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Student Vote count parallels federal election results

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While there was shock for many on election day, as the Liberals bucked the trend of polls when they delivered a majority government, it was no surprise to Valley students.

Students at DVSS and at St. Anthony’s School participated in Student Vote, an initiative where a parallel vote is held for students during federal, provincial, territorial and municipal elections. This year 850,000 students from 6,000 schools participated. The results nationally were reflective of the election result.

“My students - Social 30-1 and 30-2 - participated in Student Vote, and the results were quite interesting,” said Social Studies teacher at DVSS Peter Bjel. “Their national predictions proved to be accurate, in that both of my classes predicted a Liberal win across the country.  They were less accurate on the local results, but in both cases there was a strong Conservative showing. 30-2 students put them in second-place, right behind the Liberals.”

Students at St. Anthony’s who participated and results showed locally Kevin Sorenson winning with 39 per cent of the vote, Andy Kowalski of the Liberals and Katherine Swampy of the NDP each with 20 per cent of the vote, and the Green Party’s Gary Kelly with 13 percent. 

Of all students participating in the Battle River-Crowfoot Constituency, the Conservatives garnered 65 per cent of the vote, followed by the Liberal Party with 16-per cent and the NDP and Green Party with 9 per cent each.

Bjel said his classes discussed the federal elections, and broke down the ideologies of each party as well as policies.  He also asked students to go on www.votercompass.com and assess where they fell on the political spectrum.

“The students were quite engaged, at least judging by their reactions, on learning that they swayed in a particular political direction. A number of students were under the impression they were Conservative, for example, but then learned they were more Liberal, or even swayed in the Green Party’s zone,” he said.

Issues that mattered to students he found were the environment and climate change as well as foreign policy, and how it would appear with different parties at the helm.

“Others were intrigued by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s promises to tweak our electoral system, or his promises about legalizing cannabis,” he said.  “A few also inquired about what the future of Alberta’s oil industry would be like under a different governing party.” 

The international program at DVSS also added another dimension to the discussion. He felt overall the election was a good learning opportunity.

“I think they also felt connected to the political process, and this ties in to what Alberta’s Social Studies curriculum aims to impart about the opportunities and challenges confronting Canada’s political system in 2015.  They were quite amazed when they learned that the class predictions about a Liberal win came true!” 


Lockdown at Drumheller Institution's medium security unit ended

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The lockdown put in place at Drumheller Institution's medium security unit on October 19, 2015 has ended and an exceptional search has been completed. The institution has resumed its normal operations.

Correctional Service Canada (CSC) is strengthening measures to prevent the entry of contraband into its institutions in order to ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone. CSC also works in partnership with the police to take action against those who attempt to have contraband brought into correctional institutions.

Visits to the institution have resumed.

New recruit learning the ropes

Hennythepolicedog

Drumheller has a new four-legged recruit at the RCMP Detachment.

Henny, the 10-week-old German Shepherd, is in training to become a member of the RCMP’s Canine Unit.  Constable Craig Nelson also wants to join the unit and part of his training is acting as an imprinter.

 “Right now, we are getting to know each other and getting comfortable with teaching each other,” he said. Later we’ll start more of the other type of training. As she progresses we’ll go on to more detailed things.”

Henny is not the first canine through the detachment training.  Constable Rachel Pergunas raised Derby and Constable Jeremy Willis, who is now in Cold Lake, raised Fura who has graduated.

The training for Henny begins right away.  While most puppies are trained to be obedient pets, training to be a police dog is a little different.  It’s instinctive behavior is fostered and encouraged.

“I imprint in her in the skills she needs and try to develop the natural traits she has,” said Nelson. “Some things, like curiosity, I want her to be curious, I want her to check things out, meet new people and walk into dark alleys and walk down sidewalks. If there is a dark tunnel, I want her to go see what is inside.”

   Other instincts include aggression and prey drive. 

  “I want my dog to be interested in chasing because later on I am going to tap into that, so if there is a bad guy running away, I will want her to chase him,” said Nelson.

His job is also to familiarize Henny with a variety of settings. Every time she comes out of her kennel, she is learning. She has been to the school to become comfortable with children and big groups, play is used to develop skills.

In the end, she will be trained as a multipurpose dog. She will be trained for tracking, apprehension and searching for lost items.

“(When) she is fully trained, she will be able to find something as small as a button,” he said.

She will learn to detect for scent and will be trained for either a drug or an explosive profile, he explained.

Along Henny’s journey, she will be evaluated for her progress.

“If she does well, I could have her for a year and a half. If she doesn’t do well, when they decide she is not going to be a police dog, they will take her away and give me a different one,” said Nelson.

Henny could then be sold as a pet, or to another agency to perform other services. Nelson explains the RCMP has its own breeding program and this has contributed to more dogs being successful in their training. 


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