News: February 23, 2015
County reviews increased support for community organizations
by Adrienne Tait
Yellowhead County council discussed what changes in recreation services, grant funding, and community organization supports they wish to see for their residents.
Council has indicated they would like to initiate an increased level of support for community organizations.
Councillor Fred Priestley-Wright told council he felt there was a “disconnect” in communication between the county and the community groups. He said the county is willing to help but the community groups are often unable to communicate their needs effectively.
CAO Jack Ramme urged council to look closely at their policies and said they may wish to “reinvent the wheel” in this case. “What is our purpose? We have two standards, it doesn’t seem equitable. A county bathroom has a problem and we fix it. If a community group has a problem they have to go get quotes, raise money, and it may end up getting fixed with duct tape because they can’t afford to fix it properly.”
Mayor Soroka said that he agreed more support is needed but felt “community buy-in” was essential to ensuring a fully functioning group.
Council is also reviewing ways to ensure that community groups understand potential financial grants and aids available and will review programming funding versus capital funding criteria.
County administration plans to take an inventory of community groups within its boundaries over the course of the next month in order to have the information for the next committee of the whole meeting.
News: February 16, 2015
Second surgical suite focus at rural health care review
Discussions that the new Edson hospital could use a second
operating room with the greater demand were focused on during the
provincial rural heath review meeting at the Red Brick School
Chair of the review panel, Richard MLA Starke, said, "Edson is not alone on wanting a second O.R. and they made very good arguments in favor of getting a second one.”
“There are other communities undergoing the development of their hospital sites and they are having that same discussion. We are in a challenging time right now as everything we are doing has to be measured in cost,” said MLA Starke, who is also a member of the Treasury Board.
“We have very little flexibility with our budget. The unfortunate thing is we know there are some expenditures with the cost showing up this year and the savings show up years down the road. It is truly an investment in lowering costs down the road. But that's one of the challenges in any situation where the pay-off takes a few years to be seen. It's wise to do it that way, but it’s challenging to make that expenditure in short term,: said Starke.
“Those are certainly some of the decisions the Health Minister will have to sit down with the Minister of Finance and hammer out along with the members of Treasury Board,” said Starke.
“I am on the treasury board so I will have a hand on that stage of the decision making as well. But in terms of what we recommend going forward from this committee, we are going to recommend what we believe to be the best practices in terms of providing a sustainable rural health delivery model. A model characterized by excellence and accessibility for rural residents. We will address some of the challenges we heard about,” said Starke.
News: February 9, 2015
Bill 10 gay-straight alliances supported by GYPSD
by Adrienne Tait
The GYPSD trustees have drafted a letter to education minister Gordon Dirks indicating their “support of the creation of gay-straight alliances that are requested in our school.”
The letter went on to say the board supports the formation of any clubs within their schools that serve to support students in a positive and constructive way.
The board stopped short of throwing its full support behind the bill as they took exception to the appeal process believing that appeals should first be addressed by the schools, the board, and then the Minister of Education rather than a judicial process.
Board chair John Stitzenberger said, “We’re supporting it but there were certain parts of the legislation we were not happy with –our teenagers and students are struggling and the clubs are there to support.”
Those sentiments were echoed from the other board members with trustee Rosadiuk pointing out that the letter supported and recognized the value of any club that supported students.
Stitzenberger said, “I think some people see a divide between rural and urban divisions. Sometimes we get painted with the same brush. It’s good to put this forward so we don’t get painted with the same brush.”
The controversial bill has been tabled by the provincial government for further debate. The government introduced Bill 10 in December as a response to a private member’s bill tabled by Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman.
The “Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children” bill would have allowed students prohibited from forming gay straight alliances by their school boards to ask the Court of Queen’s Bench for a judicial review.
News: February 2, 2015
Break out the board games for real ‘Unplugged’ fun
by Adrienne Tait
While iPads, iPods, and game consoles may have replaced more traditional games in the home, there is a benefit to unplugging the electronics and breaking out the board games.
The Kwantes family may not have a scheduled night of the week for family games but they regularly incorporate them into family time. With seven kids ranging in age from four to ten years old the challenge can be finding games that are appropriate and appeal to everybody but sometimes the key is to just get started.
Helena Kwantes said, “I don't think that we end up trying to make our kids play games with us. We try to do the things that they already enjoy, such as cross country skiing, board games, sewing, etcetera so it's easy for them to spend time with us. That being said, if we start an activity with one child, it is usually not too long before a couple more are asking to join in. I find that if it's fun and enjoyable for the child and us, our kids want to be part of it.”
Age appropriate board games and card games such as Uno are popular and are great for when the weather is a colder.
Outdoor games such as wolf pack, tag, or capture the flag are not only fun but get the kids outside and active. Helena said, “The outside games are more exciting.”
Screen time in the house is limited and “once it’s done it’s done,” said Kwantes.
Playing games as a family can have benefits that go beyond creating traditions and family bonding. Playing games can be a way to teach children social skills, structure, teamwork, fair play, time management, and enhance problem solving, counting and reading skills.
The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study in June of 2003 that found playing board games reduces the risk of Alzheimer's in seniors.
Looking for ideas? Perennial favorites like Scrabble, Chess, or Monopoly all develop a variety of skills from reading to money management. Qwirkle was awarded the Mensa Select Award and while it appears to be a simple color and shape matching game it develops strategic thought patterns.
Edson residents are being encouraged to “UnPlug” for this year’s Family Day Celebrations by participating in local activities and spending time together.