2008 – Year in Review

January 1
*The year 2008 began the same way 2009 will, that being in the form of a review of the events that occurred in Rimbey and the surrounding area over the previous 12 months.

  • Tue Dec 30th, 2008 11:00am
  • News

January 1

*The year 2008 began the same way 2009 will, that being in the form of a review of the events that occurred in Rimbey and the surrounding area over the previous 12 months.

*The Alberta Citizens Watch on Continuing Care announced that they had launched a web site to provide residents with information regarding long-term care facilities and services. Continuing care services included home care, supportive living and facility living while providing Albertans with health, personal care and accommodation services when they are no longer able to live independently.

January 8

* The Rimbey RCMP Detachment reported that by all indications, the 2008 Christmas season was quiet and peaceful with few calls being received by police. “It went really well,” said Cpl. Ian McLean who has since retired from the force. “We had only one arrest and five New Year’s Eve-related calls starting at about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 and ending at 3:11 a.m. on Jan. 1.”

* The Breton RCMP Detachment released pictures in connection to a suspicious death that occurred in that community on Dec. 20, 2007 after they were called to a remote location where they discovered the remains of a naked male who had been found in a wooded area. The deceased male was identified as 39 year-old Lorne Allan McKenzie of Buck Lake who was last seen leaving the Lakeshore Inn in that community on Nov. 15, 2007. Police were also searching for a 2003 Yamaha 660 Grizzly quad bearing Alberta license plate YT177 which they believed was being driven by McKenzie on the night of his disappearance.

January 15

* Lavesta Group Chairman Joe Anglin of Rimbey was named one of the Top 10 non-political Albertans who played a big role in matters of provincial affairs by a major daily Edmonton newspaper. Citing his defense of the rights of local landowners opposed to the construction of AltaLink power lines over and through their property and his uncovering of spying activity conducted by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, the newspaper said he was most likely to receive a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking from the provincial government and referred to him as a “rabble-rouser” for campaigning against the government’s controversial Bill 46.

January 22

* The development of a drag strip at Rimbey’s Central Alberta Raceway received a big boost from a lotteries fund managed by the provincial government when Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins presented a cheque in the amount of $430,000 to Jeff Makofka, president of the Rimbey Kinsmen Club to complete the new strip. “Our community project will now get into high gear, the community support has been outstanding and with these new funds, we can proceed with the completion of the drag strip,” Makofka said in accepting the cheque.

* Weighing in at nine pounds, one ounce, Amanda Peter became Rimbey’s first baby of 2008 when she was born at 3:24 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12.

January 29

* A Winfield minor hockey player received the thrill of a lifetime when he joined the Edmonton Oilers on the ice at Rexall Place for the national anthem prior to the Oiler’s game against the New York Rangers on Jan. 5. After having his name selected from an on-line draw, 13 year0old Eric Paterson was elated to find out that he would be participating in pre-game warm-ups with his favourite team.

February 5

* Grade 6 and 7 students from the Rimbey Christian School brought a bit of good news to the community following their second-place finish at the Lego League Robotics Tournament held at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology on Saturday, Jan. 26. The competition required students to construct, program and operate a robot to complete a series of challenges on an obstacle course.

February 12

* In an effort to fill out their depleting ranks, the RCMP announced that they would be holding a recruitment drive across the country, including in Rimbey. Similar to virtually every other industry, the retiring of hundreds of thousands of baby-boomers who were born following the Second World War had deeply effected the RCMP forcing them to launch an aggressive campaign which included extensive advertising including ads in 26 major daily newspapers, on buses in 36 cities and in fitness centres in 22 cities as well as many other venues including the Internet.

February 19

*Candidate hit the ground running in anticipation of a provincial general election that was called in early February to be held on March 3. In addition to incumbent Ray Prins of the Conservative Party, others to throw their hats into the ring were Joe Anglin of the Green Party of Alberta, Edith McPhedran of the Liberal Party and Steve Bradshaw of the New Democratic Party.

February 26

* An early morning ramming incident on Highway 20 south of the community left a Rimbey RCMP cruiser heavily damaged and the officer behind the wheel shaken but only suffering minor injuries. After witnessing a truck suspiciously parked directly in front of a local gas station and then abruptly leave upon the arrival of Cst. Daniel Kenny, the truck immediately bolted for the highway where it excelerated at a very high speed. Shortly after, with Kenny in pursuit, the truck stopped. “The vehicle suddenly went into reverse and rammed him. Cpl. Ian McLean explained. “Actually, as it struck the police car a wheel drove right up onto the hood and onto the windshield. As it got up onto the roof, it fell off sideways down the driver’s door and the truck carried on past him going backwards.” In all, the truck rammed the police cruiser three times before fleeing the scene.

March 4

* Grant McLean, a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces and a former government employee, visited Rimbey as part of his Alberta tour in hopes of getting a little justice. “I’m trying to make people aware of the fact that I’ve been screwed royally by the Province of Alberta and they don’t seem to want to do anything about it,” McLean said. He added that he has been denied 30 percent of his pension due to a clerical error made by a staff member of the government.

March 11

With a total of 8,201 votes, Lacombe-Ponoka Conservative MLA Ray Prins easily defeated his opponents to reclaim the seat in the Legislature following the March 3 provincial election. Finishing second was Joe Anglin of the Green Party with 3,226 votes while Liberal Edith McPhedran garnered 1,200. In fourth place was Daniel Friesen of the Wildrose Alliance Party with 911 and New Democratic Party candidate Steven Bradshaw with 570 votes. “Well of course I was very pleased with the numbers on the provincial level but equally pleased with my own numbers,” Prins said. “They were actually beyond what I expected but I knew we were solid Conservative in our constituency but we experience a lot of pressure from the opposition here.”

March 18

* Members of the Community Savings branch in Rimbey stood to line their pockets to the tune of $1,500 following a takeover bid by Western Financial Group, however the board of Directors of Community Savings abruptly shot down the idea less than 24 hours after receiving the offer. “When 94 percent of our members tell us that it’s important to remain a member-owned credit union, the board of directors has clear marching orders,” said Murray Haubrich, president and CEO of Community Savings. “There is no way the board can take any steps that would cause us to dissolve what we’ve got and replace it with a bank.”

March 25

* Following an extensive investigation involving members of the Red Deer City, Red Deer Rural, Sylvan Lake, Ponoka and Rimbey Detachments of the RCMP, a 47 year-old Red Deer man was arrested for numerous driving offenses, vehicle thefts and charges of Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Flight from Police, Possession of Stolen Property, Assault with a Weapon and Breach of Recognizance in connection to a ramming incident a month before. Jeramie Jules Bissonnette was also charged with several counts of Break, Enter and Theft in connection to a number of other crimes in the central Alberta area. RCMP also confirmed that Bissonnette had a hand in a mysterious fire that broke out in a barn in the same location that a stolen truck was found believed to be the one that rammed Cst. Daniel Kenny a number of times on Highway 20 on Sunday, Feb. 17.

March 4

* Grant McLean, a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces and a former government employee, visited Rimbey as part of his Alberta tour in hopes of getting a little justice. “I’m trying to make people aware of the fact that I’ve been screwed royally by the Province of Alberta and they don’t seem to want to do anything about it,” McLean said. He added that he has been denied 30 per cent of his pension due to a clerical error made by a staff member of the government.

March 11

With a total of 8,201 votes, Lacombe-Ponoka Conservative MLA Ray Prins easily defeated his opponents to reclaim the seat in the Legislature following the March 3 provincial election. Finishing second was Joe Anglin of the Green Party with 3,226 votes while Liberal Edith McPhedran garnered 1,200. In fourth place was Daniel Friesen of the Wildrose Alliance Party with 911 and New Democratic Party candidate Steven Bradshaw with 570 votes. “Well of course I was very pleased with the numbers on the provincial level but equally pleased with my own numbers,” Prins said. “They were actually beyond what I expected but I knew we were solid Conservative in our constituency but we experience a lot of pressure from the opposition here.”

March 18

* Members of the Community Savings branch in Rimbey stood to line their pockets to the tune of $1,500 following a takeover bid by Western Financial Group, however the board of Directors of Community Savings abruptly shot down the idea less than 24 hours after receiving the offer. “When 94 percent of our members tell us that it’s important to remain a member-owned credit union, the board of directors has clear marching orders,” said Murray Haubrich, president and CEO of Community Savings. “There is no way the board can take any steps that would cause us to dissolve what we’ve got and replace it with a bank.”

March 25

* Following an extensive investigation involving members of the Red Deer City, Red Deer Rural, Sylvan Lake, Ponoka and Rimbey Detachments of the RCMP, a 47 year-old Red Deer man was arrested for numerous driving offenses, vehicle thefts and charges of Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Flight from Police, Possession of Stolen Property, Assault with a Weapon and Breach of Recognizance in connection to a ramming incident a month before. Jeramie Jules Bissonnette was also charged with several counts of Break, Enter and Theft in connection to a number of other crimes in the central Alberta area. RCMP also confirmed that Bissonnette had a hand in a mysterious fire that broke out in a barn in the same location that a stolen truck was found believed to be the one that rammed Cst. Daniel Kenny a number of times on Highway 20 on Sunday, Feb. 17.

April 1

* A former Olympian and world champion wrestler paid a visit to the Rimbey Elementary School in April as part of a tour of the area. Christine Nordhagen, who participated in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece and won the gold medal at the 2001 World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling in Sophia, Bulgaria, addressed the Grade 4 to 6 students as part of her Be Your Best tour. During her address, Nordhagen stressed a youth empowerment program aimed at encouraging the students to make positive personal choices in their lives in an effort to ensure they reach their true potential.

April 8

* Following a large undercover drug bust that resulted in a significant number of charges being laid throughout central Alberta including two in Rimbey, the local RCMP Detachment decided to host a drug-awareness seminar to provide information to concerned parents. “I guess this is basically a follow-up to the recent story about the two charges of drug trafficking that happened in Rimbey as the result of an undercover operation,” said Cst. Ted Munro of the RCMP. “There’s been tremendous feedback, questions and concerns from the community following the story and we’ve been overwhelmed for the last few weeks with concerned parents and general citizens coming to the counter and asking what they can do and what they should be looking for.”

April 15

* A proposed new bio-energy plant in received a big boost in April following the announcement that a $5 million grant from the provincial government to the Aspen Bio-Energy Corporation had been approved. “It’s a huge step forward for the project,” said Mayor Dale Barr. “There’s still work that needs to be done, but it certainly shows the provincial support for this new technology to come forward and our investors are very pleased to see this kind of support as it helps them work the numbers from their end.” The proposed plant will be located just south of the Central Alberta Raceway on Rimbey’s east side.

* After conquering Alberta and all points west, the Bentley Generals senior hockey team advanced to the 100th Allan Cup – emblematic of senior hockey throughout Canada. Following a thrilling Chinook League championship final over Stony Plain, the Generals faced the Fort St. John Flyers in a best-of-five playoff which the Generals won three games to one to advance to the nationals which were held in Brantford, Ont.

April 22

* The Rimbey RCMP announced that they had begun an investigation into a vehicle fire northwest of the community that claimed the life of one person following results from the Medical Examiner who determined the death was criminal in nature. Along with members of the Wetaskiwin Detachment, local police executed a search warrant on a rural residence north of the community where they arrested and charged 47 year-old Gale Rhonda Van Oosterhout of Westerose, Alberta. Van Oosterhout was charged with Accessory after the fact to Murder, Indignity to a Human Body and Arson to a Motor Vehicle.

April 29

* After a 34-year stint with the RCMP, Cpl. Ian McLean, formerly of the RCMP Detachment in Rimbey decided to call it a career. Surrounded by many friends and co-workers, McLean was the guest of honour at a retirement party held at the local Royal Canadian Legion Branch where the crowd offered their congratulations and best wishes for the future. McLean said he applied to the force in 1973 following a not-so-successful high school career and 11 months later, found himself in basic training at the RCMP facility in Regina. From there, he was transferred to a number of different towns and cities in Saskatchewan including Outlook, Humboldt, Kamsack, Swift Current and Yorkton before arriving in Rimbey in 2005.

Continued next week.