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02262020Wed
Last updateTue, 25 Feb 2020 5pm

Curler competes at World Transplant Winter Games

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A local man who received a second lease on life with a heart transplant is celebrating it by competing in the 2020 World Transplant Winter Games.
The Winter Games are being held in Banff from February 23-28. Scott Ouellette, owner and operator of Jurassic Bark in Morrin is heading to the games to compete in curling.
This is Ouellette’s second time competing in the games. In 2011 he competed in golf.
“I always keep track of where they are, but it is tough to get away for the summer ones. The winter ones are normally in places like Switzerland, and this is one of the first times it has ever come to North America,” said Ouellette.
The Winter Games encompass 12 different sporting disciplines, including biathlon, curling, skiing events, and snowboarding.
The Mail brought readers Mr. Ouellette’s transplant story in 2013. In 2008, at the age of 28 he was living in Red Deer and one night he began having chest pains playing hockey. He played through the pain and finished the game. At 2 a.m. that evening he couldn’t stand the pain and was taken by ambulance to the Red Deer Hospital. He quickly learned he was having a massive heart attack and was airlifted by STARS to Foothills in Calgary.
“It basically killed the left side of my heart,” he said. He was put on a ventricular assist device but was told he would need a new heart.
It took 113 days to find a donor, and after 12-hours of surgery, the heart took.
In two months he was back at work and back on the golf course. That was nine years ago.
In 2011 he went to his first world games in Sweden and competed in golf, bowling, the 4X100 relay, table tennis, and the ball throw. In 2012 he competed in the Canada Games, winning three gold and bronze medals.
“I have been pretty lucky. Everything has been going well, I haven’t had any issues whatsoever,” he said.
Today he regularly curls in Drumheller and jumped at the opportunity to go to the games.
‘I’ve curled most of my life, so it’s not like it’s new to me,” he said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. I have lots of friends that are part of the transplant community.”
He explains for the games, you enter as an individual, and you are put with other players from Canada to compete. He says the games are allowing donor families and donors to compete, alongside recipients.
“You get a few more people out to compete, and a few more donors and donor families show up, which is actually quite nice because really, we owe our lives to them,” said Ouellette
This might not be his last games. In 2021 the Summer Games will be in Houston.
For more information on the games go to www.wtgf.org.


Charges laid in Morrin, Halkirk Hotel robberies

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The RCMP took two people into custody and charges have been laid in relation to two different armed robberies that were determined to be linked.

On Feb. 13, the Morrin Hotel Bar was robbed by two masked and armed suspects. The stolen vehicle they fled in was abandoned and set on fire. One of the suspects was identified, and an arrest warrant was issued.

On Feb. 18, a hotel in Halkirk was robbed by a disguised suspect carrying what was believed to be a shotgun. He fled in a stolen van which was later recovered in Big Valley. A stolen shotgun was recovered from the van.

The RCMP linked the above incidents and two suspects were identified. A coordinated investigation was conducted by Drumheller, Hanna, Three Hills, Beiseker, Bashaw, Coronation and Stettler RCMP Detachments.  Red Deer PDS assisted.

On Feb. 19 the two suspects were arrested in Three Hills. 

Chase Aaron Anderson (35) is facing 15 charges related to the possession of stolen property in Stettler, and the robbery in Drumheller.

Robert Kristopher Paul Foster (39) of Big Valley is facing 19 charges related to the possession of stolen property in Stettler, the robbery in Drumheller and the robbery in Halkirk.

Judicial interim release hearings have been held and both accused were released for court.  They both have court dates on March 12 in Stettler and March 20 in Drumheller.  Foster also has a court date on March 18 in Coronation.

The RCMP continue to investigate these and other incidents in the area.

MLA Horner says healthcare priority in coming session

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    The Alberta Legislature will be back in session on February 25 and MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, Nate Horner, says one main focus is going to be healthcare.
    Earlier this month the results of a review on Alberta’s healthcare completed by Ernst and Young was released. It spelled out a number of recommendations on healthcare, some of which are already causing concerns by Albertans and professionals in the healthcare field. Horner says this will be the main focus of the upcoming sitting.
    “If you have seen our campaign platform, probably it is going to be a big session on Health,” Horner tells the Mail.
    “The AHS review is complete and it is in the hands of the minister, so I think it is going to be a health-related session. It will be tough I’m sure but at 43 per cent of the budget, it can’t be ignored. We can do better.”
    He says in many cases there are different issues facing urban and rural health care.
    “Even with the doctor’s negotiations, what the ministry is trying to fix, I would call urban problems. We are definitely keeping communications up, us rural MLAs, saying ‘don’t paint this with all one brush, these are urban problems,’ and he has been pretty responsive to that.”
    One area of concern for rural health he is hearing has to do with ambulance services.
    “You hear the same story everywhere, trying to find a way to move people around in non-emergency situations,” he said. “If we could use these NAT (non-emergency transport) vans for non-emergency calls. These have been done in a few other areas quite well,”
    Horner adds they are working on this in the region, and they have the research to back up that using NAT vans would improve the services and bring savings.
    Horner says Alberta simply needs to get its debt under control.
    “This will be our worst year with $8.7  billion added to the debt, it is going to get better, but we are needing to draw the line in the sand right now,” said Horner.
    He is optimistic, however.
    “The Premier calls this the turnaround year. Last year we saw very modest growth in the economy and we are expecting better than last year but maybe just slightly.  But most economists agree if we can get one year out, things are looking better for Alberta,” said Horner.


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