News: December 2, 2013
Yellow Ribbon Campaign
by Deanna Mitchener
On Nov 25 Parkland High School, along with some Pine Grove Middle School and Holy Redeemer High School students, heard a Yellow Ribbon Campaign guest speaker talk about the Yellow Ribbon Mission Statement.
The Yellow Ribbon is dedicated to preventing youth suicide and attempts by making suicide prevention accessible to everyone and removing the barriers to help by empowering communities and individuals through leadership, awareness, education, and collaborating and partnering with a support networks to save lives.
Barbara Lamoureux was the guest speaker from Fort Saskatchewan. She and her husband brought the yellow ribbon campaign to Canada 18 years ago. She is the Canadian trainer and coordinator of the program for Canada.
Lamoureux said, "I lost my oldest step son to suicide 18 years ago at just 20 years of age. I found out about the Yellow Ribbon program through a Chicken Soup Book, contacted the people that started it in the states. I had them come up to Canada for the first time to help me start and this is what I do now."
Lamoureux said, "Every community I go to, there is at least one person that needs to hear this message. I have had kids lined up outside the door to talk, sometimes it’s just to say thank you or give me a hug. I always work closely with community resource people, being as I'm not from the community. When people want to come up and talk with me I like to make sure there is local resources there for them, because they are the ones that will be able to help long term. This is my third time coming to Edson for the Yellow Ribbon Campaign. Just to get that message out there again and the local resource people from Edson are wonderful and they have been very persistent to have me come back and get this program going again".
Sandy Axmann is with the Bully Free program in Edson and she said, "This program has been in operation for the past eight years. They are a team of many people that work together to bring in guest speakers and to be preventable, it is a community effort that is needed."
“After passing out yellow ribbon cards Lamoureux said, "Please what ever you do hang on to this card. You may not think you need it, but maybe one day you will or it may be for someone you know, you just never know when it will be needed. On the front of the card it says, This Ribbon is a Lifeline, it carries the message that there are those who care and will help. If you are in need and don't know how to ask for help, take this card to a counselor, teacher, clergy, doctor, parent or friend and say, I need to use my yellow ribbon. On the back of this card it says, this card is a cry for help, stay with the person, listen, really listen, take them seriously, get or call help immediately. It's OK to ask four help. Kids help Phone 800-668-6868, Mental Health and Addictions 780-723-8294, Yellowhead Emergency Shelter 800-661-0937, Sexual Assault Center 24 hour Crisis Line 780-423-4121."
There will be extra cards left at the school if you need an extra card for someone you may know. If you are reading this article and would like a card to carry on you or for someone you know, please ask at the school or stop in at the Weekly Anchor and pick one up, a few will be left there as well. This card could just save a life.
Pine Grove collects over 60 Christmas shoe boxes
by DEANNA MITCHENER
"Operation Christmas Child is a Christmas gift, but you cannot put guns, knives or swords in there because it can really scare the poor children because they see battle every day. I feel bad for those kids, there shouldn't be battles anywhere," said Pinegrove student Caiden Marr who helped organize the shoe box collect along with Jennifer Henkel, and Roy Stuckey.
Lynne Legge a teacher’s assistant at the Pine Grove Middle School said Caiden, Jennifer, and Roy, who are part of the life skills program, went around to every class at Pine Grove to tell students about Operation Christmas Child. Jennifer and Roy handed out shoe boxes to students in every classroom.
Caiden spoke to the students saying, "We would like to talk to you about Operation Christmas Child. Can you imagine waking up Christmas morning to no presents? Lots of kids around the world know how that feels. Operation Christmas Child is working to try and make sure that this does not happen. You too can help, all you need to do is take home one of these shoe boxes and fill it with small gifts for a boy or a girl. Bring it back to school with seven dollars to help with the cost of delivery. Operation Christmas Child will take your shoe box and will give it to a girl or boy somewhere in the world who would otherwise not get a gift at Christmas. They may go to Haiti, or maybe to China or somewhere else where the needy kids are that don't get any gifts at Christmas ".
Operation Christmas Child is run by Samaritan's Purse Canada, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that has been providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world since 1970.
News: November 25, 2013
Edson 4H Multi Club Food Drive
by Justin Butts
This year in Alberta, 4H turns 100 years old. To celebrate, the Edson 4H Multi Club challenged the other clubs in our district to a food drive. The winner would receive a $100 pizza party from our club. On November 8th, 2013, we had our district awards night. After awards and a delicious potluck supper, the food from each club was weighed. The winner was….. Edson 4H Multi Club. (I'm sorry, but I kind of like pizza!!) In total, the clubs in our district brought 289.2 pounds of food to the food bank. There was also a donation of $100 from the Peers club. What a "weigh" to celebrate 100 years of 4H in Alberta.
Obed River sludge spill raises disturbing questions
The 264 million gallons of sludge that broke out of Obed Mine’s failed containment pond recently and spilled into the Athabasca River near Hinton has raised several disturbing questions.
First, the provincial government didn’t issue an environment protection order against Coal Valley Resources and Sherritt International until three weeks after the Oct. 31 incident. The order calls for a solids recovery plan, short and long term impact assessment plans, wildlife mitigation plan, waste management plan, and a detailed and comprehensive remediation plan.
Second, the lack or slowness in providing adequate and specific information about the impact of the spill impeded public awareness.
A government prepared preliminary report and raw data from tests of the plume of coal mine slurry (a concoction of materials and chemicals) that has been making its way up the Athabasca River. The report goes as far as to state that water samples suggest the process water released by the spill contained elevated concentrations of many organic and inorganic contaminants which are bound to sediment particles in the slurry. Also, the report said this means the removal of sediment in normal water treatment practices will likely remove the major of contaminants related to the spill and minimize risks to human health.
Alberta Environment is also working with Sherritt to determine how mine waste water contaminants such as clay, coal dust, dirt, sandstone and shale escaped from a mine containment pond. Government officials didn’t indicate if there were other contaminants in the storage facility, though they admitted the sediment release did result in impacts to fisheries and habitat.
In further statements, the department reiterated that samples taken in the spill’s immediate wake posed no health risk, though it warned communities downstream not to draw water from the Athabasca River and farmers were likewise advised not to allow livestock to drink.
In its public statements, Sherritt said no solvents are used in the water management process at the Obed Mine. The company added that it uses flocculents, a thickening agent.
Fortunately, in all this coal slurry incident, Hinton community, located upstream from the Obed site, was not adversely affected by the spill. Likewise, most of the nearby communities don’t draw their drinking water from the Athabasca River, and municipal water systems are apparently designed to filter out these sorts of solids.
What remains now to do is to get answers to some provocative questions about the slurry spill. That impact assessment won’t be available until spring.
News: November 18, 2013
Breakfast program at Pine Grove needs support
by DEANNA MITCHENER
The Pine Grove Middle School breakfast program has been under way since October first. The program runs every Tuesday and Thursday morning for students to be able to start their day off right with some good nutrition, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
It is estimated that schools that have a breakfast program, the teachers gain 30 more minutes each day of effective teaching time. Schools that serve breakfast programs have a better attendance, improved test scores and fewer drop outs. Good nutrition leads to better education in the long run.
Lisa Rowand a grade eight teacher at Pine Grove said, "I transferred over to Pine Grove from Parkland High School this year." Lisa taught at the high school for four years.
Tuesday and Thursday's are very busy mornings at the school, parent volunteers, student volunteers and staff volunteers are busy getting breakfast ready by 7:15 a.m.
"We have a really good group of parent helpers this year, helping to feed a bunch of hungry students. We are feeding 250 students twice a week, so the extra hands have been wonderful. Sandy Hemsworth is our parent volunteer organizer along with her three boys that are here every Tuesday and Thursday. It is a big project to keep going twice a week and we sure appreciate all the help from our many volunteers," said Lynne Legge.
Not only does take many volunteers to run a breakfast programs, it can be very costly to operate feeding 250 for breakfast twice a week with everything from fresh fruit, cereal, milk, juice, yogurt, eggs, sausage, toast, to pancakes.
Lynne said, "We are very low on cash for supplies to keep the program strong." Any help would be greatly appreciated.
If there are parents or students that would like to get involved with the breakfast please contact the office. If you would like to donate to this non-profit group, please contact the school at 780-723-5929.
Journals tell of Turner's life as a WW11 prisoner
by DEANNA MITCHENER
As a part of Remembrance Week Ceremonies, on November 9 the Galloway Station Museum and Travel Centre hosted Chronicles of a Canadian POW, Prisoner of War.
The personal journals of Canadian Sgt. L.E. Vern Turner were on display at the museum and both museum staff in partnership with the Royal Canadian Legion shared a part of Vern Tuner's life as he saw it.
President Jim Gomuwka tells the audience that, "Staff have worked very hard to put this presentation together," and asked people "to please take a look at the list of names that were on the wall of local veterans in and around the surrounding area. If you know of someone that served in the service please bring it to our attention so we can add their name."
Turner was shot down over Germany during WWII on April 8, 1943. Shortly after parachuting to the ground, he was picked up by the Gestapo. Vern kept daily journals, and thanks to those journals we are able to have some insight on how prisoners of war dealt with the long days and nights. Turner died on October 16, 1980 in Saskatoon.
"Vern Turner's daughter contacted the museum to ask if they would like the journals of her father. This was a great honor to have Sgt. L.E. Vern Turner's personal journals. The United States have a lot of journals floating around but Canada has very few. It is a day to day journal of what Vern and others went through. The journal is very hard to read on some pages as it tells in detail how the POW were treated. Yet through it Vern was able to have a sense of humor, and through his readings, he still had some hope," said Shari McDowell manager of the museum.
The Chronicles of a Canadian POW, are told through Vern's journals, poems, drawings and some of his humor and where shared by museum staff Deanna Adam, Shari McDowell, Madison Sharman, and the Royal Canadian Legion members Bobbi Foulds, and David Velichko.
"Thanks to Vern's daughter for allowing us this great honor to preserve her dad’s journals. A lot of hard work went into getting this presentation ready by the staff here at the museum. Thanks to these three girls here, for their dedication and passion with all the hours of research and hours spent putting this together," said Gomuwka.
Fresh paint for Boys and Girls Club
by DEANNA MITCHENER
During the November long weekend many volunteers were generously giving their time to paint the Boys and Girls Club.
Chuck, from Chuck's Painting volunteered his weekend to help out, along with the volunteer board members for the club who were down helping to paint on Sunday.
Leslie Langman, executive director for the club said, "We are very fortunate to have such a caring and giving community. Edson Home Hardware donated all the paint needed to repaint the entire inside of our club.”"We have set another weekend aside to finish off the painting. For now we needed the main areas redone so that is what we focused on this weekend," said Langman
News: November 11, 2013
New library cards can be
used throughout province
by Adrienne Tait
‘ME Card’ services will soon be hitting the Edson Public Library. The service is web-based and will allow patrons to use their home library card at participating libraries throughout Alberta.
Councillor Gean Chouinard told council members at the regular meeting on Tuesday the card will replace the current TRAC card.
Chouinard said, “This is great because the library card is usable anywhere in the province. When I go to Brooks on my holidays I can return my book there and they will send it back here.” There is no increased cost to the library as the province is funding the return and exchange of books between the libraries.
Councillor Boyce asked if the new cards could affect revenue for the libraries as people could theoretically purchase their memberships at any library to be used anywhere. Chouinard responded that there would be no decrease in revenue.
The ‘Me Card’ will be rolled out to Public Library Network Participants between November 2013 and March 2014.
County’s discusses preparedness after recent derailments
‘There is naturally some concern regarding safety,’ says councillor Russell
by Adrienne Tait
Thirteen cars were involved in a CN train derailment near Peers at approximately 1a.m. on Nov. 3. Twelve of the cars were carrying lumber and one carrying sulphur dioxide. While sulphur dioxide is categorized as dangerous goods there was no leak from the rail car and it posed no threat to the surrounding people or environment.
Because there was no fire or other immediate safety concerns for nearby residents, Yellowhead County firefighters were not requested for assistance by CN. According to Yellowhead County communications coordinator Stefan Felsing various county staff did attend the scene, close to Highway 32, to assess and evaluate the situation.
Peers and district county councillor David Russell said while there is naturally some concern regarding safety, he believes the people of Peers, for the most part, have not over-reacted to the incident.
“Generally speaking, people kind of accept that they are next to the rail line. It has been there for forever. Historically speaking people and communities have tended to build along the tracks. There is some level of concern due to the events in Gainford and what has been in the media in the last little while but there is no level of panic,” said Russell.
Following the recent derailment in Gainford, Yellowhead County fire department did hold a debriefing with its members to discuss the incident and the County’s preparedness for a large scale incident. Yellowhead County does have emergency plans in place for various incidents that could occur within its boundaries.
Felsing said, “Training and large-scale exercises are often done with neighbouring municipalities and other outside agencies to make sure that County staff are as prepared as possible for any sort of disaster. In addition to the training our regular emergency crews receive, any County staff who would be involved in dealing with a large scale disaster or local state of emergency are also trained for their role in these types of scenarios.”
While the County takes steps to be as prepared as possible for emergency situations, Felsing said there are steps residents can take and information available in order to prepare themselves for or reduce potential danger.
These steps include signing up for the Alberta Emergency Alert program at http://www.emergencyalert.alberta.ca/, and reading information booklets including the Yellowhead County’s quick reference emergency booklet which has information on evacuations, sheltering, and preparing emergency kits.
The tracks were reopened and trains began moving again by 7:10 p.m. that evening.
Town Council Highlights
by Adrienne Tait
Ronald Christie and Stanley Olson have been appointed as members at large to the municipal planning commission for the next term. Christie has sat on the commission for a number of years. Olson is new to the commission but as a resident and business owner council thought he would “be a good fit.”
After an in-camera session council approved a motion allowing Telus to upgrade their infrastructure and systems within the Town of Edson.
Councillor Trevor Bevan reported to council that the recreation board has drawn up a new lease agreement with the Recreation Complex and Golf Club. The five year term would see the cost of rent increasing from $16,000 to $18,000 in increments. The amount reflects the cost of living and Bevan said the board found that over the years the golf club had expanded the space they were using but the added space was not reflected in the rent.
News: November 4, 2013
Diary of a Canadian POW shared at Museum
The Edson and District Historical Society and the Edson
Royal Canadian Legion #51 Joe Wynne Branch will be sharing drawings,
poems and the firsthand account of Vernon Turner’s experience as a
Canadian POW (Prisoner of War).
The diary of this RCAF Veteran captured during WWII has been donated by his daughter, and copies will be available to view.
The event takes place Nov 9 starting at 2 p.m. at the museum. “The is free for anyone," said Shari McDowell manager for the Galloway Museum and Travel Centre, “so that we may never forget the sacrifices made for our freedom. “
"Canadian Sgt. L.E. Vern Turner was shot down over Germany during WWII on April 8, 1943. Shortly after parachuting to the ground, he was picked up by the Gestapo. Turner was the only member of his crew to survive. Although Vern Turner never lived in Edson, he is originally from Moose Jaw, and his journal depicting his capture, imprisonment and release from Stalag Luft 1 Prisoner of War camp in Barth, Germany gives us a personal and uniquely Canadian look inside the life of a POW,"said McDowell.
Vernon Turner was one of thousands of servicemen and civilians who were held captive by Germany or Japan during the war.
Counc. Bevan named town deputy mayor
by ADRIENNE TAIT
Town Councillor Trevor Bevan has become the first deputy mayor of the new term. The deputy mayor position operates by alphabetical rotation, and with the move to a four year term has been extended from a three month to a four month duration. Bevan will remain in the role until March 2014.
At its Oct. 29 meeting council approved the request for the Royal Canadian Legion Joe Wynne Branch #51 to hold its annual Remembrance Day parade. The parade will take place on November 11 at 10 a.m. starting from the parking lot behind the Legion and will march down 50 street to Fourth Ave and across to 51 street before heading north past the cenotaph and returning to the Legion.
Due to changes in department titles, staffing changes and the recent election council has updated their list of signatories.
During the council and committee reports, Mayor Pasychny revisited his day with Premier Allison Redford and said he was fortunate to have an hour of face time with her and MLA Robin Campbell over lunch to discuss issues concerning the town of Edson. He said “It was a very positive day.”
There will be a few changes for the new term as Town Council adjusts to new schedules and committee appointments. Regular town Council meetings will now be at 1 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month and at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays. The Edson and District Community Services Board meetings will now be the third Tuesday of each month at 7p.m.
Counc. Priestley-Wright returns as deputy mayor
by ADRIENNE TAIT
Councillor Fred Priestley-Wright will be returning to his role as deputy mayor of Yellowhead County for the upcoming year. As in previous years the position is held for a one year term.
Priestley-Wright was nominated for the position by Edson Area Councillor Bill Velichko. Priestley-Wright thanked Velichko for the nomination and told council, “I will try to do the job.” Councillor Berry, who was also nominated for the role, congratulated Priestley-Wright and said, “I know you will do a good job.”
As part of the new term council members were appointed to various committees and boards. The committee appointments are delegated by Mayor Gerald Soroka. “I tried to balance these as equally as possible,” said Mayor Soroka. “For some of these boards I encourage you to go to some of these and find out if they’re of value.”
An example of why the council may need to revisit their role on the boards came from Councillor David Russell who said, “In the previous term I was assigned to the Yellowhead Highway Association and I never received a single email or communication, so I question the need.”
Mayor Soroka explained to the new council members that the focus of the association was to lobby governments to make improvements, address safety concerns, review access points and promote communities along the highway. The mayor added that at some point the focus of some of the members shifted when their concern became centred on lobbying for a pipeline, resulting in a committee which may or may not be fulfilling its original mandate.