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News: January 21, 2019 issue

Family Literacy Day fun planned for January 26

by Deanna Mitchener
Literacy is a very important part of our day to day lives, and as a child's first teacher, it's critical for parents to engage their kids in these valuable skills early on. 
Edson and District Community Learning Society’s Family Literacy Program will be hosting their annual  Family Literacy Day Event on January 26, at the Edson Public Library from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
"Family Literacy Day is a national initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family," says Family Literacy Coordinator Josephine Bunz-Clark.
The theme this year is 'Take 20'. It encourages families to take 20 minutes to make learning together part of everyday. "Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development. It improves a child’s literacy skills dramatically and can help a parent improve their skills as well," says Bunz-Clark.  
There will be fun activities for families such as crafts, puppet shows, stories, songs, games, and snacks. 
Families will also have the opportunity to learn about services and programs offered by Edson and District Community Learning, and the Edson Public Library.
"We have held this community event annually for several years and it has always been well attended and enjoyed by families. Each child leaves with a free book to support a literacy rich environment in the home, their handmade crafts, and memories of a fun-filled day spent as a family," says Bunz-Clark.

News: January 14, 2019 issue

Landfill fire continues to burn after two weeks

by Cassie Kushniruk
On December 22, the Edson Fire Department was made aware of a fire originating from the Edson Landfill, located south of town on 54th Street.
Fortunately, the fire was contained strictly to one of the dry cells, but as of January 8, the fire has yet to be extinguished due to location issues. “It’s kind of underneath, so it’s really hard to extinguish fully,” explained Town of Edson Communications Coordinator Steve Bethge. “What they’re doing is capping the fire, so they’re putting clay over top of it and smothering it that way.”
Response to the fire was a combined effort between the Edson Fire Department, Town of Edson staff, and local contractors that were there with heavy equipment, according Bethge.
There is not yet any indication as to how the fire was started, but Bethge mentioned that it could possibly be a holdover fire—a fire that remains dormant for a considerable amount of time. “We’ve had some fires out there in the past, so it could have just gotten underneath the pile and just sort of smouldered there until oxygen was introduced,” Bethge said.
This dry cell will be decommissioned and a new one will be started in its place.
For safety and environmental reasons, the Edson Landfill has been temporarily converted from a dry landfill to a dry material transfer station operation.
This means that large or commercial loads of dry material will not be accepted for the time being, but regular materials such as tires, metals, white goods, residential waste, and small loads of dry material will continue to be accepted. “They’ve got a few bins set up for small dry loads so people that have smaller loads can go out and put it in the bins and they’ll be transferred to, I believe, the Hinton plant,” explained Bethge.
For disposal of large loads, the town advises to visit one the nearest landfill sites, such as Whitecourt/Woodlands Regional Landfill, Hinton Landfill, and Drayton Valley Aspen Waste Management Facility. For more information on this issue, contact Town of Edson Public Works at 780-728-6461.

News: January 7, 2019 issue

Community Engagement Action Team receives Award of Excellence

   The Community Engagement Action Team (CEAT) was honoured to receive the Award of Excellence from the Family Community Support Services Association of Alberta (FCSSAA) at their provincial conference in November.
  The FCSS Achievement Awards Program recognizes projects or programs that have helped strengthen the social fabric of their community by bringing community organizations together, exhibiting innovation and creativity to address community needs, and enhancing social well-being of individuals, families or communities through prevention.
  The CEAT group was one of two award recipients in Alberta for programs serving populations less than 20,000, sharing this honour with the community of Lloydminster.
In response to an alarming number of local tragedies and with a desire to change the equation in our rural community, representatives from a wide cross-section of the human services agencies in the community came together in late 2016 to begin a journey of investigation and discovery. That journey resulted in the formation of the Community Engagement Action Team.
  The common goal of connecting community residents, revealing and capitalizing on their assets, and building a more collaborative, nurturing, respectful and abundant community drives the work of the CEAT.
The team has delivered engagement events around Bullying Awareness, Park and Play Space Cleanup and Ownership, Positive Youth Ticketing, the Skate Park Luau, Youth Swims, and Random Acts of Kindness, to name a few.
  “We are very proud of the recent T-Shirt Campaign where t-shirts designed by community youth were distributed to students in the Edson area carrying the message 'Be Kind. It Only Takes One',” said Community Development Manager Tanya Byers. “This phrase reminds us that it only takes one person and one act of kindness to inspire others and create change.
  “CEAT is successful due to the continued participation of many invested partners and several interested members of the community at large, including committed youth and corporate sponsors,” said Byers.
“With collaboration of such a varied group, the Community Engagement Action Team is able to leverage the creativity, resources, and mandate of each individual agency to produce innovative and responsive events that enhance the social well-being of individuals, families, or communities through prevention,” Byers said.
  Membership for the Community Engagement Action Team is open to anyone interested in getting involved with community development initiatives and services in the Town of Edson and surrounding Yellowhead County. For more information, contact CEAT Chairperson Alison Minelli at 780-723-7437.

News: December 24, 2018 issue

Yellowhead County may close Marlboro and Cadomin Fire Stations

by Masha Scheele and Dana McArthur
During the Yellowhead County council meeting on December 18 Albert Bahri, Director of Protective Services presented the County's Fire Service Master Plan for approval.
Part of the plan includes the closure of two County Fire Stations due to lack of volunteers to run them.
"Currently, the Cadomin and Marlboro fire stations don’t have adequate members to support an emergency response in the communities as staffing numbers have been decreasing since 2012," said Bahri. It takes approximately 15 volunteers to effectively operate a station.
“Cadomin is currently being covered by Yellowhead County Station 4 on the East and Hinton Fire Department to the North West. Marlboro is currently being covered by Station 12 here in Edson,” explained Bahri.
Call volumes in these two areas have diminished and any emergency response has been easily managed by all supporting stations, said Bahri.
The plan details a matrix in regards to Level of Service. The matrix document was developed as a tool to provide direction on fire station location, response requirements, equipment needs, staffing levels and coverage needs throughout Yellowhead County.
From an insurance perspective Cadomin and Marlboro would be rated as unprotected if the stations were closed, which may increase home insurance rates, according to Bahri.
“We are proactive on all responses so those communities are protected. They just won’t have the asset of a fire station,” commented Bahri. “Agriculture and Forestry does surveillance, so if they notify us of something close to Cadomin we would mobilize a station to that area. If there was anything to happen close to Marlboro, we would actually mobilize and station people there.”
Closing the two stations in Cadomin and Marlboro wouldn’t have an affect how fire stations would be mobilized, according to Bahri. Whether the stations are kept open or closed, the people needed in those stations aren’t available.
“From 2014 to 2018, there were 13 calls received in the Cadomin area, the station in Cadomin responded to 0 calls. There was no response in that community from that station,” said Bahri.
“At the Marlboro station during 2014 to 2018 we had 288 calls just for their area. They were able to in the first several years respond to 186 of those. The bulk of the responses were from 2014 to late 2016, and it dropped off very dramatically into 2018,” said Bahri. He also mentioned that currently there are three members on the Marlboro roster that now respond with Station 12.
CAO Jack Ramme was at the Cadomin Hall recently. "To put this into perspective the truck was dead, their equipment was dead, I would suggest no one was in there for a year. Is there sufficient risk to warrant service in these areas? I would suggest, no. He also mentioned they have tried over the years to create a sustainability of these Halls but nothing has worked long term. The Marboro Fire Hall is used mostly for storage now.
Bahri added that Marboro was due for a Fire Truck upgrade and that this money could be used by Fire Stations that are staffed.
Councillor Wade Williams said, "It seems like these Halls are un-functional and have been for a long time. It also looks like these are costing the County a lot of money to keep open, so I would be in favour of closing them."
Councillor Sandra Cherniawsky asked if response times in Marboro would increase without the station. Bahri replied, "The issue comes down to, if you don't have properly trained people or a sufficient people you are now libel for that response. The County is not obligated under the law to provide any fire protection in the area. But if it's a substandard service you are now libel for that response."
Bahri added, "Cadomin is so far off the map if volunteers were coming off an acreage it would still basically be the same response time. Marboro is current being covered with personnel from Station 12 and would not see any change in response times, he stated.
Council and the Bahri agreed they did not want to see any Fire Station closed but concurred repurposing the facilities would be the best direction.
Mayor Gerald Soroka stated, "It looks like Council agrees with the closure of these halls and we will proceed to the next steps."