News: December 15, 2014
Large drug seizer and arrest by RCMP
Checkstop uncovers man with outstanding warrant and a large quantity of drugs
by Adrienne Tait
During a Checkstop aimed at impaired driving enforcement on December 6 in Edson RCMP and traffic services stopped an eastbound vehicle for a traffic infraction. What they found was a man with an outstanding warrant and a large quantity of illegal drugs.
55 year old Rede Hely Chase was arrested and charged with four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. The Surrey B.C. man was known to police and had an outstanding warrant from Edmonton for his arrest.
Police seized 9.5 lbs of marijuana, 1/4 lb of mushrooms, two ounces of cocaine, and half an ounce of crystal methamphetamine.
Chase has been remanded into custody and was scheduled to appear for a bail hearing in Edmonton Provincial Court on Tuesday, December 9.
Chase had been released on bail from his January 17 arrest for possession of 10.5 pounds of marijuana.
News: December 8, 2014
Santa makes time for a special needs visit
by Deanna Mitchener
Crystal Metzger coordinator, with the Special Needs Support group is once again hosting a free Santa visit.
This event is focusing on allowing families with any age child or adult with special needs that could use a little extra time to have a visit with Santa.
Due to disability some may have sensory issues and find standing in lines very hard to do when it comes to waiting their turn. With a wide range of individuals with physical or mental disabilities within the community, this is a time of year all kids (at heart) love that interaction with Santa and that special magical moment.
Because of these situations some children do not get that same opportunity to experience those same kinds of moments. Nor do the parents get that rare opportunity to see their child's face light up or to capture that moment on camera.
This is Crystal's fourth year doing this type event for families with special needs.
The event is happening on December 14. Due to limited time and space you need to call and make arrangements with Crystal at 780-723-3761. Book early as these spaces fill up fast.
Besides being able to visit with Santa, there will be a professional photographer capturing those memories at no charge. There will be face painting for both kids and adults to get into the spirit of things, again at no cost.
Additionally this year there will be cookies and ornaments to decorate and goodie bags to take home.
A lot of things will be happening to help those with special needs get in the Christmas spirit. Please remember to call for more details on time and place, as it is not open for drop in, but appointments only.
News: December 1, 2014
$30M in upgrades proposed for Parkland Lodge
62 new supportive living units and 22 new independent living units
by Adrienne Tait
Kristen Callihoo, projects manager for the Evergreens Foundation,
and George Berry, architect, presented County council with an
overview of the proposed facility upgrades for Parkland Lodge in
Edson and Pine Valley Lodge in Hinton.
With recent provincial funding announcements, including the Alberta Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) grant, the Evergreens Foundation would like to expedite expansion and improvement plans. Should the Evergreens Foundation qualify for, and receive, the grant 50% of the project costs could be funded by the provincial government.
Callihoo said in addition to the ASLI grant the foundation will be looking into any other possible grants.
The plans and budget were presented to council as though there would be no government grant support in order to provide a total cost projection.
The Pine Valley renovation and project is projected to total $13,592,062 and the Parkland Lodge facility upgrades and construction has an estimated project cost of $30,530,748.
Architect George Berry said current construction estimates are coming in at the $240-$250 per square foot range which is slightly under the initial projections of $263 per square foot.
Both facilities need to be brought up to fire code in order to qualify for funding.
The budget includes $1.6 million in contingency funding to allow for unexpected construction or material costs.
County CAO Jack Ramme asked if the foundation was considering amortizing the project over a number of years. “A one year dip for $45 million would result in a massive tax increase.”
Callihoo replied that the foundation would not proceed without funding in place “but we don’t want to lose 50 cents on the dollar for funding.”
The Evergreens Foundation provided a funding support chart which detailed the equalized assessment contributions should no other grant funding be received from the province. Among the expected contributions for just the Parkland Lodge project would be $15,641,846.36 from the Yellowhead County, $1,994,506.69 from Edson, and $3,212,945.33 from Hinton. Jasper, Grande Cache, the MG of Greenview, Parkland County, and the foundation would also be asked to contribute.
The new construction will provide one bedroom apartments on the upper floors which could be rented out at market price to people who would otherwise be ineligible for a bed in the lodge. Something the foundation said will address situations such as seniors who receive a higher income or when one spouse qualifies for care but the other does not.
Berry reviewed construction plans and told council the Edson kitchen and existing two storey structure will be modified and enlarged but not completely renovated, there are plans for increased parking, but the main floor will remain largely as is. The design also includes health and fitness rooms and encourages residents to walk.
Included with the construction and remodelling plans is a plan to minimize displacement for lodge residents while maintaining an adequate level of care.
The Hinton facility site allows for expansion and is the smaller of the two projects.
Mayor Soroka asked if both projects were looking at moving forward in 2015 as well as whether the tenders would be together or separate. Berry said he believed the tenders would likely go out separately but it could be expected that contractors would respond to both with a lower cost if awarded together.
While the province is a partner in the Edson facility, the province is not a partner in the Hinton facility.
The proposed facility changes would enable the foundation to provide an increased level of care at both locations.
News: November 24, 2014
Diploma weighting needs change: Alberta School Boards
by Adrienne Tait
The Alberta School Boards Association voted to support a change in the weighing of diploma exams to class mark from a 50/50 weighting to 70/30 with 70 per cent of a student final grade being based on school work and 30 per cent based on the provincial exam.
Sharon Armstrong was the Alberta Teacher’s Association representative at the November 19 GYPSD board meeting and said during her report that the ATA Evergreen local is pleased the ASBA supported the motion to change the weighting to 70/30 for diploma exams. “We’ve had a policy in place since 1990 to change the weighting. Now with both groups in support of the change we hope that the minister will consider making the change.”
Armstrong added that there is growing evidence to support that the current 50/50 weighting is an incorrect model.
The GYPSD board of trustees was in support of the proposed change.
Leslee Jodry, assistant superintendent of learning services with the Grande Yellowhead Public School Division, said, “From the student perspective, this takes away some of the anxiety around the writing of one exam and allows students to demonstrate skills and knowledge in a variety of ways during the learning process throughout the course.
Teachers, in general, support the move to less weighting on the Diploma Exam. With less apprehension around the final test, teachers will be able to utilize differentiated instructional practices, allowing the learning process to be focus on deep learning and understanding.”
With a competency based curriculum focused on literacy and numeracy the proposed weighting would allow “Students and teachers to be innovative and creative while continuing to assure our communities that the education Alberta students receive is of the best in the world,” said Jodry.
Any change to the weighting would have to be supported and approved by Alberta’s Minister of Education Gordon Dirks.