking Cup.
The Augustana Vikings Hockey Alumni Association is the only alumni group on campus that is incorporated as a nonprofit and has already been providing substantial financial support to its team.
Verlyn Olson, a member of the alumni association, longtime member of the Viking Cup steering committee, former Vikings player, a former MLA for the Camrose-Wetaskiwin area and provincial government minister, also stressed the importance of not only the hockey program and its long tradition, but also of the value of Augustana as a campus.
“While hockey has been an important part of life at Augustana for decades, so have many other sports and cultural programs,” Olson explained. “To me, the value of Augustana from a teaching and academic perspective are beyond question. What makes it a centre of excellence are those qualities combined with the sport, cultural and community engagement of its students.”
In mid-June, Augustana made the decision to withdraw participation from the 2020-21 ACAC and Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) season, for all of the Vikings teams, including hockey, due to the COVID-19 pandemic along with budget concerns.
Tryphonopoulos and Ian Reade, athletics director for the University of Alberta, both expressed uncertainty that the leagues would go ahead in January, even though the ACAC announced it will begin competition in January 2021.
“We can all be very excited that the association has stepped up to protect a program with such a long history at Augustana,” said Reade.
“To the Augustana Campus and City of Camrose–let’s prepare to build even more history for this great program,” said Ritz.
To donate to the Augustana Vikings Hockey Alumni Association, contact Ritz at dritz@ualberta.ca and/or Dean Prpick at prpick@ ualberta.ca.

Gill runs to fight kidney disease

By Murray Green

Trevor Gill is on the run to create more awareness for kidney disease.
He is an Ultra Runner from Vilna, who is participating in a charity Ultra Run from Camrose to Forestburg on July 11.
“The run will  be 82.5 kilometres in length and is to bring awareness to kidney disease. It has amassed a large following on Facebook and is expected to increase over the next few weeks,” said Trevor.
You can view his Facebook page directly under the name Trevor Gill.
“The reasoning behind kidney awareness is that I myself am donating a kidney to my father Vern Gill. My father has been dealing with kidney disease over the past four years and through my journey with him and sharing in other people’s experiences, I have realized the general public lacks the awareness of this disease,” shared Trevor, on why he runs.
“Even myself, as a critical care nurse, I am not ashamed to say that I did not realize the time it takes for a recipient to be scheduled for surgery even though a living donor has been identified. I am on year three of testing and we still don’t have a surgical date. In the meantime, a virtual clock counts down on the five-year life expectancy of dialysis patients. Imagine yourself watching that clock, not just for days or months, but for years,” he noted.
“This is also why the run is occurring from Camrose to Forestburg, as my recipient, my mother, and our extended family live there. In fact, my grandfather Owen Saboe was the manager of the Forestburg mine and the mining museum is dedicated to him. It just felt like an appropriate place to put the finish line and it’s always nice to have that little something to make you give that little extra push,” said Trevor.
The run is starting from the Camrose Resort Casino at 8 a.m. and will go east on Highway 13 through Ohaton, Bawlf and Daysland. “We then take a turn south down 856 to Forestburg. These towns become important stepping stones as they are also my aid stations where my crew meets me to refuel and I get a chance to record a message to send out on Facebook for those supporting us by following at home.”
He invites others to join him along the way. “Walk a kilometre, jog a few, hop on your bike and guide us out of your town, or simply give a honk in support. If they want, they can participate in the entire event stride for stride. I put it out there to see what the social media community can garner and so far, I have not been disappointed,” continued Trevor.
The event is meant to be finished with no timeline set for finishing.
“I’m not shooting for a fast finish, as that’s not the intent, but we would like to cross the finish before midnight. Really, anything under 6 p.m. would be an achievement, but if we walk a kilometre or two with someone willing to participate, that will take precedence. It’s relaxed, the way running should be.”
His journey reminds him of an outstanding Canadian. “I am actually a little humbled as it’s the anniversary of Terry Fox’s death and, although I may never achieve what he did, it’s nice to think we can all do our part in our own way,” revealed Trevor.
If you wish to donate, go to the Kidney Foundation of Alberta at kidney.ca and press the donate now button.

Beware of blue-green algae in water

By Lori Larsen

Alberta Health Services recently released an advisory warning residents of the presence of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom on Islet Lake, outside of Tofield.
Blue-green algae is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. Despite its name, the scummy substance can appear in a variety of colour combinations including: blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smells musty or grassy.
All residents living near the shores of the lake and anyone visiting the area are strongly advised to take the following precautions.
Avoid all contact with blue-green algae. If contact occurs, wash with tap water as soon as possible.
Do not swim or wade, or allow your pets to swim or wade in any areas where blue-green algae is visible.
Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this lake to your pets.
Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from this lake, as it is known that fish may store toxins in their liver. (People can safely consume fish fillets from this lake.)
Symptoms of contact with visible blue-green algae or ingestion of water containing blue-green algae include: skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced; however, all humans are at risk of these symptoms.
Exposure to the bacteria may be fatal to pets.
Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another. As such, this advisory will remain in effect for Islet Lake until further notice.
AHS noted that areas of Islet Lake where blue-green algae bloom is not visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even while this blue-green algae Health Advisory is in place.
AHS also strongly advises residents to never drink or cook with untreated water that comes directly from any recreational water body. Boiling the untreated recreational water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae. Use an alternate source of drinking water for pets and livestock while this advisory is active.
If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae or if you require further information on health concerns and blue-green algae, please call Health Link at 811. Additional information is also available online at www.ahs.ca/bga.

Remarkable seniors celebrated for their resilience

By Lori Larsen

The contribution and good work of seniors does not go overlooked by administration and staff of Seasons Retirement Communities who are continually finding ways to celebrate the amazing folks who make up their communities.
Local Seasons resident Jarvis Wiuff is no exception. He was recently selected by the Seasons corporate selection committee as one of the recipients of the Seasons Celebrates Remarkable Residents program.
“The program highlights the remarkable lives of our residents and celebrates them,” said Seasons Communications coordinator Taylor White.
Participants in the program are asked to demonstrate one or a combination of the following: having made significant achievements in his/her lifetime; having made important contributions to his/her community; possessing a unique talent or skill; and making a positive contribution to the Seasons residence in which they live.
Entries from all Seasons Retirement Communities were reviewed and a finalist from each chosen, including Jarvis.
At 20 years old, Jarvis fought a near fatal battle with  scarlet fever and has since remained humble yet determined throughout life.
After retiring from a number of successful careers, he connected with a children’s camp that belonged to a childless couple who loved children. Unfortunately, the camp was in need of financial assistance, but after a long and dedicated 10 years of volunteering, Jarvis was able to bring the camp into an era of stability that its visitors still enjoy today.
All finalists, including Jarvis, were gifted a $100 VISA gift card, a framed certificate, balloons or flowers, and a special acknowledgment during lunch or dinner.
“Similar to many aspects of life, the 2020 Remarkable Residents program looks different than in years past as we could not film these important stories in person as we normally would,” said White. “However, this remote storytelling did not impede the telling of these inspiring messages of hope, resiliency, and the importance of giving back.
“We decided not to hold a contest and ask for our followers’ votes this year; instead, we simply awarded the five winners with one month of free rent.”
Seasons welcomes people to follow them on Facebook and like, share and comment on the videos so the positive messages can likewise be shared with all winners.
“This program is an important way to acknowledge the remarkable people who live in our retirement communities,” said Seasons chief operating officer LeighAnne Voll. “Particularly during this challenging time, we wanted to celebrate the strength, courage and resilience our residents have shown throughout their lives. As a team, we continue to be inspired by their stories.”
To watch the 2020 Winners’ videos, visit Seasons Retirement Communities on Facebook.

Minor ball looking at small training sessions this summer

By Murray Green

The Camrose Minor Ball Association has been given the go-ahead to start baseball training programs, while following the protocols provided by Baseball Alberta.
“We are still seeing what our final registration numbers are going to look like, but hoping to have one group in U11, U13 and U15 at least,” said Ryan Foss, CMBA president.
“We are ready to get players back on our diamonds. But before registering your player, read all of the details carefully. We want you to be fully aware of our Return to Baseball Plan for there are many important points for you to consider.”
The CMBA’s Return to Baseball protocols are not optional, nor are they flexible. “The CMBA board has worked together with Baseball Alberta to come up with our program so that we are following all Alberta Health Service and City of Camrose Guidelines. Our first priority remains the health and safety of all players, coaches and families. We will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to any player, coach or family that does not follow the protocols.”
Camrose will not be offering any programs at this time for the U7 Rally Cap division. “We have also had discussions regarding the U9 rookie division and, at this time, due to age and restrictions still in place, it will also be unlikely that anything will be offered for this age group as well.”

WWTP receives provincial grant funding

7 wwtp provincial
On hand to thank Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely, second from left, on behalf of the province, for the $10.2 million grant for the Waste Water Treatment Plant project were, from left, City of Camrose councillor Wayne Throndson, Deputy Mayor Agnes Hoveland and councillor Max Lindstrand.

By Lori Larsen

The City of Camrose Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) project recently received a $10.2 million grant from the Province of Alberta.
Making the announcement on July 3 at the WWTP lagoon site, on behalf of the province, was Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely. “I’m honoured to announce a $10 million grant to the Camrose Waste Water Treatment Upgrade. These  important treatment upgrades will ensure we meet regulations, allowing our city to have the infrastructure it needs to grow sustainably.
“The Alberta Government has allocated $137 million to the Alberta/Municipal/Wastewater Partnership for 54 projects across this great province, including this one today. Alberta is facing one of the most challenging times in our history and this funding is part of Alberta’s economic recovery plan to get Albertans back to work and that’s why I’m pleased to announce this project. It will crate 144 jobs in Camrose Constituency.”
The project
City of Camrose engineering manager Jeremy Enarson explained the ongoing process for the WWTP project.
“Currently, the WWTP project is still in the detail design stage. We hope to finish the detail design part of the project by the end of August/early fall, but we are likely not tendering the project until around Christmas, near the end of the year.”
Enarson explained that for larger projects such as the WWTP project, waiting to tender until the end of the year allows for the most competitive pricing by bidders.
“Then construction would be happening 2020 to 2023, roughly two to two-and-a-half years for the overall construction.”
The WWTP project will cost approximately $43 million which is what the City has budgeted for and, according to Enarson, is still on track.
Financing the project
Financing projects this large with as little burden to taxpayers as possible is not an easy task, and has required the City to tap into as many resources as possible.
“We had been in discussion with the province for a number of years already,” said Enarson. with regards to grant monies available through the provincial Alberta Municipal Waste Water Partnership (AMWWP). “It is not guaranteed funding, but a Waste Water Treatment Plant project, such as the one Camrose is currently in the process of, is specifically what the AMWWP grant is geared towards.”
The WWTP project met all the criteria for the AMWWP when initial discussions took place, however, the approved funding from the government was not announced until this week. The City has also applied for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan (ICIP) federal/provincial grant.
“We are still waiting for word on that grant,” said Enarson. “It is significantly more dollars, potentially, so we are hoping to get that one.”
In the meantime, receiving the $10.2 million AMWWP grant from the province will go a long way as leverage in the application for the federal grant.
“The City has been building up our reserves as well, but we would still be looking at taking out a fairly large loan for the balance of the project. So if we can leverage the provincial funds to try to get the federal funds, then we might be able to do this project without borrowing any money at all.” He did note, however, that the application process for the ICIP grant has no guarantee.
“The City is very thankful for the $10.2 million of funding received from the provincial government. It is in line with what we requested, so it is also in line with the City budget.”
The ICIP grant requires a contribution by the federal and provincial governments and a certain amount of that the City is responsible to come up with whether that is through loans, current spending, reserves or all of the above.
“If we are unsuccessful with the federal grant, at least we have the commitment from the province now, so we can proceed with the project and have a loan, but much less (approximately $10 million) than if we had not received the provincial funding.
“The amount of money we are putting away in reserves every year is already more than what our annual payments would be on the loan. So even if we didn’t get any additional funding, the City would not have to increase the sanitary utility rates to pay off that loan.”
Background
The $43 million project may not have the same visible impact on residents as other major City projects, such as the 48 Avenue Bridge replacement or the Aquatic Centre upgrade, however, Enarson explained the two main reasons  the upgrades must be completed.
“The upgrades to the WWTP will ensure a higher level of treatment. Right now, we do not treat for ammonia and phosphorus. This project will allow us to start treating for the removal of ammonia and phosphorus from our waste water which will have an ultimate benefit for the downstream environment.
“The other aspect of this is we have basically reached the capacity of our existing facility, about a 20,000 population. The project we are doing right now is being designed to allow for a 30,000 population, so it is allowing for the growth of the community.”
Presentation
Present for the announcement on July 3  were Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely and assistant Wendy Pasiuk, City of Camrose councillors Max Lindstrand and Wayne Throndson, City of Camrose engineering manager Jeremy Enarson, utility manager Lawrence Allen, and engineering Co-op student Mackenzie Pleau,  Battle River Watershed Alliance planning coordinator  Sarah Skinner and Deputy Mayor Agnes Hoveland.
“This investment in Camrose could not have happened at a better time,” said Deputy Mayor Hoveland. “Due to changing environmental regulations, we are faced with a $43 million Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade that is an absolute requirement. This $10.2 million investment by the Province of Alberta will go a long way toward funding this essential project. The City of Camrose is hoping to leverage these funds in order to secure further funding from the Federal government.
“We truly appreciate the Province’s investment in our infrastructure assisting in ensuring the continued delivery of this essential service. Thank you.” read more

Emergency services quick response

By Lori Larsen

On June 30, Camrose Emergency Services responded quickly to avert a potentially very dangerous situation after the operator of a pickup truck struck the back east corner of the Gemini Centre building, causing a natural gas leak.
Prior to striking the building, the operator of the truck also struck two parked vehicles.
The Gemini Centre and surrounding buildings were evacuated while ATCO Gas contained the area until the proper equipment was brought in to expose the main line and fix the issue. The Gemini Centre remained closed for the remainder of the day.
Charges to the operator of the pickup truck are pending.

Minor soccer opens small group training sessions

By Murray Green

The Camrose and District Soccer Association has been given the go-ahead to start soccer training programs, while following the protocols provided by Alberta Soccer and CASA.
CDSA will begin with soccer skill training and some modified games.
Participants can only be associated with one sport at a time. A maximum of 50 people, including players, coaches and referees, can be at the same location at one time.
Camrose and Wetaskiwin are thinking of allowing teams to play against one another later in the summer.
The plan is for a six-week training period that started on July 1. Teams in the U9 to U17 age groups will be limited due to field capacity and logistical reasons.
U9 will be either Monday or Wednesday; U11 will be either Tuesday or Thursday; U13 will be either Monday or Wednesday; U15 will be either Tuesday or Thursday; and U17 will be either Monday or Wednesday.
Start times will likely be 6:30 p.m., however, older age groups may be at 8 p.m. to stagger start times to maintain social distancing.
Registration is currently open and once player numbers are determined, more detailed information will be available for parents and players.
If you have any questions, email registrar@camrosesoccer.com or president@camrosesoccer.com.

Promoting Camrose countryside

By Lori Larsen

A recent article in the Western Canadian Game Warden  Summer 2020 (Volume 12 Issue 1) magazine, written by Camrose Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch (FWEB) District Officer Lorne Rinkel, not only shed light on the rich history of the Red Coat Trail, including the passage of the North-West Mounted Police, but some of the incredible sites that exist in Camrose County.
Seen through his eyes during the commission of his duties, the article features tidbits about the history and land that encompasses Camrose FWEB district. The district runs from the northwest corner of Edmonton to the northeast corner of Viking, then south to the southeast corner of Hardisty, and then along the north bank of the Battle River to the southwest corner of Bashaw.
While having such a large district to cover poses some challenges for the two FWEB officers (including Lorne) currently posted in Camrose, Lorne admits that it has presented so many opportunities to explore the vast landscape and impactful history of the area snaked by the Battle River.
“I have now been posted in the Camrose FWEB District for five years; the diversity of the people and natural resources continue to amaze me,” said Lorne. “There has been no shortage of large investigative files over those five years, most of which have originated from concerned area residents.”
 Near the beginning of the four-page article, which includes some stunning photographs of the area and resident hunters and their catches, Lorne tells about early Scandinavian settlers, then delves into describing the wild landscape, wildlife and some of the treasures found throughout the Battle River and Camrose County.
As quoted from the article, “In the northeast corner of the district, one can visit the Viking Ribstones. Located on the top of a hill, at the highest point for miles around, are the only ribstones in Alberta that have not been moved since ancient times.”
The article presents a different take in the life of a Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officer and validates the work they do to protect our natural world. It is a great tribute to the natural wonders and little gems that can be found within a very short distance of our own back doors.
Quoted from the article, “In the northwest corner of the Camrose District lies the Ministik Lake Bird Sanctuary, an incredible tangle (18,000 acres) of thick brush, beaver dams, and wandering creeks.”
“These protected and relatively undisturbed places provide a unique view into our past, but also serve to predict the future success of humankind,” added Lorne, during an interview.
The article also pays homage to the legal sport of hunting and fishing with photographs taken (with permission) by Lorne of people who have enjoyed some of the area’s amazing spots for the sport.
Whether driving the back roads of the County, hiking the badlands located near Meeting Creek or just sitting atop a hill overlooking the infinite stretch of the Battle River, Lorne has been fortunate to experience this countryside like no other.
“One of my favorite quotes that still rings true today is from past President of the USA, Theodore Roosevelt, who said, ‘To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.’ This is so true today and will remain so for all times.”
 The Western Canadian Game Warden magazine is available at a number of retail locations for purchase, and is well worth the read. In a year when RVing and interest in local tourism has increased exponentially, having resources such as these articles about our incredible county and province is a definite bonus.

Albertans to work on Keystone pipeline

By Murray Green

After more than a decade of planning and perseverance, shovels are in the ground on the Alberta segment of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Almost 12 years after TC Energy first proposed the project, thousands of local workers including engineers, welders, heavy equipment operators, labourers, teamsters, safety inspectors, Indigenous monitors and other skilled tradespeople, are lacing up their work boots near Oyen and beginning construction on the Alberta spread of the 1,947-kilometre pipeline.
Keystone XL will safely and reliably deliver up to 830,000 barrels per day of western Canadian crude oil from Hardisty to Steele City, Nebraska, where it will connect with existing facilities to reach U.S. Gulf Coast refineries to meet critical needs for transportation fuel and other life-enhancing products. The province’s $1.5 billion equity stake in Keystone XL will enhance and protect the value of our natural resources, to the benefit of all Albertans.
“After many years of stringent environmental review, collaboration with landowners, local officials and Indigenous groups and a dogged determination to never say die, this project–essential to our economic recovery–is well underway. Not only will Keystone XL create jobs when they are needed most, it will strengthen continental energy security and independence by ensuring that Canadian oil, developed under the world’s highest environmental, human rights and labour standards, continues to be a dominant force in global supply,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
The 269 kilometres of pipeline will be constructed and commissioned in Alberta over the next three years. Keystone XL is expected to be complete and operational in 2023.

Special Olympic athletes staying busy

By Lori Larsen

COVID-19 knocked the wind out of many a sail, specifically any events planned to maintain awareness of the incredible work not-for-profit organizations do to assist so many in our communities.
Gatherings and programs have been postponed, cancelled or have taken on new technology to keep the word out there, including Special Olympics Camrose’s efforts to keep athletes busy, healthy and engaged.
“Since March 12, all Special Olympics Camrose sports programs ceased due to COVID-19 concerns,” explained Special Olympics Camrose chairperson Carol Wideman. “Over the past three-and-a-half months, many Camrose athletes have been striving to stay healthy while maintaining physical distancing. Some have been walking, running, biking, using treadmills, shooting hoops and finding other creative activities.”
Where there is a will, there is always a way, especially when it comes to maintaining the physical and mental well-being of community members such as the Special Olympics athletes.
In April, Special Olympics Canada initiated Healthy at Home Coast to Coast Walking Challenge.  Athletes, coaches, volunteers, family and friends came together to virtually walk a distance of over 11,500 kilometres from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, BC.
“In May, Special Olympics Camrose encouraged athletes, volunteers, family and friends to participate in a physical distance walking event, the Larry Gibson Memorial Fun Walk-Run for Special Olympics Camrose,” said Wideman. “The annual event raises funds and awareness while remembering a beloved volunteer, Larry Gibson.”
Locally, over $7,000 was raised for Camrose athletes to participate in the sports they love.
“Our next exciting program was ‘Walk the World with Me’. As we continued to practice physical distancing and staying healthy at home, Special Olympics wanted to unite all Special Olympics athletes across the world with a challenge to help us stay active, stay connected and stay positive.”
One of the popular events for Special Olympics is the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR); Camrose hosted the Battle of the Badges Hockey Game in February this year. LETR created the Virtual Summer Series which runs from June 15 until Sept. 15, raising funds in response to the cancellation of all summer fundraising events. Registrants can walk, run and bike their way to their goals. For more information or to register, visit www.special olympics.ca/albertatorchrun/vss.
“The LETR is such an important partnership with Special Olympics,” commented Wideman. “They not only raise funds, but the events that they are a part of raises awareness which is crucial to our sustainability.”
Unfortunately due to COVID-19 restrictions, two of the Special Olympics Camrose large events were cancelled.
“The first was our five-pin bowling tournament in March, and the second was our softball tournament in June, which was going to be the provincial qualifier for the next Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games. Athletes are missing getting together with their friends and participating in sports,” noted Wideman.
“Based on what we know right now about COVID, all Special Olympics Canada sports programs are suspended until August 31. A re-evaluation will take place in August. If programs reconvene in the fall, there will be strict safety standards for all programs with heightened duty of care.”
Special Olympics Alberta CEO John Byrne announced, “Our approach when planning our return to play is that we are going to be the organization that gets criticized by people because we were too conservative in our opening, not the one that opened too fast. There is still COVID in our communities and we will take an abundance of caution around protecting the health of our athletes and volunteers.”
As many people have come to realize, the isolation and social distancing as a result of COVID-19 restrictions can have a powerful impact on a person’s well-being. Aside from the physical aspect of participating in Special Olympics, the athletes gain a great deal from the socialization, volunteering in the community and overall sense of belonging.
“Volunteers are missing the athletes and have been creative with distance visits, FaceTime and lots of phone calls,” said Wideman. “Our message to all Special Olympics athletes is to stay healthy and stay active.”
For more information on Special Olympics Camrose, visit www.specialolympics.ca/alberta/camrose.

Minor football launches skills camp

By Murray Green

The Camrose Buffaloes football teams are holding a skills and agility camp to prepare for a fall season.
“We run through to July 30. We are having a camp for atom (eight to 10 years), peewee (11 to 12 years), bantam (13 to 15 years that are not going into Grade 10) and a special Open Conditioning and Agility Camp for players in Grade 10 to 12,” said president Kim Kienitz.
All the COVID-19 relaunch Stage 2 protocols are in place for the camp.
“For the fall, as with everything else, we are waiting. A decision will be made towards the end of July or beginning of August. Once the government announces any updates, Football Alberta will make a decision. Then the league will decide before Camrose can proceed with games.”
The board and field staff continually review information provided by government, Football Canada, Football Alberta and the league.
Registration is on hold until they have an understanding of the fall season.
She encourages the players to exercise regularly and follow the club’s Facebook page to keep connected.

Buckle enjoys driving his square body GMC

14 tim buckle 1979 gmc truck
Tim Buckle always liked the look of the square body 1979 GMC trucks, so he rescued his nephew’s former truck from a life in the elements. He enjoys restoring old vehicles to their former glory.   

By Murray Green
Tim Buckle of Camrose is a proud owner of a 1979 GMC truck.
“The square body trucks are starting to become more popular and increasing in value all of the time now,” said Tim.
“It was painted nine years ago, but it has new fenders and has basically a whole new body on it. I just redid the interior myself with new seats, carpet and dash. I redid the wood box on it with help from Tony’s Woodworking in Camrose. He cut the boards, and I drilled the holes and stained it,” he explained.
C/K is a series of trucks that were manufactured by General Motors. Marketed under the Chevrolet and GMC brands, the C/K series included a wide range of vehicles. While most commonly associated with pickup trucks, the model line also included medium-duty and heavy trucks. “C” denoted a two-wheel drive; “K” denoted four-wheel drive. “I really like the short box and step-side because it makes it sharp looking. It has a 350 engine, but it is beefed up to 380 horsepower. My nephew helped build it as well and it isn’t the original motor,” shared Tim.
The C/K series was produced across four generations, introduced in 1960, 1967, 1973 and 1988. In contrast to Chevrolet, GMC marketed only the first three generations as the C/K, with the fourth generation becoming the GMC Sierra.
“The original truck was owned by my nephew and sold at an antiques auction and the fellow who bought it then sold it to me. He just left it sit outside, so I thought I better buy it back. I knew the history behind the truck and knew my nephew put a lot of money into it and I didn’t want it to be wasted.”
“It is a peppy and sharp-looking truck. I always liked the square body, so it drew me to the truck,” said Tim. “The 1972s and down are popular and now these are, too. It is still a work in progress,” said Tim, who is always tinkering with vehicles.
The 1979 models got a new grille surround that incorporated the turn signals; inside, there was a new full-width houndstooth seat trim on base models and a (rare) fifth interior color option on the higher series called Oyster by Chevrolet and Mystic by GMC (mostly white with a gray dash, carpeting and cloth). Fuel doors were added in 1979 to the rest of the lineup, following the previous year’s change on models with a bed.
“My work job gets in the way of restoring vehicles,” he laughed. “I built it for fun. It is good to drive and I would take it anywhere, even a few car shows.”
Engines in 1979 ranged from the 250 cubic inch (4.1 L) I6 to the big block 454 cubic inch (7.4 L) V8. Transmissions included three different automatics and three standard choices.
FUN FACTS
The redesign was revolutionary in appearance at the time, particularly the cab, departing from typical American pickup truck designs of the era. Aside from being near twins, the Chevrolet and GMC pickups looked like nothing else on the road. The third-generation trucks are colloquially known as the Square-body or Box-body generation. GM’s official Rounded-Line moniker highlighted the pickup’s rounded styling cues that were incorporated into the design. This included rounded windshield corners, rounded corners of the cab roof, rounded-corner doors which cut high into the cab roof eliminating roof height, slanted front fenders and rounded pickup box corners which allowed for rounded wraparound tail lamps, a first for GM pickups. The design also featured strong distinctive curved shoulder lines, which rounded out below the beltline. The curved shoulder line continued across the back tailgate on Chevrolet Fleetside and GMC Wideside models. However, the low slope of the hood and rectangular front end of the truck originated the square/box-body nickname, which was propagated through truck magazines and word of mouth.
There were two types of pickup boxes from which to choose. The first type, called Fleetside by Chevrolet and Wideside by GMC, was a full-width pickup box. read more

Construction zone safety

By Lori Larsen

Road construction is inevitable during the warmer months, when weather, for the most part, makes it easier to work outdoors and provides longer daylight hours.
However, construction zones can pose challenges for motor vehicle traffic and can most certainly pose danger for construction workers.
Camrose motorists are advised to be aware of construction zones throughout the City and to abide by all traffic laws.
Camrose Police Service traffic enforcement officer Constable Sarah Day reminds motorists. “When passing construction workers the speed limit is 50. Anything in excess is double the speed fines.”
She added that motorists need to practice moving over an additional lane, when able, to allow workers to have a safe space to work. “This allows them to focus on the task they are doing instead of having to direct their attention back and forth (from task to roadway).
Constable Day noted that this also applies for emergency vehicles and tow operators. “Make a conscious effort to move over and not gawk at what is happening on site and focus on what is happening on the roadway ahead.”
In an effort to address frustrations by some motorists about unmanned construction zones on provincial highways, changes were made to the Traffic Accommodation in Work Zones regulations.
The premise behind the regulations is to improve traffic flow through construction zones on provincial highways while ensuring the safety of workers.
Under the new regulations, contractors are now required to cover speed-reduction signage in a construction zone where no workers are present and if there are no safety concerns. Changes also include more consistent use of road construction signage, limiting the distance of lane closures in construction zones in most cases to no more than three kilometres, more gradual speed reductions through construction zones, longer distances for speed transition zones that come before construction zones, and more frequent use of electronic speed displays and rumble strips to slow traffic at actual construction sites.
In most instances within the City of Camrose, construction zones or road repair areas are short lived and the work is completed as quickly and with as little disruption to the flow of traffic as possible.
City of Camrose manager of engineering Jeremy Enarson explained the current and upcoming situation within the City regarding road construction and repair.
“There was some concrete work done earlier this year in different parts of the city, mostly residential, by concrete contractor Raiders,” explained Enarson. “Border Paving’s milling contractor will be in by mid-July in the residential areas already done by Raiders to grind off the top asphalt surface, prior to the paving work by Border Paving.”
Two of the more major projects include an underground utility project in the Augustana area along 46 Street south of 48 Avenue (south of École Charlie Killam School) which began July 6.
“They will be taking asphalt off the road in early July and by late July, all three of those blocks (4500, 4600 and 4700) will be ripped up. We are putting in brand new water and sewer services to every house. This year is the underground work and next year will be all service surface work (sidewalks, curb and gutter, and roadway).
The second major project that has the potential to disrupt traffic for an extended period involves the part of 48 Avenue and the service road in front of the police stations.
“Westbound 48 Avenue, west of Grand Drive, between Grand Drive and 66 Street, including the north service road,” said Enarson, adding it would be very similar to the work just completed over the prior two years along 48th, just to the east. “Also, north of 66 Street up towards the golf course. These projects will be most visible and disruptive to the community and will likely take place in August and into September.”
There will be some road or lane closures during these projects, so the City is asking motorists and residents to be patient, use alternative routes where possible, and always abide by all traffic laws.
Motorists are advised to check the City of Camrose website for listings of road construction and detours, plan ahead, abide by all traffic control devices, be patient and use extreme caution when traveling through these zones, whether manned or not.

Postponed symposium spurs message wall

16 hospice message board
Hospice Society of Camrose and District program and grief and bereavement coordinator Bill Harder, left, along with Windsor Plywood Camrose store manager Alain Simonot stand in front of the mobile chalk message board made and donated by Windsor Plywood Camrose to the Hospice Society.

By Lori Larsen

The postponement of the annual Hospice Society of Camrose and District 2020 Symposium “Compassionate Communities: Before I Die...” may have been disappointing, but in true spirit of the incredible work the Hospice Society does in communities, it spurred another wonderful initiative, the Before-I-Die message wall.
The mobile chalkboard wall was graciously built and donated by Camrose Windsor Plywood which took on the project originally so it could be used at the 2020 Symposium which will now be held in 2021.
“The intention of this Symposium is to create conversation about what we feel/think we need to do before we die,” said Hospice Society of Camrose and District program and grief bereavement coordinator Bill Harder. “This includes things on our bucket list, as well as practical things like a will, goals of care, etc.”
The theme was inspired in part by artist Candy Chang, who created a chalk wall on the side of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighbourhood. Before I die... was stencilled in a multitude of lines on the side of the chalk wall, leaving space for passersby to leave their own message reflecting on death or sharing their own “before death” aspirations.
“The wall that Windsor Plywood built is a chance for participants of the 2021 Symposium to participate in the before-I-die conversation, to share their bucket list,” explained Harder, which was the intention of it for the 2020 Symposium.
The speakers for the 2021 Symposium include Dr. Jody Carrington, local LPN Pat Carlson (cancer survivor), retired RN Rita Helmig, and panelists Dr. Kevin Letley (palliative MD), Rayne Johnson (Death Doula) and Bonnie Hoffman (green burials). All will address aspects of living and dying.
There are over 5,000 Before-I-die walls in seventy-eight countries around the world written in thirty-five languages, each bearing messages, but more important, lessons on living a transparent life that is open to others and allows you to see your own life without filters.
“We intend to use the Windsor Plywood Before-I-Die wall in various ways and for numerous Hospice events in the Camrose area,” concluded Harder.
For more information on the Hospice Society of Camrose and District, visit the website at http://www.camrosehospice.org/ or face book www.facebook.com/camrosehospice. read more

Children across Canada gather ideas

By Murray Green

Children came together virtually for the first Young Canadians’ Parliament to discuss issues of importance.
About 100 Canadian children, from ages 8 to 18, met virtually to form the first ever Young Canadians’ Parliament. The initiative was organized by the national child rights advocacy organization Children First Canada, to amplify children’s voices at the highest levels of government.
They talked with Canada’s minister of families, children and social development Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Health Patty Hajdu and Members of Parliament from the Conservative and NDP parties.
“The Young Canadians’ Parliament concept has been co-developed and led by Children First Canada’s Youth Ambassadors and our Youth Advisory Council,” explained the organization’s CEO and founder Sara Austin.
“Children have the right to have their voices heard by those in positions of power and be involved in decisions that affect their lives. This platform allows children and youth to meaningfully engage with government about the protection of their rights,” said Austin.
The session came two days after a bill was introduced in the Senate of Canada calling for the establishment of a Commissioner for Children and Youth. The bill was introduced by Senator Rosemary Moodie, who has been collaborating with Children First Canada in advocating for a more formalized mechanism for children to be represented at the government level.
Both the bill for a Commissioner for Children and Youth and the Young Canadians’ Parliament come at a crucial time as youth bear unprecedented stresses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the full impact of COVID-19 on children is unknown. By including children in these conversations, the government can create policies that better reflect children’s current needs.
“A Young Canadian’s Parliament allows children and youth to meaningfully engage with the government about the protection of our rights,” said Hannah Ruuth, a youth ambassador for Children First Canada.
The Young Canadians’ Parliament will involve ongoing engagement of children and youth throughout the year. Following the virtual forum, subsequent sessions will be held monthly leading up to National Child Day on Nov. 20.
Austin explained that the program will be continuously evaluated and adapted, with the aim of continuing virtual forums and eventually hosting an in-person session in Parliament to support the active participation of children and youth in the promotion of their rights for years to come.

Camrose housing sales remain resilient

By Murray Green

The housing sales in Camrose have remained relatively strong considering the downturn in the economy and COVID-19.
“Alberta has seen record unemployment rates, a negative GDP rate, a drop in housing starts and a drop in home sales in the second quarter. Although alarming, a lot of these dire numbers are a direct result of the shut down and stay-at-home orders that occurred throughout April and May. As we enter Stage 2 of the relaunch it is expected that things will rebound. However, given the multitude of challenges faced by businesses in operating in this ‘new normal’, this rebound will take time. Unfortunately for Alberta, the economy was struggling before COVID-19 and with continuation of historically low oil prices, the overall economic picture does not look good,” said Jacobus Slabbert of the Camrose office of HarrisonBowker Valuation Group.
Given all this depressing news, “I can happily report that the Camrose market stayed remarkably resilient through the second quarter,” reported Jacobus.
In the second quarter, the average sale price in 2020 was up 8.84 per cent from last quarter and up 3.30 per cent compared to the same time last year. The rolling 12-month average increased marginally by 0.85 per cent.
The median sale price is down 1.79 per cent from last quarter, but up 4.56 per cent compared to the same time last year. The rolling 12-month median increased marginally by 1.09 per cent.
There were 75 residential sales in the City of Camrose in quarter two, which is 20 more sales than what was recorded in the first quarter, but 22 sales less than 2019 in the same time period.
“Considering all that has happened this quarter, this reduction in sales is actually quite good. In comparison, the City of Edmonton reported 1,617 sales of single family dwellings in the second quarter, which is a drop of 30 per cent compared to 2019, which saw 2,307 sales,” he added.
There were 13 sales over $400,000 in the second quarter, which is 10 more than last quarter, but two less than in 2019.
The average days on market was 77, which is nine days down from last quarter, and 18 days down from 2019 over the same time period.
In Camrose County, there were 13 reported sales in the second quarter, which is up 10 sales compared to the first quarter, and one more than what was reported last year in the same quarter.
The average marketing time was 103 days, which is down 41 days compared to last quarter, but up nine days from 2019.
In Flagstaff County, there was only one sale in quarter two. “There were 20 active listings for improved acreage properties in Flagstaff County at this time. Flagstaff County continues to struggle with a lack of demand brought on by the collapse of the oil and gas sector.”

Births and Deaths

Births
- To Kelsey and Tom Blackwell, of Bawlf, a daughter on June 15.
- To Abigail Amoguis and Efren Evangelista of Camrose, a daughter on June 17.
- To Marina and Skyler Zelinski, of Daysland, a daughter on June 18.
- To Aundrea Smith and Scott Raymond, of Bawlf, a son on June 21.
- To Nicole Goettler and Travis Forberg of Camrose, a daughter on June 26.

Deaths
- Linda Josephine Grundberg, of Camrose, on June 27, at 53 years of age.
- Raymond Allen Hurley, of Camrose, on June 30, at 73 years of age.
- William “Jim” Tomlinson, of Camrose, on July 2, at 66 years of age.