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Obituary photo of Leonard McGlynn of Pincher Creek on horseback.

Leonard McGlynn Obituary | July 20, 1938 – Feb. 6, 2024

Leonard Carl McGlynn passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at the Pincher Creek hospital on Feb. 6, 2024, at the age of 85.

He is survived by his children: Brent (Laura) McGlynn, Gloria (Brent) Barbero, Sheila (Kent) Goudreau, Coralee (Shawn) Anderson; grandchildren: Darla (Wade), Ryan, Laressa (Daniel), Megan (Aaron), Bradley, Shaun (Kyra), Alyssa (Derek), Blair (Kara), Tyson (Taylor), Levi (Sydney), Lewis; and great-grandchildren: Walker, Theo, Tripp and Kesler.

Leonard is also survived by his sister Lucille (Len) Hagel, brothers Fred (Dianne) McGlynn and Dallas (Barb) McGlynn, sister-in-law Jean Parker,  as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Leonard also had many special friends and neighbours that he held close to his heart.

He was predeceased by his loving wife of 55 years, Eileen McGlynn, and by parents Henry and Bernadette McGlynn.

As per Leonard’s wishes, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Heritage Acres.

 

Pump bottles of colourful, natural soaps on ad for Lynden House Market in Pincher Creek

 

 

Government of Alberta word logo as heading for provincial statements

Rebranding the carbon tax won’t fix a failure

Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz issued the following joint statement on the rebranding of the federal carbon tax:

“The federal government, in its flawed environmental activism, imposed a punitive carbon tax that did not reduce emissions, but instead, raised the cost of everything.

“Now, five years later, the federal carbon tax is universally known as a resounding failure. The carbon tax has punished Canadians while failing to reduce emissions.

“Canadians are struggling to pay a carbon tax on top of the federal government’s self-inflicted inflation crisis. We know that the carbon tax is costing Alberta families hundreds of dollars each year.

“In an act of desperation, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have the audacity to try and ‘rebrand’ the carbon tax – a cynical and desperate ploy that will fail.

“No ‘rebrand’ will save the federal government from its dwindling poll numbers. No speeches or sound bites will make a difference.

“Canadians will see it for what it is: a tax on the fuel they use to drive their kids to school, a tax on the food they buy, a tax on the businesses that they run, a tax on everything.

“Alberta’s government has a plan to achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. We are confident this can be done without a consumer carbon tax, and we’ll continue to call on Minister Guilbeault to end his relentless pursuit of a more expensive Canada and to work with us instead.”

 

Huge, loaded burger and onion rings on Bear Grass Bistro ad.

 

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

Obituary photo of George Parkin

George Ernest Parkin Obituary | 1940 – 2024

George Parkin, born Aug. 24, 1940, in Creston, B.C., passed away Jan. 6, 2024, in Victoria, B.C.

George spent a lot of his life working in the oilfield industry all through Western Canada. He always enjoyed his work, travelling and his family. George always called Pincher Creek home and enjoyed the mountains and wildlife.

When George moved to Crofton in 2016, he never failed to mention that there was no wind out there, and his first question would be, “Is it windy there today?”

George always had time for a scotch or a coffee and a story or two. You never knew if the story was true or not because George always made it so believable, however there were always some parts that made you think it was probably made up.

Growing up, George enjoyed playing hockey with his brothers and friends, and pestering anyone that could take it.

George loved spending time with his grandkids, if it was playing crib, camping at the river, going for drives, going for a coffee and butterhorn or breakfast at Mrs. P’s.

He had a smile that would light up a room, and a kind word for everyone.

George will be greatly missed by his wife, Linda Beer; children Kevin (Colleen), Marc (Lisa) and Vickie; grandchildren Amanda (Nathan), Nicole, Jessica (Andrew), Alyssa (Jack), Tamara (Ian), Spencer, Quinn (Meranda), Tyree (Brittany), Kyra (Mark) and Krysten (Coady); stepson Ken (Shannon); and 17 great-grandchildren.

George is survived by brothers John (Carole) and Ken (Sharon), sisters Mary and Gert (Herb), and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

George was predeceased by his late wife, Betty (2006); his parents, John and Johanna; brothers Hank (Ev), Gary, Lorne and Brian; stepdaughter Kristine; and daughter-in-law Carrie.

 

Dairy Queen menu items – chocolate-dipped cone, chicken fingers and fries, blizzard, deluxe stackburger, pink orange julius and hot fudge sundae, on an ad for Pincher Creek DQ location

 

 

Two RCMP officers in red serge, two Indigenous men and one woman wearing head-dress regalia.

Piikani Nation RCMP focus on reconciliation and community engagement

Alberta RCMP are actively involved in the ongoing reconciliation process, with a dedicated effort from detachment members Alberta-wide to strengthen trust and build collaborative relationships with all Indigenous community members.

Officers throughout the province are actively listening and taking affirmative steps to formalize working relationships with Indigenous partners while consulting with them on community policing initiatives.

Sgt. Vince Bacon, the newly appointed detachment commander of Piikani Nation RCMP, and his team are wholly committed to enhancing relationships between the Piikani First Nation community and the police officers serving them.

“Our history has left generational scars on the lives of many. I know that we are just at the beginning of a long journey, and to rekindle that trust and to strengthen relationships will take time,” Bacon says.

“At first glance, policing a rural community versus an urban centre would seem as different as the landscapes themselves, but no matter the size of the community, we have a responsibility to those we serve. Part of that is actively participating in the healing process.”

Over the past eight months, Bacon and his team have concentrated on addressing policing gaps and priorities while fostering transparency and trust within the community. They aim to break the cycle of discrimination, violence, and neglect within the criminal justice system.

 

Young girl in multi-coloured jacket and bright pink helmet and ski pants, grins broadly while skating with arms outstretched.

 

With a renewed outlook and plan, the goal is to establish relationships based on mutual respect and trust, encouraging community members to feel comfortable seeking police assistance without fear.

“Ultimately, everyone here has the same common goal — keeping your communities safe and secure for all residents,” Bacon says.

“But we cannot do this alone. When establishing our policing priorities, consultation is key. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. We cannot make decisions that affect you, without you.”

Understanding the significance of community involvement, detachment officers are encouraged to participate in traditional Indigenous events and ceremonies to enhance their cultural understanding.

“One of the best ways to build relationships is to meet face to face with Indigenous leaders, elders and community members as much as possible,” Bacon says.

“This allows us the opportunity to listen, to learn and to set priorities based on feedback from the community, as they teach us traditional Indigenous values that are unique to them.”

 

 

Red mural with Blackfoot Winter Count imagery painted on exterior wall of Piikani Nation RCMP detachment.

A wall mural on the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment building created with symbolic Blackfoot Winter Count imagery. Photo courtesy of Piikani Nation RCMP.

 

Bacon also wants officers to hear stories from elders and the community, even if those stories are sometimes difficult to hear.

“To benefit a community is to be part of the community,” he says. “Finding the time to acknowledge people in the communities that we police is important.”

He adds that all detachment vehicles have a Blackfoot Piikani decal as a sign of integration within the community.

With multiple collaborative projects underway, the detachment most recently finished a mural wall with symbolic Blackfoot Winter Count imagery. It serves as a pictorial calendar representing significant community events chosen by community leadership and elders.

After an impactful year of engagement, detachment employees have gained a deeper understanding of the backgrounds, cultures and experiences within Piikani First Nation.

The community has recognized and honoured the detachment’s commitment by awarding them a golden community medallion, gifted by the elders as a token of appreciation for their dedication to learning about the community’s culture and history.

“We must be open to listening,” says Bacon. “It is the little things that can make a significant impact.”

 

Solar panel on ad for Riteline Electric in Pincher Creek

 

 

Outlines of three people meeting at a table

Province engages with public on health system

Community members and health-care professionals gathered on Jan. 23 at the Coast Hotel in Lethbridge for the first of 45 in-person engagement sessions to be hosted throughout the province by the Government of Alberta.

The sessions looked to get input from the community on the health-care system and the overhaul that was announced in November of last year. 

During her introduction, Minister of Health Adriana LaGrange emphasized the importance of public feedback saying, “The goal of these in-person engagement sessions really is to dig deeper into our current health-care system to look at what’s working, what’s not working and what kind of solutions may exist to improve or eliminate the challenges.” 

Calling the discussions “critical” she told attendees, “The future of healthcare is in your hands,” adding, “We know the current system is broken, or at the very least not doing well, but for too long we’ve seen our nurses, doctors and health-care teams buckle under the strains and stresses of an inefficient health-care system.” 

Stresses to the health-care system have been an ongoing concern for Albertans, with rural emergency rooms regularly closed due to a lack of physician availability. Just hours prior to the event, the Milk River emergency room had announced its temporary closure scheduled to last until Wednesday morning. 

When asked what was currently being done to address these closures, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health System Refocusing Matthew Hebert was unable to comment. 

 

Ace of spades card on ad for Chase the Ace at the Pincher Creek Legion

 

Of the 45 engagement sessions listed on the Government of Alberta website, more than half are scheduled during the day, which could impact participation. Of those during the day, all are rural locations. Only nine of the engagement sessions are scheduled after 5 p.m., including Edmonton and Calgary events. 

Following LaGrange’s address – which included an anecdote about 27 patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton who occupied beds because they were unable to access other supports due to issues filing their taxes – Hebert presented an overview of the planned restructuring and what issues in the current health system needed to be rectified.

Among the reasons for the restructure was the concern that despite spending per capita aligning with similar provinces, health outcomes were not as expected, in addition to long wait times – especially in rural areas and Indigenous communities, a complicated health care system, and leadership needing improvement. 

Though barriers of access for Indigenous communities were a key concern, it was not specified whether any consultation with the Indigenous community has occurred or is planned for the future. 

The overhaul will include four pillar organizations: Primary Care, Continuing Care, Acute Care, and Mental Health and Addictions. Under the umbrella of the Primary Care Organization, the government intends to ensure every Albertan is attached to a care provider, and “ensure accountability for all publicly funded providers and clinics.”

 Additionally, the primary care level is intended to “support Alberta Health in determining alternative payment models.”

 

 

The other organizations of care look to improve access to services and will contract third-party service providers with the provincial government maintaining oversight. Alberta Health Services will only provide primary and continuing care in rural areas where necessary.

Herbert highlighted in his presentation that the overhaul is intended to meet the needs of current Alberta residents while also managing the demands of a growing population. 

Since 2019, the population of Alberta has increased by nearly 42,000 people, with much of that growth attributed to the “Alberta is Calling” campaign that targeted those in urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto and encouraged them to move to Alberta.

Despite that growth – and taking into consideration the 13.73 per cent inflation rate – the 2023 health-care budget has only increased by 1.71 billion as compared to 2019, when the current government was elected. 

Herbert said “we’re looking forward to getting that direct feedback from the public just to inform how we will continue over the coming years to build and establish the new health care system.” 

Members of the media were not permitted to attend the community discussion and feedback portion of the event.

 

Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce notice of annual general meeting on brightly coloured background

 

 

Three white envelopes blow in the wind in front of an open grey mailbox

Health-care planning needs drastic changes

Concerned about the coming changes to health care? Worried about the current state of health care in southern Alberta?

The Alberta government is giving you a chance to express yourself this Wednesday evening at the Heritage Inn. Not that many of us likely knew about this. Indeed, most Pincher Creek readers of Shootin’ will have to rush to register for this event, since it is at 5 p.m. Wednesday (that is, today). Readers in the Pass have probably missed their chance, since that meeting is set for 10 a.m.

The discussion seems to be focused on the upcoming changes to the structure and function of what is currently known as AHS. We are to get that behemoth chopped up into four pieces. Which might be fine if our problem was just the way that management is structured.

But, it is not.

As a retired physician with 26 years of practice in Crowsnest Pass, I lived through multiple reorganizations (or, more accurately, redisorganization). Each created its own special kind of chaos for at least a couple of years. The system, if you can call it that, kept functioning due to the goodwill of the front-line troops.

After years of being overworked and being told that they are not worth whatever their wage might be, there is very little goodwill left. If chaos follows a management shuffle, there will not be goodwill to pull function out of the chaos.

 

Camille Kalveram, young professional woman with long blonde hair, on Vision Credit Union ad

 

Anyone who has contact with health-care workers knows that what is lacking is not managers. What we need are workers and “stuff.” In case our politicians have not noticed, health-care workers are in short supply across Canada and indeed throughout the world.  You do not get them by tearing up contracts, offering lower salaries than the competition, and promising to make huge but unspecified changes to how the system is run.

Similarly, the system needs “stuff,” starting with long-term and acute-care beds, plus the technical equipment to support them.

None of those people and things will come to be just because a politician is unhappy with the current state of affairs. Training a doctor takes at least nine years after high school. A nurse requires at least four years. Lab and X-ray techs need two years for the basics, and more for extra skills.

Building hospitals is a 10-year process, from idea through planning, construction, staffing, commissioning, and receiving patients. The new long-term care building in Crowsnest Pass took a couple of years to plan, and another couple to build. Not to mention the years of asking that preceded approval to build.

 

 

Alberta is growing rapidly, with nearly 200,000 new residents moving here last year. Not to mention the babies that were born here. Since every thousand folks require about two doctors of varying types, the province needs close to a net of 500 new doctors each year, just to stand still. And, that 500 does not account for retirements and other losses. We are not building any giant new hospitals in the near future, and not many smaller ones.

Unless we make drastic changes to how we plan for our health-care system — from training, recruiting and retaining staff to planning and building infrastructure — our health-care system cannot improve. Splitting up the management team will not do that, at least not for a few years.

Hopefully, many locals will come out Wednesday evening to tell the government to make changes that will actually improve our health care.

Allan Garbutt
Resident of Cowley, Alberta

 

Large B logo for the Brick Pincher Creek with yellow button to view current flyer

 

Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff. 

Boulders of the Frank Slide with Turtle Mountain in the background.

Save the Frank Slide: stop the superhighway

The Government of Alberta, during the mid 1970s, created two designations that protect, for posterity, the Frank Slide’s “sea of debris” and its infamous profile as an internationally known cemetery.

The first designation protects the area’s natural resources, its unique valley-bottom population of plants and animals, and its watershed values. The vision: preservation of the environment.

The second designation, created a year later, identifies the Frank Slide as a provincial historic resource. This ensures protection from development under the Historical Resources Act.

I worked for Alberta Culture for 38 years preserving, protecting and presenting Alberta’s history.

For 35 of those years, and based out of the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, I studied the geology of Turtle Mountain and its potential to produce a second rock avalanche. I came to know the mountain’s features intimately. I learned the history of the town of Frank, the people who survived and those who died. It’s reasonable to suggest I know the history of Turtle Mountain, the Frank Slide and the lives of the early residents of Frank more thoroughly than any living person.

As I stand on the rocks above the part of town that was buried, I feel for the people impacted by the slide. Walking within this vast limestone cemetery, I recognize the victims and the survivors, and I think about their lives. I tell them I will remember them. Always.

 

Display of fall clothing at at Emerald & Ash Clothing in Crowsnest Pass.

 

Millions of people have come to gaze in awe at the Frank Slide, the premier tourist attraction in Crowsnest Pass. It’s studied by scientists, recognized by people from around the world. I’ve shared my knowledge — the dramatic history of Alberta — with an audience spanning the globe.

The Frank Slide must be protected as designated and defined by the Government of Alberta. It must never be subjected to what has happened to the Okotoks Erratic. There, what was once an arresting glacial feature in an expanse of prairie, profoundly significant to Indigenous people, is now surrounded by development to the point that, driving by, you might not even see the erratic. Its sense of place has been lost, squandered because the historical resource designation failed to include an appropriate amount of surrounding land.

Thankfully, people are still stopped in their tracks as they look across the Frank Slide at the fractured face of Turtle Mountain. They, in disbelief, marvel at the volume of rock that blankets the Crowsnest River valley. The viewscape is jaw-dropping. It’s a spiritual place. A sacred place.

The Highway 3 twinning plan, poorly designed, includes a new road and interchange, and a huge expansion of the existing highway’s footprint, all within the Frank Slide. This vision, if allowed, would degrade and violate the Government of Alberta’s twin designations that safeguard and preserve, for posterity, the integrity of the Frank Slide. These designations, profound and significant, protect the majority of the critical Turtle Mountain/Frank Slide viewscape. They must be respected.

The Frank Slide and its dramatic profile in Alberta’s history must be saved.

Monica Field
Resident of Crowsnest Pass, Alberta

Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff.

 

 

Plate of Charlie Biggs' chicken tenders with sauces on the side and link to Blairmore menu.
Carter Smith, young man with short brown hair and dark eyes, wearing a Santa hat in a notice from Fort Macleod RCMP that he is missing.

Carter Smith located safe

JAN. 23 UPDATE – CARTER SMITH HAS BEEN LOCATED AND IS SAFE.

Original post:

Fort Macleod RCMP are seeking information to locate Carter Bradley Smith, who was last seen Dec. 31, 2023, in Fort Macleod.

Carter was wearing a green-and-brown hoodie, a blue hat and brown boots. He may be in the Lethbridge area, police said.

The 16-year-old has black hair and hazel eyes, is five feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Carter Smith is asked to phone Fort Macleod RCMP at 403-553-7220 or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Anonymous tips can also be sent online at P3Tips.com or by using the P3 Tips mobile app, available through the Apple App and Google Play stores.

 

We got your bumps and bruises covered advertisement for Osa Remedy'sRx in Pincher Creek

 

Drawing of a lit cigarette circled in red with a big "x" on it.

Ready to quit smoking?

As a trained Quit Core facilitator, it is very rewarding to support people as they embark on their journey to become tobacco-free. Over the years, I have heard many fascinating stories from participants who struggle and triumph over their nicotine addiction.

The program includes one session where we invite a Quit Core graduate to share their experience. While each experience is different and each story unique, there are similarities that resonate and connect with those wanting to quit.

Participants are inspired and motivated to carry on the journey, often identifying this session as the highlight of the program.

For one of our graduates, successfully quitting took a number of attempts but her determination to “beat those cigarettes” was unwavering. 

She spoke very candidly about the difficulties. She also described how victorious she felt after making it through the first day smoke-free. She celebrated by telling herself, “You made it through Day 1, let’s go for Day 2!”

Even years later, if she has a difficult day, her silver lining is always reminding herself, “I beat those cigarettes.”

 

Wedding banquet view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

One of her messages in particular stuck with me. When asked how this last time was different, after numerous attempts at quitting, her answer was that she finally recognized the value of her own life.

Her powerful words: “I was worth it. I was worth the fight. It’s my life and I’m worth saving.”

Quit Core is a free six-week group cessation program that provides support for adults 18 and older. It is led by trained leaders and connects you with others who are also quitting.

Through Quit Core you will learn many quitting support strategies, and learn about your addiction/habit and how to design a quit plan that works best for you. You will discover new tips and strategies to deal with stress, cravings and triggers, share experiences, and support and encourage one another through the quitting process.

Quitting smoking may not be easy, but it can be done, especially with the right planning, tools and support. Remember, you are worth it!

Quit Core virtual groups are offered regularly. In-person groups may be available in your town. Check out www.albertaquits.ca or call 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) for dates and locations. There is no fee, but you must preregister.

 

 

Sara Hawthorn, woman with long brown hair and glasses on ad for EXP Realty in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass
Ron Maufort, older gentleman with brey beard and moustache, obituary photo.

Ron Maufort Obituary | 1953 – 2023

After an intense battle with cancer, Ron Maufort died at home on his own terms on Dec. 20, 2023, with the love and support of his friends and family.

Ron’s love of ranching in the Porcupine Hills was far more than just an occupation to him. The farming lifestyle and the people in this area tied Ron to this land in a very special and compelling way.

Ron spent many years as an eligible bachelor, but later married Marilyn. They enjoyed a very full and rewarding family life filled with kids’ sports, family gatherings and sweet grandchildren.

Ron had a passion for sports and enjoyed being competitive. He could certainly swing a golf club with a vengeance! Ron played hockey with the Cowley Lundbreck Weasels, local baseball and loved to golf with Marilyn.

He was renowned for his outrageous sense of humour. Laughing was a daily part of life for Ron and he was a huge fan of Gary Larson cartoons and ironic memes.

Ron will be remembered by all for his friendship and willingness to help out a fellow rancher in need, teaching kids to drive trucks and shoot gophers, as well as being the life of the party.

Ron has had a tremendously positive impact on the lives of his family and friends. He was a deeply idealistic man who valued honesty, integrity, responsibility and peace. He will be dearly missed and always fondly remembered.

 

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

 

 

Jean Stewart, woman with short grey hair and glasses, snuggles with a stuffed bunny.

Norma Jean Stewart Obituary | 1946 – 2023

Norma Jean (Jean) Stewart was born on Feb. 14, 1946, in Lethbridge, Alta., to Victor (Vic) and Majorie Stewart. She passed away peacefully in Pincher Creek, Alta., with her daughter at her side, on Dec. 17, 2023.

Jean’s early years were spent in Scandia, Alta., and then on the family farm located along the Bow River near Bow City, Alta. Growing up, Jean adored the family’s cats and dogs and spent a great deal of time following her big brother Don around the farm. She often mentioned how Don was her “hero” and how patient he was with his little sister. Her mother, Marjorie, was a teacher and Jean would be in her class for the first five years of her schooling in Bow City, although she finished high school in Brooks, where she graduated in 1963.

After high school, Jean went to business college in Calgary, then spent many years working in legal offices in both Calgary and Kelowna, B.C. Being in the “big city” was quite the change from rural farm life. Jean, however, enjoyed this new adventure, and often recalled the fun times and various people she met during these years.

In 1974, Jean moved to Pincher Creek after marrying Robert (Bob) Jenkins. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born in 1976, and in Jean’s words was “the light of our lives.”

In time Jean would once again return to the city, first living with Jennifer in Lethbridge and then eventually moving back to Brooks. During these years, she worked in different places as an executive secretary.

Jean always loved antiques, and her home in Brooks especially was filled with treasures she found all over North America. Decorating her home, complete with a one-of-a-kind teddy bear collection, was something that she truly loved. It was a special place that visitors were sure to remember. Her faithful companion Mitters, a beautiful Himalayan cat, was never far from her side.

With an interest in genealogy, Jean began researching her family tree during her time in Brooks, and became quite the master genealogist. She was involved in the Brooks Genealogical Society and the Alberta Genealogical Society, helping many others trace their family history over the years. In 1994, Jeans’s research led her to Scotland to meet relatives and follow in some of her dad’s footsteps. Jean referred to this as “the trip of a lifetime,” as she visited the places of her ancestors and met many relatives. A part of Jean’s heart seemed to live in Scotland and, had her health been better, she would have loved to visit again.

In 2009, Jean met Ken Weatherly, her dearest friend and companion. The couple resided in Provost, Alta., where Ken had grown up. Together, they took many road trips and enjoyed going out with Ken’s lifelong friends, who became dear to her heart. 

Over the years in the different communities in which she lived, Jean made many friends. Despite her own challenges, she cared for others enormously and always made time to help or support those in need.

After Ken’s passing in 2015, Jean returned to Pincher Creek to be closer to her daughter, Jennifer. She loved the mountains and the area, especially Waterton Lakes National Park.

In August of 2023, Jennifer married Tom Skierka and Jean gained a whole new family who welcomed her with open arms and brought great happiness. She was especially overjoyed with the arrival of baby Lillian in July, making her a great-grandma.

Jean’s passing near Christmas is somewhat fitting, as she loved the holiday season, and in many ways, embodied the spirit of Christmas. Always one to find the perfect card or gift, her generosity and kind heart brought so much joy to others over the years. It didn’t hurt that she was a fabulous baker and chocolate maker, but it was her ability to make everyone feel special and loved that really touched people at Christmas.

Jean was predeceased by her parents, Marjorie and Victor Stewart; her son, Christopher Stamford; and her big brother, Don Stewart, whose loss last year was particularly hard on her.

She leaves behind her daughter, Jennifer Jenkins (Tom Skierka); niece Kelly Hackman (Kim), who was like a second daughter; and nephew Vaughn Stewart.

Though Jean’s immediate family was small, her friends could easily be called her “family.” She will be greatly missed.

 

 

Text over a glass of beer and bingo cards on ad for Lions TV Bingo at Oldman River Brewing in Lundbreck

 

Geminids Meteor Shower in northern hemisphere

Geminid meteor shower expected to light up the night sky

For those who like to keep an eye on the sky, the Geminid meteor shower expected to take place this evening and into the morning hours of Thursday should be quite the show.

One of the rare meteor showers that doesn’t originate from a comet, the Geminids – named for the constellation Gemini from which the meteors appear to originate – is said to be caused by 3200 Phaethon, an object that astronomers suspect is a Palladian asteroid.

While much is currently unknown about the Geminids, the Japanese space agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to launch a mission in 2025, called Destiny+, which will gather samples of the rock dust from 3200 Phaethon.

“The Geminids were first observed in the 1800s and they were not very prominent … but they’ve actually grown in magnitude over the decades, and now they are very reliable,” says Perry Savey of the Lethbridge Astronomy Society.

 

Shelves of bottled liquor in an ad for Town & Country Liquor Store in Pincher Creek

 

Long before the Geminids were visible, Blackfoot people saw great significance in the sky and celestial activity. William Singer III (Api’soomaahka) says that meteor showers can act as reminders in Blackfoot culture of the connection to the stars and the cosmos.

He describes learning “stories of our great-great ancestors who were taken to the heavens and were brought back down in the form of a meteorite. So, wherever they landed they would a build a structure, either a circle of rocks or a pillar.”

Singer says there are many stories and teachings involving meteor showers and the skies they can even be represented on the tipi and are recorded on the Winter Counts which track events using symbols and images.

“When you see a meteorite and it disappears, it’s up there. It had that choice to come down, but it went back up. They don’t make it down unless they have a purpose,” says Singer.

Whether the meteor shower is just a sight to behold or a symbol of deeper spirituality, those interested in viewing the event tonight are advised to find a place away from the city lights and avoid phone screens for at least 30 minutes.

The activity is said to be more visible as the night goes on so Savey advises anyone keeping an eye out to have patience and use a night sky app.

 

 

Red and black angus bulls on poster for Blades Angus Bull Sale

 

 

Police officer silhouette in front of red and blue lights

Alberta RCMP reminds everyone to enjoy the holiday season safely

The holiday season is upon us, and that means lots of time celebrating with family and friends. While the holidays are often a time of indulgence, it’s important to still keep safety in mind.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, in support of National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day, officers will be out conducting traffic enforcement initiatives and check stops, and removing impaired drivers from our roadways. Together, we can all do our part to keep Alberta roadways safe.

The Alberta RCMP asks motorists to remember the following:

— Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is never okay. Impaired driving is both criminal and dangerous.

— Mandatory Alcohol Screening is used by Alberta RCMP to deter and detect impaired drivers. If you are pulled over or at a check stop, you can expect to provide a breath sample.

— Individuals with a Graduated Driver’s Licence must abide by the zero-tolerance law (Government of Alberta, 2023).

 

Bottle of Huckleberry Tea Liqueur against purple background on an ad for Lost Things Distillery in Pincher Creek.

 

— Impaired driving is always preventable and can always be avoided. Call a taxi or rideshare service, use a designated driver, or stay the night.

— If you are attending a party and have consumed drugs or alcohol, do not drive. Find a safe ride home or a safe place to spend the night.

— Party hosts aren’t off the hook. If your guests have been drinking or using drugs, make sure they have a safe place to stay or a sober ride home.

— Call 911 immediately if you witness or suspect impaired driving.

“This December, and always, remember to enjoy the holidays responsibly. If you are attending a party, make sure you have a sober ride home or a safe place to spend the night,” reminds Sgt. Darrin Turnbull. 

“Last year, in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions, we responded to 233 fatal collisions, of which approximately 25 per cent involved alcohol or drugs. 

Alberta RCMP also removed 7,573 impaired drivers from Alberta roadways, that’s the equivalent of more than 20 impaired drivers per day.”

For more traffic safety information, follow us on Facebook @RCMPinAlberta and Twitter @RCMPAlberta, along with the hashtag #DecemberToRemember.

 

You're in good hands – animated ad for National Newspaper Week

 

 

 

Crowsnest Pass Thunder logo – Black crow over the word Thunder in bold green letters.

U11 Crowsnest Pass Thunder update

The Crowsnest Pass U11 Thunder kicked off their regular season with an away game in Vulcan. They were down 2-0 by the end of the first period, but had a strong comeback in the second with four goals, and then they added three more to their lead in the third. The final score for this game was 7-2 for the Thunder.

Jax Fulkerth scored a goal, and two of their players got hat tricks: Griffin Luini and Nash Lafreniere. Chase Legroulx got one assist, and both Abbot Graham and Nash Lafreniere got two assists.

The team hit home ice for the first time during the regular season the next afternoon versus the Cardston Thunder, and they got to enter the ice just like the pros with lights down, a fog machine, and strobe lights going while each player’s name was announced! Shannon Burton also sang our national anthem for the special occasion.

This game was certainly a close one throughout. Cardston was up 1-0 by the end of the first period, but then the Crowsnest Pass scored two goals in the second period, within a couple minutes of each other, to narrow the gap to 3-2.

 

Indoor and outdoor view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

Cardston scored in the final five seconds of the second to make it 4-2, and in the third, the Thunder scored two more goals, but their opponents also scored one. Our C.N.P. Thunder fought hard to tie it up in the final moments of the third, but in the end the score was 5-4 for Cardston.

Chase Legroulx and Nash Lafreniere each scored one goal, and Jax Fulkerth scored two goals, with one assist each for Chase Legroulx, Cruz McKee, Jax Fulkerth and Abbot Graham.

This Sunday, Nov. 26, the U11 Thunder team will head to Picture Butte to face off versus the Blades. Puck drops at 1:30 p.m. at the North County Recreation Complex.

You can stay up to date with all minor hockey action on their Facebook page (CNP Thunder – Crowsnest Pass Minor Hockey Association) and their website (crowsnestpassminorhockey.com).

 

 

 

Crockets Trading Company building against an orange and purple coloured sunset on ad for Crockets local Christmas gift ideas.

 

Group of Crowsnest Pass Thunder U13 hockey players in white and green jerseys, gather around the net.

Crowsnest Pass Thunder U13 regular season games start up

The Crowsnest Pass Thunder U13 hockey team started off their regular season with a bolt and a boom.

On Saturday afternoon in Taber, the U13 kept it strong with their first regular-season game. Playing the Oil Kings on opponent ice, Thunder was not on the board until the third period. With Taber leading 3-0, our green team got their first goal five minutes into the third. Another four goals followed, with Thunder making a spectacular comeback, 5-3.

Goals were scored by Jack Bishop (3), Parker Bunnage and Josh Heyboerm. Assists came from Isaiah Montgomery and Josh Heyboer. Making 20 saves between the pipes was Branson Gillard.

Sunday’s late-afternoon game was Thunder hosting the Vulcan Hawks. This was a tougher match, with the Hawks leading the whole game and a final score of 7-0. Goalie Branson Gillard took a total of 20 shots on net.

Thunder is back in action on home ice this weekend, Nov. 25 and 26, facing off against the Picture Butte Blades at 6 p.m. Saturday, and versus the Coaldale Cobras at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Crowsnest Pass Sports Complex.

 

View of women's clothing store, at Emerald & Ash Clothing in Crowsnest Pass.

 

 

Veteran Norman Walker speaks from a podium

Books of Remembrance

Canada’s eight Books of Remembrance, recognizing those who have given their lives in military service to their country, are installed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in our nation’s capital, Ottawa.

A page of each book is turned every day in a ceremony at 11 a.m. so that every name sees the light of day at least once a year.

The First World War Book of Remembrance, dedicated in 1942, contains 66,655 names from the Great War, once touted as the war to end all wars.

A total of 44,893 Canadians are commemorated in the Second World War Book of Remembrance, placed in 1957.

The 211-page Newfoundland Book of Remembrance contains the names of 2,363 war dead from 1914 to 1949, before the province joined Confederation.

The South African War/Nile Expedition Book of Remembrance contains 267 names of those who perished in what is known as the 1899-1902 Boer War, as well as a special section dedicated to the 16 killed during the 1884-85 Nile Expedition, the first overseas conflict that Canada participated in.

 

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

 

The 516 names in the Korean War Book of Remembrance are accompanied by a page displaying the shields of 17 countries of the United Nations Forces.

Dedicated in 1993, the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance memorializes 2,212 mariners lost during both World Wars. Merchant navy veterans did not get their medals and benefits until 1993, and their comrades killed at sea have no grave or marker.

The seventh Book of Remembrance is titled In the Service of Canada. Its first volume memorializes 1,912 Canadian Armed Forces members who have died while serving since 1947. Dedicated in 2005, it contains the names of the dead from the war in Afghanistan, as well as peacekeeping and NATO missions. A second volume now includes the names of 81 killed in action since 2015.

A total of 1,653 soldiers and sailors and Indigenous allies killed in Canada when the country was a colony of Great Britain are commemorated in the War of 1812 Book of Remembrance. As a 200th anniversary project, it was commissioned in 2012 and unveiled in 2019.

An important objective of the Books of Remembrance is to increase public awareness of those Canadians who have served in the cause of peace.

Let us never forget those who never got to enjoy the peace and freedom we enjoy every day.

 

Beauty products on ad for Providence Salon & Spa in Pincher Creek

 

 

Robert "Bob" Schmidt photo heading for obituary

Obituary for Bob Schmidt

Robert ‘Bob’ Ernest Schmidt 

1954 – 2023 

Bob was born in Davidson, Sask., to John and Betty (Cook) Schmidt on April 8, 1954, and passed away peacefully at his home in Pincher Creek, Alta., on Oct. 25, 2023.

He lived in Davidson, Sask., until he was three, then briefly in Kamloops, B.C., when his family moved there in 1956. From Kamloops they moved to Pincher Creek, Alta., where Bob resided until his death, except for short stints in various places for educational or work purposes.

Bob attended Matthew Halton High School, then later, after gaining his high school equivalency requirements, he graduated in 2006 cum laude (with distinction) from Belford High School at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, B.C., excelling in calculus.

He initially worked on the rigs and also locally as a gravel truck driver, and eventually as an offshore driller in the United Arab Emirates, and in Liberia and Panama as an offshore driller and assistant rig supervisor, and won many awards and certificates of accomplishment for his work. Suffering a heart attack in 2012, Bob was not able to recover enough to return to Dubai, and retired in Pincher Creek.

Being a very able mechanic, Bob’s interest in restoring cars and other vehicles was well known. He was a very jolly and friendly fellow, and a wonderful son, brother, uncle and friend, with faults and flaws and a bit of grumpiness found in all of us, but very well loved and now very much missed.

Bob is survived by his older brother John (Trudy), and their children Nate and family, daughter Cindy Castillo and family; and by his older sister Judi Schmidt and her daughter Libby Hengerer; as well as many cousins and their families. 

A very special thank you to neighbours and friends Sariah, Tyson, Sylas and Lux, and to Jes at Eden’s Funeral Home for your compassion and help, as well as your guidance and assurance.

Rest in peace, dear fellow. Your laughter and keen and quick sense of humour will never be forgotten.

A gathering of the immediate family and friends was held at Eden’s Funeral Home in Pincher Creek, Alta., on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, to say goodbye and to share stories and tales of our personal and shared experiences with Bob.

Donations in Bob’s memory can be made to the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation, 100-119 14th St. N.W., Calgary, AB, T2N 1Z6.

Condolences may be sent through www.edensfuneralhome.com.

 

Downhill skier catches air on ad inviting skiers to stop at Miner's Mercantile in Beaver Mines on their way to the Castle Mountain ski hill.
Plain brown cardboard house with chimney but no windows or doors.

Argumentum ad hominem

“I suppose Fitch lives in a cardboard box and uses no modern amenities.”

This is the flavour of many responses to my concerns about land use and the impacts on the environment. It is a dismissive response to any thought of stewardship, conservation or environmental alarm.

By attempting to demean me and my argument by irrelevantly directing the attack at me, about me, it is hoped this will, in some way, diminish my point. 

These responses follow a similar, usually tendentious pattern. Any concerns over unsustainable logging will be met with a question of whether or not I live in a house made of wood.  If I write about issues with the petroleum industry, I will be pilloried for driving a car.

Exposing the problems in mining, especially coal, will bring forth a litany of vitriol about my use of steel (forged in furnaces burning the black stuff). Writing about our rivers receding into tiny trickles because of irrigation agriculture will result in being asked if I eat.

Presumably my legitimacy to speak on these issues can only be based on living in a cave, which I constructed with a sharp stick, wearing only animal skins, trapped with vines, and walking everywhere, barefoot, summer and winter. 

The use of argumentum ad hominem seems linked to those who really want to believe in some of the hype of prevailing land-use schemes. They are unwilling to buy anything that scrutinizes, objectively reviews or critiques their dreams. When you’ve drunk the purple Kool-Aid of growth at any cost, you are resolute in support even though the cost may outweigh the benefits.

 

White car surrounded by auto parts on Pincher Creek Bumper to Bumper ad

 

“In the land of the ostriches, the blind are king. When politicians [and individuals] bury their head in the sand, ignorance rules the country,” observed Erik Pevernagie, a Belgian writer.

Ignorance is sometimes a choice, of not wanting to know. It closes the ears, the eyes and the senses. The absence of knowing means you can ignore the existence of evidence, of fact. As Dave Christiansen, a colleague, often reminds me, “However well intentioned, speaking to the deaf is futile.” It is not the inability to see and to hear, it is the choice not to, and to react negatively to anyone attempting to provide a different message.

Observation and critical thinking aided by some understanding of ecological principles might provide us a better pathway forward than shouting at each other in capital letters. Don Gayton writes tellingly on this in The Wheatgrass Mechanism:

“It is our nature to be free-form, hot-dog, and eclectic; we live holism. So reductionist science, if nothing else, is probably a useful foil to lives full of concatenated events. A method to test things one at a time, as a check on ourselves.”

Evidence-based decision making about checks and balances, of ecological thresholds and cumulative effects, might help us stop racing to landscape red lights that never turn green.

In our rush to fill up the landscape with money-making schemes, we might pause long enough to take in some natural lessons. One is allelopathy. One plant species will suppress the growth of others due to the release of toxic substances.

It can include auto-allelopathy, where the first generation of a plant species inhibits growth and survival of the second generation. Plant examples from both strategies include kochia, knapweed and cheatgrass.

 

Tires on ad for safe winter travel with winter tires from Fountain Tire in Pincher Creek

 

Some land uses and their intensity resemble allelopathy. One is blasting the tops off mountains to expose a coal seam. This exposes many toxic substances like selenium, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Calcite and extreme amounts of sediment are also released. Mining essentially sterilizes a portion of the landscape and has negative impacts on watersheds downstream. The impacts of coal mining can persist for decades, if not centuries.

Rendering of essential watersheds unstable hydrologically by unsustainable logging practices has demonstrable negative impacts on native fish and wildlife populations, on flood risk for downstream communities and on both water quality and quantity for human populations. A landscape ravaged by clearcut logging no longer holds much appeal for outdoor recreation.

The positive feedback loop from continued (and expanded) petroleum extraction and use exacerbates climate-change impacts. These include flooding, drought, wildfires and excessive heat. All ratchet up concerns of our own survival.

Our inability to acknowledge the connections means we continue down a dangerous path. The legacy of land and water impacted by toxic petroleum development spills, exposed by Kevin Timoney in Hidden Scourge, is equally disturbing.

 

 

These and many more issues need to be talked about, to have reasoned dialogue about what we expect our future to resemble, if we stick to current paths, or new ones. Name calling, personal attacks and nonsensical arguments will not solve the dilemmas inherent in our growth-at-all-costs model.

Taking a page from one of my detractors, the prospect of living in a cardboard box without any modern amenities isn’t a future I find solace in, as I’m sure some in the world who now live in those circumstances find. If we continue to trade off landscape integrity, resilience and the indicators of those essentials, like native fish, we might find ourselves in similar circumstances. 

We can be rich, at least in the short term, with large bank accounts and inflated stock portfolios. Or, we can be wealthy in the long haul with some of both, edging towards maintaining intact, diverse and essential landscapes and ecosystem services. As Don Gayton observes, we have to develop the sense and the courage to draw the line between the sustainable and the unacceptable.

Invective towards concerns on land-use issues may find favour with a few. But, as General Eric Shinseki said, “If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less.”

 

Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff. 

 

 

Side-by-side photos of Audrey Gross of Pincher Creek as a young woman and an old woman.

Audrey Gross Obituary

Our dear mother and grandma, Audrey Gross, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in hospital surrounded by her loved ones. Audrey’s strength, resilience and sense of humour remained with her to the end. She fully embraced life over 90 years, focusing on her family, farm and fellowship.

Audrey Edith May was born on Nov. 5, 1932, in the Pincher Creek area, which she cherished as home for most of her life. Audrey was the fifth of six siblings born to Wes and Dora Thomas (née Vance) and grew up loving sports. “I wasn’t an academic in school. My favourite subjects were recess and phys-ed,” she said. Audrey excelled in ping-pong and baseball along with basketball, making the University of Calgary basketball team in 1950.

That year, she trained to become a teacher and taught in the Grassy Lake area for a short stint. It was there Audrey met her future husband, Ed Gross. They married in 1955 and started a life together in Lethbridge, followed by Calgary, before moving back to Pincher to take over the Thomas family farm. Ed and Audrey spent the next 40 years farming, ranching and raising kids before “retiring” to town in 2002.

Audrey believed “a family that plays together stays together.” Once the chores were done, there was time for fun, and Audrey’s enthusiasm for sports was passed on to her children. Her love of golf transcended generations as she played numerous rounds with her dad, her sisters and husband Ed, as well as her children and many grandchildren. A highlight came with a hole-in-one on the Pincher course. 

Music was another mainstay in Audrey’s life. She enjoyed singing, dancing (especially with Ed) and listening to a variety of songs, favouring the old classics. Lawrence Welk was a must every Saturday. Audrey sang alto in the United Church choir, regularly volunteered for singalongs at Vista Village and Crestview Lodge, and participated in the singing group at Whispering Winds. She was always up for a sing-song at any gathering.

Spending time with others brought great joy to Audrey. In later years she became a card shark, playing crib, whist, bridge and canasta weekly. Many special friendships were developed, but family was “trump” with Audrey. Time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was most important and usually involved a game, laughter and banter. Audrey always felt blessed to have family around her. She is forever in the hearts of her family.

Audrey is survived by her children: Craig (Carol), Nancy White (Ed), Kristine Johnson (Jim), Michael (Sherry) 

Grandchildren: Andrew (Stacey), Dan (Melissa), Erin (Lincoln), Sabrina (Riley), Tanner, Tyler (Kim), Carissa (Chris), Connor, Landon (Taylor)

Great-grandchildren: Nathan, Grady, Jackson, Dylan, Arthur, Avery

Sister: Grace Fitzpatrick 

Brothers-in-law: Ted Schuler, Brian (Joanne) Gross, Keith (Connie) Gross

As well as many nieces, nephews and extended family in the Pincher Creek area.

Audrey was predeceased by her husband, Ed Gross; parents Wes and Dora Thomas; sisters Bessie (Dave) Halton, Shirley (Ed) Mitchell, Jean (Ralph) Cleland; brother Bob (Shirley) Thomas; brothers-in-law George Fitzpatrick, Ted (Marge) Gross; and sister-in-law Jackie Schuler.

A celebration of life will be held in honour of Audrey at a later date.

The family sincerely thanks Dr. Tracy Burton, as well as the nurses and staff of Pincher Creek Health Centre, for the excellent care and support of Audrey.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Jack Ady Cancer Centre in Lethbridge.

Text announcing obituary for Wilbert David Toews

William David Toews Obituary

Wilbert David Toews was born to David D. and Helena Toews on April 8, 1938, at Swalwell, Alta. He passed away on Aug. 31, 2023, at his home at Crestview Lodge, Pincher Creek, Alta., at the age of 85. Dad’s heart was tired and broken since Mom left him in January. Although he was brave and patient in his grief, he was longing to meet Jesus and to join Mom again.

Wilbert grew up in the Linden area with five sisters and two brothers. He fondly told us of his childhood days; riding the little buckskin pony to school and learning to play baseball there without a proper bat, glove or backstop. He enjoyed chores at home and threshing with his dad’s team of horses. Wilbert gave his heart to Jesus and was baptized, joining the Church of God in Christ Mennonite. He was faithful and grateful till the end. When he was 17, his father died, and Wilbert felt the heavy load of supporting his mother and family.

Wilbert married Jennie Fern Reimer on Oct. 10, 1958, sharing life for over 64 years. Two daughters and three sons were born to them. Their first home was in Linden, Alta., and they moved to Pincher Creek in 1968, among the first families to call this new congregation home.

Dad enjoyed his small dairy, beef cows, John Deeres, Fords and auctioneering. He was an advocate of hard work, responsibility and the ordinary man. He taught us to follow the path of Jesus and loved the simplicity of the gospel. There was always time in Dad’s schedule for a picnic or ball game with family and friends. If we could sum up Dad’s life creed in one sentence, it would be “Let me travel the road of life and be a friend to man.”

Dad was a lover of song. He led with enthusiasm and promoted singing favourites from memory. Dad knew no greater joy than listening to his children and grandchildren sing. In later years, Dad amused us all by making up songs as he went along and singing them to whoever had the time to listen.

Dad taught us an appreciation for the little things in life, and to be strong in spite of trouble. At the age of 64 he had a heart attack and stroke, which left him with physical limitations. It was hard for Dad to accept that he would not own a driver’s licence again. Dad spent his last years living at the Crestview Lodge. He voiced his appreciation many times for the excellent meals and the loving care he received. His children and grandchildren meant the world to him. He always wanted us to stop in more often and to stay longer. The family gathering in heaven is looking sweeter all the time.

Those left behind include his children: Lorraine Unruh, son-in-law Jeff and Darci Dejax, Galen and Gwen Toews, Kelly and Joanne Toews, Kendall and Marla Toews; 17 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. One brother, Eldon and Lorna Toews. Two sisters, Irma and Irvin Megli, and Susanna Reimer. Mom’s family: Leroy and Marianne Reimer, Audrey Toews, Darlene Reimer, Ruby and John Hendrickson, and Dianne Reimer.

Those gone before include his beloved parents, wife, daughter, son-in-law and five siblings.

Arrangements entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Homes.