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Author: Breeze Content

Things to do before saying ‘I do’

Use this month-by-month checklist to make sure you don’t forget a thing.

12 months before

  • Decide on the type of wedding you’d like (civil or religious, big or small)
  • Choose a date
  • Determine the number of guests
  • Establish a budget
  • Pick venues for the ceremony and reception (it’s best to reserve early)

11 months before

  • Make your guest list
  • Choose a caterer (meet with a few first)
  • Select your wedding party
  • Hire a wedding planner

10 months before

  • Start shopping for a wedding dress
  • Decide on a theme for your wedding
  • Choose an officiant if you haven’t already done so


9 months before

  • Book a photographer
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for your out-of-town guests
  • Purchase a wedding gown
  • Shop for the groom’s attire and purchase it

8 months before

  • Meet with your officiant to plan your ceremony
  • Book your entertainment (DJ, band, MC, etc.)
  • Shop for and purchase your bridesmaids’ dresses
  • Design and order the wedding invitations and save-the-date cards

7 months before

  • Create a gift registry
  • Hire a florist
  • Plan your honeymoon


6 months before

  • Send out the save-the-date cards
  • Book your hair and makeup appointments for the day of (and trial runs for both)
  • Book a hotel room for the wedding night if necessary

5 months before

  • Create a schedule for the big day
  • Decide on dates for bachelor and bachelorette parties
  • Shop for and purchase shoes, jewelry and accessories

4 months before

  • Reserve wedding day transportation for the wedding party
  • Select alcohol and other drinks for the reception
  • Taste and choose your wedding cake
  • Buy wedding bands
  • Shop for and order the groomsmen’s attire


3 months before

  • Purchase wedding favours for your guests
  • If you’d like a loved one to say or read something during the ceremony, let them know
  • Write down your vows
  • Decide on activities for the reception (photo booth, dancing, games, etc.)

2 months before

  • Send out your wedding invitations
  • Do trial runs for both hair and makeup
  • Give your music selections to the DJ or MC

1 month before

  • Finalize the schedule for the big day
  • Choose a seating plan for the reception
  • Break in your shoes


1 week before

  • Visit the desired beauty professionals (hair colourist, esthetician, etc.)
  • Practise reading your vows
  • Write out cheques to pay your vendors

1 day before

  • Get your nails done
  • Give the cheques to someone you trust to pay the vendors

Day of, Enjoy!

brown haired man with moustache and goatee speaks into a microphone

Pincher Creek RCMP look to summer staffing in Waterton

Speaking to town council March 27, Hodge assured Mayor Don Anderberg that he’d notify town hall if the detachment anticipated a staffing crunch. 

“If officers don’t come in from out-of-area, the [Pincher Creek] detachment would have to fill in,” Hodge said, qualifying that it was too soon to tell. 

The detachment typically aims to post two Mounties in Waterton Park at all times throughout the summer. Six Mounties were cycled through in pairs last summer, with the detachment occasionally filling in.

“There were definitely periods where we had to supplement [coverage in Waterton] with our own officers, but that was kept to a very minimum level,” Hodge told council. 

It’s not hard to attract Mounties who are willing to spend a summer in the park. The challenge, Hodge explained, is freeing up Mounties from their home detachments. 


Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


“Provincewide, we’re finding that resource levels are low and it’s tough to get officers released so that they can come down and work for us.”

Mounties from Fort Vermilion and High Prairie have already expressed interest in policing Waterton this summer, according to Hodge. At the same time, the detachment commander said he was in talks with Cardston RCMP about potentially pooling resources. 

In the meantime, Hodge said, the detachment was “definitely feeling an impact” in the absence of the town’s former peace officers. 

Mounties are being called to respond to complaints about dogs, many of which fall outside the scope of police work.

“We’ll always respond to dog attacks, but we don’t deal with stray dogs or complaints about dogs chasing deer through town. Our officers don’t have the training or the time for that,” Hodge advised council. 

“We’re in the process of filling positions for two bylaw officers,” Mayor Anderberg replied. “We don’t have anyone in place right now, but that’s in the works.”

A woman with long blonde hair and a woman with short brown hair and glasses smile for the camera.

LRSD hires mental health therapists

The pair will be tasked with providing culturally appropriate and evidence-informed practices in crisis intervention, assessment, referral and intervention services for students and their families. Additionally, they may support consultation and professional development activities within LRSD.

Students and their families can access this service through a referral process with a school’s family-school liaison counsellor. 

Through this process, the counsellor determines if the student and caregiver will be best served seeing an LRSD mental health therapist.

If it is determined to be the best course of action, a referral will be made and the mental health therapist will reach out to initiate the service moving forward.

Colette, who is Métis, will be working as the Indigenous mental health therapist for the division. Her focus will be primarily on the Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek areas, given their significant Indigenous populations.

Colette previously worked within the school division as the family-school liaison counsellor at Livingstone School in Lundbreck. 

She provided support to students and families experiencing hardships while acting as a liaison between families and the school system.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychiatric nursing from Brandon University and a master’s in counselling psychology from Yorkville University, Colette has the experience and education to excel in this role.

“I am extremely pleased to be chosen to fill this new role and look forward to gaining knowledge and sharing experiences with individuals and families in the Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod area,” Colette said in a press release from LRSD.


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Kristen will work in the northern and western corridors of LRSD. This includes schools in Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm, Granum, Lundbreck and Crowsnest Pass. 

Kristen previously spent over 10 years working predominantly for community agencies and Alberta Health Services. 

She holds a diploma in social work from Mount Royal University, on top of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Calgary. 

With a diverse education background and an affinity for helping others, Kristen is excited for this new challenge.

“I am looking forward to seeing the world through a student’s lens and helping support and nurture healthy and meaningful relationships in the process,” said Kristen in the same media release.

The mental health therapist positions are temporary roles made possible through the Alberta government’s Mental Health in Schools Pilot Grant.

LRSD recognizes the importance of having therapists available to its students and felt this was an opportunity the division could not pass up. 

“Oftentimes the ability to access these supports may prove difficult due to travel logistics or financial barriers,” says Holly Stewart, clinical team lead with LRSD, in the press release.

“Having Colette and Kristen join our division and be able to provide these essential services directly and in a flexible, timely manner to our students and their caregivers in the school setting is truly exciting.” 

Colette and Kristen will hold these positions until Dec. 31, 2024, barring any changes.

New birthday phishing tactic puts millions of people at risk

“On its own, a birth date is not a valuable asset to a criminal. It is easy to Google the birth date of almost everyone,” says Daniel Markuson, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN.

“However, in combination with other data, such as email, friends list, name and surname, it can be used to target a person using a highly personal email with perfect timing, such as a birthday.”

The data was gathered using NordVPN’s dark web monitor feature, which helps users find out if their data has been leaked to the dark web.

Phishing emails often include a sense of urgency so that a person doesn’t think twice before clicking on a malicious link inside the email. For example, the subject could be “Your password is about to expire” or “Your account is about to be blocked.”

The new trend is that scammers send targeted victims an email on their birthday. Such an email’s subject could be “Happy Birthday!” or “You have received an e-birthday card.” After receiving dozens of birthday wishes that day, the victim doesn’t suspect anything fishy and opens the email immediately.

The email usually includes birthday greetings that invite the user to click on a link to see the full message or receive a birthday e-card sent by a friend. Sometimes the message even states that a victim has an Amazon gift card waiting that someone purchased for their birthday.

Of course, there is no e-card or voucher, and a user’s computer can be infected with malware as soon as they click the link.


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How can you protect yourself from birthday phishing scams?

If you know what to look out for, detecting phishing scams is easy. The clues are often hidden in plain sight:

—Watch for generic greetings. Emails addressed to Sir/Madam or Ms./Mr. should not be trusted. Always be aware of language and fluency: shortened words, slang and spelling errors are a dead giveaway.

—Don’t click on links. Instead, hover your mouse on the button to see the destination URL. Check if it looks legitimate and — this is important — if it contains the “https” part. You can also see a screenshot of the first page of that website using

—Double-check. If you receive an email on your birthday from somebody you know, think twice before clicking any links. Is it typical of this person to send an email? If not, contact them on the phone, social media or other channel to confirm the legitimacy.

—Use the threat-protection feature on NordVPN. It scans your files before you download them, identifies threats, and blocks them before they can harm your device.

“It is important to remember that cybercriminals don’t take days off on special occasions,” says Daniel Markuson.

“There is no need, of course, to ruin your birthday with the paranoia of being targeted online, but staying vigilant and informant is always important.”

Group of Vision Credit Union employees in blue t-shirts presents a giant cheque to three women from the Pincher Creek Food Bank.

Vision Credit Union presents grants in Pincher Creek

The Beaver Mines Fire Brigade, Pincher Creek and District Food Centre, and the Southwest Alberta Regional Search and Rescue Society are the beneficiaries. 

The grants will support these groups in undertaking various capital projects.

Beaver Mines Fire Brigade will use the money to purchase a Zoll AutoPulse device, which provides automated CPR to victims of cardiac arrest.

The AutoPulse will be available at the Beaver Mines fire station for both fire and EMS personnel in the event a call comes in where the administration of CPR is required.

Pincher Creek and District Community Food Centre submitted a grant request to help replace the furnace and install an air conditioning system in its food storage and workspace.

The current heating system is outdated, costing the centre a great deal in utility fees, while a lack of air conditioning makes the space unbearable for staff and volunteers during the summer months.


Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


The additions will go a long way in keeping things running smoothly at the food centre.

Lastly, the Southwest Alberta Regional Search and Rescue Society will put its grant money toward acquiring 20 new radios for use during training and rescue.

The radios are part of SARSAR’s plan to overhaul its communications system as the group looks to continue a resurgence following difficulties faced during Covid-19.

Vision Credit Union’s Helping Hands Grants program is intended to help financially support qualified organizations with capital projects designed to benefit communities and the people that call them home.

Through the program, Vision commits $180,000 annually to organizations within its 23 branch communities.

“We were pleased by the interest in this program and impressed by the amazing work being done to further quality of life in our rural Alberta communities,” Steve Friend, CEO of Vision Credit Union, said in a press release.

“We’re honoured to play a part in supporting these efforts.”

Grant applications were evaluated by a grant committee made up of the credit union’s CEO and board, based on each project’s foreseen benefits to its community.

A group of people dressed in warm winter clothes cheers before heading out on a cold-weather walk.

Blairmore walk raises $45K for Crowsnest food bank

Held each year in 166 communities across Canada, Coldest Night of the Year walks raise money for charities supporting those experiencing hurt, hunger and homelessness.

The local food bank hosted its first CNOY walk in Blairmore on Feb. 25, raising money to help cover the ever-growing costs of food and its transportation over the course of the year. 

Originally, the fundraising goal was set at $20,000. However, residents of Crowsnest Pass and surrounding areas stepped up to more than double that goal with their unwavering support.

“Our community has always been very supportive of the food bank. We have had so many changes in the past year, including a 40 per cent increase in usage,” says Desiree Erdmann, manager of the food bank.

“Having everyone come together for a common goal, and all the laughing and hugging, was certainly very uplifting for everyone at the food bank.”



Community members embraced the opportunity to support their local food bank. Twenty teams made up of 89 walkers participated in the event, with 40 volunteers, 770 donors and 18 sponsors contributing to the success of the walk.

Despite chilly, windy conditions on the day of the walk, the community pulled together and showed up for a great cause. 

The generosity of everyone who contributed has not gone unnoticed.

“The Crowsnest Pass Food Bank is very thankful for the support and kindness of our community. We appreciate everyone who had a part in Coldest Night of the Year,” Desiree says.

With the success of this year’s walk, many locals have already expressed a desire for a second edition of the event in the Pass next year.

As luck would have it, the CNOY will return to Blairmore next year on Feb. 24 to once more help support the food bank, as it has supported the community for over 25 years. 

If this year was any indication, the event will only continue to grow in its ability to make a positive impact on the community.

A woman scoops fresh popcorn into a green and blue popcorn bag.

Scoop for Love

For every 30 minutes a volunteer bags popcorn, the theatre will donate $15 to a charity of the volunteer’s choice. 

Scoop for Love volunteers are also welcome to enjoy a free bag of popcorn and watch whatever movie is playing at the time.

Amanda Leaming, co-owner of Fox Theatre, says Scoop for Love was introduced after she came across similar programs running successfully at other theatres. She feels it’s a good opportunity to develop a community connection while supporting worthy causes.

“My motto is the famous Helen Keller quote, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,’ ” Amanda says.

“Having people come in to volunteer their hours and give that money back to the community, in terms of their charity of choice, really helps develop a strong sense of community and joy.”

Prior to the launch of Scoop for Love, Amanda reached out to some local non-profit groups to let them know about the program.

Felicia White, executive director of the Pincher Creek Humane Society, was thrilled to learn of the program and how it could help the animal shelter.


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“I get people who want to volunteer and help the shelter that can’t because they’re allergic to the animals, so this is a way that they can help without stepping foot in the shelter,” Felicia says.

“Fifteen dollars may not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way to helping us here at the shelter, whether that’s buying cat litter, bleach or other products we require.” 

While the emphasis will be on local organizations, volunteers can select whatever charity or non-profit they wish to receive their donation. 

The theatre will eventually have a list of local charities and non-profits for volunteers to consider, should they wish.

Interested candidates should contact the theatre and set up a date for a small amount of training, to ensure they’re confident and comfortable with the work.

A schedule will be up at the theatre with time slots open for volunteers to bag popcorn. As long as there are slots available, there is no limit to how much time someone can volunteer.

For more information, or if you wish to volunteer, you can call the theatre at 403-627-3444, email or swing by in person.

Sharing the joy

Not long ago, my partner and I headed up to the Crowsnest Pass Golf Club and were gloriously bombarded by DG Productions’ dazzling presentation of Let it Be! A Rock Musical. Among other things, it was sort of a retrospective celebration of the 1960s through the songs of the Beatles. And I’m here to tell you, it was a fine experience.

For me, there was a potpourri of poignant memories of putting out an underground anti-Vietnam newspaper on a somewhat conservative campus in Utah while President Johnson was being lied to by his military generals. I pretty much managed to hold it together until they launched into the George Harrison song “Here Comes the Sun” from the 1969 Beatles album Abbey Road — and then I lost it. Man, that piece made me cry.


Little darlin’, it’s been a long cold 

 lonely winter

Little darlin’, it seems like years 

 since it’s been here

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right


It was more than 50 years ago that my partner and I lived north of the Arctic Circle in the Inuit community of Taloyoak (then Spence Bay) on the Boothia Peninsula in Nunavut. Our daughter Jaida was born in the nursing station there with the support of nurse Judy Hill.

Most people know that the earth we live on tips on its axis like an old-time top as it turns throughout the year. In Southern Canada, that means the days get shorter — or rather, the hours of daylight get fewer — in the winter.


Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta


When you live way up there near the top of the globe, the daylight hours disappear altogether. The sun goes down one day on the north coast and that’s it. At Taloyoak that meant there was no sun for the next 44 days.

There would be a smidgen of dim light to the south on some days, but no sun to be seen, until that glorious day the sun tinted the horizon pink and the snow glowed with a purple hue.

In the old days, when the Inuit still lived in igloos, they were some happy to see the end of the dark season. If they had food to eat and blubber for their qulliqs (lamps), they knew they could go hunting in the light and make it through the winter to another spring. They would spurt water from their mouths towards the sun and toss it bits of seal meat; offerings so that the sun would come back the following year as well.


Little darlin’, the smiles return 

    to our faces

Little darlin’, it seems like years 

    since it’s been here

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right

Little darlin’, I feel like the ice 

    is slowly melting

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes


Oh my, I cried for happy in the Crowsnest Golf Club the other night and I thank producer Debbie Goldstein and the entire Let it Be! cast for spreading the joy. They made us sad about the Ukraine but glad to be alive and well. They had us remembering the good times and clapping our hands. They had us waving our arms and singing. They had us jumping up on the stage dancing. It felt so good. A beautiful sharing.

I can hardly wait for the next invitation.

A high school student wearing a checkered jacket and black ball cap demonstrates his automotive servicing skills at a competition.

Students compete in regional skills competition

On March 18, students from Matthew Halton High School in Pincher Creek, Livingstone School in Lundbreck and Crowsnest Consolidated High School in Coleman participated in the regional competition.

The competition showcases trades and technology occupations, while rewarding students for their performances and commitment to these career paths. It is intended to help students develop a career awareness strategy to motivate them to pursue trades and technology occupations as a first-choice career plan. 

Matthew Halton High School results

Matthew Halton High School had five students at the event, with three finishing in the top three in their respective categories. 

Austin Willms competed in the automotive service category, where he picked up an impressive first-place finish. Competitors displayed their understanding of specific areas of an automobile, while demonstrating their ability to maintain and repair components of those areas.

Grady Mackintosh finished second in the cabinet-making competition. Students constructed a four-corner mitred box. This required them to interpret a provided drawing and perform various joinery techniques to construct the box.

Nathan Mitchell placed third in the carpentry competition, which evaluated students based on their ability to organize and execute a given work assignment both accurately and safely. 

“We’re thrilled that the students get to explore areas of passion that could lead to careers, and that they get to not only put this practice into everyday learning, but actually be recognized for their efforts,” says Bryan Burns, assistant principal at MHHS.


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Livingstone School results

Two students represented the Lundbreck school at the skills competition.

Neveah MacKinnon competed in the baking category, finishing in second place. She and her fellow competitors were tasked with producing a wide range of intricate baked goods. They were tested on ingredient selection, portioning, baking, presentation and more.

Sarah Yagos also competed for Livingstone, finishing second in the culinary arts competition. For this category, students were evaluated based on their culinary competencies and creativity. Competitors were tasked with preparing two specific menu items.

“These fantastic young ladies showed remarkable skill and talent in their respective disciplines and we’re thrilled to have them representing our school,” says Eliza Grose, the school’s assistant principal.

Crowsnest Consolidated High School results

CCHS had two students team up in the video production competition. Sophia Groves and Makayla Gustavson took home first place in this category, demonstrating a proficiency in the video communications field. 

The event gave participating students the opportunity to explore digital video production while creating a short video based on a topic and theme provided to them.

Since 2001, Career Transitions has teamed up with Lethbridge College and Skills Canada Alberta to host this skills event, one of nine regional competitions held throughout the province.

Congratulations to all of the local students who participated in this year’s competition and best of luck to those continuing on to provincials.

Province to offer sexual assault care training for doctors and nurses

Tanya Fir, parliamentary secretary for the status of women, said last week that the province will cover tuition for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered midwives and doctors invited to take the Rural Sexual Assault Care program, an online course offered by Grande Prairie’s Northwestern Polytechnic. 

The 12-hour self-study course is designed to familiarize health-care providers with sexual assault testing and evidence (SATE) procedures and to build on the emotional skills needed to treat survivors. The overarching aim is to make SATE testing more available in rural hospitals so that survivors don’t need to undergo the procedure in far-flung cities.

“Every person who’s been sexually assaulted deserves access to care and forensic evidence collection, regardless of where they live,” Fir said. 

“Sometimes, in certain rural areas, there may not be health-care providers that have this training or are comfortable administering it,” she added.

Dr. Gavin Parker, lead physician at Pincher Creek Health Centre’s emergency room, said he welcomes the program’s intent, but cautioned that staff crunches are the limiting factor, not training gaps. 

Parker noted that the hours-long procedures sap vital staff resources because SATE kits are designed to gather evidence of a crime. 

“There’s a very strict chain of evidence that we have to follow,” he said, explaining that SATE procedures cannot be interrupted. The necessary examination is so intimate and invasive that Parker chooses to perform the procedure alongside a nurse, which takes responding nurses off the ER floor. 


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Sexual assault often brings trauma that needs urgent medical attention, but Parker said evidence gathering isn’t a medical priority. 

“The more we can do on-site, the better…. But I can’t in good conscience ignore other patients in the health centre who might get hurt in the two to three hours it takes to perform the test.” 

Parker said he’s performed the procedure in small hospitals and will continue to do so when he can, qualifying that it’s not uncommon that survivors treated at the health centre are transported for SATE procedures by the nearest sexual assault response team, at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge. Sometimes, survivors have to drive themselves, he said. 

“If the province really wanted to be serious about this, they’d pay for designated physicians to be on call,” Parker said.  

The RSAC program is funded through a $1-million investment the province announced last fall. 

Participation is voluntary and the program doesn’t require a practicum, according to Fir and Michelle Wallace, Northwestern’s associate dean of continuing education. 

The program is set to launch April 3, according to Wallace.

Homesteaders of the Tennessee and Pincher City districts

The pioneering Boag brothers

The Boag brothers, Lawrence and Charles, had early agricultural connections with the Tennessee and Pincher City districts.

Perhaps the better remembered of the siblings was Lawrence John Boag, the younger of the two, who was born Aug. 12, 1882, in Guildford, England. He homesteaded on the southeast quarter of 36-7-30-W4.

Although this was located immediately north of the Oldman River in the Tennessee district, most historical references to Lawrence John Boag list him as a pioneer of Pincher City. Folklore indicates that he may have picked up his mail and completed his business transactions at this more southerly point.

His homestead was applied for on May 16, 1904. He listed his age as 22 years at this time. Boag established near-continuous residency on his quarter. His absences were spent working as a labourer and bridge man with the railway. 

Most of his efforts went into farming. He had 10 acres plowed and cultivated in 1905. This increased to 25 acres some two years later. Boag estimated that 120 acres on his homestead were suitable for farming, with none of the property being covered in swamp or by timber.

His homestead file noted that his house had a value of $100 and that his stable was being constructed. The fencing for his quarter-section was worth $225.

Some 13 years following his homestead application, Lawrence Boag continued his railway connections by taking up a job with the Canadian Pacific Railway. During the 1920s he was stationed at Macleod, transferring late in that decade to Calgary, where eventually he secured employment as a conductor. Retirement came two years after the close of the Second World War.

On March 18, 1909, Lawrence Boag and Elizabeth Elsie Harrad, the eldest daughter of Charles and Eliza Harrad, were united in marriage at St. John’s Anglican Church in Pincher Creek. Boag’s brother Charles served as his best man for the ceremony.


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Elizabeth’s birth in England dated to Aug. 3, 1890. Lawrence and Elizabeth celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1959. Lawrence passed away Jan. 18, 1960, and Elizabeth on Sept. 5, 1965. Both are buried in Queen’s Park Cemetery in Calgary.

Charles Henry Boag was born in March 1877 in England, immigrating to Canada in 1902. His homestead was located on the northeast quarter of 6-8-29-W4, just northeast of his brother’s spread. He applied for it on April 26, 1904, and received patent for the property on Dec. 2, 1908. Boag established near-continuous residency on his quarter from 1904 through 1908, his absences being caused by being “in the mountains working in the woods.”

Farming on his homestead was successful. In 1905 he plowed and cultivated nearly a dozen acres, which by 1908 had increased to over 40 acres. Old-timers remembered an abundance of good crops being grown on his quarter.

Boag had two horses in 1905, which increased to five some three years later. No cattle were listed in his homestead file.

Buildings included a frame house measuring 12 by 20 feet. It was valued at $150. He also had a 16-by-20-foot stable worth $80 and a 10-foot-deep well valued at $20. He installed two miles of fencing worth $200.

Charles did not have a family of his own and eventually sold his property to the Lewis family, whereupon he returned to England.

Pincher City adventures of Walter Sage

Walter Sage was a pioneer of the Ashvale and Pincher City districts.

Sage was born in Ontario on May 21, 1865. His parents and ancestry were English. Religiously, he was affiliated with the Church of England and, while residing in southwestern Alberta, he at times attended St. John’s Church in Pincher Creek.



As a young adult he settled in Vancouver.

Sage initially arrived on the local scene in the very early 1900s. That year’s census lists him as a boarder at the George and Elizabeth Fair dwelling in Pincher City. Sage’s occupation already was listed as a rancher.

On May 12, 1900, he filed on a homestead on the northeast quarter of 14-7-30-W4. It was located south of the Oldman River, less than two miles north of the settlement of Pincher City. He received patent to the quarter effective Dec. 13, 1903, and there he remained for a decade and a half or more.

The property thrived for farming purposes but not for ranching. In 1900 he had 2½ acres plowed, which increased to 40 acres plowed and seeded in 1902. Walter Sage did not have any cattle, horses or pigs on the homestead.

His buildings were modest. They featured a 12-by-12 frame house worth $40. He had 1½ miles of fencing constructed at a cost of $50.

A career change for Walter Sage came in the late 1910s when he purchased the former Richard Morgan garage in Pincher City. Local historian William Laidlaw claimed that “during Prohibition, [the garage] was a frequent spot for the ‘rum runners’ to park their big fancy cars.”

Several years later, likely after 1928-29, when Sage still was listed as a garage owner in the Henderson’s Directory, he sold his business to a couple of younger fellows.

At this point, Walter Sage retired and resided in the first of the Laidlaw grocery store buildings, also located at Pincher City. He was recalled as being very kind to his neighbours Mr. and Mrs. White, who hailed from England. Weather permitting, he ensured that Mrs. White attended church every Sunday.

Walter Sage, who remained a bachelor, passed away at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Pincher Creek on July 12, 1945. He was buried in the Fairview Cemetery.

Sources for these biographical sketches included old newspaper clippings, homestead records housed at the Provincial Archives of Alberta as accessed by, Dominion of Canada Censuses for 1901 and 1911, and the historical recollections of pioneer William Laidlaw.

RMA convention a success, says president McLauchlin

Members generally approved of the province’s new funding formula for rural municipalities, although McLauchlin said there was room for improvement. 

Premier Danielle Smith, who addressed the convention March 22, was especially well received. 

“Her speech was very good. Our members were pleasantly surprised,” McLauchlin told Shootin’ the Breeze after the convention wrapped up. 

In her speech, Smith said the 2023 provincial budget would deliver over $2 billion in capital investments to rural municipalities over three years. Her government was working hard to cut ambulance wait times and had signed agreements to bring in doctors from outside Alberta, one of whom is now working full time in Blairmore, she said.

In particular, McLauchlin said budgetary adjustments to rural municipalities’ provincial funding streams show a more genuine partnership between RMA members and the province. 

If passed, budget 2023 will tweak Edmonton’s funding formula for rural municipalities by fully indexing rural funding in a given year to provincial revenue from three years earlier, whereas the outgoing formula had indexed funding to half of provincial revenue.   

“It’s pegging municipal funding to [Alberta’s] prosperity. We’re fully in agreement with the core concept,” McLauchlin said.


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In practice, the president said, baseline funding for rural municipalities under the outgoing Municipal Sustainability Initiative was much more robust three years ago than what members can initially expect from the incoming Local Government Fiscal Framework, which takes hold in 2024. 

The RMA remains at loggerheads with the province over the province’s recent “downloading” of financial obligations onto municipalities, including policing costs. Members also want to see orphaned oil and gas wells reclaimed at the industry’s expense, whereas the latest version of the province’s Liability Management Incentive Program (formerly RStar) would subtract companies’ reclamation costs from their provincial royalty payments on non-renewable resources. 

To that point, McLauchlin said Energy Minister Peter Guthrie assured RMA members at the convention that the province hopes to consult more with rural municipalities. 

“On the whole, this was probably one of the better conventions we’ve had in a while. We feel that we’re being heard,” McLauchlin said. 

Scott Johnston, press secretary for Alberta Health, later explained that the Blairmore doctor mentioned in Smith’s speech joined the Crowsnest Pass Health Clinic in late January, having signed a three-year service agreement under the province’s Rural Education Supplement and Integrated Doctor Experience program. The new doctor came from British Columbia and now runs a family practice at the health clinic.

A doctor in a white coat folds her arms while holding her stethoscope.

Doctor shortage to worsen at Pincher Creek ER, clinic

The reduction will drop the number of dedicated ER doctors from six to four, with the shortage expected to last up to a year. Locums and doctors-in-training will pick up the slack in the meantime, he says.

Parker is one of six doctors independently contracted by Alberta Health Services to work at the centre’s ER at 1222 Bev McLachlin Dr. The doctors meanwhile operate the attached Associate Clinic, where each runs a family practice. 

One doctor is pausing her ER duties leading up to her maternity leave later this spring. The second will stay on at the ER in a reduced capacity as a locum, and will no longer work at the clinic. 

Parker said March 22 he hoped the first doctor, who plans to keep up her family practice until late May or early June, will make a full return to the clinic and the ER after her maternity leave.

“We have a number of locums that work at the ER. Some work here regularly — others episodically,” Parker explained, adding that he and his remaining colleagues hope to recruit more locums in the coming months.


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AHS, which functions as the province’s overarching health authority, runs a rural locum program for ERs staffed by less than four full-time doctors. Parker said he’d asked the health authority’s South Zone to relax that criterion for the health centre, which technically doesn’t qualify.   

Parker is the ER’s only anesthetist, with Dr. Jared Van Bussell serving as its only surgeon. 

Critically, Van Bussell is the only doctor at the health centre who can perform obstetric surgery. 

Van Bussell announced in January that he would no longer perform scheduled deliveries and routine C-sections at the centre after May 31, citing an acute, chronic lack of resources from the Government of Alberta. 

The remaining doctors at the Associate Clinic will take on their outgoing colleagues’ patients, according to executive director Jeff Brockman. 

The health centre serves around 10,000 patients over a broad swath of southwestern Alberta, according to Parker.

Photo of Emilio Picariello – man with short dark hair and large moustache

100 years since Crowsnest Pass rum-running murder

Notorious Crowsnest Pass bootlegger Emilio Picariello was hanged in 2022 for murdering APP constable Stephen Lawson.

When Alberta outlawed the importation of alcohol in 1918, Emilio Picariello excavated a room under the Blairmore Hotel (which he owned) and dug a tunnel leading to the road so he could smuggle liquor directly into his cellar.

The Alberta Provincial Police set up checkpoints throughout Crowsnest Pass to search for illegal liquor, but Emilio had ways to avoid getting caught.

At times, he would load his vehicles with what appeared to be sacks of flour. The sacks on the outside of the car, which were most susceptible to being searched, contained actual flour, which threw officers off the trail of the liquor inside the sacks in the vehicle.

Though it was widely known he was a bootlegger, Emilio was respected in the community. He gave his sacks of decoy flour to needy families, bought $5,000 in victory bonds during the First World War, and contributed money to the families of coal miners who were on strike in 1918.

Things started to go downhill for Emilio in 1921, when he was fined $20 by the APP after officers found four barrels of alcohol in his warehouse.

In 1922, APP officers recovered a whopping 70 barrels of beer from a railway car. The bill of lading had Emilio’s name on it and he was subsequently fined $500.


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Emilio Picariello
Emilio Picariello     Photo courtesy of Crowsnest Museum and Archives


Later that year, officers received a tip that Emilio’s son, Stefano, was bringing a carload of whiskey to Blairmore from Fernie. Police met him outside the Blairmore Hotel, but Stefano attempted to escape with the whiskey.

A chase began in Coleman, with Const. Stephen Lawson firing shots in an attempt to stop the car. One of the bullets struck Stefano in the hand, but he was not seriously injured. When word of his son’s injury made it to Emilio later that evening, he and his housekeeper, Florence Lassandro, confronted Const. Lawson in front of the APP barracks.

An argument ensued between the two bootleggers and the constable. Shots were fired, and Const. Lawson was killed in front of his young daughter.

It’s not known for certain whether it was Emilio or Florence who pulled the trigger and killed the constable, but both were eventually convicted of murder and hanged. Florence is the only woman to ever be hanged in Alberta.

The APP Barracks, restored a few years ago by the Crowsnest Historical Society, are open to the public. The exhibit can be explored by going to the Crowsnest Museum at 7701 18th Ave. in Coleman.

Here, you can explore where Const. Lawson lived, worked and was killed. You will learn more about Alberta’s Prohibition history and can decide for yourself who murdered the constable.