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News: September 18, 2017

Voting: fundamental democracy

Dana McArthur

 The municipal elections will be taking place on October 16, 2017.
This is your time to make your voice heard on who you want as your elected mayor and council for Edson or your elected mayor and council for Yellowhead County.
Every citizen has the right to vote. But we often take that right for granted and low voter turnout is the result. Low turnout at the polls often leads to decisions that supersede the will of the majority and replaces it with the will of the minority —and that's a breakdown in how a representative democracy like Canada should work.
The ability to vote exists as our most cherished right, that many fought and died for throughout Canada's history. If the right to vote no longer existed, Canada would not be the glorious and free land we know today.
That right to vote was a difficult battle to achieve for many citizens of our country. In our age of equality it seems unbelievable that it wasn’t until 1916 that Canadian women 'received' the right to the vote. And it took until 1920 for Canadian women be 'granted' the right to stand for election.
So, take time to understand where each of the candidates stand on all the issues faced by local government, after all, good governance is much more than the issue-of-the-day.
Voting is easy. And armed with knowledge, each citizen has the opportunity to truly make a difference in building the kind of community everyone can be proud to call home.

News: September 11, 2017

Get your pledges ready for the Seniors Walkathon

by Deanna Mitchener
 Parkland Lodge is holding their annual Walkathon for seniors on September 23. The idea behind this Walkathon is to show support for seniors in the community. It is for everyone to get out and enjoy a nice leisurely stroll with someone you know. They do not have to be a senior, and you can walk, run, or even bike if you'd like.
Ann Steffes said, "Pledge forms are available by contacting myself at 780-723-4522, or stop by the temporary lodge located in the Old Hospital. If you are unable to pick up your pledge form, and would like, I could even drop one off for you. The Walkathon starts at 10 a.m. on September 23 at the Old Hospital also known as Parkland Lodge until further notice. Some of our seniors will walk around the hospital, others will go farther. All funds raised will go to benefit the Lodge residents with their quality of life."
The second point of the Walkathon is to help raise awareness for community members to stay in touch with seniors, and it would be meaningful to see more youth out taking part. There is a growing gap between seniors and youth.
Seniors are at risk of being socially isolated and disconnected from their communities and getting young people involved with local seniors and show them support by getting pledges for the Walkathon, would be a very welcome step.
This event is a great opportunity to show support for seniors and help raise some needed funds.

News: September 4, 2017

First Annual Air and Car Show brings crowd to airport

by Ana Manning
The Edson Airport hosted the First Annual Air and Car Show on Sunday, August 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event was sponsored by the Town of Edson.
Different models of light-aircraft were lined up next to each other for the public to admire and ask questions of the owners. Members of the Edson Flying Club were there participating as well. A “Show & Shine” car show was also out with gleaming vehicles right across from the air show.
 Members of the Edson Custom Cruisers Club took time to talk with the crowd and show their vehicles. Each vehicle was unique, with story to tell. A large bouncy castle was provided for the children and the good weather brought many out to attend the free event.
Edson Airport manager, Sam Shine, says, “We are putting this show on to get some public awareness and have them come in and use the facility. We are going to try to have it each year, and hopefully as word gets around, it will get bigger and bigger every year."
"Having the car show together with the planes will attract car enthusiasts which in turn are also fans, or are curious, about planes. It’s fun and a great way to promote the airport,” says Shine.

News: August 28, 2017

AHS explains ambulance service challenges to County Council

by Dana McArthur

Alberta Health Services representatives gave a public presentation to Yellowhead County Council during their regular council meeting on August 22.
Director of EMS Clinical Operations North Zone, Dan Huckabee along with Rob Barone the Associate Executive Director gave council an overview of ambulance services as it pertains to the Yellowhead County.
In the Northern Zone, AHS maintains 257 Primary Care and 115 Advanced Care Paramedics as well as 18 Emergency medical responders who are responsible for transporting ill or injured patients from scenes of emergency and/or between facilities.
"In the Northern Zone we have 80 ambulances doing emergency calls and interfacility transfers," said Huckabee. "Of those 80, about 50 are Advanced Life Support and 30 are Basic Life Support Ambulances."
In the north, AHS operates eight fixed wing air ambulances and one rotary out of Grande Prairie. "We do not operate any dedicated interfacility transfer trucks in the northern zone," said Huckabee.  Ambulances are used for interfacility transfers of patients (emergency or non-emergency transfers), as well as emergency calls.
With 61 thousand events per year, AHS has faced many challenges included a very large territory with sparse population.
"We are experiencing a lack of Advanced Life Support Paramedics as well as system capacity issues," said Barone.  "For the last six to eight years staffing has been a concern, particularly in the northern zone. We have seen a 35 to 40% reduction in paramedics in the north zone." 
"In an effort to keep ambulances on the road we have been filling those vehicles with Emergency Medical Technicians [Basic Life Support], "said Barone. AHS has made efforts with hiring and retention including making the two year training courses available through some northern colleges.
A increase in interfacility patient transfers has also been a challenge for AHS. Mayor Gerald Soroka asked about the reasoning behind ambulance staff having to remain with a patient even after they arrived at the destination hospital. "Until the hospital takes over care, the care of the patient remains the responsibility of the EMT. We have look at this at length, and there is no magic solution," said Barone.
A lack of long term care beds has caused patients waiting for long term care to occupy regular hospital beds. The lack of regular beds causes a back-up in patient admitting, and hence EMT staff must remain with their patients longer before they can be admitted. "It's a dominos effect, a situation of 'no room at the inn', said Barone.
Mayor Soroka said, "It's interesting there is a great deal of concern with patient care in a hospital when there are patients outside with potentially life threatening injuries, with no ambulance available, because it's waiting at a hospital."
Barone explained that EMS services are moved in from other areas when there is a void, based on the resources available and probability of an event. "It's a moving target with an aging population and increased demand for services," said Barone. "Could that be wrong, Murphy's Law says it will be sometimes."
County CAO Jack Ramme asked if an EMS technician could be stationed at a hospital to take charge of a number of patients, releasing ambulances back into service faster. Barone explained they are trying patient consolidation, but, as patients are scattered throughout a hospital for different services, that system has not been very successful.
Scheduled air patient transfers and advanced notice of ground transfers has had some success in lowering EMS wait times, explained Barone.
Both Mayor Soroka and COA Jack Ramme asked about who is ultimately responsible for initiating (or cancelling) a STAR air ambulance call. "On the human side, it's a combination of the dispatch manager and the supervisor. But it's driven by the FLEX tool [computer-aided dispatch software]," said Barone. Based on real-time probabilities the system can aid predictions based on past events.
Mayor Soroka asked who is responsible for deciding whether STARS or a ground crew takes the call. "In the event of grey lines a transport physician is brought into the call and ultimately they will make the decision," said Barone.
Mayor Soroka thanked the AHS members saying, "We have a better understanding now. It hasn't answered all our questions, but it appears to be system that is very complicated with a lot more involved. We were concerned with how this worked, and you have answered that to some degree."

News: August 21, 2017

Succulent fun at Community Pig Roast

by Miranda L’Hirondelle
The Town of Edson and the Rotary Club held a Community Pig Roast on August 13 at RCMP Centennial Park.
Even though the smoke was very thick that day from all the fires in B.C. it did not stop people from coming to enjoy the festivities. “We had a great turn out, but unfortunately, with the air quality being so poor we did have much less than anticipated,” said Ali Broda Rec and Culture Programmer for the Town of Edson.
Henry Goetze and his son were at the museum parking lot overnight roasting the pig for people to enjoy the next day. The pig came from Chip Lake Party Service which is operated by Goetze. Approximately 400lbs of meat was used in total for the event, including one whole pig, and several other individual cuts in order to feed more people.
There was also coleslaw made by Outlaws Pizzeria and buns to go along with the roast pig. “We were ready for a big crowd. Hopefully, the air is better next summer and we can have a huge pig roast again,” said Broda.
There was a bounce house, face painting, glitter tattoos, and live entertainment. The live entertainment including The Weebles, and The Hairspray Heroes. “We love the help that we get from our community,” said Broda.
The next Rotary Sundays event is Play in the Park on August 27 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Fountain Tire will be holding a free barbeque in the park, and there will also be a giant inflatable Hungry Hippo game for all to enjoy. Broda added that she is grateful for all the hands that help, and many hands make light work.
Plans also underway for the Artisan Market that is a part of the Harvest Jam that is happening on September 10. If anyone is interested in booking a table contact Ali at 780-723-8616.

News: August 14, 2017

41st Annual Gold Dust Daze best ever

by Miranda L'Hirondelle
The 41st Annual Gold Dust Daze was held at the McLeod Valley Recreation Grounds August 5 to 7. Many volunteers stepped up to ensure things were running smoothly over the weekend.
This year they had an even a wider range of events available. “I think it was the best Gold Dust Daze ever,” said Patricia Millard, Director with the Peers Ag Society and representative for the Peers Handicraft Association.
The event was to kick off with an outdoor movie hosted by Yellowhead County on August 3 but had to be cancelled. "We did not end up being able to show the movie due to inclement weather," said Jina Materi, Recreation Coodinator with Yellowhead County.
Friday started things off with Slo Pitch on Friday night and a Mini Broncs Meet and Greet. Saturday the annual parade was spectacular with lots of work being put into each entry for spectators to enjoy.
The variety of events on Saturday included Slo Pitch, Show and Shine, Kidz Daze, Horse Shoes, Mini Broncs, and a Steak Fry followed by a dance.
Youth activities at the event included horseshoes, mini broncs, gold panning, face painting, crafts, a slip and slide, a bouncy castle, a petting zoo, and Slo Pitch games.
Sunday morning the River Raft Race was held with rafts gathering near the Rosevear Bridge to begin the 5 plus hour float to Peers. Although there were less entries than previous years, it was an enthusiastic group of adventurers.
The Raft Race was won by the River Pirates with a finishing time of two hours and 49 minutes.
Events continued throughout the day ending with fireworks planned for dusk. Monday the Slo Pitch finals were held, along with canoe races, Horse Pulls, Tube Races, and the final wrap up.
The winning team in the Slo Pitch A event was the Scrotum Poles. A total of 11 tubes entered the Tube Race and everyone was a winner.
 Winners of the Canoe Race were Barry Los and Mike VanMeetelen with a finishing time of one hour and 50 minutes. The Kayak Race was won by Ian Grometza with a time of two hours.   
A winner for the Show and Shine 1942 and older category was Stan Munro with his 1932 Buick. The winner for the 1943 to 1965 category was won by Dieter with his 1951 Ford F-150. The category for 1966 and newer was won by Louis Roersma with his 1970 Chevelle SS. 
“This is my 16th Gold Dust Daze as the Parade Marshal and I love every moment,” said Millard.
Gold Dust Daze began in 1977. Events of that first year included a family casino, Prospectors' Hoedown in the curling rink, raft race from Rosevear Ferry to the bridge, baseball games, steak fry, gold panning championship, and smaller events such as a pie eating contest. Co-founders, Beth Bowd and Sheila Eaton started Gold Dust Daze as a means of further uniting the community beyond the curling season.


Kinsmen Slo Pitch Tournament cancelled

by Dana McArthur

  After 37 years of successfully running what became known as Canada's largest slo-pitch tournament the Kinsmen Club of Edson has thrown in the towel and cancelled this year's event.
  With only days before registered teams arrived for the August long weekend the Edson Kinsmen Club announced on July 31 that the tournament would be cancelled. "Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, we have been forced to cancel this year's tournament" it stated on the Kinsmen tournament website.
  The local Kinsmen Club has been under a financial burden since it took on the construction of the Kinsmen Spay Park. "Building the Spray Park put us into financial trouble," said Kinsmen member Greg Pasychny, Treasurer for the Club.
  President of the Kinsmen Club of Edson, Don Biggar, announced the club was suspended after failing to submit society corporate returns for the past two years.   Pasychny said, "We have been struck from Corporate Registries for failure to file. In years past we have had situations where we failed to file and had no problem getting a liquor license. But, bureaucracies change and we were unable to pull a liquor permit."
  "We held the decision to cancel until Monday because we were asking, begging and pleading other local organizations to give us a hand with pulling a liquor permit. But in the end AGLC [Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission] said if there was a new name on the permit, it could take weeks to process," said Pasychny. "We did everything we could."
  "Without a liquor permit, we couldn't have the beer gardens. It wasn't just about breaking even. Without the beer gardens there was a high probability we would lose money. We have debts and we simply don't have money to cover any potential losses," said Pasychny.
  Costs to run the tournament, which attracted as many as 272 teams in the past, were escalating year to year "Security costs us $22,000. Umpiring costs are $35,000 and bussing costs are nearly $10,000 —just to list a few," said Pasychny. "There is liability insurance, permits, and a lot of the costs smaller tournaments don't bother with. In a manner of speaking, we became a victim of our own success. It seemed everyone wanted a bigger piece of the pie."
  "Yes, we made some mistakes and we take full responsibility for that. We tried cutting where we could to make this tournament a go, so we could pay people back some of the money we owe," said Pasychny.
  The Kinsmen Club does not own the Kinsmen Slopitch grounds. They are owned by the Town of Edson and leased to the Kinsmen for a token sum. "The town took over the park operation this spring because the club doesn't have the money to operate it," said Pasychny. "The league money has gone to the town this year."
  Other contributing factors to the decline over the past few years includes the many new August long weekend tournaments throughout the province and into B.C. "There were no big tournaments August long weekend, we were the only one," said Pasychny. "Now there are tons everywhere, and big ones. Leduc, Pine Lake, and even Revelstoke that has a 128 team tournament and they are closer to Calgary than Edson."
  The Kinsmen Club of Edson stated they will refund the 90 teams that registered for the event. The Edson Rotary Club that operates the adjacent campground will also be refunding deposits and any pre-paid campsites.
  When asked what was in the future for the Edson Kinsmen Club, in a brief moment of irony Pasychny stated, "Technically speaking we are dissolved as we were sent a certificate of dissolution."  But he added, "We have to get together next week and figure out what debts have to get paid and figure out the future of the club."
  "We have lots of volunteers for the days of the tournament. But it takes a toll on the two to five members we typically have trying to organize a tournament this size. We just don't have enough members," said Pasychny. "Jobs and family have a way of taking priority and there just aren't any new volunteers stepping up."