* Residents of Rimbey were advised that they were on the verge of seeing a bit of a building boom in the community thanks in large part to a number of significant proposed projects that were either already underway or were about to begin. In addition to a major expansion of the local Home Hardware outlet, the construction of the Kansas Ridge II seniors complex and a number of smaller retail buildings going up, announcements were made that a new ambulance building and a large Best Western motel/hotel on Rimbey’s west side were about to break ground.
* Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft paid a visit to Bluffton where, in addition to touring the community and the school, he also took some time to read to the students as part of the Read and Learn Program, which was sponsored by the Bluffton and District Chamber of Commerce. “In the course of a whole year I do all kinds of things and one of the real highlights for me is being able to go to a classroom and talk to the kids, answer their questions and read to them,” Taft said of his visit. “Oftentimes, the most important thing that a child can get out of school is good, basic reading skills.”
* Former Rimbey RCMP officer Ted Munro was one of only two Alberta-based members to be invited to participate in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, held in Halifax from July 1 to 8. Munro joined 24 other members of the force as part of the RCMP’s Ceremonial Drill Team. “The Tattoo is typically a military-police exhibition,” Munro said shortly before leaving for the east coast. “It’s probably the biggest cultural event in the province of Nova Scotia with over 2,000 performances including military, police and civilian performers from all over the world.”
* Three males in their 20s were lucky to be alive after spending a considerable amount of time in the icy waters of Gull Lake on Sunday, May 18, 2008. According to the RCMP, the trio used a friend’s boat and had planned on fishing the lake’s north end however after failing to return by a designated time, a search was launched and a few hours later, the men were found alive and clinging to each other.
* The Bluffton Chamber of Commerce was named the Chamber of the Year at a ceremony held on May 24 at Fort Saskatchewan. The Bluffton group won the award in the category for Chambers with up to 50 members. “It’s a great award to receive. This means a lot for our community. It’s some recognition to show the hard work that our Chamber has done,” said President Maeghan Menear of the 18-member Bluffton Chamber.
* The acts had been booked, the decorations were up and all systems were go for the annual Rimbey Rodeo which hit the community in mid-June of 2008. The rodeo promised something for people of all ages including a show by the Canadian Cowboy Mounted Shooters Association and the Mustang Show featuring Claude Chausse and his amazing black stallions.
* The long arm of the law showed just how long it is when on June 11, 2008, Jeramie Bissonnette was sentenced in Red Deer Provincial Court on 52 Criminal Code charges, the most significant of which was from an incident earlier in the year when he rammed a Rimbey RCMP cruiser a number of times on Highway 20. Bissonnette was sentenced to 10 years in prison however the sentence was reduced to eight years, four months following credit for time already served.
* The second round of an ongoing dispute between the electrical power supply industry and the Lavesta Group over proposed power lines running through the region was held in Rimbey in late June of last year, but was much less confrontational than the first round held a year prior. Rimbey was one of 26 proposed open houses to explain the process to landowners and was staged by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).
* One of the longest-running rodeos in Alberta was all set to kick-off their 78th year in mid-July with the opening of the Buck Lake Stampede. Featuring a weekend of rodeo, racing, western music, a parade, steak supper and a pancake breakfast, the Stampede also included a Wild Pony Race for the kids as well as comedy appearances by clown Waylon Marshall and shows by the Edmonton Sheriff’s Posse.
* Two Rimbey residents – Mayor Dale Barr and Lavesta Group Chairman Joe Anglin, received province-wide recognition after they were named as two of Alberta’s 50-most influential people by a major provincial magazine. In releasing their annual list, Alberta Venture described Barr as a ‘green mayor’ for his efforts in landing a cutting-edge, technologically-advanced ethanol plant for the community while Anglin made the list for spear-heading a battle against proposed power lines that were scheduled to be constructed through the Rimbey area.
* Residents of Winfield were sleeping a bit better following the acquisition of a spanking new pumper truck which was purchased by the local fire department with the help of the County of Wetaskiwin as part of the County’s long-term strategic planning for fire services. County Fire Chief Ken Carlson acknowledged the support of the County and the volunteers of the Winfield Fire Department for their efforts in landing the new truck.
* Local rodeo tie-down competitor Dean Edge made his way to the top four in his event during the Calgary Stampede and picked up a cool $21,000 in earnings along the way. “I’m really happy and satisfied. It wasn’t necessarily beyond my expectations, but I was happy to compete with the best and beat them,” Edge said. “It was really good – that was the fastest time I had ever had. It’s a new personal best for me.” Edge recorded a time of 7.0 seconds during the competition.
* Officials from the federal and provincial governments, along with representatives of the Alberta Beef Producers met with local cattle producers at the Rimbey Community Centre in late July to discuss the new Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy and by all indications, t6he locals were not happy with the upcoming proposed changes. “I’m hearing lots from local producers. Most of them want more answers because they don’t understand the process,” said Board member Greg Bowie of Ponoka. “There’s a lot of producers that are upset with what is going on and there’s a small amount of producers that are in favour of the changes.” One of the most contentious issues revolved around producers being forced to pay entirely for testing of their animals.
* Paving crews from Alberta Transportation descended on Rimbey to complete two patch jobs on the community’s main street amounting to somewhere between 50 and 100 metres of new blacktop. “Essentially, what we did there is what we consider normal highway maintenance patches with a paver as part of our annual Paving Patch Program,” said Transportation Operations Manager Russ Watts. “The intent is to hit localized areas with deficiencies. That’s what our program is based on so we typically do smaller patches.
* A Bentley-based outdoor extremist team competed in the annual North Face Canadian Death Race held in the Rocky Mountains, and managed to survive the ordeal that took them to heights in excess of 17,000 feet during the grueling 125-kilometre race. Jason Hazlett, Joe McKeen, Marsha Lush, Steve Lush and Karen Mullen each completed one leg of the race within its 24-hour time limit.
* Rimbey resident and Second World War veteran Elmer Schaur was one of 13 people from across western Canada who was recognized for his work with veterans during a ceremony held in Calgary in mid-August. “It was super. To get the army and navy together and we had a lot of fun talking to each other and congratulating one another was wonderful,” Schaur said of the experience. “The people from Ottawa were very good too and talked to all of us.” Schaur was nominated for the award by his daughter for his exemplary work with older veterans.
* A meeting held on Saturday, Aug. 13 was intended to go a long way in determining if an expanded marina facility within the Summer Village of Parkland Beach at Gull Lake was going to stay or would have to be removed. The dispute arose as a result of the discouvery that RV Heaven and Marine Ltd. Had overstepped its boundaries within a land survey conducted in 1913 when, at the time, the title read to the water’s edge. Since that time however, the lake had both contracted and expanded several times, leading to the confusion.
* While the death toll continued to rise in the wake of this past summer’s listeriosis outbreak from tainted meat distributed by Maple Leaf Foods in Ontario, residents in Rimbey had nothing to fear according to two sandwich shops in the community. Allen Adam, he owner/operator of the local Subway outlet said his meat products came from a different supplier while Richard Ramsay, owner/operator of the GTI in Rimbey said two roast beefs he had purchased were recalled and immediately taken out of the system.
* With students returning to schools throughout the area, the Rimbey Detachment of the RCMP chose the perfect time to remind drivers about the importance of maintaining safe driving habits, especially through school zones. “I can assure the public that we will be out in the school zones running radar,” said Cst. Bill Coulthard. “We’ll be out there watching what’s going on and we’ll also be parked by the schools watching parents dropping off and picking up their children and making sure it’s being done in a safe way.”
* A former Rimbey-area resident received a very prestigious award from the University of Alberta. Dr. Garry M. Lindberg, who grew up near Hoadley, received the Distinguished Alumni Award at a ceremony in September in recognition of his many years of work with the Canadian space Agency and more specifically, the development of the Canadarm, which has become an integral part of both the Space Shuttle Program and the Space Station. “I’m very pleased and glad I’ve got my farming roots,” Lindberg said from his summer home in Nova Scotia. “I was raised north of Rimbey near Hoadley and went to a one-room school country school until it closed and then was bussed into Bluffton. It was a great start to life coming out of a farming background.”
* While their grand opening was still a number of months away, construction on Rimbey’s new hospital had reached the point where several departments were able to move into the new facility in late-September of 2008. “We’ll be opening the new area immediately. The only groups that will not be moving in right away are the offices of Community Health and Mental Health Services,” said Site Leader Judy Drebert. “They will be moving after we finish the renovations to the vacated part of the 1980 building, and after we demolish the 1949 and 1956 sections. The new hospital came in within its $20 million budget.
* The Alberta Green Party met for their annual general meeting at Morningside in late September, but the meeting didn’t start under the best of circumstances as a large portion of the Party’s executive board walked out in protest. As part of the meeting’s agenda, the Greens were about to launch into some constitutional amendments however before the meeting even started, the president, party leader, deputy leader and secretary all walked out and did not return. In the interim, the membership continued on and both amended their constitution and elected Rimbey’s Joe Anglin as their new leader until the matter could be resolved.
Continued next week