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Looking back at the year that was

Posted on January 4, 2024 by admin
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January

Bylaws:

A new bylaw was sworn into place at the Dec. 21 regular meeting of Stirling council concerning dog control. After a public hearing and deferring the second and third reading to Dec. 21, the bylaw was set before council and will include copied fees from Schedule A which are being integrated into Bylaw 521-22, the Fees, Rates and Charges Bylaw. The second reading was passed, and the third followed, officially repealing Dog Control Bylaw 423-08.

Two reports have been released outlying key issues with EMS service in Alberta opportunities to improve EMS services.

New provincial policies are in effect in hospitals across Alberta to reduce paramedic “idle” time and allow stable patients to be transferred from paramedics to urgent care teams and emergency rooms, to allow for EMS crews to move quickly and respond to a higher number of emergency calls and spend less waiting time in hospitals. Parliamentary secretary for EMS reforms and co-chair of the Alberta Emergency Medical Services Provincial Advisory Committee, RJ Sigurdson, said this can impact the mental health of EMS staff by creating “moral injuries” to paramedics unable to respond to other calls.

The following are selected briefs from the Dec. 12 signed minutes of Cardston County council. From start to finish, the meeting lasted just short of five hours. 

Requests for Decision:

Some policy renewals crossed council’s table – the first being their Utility Policy which is part of a rotating policy review schedule. It was decided to ask administration to come back with a tiered rate system to be brought to the next meeting.

February

 The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs invited speaker Mayor Trevor Lewington, of Stirling, to discuss net zero, and the village’s journey to achieving this goal. With fibre optic broadband internet service connecting more than 90 per cent of households, and a solar arrays on public buildings offsetting municipal power consumption needs, Stirling is now regarded as Canada’s first electrically net zero village for municipal purposes.

The Southern Alberta 4A Boys Basketball League got back underway Tuesday night, as Magrath and Raymond both hit the court. 

Magrath improved to 8-1 on the season with a 105-64 victory over Medicine Hat, while Raymond boosted its league record to 7-1 with a 101-83 win over Lethbridge Collegiate Institute.

 A draft for the annual review of Cardston’s CAO, Jeff Shaw passed through council’s hands at their Jan. 10 regular meeting. Mayor Maggie Kronen opened by saying she had sent some notes to Shaw in December as a reflection she had and Shaw had mentioned he would throw a protocol together to expand on everything. Shaw stepped up to the podium to expand more on the topic. 

In the opening minutes of the Jan. 10 regular meeting of Cardston town council, Ivan Negrych arrived as a delegation to present to council. 

Negrych arrived to speak for himself and other concerned citizens in Cardston that are interested in putting a bylaw together to allow liquor in Cardston for business purposes and for the golf course. 

As was talked about at Cardston’s Jan. 24 regular meeting of council, the Cardston golf course is planning on having a new clubhouse operational in the near future. Recreation is a major part of Cardston’s strategic plan moving forward into 2023 onto 2025, with their goal being to maintain existing infrastructure while also enhancing recreation facilities, opportunities and programs. 

March

The following are selected briefs from the Feb. 13 regular meeting of Cardston County council. 

Reports to Council:

A few reports made their way across council’s desk at the beginning of their regular meeting. Item 8.2 was the 2022 Annual Report for ASB where Agricultural Fieldman Rod Foggin took the podium to present. After the report it was moved by Reeve Cam Francis for council to sell the No-Till Drill to the Hill for $60,000 and the 2022 ASB report was accepted. 

Playoff action is heating up throughout the Central Alberta Hockey League, and local teams are right in the mix.

Magrath’s Tier 4 U11 team had a successful weekend with 7-3 and 6-3 wins over Vulcan on Friday and Saturday.

Raymond has secured full construction funding for a new high school, one of the key school projects announced for southern Alberta in last week’s provincial budget.

The funding was part of a $372 million province-wide allocation that will see construction or design funding for 10 new schools, 16 replacement schools and seven modernizations. 

The Alberta Firearms Act, or Bill 8, passed first reading during the March 7 meeting of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. 

On March 1, Joseph Schow, MLA for Cardston-Siksika, announced three bills to be tabled in the spring legislature. Among the bills announced was Bill 8, “the Alberta Firearms Bill”, which would give the Province a framework to regulate issues relating to sale, seizure, and licensing, and pushes back against the federal government’s Bill C-21. 

The following are selected briefs from the Feb. 14 regular meeting of Magrath Town council. 

Business and Financial Reports:

An audit report for safety codes was brought forward to council and was subsequently accepted as information. Council additionally received an application from a resident on North 2 Street West for four chickens, and the application to allow the resident to have four chickens was carried. 

Rockport Flour Mills in Magrath is celebrating 100 years of production of the famous Coyote Pancake Mix in Magrath. 

Although the Magrath operation has been open since 1923, the history of Rockport Flour Mills dates back to 1895. The first milling operation was established in Alexandria, South Dakota on land owned by the Rockport Hutterite Colony. Shortly after, the Coyote Pancake Mix brand name was registered in 1897. In the mill’s infancy, water flow from the nearby James River drove a forty-barrel flour mill. This flour would later become a staple ingredient in the iconic Coyote Pancake Mix. Years later, Magrath become home to an offshoot of the South Dakotan settlement, and the second mill was made operational in 1923.

The following are selected briefs from the March 13 regular meeting of Cardston County Council.

Unfinished Business:

After receiving a request from the Magrath Water Commission on a connection last meeting, council went over some new information on the issue that arose at the current meeting however still decided to defer the item to the next regular meeting. 

April

The Town of Raymond has a lot of superstars brewing in their ranks, from young kids learning to throw a football to others practising their first layups on a basketball court. What isn’t something many think of when Raymond is brought up however, is hockey. That changed when the U11 Knights brought home their first Tier 1 Championship banner. 

An iconic fast-food chain which traces its roots back to Lethbridge more than six decades ago is the subject of a documentary premiering this spring at a prestigious film festival.

The Lebanese Burger Mafia is billed in part as a “meaty saga of a rogue fast-food chain with mysterious origins, a cult following and a secret pathway to the immigrant dream.”

The following are selected briefs from the March 28 regular meeting of Magrath town council. 

Business:

Magrath’s CAO James Suffredine came forward to inform council about the resignation of former Coun. Mark Bennett. Afterwords a motion was begun by Coun. Ken Baker to set a by-election date for May 29, 2023 and the nomination date to May 1, 2023. Advance polls will begin on May 25, 2023 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. The hourly pay for election workers will be $22 an hour. 

Magrath’s fire department is finally retiring a 25 year old fire truck purchased second-hand to make room for a shiny new red fire engine. 

The newest addition to Magrath’s fleet is equipped with a number of design features which take into consideration rural and urban emergencies. Features on the new firetruck include four-wheel drive, raised bumpers, and the ability to pull 100 feet of hose off the side of the truck to fight grass fires or reach less accessible sites. 

May

Sometimes, the championship game isn’t the one that’s the hardest to win.

On the weekend in Edmonton, the Raymond Comets rugby 15s team won the tournament final with a decisive 43-0 win over Grande Prairie,

But it was Raymond’s semifinal triumph that was the talk of the tournament.

Against a game Sturgeon Composite High School squad, Raymond was on the ropes early, and had to battle back in a nail-biting contest that wasn’t put away until late in a 17-5 win.

From now until around June 15, Highway 36 from north of Highway 504 to south of Taber will be undergoing some rehabilitation work.

“This rehabilitation project was required to extend the life of this section of Highway 36 to improve safety and traffic flow,” Chris Poirier, project manager for Alberta Transportation, said. “While Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors has not received feedback from the communities impacted by this project, it has been identified as a priority project by the County of Warner. Funding for it was allocated in Budget 2021.”

Candidates of the Cardston-Siksika riding attended a public forum in Picture Butte on May 16 to discuss their party’s platforms and take questions from those in attendance.

UCP candidate and incumbent for the Cardston-Siksika riding, Joseph Schow, was joined by three other candidates, Terry Wolsey (Independence Party of Alberta), Angela Tabak (Independents for Alberta), and Par Wantenaar of the Solidarity Movement of Alberta, which was formed at the beginning of May. NDP candidate, Colleen Quintal was not able to be in attendance due to a scheduling conflict.

The Grade 2’s at Magrath Elementary School have been working hard to prepare and host their own restaurant on Thursday, June 1. 

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Finding ways to connect Grade 2 curricular outcomes to real-life experiences is one of our greatest desires as teachers. We believe students obtain the most knowledge when they are engaged in meaningful, real-world problems as they identify, research, provide solutions, and apply their knowledge in different environments. In April we began preparing to open up ‘Burger Bunch’ to better involve students in the learning processes through hands-on experiences, allowing them to attach meaning to concepts and make their own connections. 

Candidates of the Taber-Warner riding attended a public provincial candidate forum hosted by the Coaldale Chamber of Commerce on May 18 at the Gem of the West Museum.

UCP candidate for the Taber-Warner riding, Grant Hunter, was joined by Wildrose Loyalty Coalition candidate Paul Hinman, and Brent Ginther of the Solidarity Movement of Alberta. Topics of discussion ranged from wind farms in the region to healthcare and Alberta’s relationship to Ottawa. 

June

Voters of Cardston-Siksika have re-elected Joseph Schow of the United Conservative Party as their MLA for the next four years.

Unofficial election results showed Schow received 70.3 per cent of votes cast in the riding, with NDP candidate Colleen Quintal trailing 17.9 per cent.

Independent Candidate Angela Tabak took 9.8 per cent, while Terry Wolsey with the Independence Party of Alberta secured 1.5 per cent, and Par Wantenaar with the Solidarity Movement of Alberta brought up the rear with 0.4 per cent.

Residents of Cardston have voted in favour of allowing limited liquor sales in a non-binding vote of electors that was held by the town during the May 29 election.

The matter of allowing alcohol to be sold within the Town of Cardston, is one that has been discussed since 2019, after the Alberta government passed the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act.

The food pantry is independent of other food security initiatives in southern Alberta, and SASH is focusing on a collaborative approach including through partnerships with Lethbridge and Raymond-based organizations, “to create opportunity for our organization and be able to give back,” said Devon Ferguson, the Coordinator of Community Access at SASH. 

The pantry will offer residents zero barrier access to food supports, but the pantry is not a food bank. 

The 4th Annual Magrath Summer Solstice Classic Car Parade and Show & Shine will motor through town on Saturday.

The show & shine will take place at Harker Avenue West, and starts at 4 p.m. The classic car parade commences at 6 p.m., and will travel through many residential areas in the community including Good Sam’s and Diamond Willow Lodge.

Nurse practitioners across the province are advocating for greater awareness of their scope of work, and for better overall recognition of the vital role they play in a health-care system limited in resources.

Belonging to a unique field of health care, nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have received additional advanced training which allows them to exercise many of the same duties general physicians do.

Residents of Cardston have voted in favour of allowing limited liquor sales in a non-binding vote of electors held by the town on June 12.

Allowing alcohol to be sold within town limits has been discussed since 2019, and the question to voters asked if they supported a bylaw change to allow sales in restaurants and recreational facilities, such as golf courses and the town’s agridome.

Lethbridge Police have charged a 33-year-old Raymond man after fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine were found during a traffic stop earlier on June 21.

Police with the property crimes unit and crime suppression team concluded a short-term investigation into suspected drug trafficking activity, and on June 21 they stopped a vehicle in a westside parking lot.

July

During his illustrious 17-year Canadian Football League career, Lloyd Fairbanks didn’t make it home often to Raymond for the annual July 1 parade and Stampede.

Canada’s national holiday is a special day for Raymond which doubles or triples in size on the July 1 weekend as families hold reunions with loved ones who return for the big day.

There are about to be some good times in the NeighbourGOOD this summer!

Family and Community Support Services and the Town of Milk River has purchased a NeighbourGOOD Trailer, stocked with all of the necessary ingredients to host a successful event. This trailer was funded by the Community Priorities Fund grant from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta.

Eligible Alberta families are now able to apply for grants through KidSport Alberta, for up to $350 per child in grants to help offset registration for sports and recreation programming.

Minister of Tourism and Sport, and MLA for Cardston-Siksika, Joseph Schow announced on July 18 that the application period for the “Every Kid Can Play” (EKCP) initiative is officially open.

As part of the EKCP program which was announced in April 2023, eligible Albertan families can apply for up to $350 in support to help offset registration fees for sports programming. A $3 million commitment from the Province will be directed to and administered by KidSport Alberta and provide direct financial supports to Albertan families.

This past weekend, over 20 professional barbecue teams from across western Canada and the U.S. came together to compete in the Smoke, Wind and Fire competition for Masters and Backyard BBQ-ers. 

The Kansas City Barbecuers Society (KCBS) sanctioned event was held alongside the Raymond Road Aces Carshow and the Three Sisters Market on July 21-22 at the Victoria Sports Park in Raymond. The weekend also included a movie night in the park on July 21, and beer gardens on-site hosted by the Raymond Ag Society. 

August

Milk River is currently facing a lack of physician coverage and as a result the Milk River Health Centre Emergency Department faced a temporary closure at 8 a.m. Monday, July 31. Luckily the Emergency Department will be reopened as of publishing of this article on Wednesday, Aug. 2 and will continue providing 24 hour service. 

If faced with a closure of this type again, AHS asks patients to call 911 if there is a medical emergency. EMS calls will be rerouted to the Raymond Health Centre or Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge. AHS also says patients seeking care can access emergency services at both the Raymond Health Centre and Lethbridge Hospital. 

Programs in Magrath for Academy in the Wild will be returning this fall on Sept. 14. 

On their webpage, Academy in the Wild says, “Despite the countless research that tells parents how good it is for their children to spend time playing outside, they are spending more time indoors than ever before. We are such a risk averse society that often children are wrapped in cotton wool to ensure they come to no hard, but this also denies them so much growth.”

As a result, the program believes children need to take some risks so they can start to explore their true potential and confidence. 

With a diverse lineup of live bands, local talent, food trucks, and more, this year’s festival is shaping up to be an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts of all ages. Set to take place on Aug. 19 from 12-11 p.m. at Victoria Sports Park, the Raymond Music Festival 2023 promises a family-friendly day of live music, food trucks, and vendors.

A Raymond man says his wife’s AISH supports have been cut because he is getting money from a Worker’s Compensation Board claim.

Drew Smith told Southern Alberta Newspapers last month he wasn’t sure what the future will hold for him and his family with the loss of $1,000 in monthly income which they need to pay their rent and other expenses.

But since that interview, AISH has cut even more from his wife’s payments.

The provincial government’s six-month moratorium on solar and wind projects has sparked strong opposition but Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf says there are valid reasons for it.

Neudorf, who is also the Minister of Affordability and Utilities, says the province is trying to address the high costs residents pay for electricity – costs in part which include delivery charges.

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver toured St. Mary River water diversion infrastructure in Montana earlier this month that is key to annual flow rates in the Milk River watershed.

Representatives from several southern Alberta communities also attended the tour on Aug. 10, which included a visit to the St. Mary Canal and the repaired Drop 5 infrastructure, which diverts water from the St. Mary River to the Milk River. During the tour, attendees had the opportunity to discuss water security in the region and new areas for collaboration.

September

The following are selected briefs from the Aug. 22 regular meeting of Raymond town council. 

Raymond Irrigation District Policy Draft:

A new draft for the service policy of Raymond Irrigation District was proposed to council. The policy has a variety of changes set forward, with the first one a re-wording of the policy statement. 

“This policy provides Town of Raymond administration with the ability to allow residents to connect to the Raymond Irrigation District (a third party utility provider) without the need for franchise fees or have the Town of Raymond be the utility provider. Utility fees would be solely set, determined, collected and administered directly by the Raymond Irrigation District to the user.”

The following are selected briefs from the Aug. 14 regular meeting of Cardston County council. 

Requests for Decision and Council Items:

Improvements to some canal crossings in Cardston County. Council moved to approve $92,000 to purchase one culvert for an indicated canal crossing this year and to place a budget item in the 2024 season to purchase an additional three culverts. This motion was carried. 

Another request referring to a culvert passed through council’s hands from a resident within the county. It was moved to approve the requests to replace a culvert sleeve with costs to be paid by the resident. 

The Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) is a new initiative that has been adopted by many municipalities across Alberta as a way to introduce clean, energy efficient products to homeowners who may not have the means to pay for an improvement all at once. 

Scott Donselaar, CAO for the Village of Stirling said, “It was a good opportunity for us to help our residents also access energy improvements and efficiency to their homes which will help reduce the overall cost of operating their homes. In most ways of doing things you either have to have the financial liquidity to purchase the improvement right off the get-go or you’re looking at taking out some kind of loan or financing model in relation to that. Most of those financing models require you to have that paid off within a much shorter duration than the lifespan of the asset.”

A new subdivision in Cardston will be constructed for seniors aged 55 and over. 

The 49-unit complex of single-story attached homes will be built on 7.65 acres of land on the southern edge of town. That land is now a horse pasture. 

October

Paul Hinman has never been one to pull his punches. And as the sun sets on a long and storied political career, the leader of the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition continues to tell it as he sees it, but with little expectation people will listen, particularly the mainstream media. 

“We have been thoroughly scorned by the media,” Hinman says. “There’s almost a hit thing out; you know, don’t mention the Wildrose or Hinman. It’s been quite an attack from all general areas.” 

The following are selected briefs from the Sept. 19 regular meeting of Raymond town council (Sept. 19 minutes and Oct. 3 agenda). 

Items For Discussion:

On Sept. 19 ATCO sent a franchise letter to council where it was determined the franchise fees will be left as they currently are. 

Raymond also had Development Officer Mark Boltezar in chambers to discuss some responses that had come from the public regarding access to a block. Council motioned for administration to continue giving notices to residents as the plans continue to proceed. 

Hockey is back on the ice in rinks throughout southern Alberta.

Central Alberta Hockey League action has kicked off for the 2023/2024 season with a number of tiering games.

For Magrath’s U18 Tier 3 team, the tiering season has gotten off to a solid start, as the team sports a 2-0 record so far.

Alberta’s President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, Nate Horner addressed rural media outlets on Oct. 17 during a virtual roundtable.

The discussion centred around the Province’s Alberta Pension Plan (APP) idea, and the meeting provided details on the ongoing and upcoming public engagement efforts, citing figures from the Alberta Pension Plan – Analysis of Costs, Benefits, Risks and Considerations Report from LifeWorks, which was made public Sept. 21, 2023.

November

As Alberta’s UCP government toys with the idea of an Alberta Pension Plan, the battle lines are being drawn with Ottawa while provincial voters are being left to decide who to believe.

A Lifeworks report released in late September by the province on the idea of an APP suggests Albertans could contribute less and receive more in benefits, but a rejection of the Canada Pension Plan could also see lengthy and bitter withdrawal negotiations, high operating costs, and most critically would rely on receiving 53 per cent ($334 billion) of the CPP’s assets, a threshold many critics say is almost wholly unfeasible.

Tiering play continued this weekend for local teams in the Central Alberta Hockey League.

Raymond’s U 11 squad picked up a tie and a loss, which started off Saturday with a 6-6 game against Medicine Hat. Cooper Rodeback had five goals to lead the way for Raymond, while Houston Hill picked up three assists. Brixden Manning had a goal and an assist. Jordan Schmidt and Remington Jardine split goaltending duties.

The 3rd annual Christmas Market is happening in Raymond, on December 9 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Raymond Junior High School gymnasium.

Raymond local Neechel Lowry says he and his sisters, Janna McKee and Shayla Anderson, organized the market and it is a business they created. Admission, Lowry says, is $1 per person and kids under 12 are free.

A proposed new 5G Roger’s cell tower in the middle of Raymond has left community members divided.

Rogers has selected the 5G tower to be within the town of Raymond behind the local arena. Raymond mayor Jim Depew shared what Rogers has proposed for the tower and how this would be brought further to the community for discussion on Nov. 14.

Dale Leffingwell is on a mission.

The president of the Milk River Historical Society, he not only wants to preserve for future generations the history of that community and the surrounding area but he also believes there should be an interpretive centre in the community.

To Leffingwell, the tourist facility at Milk River at the south edge of town is the ideal spot to give visitors to Canada their first introduction to the province.

December

Action on the ice heated up last weekend, as Magrath and Raymond teams were busy once again.

On Saturday, Magrath’s U9 Chiefs faced the Foremost Flyers and came away with a 4-3 victory in overtime. Scoring for the Chiefs was Liam Stanford with two goals, while Cooper Seward and Cody Beier had one goal each. Stanford scored the game winner in sudden-death overtime. Raylan Owens played a strong game in goal, which featured many timely saves.

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