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Fire ban in place for town and MD Pincher Creek, Cowley and Piikani Nation effective July 18

Fire ban now in effect for Pincher Creek area

Effective July 18, the town and MD of Pincher Creek, Cowley and Piikani Nation fire status has been upgraded from a fire restriction to a fire ban.

As of this morning, 133 active wildfires are reported across the province, an increase of 35 since Tuesday afternoon.

Fifty-two of these fires (39 per cent) are classified as out of control.

If you see a wildfire, call 310-3473 (FIRE).


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


The Town of Pincher Creek, MD of Pincher Creek (including Beaver Mines, Lundbreck and Twin Butte), Cowley and Piikani Nation are under a FIRE BAN.

No open fires are permitted and fire-pit permits and notifications to burn are cancelled:

  • No fire pits
  • No pellet smokers
  • No burn barrels
  • No debris burns
  • No fireworks

No new permits will be issued.

Approved for use:

  • Propane barbecues are allowed
  • Propane-powered appliances are allowed


Shootin' the Breeze connection to more local stories


The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass is currently under a FIRE RESTRICTION.

All fire permits and fireworks permits are suspended or cancelled:

  • No open fires
  • No major burn operations
  • No fireworks

No new permits will be issued.

Approved for use:

  • Approved fire pits as per Fire Rescue Services bylaw
  • Burn barrels and incinerators with screens
  • Gas and propane stoves, barbecues and fire pits


Ad for Dragons Heart Quilt Shop in Pincher Creek


Alberta’s Forest Protection Area (including backcountry areas in the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and MD of Pincher Creek) is under a FIRE BAN.

All fire permits are suspended or cancelled:

  • No outdoor wood fires, including wood campfires on public land, private land, designated campgrounds and backyard firepits
  • No charcoal-briquette barbecues
  • No fireworks or exploding targets

No new permits will be issued. Some allowances can be made for essential agricultural and industrial burning but must by approved by a forest officer.

Approved for use:

  • Propane and natural-gas-powered appliances
  • Indoor wood fires in structures such as facilities, buildings, tents or RVs, and contained within a device with a chimney and spark arrestor
  • Open-flame devices like deep fryers and tiki torches



Most Alberta provincial parks are under a FIRE BAN

Affected parks

  • No open fires
  • No campfires
  • No charcoal briquettes
  • No wood fires inside park facilities, including those contained within a device

Approved for use:

  • Portable propane fire pits within designated fire pits
  • Gas or propane stoves and barbecues designed for cooking or heating


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


If you see a wildfire, call 310-3473 (FIRE)

The most up-to-date information can be found on the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard.


Kenzie Stewart of Crowsnest Pass competes in butterfly at the Pincher Creek Dolphins swim meet

Shootin’ the Breeze – July 17, 2024

Discover the top headlines from Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass. Stay up to date with local news and events in your community.

This week’s headlines:

Emergency crews respond swiftly to wind turbine fire

Alberta’s general surgery is at a tipping point, with lives on the line says AMA

Grizzly bears back in crosshairs as Alberta lifts hunting ban in select cases

Weathering the elements: extreme summer weather in southwestern Alberta

Fire restrictions in effect with ban in Forest Protection Area

Tribute to Dennis Novak of Eden’s Funeral Home

The butterfly effect – Dolphins’ swim meet

Heed the heat – tips to keep dogs cool and hydrated

Opinion: When is a grizzly hunt not a grizzly hunt

Heavy Airship set to land hard at the Empress

Meet your backyard neighbours

Obituary: Robert (Bob) Edward O’Brien

Celebration of life: Dana Hungar

Pincher Creek Humane Society Pet of the Week

Town of Pincher Creek events and notifications

Frontier Canadian Recollections – Pincher Creek’s exciting 1928 baseball season

Plus local events, contests, concerts, community notices, job opportunities, service directory, Coffee Break puzzles and general information for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation.

Owen Crow Shoe of Pincher Creek rides his horse as parade marshal leading the Calgary Stampede parade on the front page of the July 10, 2024, issue of Shootin' the Breeze

Shootin’ the Breeze – July 10, 2024

Get the scoop on what’s happening in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass. Stay informed about local news, events, and community projects.

This week’s headlines:

Owen Crow Shoe rides as Stampede parade marshal

Piikani Nation RCMP looking for suspect in aggravated assault

Pincher Creek musician Aly Williams drops first single from mountaintop

Pincher Creek Swimming Pool celebrates 25th anniversary

Alberta commits millions to methane reduction

Co-op cybersecurity incident impacts local shelves

Town, MD of Pincher Creek residents urged to conserve water as heat wave envelops province

Acceptance and strength sewn into works of local artisan Laurel Francis

Editorial: Rekindling the news flame

Editorial: Calgary Stampede recollections

Embrace Summer feature section

Geat ready for the heatwave

Try a digital detox this summer

MD of Pincher Creek sponsoring free Weeds and Wildflowers guided walks

A taste of summer

Obituary: Gertrude Welsch

Obituary: James Tillack

Celebration of life: Dana Hungar

Pincher Creek Humane Society Pet of the Week

Town of Pincher Creek events and notifications

Frontier Canadian Recollections – Chronicles of Pincher Creek area’s gas industry Part 2

Plus local events, contests, concerts, community notices, job opportunities, service directory, Coffee Break puzzles and general information for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation.

Front page of July 3, 2024, issue of Shootin' the Breeze – two young girls in Canada Day photo booth at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek

Shootin’ the Breeze – July 3, 2024

Discover what’s happening in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass including Canada Day photos, local council concerns and community projects.

This week’s headlines:

Celebrating Canada Day in style

Pincher Creek town council raises concerns over provincial legislation

Pincher Creek Emergency Services receives vehicle donation from Plains Midstream

Key takeaways from the 2024 Alberta Energy Outlook

A conversation with new NDP leader Naheed Nenshi about rural interests

My Little Corner – Catching up with Jess

Breeze Mailbox – Crowsnest resident wants cyclists to be more courteous

Summer bike safety with local fire chief

Crownsest Pass to see trail improvements this summer

Fawn season is here in Pincher Creek: town issues safety advisory

Embrace volunteerism this summer

Crowsnest Conservation completes Bee Aware project

Heritage Acres needs helping hands

Peter Van Bussel urges fellow grads to stay authentic and unique

Silver Reins 4-H Club hosts 31st annual achievement day

Celebrating the spirit of community: the significance of powwows

Tips for keeping off-road vehicles safe this summer

Frontier Canadian Recollections – Chronicles of Pincher Creek area’s gas industry Part 1

Obituary: James Tillack

Plus local events, contests, concerts, community notices, job opportunities, service directory, Coffee Break puzzles and general information for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation.

Front page of June 26, 2024, issue of Shootin' the Breeze — Jasper and Jameson Patrick, dressed in Indigenous grass dance regalia, carry a yellow flage with red Napi Friendship Association logo and orange Every Child Matters flag, open Indigenous Peoples Day powwow at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek.

Shootin’ the Breeze – June 26, 2024

There are great celebrations and activities planned for Canada Day in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass — get the scoop on page 12!

This week’s headlines:

Pincher Creek honours Indigenous Peoples Day with community at the heart

Demonstrating cultural pride

Walk and powwow honour Indigenous culture and heritage

Teens successfully complete Fire Academy

Crowsnest council to curb corner visibility obstructions

Editorial: Jaunty Journo Jargon

Local Co-op gets a new look, continues to invest in community

Opinion: Town of Pincher Creek ARO responsibilities

Opinion: Bully for the blackbirds: inspiration from nature

Naheed Nenshi elected new NDP leader

Marigolds and sunflowers, Part II

Thank you, Crowsnest Pass Medical Clinic

The life and times of frontiersman Charles Vent

Tim Isberg to kick off Fort Macleod’s 150th

Obituary: Melvin Toews

Obituary: Rocky Blakeman

Plus local events, contests, concerts, community notices, job opportunities, service directory, Coffee Break puzzles and general information for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation.

Front page of June 19, 2024, issue of Shootin' the Breeze with 3-year-old Holly Hays on horseback at Pincher Creek Kids Rodeo

Shootin’ the Breeze – June 19, 2024

Special Feature: Class of 2024, graduates of Matthew Halton High School, St. Michael’s School, Livingstone School, Piikani Nation Secondary School and Crowsnest Consolidated High School

This week’s headlines:

From cowboys to businesswomen: celebrating local Black history this Juneteenth

Pincher Creek town council hosts open house, connecting with residents on top-of-mind issues

Women’s shelter highlights donations and strategic growth at AGM

Controversial ‘energy war room’ shut down: money and mandate to go elsewhere

Memorial service will mark 110th anniversary of Hillcrest Mine Disaster

Highway 22 collision leads to arrests

Tip results in drug changes in Piikani Nation

Ready to ride

Meet new MD councillor Jim Welsch

Crowsnest Pass Health Foundation presents $2,800 50-50 cheque

Filipino community celebrates Philippine Independence Day in Pincher Creek

Holy Spirit School Division superintendent Ken Sampson will be missed

Volunteer efforts key to successful Reuse and Recycle Fair

Caption contest winner

Coming up roses at the Lebel Mansion

Frontier Recollections: Pioneers with business and homesteading origins

Snodgrass Funeral Home kicks off annual flower barrel contest

Mobile mammography service to visit Glenwood


Plus local events, contests, concerts, community notices, job opportunities, service directory, obituary for Vicky Miller, Coffee Break puzzles and general information for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation.

Piikani Nation elders Peter Strikes with a gun, in regalia, and Jeannie Provost at Piikani Nation Secondary School feather blessing ceremony

Shootin’ the Breeze – June 12, 2024

This week’s headlines:

Pincher Creek funds community recreation facilities

Pincher Creek council passes two new bylaws

Pride flag at Pincher Creek library targeted for second year

New Crowsnest Pass bylaw stirs controversy, residents raise concerns for freedom of speech

Heritage Acres Victory Garden grows hope for another year

Health Canada ends Paxlovid coverage, Albertans to pay over $1,400 per treatment

Athletes place well at trace and field zones

Registering personal and business security cameras could assist RCMP with criminal investigations

Young ranchers show great work at achievement day

Timber Trails members impress judge

Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village seeks community support to preserve Pincher Creek’s firefighting history

Ranchers left their mark with hard work and perseverance

Farmers market set to return with local delights

Plus the best local options for Father’s Day shopping and events, community notices, job opportunities, service directory, obituary for Henry Doell, Coffee Break puzzles and general information for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation.

Crowsnest Pass CAO Patrick Thomas with the Award of Excellence from the Society of Local Government Managers

Crowsnest Pass CAO Patrick Thomas recognized for service and dedication

Patrick Thomas, chief administrative officer for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, was recently honoured with the prestigious Award of Excellence from the Society of Local Government Managers. Above all, the award recognizes the positive contributions a society member makes in their community. The society is the governing body of the profession, regulating the practices of local government managers. “It’s definitely an honour and quite humbling to have been selected amongst peers from across the province,” says Thomas. “It’s a prestigious award and it’s truly special to have been selected.”

Continued pursuit of education and professional development as well as exemplary service to the local community are some of the factors that were considered in Thomas’s recognition.

Crowsnest Pass Mayor Blair Painter contributed to nominating Thomas and highlighted how hard-working and diligent he is. “We’re very proud that he was selected for this award,” says Painter. “It recognizes exemplary service and dedication to local government and to our government in particular. Patrick works very very hard for us.”

Ad for Creekview Dental Hygiene clinic in Pincher Creek

One of the emerging themes for Thomas’s nomination was his deep care and love for the local community. “Patrick and his family just love our community,” says Painter.

Council is grateful for the clarity and attention to detail in the documents and recommendations Thomas prepares for it. Painter notes that he often includes recommendations that council may not have otherwise considered. “He really cares and he really puts a lot of effort into being the best for us.”


Also read | Pincher Creek girl shines as youngest finalist in inaugural Analog Prize


Painter also notes that Thomas cares a lot about building a strong administrative team, which then serves to lead the council and the community.  “It’s a very tough award to get,” says Painter. “I know this means the world to Patrick.”

Deputy CAO Kristin Colucci was also involved in nominating Thomas for the award, highlighting not only his contributions to the community but also his volunteer work with the local government management society helping communities with emergency preparedness.  “One of the main things that differentiates him is his deep passion for the Crowsnest Pass,” she says.

Colucci explains that though many Albertan CAOs don’t last long in their communities, Patrick has been with the municipality for over 10 years and is a permanent fixture. “That kind of dedication can really improve an organization because you have that consistency from year to year,” she says.

Thomas has been CAO for seven years, since 2017, and worked previously in C.N.P. administration, with a background in engineering. He is described as providing good advice, being the go-to person for questions, and being very trusted by the council.

According to Colucci, winning the award also puts Crowsnest Pass on the map for other CAOs of Alberta, showing that positive things are happening in the area.

This red fox vixen had a successful morning hunt, returning to the den with a starling and a Richardson’s ground squirrel. The kits have been spied cavorting in the spring sunshine and will soon learn to hunt. Foxes are omnivores that eat fruits and vegetation along with birds and small mammals. According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, a red fox can hear a mouse squeak from 100 feet away. Many of this week’s articles and photos tie in with it being Canadian Environment Week.

Shootin’ the Breeze – June 05, 2024

This week, we celebrate remarkable community achievements and important initiatives.

From Crowsnest Pass CAO Patrick Thomas’s recognition for his outstanding service and dedication to the new funding applications for drought preparedness in MD of Pincher Creek, this issue brings your attention to all major developments.

Also, discover the exciting scavenger hunt designed to showcase hidden gems and popular spots in honour of Recreation and Park Month, celebrate the success of the Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides in Pincher Creek, and join the movement towards sustainability with our upcoming reuse and recycle fair.

Stay informed and connected with our community’s latest news and events!

Obituary photo of Carolyn Weymouth

Obituary | Carolyn Weymouth

With great sadness we announce the passing of Carolyn Weymouth on Feb. 20, 2024, in Pincher Creek, Alta., after a brief but courageous battle with cancer.  She was 82 years of age.

Carolyn was born in London, Ont., on May 10, 1941, to parents Cliff and Hilda Handley.

Carolyn was an active individual who enjoyed the outdoors, sewing, knitting, a glass of wine, reading, and loved her cats and dogs. She was also very involved with horses, including training them as well as pleasure riding. She was a member of the Alberta Trail Riders Association and rode many years in the Ride Against Cancer in the early summer each year. Carolyn was even known to get out on the golf course in her younger days.

After graduating high school, Carolyn went to the University of Sarnia Nursing Academy from 1959 to 1962. She then moved to Winnipeg and worked at the Misericordia Hospital from 1962 to 1965. She then transferred to Edmonton Misericordia and worked there from 1965 until 1972.

Later she moved to the Onoway area and then to Alberta Beach. Carolyn and Ed then moved to Coleman, then to West Bank, B.C., and back to Coleman. Carolyn moved into Whispering Winds Village in Pincher Creek for her last few years.

She will be remembered with love and respect for a life well lived.

Carolyn leaves behind two sons: Jon (Kim) Thorsteinsson of Winnipeg, Man., and David (Dianna) Potter of Onoway, Alta.; one brother: Jim (Helen) Handley of London, Ont.; one stepdaughter: Sharon Weymouth of Edmonton, Alta.; two stepsons: Edwin (Barbara) Weymouth of Edmonton, Alta., and Don (Pat) Weymouth of Gunn, Alta.

Carolyn was predeceased by her parents, Cliff and Hilda Handley.

A celebration of life will be held for Carolyn on June 28, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 14929 20th Ave., Frank, Alta.

Memorial donations will be gratefully accepted by Canadian Cancer Society.

Arrangements entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Homes.


Ad for Sara Hawthorn, Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass realtor



Ad requesting memorabilia from CNP music festival


Voting sign for Revive the Roxy

Your vote could make $100K difference for the Roxy

The stakes have doubled for Roxy Theatre supporters, as an anonymous donor has offered to match the $50,000 prize if Roxy wins the Next Great Save competition.

The vision is for the theatre to become an arts hub for Crowsnest Pass and surrounding area. Roxy programming will include live theatre, movie screenings, community concerts, cultural events and youth activities.

The goal is to have something for everyone and to revive not only the theatre, but also downtown Coleman.

Supporters look forward to how things will unfold when the Roxy, once a large part of Coleman’s then bustling downtown scene, opens its doors as a performing arts centre.

The building’s legacy is steeped in cultural history and is one of only three surviving quonset theatres in the country.


Ad for Aurora Eggert Coaching in Beaver Mines


The $50,000 prize would be a huge bolster to Roxy Cando’s efforts. Doubling this to $100,000 would be incredible.

Roxy Cando members hope this will encourage community members from Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek and the surrounding area to take a few minutes to post their votes online.

Voting in the Next Great Save opened last week, with the Roxy Theatre restoration project among 12 finalists.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Roxy had just over 5,500 votes, putting the project in fourth place.

While voting online in the Next Great Save, take a few more minutes and check out the Painted Violin Auction at More than 30 per cent of Revive the Roxy’s $15,000 goal has been achieved.



Ad for Shadowbar Shepherds Training in Pincher Creek
Semi with orange cab drives on Highway 3 near Crowsnest Pass

Highway 3 projects loom large in provincial highway planning

With or without federal support, improvements to a major southern Alberta highway continue because of its critical economic importance as an east-west corridor, the province says.

Eight Highway 3 projects are on the books after being separated into “bite-sized chunks” to keep costs in check, said Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors.

Dreeshen pointed to Highway 3’s importance in connecting the province to British Columbia and Saskatchewan through an area of irrigation, agriculture and oil and gas.

“It’s such a breadbasket of Alberta,” said the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

The National Trade Corridors Fund has so far failed to put money toward a list from the Alberta government of projects in southern, central and northern Alberta. All proposal calls are closed.

The province’s submissions would help pay for upgrades affecting Edmonton, Devon, Calgary, Balzac, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Crowsnest Pass, Piikani First Nation, Pincher Creek, Fort Macleod, Taber and dozens of other communities.


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


One of the unsuccessful projects is part of more than 210 kilometres of twinning-related work on Highway 3 and Highway 3X that’s at some stage of consultation, planning or design.

Work will start soon on the unsupported 46-kilometre section of Highway 3 between Taber and a hamlet called Burdett, west of Medicine Hat. A design-build contract won by Ledcor will see ground turn this spring and support about 750 jobs, a ministry spokesperson told the Local Journalism Initiative.

Also beginning this spring is detailed design engineering for the Highway 3X/Coleman bypass. Planning studies are finished for 14 km of work.

Work on 36 km of twinning west of Seven Persons to Medicine Hat starts this year, now that planning studies are complete and a detailed design engineering contract has been awarded.

In the fall, detailed design engineering is expected to start on 21 km of the highway from Blairmore to east of its intersection with Highway 22. More detailed design engineering should follow in the winter of 2024 for 20 km of work from east of Highway 22 to Highway 6 at Pincher Creek. Planning studies are finished for both.

Less far along are three other projects.

A functional planning study is complete for east of Burdett to west of Seven Persons, a section of 30 km. But the province needs to continue consulting with the Town of Bow Island and other stakeholders to finalize alignment, said the ministry.

For Pincher Creek to west of Fort Macleod, a functional planning study with Piikani Nation is underway for 38 km of Highway 3 work.


Ad for Ascent Dental in Pincher Creek


Crowsnest Cruisers bus

Crowsnest Cruisers hit the road

Seniors and others with mobility issues need affordable and assisted transportation to get to and from medical appointments, social services, shopping, and social events. Accessing these services is essential for day-to-day living and for personal well-being.

A new travel option is now provided by Crowsnest Cruisers.

“A simple trip across town or to Pincher Creek or Lethbridge can be a challenge for seniors requiring physical assistance and can quickly become prohibitively expensive,” says Pauline Desjardins, who co-chairs the non-profit Crowsnest Cruisers project.

She and a small group of community members have been developing the program since last year, with help from the Peaks to Pines Residents Association in Coleman.

Crowsnest Cruisers provides suitable and affordable transportation to make it easier for seniors to access health-care and other services, to remain independent longer, to meet with family and friends, and to attend more social events.


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


“Crowsnest Cruisers uses a bus and a van to help those seniors access services in ways that most of us take for granted,” says Pauline.

Trips within the municipality of Crowsnest Pass are offered in a wheelchair-accessible van that seats four including a wheelchair.

The van is receiving final touches and is anticipated to be on the road by mid-April.

Local trips are available between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, and from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Passengers using the local service will be picked up at their door and transported to their destination.


Marie Swann

Marie Swann wears many hats for the Crowsnest Cruisers, including booking appointments and driving the bus.

Submitted photo

A 13-seat bus with a wheelchair ramp is available for monthly trips to Pincher Creek and Lethbridge. The next scheduled trips to Pincher Creek are April 10 and May 8, while Lethbridge runs will be April 18 and May 16.

The group anticipates the number of Pincher Creek trips will increase as more people become aware of the service.

Transportation rates are reasonable. When travelling locally, a one-way trip is $5 and a return trip is $10. Stops along the way are $1 each. Return trips from Crowsnest Pass to Pincher Creek are $25 and $75 to Lethbridge.

The Cruisers wheels are on the ground thanks to financial assistance from Healthy Aging Alberta and Calgary United Way.

Transportation co-ordinator Marie Swann registers those wishing to use the service, schedules trips and books seats, liaises with local senior services and drives the van for local trips.

She is a longtime Crowsnest Pass resident with many years of driving experience and says she’s excited to be working on such a worthwhile project from the ground up.

To register with Crowsnest Cruisers, call 403-583-5598. Medical appointments will take priority when bookings are scheduled.


Ad for Vape in Pincher Creek



Woman looks down at photo of her daughter and a heart-shaped rock in her hand.

Finding hope through the language of hearts

In the quiet corners of Betty DeCecco’s world, love weaves itself into the fabric of everyday life in the most unexpected of ways.

Since her daughter, Debbie DeCecco-Orleni, passed away in 2009, Betty has found herself navigating the expanse of grief, her heart aching with the weight of memories and the void of loss. Yet, amidst the shadows of sorrow, a glimmer of hope emerged.

Betty’s life changed when Debbie died of breast cancer in May 2009, leaving her heartbroken. Betty was passing her days when a glimmer of hope emerged, unfurling in the tapestry of dreams.

On a December night in 2014, Betty had a dream in which she found herself enveloped in the ethereal embrace of her daughter’s presence. Debbie’s voice, soft as a whisper, echoed through the realms of slumber, urging Betty to seek solace in the symbolism of hearts.

“I still remember that dream. Debbie was there. She told me, ‘Look for hearts, and you will see me,’ ” Betty shares, her voice breaking with emotion.


Ad for Blinds and More in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass


Though the dream faded with the morning light, its message lingered, etched into Betty’s heart like an indelible promise. She started decoding the message of how she could see hearts. Years passed by and again, in December 2019, she had the same dream. Unable to shake off the message, she felt even more restless.

More years passed, and Betty searched, her eyes scanning the world with hope. Then, on a crisp October day in 2023, she stumbled upon a heart-shaped pebble nestled among stones scattered along the roadside. Shocked, yet inexplicably comforted, she knew this was no mere coincidence — it was a message from her beloved daughter, a beacon of love guiding her through the darkness.

Since that fateful day, Betty’s world has become a tapestry of hearts as she finds them everywhere — in spilled soup, in the crystalline embrace of winter’s first snow and even in fallen leaves. Each heart-shaped apparition is a whispered assurance from beyond, a testament to the enduring bond between a mother and her daughter.

Betty found solace in the presence of these tokens.



Heart images

Do you see what Betty sees?


“They were not mere coincidences but cosmic affirmations of my daughter’s love,” Betty tells Shootin’ the Breeze, while showing the pictures of hearts she found everywhere.

In the embrace of each heart, Betty found the courage to confront her pain and to unravel the tendrils of sorrow that bound her heart.

In the last year, Betty has shared her journey with her near and dear ones. Some have offered solace, while others remain skeptical, unable to fathom the depths of her experience. Yet, in the warmth of Betty’s presence, even the most hardened hearts soften, touched by the rawness of her emotion.

“Many people told me that it’s just coincidence, but I know that even though she is gone, she is still communicating her love in this way,” Betty says.

And so, in the quiet corners of Crowsnest Pass, among the hearts Betty has kept saved in the form of photos, a mother finds peace in the midst of pain. Her journey is not about closure but continuation, a testament to the timeless bond between a mother and her daughter, forever etched in the hearts of those who dare to believe.





Icy sheen on Highway 3 near Elko.

Icy conditions west of Alberta/BC border

Extremely icy road conditions overnight near the British Columbia-Alberta border resulted in at least two vehicles sliding off Highway 3 east of Sparwood.

According to Drive BC, the incidents occurred between Michel Creek Road and the Carbon Creek Bridge. 

Elk Valley RCMP confirm there were no serious injuries.

RCMP in Crowsnest Pass are urging drivers travelling west to use extreme caution.

At one point overnight, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure closed a section of the highway. Traffic coming from Alberta was stopped at Coleman, while eastbound vehicles were halted at Sparwood.

Freezing rain had been in the forecast overnight, but there’s no indication if that was a contributing factor.

Traffic in the area has been reduced to single-lane alternating traffic.

Road conditions in the area remain poor.




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.



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.



"No School" written in the snow

Friday’s forecast for extreme cold prompts school closures

In a rare move, but one many parents can certainly agree with, officials with the Livingstone Range School Division decided Thursday afternoon to close all LRSD schools this Friday, Jan. 12.

With Friday morning temperatures forecast near -33 C, and wind chill values that could reach -50, an LSRD notice says officials chose to “not run buses and close the schools over the safety of [our] students and staff.”

All extracurricular activities, like the Rock the Diploma event, have also been postponed due to the extreme cold.

“We anticipate that buses will run and schools will be open on Monday, Jan. 15, as the forecast shows some improvement,” the notice said.

Updates will be posted to school and division websites and social channels.

Meanwhile, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division has announced that many of its rural schools, including St. Michael’s in Pincher Creek, will also be closed as the buses it shares with Livingstone Range won’t be running.

Monday’s outlook is for moderate temperatures with sunshine and a daytime high near -12.





Semi and SUV meeting on slushy highway.

Winter storm leaves Pincher Creek roads slushy

A winter storm has created slushy road conditions in southwestern Alberta.

Motorists driving on Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass area roads and highways are dealing with all kinds of road conditions including heavy, wet snow and spray from oncoming traffic.

Conditions are expected to improve by mid-day Friday.



Snow on the way for Southwest region

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm watch for much of southwest Alberta, beginning sometime overnight tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Wind gusts of 60 km/h and warm temperatures of +10 Wednesday will give way to snow and wind-chill temperatures closer to minus 6 Thursday.

Snowfall amounts range anywhere from 5-10 cm inland away from the mountain ranges to up to 25 cm along the foothills.

Snow is expected to taper off Thursday night ahead of a cooler, drier trend that begins Friday and continues through Tuesday of next week.

The winter storm watch covers the Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, and Cardston regions. As of noon, Wednesday, Lethbridge was not part of the advisory.



Semi with orange cab drives on Highway 3 near Crowsnest Pass

Contractor chosen for first phase of Hwy 3 twinning

The first of eight promised twinning projects on Highway 3 will begin this coming spring.

That, after the province announced Nov. 20 the awarding of a contract for a 46-kilometre stretch from Taber to Burdett to Ledcor Highways Ltd.

Transportation and Economic Corridors Minister Devin Dreeshen calls the highway a critical piece of infrastructure for Alberta’s growing agribusiness industry. He added it will also improve safety in the region.

Pre-construction on the first phase is forecast to be completed by year’s end.

It’s expected to generate up to 755 jobs, once full-time work begins.

The announcement, however, didn’t include any dates for construction on the seven remaining sections, which include the 10-kilometre Coleman bypass and a 38-kilometre widening of the highway from Pincher Station to just west of Fort Macleod.

Although outlined by the province as a 10-year project, it’s thought more than one project might be carried out at the same time.

The bypass route in Crowsnest Pass is expected to be next.