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News: June 19, 2017

Lodge, dialysis, and cataract unit updates
at Community Care Foundation AGM

by Miranda L'Hirondelle and Dana McArthur
The Community Care Foundation of Edson and District held their AGM on June 8 at the new Edson and District Health Care Centre.
The foundation assists the health care needs of the community by purchasing equipment, especially needed hospital equipment, through fundraising and donations that would otherwise take years to acquire.
During the meeting Tracey Correia site manager for the Health Care Centre updated the foundation on the hospital. "We are running every program now we were designed to run, except dialysis. We are working with Northern Alberta Renal Services but the money we need is still held up in the bus. We do have a plan for staffing, but if I got a call tomorrow it would still take three months to get running. There has been no construction in Hinton ad Whitecourt and they do not have the spaces ready like we do, and that's been a hold up."
During the meeting board members were appointed including Doug Woodhouse who was re-elected by acclimation as the foundation's president.
Later on, Ivan Strang representing Parkland Lodge spoke about the need to raise $250,000 to furnish the new lodge once the construction is complete in about 18 months. Current grants and funding do not cover any new furnishing for the expanded lodge.
"It would be with our great pleasure if you would be kind enough to sponsor the first level of the Lodge for us. We would dedicate a spot to your organization and its contribution.  We've got to step up to the table and start looking after our seniors. I know what we're doing now on other levels we are helping a lot, like the Parkland Lodge Auxiliary," said Strang. "Please give this some consideration." Currently, the Lodge has raised five to six thousand dollars said Strang.
In an interview with Don McCullough after the AGM he said that the foundation was considering a rescind motion for $200,000 reserved for the long awaited cataract unit at the Edson Hospital, and allocating funds for Parkland Lodge's furnishing needs.
However, Tracey Correia had given them indications that the foundation should hold on to those earmarked funds for the time being. "I understand 10 years is a long time to wait. But if you did step away I do not think there would be any opportunity to bring this [cataract unit] program."

News: June 12, 2017

Two accused in Whidden murder sentenced

The two accused in the murder of 25 year old Patrick Whidden have been sentenced.
Whidden was reported missing on December 7, 2014 and later found in a field near Peers on December 14, 2014.
Robert Parkin and Santiago Patterson were later charged with first degree murder and indignity to a body.
Both were remanded in custody without bail. 
On May 8, Parkin plead guilty to manslaughter, use of a firearm, and interfering with a dead body.  He has been sentenced to 13 years for the manslaughter and firearm charges and an additional three years to be served consecutively for the interference of a dead body charge.  Parkin was credited with 51 months for time served and will serve out the remaining 8 years and 9 months.
On April 4 Santiago Patterson also plead guilty to manslaughter and use of a firearm.  He was sentenced to 8 years.  Patterson received a three year six month credit for pretrial custody and will serve a total remaining sentence of four years and six months.  The charge of interference of a dead body was withdrawn.
Whidden, who was born and raised in Nova Scotia, moved to Alberta in 2009 and Whitecourt in 2012.

News: June 5, 2017

Edson RCMP investigate deceased man found in structure fire

On Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at approximately 5:43 a.m., Edson RCMP responded to a report of two vehicles and a house trailer on fire in the rural area north of Edson.  After the fire department extinguished the fires they found human remains inside the residence.
The RCMP Major Crimes Unit (MCU), in cooperation with members from the Edson RCMP Detachment and the provincial Fire Investigator, have determined that the death of the adult male was non-criminal and that foul play is not suspected regarding the cause of the fires.  No one else was harmed in the fire and there is no risk to the public.  Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to this investigation.
The name of the deceased person is not being released by the RCMP given that the death was deemed not to be the result of criminal activities nor suspicious in nature.

News: May 29, 2017

County continues with parks and
open spaces improvements for hamlets

by Mikaela Kuefler
Continuing on with the Parks and Open Spaces planning process, Yellowhead County is planning to further improve hamlets, campgrounds, and parks.
"One of the things that Council recognized and created was a basic hamlet amenities list that each hamlet would at least have a minimum standard, including a playground, some form of youth engagement, and a trail system," said Director of Community Services Chris Read.
This year, the County has the Trails Master Plan in process, based on good expert knowledge and local differences in each hamlet and campground.
"We can make a good community development difference in each hamlet for our residents," said Read.
Having put in three pump tracks last year, the County expects to put in two more in Marlboro and Peers by early summer.
"We'll be able to call that the Yellowhead County Pump Track Series. We actually have people coming from Edmonton, Hinton, and Edson just to try these things out. We are getting quite a lot of use out of them for our local residents but also for some tourist type ideas," said Read. "One of the ways to engage the youth is to go where they are. Putting a pump track in each hamlet is a great idea."
The County also plans to build each hamlet a playground. Having built two last year, they plan on building two more this year in Tipple and Niton Junction by early summer. Included in their plans is building playgrounds in campgrounds and day use areas.
"To make those campgrounds and day use areas more enjoyable, we're getting new playgrounds. For example, we have a plan to build a new playground in the Millers Lake Campgrounds and Day Use area, next year," said Read.
Another purchase by the County is an inflatable movie screen.
"It's a great way to engage youth. We can show a movie like the one's at a drive in. It creates an opportunity for community groups to get a movie into their community at a low cost. Before, to get a movie in the park, it cost a lot to rent the screen. Our first movie is Moana and we have a lot of groups who are really excited to put a family movie on," said Read.
To encourage community health and activities, the County has snowshoe rentals, fitness equipment, and fitness classes.
Yoga classes have been run at Marlboro Hall and some exercise classes have been run at the Peers Multiplex
"Our biggest challenge to date has been finding instructors in some of our smaller hamlets. So far we pulled all of our instructors from Edson. We're hoping to find someone in these other communities who are willing to run it as well," said recreational coordinator Jina Materi.
"We're putting on all this effort so people enjoy where they live, they have pride in where they live, they get healthy, and are able to maintain their health," said Read.
The Athabasca River Access project connects with the events that are happening with Canada 150. In particular, there will be a large brigade coming from Jasper going to the end of the river on June 24. The brigade will be made of people travelling in eight to twelve person historical canoes.
"We want to put it out by Brule so you can have a nice canoe trip. That will be our Canada 150 legacy. It connects with history and it connects with the event. The long term plan for it is to have Athabasca access. Currently, we have a world heritage river in our County that we don't have easy access to so here's an opportunity to create that. The river is fairly straightforward. With a little bit of knowledge, you can be fine on that river," said Read.

News: May 22, 2017

Community mailboxes in County broken into

by Dana McArthur
Several community mailboxes near McKay and Hattonford in Yellowhead County were broken into over the weekend of May 13.
The contents of the mailboxes were stolen which has several local residents worried that they may become the victims of identity theft.
"They took all the mail, even the flyers," said one resident who wished to remain anonymous. "They have all my mail and my address and who knows what else. I don't feel safe if my name was printed, but people should be aware of what happened."
The mailboxes are an older style that still requires padlocks supplied by the local residents. "My lock and I know several others, were cut off. At one location they even left the cut locks on top of the mailbox. Mine was just tossed onto the grass," said the local resident.
The incident was reported to the RCMP and the Evansburg detachment was dispatched to the scene on Township Road 522. The RCMP also investigated another report of a damaged community mailbox on Township Road 553. Residents’ personal mail was missing and the mailboxes will need to be replaced.
The investigation is ongoing and Evansburg RCMP would like to encourage residents to report suspicious persons and vehicles in their area.
"We were told we'd receive new updated mailboxes by the post office two years ago but we have never seen them," said the local resident. "It's very difficult as I have to cancel all my cards and have to talk with the bank about protecting my accounts."
"I guess checking my mail more often would help and maybe that's what a lot of county residents should do to protect themselves. But as my husband says locks only keep the honest people out," said the local resident.
 Evansburg RCMP are requesting anyone with information regarding this incident to contact them at 780-727-3654 or call your local police. 
If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), by internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by SMS (check your local Crime Stoppers www.crimestoppers.ab.ca for instructions).

News: May 15, 2017

Rezoning request for 9 hole golf course

by Mikaela Kuefler
The motion to rezone a property south of Hwy 16 near Millers Lake (PT SE 06-53- 19-W5) from Rural District (RD) to Recreational Use (RU) District for a proposed golf course on the property had its first reading on May 9 by Yellowhead Council.
The property is 152.74 acres and is owned by Erich Ploentzke. It has been developed with a private nine hole golf course. Presently, Ploentzke wishes to re-district this property for recreational use to accommodate a public nine hole golf course.
Alberta Transportation has commented that they need a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) to assess the impacts on the intersection and to identify any required improvements. In addition, they stated that access to the subject parcel may be more circuitous when Hwy 16 is made into a freeway.
The TIA was submitted in March 2017 and it was concluded that the proposed golf course is expected to generate a low traffic volume for five months a year. The development traffic will use the low volume Range Road 195 A to access Hwy 16. In the 20 years horizon scenario, no improvements will be required to the existing intersection or rail crossing to accommodate this additional traffic on the road.
CN had no further comments or objections regarding the crossing at 145.51 Edson sub.
Yellowhead County Infrastructure Services commented that it exclusively deals with the highway access and the CN crossing. The existing local road connections are low standard but do not meet the six meter minimum width requirement.
The County has not received comments from Alberta Transportation regarding the TIA but it is anticipated that their comments will come in the near future.
“I'm in favor of people developing on their property as long as they don't affect the general public,” said Councilor Shawn Berry.
A Public Hearing will be held on June 13. 

News: May 8, 2017

 Summer fun on the way!

When it comes to summer festivals and family fun Edson and Yellowhead County are hard to beat.
There's absolutely loads to do and see as May kicks off with the 37th Annual Medicine Lodge Rodeo from the 12th to 14th. Join them to celebrate and enjoy the thrills and spills, and their old-time western hospitality.
To kick off another month chalked full of events the Wildwood Bronc Bustin’ Rodeo is happening on June 2 to the 4th. Then head to Evansburg June 9 to 11th for the Rangeton Folk Festival and enjoy performers ranging from country to folk, and blues to rock.
Then Eddie's Big Run takes off in Edson on June 24 but remember to register before June 22. This month also marks the beginning six events for Rotary Sundays in the Park starting with Aboriginal Days on June 25 at the RCMP Centennial Park in Edson.
Next up is a whirlwind of events beginning July 1 with the Canada 150 celebrations in Edson and throughout the County.
The Great Canadian BBQ, a part of Canada 150, takes place at the RCMP Centennial Park in Edson on July 8. And the Edson Summer Festival takes place July 12 to 15 with fair rides, food, bargains and fun for the whole family. Rotary Sundays in the Park continue with Edson Rocks at the RCMP Centennial Park in Edson on July 16. 
In the County, Pembina River Nights at Rangeton Park takes place July 7 to 8th and the Chip Lake Music Festival near Wildwood is set for July 7 to 9th.  Then the Niton Junction Jamboree hits the stage on July 23. And for days of fun, Peers Gold Dust Daze take place the August 4 to 7th.
Back in Edson, the Edson Kin-SloPitch Tournament also takes place August 4 to 7th.
The fun continues in the County with P.V. Daze in Evansburg running August 11 to the 13th and don't miss the Wildwood Ag Fair on August 18.
At the end of August the Outdoor Movie in Centennial Park in Edson is planned for the 30th.
Then get ready in September for crashes and splashes during the Edson Hillbilly Demolition Derby & Mud Bog in Edson on Saturday and Sunday of the Labour Day weekend.
These are just a few highlights of a summer filled with activities and events in the area.
Take advantage of this festival-packed summer and don’t let anyone tell you there’s nothing to do around Edson and Yellowhead County.
Pick up a copy of the Weekly Anchor’s 2017 Summer Visitor’s Guide coming out soon and share all the great activities and places there are to experience in a fun-filled West Yellowhead summer.