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Last updateWed, 10 Feb 2016 11am

Five in a row for Shapiro

    Drumheller’s Rob Shapiro of the country music band Hey Romeo has one more piece of hardware to add to his collection.
    Shapiro took home the Keyboard Player of the Year from the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards.

Rob Shapiro of Hey Romeo was named the CCMA Keyboard Player of the Year. This was his fifth award.

    “Wow...I’m ridiculously fortunate and thankful to win the Canadian Country Music Association Keyboard Player of the Year!” he announced on the Band’s Facebook page. “A huge thank you to you all, it’s very special to get the OK from your peers. Great to share it with Tammy, my Mom, Darren, Stacie, Bradford, Curtis, Jim, Rob, Kathryn, Oscar, Paul, Byron and all our good friends.”
    This was his fifth award for keyboards in as many years.
    The award was presented during Country Music Week in Edmonton from September 5-8 with the awards gala on the final night. 
    The band had a busy few days while in Edmonton. On Thursday, September 5, the band hosted the CCMA Songwriters Café. This is a unique mix of jam, performance and sharing with artist and audience.
    Hey Romeo also performed at the Jiffy Lube Fan Fest. This was a concert that featured the band as well as other Canadian country music mainstays including Small Town Pistols, George Canyon and Aaaron Pritchett to name a few. This was on Saturday, September 7.
    Hey Romeo was also selected to be presenters at the Awards Gala.


Badlands Motorsports Resort land redesignation delayed to December

    Area residents hoping to further discuss the proposed Badlands Motorsports Resort will have to wait until after the election before it returns to the agenda of the Kneehill County Council.
    First reading of the redesignation of the land from agricultural was passed recently, but County Council is holding off second and third readings until December.

Kneehill County Council is putting the second and third readings to redesignate the land proposed for the Badlands Motorsports Resort until December, after the fall harvest and October elections. The resort is proposed to be located roughly 3 kilometres northeast of Rosebud.

    “We’re going to be considering the second and third readings in December,” said Kneehill Reeve Bob Long. “We have people who are farming, so we wanted to get that out of the way and have the election in October. We could have new Councillors at the table. About the only time we could really get our teeth into it is the first part of December.”
    Earlier this year, County Council approved the Area Structure Plan of the Badlands Motorsports Resort and held public debate on the project, where many residents voiced their objections to the development.
    However, before construction could take place, there are more steps Council must go through.
    “It’s a process we have to go through. Each step in a development has to run its course. Even though we’ve approved the Area Structure Plan, we haven’t approved the development, just one aspect of it,” said Long. “You just have to do the due diligence, go through the steps, and make sure everyone has a chance to comment.”
    Should the redesignation of the land pass third reading in December, discussion would begin on the development itself.
    “If the redesignation passes third reading, then the next step would be to look at the application for development sometime in the new year,” said Long. “That’s when you start to address the issues you specifically want to address.”

Wheatland to renovate, expand county offices

    The Wheatland County Office will be undergoing a slight face-lift in the coming weeks. However, bigger plans for the office are in store.
    Renovations will soon begin on the front office administration area and audio/visual systems of council chambers. The work is hoped to be complete within several months.
    “It’ll be proceeding soon and will likely be proceeding and completed by the end of this year,” said Alan Parkin, CAO of Wheatland County.  
    More extensive renovations are being proposed afterwards.
    “We’re looking at doing some conceptual drawings for a proposed expansion. It depends on what kind of feedback we receive, but the idea is to have conceptual drawings done by the end of September and then get some feedback in October,” said Parkin.
    Since the Wheatland County Office opened in July 2000, space has been gradually filling. Now, after 13 years, there is little room left to bring the needed staff to run an ever growing county.
    “Right now, we’re at capacity. For example, we have four staff crammed into a space that used to accommodate two. Down the road, our plans to bring in more staff may come to fruition and we would need more space. WFCSS (Wheatland Family and Community Support Services) moving in earlier this year has added two more staff and taken up any surplus room. Our file system is packed to the rafters, so we need a little more space,” said Parkin.
    “We’re looking at five to ten years down the road. This building was opened in 2000 and has had some good use out of it, but we need to look at an expansion and modifications to prepare for the next ten to 15 years.”
    The plan is to add 480 square metres (just over 5,000 square feet) to the east side of the building and 144 square metres (roughly 1,500 square feet) to the west side of the building. The additions would allow for more office space and a new meeting room.
    The conceptual drawings will be finished by the end of September. From there, Council would have to approve going ahead with the expansion.
    The renovations will begin shortly are expected to cost just under $400,000. The proposed expansion could cost between $1.5 million and $2 million, paid for by reserves and/or provincial grants.
    “At this point, it’s just proposed. Council hasn’t approved any budgets and just want to get some conceptual drawings and feedback,” said Parkin.
    The conceptual design and costs will be available for discussion at a yet-to-be announced open house.


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