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Last updateSat, 20 Jan 2018 11am

Strankman reflects on 2017

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    It has been an exciting year in Alberta politics. The Mail took some time with Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman to discuss the year that has been.
    Top of the list is the formation of the United Conservative Party (UCP). In March, Jason Kenney won the leadership of the Alberta Conservative Party. Then in July, the United Conservative Party was formed by the merger of the Wildrose Party. In October, Kenney became the leader of the newly formed political entity.
    “I compare Jason Kenney to a salmon swimming upstream, facing the rocky outcropping and facing the possibility of being hunted by a bear, and every time he faces a challenge, there is a new level of success,” he said.
    “He has achieved lots of political success. He works hard and his work schedule is unbelievable.”
    He is impressed by his new leader.
    “I am anxious to see his performance in the chamber because he is such an eloquent speaker. I tell my constituents they need to listen to the fluency of what Jason Kenney says,” said Strankman.
    One of the success he points to this year is the passing of UCP deputy leader Leela Aheer’s private member Bill 206, which allows adoption agencies to publish profiles of prospective adoptive parents.
He says the party has had more success with amendments to other bills.
    Of course, the economy was front and centre for much of the debate this year and Strankman is concerned about Alberta remaining competitive.
    “I was watching American television and the voting going on down there where they are removing 15 per cent from corporate tax. I don’t know the full ins and outs and technicalities there, but I feel like I have fallen and have a concussion. They are making a big deal of this, whereas in this province in a week to 10 days, we are going to be raising the Carbon Tax by 50 per cent,” said Strankman.
    “For the Americans to reduce taxes it is going to create an unfair tax regime for economic development here. I’ve been wrong before, but all the signs here point to a lot of negativity for economic development.”
    His wish for the new year?
    “A reduction in the Carbon Tax.”

Morrin School Mitten Tree decorated with warmth

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    Project REACH kicked off the 7th annual Mitten Tree Project at Morrin School on Friday, December 1, 2017.
    Students, staff, and community members were encouraged to bring in new or gently used donations of mittens, gloves, toques, and scarves to help decorate the mitten tree.
    These donations are then washed and delivered to The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Drumheller, to be used for the chilly winter months.
    The final day for the Mitten Tree Project was December 22, when students who had donated to the project gathered for a photo with the tree and their donations.
    The project yielded 84 pairs of mittens and gloves, 69 toques, 25 scarves and even three pairs of winter boots.

Grinches swipe Christmas decor


    The festive season has called for extra measures when protecting outdoor Christmas decorations.
    Complaints have been made to the RCMP including one from Upper Midland resident Nicky Samuel.
    “We have been at this home for probably 30 years, maybe a little longer, and we never really had any crime in this neighbourhood,” said Samuel. “I could just leave the screen door open and work out in the yard all day and never worry about anything in the neighbourhood and you can’t really do that anymore.”
    Between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., on Saturday, December 16, a laser light had been stolen and their 5th wheel trailer had almost been broken into. She only had the light for five days before it went missing.
    “It’s really sad because we put up Christmas lights not only for us to enjoy but other people to enjoy and if I knew that laser light was going to somebody who really didn’t have the money to buy their own, I would be okay with that,” said Samuel.
    “It feels strange because you wake up in the morning and you think ‘How come I didn’t know that happened?’ and ‘Why didn’t I wake up?’ and ‘Why didn’t some kind of sixth sense wake me up to see if somebody was in the yard?’” said Samuel.
    Samuel has decided to keep decorating despite the bad luck. She has also reported this incident to the RCMP detachment to bring awareness.
    “I don’t want that to stop me from having that enjoyment, I have two grandkids and they are just in awe when they come to grandma’s house when there are lights on and stuff like that,” said Samuel. “I want them to have that enjoyment too so I’ll probably put them up again next year.”
    Scott Duggan, a Newcastle resident, had his 9 ½ foot inflatable penguin scene stolen from his yard last Friday.
    “How do you explain to a 2-year-old that his favourite

thing that I’ve set up for three years is missing?” said Duggan.
His family has spent $450 alone this year on Christmas items.
    “Now I have to go out and spend more money to replace what was stolen,” said Duggan. “This is on top of the electricity bill and everything else and the time and the effort that it takes to put all this stuff together.”
    Duggan was most frustrated and disappointed about the Christmas cheer that can dissipate after a theft like this.
    “It ticks me off that kids or people nowadayslights get their kicks from doing this kind of stuff,” said Duggan. “There’s having fun and being dumb but then there is also respect. I don’t blame people for not

putting stuff up because they are afraid to lose it.”
    Residents can protect their belongings from theft by following a few tactics.
    Use anchors or tape down lights and install motion sensor lights and alarms that alert you when something is too close. Put inflatables on your roof where it is harder to steal and simply move your decorations closer to your home.
    Engrave or mark your items with something obvious as well so it is easier to identify by police and also deters thieves from stealing it as it most likely can’t be resold.
    If you or anyone you know has had Christmas decorations stolen, please comment on this story on our Facebook page to bring awareness to the subject.

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