News | DrumhellerMail
Last updateThu, 23 Feb 2017 9am

Retired Drumheller teachers continue service overseas

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    Drumheller teachers, Irv and Corinne Gerling, have headed back overseas to continue their work at the Our Lady of Grace Children’s Home in Kenya.
    About a year ago, The Mail brought readers the story of the Gerlings. A few years ago, they reconnected with former Drumheller resident Rita Balachandran, nee Rovere, who established a trust fund called Action For God’s Love (AFGL).
    AFGL is an all volunteer run organization, which aims to improve the material and spiritual lives of those trapped in poverty.
    It built an orphanage and school in Kenya on land owned by the Catholic diocese called Our Lady of Grace Children’s Home. Since 2006, Rita has adopted almost 200 young girls, many of who has lost their parent due to Aids.
    Last year the Gerlings headed to Kenya to volunteer with the organization, and this year they are headed back again.

    “We have returned for a two month period to volunteer at the school. I am helping teachers to expand their instructional strategies and Irv is assisting with the administration in the home and school,” said Corinne.
    Rita left the valley in the 1960’s to pursue a career in nursing She married a prominent orthopedic surgeon in Singapore. Her trust fund was initiated in 2002, in memory of her late husband.
    Since they last visited Kenya, Action For God’s Love has been granted charitable foundation status in Canada. This means donors can now receive Canadian tax receipts for their donations.
    “One thing we know is that 100% of all monies donated go towards operating the home and ongoing projects,” said Corinne.  “Currently, electricity is being installed in the school.  Rita is also planning a new building for the kindergarten classes and a playground for the home.”
    This is not the only project for AFGL. It has completed projects in Mongolia, Myanmar, Uganda and Kenya. It also supports student volunteers who lend a hand for the charity.
    To learn more or to donate go to

Voting strong Drumheller as Canada’s Most Rider Friendly Community

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Drumheller has a jump on the competition to become Canada’s MOST Rider Friendly Community.

Drumheller is one of six finalists for western Canada and eight nationwide for the contest created by Renee ”Belt Drive Betty” Charbonneau, and presented by Community Futures of Alberta.

That was just the first stage and right now voting to go on round two and eventually to see which community will be named the Most Rider Friendly Community. The grand prize is a multimedia marketing package valued at $35,000.

Voting opened on February 17 and as of Wednesday, February 22, Drumheller has jumped out in the lead with more than 500 votes.

However, the community still needs your support. The voting continues until March 2.

To pledge your support go to and vote. Each person is eligible to vote once per day.

Zero per cent increase in taxes


Residents of Drumheller can breathe easy, after council adopted the 2017 Operating Budget which includes no increase to property taxes.


Mayor Terry Yemen told The Mail, “A few weeks ago I challenged Council to not only talk about helping the people of Drumheller but to put it into action regarding the 2017 budget. Council answered that challenge by implementing a zero per cent increase to property taxes.”


The Operating Budget is funded by way of property tax, operational grant funding, and various service fees. Administration and council had to make some hard decisions to balance the Operating Budget without an increase to these and without a decrease in services provided by the town.


Mayor Yemen said, “It’s give and take. It still costs the town of Drumheller “x” amount of dollars to exist for the year of 2017. That will mean that there will be less money going into the reserves but that translates into no tax increase for the people of Drumheller and I think that is quite significant.”


Councillor Jay Garbutt said, “The overwhelming majority of operating costs are salaries and benefits for town staff. These costs increase on an annual basis and yet we did not pass that increase onto the taxpayers in Drumheller.”


According to Mayor Yemen, dealing with the carbon tax that the provincial government imposed is a significant amount of money that administration and council had to come up with to keep the increase to taxes at zero.


“Take into consideration inflation at 1.6 or 1.8 per cent plus carbon tax, you could have looked at a 3 per cent tax increase right there but administration and council were able to bring it down to zero. The payoff is less money that will go into reserves.” Mayor Yemen said.


Councillor Garbutt said, “I hope people take away from this that council fully understands the situation that we all find ourselves in economically and that any break that we can provide will hopefully be well received. To do this without pulling back on services is a very difficult thing to do. It’s not a magic trick, it simply means we didn’t put more away for a rainy day than we had planned.”

Are there too many days off school?