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Last updateFri, 19 Oct 2018 4pm

Area schools attend first rural gay-straight alliance summit

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Students from three area schools attended what’s being touted as the first rural gay-straight alliance conference in Canada.

Morrin School, JC Charyk School in Hanna, and Delia School sent junior and senior high students to the GSA Alliance Summit in Strathmore on October 11 to talk about ways schools and administrators can support GSAs in their schools. Over 200 students attended the event with a strong showing from Prairie Land Regional School Division.

Out of 60 schools invited, 15 attended the conference at Strathmore High School.

REACH Wellness Worker Katie Suntjens says Morrin School sent 13 of their students, out of their 47 total secondary students, and she says she was surprised by the support from their division.

“It was great to see how these students can rally and support each other and create some change,” Suntjens said.

Morrin School currently does not have a GSA but hopes the conference will inspire students to create one. Delia School has an active GSA and JC Charyk is in the process of developing one.

While city schools have had GSAs for a number of years, rural schools have been slower to create clubs, but Grade 11 Morrin student Madeline Cuncannon hopes that starts to change.

“People of the LGBTQ+ community had their voice heard, Ihope it happens more and more,” she said, adding students face discrimination and isolation which is perhaps more pronounced in smaller, rural schools.

“I think so. Hopefully that changes but small schools always carry stigmas, to put it in a polite way. It could be lonely, I guess, being in a school of 140 students where no one talks about it or talks about it in a negative way,” Cuncannon said.


Standard community investors aim to attract retail store

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A group of Standard and area business operators and community boosters are working towards filling the retail void in the village after the closing of the Standard Co-op.

  The Mail reported in the March 7 edition the membership of the Standard Co-op decided to close its doors. This came after a significant drop in sales over the last 10 years. The stock was liquidated and the building put up for sale.

  Brett Gates tells the Mail the building has been purchased and they are doing upgrades in hopes of finding someone interested in running a retail store in the community.

    “We are still working on that. We haven’t got an operator yet, we have a couple of options but we haven’t signed a deal yet,  but we are sure giving it our best shot. Someone could make a darn good living there with our support,” said Gates.

He said in June a group of 29 supporters in the community  formed a numbered company in hopes of attracting a tenant.

    “We started doing some work in there, changing some refrigeration equipment and other improvements,” he said.

They are hoping for someone to open a grocery store, liquor, and lottery on one side of the property. There is another vacant bay for another business.

    “We just want to be a landlord, we don’t want to operate anything. We don’t need to make money, we just want to break even and get a store back in the town because it is just killing our town. It used to be the centre of the community and now there’s nothing,” he said.

Kneehill County CAO resigns

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The Kneehill County chief administrative officer announced his resignation from his position on October 17.

Al Hoggan has been county CAO since 2013, previously serving in senior management roles in other Alberta municipalities as well as experience in the airline and aviation industries.

County Reeve Jerry Wittstock said Mr. Hoggan has agreed to remain at his position for a period of time while council searches for a new CAO. Mr. Hoggan will be moving on to a new position in another municipality.

Council will hold a discussion before seeking new applicants and there are currently no candidates in talks with the county.


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