The Gazette Year in Review



(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – Being aware of the types and dangers of illegal drugs can go a long way in preventing abuse by students and other area residents, guests at an information session heard Jan. 24. More than 100 people attended the session hosted by Olds and District Rural Crime Watch and the Olds & District Chamber of Commerce. RCMP Const. Luke Lichty offered a number of tips for parents to keep their kids away from drugs.

(DIDSBURY) – A large fire a couple of kilometres south of town on Jan. 14 gutted a well-known workshop and office building. The building was completely destroyed by the blaze. Owner Dana Munn said he received a call and “I raced over and saw the flames in one of the bays. I grabbed some fire extinguishers I had around and tried to shoot them into the bay area, which was no use.”

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – The first-ever Didsbury Dogsled Derby was a hit with competitors and spectators alike. Held at the Didsbury Agricultural Society grounds, the Derby attracted competitors from across Western Canada. “It was a fantastic event and we all had a blast,” said organizer and competitor Dena Wannamaker. “The competition was very good and everybody enjoyed the racing.” There were 35 competitors and 200 spectators.


(DIDSBURY) – The Mountainview Colts busted out of their late season malaise in strong fashion winning three games in a busy week to clinch first place in the Northern Division. Colts assistant coach Michael Galye said the team played hard-nosed “playoff” hockey throughout the week as they wrapped up the regular season.

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – Alberta ranchers should be encouraged to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote the industry’s benefits and safety standards with consumers, delegates heard at the Ranching Opportunities 2017 Conference. Andrew Campbell, with Bellson Farms/Fresh Air Media, delivered a lecture titled Bridging the Gaps where he talked about challenges facing the industry going forward. Communication with stakeholders, including using social media, will remain key to the future success of farming and ranching operations, he said.

(CARSTAIRS) – The 2017 Natasha Cameron Neilson Memorial Girls Basketball Tournament is in the books and the Cameron family is thankful for all who participated in the tournament honouring their daughter. The tournament honours the memory of the former Hugh Sutherland star player, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 21. “It was great,” said Scott Cameron, father of Natasha. “Things worked out well. It was nice to have four teams from outside our county come participate.”


(DIDSBURY) – The arena complex was abuzz with activity as hockey fans came out for a rally to support Didsbury’s bid for Kraft Hockeyville 2017. Several hundred people came out and voted for the town online and participated in several fun events from street hockey with the Mountainview Colts, a photo booth, bonfire, free skating and swimming. “The response was amazing,” said Nicole Aasen, manager of community services.

(CARSTAIRS) – A pair of students from Hugh Sutherland School took the top prize at the Central Alberta Regional Science Fair held recently in Red Deer. Kaia Kennedy and Brechin Pound won gold and Best of Fair in the grade 5-6 category for their combined project called “Acne? Smack Me!” Most teens and tweens try their best to steer clear of acne but Kennedy and Pound dug right in and learned all they could about the sticky subject. “We were focusing mainly on testing out different acne products,” said Pound.

(CREMONA) – Council approved a request from the Cremona and District Agricultural (Ag) Society for funding to help with the expansion and improvements on the Cremona Arena. Council will provide funding of $3,500 per year from 2017 to 2019. “I think it’s fantastic that the town is standing behind it,” said Greg Earle, Cremona Ag Society president. “The fact that the town is on side with the whole expansion is pretty substantial and positive.” The Ag Society was hoping to raise $1.2 million for the expansion.


(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – About 120 people attended the Olds and District Rural Crime Watch Association’s annual general meeting at the Eagle Hill Community Centre. Jason Nixon, MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, told the meeting that rural crime watch members are helping to combat a rise in rural crime in the region. “This is a great example of neighbours working together,” said Nixon. “We have seen a tremendous amount of crime in our communities and in rural Alberta in particular. It’s an epidemic.”

(CARSTAIRS) – Residents of Carstairs received an early Christmas present when the town passed the 2017 budget with a drop in the mill rate. The mill rate for residential homeowners is set at 6.90, while the rate for non-residential (commercial/industrial) is 8.50.

(DIDSBURY) –The town of Didsbury is experiencing a mini-boom with several new businesses opening recently and several more set to open in the coming months, council heard. In all 14 businesses received an approved development permit from September 2016 to March 2017. Some of the business types are used auto sales, children’s clothing store, laundromat, animal shelter, multiple eating establishments, a couple of hair salons, flower shop, butcher shop, professional services, and retail store.


(CARSTAIRS) – A couple killed in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 2A on the county’s south boundary on April 20 were well-liked members of the local golfing community. Rodney Jacklin, 47, and his wife Marcy, 45, were driving back to Calgary after playing a round of golf at the Carstairs Community Golf Club when their Chrysler Intrepid was in a collision with a pickup truck. Both Rodney and Marcy died at the scene.

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – Mountain View County council has authorized the CAO to enter into a new 10-year agreement with the Westward Ho Campers Association for the operation of the Westward Ho campground. Association president Pat Strey said he was pleased councillors have authorized the new agreement. “Now we can make a few more long-term plans and start building on things that we’ve already started on,” he said.

(DIDSBURY) – The Didsbury High School band held a very successful spring concert featuring the Grade 9 band and the jazz band as well as the visiting Winkler Prinns Harmonie band from the Netherlands. “I thought it was fantastic,” said DHS band teacher Kirk Wassmer. “Both groups we had there, the Grade 9 group and the symphonic band, played very well. Our guest group from the Netherlands were a treat to listen to.”

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – A group of bikers from the Calgary chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse went through several local communities as part of their 100 Mile Run to raise awareness for their cause. They rolled through the towns of Cremona, Carstairs, Didsbury, Sundre, Bowden and Olds stopping at each place to meet people and spread their message.


(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – The 10th annual Rural Alberta Ride for Dad in support of prostate cancer research and awareness in Central Alberta saw about 150 motorcycle riders take part last weekend. Local club organizing committee chairman Gil Enns said that 200 people participated. As in past years, this year’s event included stopovers across the region, including in Didsbury, Cremona, Water Valley, Sundre, Carstairs and Olds.

(CARSTAIRS) – The West Carstairs 4-H Club celebrated its 75th anniversary with a special celebration at the Carstairs Memorial Arena. Keith Evans chaired the celebration. “We first asked around to see if there would be enough interest in participating, and we were happy to report that many people loved the idea of celebrating our 75th with a Steer Classic rerun,” he said.

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – The pilot and lone occupant of a replica single-engine Spitfire was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries after the aircraft crashed on takeoff at the Olds-Didsbury Airport. The aircraft was taking off on the airport’s main east-west runway, heading westbound, when it lifted off briefly and then crashed onto the grass-covered shoulder, says eye-witness Dale Heinzig, a pilot from Olds. “It came down and took the undercarriage off and landed fairly hard nose down,” he said.

(DIDSBURY) – A windstorm that seemingly came out of nowhere struck Central Alberta, causing several minor injuries. When the storm hit Didsbury it injured a man and several kids, thankfully not seriously.

(WATER VALLEY) – The 19th annual Water Valley Celtic/Folk Festival saw more than 200 musicians, artists, dancers, storytellers and others entertain 1,200 guests of all ages. “It was very, very good,” said organizing committee chairman Peter van Hal. “People were very happy. We had a lot of people comment on how well organized it all was.”


(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – Thousands of residents and visitors took part in Canada Day 150 celebrations across the region, with parades in all the towns and villages in the county. The county’s Agricultural Service Board summer tour in July was also well attended, coming in well below budget.

(CREMONA) – The Cremona 4-H Club had its year-end banquet, wrapping up the 2016-17 4-H year in style at the Cremona Hall. Members scrubbed the livestock dirt off for the final event. The year was filled with many activities and events. There were 39 members strong this year so our multi-club was fun.

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – Mountain View County has honoured five outstanding students for their contributions to their respective schools and communities. The 2017 Citizenship Award recipients were Colby Evans from Carstairs’ Hugh Sutherland School, Brooklyn Heide from Cremona High School, Isabelle Layden from Olds High School, Kyla Bosomworth from Olds Koinonia Christian School and Saige Jackson from Sundre High School.

(CARSTAIRS) – The annual Beef and Barley Days in Carstairs enjoyed good weather for the parade and rodeo events, with families from across the region and beyond attending the weekend activities.


(DIDSBURY) – The Days of Yore historical re-enactment show drew large crowds out to Rosebud Park on the east side of Didsbury. The event was organized by the Mountain View Arts Society (MVAS). The show featured nine different groups from a number of historical eras from the 800s right up to the Second World War. Kathleen Windsor, chair of the MVAS said, “It was absolutely phenomenal.”

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – More than 100 people attended an information open house put on by the South McDougal Flats Area Protection Society (APS) at the McDougal Flats Hall regarding a proposed aggregate extraction re-designation west of Sundre. The meeting saw attendees fill out a survey and provide comments on the proposal. Society president Robin Tudor said, “We have a wide range of concerns. We don’t need more gravel pits in the (McDougal Flats) area.”

(DIDSBURY) – Thanks in no small part to great weather, the Didsbury Fair and Rodeo was a big success in 2017. More than 1,200 people attended the rodeo, which saw some great competition among the many competitors from around Alberta. There was also a pancake breakfast and parade put on by the Elks. “This was one of our top attendance years,” said Shari Wareman, director on the rodeo committee.


(DIDSBURY) – A treasured family ring was returned to its rightful owner after being lost during the rodeo parade. Shirley Dorin reported that she had lost the ring while tossing candy while riding in a 1925 Model T representing the museum in the parade. Although the ring was a little squashed, Dorin was happy to get it back.

(CARSTAIRS) – The 2017 Carstairs Horticulture and Craft Show attracted a record number of entries, much to the delight of organizers and participants, said committee chairperson Paige Gil. “Our show was a huge success,” said Gil. “We set a record number of entries.” There were a total of 965 entries, made up of 386 junior entries and 579 adult entries, at the 72nd annual community event.

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – The Annual Terry Fox Run in Water Valley was another great day on Sunday. The weather was perfect for all participants to run, bike or stroll the beautiful roads and enjoy the fall colour displays of nature. In all about 120 volunteers and participants came out to raise an amazing $14,000 for cancer research and to keep the Terry Fox legacy going. Other Terry Fox runs in the county were also well attended.


(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – More than 70 men and women attended a 100-year anniversary celebration for the Mary Riley Women’s Institute (MRWI) branch at Eagle Hill Memorial Hall. In 1917 area resident Mary Riley convinced 12 local women to start the local Women’s Institute branch, originally called the Garrington branch, after hearing Mary MacIsaac speak in Bowden.

(CARSTAIRS) – Chinook Winds Lodge residents were able to return to the facility after water damage forced them to be hastily evacuated more than three months ago. A plumbing incident in mid-June resulted in extensive flood damage to the basement of the lodge, forcing the evacuation of residents. Lodge resident Wade Breakey said it was very disruptive having to leave in the middle of the night. “It was kind of traumatic, I’ll tell you,” said Breakey.

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – The 2017 municipal election brought changes to all local councils. In Didsbury the new council was Dorothy Moore, Erhard Poggemiller, Mayor Rhonda Hunter, Bill Windsor, John Baswick, Mel Crothers and Curtis Engel. In Mountain View County the new council was Bruce Beattie, Angela Aalbers, Peggy Johnson, Dwayne Fulton, Al Kemmere, Greg Harris and Duncan Milne. In Carstairs the new council was Bob Green, Marty Ratz, Shannon Wilcox, Al Gil, Mayor Lance Colby, Dean Allan and Rick Blair. The Cremona council was re-elected by acclamation, with newcomer Bonnie Scribner.

(DIDSBURY) – A group of residents helped bring a Syrian refugee family to Didsbury. The Horos family came to Canada after spending the last five years in Lebanon after fleeing Syria. The family consists of father Horik, mother Sherin, and boys Shiyar and Ronyar. Harold and Colleen Johnsrude were two of the main organizers behind the planning to bring the family to Didsbury.


(DIDSBURY) – The Didsbury Elks club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a dinner and a show by an Elvis impersonator. The anniversary show also featured an appearance from Elks of Canada’s grand exalted ruler Debbie Sallenback. Margo Ward, spokesperson for the club, said it was very special to have Sallenback in attendance for the anniversary.

(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – Hundreds of residents of all ages attended Remembrance Day ceremonies, paying solemn tribute to the fallen and commending past and current serving Canadian Armed Forces members. During the Carstairs service at the community centre, Memorial Silver Cross Mother Susan Curnow laid the first wreath of remembrance. In Cremona about 125 people attended the ceremony at the Cremona Community Hall. In Didsbury residents of all ages came out to the Zion Church for the Remembrance Day service. Services were held at area schools in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.

(DIDSBURY) – Horse enthusiasts were in the process of forming a new 4-H club in the Didsbury area. Co-organizer Kerry Johnston said the club they belonged to previously had changed direction. “A couple of the kids didn’t want to go in that direction,” said Johnston. “The kids weren’t interested in the gymkhana or rodeo stuff, which is what the club they were with before had changed to. After talking to those kids and their parents we thought, ‘you know, we need to find another club for these kids’.”

(CARSTAIRS-DIDSBURY) – A number of farmers from the Carstairs and Didsbury areas helped out with the Canadian Foodsgrains Banks (CFGB). The organization gathers grain and donations that are sent overseas to help out parts of the world in crisis.


(MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY) – The Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG) annual general meeting saw chairman Carol Elliott discuss some of the challenges facing the region’s oil and gas industry and some of the synergy group’s plans for the coming year. SPOG is a collection of oil and gas companies with operations in the Sundre area. It also includes associate members including Mountain View County.

(CARSTAIRS) – About 60 area residents attended an open house at the Carstairs Community Centre to provide input into a proposed new area structure plan. Committee chairman Robin Fair told the meeting that public input will be used to help formulate the plan, which will provide a land use planning framework to guide future subdivision and development within the plan area.