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By Bonnie Hutchinson

No complaints
I’m writing this on a gorgeous spring day. Blue sky, warm air, green trees, flowers starting to show up…makes me feel happy just to be alive.
Not only that, this day includes a pedicure, a massage, dinner with my favourite (and only) daughter and an evening of live theatre. In my world, that’s pretty much a perfect day. I couldn’t make myself be grumpy if I tried.
That is making me think about the days when it’s easy to be grumpy.
The challenge
A while ago, someone challenged me to take part in a “no complaints week.”
The idea was that several of us agreed to see how long we could go without complaining about anything. We were each supposed to wear an elastic band around a wrist. If we noticed ourselves complaining or feeling judgmental about something, we were to snap the elastic band in order to snap ourselves out of complaining thoughts.
We were to check in with each other once a day for a week.
An educational week
That was an educational week! I discovered how easy it was for me to slip into critical complaining mode in a nanosecond. The weather, the news, people in grocery line-ups, the politics of the day…it seemed as if I was practically on red alert watching for opportunities to think or say critical things.
I didn’t always say out loud what I was thinking, but I noticed how gleeful it felt to come up with a great zinger. I realized that I actually enjoyed that momentary feeling of superiority. Not a pretty picture.
I noticed something else. The longer I allowed myself to stay in that complaining critical state, the more I found to complain about and the more the world looked like a dark place. If I didn’t interrupt my train of thought, I could feel the beginning of discouragement, resentment or even hopelessness (What’s the point? Why bother?) creep in.
This was uncomfortable but useful information. That is not who I want to be when I grow up! I started to get a sense of the power of negative thinking, not only to influence my mood but to alter my perceptions.
The antidote
I confess that I did not always snap the elastic band on my wrist when I noticed I was thinking or saying complaining things. But mostly I did make a conscious effort to switch away from complaining mode. The easiest way was to start looking for something to be grateful about. It didn’t even have to be related to the thing I was complaining about. Any form of gratitude began to change my mood and my mindset.
The happy thing I noticed was that the longer I could stay in gratitude mode, the more things and people I appreciated, and the better the whole world looked. I could feel optimism, confidence and even enjoyment creep in.
It’s not the only time I’ve had this realization, but it was an excellent reinforcement. Many situations can be improved by the simple method of finding something to be grateful about. That changes our mindset which in turn changes everything.
Yep, some things really are awful. This is not in praise of ignoring what needs fixing. But if we let ourselves sink into a mire of criticism and complaining, that lessens the energy we have to make improvements. If we arm ourselves with a generally grateful frame of mind, we can find the strength and wisdom to make needed changes.
And the winner is…
Back to our group. Did any of us make it through an entire day without complaining about anything? Well, one person (not me) claimed she had been able to resist complaining about anything at all for more than 24 hours.
Naturally, the others of us complained that it wasn’t fair!
I’d love to hear from you. If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send an email to Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com. I’ll happily reply within one business day

Before I Die Symposium hosted by Hospice Society of Camrose

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Pictured left to right are the Hospice Society of Camrose and District Before I Die Symposium committee members Pam Cummer, Colette Howery, Brenda Zimmel and Michele Laird. Missing from photo is Laura Messick.

By Lori Larsen

What would you say if you asked yourself, “Before I die, I want to…?”
It is a question that is worth contemplating, a question that opens your mind and heart and not only the life you have already lived, but the life you have left to live.
On June 3, the Hospice Society of Camrose and District will be hosting the fourth Compassionate Communities Symposium to be held at the Norsemen Inn from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
“We have always had very good turnouts,” said symposium committee member Pam Cummer, adding that it draws a variety of attendees from across the province.
This year’s symposium follows the theme of Candy Chang’s worldwide community project and now book Before I Die…, an initiative aimed at restoring people’s perspective on life and a way of engaging with neighbours.
“This is such a good theme for Hospice care because of all of our work we do with the elderly, NavCare and anyone who has palliative status. It just fit,” said committee member Colette Howery.
After the death of a loved one, Candy found herself reflecting on her own life–past, present and future–and how she could engage with people in her own neighbourhood in New Orleans.
She painted an abandoned house in her neighbourhood and used chalk to stencil the prompt, “Before I die, I want to…”, in hopes that passersby would finish the statement with their own personal aspirations in a very public setting.
The next day, the entire wall was filled with comments ranging from, “Swim without holding my nose” to “Abandon all insecurities”.
Shortly after, the initiative took flight around the world with communities wanting to create their own “Before I Die…” walls. Now, over 75 countries, including Iraq, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, South Africa and Canada have come up with their own versions of the “Before I Die…” wall.
In Camrose, the incredibly dedicated and creative volunteers of the Hospice Society of Camrose and District had a mobile “Before I Die…” wall built courtesy of Windsor Plywood (including materials) and stencilled by Symposium committee member Michele Laird, with the intent of moving the wall to different locations throughout Camrose to inspire Camrosians to fill in their own thoughts and aspirations.
The Compassionate Community Symposium is open to everyone, encouraging professional caregivers, volunteers or family members caring for someone with declining health to come and take part in open conversations, hearing from experts and personal stories.
“The purpose of the Symposium is not a fundraiser for Hospice, it is an educational opportunity,” explained Cummer. “Our Mission Statement states that we want to provide people with education (as well as accompanying people on their palliative journey). That is where the symposium fits in, so we keep costs very low.”
The all-day event, emceed by Donna Erickson, will begin with a presentation by Camrose’s own Pat Carlson, entitled My Journey, speaking candidly about her personal journey through her battle with cancer, and Rita Hemig’s presenting on Love and Loss–Living with Gratitude.
After a quick break, the symposium will continue with a panel discussion including panel members: Hospice Society of Camrose and District volunteer coordinator Joy LeBlanc, Palliative Care physician Dr. Kevyn Letley, death doula Rayne Johnson, and Pine Box Funerals funeral director Bonnie Hoffman.
The afternoon session will begin with a short presentation by Hospice Society of Camrose and District grief and bereavement navigator Lori-Ann Huot, followed by the keynote speaker Dr. Jody Carrington on the topic Living Fully until the Last Breath.
For anyone interested in reading the Before I Die… book, it is available for checking out at the Hospice Office located on the lower level of the Mirror Lake Centre, 5415-49 Avenue.
For more information on the Symposium or to register online, visit the Hospice Society of Camrose and District website www.camrosehospice.org or follow the Hospice on Instagram or Facebook.

Augustana Human Library hosts virtual books

By Murray Green

The University of Alberta Augustana Campus with be holding its 27th Augustana Human Library (Part 2) on May 25 and 26.
You can watch the live messages of three different stories.
Human Book Title: Healing from Childhood talks about childhood sexual abuse.
“I am willing to share my story of childhood sexual abuse and healing. I am also willing to hear and honour your story or the story of someone you know. I can also talk about types of healing therapies, family dynamics as well as suing my abuser for my therapy costs. I am willing to go where your interests take us,” said the author.
You can tune in on Wednesday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m. Registration at http://aug.ualberta.ca/HLMay25at130REG.
Book two is Unguarded Authenticity that is about gender transition.
“The most valuable lesson that I uncovered through my gender transition was that my decades of personal struggle were never about being transgender, but rather about being human. This epiphany helped me to recognize a fundamental bond between us all: that at our core, we share a need for self-actualization, and are all in a transition towards a more authentic version of ourselves,” shared the author.
You can watch on Thursday, May 26, 2 p.m. Registration held at http://aug.ualberta.ca/HLMay26 at300REG.
Book three is titled United as Never and is about experiencing war at home, while studying in a different country.
“When I left home three years ago, I never thought that there would be a day when I had to wonder if I could return and when I do, if it will ever look the same. I have never felt this close yet that far from my home country. I am no longer paying attention to dates, rather counting the days of war, as I watch the violent invasion,” said the author.
This will be told on May 26 at 2 p.m. To register visit http://aug.ualberta.ca/HLMay26at300REG.

Strides of Hope walk in Camrose

By Murray Green

The Schizophrenia Society of Alberta invites you to participate in its Strides of Hope walk on Tuesday, May 24 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in recognition of World Schizophrenia Day.
“Our goal is to raise awareness, reduce stigma and show our support for all those affected by schizophrenia. We will be hosting a walk in six cities across the province where our branches are located (Calgary, Camrose, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer). You can also go for a walk on your own or with your family and friends,” said Anthony Holler, Camrose Peer Support program coordinator.
Wear purple and encourage others to participate rain or shine.
To register for a walk or make an online donation, visit www.schizophrenia.ab.ca.
“Help us raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with schizophrenia by joining us on our Strides of Hope walk. To register, click ‘join as an individual or create a team’ button. The starting location for our Camrose walk is the SSA Camrose Branch at 206, 5015-50 Avenue, and will end at Kamifurano Park,” added Anthony.
“We hope that you will show your support and join us. Wear purple, snap a photo and share it on your social media using the hashtags #WorldSchizophreniaDay and #SSAStridesofHope. Be sure to tag us on Facebook @SchizophreniaSocietyofAlberta, Twitter @SchizophreniaAB and Instagram @Schizophrenia.Society.Alberta.”
You can also create your own fundraising page and share it with others to raise funds for the SSA online. For more information, contact info@schizophrenia.ab.ca or 403-986-9440.
Anthony supports others in the community. “You are not defined by your illness. Whether you’re looking to talk with someone who understands what you’re going through, or are ready to join a community that will support you without judgement, we’re here to help you live a life that is meaningful to you.”
It’s not just about learning how to better support your loved one, it’s about finding ways to better take care of yourself.
“We connect you with others who understand the unique journey you’re on, while our peer-led programs provide you with the knowledge and confidence to empower yourself and your loved one,” added Anthony.
Schizophrenia is one of the most highly stigmatized and misunderstood mental health disorders. SSA provides educational programming to a variety of groups, including high school and post-secondary students and first responders.
SSA provides more than 200 people living with schizophrenia with supportive employment opportunities including running peer-led groups and giving community presentations. These leaders and mentors are recipients of SSA programming themselves and bring invaluable insight gained from their own lived experience.

Churchmice announces fall dinner theatre plan

By Murray Green

The Churchmice Players have rested long enough. They are now planning two great shows for this fall and next spring.
“Churchmice has a couple of announcements and we have some very excited people now that we have show rights finalized,” unveiled Churchmice Players public relations manager Janine Carroll.
The Bold, the Young and the Murdered is a murder-mystery comedy by Don Zomlidis. It opens at the Bailey Theatre on December 1 for seven comedy shows. December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 are dinner theatres, however, each show will have tickets available on the balcony for the show only. Dinner will include all the traditional tastes of Christmas with turkey, ham and all the delectable trimmings. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. and the curtain rises at 7:30 p.m.
One matinee is scheduled for Sunday, December 4 (no meal), with the show starting at 2 p.m.
Director Mike Hicks and assistant director Andrew Little will be looking for 13 performers–five female, four male, and four roles which can be filled by either male or female. Auditions will be held on June 22.
Several summer backyard readings will be planned with rehearsals starting after the September long weekend on Tuesdays and Fridays, 7 to 9 p.m. Other crew members include producer Janine Carroll, stage manager Britta Boden and stage designer Wendy Wenig.
“Churchmice are excited to get dinner theatre going again at the Bailey after such a long break due to COVID-19,” said Janine.
The storyline unfolds like this: the long-running soap opera The Bold and the Young is in its last days: its hunky hero has self-esteem issues, its villainous old man is more interested in soup, and its heroines are slightly psychopathic. The executive producer gives the squabbling cast an ultimatum: Complete one episode overnight or the show dies. But when the director ends up murdered, and other cast members start dropping like flies, it seems like his threat might actually come true. Can these misfits discover the murderer before the show is literally killed off?
Rock of Ages
Churchmice is also announcing a big musical production for February 2023 at the Lougheed Performing Arts Centre.
Rock of Ages is a musical comedy by Chris D’Arienzo, with arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp.
Rock of Ages takes you back to the time of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos and sporting even bigger hair.
The rock show opens at the Lougheed Centre on February 9, 2023 and runs until February 19 for 10 rock performances.
Director Nick Goetz, producer Tania Nease and choreographer Desiree De Kock will be looking for a cast of up to 30 singers and dancers, ages 16 and up, with 17 speaking roles available. Auditions will be held September 7, 9 and 11 at Camrose United Church with rehearsals Wednesday and Friday evenings, 7 to 9 p.m., and Sunday afternoons 3 to 5 p.m. between September and the show run in February.
“It’s going to be a great year of community theatre for both those on stage and in the audience. People looking for more information can reach out to churchmiceplayer@gmail.com or find us on Facebook for more information,” added Janine.

City partners against risk to water source

By Lori Larsen

In a report to council, City of Camrose Infrastructure and Planning Engineering manager Jeremy Enarson explained the purpose behind the Camrose Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP).
Enarson said that while there is no legislated requirement for Camrose to develop a SWPP, the City is required to develop and maintain a Drinking Water Safety Plan (DWSP) which is used to identify risks associated with the City’s drinking water system and actions that the City can take to manage those risks.
“The DWSP focuses on four main areas of the water operations: water source risks, treatment process risks, distribution network risks and risks associated with the end-user/customer.”
In his report, Enarson indicated that of the four main areas, the City has the least amount of control over the risks associated with its raw water source, specifically Driedmeat Lake and the Battle River. “This is mainly because of the fact that over 95 per cent of the land area that drains into Driedmeat Lake is located outside of the City limits, and thus is outside of the City’s jurisdictional control.”
Enarson said that because of that minimal control, it is critical for the City to bond partnerships with other stakeholders, such as the Battle River Watershed Alliance and Camrose County. “Recently, when the City and the County entered into a number of regional water agreements, we both agreed that watershed protection was something that we wanted to strive towards, and so one of the requirements of those agreements was for the City and the County to collaborate on a Source Water Protection Plan.”
As a result, the City and the County engaged Battle River Watershed Alliance in assisting with developing the SWPP.
“Work on the SWPP began in late 2014, with the Terms of Reference being formally approved by City and County councils in early 2015,” said Enarson, adding that a stakeholder advisory committee consisting of County and City representatives from administration and elected representatives, as well as local residents and business owners from both municipalities was created.
In September 2016, the plan was formerly adopted by both County and City councils.
The plan identifies the following source water risks:
Urban: transportation, stormwater, lawn care products, development and construction, green spaces and wetlands, recreation and wildlife, wastewater.
Rural: land management, oil and gas development, transportation, development and construction, green spaces, wetlands, recreation, water wells and springs, wastewater, waste disposal and wildlife.
The plan then identifies specific actions to be taken by the County or City to manage the risks identified, recommended time frames for taking those actions (short/medium and long-term) and any specific organizations or stakeholders responsible for implementing the recommended actions.
Enarson noted that since the adoption of the SWPP, the City has implemented some changes in operations such as:
continued/expanded catch basin cleaning and street sweeping
ongoing efforts to encourage developers to consider incorporating low impact development stormwater management techniques into new developments
researching ways to require developers to implement erosion and sediment control plans for new and infill developments
ongoing naturalization of sensitive green spaces
enhancing natural green spaces in the Stoney Creek valley and around Mirror Lake
Using the Green Spaces Master Plan to identify and protect wetlands, riparian areas and other natural green spaces within City limits
maintaining and expanding the use of bag dispensers and garbage bins along walking tails
upgrading of City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant and,
continuation of the household hazardous waste round-ups.
“The intent on this is that both the City and County, various stakeholders and residents are taking action to improve our water quality over the long term,” said Enarson.
Councillor Agnes Hoveland inquired as to what measures the City has made to mitigate water shortage and what kind of education programs for water protection are available.
Enarson said the City monitors the flow within the Battle River as well as the level of Driedmeat Lake. “We take that information and plug it into a spreadsheet to identify how  many days are in storage in the lake. Based off of that, the City can then identify the level of risk for the City water supply and what the City’s water shortage response would be, whether it involves mandatory conservations and water bans essentially.”
Enarson said that aside from monitoring water levels, which he noted is more of a reactive process, the City also has proactive programs, such as the toilet rebate program and educating the public on what they can do to reduce water use.
Councillor David Francoeur asked what the City could be doing to be more proactive in approaching counties to create legislation surrounding fencing back from the river and lake, “What we can do a little bit more aggressively to resolve the issue.”
Enarson replied, “The City does not have any jurisdiction control or rights within another municipality and that is where those partnerships come in–the City and County working closely together on the adopting a SWPP.
“Long term in our SWPP, there a number of things that are identified that the City and County can do, including identifying that awareness of landowners adjacent to tributaries, who may not realize what riparian areas are and how we can protect them.”
Enarson also suggested going out and doing actual on-the-ground assessments, with the blessing of landowners, to determine the health of the river and lake and how far back fencing would need to be placed, as well as how livestock could access drinking water.
City manager Malcolm Boyd inquired with Battle River Watershed Alliance  Watershed programs manager Sarah Skinner as to whether or not there is anything going on provincially that the City could actively support or advocate to help control the agriculture side of the water issue.
Skinner responded that there was nothing currently in existence provincially that would require anybody to put a fenceline in at any distance. “It takes some hard work to make the connections and sell the case, but that is currently what we are working with in terms of putting these things into practice.”
Enarson added that there are some revisions within provincial legislation surrounding conservation easements which must be accepted by the landowners, but added that he is not aware of any mandate coming from Alberta Agriculture on changing how things are being done.
Councillor Hoveland asked BRWA representatives if they have opportunities to meet on a more-or-less regular basis with provincial ministers.
Skinner replied that they don’t have regular meetings, but that the managers in all watershed organizations meet regularly and sometimes will have government representatives there, but not necessarily to talk specifically on these issues.
Councillor Lana Broker asked Enarson, “Alberta Environment is a powerful entity. Is there any way to convince them to get together with Alberta Agriculture and let them know how passionate we are about this, that we are willing to work with them, but need more of their help, for example, some funding?”
Enarson replied that elected officials should be encouraged to have those discussions in terms of raising awareness and funding, and added that a good deal of the funding for BRWA comes from the province to encourage awareness and education.
In conclusion, Enarson reiterated the importance of having strong partnerships with the County and other stakeholders such as BRWA, and that addressing this concern must come from all levels of government.
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Tournament of Books, having fun with reading

St. Patrick Catholic School students Thomas Driver, front, and Allyson Rioux, second from front, were part of several students leading the charge for the Tournament of Books 2022 during the opening day, held on May 2 in the school gymnasium. The Tournament of Books is a month-long fun reading event.

By Lori Larsen

Reading is where it’s at for the students of St. Patrick Catholic School (St. Pat’s) and they are once again going to put their skills to the test with the 2022 Teachers’ Picks Tournament of Books.
Excited to be celebrating the love of reading, St. Pat’s staff and students will be reading through a variety of books handpicked by the teachers and will then hold a vote to see which one takes the students’ top pick.
The featured books are:
I Don’t Want to Read This Book, author Max Greenfield
I Say Ooh, You Say Aah, author John Kane
I’m Not Scared, You’re Scared, author Seth Myers
Library Lion, author Michelle Knudson;
The Book with No Pictures, author B.J. Novak
The Extraordinary Egg, author Leo Lionni
Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, author Dorren Cronin
The Dark, author Lemony Snicket/Jon Klassen
The Recess Queen, author Alexis O’Neill
Dodos Are Not Extinct, author Paddy Donnelly
Something Stinks, author Jonathan Fenske
The Toot Fairy, author Janet R. Adams and Daniel Wlodarski
Awesome is Everywhere, author Neil Pasricha;
Never Enough Hockey! author Gilles Tibo and Bruno St-Aubin
I Want My Hat Back, author Jon Klassen
We Will Rock Our Classmates, author Ryan T. Higgins
“The goal of the Tournament of Books is to foster a love of reading among our students and get them excited about books,” explained St. Pat’s Grade 2 teacher and event organizer Stacy Lofgren. “Students love to vote for their favourite book each week and we all look forward to seeing which book will be crowned the winner.”
Once again, the Tournament of Books will be welcoming Mystery Readers” from the community to come into the classrooms and read one or two of the selected books to a class of students.
“It brings a sense of community into the school with Mystery Readers coming in to participate in the tournament.”
The Tournament of Books will run the month of May and at the conclusion of the event, the books will take up permanent residence in the school library.
Now an annual event at St. Pat’s, the Tournament of Books is a fun way to get students excited about reading and open their eyes to a world of imagination as seen through the words of others.

Camrose Kodiaks giving back to the community through ticket sales

By Lori Larsen

When the puck drops, the action begins, but it’s more than just on the ice. The Camrose Kodiaks organization is not only proud to bring some great hockey to Camrose, but they are just as proud to be able to give back to the community.
The Kodiaks organization has already developed a stellar reputation in the community of giving back through donations of funds and volunteering, but also by ingraining in the players the vital role they play off the ice.
Since the team’s inception in 1996, one of the Kodiaks mandates has been for  players to be seen in the community for more than just hockey.
Camrose Kodiaks General manager Boris Rybalka has, for the past 25 years of being with the organization, made a point of developing contributing members of the community, not just hockey players.
These players become involved in the community, whether that be volunteering at events, attending schools and mentoring youth, supporting and promoting local businesses, or by just being well-rounded citizens.
But aside from that, and perhaps in a much less conspicuous manner, the organization itself has been giving back to the community through donations of funds to minor hockey and youth who may otherwise not have the financial means to play.
This year, the Kodiaks took it one step further with a reciprocal program that sees Kodiaks donations from game ticket purchases being given back to the community to not only minor hockey, but Augustana Vikings hockey as well.
“Ticket holders are supporting minor hockey, the Vikings and the Kodiaks,” said Rybalka. “We were proud to donate $1,000 to Camrose Minor Hockey. This can help coaches or trainers improve their skills or keep kids in hockey or get kids involved in hockey.”
Inspiring youth to get involved in organized sports where they are given opportunities to be coached, cared for and counted has always been part of the Camrose Kodiaks organization. Kodiaks players attend schools to cook breakfasts for the breakfast programs, give presentations on the benefits of being in organized sports, volunteer at school functions and often just act as mentors for these youngsters.
The organization also made a $5,000 donation to Augustana Vikings Hockey, which Rybalka said can be used to purchase equipment or awarded as scholarships to current students or attract future students to Augustana.
“Now, with a Kodiaks season ticket, you also get a Vikings season ticket. So fans can go to 30 Kodiaks games and 12 to 15 Vikings games.”
Rybalka said the big reason they went with this offering, aside from providing fans non-stop entertainment throughout the hockey season, was to be able to collaborate with the Vikings. “We have worked together before behind the scenes with the Kodiaks Skills Day, but I met with Tim Green ( head coach for Augustana Vikings men’s hockey) and said we could donate to the Vikings with every season ticket sold. It is going to help them out in any way they need.
“We want to be able to keep this (donation)program going,” remarked Rybalka. “It is not only our way of giving back, but for everyone who supports the Kodiaks, including every ticket holder, to give back.”
Happy to be welcoming fans back to the arena come August, the Kodiaks will be ramping up for the new season. Returning players and some new faces will be coming to Camrose, their home away from home, to provide the community with exciting Alberta Junior A hockey that in turn supports other not-for-profit organizations.
For more information on the Kodiaks organization, visit the Camrose Kodiaks website at www.camrosekodiaks.ca.

Professional advisors share BRCF vision, lunch

By Murray Green

The Battle River Community Foundation held its 19th Professional Advisors Luncheon to share its vision on May 11 at the Camrose Railway Station and Museum.
“Welcome to the Professional Advisors Luncheon. Where else can you buy a  $500 hamburger and feel this warm and fuzzy about it? I want to say how great it is to come together with this tradition at the Railway Station,” said BRCF chairman Kevin Gurr.
“Some of you have been with us every year since our first Professional Advisors Luncheon 21 years ago, and some of you are here for the first time. Because there are new faces here today, I thought I would start with a brief review of the BRCF history,” said Kevin.
Guests learned that the BRCF was    established in 1995 by a small group of local citizens, to create annual support for important community charities related to arts, culture, education, health, recreation and more. The goal was to create permanent endowment funds, which would be carefully invested to create annual investment income for charitable purposes forever.
The BRCF’s first fund was the result of 10 individual $1,000 donations from the founding board members and the first grant was a $200 scholarship.
“The advisors group  luncheon, started in 2002, is very important to our organization. Since then our endowment funds have grown from 58 to 408. We had $800,000 invested at that time and we have more than $21 million now. We granted $3,158 that first year. Last year we granted $452,000. Flow through gifts that first year were $21,000 and last year it was $587,000. Those numbers, to me, are always amazing to see. It shows the growth of this organization over the years. The funds were distributed in grants to a variety of charities for worthwhile projects throughout the Battle River community. Best of all, after all the grants have been paid, the original principal remains intact, so earnings and, in turn, granting will go on forever,” Kevin explained.
“We also outgrew our space downtown and moved three blocks east, where we have more space for offices and storage space. That was a big move last year.  We bought new computers, but we did find used furniture,” laughed Kevin.
He continued with the history lesson. “Over the years, the board has also adopted policies to set aside a portion of the annual investment income, part to be added to the principal of each fund (to take into account the effects of inflation) and part to ensure that annual granting will occur even in bad economic climates.
“One of our goals has been to establish an administration endowment fund that will generate enough annual investment income to cover our annual administrative budget. At the close of business in 2021, through your generosity and the generosity of others, we now have $1.6 million in the Administrative Endowment Fund.
“The purpose of our annual Professional Advisors Luncheon is twofold: to thank you for your continued support through your annual $500 contribution to our administration endowment fund. The other is to ask you, as trusted advisors, to consider the BRCF as you continue to guide your clients through their life decisions related to philanthropy.
“We know that there are many worthwhile choices for giving and we are happy to collaborate with you and share examples of all the good things that have been achieved in the past 27 years through the Foundation. Although the growth and financial numbers are impressive, these are simply statements of facts. The real story here is about people and relationships. The Foundation–yours and mine–is the result of the collective efforts of thousands of caring people,” said Kevin. “Caring people who recognize the needs in our community and who develop initiatives and projects to address those needs. Thanks for helping us build a caring community. I appreciate that.”
The board consists of chairman Gurr; past chair Imogene Walsh; secretary Stephen Kambeitz; treasurer Neil Lunty; vice-chair Kristyn Rau; directors Rob Hauser, Leon Lohner, Sharleen Chevaux, Carol Rollheiser and Ben Paulsen; executive director Dana Andreassen; finance and admin support Karen Bossman and Lisa Vanden Dungen; finance and admin consultant Tom Kuntz; and founding member and ambassador emeritus Blain Fowler.

Chevy Blazer built for fun exploring

By Murray Green

Melody and Dave Calhoun own a 1971 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
“I bought this vehicle pre-COVID down in Florida. I was going to drive it down Route 66, but they (border crossing) wouldn’t let me go get it, so I had to get it shipped here,” explained Dave.
“I have always wanted one. I bought it for my 50th birthday present, so I got what I always wanted for my birthday,” shared Dave.
The K5 Blazer was the smallest full-size SUV version of the Chevrolet C/K Truck family. It was added to the Chevrolet line in 1969.
“I just think the Blazers are cool and it is from my era. I was born in 1970 and this vehicle was made in 1971. My girl is one year older than me,” he laughed.
“I have a 383 stroker fuel injected engine with a turbo 350 transmission with 3.73:1 gears in it. I have modified the Blazer with new wheels and rims. It was a ground-up restoration. The guy who built it put in $125,000 US into it. I purchased it for $85,000 so I thought it was a good deal. I’m thinking of selling it and moving on to the next vehicle now. I like to keep the vehicles moving,” he added.
“The roof comes off, but I need three friends (which I don’t have) to take it off and on. It comes off right from the windshield to back. Everyone who has looked at the vehicle gives me the thumbs up. They made about 2,200 of these and at last count there are 412 left. Most people want the 4 x 4s in these and this is a two-wheel drive. Some people take a two-wheel drive and turn it into a 4 x 4 and it kind of wrecks it, but it is what it is,” Dave said.
In 1970, GMC introduced its own model of the truck called the Jimmy.
“I only thing I added was fuel injection. The carburetor was a pain, so I changed that and everything else (except the rims) on the Blazer is the way it came. I didn’t like the rims. It came with factory air conditioning. It has a CD/iPod stereo in it. The front power seats were modified to look like the original material. Power steering and power brakes were standard on this vehicle. It has drums in the back and discs in the front,” said Dave.
“This is the first car show (2021) that I made it to with this vehicle. I tried two weeks earlier, but it broke down because of the fuel injection. I haven’t had it long enough to have any other memories with it. I’ve gone on a few road trips, but nothing too major. Because the fuel injection  keeps blowing oxygen sensors, we haven’t gone very far with it. My wife had to bring her vehicle to make sure I got here and home all right,” laughed Dave.
The K5 Blazer and Jimmy had full convertible removable tops until 1975.
In 1970, a two-wheel drive model was offered. The Blazer was designed and marketed to compete with International Harvester Scout and the Ford Bronco. Both of these were originally aimed at the short Jeep CJ series, but all three were much smaller than other trucks. The Blazer was a shortened pickup truck. This gave it increased interior space. It also lowered the cost of production with a shared platform.
The Blazer quickly became popular. For the first time, it married the off-road capabilities of the Scout with luxury features like air conditioning and automatic transmission.
At that time, those were usually only available in cars. By 1970, the Blazer was already outselling both of its older rivals. It took Jeep (with the Cherokee) and Dodge (with the Dodge Ramcharger) to introduce similar models.
The two-wheel drive version came with independent front suspension and rear trailing arms, both with coil springs. The four-wheel drive version had a solid front axle and used leaf springs front and rear. Both versions used drum brakes at all four wheels until 1971. A tachometer was optional.

Alberta invests in rural veterinarians

By Murray Green

Alberta is injecting a $67.4 million investment in veterinary medicine.
Through the Alberta at Work initiative, the government is investing in the success of students at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
Agriculture is a major pillar of our economy and Albertans rely on the experience of trained veterinary professionals to strengthen this sector and help it thrive. Last year, Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely advocated for rural Albertans through Motion 524, urging the government to explore ways to increase the number of veterinarians serving rural communities. This funding fulfills the promise to rural Albertans and will support key improvements in the training and growth of veterinary medicine in our province.
“Veterinarians are valued members of our rural communities. Our economy relies on the success of this profession, and it is essential that we support the training and development of students studying veterinarian medicine. Investing in education programs will bring countless benefits to rural Albertans, ranchers, and their families,” said Jackie Lovely, MLA for Camrose.
“Agriculture is a key pillar of Alberta’s economy. That’s why it is so critical we ensure that livestock have access to the veterinary care that keeps them healthy. Through Alberta’s Recovery Plan and the Alberta at Work Initiative, we are addressing the shortage of veterinarians, and that our furry companions have the care they need when they need it,” added Premier Jason Kenney.
About $8.4 million is being invested over four years to support enrollment expansion in the program.
About $59 million in capital funding is being invested over three years towards critical new infrastructure.

Sharing the roads with motorcyles

By Lori Larsen

As the weather warms up, Alberta roads become busier with a variety of motor vehicles sharing the roads hoping to get to and from destinations safely.
Alberta Transportation, in partnership with all traffic safety stakeholders, are focusing on Motorcycle Safety for the month of May, in an effort to remind all motorists that motorcycles will once again be taking to the Alberta roads.
“All motorists can help reduce motorcycle collisions,” remarked Wetaskiwin area RCMP Traffic Services Corporal Trent Cleveland.
Without the protection of an enclosed vehicle and all its safety features, motorcyclists and their passengers are far more vulnerable on the roads than other motorists.
In an effort to increase awareness on motorcycle safety, Alberta Transportation provides the following safety facts:
• About two thirds of collisions involving motorcycles result in death or injury.
• From 2014 to 2018, 2,981 motorcycles were involved in casualty collisions of which 144 people were killed and 3,066 were injured.
• Over 40 per cent of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions were travelling at an unsafe speed.
• Nearly half of motorcyclists involved in casualty collisions committed an improper action. Running off the road or following too closely were the most common errors made by motorcyclists.
• Head injury is a leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. A rider wearing a helmet is 37 per cent less likely to die than a rider without one.
• Younger motorcyclists (under the age of 25) are more likely to be involved in casualty collisions than older riders.
• 88 per cent of motorcycle collisions occur on dry roads and 73 per cent of motorcycle collisions occur in urban areas.
Motorcycles on gravel roads pose a higher risk and danger. Operators of motorcycles and off-road vehicles need to be extremely cautious when traversing country roads.
“Those who share the road with motorcycles should keep their eyes on the road, check their blind spots and mirrors before changing lanes, and give motorcycles space just like any other vehicle,” suggested Corporal Cleveland. “Keep a keen eye on intersections for turning and oncoming motorcyclists.”
The following safety tips are intended to assist motorcyclists in enjoying  the journey and arriving safely at their destinations:
• Always drive at a speed appropriate for the conditions.
• Follow all traffic laws and stay focused on the road.
• Wear a helmet and other protective gear, such as eye protection, a durable jacket, pants, and gloves. Make sure your gear is comfortable and weather-appropriate.
• Consider taking a motorcycle training course, whether you’re a new rider or an experienced one looking to refresh your knowledge and skills.
For those who enjoy taking in the fresh air on the back of a motorcycle and getting the most out of a fairly short season for riding, it is vital that all road users abide by all traffic laws and devices and share the roads respectfully.

Migrating wild birds pose threat to domestic birds

By Lori Larsen

As a main migratory waterfowl flyway, Camrose and area becomes inundated with a variety of  waterfowl every spring and fall, using the area as a stopover on their way to their final destinations.
Fields, ponds and other waterbodies take on the sights and sounds of flocks of ducks and geese feeding and roosting, however, along with the mass numbers of birds (specifically Canada geese and snow geese) comes the potential for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), commonly known as the bird flu.
“For the last several years, snow geese have been overpopulating the arctic tundra to the point of destroying tundra habitat,” explained Camrose Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services District Officer Lorne Rinkel. “The Federal government, which is in charge of regulating migratory waterfowl, created a spring snow goose season to deal with the overpopulation.”
Rinkel said that hunters are allowed to shoot 50 snow geese a day with no possession limit, taking into consideration the extremely high numbers of snow geese.
“Last spring and this spring (2021/2022), I have never seen so many snow geese. Then around mid-April, I started receiving telephone calls from people reporting dead snow geese.”
The reports ranged from the snow geese literally falling out of the sky and ending up in a farmer’s field to other people finding dead snow geese in areas that they would not regularly be found. “And it is usually one goose, unless on a waterbody.”
Rinkel said shortly after he began receiving telephone calls from people, FWES and other government offices across Central Alberta also experienced a call volume reporting a large number of dead snow geese on waterbodies.
“For Camrose, in particular, the bulk of the calls we had were from the sloughs around Edberg,” said Rinkel, noting that many areas in the province are receiving calls, but in the Edberg area, there is concern for local poultry and egg production operations.
Rinkel explained that recent dry years have caused a reduction in waterbodies resulting in less roosting areas for the birds, and because they flock together, there are vast numbers of them in one place. “They are very tightly grouped together and this virus spreads like crazy.”
While the majority of the birds affected by HPAI are geese, ducks, shorebirds and gulls, other scavenging birds (ravens, crows, magpies) that eat the dead birds have been found to also be susceptible to the virus.
With the spring migration for geese and ducks passing through the area is over, Rinkel suspects the occurrences of finding dead birds will also dissipate. However, he warned there may be more come the fall migration back south, which may result in more incidents of wild birds dying as a result of HPAI.
“HPAI is not new, it has always been around, but the amount of dead or infected birds changes from decade to decade.”
Impact on people
One of the biggest concerns arising from HPAI is the high possibility of the virus infecting domestic flocks.
Wild birds carry and spread the viruses which can easily be spread to domestic birds through direct bird-to-bird contact or by way of contaminated surfaces and materials, including people’s clothing, shoes, or hands.
As of April 21, 12 Alberta poultry producers’ flocks had active outbreaks, with approximately 340,000 infected birds, citing migratory birds the most likely cause of the outbreaks.
The Alberta government advises that producers can help prevent the spread of avian flu through strict biosecurity and early detection.
As per the Government of Alberta website https://www.alberta.ca/avian-influenza-reportable.aspx, all suspected or confirmed cases must be reported to the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian (OCPV) within 24 hours at 780-427-3448, for toll free add 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta) and after business hours at 1-800-524-0051.
The following precautions are offered to hunters in an effort to reduce the risk of spread of HPAI.
Do not harvest or handle wild birds that are sick or found dead.
Use disposable gloves and wash hands with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer) immediately after handling game.
Dress game birds in the field or, at the very least, away from poultry and other birds.
Use a separate pair of shoes or rubber footwear when cleaning/dressing game.
Use tools dedicated to cleaning/dressing game and thoroughly wash and disinfect them afterwards, then store them away from poultry or other birds.
Double bag feathers and offal. Tie the inner bag and then remove rubber gloves and dispose of them in the outer bag, then tie it off tightly. Immediately wash or sanitize hands.
Place the bag in a tightly covered trash can inaccessible to poultry and pet birds.
The following are recommendations to be followed after coming into contact with wild birds.
Never handle birds that appear to be sick or are found dead. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning bird feeders and wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer immediately afterwards.
While the Province reports that there is an extremely low risk to human health and no risk to food safety, it is strongly recommended that people do not eat, drink or put anything in their mouth while handling game; avoid cross-contamination by always keeping uncooked game away from cooked or other ready-to-eat foods; and cook game thoroughly. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F.
Avian influenza is a provincially reportable disease for domestic birds under Alberta’s Animal Health Act and requires immediate action to control or eradicate it. In wild birds, it is a provincially notifiable disease.

Cougars win first baseball game

14 u18 baseball
A Parkland Twins runner reaches second base with a head first slide in U18 action at Kin 4 Harry Andreassen Diamond on May 7. Camrose posted a 1-2 record.

By Murray Green

The Camrose Cougars triple-A U18 baseball team lost 9-2 to the Parkland Twins in the opening game of the season on May 7.
Camrose got on the scoreboard in the second inning when Jackson Goossen singled to drive in a run. Justin Pederson went two for three to lead the Cougars on offence.
The game broke open when Parkland scored two in the third inning and added four more in the seventh inning. Pitcher Justin Kushnerick started strong, but the Twins kept wearing the Cougars down.
Camrose bounced back with a 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Padres in the second game of the doubleheader.
Ben Pullen was given credit for the win on the mound after going five innings and allowing five hits while striking out eight batters. Jake Popowich pitched two innings to record a save.
Nick Hilgersom led the offence by going two for three at the plate.
Camrose also lost 8-7 in a close contest with the Parkland Twins at Kin 4 Harry Andreassen Diamond on May 8.
The Cougars travel to Red Deer to take on the St. Albert Cardinals and the Red Deer Braves on May 21 and 22.
The U15 Gord Nadeau-coached team dropped four games to the Midwest Prairie Pirates in Duggan Park on May 7 and 8.
The young team lost 23-1, 15-4, 12-2 and 14-7 to the heavy hitting and experienced Pirates.
Camrose hosts the St. Albert Cardinals on May 21 and 22. They also welcome the Northern Lights team on May 28 and 29 in Duggan Park.

Powerline Baseball League carries on tradition

By Murray Green

Spring is finally here and so is the 84th edition of the Powerline Baseball League.
The league opened on May 14 with six teams: Camrose Roadrunners, Rosalind Athletics, Tofield Braves, Vegreville Blue Jays, Armena Royals and the Battle River Rivals, made up of former Spring Lake Lakers and Heisler Cardinals players.
Each team will play a 15-game season before heading into playoffs.
On May 18, Tofield takes on Camrose; and on May 19, Battle River is in Vegreville. All weekday games begin at 7 p.m.
Camrose is in Vegreville, Tofield in Armena and Rosalind takes on Battle River on May 24. The next night, Rosalind is in Camrose; and on May 26, Battle River is in Armena.
On May 31, Armena visits Vegreville and Tofield motors to Rosalind.

Camrose Horticultural Society toiling with soil

By Lori Larsen

Despite some glitches, spring is trying desperately to settle in and avid gardeners are getting the itch to get out and toil with soil. Members of the Camrose and District Horticultural Society (Hort Club), who have already begun their outdoor meetings, held the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Camrose Heritage Railway Station and Park.
“Everyone brings a chair and dresses for the weather,” said Camrose and District Horticultural Society president Janine Carroll.
The next meeting will be held on June 2 and guests and new members are welcome to join the meeting.
On June 4, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., come to Hort Club’s annual Spring Plant Sale located at the back of 5 Grandview Crescent, and purchase from a variety of homegrown annuals, perennials and houseplants.
“The money we raise from plant sales supports our annual $500 scholarship to a horticultural student at Olds College,” explained Carroll, adding that the Club also made a donation of $250 towards plant boxes and supplies at Jack Stuart School, to be used in their Science curriculum for grades 1 and 4.
Several other community projects have been planned this spring, summer and fall, including:
Tending one of the large round flowerbeds at the Railway Station.
Assisting with the raised flower beds at Camrose Children’s Centre, Wednesday, for one hour beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Tending the peony beds at the Centennial Museum.
Trimming roses at the Bill Fowler Centre and near the Arts Centre.
“We are in the planning stages of our annual garden tour as well,” said Carroll. “This is a members-only event and a favourite event for all of us.”
The ever-popular Rose and Lily Show will be returning on Thursday, July 21 from 2 until 6 p.m. at the Masonic Hall.
This event will be open to the public and includes flowers, photography, art and craft displays, tea and treats. Entry is free with offerings welcome.
Entries of exhibits are open to the public and are accepted from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. the day of the show, with a minimal entry fee per competitor. “We invite any member of the community to participate. We are hoping to have a magnificent show with an abundance of entries.
“We have categories for flowers, artwork, crafts and photography, with adult and youth categories, and this year, we have added special People’s Choice Awards for flower garden arrangements and potted houseplants,” explained Carroll, adding that there are adult and youth categories for each with entry fees for youth being waived.
“Each “Tea” attendee is given one vote per category. The entry which receives the largest number of votes is declared the People’s Choice.”
For more information on the Camrose and District Horticultural Society, visit the Facebook page, www.facebook.com

Funds raised for Ukraine families

17 ukraine food
Serhii Kardash, Olena Kardash, left, and Pastor Dean Rostad of CLBI, who donated freezer space, right, help Ernest and Laura Rudy unload 800 pounds of beef that were donated by the Rudy family farm north of Holden. Prairie Pride Meats of Tofield donated the butchering and packaging costs so Ukraine families can enjoy Alberta beef.

Murray Green, Camrose Booster

The Camrose Refugee Centre benefit event at the Bailey Theatre on May 6, through auctions and donations, raised $28,617 for the Ukrainian families coming to Camrose. Below, people viewed displays and silent auction items. Serhii Kardash shared his journey to Canada, life in Ukraine during the war and thanked local citizens for its generosity through his daughter Olena. Together with funds already raised, the organization is trying to bring at least four families to Camrose.


Youth drama

By Murray Green

Tuck Everlasting is a Phoenix Production based on a book from 2015, that will be shown on May 20, 21 and 22 at the Bailey Theatre. The first two are evening shows at 7 p.m., and the last show is a matinee at 2 p.m.
Tuck Everlasting is based on the novel of the same name by Natalie Babbitt. It tells the story of a family who drink water from a magical spring and become immortal.
The Alberta Drama Festival Association (ADFA) will be holding a provincial competition on May 27 at 7 p.m. and May 28 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Births and Deaths

- Kevin Huestis, of Camrose, on April 30, at 56 years of age.
- Gordon Dahl Jorgensen, of Camrose, on May 7, at 88 years of age.
- Nellie Anna Finnell, of Camrose, formerly of Ponoka, on May 8, at 85 years of age.
- Robert Wayne “Ben” Thirsk, of Camrose, formerly of Kelsey, on May 11, at 64 years of age.
- Iris Peggy Vivian Zimmer of Camrose, on May 9, at 89 years of age.

- To Kendra and Kirk McPherson, of Sedgewick, a daughter on April 22.
- To Ayla Huculak and Zachary Selin, of Camrose, a daughter on April 24.
- To Camille and Marc Ayore, of Camrose, a son on April 26.
- To Jordyn and Kyle Kvemshagen, of Rosalind, a daughter on April 28.
- To Katie and Jon Sabeski, of Camrose, a daughter on April 28.
- To Tyann and Jeff Erikssen, of Sedgewick, a daughter on April 29.
- To Jennifer and Nicholas St. Pierre, of Beaver County, a son on April 30.