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Saturday, September 30, 2017

PCES Deputy Ambulance Chief Marg Cox retires

Marg Cox
Toni Lucas - Pincher Creek Emergency Services (PCES) Deputy Ambulance Chief Marg Cox has retired after 20 years of service in our area. She started working with the Beaver Mines Hall 20 years ago.  She was and is an advocate of better Advanced Life Support Skills (ALS) training for area first responders, and became the first paramedic in Pincher Creek. The PCES Deputy Ambulance Chief position which will now be assumed by Richard Claude.

Habitat for Humanity announces details of Pincher Creek build


C. Davis/T. Lucas - At an open house held the evening of September 28 Habitat for Humanity announced plans to build a duplex in Pincher Creek. Speakers at the event included FCSS Director David Green, Mayor Don Anderberg, and Pincher Creek Elks Lodge #474 spokesman Charlie Price. To help kickstart the project, Pincher Creek Co-op General Manager Jim Peace and Co-op Gas Bar Manager Kari Zieffle presented a donation of $1267.23 raised during a September 19 fundraiser at the gas bar, and Pincher Creek Elks President Rick Clark presented a $500 donation on behalf of that organization. That was followed by a slideshow presentation from Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta Director of Regional Development Louise Gagné (presented above).  Gagné said it was a first for her to start a Habitat campaign with significant donations already in hand.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Against the wind...

Robert Costa photo

Robert Costa says he encountered this double-decker bus three times today on the way home.  His first encounter with it was at Pincher Station, where it was "heading west at  30 - 40 km/hr, respectfully driving on the shoulder."  Costa said it was clearly an import from Britain, being a right-hand drive "and the right colour and flag."

"When I passed him I saw he had plants in the "upstairs" windows. Home Sweet Home and heading west into the wind. I can only imagine the upcoming passes in BC. Good grief!"

Related:


This additional information was supplied by Mike Barkwith, a retired engineer from England:
"Well it looks like a London Route master RM built '54 to '68 and fitted with a six cylinder diesel, it does however look to have the optional RMC rear power operated doors. These buses all had manual transmission but had a pre-selector gear box. You selected the gear you needed next and the change was done automatically when you operated the clutch pedal. They are very stable and have been tilt tested, although the film (below) shows the earlier RT model."

Alberta's minimum wage to increase to $13.60 Oct. 1

Chris Davis - Minimum wage in Alberta will increase from $12.20 per hour to $13.60 per hour on October 1.

Letter: Town Council concerns



Cheryl Handford (revised) - Our Town election is just around the corner and I am encouraging everyone to get out and vote! Some change may be in order. The current council of the Town have not shown to be very transparent, for example since the August 2nd Committee of the Whole and Council meetings, 7 in total, there were 52 new items of business and of these 23 went in-camera! The public of this community vote and put their trust in these people and why all this need for secrecy? The Town does not list an organization chart on the website and sends out graphs listing only percentages and no dollar amounts with utility bills.

September 29 Kenow fire update


Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 29, 2017:

Kenow Fire Update

Within the Castle Area:
- Classified as Being Held.
- Crews are still monitoring the area. 

Within the South Portion of the MD:
- Classified as Under Control.
- Fire crews remain active within the area working towards the objective of 100% extinguishment.
- Smoke will continue to be evident in the area until these fires have been fully extinguished.
- Residents are reminded to remain vigilant to emergency vehicles, smoke and wildlife in the area.
- Although smoke from the ground fires may be present until the fires are completely extinguished, should the smoke be deemed emergent, please call 911.

Updates will be provided should additional information be received. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

September 28 Kenow fire update


  • What's open, what's closed

Waterton Lakes National Park - The Kenow Fire is approximately 38,100 hectares and classified as ‘being held.’ It is not expected to grow beyond its current perimeter given the forecasted weather conditions and resources dedicated to monitoring the situation and extinguishing hot spots as needed. Smoke may still be visible for several weeks until the winter.

Lethbridge home invasion and machete attack


Lethbridge Police Service - Police are investigating a home invasion where a man was attacked with a machete.

On September 23, 2017 police were at Chinook Regional Hospital in response to an unrelated matter when a 24-year-old man attended with injuries to his head. He told hospital staff he had been attacked by two unknown males after they forced their way into his southside home. One of the males was in possession of a machete and struck the victim in the head. The assailants tied the victim up and searched his home before fleeing with his wallet and cellphone. A friend transported the victim to hospital where he received treatment for his injuries.

Date arranged online ends in robbery in Springbrook


RCMP Alberta - RCMP continue to investigate a robbery that occurred on a rural road south of Springbrook Airport that left a male with serious injuries. The victim reported he met a female through an online date and drove to a rural location south of the Springbrook airport. While parked in the area the victim was approached by three additional suspects and attacked. The incident appeared to be a planned robbery.

The three additional suspects included two males and a female with a medium build.

Blackfalds victim services continues to provide support to the victim.

EDA President Bev Thornton first Canadian to receive prestigious international award

IEDC President Jeff Finkle, Regional Economic Development Initiative for Eastern Idaho CEO Jan Rogers, Alberta SouthWest Executive Director/EDA President Bev Thornton, Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership CEO/IEDC Chairman Michael Langley

Economic Developers Alberta - Bev Thornton, Executive Director of the Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development Alliance and President, Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) has received the Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Ms. Thornton is the first Canadian to receive this award.

Town of Pincher Creek 2017 Candidates Forum - Q&A


Videos from the Questions and Answers segment of the September 27 Town of Pincher Creek 2017 Election Candidates Forum, moderated by David Green, volunteering at the invitation of SASCI to facilitate the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce sponsored event.

Deer and dogs:


Town of Pincher Creek 2017 Candidates Forum - The candidates


Videos from the September 27 Town of Pincher Creek 2017 Election Candidates Forum, moderated by moderated by David Green, volunteering at the invitation of SASCI to facilitate the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce sponsored event.  The candidate videos are presented in the order of appearance.

Don Anderberg for Mayor (incumbent):


Dianne Gray for Mayor:

Armed robbery in Springbrook, vehicle stolen


RCMP Alberta - On September 27, 2017 at approximately 11:15 pm, a resident of Springbrook, Alberta was robbed and attacked by several individuals armed with a firearm and machete style knife. A struggle ensued between the male and his attackers relinquishing them of their firearm. The attackers then proceeded to continue striking the male with a machete style knife causing serious bodily harm. The male then had his vehicle stolen after being attacked. The male was able to walk away from the scene, into Springbrook, where a vehicle stopped and assisted the male with his injuries and calling for emergency services. The male was transported by ground ambulance to Red Deer Regional Hospital for treatment. His wounds are considered serious, but not life threatening.

The victim's stolen vehicle is a 2007 Black Dodge Nitro bearing Alberta licence plate BDR0343. Should this vehicle be located it is requested that you call police immediately.

This matter is being investigated by members of the Blackfalds RCMP Detachment.

Chief Mountain closes for the season, Wild Horse resuming normal hours


The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) advises travellers that the Chief Mountain port of entry will close for the season at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 30, 2017. It will re-open for the next summer season on May 15, 2018. Chief Mountain is located along Highway 6 in Alberta.

Additionally, the Wild Horse port of entry will be resuming its regular hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on October 1, 2017. The port of Wild Horse is located 145 km (90 miles) south of Medicine Hat on Highway 41.

From May to August, officers at Chief Mountain welcomed 68,000 travellers in 25,000 vehicles. From May to August, officers at Wild Horse welcomed 17,000 travellers in 8,000 vehicles.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MD asks Town of Pincher Creek for temporary water transfer


Chris Davis - Water restrictions are currently in effect for the MD of Pincher Creek No. 9, the Town of Pincher Creek, and the Village of Cowley.  The MD issued a Level 2 Water Restriction, due to the continued decrease in water levels within the Castle River and the Oldman Dam Reservoir. According to the MD, "Residents of the Hamlet of Lundbreck and the Village of Cowley are strongly requested to conserve domestic water within their households. Outside watering will no longer be permitted. The Village of Cowley water standpipe will be closed until further notice." The Town of Pincher Creek has issued a Stage 3 Water Restriction, saying "We ask residents to assist by reducing water usage at home and in your businesses."

At their September 26 regular meeting council for the MD of Pincher Creek discussed and passed a recommendation by MD Director of Operations Leo Reedyk that the MD request a temporary water transfer from the Town of Pincher Creek to meet needs.  According to Reedyk, Alberta Environment notified the MD on July 25, 2017 "that the instream objectives for our water license were not being met and we would need to find an alternate source of water."

Town of Pincher Creek, meet your candidates


Election Day is October 16, 2017 for the M.D. of Pincher Creek No. 9 and Town of Pincher Creek. Advance polling for both municipalities will be held on October 11, 2017.

Two people will be vying for Mayor of the Town of Pincher Creek, incumbent Don Anderberg and Dianne Gray. Eight people are vying for six councillor seats: Mark Barber, Tim Blake, Wayne Elliott, Lorne Jackson, Scott Korbett, Brian McGillivray, Sussanne O’Rourke and Douglas Thornton.

We asked the candidates to supply us with a brief synopsis of their platforms and qualifications. We've received responses from all candidates, published below, with the exception of incumbent Mayor Don Anderberg. (Now updated.)

Ethan Choi earns first place at ASAA golf provincials



Pincher Creek's Ethan Choi earned First Place South Zone in the Boys Individual category at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association's 2017 Golf Provincials held September 25/26 The Links (Spruce Grove) and the Stony Plain Golf Course.  Chi was in first place going into yesterday's final with a score of 70, two points ahead of his closest competitor.  Yesterday he won the tournament with a score 69, five strokes ahead of his closest competitor, for a combined score of 139, a full 8 points ahead of second place.

Other Ethan Choi career highlights to date according to ASAA:
  • T2 – 2017 MJT Paradise
  • 1st – 2016 Alberta Bantam Championships – shot 59
  • T7 – 2016 Canadian Junior Boys Championship
  • Participated in 2016 US Junior Amateur Championship
  • 2016 Bantam Boys Player of the Year

Wildfire communications and resource deployment concerns raised at MD of Pincher Creek council meeting


Chris Davis - MD of Pincher Creek Division 1 resident Kathy Flundra appeared as a delegation to council for the MD of Pincher Creek at their September 26 regular meeting to advocate for a formal inquiry into the MD of Pincher Creek's management of  communications and firefighting resources at the height of the Kenow fire crisis earlier this month.  Flundra said she was representing a coalition of residents and ranchers, some of whom were in attendance, who own properties on the south side of Pine Ridge and were directly impacted by the Kenow fire.  Later in the meeting Division 1 Councillor Quentin Stevick made a motion "That the MD of Pincher Creek council call for a public review regarding the events leading up to and including the local state of emergency because of the Kenow fire."  Stevick said he had the motion prepared before knowing about Flundra's delegation to council.  He later accepted a friendly amendment from Councillor Fred Schoening that the review investigate the events "until the local state of emergency was declared", at which time the MD's jurisdiction was superseded by the Unified Command.  Council decided to forward further discussion of the delegation's request and Stevick's motion to their October 10 meeting.

The transforming of medicine: A sacred trust of wisdom and hope

Treena Tallow

Treena Tallow, AHS Advisor - Canada is on the path of closing a dark chapter in Canadian history with respect to its treatment of Indigenous people. A legacy plagued with trauma, hurt, and distrust is on the threshold of becoming a time of healing.

On a cold November day, I was sitting with two respected Elders: Phillis and Marcia (not their real names). We discussed politics and family life. I was so pleased to see the two catching up on old times: they hadn’t seen each other since they were children in residential school. I could see the joy and happiness they shared in that moment. The two hugged and eagerly reconnected. I observed a long standing deep connection. Then the moment came that would change my life forever: Marcia declared with a lump in her throat “Not a day goes by that I thank the Creator that I was born an ugly child”.

Councillor Thornton rejects impropriety allegations

Town of Pincher Creek Councillor Doug Thornton
Chris Davis - Town of Pincher Creek Councillor Doug Thornton responded a couple of weeks ago to "allegations of impropriety" that were made at the recent public hearing regarding his application to develop lands owned by his company Beverley Holdings Ltd.  It was alleged that Thornton did not properly recuse himself from council discussions related to that application.  Thornton met with the Voice and the Pincher Creek Echo, and said he wanted to clear the air, and he issued a related press release.  He also at that time announced he would be running again for a council seat.

A good year for pumpkins


Submitted - Members from Group Group Youth helped harvest the Drop-In Centre’s garden at the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village. It’s been a good year for pumpkins.

U of L scholarship program for Blackfoot students announced

Dr. Robert and Mrs. Priscilla Janes
University of Lethbridge - Seeking to preserve the Blackfoot cultural legacies of four influential men while furthering educational opportunities for Blackfoot students, Dr. Robert and Mrs. Priscilla Janes and the University of Lethbridge have created a series of new student awards for Blackfoot students.  The awards, for both graduate and undergraduate level students from the Blackfoot Confederacy, are named in honour and in memory of Narcisse (Tatsikiistamik “Middle Bull”) Blood, Gerald (Sikapiistamix “Grey Bull”) Conaty, Allan (Mi’kskimmiisoka’simii “Iron Shirt”) Pard, and Frank (Miiksskim “Iron”) Weasel Head.

While praying for puddles


Joyce Sasse - There’s every probability that threat from drought, water-shortage and fire will continue for some time in Southwestern Alberta. With the history of heavy west winds throughout the fall, our alert mechanisms will remain on high. Still, life goes on.

For us and so many others across the country these are tough times. Tensions and stress accumulate and can easily overwhelm us. Some respond with anger, others withdraw. Some turn to alcohol or drugs, others feel life is without hope.

Holding up a mirror

Residents of MD of Pincher Creek Division 1 thank you for all the support (Quentin Stevick photo)
Toni Lucas - The only good thing about a disaster is that you see ordinary people perform extraordinarily.  A disaster is a time when we are too busy to look in the mirror and see our own actions.   Whether that action was fighting a roaring fast-moving fire, opening homes to evacuees and some who are now homeless, baking cookies for the people who are busy or unsettled, or donating time and effort and skills or money to help, the people in this community and others have stepped up to the plate.

Division 1 work bee last Saturday (Anne Stevick photos)
Last weekend more than 280 people gathered in the Twin Butte area to help those who lost homes, outbuildings, and/or miles and miles of fencing.  Area resident Anne Stevick was kind enough to supply us with pictures from that amazing event, an example of neighbours helping neighbours, and even strangers helping strangers.

AWA: Alberta's southern forests more than a source of timber


Alberta Wilderness Association - Improving the management Alberta’s southwestern forests has been the goal of a group of concerned community members and conservationists for many years. Yesterday, the group published an open letter to the government to express their belief that forest management must prioritize a broader set of values than timber production. Their recommendations include developing recreation, tourism, and forestry practices that are sustainable for future generations; improving public consultation processes; and ensuring management decisions assist species at risk recovery.

Letter: Let's change the M.D. of Pincher Creek council


Cornell Van Ryk - It’s time. Having attended many of the regular meetings, both as a presenter and as an observer, I feel we have been let down by the current Council and feel a strong need for change. This is a Council that knows best and is not about to listen to much input from others. Legitimate questions are treated as a challenge to their authority. They care little about the taxpayer dollar, especially if it comes from other layers of government in the form of grants. Communication and collaboration is almost non-existant. We also need people on Council that will take a fresh look at the performance of the M.D. Administration and take any required corrective action.

Grant will help U of L researcher explore possible genetic links to same-sex sexual attraction

Dr. Paul Vasey
University of Lethbridge - A recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant will help Dr. Paul Vasey, a University of Lethbridge psychology professor, determine if genes associated with male same-sex sexual attraction are the same across cultures.  The NIH is an agency of the American government dedicated to biomedical and public health research, annually investing billions of dollars in medical research. Vasey is among a handful of U of L researchers who have received funding from the agency.  “Much of my work focuses on testing evolutionary-level questions about how genes that are associated with male same-sex sexuality don’t go extinct. How do they persist over evolutionary time?” says Vasey.

Annora’s chest of treasures

Annora Brown
Joyce Sasse

“Annora Brown is the hand of the flower sower and the eye of time,” an art critic wrote in 1972 after viewing a Glenbow exhibit of her two hundred paintings of rare wildflowers from southwestern Alberta. “For when the lily blooms no more, should man yet be alive, she will review for him the glory that was, and advise him of the glory to be.”

A week ago, as wildfire blackened so much of Waterton Park and adjacent ranch-land, the chest of treasures overflowing with Annora’s paintings remains intact and becomes more precious than ever.

Monday, September 25, 2017

High School Rodeo says thank you

(ad)



High School Rodeo says "Thank you!"
to our many sponsors.  Your support helps make this a great event, every year!

Bulls: Big Chief Bucking Bulls
Cutting Cattle: Allan Lively
Goats: Sarah Kirby Goats
Working Cow Horse Cattle: Dewald Livestock
Pincher Creek Co-Op
MD & Town of Pincher Creek
Jenkins Lazy U
Glen West Express
SALE -Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange
Dewald Livestock
Pickard Performance Horses
Westcastle Motors
Castle Ford
Rocky Mountain Mechanical
Credit Union
Sinnott Insurance & Financial Solutions
Grassy Butte Ranch
Bar Nine 0 Ranch: Hay for Stock
DJ Equipment Rentals: Lights for arena
Triple T Energy: Water for arena

Edson RCMP lay manslaughter charge after carfentanyl overdose


RCMP Alberta - On October 21, 2016, Edson RCMP responded to a sudden death of 48-year-old Guy Kennedy at a hotel in Edson, Alberta. Upon arriving at the scene, police believed the deceased had overdosed, and suspected it was due to fentanyl. Several tablets were also located in the room and powder residue. Given the dangers associated with fentanyl, the RCMP’s Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) team was contacted to assist. The hotel room was secured until police with advanced safety gear could investigate the scene. Police later confirmed that the tablets were counterfeit oxycontin and they contained carfentanyl.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

September 23 Kenow fire update

Kenow Fire Update – Unified Command - September 23:
The Kenow Fire is now classified as being held. The fire remains active and covers an area of approximately 38,100 hectares. We continue to work closely with provincial and local partners to contain this wildfire and protect key infrastructure and resources. Fire activity, including smoke and flame may continue to be visible to the public in some areas.

WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK

Waterton Lakes National Park is now open to the public and the fire ban has been lifted.

In the village of Waterton, visitors may access Cameron Falls and Cameron Bay Day Use Area. Four washrooms at the Playground, Cameron Falls, Heritage and the Fire Hall are open. Some picnic areas and shelters and the playground are also available in the village. At this time, camping is not permitted in the Townsite Campground, nor the Pass Creek winter campsite. Some businesses may be open; however, visitors coming to the park should be prepared with basic supplies. Visitors can get information from the information desk at the Parks Canada Operation Building from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 7 days a week.

CASTLE BRANCH FIRE SUPRESSION

The area of fire within the Castle drainage is now classified as under control and is 221 hectares in size. It remains approximately 23 kilometres from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 kilometres from Beaver Mines. This area will continue to be monitored.

WEATHER AND FIRE BEHAVIOUR

Temperatures are expected to return to mid-teens this weekend and last through mid-week.

WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED

At this time, only the Entrance road, Chief Mountain Road, and the town of Waterton are open. All other roads and areas in the park remain closed for safety reasons. Due to the high intensity of the fire, there are a large number of danger trees, rock falls, and other hazards that remain throughout the park.

Friday, September 22, 2017

2017 Pincher Creek High School Rodeo


Pincher Creek High School Rodeo Club
Back L-R Martyna Lively, Sarah Kirby, Alisha Stevenson, Jackson Brathwaite, Kassi Wells, Ben Mitchell, Nelz Vance
Front L-R Danielle Hann, Hailey Grove, Waci Thomson, Morgan Dingreville, Ryatt Thomson.
Cathy Mitchell photo

Toni Lucas - Alberta High School Rodeo District 1 held the 2017 Pincher Creek Rodeo at the Pincher Creek Agricultural Grounds on September 8 to 10. This is the second high school rodeo of the season for this group and the first year the junior high students have joined the senior high students, There were 80 high school students, and *40 junior high participants, coming from all over southern Alberta. They all demonstrated grace under pressure, particularly with having to deal with smoke affecting their animals.
*corrected for accuracy

Altie Rutledge winner Jackson Braithwaite with Pincher Creek Rodeo Club Student President, Alisha Stevenson
Cathy Mitchell photo


September 22 wildfire updates


Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 22, 2017, 2:00 pm:

Updates will be provided should additional information be received.

Kenow Fire Update:
- The fire status is now considered “being held”.
- The fire remains at 38,151 ha. Within the Castle Area:
- Remains at 221 ha.
- Remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines.

Within the South Portion of the MD:
- Fire crews remain active within the area suppressing the deep ground fires and monitoring for hot spots.
- Smoke will continue to be evident in the area until these fires have been fully extinguished.
- Residents are reminded to remain vigilant to emergency vehicles, smoke and wildlife in the area.
- Although smoke from the ground fires may be present until the fires are completely extinguished, should the smoke be deemed emergent, please call 911.

Police car rammed in Red Deer


RCMP Alberta - Red Deer RCMP are investigating after a truck rammed a police car during an early morning traffic stop then fled the scene. Shortly after 2:00 am on September 22, RCMP initiated a traffic stop on a truck on 40 Avenue north of Township Road 375 in Red Deer. The truck stopped initially, then reversed and rammed the police cruiser, turning it 180 degrees and pushing it toward a ditch. The collision resulted in the air bags deploying, causing minor injuries to the police officer; he was able to exit the cruiser while it was being pushed as there was a danger of the cruiser overturning when it struck the ditch. EMS attended and treated the police officer at the scene.  RCMP located the abandoned truck a short time later. Police Dog Services attended and tracked the male suspect for some time before losing the track.

Aftermath


Editors note:  The Jenkins ranch lost their home and much more in the recent Kenow fire.

David Daniel Jenkins - My heart is full. I'm humbled to my core by the love you have shown me and my family and neighbours. It has been one exquisite kindness after another. Out of all of this, the one desire that stays with me, that keeps me up at night, is in the days and years ahead to be worthy of even a fraction of that love. When I'm overwhelmed and overcome it isn't so much because of the loss but because my heart is too full. And so I've had to step away for a day or two--no surprise, I'm sure, to all who know me. But I will be stepping forward soon, into your kitchens and guest bedrooms, with all the gratitude a heart can carry.

Trafficking bust in Lethbridge


Lethbridge Police Service - Police have charged a 49-year-old man and 34-year-old woman following a short term investigation into drug trafficking activity downtown.  On September 21, 2017 members of the Downtown Policing Unit observed drug transactions taking place in an area near Galt Gardens. A male suspect was arrested a short time later in Galt Gardens and found to be in possession of a quantity of prescription narcotics (Percocet) and cash. Two female suspects were also arrested along the 300 block of 5 Street South. One of the women was found in possession of fentanyl pills, tamazapam pills and cash.

Possible taxpayer relief for those affected by Kenow Fire




If you have been affected by the Kenow fire you may be eligible for taxpayer relief (click here for more information).

Excerpt from above link: 


Cancel or waive penalties or interest

The Minister may grant relief from penalty or interest when the following types of situations prevent a taxpayer from meeting their tax obligations:
  • extraordinary circumstances;
  • actions of the CRA;
  • inability to pay or financial hardship;
  • other circumstances

For more information about the circumstances that may warrant relief from penalties or interest, see Cancel or waive penalties or interest. To submit your request for relief, we recommend you use Form RC4288, Request for Taxpayer Relief - Cancel or Waive Penalties or Interest.


Estimated ED wait times in AHS South Zone now online


Alberta Health Services South Zone - Real-time estimated emergency department (ED) wait times for Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat Regional Hospital are now online, giving southern Albertans another tool to help them decide where to access care for themselves and their families.  Available on the Alberta Health Services website and mobile app, patients and the public can access up-to-the-minute wait times in the ED 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The wait times posted reflect an estimate of how long it takes from being assessed by a triage nurse in the emergency department to being seen by a physician.

The times are calculated through a software system that uses current data from the facility that compares the number of people in the emergency department and how sick they are with how many resources are available and required to treat those patients.

This calculation does not take into account seriously ill patients, who will be seen immediately, and patients with non-urgent concerns, who may wait longer to be seen depending on resources.


Wait times do not represent the total time patients may spend at the hospital.

Off-highway vehicle restriction lifted, Fire Restriction fro CNP


Alberta Fire Bans, effective September 21, 2017 - Within the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass a Fire Restriction has been issued for portions of the Calgary Forest Area section of the Forest Protection Area within fire control zones 1-3, south of Highway 532. The Off-Highway Vehicle Restriction in this area is no longer in effect.

Under the restriction fire permits will be issued on a case-by-case basis.

Prohibited
  • Wood campfires in backcountry or random camping areas
  • Charcoal briquettes, turkey fryers and tiki torches
  • Fireworks and exploding targets

Allowed
  • Safe wood campfires within fire rings in campgrounds
  • Portable propane fire pits that are CSA approved or UL certified
  • Gas or propane stoves and barbecues
  • Catalytic or infrared-style heaters

Remember to check the hot spots on your Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and remove debris before and after use. Never leave a campfire unattended. Soak it, stir it and soak it again until cool to the touch to ensure it is extinguished. If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 310-FIRE.

The Fire Restriction will remain in effect until conditions improve.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September 21 Kenow fire updates

Alberta Wildfire: RE BAN & OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE RESTRICTION LIFTED The ban and off-highway vehicle restriction has been lifted for the Calgary Forest Area, south of Hwy 532. A Fire Restriction is now in place
Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 21, 2017, 4:30 pm:

Kenow Fire Update:
- The fire status is now considered “being held”.
- The fire remains at 38,151 ha. Within the Castle Area:
- Remains at 221 ha.
- Remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines.

Within the south portion of the MD:
- Fire crews remain active within the area suppressing the deep ground fires and monitoring for hot spots.
- Smoke will continue to be evident in the area until these fires have been fully extinguished.
- Residents are reminded to remain vigilant to emergency vehicles, smoke and wildlife in the area.
- Although smoke from the ground fires may be present until the fires are completely extinguished, should the smoke be deemed emergent, please call 911.

Waterton re-opens after Kenow fire evacuation


The Evacuation Order issued on September 8 for Waterton Lakes National Park has been rescinded. The Waterton townsite is no longer at risk from the Kenow fire On September 19 a phased re-entry was effected for some residents, leaseholders, and business owners. Yesterday, September 20, all residents, leaseholders, business owners as well as members of the public were allowed to re-enter the park. Services remain significantly reduced. At this time, only the entrance road, Chief Mountain Highway and the community of Waterton are open. All other roads and areas in the park remain closed for safety reasons. Due to the high intensity of the fire, there are a large number of danger trees, rock falls, and other hazards that remain throughout the park. The Kenow wildfire remains active in certain areas and suppression efforts continue. Personnel from various specialized fields are working to reduce hazards such as danger trees, and to assess the state of roadways and other infrastructure. The fire is now classified as being held.


The park is not open for camping. Camping will not return this season. The townsite loop walking trail is open, but other outlying trails remain closed.


As of September 20, according to Alberta Wildfire, the Fire Danger Rating is Low across the province, and Moderate in the northern boreal and Southern Slopes. According to a Calgary Forest Area Wildfire Update issued September 19, the Forest Area Closure for the Calgary Forest Area has been lifted, but a Fire Ban, OHV prohibition and advisory remains in effect. A Fire Ban remains in effect for the Calgary Forest Area (CFA) section of the Forest Protection Area (FPA) south of highway 532. All existing Fire Permits are suspended. No new Fire Permits will be issued. Open fires in campgrounds, the backcountry or random camping areas are NOT permitted. Charcoal briquettes, turkey fryers, tiki torches, fireworks, and exploding targets are NOT permitted. Portable propane fire pits, Gas or propane stoves, barbecues and heaters (catalytic/infrared) ARE permitted. The Fire Ban will remain in effect until conditions improve. Click here for the most current information.


A media tour (see video above) was conducted on September 20, with briefings from Unified Command members including Parks Canada Media Relations Chief Natalie Fay, Parks Canada Incident Commander Jed Cochrane, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Wildfire Operations Officer Rick Moore.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Search for Sara Coates continues



RCMP Alberta - On September 12th and September 16th, 2017 the Cochrane RCMP as well as Search and Rescue teams from Cochrane, Calgary, Foothills, Didsbury and Badlands conducted searches in the Morley area for Sara Coates. Over 50 Volunteers with the search and rescue teams contributed 644 working hours conducting the search. "Last week we attended our previous search areas to assess the region in light of the extremely dry weather this year, "says Corporal Troy Savinkoff, Cochrane RCMP "we discovered a large amount of land that was previously covered in water was now dry and we wanted to ensure that we took full advantage of this. Thanks to our partners with Search and Rescue we were able to get a large number of boots on the ground in a very short amount of time." The RCMP are dedicated to continue their efforts to locate Sara and would like to thank all the volunteers that have aided in the search.

Hinton RCMP warn drivers of poor road conditions


RCMP Alberta - The RCMP have been responding to vehicles getting stuck and vehicles in the ditch on Highway 40 between Hinton and Grande Cache.  Due to heavy snowfall in the area, road conditions are extremely poor and the RCMP are not recommending travel in this area. If possible, use an alternate route to get north of Hinton or south of Grande Cache.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19 wildfire updates

Municipal District of Pincher Creek wildfire update September 19, 2017, 1:00 pm:

Kenow Fire Update:
- The fire status is now considered “being held”.
- The fire remains at 38,151 ha. within the Castle Area:
- Remains at 221 ha.
- Remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines.

Within the South Portion of the MD:
- Fire crews remain active within the area suppressing the deep ground fires and monitoring for hot spots.
- Smoke will continue to be evident in the area until these fires have been fully extinguished.
- Residents are reminded to remain vigilant to emergency vehicles, smoke and wildlife in the area.

Monday, September 18, 2017

September 18 wildfire updates

Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 18, 2017, 2:45 pm:

Mandatory Evacuation Order Rescinded: 
  • The mandatory evacuation order for South of Oil Basin Road to the Waterton Park Boundary has been rescinded. 
  • Highway 6 is now open.
  • There is no access to Waterton Park. 
  • Fire operations are still ongoing, as some deep ground fires are still active. Residents in the area are reminded to remain vigilant and watch for vehicles. 
  • Watch for smoke in the area due to these fires.
  • Sprinkler suppression will continue in this area.
  • Watch for animals on the road. 
Re-Entry: 
  • Re-Entry information packages are available for residents returning to their homes. These packages are available at the Administration Building and on our website. 
  • Wildlife in the area has been impacted by this fire; residents should remain vigilant to their presence. Residents are reminded to retain all information regarding the evacuation, including receipts, inventory lists of possessions and other important information. This will likely be beneficial when processing insurance claims. 

Kenow Fire Update: 
Within the South Portion of the MD: 
  • Deep ground fires remain active. 
  • Ground crews continue to suppress these fires and monitor for hot spots. 
Within the Castle Area: 
  • Due to more accurate assessment and measurements, the total size of this fire is 38,100 hectares. The size within the Castle Area is stated as 221 hectares. 
  • This fire is still classified as out of control. 
  • A dozer guard is in place. 
  • It remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines. 
Local State of Emergency: 
  • The local state of emergency for Division 1 will expire at 2352hrs, tonight September 18, 2017. 
  • The local state of emergency for the entire MD will expire at 0807hrs, tomorrow, September 19, 2017. 
  • These will not be renewed

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 17 wildfire updates

Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 17, 2017, 2:30 pm:

Within the Evacuation Area:
  • Deep ground fires remain active within the evacuation zone.
  • Ground crews continue to suppress these areas and to monitor for hot spots.
  • There will be smoke in the area due to these active deep ground fires.
  • Highway 6 from Oil Basin Road to Waterton Park Boundary remains closed.
Within the Castle Area:
  • Due to more accurate assessment and measurements, the total size of this fire is 38,100 hectares. The size within the Castle Area is stated as 221 hectares.
  • This fire is still classified as out of control.
  • A dozer guard is in place.
  • It remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines.
Mandatory Evacuation remains in effect South of Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to Waterton Park boundary.

Limited Access to Evacuation Area:
  • Residents, and tenants, of the mandatory evacuation area will continue to be permitted to enter the area for a 2 hour time period to attend to livestock and related activities.
  • Residents, and tenants, are required to check in at the blockade andprovide their driver’s license to RCMP personnel.  At that time, a “Release of Liability Waiver Form” must be signed prior to entering the area.

Kenow Fire Update - Unified Command  Septmeber 17, 11:00 am:

Note: Updates will be provided only when there is a significant change in fire activity or closures.
The Kenow Fire remains active and is classified as out of control. Fire activity is predominantly on the fire perimeter and at localized hotspots within the perimeter where pockets of unburned fuels remain. The fire did not demonstrate any further growth over night and the fire is still estimated at approximately 36,000 hectares. We continue to work closely with provincial and local partners and emergency management organizations to contain this wildfire and protect key infrastructure and resources. 

Our current priorities are:
- Continuing protection of values and infrastructure;
- Working to establish containment of the fire in strategic locations;
- On-going assessment of impacted values and infrastructure;
- Restoration of key infrastructure to prepare for re-entry.

WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK
We wish to remind the public that the Kenow Fire is still active in the area and within the park boundaries. The Evacuation Order remains in effect and the park is closed to all incoming traffic except emergency vehicles and authorized personnel. Even though the townsite is no longer under threat, risks due to the active fire nearby and ongoing fire operations remain. Parks Canada continues to work to complete the detailed assessment, which includes identifying additional risks within the park. Due to the high intensity of the fire, there are a large number of danger trees, rock falls, and other hazards that remain throughout. Community members should not attempt to return to the area until advised by Parks Canada.

CASTLE BRANCH FIRE SUPRESSIOB
The area of fire within the Castle drainage continues to see minimal activity and remains at 500 hectares in size. Clear skies yesterday allowed for the use of aircraft for both assessment and suppression. Crews were deployed on the ground and were able to make good progress as well. Similar conditions are expected for today. The wildfire remains approximately 23 kilometres from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 kilometres from Beaver Mines. For more information, visit wildfire.alberta.ca or call 1-866-FYI-FIRE at 1-866-394-3473.

WEATHER AND FIRE BEHAVIOUR
-The Kenow Fire has received only minor precipitation over the last few days.
· Increased temperatures, drier conditions and increased wind are forecasted for this weekend. Fire behaviour and activity has the potential to increase with these conditions.

WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED
- Waterton Lakes National Park will be closed until we can assure it is safe to reopen. A safety assessment and any required work will be completed before the park is reopened.
- Calgary Forest Protection Area south of Highway 532 is closed

Stay up-to-date through Waterton Lakes National Park’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Additional information about wildfires in the national mountain parks is available at www.parkscanada.ca/fire.

A community that cares


Chris Ney -
I have started this article now seven times and tried to find the words for how I have been feeling through all of the last couple week’s events. Many times I have written down things and then just deleted them, as they’re really are few words that I can find to explain it. My family and I are new to this community and along the way, as we have been getting to know the community and the history and the culture here, I have been a part of really good things and I have messed some things up. One of the things I have been amazed at is that when times get tough this community bonds together tighter than any other I have ever been a part of.  As we have gone through major events I haven’t seen people tearing each other apart, instead I have seen people step up and offer anything that was needed to help their neighbor. It has shown me that there is something a whole lot deeper here than just people co-habituating.  There's a real family here. I have experienced this over the summer with our church family, but now I have experienced it first hand as a whole and I am quite overwhelmed at it all.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 16 wildfire updates

Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update, September 16, 2017, 4:15 pm:

Mandatory Evacuation:
- Remains in effect South of Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to Waterton Park boundary.
- Highway 6 remains closed from Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6.

Limited Access to Evacuation Area:
- Residents, and tenants, of the mandatory evacuation area will continue to be permitted to enter the area for a 2 hour time period to attend to livestock and related activities.
- Residents, and tenants, are required to check in at the blockade and provide their driver’s license to RCMP personnel.
- At that time, a “Release of Liability Waiver Form” must be signed prior to entering the area.

Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 16, 2017, 2:00 pm:

Mandatory Evacuation:
- Remains in place for residents south of Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to Waterton Park boundary.
- Highway 6 remains closed from Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6.
Kenow Fire Update:
Within the Evacuation Area:
     - There are active deep ground fires within the evacuation zone.
     - Ground crews continue to suppress these areas and to monitor for hot spots.
     - There will be smoke in the area due to these active deep ground fires.
Within the Castle Area:
     - The fire currently burning in the Castle Area, has not increased in size, however, this fire is still classified as out of control.
     - It remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines.
- Weather is favourable today for ground crews and air craft to enter for assessment and suppression.

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15 wildfire updates

Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 15, 2017, 6:00 pm -

Mandatory Evacuation remains in place for residents south of Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to Waterton Park.

Castle Mountain Resort:
  • Residents are permitted to return to their homes.
  • Residents are reminded that fire behaviour is unpredictable and to remain vigilant.
  • As Provincial Crown Land remains closed to the public, access permits are still required.
  • Previously issued permits will be honoured.
Kenow Wildfire Update:
  • The fire currently burning in the Castle Area, has not increased in size, however, this fire is still classified as out of control.
  • It remains 23 km from Castle Mountain Resort and 30 km from Beaver Mines.

Restoration of electrical services to the Twin Butte Area:

  • Electricity was restored at 3:00 pm.
  • Please call 310-WIRE (310-9473) if you are experiencing difficulties with your service.

The MD of PIncher Creek would like to thank everyone for their generosity during the last few days. However, no further donations of any type (cash or food items) are required for the Operations Centre or for our fire crews.

Castle Mountain Resort evacuation rescinded

Castle Mountain Resort - The MD of Pincher Creek (which Castle Mountain Resort falls within) has announced that our mandatory evacuation order has been rescinded. Residents and staff who hold permits are able to return to their homes / work. Residents and staff are reminded that permits are still required as the forest area closure / Castle Parks closure remains in effect until further notice. Information on who is eligible for a permit and how to get one is listed in our 04/09/2017 update at this link.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

September 14 southwestern Alberta wildfire updates



Municipal District of Pincher Creek Wildfire Update September 14, 2017. 7:00 pm -

Mandatory Evacuations:
  • Remain in place for Castle Mountain Resort. Access to this area is not permitted. 30 residents of this area are currently affected by this evacuation.
  • Remain in place for residents south of Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to Waterton Park.
Highway 6 remains closed from the Oil Basin Road (Township 3-2) to the Highway 5 junction.

Limited Access:
  • Residents, within the evacuation area, are still permitted access to their properties for a 2 hour period, during the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.
  • 28 residences are within this evacuation area.
Re-Entry:
  • Approximately 60 Re-Entry information packages were provided to the residents returning to their homes in the Twin Butte area.
  • Residents are reminded that this area is considered on evacuation alert, and should be prepared to leave, on short notice, should the fire behaviour change.
Disposal of Spoiled Food: A bear proof bin will be placed north of the Twin Butte Community Hall for residents to dispose of any spoiled food.

Pincher Creek Emergency Services continue to monitor and action hot spots within the Twin Butte area.

Coaldale RCMP want to return circular prisim and optical plummet to owner


RCMP Alberta - On August 22, 2017, the Coaldale RCMP recovered found property (pictured above) near the Jennie Emery Elementary School in Coaldale. This property is described as being a Pro Precision Circular Prism and Optical Plummet. Both are believed to be used for surveying. If you are missing this type of property please contact the Coaldale Municipal RCMP at (403) 345-5552. Verification of ownership will be required prior to release.

Message from MD of Pincher Creek Reeve Hammond



Message from MD of Pincher Creek Reeve Hammond

To all residents,

On behalf of the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, I want to welcome all of you back to our beloved community. We know this has been a difficult time for everyone and I want to thank each of you for your patience.

A number of structures have been lost due to the wildfires. While most of you will be able to return to your homes right away or with a small amount of cleanup or repair, for others, it will take longer.

The important thing to remember is that our municipality survived a significant event and that together we will rebuild and recover.

I want to assure all of you that your community, Council, and our provincial and federal partners will continue to support you and your families for as long as needed.  As we move forward, we must remember that the spirit of our community is our greatest strength and it will help us overcome all obstacles.

Again, welcome back.
Sincerely,
Reeve Brian Hammond

Visitor restrictions due to air quality lifted at health centers


Due to an improvement in the weather and level of smoke in the air, visitor restrictions have been lifted at Cardston and Pincher Creek Health Centres. We sincerely thank those people who postponed visiting their loved ones to help us protect air quality.

Air quality statement in effect

Smoke near Beauvais Lake Sept. 11 (C. Davis)

Issued 10:27 MDT Wednesday September 14, 2017 by Environment Canada, Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health

Special air quality statement in effect for:

  • M.D. of Pincher Creek near Beauvais Lake Prov. Park, Cowley Burmis, Maycroft, Pincher Creek, and Twin Butte
  • M.D. of Ranchland
  • Municipality of Crowsnest Pass including Coleman and Frank
  • Piikani Reserve
  • Waterton Lakes Nat. Park and Blood Res. 148A

Elevated pollution levels are expected or occurring.

September 13 tour of Highway 6 to Waterton Lakes National Park entrance




Tour on the afternoon of September 13 along Highway 6 from the Highway 505 intersection to near the Waterton Lakes National Park entrance. 
Photos C. Davis, video C. Davis/J. Harrington.


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