Monday, July 27, 2009

Pen Meets Paper July 27 '09

Opinion by Helge Nome
I believe most of us should have received a form letter in the mail from the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) regarding additional electric power lines between Edmonton and Calgary. Two 500 kilovolt direct current lines are proposed, one through the western part of the province and one further to the east. And Alberta's electricity consumers get to pay for these lines, as part of our monthly billing.
The question that comes to mind is: Do we need all that extra electricity here in Alberta, or is most of it designed to go elsewhere?
In their mailed out document the AESO says that people encountered in their public consultation told them to "think big" so as to avoid interrupting peoples lives with more transmission lines later on.
I wonder, who told them to think big, Alberta consumers or power exporters? It would be very convenient for exporters to have a freely provided highway for their energy going south, wouldn't it?
We pay for their highway.
Another suspicious element in this whole picture is an old "friend" of mine, Bill 19, which ensures that any meaningful public opposition to projects like the new power lines can result in jail time for those that oppose them.
In fact, the AESO document brags that this legislation was introduced by the Government of Alberta on June 1st. to pave the way for their projects. And I distinctly remember that government MLAs strenuously claimed that Bill 19 was for ring roads around our large cities.
It goes to show you just how far down the hole the Stelmach Government has sunk. They simply say what they are being told to say by the bureaucrats that are working on behalf of Big Energy. That is what it boils down to.
And Ed Stelmach, just for good measure, is giving away $2 billion of our dollars
to the same people so as to help them develop carbon capture technology. I wonder what board positions have been promised to him after he leaves public office?
How long are you prepared to put up with these pension seeking politicians that have sold their souls to Big Energy?

Hay cut east of Caroline

This crop of hay is probably one of the better ones in the area, given all the dry weather that has prevailed during spring and early summer.
Deep rooted forage species, such as alpha alpha, are at a distinct advantage this year as they are able to access soil moisture that is not available to more shallow rooted grasses. One Arbutus area farmer commented that his hay crop would be approximately 50% of normal this year. However, he held out good hopes for his oats due to the recent rainfall which amounted to 2 inches (50mm) in the Crammond area.

July 18. First day of real summer at Crammond

Recently restored smokehouse at the Caroline Wheels of Time Museum

This little log building has had its roof and access door rebuilt. It was used as a combined smoke and storage house for meats during early settlement days

Now Picking at Crammond: Honeyberries

These berries, that look like elongated blueberries and grow on 4'-5' bushes, have been imported from Siberia by the University of Saskatchewan and propagated by an Alberta based nursery. The name "honeyberry" is somewhat misleading as the taste is quite sour and tart. However, they are great for jellies and jams.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fred Eaglesmith Concert Audience Taking A Break

The audience at the Fred Eaglesmith concert stretched legs and mixed at the informal lawn setting of the event. About 130 people attended the event on July 14

Fred Eaglesmith on Grandview Stage

Veteran Canadian singer/songwriter and storyteller Fred Eaglesmith had a captive audience on Grandview Stage, southwest of Rocky Mountain House on Tuesday, July 14. The informal lawn setting, mosquitoes, and unfulfilled threat of showers, fitted right in with Fred's style: He is a somewhat irreverent commentator on the status quo, in both prose and song and his followers are self proclaimed "FredHeads" (rhymes with "deadheads").
Present among the locals at the performance where people from Australia and one group had traveled from Vancouver to spend a night with Fred and his band, who were supported by the Ginn Sisters from Texas. Fred commented on everything from life on the farm ("I shot my neighbor's dog") to Brian Mulroney's $300,000 wad of cash, and how heavy it must have been to carry it out of the hotel. ("Why didn't he just accept a cheque instead?")
Watch Fred sing "57 Chevy" on Grandview Stage
Just copy and paste the above YouTube address into the address bar on your web browser.

Next up on Grandview Stage is Jetty Road, a band from Melbourne, Australia on July 29. Check them out at:

Cool Photo

"Cruisin' down the Highway"
A big rig turns south onto Highway 22 east of Caroline

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pioneer Store Donation to Clearwater Boys and Girls Club

Owner of the Pioneer Store in Caroline, Ben Choi, presented a cheque for $685 to Caroline Clearwater Boys and Girls Club representative Rachele Peters. The money comes from the AG Foods Community Rewards Program and were earned by the Clearwater Boys and Girls Club from a sale of hot dogs and soft drinks outside the store on the May Long Weekend.

Dangerous Intersection

The intersection between highways 22 and 54 east of Caroline has claimed its share of victims over the the years.
While some improvements were made by the installation of lightpoles some years ago, the increased traffic volume has rendered the design of the intersection outdated:
Traffic coming from the south (from where the camera is positioned) on Highway 22, which enters the intersection, like the camper in the photo, is very vulnerable to high speed traffic from the west, hiding behind a large vehicle such as the B-Train seen turning south on Highway 22 in the photo. A turning lane is needed for vehicles like the B-train, that bypasses the intersection itself. This is exactly what has been done with the intersection between highways 22 and 11 east of Rocky Mountain House. It is only a matter of time before more people are maimed or killed in this intersection.
For a better look, please click on image to enlarge it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pen Meets Paper July 20 '09

Opinion by Helge Nome
The people of Rocky Mountain House will be voting on whether Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) should be allowed back
into the town after an absence of many years.
But first, here is some history on gambling in Alberta from
“Alberta has many other types of gambling, including all forms of pari-mutuel operations, both on-track and offtrack. Raffles
and pull tabs are sold by charities. The most prevalent form of gambling, however, is found in the bars and taverns of the
province. By 1999 more than 6,000 video lottery terminals were operating in 1,200 locations, producing about $300 million in
revenue, which is about 70 percent of the gaming revenue produced in the province. In that year the popular machines
(which provide an average gaming revenue of $50,000 a year) accounted for a per capita gaming participation of about
$1,300 per adult, the largest in Canada and North America, with the exception of Nevada. Studies have also revealed that
Albertans have the highest rate of problem gambling in Canada. Efforts to ban the terminals have been concerted, with local
elections called in 1998 in most of the cities. Only in a few smaller cities did the voters choose to ban the machines.”
And one of those towns was Rocky Mountain House.
Now the issue is back on the front burner with a new plebiscite on Monday, July 27, requested by the bar and tavern owners
in the town. A petition signed by local people prompted the Town Council to conduct the poll again, to see whether there has
been a change in public opinion.
The bar and tavern owners argue that they are being unfairly treated by missing out on the revenue stream from video lottery
terminals. And they have a point as local residents simply go to surrounding communities to satisfy their gambling instinct
and beverage thirst. So, it's a double whammy for Rocky bar owners.
On the other side of the ledger, VLT gambling is highly addictive and can quickly fleece people of their savings, pay and
credit rating. And the environment is generally one where alcohol is readily available to cloud the mind of the patron to the
advantage of the bar owner and the Government of Alberta.
This kind of gambling was introduced into Alberta by the PC government without any public consultation whatsoever. It was
introduced as a cash cow for politicians by their vested interest friends who stood to gain hugely from this venture. And the
public was bought off by directing some of the funds towards non profit organizations and public enterprises.
A win-win for everybody, it seems, except for the problem gamblers whose lives, and the lives of those around them, are
maimed and destroyed by their gambling habits. And now we have a situation where we are all hooked on gambling : The
recipients of gambling monies, and those that get fleeced providing it.
The Rocky bar and tavern owners have survived so far without their VLTs, otherwise they wouldn't be there to organize a
petition. They can argue that the recession is hurting them badly.
The question is, how does the recession affect the problem gamblers?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Little Girl and Big Elephant

The Sundre Museum is a choice destination for summer visitors to the area. The Chester Mjolsness World of Wildlife display at the museum is of world class quality and has been featured in the main stream North American media.
Chester, who was raised on a farm in the Sundre area spent his working life in the sawmilling business as the owner of the Spray Lakes sawmill near Cochrane. Following his retirement, he hunted around the world and decided that he would like to share his experiences of his world wide travels, along with his collection of trophy animals, with the general public. Chester has travelled extensively to Australia, New Zealand, China, Mongolia, Russia, Iran, Spain, USA, Canada, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Cameroon. He has hunted every continent except South America and Antarctica.
The extensive display of his trophy animals is featured in a special building attached to the Sundre Museum. The museum murals were painted by Lorraine Hughes of Sundre; and the museum was both designed and created by Povl and Bibianne Munksgaard of Mountain View Taxidermy Ltd. of Olds. The Sundre and District Historical Society website is

Chester Mjolsness - Big Game Hunter

This leather relief portrait of Chester Mjolsness is displayed on the wall of the wildlife display center at the Sundre Museum.

Sundre Hospital Helipad Closure Causes Major Upset

The Community Center in Sundre was packed with several hundred people last Tuesday, July 7, after an announcement by Alberta Health Services that the hospital helipad had been closed due to non compliance with regulations issues. The meeting was adressed by Sundre Mayor Roy Cummings and attended by local MLA Ty Lund (left), who received some flak from the audience as the local representative for the Stelmach Government in Alberta.
Six other helipads in the province, including the one serving the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, were closed at the same time as the one in Sundre.
The Sundre Hospital helipad is critical for the evacuation by STARS helicopters of trauma affected victims in West Central Alberta to intensive care treatment in Calgary.
In addressing the meeting, Cummings immediately announced that the ban had been lifted as of midnight, July 7, and that local volunteers would quickly be able to address any helipad regulation issues, if required.
MLA Ty Lund had been unable to track down any printed information in regards to helipad closures and expessed a sense of frustration in that regard. Some members of the audience were quite agresssive with what they perceived to be bureaucratic bungling and lack of political control over the behavior of unnamed bureaucrats. Former local MP Myron Thompson was very open about his feelings. Providing fuel for the fire were also recent rumblings about the closure of smaller regional hospitals, or the downgrading of their designated functions. Another issue in Sundre has been the lack of action by the provincial government in dealing with the flood threat to the town after the Red Deer River changed its course during the June 18, 2005, flood. The Stelmach government received a clear warning from those that attended the public meeting in the community center:
"Don't take us for granted".

Vocal Expression Of Opinion

A concerned member of the audience at the Sundre helipad closure issue meeting expressed his point of view.

Several Hundred People Attended The Public Meeting Over The Forced Closure of The Sundre Hospital Heliport

The Sundre Community Center was filled to capacity on Tuesday, July 7, with area people concerned about the closure of the Sundre Hospital Heliport by the Alberta Government. Petitions were signed to have the heliport re-opened. Persistent rumours about the possible closure of the hospital itself added fuel to the fire.

Sundre Mayor Roy Cummings Speaks On Heliport Closure Issue

Roy Cummings expressed his dissatisfaction over learning about the Sundre Hospital Heliport closure from the Calgary Herald, rather than being informed by the Alberta Government

Ty Lund Speaks On Heliports Closure

Local MLA Ty Lund expresses his frustration on being unable to track down the paper trail that led to the closure of 7 heliports associated with Alberta hospitals. Ty Lund used to be the Minister for Infrastructure in the Klein government which preceded the present Stelmach government.

A Disenchanted PC Party Supporter

Crammond area resident David Brown, who has been a Progressive Conservative Party supporter all his life expresses his disappointment over the party's recent performance in government under Premier Ed Stelmach

Pen Meets Paper July 13 '09
Opinion by Helge Nome
The recent arbitrary closure of seven helipads at Alberta hospitals, including that of the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton and the Sundre Hospital, goes to show how things have slid out of control during the reign of Premier Stelmach and his associates. Some unnamed provincial bureaucrat evidently took it upon him/herself to issue the order based on guidelines provided by Transport Canada. However, to date, no one seems to have been able to pin the blame on anybody in particular. It is probably a classic case of “duck and pass the buck”.
This is only one of a series of blunders taking place on the watch of the Stelmach Puppies. Several bills have been enacted into law that progressively transfers power away from people across Alberta into the hands of Edmonton bureaucrats, the new Alberta Health Services Board being a good example. Others include Bills 19 (The Land Grab Act), 36 (The “Walk All Over Municipal Governments” Act) and 44 ( The “Shut Up The Teachers” Act). And the latest is a private members bill to set up a Municipal Auditor's Office to do random audits of municipal books after they have already been audited by perfectly qualified auditors. And the naïve MLA that tabled this bill reportedly estimated an annual cost of $400,000-$700,000. How about trying $4 million-$7 million?
At the same time the people of Sundre have been waiting for 4 years for the Alberta Government to make up its mind about restoring the Red Deer River back into its old channel before it hits the town, head on, in its next major flood.
It is pretty obvious, even to the most casual observer, that the Stelmach Puppies are barking up the wrong tree: “The squirrel is preening himself in that old spruce tree over there. Yes, there! He hasn't even been near the new ones you are planting!”

Dangerous Intersection

The intersection between highways 22 and 54 east of Caroline has claimed its share of victims over the the years..
While some improvements were made by the installation of lightpoles some years ago, the increased traffic volume has rendered the design of the intersection outdated:
Traffic coming from the south (from where the camera is positioned) on Highway 22, which enters the intersection, like the camper in the photo, is very vulnerable to high speed traffic from the west, hiding behind a large vehicle such as the B-Train seen turning south on Highway 22 in the photo. A turning lane is needed for vehicles like the B-train, that bypasses the intersection itself. This is exactly what has been done with the intersection between highways 22 and 11 east of Rocky Mountain House. It is only a matter of time before more people are maimed or killed in this intersection.

Aebleskiver Days at the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens in Dickson

Visitors were welcomed to Danish baking and tours of the museum on the weekend of July 11-12. The museum helps preserve the Danish cultural heritage in Canada and is housed in a former Danish boarding school for girls close to the Hamlet of Dickson in West Central Alberta. Upcoming events include the Grand Opening of the Thomson Pioneer Cabin at 2pm on July 25 and the arrival of an authentically built Viking Ship on August 22.
For details check

The Thomsen Cabin at the Danish Museum near Dickson

There will be a Grand Opening of this cabin on July 25 at 2pm.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Retirement Village Proposed West Of Caroline

Brian Honeywell from Leaside Development Corporation, Kristoph Dobrowolski from Sanctum Retreat west of Caroline
and Glenn Claerhout examine plans for a retirement village at the Sanctum Retreat property on the shores of the Raven River. The plans were displayed at an open house hosted at the retreat on Monday, June 29.
Retreat Director Kristoph Dobrowoski said that a need for this kind of accomodation in the area had been established by a market survey and developer Brian Honeywell felt that individual cottages might be the preferred option for people who are looking towards an active form of retirement. The idea of the open house was to gauge community interest and support for the proposed project. The price for a 1000 sguare feet cottage style apartment would start at $159,000. For more information, contact Kristoph at 403 722 3101.

Legion Donations To Local Community Groups

Legion President Pirkko Van Dijk presented cheques to Vern Larsen from the Caroline Wheels Of Time Museum, Rachele Peters from the Clearwater/Caroline Boys and Girls Club and Pastor Jason Sedore from the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Caroline

Off To Europe

Local hockey players Cole Peters and Levi Stange are members of the Alberta Hockey Thunder Pee Wee team that will be touring Europe in August. It is comprised of 12 and 13 year old boys from across Western Canada who are currently training for upcoming tournaments in and outside of the local area. The AAA team has been invited to participate in a 20 day European Hockey Tour to compete against teams from Iceland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden and Finland. During their time in Europe these boys will participate in two tournaments; in Prague, the Czech Cup and in Helsinki, the Lion's Cup. Local sponsors are needed and can contact Rachele at 403 722 3368.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spruce View Canada Day Parade

Highway 54, which is also the main street of Spruce View, was lined with people on Canada Day, July 1. Sunny summer weather annointed the occasion. This annual parade features local individuals and groups presenting themselves to the public.

Handing out candy and flyers in period costume

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pen Meets Paper July 6 '09

Opinion by Helge Nome
I like the four seasons here north of 45 in the Northern Hemisphere. You can count on chilling out after a long summer. Life in the tropics of Australia for almost 20 years gives one an appreciation for some cool weather when it comes around. Also, the deciduous forest here in the north changes its dress every year, as compared to the tropical forest that scarcely changes its appearance. And the change from day to night, and visa versa, comes in an instant in the tropics, as opposed to the gentle changes in our region. Having had the benefit of growing up in the temperate region of Norway and spending time in the Norwegian Arctic, the Middle East, Australia, temperate and tropical, and now cold Canada, I can sit back and comfortably declare that east is east and west is west and home is best, as it should be for anyone who has the power to choose.
I have taken some time to study the habits of my new neighbours, the local ravens and crows that have become quite plentiful since I have given them excess meat scraps from my dog food supply. Birds need a lot of energy to fly and the fatty scraps are ideal for that purpose.
One interesting incident illuminates just how connected to each other these winged visitors really are: As their food supply of scraps is intermittent they get frustrated from hanging around on an empty stomach and so, early in the piece, decided to raid my pile of recyclable plastic shopping bags parked underneath a spruce tree. A bunch of these big birds, used to feeding on scraps contained in plastic bags in local population centers, made a big mess taking the pile of bags apart without achieving any culinary satisfaction.
The interesting thing is that this only happened a couple of times, after which no birds bothered with it again, in spite of the fact that a large population, more than 100 birds, were involved. They obviously have a highly developed communications system, in spite of fighting and scrapping over choice pieces of meat.
By and large, because of our own ignorance, we don't appreciate just how smart our black feathered relatives really are. That was not always the case: In Norse mythology, there was a close relationship between ravens and those mythical people that were half god, half human and mixed with mere mortals at their pleasure. When needing to travel quickly, or listen in on conversations meant to be private, they would routinely turn themselves into ravens so as to be able to move about freely.
Ravens also used to (and perhaps still do) nest in the top of the Tower of London and the word was that “when the ravens leave the Tower of London the Empire will fall”. And as a matter of curiosity, my “home town” in Australia is named “Ravenshoe” after the title of a book left behind in the fork of a tree
by the government surveyors that planned the town site some 100 years ago.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Canada Day In Sundre

Jack Sparrow (from Pirates of the Carribean) entertained youngsters with some tricks

The occasion was celebrated in the Sundre Historical Society's museum grounds with a free meal and entertainment for young and old.

Legion Donation To Memories Recovered Project

Legion President Pirkko Van Dijk presented a cheque to Memories Recovered Project Producer Allan Cameron.
This project consists of recorded audio/video interviews with war veterans who tell their personal stories of experiences during military service. Several veterans were interviewed in the Caroline area.

Farmer's Market Vendor

Jennifer Larsen from the Caroline Museum sold items to raise funds for the museum last Friday at the weekly Farmers' Market in the curling rink space at the Caroline Complex.
The market runs from 12 noon to 3pm every Friday during the summer

Justin Dezall Memorial Adult Slo-Pitch Tournament Photos

Bobbi Seemann, Wayne Seemann, Shane Nafziger, Lorissa Nafziger, Candace St.Hilare, Kirsten Collison, Marty Umsheid, Janelee Petersen, Cody Smith, Tyson Dezall, Keith Vandermeer, Chris Paradis, Kyle Collison.
The team took top place in a 16 team tournament on the weekend of June 26-28 at the Caroline ball diamonds. Money raised at the tournament are given to local charitable causes. It was a weekend of fun and games in perfect summer weather and a large turnout of people.

You can download copies for free from the website or order high quality prints from:
Helge Nome, P.O.Box 354, Caroline, Alberta, TOM OMO.
Phone: 403 722 2836. Email:

Action Shots and Video

Justin Dezall's father, Tom Dezall, in action

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Run To Second Base By Kirsten Collison

Video clip of the finals game at the Justin Dezall Memorial Slo-Pitch Tournament in Caroline held on June 28, 2009 at the Complex ball diamonds. Kirsten Collison, from the winning Grease Nipples team, made it to second base

Chris Paradis made it to second base