Sunday, April 29, 2018

Practicing social civility

Joyce Sasse - Supper conversation was a highlight at our boarding home during the years I was at University. Our landlady skillfully stimulated conversation by asking how we saw the issues of the day. Along with her teen aged son (very involved in sports) there was a public-school teacher and students from the Colleges of Engineering, Biology and Theology.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Town of Pincher Creek councillors attend tribute dinner for Beverly McLachlin

Councillor Brian McGillivray and Councillor Korbett, of the Town of Pincher Creek, had the privilege of attending the Tribute Dinner for the Right Honourable Beverley  held in Vancouver Friday, April 27, 2018.

Town of Pincher Creek Councillor Brian McGillivray

Scott and I had the wonderful opportunity of representing the Town of Pincher Creek at the Tribute Dinner in Honour of the Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, PC, Chief Justice of Canada.  At a reception before the actual event, we made a special presentation to Her Honour. My remarks appear below:

Friday, April 27, 2018

MD of Pincher Creek residents cautioned about rapidly rising water

Fire Advisory Notice issued for MD of Pincher Creek

Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 via - With the loss of snow cover the cured vegetation has quickly become available to burn. The warm, dry weather means any fire start may spread, especially if there is wind.

Added to that, the ground is still soft limiting the ability to use equipment to fight a fire.

Use caution any operations. If a fire starts report it quickly.

We are issuing permits, but that may be limited due to weather conditions.

Remember, all burning requires a fire permit including fire pits.

Issued April 27, 2018.  Visit for the most current information.

Emergency Services Chief Dave Cox asks for Pincher Creek Municipal Airport upgrades

File photo: Acting Landing Zone Officer Nichole Boissoneault January 2014 at Pincher Creek Municipal Airport
Chris Davis - Pincher Creek Emergency Services (PCES) Chief David Cox made a presentation to council for the MD of Pincher Creek on April 10, and to council for the Town of Pincher Creek on April 23. Cox aired concerns related to Pincher Creek Municipal Airport (CZPC). The airport is owned by the MD.

"We would prefer a proactive rather than a reactive approach." - PCES Chief David Cox

Chief Cox asked MD council to consider an improved level of snow removal prioritization and a backup generator to keep the lights running during power outages. Cox expressed concern that the airport is sometimes listed officially as open for traffic when it's not, creating potentially dangerous situations.  "It's not discretionary to do that properly," he clarified during a follow-up interview.  He also suggested to MD council that it consider installing potable water as a potential asset for future growth.

Swann calls for greater public education on cannabis health effects after hundreds of Calgary cannabis retail applications

Press release - Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann is calling for more public education on the health effects of cannabis after more than 220 cannabis retail applications were made in less than 24 hours to the City of Calgary.  Dr. Swann stated, “With an avalanche of applications on the first day its clear entrepreneurs believe Albertans are interested in this product. What isn’t clear is that the public has enough information on the health impact of cannabis.

26 calves reported stolen from Cardston, Picture Butte, Blood Tribe farms

RCMP Alberta - Officers from the Southern Alberta RCMP Livestock section are asking for the public’s assistance in a string of thefts of calves. Between February 19 and April 22, 2018, a total of 26 calves have been reported from farms in Cardston, Picture Butte and Blood Tribe areas.

Castle Wildland Provincial Park developing backcountry hut-to-hut system

Artist's rendering of a backcountry hut in Castle Wildland Provincial Park

Government of Alberta -
Alberta Parks is developing a world-class, backcountry hut-to-hut system in Castle Wildland Provincial Park in partnership with the Alpine Club of Canada.  This investment is part of the Government of Alberta’s ongoing commitment to diversify and modernize Alberta’s provincial parks system. Total funding for the project is $700,000 over two years.

OWC: Draft land use plans will improve watershed health

The density of linear features along the Eastern Slopes is too high for fish and wildlife to thrive.
Oldman Watershed Council - The Government of Alberta's draft Livingstone-Porcupine Hills Land Footprint and Recreation Management Plans are a very positive step towards headwaters protection and essentially mirror what diverse stakeholders in the Oldman watershed agreed to and asked the Government of Alberta for, in OWC’s 2013-14 Headwaters Action Plan. OWC is pleased to see that the majority of the targets, actions, and recommendations from the Headwaters Action Plan will be addressed by the new draft Government of Alberta plans.

World No Tobacco Day – May 31, 2018

Alberta Health Services, Addiction and Mental Health, South Zone - On May 31, the World Health Organization and its partners around the world will mark World No Tobacco Day. The purpose of this day is to globally highlight health effects and other risks associated with tobacco use. The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is Tobacco and Heart Disease. According to the World Health Organization, “Tobacco use is an important risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.”

Blackfoot First Nations give traditional blessing at Waterton Lakes National Park and honour Parks Canada's team members

Parks Canada - Across the country, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving, restoring, and presenting Canada's natural and cultural heritage. On April 20 Parks Canada was honoured to host a traditional Blackfoot blessing ceremony by Kainai and Piikani First Nations in Waterton Lakes National Park.

The blessing ceremony is a traditional event and a way to give thanks for the past, present, and future.

Coaldale RCMP respond to a train vs semi collision

RCMP Alberta - On April 26, 2018 at approximately 9:40 am, Coaldale RCMP along with Lethbridge Fire/EMS responded to the intersection of Highway 3 and Range Road 211 for a serious motor vehicle collision involving a semi truck and a CP Rail train.

Community Grant Writer announced

  • Liza Dawber of Inspired Approach Grants Consulting to begin contract work in mid May 2018.

Press release - The Pincher Creek Community Development Initiative (PCCDI) has announced that they have awarded a one-year contract to Ms. Liza Dawber of Inspired Approach Grants Consulting for services related to grant writing and capacity building for local Community Service Organizations (CSOs). PCCDI will manage the Grant Writer position through its partnership with the Southwest Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative (SASCI).

Turner Valley RCMP Investigate Child's Death

RCMP Alberta - Turner Valley RCMP are investigating the death of a 2-year-old boy that occurred yesterday.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Province to consult on Emergency Management Act

Tom Sampson, chief, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Minister Anderson and Ryna Brideau-Thombs, secretary, International Association of Emergency Managers Canada, after tabling amendments to the Emergency Management Act.

  • Draft bill would better protect Albertans during disasters and emergencies by strengthening collaboration and clarifying roles and responsibilities.
Government of Alberta - In the past 10 years, Alberta has seen an increasing number of natural disasters. Proposed amendments to the Emergency Management Act would update rules and regulations to help communities improve their response to disasters. It would also provide the ability to create a new Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation that would give clear direction on emergency management practices for municipalities to follow.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

It shouldn't be like this

Joyce Sasse - “How sad it is!” That’s how I started my column last week. So much has been made of those affected by the Humboldt Hockey Bus Disaster. I don’t want to take anything away from that, but the response has made me feel even deeper pain…

I want to raise a contrasting question – about the silence and seeming apathy of so many when it comes to the unaccounted lives of “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” across Canada.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Forces team up for southern Alberta drug bust

ALERT - ALERT, RCMP and the Blood Tribe Police Service joined forces this week to arrest three people in Fort Macleod who were allegedly selling drugs to users throughout southern Alberta.

ALERT’s Lethbridge organized crime and gang team initiated the short-term investigation earlier this month when information was received about drug trafficking in the area, specifically on the Blood and Piikani reserves west of Lethbridge.

Outdoor Recreation Coalition of Alberta approves of Porcupine Hills and Livingstone plans

Outdoor Recreation Coalition of Alberta - Various groups of outdoor recreationists, comprising of climbers, skiers, ice climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and others, approve the draft Porcupine Hills and Livingstone management plans.  The groups and individuals supporting the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of Alberta (ORCA) are supportive of low impact and sustainable activities within the Alberta landscape.

Hwy 3 bridge lane closures in Lethbridge begin Tuesday

Government of Alberta - The bridge on Highway 3 over the Oldman River in Lethbridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction for rehabilitation work, starting Tuesday, April 24. Motorists can expect delays.  Drivers will be restricted to the westbound lanes, one in each direction, until July. The speed limit will be reduced to 50 kilometres per hour, and there will be a lane- width restriction of 3.7 metres for large truck traffic. There will be no pedestrian access to the bridge during the project.  There may also be periodic traffic delays on Coal Banks Trail and parking restrictions in the area once work is underway.  Check 511 for regular updates.

Alberta Government touts Livingstone-Porcupine Hills capital planning investments

New bridge over a water crossing in Livingstone-Porcupine Hills

Government of Alberta -
The Government of Alberta is investing in capital planning to support safe and sustainable recreational opportunities in the Livingstone-Porcupine Hills area. About $5 million in funding over four years will be used to improve and rebuild trails, install bridges over water crossings, protect fish habitat and enhance staging areas to improve access to these public lands for recreational pursuits.

Pat Stier announces retirement

Pat Stier, MLA 2012-2019

To the residents of Livingstone-MacLeod and all Albertans.

Following the upcoming UCP Annual General Meeting in May, new local UCP constituency association boards will be formed and the business of organizing for the process of selecting candidates for the 2019 election will begin.

In that regard, by the time the election is called in 2019, I will have served seven years and completed two terms as the MLA for Livingstone-Macleod. Considering that fact and the enormous amounts of time spent away from home as an MLA, my age, health, future local business opportunities and retirement, I have decided NOT to allow my name to stand as a provincial nominee contestant for 2019.

Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod to receive CARES funding

Projects in Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod are among the 62 new recipients of rond three of Alberta Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program grants. The Town of Pincher Creek will receive $ $89,543 for a project called "Energizing the Future of Pincher Creek" which intends to "expand tourism opportunities related to the newly announced Castle Parks region". Fort Macleod's Community Aquaponic Greenhouse Society's "Growing For the Future" project will receive $16,300 to support phase one of the schematic design and design development of a passive greenhouse using aquaculture food production.

In Memoriam: Venard Dean Beauregard

Venard Dean Beauregard 
1964 ~ 2018 

It is with great sadness that the family announces the sudden passing of Venard “Dean” Beauregard. Dean will be lovingly missed by his sisters Verna (Bruce) Fraser, Veronica Baeuregard, Vanessa Beauregard and brothers Bruce and Peter Beauregard. Although Dean didn’t have children of his own, he loved his six nieces and nephews and nine great nieces and nephews like they were his own. He is also survived by his fur children Kacey, Maggie, Jasper and Kalesia. Dean was predeceased by his father Vernard and mother Denise Beauregard. 

Property taxes in the MD of Pincher Creek - Part 2

Jonathan Skrimshire - The 2018 property tax rates and tax levies for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek were released April 10 and reported in detail in these pages. This followup piece presents the changes in the composition of the MD's assessment base for 2018, examines the relationship between the assessment base and the property tax levies, takes a short look at the process of selecting tax rates, and presents some comparative data on residential rates in neighbouring jurisdictions.

Pincher Creek to host health care exposure event for local students

  • RhPAP Skills Event will introduce southwest Alberta high school students to careers in rural health care. 
Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan - On April 20, high school students from across southwest Alberta will come to Pincher Creek to explore and learn about different healthcare careers that exist in rural communities at an RhPAP Skills event, sponsored by the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP), Alberta Health Services, and Livingstone Range School Division. Students from Pincher Creek, the Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, and Lundbreck will participate in five skill stations, and will explore and learn about some different health-care careers that exist in rural communities.

MD of Pincher Creek warns of potential for overland flooding

Castle River during 2013 flood event (Brent and Gloria Barbero photo)

The MD of Pincher Creek has published a warning about the potential for overland flooding in the next few weeks. "A great deal of our neighboring municipalities in Southern Alberta are experiencing overland flooding within their boundaries. Due to our topography, the MD of Pincher Creek has not experienced significant overland flooding to date."

According to the release, "The weather forecasted in the next few weeks may result in a significant melt of the existing snowpack.  Residents should prepare for dealing with overland water flows that will pool in low areas and may cause dangerous situations where it is flowing. MD roads will continue to be soft and may be crossed by floodwaters where flow exceeds culvert capacity."

Environmental groups: Westslope cutthroat trout recovery efforts suffering from federal delays

The last known representative of the protected Evan-Thomas Creek stock of westslope cutthroat trout, and possibly the last known representative of the Kananaskis Valley population of that species, specimen #20150923-1517 was captured and released 23 September 2015. Sampling in 2016, and intensive sampling in 2017, found zero cutthroat trout in this stream.

Alberta Wilderness Association & Timberwolf Wilderness Society - The federal government is officially three years late on producing an action plan to recover threatened westslope cutthroat trout. Documents recently obtained under an Access to Information request by Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) and Timberwolf Wilderness Society suggest that the federal government does not plan on publishing a proposed action plan until late 2019 at the earliest. The groups confirmed that at least one population has gone extinct during the past three years, with the remaining populations in jeopardy and at great risk for extinction.

Albertans reminded to cook shellfish to reduce risk of illness

Alberta Health Services - Nine cases of gastro-intestinal illness (seven in Edmonton and two in Calgary) potentially linked to consumption of raw oysters from British Columbia are under investigation prompting Alberta Health Services (AHS) to remind all Albertans of the risk of illness associated with consumption of raw shellfish, and important precautions to protect themselves.

New protection proposed for Alberta power consumers

Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd announces legislation to further modernize and strengthen Alberta’s electricity system with a focus on increasing consumer protection.
Government of Alberta - If passed, An Act to Secure Alberta’s Electricity Future would better protect consumers by empowering the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to penalize electricity and natural gas service providers for breaches of customer service, such as sending out late bills or overcharging consumers.

Green light for orphan black bear cub care

Government of Alberta - The Government of Alberta has introduced a new policy that will allow wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Alberta to accept orphaned black bear cubs.

Fatal MVC near Taber

RCMP Alberta - At approximately 3:30 pm April 18 Taber RCMP and Emergency Services were called to the scene of a single vehicle roll over on Highway 513 at the intersection of Range Road 140, south of Grassy Lakes. The female driver of the vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene. Two of the three vehicle passengers were taken by ground ambulance to the local hospital. The third passenger was taken by STARS Air Ambulance, with the assistance of HALO, to hospital in Calgary.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

So much pain

Joyce Sasse - So much pain has emerged with the Humboldt Hockey Bus disaster – like a primordial cry!

But we also have been able to witness immediate response from across the country and around the world. Prayers... texting... hockey alumnus... funding campaigns being established... support mechanisms put in place...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

MD of Pincher Creek releases 2018 property tax rates

Jonathan Skrimshire - Council for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek passed the 2018 property tax bylaw at their meeting of April 10. Municipal tax rates are up across the board, with mill rate increases of 4.5 percent on residential property and farmland, and 8.3 percent on non-residential property, machinery, and equipment used in the generation of power. Total municipal property taxes are up $388,173 to $10,947,850, representing a 3.7 percent increase over 2017. Tax rates for schools, seniors lodging and emergency services are also up substantially, with an increase of 7.1% in the combined residential mill rates for those services. The impact of all 2018 tax rate changes on actual tax payable will be heavily affected by substantial changes in assessment values, with residential properties being the hardest hit category.

Pincher Creek Day of Mourning ceremony to be held April 27

The Town of Pincher Creek will host a Day of Mourning Ceremony on Friday April 27 at 11 a.m. at the Town Office flagpole (weather permitting).  Due to the official date falling on Saturday April 28 the Town has chosen to hold our ceremony on the preceding Friday.  Citizens are welcome to come together as workers, family, employers, and employees to remember those who have lost their lives to work-related incidents or occupational disease, and the Town will renew its commitment to creating and maintaining safe workplaces.  There will be an open forum during the ceremony for anyone who wishes to speak.

School bus and pickup truck collide near Sylvan Lake

RCMP Alberta - The RCMP with the Sylvan Lake Fire Department and County Peace Officers are on scene at a two vehicle collision on Highway 11A at Range Road 10. A school bus is involved in the collision and the RCMP can confirm that there are no injuries reported (from the school bus).  At 7:33 a.m., the RCMP were dispatched to a head on collision involving a pickup truck and a school bus. The driver of the truck required extrication and is suffering undetermined injuries. He has been transported via ground ambulance to an area hospital.

Comment: In favour of sustainable recreational use of Porcupine Hills/Livingstone Range

The Porcupine Hills Coalition held a press conference/stakeholder presentation on April 10 at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre in Lethbridge to "highlight the diverse support for the plans and process" of the recently released draft Linear Footprint Management Plan and Recreation Management Plan for the Livingstone-Porcupine Hills. Presented below are the written texts of presentations from Crowsnest Pass landowner Carol Ostrom and retired provincial Fish and Wildlife biologist Lorne Fitch.

Province’s plan for Porcupine Hills/Livingstone Range well-received by group of rural Albertans

Porcupine Hills Coalition - A group of diverse stakeholders gathered in Lethbridge this Tuesday April 10 to express their excitement for recently released land plans for the Porcupine Hills and Livingstone regions. The Porcupine Hills Coalition formed to address concerns about land use and overuse of public lands in Southwest Alberta. Members joined together to congratulate the government on the release of the comprehensive Land Footprint Plan and Recreation Management plan drafts.

Letter: Transmission line concerns

Margaret Moen - The following is a letter I have written to the Minister of Energy, Minister of the Environment and Jason Kenney regarding the latest project proposal for Chapel Rock to Pincher Creek Transmission line that would be of interest to your readers. I would ask that your readers please contact the Minister of Environment, Minister of Energy and the Leader of The United Conservative Party to provide their positions on these issues.

I am writing this letter to notify you that ALTALINK, together with the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), is for the third time attempting to needlessly construct a 240kV transmission line close to my home in southwest Alberta. Since there is a provincial election coming next year, I request your timely assistance / opinion on each of the concerns listed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fatality at Teck's Fording River Operations

A fatal incident occurred at Teck's Fording River Operations yesterday April 9 at approximately 8:40 am. A floating excavator flipped, and a contractor employee was trapped in a tailings pond, resulting in his death. His name has not been released at this time. Divers were dispatched to attempt a recovery of his body. No other employees or contractors were injured. An investigation into the incident is now underway. 

“We wish to extend our most sincere condolences to the employee’s family,friends and colleagues, said RobinSheremeta, Teck's Senior Vice President, Coal. "We are all deeply saddenedby this tragic incident and loss of life.”

Teck's Fording River Operations is located approximately 65 kilometres north of Sparwood B.C.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Stettler RCMP and Major Crimes Unit investigating man's death, vehicle sought

White 2008 Ford F-150
RCMP Alberta - Stettler RCMP and RCMP Major Crimes began an investigation into the death of a man in Stettler, Alberta, during the evening of April 6, 2018. The deceased was located inside of a residence and the RCMP have determined his death to be suspicious. The identity of the victim has not be positively identified and an autopsy date is yet to be determined. Investigators are looking for a white 2008 Ford F-150 Quad Cab truck with Alberta plate #BRM 9136, that belongs to the victim. RCMP are advising the public not to approach the truck if located, but to call 911 immediately.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter Postlude

Joyce Sasse -
One Easter Sunday I spoke about how Beethoven, at the darkest point in his life, wrote the magnificent music that concludes with the “Ode to Joy”.

In preparation for that service I arranged for the local pet-shop owner to loan us a few birds in cages.

She agreed but wondered how much singing the birds would do in a new setting. “I’ll send a pair of love-birds”, she said. “They chortle to each other … And we can try a canary. No guarantees!”

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