By Jeremy Appel/Justin Seward
The Village of Foremost, County of Forty Mile and Town of Bow Island began 2018 by applying for a $150,000 grant from the Alberta Community Partnership, which would provide funding for the Intermunicipal Collaboration and Intermunicipal Development Plan.
The goal of the ACP is to provide support for regional collaboration and capacity building. An IC grant would assist in providing funding towards expanding regional services, while an IDP is a long-term planning tool to organize planning between the participating municipalities.
On Jan. 24, Foremost’s Darbi Rumpel received the Clarence Marsh Memorial Award at a ceremony at the Taber Legion.
Rumpel, 24, suffers from cerebral palsy, but hasn’t let it stop her from becoming a leader and advocate for others with disabilities.
She works at Taber Special Needs, sitting on its health and safety board, and at Berry Patch, where she helps drop off clothes at the women’s shelter, in addition to the Dynami social and fundraising committee.
Previously, Rumpel received honourable mention for the Greatest Kid in Alberta award in 2013.
On Feb. 15, PepsiCo Canada confirmed it was shutting down the Bow Island Spitz plant, which employed more than 50 locals.
PepsiCo Canada spokesperson Sheri Morgan called it “a business decision based on an extensive evaluation of the long-term viability” of the plant.
She said the company will provide workers with financial support, access to financial counselling and job placement services.
Bow Island native Laurence Schaufele appeared in an Avocados Mexico commercial that aired during Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4.
Schaufele, who now resides in Toronto, told the Commentator he was “dragged to the audition by a friend” after coming across an online casting call.
In the comedic ad, the professional viola player hits a stuntwoman over the head with his instrument, after which she gets her revenge by choking him.
Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter announced his candidacy for the new Taber-Warner riding on Feb. 26, in which he compared the 2015 NDP victory to the 2004 southeast Asian tsunami that killed thousands.
In a statement to Southern Alberta Newspapers, Hunter said he had no intention of trivializing the deaths that occurred during the tsunami, apologizing if anyone interpreted his remarks that way.
The Taber-Warner riding includes Bow Island, Foremost, Taber, Coaldale, Raymond and Stirling.
Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley announced on March 9 the province’s seven-point plan for dealing with rural crime, as well as $10 million in funding to put the plan into practice.
Some, like County of Forty Mile-based rancher Aaron Brower and Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, said the changes don’t go far enough in deterring rural crime through more aggressive enforcement.
The seven parts of the provincial plan are:
– Forming crime reduction units focused on “bringing prolific offenders to justice”;
– Making it easier for different ministries, law enforcement bodies and community groups to co-ordinate;
– Establishing a police support centre staffed by 23 civilian employees;
– Hiring eight to 10 new prosecutors and support staff;
– Encouraging more extensive co-ordination between and information sharing among peace officers, like Alberta Sheriffs, fish and wildlife enforcement, and conservation officers;
– Pursuing a public engagement and education strategy;
– Using enhanced technology, like GPS trackers.
On March 22, Bow Island’s Apple Drugs closed its doors between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to protect Alberta Health’s cuts to fees the government pays to pharmacists, in co-ordination with pharmacists across the province.
The new agreement sets a dispensing fee of $12.15, which is limited to three fees per patient per day. Medications that don’t require daily dispensing have a limit of two fees per medication per 28 days.
Previously, the dispensing fee was $12.30 without any limits on the amount of times it could be charged.
Flu vaccine injections saw their fee decrease to $13 from $20.
Thirteen sections of road throughout the County of Forty Mile were closed on April 16, due to flooding caused by rain and melted snow.
Director of emergency management Stuart Payne told the Commentator that there was no need for an evacuation order, although the next week three households voluntarily evacuated for a short amount of time.
The St. Mary’s River Irrigation District notified the county on April 14 that it was having issues with canals overflowing.
Concerned residents of the county joined the South Eastern Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association on April 10, which allows them to better co-ordinate with Cypress County.
SEARCWA’s Cypress County membership agreed to allow Forty Mile residents to join them.
In order for Forty Mile to have its own official chapter, its members must apply for society status in Alberta, which involves establishing a board and writing bylaws.
Forty Mile members held a membership drive on April 19 in Burdett, April 24 in Bow Island, as well as April 25 in Foremost and Etzikom.
Blues at the Bow celebrated its 25th anniversary on May 12 with a sold-out performance from San Francisco-area bluesman Roy Rogers.
It was Rogers’ fourth time playing Blues at the Bow, which he described as one of his “favourite places to play,” due to its intimacy.
“Sometimes if you’re playing larger venues elsewhere, you can be kind of removed from the audience,” he told the Commentator.
Business manager Steve Ell attributed the venue’s success to having found a niche market in southern Alberta, attracting attendees from Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Taber.
Grade 9 Foremost School student Jordan Kurtzweg took home the Renewable Energy Award at the Canada-Wide Science Fair at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Earlier that year, he won his science fair in Foremost for a project that attempted to determine which type of windmill generates the most power.
While his original project looked at different blade designs, Kurtzweg modified it to look exclusively at different angles.
He discovered to his surprise that a 30-degree blade angle is the most efficient for producing electricity.
The Foremost Regional Water Treatment Plant officially opened on June 22, which allows county residents to drink water straight from the tap.
The project dates back to 2012, when the province called on the village and county to remove fluoride from their water. County officials saw setting up a regional hub for water treatment as the most cost-effective measure.
The plant was largely funded by Alberta Environment and Parks’ Water for Life program.
On June 30, the Hamlet of Burdett celebrated its 105th anniversary, with a parade and fireworks as part of Burdett Days.
Every five years, the hamlet has special festivities to mark its birthday, with many people who’ve moved away returning to Burdett.
County of Forty Mile Coun. Chantel Timmons, who represents Burdett, was the chair of the 2018 event after serving as co-chair for the 100th anniversary in 2013.
It carries water from Foremost to Manyberries through a 65-km pipeline that passes through Etzikom and Orion. The goal is fore the pipeline to eventually expand to Skiff.
At its June 13 regular meeting, County of Forty Mile council agreed to enter into an IDP with the Municipal District of Taber.
The IDP will allow both municipalities to establish joint planning policies.
The plan area is one mile on each side of the MD and county borders.
The county put in place fire restrictions after two blazes in the county occurred due to windy conditions and a lack of moisture.
County fire crews were called out to fires on July 10, which was caused by lightning in the Highway 885 area, and another on a calm July 11 evening east of Forty Mile Lake.
Erna’s Berry Farm celebrated a decade in business on July 28, with dinner, drinks and entertainment from southern Alberta band The Chevelles.
About 150 people attended the event, with owner Erna Varekamp, who also owns the Rolling Pin Bakery and Cafe, serving guests.
Varekamp originally started the bakery to earn extra income for her passion project — the berry farm — but is now looking to sell the bakery so she can spend more time on the farm.
An unfortunate tragedy struck Bow Island, when an 11-year-old boy (Kale Porteous) was struck by a pay loader and pronounced dead at the hospital on Aug. 14.
A scholarship fund was set up in memory of an 11-year-old Bow Islander who died in a farming accident on Aug. 14. In lieu of flowers, the family established the Kale Porteous Citizenship Scholarship Fund.”
Bow Island and area residence got a first hand look at HALO 2 (BK-117 B2) in Centennial Park on Aug. 15. The total flight time from Medicine Hat was 12 minutes.
“It does two things fantastically,” said chief pilot Steve Harmer to the Commentator.
“One it hoists well and second it’s good for EMS. If you look in the back, you can see it’s a very flat floor. It’s not a sitting bucket like most are. We carry a real stretcher right out of an ambulance. We don’t carry a sled like the other helicopter.”
“She cruises at a 135 knots, which is 270 km an hour roughly.”
The Susan Andersen Library in Bow Island experienced a very busy summer, seeing dozens of kids spending their days involved in the various fun and games.
“Summer is usually pretty busy for us at the library, because we run kids programming from early July to mid August,” says library manager Kathryn Van Dorp. “We have anywhere from 30, 40, 50 kids on any given day.”
Kids programming began July 3 this year, running through to Aug. 17. Roughly 80 local children between the ages of 6 and 13 registered. The library decided to introduce an age split this year (6-9 and 10-13) to offer better fits for each child, with activities from crafts and movie matinees, to outdoor activities, scavenger hunts and trivia.
The Blues at the Bow held a Street Party as a part of their 25th anniversary celebrations on Aug. 24. A barbeque and beer gardens was set up outside prior guest listening Grammy award-winning Chubby Carrier and The Bayou Swamp Band.
Livestock producers felt the hit after it was announced that feed prices increased to $250 per tonne, which is up $100 over the previous year. The increase was due to the lack of moisture to grow hay bails.
Prodcucers were forced to sell of their herds who have had a bad year on the milking bag.
Medicine Hat Feeding Company general manager said you would have to go back 30 years to in the record books to see a significant drought in these parts.
Local 4-H member Dawson Pahl received a 4-H Canada Scholarship from John Deere Canada for his community services, being and effective 4-H member and writing an essay on why they need the money.
The Whitla wind project broke ground just south of Bow Island on Sept. 10. The $325 million Capitol Power based project 56-wind turbine project started with the access roads, while the operations and maintenance building will be built starting in the spring of 2019.
Bow Island hired new CAO Dave Matz, taking over from long-time town manager Anna-Marie Bridge, who was retiring at the end of the year.
Matz came to the town from the County of Forty Mile, where he was Agriculture fieldman for 18 years.
Alberta Health Services decided to have the doors locked at the Bow Island Health Centre at 5 p.m., which ruffled some feathers at the Palliser Triangle Health Advisory Council meeting on Oct. 1.
A situation was metnioned regarding some one arriving at the hospital with loved ones in an emergecny and they could not open the door to enter.
Bow Island resident Sylivia Strom said the only way to open the door from the inside is to press the handicap, and not all staff responding are aware of that, leading to trouble opening the door.
She says it also caused problems for residents and visitors try to exit the building, if they dont already know how.
Dr. Jack Regehr, AHS, south zone medical director responded by saying the decison was made based on “operational best practice.”
THe registration clerk at the Bow Island Health Centre retired and the position was eliminated and those dollars went to other budgetory needs.
With files from Gillian Slade,Medicine Hat News
It was further reported by Slade that the doors are being opened later than 5.p.m, as there is a clerk sitting at the front desk letting people in until 8:30 p.m.
The Town of Bow Island passed their cannabis bylaw with the amendments made after a public meeting was held earlier in the month.
Camping accomodations will meant any tent, holiday trailer, motorhome, recreational vehicle or mobile shelter used for sleeping will be a private property to some one.
Private property in the bylaw meant cannabis and vapong cane be consumed on a property that is restricted the public for access and includes but not limited to a private dwelling or yard,garage, camping accomodation or any other privately ownedd living accomodation.
Under the prohibition section , it read that a person must not smoke or vape in or on any muncipal lands, faciliities, walkways, roadwaysm public place, whether its in a vehicle or not.
Foremost Fish and Wild Life office closed after the local officer retired in 2016 and the reduced work load.
Bow Island’s beloved Down Memory Lane columnist, Fred Mellen passed away on Oct. 26.
The Senator Gershaw Gators senior boys volleyball team had undefeated season after winning zones and provincials on top of a 5-0 and regular season. The boys’ won silver the last two seasons.
The regional waterr pipeline from Foremost to Manyberries had hit a bump in the road on the Etzikom to Orion stretch becasue there is a section that is considered Public Lands, where the County of Forty Mile submitted an application a year ago to finish the project and never heard back.
The delay has contractors being held up.
Public Lands are held in trust by the provincial government and managed in the public’s interest and is a safe haven for wildlife and ensures security landscape for headwaters.
Bow Island goalie Bodee Weiss won the Southeast Athletic Club Tiger team Most Valuable Player award at the annual Hockey Hounds Major Bantam Hockey Tournament.
The annual St. Michael’s School fundraising supper raised $34,000 for the school programs through a silent and live auction on Dec. 7.
At the annual sugar beets banquet, it was announced that local sugar beet growers brought in 170, 126 tonnes per 30.40 acres of the crop.
The Joy of Giving Campaign was experiencing low number of non-perishable items for the Christmas Hampers.