Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Night at the Library - 2015 Pincher Creek Skating Club Carnival

Tessa Roy in her final performance as a member of Senior Starskate
C. Davis photos/video
Chris Davis

The Pincher Creek Skating Club presented their annual show on Saturday evening, March 28, the final big event of the season at the Memorial Community Centre Arena.  Themed "A Night at the Library", the Skate Canada sanctioned event  featured approximately 40 local skaters and guest performers.

Transmission line or limber pine?

David McIntyre

Dear Premier Prentice,

The pictured view looks northwest toward the eastern slopes of Alberta's Livingstone Range.

Yesterday afternoon, without really knowing where I was headed, I arrived at an ancient limber pine that, growing from a thrust-faulted alter of sandstone, lies within a spectacular natural sandstone amphitheater.

Experiential Learning Week Dinner Party Wars 2015

Main Course (White team) at Dinner Party Wars
Amazing stuffed meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli, apple cabbage

Toni Lucas/Chris Davis

During Experiential Learning Week in Matthew Halton High School (MHHS) 20 students chose to take part in the Foods - Dinner Party Wars option.  Students ranging from grades 7 - 12 from both Livingstone School and MHHS formed two competing teams (White and Blue) that had to present a three course meal collectively to 40 paying guests.  They were competing for the newly made and highly coveted trophy that will have the names of the individuals on the winning team emblazoned on it.

Experiential Learning Week students learn theatrical principles

Experiential Learning Week Drama students
M. Kirzan photos
Experiential Learning week returned to Matthew Halton High School (MHHS) last week, and included the participation of MHHS and Livingstone School students.  One of the courses available was Drama with instructors Mary Krizan, Renee Van Loon, and Logan Kennedy.

Mary Krizan

The week began with a visit to the Fashion Studies Department at Lethbridge College to learn about the principles of theatrical makeup. Students created a facial schematic, and learned the main principles of corrective makeup. We then made wounds with household items like gelatin, potato flakes, brown rice and oatmeal. The best recipe for fake blood: baby shampoo, corn syrup and red food colouring!

Sometimes you have to bleed for your art

Pincher Creek Library vandalized

Toni Lucas

On the evening of Wednesday, March 25 or in the early hours of Thursday, March 26 there was an act of vandalism at the Pincher Creek and District Municipal Library when culprit or culprits unknown took a rock and smashed a window on the east end of the library.

If anyone has any information about this crime they are asked to contact local RCMP during office hours at 403-627-403-627-6000 or contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Significant theft at Pincher Creek Walmart

Pincher Creek Walmart
Google Streetview image
Toni Lucas

On Monday, March 23 just before closing time a thief pried open a secured glass case at Pincher Creek Walmart and stole roughly $5,000 in goods including electronics such as Xboxes and iPads.  The culprit then escaped through a side door into a waiting vehicle.  "It was a fairly significant theft," said RCMP Cpl. Jeffrey Feist.

If anyone has any information about this crime they are asked to  contact local RCMP during office hours at 403-627-403-627-6000 or contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

*edited for accuracy (terminology)

Daffodils on sale to support cancer awareness

Susan Vogelaar and Alice Cook tending the flowers
Toni Lucas

April is daffodil month and the Pincher Cowley Roaring Lions will be selling daffodils in the Ranchland Mall from today, Tuesday March 31, through Thursday, or until they run out of flowers.

This is in support of the Canadian Cancer Society's annual spring Daffodil Campaign and to bring cancer awareness to the public.  The Canadian Cancer Society is working to eradicate cancer, and  create networks of support for those living with cancer.  "Come and get a bright touch of spring," said volunteer Susan Vogelaar.

Danielle Smith rebuffed by PC nominators

Phil Burpee

     Poor Danielle. She thought she understood the game. It's just that she seems to have confused badminton for Junior 'A' hockey, and now wishes maybe she'd worn a helmet – looking a tad dazed. She appears for all the world like the cat who drops a nasty one smack dab in the middle of Mom's best plush-pile carpet, then goes off all innocent to sun herself on the windowsill. Mom comes in – sees the deed – grabs the broom, and whack! - kitty gets unceremoniously launched out the back door mucho pronto - mmrreeooooww....! I mean to say – for an educated person, Ms. Smith seems to have a remarkably poor grasp of the general laws of consequence.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Grassy Mountain Coal Project: Public Comments Invited

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

As part of the strengthened and modernized Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) put in place to support the government's Responsible Resource Development Initiative, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) must decide whether a federal environmental assessment is required for the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project, located in Alberta (approximately 7 kilometres north of Blairmore).

100 kids and 200 lbs of treats at Co-op Easter Egg Hunt

Ryder shows off his haul
T. Lucas photos

Toni Lucas

Pincher Creek Co-op held their annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Co-op grocery store on the evening of Sunday, March 29, 2015. Over one hundred kids gathered around the store entrance to visit with Cooper the Co-op mascot and to wait for their turn to hunt for candy.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Peter Griffiths entertains at Vista Village

Peter Griffiths
Toni Lucas

On Friday, March 27 Peter Griffiths entertained residents at Vista Village by hosting a sing-along.  Griffiths brought lyric books for those that wanted to sing-along to favourite selections like 'Bye Bye Blackbird', and 'Zippity Do-Da'.  Residents enjoyed the event and some took Griffiths up on his invitation to make requests in between songs.

Establishment of Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission approved by province

Toni Lucas - During the last regular meeting of council for the Town of Pincher Creek, council received correspondence from Alberta Municipal Affairs date regarding the establishment of the Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission (Order in Council 501/2014 and Ministerial Order No. MSL:006/15) as information.

The opening letter from Minister Diana McQueen  reads in part:
"I am pleased to provide you with the attached  Order in Council 501/2014 and Ministerial Order No. MSL:006/15. 
The Order in Council establishes the Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission. The Ministerial Order authorizes the commission to provide emergency medical (ambulance) services across Alberta and into British Columbia and Saskatchewan, as required, in accordance with the commission's contract with Alberta Health Services. The Ministerial Order also authorizes the commission to provide mutual aid with respect to fire and rescue services on behalf of each member  municipality of the commission once each municipality delegates this responsibility to the commission. 
Please note that this authorization to provide emergency medical services is valid as long as the commission has a contract with Alberta Health  Services. 
I wish the commission all the best in its future  endeavours." 

The regulation of the commission covers the establishment, members, services, operating deficits, property, profit and surpluses, and approval of Pincher Creek Emergency Services.

Town of Pincher Creek surveillance camera policy revamped

Toni Lucas

During the regular meeting of Pincher Creek Town  Council on Monday, March 23 council reviewed and approved changes to the Surveillance Camera Policy.  The largest changes are how long the information is to be stored, moving from a 90 day storage to a 30 day storage, and who can see the footage, and under what circumstances.

2015 She-Nooks tournament

2014/15 Pincher Creek She-Nooks
C. Davis photos
Pincher Creek's Sheenooks hosted their 2015 tournament at the Memorial Community Centre arena on March 14.  The tournament was a friendly affair, with scores kept but no official winners or losers at the end of the tournament.  Six teams participated, from Vulcan, Fernie, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Sparwood, and Pincher Creek.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lilydale brand Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Lilydale brand Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast recall - click here for more information

Missing Brocket dog

Riddick is a Big Husky Cross who stands about 3 feet tall; his most distinct features are his eyes, his left eye is mostly Pale Blue with the top inner quarter brown and his right eye is mostly Brown with the lower inner quarter Pale Blue. Riddick lives in Brocket, AB.  A cash reward is offered for the safe return of Riddick, no questions asked, we would like him returned, he is a loved member of our family & extremely missed.

 If you have any information regarding his whereabouts please contact us ASAP at any time of the day: Chance Crow Shoe - 403.632.6143, Tawnia White Cow - 403.632.5135. or Vicky White Cow - 403.632-9788

Friday, March 27, 2015

Experiential learning week overview

Mechanics: ELW students with Mr. Epp
Toni Lucas

Students from Matthew Halton High School (MHHS) and Livingstone High School students took part in Experiential Learning Week (ELW) from Monday, March 23 - Friday, March 27. For 5 days, these students took a single immersive class in a option of their choice. The 18 courses that they could choose from included: Creative Writing, Drama, Fashion: Exploring Surface Embellishment Techniques, Print and Design through Paper Arts, Blackfoot Language and Culture, Multi-Sport Camp, Fishing, Hockey Camp, Archery, Animal Care and Welfare, Dinner Party Wars, Journalism, Construction, Mechanics, and Forestry. If travel was their interest there were two options: Senior High Trip to Europe, and a Gulf Islands Trip in British Columbia. The course Winter Sports Camp was adjusted due to weather conditions. There will be additional stories from a variety of these adventures. ELW was a pilot project started by MHHS in October 2013 and has been growing in scope and now includes two schools.

Crestview Lodge construction project to receive $9.8 million in provincial and federal funding

Reeve Brian Hammond, MP John Barlow, Mayor Don Anderberg, Minister Jeff Johnson
unveiling plan for new Crestview Lodge
C. Davis/T. Lucas photos/video
Chris Davis

The construction of a new Crestview Lodge in Pincher Creek went from long shot to upcoming reality with the announcement today of $9.8 million in funding from the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada. The new lodge will replace the existing 47-unit Crestview Lodge with a new 50-unit structure that will be built in stages to allow Crestview's tenants to remain in the old lodge until their new modern rooms are completed. The existing supportive living facility, constructed circa 1961, will be demolished once the new facility is completed.

Councillor Lorne Jackson's March 23 report to Town Council

During the regular meetings of Pincher Creek's Town Council the Mayor and councillors each give a report of the meetings they have attended and relate other points of interest to the rest of council.  The following is the first person report from councillor Lorne Jackson at the council meeting of Monday March 23.  

Councillor Lorne Jackson

I attended the last regular council meeting of March 9th.  

On Wednesday, March 11th, I accepted the invitation of the Napi Friendship Association to attend a half day power point and discussion session which focused on the continued difficulties faced by first nations people both on, and off reserves. Housing continues to be a major issue for our indigenous population with regard to availability, and the resultant overcrowding which can then lead to a long list of social ills.

George Porter talks Code Red with Pincher Creek Rotary

George Porter speaks to Pincher Creek Rotary Club
Chris Davis

Veteran Alberta paramedic George Porter spoke to the Pincher Creek Rotary chapter last Thursday evening, March 19 about 'Code Red', a social media initiative that provides first responders (including paramedics, EMTs, and EMRs) with anonymous platforms to air their concerns about the state of ambulance services in Alberta.

Fibre optics a solution in search of a problem?

Re: "Town council approves broadband steering committee terms of reference", Toni Lucas, March 25

To paraphrase a popular 1970s feminist slogan, Pincher Creek needs a town-owned fibre-optic network like a fish needs a bicycle. Broadband internet service is already available to any home or business in the community from Shaw, delivered via coaxial cable. There are also numerous vendors offering broadband internet via satellite and radio services. Why on earth would council even entertain this idea? It is a solution in search of a problem.

Jonathan Skrimshire
Pincher Creek

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Town council approves broadband steering committee terms of reference

Toni Lucas

During the regular meeting of  Pincher Creek's Town Council on Monday evening, March 23 council unanimously approved to adopt terms of reference for a Broadband Steering Committee. The Broadband Steering Committee is to work closely with the chosen consultant to develop a broadband delivery business plan.  The committee will be established until such time as a decision has been made to proceed or not proceed with a proposed fibre optics utility installation to serve households and businesses in town. Fibre optic broadband offers higher speeds for daily internet usage along fiber optic cables compared to the standard copper wires used in regular broadband connections.

Town Council increases funding to water projects to capitalize on grant funding

Toni Lucas

During the regular meeting of Pincher Creek Town Council on Monday evening, March 23, council unanimously agreed to approve increasing funding for water distribution projects in 2016, 2017 and 2018 from $300,000 to $500,000 each year for a total project cost of $1,500,000, increasing an upgrade to the waste water treatment lagoons from $800,000 over 4 years to $1,000,000. The reason for this change is that the Federal 'Build Canada' grant through the Small Communities Fund has announced a deadline for application of April 2, 2015.

First impressions of 2015-16 Alberta budget

Jonathan Skrimshire

The just-released 2015-16 Alberta budget is remarkable only for its lack of boldness.

On the expenditure side, the government pledges simply to hold the line on program spending. All pre-budget pronouncements intimating substantive cuts have proven baseless.

The revenue side is as notable for what wasn't done as for what was: no introduction of a consumption tax; no increase to the 10% corporate tax rate; some minor tinkering with fuel taxes, sin taxes, and assorted fees. The only items of substance are the introduction of a three-bracket progressive income tax and the introduction of an upper-income surtax - labelled a health care contribution for political purposes.

2015 Piikani Youth Forum to be held April 8-10

Featured speaker Mike Scott

Emily Peters

The Piikani Nation is proud to be hosting the 7th Annual Youth Forum this April. It is a three day forum to provide opportunities for youth from First Nation communities to come together, network, build friendships, and learn. In the past the forum has highlighted local youth role models as well as big names such as Adam Beach. The theme of this year’s forum is “bringing youth together through technology”.  The forum will take place April 8, 9, and 10th and will be hosted by the Piikani Nation Secondary School.

Mathletics returns to Canyon School

Shell power engineers Les Lebid and Jim Parker hit a homer with their presentation

Chris Davis

Canyon School kicked off their second annual Mathletics challenge with an assembly on Thursday March 19 that included several guests speakers who spoke to this year's theme of Math in the Real World.  Mathletics will culminate in another Math Projects Fair on Wednesday April 15.

Budget 2015 highlights

Highlights from the current budget on topics important to Albertans

Budget tough on taxpayers, easy on PC waste - Wildrose

Wildrose Party press release

Premier Jim Prentice’s Budget 2015 will cost the average family $2,500 in 59 new and increased taxes and fees on everything from income, to marriage and death, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

Budget 2015 will increase spending by $3.5 billion by 2019 and raise taxes on families by $2.7 billion. The PCs will run a consolidated deficit of $7.7 billion this year and see Alberta’s debt reach $31 billion by 2019. This is the largest deficit and tax hike in Alberta history.

AHS reacts to Budget 2015/16

The Government of Alberta’s Budget 2015/16 will result in a funding reduction of $370 million which represents a 3.3 per cent reduction in grant funding Alberta Health Services (AHS) receives from the provincial government.

Additionally, AHS will manage a number of cost pressures within its budget. These include commitments under signed collective agreements, the cost of new continuing care beds, and something as simple as the fact that there is an extra day due to it being a leap year and an extra holiday due to how Easter falls in 2015/16.

Budget 2015 - schools that have been promised will be built

According to Budget 2015, released by the Government of Alberta today, "Schools that have been promised will be built. The 5-year Capital Plan includes $5 billion for schools, including $2 billion to construct 57 new schools and to modernize 20 more."

That's good news for St. Michael's School in Pincher Creek, where efforts are already underway to prepare the school for a modernization renovation, expected to begin at the end of the current school year.

Tax on a carton of smokes to increase by $5

According to Budget 2015 released by the Government of Alberta earlier today, the tax on a carton of 200 cigarettes will increase by $5 to $45 and the tax on loose tobacco will rise by 3.75 cents per gram to 33.75 cents per gram, maintaining Alberta’s policy of taxing cigarettes and loose tobacco at parity. The levy on cigars will also be increased. The tax rate applied to a cigar’s taxable price will rise from 103 per cent to 116 per cent. The minimum and maximum tax per cigar will also rise from 20 cents to 22.5 cents, and from $6.27 to $7.05, respectively.

The increases are estimated to generate an additional $90 million annually. The last time that tobacco tax in Alberta increased was in 2009.

The increase is effective at 12:01 am March 27.

Related link: Budget 2015 press release

Booze to cost more

According to Budget 2015, released by the Government of Alberta today, "Liquor mark-ups are increasing 22 cents per litre, with the exception of small brewers and cottage wineries selling at farmers' markets. Mid-sized brewers will see an increase of 11 cents per litre. Alberta's liquor mark-up rates remain among the lowest in the country."

The increase is effective at 12:01 am March 27.

Fuel tax to increase at midnight

According to the Budget 2015 press release issued today by the Government of Alberta, the fuel tax applied to gasoline and diesel will increase by four cents to 13 cents per litre effective 12:01 am March 27. The last time tax on gasoline and diesel increased in Alberta was in 1991.   This tax increase is expected to raise an additional $530 million in 2015/16.

Eligible users of the Tax Exempt Fuel User and Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit programs will continue to receive the current benefit of nine cents per litre on the purchase of marked fuel, but the government says it is not increasing the benefits provided under these programs.

Related link: Budget 2015 press release

Alberta government announces health care levy

The Government of Alberta has issued a news release outlining Budget 2015.  Included in that budget is a return to mandatory health care contributions by citizens with a taxable income over $50,000 a year.  Citizens who make less than $50,000 a year will not be subject to the new Health Care Contribution Levy (HCCL), which will come into effect on July 1, 2015.

Affordable housing funding application approved by Pincher Creek Town Council

Toni Lucas

During the regular meeting of Town Council for Monday, March 23 council unanimously agreed to direct administration to submit the Housing Committee's 'no obligation'  expression of interest for the Rural Housing Initiative to the Alberta Rural Development Network.   Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Coordinator David Green spoke to council about this.  "The Alberta  Rural Development  Network has called for expressions of interest related to the development of  30 unit affordable housing units.  It was a very simple application form.  The application is aimed at small rural communities.  All they have asked for is size, location, estimated value of any potential donated lands, and they've asked for maps to accompany that.   Then they asked for a description of the community's need for homeless and low income housing."

Communities in Bloom discusses storm water and retaining pond area ideas

Toni Lucas

Communities in Bloom (CIB) representative John Hancock appeared as a delegation at the regular meeting of Pincher Creek's Town Council on Monday evening, March 23. He said that he wanted to talk to council about a storm water and retaining pond area that is established close to Walmart. He updated council on what has been done in that area by CIB, and told them of future plans including grants, partnerships with schools, discussions with Ducks Unlimited, and suggestions for areas for parking, fencing, gates and walkways.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Second phase of Chinook Regional Hospital emergency department renos now complete

  • Upgrades include more treatment spaces and more privacy for patients

Alberta Health Services

Patients will enjoy additional private treatment areas with the completion of the second phase of renovations to the emergency department at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge.

The $9-million renovation project began more than one year ago.  The entire project will be completed in 2017.

Postmedia purchase of Sun Media given green light by Competition Bureau

The Pincher Creek Echo is one of 173 Sun Media properties cleared for purchase by Postmedia
(screencap of Echo masthead)
Chris Davis

In a decision made public this morning, the Competition Bureau of Canada has announced it will not challenge the purchase of Sun Media from Quebecor by Postmedia.

In their statement, the Competition Bureau states "Following an extensive 5-month review of Postmedia's proposed acquisition of Sun Media's English-language media assets (including print newspapers and digital properties), the Competition Bureau has concluded that the proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially lessen or prevent competition." Once finalized, that transaction will include 175 173* Sun Media newspapers, QMI Agency (Sun Media's wire service) and One of those Sun Media papers is the Pincher Creek Echo.

Beware the No-Zones

Randy Youngman
Randy Youngman, Alberta Office of Traffic Safety

Alberta's highway system is among the best in the world and accommodates an ever growing amount of commercial truck traffic that we must share the road with. In a fatal crash involving a large commercial truck and a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are far more likely to be killed. Driving mistakes around trucks can have dire and tragic consequences.

Working together to serve our Low-German Speaking Mennonites

Tina Fielding

Trudy Reimer
Trudy Reimer and Tina Fielding, Community Health Representatives

How often do we find out about a resource and wish we would have known about it much sooner? Sometimes we just don’t know where to look or who to ask but resources and partnerships are likely all around us. I would like to share with you what we, as Community Health Representatives, have to offer you if you are working with or around Low-German Speaking Mennonites (LGSM).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MD of Pincher Creek to sell bonds to cover cash flow needs

Chris Davis

On the recommendation of MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 Director of Finance and Administration Mat Bonertz, the MD has decided to liquidate its Bank of Montreal Nesbit Burns bonds, worth more than $4 million, "to ensure the MD has adequate cash on hand to operate through May 31, 2015".  According to Bonertz, the Nesbit Burns bonds represent approximately a third of the MD's investment portfolio, and have been underperforming.

Canyon School welcomes 6 Chinese exchange students

Exchange students, Canyon students, and staff
Canyon School photo

Chris Davis

Canyon School students were excited to greet six exchange students from Szuchou, China  and their teacher on Thursday afternoon, March 19.  Their visit is part of the  Livingstone School Division International Homestay  project. They will be staying with various host families in town, and will be here until June 17.  According to Canyon School Principal Mrs. Goodreau their exchange may include some Mandarin lesson breakout sessions.  The students go by the English names Ruby, Lisa, Alice, Rose, Nancy, and Leo, and their teacher is Gloria Wu.  The students were chosen based upon their exemplary scholastic achievements.  Please make these friendly ambassadors from the east welcome as they get to know our town.

Host and exchange students Laura, Rose, Ruby, Darilyn, Dalton, and Leo
C. Davis photo

Bow Island Rebels win Spud League Peewee B Playoff banner

2014/15 Spud League Peewee Champions - Bow Island Rebels
C. Davis photos/videos
Chris Davis

Minor hockey season came to an end in Pincher Creek on Sunday when the Bow Island Peewee Rebels defeated Pincher Creek's Chinooks in a second 5-4 win to earn the 2014/15 Peewee B Playoff banner.

Charges laid in relation to suspected overdose deaths in Standoff

Blood Tribe Chief of Police Lee Boyd

On Friday March 20th the Blood Tribe Police Service investigated three separate incidents that occurred in the village of Standoff on the Blood Indian Reserve involving apparent drug overdoses. The reports indicated that they likely involved the street drug commonly known as Oxy80.

At 9:00 am a 42 year old male was dropped off at the Emergency Medical Services building in Standoff and subsequently transported to hospital as the result of a suspected overdose and it appears he has recovered from the immediate threat of the overdose. This matter does not appear to be related to the other three overdoses.

Infinite Scroll