Starland County | DrumhellerMail
Last updateTue, 23 Apr 2024 5pm
  • Bitcoin factories soon to operate in Kneehill and Starland County

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    Being the first of its kind on Canadian soil, Bitfury gains access to Alberta for data mining purposes.

    The European company coined ‘Bitfury’ is involved in data mining, the computing process of discovering patterns in large amounts of grouped data called data sets. It’s a subfield of computer science that should not be mistaken for analytics, statistics, and other database systems. The overall goal of this unique intelligence is to gain information from a specific data set and turn it into an understandable structure for further usage.

    Two local locations of Kneehill County and Starland County will soon be home to the new development. In Kneehill, 20 Seacans will be on-site and for Starland, the Seacans number more than doubles to 48.

    Bitfury claims to develop and deliver software and hardware solutions for individuals and businesses alike through the blockchain. This blockchain is an extremely secure database used to maintain an ever growing list of records. Bitfury’s role is to also securely and efficiently move assets across this blockchain.

    With all of this in mind, what does Bitfury have to do with Starland and Kneehill County? The answer is simple: space and connectivity.

    “The reason they are doing this is because there is enormous power requirements for these facilities so in our case they are working with ATCO to find an area where they could take a heavy draw off a substation,” said Matt Kreke, Starland County Assistant CAO.

    Much of the action and behind the scenes work will be off-site but for future technicians, there will be lots of time at the facilities.

    “From what we have heard in our initial discussions is that they are looking to hire several people in the area to work at these facilities,” confirmed Kreke.

    As a pro-development county, Starland is elated to be one of the selected areas to house this new type of science.

    “We’re excited about new kinds of development,” said Kreke. “Our hope is to bring some jobs and investment into the area.”

    Future prospects suggest that Starland and Kneehill will be the first of many new sites in the province.

  • Michichi boardwalk project approved

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    As a new way to engage people into real-time educational experiences, the Michichi boardwalk has now been approved.
        The three phase project is set to begin in late fall with construction of the boardwalk to be closely monitored as not to disrupt too much of the surrounding environment.
        “We’re going to have a bit of frost in the ground and that’s going to help a lot with the equipment going in and making ruts and stuff like that,” said Starland County Agricultural Fieldman Dara Kudras.
        “There will be some damage but that is the price we have to pay to get this boardwalk in there.”
        They have hired a company that has smaller equipment to cause a tinier carbon footprint.
        “What we are aiming for is minimal disturbance just because it is a sensitive area,” said Kudras.
        The project has three phases to smoothly add the boardwalk into the region as well as create a healthy riparian monitoring program and pond leveller.
        The beaver dam which is built every year, is located where the spillway is. By springtime, the water level becomes too high causing the dam to break and the water to drain.
        “If the beavers weren’t there building that dam, then all the water goes out and there is no habitat area,” said Kudras.
        A pond leveLler is a large plastic tube that is put through the middle of the dam where a cage is placed on one end of the tube.
        “It’s so the water can go through and the dam won’t blow out and the beavers won’t have to build so high either,” said Kudras. “It will allow water to go through without wrecking the dam.”
        Instinctively, if the dam does happen to break, beavers will find trees to repair and rebuild. Instead of allowing them to take out new trees in the area, Kudras and her team have been gathering other already fallen branches or vegetation for the beavers to use.
        “That’s part of the coexistence part of it that we want to be able to grow trees there and keep beavers happy at the same time,” said Kudras.
        $12,000 of the grant is going towards signage along the boardwalk to help explain the usage of the pond leveller and other interesting facts about the riparian area and what it has to offer. Different types of birds and other animals will be on the signs as well.

    IMG 9645
        Of the total budget, the largest cost of $80,000 will be going towards the actual construction of the boardwalk.
        A 20-foot by 16-foot viewing deck area with seating and a gazebo close to the dam will be a special addition to the boardwalk with the possibility of up to two bridges depending on the budget.
        “If local craftsman or local schools want to come and a have like a wetland field day and learn about the ecosystem in the area and stuff like that, then they can come out and use that,” said Kudras. “We’re just trying to make it really accessible for everybody.”
        Starland County is putting $32,000 forward as the lead administrator and will be partnering up with the current landowner of the area as well as Cows & Fish and the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance.
        After the project is finished, an established riparian monitoring program will be put in place, a pond leveller will be constructed and implemented, and the half kilometer long boardwalk will be complete.
        A grand opening is expected to happen shortly after everything is in place.
        Kudras plans to increase awareness and get help from local farmers to build up drought and flood resilience.
        “This project is a cornerstone going into the future with the rest of the watershed resilience restoration program,” said Kurdas.

  • Starland County hosts grazing school

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    Spots are filling up fast for the 14th annual Southern Alberta Grazing School for Women held by Starland County.
    After ten years of being on the Southern Alberta Grazing School for women committee, Starland County is able to host the event for another year, running from July 25 to 26.
    “It rotates throughout southern Alberta,” said Dara Kudras, Assistant Agriculture Fieldman of Starland County.
    Starland has hosted twice before with both successful attendance rates.
    “It usually always sells out,” said Kudras. “We take 45 registrants and then 5 industry people.”
    On the first day, the school focuses onrange and riparian health, weeds, grazing principles and water systems for cattle and pastures as well as plant identification.
    “We do a plant ID quiz out in the field as well,” said Kudras.
    To finish up the day, the Last Chance Saloon out in Wayne hosts a supper for the large group.
    For the second and final day, the morning consists of classroom style learning of riparian health assessments and the role of beavers and other important contributors to the ecosystem.
    Ranching women will also be coming in to speak about their own operations like Jesse Williams from Special Areas.
    Tamara Quashnick with Steadfast Veterinary Services will give a speech on post-calving care. “She is a really good speaker,” said Kudras.
    In addition to the morning classes, a talk on verified beef and social license will be presented from a Canadian Beef round table member.
    After that, everyone hops onto a well-maintained bus for a field trip up to Primrose Farms located south of Big Valley. A tour of the robotic dairy and mixed farm operation will be the highlight of the trip.
    “Cremona Primrose is one of our ranching women so she is going to talk a minute about her story,” said Kudras. “She’s got pigs and chickens and all kinds of things.”
    After visiting Primrose’s, the group will travel to Calvin Raessler’s ‘Top Grass Beef’ farm where the range health assessment and plant identification quiz will take place.
    “It’s just a really nice setting, it’s right below the Hand Hills and I think it’s a little bit different for the people that come from down south,” said Kudras.
    Kudras is beyond excited to share her love of the land through education and experiences.
    “It’s going to be a jam packed two days – I’m just excited to showcase Starland County and show what we have to offer.”

    To sign up for the event, click the link here.

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