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Reflections

By Bonnie Hutchinson

Are you wintering?

A friend sent a link to a book called Wintering by Katherine May. I haven’t actually read the book, but I loved its message: “Embrace your winter.”
By “winter”, the author means not just the cold dark season, but “a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress or cast into the role of outsider.” What flashed in my mind was a woman I once knew who grew up in Japan–among the more crowded countries on earth–and married a man who lived on a farm in East Central Alberta. She looked out the window on miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles covered by snow. “Loneliness” and “outsider” were two of her realities.
I couldn’t quite imagine how she managed to adapt.
***
Back to Katherine May’s book. She describes a recent time she went through a personal winter. She hit a storm of woes. First, her husband’s infected appendix burst while awaiting surgery. When her own stomach pains escalated, she first thought it was a sympathetic reaction or a case of nerves. But after months of waiting for tests, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Then her six-year-old refused to go to school. Because she understood the misery he felt, she chose not to force him.
She understood her son’s misery, because it wasn’t May’s first winter. “As one of the many girls of my age whose autism went undiagnosed, I spent a childhood permanently out in the cold,” she writes. She suffered a major depression at 17, but was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, “I saw the chance to make myself new again,” she says.
Because she’d been through a personal winter before, she knew what to do. She now says it’s her duty to share some strategies. Wintering, she says, is a way to get through tough times by chilling, hibernating, healing, regrouping. “Doing these deeply unfashionable things–slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting–is a radical act now, but it is essential,” she writes.
May has become convinced that, “The cold has healing powers…after all, you apply ice to a joint after an awkward fall. Why not do the same to a life?” This led her to take up ice swimming, a teeth-chattering, but invigorating exercise. She and a swim buddy plunge daily into frigid water without wetsuits, gradually building up tolerance. “We let the cold unburden us of our own personal winters, just for a few moments,” May writes.
Other areas of exploration are less extreme. She looks into the preponderance of snow in fairy tales, and researches the history of wolves. She considers the fascinating cold weather survival tactics of bees, which shed their wings to take turns heating the hive. She quotes Wintering, a poem by Sylvia Plath, who didn’t survive her winter.
“I recognized winter,” May writes. “I greeted it and let it in. Nature shows that survival is a practice.”
***
And here we are in the midst of a pandemic that is forcing us to hibernate!
Not everyone is having a quieter time. Health care people, for example, may be more pressured than ever before in their careers. Parents trying to work and home school in a home environment not set up for either of those activities are not exactly having their spare time expand.
More hours of daylight and the promise of warmer temperatures feel like easing of the external winter. Our internal winter might be lasting longer. By now, eleven months in, many of us are past the edges of our previous coping strategies. But many of us are adding some new perspectives.
We could relax into the possibility of healing and regrouping and creating new realities emerging from the darkness–a whole new perspective on winter.
***
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.

Camrose Connector making last run

By Lori Larsen

On Friday, March 26,  the Camrose/Edmonton  Lifeline Shuttle Service (Camrose Connector) pilot project will end.
Recent discussions between the City of Camrose administration and the Province of Alberta staff indicated the province’s intent to not provide additional funding for this service beyond the end of March.
During the City of Camrose Feb. 16 Committee of Whole meeting, City of Camrose engineering office assistant Kirsten Freeborn explained a little of the history of the Connector in a report to council.
The Camrose Connector service began actual operations on Sept. 4, 2018, with a regularly scheduled  route (three trips per day, Monday to Friday) from  Camrose to various locations in Edmonton.
“Originally, the focus of the service was to provide access to specialist medical services in Edmonton,” explained Freeborn, “Although the City recognized that people may use this for other purposes such as shopping or commuting to work or school.”
The Connector quickly became a valued service to many residents, specifically seniors and Augustana students, as a reliable source of transportation to and from Camrose to Edmonton.
“Over the first six months of the program, the service saw an average of 424 riders per month,” said Freeborn in her report to council. “In spring/summer 2019, the service saw a slight dip in ridership (averaging 372 riders per month). This is likely due to a decrease in university student passengers during this time.”
On Aug. 25, 2019, the City launched a revised service schedule based on the results of a survey conducted in the prior months.
Changes made to the service included the removal of the Tuesday route to accommodate a Sunday route, the removal of the underutilized Camrose St. Mary’s Hospital stop, and the addition of a new stop in Hay Lakes.
“With these changes, ridership between September 2019 and December 2019 increased to an average of 566 riders per month.”
Freeborn added that as a result of the COVID-19  pandemic and the implementation of health restrictions and recommendations, ridership has  decreased significantly, with the average over the past five months being approximately 110 riders per month.
Councillor Agnes Hoveland expressed concern over the loss of the valuable service.
“I wonder about the people who have used the system to go to appointments in Edmonton, particularly some seniors, and make a day of it. They go to their medical appointment– they may go do some shopping. It concerns me that this service is not going to be available. I was wondering what else we can do or help other agencies do to fill this gap that is going to be there post-COVID.”
Freeborn said survey responses to questions asked about other options available to users indicated that a large majority of users responded that they didn’t have any alternate options, while some said they had family or friends on whom they could rely, and a few said they would use the service of a taxi to get to Edmonton for appointments.
Mayor Norm Mayer suggested that once the service has ended, more people may speak up about the biggest concern in areas most needed, and at that point, council may have to consider some ways of accommodating those concerns.

County limits beaver visits

By Murray Green

Chasing busy beavers can be an exhausting experience.
Camrose County is putting a limit on the number of times they will pursue beavers as part of its beaver control program.
“I move that Camrose County council approve the amended Beaver Control Policy and set the fee for trapping beavers in 2021 at $300 plus GST for a maximum of seven visits, and an additional $300 plus GST if another cycle of trapping is required at the same location, and further, that a flat fee of $125 plus GST for blasting each beaver dam be charged,” said councillor Trevor Miller, at the Feb. 9 regular council meeting.
The Beaver Control Policy was reviewed at the Jan. 20 Agricultural Service Board meeting, and councillor Miller recommended the changes.
“The policy was always there, but this determines the number of visits,” added Reeve Cindy Trautman.
“I know in the past, sometimes it took 14 to 18 visits to get rid of a beaver,” recalled administrator Paul King.

Alberta on the Plate

By Murray Green

Alberta on the Plate partners are celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day.
Alberta on the Plate is a province-wide festival celebrating local food and drink and is partnering with local commodity groups on a social campaign to highlight the economic and social impacts of the incredible ingredients being grown and raised in Alberta.
“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversation around food security was once again brought into the limelight,” said Tannis Baker, co-creator of Alberta on the Plate and partner at Food Tourism Strategies.
“Recognizing and understanding not only where your food comes from, but also the impact that supporting local farms and producers has on our economy is vital to ensuring our national food supply.  Alberta on the Plate is pleased to be partnering with the Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Milk, Alberta Wheat Commission and Egg Farmers of Alberta to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day and the amazing farmers and producers who have dedicated their lives to this industry,” she added.
The Agri-Foods industry in Alberta accounts for $9.2 billion of the provincial GDP (approximately 2.7 per cent of all industries). In 2019, Alberta saw the highest farm cash receipts of all Canadian provinces ($14.8 billion), and generated $15.8 billion from food and beverage manufacturing. Alberta is the third-largest exporter of agri-food products in Canada, including both primary commodities and processed goods.  The province also leads the country with over 40 per cent of the national herds of cattle and calves, and produces 32 per cent of Canadian wheat.
“Our 500 local dairy farms are so proud to be part of the fabric of Canadian agriculture,” said Stuart Boeve, chairman of Alberta Milk.
Consumer support of local agriculture comes in many ways: through mainstream grocery, local farmers’ markets and the growing segment of processed foods that utilize homegrown products. The restaurant industry is seeing an increase in support of locally sourced ingredients, from small, independently owned restaurants right up to large hotel chains.
The #ForksUpFor ABAg social campaign will highlight the economic impact of agriculture in Alberta, as well as recipes using local ingredients, profiles from Albertan farmers, and daily giveaways of local goods. The campaign runs on Instagram and Facebook, leading up to Canada’s Agriculture Day on Feb. 23.
Alberta on the Plate supports locally grown and processed ingredients, farms, restaurants and destinations. Their mission is to celebrate and share the Alberta food story through meaningful experiences and conversations.

Men’s Shed members managing to stay in touch despite lockout

5 mens shed lil library
Members of the Camrose and Area Men’s Shed enjoy getting together to build items for the community. They assisted with the Little Free Library project, which have sites located throughout Camrose.

By Murray Green

The Camrose Men’s Shed members keep in contact with each other despite the fact they are not meeting in person.
“Right now, we don’t have a lot of community activities going. We are in the midst of building field boxes (equipment) for minor soccer in Camrose, in the process of building five,” explained Clarence Hastings of Camrose and District Support Services.
“We were able to get together in the summer to go fishing, and we met at Jubilee Park every Thursday when the weather was nice. We were not allowed to meet inside when the City shut down the facilities. Since then, the guys have not met, so now it is weekly telephone conversations. Some single guys have called each other cohorts in order to meet,” added Hastings.
A Men’s Shed is a dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting place where men come together and undertake a variety of mutually agreed upon activities that they decide on their own.
“We want to make sure people don’t feel isolated. Most people join the Shed to have contact with others. With everything shut down, including the senior centre (primarily our guys are seniors), they have nothing as far as activities,” shared Clarence.
Men’s Sheds are open to all men regardless of age, background or ability. It is a place where you can share your skills and knowledge with others, learn new skills, develop your old skills or just be with other men for fun.
“Punch Jackson, the executive director for Men’s Sheds in Edmonton, and I have been talking during the last months about Men’s Sheds in Alberta. Over the last three weeks, the Canadian Association has been developing a working plan to have Men’s Sheds in every province.”
Alberta has Men’s Sheds in Edmonton, Cold Lake and Camrose. An objective of Men’s Sheds is to enhance or maintain the well-being of the participating men.
“It’s a challenge with technology. Some of the older guys don’t want to learn a lot about computers, so communicating that way isn’t a good option. Most of the connections are through telephone conversations. They contact each other on their own and that is what the program is for–peer support,” said Clarence. “If we didn’t have a Men’s Shed, then maybe they wouldn’t have that support.”
The Men’s Shed movement started in Australia, with the mandate to assist communities in establishing programs designed to give men a space to work on projects together, learn new skills and, most of all, to share their life experiences in a supportive and friendly atmosphere.
“We are also working on a memorial for the Dam Busters, but it is changing shape. It is difficult to fundraise for one individual, instead of a group.”
Last year, the University of Manitoba received Movember mental health funding for a three-year research project. Community consultations with men, throughout year one of the project, were incorporated into the development of a toolkit for starting Men’s Sheds in Canada and, as part of its further refinement in year two, Camrose was chosen as one of four Canadian community partners to pilot and implement this toolkit to establish an organization.
Camrose and Area Men’s Shed, through a partnership with the Camrose and District Centennial Museum board, had a home in the Old Timers’ Hut at the museum, with the goal of meeting weekly where activities of the participating men would be developed. Members are looking forward to the day they can meet again at the museum.

Funding gives a much need boost to Kandu Summer Camp

By Lori Larsen

Despite circumstances created by COVID-19 and health restrictions and guidelines, which included the postponement of fundraisers, Camrose Association for Community Living was still able to offer Kandu Summer Camp programming throughout the summer of 2020.
“We were very fortunate to receive funding from TD in the amount of $6,000 as well as a grant from Mental Health and Addiction COVID-19 Community Fund (Government of Alberta) which made it possible,” said CAFCL Public Relations manager Cherilyn Sharkey.
The 2020 Kandu camp  met the needs of 23 campers and 26 guardians/families.
“Kandu camp is a valuable and critical component to increasing connection, building confidence and resiliency within our youth, family caregivers, and community,” explained Sharkey.
Working within the guidelines and restrictions of COVID-19 wasn’t without its challenges, but camp leaders Jessica Logan and Jena Robbins managed to keep the activities fun and exciting for campers with special health and/or developmental concerns, including mental health.
“Families shared with our camp leaders that due to COVID-19 and children not attending school or outside activities, they were struggling with lack of social connection which was then interfering with their ability to build resilience resulting in their mental health decreasing rapidly,” said Sharkey. “Families and guardians were at a loss, and not sure what they would do if their children could not have a place outside the home to go to feel connected and valued.”
The benefits of Kandu camp spoke for themselves as the camp leaders and CAFCL staff observed rapid increase to positive behaviors and emotional regulation with not only the campers, but guardians as they felt normalcy, and compassion from the camp staff.
“Guardians reported ‘being better parents and having more patience’ with their children after a bit of a break during the day. A camper who had attended camp for several years expressed his gratitude for opening camp up as this is the only place he felt connected with friendships.”
New to CAFCL in the summer of 2020 was the Kandu Outreach Camp. CAFCL staff knew it was imperative to think of new ways of meeting the needs of families experiencing isolation in rural areas, especially during a pandemic. In total, Kandu Outreach Camp served 29 campers and 24 families (guardians).
“Knowing there is no age limit on increasing positive mental health and social connection, CAFCL made the decision to include all siblings in this specialized outreach camp that travels to rural isolated communities.”
Eliminating the stress of having to arrange for transportation to get campers to camp or the funds to pay for camp allowed parents and guardians the opportunity to focus on the excitement and happiness instead.
The only suggestion parents/guardians had to improve the camp was to have additional days. “This speaks volumes to the success of this program,” noted Sharkey.
Responses from families to satisfaction surveys indicated that both Kandu and Kandu Outreach Camps increased opportunity for a sense of “normalcy”, camp supported positive mental health and wellness, children were with a safe, reliable childcare and they were able to attend to their personal wellness while children were enjoying fun activities.
“One core goal that stayed at the heart of our camp this year was to provide campers with a place they felt safe and know that they belong,” said Sharkey. “We ensured campers had safe opportunities to interact with other children. Many of our campers hadn’t seen any children outside of their own families, so the opportunity to be around others their age and just play, without fear or tension, allowed us to accomplish our goal of connection.
“We worked together to create a genuine community, with older children often mentoring younger campers, and leaders taking every chance they could to really be present with the children.”
CAFCL looks forward to being able to offer both Kandu Summer Camp and Kandu Outreach Camp again this summer, and are thankful for the assistance they receive from individuals and businesses.
“They help us make a difference where it is needed.”
For more information on CAFCL programs, visit the website at www.cafcl.ca.

Volunteering

By Lori Larsen

Camrose and surrounding area has no shortage of wonderful volunteers, and the organizations they volunteer for are appreciative of all they do to make the lives of the people they serve so much better.
For example, one of the programs Camrose Hospice runs that relies heavily on the goodwill of volunteers is the Phone Visit program.  It is a program designed to bring a friendly voice to those who may be isolated or just feeling lonely.
Trained volunteers with the Hospice Phone Visit program, telephone willing participants of the program to, quite simply, just chat.
The volunteers are provided with a list of opening lines or subjects to get the conversations rolling and, in some cases, find a niche that suits not only the person being called, but the volunteer themselves.
For Kelly Wiebe, Hospice volunteer, the conversation opener is sports, something near and dear to his heart, and obviously to the three people he is currently “visiting” by telephone.
“It is a little tougher to get a man who wants to chat on the phone,” said Wiebe, but sports seems to be a really good place to start.
For so many who do not work outside the home or have an opportunity to talk with others, or do not have family living in the home with them whom they can strike up conversations with, having someone check in once in a while is life saving.
“It helps me, too,” admits Wiebe. “I get as much out of it as the people I chat with, and volunteering is important.”
Wiebe is not wrong. Studies have shown that volunteering delivers a healthy boost of self confidence, self esteem and life satisfaction.
Doing good for others provides a natural sense of accomplishment, pride and identity, and all it requires is a little time, effort and sincerity.
Consider one of the many organizations in the community that would benefit from a bit of volunteering The variety of volunteering is so diverse that people can choose an area that may be of special interest to them, or just try something new and get to know other wonderful people.
At the end of the day, a little volunteering goes a long way.

City recommends extension on overdue tax penalties

By Lori Larsen

During a Feb. 16 City of Camrose Committee of Whole meeting, administration suggested council consider options with regards to property tax payments that included following the process approved by council in 2020 of extending the date upon which penalties would be applied until after Sept. 30, and forgoing the one-time six per cent penalty charge.
City of Camrose Financial Services general manager Travis Bouck explained, concluding with a request for input and direction from council. “In a normal year, we send out property tax notices and they are due on June 30. If they are not paid at that time, the property owners receive a one-time six per cent penalty and, thereafter, a 1.5 per cent penalty every month.”
Bouck said that the City also offers a monthly payment plan. “Anyone who wants to join in April will pay up for four months, and they make sure they are on the monthly payment plan thereafter.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning last year, circumstances were such that, on the suggestion of administration, the council voted to push the date upon which penalties would be applied to outstanding amounts after Sept. 30. In addition, at the end of Sept. 30, the City did not apply the normal six per cent penalty. Instead, they applied a 1.5 per cent penalty, and a continued 1.5 per cent penalty applied every month thereafter for unpaid taxes.
“We also allowed property owners the ability to pay their 2020 tax amount over the last few months of 2020 instead of making them pay 9/12ths at that time,” added Bouck.
“What we did last year seemed to be very consistent with what other municipalities were doing to help their constituents and residents. The loss of income on the penalties was one of the items that we are allowed to apply our MOST (Municipal Operating Support Transfer) funding to, as this is a reduction of revenue.”
Bouck said, as the City prepares for the mailing out of the 2021 property tax notifications, there has been some indication that other municipalities are looking at applying this method once again, with the understanding that there are some industries that have been hit and will continue to be hit for the remainder of 2021 as restrictions remain in place to some extent.
“We (the City) have heard everything from attempting to defer the taxes over a number of years, to extending the deadline to Aug. 31, and some municipalities that are just going back to normal to avoid the risk of any snowball effect in the future.”
Bouck noted that the City did have more people sign up last year for the automated payment plan to spread the payment of property taxes over four to five months and, as a result, these people were automatically transferred onto the City’s normal automated monthly payment plan in 2021.
“We do have improved collection efforts with monthly statements and more timely follow up that has minimized the possibility of the potential dragging of receivables.
“However, we do have approximately 50 properties with which we are starting the tax recovery process. These are ones that we will be placing caveats on the property. These people have had this outstanding for a longer period of time.
“This is in comparison to generally having about 15 at this time.”
Bouck said that the City has been noticing some incidences with people experiencing more difficulty in paying their property taxes. Given that, there are some options that council could consider.
Bouck explained to council three options that could be considered for this year’s process of property tax payment, the first of which would be to treat 2021 as a normal year.
 “The positive on that side would be we are not pushing something in front of us that could snowball.”
He said council could also consider making the June 30 payment deadline not as punitive, and make the six per cent (one time penalty) to 1.5 per cent. “Or, go with what we did in 2020, and move that date to Sept. 30 and minimize the 1.5 per cent.
“At this point, we (City administration) are not aware of any Government of Alberta mandates to ease this, similar to what occurred last year.”
Bouck estimated that by removing the six per cent and making it a 1.5 per cent penalty after the deadline and for every month thereafter of unpaid property taxes, it would cost the City approximately $125,000 to 150,000 for the year.
Feedback from council
Councillor PJ Stasko was in favour of proceeding with the option of doing the same thing as 2020. “Moving it (penalty date) to Sept. 30 and leaving it 1.5 per cent–not so punitive. It will be a difficult year for both residents and businesses.”
Councillor Kevin Hycha agreed. “I don’t believe 2021 is going to be a whole lot better than the previous year, so I agree with councillor Stasko.”
Councillor Agnes Hoveland agreed that it would not be wise to be as punitive for 2021, in spite  of the lost revenue. “People are still in trouble.”
Mayor Norm Mayer inquired as to whether or not the MOST program could still be used to compensate for the revenue loss.
Bouck replied, “No, the MOST program will not be applicable, as the MOST program only covers expenses incurred or revenues lost up until March 31.”
Mayor Mayer inquired as to whether the properties that will be starting the tax recovery sale process were mostly residential or commercial.
Bouck did not have that specific information at the time of the meeting.
Bouck made a recommendation to council to  let residents know they can join the payment plan any time, but they would still be required to pay up to two months to join at this time.
The matter was brought back to the Feb. 16 regular council meeting, at which point, it was decided to have administration bring a bylaw back to the March 1 council meeting that would keep the June 30 property tax deadline date with penalties of 1.5 per cent per month (forgoing the normal one-time six per cent penalty) to be administered after Sept. 30.

Bailey Theatre celebrates 110 years in Camrose

By Murray Green

The Bailey Theatre has been entertaining people in Camrose and surrounding area for 110 years. Today, Feb. 23, marks the 110th anniversary of the first show at the downtown historical landmark.
The Kenney-Harvey Entertainers and a Buffalo Bill short movie were the first features at the Camrose Opera House. It was ruled a success the next day. The Opera House was built by Camille David, and was later named the Bailey Theatre.
“A heritage team has been working to achieve theatre history. This volunteer team is headed up by our valued historian and facility manager David Roth, whose ongoing passion for the theatre is amazing. The team also includes former president David Francoeur, who is interested in getting provincial recognition for the theatre, and one new team member Arlo Grundberg, who is the operations coordinator,” said Bailey Theatre president Barb Stroh.
History states that in 1893, rancher David travelled across the Canadian prairies with a herd of cattle and a vision for a better life. In 1910, he determined to build a theatre (David Theatre) across from the store he owned, and the first documented show debuted on Feb. 23, 1911. In 1919, David sold the theatre to Stan Bailey, who added the 40-foot lobby and the 120-seat balcony.
The renovations of the newly named Bailey Theatre were completed in June 1922.
Now, the Bailey has an intimate stage with a historic brick wall feature, as well as state-of-the-art lighting, sound and rigging options. The curved balcony adds an additional five rows of fixed seating.
The lower floor has a green room, where you can see and hear all the action on stage. A full-sized rehearsal hall and dressing rooms are located in the basement.
On Wednesday, Feb. 24, the Spotlight Bistro will have old-fashioned cookies and coffee for folks between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., to acknowledge this date in history. Bailey volunteers have put original seats on display for selfie opportunities.

Ducks Unlimited launches new producer-focused website

By Murray Green

Crop producers looking for practical solutions to make their operations more sustainable have a new resource to turn to with Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) new website (ag.ducks.ca) that builds on long-time relationships with the agricultural industry.
The new website is easy to navigate and provides users with information about DUC’s conservation programs that offer financial incentives. It also features several success stories that demonstrate how farmers and ranchers on the Prairies promote environmental and economic sustainability through conservation.
“This new website is one way we can highlight some of the practices being used that have resulted from ongoing co-operative efforts between farmers, DUC and the agricultural industry,” said DUC’s agriculture lead, Paul Thoroughgood. “It gives us a place to recognize and acknowledge the great work that farmers and ranchers are doing to support conservation and sustainable agriculture every day.”
To recognize the power of partnerships, the website features several agriculture industry leaders with which DUC is engaged on its partners page. When it comes to national, sustainability discussions, DUC is often the only conservation group asked to speak about issues relating to conservation and Canadian agriculture. From crops to cows, DUC is proud to be involved in several important industry initiatives.
In support of the Canadian beef industry, the new ag website is also home to Beef Belongs–a page dedicated to explaining how beef production benefits the environment.
“As a proud member of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, we work with all partners in the beef value chain to dispel the myths around beef production,” said Kristine Tapley, DUC’s regional agrologist–beef industry. “Our new site clearly conveys that Canada needs beef farmers and ranchers. Grazing cattle offers tremendous benefits to our environment and the health of our land and our soil.”
As more research demonstrates the connectivity between agriculture and the environment, DUC is pleased to play a role in helping the agriculture industry find economically and environmentally sound solutions that are based on science.
“As consumers become more interested in how their food is produced, conservation groups like DUC can play an important role by adding credibility to the environmental values agriculture brings to the table,” said Thoroughgood. “DUC delivers more programs at the farm gate than any other conservation group in Canada. We can help the industry reach environmental sustainability goals through program delivery and with the scientific expertise to back it up.”
Explore the new website or contact your local DUC office to learn about eligible programs near you.

AJHL approved to return to regular season

By Murray Green

The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) has received approval from the Government of Alberta to restart the 2020-21 season under the protocols of a comprehensive Return to Play Plan.
That means the Camrose Kodiaks will be calling its players back to prepare for some more regular season play.
Players, coaches and support staff are currently self-isolating in preparation for training camp, which is scheduled to begin at the start of March. Competition will also begin in March and will include game play exclusively on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, through to the end of May.
“We are grateful for the guidance provided by Alberta Health Services and our chief medical officer in developing the protocols required to safely resume the season for our athletes,” said AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk. “Thank you to the Government of Alberta for the opportunity to allow our athletes to develop and excel here in Alberta, and to all 15 AJHL teams for the significant dedication to your players and communities across the province.”
AJHL teams have committed to utilizing private PCR testing through DynaLIFE on a weekly basis throughout the remainder of the season, as well as twice before commencing Training Camp. DynaLIFE testing was used by the NHL during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Following the results of two negative COVID-19 tests, and assurance that individuals are asymptomatic as per the SureHire Risk Assessment Program, team members will proceed to team activity at training camp. If a member of the AJHL cohort players or staff tests positive for COVID-19 at any point in the season, the team will be required to isolate and suspend all in-person team activities for 14 days.
Spectators are not currently permitted at AJHL games due to provincial restrictions, however, all games will be broadcast on HockeyTV.
The AJHL completed over 80 games in the opening months of the 2020-21 season before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a pause. An updated league schedule and a list of participating teams will be announced shortly.

Kodiaks ready to hit the ice again with meaningful games

12 kodiaks dv ex cmyk
Brennan Davis of the Kodiaks battles for the puck in a past game.

By Murray Green

The Camrose Kodiaks have been in “hurry up and wait” mode since last fall. (This story was written prior to the resume to play announcement.)
So far, the 2020-21 season has consisted of a few exhibition games and a grand total of two Alberta Junior Hockey League regular season games for the Kodiaks. That was back in early November.
Captain Brennan Davis is still optimistic they can salvage something out of his last year with the team. “We are waiting for the go-ahead from the government in order for us to come back. Hopefully, we can take the next step to come together, get tests done and then quarantine. We want to play a few games and then have playoffs. Everyone wants to get back on the ice again,” said Brennan.
Time is not on hockey’s side. “Time is a factor, but everyone is going through it. I don’t think about myself, but all of the 20-year-olds who are not playing in their final year of junior across Canada. It’s tough, because we may run up against the fact the ice maybe taken out. We can’t do anything about it. Boris (Rybalka, general manager) has always told us we can only control what we can control,” shared Brennan.
Hockey teams must work with available ice time constraints, summer and fall schedules for individuals and next season. “At some point, and I don’t know the date, if we are not back, the season will be cancelled. Every week that goes by and we are not playing, it adds more stress. Everyone on our team is keeping in contact with each other to stay positive,” explained Brennan.
The players have been at home since December, and have been working out as a team through video and on their own time as well.
“We want to stay in shape for when things do go back to normal. We want to be ready when we are called back for hockey. Boris and coach Clayton (Jardine) go through with this with us. We do about 45 minutes to an hour of cardio, and then are on our own doing some weight training at home.”
The Kodiaks are not just missing hockey. “We miss going to schools and seeing the students. I remember when I was in school, I would look forward to when the Kodiaks came to visit and it was exciting. It is something that we look forward to each week, and now we can’t do that. We miss the children a lot and it would make our day as well. Being in the community and seeing people is a positive experience. We usually talk about the season,” commented Brennan.
“We can’t really go out of our houses and meet people. We are all going through this together.”
He is sorting out his plans for this fall. “I’m still talking to some schools about next year, so I’m not sure yet. Usually at this time, schools are scouting you and players are trying to figure out where to go. Without games, it is hard to be scouted. Usually, when you are 20, it is the most dominant year for your own hockey. The Kodiaks want all of the 20-year-olds to complete hard and get to the next level. That is a huge thing in Camrose. I’m doing everything I can to work towards a scholarship for next year. It is hard not being able to play and showcase your talent,” added Brennan.
Some university leagues are waiving a year of eligibility, so the players can come back instead of missing a year. That causes a ripple effect down to first-year players. Less spots may be available.
“Some players will be able to switch schools without losing a year of eligibility. So this is going to be hectic this summer, as teams try to figure out their roster. I am waiting to see how that plays out. I’m hoping to play hockey somewhere this fall.”
He is still hopeful that he has some hockey to play before he makes his decision about next season. Some junior hockey teams are struggling without gate money at games. Camrose is in a better situation than most teams, but are feeling the pinch of having no hockey as well. “The Kodiaks have some great people in the organization, and they will be strong again when hockey resumes. We have some good players and we could have a championship season in the near future.”

Start planning for the future today

By Murray Green

Financial planning is something many consumers don’t fully understand. Learning some key components of financial planning can help people have more capital on hand to help them achieve their short-term and long-term goals.
When a lot of age 30 and older people were asked about their finances, a study found that many lacked knowledge of basic financial terms. In addition, it was found that numerous people feel completely lost in regard to having a solid plan with their money.
Financial planning can be intimidating, but learning the basics of sound money management can help people secure their financial futures.
Financial planning can be a process of setting objectives, assessing assets and resources, estimating future financial needs, and making plans to achieve financial goals. Investing, risk management, retirement planning, tax requirements, and estate planning are key components of financial planning.
To get started with financial planning, individuals will need to see where they stand financially, establish financial goals and create a plan to reach those goals. While a person can create his or her own financial plan, oftentimes the help of a financial planner can make sure that all avenues are being explored, especially for financial novices.
It’s important to note that financial planning may mean different things to different people. For some, planning may revolve around saving for a child’s college tuition, but still having enough money left to retire. Another person may be looking to save extra money to invest in a business venture. Others, who are living paycheque to paycheque, may need help reevaluating their spending so they can grow their savings.
One of the key components of financial planning is to begin as soon as possible. A financial plan can be instituted at any age, and goals can be revisited as life changes occur.
Financial planning strategies are something anyone can learn and utilize to secure their financial futures.
Learning some key components of financial planning can help people have more capital on hand to help them achieve their short- and long-term goals.

Torino GT sets you back in your seat

14 brown's 1970 ford torino
Judy and Dennis Brown added some muscle to their vehicles when they purchased this 1970 Torino GT a few years ago. The 429 engine packs a punch on the streets and on the highway.   

By Murray Green

Judy and Dennis Brown of Camrose County own a beautiful 1970 Ford Torino GT.
“We have had many different cars over the years. We had a 1959 Ford convertible, but we sold it before finishing it. We decided that we should get a newer car for a change. So, we thought about a muscle car for something different. We were looking for awhile and found this Torino with only 8,100 miles on it,” explained Dennis.
The two-door with a sports roof was manufactured in Atlanta on Sept. 26, 1969, for the 1970 year. It was even completed six days ahead of schedule at Ford.
“This car was in new condition and he had the car since it was new. It was even in a museum for awhile. It was located in the States, and we wanted to verify the milage. We purchased the car and wanted to drive back, but it was in the winter. We thought about getting a trailer, but we realized we could have it delivered. That was March 2018,” shared Dennis.
The Torino was named Motor Trends Car of the Year with its new design and racing strips.
“He wanted to be young at heart,” stated Judy, about the decision to go with a muscle car.
“We may not have far to go, but we are going to get there fast,” laughed Dennis. “Firstly, I wanted a newer car than my usual ’50s models, and secondly, I wanted low mileage, maybe  some power to it.”
The car features a 429 engine with a highway driving 3.00 standard axle ratio rear end, and a select shift Cruise-O-Matic transmission.
“We get pretty good mileage with it, considering it is a 429. That’s because of the rear end. The Torino is a Fairlane, but a high end model similar to the racing cars. Torinos had some trouble with rust, but this one is undercoated and well protected,” said Dennis.
The car is one of 1,564 made with the black paint and racing stripes. Only 257 cars had the exact colour of stripes.
“My uncle Fred passed away and he was never married. His goal was to be a millionaire, but he didn’t quite make it. He left his money to all his nieces and nephews. I received a little money and I wanted to do something special with that money and getting this Torino was part of my decision to buy it,” shared Dennis. “So this car holds a special memory of my uncle as well.”
Torinos were built to cut the wind and move with precision. The monocoque design unites the body into a solid integrated unit similar to an aircraft and exotic race cars. GT models featured extra sporty options such as hood scoops, magnum wheels and high-back seats.
FUN FACTS
The Torino was initially an upscale variation of the intermediate sized Ford Fairlane. By 1970, Torino had become the primary name for Ford’s intermediate and the Fairlane was now a subseries of the Torino.
Ford’s Bill Shenk, who designed the 1970 Ford Torino, were inspired by supersonic aircraft with narrow waists and bulging forward and rear fuselages needed to reach supersonic speeds
The 1970 Torino had more prominent long hood short deck styling, and was longer, lower and wider than the 1969 models. The Torino had a pointed front end, and overall styling appeared much more aerodynamic than in previous years. The grille covered the full width of the front fascia and surrounded the quad headlights. The front fender line extended to front door, sloping downward and gradually disappearing in the quarter panel. Both front and rear bumpers were slim tight fitting chromed units, that followed the body lines. The taillights were situated in the rear panel above the bumper, and were now long rectangular units with rounded outer edges.
The extra width between the spring towers increased the engine compartment size, allowing the larger V8s to fit.
Interiors on the Torino were all new for 1970.

County backs agriculture foundation

By Murray Green

Camrose County has given its support of the Round Hill Renaissance Agriculture Foundation in order to assist them when they apply for funding.
“I move that Camrose County provide a letter under the reeve’s signature, in support of the Round Hill Renaissance Agriculture Foundation grant applications,” said County councillor Greg Gillespie at the regular meeting on Feb. 9.
The County has already leased land to the Foundation for this project. “The Foundation has requested that the County provide them with a letter of support for their grant applications, showing that we support the project,” added administrator Paul King.
“Camrose County is pleased to support the work of the Round Hill Renaissance Agriculture Foundation in its development of a community garden and educational programming within the Hamlet of Round Hill. The County and Foundation have a lease agreement for land owned by Camrose County, directly south of the school, to build a community garden, and the County supports the plans outlined by the Foundation to develop the property for the long-term benefit of the community,” said Reeve Cindy Trautman in her letter.
“The Foundation has created an innovative partnership and educational opportunity with the Round Hill School to teach the foundations of agriculture and support local community needs. The County encourages you to add to the existing community supports to enhance this project.”

Government backs agricultural societies

By Murray Green

Agricultural Societies serve and support rural communities and are a rich part of Alberta’s history. They provide services such as community centres, ball diamonds, rodeo grounds, curling rinks and skating rinks.
“Each year, they receive a provincial base grant and an additional operating grant for events at their facilities. As a result of COVID-19, most of these events did not happen, which is why Agriculture and Forestry changed the 2021-22 funding formula and has expedited the grant process. Alberta’s government will still provide an additional operating grant by calculating the previous five-year average funding per organization,” said Devin Dreeshen, Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
Agricultural societies will use a streamlined form to apply, resulting in significant savings of time and resources. Grants will be processed this spring, starting in May, to get these much-needed funds out to dedicated volunteers across the province.
The 283 primary agricultural societies will each receive their $17,500 base grant, plus the new five-year average variable operating grant.
The seven regional agricultural societies will each receive their $298,853 base grant, plus the new five-year average variable operating grant, which is up to a maximum of $100,000.
“As minister of agriculture and forestry, I’m proud to recognize our hard-working volunteers who make agricultural societies work.”

Book on friendship sure to inspire

By Lori Larsen

Alberta authors Mandi Johnson and Kathy Rondeau collaborated on a delightful children’s book entitled Eloïse the Dragon Hunter that is striking a chord in children and adults alike.
The mother/daughter (Kathy/Mandi) team wrote the book featuring Mandi’s daughter/Kathy’s granddaughter, as Eloïse, the subject of the book.
On Feb. 17, Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely donated a copy of the book to Camrose Public Library in hopes that others will read it and get what she did out of the story, an inspiring message about friendship.
“To me, the book has a positive focus on friendship, and right now as we make our way as a community through COVID, maintaining friendships is so very important.”
The book is based on three-year-old Eloïse and her quest to find a dragon, and what she discovers along the way. It is a welcome break from the pressure we are all feeling  from the world’s situation.
“Maintaining good, healthy relationships is so very important,” said Lovely. “Although we can’t gather in person, we can still  phone, text and email.”
Or, try a Zoom meeting or Facetime a child you are unable to see in person and read a book together, and share a world of literary adventure.

Rotary week proclamation signed

18 rotary week
Mayor Norm Mayer, seated centre, signs a proclamation declaring Feb. 23 to 28 as Rotary Week. Witnessing the proclamation are, left to right, Rotary Club of Camrose president Jennifer Stone, treasurer Lou Henderson and Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak president Morris  Henderson.

By Lori Larsen

City of Camrose Mayor Norm Mayer officially signed a proclamation declaring Feb. 22 to 28 as Rotary Week, encouraging all citizens to join in recognizing Rotary International and Rotary Club of Camrose and Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak for their service to improving the human condition both in Camrose and around the world.
Feb. 23 is officially declared Rotary Day in commemoration of Rotary International, which was founded on February 23, 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, US.
The Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” is reflected in the incredible work done by the membership worldwide to service humankind through high ethical standards and promote goodwill and peace.
Locally, the Rotary Club of Camrose and Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak continue to be leaders in the community through the diverse membership that gives back through volunteerism and funding of vital local and international projects.
Currently, the clubs continue the work on the Pavilion Build located at Stoney Creek Centre, and support the Camrose Women’s Shelter, Camrose Open Door and school programs. Among this and other community support, the Camrose Rotary clubs generate ongoing awareness of the causes and initiatives supported by Rotary such as the Polio Plus program, Rotary’s Group Study Exchange program, and Rotary International.
With a mandate to provide what they can where they can throughout Camrose and surrounding  communities, the members of both Camrose Rotary clubs encourage not-for-profit organizations or others in need of their assistance to call upon their willingness and diverse expertise to lend a helping hand.
For more information on the Rotary Club of Camrose, visit the website portal.clubrunner.ca/441  or Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak at camrose daybreakrotary.org.

Keep pets safe from traps

By Lori Larsen

Camrose County pet and livestock owners need to be aware of the feasibility of traps or snares set up throughout rural areas, and are reminded to keep their pets/livestock safe.
Trapping, done legally, has been a part of Alberta’s history and culture for many years.
Information gathered by legal trappers provides data that is used to assist the Government of Alberta in improving an understanding of furbearer status and trends.
“Trapping is a lawful and regulated activity in  Alberta,” noted Camrose Fish and Wildlife District Officer Lorne Rinkel. “In particular, for coyotes, which are the main focus of most trappers’ attention in the Camrose region.”
As well as being regulated, there is a Code of Responsible Trappers which, according to the 2020-21 Alberta Guide to Trapping Regulations, includes the following: showing compassion for the animals they capture; developing skills so that furs are properly prepared for market; knowing and practicing proper releasing and killing methods; recording all trap-set locations and captures of furbearers; disposing of animal carcasses properly; and reporting the presence of diseased animals to a district Fish and Wildlife office.
Trappers are also encouraged to: make sets that are designed to capture only the intended species of furbearer; make only as many sets as they can manage effectively; anchor traps or snares securely to hold the largest animal that they may catch; and install a centre-mounted, swivelling, short chain (no longer than 30 cm or 12 inches, equipped with a shock absorber) for land foothold trap sets that are solidly anchored.
Further to that, the regulations stipulate that fur-bearing animals must be trapped using methods that are proven to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering.
For complete information on the regulations for trapping in Alberta, visit albertaregulations.ca/trap pingregs/gen-regs.html.
“Livestock lost to coyote predation is not covered by the Province of Alberta’s livestock compensation program, which leaves many livestock owners paying out of pocket and extremely frustrated,” said Rinkel, in reference to why trapping is so prolific in the Province and specifically in the Camrose County area.
“Urban coyotes are also an increasing and ongoing issue with the general public at large, including in Camrose. Beavers are a very problematic species, which, of course, cause flooding and property damage, and they too are managed by trappers and landowners alike,” added FWEB District Officer Rinkel.
“Landowners frequently reach out to trappers to proactively manage coyote populations, which inevitably may affect their livelihoods, as newborn livestock, not to mention beloved pets, are frequently predated by coyotes.”
An unfortunate consequence of pets running at large is the possibility of being accidentally snared or trapped. The following tips may help keep them safe.
Ensure your own pets and livestock remain on your property.
Check fencing on a regular basis to ensure there is no way for livestock to escape your own property.
When traversing public lands, keep your pets on a leash.
If you notice a pet or livestock that is not yours on your property, contact the owner if you know who they are, or contact Camrose County Protective Services via email protserv@county.camrose.ab.ca or telephone 780-672-4449.
If you have traps or snares set on your land, out of courtesy, consider warning your neighbours to keep their pets away.

 

Births and Deaths

Births
- To Deborah Sagine and Jared Fehr of Camrose, a son, on February 9.
- To Rayann and Jordan Volk of Heisler, a daughter, on February 12.
- To Anna Olson and Josh Selin of Camrose, a daughter, on February 14.

Deaths
- Gerald Allott of Camrose, formerly of Ryley, on February 9, at 88 years of age.
- Ada Alice Pearce of Holden, on February 11, at 72 years of age.
- Mary Caroline Niewchas of Camrose, on February 11, at 87 years of age.
- Edna Harrison of Camrose, on February 13, at 93 years of age.
- Nathanial Bosshard, of New Norway, on February 15, at nine months of age.
- Ella Venice Harris of Sherwood Park, on February 16, at 99 years of age.
- Ernest Nels Peterson of Ferintosh, on February 16, at 87 years of age.
- Donald Leo Sharkey of Camrose, formerly of Duhamel, on February 18, at 96 years of age.