Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Westlock-area seniors strike for gold

For the Westlock News

Vivian Oko, of Westlock, and Rosa Semenchuk of Sturgeon County (centre), show off the gold medals they won in the 65-plus women’s pickleball event. Next to them (right) are silver medal winners Barb Nibler and Lisa Tevelein of Lethbridge, and bronze medal winners Sandy Richer from Beaverlodge and Gwen Atkinson of Grande Prairie. The Alberta 55-plus Summer Games were held in Strathmore July 16-19. Supplied
A pair of local seniors combined for five gold medals at the Alberta 55-plus Summer Games held July 16-19 in Strathmore.

Westlock’s Valerie Oko won gold in the women’s 65-plus pickleball event, alongside teammate Rosa Semenchuk of Sturgeon County.

“We had a real good time and we were pleased with the way we played,” said Oko, “We were quite surprised that we did so well.”

The gold medal means that Oko has now qualified for the Canada 55-plus Games in Brampton, ON, next year. She had previously won the bronze medal at the Canada Games in 2014 when it was held in Strathcona.

“It’s something we can play all summer and winter,” said Oko, who has been playing pickleball since 2012. She has been competing in the Games since 2007 in a variety of sports like bocce and cycling and previously won gold with her bocce team in 2011.

Oko wasn’t the only resident who brought home medals
Also making waves in Strathmore was Valerie Seatter of Dapp, who took home four gold medals in the 60-plus 50 metre women’s breaststroke, the 60-plus 100 metre women’s freestyle, the 60-plus 50 metre women’s freestyle and the 60-plus 75 metre women’s individual medley.

George Wilson, of Westlock, came home with a bronze in the 55-plus men’s time predicted cycling event.

Dennis Allen, the director for Alberta Sport Connection, was pleased with how the weekend turned out.

This year’s Games featured 1,200 participants spread across 17 sport and cultural events. As well, there were 700 volunteers who gave their time during the three-day event.

“The organizers did a great job,” said Allen. “It was a time for participants to shine.”

The next 55-plus Games will be held in 2017. In 2013, Westlock and Barrhead co-hosted the 55-plus Summer Games.

Pedalmasters ride to conquer cancer

For the Westlock News

The Pedalmasters, L-R, Laurie Walker, Wilma Roelofs, Linda Boutin and Lori Cairns will participate in the seventh annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in August. The local quartet has raised nearly $17,000. Supplied

A determined team of Westlock-area women will take to their bicycles next month to help raise money for caner research.

Wilma Roelofs, Lori Cairns, Laurie Walker and Linda Boutin are the Westlock Pedalmasters and will ride over 200 kilometres between Calgary and Okotoks and back, on the Aug. 8 weekend during the seventh annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.

“We follow the cowboy trail. It’s very beautiful through that area,” said Boutin,
“And hilly.”

Boutin said she is riding for her sister Theresa O’Brien, who died of cancer in 1992 at age 42.

“I make cancer donations my priority,” said Boutin. “This is the first time for all four of us riding.”

The quartet has raised $16,583, well ahead of their fundraising goal of $12,500 — all money raised goes to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Boutin said she is excited for the event, although she admitted the distance will be a challenge.
“Yeah, I’m nervous,” said Boutin with a laugh.
“I’m excited too.”

To prepare, Boutin and her team have been riding 100 kilometres daily.

“I’ve rode to Barrhead and back,” she added. “I just love being outside and that feeling of wind blowing through your hair.”

The opening ceremony for the ride will be held at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary where the number of participants and final total raised will be announced — last year’s event netted $7.9 million and had 1,768 riders.

Since its inception the ride has raised $46.2 million.

Participants are required to raise $2,500 each to be permitted to ride in the event.

Boutin said she raised money with a different approach and didn’t just ask for a donation.

“When I first started I thought ‘Oh my gosh, how am I ever going to get this kind of money’ so what I did was challenge my friends and family. I said that if they donated $200 to my cause I would give them three hours of labour,” said Boutin. “Only two people actually made me work for them, so it was really good.”

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Flatbush Rocks one more time

For the Westlock News

Thunderstruck lead singer Ken Stone belts out an AC/DC classic during the fifth annual Flatbush Rocks music festival held July 18.(Eric Bowling/WN)
What may have been the last of the Flatbush Rocks concerts went down with a bang as AC/DC tribute band Thunderstruck blew the lid off the Flatbush Community Complex July 18.

Thunderstruck was one of three bands invited back to the popular barnburner along with classic rockers Big Red Shoe and country singer Kory Wlos, from Boyle.

Organizers decided to bring back some of the most popular acts from previous years, but this year was the first year that the concert featured three separate bands — usually the show featured an opening act and a headliner.

“Instead of a huge band coming out with a small opener, we decided to have three bands this year,” said Kandee Stadnyk, who organized the entire event this year,

”It’s just a really nice chance for the farming community to take a break from the stresses of the farm.”

Stadnyk said the concert was the brainchild of a community-wide love of classic rock throughout the Flatbush community.

“I kind of wanted to liven things up and give the community an event that everyone could take part in that wasn’t too far from home,” said Stadnyk.

Concertgoers were also able to camp out at the community complex over the weekend.

The concert, which has brought in acts like April Wine, Honeymoon Suite and Trooper, was up until this year funded by the Flatbush Community Association. However, this year Stadnyk took up the mantle to keep the tradition alive.

“This year my husband and I actually took on the financial responsibility for the concert ourselves, “ said Stadnyk, explaining that the community association was losing money every year the concert was put on.

“It wasn’t great business for them to continue going and losing money,” said Stadnyk. “So my husband and I decided to do it on our own behalf — not with the intention of making money but just to keep it going for one more year and see things went.

“We’re hoping to break even this year. We would really, really like the tradition to continue, but for two people and a few friends, it’s just a lot to do.”

Stadnyk said she is hoping the fun night inspires concertgoers and the community to band together and keep the party alive.

“The best thing about it is seeing everyone have a really good time,” Stadnyk concluded.

History written with a needle and thread

For the Westlock News

Royal Alberta Museum curator of Western Canadian history Lucie Heins examines a century-old wedding quilt brought in by Elaine Carol-Lawton at the Pioneer Museum on July 16.
(Eric Bowling/WN) 
Residents from around the province are learning their history was not just written with a pen and paper, but also with a needle and thread.

People came from across Westlock County showed off their family quilts at the Pioneer Museum July 16 as part of a province-wide research project by the Royal Alberta Museum.

“This is my sixth year working on this project and my third year traveling and doing documentation projects,” said Royal Alberta Museum curator of Western Canadian history Lucie Heins. “I partner with local museums and we provide one opportunity for the public to come in and have their quilts documented.”

Heins investigates quilts either specifically made in Alberta, or made by people who immigrated to Alberta. She had initially expected to examine 24 quilts, but said that a lot more people dropped in.
“We documented 11 or 12 quilts yesterday,” said Heins, who stopped in at the museum a day earlier to get a head start. “We’re trying to accommodate the drop-ins as we can.”

Most people who brought in their quilts said it was a curiosity of the history and how they fit into the larger Alberta quilting scene that piqued their interest.

“This is an excellent piece of Alberta’s history and it needs to be preserved,” said Maureen Kubinec, who brought in four quilts she had just recently received from a cousin dating back as far as 1935. “These are artists who have done this.”

There is a huge variety in the styles of quilts that were made in Alberta over the last two centuries — neatly stacked around the museum were quilts made of glossy fabrics, some made out of old furs and others from fabrics collected over generations. One Heins documented was made out of a widow’s dress.

“One quilt in particular had what we call morning fabrics. It’s a black fabric with little white motifs.”
Heins explained that historically a widow was expected to wear black, but around the 1860s it became acceptable for widows to have a little bit of colour in their clothing.

Heins added that if she is unable to date the quilt, she is still able to date the fabrics it was made from.

“We’ve seen some quilts where the fabrics date to the 1800s,” said Heins, “That doesn’t mean the quilts were made at that time though. It was common for women to collect fabrics and that’s what they would use to made quilts.”

Heins added that documenting quilts is needed because the older one are slowly disappearing.

“My sister wanted to throw it out,” said Elaine Carol-Lawton, referring to a red and white quilt made by her grandmother for her wedding. “I don’t know when it was made, but my grandmother was 18 in 1904.”

One quilt tradition that has fallen by the wayside was the wedding quilt —where a bride would make a commemorative quilt for her wedding.

“Often what would happen is that the ladies in the community would make about 11 or 12 quilts,” said Heins. “The bride would also make her own quilt.”

The bride would then have a good collection of quilts for her home which was an essential for homesteading in the cold Alberta winters.

“They were for keeping warm,” said Carol-Lawton.

Another, described as a ‘yo-yo’ style quilt, was made out of dozens of neatly designed squares, with folds of fabric creating a colourful cushion.

“I had one quilt at the lake and I wanted to see how old it was,” said Diana Shimenosky, who brought in the yo-yo quilt. “My mom made it for me.”

Shimenosky said it was made out of “memories and family history.”

“It’s made of outfits from my own children when they were three and four years old,” said Shimenosky.

“Also from my outfits, as well as my mother’s outfits. It encompasses everybody in the family. It’s a nice keepsake from my mom that took hours and hours to make —it’s all hand done.”
Many of these quilts aren’t for keeping warm, or sleeping under, however.

“It’s nice and warm,” said Shimenosky. “But it doesn’t stay on the bed at night. It’s a daytime piece of art for people to admire. It’s a lost tradition.”

“I don’t think the quilt was ever used as a piece of bedding, it was more a piece of art,” said Kubinec referring to one quilt she brought in that dated to 1965.

“It’s precious. She was my God-mother and she always treated me very special.”

Heins said that people who missed the showing are still able to get their quilt documented if they want.

“From time to time I’ve had individuals who ended up missing the documentation and asked if they
can bring their quilt to the museum,” said Heins, referring to the Royal Alberta museum in Edmonton. “They can do that, but they have to make an appointment.”

Heins said she has two more years of research and then she is hoping to release a book on the history of the province’s quilts.

Westlock duo share in provincial title

For the Westlock News

Westlock’s Seth Fairholm and Zach Basisty show off the gold medals and trophy they won as members of the North Edmonton Wizards following the club’s triumph at the Alberta Lacrosse Association provincial championship in Grande Prairie on July 12. (Supplied)

When the North Edmonton Wizards Peewee ‘A’ won the provincial gold in Grande Prairie on July 12, it was with the help of two Westlock players.

The Wizards took the gold medal after trouncing the their main rivals the Edmonton Warriors 8-3 in the finals.

“That was pretty much the only team that beat us in the regular season,” said Zach Basisty. “It’s awesome knowing you’re the best in the province.”

Seth Fairholm readily admits he had a very good year. The Wizards took home medals in all five tournaments that they played in this year.

“One game the ball was bouncing all over the place,” said Seth, “So I grabbed it with one hand and ran across the field and scored.”

Seth and Zach both played for the Wizards because Westlock did not have a Peewee ‘A’ team this year.

After blasting through the regular season with a 10-1-1 record, the Wizards took the Greater Edmonton Lacrosse Council title after a three-game series against their rivals the Edmonton Warriors.
The Warriors edged the Wizards 7-6 in a shootout in the first game, but the Wizards fired back to defeat the Warriors 13-11 in the second game and 14-4 in the deciding contest.

“We played our systems and did good transitions and found a way to pull it off,” said Seth. “They were pretty close games, no blowouts or anything. It was pretty fun to play against them.

“Our team was pumped and their team looked sloppy,” said Seth.

Zach and Seth have been playing together for two years now, and according to both their parents, they make one heck of a team.

“Zach got the ball with about eight seconds left,” said Richard Fairholm, Seth’s father.
“That’s when we started to cheer because we knew he was going to hold it and ice the game.”
“Seth really developed this year too. He learned a lot and really contributed very well,” said Dan Basisty, Zach’s father. “He had good defence and drove to the net really well.”

They started the provincials July 10 with a three-game round robin — downing the Calgary Sabrecats ‘2’ before dropping an 8-6 rematch against the Warriors.

In Game 3 they defeated the Calgary Sabrecats ‘1’ before trouncing the Warriors 8-3 on July 12 to claim gold.

Zach said he was pretty confident the Wizards were going to win the tournament when they were up 8-0 with five minutes left to go in the game.

“That kind of sealed it,” said Zach, who scored two goals and one assist during the game, while Seth scored one goal.

Seth said he prepared for provincials by keeping himself hydrated and staying away from junk food. The Wizards held two practices in preparation for the championship.

“They practiced hard,” said Richard. “They were ready to play.”

“It’s not really us who wins the game,” said Seth. “We just have to do what our coaches tell us to do,”

“Our defence won it … and our goalie played incredible,” added Zach. “We played as a team and we did good as a team.”

Zach, Seth and both fathers attribute their success to the discipline of the Wizard’s coaching staff.

“The boys were very fortunate with the coaching staff they had,” said Dan, referring to Wizards head coach Curt Bahry. “Their coach sticks to systems and learning the game of lacrosse. We could be up 10-0 or down 0-5 and he makes very little changes to his system, and the boys just seem to go with it, and before you know it we’re going from losing 0-5 to winning 7-5.”

The season isn’t over for Zach, who will be going to the national championships in Ontario for team Alberta coming up in August in Whitby, ON.

“I think it’ll be a good experience, playing against other provinces,” said Zach. “See what kind of talent is out there.”

Bantam Rock net fourth in the province

For the Westlock News

The Westlock Bantam ‘B’ Rock lacrosse team played their hearts out, but had the bronze medal snatched away from them in a 7-6 OT loss to the Wainwright Wolfpack at the Alberta Lacrosse Association’s Bantam ‘B’ Provincial Championship in Grande Prairie on July 12.

“It wasn’t sudden death, but it was close to the end of that 10-minute period (before they scored). We did have a chance to come back and we didn’t,” said Rock head coach Shane Boulerice.
Despite of the tough end to the tourney, Boulerice was impressed with his team overall.

“The boys did really good. It was a tournament where you have the best lacrosse teams in Alberta,” said Boulerice.

“So I think our boys were right in that calibre. They competed the whole time and had a never quit attitude.”

The Rock started the provincial tourney July 10 with an uphill battle in the round robin, losing to the Wolfpack 10-5 in the morning and then losing a second time in the afternoon to the Lethbridge Barracudas 10-9 — the Barracudas final goal came in the final 10 seconds of the game.

“That was a tough one,” said Boulerice. “We were going to go to overtime with that one but we never got there.”

The club’s difficulties continued into the next day with a morning loss to the Red Deer Chiefs 13-3 before the Rock finally turned it around, edging the Strathmore Venom 6-5 to qualify for the bronze medal tilt.

“That was a really close game. Well played by the boys,” said Boulerice. “Strathmore played really well too.”

The defeat is a somewhat disappointing footnote to an otherwise outstanding season.

The Rock finished their regular season third overall in the Greater Edmonton Lacrosse Council, but then crushed all challengers in the playoff taking the gold and earning the right to appear at provincials.

Boulerice believes the team is on the right track for next year and just needs to keep practicing their skills.

“I always say lacrosse is about three things — passing, moving and shooting,” said Boulerice.

“They got the passing down a little bit, but they need to work the moving and getting more shots. The team that shoots, passes and runs will be the team that wins.”

Boulerice said he wanted to thank the town of Westlock for being behind his team, and has high hopes for next year.

“I just hope that the kids can bring back the level of competition that they had this year,” said Boulerice. “And take it to into their everyday lives too — that they don’t give up and keep pushing forward the whole time.”

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Jarvie Jags strike for provincial gold

For the Westlock News

The 2015 provincial ‘C’ champion Jarvie Jaguars, back row, left to right: coach Albert Burchett, Bell de Vries, Dana Guhle, Abby Giles, Haley Burchett, Jaz Dettman, Katie Lockwood and assistant coach Jennifer Burchett. Front row: Abigail Doke, Kaitlyn Comeau, Madison Hanlan, Lexi Wiese and Rachel Jolliffe. (Supplied)

The Jarvie Jaguars are the Alberta Fastball Under 19 Girls ‘C’ Provincial Champions after a stunning July 5 win over the East Central Kaos in Leduc.The triumph was a fitting end to a very successful season where the Jaguars ranked fourth overall, Jaguars head coach Albert Burchett said.

“We had a good tournament and we had a good year actually,” Burchett said, “It was very satisfying to end up the way we did.”

The Jaguars started the tournament off with a four-game round robin, where they crushed the Kaos 13-5.

“They were firing on all cylinders right away,” Burchett said.

The Jags were able to follow that momentum all the way to the two playoff games, where they first defeated the Lacombe Matrix 5-0 and then faced the Kaos a second time in a barn burner of a final, scoring a come-from-behind 9-6 win.

“That last game there, it was tied 3-3 going into the sixth inning.” Burchett said,

“Then we managed to score six runs. They came back with three at the top of the seventh.

“Defensively they were right on. Some timely hits and some good aggressive base running made all the difference. Lots of great catches in the outfield and the infield was nice and solid.”

The players brought a lot of heart to the field too. One player, Belle DeVries, injured her knee in the third game of the round robin and was unable to run, but was able to pinch hit in the championship game.

“She came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and she got a double,” Burchett said. “She was able to tough it out and come in and get a key at bat and keep us going that inning.”

The Jags plan to bask in their victory and line themselves up to take the provincial ‘B’ title next year.
“By the sounds of it just about all of our girls are returning for next year.”

Looking back on their campaign, Burchett said he couldn’t be happier with his team.

“We’ve played in four different tournaments this year. It’s a big commitment and we have a great group of parents who support their kids and great group of kids who support each other,” he said.

“It’s a great group of kids and I love coaching them.”

Conservatives get their man

For the Westlock News

Barrhead’s Arnold Viersen will represent the Conservative Party in this fall’s federal election after claiming the Peace River-Westlock riding nomination on July 8. (Supplied)

The Conservative Party of Canada has selected their man who will run for MP of the newly minted Peace River-Westlock riding in this fall’s federal election.

Barrhead’s Arnold Viersen was the successful candidate after the party’s vote on July 8 when he defeated candidates Jackie Larsen, Eris Moncur and Terry Hogan.

Viersen said he looks forward to working with riding constituents in the months leading up to the election.

“I am grateful and humbled for the support I’ve received,” said Viersen. “I look forward to working with all of you in the future.

“I’d also like to thank the party for running a fair and transparent process and the other candidates for running a strong, clean race.”

Viersen said he attributes his success to a marathon of traveling around the riding, speaking to constituents and hearing their issues and concerns.

He added he is looking forward to bringing issues important to his constituents to the table in Parliament, should he be elected this fall.
“It would be a dream come true for me to represent my home community in the House of Commons,” Viersen said.
“I have a passion for my community, for Canada and for politics in general. I grew up here, being one of four generations that live in the riding. I’ve thought, ‘It’s perfect for me, I hold to traditional rural values and have relationships all over the new riding.’”

Keeping up with infrastructure demands as the population grows, while maintaining rural values, is high up on the agenda for Viersen.

“The riding is continuing to grow. Managing that growth with the proper infrastructure such as transportation, schools, access to health care, is very important to keep our communities thriving,” he said. “At the same time, we care about ensuring that our ‘rural values’ stay intact — community services, the ability to feel safe when we are walking around town and maintaining that local economy is also critical.”

Prior to winning the nomination, Viersen had previously gone on record caring deeply about gun ownership and supporting the Conservative party’s stance on the long-gun registry, as well as being in support of the Temporary Foreign Worker program.

Viersen, who’s married with two kids, is a journeyman mechanic by trade and currently works for Stephani Motors in Barrhead.

He was born and raised in the Neerlandia area where he graduated from the Covenant Canadian Reformed School. He then completed a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C.

The federal election is scheduled for Oct. 19.

Carnegie’s cross-Canada ride slowed by thieves

For the Westlock News 

  Bryan Carnegie dips his bike into the Pacific Ocean June 17 before setting out on his charity bike trip. (Supplied)

A Westlock man’s charity cross-country bike trip fundraiser, is back on the road after his bike was stolen in Winnipeg on July 7.

“I was about 100 kilometres from Kenora and my wife met me. I was going to take a couple days rest and we went back to Winnipeg to get a hotel room,” said the 57-year-old Carnegie, whose cross-country odyssey is raising money for the Heart and Stroke foundation.

“It got stolen off the bike rack on the vehicle. It was locked up and they cut the locks off and stole it.
“It’s frustrating. Being almost halfway across the country it makes it a little hard to take care of the business of getting it replaced.”

Before the hold-up Carnegie said he was making great time. Carnegie has a fundraising goal of $20,000 for Heart and Stroke and has raised $10,330 so far.

“I was averaging about 100 kilometres a day.”

Other than the theft, Carnegie said he’s having a fun time on his journey.

“It’s been good. I had some hot weather in southern Saskatchewan, a couple of 35 degree days, but nothing that would stop you from cycling,” he said.

“I’ve seen some beautiful country and I’m meeting lots of good people. I just want to say thanks to everyone for all the support so far.”

After starting in Vancouver on June 17, Carnegie trekked through Pentiction and then up to Revelstoke. He passed through Calgary and then zigzagged across the Prairies, making a stop at Medicine Hat and then popping through Regina until stopping in Winnipeg.

He plans to take the highway around the Great Lakes, and stop off in Thunder Bay and before heading to the coast.

He has a new bike from Edmonton that was delivered to Kenora, Ont., on July 9 and he is now back on the road and continuing his journey.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Bantam Rock roll to GELC title

For the Westlock News

The Westlock Bantam ‘B’ Rock celebrate their league championship on June 24 after a victory over the Parkland Posse. The team now heads to provincials July 10 in Grande Prairie. Back row, L-R: coach Shane Boulerice, coach Stacey Perkins. Middle row: manager Jessica Glover, Cole Perkins, Brittney Howse, Warren Hunt, Stephen Tkachyk, Conrad Hegedus, coach Danielle Fagnan, Devon Hegedus, Tyler Tymkow and Connor Perkins. Front row: Marcus Rea, Blair Boulerice, Brendan Osachie, Josh Fagnan, Trenten Durell, Ryan Conquergood and Owen Glover. (Submitted)

The Westlock Bantam Rock are off to the provincial lacrosse championship in search of a gold medal after they were crowned league champions last month.

The club claimed the Bantam ‘B’ Greater Edmonton Lacrosse Council championship following a 15-10 win over the Parkland Posse on June 24. With the win, the club now heads to the Alberta Lacrosse Association Bantam ‘B’ Provincial Championship which runs July 10-12 in Grande Prairie.

“It was exciting,” said Rock head coach Shane Boulerice recalling the club’s run to the league championship.

At provincials the Rock face a four-game round robin, with the final slated for July 12.

After starting their regular season off with a pair of losses, the Rock exploded with an eight game winning streak, which was finally broken in a heartbreaking 9-8 loss to the North Edmonton Wizards.
But the loss was only a bump in the road, as the club quickly rebounded with a 7-2 win over the Sherwood Park Titans and finished the season 10-3.

The Rock, seeded third overall, marched through the playoffs defeating all challengers, although Boulerice admits his heart skipped a beat in the championship game.

“We started with a little bit of adversity, going down 4-1,” Boulerice said. “I think it was a little bit of nerves. We played a little too defensively. But we kept playing, and so did the Posse, they never quit.”

In the later part of the third period the Rock managed pull away and coast to the 15-10 win.

“It was a good thing we had some kids with experience in a championship game where it meant lots.” Boulerice reflected. “They pulled the rest of the kids through it.”

Boulerice says its business as usual to prepare for the provincial championship, with two practices a week and a lot of conditioning.

“You have to be tough to play the game.”