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January 21, 2021 January 21, 2021

A look back at 2020 in Cypress County and Redcliff

Posted on January 2, 2021 by 40 Mile Commentator
Photo submitted by Prairie Rose School Division BACK IN SESSION: Anne Maier’s Grade 3 and 4 class were ecstatic to be back in the classroom last week at Schuler School.

 

By Justin Seward

The year 2020 has been one the world would have never predicted. But, Cypress County and Redcliff still had some stories come out of these unprecedented times.

January

Retired Hilda farmer Marvin Fischer and wife Jean donated to the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta to start the Agency Endowment Fund for HALO.
Marvin said in the Jan.7 article, “HALO has been important to me for a number of years and it is vital to this area to have the service they provide. I understand the donation my wife and I made was the initial seed money used to put the endowment in place and I hope others contribute to it, as well.”
Niki Gray, community engagement co-ordinator with the Community Foundation explained in that interview, “all donations made to the HALO Agency Fund are invested and the investment income will be designated to HALO.”
Cypress- Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes told the Cypress Courier in a look ahead into 2020 the UCP will continue to try to get free enterprise going to give wealthy producers and job creators the opportunity.
“We’re seeing that with our tax-cut job creation. We’re seeing that with reduced red tape coming up this year,” said Barnes.
“We have the third biggest oil reserve in the world. We should be the richest and it’s important to make that happen.”
Cypress County thought 2019 was a year of progress heading into 2020.
“Cypress County continues to evaluate our vital infrastructures network and partnerships with the Province of Alberta,” said Dan Hamilton, county reeve, in a January interview.
Cypress County is pleased to work with Alberta Transportation for the placement of traffic control lights at the intersection of Highway 1 and the Eagle Butte Road in 2020.
A Township Road 120 evaluation was also  high on the priority list.
The county also began the year of completing the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) with the Town of Redcliff and the City of Medicine Hat.
The agreement had to be in place by March 31 and it highlights municipalities with boundaries and how they will provide water and wastewater, transportation, solid waste, emergency services, recreation and other services that would benefit the residents in more than one municipality.
Cypress County author Conny Kappler released her first book to start the New Year called “Dirt to Dinner,” which is a non-fiction book for kids in Grades 2-6 that allows the students to learn about agriculture.
Redcliff Mayor Dwight Kilpatrick said he wanted the Town to continue on the same path, especially for infrastructure.
He also wanted to encourage economic development, which he admitted was tough at this point in time. He was hopeful in the next couple of years there would be more land for the eastside area of Redcliff.

Cypress County notified media early in the New Year Dunmore’s Gasoline Alley Structure Plan would be done by the end of the year to see what business development would look like in the hamlet.
Medicine Hat lost its Queen Mom Laurie Sharland at the age of 83. She was known for her vital role in the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Royalty contest and what it is today.
Irvine School teacher Logan Jacksteit received the Lt. Governor of Alberta Education Student Social Studies Award after writing an essay he entered into a contest while in his studies at Medicine Hat College. Lt. Governor Lois Mitchell handed the 2019 award over to Jacksteit at the McDougall Centre in Calgary Jan. 9.
A delegation from the Redcliff Cab Company Yelo-Cabs was at the Redcliff Town council meeting Jan. 27.
The cab company’s spokesperson Bryan Blatz requested help from council in addressing the issue of them not being able to have a return service from Medicine Hat
“Right now, we are leaving customers stranded in Medicine Hat,” he stated.
“If for example we take a customer from Redcliff to attend a medical appointment, we cannot wait and return them back to Redcliff, we just want a level playing field. Right now, their cabs are allowed to loiter outside the bars in Redcliff and pick up a fare, but we cannot do the same in Medicine Hat.
“We have been threatened with fines and are at present complying with their taxi bylaw, but we would like the Town to help us, we are just concerned with getting people back to Redcliff.”
After discussions on the subject, Councillor Chris Czember made the motion to “direct administration to negotiate with Medicine Hat on behalf of Yelo-Cabs to create a provision where Yelo Cabs would be able to operate in the City of Medicine Hat.”

February

Second World War veterans and Redcliff Legion members Winston Jobb and George Hope received their Quilts of Valour at a ceremony Feb. 1. The quilts are handed out to veterans who have been injured or who have experienced illness during service.
The Cypress Courier interviewed Alyssa Zieffle, 15, of Walsh back in February about raising her latest calf Sugar since late November 2019. She was planning to raise Sugar and sell her off in Decemeber 2020 with all the proceeds going to HALO.
“I’m not raising Sugar with the 4-H program — but as part of a community project to support HALO,” said Alyssa.
“The whole idea started with a discussion around wanting to do something for HALO and the idea grew from there.”
“Hargrave Ranching wanted to donate an animal,” she continued, “and we thought if everyone could pitch in, they would be recognized for their contribution.”
Redcliff RCMP Staff Sgt. Sean Maxwell said to Redcliff council, at a February council meeting, spousal abuse was seven incidents higher (140 per cent) than in previous years.
“Domestic violence is a significant concern and we are examining strategies for reducing its incidences within the Town of Redcliff — education, support from our partners (Family Services), and enforcement,” explained Maxwell.
“The incidents are from residents who are actually living in the town.”
Cypress County had experienced an increase in assaults from the previous year.
“We were five in 2018 and up to 13 in 2019,” said Maxwell.
“Spousal calls are higher than I would like and certainly something we’re trying to get out. I spoke about it at the Rural Crime Watch meeting in October. But, domestic violence really does exist within the population and these are not people coming into the communities. These are things happening inside the community.
“I feel it’s very important victims are able to feel comfortable speaking up. Not only victims — but family, friends and neighbours. People speaking up on behalf of victims and colleagues when it’s appropriate.”
Spousal abuse is a form of assault and had 15 calls last year compared to eight in the previous year.”
Property crimes were up 10 per cent from the previous year.

March

COVID-19 hit the province and a lockdown occurred March 15.

Alberta Education minister Adrianna LaGrange ordered schools to go into lockdown.

School authorities are expected to continue their regular day-to-day operations and ensure the safety of our school facilities. We expect maintenance, capital projects, cleaning of facilities and administrative work to continue,” said LaGrange, in an address.
“Now, I know student progression will be on the minds of both parents and students. We expect every student to receive a final mark and students will progress to their next grade level next year. However, provincial assessments — such as provincial achievement tests, will be cancelled as of this time. Diploma exams, essential for post-secondary acceptance, will continue. We are confident every student eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate.”

Prairie Rose School Division Superintendent Roger Clarke explained the announcement meant schools would continue to provide learning despite the challenges that will exist.

Teachers will be receiving direction this week from their principals around developing plans that will allow your child to progress their learning at home,” said Clarke.

Bubba Cluck opened its doors in Redcliff. The restaurant offers fried chicken and Ukrainian food.

Prairie Rose School Division started developing a home base March 18, three days after school was suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PRSD Superintendent Roger Clarke said preparation could come through various different means including physical packages, technology using some of the resources the school district has and assigning a Chromebook to a family that might not have a computer.

Cypress County Reeve Dan Hamilton addressed the county rate payers after the lockdown first happened by saying, “The world around has certainly changed quickly. We are facing unprecedented times,” he said. A few weeks ago, the term ‘social distancing,’ was not in my normal vocabulary. I would never have imagined that over the course of the last week schools would close to students, flights cancelled, borders closed and major league sports teams would suspend their season. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us and changed our community, province and world.”

Hamilton encouraged people to support local businesses, as much as possible.

Please support local businesses however you can,” he reiterated.

Redcliff Family Foods helped out Prairie Rose School Division with food donations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Redcliff grocery store decided to help the community by supplying food such as pasta noodles, dry pasta, juice and cereal. There were 130 packages that went out across PRSD.

Cypress County passed a new fire services agreement with the City of Medicine Hat March 24. The agreement included the continuation of the eight-kilometre dual-response area. County firefighters will respond to calls within city limits if requested to do so.

The County also passed an Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework agreement with the City of Medicine Hat and Redcliff. The ICF will now address services that will benefit residents in more than one municipality with services such as transportation, water, wastewater, solid waste, emergency services recreation and any other services that would be of benefit to the municipality via council decisions.

The Redcliff Library closed its doors temporarily back in March and provided no contact delivery and ordered books were being delivered to the reader’s doorstep.

April

Redcliff photographer Bradley East began “Porch-rait Sessions” —where he took photos of families on their porches in anyway they liked. East took the photos from afar with social distancing in effect. He was accepting donations for the Medicine Hat and District Health Foundation.

The Redcliff Youth Centre had to close temporarily in mid-March. But, RYC kept providing resources to its member kids.

Kids are able to reach out to us over our social media pages, and either myself or another staff member will be able to have those mental health conversations via phone,” said Janae Ulrich, RYC’s program co-ordinator.

We’ve even dropped off some mental health packages. They’re filled with notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, colouring pages and activities for them to work on that will help build their mental health during this time.”

Referrals and resources are also available through the Redcliff Youth Centre’s Facebook page and providing them with the supplies they need and tutoring sessions.

The COVID-19 pandemic also put the Dunmore Equestrian Centre’s season in limbo. The centre was considered to be under the umbrella of a park or public facility and riders were not allowed to use the facility at that time under those COVID-19 restrictions.

Those events included Saamis Barrel Racing, the Little Britches Rodeo, the Chore Team Competition and the Desert Dweller Cowdog Trials.

For the first time in the 50-year history of the Southern Alberta Summer Games, the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

It was thanks to a $100 donation by Redcliff’s Jason Braun, back in March, that started the “Trukkers Meal Fund” — which paved the way for other people to donate to the Trukkers Restaurant in Redcliff to help feed truck drivers who are working long hours to keep frontline services open.

Golf courses were deemed a non-essential service by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Redcliff resident Sue Bowers’ goal was to paint 2,020 rocks in 2020. She had 1,150 done by April. She explored different styles and themes with pieces.

Seven Persons’ Premium Sausage had seen a steady stream of business since the pandemic started. “We’re still busy,” said Debbie Penner, owner.
“It’s changing the way we’re doing orders for customers. We’re doing a lot more in the way of deliveries, curbside pick-up, phone and messenger (orders).”

Penner said before the business had been used to more in-store shopping.
“It’s shifting a little bit and that’s OK, we’re just getting used it,” she said.

The business was supposed to host their 30th anniversary sale in May, but it was cancelled this year.

The annual Quonset Days ALS fundraiser concert was cancelled, as Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw put a restriction on no more than 15 people in a gathering through the summer months.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta’s plan to start to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions April 30. Golf courses were able to open the first weekend of May. Dental, physiotherapy and funeral services were set to re-open as a part of the May 14 Stage 1 re-opening . Stage 1 of three would also allow restaurants, hair salons and museums to resume operations, as soon as May 14.

We’re still months away from anything that will feel like the normal lives we all took for granted just a few weeks back,” said Kenney.

COVID-19 will continue to threaten us for many months to come. But with care and with common sense, we’ll be able to move steadily and safely through the stages of our relaunch strategy and begin the process of rebuilding our wonderful province together.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in April the federal government would be contributing $9 million to the United Way of Canada to help vulnerable seniors with emergent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds were split between 100 of its members’ chapters nationwide. The southeast region received $40,000 going into seniors’ needs.

The Town of Redcliff cancelled Redcliff Days and Canada Day festivities due to COVID-19 restrictions.

May

Eagle Butte High School was able to celebrate its grads with a parade May 8 — the day the grad students were supposed to cross the stage. Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time, that wasn’t possible.

Cypress County passed the amended Tax Penalty Bylaw. The bylaw allowed for any unpaid taxes after June 30 this year, to be deferred to Dec. 1 at a 7.5 per cent rate. The bylaw ends Dec. 31.

The Town of Redcliff passed a Penalty Deferral Bylaw after initially passing a motion in March to help with temporary financial relief for residents and businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bylaw allowed for the waiving of penalties on two billing cycles.

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes went to bat for HALO in hopes of getting temporary funding for the air ambulance from the provincial government.

HALO has been unable to land provincial funding from Alberta Health and its fundraising activities have been limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The air ambulance has only seen a one-time $1 million grant from the NDP government back in 2018.

On May 16, it was announced the Banff Academy U-18 Prep female and male teams would be relocating to the area and play under the South Alberta Willie Desjardins Hockey Academy. Players were to attend Eagle Butte High School and hit the ice in the 2020-2021 season.

McCain Foods, Western Tractor and J.E.B. Transport teamed up for a free Fry Day fundraiser for HALO May 29. McCain handed out 7,500 bags of fries at Western Tractor locations between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.

HALO board members were out with buckets to take donations for the air ambulance. The fundraiser raised over $300,000.

June

Eagle Butte High School athletes William Baird, Gavin Derkson and Aiden Heller shared the Male Athlete of the Year during the online athletic awards June 3. Montana Wright took home Female Athlete of the Year.

Phyllis Forsyth started her tenure as the Town of Redcliff’s new chief administrative officer.

Cypress County Reeve Dan Hamilton was a part of the 25 elected officials who were on a Zoom call with HALO CEO Paul Carolan to discuss permanent funding options for the air ambulance service.

The elected officials mauled over the one-third model, which would see a third of the funding come from the provincial government, fundraising and the municipalities in the fly zone.

Brad Dubeau was named as general manager of the Alberta Beef Producers.

Irvine’s Aaron Taylor launched a Kickstart video game recently for his upcoming 3-D platformer “Time Crackers.”

Irvine’s 20-Mile post Wanda Woodward Bench Show was officially cancelled due to the contact-rich nature of the event and Alberta’s health guidelines at the time.

The Horsefly Spillway project received $7.3 million for Phase 3 from Taber Lake to the Oldman River and will go towards the $22 million from the Alberta Community Resiliency Program. The $47 million three-phase project idea came up in 2018 and will divert water from the SMRID canal to the Oldman River.

The other two phases are from the St. Mary’s Irrigation District to the Horsefly Reservoir and the reservoir to Taber Lake.

July

In a July 14 article, it was reported The 670 Collective Mountain Bike Club had seen extensive usage of its 60 kilometres of trail systems between Redcliff and Elkwater amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Club President Allison Carrol said the increase in trail usage was due to people not being able to do anything else.

It was pretty amazing to see people coming out and exploring our trails, probably many of them for the first time,” she said.

From what I heard from our local two bike shops here (Cycle Path and Gravity Sports) in town was buying a bike was near impossible by mid-May, early June. That also speaks to itself.”

Kurt Kinnear was announced as 4-H Alberta’s first chief executive officer.

The Town of Redcliff conducted a survey that started back in June and closed this month to help with future development on the westside of the town — where a bunch of greenhouses used to stand.

Once we get the public feedback, we’re going to sit down and prepare a few concepts and then we’ll send that back out for more comment,” said James Johansen, the Town’s director of planning and engineering.

Redcliff Town officials told the Cypress Courier the new skateboard park was going to break ground in August, after a year of planning and three subcommittee meetings.

Emily Stock, Clayton Lehr and Olivia Hordos-Goyer were the recipients of the 2020 Redcliff Scholarships of $5,000 each.

The annual Irvine 20-Mile Post Days Rodeo was officially cancelled.

The province announced tax assessment changes to relieve the burden for struggling oil and gas companies.

However, Cypress County was faced with being one of the severely impacted municipalities.

The province notified rural municipalities about the four potential models they were considering to change the assessment and taxation model.

The proposed scenarios would see anywhere from a seven per cent to 20 per cent cut in the worst case scenario.

Cypress County would lose $7.8 million in revenue in the first year.

The County would have to make adjustments by hiking the residential tax from 132.2 per cent to 181.3 per cent, the business and industrial tax would go from 39.9 per cent to 63.3 per cent and a farm tax increase to 1,550 per cent.

County Reeve Dan Hamilton said, “Even if we cut our operating expenses by 70 per cent we will still need a tax increase to make up this lost revenue.”

The potential impact for Cypress County frankly, is insurmountable.”


Redcliff’s Meals on Wheels program has created a safe approach for seniors to receive their meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Due to COVID-19, the Government of Canada provided municipalities with funds to help provide meals to seniors. This has encouraged seniors to remain safely in their homes during the pandemic. We have had many more clients sign up to receive meals during this time,” said Carla Spampinato, the Town of Redcliff’s FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) co-ordinator. The program sees meals delivered by volunteer drivers. However, drivers have had to take their own precautions when delivering.

We hand sanitize before and after each meal delivery, meals are now delivered in disposable bags instead of reusable thermal containers and we now place the meal inside of the client’s door instead of bringing it all the way into the kitchen,” said Spampinato. “The program is intended to help Redcliff residents stay in their homes a little bit longer. Having nutritious meals delivered every day could keep clients out of care facilities, to allow clients to remain independent and give some relief to family and friends,” she said.

August

Prairie Instincts owner Kenzie Schulze and Carrie Campbell teamed up with the Dunmore Equestrian Society to do a videography and photography project to connect seniors during the isolation of COVID-19.

The BYOG (Bring Your Own Grandparents) Program saw the duo make videos and take photos that pertain to agriculture/equine activities.

The Redcliff Skating Club hired former Olympian Rudi Swiegers, as its new skating coach.

Bitter Sweet Rescue Ranch hosted people for the second year in a row at Open Farm Days. People could see llamas, alpacas and other livestock animals.

Two Medicine Hatters Mark Childs and Shane Benz, hosted a convoy for Trailside Tempo gas bar owner Jeff Shoesmith and his family on Aug. 15 after neighbouring Save on Gas owner Anwar Kamaran was charged by police with one count of assault and two counts of assault causing bodily harm following a series of altercations Aug. 8-9. Hundreds of people on motorcycles and vehicles joined in on the convoy from Medicine Hat’s Wal-Mart to the Walsh gas bar.

Kamaran, the former provincial Liberal candidate, was charged by Redcliff RCMP with one count of assault and two counts of assault causing bodily harm following a series of altercations Aug. 8-9

Redcliff RCMP Staff Sgt. Sean Maxwell said Kamaran allegedly assaulted a female in Walsh Aug. 8 and was apprehended the following day.

Kamaran was released Aug. 9 then allegedly assaulted two men in Walsh the same day, causing bodily harm in both instances.

County officials in August noted the notorious Charles Street, Eagle Butte Road and Trans-Canada Highway intersection in Dunmore would break ground in September. The over $1.4 million project will include a traffic signal and illumination, southwest radius improvement, southeast widening and improvements, northeast radius improvements, northwest radius improvement, a wider median opening and westbound lane widening.

Cypress County passed the last two readings for Dunmore’s Gasoline Area Structure Plan Aug. 18.

The ASP is meant to provide a framework to guide future growth and land uses in an orderly and economical matter. The intent is for hamlet commercial, public and semi-public uses to expand and diversify industry.
The land directly north of Highway 1, east of Eagle Butte Road/Charles Street is envisioned for expansion for commercial development.
The lands with the above mentioned streets and 360 metres passed the Highway 41 are to contain a mixture of commercial and industrial uses.
Along Third Avenue, the vision is to have a mixture of commercial and industrial, while having a land-use transition from the existing and proposed residential neighbourhood to the south.

After six months of at-home learning, students prepared to walk back into school to a new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic Aug. 31.

It was the best day ever,” said Kerry Watson, Schuler School principal.

It was so exciting to see the kids get off the bus and come on in and they’re already. I kept saying, ‘I know you’re smiling underneath those masks.’ The first day was a little chaotic getting into the school because we had to physically distance outside and we’re sanitizing. But by the next day, it was good.”


September

Cypress County asked for a pause on the proposed changes for the gas and oil assessment after a Sept.1 meeting with the new Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard in Lethbridge. “While not at liberty to discuss the details of that meeting, County officials were encouraged by the opportunity. The minister made time to hear from us and understand our concerns,” said Reeve Dan Hamilton.”
“We know every county in Alberta is facing similar potential impacts, so we are not alone.”
Other municipalities attended, as well.
The first scenario could see a six per cent loss in taxation revenue all the way down to 20 per cent in the worst-case scenario.

The County could lose $7.8 million in the first year.

The Kinder Family accepted the 2020 Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award for their Double K Ranch in Hilda.

A representative for Anwar Kamaran appeared virtually in Medicine Hat court Sept. 3 to note he would plead not guilty to his charges.

Kamaran was charged by police with one count of assault and two counts of assault causing bodily harm following a series of altercations Aug. 8-9.

The local Rangeland Bantam Football Conference season, which included Redcliff’s Parkside Pythons, would be cancelled due to COVID-19.

A cast head of the chasmosauraus irvinesis arrived at Irvine’s New Horizons Hall Sept. 9.

William Yanke first discovered the skull in the area in 1948.

The 23-megawatt Suffield solar facility came online Sept. 9

Longtime Prairie Rose School Division board trustee Arnold Frank resigned after 19 years on Sept. 8.

Redcliff curlers Avice DeKelver and Samantha Davies were a part of Lethbridge Curling Club’s Team Dupont who won Alberta Curling’s 2020 Team of the Year Award.

Ruth Schaffer received her Town of Redcliff Citizen of the Year Award. Four BATUS soldiers, including Maj. Tom Konarzewski, Cpl. Kwesi Nyalemegbe, Sgt. Mitchell Garton and Sgt. Andrene Love Sutherland participated in a 24-hour Cycle Challenge.
Nyalemegbe came up with the idea after he started as a volunteer at the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank last month and in also speaking with colleagues.
“While we’re in the COVID period, we’re doing lots of exercise when we weren’t at work, and we’re keeping fit,” said Nyalmegbe.
“We thought why not use that to raise some money for the Medicine Hat food bank when I started work. I discussed it with my boss. He was happy with the idea. I spoke to another colleague of mine and he said ‘Yeah, that sounds good.’ (And) lets split and do a charity event for one of the military charities and one for local charities.”

October

Prairie Rose School Division students have been back in school for little over a month and the new school year has been “quite good with respect to getting kids back in school,” said Superintendent Roger Clarke.

They’re happy, from what I can gather (from) talking to my principals,” he said.

People are relieved to be back to school and so are staff. I was anticipating there would be more anxiety, but there hasn’t. People are coming to grips with the new strategy to stay safe during COVID-19 — such as masking and sanitization.”

Kevin Cameron co-hosted The Connecting with School Communities About Suicide: Hope and Resilience in Southeastern Alberta at Medicine Hat College Oct. 7 for parents and caregivers on how to start conversations with children around grief, loss, suicide and mental health.

The discussion included assessing the current situation, understanding the dynamics of a worldwide pandemic and risk, educating each other on best practices in our region, discussing immediate and long-term interventions and identifying pathways to locals helping services for consultation and support.

The Redcliff Youth Centre hosted a Glass House Haunting fundraiser at an 8,000 square-foot gutted greenhouse.

Funds went back into the youth centre and non-perishable food items were accepted for the food bank.

Cypress County council voted in Dan Hamilton as reeve for a third straight term.

Former Redcliff Minor Hockey player Austin Benz died in a single-vehicle car accident in Ontario Oct. 22.

The Town of Redcliff, City of Medicine Hat and Cypress County officially signed the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Oct. 16.

The ICF was in the works since June 2018 and each municipality passed the document in March.

The document will allow municipalities to work on future joint costs, revenue sharing, or management of transportation, water, wastewater and solid waste.

The leader of the official opposition Rachel Notley was in Medicine Hat Oct. 29 and she told the Alberta Newspaper Group the UCP government’s handling of health care is creating an instability that is becoming costly.

It’s about the fact they don’t support public health care,” Notley said.

For example, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced earlier this month, 11,000 AHS jobs would be eliminated, affecting 9,700 people. Some services would also be privatized to save money.

The total annual savings is said to be $600 million.

November

Holsom Equine is getting prepared to open in December and will provide a saltwater spa and a saltwater treadmill and a UV and IR ray solarium.

Alberta’s official opposition leader Rachel Notley spoke virtually at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention Nov. 3.

We are seeing now, more than ever, the consequence for the lack of vision for rural Alberta,” said Notley.
“While we are actively working on all these proposals, we want to make them better by working with you. This is a key thing — we must involve other people in these conversations. You have the expertise, you know where the opportunities are and you all have economic plans. I know we definitely don’t have all the answers.”

She is encouraging rural Albertans to go to albertasfuture.ca to open discussions on the province’s economy.

Cypress County participated in the RMA convention from council chambers. Reeve Dan Hamilton posed a question to Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro on the progress of the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) Review to hopefully see more provincial government funding for HALO.

He said they had insufficient evidence on what they had put together,” said Hamilton, in an early November interview

He didn’t have much of details. Since then, I’ve asked for a copy of the HEMS review, but I haven’t heard back from his office yet.”

Chainsaw Spirit owner Marina Cole, who is based in Irvine, travelled to Qualicum Beach, BC to carve a Remembrance Day bench to honour the veterans.

The British army will take another year off from Suffield tank training because of COVID.

Commander Lt. Col Troy Leifso announced the decision during a video conference call to the Alberta Newspaper Group.

He said the uncertainty over COVID has led the U.K. Ministry of Defence to schedule domestic training in the New Year.

Leifso did expect southern Alberta training to commence the following year.

Lethbridge resident Tyson Yanchycki ran a 324-trek from the Crowsnest Pass to Medicine Hat in support of the Terry Fox Foundation from Nov. 14-18.

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes said the Alberta government has done “a lot” to help the spread of COVID-19.

As a Conservative, I believe in individual responsibility and I believe in taking care of ourselves and our community,” said Barnes.
“I will say the government has got a lot of it right at this point, especially when you consider the hospitals weren’t overwhelmed way back in March or April, as feared. Secondly, I really like the local decision-making (and) the fact Medicine Hat and the southeast corner have had a lot fewer cases (and) has allowed to stay a little bit more open. I think any time the government can exercise any local decision-making, the closer the grass roots, the close(r) the point of contact, the better.

The Alberta government announced more restrictions Nov. 24 due to an uptick of cases in the province and included in the announcement was education.

The province has sent students home in Grades 7-12 to do online learning and Kindergarten to Grade 6 would remain in school until the winter break — which began Dec. 18.

Those students would then do their first week back Jan. 4-8 from home — before returning to class Jan 11.

December

Alberta’s Bill 21 came into effect Dec. 1. The bill is meant to implement stronger and immediate impaired driving penalties.

Hilda resident Andy Kirschenman introduced Cypress County to the pump track concept Dec. 1.

A pump track is a dirt, asphalt, wood or concrete track with banked corners and obstacle rollers.

The hope in the future is to have a concrete pump track in Dunmore.

The Cypress County Library Board is putting a plan together to replace the Irvine Community Library.

County council passed a motion brought forward by the library board to get the authorization to hire an architect to provide a conceptual design for a new library — or repairs to the current library in Irvine, at a cost of $10,000 at the Dec. 1 meeting.

With COVID being a big part of our lives right now, it’s important to have a space for families — especially the kids to go to, and be able to access books, games and to have some social interactions,” said Richard Oster, library board member from Cypress County council.
“You need a building, you need a space that is friendly (and) comfortable to them — a place they want to go to, and when you have an old building like we have right now, it just doesn’t do the job anymore.”

The 31st Annual Candy Cane Run in Seven Persons saw firefighters collect food for the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank

MLA Drew Barnes asked MLAs and bureaucrats to take a 20 per cent pay cut Dec. 9.

In solidarity with Alberta, small and medium businesses and seeing them come through the pandemic and lockdown, and in recognition of the financial impact the new measures taken today (Dec.8) by the province will have on entrepreneurs of this province, I am calling on my colleagues; all Albertan politicians — including Alberta’s Members of Parliament — to take an immediate 20 per cent pay reduction for six months,” said Barnes.
“I also call for all Government of Alberta bureaucrats making more than MLAs ($145,000) to accept the same six-month, 20 per cent reduction in gross pay. I call for Alberta politicians and bureaucrats to show support for Alberta’s hardworking, risk-taking, threatened private sector.”

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