News | DrumhellerMail - Page #8
Last updateFri, 21 Feb 2020 5pm

Students supporting students: Community rallies for Kenya orphanage

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    The community of Drumheller is showing its support for a small orphanage and school in Kenya.
    Irv and Corrine Gerling, retired teachers in Drumheller, are active with Our lady of Grace Children’s Home and School in Marimba. These are funded by Action for God’s Love (AFGL). This is an all volunteer-run organization, which aims to improve the material and spiritual lives of those trapped in poverty. This was set up by former Drumheller resident Rita Balachandran, nee Rovere.
    The orphanage and school are on land owned by the Catholic diocese, and since 2006 Rita has adopted hundreds of girls, many are orphans who lost their parents due to AIDS.
     The Gerlings have travelled to Kenya to lend their expertise to the organization three times. In 2019, teacher Lynn Hemming joined them for a month and it was a life-changing experience. When she learned they were going back, she once again signed on.
    Hemming also enlisted her oldest daughter Ashley Green.
    Green has her Bachelor of Arts and she is a professional photographer and a Zumba instructor. She is going to teach and do dance instruction. She is also planning to use her photography and multimedia skills to help make presentations to promote the cause.
    To support their journey several students throughout the valley have shown their support.

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     Students at Greentree School in Mrs. Walker’s class have collected and filled 100 pencil cases with much-needed school supplies for the students at the school.
    “These will be very appreciated. We saw kids writing with a little stub of a pencil and they were scared to ask for another because pencils are expensive,” said Hemming. “So we know they will really appreciate the pencils.”
    The F.O.R. Club at DVSS has also contributed 50 filled pencil cases and undertook some fundraising effort for the supplies.
    The Student Council at DVSS also showed their support and they were able to send $850 to the school. Hemming said they will use these funds to purchase supplies locally because it reduces the cost of shipping and supports the local economy
    The Gerlings, Hemming, and Green will be heading for Kenya on February 24.
    The work continues for Our Lady of Grace Home and School and AFGL is continuing to fundraise. August saw the completion of proper washrooms at the school to replace the pit latrines. The current project is to raise funds to construct a new concrete and stone block building to house the Kindergarten and grade one classes. Classes are currently held in a primitive tin walled, dirt-floored shelter.
    Action for God’s Love has recently upgraded its website You will find more information about the home, photos, descriptions of projects and links to make donations.

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Local nurses plan Information Walk

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Nurses and staff at the Drumheller Health Centre will be participating in an information walk/rally near the hospital to raise concerns about the government’s direction in health care.

The Information Walk is part of a cross-province effort by the United Nurses of Alberta  (UNA) to show support for publicly delivered health care and the frontline workers.

RN and UNA Local 74 president Priscilla Wright said while the provincial effort is by the UNA, in Drumheller, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) has been invited to join the rally. This could include Licensed Practical Nurses, health care aides, and support staff. 

“We are trying to raise awareness to the Alberta public about the government’s decision to lay off hundreds of nurses across Alberta,” said Wright.

She said that patients’ safety is one of the major concerns, and staffing levels play into that.

“They are looking to make cuts to our services and it is going to impact patient safety. They also want to make cuts to our collective bargaining agreements and we are advocating against rollbacks and we are advocating for safe staffing levels,” she said.

She adds there are concerns about hospital closures and the privatization of healthcare.

 Recently the government released a performance review of Alberta Health Services completed by Ernst and Young. It outlined a number of ways to reduce the costs of the healthcare system. While the government hasn’t indicated what in the report will be adopted and prioritized, the Minister of Health said they are not planning to close hospitals.

 Wright says the government is looking to reconfigure and there are quite a few procedures that are recommended to become non-essential.

While there is much speculation on what changes may come in terms of delivery, the ambiguity is concerning.

           “They are saying they’ll have more information in May, so we are all just up in the air,” she said.

The Information Walk is to take place on the pathway north of the Drumheller Health Centre on Thursday, February 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"Our main concern is to provide safe, quality patient care and provide a public health care system to Albertans,” said Wright.  

“It is concerning that our new government is willing to make changes to things that will ultimately affect those things we value.”

Town launches reporting App

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    It has just become a lot easier for residents to connect with the Town of Drumheller with the launch of a new civic engagement tool - the SeeClickFix App.
    This App provides residents a simple way to report issues to the Town and track the status of their request through to resolution.
    “This app is an easy and convenient way for residents to submit non-emergency service requests. They are also then able to monitor the progress on the issue,” said Mayor Heather Colberg. “Council and administration are determined to increase two-way communications with the community and this App is a great step forward in achieving this aim.”
    This reporting mobile App will allow residents to report issues such as potholes, weeds, unsightly property, and water odor. It uses the phone’s location device to locate and map issues. It links similar reports, from different users together. These issues would then be sent to the appropriate person. The complainant will get a report the work is complete if they requested being informed.
    “For staff, SeeClickFix provides an intuitive way to keep track of requests, communicate between departments, and close the loop with residents. The App includes a high-quality Customer Record Management (CRM) system which will improve the work order management system and create a transparent (for both staff and residents) issue management process,” said CAO Darryl Drohomerski.
    There was $15,000 allocated in the capital budget to develop the app and $7,500 from the operating budget for hosting and updates. SeeClickFix came in under budget at $5,000 a year.

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