Saying goodbye to 2016 – August

The Smoky River Mud Bogs were held at the Smoky River Agriculture Society’s grounds by Donnelly during the weekend of July 30-31. Monster trucks were part of the event, including the one above, owned by Ron Chailler. This truck rolled over two clunkers at the end of the first day of competition,

August 3, 2016 – G.P. Vanier teacher receives Excellence in Teaching Award
Kristen Blanchette, a teacher of science and biology at G.P. Vanier is among twenty teachers from across the province to receive a 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award.
Alberta Education presents the Excellence in Teaching Awards annually to principals and teachers to acknowledge their outstanding contribution to the teaching profession.
Established in 1989, the Award nominees have their names put forward by colleagues, students, parents and community members in recognition what is unique and valuable in what a teacher or principal brings to the role of educator.
In its twenty-seven years, more than 10,000 teacher and principal nominations have been submitted and over 500 members of the teaching profession have received the awards.
With both her parents being teachers, Kristen Blanchette grew up in an environment with a strong focus on education and saw firsthand how students of her parents acknowledged the difference her parents made to their life. Her mother teaches at G.P. Vanier and her father who taught at E.W. Pratt School in High Prairie retired recently.
“I remember how people they had thought would often stop my parents on the street, it might have been years since they had seen them, and they would just say how much my parents meant to them in their life. My parents were very focused on having a good relationship with their student, encouraging and supporting them. That is what I saw from them and that is what I hope I was able to continue to do.”

August 10, 2016 – The weather was a mixed bag of sunshine and rain for the annual Smoky River Mud Bogs, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.
The event was held at the Smoky River Agriculture Society grounds by Donnelly on July 30 and 31, as part of the long weekend. Competitors came from all over the region, and several hundred people attended.
“The turnout was great, probably one of the best in a long time,” says organizer Charlie Deslaurier.
“The event went better than planned and the racers were pleased, too.”
There was a lot of good support and volunteers made the event possible, he adds.
The two-day event consisted of:
. Quad Class.
. 100 Stock Class.
. 250 Modified Class.
. 400 Open Class.
. 500 Modified Class.
. 600 Super Modified Class.
. 750 Open Class.
. 800 Unlimited Class.
Many competitors got stuck in trenches during the first day, requiring the services of a backhoe and “chain gang.”

August 17, 2016 – Minister of Energy and Minister of the Environment attend luncheon in Falher
On August 5, approximately 50 people, representing regional and municipal governments and local organizations attended a by invitation only luncheon hosted by Peace Region Economic Development Alliance (PREDA) giving representatives of local interests an opportunity to meet with the Minister of the Environment Shannon Phillips and Minister of the Energy Marg McCuaig-Boyd.
While touring the region, the luncheon gave the ministers a chance to bring people up-to-date on developments in the Ministries of Environment and Energy. There was also an opportunity for those in attendance to ask questions of the ministers and to express their concerns.
Marg McCuaig-Boyd said a few words expressing her regret that time restraints prevent her from visiting her riding as often as she would like, but was happy to have good news to deliver.
“We had a good start to the day in Grande Prairie, being able to give some money to the Mighty Peace Watershed Alliance, and we all know how important their work is,” she said, opening the conversation on a positive note.
McCuaig-Boyd spoke about the close working relationship between the Energy and the Environment departments and how many questions put forward often need to be addressed by both ministers.
Before handing things over to Minister Philips, McCuaig Boyd talked about the Growing Forward programs, alternative sources of energy and innovation.
Many of the questions from the floor were about carbon tax, how the tax would affect farmers, families, and small businesses. There were also concerns about access to potable water and some discussion as to the pros and cons of alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind power.
Reconciling the energy industry, environmental concerns and diversifying the economy was the primary focus of much of what Minister Phillips had to say.
“I think Albertans are looking for ways that we can diversify the economy and they just want to know that we are protecting middle and lower income families, small businesses, our municipalities and our communities while we do it.”

August 24, 2016 – Chomiak sentenced to life in prison for murdering his ex-wife, Melody Lee-Perry, and Jerica Bouchard
The family of two murder victims has waited over five years for their day in court, but now it has come to pass.
Edward John Chomiak has been sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of his ex-wife, Melody Lee-Perry.
He has also been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Jerica Bouchard. Some family members were in tears following the trial.
‘They were beautiful people,” says Brenda Pearson, who is Lee-Perry’s sister. “Happy people.”
For Pearson, the anguish will continue, even though Chomiak has been convicted.
“There’s never closure,” she says. “We’ll never see them again. You can’t take the pain away that’s been caused.”
Cindy McKay-Perry, the sister-in-law of Lee-Perry, is pleased they’ve had their day in court.
“It’s about time,” says McKay-Perry.
“Our family has been in limbo since the first court appearance. I’m glad the day has finally come.”
The wounds have been festering for a long time, McKay-Perry adds, and she hopes the healing can start.
“Their souls can rest. It’s about them. It’s about the beautiful lives that have been ripped from us. She was my sister-in-law and I loved her.”
The five-day trial
Chomiak’s murder trial was held in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Peace River during Aug. 8-12. The trial was by judge alone, with Madame Justice M.T. Moreau presiding.
The first three days were devoted to court proceedings and testimony. The fourth day was devoted to the verdicts and the reading of several victim impact statements.
The judge, Crown prosecutor and defence counsel had to determine the admissibility of some of the victim impact statements and one was excluded.

August 31, 2016 – St. Paul’s Anglican Church celebrates 85 years in McLennan
The St. Paul’s Anglican Church in McLennan is 85 years young, and the congregation converged there on Aug. 21 to celebrate the milestone anniversary.
Father Leon Cadsap and Peter Clarke, the Rector’s Warden, led a special mass for the event.
“I welcome you all to this 85th anniversary,” says Father Leon Cadsap. “We are celebrating the foundation of this church.”
He offered several prayers and biblical references in relation to the church, including this one:
“Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate the dedication of this house of prayer:
“We give You thanks for the fellowship of those who have worshipped in this place, and we pray that all who seek You here may find You, and be filled with Your joy and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You; in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
The congregation also sang a series of songs, including ‘The Church in the Wildwood’ and ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’.
Communion was also held and a collection was taken up. The service ended with the singing of ‘To God Be the Glory’.
Following the service, the congregation went next door to St. Paul’s Heritage House for tea and cake.
Father Leon Cadsap reflected on the significance of the church in McLennan.
“The church has been here for a long time and the hope is that it will continue for a long time,” says Father Leon Cadsap.
He also hopes that the church can grow the congregation with new and former members.
“We need to invite more people to come and bring back the old members if they’re still in town, so that we can sustain the maintenance of this building.”

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