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The year that was in 2013

Posted on January 2, 2014 by Vauxhall Advance

The following is a review of the top stories and events for Vauxhall and area in 2013, which should help shake off the holiday season fog and get ready for 2014.

January 3: Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is winding down, 2013 is a time to get back to business. Vauxhall Mayor Gordon Brown has an optimistic outlook for the year to come.

The latest recommendations by the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission (AEBC), which handed down newly proposed boundaries last month, certainly has local politicians feeling like they got a lump of coal in their stockings.

January 10: Jerecho Rosario is the first baby born from Vauxhall in 2013. Eliza and Jerwin Rosario welcomed the New Year’s baby at the Taber Hospital Jan. 2 at 7:23 a.m., weighing in at just over 6 pounds. Eliza’s 12-year-old son Collen, likes having a little brother. “I’m a big brother now,” said Collen, with a smile.

Fiscally, Premier Alison Redford’s government is starting off 2013 on a bad note, floundering in more red ink than was once predicted. Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan pledged that in 2013 he will be working hard to achieve results for constituents.

January 17: Recently, the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball brought in a strength and conditioning coach from the dugouts of Lansing, Michigan (a single ‘A’ affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays). Jason Dowse will be working with the Vauxhall Jets at the academy until Feb. 15, and then Dowse heads to Florida for spring training with the Jays.

In an attempt to sway Vauxhallites in the right direction when it comes to information regarding impaired driving, both young and old, Taber/Vauxhall RCMP will be hosting a presentation and information night regarding the dangers of drinking and driving on Saturday at the Vauxhall Community Centre.

January 24: Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne has lodged an official protest to proposed constituency boundary changes which were tabled in Parliament late last year.

Child labour issues on farms in Alberta topped the agenda at the Wild Rose Agricultural Producers (WRAP) annual general meeting held this past week.

January 31: Board chairman Audrey Krizsan recapped Horizon School Division’s meeting earlier this month with Education Minister Jeff Johnson and noted tough times may lay ahead for education funding when the provincial budget is passed in March.

The Redford PCs have failed to downsize burdensome regulations on small business, which is contributing to the erosion of a business-friendly environment in the province, according to the official opposition.

February 7: Last week, federal Liberal Party leadership candidate David Bertschi made a campaign stop in Taber to elaborate on his vision for the party and the nation.

Regarded by many in the jurisdiction as an outstanding educator and a visionary leader, former Horizon School Division educator and superintendent Eric Johnson passed away last week following a long battle with a rare form of cancer.

February 14: A second sugar-beet processing plant is on the drawing board for southern Alberta. At the annual general meeting of the Alberta Sugar Beet Growers yesterday morning, Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne announced an investment to help demonstrate the viability of using beets in the production of sustainable alternatives to petrochemicals.

Premier Alison Redford was in southern Alberta last week and took time to visit the area before attending a constituency meeting in Taber with local party faithful and other regional dignitaries. In an exclusive interview with The Vauxhall Advance, Redford outlined her party’s plans for the province in the lead-up to a much anticipated provincial budget to be handed down in March.

February 21: While the awareness of endometriosis may be small right now, the impact the disease has both physically and emotionally for women and their family units is immense. Pamela Harder-Ginther is hoping a charity hockey game in Vauxhall will help showcase a greater awareness of the ailment which she was diagnosed with when she was 18 years old.

Conservative Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne believes he’s found a solution to appease southern Alberta residents in light of some discontent over the recently announced federal boundary changes — a solution he presented to a special session of the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs in Lethbridge Tuesday.

February 28: It is hoped by Vauxhall town council the pool continues its legacy as a fun-filled family place to be during the summer months. Nowadays though, the pool isn’t aging very well and may need to be either overhauled or replaced, according to a recent town council meeting Feb. 19.

Only days before the scheduled delivery of the 2013 provincial budget, the province’s recent third quarter fiscal results signalled a dismal economic reality for Alberta. With a multi-billion dollar drop in non-renewable resource revenue, Alberta’s forecasted deficit for the 2012-2013 fiscal year is expected to be anywhere between $3.5 and $4 billion.

March 7: The Alberta Teachers’ Association has rejected the province’s offer for a four-year collective agreement late last month. “We have discussed this offer with teachers and they’re not interested,” said Carol Henderson, ATA president.

Former Toronto Blue Jays reliever Duane Ward spoke to a large crowd of baseball fans and supporters at the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball’s (VAB) 7th Annual Baseball Awards and Scholarship Dinner held over the weekend at the Vauxhall Community Centre, covering being drafted, his early days in the minor leagues through his championship years in Toronto, and offering advice to aspiring young professionals in the VAB.

March 14: Blaming the province’s fiscal woes solely on a “bitumen bubble” is a whole lot of hogwash, said Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan, who represents the Wildrose Alliance Party.

The bench-clearing brawl that occurred between Canada and Mexico during the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on Saturday in Phoenix made international news, and former Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets player Jay Johnson was front and centre in it defending his teammates.

March 21: Water storage levels over winter in reservoirs throughout the Bow River Irrigation District (BRID) are looking good in preparation for spring runoff.

After more than two years of discussions, the Redford government has reached a tentative four-year agreement with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA). The agreement will maintain labour stability for the province’s 600,000 school kids and address teacher workload issues.

March 28: Pink exoskeletons were all picked clean for another year, and Vauxhallites again gorged themselves on hundreds of unfortunate Homarus americanus at the 13th Annual Lobsterfest held in the community last month.

While the four-year tentative agreement struck between the Progressive Conservative provincial government and the Alberta Teacher’s Association has given some answers to the question of education labour peace, local questions still linger on at a school board level.

April 4: Concerns from landowners over the province’s proposed South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) have been voiced to Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan, who also serves as the Wildrose Alliance Party’s agriculture critic.

Results are in from Alberta high school exams and whether it’s chemistry, biology or physics Horizon School Division is above the provincial average and significantly more students are passing, compared to the rest of the province.

April 11: At a Municipal District of Taber council meeting April 9 a notice letter of intention addressed to the Town of Vauxhall was submitted to council for consideration and discussion regarding the termination of the fire agreement between the M.D. and the Town of Vauxhall. The official termination of the agreement is deemed to be September 27 following the requisite six month notification period, according to the letter.

Ten cattle are dead in the aftermath of a cattle liner rollover Friday afternoon on Highway 526 near Enchant by Range Road 164. There were 38 cattle in the trailer with six of the cattle dead from the impact of the rollover and four having to be put down later due to injuries from the accident.

April 18: On May 11 Vauxhallite Mindy Dunphy and her family will be taking part in the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s “Give the Gift of Life Walk” at Henderson Lake in Lethbridge, in support of her husband Tony who has polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Come August 1st, there will be a new person at the helm of Horizon School Division. A press conference was held late last week in Lethbridge in which the board of trustees announced Dr. Cheryl Gilmore has been appointed as the new superintendent of schools and CEO for Lethbridge School District No. 51 effective in August.

April 25: A Canada-EU trade agreement on the horizon could potentially pay some big dividends for Alberta, one of the European Union’s strongest export trade partners. At a recent meeting of key economic stakeholders in Calgary, Minister of State Ted Menzies highlighted the benefits to Alberta the proposed agreement would facilitate, including boosting job growth and deepening long-term prosperity for workers.

Apex Youth Awards were given out last week, celebrating the positive accomplishments and contributions of the youth in the area. There were 18 nominees at the 12th annual awards ceremony held last Thursday night at the Taber Community Centre. This year’s awards went to Nicholas Stobbe, Clayson Skretting, Tina Wolf and Caraline Smith. Each award winner received a bursary.

May 2: Details for the proposed construction of a new shooting range within the M.D. of Taber was presented to Taber town council for their consideration as adjacent landowners to the property under consideration. Intended to be located just over four kilometres north of Taber on Highway 864, the proposed range would be directly north of the existing Taber Motorcross Park (owned by the Town of Taber) on SE 35-10-17-W4, on land currently owned by the M.D.

Following the recent passing of former Premier Ralph Klein, one of southern Alberta’s longest-serving MLAs, Barry McFarland, reflected on his time in office with the premier. McFarland served as part of Klein’s Progressive Conservative government from 1992 until the premier stepped down from office in 2006 and retired from politics.

May 9: At a recent Town of Vauxhall council meeting on May 6 Merlin MacNaughton, supervisor and stakeholder relations manager from FortisAlberta, delivered a presentation regarding the proposal of a new franchise agreement with the town. The new agreement would be a renewal of the electric distribution system franchise agreement. The presentation was submitted to council for consideration.

Students from the region will be celebrating their mentors through the annual Resiliency Postcard Campaign Celebration at the Taber Community Centre on May 16.

May 16: Talks have been ongoing regarding the future of a Regional Fire Authority Agreement which would be between the Municipal District of Taber and the Town of Vauxhall.

A decision by Hockey Alberta last week to ban body checking from the peewee hockey division starting in the 2013-2014 season has a couple of veterans to the southern Alberta hockey scene with mixed emotions on the decision.

May 23: Community volunteers and youth came together last week for the annual Vauxhall Cemetery clean-up, which took place on Thursday evening and Saturday.

While the Taber and District 4-H Show and Sale may not have the 100 years of history 4-H has in the country, the show and sale will continue its long and proud tradition at the Taber Agri-Plex, May 31-June 1.

May 30: The sitting MP of the federal Medicine Hat riding is none too pleased with the way he was informed about an impending challenge to represent his party in the 2015 election. LaVar Payne, the Conservative MP for the riding, will likely have to face a nomination battle with current Lethbridge MP Jim Hillyer, who announced Friday he would be running in the redrawn Medicine Hat riding.

Canada is threatening “retaliatory measures” after U.S. country-of-origin labelling regulations introduced last week look to slice deeply into meat exports.

June 6: Recently, a Joint Fire Agreement Committee was established by the Municipal District of Taber and the Town of Vauxhall which includes Vauxhall fire department volunteers.

A host of broken promises from the Redford PCs over the past six months of 2013 has been a hallmark of this provincial government, according to Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan.

June 13: Health Minister Fred Horne issued a statement Wednesday morning regarding the firing of the board of Alberta Health Services, following a morning press conference in Lethbridge. It comes a day after the AHS board refused to cancel executive bonuses.

A member of one of the region’s distinct ethnic groups has joined the local Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment as an auxiliary constable. In a ceremony last week, Henry Peters was officially sworn in as an auxiliary with the RCMP. Although Peters was born a Canadian, he grew up in a Low German Mennonite family which immigrated to Canada from Chihuahau, Mexico in 1990.

June 20: This summer Vauxhall residents are not going to be able to make a splash in the Vauxhall Pool but the Town of Vauxhall has a few plans in the works to keep kids and families busy throughout the summer months, with more details in the upcoming weeks.

Protesting in the face of provincial cuts to community support programs for persons with developmental disabilities (PDD), Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan delivered a letter to PC caucus members in the Lethbridge area earlier this month imploring them to reconsider potential ramifications.

June 27: M.D. of Taber council received an update on the standing of the Southgrow organization at its June 24 meeting, amid some concerns on council of the rural makeup of the organization.

With a state of emergency declared mere minutes down the road, the M.D. of Taber’s plight could have been a lot worse in the aftermath of Mother Nature’s wrath of torrential rains and flash flooding.

July 4: Dale Somerville is a local hero. The man who was born and raised in Vauxhall might not consider himself a bonafide hero but residents of High River, Alta. no doubt do. Somerville rushed to the rescue with his river boat to save those needing assistance in getting out of harm’s way during recent flooding in the town of over 10,000.

As the dust has settled from the firing of the entire Alberta Health Services board by Health Minister Fred Horne, one of those casualties, M.D. of Taber councillor Don Johnson, stands by its record and that of AHS staff for the job it was entrusted to do.

July 11: With the exception of a catastrophic hail storm on Friday night, the 2013 Southern Alberta Summer Games held in Taber were a resounding success for the region.

Recovery efforts are fully underway in the province to deal with unprecedented flooding that recently swept through numerous southern Alberta communities.

July 18: Criticisms of government performance in a number of departments highlighted the provincial auditor general’s report last week. The report included 15 recommendations for government departments after outlining a lack of proper performance measures.

With a couple of months under him to get acquainted with his new role, Brian Peers, director of municipal lands and leases, is settling into his job nicely to serve the needs of M.D. of Taber ratepayers.

July 25: The Retlaw 100th Homecoming is fast approaching. It is a one-day celebration on Aug. 10 with registration beginning at 9 a.m. The evening meal is nearly sold out, so those still wanting tickets should get them soon.

With respect to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the Vauxhall area, a group of concerned citizens of the Municipal District of Taber are circulating a petition to restore adequate ambulance service to the M.D., according to a letter.

August 1: Roasted pig came to the rescue, as well as a community that understands how to help those who need a hand overseas. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank Vauxhall Project recently held its 9th Annual Pig Roast Fundraiser for input costs.

The Wildrose released 22 recommendations in response to Flood 2013 and called on the government to take action to mitigate future floods, and to minimize the re-locations of residents and businesses impacted by the flood.

August 8: Vauxhallites and surrounding-area citizens have already shown their caring spirit in recent weeks helping flood-ravaged victims in Alberta, in their time of need. That spirit is continuing in August as six churches, seven service clubs and various other community members at large have banded together to form Taber Cares Flood Relief.

A convoy of potato trucks lined the road in front of the railway tracks in Taber in front of Western Financial between July 30-31, as part of a voluntary inspection before heading out on the highways with loads of local potatoes. Voluntary inspections will be going ahead in the Vauxhall area Aug. 6-8.

August 15: Retlaw’s 100th Homecoming has come and gone but its memory will live on like the historic town itself.

The celebration took place last Saturday in Retlaw.

While voters in the Vauxhall area have been forced into a reluctant acceptance they will be selecting a new MP in a newly-carved federal electoral riding in 2015, municipal leaders from throughout the new Bow River constituency have mixed opinions about the changes.

August 22: A huge infrastructure project years in the making will finally come to fruition this Friday with the grand opening of the Vauxhall and District Regional Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline.

Citizens with an eye towards steering the course of their community for the next four years and who might be considering a bid for a seat on Vauxhall town council can pick up a nomination package today at the town office.

August 29: If you’ve never been, organizers of the Vauxhall and District Growing Project of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank are inviting you to take a look at an initiative that helps feed those in need this weekend.

Since Aug. 1 Wilco Tymensen has been the new superintendent of schools and chief executive officer of the Horizon School Division No. 67.

September 5: An oily windfall has unexpectedly boosted revenues and put a more rosy hue on the numbers, but the provincial government was still stressing the need for fiscal prudence throughout 2013 in the first quarter fiscal update released last week.

Taber/Vauxhall RCMP were advised of two incidents of vandalism, occurring sometime between 8 p.m. on Aug. 23 and 8 a.m. Aug. 24. A residence and a car rim and wheel were spray painted with red spray paint in Enchant.

September 12: Recently, Municipal District of Taber council applied to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development for funding through the Final Mile Rural Community Program for a community highspeed Internet project. Council received a letter in response to council’s application and it was stated in the letter from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development council’s application can not be supported.

Expectations are always high when you come fresh off a provincial title. With that, the Vauxhall Queens girls volleyball team managed to open its 2013 high school season with a tournament win in Fort Macleod.

September 19: Enchant and area’s Division 6 Municipal District of Taber councillor Duff Dunsmore is seeking re-election Oct. 21, when the next

municipal election is scheduled.

As of Oct. 21, municipal election day, Vauxhall Mayor Gordon Brown is stepping down to make way for a new candidate to take over the helm of town council.

September 26: The wheels are in motion for a potential sisterhood agreement between the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets and the Sendai Ikuei Gakuen School in Japan.

Town of Vauxhall Coun. Dave Nielsen is stepping down as a town councillor after serving the community for three years. Prior to serving on council, Nielsen was new to municipal politics.

October 3: The 2013 Vauxhall Harvestfest Supper and Fundraiser was another successful event over the weekend, with well over 200 supporters taking part on Saturday evening.

Hays School teacher Judy Carlson recently was awarded an APEGA Math Teacher Award.

October 10: Early Tuesday morning, friends, family and colleagues of the Bydevaate family made the trip to a piece of land just outside Vauxhall to help finish the potato harvest.

Just last week, 28-year-old Joel Bydevaate was killed when he became caught in the roller section of a potato harvester.

Novice hunts run Oct. 19-20, as the 2013 Taber Pheasant Festival gets underway, with regular hunts Oct. 21-26.

According to the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), the first weekend is all about new hunters on Oct. 19 and 20.

Oct. 17: Vauxhall Queens emerged from its toughest field yet at its home tournament with the title, still only dropping two sets along the way to the championship on Saturday.

On a cross-province tour hearing the priorities of Albertans with regard to the upcoming 2014 provincial budget, Finance Minister Doug Horner stopped in Taber last week for a budget consultation with regional citizens.

October 24: The Taber and District Health Foundation proudly presents the 19th Annual “Share in the Experience of Giving” Telethon Oct. 27 live from the Taber Heritage Inn. The telethon runs from 2-8 p.m. and will be televised

on Shaw Cable 9 with a wide variety of scheduled performers.

At a regular Municipal District of Taber council meeting last month, a letter was submitted to council as information from the Horizon School Division addressed to Maureen Kubinee, the Education Act Regulatory Review Committee Chair. M.D. council passed the motion to offer a letter of support.

October 31: On this past snow covered Sunday, Vauxhall was generous once again, as the Taber and District Health Foundation held its 19th Annual “Share in the Experience of Giving” Telethon at the Taber Heritage Inn, with the event broadcast live on Shaw Cable 9. This year’s telethon helped raise well over $250,000.

With the fall session of the legislature opening on Monday, Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan will be committed to bringing the concerns of the riding to Edmonton.

November 7: New regional planning legislation introduced last week sent shockwaves through the corridors of municipal power in the province, amid fears the Redford PCs were attempting to put a provincial stranglehold on the ability of municipalities to plan their own future growth.

An official organizational meeting was held by the newly acclaimed Town of Vauxhall council Nov. 4. Margaret Plumtree was voted in as Vauxhall’s new mayor and Russell Norris was selected to remain as deputy mayor of the town.

November 14: Vauxhall’s annual Clothing and Toy Festival is back for another year. Families can donate slightly used and clean clothing and toys and the community is invited to check out the festival and shop for free on Nov. 29.

The Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) inked last month looks to pay big dividends for Canada and Alberta in a wide variety of industries, said Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne.

November 21: The Vauxhall Queens girls volleyball team are off to provincials once again after taking home the 2A South Zone banner in Picture Butte over the weekend.

One of the deeper zones in recent memory for head coach Scott Reiling, that observation proved itself in the Queens’ eventual 20-25, 25-17, 15-10 win over Magrath Pandas in the zone final.

Proposed changes to Alberta’s auto insurance system are intended to result in stronger oversight of premium rates and better access to treatment for those injured in collisions.

November 28: With Canada having celebrated Bullying Awareness Week, the timing seems apt with the federal government introducing legislation to crack down on the epidemic of cyberbullying. The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, last Wednesday introduced legislation to address criminal behaviour associated with cyberbullying.

Dr. Hamman School students will not be reciting the Lord’s Prayer — at least until Horizon School Division develops a policy on the matter. However, schools who currently recite the prayer each morning will be allowed to continue to do so.

December 5: It was a bitter sweet medal moment for the Vauxhall Queens girls volleyball team on various levels in Edmonton this past weekend at provincials. It was a reversal of fortune for the Queens as Spirit River Regional Academy did exactly the same thing to them as they did to Spirit River at 2A Alberta Schools Athletic Association provincials in 2012.

After a couple of weeks of practice, the Vauxhall Vikings boys basketball team is ready to do battle in River Ridge play starting next week. The Vikings will feature lone senior Jesse Borden to go with six Grade 11s and three Grade 10s.

December 12: Second quarter fiscal results for the province show an operational surplus of more than $1 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year, but finance ministry officials recently warned spending on flood response and recovery has only begun to impact the province’s bottom line.

Having only one practice under its belt, the Vauxhall Queens girls basketball team sported a 1-1 record at a tournament over the weekend in Fort Macleod.

December 19: Controversial labour legislation that increases fines for illegal strikes and eliminates the option for binding arbitration in contract negotiations has raised protest amongst public sector employees in the province. Bills 45 and 46 passed third and final reading in the provincial legislature earlier this month.

This year’s top sugar beet producers for the Vauxhall area were announced at the annual sugar beet banquet last week.

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