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By Bonnie Hutchinson

Antidote to Quarantine Brain: Optimist’s Creed
Just because you have a slight grasp of the theory of how your brain works doesn’t mean your brain actually works! In the past week, I’ve made more mistakes per hour than in the previous lifetime.
Tasks that would normally take hours took days. Things that are usually easy were hard. I gave incorrect information that caused people inconvenience–and then did that again. I do understand that when we’re under stress, our “survival” brain kicks in and begins to shut down our “rational thinking” brain, the better to prepare us for fight, flight or freeze. On the day I had to correct my corrections and caused inconvenience to the same people twice, I realized something. I’m suffering from Quarantine Brain! I wouldn’t have thought I’m under that much stress.
Compared to many people, I live in a protected bubble during this pandemic. For openers, I live in Canada. We can count on decent information and care from our health professionals. Our governments are mostly setting aside politics to focus on what’s needed.
As a person over seventy, there are many people I care about passionately, but I’m not directly responsible for the wellbeing of any of them. I have not lost my job. I don’t have underlying health problems. As an introvert, I don’t find “social isolation” hard. I have technology to stay in touch with people.
Compared to most people, I’m not under much stress. But it’s in the air! All of us are unsettled in circumstances we’ve never before experienced. We’re coping as best we can. My week of many mistakes told me that “the best I can” is not up to my usual standards. That’s probably true for most of us right now.
Into this mix came an email from a reader.
“Last week I was listening to Brian Pallister, Manitoba Premier, as he spoke very touchingly about bottling his feelings up and becoming depressed, never so much as when his mom died. His family noticed this and, for Christmas, his daughter gifted him a framed copy of “The Optimist Creed”. He said that these words and thoughts helped him at that time, and thought it would help people at this time of crisis. He recommended we Google it, as words are very important at this time...
“I was wondering if you would put a copy of ‘The Optimistic Creed’ in your column...” Yes I would!
The Optimist Creed
Promise Yourself
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
I don’t think any of us can be in the “Optimist” state all the time. We’re going to be troubled and scared and angry and pessimistic sometimes. What I got from “The Optimist Creed” is a reminder that however we feel, whatever we’re thinking or doing or saying, we don’t have to stay there. We can choose optimism, as best we can.
I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send a note to I’ll happily reply within one business day.
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BRCF assists Senior Centre

The Battle River Community Foundation awarded a grant to the Camrose and District Senior Centre Society.
The grant is from income from the Vernon Schnyder Fund, established by Vernon in 1999 to support the Camrose and District Senior Centre Society.  
The Battle River Community Foundation exists to support programs such as this in East Central Alberta which benefit the local communities and have a positive impact on the future.
Grants from the Battle River Community Foundation are primarily made possible through the generosity of individual donors and organizations that have created endowment funds. The principal of these endowment funds is kept intact and the income is made available annually to support local projects and organizations.
Since it was founded in 1995, the Battle River Community Foundation has granted over $6,370,000 to support programs and facilities operated by organizations like the Camrose and District Senior Centre Society.

ACAC All-conference players named

By Murray Green

The Augustana Vikings women’s basketball team had one player, Tegan MacKinnon, who made the second team All-Conference Squad.
Tegan played 24 games for the Vikings, collecting 222 points. Nathan Bowie on the men’s team was selected to the first team,  and Augustana teammate Michael Stasuik was named to the second squad.
Bowie recorded 345 points in 21 games, while Stasuik collected 326 points in 24 games for the Vikings.
Augustana Vikings forward Travis Mayan was named to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference second All-Conference Team. Mayan scored 19 goals and added 28 assists for 47 points in 29 games this season.
The Vikings ladies’ rink won provincials in Red Deer to earn a berth at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Curling Championships in Portage La Prairie, MB from March 11 to 15.
However, the Vikings didn’t qualify for the playoff round after going 2-5 in round robin play. Douglas Royals won the championship for the second straight year, this time beating the Humber Hawks in the final.
Laurel nadon 2019
Homespun By Laurel Nadon


By Laurel Nadon

Hope is a choice

I have been thinking about hope a lot as the whole world braces and adjusts to surviving through this pandemic. A few mornings at the start of all of this, I woke up early, just feeling anxious. I am not normally an anxious person, so this makes me especially concerned for people who were already struggling with depression or anxiety before the pandemic began a few weeks ago.
We learned that several family members had been laid off. The news made me feel just…low. I kind of wallowed in those feelings for a bit, and then felt like I had to dust myself off and get back to the business of living. It also made me think that we can survive most things if we hold onto our hope for the future. Hope is a choice. It is a choice we make each day to be hopeful and trust that all of this is in God’s hands.
At first, I tried to fill up my time. I began cleaning out kitchen cupboards; tackling a pile of 8x10 photos of the kids that needed to be scrapbooked; finishing an online photo album; learning how to teach a kindergartner the letter sounds in French. I set about creating a homeschool schedule for the kids so they would have a sense of normalcy and routine. The more I listened to the news, the more it seemed like gloom could so easily settle in and take root. The news told me that mental health experts expected to see suicide and abuse rates increase with people stuck in the same space. I stopped watching so much news. I realized that there really wasn’t as much extra time as I thought, because homeschooling became a full-time job. I started to see how there are still blessings amongst the madness. I am seeing my children more. With the children’s evening activities cut out, there is more time to spend on things we can learn about together. We are planning to see how many countries of the world we can learn. I have started to make homemade cinnamon buns every weekend and call this our weekly “morale booster”. Maybe this is a time to slow down and reprioritize.
One phrase I really dislike is “a new normal.” There is nothing normal about this. There is nothing normal about trying to stay two metres away from other people, or staying on your own property for weeks at a time. This is our reality right now, but I refuse to think of this as normal for the future. I also prefer to think of it as physical distancing, not social distancing. If anything, this is the time to reach out to a neighbour or relative, by phone or video chat, who may be alone and isolated. During an online church service, our pastor asked us to consider what fills our time and prayers when we’ve had to give up things. He asked us if we are still being a blessing to others in these tough times.
We have now navigated through several online video chats, something we hadn’t done before. We have attended two online birthday parties. The first one had people chiming in from Toronto, Camrose, Cochrane, Medicine Hat, Tillicum Beach and Bittern Lake. It was so fun to see everyone’s faces and we all turned our cameras around to compare snow levels in our yards! It was all in good fun until we sang “Happy Birthday” to our sweet nephew, he blew out the candles on his cake, and then they started to eat cake. While the rest of us watched. Definitely good to note that for future online birthdays, make your own cake! For the second online birthday, cupcakes were delivered to everyone ahead of time, so we could blow out our own candles and eat together.
This is my favourite quote about the pandemic, by Kitty O’Meara: “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
When all of this is past, things will be different, but they can still be beautiful. read more

Food for Camrose collecting donations

By Murray Green

It is great that you are self-isolating and enjoying some home activities. However, you can still help out the Camrose and District Neighbor Aid Center’s Food Bank.
Food for Camrose is a local initiative put together by a few like-minded businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing, while necessary during this difficult time, has created some very difficult hurdles for those in the community, while maintaining social distance.
“I was off with a cold for 10 days, self-isolating, and I was thinking of a way to give back to the community. I remember back when I was younger, 18 to 20 years old, and it was a tough time,” shared Matthew Graham.
An online food drive has been launched for people to go to donate non-perishable items, or a monetary gift for the Food Bank.
With the strain on everyone’s mind right now, Matthew at Nyback RV Centre saw that there is a huge need in the community. “We know there are a lot of people in isolation who want to help, but know it is best to remain inside. Let’s work together to build a safe and healthy Camrose. We will be accepting food items or monetary gifts. If donating a monetary gift, then let us know so special arrangements can be made for pickup and a receipt can be issued.”
Once they have compiled a list of donations and have sorted them for pickup, volunteers will go into the community in teams of two and pick up the donations. “I was paying my staff anyway, so I thought they could help me with picking up the donations.”
After the donations have been picked up, Nyback RV will store the food in enclosed trailers in a heated shop for a minimum of 48 hours before delivering to the Food Bank.
“We will be using rubber gloves, masks and have sanitizers during the process, and vehicles being used during the food drive will be sanitized before and after the food drive. We will be taking donation orders from now until Thursday, April 9, at noon. Donations will be picked up on Saturday, April 11.
In order to organize to make the pickups go smoothly, they ask when donating to specify which zone you are in.
“We will providing two trucks and two trailers for the drive. There will only be one driver and one person picking up food from doorsteps to take out to the trailer. We have asked the City of Camrose’s permission to drive at a parade speed, while the person picking up the food sits in the box of the truck to control contamination between drivers and handlers,” explained Matthew.
“We will not be doing pickups from apartments and condos at this time. We must have curbside and front door access.”
Matthew is a member of the Camrose Kinsmen Club. “We are told that we can’t meet right now. Generally, this is something the Kinsmen Club would help out with in the community. The Food Bank needs help right now with donations not coming in as fast. We are working with Alberta Health and the City of Camrose to ensure this is done in a safe manner for everyone. Our platform for collecting donations is something other communities can use and is shareable. We hope it helps other communities in the area as well.
“Email if you need more information on what we do or how to donate.”
Visit for more information. Contact Matthew at 780-679-5805, 780-781-6694 or to donate.

School staff in place

By Murray Green

Funding for teachers and most other aspects of the K-12 system is being maintained; funding for transportation and some services not being utilized in an at-home learning environment, such as substitute teachers and educational assistants, is being temporarily reduced while in-person classes remain cancelled. Any savings from these adjustments will be re-allocated to support Alberta’s COVID-19 response.
These funding adjustments will not negatively impact Alberta’s education continuity plan. School authorities will receive the funding they require to continue providing at-home learning opportunities to their students, ensuring they do not fall behind.
“COVID-19 has changed both how we provide student learning, and the operational needs of the education system. I want to stress that this is a temporary arrangement as schools focus on at-home learning. I have full confidence the system will continue to be equipped to successfully deliver our education continuity plan,” said Adriana LaGrange, Alberta Minister of Education.
Any staff impacted by these funding adjustments will qualify for the federal government’s enhanced employment insurance program and other support programs for Canadian workers.
Alberta has a comprehensive response to COVID-19, including measures to enhance social distancing, screening and testing. Financial supports are helping Alberta families and businesses.

Returning travellers self-isolate

By Lori Larsen

Some fellow Camrosians, who have recently returned from outside of Canada, are extremely grateful to be back in a community where they feel at home and so supported during their self-isolation period.
Regina and husband Leo Fayant shared their story via telephone and email interview, of their return from a holiday in Mexico and, despite a few anxious moments on the return trip, are feeling much more relaxed as they hunker down for their period of self-isolation.
While on holidays, they had been hearing of the coronavirus and were somewhat amused by the stories of hoarding of toilet paper goods, but it wasn’t until they began the process of packing up for home that the seriousness of the situation started to come to light.
“As the days passed, the news seemed to be serious, flights were being cancelled,” said Regina.
On March 23, Regina and Leo received notification from the airline they were flying with that their flight had also been cancelled. However, they were able to fly out of a different airport the next day, re-routed to Vancouver, only causing an 11-hour delay. “We were already in panic mode because Vancouver was one of the first places in Canada where the virus was brought in,” said Regina.
But news from the week before, indicating approximately 4,000 people were waiting to get on flights, made the decision easy to take the flight and get home.
Regina said that before they could even board the plane out of Mexico, they had to answer several questions about their health and fill out a form regarding the status of their health.
After arriving in Vancouver the next morning, they boarded a flight to Edmonton, which she said had only about 10 passengers. Upon arrival at the Edmonton airport, they found it deserted.
Having been re-routed, the Fayant’s plans to get home to Camrose were altered, but thanks to the goodwill of some friends, their vehicle was parked in a park and fly service, had been cleaned, was warm and filled with gas so they didn’t have to make a stop on the way home.
“How thankful we were for our good friends who brought it the day before to that place. What a beautiful surprise.”
They arrived home by noon to a refrigerator filled with groceries, arranged by the person who had been keeping an eye on their home in their absence. “All we had to do was call our pharmacist to get our prescriptions ready, which were then delivered.”
With the help of friends and family, it was easy for Regina and Leo to instantly self-isolate upon their arrival home, and at no point did they have to compromise their health or the health of others as returning residents from out of country.
“We would like to thank all who helped us in any way, namely John and Wilf with groceries, friends who brought our car to Leduc, neighbours and friends who called to ask if we needed anything while being isolated, and to Sharma. Thank you all for your prayers.”
The 14-day isolation will be filled with unpacking, doing laundry, making soup, catching up with friends via telephone and watching some movies.
Grateful for everything everyone has done, Regina and Leo are happy to be home safe, feeling healthy and thankful they live in Canada.
James and Valerie Mayer, who also returned home recently from a stay in Arizona were, at the time of the telephone interview, rounding the corner of mandatory self-isolation.
On March 7, James flew down to Arizona to join Valerie. “There was certainly an awareness of the coronavirus situation at the Edmonton International Airport. But the full gravity of it had not quite hit,” said James.
While in Arizona, Valerie and James Mayer stayed informed about the situation back in the homeland by watching Canadian news and speaking with family and friends in Camrose. “We decided to head home, so left by vehicle on March 15, arriving home on March 16.”
The reality of the situation, as it progressed for all Canadians, began setting in on the “race”, as James described it, north to the border. “There was a solid stream of Alberta and Saskatchewan vehicles. The traffic flow certainly met or exceeded the posted speed limits.
“Before we crossed the border, we knew and were prepared to self isolate for 14 days, so from the border north, we only stopped for takeout food.”
On their return to their home in Camrose, James and Valerie found the refrigerator stocked. Once again, considerate family members ensured the requirement for James and Valerie to self-isolate was met.
During the next 14 days of mandated self-isolation, James and Valerie received  daily contact from family and friends to see if they needed anything. “It was very humbling.”
Fully aware of how important it is for anyone returning from out of country to self-isolate, James said he is disappointed to see the news reports of those returning home who are not abiding by the rules of self-isolation. “This virus is bigger than any one person and their perception of invincibility. Family and friends are willing to help. You just have to let them.”
In conclusion, James said he is more than impressed with the response from Camrose to this very serious pandemic and the recommendations supplied to everyone from government officials.
“A community can always be judged by how the most vulnerable are treated. I applaud Camrose and community for their willingness to assist those in need.”
Lori and Dean Huolt also recently returned from their vacation home in Phoenix, where they sensed, through conversations with their neighbours there, that the local Phoenix government was reacting somewhat slower than the Alberta government.
On the couple’s journey back to Canada (Camrose), they first experienced the severity of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic after they crossed the US/Canadian border at Coutts.
“We knew we had to self-isolate, but we had to make one stop for fuel in Taber at the local Co-op store,” said Dean. “The store had posted signs asking the public that if they had just arrived from out of the country to please not enter ‘our’ stores and go straight home. Obviously, they had been experiencing some people who were not self-isolating.”
The couple arrived home in Camrose and did what every Canadian returning from out of country is now mandated to do, self-isolate for 14 days.
For Dean and Lori, who had been away for a while and were in much need of a visit from grandchildren, it was a hard pill to swallow, but one they knew was absolutely necessary to protect the health of themselves, their family and all others in the community.
“Our granddaughter, Blake, whom we had not seen for some time, lives only one block away,” said Dean, during a telephone interview. “She (Blake)  has been with her mom and dad walking around the pond in Valleyview, where we live, and we arranged by telephone to have them stop behind our home.”
It was at this point that the reality of what returning Canadians are facing hit home. “Blake waves and blows kisses, we can hardly wait to give her a hug.”
If Lori and Dean can forgo hugs from their beloved granddaughter, then we can all appreciate the need for social distancing in an effort to flatten the curve and start healing our country, our world.

St. Mary’s Hospital Inpatient Care Team receives Sisters of Providence award

11 st. marys milestones
From left to right, board chair Kirstyn Rau and site administrator Cherylyn Antymniuk of St. Mary’s Hospital presented the Sisters of Providence Award to nurse Julie Rondeau and Dr. Larry Chapman on behalf of the Inpatient Care Team.

By Murray Green

The Inpatient Care Team at Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital Camrose was honoured with the Sisters of Providence award at the Milestones Long Service Celebrations banquet at the Camrose Resort Casino on  March 5.
The group, represented by Dr. Larry Chapman, Dr. Louis Minders and nurse Julie Rondeau, accepted the award for the entire Inpatient Care Team.
“You’re the team that advocates for programs and services that are new and innovative at St. Mary’s. Your respectful approach to collaboration among the interdisciplinary care team is outstanding and exemplified in the growth of your team over the last year. You give each patient and staff member a voice and your ability to work with each department seamlessly throughout the patient’s stay. Your ability to collaborate with service providers within the community with best practice care allows our patients to feel supported, even after they have left your direct care,” said Judith O’Shaughnessy, foundation board chair.
“It is exciting to see all of the accomplishments and, in our eyes, you are all winners,” said site administrator Cherylyn Antymniuk, about all of the nominations.
“We hear about the patient commitment and how the patient comes first. You live by the mission of service. You are focused on safe, compassionate care. We hear how staff go above and beyond. What really shines through is this focus on teamwork, day in and day out,” said Gordon Self, chief mission and ethics officer.
“We are celebrating milestones and we have people who have been through trying cycles before. It is good to draw on experience in our teamwork. It holds us together and we have confidence that we can draw on as we face each challenge,” he added. “Next year at the same time, we will still be talking about our great teamwork.”
Karen Burton, Dana Norton, Krista Culham, Christine Gregoire Gau, Sharon Dawson and the Medical Device Reprocessing Team were also nominated for the Sisters of Providence award.
The Unit 1 and 3 nurses Shelly Dalueg, Karen Jans and Sheila Worton; HIM supervisor Marlene Dmytriw; and emergency room nurse Donna Pozerniuk were honoured for reaching the milestone of 35 years of dedication to the hospital.
Heart and stroke clerk Tammy Meyer, pharmacy technician Cathy Storey,   emergency nurse Michelle Solverson and emergency nurse Patricia Mah were celebrated for 30 years.
Nurse Debora Schultz and biomedical technician Jose Preza reached 25 years of service.
St. Mary’s Hospital has about 390 staff members, around 80 volunteers and 76 beds, and was founded by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in 1924. read more

Housing sales strong before COVID-19

By Murray Green

Housing sales in the first quarter (Q1) in Camrose were strong before the COVID-19 virus took its toll on the world markets.
“As we enter another week of the pandemic, it is still too early to tell what impact the shutdown has had on the Camrose market. The numbers for the first quarter were encouraging and reflected the modest recovery we were all hoping for,” said Jacobus Slabbert, senior appraiser at HarrisonBowker Valuation Group in Camrose.
It is unlikely that the data will be as positive next quarter, but it is simply too early to tell at this time.
In 2020 Q1, the average sale price was up 5.57 per cent compared to 2019 quarter four, while the rolling 12-month average increased by only 0.50 per cent.
The median sale price early this year is up 4.09 per cent compared to 2019 quarter four, while the rolling 12-month median increased by 1.27 per cent.
There were 55 sales in 2020 Q1, which is 15 more sales than what was recorded in 2019 Q1, and one more sale than what was recorded in 2018 Q1.
There were only three sales of over $400,000 in 2020 Q1, which is two less than last quarter, but two more than 2019 Q1.
The average days on market was 86 days, which is 10 days down from last quarter, and 29 days down from 2019 Q1.
In Camrose County, there were only three reported sales in 2020 Q1, which is down five sales compared to 2019 Q1. The average marketing time in 2020 Q1 was 144 days, which is an increase of four days compared to last quarter, but down 29 days compared to 2019 Q1. As of April 1, there are currently 50 active listings for acreage properties in Camrose County.
In Flagstaff County, there were only three reported sales in 2020 Q1, which is up one sale from 2019 Q4 and the same as 2019 Q1. The average marketing time in 2020 Q1 was 225 days, which is a decrease of 11 days compared to last quarter. As of April 1, there are currently 14 active listings for acreage properties in Flagstaff County.

SOS doors closed, still providing services

By Lori Larsen

The Service Options for Seniors (SOS) office is currently closed to walk-ins, but the staff are still manning telephones and providing information and referrals.
“While volunteer tax returns are the foundation of our program since the federal government has pushed the deadline to June 1, we are able to redirect our attention to outreach,” said SOS  program director Christina Rehmann.
SOS is also currently providing free delivery of groceries and prescriptions (including Camrose Neighbor Aid Center’s Food Bank) to seniors in the City and County in order to assist those in need during these unprecedented times.
“Our senior clientele tends to be quite vulnerable, so the fact that we have Criminal Record Checks already in place, we thought it made sense to offer a delivery service.”
Recognizing that “stay home” and self-isolating orders are magnifying a sense of loneliness already experienced by seniors, SOS is working with Camrose and District Support Services Rural Community Program director Clarence Hastings, who is working with Telus to get tablets and telephones with data plans to isolated seniors.
“This not only mitigates loneliness, but will also enable folks to order groceries online, which frees up the frontline staff at retail grocers who are already struggling with the volume of  telephone orders.”
Rehmann said that SOS  will also be leveraging the Telus tablet and data plans to assist folks in the online submission of receipts and applications to Alberta Seniors benefit since they are unable to get into the office to fax them away.
The good folks at SOS are doing everything they are capable of, under the given circumstances, to ensure seniors in our communities are being looked after.
For more information or to contact SOS, visit the website at http://sos or telephone 780-672-4131.

Premier salutes truckers for hard work

By Murray Green

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took a moment to honour the transportation workers in this province for working hard during the COVID-19 crisis, April 1.
Truckers have been bringing more supplies and test kits for the health care response. “I must acknowledge the outstanding effort to those leading the fight for public health and safety. Alberta is rising to the challenge of this pandemic. Today I drove the QE2 from Calgary back to Edmonton. The car traffic was light, but I saw dozens of trucks going both north and south on the key artery of Alberta’s economy. Every one of those semi trailers was carrying the essentials we need–food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, fuel, agricultural products and inputs for the upcoming seeding season on our farms. They were carrying essentials to keep us alive and society functioning,” said Kenney.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Alberta, I want to salute and thank those truckers for all they are doing in trying circumstances of the pandemic. I call on all Albertans to find some way to acknowledge and thank the truck drivers whom we could not continue to function without to keep our supply lines. Without them, we would be compromised. So when you go to the grocery store and see that almost everything is in stock, it’s thanks to those truck drivers who continue to work around the clock.”
Many of the truck stops along the way have closed or only offer drive-thru services. It is impossible for truck drivers to go in drive- thrus, so Premier Kenney wrote several letters to major food franchises asking them to allow walk-ups keeping social distancing in mind.
“These drivers are working long hours away from home. We need to keep them fueled, fed and rested,” added Kenney.

Baseball postponed until May

By Murray Green

Camrose Minor Ball Association has postponed the start of the upcoming season until at least May 1.
“These are definitely uncertain times for us all and we are continuing to work closely with Baseball Alberta through this crisis. We will also follow all the recommendations set out by the Chief Medical Officer and Alberta Health Services as things progress and we receive more information,” said president Ryan Foss, on the CMBA website.
All sanctioned baseball activities and events until April 30 are postponed.
“CMBA’s priorities will always be the safety of our athletes and their families,” said Foss.

Emergency services honour all heroes

13 hospital driveby good
By Lori Larsen

In a drive-by salute at Covenant HealthSt. Mary’s Hospital on March 30 at 3 p.m., members of Camrose Police Service, Camrose RCMP and Camrose Fire Department paid homage to the staff atSt. Mary’s Hospital for their continual dedication and hard work through these trying times of COVID-19 pandemic.
Spectators stood around in cold temperatures, cheering and applauding as the parade of emergency vehicles, lights and sirens activated, drove by the front entrance around the parking lot and back out down 53 Street. read more

CPS offers online services

By Lori Larsen

Camrose Police Service (CPS) has implemented a new way to offer residents access to non-emergency police services that include online reporting and online Police Information Checks.
“These are new services that are now available on Camrose Police Service’s website,” explained CPS crime prevention and community relations officer, Constable Kelly Bauer.
“We wanted to make these processes more convenient for people and to reduce the volume of people attending our front counter.” Something that is especially vital in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In explaining how the online police information system works, Const. Bauer said, “Citizens of Camrose who require a Police Information Check (perhaps more commonly know as criminal record check) can simply go onto our Camrose Police Service website to find the application.
“From there, they can fill in the online form which will require them to scan and submit two pieces of identification, one of which has to be photo ID such as a driver’s license. The address on both pieces of ID must match their current residence. Once they submit the form, it will be received by our office and processed.”
Once completed, the applicant will receive an email advising that the application is ready to be picked up, at which point the applicant can attend CPS office to pick up their documents, once counter service is open again.
Bauer indicated that applicants must ensure they are on the Camrose Police Service webpage and that CPS can only process applications from citizens who reside in Camrose.
“We have received several positive comments about how the online Police Information Checks have been working.”
The Online Crime Reporting system was developed a few months ago and recently  launched.
“Having to close down our front counter due to the COVID_19 pandemic gave us an opportunity to introduce the online crime reporting,” said Bauer.
“The online reporting can be used for non-emergency type occurrences where someone would like to report a crime, such as an attempted theft of a vehicle, a mischief causing damage to property, lost or stolen property or simply to report information to police. At this point, documents, such as photos, cannot be uploaded to the report, but it is something that may be implemented in the future.”
Bauer said that online reporting is a convenient reporting option for people who prefer not to attend the police station to report  those type of occurrences. “Once processed, the person making the report will receive an email updating them with the status along with a police occurrence number.
“Both services are more convenient and have greatly reduced the requirement for people to attend our front counter. From a policing perspective, it allows us to better allocate our policing resources, so it’s really a win-win for everyone.”
Camrose Police Service continues to find innovative ways to offer services to residents that not only expedites processes, but saves on resources that can be redirected to urgent police matters.
For more information on either service, visit CPS webpage at www.camrose

Don’t take Gust’s Thunderbird away

By Murray Green

Although Bryan Gust has had several vehicles in his collection over the years, he is certainly proud of his 1955 Ford Thunderbird.
Ford Thunderbird (called the T-Bird) is a nameplate that was used by Ford from model years 1955 to 1997 and 2002 to 2005 for a personal luxury car, during which there were 11 distinct generations.
Teresa Brown-Gust and Bryan, from Bashaw, enjoy taking their 1955 Thunderbird to car shows and cruising on Sunday afternoons.
“My dad was an apprenticing mechanic in the 1950s with the local Ford dealership, and part of his job was to predeliver Thunderbirds. He knew that one day, he was going to own a ’55 Thunderbird. In the mid-’80s, he bought this Thunderbird from a guy in Saskatchewan. He saw an ad in the newspaper, went to Saskatchewan and bought it,” explained Bryan. “As he drove it away, he looked back and the fellow was crying.”
Teresa added, “His marriage had gone sideways and he had to sell it.”
The vehicle has had a few changes to it. “It doesn’t have the correct engine or transmission in it. The car has a 390 with a four-speed transmission. It should have had a 312 engine with a three-speed transmission. My dad was interested in having a 1955, so it really didn’t matter to him what was in it,” shared Bryan.
“As a result, it is a fun car to drive. You can take the top off. I just bought a convertible top for it. The car looks good, but when you hit 60 mph, it feels like you are going 100. The brakes and steering are poor,” he added.
“We took it to Ponoka to have some work done on it, and it was raining a little bit,” shared Teresa. “He was going up a hill, the wipers are going and a semi truck passed us going the other way, and that was it (the car was shaking). He had to pull over and get the windshield wipers back in place. They could have ripped right off.”
“People who dream of having an old car, and want to drive it, need to drive one before they buy it. You have to understand that not all vehicles have disk brakes and power steering,” suggested Bryan.
“This car is a classic and it draws attention. It isn’t that important to me if the wheels have been changed, or the motor isn’t right. It looks good and people talk about it and that is what is important. It brings back memories,” he added. “I want to keep driving it and enjoying it. If you want to buy an old car, you need to have an understanding wife.”
One car show participant said that for every hour you drive it, you need a day for fixing or adjusting it.
“You tend to take pride in it. You repair every little scratch and dent in it and it becomes a hobby in a hurry,” said Teresa.

Ford targeted the two-seat Thunderbird as an upscale model. An American interpretation of personal luxury cars were built with a higher emphasis on driving comfort and convenience features over handling and high-speed performance.
The Thunderbird entered production for the 1955 model year as a sporty two-seat convertible. Unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, it was not marketed as a sports car. It was a two-seat design available with a detachable glass-fibre hard top and a folding fabric top. Though sharing some design characteristics with other Fords of the time, such as single, circular headlamps and tail lamps and modest tail fins, the Thunderbird was sleeker in shape and featured a hood scoop and a 150 mph (240 km/h) speedometer not available on other Fords.
Though inspired to compete against the Corvette, Ford billed the Thunderbird as a personal car, putting a greater emphasis on the car’s comfort and convenience features rather than its inherent sportiness.
The Thunderbird outsold the Corvette by more than 23 to one for 1955 with 16,155 Thunderbirds sold against 700 Corvettes. With the Thunderbird considered a success, few changes were made to the car for the 1956 model year.

Keeping our seniors safe, active and happy

By Lori Larsen

In an effort to keep both mind and body busy while adhering to the government recommendation of social distancing, Rosealta Lodge in Camrose has come up with some wonderful and innovative ways to promote both physical and mental health and keep the residents involved.
A recent letter from a very grateful Rosealta Lodge resident Lynda Broz speaks volumes of the wonderful work they are doing to maintain the good physical and mental health of the residents.
“Being a resident at Rosealta Lodge during this pandemic has changed our lives. The six-foot rule, washing your hands and staying inside are the three new commandments.  Are the staff enforcing them? Yes indeed! Knowing that these three rules can save my life, I for one am grateful for their interaction. Besides, it doesn’t take much to follow these guidelines. It is merely a conscious effort.
“Doors are locked prohibiting people from entering. Only essential people are allowed and they are screened. The other day when staff were practicing how to use the new thermometer. I watched while they stood six feet apart, forming a circle around the demonstrator. Even they follow the three golden rules.
“Having a chef prepare our meals is a plus and our culinarians are among the best. Not congregating in the dining room is no problem. Meals are delivered on wheels three times a day. Staff bring them to each resident’s quarters. This takes 45 minutes to an hour. The dishes are collected, sanitized and ready for the next round. Meals are still delicious.
“The lingering smell of cleaning products confirms the sanitization of everything. Staff work around the clock keeping the lodge safe. I feel like a gold brick living at Fort Knox–protected and safe.
“There are activities one can do in their room. Tablets can be signed out.  An assortment of projects is carted from room to room. There is colouring, connect the dots, Scrabble, crafts and more. We have Prayer on the Wing–designated times, on each wing, a pastor leads us in song and prayer. We can open our doors or sit in the doorway and join in. There are different activities ‘On the Wing’ that will be implemented.
“As for me, I am spring cleaning.
“Having a positive attitude really helps. Positivity makes me feel warm and tingly inside. Being negative causes doom and gloom. In a world like it is now, everyone should be positive. We have gone through tough times before and survived. We will get through this as well.
“Yes, this pandemic has changed our lives. As long as we distance ourselves, socializing isn’t really a problem. Washing our hands is crucial. We can come and go as usual. But who really wants to go out into an infectious world? Here at Rosealta Lodge, I feel safe, thanks to the incredible staff we have. I’ve always maintained ‘Rosealta has heart and the staff is the heart beat.”
Kudos to Rosealta Lodge staff for taking a difficult situation and finding a way to ensure the continued quality of life of the residents.

Essential services heroes

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Camrose Safeway cashier Jennifer Coombs greets customers with a smile behind a protective shield of plexi-glass.

By Lori Larsen

Through this unparalleled time in history, we have been so fortunate in our Canadian communities to have thousands upon thousands of heroes who wake up every day, get ready and leave the safety of their homes and the comfort of their loved ones to ensure our well-being.
Whether that be the frontline workers who come face to face with the public, or the many who work behind the scenes to ensure they can.
Local grocery store cashier Jennifer Coombs commented on how she had never thought of her job as being an essential service, until now.
“This is our job, and it is comforting knowing that we work with a corporation that takes extra precautions to ensure we are safe and able to do our jobs fully.”
She referred to the installation of plexi-glass shields between the customer and cashiers, PPE gloves at the checkouts, handwashing stations, stickers on the floor marking off social distancing spacing, and other precautionary measures to ensure social distancing requirements are being met.
“It is also comforting to know if we show any sign of being ill, we are not going to be chastised for taking the necessary precautions to stay at home and not come into work and jeopardize other people here working or shopping. We are doing our best to stay safe and healthy.”
As are many other essential businesses and organizations in the community.
Knowing that most customers are also feeling the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer was pleased to say that she has not really experienced negative feedback from customers. “I hear a lot of the customers saying they are here shopping for family members who should not be out in public. I have an elderly friend who I pick up items for as well. It’s so great that even our family and community members are staying home and staying vigilant.”
Grateful of the gratitude and understanding shown by customers, Jennifer remarked about the chalked messages left outside the front doors of the store from caring community members, “I love the sidewalk chalk messages. They put a smile on my face.
“We all just need to work together,” concluded Jennifer, adding, “We’re staying apart while staying together as a community. I have never thought of myself as an essential worker, but I guess I am and I wear it with pride.”
Maintenance personnel, cashiers, receptionists, delivery persons, cargo carriers, mail service personnel, gas station attendants, media employees, taxi drivers, teachers, health care workers, emergency response personnel, road maintenance employees, household repair and maintenance employees, garbage collectors are but a few essential workers.
And hats off to all the non-essential businesses and organizations who have had to close their doors in order to keep our community safe and healthy.
The next time you need to purchase necessities, are in a clinic for an emergency procedure, order a pizza because you are tired of your own cooking, listen to your favourite radio station, read the local newspaper, take your garbage to the curb or gas up your vehicle, remember to thank all those heroes and respect their right to remain safe and healthy as well. read more

Viking RCMP arrest three suspects

By Murray Green

 Viking RCMP were called to an attempted theft of a vehicle, in progress in Viking at 8:20 a.m. on April 1.
Suspects were interrupted by the vehicle owner as the suspects tried to access his truck, which was outside running. The suspect truck containing two males fled the scene. Several minutes later, Viking and Killam RCMP members located the suspect truck parked at a local residence. Two males and a female were located at the property, and were subsequently arrested.
Police determined that the truck in question had been recently reported stolen from Lindale. A further search of the truck revealed that the suspects had been carrying a loaded sawed off shotgun within easy reach.
 Three suspects, one each from Camrose, Viking and Provost were charged with Possession of Property Obtained by Crime under $5,000, Theft of Truck, Careless use of a Firearm, Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose, Weapons Possession contrary to order, Possession of a Controlled Substance methamphetamine.
If you have information about any criminal activity, contact the Viking RCMP at 780-336-3441 or your local police service. If you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800/222/8477 (TIPS), or online at

Grateful communities

By Lori Larsen

To overshadow the darkness created by the COVID-19 pandemic, some very crafty, compassionate Camrosians have been adding colour to city sidewalks and entrances to local businesses and organizations with inspirational, heartfelt messages.
This is a trend being seen throughout communities, a way for people to not only show their support and gratitude for businesses and organizations deemed essential, but a way to keep their own spirits raised.
One Camrosian in particular, Kelly Wiebe, chalked out an encouraging message on the sidewalk at the front entrance to Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital Camrose.
The message read, “We are Canadians. Appreciate the medical health service globally because they are the light that destroys the darkness.”
Kelly has written other messages of hope and inspiration throughout the community and tries every day to live the best life he can.
“A few years back, I came across a quote that I use as my mantra in life. ‘We were not put on the earth to see through each other, but to see each other through.’ ”
Kelly is also an advocate of staying healthy. Two years ago, he took the matter of his health into his own hands. He began by quitting smoking cigarettes, then he stopped using nicotine replacement and coffee on Dec. 31, 2019.
He recently completed his 365th day in a row of walking around Mirror Lake and manages to keep a positive outlook on life in general.
He finds great joy in being part of the Hospice Society of Camrose and District Grief and Bereavement Walking Club and said the other members have become an important part of his life.
Kelly permeates a sense of hope and joy and is happy to be doing what he can to share that with others.
“We also have to be very sensitive to the plight of the elderly, especially during this time. My neighbours are in their 80s and they are having a bit of rough time, so I let them know that there are people out there.”
Kelly also telephoned his 86-year-old aunt living in Manitoba just to let her know someone was thinking about her. “She was having a down day. When I phoned, she perked right up. I am also getting my brother and sister-in-law to give her a call, just to let her know there is someone there.”
Isolation is challenging for our seniors at the best of times, but add to it “stay at home” restrictions, self-isolating of family and friends and the fear of the unknown, and the stress can be insurmountable.
A voice, whether through a chalked message, text message, telephone call or a smile through a window, can be the message that makes a world of difference in that person’s life.

New book reflects on Alberta prairie life

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Cathie Barlett shows her new novel Destination Prairie, which reflects life in Alberta a hundred years ago.

By Murray Green

Camrose author Cathie Bartlett has been writing for many years, but she recently finished her first book.
Her debut novel is called Destination Prairie, which was recently released by Bayeux Arts of Calgary.
“I made frequent visits to Rutherford House while I lived in Edmonton. I was writing some entertainment stories for Telus online and the staff told me all about the house. The maid’s quarters were just renovated and it piqued my interest in the role of the hired girl, a figure often overlooked in Canadian history,” said Cathie, who moved to Camrose in 2008. “They told me how good the Rutherfords were to their staff. I really liked the house and kept going back.”
She even volunteered at the house to get a feeling of what it was like to live in the early years of the province.
“At first, I thought about writing about the domestics who worked for the Rutherfords, but there wasn’t that much information. Then I thought if I wrote a novel, I could fill in the blanks with my thoughts. I researched a lot and went to Fort Edmonton Park because I liked it a lot. My son worked there for a few summers,” explained Cathie.
“My husband and I went to England and we went to Inverness on a day trip, so we visited Scotland. I used the Rutherford House as a backdrop for the story, but I fudged some things and used a different name, so it isn’t quite the same.”
The talented writer had a few challenges along the way. “When you have been a news reporter for so long, it was hard to let my mind go into creative writing. I was also a travel writer for the Edmonton Journal, so I was able to use description more, which helped for the book,” she said. “Once I got going, I was okay.”
Her pitch for the book was declined twice before being accepted. “It was sent back to me, but I received lots of encouragement. Then two years ago next month (April is poetry month), Battle River Writers’ Centre was having a workshop at the railway station. I was asked to bring a poem, but I hadn’t written poetry before. I wrote one and a person who was a publisher was in attendance and really liked it. I sent him a synopsis of the book and he really liked that too, so he asked for the manuscript. He wanted to publish the book.”
Set in Alberta in the early 1920s, Destination Prairie depicts two years in the life of Grace Sinclair, who at age 17 is sent from her family in  Scotland to a village near Medicine Hat to look after her brother’s motherless children.
Barely one year later, she is pushed out of her new home and into the employ of a cheerless couple in a village near Bashaw. There follows a very dark time for Grace, but eventually she gains control of her life and lands in a much better situation in Edmonton.
Happy at last, Grace fits easily into her new surroundings. Along the way, she travels to a reserve where she makes friends with a young aboriginal woman–a friendship that enriches the lives of both women. Grace also discovers a hidden family link.
“Back then, girls didn’t go onto reserves, so I had to get a connection through a district health nurse to give her the opportunity to visit her friend,” Cathie said.
This is a story of resilience, of keeping one’s head above water when dealing with circumstances beyond one’s control.
Cathie was born and raised in Ontario and graduated from Western University with an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. After several years as a news reporter (London Free Press, Regina Leader-Post, Edmonton Journal), she was a longtime freelance  writer in Edmonton.
She wrote for numerous publications on many topics, including environment, home building, gardening and entertainment. “I especially enjoyed writing about my travels with my husband, whether it be jaunts in our RV or trips to foreign lands.”
Cathie has two children and two grandchildren, and lives with her husband in Camrose, where she is a member of the Battle River Writing Centre.
She loves to read and starts and ends every day reading. For more information, visit the website Her book is available at local bookstores. read more

Dennis honoured by Masons

By Murray Green

Camrose Lodge honoured brother Gordon Dennis on his 97th birthday on March 12.
In addition to this monumental occasion, his Masonic brothers were delighted to share in his milestone of 61 years of service to the Masonic family.
Gordon is a past master of the Camrose Lodge and is still enjoying his years in the fraternity. He has been an educator for not just those of the craft, but also for the community. Initially a teacher in Edberg, he came to the Camrose Composite High School to educate local youth.
Gordon and his wife Devina are enjoying their retirement, still living in their own home to this day.
The Masonic brothers have been blessed to enjoy his many years of service and congratulated him on the upstanding example he has set for all. People all strive to live a long life and enjoy it to the fullest, and Gordon has set the bar high.
“Happy birthday and congratulations from your Masonic family,” said Adele Miller.

Births and Deaths

- To Kimberly and Aaron Oberg, of Forestburg, a daughter on March 26.
- To Karly and Jordan Halback, of Camrose, a daughter on March 27.

- Valerie Anne Perry, of Camrose, on March 26, at 67 years of age.
- Jacob Hofer, of Daysland, on March 27, at 48 years of age.
- Anne “Marie” Tveit, of Camrose, on March 28, at 89 years of age.
- Clarence Lloyd Patzer, of New Norway, formerly of Youngstown, AB, on March 31, at 86 years of age.
- Laurn Helstrom, of Camrose, on March 31, at 76 years of age.
- Shirrleen Charolette Broen, of Camrose, on March 31, at 50 years of age.
- Ron Reeve, of Camrose, formerly of Wainwright, on April 1, at 82 years of age.
- Lois Teresa Brausen, of  Camrose, formerly of Heisler, on April 2, at 90 years of age.
- Gus Eddy Lange, of Millet, on April 2, at 87 years of age.
- Elsie Thompson, of Camrose, on April 2, at 86 years of age.