Saying goodbye to 2016 – April

Taekwondo clubs Smoky River Road Warriors and Manning’s Iron Tigers with instructors and grand master James Lo (center) at Georges P. Vanier April 9.

April 6, 2016 – Little Smoky ends the season with the Downhill Dummy Race
Little Smoky Ski Area wrapped up the season on March 27 with the second annual Downhill Dummy Race with 5 inventive rigs competing plus a Little Smoky Easter bunny piñata.
“This is just the second year and we would like to make it an annual event,” says Little Smoky manager Clem Bourgeois.
“Last year there were twelve entries, but this year we had only five. We advertised about three weeks ago so maybe we left it a little late.”
With more awareness, the downhill dummy race would certainly catch on. Having a fun, competitive edge, the concept leaves lots of room for imagination and demands some basic sense of engineering and aerodynamics as momentum and stability are key factors along with creative design.
Even if the number of entries were down from last year, there was still a lot of enthusiasm from the visitors to the hill and those who came to root for the competitors who were hoping to win a season pass for most creative, best crash, longest jump and last dummy standing.
Before the finale of launching the Little Smoky Ski Area Easter Bunny, the kids went down the slope and waited for the candy-filled piñata.

April 13, 2016 – Former Mayor of McLennan Don Regier leaves for Edmonton
Having lived in the community for 35 years and served as mayor for eight, Don Regier left McLennan on April 5 to live permanently in Edmonton.
Prior to Regier and his wife Rita’s departure, a get together was held in the upstairs lounge of the H.W. Fish Arena where former colleagues and people from the community dropped by for a drink and to wish him well.
“It was wonderful to be there with the people I have been working with and people from the community,” says Regier.
“I have been here for thirty-five years and to see them and to socialize with them, I really appreciated it.”
Regier speaks with pride and affection of McLennan, a community he sees as one that is welcoming and accepting to people of diverse cultures and languages and integrates them into the community very quickly.
“That is not always the case,” says Regier. “When I came here in 1980, I couldn’t believe how well I was treated, people wanted me to join the chamber of commerce, wanted me to do this and do that. People just try to include you and make you feel that you belong to this community and that you can help to contribute here.”
Regier moved to McLennan to teach at Northern Lakes College and at the time of his retirement was responsible for community programming at 26 campuses.
“I started in McLennan campus and when I retired about ten years ago I was Dean of Community Learning Centres. I have always strongly believed in community-based education so I really had an interesting job. My primary responsibility was to ensure that the educational needs of all the communities were being met.”
Regier says that education has been his consuming interest and while he has done some substitute teaching he admits it would not interest him now because teaching is done primarily by computer these days.

April 20, 2016 – Participants at Donnelly belt graduation ceremony marshalling the art of taekwondo
Taekwondo club, Smoky River Road Warriors in Donnelly, hosted a belt promotion ceremony that marks an advancement for the students’ progressing towards a black belt.
Also participating in the ceremony was the Iron Tiger Club from Manning.
Both Donnelly and Manning train under grand master James Lo, based out of Edmonton, so the clubs alternate hosting the ceremony, which usually takes place twice a year.
While the majority of the 51 people testing at the April 9 event were young kids ranging from 5 years-old and up, the oldest was 35.
“It is a good opportunity for the parents and friends of the participants to see how the kids have been progressing,” says Alain Johnson, instructor with the Smoky River Road Warriors.
“It kind of like an annual end of year concert, but different. It gives an opportunity for parents, family and friends to come in and see the full setup, the sparring match, full equipment and to see how far the kids have come.”
The belt graduation ceremony is the second part of a two-part test so everybody who participated at the Donnelly event is qualified to take part in the ceremony and has already proven a level of skill that makes passing the second phase pretty much a certainty, making the event essentially ceremonial.
“It is almost a guarantee pass on the weekend because they have already done part of the test,” says Johnson. “Therefore, nobody comes up and gets embarrassed by not passing the test.”

April 27, 2016 – New regional fire hall in Falher is set for construction
Smoky River Fire and Rescue is to get a new $2.7 million fire hall in Falher this year, with construction set to start in May and the majority of work to be finished by December.
“Structurally, it’s being built to last 50 years or more,” says Kevin Cymbaluk, the director of operations for the M.D. of Smoky River No. 130 in Falher.
“We’ve exceeded the life of the Falher fire hall. It’s outdated and undersized.”
The new regional fire hall will be located on a 4.5-acre property, southwest of the administration building.
The fire departments in Donnelly and McLennan will retain all of their service vehicles and equipment; they will not be transferred to the new hall.
Those fire departments are under the authority of Smoky River Fire and Rescue.
The new hall will consist of a two-story, 14,000-square-foot layout, with eight service bays which are for drive-thru.
It will also feature 40-by-90 foot apron pads at the front and rear, as well as an all-metal roof and cladding stone trim. Solar power is being considered.
Firefighters will have access to a training room, wash bay and hose tower.
Eventually, the building will have an emergency operations centre, which is currently located in the council chamber.
A helicopter site will be located at the northwest corner of the property, to accommodate STARS. However, it will not be a designated heliport.
The M.D. has a bylaw to borrow up to $2 million for construction, says CAO Rita Therriault.

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