Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Col. Doyle takes over command of 4 Wing

For the Lakeland Regional.

Former 4 Wing commander, Brig.-Gen. Eric Kenny waves to the crowd as he’s driven away following a change of command ceremony at the base last week.
Eric Bowling
 The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds‬ make an airborne salute to see off Brig.-Gen Eric Kenny at CFB 4 Wing on July 21.
Eric Bowling

 The new man in charge of 4 Wing was all smiles as he took over command of the base.

CFB Cold Lake held its official change of command ceremony on July 21. The new wing commander, Col. Paul “Puffy” Doyle, will be in charge of all activities involving 4 Wing for the next three years.

“A big thing for us on the wing side of the house is making sure that we continue with the excellent legacy that we have for operational capabilities at 4 Wing. We have a requirement to make sure whenever the government needs air power from Cold Lake we’re there to deliver,” said Doyle. “At the same time, I need to make sure that the incredible relationship we have with the communities throughout the Lakeland region is continued.”

 Col. Paul “Puffy” Doyle.
Eric Bowling

This isn’t Doyle’s first posting to Cold Lake. He previously had been posted at 4 Wing as a student and instructor fighter pilot, as well as commanding officer of 410 squadron.

“This is my sixth time living in Cold Lake. I was here in Grade 6 when the very first CF-18s showed up in October 1982,” recalled Doyle. “We’ve been back for about a week and a half or so now. When we came over the hill into town we saw the sailboats and my daughter’s in the back seat and she’s going ‘yay’ because we know so many people around here and it’s so great to be back home. This is home for us.”

 Maj.-Gen. Christian Drouin receives the 4 Wing Sword from Brig.-Gen. Eric Kenny to pass command of the base to Col. Paul Doyle.
Eric Bowling

 Doyle takes the yoke over from longtime friend and fellow flier Brig.-Gen. Eric Kenny, who himself hails from Cold Lake. Kenny is now off to become deputy commander for Force Generation at 1 Canadian Air Division headquarters in Winnipeg, MB. The change comes after a busy two years in command of 4 Wing, which included a deployment to Kuwait from October 2014 to April 2015 in the fight against ISIS.

“Brig.-Gen. Kenny’s father and my father flew together. They worked together in Germany, so Brig.-Gen. Kenny and I went to school together, we played hockey together, we went on trips together,” said Doyle of his friendship with Kenny. “I’ve known him since the mid to late 80s.”

The reviewing officer of the ceremony was Maj.-Gen. Christian Drouin, who is commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, the Canadian NORAD Region and the Joint Forces Air Component.

Doyle added that he is excited to be in his new role and is looking forward to getting back in the air.
“I’ve been in a ground job for the last couple of years, I haven’t had a chance to fly. I’m a trained Hornet pilot. I started flying Hornets before I met my wife and we had our little ones.”

 Four F18s fly over the change of command ceremonies on July 21.
Eric Bowling

While he may have just taken up his new post, Doyle already has a full schedule ahead of him.

“Next week I’ll be presiding over the change of command ceremony for 410 squadron. I was at the last one as the outgoing CO, but now I’m going to there as the reviewing officer.”

Doyle concluded that he is eager to get started on the job and happy to carry on the mantle of wing commander.

“We do great things in Cold Lake, we do great things for Canada. I’m really looking forward to representing what 4 Wing does for all of us.”

Council approves rezoning for Crisis Centre

For the Lakeland Regional.

A local women’s shelter has passed a major hurdle in its efforts to construct a new building.
Cold Lake City Council approved a rezoning application by the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre at a special meeting on July 19.

The rezoning needed to be discussed by city council because it was listed as a direct control zone, which means that council has the final say in the zoning application process. The crisis centre society had requested permission to build a new outreach building on the property they own.

In accordance with the development bylaws, a public hearing was held. No one showed up to air grievances, although one citizen submitted a letter of protest citing concerns about parking affecting traffic in the area and the effects of social housing on homeowners. Council read the letter in the meeting and concluded that the new development largely solved the problems mentioned in the letter.
The new building will be used for administration and outreach, which are currently operating out of the same building as the shelter.

Originally, the rezoning proposal suggested placing 10 parking spots on the front side of the property. However, a few council members expressed concern about the parking spots disrupting the “single housing” nature of the neighborhood.

However, crisis centre executive director Susan White said that wouldn’t be a problem.
“I would prefer to break (the parking spots) up,” noted White.

In the end, council approved the rezoning application, but amended it to limit the development to six parking stalls.

The next step for the crisis centre is to submit an application for a building permit, which will not be held at the scrutiny of council. White estimated that she could have that done in a couple of weeks.

“We’ve already got the plans drawn. We’ve got the builders set up,” added White, who was overjoyed with the decision.

“This is going to take some of the administrative staff out of the shelter, which will give us more room for women and children,” explained White. “It will also allow our community support program to meet with clients not in the shelter, because often women and men who need our support but don’t actually need a bed. So this way we’ll be able to support more families without interrupting those staying in the shelter.”

According to White, the shelter housed about 329 women and children last year. The number of people assisted by the centre is considerably higher between outreach, the help line, and staff engaging with children in schools.

Mayor Craig Copeland was pleased council approved the rezoning and added that the city was behind the crisis centre 100 per cent. “They’re very crowded in their building and they have a lot of staff,” he said. “I’m very excited for them to be expanding.”

Copeland added, “When the centre comes and asks us for money, I don’t think they’ve been turned down. We support them as much as we can. They provide a great service for the City of Cold Lake and the surrounding area.”

The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre opened in September of 1982, although it was not officially given its name until the society registered with the provincial government in 1993. Named after the 2006 Physician of the Century, the centre was established to provide women with a safe place to escape and recover from abusive homes.

The shelter is designed to house both women and their children, and features an on-site playground and in-house schooling. It is open to women throughout the Lakeland region. The outreach program has offices in both Cold Lake and Bonnyville.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Council approves application for lucrative public transportation grant

For the Lakeland Regional.

City council is hoping to get two new buses for a major discount, thanks to a pair of grants.
File photo
 Cold Lake is expecting to get two new buses thanks to a series of government grants that the city is able to combine together.

City council approved a plan put forward at its regular meeting on July 12 to apply for a grant and then, in a feat of bureaucratic gymnastics, utilize the first grant to apply for the other.

Chief Administration Officer Kevin Nagoya explained that the Alberta Government was so impressed with Cold Lake's public transportation program that they decided to open up a grant for the city in spite of the transit system not even being in operation for a year, which is usually a requirement.

The Public Transportation Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) is a federal-provincial partnership where the federal government provides $347 million between 2016-2019. Of that chunk, the city is eligible to apply for up to $174,000.

“The City of Cold Lake gets an automatic allocation. We get that funding and we get to choose what to put it towards,” noted Nagoya. “We're not even a full year into the transit program, but the government knows how many users we have, so the government preempted and looked at our numbers and decided we should be a part of the pot.”

This is the first time that the city has been eligible for PTIF funding. The province doesn't place a lot of restrictions on the usage of the money, so Nagoya has suggested that the city use the $174,000 to top up the city's contributions to its application for the GreenTRIP fund.

The GreenTRIP fund is a provincial initiative for funding municipal projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The province covers two-thirds of the costs of a project and the municipality covers the other third.

By using the funding from the PTIF to cover the city's third of the costs of two new buses, Nagoya estimated that Cold Lake would be able to purchase two new lowfloor, wheelchair accessible buses worth $1 million for a mere $160,000. Council also could opt to purchase two smaller buses worth $700,000, in which the city would end up contributing $64,000.

“We're talking between six per cent to 16 per cent contribution. Six to 16 cents on the dollar is pretty good payback,” laughed Nagoya. “How can you say no to a program like that?”

In addition to the two new buses, the city is also planning to build additional bus shelters, establish a GPS-based real-time online bus schedule and construct a new transit maintenance and storage facility.

The city is expecting to have the PTIF application in by July 29, and the application for GreenTRIP funding will be submitted by July 31.

Cold Lake celebrates fire hall's grand opening

For the Lakeland Regional.

"Tutoribus" - a painting by Cold Lake firefighter Jason Spears, which was unveiled at the Cold Lake downtown fire hall grand opening on July 9.
Eric Bowling
 The local superheroes have got a new command centre.

Cold Lake Fire Department held a grand opening for its new, state of the art fire hall with a full house on July 9.

The celebration comes after 16 months of construction and years of planning for the mostly volunteer-driven fire department. Construction of the $8.5 million fire hall was completed in May and has been operational since June 1.

The hall is not just a fire hall. While the fire department has the front bay, the rear bay is devoted to Cold Lake Ambulance Services, which houses several vehicles.

“It's great to finally have this thing going. The effect it's had on the men has been tremendous,” said Cold Lake Fire Chief Jeff Fallow. “Since we've been here, the guys have been here day and night. The trucks have never been this clean.”

Fallow added that the station would allow for future growth of the fire department, which is growing as fast as the city itself. While there is no immediate plan to move to a full-time paid fire department, Mayor Craig Copeland said in a speech that the city is expecting to need one eventually.

Currently Cold Lake Fire Department has three fulltime employees and about 60 paid on-call firefighters.

The department serves the City of Cold Lake, Cold Lake First Nations and the MD of Bonnyville, as well as having the occasional call into Saskatchewan.

The hall includes dormitory spaces for both firefighters and EMS personnel, as well as a full kitchen. It also features one of the tallest towers in the city, which will be used for training. Finally, the hall features a special Emergency Operations Centre in case the City of Cold Lake ever needs one, in the event of a major catastrophe the centre will act as the headquarters.

Another prominent feature of the new hall is a large painting designed and painted by firefighter and artist Jason Spears.

Operating completely under Fallow's nose, Spears spent 14 months painstakingly drafting, sketching and painting the piece, called “Tutoribus”, oftentimes having to wait until after midnight to sneak in and work on the surprise piece without his chief noticing.

“Let me tell you, Chief Fallow walked by the station every night, just to make sure everything was going to plan,” commented Spears. “The man is dedicated.”

Spears' work paid off – the painting was revealed to a wide-eyed Fallow, who was so moved by the gesture he was holding back tears of joy.

“I had no idea this was going to happen,” expressed Fallow with a deep breath.

The idea to create a painting was a no-brainer for Spears. He noted that his primary drive to finish was to do something for his fellow firefighters.

Bonnyville soccer clubs net bronze medals at provincials

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

The Bonnyville Breakaway pose with their medals after a hard fought tournament.
Submitted Photo
Two of Bonnyville’s youth soccer clubs won big this month, but not as big as they hoped for.

Both the Bonnyville under 18 Tropics boys and the under 18 Breakaway girls soccer clubs fought hard at provincial finals in Leduc earlier this month and both came out of the tournament with bronze.

During the semi-final against the Lacombe Panthers, Noah Brosseau booted the ball from his own zone across nearly half the field to help score a goal. Unfortunately, it was the Tropics only goal in that game, with the Panthers winning 3-1.

Having fallen to Lacombe, the Tropics came roaring back against Lac La Biche, with Austin L’Hirondelle, Cameron Zelisko, Scott Thackeray and Andreas Sapach each scoring a goal to help the Tropics win the bronze with a 4-2 victory.

“Winning bronze was a good feeling. It’s the farthest we’ve ever gotten in provincials,” commented Tropics head coach Mark L’Hirondelle. “The games were really close. It was a really good, clean competition. The guys all stuck together and played really hard. It was a good time by everybody.”
It was a parallel experience for the girls. Following a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Ponoka Storm, who went on to win the gold, the Breakaway collected their bronze medals after defeating the Edmonton Strikers 4-2.

Zoe Cowan, Harlee Cameron, Kaitlyn Demers and Bobbi Urlacher each scored unassisted goals to seal the deal for the Breakaway, capping off a marvelous season.

“Everyone’s happy. We got a bit unlucky in the semi-final, but that’s how it goes. You win some, you lose some,” commented Breakaway head coach Dave Cowan. “Kyra Bailey was phenomenal all weekend, she really stood out.”

Cowan added he was going to miss his graduating players.

“I just want to give a great big thank you to Malorie Lafond, Megan Fortier, Bobbi Urlacher, Sydney Thackeray and Danica Gratton. It’s their last season so I would like to say well done.”

Soccer is now done for the two teams.

Increase to recreation grant funding approved by council

For the Lakeland Regional.

Recreational groups and non-profits can apply for more money through the City of Cold Lake's Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee. Council opted to boost the amount of funds available to $15,000.
File photo
Non-profits and athletes in need may be getting a slight boost thanks to a modest increase in funding made available by council.

Cold Lake City Council approved new funding levels for its recreation and culture advisory committee at its general meeting on July 12, allowing the committee a greater amount of freedom to offer financial aid to athletes, teams and artistic organizations.

The extra cash is hoped to lessen the amount of delegations appearing before council for funding, although council was quick to point out that anyone who feels the need to speak to council is free to do so.

“Anything above these (funding) thresholds has to come to council,” noted Chief Administration Officer Kevin Nagoya. “When this committee was created, the spirit of it was that there's always something unique about a cultural project.”

The committee provides five distinct grants to groups in need – a travel grant, a leadership grant, a development grant, a special event grant and an equipment grant.

The new policy increases the amount of funding available for travel from $250 to $500 for individuals and from $500 to $1,000 for groups. The leadership grant has been changed to a 50/50 cost sharing program, with the city matching up to $750 for an individual or up to $2,000 for a group.
The development grant has been boosted to $2,000 from $500. The special event grant was doubled from $500 to $1,000 and the equipment grant was expanded to be available every year, as opposed to the previous allowance of every second year.

The overall pool of money available for these five grants was subsequently increased from $10,000 to $15,000.

Coun. Bob Buckle expressed concern about groups applying for both a grant and then appearing before city council for funding.

“I think it would make sense to have one or the other,” commented Buckle. “The rec committee shouldn't be wasting their time if the applicant is going to appear before council anyway.”

However, Coun. Duane Lay noted that there was a proper procedure for groups seeking funding, and that they should go through the committee first before appearing before council.

“In the spirit of (clarity), the easiest way to do it is to send them to the rec board, then they can come to council if they need more,” suggested Lay.

Coun. Chris Vining added that the new funding should draw more applications away from council and towards the committee.

“By increasing the amount available in the grant, it gives council the ability to say ‘no, you have enough from the grant,'” pointed out Vining. “It will be interesting to see how the new amounts play out and to see if the rec grant gets more traction.”

The new funding has been made available immediately.

Roots of Change raising funds to help development in Nicaragua

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

 A local group is trying to raise money for a mission trip to Nicaragua where they will help build homes and other infrastructure.
Submitted photo

A local group of students and their parents are raising funds to go on a mission trip to build better homes and infrastructure in South America next spring.

The group of students and parents are raising funds to help support the charity Roots of Change, which works to spur development in remote areas of Nicaragua. The group will be performing for a fundraiser on July 23 at the corner of the Home Hardware.

The Smith Boys, a local trio of brothers who play traditional Celtic tunes, will be leading the show. There will also be a charity barbecue selling hot dogs and hamburgers to raise funds for the mission.

“This will be the third mission trip for parents and students,” said former École des Beaux-Lacs instructor Yvonne Veraart, who is leading the fundraising. “Our mission is to help impoverished people in Nicaragua.”

About 25 students and parents, including Justin Smith of the Smith Boys, will be headed to Rigo Berto, also known as Plan Grande, in northern Nicaragua. Each traveller is paying their own way on the 10-day trip – the money raised through the fundraiser is going to be used exclusively for the construction.

“Not everyone there has proper shelters, proper washrooms and the things that we have,” said Smith, who plays guitar for the band. “I believe you should be helping everyone live an easier life instead of just casting them away.”

The group plans to help improve plumbing and housing for the small village as well as help build systems to improve local irrigation.

“In one community, we’re going to help build an oven to bake bread,” explained Veraart. “Some of the women want to start up their own enterprise to be self-sufficient.”

Veraart added that she was hoping to match the $15,000 the group raised for their last mission in 2014. During that mission to San Benito, Roots of Change helped build a family garden, brought supplies for schooling and installed pipes to help the flow of running water.

“It doesn’t finish the project, it just helps get the community going,” commented Veraart. “We don’t go there to change them, we go there to help them get back on their feet.”

She noted that the trip was as important for the people going as for the people living in the village.

“It’s a wake up call, the kids are transformed,” expressed Veraart. “Every student should get a chance to go see what the real world is like. We live in a bubble here, and we have so much. It’s important for kids to see that you don’t need that much to be happy. These people are poor yet they have so much to give.”

Veraart also mentioned that her group has a donation bin at the Bonnyville Bottle Depot. Interested donors can just mention École des Beaux-Lacs at the counter to donate to the cause.

The mission heads to Nicaragua on April 17, 2017, for Easter break.

Can Muriel Lake be saved?

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle

An old photo taken of Muriel Lake is held in front of the current lake conditions show just how much the water levels have declined over the years.
Submitted photo
 The fight to save Muriel Lake continues, but depending on who you ask, the culprit draining the lake has yet to be identified.

The Muriel Lake Basin Management Society (MLBMS) held it's annual meeting on July 10.

The society has been pushing hard to determine the root causes of the declining water levels in Muriel Lake, which is at its lowest levels in modern history.

“It's been a 40 year trend of dropping lake level,” said MLBMS president Peter Cordingley.

Cordingley noted that while the society was incorporated in the late 1990s, the lake has been losing volume steadily since 1981.

Yvonne Veraart, who regularly attends gatherings at the lake, noted that the lake has changed dramatically over the years.

“It used to be a pristine lake. Now it's more like a bog.”

Muriel Lake was once an average of nine metres deep, but today it is sitting at about four metres. According to Cordingley, that amounts to a loss of nearly 2.5 billion litres of water.

“The quality of the water is really decreasing, it's to the point where you don't swim in it anymore,” commented Cordingley. “It used to be a trophy fishing lake, and now all the fish are dead. They died in the winter of 2013 because of the low oxygen and water levels. They can't survive the winters anymore.”

What is causing the lake to evaporate is still a mystery. A series of Alberta Government studies in 2009 and 2012 by Ernst Kerkhoven and Brent Welsh of Alberta Environment concluded that the most likely culprit is changes in the local climate, with the most involved factors being reduced precipitation and increased temperatures. According to Cordingley, the usage of the land may also be a factor.

“Alberta Environment says it's all natural. Basically evaporation from the lake exceeds the rainfall, and we're getting very little run-off from the lake. Only about five per cent of the rain that falls in the region makes it into the lake,” conceded Cordingley. “We look at the lakes around Muriel Lake and Bonnyville, they do go up and down, but then they come up again. So we disagree with Alberta Environment. It's not all natural and it's not a natural cycle.”

Industry used to draw water off the lake for its own use but, according to Cordingley, that stopped in the 1980s. However, that didn't stop the decline of the water levels.

Running on the theory that there might be something happening with the aquifer that feeds the area, the society installed two monitoring stations in wells in 2015 to keep track of groundwater levels.

“We think that there could be another impact in that the lake may be connected to groundwater aquifers. There may have been impacts which have caused less contribution from the groundwater aquifers,” suggested Cordingley. “So we're now monitoring the groundwater aquifers and we're getting data from that which suggests that the pressure of the reservoir is higher than the lake water. So if there is a conduit of water flow we should be getting water from that aquifer into the lake. The lake is going down and the aquifer seems to be going down.”

The MLBMS also contracted an environmental engineering company to do an assessment of the land using current and historical aerial photos from as far back as 1959 to map surface water flow into the lake. That study identified a few small water basins in the area that have changed shape and size over time.

“Those are areas we need to do more work to see if things like roads or industrial and agricultural activities have impacted those water bodies and altered the flow of water into our lake,” noted Cordingley.

Another possibility is the correlation of an explosion in the local beaver population. According to Cordingley, back in the 1980s it was possible to canoe up and down the creeks feeding into the lake. However, that is no longer possible, with up to six beaver dams being sighted every kilometre up the creek.

A plan has been put in place to install 10 “Beaver Deceivers”, essentially small pipes that are run through beaver dams, allowing for greater water flow and prevent the dams from keeping water from the lake.

The MLBMS is now waiting for Alberta Environment to give them the go ahead to install the pipes.
Cordingley commented that something needs to be done soon or the lake would be unsalvageable.

“There's very little boating or swimming or recreational use of the lake anymore,” he noted. “There used to be hundreds of people boating. So it's having an impact on the tourism industry in the area.”

Angels win gold in Leduc

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle

The Bonnyville Angels U16 baseball team were crowned champions after defeating the Red Deer Rage in the provincial gold medal game.
Submitted photo
Gold is once again pouring into Bonnyville, with another softball team claiming victory at provincial championships on July 1-3.

The Bonnyville Angels U16 softball club won gold in Leduc after calming the Red Deer Rage 12-7.
The win capped off a modest season, where the Angels ranked fifth in the regular season with a record of 3-6-0.

Angels head coach Mike DeAbreu praised his team’s ability to rebound from any hiccups that came up during the tournament.

“Everytime there was adversity from one inning to the next, they responded perfectly,” said DeAbreu. “By either going on a rally and getting five to seven runs or going out there and putting out some shut down defence.”

The Angels started off their flight to gold by diffusing the Edmonton-High Park Hurricanes 10-7. They continued their march to the championship, deposing the Nose Creek Royals 13-0, then went on to beat the Red Deer Rage 20-6. The girls ended the round robin with their one defeat of the tournament in a close 15-13 loss to the Westlock Wild in the round robin.

In the semi-final, the Angels struck down the Barrhead Dodgers 15-11 before winning their gold medal rematch against Red Deer.

The Rage put on a fight. By the end of the third inning, the Angels were down five runs.

“Everyone was really nervous,” commented Angels player Colette DeAbreu. “But we fought through the nerves and hit two home runs.”

DeAbreu praised his team’s rally during that final game.

“We shut them down in the last three innings. We blanked them completely. Until that time it was back and forth, they were up and then we were up. But then our defence came out and completely destroyed them, and our offense got us three to four runs per inning, as they were doing all weekend.”

Sadie Houle of Goodfish pitched a strong tournament and was solid at bat, hitting six home runs in as many games.

“The entire team played fantastic, but Sadie definitely stood out,” commented DeAbreu.

Colette had a catch out in centre field, then quickly turned around and fired it off to second base to score one of a few double plays that weekend for the Angels.

“It was amazing to win the gold. We all really came together well,” expressed Colette. “Last year we lost every single game and then we go from that to this year.”

DeAbreu beamed that watching his team play so well was a fantastic experience for him.

“To see these girls come together and the chemistry they had, they earned every game they won. To watch them was incredible. The pitching was incredible and their spirit was just amazing. Something I haven’t experienced all that much in my coaching.”

Bonnyville player competes in Alberta Summer Games

As if winning the gold medal wasn’t enough, Colette then headed off to join her former rivals on the Alberta Summer Games Zone 7 team in Leduc.

“It’s kind of a weird feeling first coming together, because you recognize people’s faces from the games you’ve played,” observed Colette. “But that’s the really fun part of it, everyone coming together. You forget everything about the season.”

The Zone 7 team played hard, but was eliminated after losing three games in the round robin. They did come out with a consolation final win, defeating Zone 8 with a score of 14-6.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Hockey Canada inspects Bonnyville facilities in preparation for WJAC

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Hockey Canada's Dave Hysen and Ben Shutron were all smiles after viewing the Bonnyville Centennial Centre.
Eric Bowling
The local hockey facilities are up to international standards, according to the main authority on hockey in Canada.

Hockey Canada conducted inspections of Bonnyville and area facilities on July 8 in preparation for the 2016 World Junior A Challenge (WJAC) being held in Bonnyville Dec. 11-17.

This is the first time Bonnyville has held the prestigious tournament, and the second time the tournament has been held in Alberta since its inception in 2006.

“We’re taking inventory of what we need and what we want,” said Events manager Dave Hysen. “The people of Bonnyville are treating us quite well.”

Hysen added that he was especially impressed with the Centennial Centre.

“It’s got the capacity, it’s got the space and it’s a world class facility.”

Also on hand was Hockey Operations manager Ben Shutron, who was there to ensure the training and equipment was up to snuff.

“We’re trying to formulate two strong teams, and bring the best performance that we can to Bonnyville,” commented Shutron.

Shutron mentioned that Hockey Canada would begin selection camps for Canada West in Leduc and Canada East in Toronto, with the final team being selected shortly before the tournament begins.

“There are enough players coming out to those for two to three teams,” noted Shutron, who expected both teams to be in Bonnyville by Dec. 8. “They’re big camps, but that’s how you get the best players out to play.”

Hysen mentioned that the development of the team is progressing at a normal pace.

“The directors of operations have just been announced for the team, so next up is coaches. That should be done in the coming months.”

While the WJAC is an international tournament with teams hailing from as far away as the Czech Republic and Russia, Hymen noted that Hockey Canada was still waiting to hear back from the invitations it sent out.

“We’re still waiting for confirmations,” noted Hysen. “We do have a general idea of who is coming. They might be the same teams as last year, so the United States, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Russia.

Shutron added that the teams being sent from other countries are typically formed earlier in the season, so Team Canada would have its work cut out for it come December. Canada West has won gold in four out of the 10 tournaments, with the United States taking the other six.

The WJAC is considered one of the biggest showcases of up and coming talent in North America. More than 230 draft picks have gotten their start in the tournament, including 32 first round selections. The tournament helps benefit the economy of the community where it’s hosted, by bringing in up to $2 million.

Treaty Days all about friends and family

For the Lakeland Regional.

The Northlands Dene drummers heat their drums between songs. The practice has both a spiritual side - the fire connects them with nature and the creator, and practical side - the drums sound better when the skins are warm.
Eric Bowling
 A local nation commemorated a treaty signed with the crown that's almost as old as confederation itself.

Cold Lake First Nations (CLFN) celebrated its annual Treaty Days at English Bay on July 7 and 10.
The nation has been coming together at English Bay since 1975 to mark the signing of the treaty, which took place in 1867.

“Treaty Days is a celebration to keep peace and harmony with Canada, about the land, our rights and the fish and the animals,” said CLFN Coun. Kelsey Jacko. “It's about bringing unity to both my people and other people around, so we get along and share this Mother Earth in peace and unity.”

Throughout the activity-packed weekend, traditions and modern practices easily meshed together. The celebrations began with a pipe ceremony and a fire ceremony, a traditional feast, drum dance, and hand games – a classic game where a team of four hides an object in one of their hands, and the opposite team attempts to guess which player is holding the object and which hand the object is in. Canoe races, strongman competitions and hip-hop demonstrations, were just some of the many events held during the festival.

“It's about pulling the people together, going into friendly competitions and meals,” said CLFN community services director Doug Longmore. “It's about relatives from distant areas coming together after a long time, usually after a year or more.”

Longmore explained that Cold Lake First Nations is actually composed of four distinct aboriginal groups – Dene, Cree, Saulteaux and Sioux.

The weekend-long gathering commemorates the signing of Treaty 6, a binding contract between the Monarchy and several groups of aboriginal peoples in central Canada – though the finer details of the treaty continue to be up for debate.

One sticking point is a clause in the treaty that entitles every member of the nation to $5 a year – there was nothing in the treaty to adjust the money for inflation when it was signed 140 years ago.
Jacko said that he and many people in the nation would like to get away from that particular clause.

“I wish we could get along and work together on certain issues to resolve them,” noted Jacko. “We've come a long way, there's more to the issue than $5. I would like to see us get away from the Indian Act, to not have to rely on Canada and make it on our own.”

Politics aside, everyone on hand agreed that the main reason for treaty days was to get together with family.

Geocachers take over the Lakeland

Chris Gilson, also known as Gillie434, shows an example of a travel bug.
Eric Bowling
They walk among us, scouring trails and public buildings, looking for clues to lead them to their next discovery.

They are geocachers.

Over 615 people from as far away as Switzerland descended upon the region for Sails, Rails and Tails - the Lakeland’s first ever “mega event.” A mega event is a gathering of at least 500 like-minded enthusiasts who belong to the totally open society. Prizes were given out for high scores of found caches, as well as an extensive list of other assorted merits ranging from holding foreign currency at the time to being the oldest person in the room.

Special events were held throughout the MD of Bonnyville to welcome the geocachers – a ranch-oriented treasure hunt was held throughout the Town of Bonnyville, cumulating in an opportunity to get a photo taken with a cowboy or girl. The Village of Glendon also hosted a geocaching celebration, where geocachers were set off on a scavenger hunt to assemble the ingredients to create and bake their own pyrogies. Special events were also held in Elk Point and St. Paul.

Geocaching is a growing hobby among travellers, hikers and explorers that make use of GPS tracking systems to find hidden caches.

“People hide caches all over,” explained Vicky Lefebvre, who chaired the organization committee for the mega event and has been geocaching with her husband Gilles for over a decade. “It’s phenomenal, and totally free. Say you’re at a convention; if you’re in a hotel download the app, find the closest geocache, and it will take you to a unique place.”

Lefebvre added that since geocaching was started in 2000 with the advent of GPS, there are now over 2.8 million geocaches worldwide, with over 1,400 along the Iron Horse Trail alone. While originally GPS trackers were used, now there are apps available to access the GPS network with a smartphone.
A geocache can be just about anything – they range in size and scope from small matchboxes to repurposed washing machines and newspaper boxes. Typically most geocaches are only discovered once the GPS sensor goes off.

“It can be a twig, it can be doorknob, it can be a thermometer, it can be a book, it can look like a piece of gum, and it can be a stick with something inside it. There’s no limit to your imagination,” pointed out Lefebvre. “There was one I went to in Red Deer was a welded part on the fence. We didn’t realize it would come out, like a drawer.”

Once a geocache has been found, the geocacher checks it off in their logbook. While the treasure found in a geocache - called a travel bug - can be claimed, the code of geocaching requires its followers to leave something else in the cache for the next adventurer. Moving travel bugs is encouraged – the owner of the travel bug is able to track it as it journeys around the world.
Chris Gilson, a local geocacher who maintains over 700 caches in the Lakeland area, had the interesting experience of finding his own travel bug – a rubber ducky he had left in a geocache in Canada turned up in a geocache he had found in Denmark several years later.

Geocachers are also dedicated to keeping the places they explore clean. Part of the code requires geocachers to pick up any litter they might find in their search for hidden treasure. On Sunday, the geocachers showed their appreciation for the Lakeland’s generosity and set about cleaning up Imperial Park.

“The motto is cache in, trash out,” explained Lefebvre. “If I go in to find a cache, and there is trash lying around, I’m supposed to bring it out.”

While most geocachers agree that it’s the thrill of the hunt that keeps them going, many also pointed out that it was a fun, family friendly activity for road trips and vacations.

“They’re something fun for the kids to find,” noted Gilson.

This was the Lakeland’s first mega event and the sixth ever held in western Canada. Lefebvre explained that the idea to host one had originally come about in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2014 when the ball got rolling. While geocachers are heavily involved in creating new geocaches and expanding the hobby for each other, the majority of the work setting up the mega event was done by volunteers eager to showcase the Lakeland region. Guests dined on white fish caught from Cold Lake, which had to be ordered from the fisherman an entire year in advance.

“We had 618 people through our doors today, and what that means for our community is money,” said Lefebvre. “They have to eat something, they have to sleep somewhere, they have to fill up with gas, and they’re experiencing our area. Hopefully they’re going back and telling their friends and their relatives how wonderful the Lakeland is. We have all kinds of things for people to do, fishing, sailing, hiking…and geocaching.”

Bonnyville pickleball players heading to Alberta 55+ Games

For the Bonnyvile Nouvelle.

Rob Barrett, Bonnyville's Ambassador to Pickleball Canada, prepares to fire a volley across the court.

Eric Bowling

A number of local pickleball players are proving that travelling to provincial championships isn’t just for kids.

About 30 people gathered at the Bonnyville District and Centennial Centre on July 6 for the qualifying match for the Alberta 55+ Summer Games being played in Drumheller at the end of September.

Players from across Zone 7, which covers an area from Alberta’s northern border to Wainwright, and from Lamont to Lloydminster, came out to show their skills and play for a spot at the province-wide tournament.

The games are intended to help keep seniors active in their golden years.

“We have to keep our seniors active,” said Lakeland Senior Games Association Activity Director Vic Ouellette. “A non-active mind or body is not a good thing.”

Pickleball is growing in popularity in Canada, with six tournaments being held over the summer in Alberta alone.

“It’s good exercise. It’s a quick sport and it’s competitive, there’s a lot of strategy involved in playing the game,” said player Joe Schafer of Bonnyville, who has been playing for two and a half years. “I find it’s more exercise than golfing. I can always get a good sweat going when playing this sport.”
The game plays similarly to games like tennis and badminton, with two players per team and a seven-foot zone in front of the net that cannot be entered while the ball is in the air. The court is 20 feet by 44 feet and games are played to 11 points, however to win there must be at least a two-point difference between the teams.

“If it happens to be 10-10, you still have to win by two,” noted Ouellette.

While there were nine separate categories that seniors could enter, there were only teams available to compete in three. Chuck Ouellette of St. Paul and Jacques Ouellette of Bonnyville (no relation) will be representing Zone 7 in the 75+ men’s category. In the 55+ men’s category, Bill Hall and Norman Kowalchuk of St. Paul will be carrying the banner, and in the 55+ mixed category Zone 7 will be sending Rob Barrett and Estelle Dechaine of Bonnyville to play.

“It’s a little easier than tennis, because you have two people,” said Barrett, who is the Bonnyville’s Ambassador to Pickleball Canada and has been playing for over five years. “It’s kind of a social game. There’s a lot of comradery.”

Those who missed the qualifier won’t be without their pickleball fix for long. The Lakeland Senior Games Association regularly hosts monthly games of its own throughout the zone.

Barrett added that he and his pals were usually out playing just about every day of the week, with both indoor games at the C2 and outdoor games at the tennis courts near Bonnyville Centralized High School.

An upcoming “fun day” is being organized for July 16 at the tennis courts. Barrett also noted that he is holding clinics every Monday at 7 p.m. to help people interested get into the game.

“We’re trying to get people who work during the day out,” explained Barrett. “That way it’s not just people who have retired playing.”

The Alberta 55+ Summer Games run from September 29 to October 1.

#TreatyDays #Fireworks #longexposure

Some experimental photography of mine.

While I was covering the Treaty Days celebrations on Saturday, July 9, I was repeatedly told Cold Lake First Nations had the best fireworks in the area (they liked to have a friendly competition with Canada Day.) I had already brought my tripod out to film a few songs of Nick Gilder, who was playing earlier that night, and had a bit of space left on one of my cameras, so I decided to see what would happen if I took low exposure shots with 1-4 second long shutter speeds. The results were fractally delicious.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Bonnyville Legion celebrates its 70th anniversary

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Legion Branch President Dan Gates, Hall Manager Duane Hite, Mayor Gene Sobolewski, Lt. (N) Bob McRae, Ladies Auxiliary President Roberta Daniels and Ladies Auxiliary member Margow Matthews stand with a pair of memorial wreaths laid to remember the fallen.
Eric Bowling

While everyone in Bonnyville was out in full-force to celebrate Canada Day last Friday, a large number of people had an additional milestone to celebrate.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 183 celebrated its 70th anniversary with an open house in Bonnyville on July 1 with a crowded hall of veterans, their families, friends and supporters.

“I’m amazed by the turnout, considering how little we got the word out,” joked Branch President Dan Gates.

A long-time pillar of the Town of Bonnyville, the legion was bestowed the honour of a municipal proclamation granting “Freedom of the Town,” essentially granting the legion the right to march through town in full battle dress, if they should choose to.

The actual anniversary of the legion was April 2, but the legion held off celebrations to be able to enjoy the nice July weather. The wanted to coincide with the Canada Day celebrations and to commemorate the Battle of the Somme, which began a century ago on July 1. The Battle of the Somme was one of the deadliest battles in history, where over a million people were killed.

“In the Battle of the Somme, the Newfoundland regiment was decimated,” explained Gates. “Newfoundland natives are such a large part of our community now that it seemed as good a day to celebrate our anniversary as any.”

While the memory of the fallen was fresh in everyone’s minds, that didn’t stop the legionnaires from celebrating their lives and memories with cheer.

“It means a lot to us to have a legion in the town. You can go to a lot of things and mix it up with friends,” said Bill McGregor, a 93-year-old veteran of the Second World War who served as a field medic on D-Day with the Essex Scottish. “The legion should be kept up – it’s a memorial to people who fought in the war.”

McGregor added he and his wife Lorane try to make it to the legion once a week.

Two wreaths were laid at the memorial to honour the fallen during the open house.

Former legion treasurer and current Mayor Gene Sobolewski mentioned the legion was an indispensable ally in the community.

“It’s incredibly important to us. They’re integral to providing a lot of services, particularly with the hospitals and veterans and seniors and things like that,” praised Sobolewski. “It’s a fantastic addition to the community.”

The legion has kept up to Sobolewski’s praises. Gates pointed out that the legion had recently donated $5,000 to STARS Air Ambulance, as well as $5,000 to Bonnyville Long-Term Care.

Gates expressed his hope that the celebration would help encourage younger veterans of more recent conflicts and their families to get involved in the organization.

“That’s a challenge for legions everywhere – trying to get new veterans to join branches. We’re working on it and hope to get more,” noted Gates.

McGregor commented that younger veterans are often busy with their families and post-military lives, and would find their way to the legion eventually.

“When you’re older you have a lot more free time to get involved and volunteer,” added McGregor. “The legions are a good thing; they should get involved.”

The Bonnyville branch of the legion was opened in 1946 with 39 veterans, seven of which were First World War veterans and two of which had seen both world wars. Currently the legion has 85 members, comprising of both veterans and civilians.

Canada Day Celebrations

Iron River School remembers beloved teacher

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Students and staff gather around Iron River School's new picnic benches to commemorate the school's 60th aniversary and to remember loved teacher David Sarawanski
Eric Bowling
A much-loved teacher was commemorated at Iron River School’s end of the year celebrations that also happened to be a major milestone for the school itself.

Iron River School remembered one of its greatest instructors, David Sarawanski as it celebrated its 60th year in operation on June 28.

Though technically last year was the school’s 60th birthday, celebrations were held off until a commemorative plaque and picnic bench were installed in memory of Sarawanski, or “Mr. S” as he was commonly known. A second bench was installed to commemorate the school’s milestone.

“We chose to do the celebration this year because we wanted to have a table for Mr. Sarawanski as well,” said Iron River principal Jeannine Ellis. “Both of these things mean a lot to me.”

The picnic tables were crowd sourced from the community, with Sarawanski’s last class raising nearly $100 amongst themselves to the cause. In total, the benches cost $2,160 to install.

“The kids wanted to do something,” explained Ellis. “The family had decided that fund would be donated at the funeral to the school, so the kids themselves also collected some funds. They really wanted something outdoors, something that would remind them of Mr. S.”

Born during Iron River School’s first year of operation, Sarawanski became a fixture in the school. First a student at the school, he later joined as a teacher for several decades and then again came out of retirement to fill a maternity leave teaching position. In addition to the usual gambit of math, science, English and social studies, Sarawanski also taught a hunter training class, educating the students of Iron River the craft.

He also was the bus driver for the school’s sports teams.

“Dave was somebody that loved laughter. He loved to make jokes, and he loved the outdoors,” recalled Ellis. “He was about having fun and making sure kids enjoy school.”

The students of Iron River School enjoyed their last days before summer holidays with cupcakes and memories of one of their favorite teachers.

“This school is truly a community school, it was a community effort to establish this school,” said Northern Lights deputy superintendent Roy Ripkins. “Dave Sarawanski started school here and ended his career here. It’s very heartfelt.”

Ellis added that it was appropriate that the school was celebrating its 60th at the same time as it was celebrating Sarawanski, as he would have turned 60 this year. Ellis noted that Sarawanski left a void that would be difficult to fill.

“He supported kids 100 per cent,” noted Ellis. “We’re going to miss him.

Minister of Seniors and Housing touts $10.3 million in funding for Bonnylodge

For the Bonnyville Nouvelle.

Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson presents a recognition certificate to Lakeland Lodge Chair Ray Prevost while Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski looks on.
Eric Bowling

Renovations of the local seniors’ lodge are about to begin as the provincial government has announced an eight-digit grant for the much-needed facility.

Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson announced a cash injection of $10.3 million to Bonnylodge for construction of a new wing for the aging building.

Originally constructed in 1958, the lodge was desperately in need of the money to keep up with the demand for the live-in centre, according to Lakeland Lodge and Housing Foundation chair Ray Prevost.

“When we started this project (getting the funding for the renovations), we actually had 74 rooms in this lodge. Then we moved up to 86,” said Prevost. “Now that we shut down the two old wings we only have 66. We’re actually worse off than we were when we started the project.

“This announcement of $10.3 million dollars is huge for us.”

Prevost added that currently the Bonnyville lodge had a waiting list of 60 names, and growing.

The development is the third phase of reconstruction of the lodge, following previous additions of 22 lodge-units and 60 apartments. The construction, which will add 46 new lodge-units as well as overhaul the kitchen and core services, will bring the lodge up to a total of 120 units that are up to modern standards.

“It’s an area that hasn’t really been invested in for some time. We have a lot of work to do across the province,” said Sigurdson. “Many of the facilities were built 30-40 years ago.”

Sigurdson pointed out that there were a number of utilities in many lodges that needed to be upgraded. As an example, she noted that many sprinkler systems that were installed in the 1990s were now behind current building codes.

She added, “Seniors need to be living in a building that has a fire suppression system.”

The original plan to build the lodge is almost a decade old – Prevost explained that he began trying to get the upgrades back in 2008 with a “needs assessment.“ After the results of the assessment were passed to the PC government headed by Ed Stelmach in 2009, Prevost noted that there wasn’t a shovel in the ground before 2012 when the first phase of development began.

“We always seemed to be fighting against someone else,” commented Prevost, expressing his relief that the government was finally taking his project seriously.

“After so many ministers and being bounced around from municipal affairs to health to seniors, finally we get the funding we need.”

Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski noted that the improvements to the lodge had been progressing on an on-and-off basis for years, which was very disruptive to the community.

“It was always to be planned in stages, but if you stopped mid-stage we would be down rooms. We needed it complete,” explained Sobolewski. “We’re so relieved and happy that the final stage will be finished.”

He added, “Every time they were doing the negotiations, it was always a budget cut. There were always concerns and there were always cutbacks, cutbacks, cutbacks. It was a struggle.”

Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Scott Cyr, of the official opposition, said he was grateful that the government was paying so much attention to the area, adding that the modest boost in jobs provided by the development was a welcome sight.

“It’s projects like this that are going to keep people working,” noted Cyr. “When you start putting in $10 million bucks a pop, that is significant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of those things that will only get a few hundred of us working, but every job counts right now.
“Even if it was one job, I would be jumping up and down.”

Seniors lodges are designed as retirement housing for low and moderate income seniors who are functionally independent. Suites include their own bathrooms, and serving areas, and the lodge provides meals and housekeeping for the residents.

More than 10,000 seniors live in lodges in Alberta. Sigurdson added that this was only the start of the government’s plans.

“We are beginning the engagement process for the affordable housing strategy,” explained Sigurdson. “Alberta is one of three provinces that currently don’t have an affordable housing strategy, along with Quebec and PEI.”

She added that her ministry had already held a meeting in Bonnyville to get people’s input on how to implement the strategy.

“We’re collecting all of that information right now, but we’re already moving on projects that we know need to go.”

Prevost noted that with the average lifespan continuing to rise along with the population, affordable housing and seniors lodges like those in the Lakeland area are going to become more and more important.

“Living to 70 is pretty normal now,” commented Prevost, adding that many people living at the lodge were in their 80s and 90s. “My wife has four aunts here, and they’re all 90.”

Sobolewski praised the province for finally taking seniors housing seriously.

“I’m just ecstatic. It’s one more accomplishment that we’ve been able to do with the new government to get some of these projects that have been on the books for such a long time finally moving forward,” said Sobolewski.

Sigurdson argued that the government had an obligation to help seniors live where they want to.

“Seniors want to age in their communities, we don’t want them to have to come to Edmonton. They’re from Bonnyville and want to live in Bonnyville. We want to make sure that happens.”

Seniors Minister turns sod on Cold Lake Lodge

For the Lakeland Regional.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland, Councillor Chris Vining, Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson Cold Lake Lodge resident Laura Petryshyn, Cold Lake Lodge Manager Leanne Jorgensen, Lakeland Lodge Chair Ray Prevost and Lakeland Lodge CAO Connie Surgeson turn the soil at the new Cold Lake Senior's Lodge, which has just begun construction after a cash injection from the provincial government.
Eric Bowling
 A long awaited seniors' housing development is finally getting constructed after years of red tape.

Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson was in the city to commemorate the groundbreaking of the new Cold Lake Seniors' Lodge on June 30.

The new lodge will feature 61 units, replacing the current 58 unit building. The province had kicked in $8.7 million for the project via the Alberta Social Housing Corporation.

An additional $5.7 million was contributed by both the provincial and the federal government through the Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement.

“It's been a long time since there's been a big investment in senior's housing and affordable housing,” said Sigurdson.

“Seniors want to age in their communities. We want to make sure that happens.”

Dignitaries from Cold Lake, Bonnyville and the Lakeland Lodge and Housing Foundation were on hand for the ceremony.

“It's great to see the minister here,” said Bonnyville – Col Lake MLA Scott Cyr. “We're getting a lot of focus on our riding, it's projects like this that are going to keep people working.”

It has been a long time coming. According to foundation board chair Ray Prevost, the plan for the new lodge was bounced around several ministries for almost a decade.

“It's a huge boost,” said Prevost. “After so many ministers and being bounced around from municipal affairs to health to seniors, finally we get the funding we need.”

Several members of city council were in attendance for the groundbreaking. They expressed their relief that the project was finally underway.

“This is just a great day in Cold Lake,” said Coun. Vicky Lefebvre. “Our seniors have been living in some residences that are less than 110-square feet. We've had prisoners living in better conditions than our seniors.”

The new lodge will have suites of 360-square feet, as well as handicap accessible washrooms.

While people were grateful for the province for finally funding the development, everyone involved agreed that the credit for getting the ball rolling belonged to Prevost.

“Ray's been relentless for trying to get this for Cold Lake,” praised Lefebvre.

For his part, Prevost was simply happy that his work had finally born fruit.

“It's so great that the government finally kicked in the money for us,” expressed Prevost. “Now I can retire in peace.”

The lodge is expected to be open by fall of 2018.

Fish and game club updating outdoor range

For the Lakeland Regional.

Residents of Cold Lake will soon have a new range to shoot their long-range firearms.
File Photo
 Firearm enthusiasts will soon have a place to take their restricted rifles and handguns, at least if the local shooting club is able to get its targets lined up quickly.

The Cold Lake Fish and Game Club edged closer to renewing its restricted firearm certification for two of its ranges after Cold Lake City Council approved the repurposing of a $100,000 grant originally intended for an indoor shooting range at the June 28 council meeting.

The grant will now be used to construct berms according to the new government standards, allowing the club to present the ranges to the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) in Edmonton and enable the club's members to use restricted firearms on its 600-metre rifle range and its 100-metre handgun range. The club's certification currently is scheduled to expire on December 31.

“It's excellent that we are able to reallocate some of the money intended for our indoor projects to our outdoor projects,” said club president Rick Jackson. “This will enable us to complete the berms in a short order.”

Jackson added that he expects to finish work on the berms right away and the club should have its paperwork in place by the end of July, though he conceded it is anyone's guess when the CFO will be able to follow up and grant the full certification.

Council expressed some concerns that an engineering report had not been conducted for the berms, but a few councillors argued that getting started on the work was more important than waiting for one.

“If you don't help now, when are you going to get it done?” asked Coun. Darrell MacDonald. “If this is going to make the range safer, I'm all for it.”

Mayor Craig Copeland said the range is a necessary feature in the community, to give residents a safe and secure place for target shooting.

“We desperately need people to be in a controlled environment with these guns,” said Copeland. “If we don't support it, the question comes to where do people shoot their guns in Cold Lake?”

Jackson noted that with the two ranges complete, members would be able to use any legal firearm available in Canada at the club, though the club is still trying to decide if any restrictions on the caliber of ammunition will be placed on users. The 600-metre range is the only one of its kind in Alberta.

“With a permanent restricted certification, the year round capabilities are going to be fantastic,” noted Jackson. He also added that he was hoping to bring in more shooting competitions to the range, which would help boost the local economy. He estimated a tournament could bring in up to $10,000 in revenue.

MacDonald added that he was excited to see the new possibilities the range would bring for shooters in the area.

“I like this idea because I'm one of those guys that shoots in the pits when I get my rifles,” noted MacDonald.

The shooting club has about 200 members, though Jackson added he gets two the three calls each day inquiring about the club's ability to host restricted firearms.