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NEWS: November 28, 2016

Agricultural disaster declared in County

50% of cereal crops still in the field; oil seed crops approaching disaster
 
by Adrienne Tait
 
Yellowhead County council declared a state of agricultural disaster on November 22.
Using a document released by the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, county administration assessed the condition of crops within county borders.  Judgments were made based on crop reporting, discussions with producers, and visual inspections by staff.
“Cereal crops are ranked definite disaster as 50% of the crops are still in the field,” said CAO Jack Ramme in his report to council, “Oil seed crops are 24% in swath and 21% standing, again approaching definite disaster thresholds.”
The majority of hay crops in the county have already been cut and baled, however many are still standing in the fields due to wet conditions.  “Weather conditions this fall will have a definite effect on the feed quality and the lack of straw,” said Ramme.
Mayor Gerald Soroka said he has spoken to area producers and one in particular stood out, “In speaking with one of our local producers, he is always one of the first done and this year he has only taken off about 40 acres,” said Soroka.
In a press release Mayor Soroka said, “There are many years where growing conditions are perfect for farmers to have a highly productive season —this, unfortunately was not one of them.”
One of the concerns raised at the council meeting was that even though the county has declared a state of disaster, doing so does not have any direct financial benefit to area producers.  “We are encouraging the provincial and federal governments to review existing programs and assist in some way,” said Mayor Soroka, “One of the problems is that yields are up because it was a good year for growth but with the wet fall the crops are not off.  Some people may not qualify for assistance under the current programs.”
Councillor David Russel spoke of another concern for area producers and said, “Despite the best attempts of the media and the releases that have been sent out people are still driving on swathed crops.” 
Councillor Priestley-Wright said the financial strain on local families could have a much larger effect as there will be less disposable income for things such as extracurricular activities for young families.  “Extra trips to and from Edson for practice and tournaments means extra gas,” said Priestley-Wight, “This is pretty far-reaching.”
Councillor Sandra Cherniawsky said producers could be further hit in the spring when the new carbon tax comes into effect as it may negatively impact grain farmers drying their grain.
Lac Ste. Anne and Brazeau counties have also declared a state of Agricultural Disaster.

NEWS: November 21, 2016

Local companies help stock Food Bank

Mikaela Kuefler
 
There is some concern that the Edson Food Bank is going through a difficult time keeping up with the supply and demand.
President of the Food Bank Fred Kuzmic said, “Due to the economy, the food goes fast since we have many new clients.”
Currently, the Food Bank finds that the shelves are a little low. “We’re not empty but we’re a little lower than we’d like to be. Come the end of January, our shelves will be really low,” said Kuzmic.
The last food drive was October 28. “We didn’t get as much as we would like to see. We didn’t even make what we had made last year,” said Kuzmic.
Thankfully, there were some corporate and individual donations to top up stock. “We are now a little bit higher than last year but we are still not where we should be.
We can only have one food drive a year. After that, we have to rely on donations from individuals, schools and corporations. Even though we’re in hard times, people continue to donate,” said Kuzmic.
The number of clients has gone up 15% to 20% from previous years. Before, there were approximately an average of 160 people using the food bank every month. Now, there can be up to 190. “This includes families. By the time you count the children and adults, it’s quite a few people. We have designated amounts for families, depending on the size of the family. We try to accommodate everyone we can. The number of families we expect for November until Christmas is about 50 per week,” said Kuzmic.
If clients need to visit the food bank, they can get some more groceries on Tuesdays, once a month. “The food bank will supply in emergency situations if need be, otherwise, it’s once a month,” said Kuzmic. Starting November 24, the food bank is opening up from 6:45 to 8 p.m. each Thursday of the month as well as Tuesday's.
There are several corporations contributing to the food bank. “There are so many in Edson and area. We are very fortunate. It is because of them, we can supply to our clients,” said Kuzmic.
One such corporation includes owner of Top Choice Autobody Darren Ray, who is currently collecting donations for the Edson Food Bank.
Donations from Edson Ice hockey games as well as any donations collected at Top Choice is matched or beaten on a weekly basis and then delivered to the Edson Food Bank. “Whatever is here, we estimate a dollar figure and buy gift cards. Last time, there was $300 worth of gift cards donated to the food bank so they could buy the food they need,” says Ray.
Ray is concerned about the shelves at the food bank having little food, due to demand. “We can do something more in this community. We need this to be better,” says Ray.

 

NEWS: November 14, 2016

Chamber busy planning special nights

by Deanna Mitchener

As shopping and baking begin, the signs of Christmas are in the air and the Edson and District Chamber of Commerce is busy planning some special nights leading up to December 25.
For starters, 34 businesses are taking part in the Christmas Promotions that runs from November 1 until December 20. When people are out shopping at any participating businesses they can enter to win. This year, the prize is $2000 in Christmas Bucks and $1700 worth of gift certificates. Christmas Bucks and gift certificates can only be spent at participating retailers.
The Centennial Park Light Up happens November 17 at 430 pm. Join the Galloway Station Museum and the Town of Edson for some fun crafts and refreshments. Listen to the choir from Vanier Community Catholic School or have some fun snowshoeing.
The 30th annual Santa Claus Parade that will be happening on Friday December 2 starts at 6 p.m. The theme for the parade is 1986 in celebration of its anniversary. There's a new float in the parade, which is an old steam engine. The route has changed and no longer goes down Main Street, so remember to check new route before heading out to watch the parade this year.
Santa is looking for a ride on one of the floats, instead of appearing on the last chamber float like he does every year. Chamber is having an event called Santa Needs a ride. In order to have Santa ride on your float you need to bid on him from November 1 until November 21. Bidding can be done through the office and starts at $100 and will go up in $25 increments. Santa knows the Food Bank shelves are low and many families are depending on it this Christmas, so all money raised from the bidding for Santa will go to the Edson Food Bank.
The Chamber is requesting that all floats participating in the parade bring some non perishable food items to donate to the Food Bank as well. They will have a truck and trailer to store food collected before the parade begins. Anyone watching the parade is encouraged to bring a small food donation if they can. Food Items can be picked up from Chamber members walking in the parade, or people can drop them off at the Boys and Girls Club after the parade.
After the parade, people are invited to The Boys and Girls Club to enjoy a nice big fire to stay warm and to go skating. There's also free coffee, hot chocolate, and hot dogs available. Everyone is welcome to sing Christmas carols to enjoy the evening with family and friends.
Mark your calendars on December 11, for the annual Chamber of Commerce Free Christmas Movie starts at 3 pm. Sponsored by Repsol, everyone is invited to come watch Arthur's Christmas. Enjoy the movie with a free hot dog and snack pack.
So much is happening in and around our great community to enjoy, free of charge. That's the Spirit of Christmas. Seeing the community enjoy activities together, smiling faces, and giving happy greetings to one another.