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News: June 26, 2017

County asks for senior lodge or may
withdraw from Evengreens Foundation

by Dana McArthur

Councillor Fred Priestley-Wright addressed the issue of seniors' lodging needs at County council's Committee of the Whole meeting on June 20.
Priestley-Wright proposed to have a seniors lodge built in the Wildwood area or seek provincial approval to leave the Evergreens Foundation and set up a new foundation that will better meet the needs of Yellowhead County residents.
Councillor Priestley-Wright represents the County on the Evergreens Foundation board. The Foundation is the management body for seniors lodges in Jasper,  Hinton, Edson, Grande Cache, and a 30 unit lodge in Evansburg which is managed in partnership with the Good Samaritan Society.
"I think a lodge is needed in the Wildwood area to address the needs of county residents to support progression from rural and private homes to self-contained facilities and to a lodge within Yellowhead County," said Priestley-Wright.
"Why —I think it's necessary to minimize the greater risk of social isolation and depression and to minimize the risk to personal health and safety," said the councillor. "Homecare is not too effective out in the county. There are just not enough workers out there."
The councillor pointed out that there isn't sufficient spaces at the existing lodge in the county and there are currently 14 people on the waiting list. There are 40 on waiting list in Edson, but he said, these lists are fluid and can go up and down.
"Yellowhead County is requisitioned for more than 50% of the operating capital for the five lodges. Edson and Hinton, with comparable populations to Yellowhead County, are paying considerably less. However, Yellowhead County has only one vote on the Evergreens board," said Priestley-Wright.
The councillor stated that Evengreens is focused on expanded facilities for Edson and Hinton and it was unlikely that a new facility in the Wildwood area would get approval under the current structure, despite the County's similar needs.
Mayor Gerald Soroka said, "The issue is, we have a need and we know it exists. We definitely are adamant that we need to do this and I don't think anyone is opposed. But what are our options to getting this done?"
County CAO Jack Ramme said, "We have two options. Work with Evergreens on the importance of this or lobby the provincial minister and put forward our case."
Councillor Shawn Berry said, "I have a lot of seniors in my area and they don't want to go to Edson."
Council agreed to draft a letter to the Evengreens board asking for more development in the County to serve county residents' needs. "If they are not agreeable then we can move forward to the minister," said Soroka.

News: June 19, 2017

Lodge, dialysis, and cataract unit updates
at Community Care Foundation AGM

by Miranda L'Hirondelle and Dana McArthur
The Community Care Foundation of Edson and District held their AGM on June 8 at the new Edson and District Health Care Centre.
The foundation assists the health care needs of the community by purchasing equipment, especially needed hospital equipment, through fundraising and donations that would otherwise take years to acquire.
During the meeting Tracey Correia site manager for the Health Care Centre updated the foundation on the hospital. "We are running every program now we were designed to run, except dialysis. We are working with Northern Alberta Renal Services but the money we need is still held up in the bus. We do have a plan for staffing, but if I got a call tomorrow it would still take three months to get running. There has been no construction in Hinton ad Whitecourt and they do not have the spaces ready like we do, and that's been a hold up."
During the meeting board members were appointed including Doug Woodhouse who was re-elected by acclimation as the foundation's president.
Later on, Ivan Strang representing Parkland Lodge spoke about the need to raise $250,000 to furnish the new lodge once the construction is complete in about 18 months. Current grants and funding do not cover any new furnishing for the expanded lodge.
"It would be with our great pleasure if you would be kind enough to sponsor the first level of the Lodge for us. We would dedicate a spot to your organization and its contribution.  We've got to step up to the table and start looking after our seniors. I know what we're doing now on other levels we are helping a lot, like the Parkland Lodge Auxiliary," said Strang. "Please give this some consideration." Currently, the Lodge has raised five to six thousand dollars said Strang.
In an interview with Don McCullough after the AGM he said that the foundation was considering a rescind motion for $200,000 reserved for the long awaited cataract unit at the Edson Hospital, and allocating funds for Parkland Lodge's furnishing needs.
However, Tracey Correia had given them indications that the foundation should hold on to those earmarked funds for the time being. "I understand 10 years is a long time to wait. But if you did step away I do not think there would be any opportunity to bring this [cataract unit] program."

News: June 12, 2017

Two accused in Whidden murder sentenced

The two accused in the murder of 25 year old Patrick Whidden have been sentenced.
Whidden was reported missing on December 7, 2014 and later found in a field near Peers on December 14, 2014.
Robert Parkin and Santiago Patterson were later charged with first degree murder and indignity to a body.
Both were remanded in custody without bail. 
On May 8, Parkin plead guilty to manslaughter, use of a firearm, and interfering with a dead body.  He has been sentenced to 13 years for the manslaughter and firearm charges and an additional three years to be served consecutively for the interference of a dead body charge.  Parkin was credited with 51 months for time served and will serve out the remaining 8 years and 9 months.
On April 4 Santiago Patterson also plead guilty to manslaughter and use of a firearm.  He was sentenced to 8 years.  Patterson received a three year six month credit for pretrial custody and will serve a total remaining sentence of four years and six months.  The charge of interference of a dead body was withdrawn.
Whidden, who was born and raised in Nova Scotia, moved to Alberta in 2009 and Whitecourt in 2012.

News: June 5, 2017

Edson RCMP investigate deceased man found in structure fire

On Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at approximately 5:43 a.m., Edson RCMP responded to a report of two vehicles and a house trailer on fire in the rural area north of Edson.  After the fire department extinguished the fires they found human remains inside the residence.
The RCMP Major Crimes Unit (MCU), in cooperation with members from the Edson RCMP Detachment and the provincial Fire Investigator, have determined that the death of the adult male was non-criminal and that foul play is not suspected regarding the cause of the fires.  No one else was harmed in the fire and there is no risk to the public.  Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to this investigation.
The name of the deceased person is not being released by the RCMP given that the death was deemed not to be the result of criminal activities nor suspicious in nature.