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Last updateWed, 16 Jan 2019 4pm

Speaker Series returns tomorrow with the life story of local amateur fossil collector

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The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology’s 2019 Speaker Series starts on January 17, 2019. The first session, “Depth charges, dinosaurs and a lost love found: Amateur fossil collector Maurice Stefanuk,” will be presented by Darren Tanke, Preparation Technician at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
There are many individuals in the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology’s 30-year history who have contributed to its success as Canada’s dinosaur museum. Maurice Stefanuk (1924 – 2016) was one of the Museum’s first technicians and research assistants. He worked on many of the original specimens that are on display today in Dinosaur Hall. Born and raised in Drumheller, Stefanuk spent his childhood exploring the badlands. During one outing, he found a large carnivorous dinosaur tooth—a small discovery that sparked a lifelong interest in fossils from the area. Stefanuk’s biggest contribution to science was the discovery of two of the best skeletons of the tyrannosaur Albertosaurus in Alberta. One was discovered in 1973 east of Trochu, and the other in 1985, not far from the Museum. Both of these specimens have been used in a number of displays and landmark scientific studies.
In his presentation, Darren Tanke will discuss the life story of Maurice Stefanuk, and his contributions to palaeontology in Alberta.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s Speaker Series talks are free and open to the public. The series is held every Thursday until April 25 at 11:00 a.m. in the Museum auditorium. Speaker Series talks are also available on the Museum’s YouTube channel at:

Fountain Tire service vehicle stolen after thieves drive through bay doors

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RCMP are on the lookout for a Fountain Tire branded truck after a brazen morning theft from Fountain Tire in Drumheller.

Owner Joanne Hodgson said at around 6:50 a.m. on Tuesday, January 15, two individuals in ski-masks drove a truck through the shop’s bay doors and stole a Fountain Tire GMC truck before driving away in the two vehicles.

RCMP say later in the evening, the burgundy Ford F350 used in the incident was involved in rural fuel thefts which “culminated in a male being apprehended at a farm and the truck seized.” The male was arrested and taken to hospital.

The at-large stolen Fountain Tire truck has since been linked to a rash of offences in the Three Hills and Bashaw area and police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating the truck and suspect.

Fountain Tire staff say they feel violated, particularly since the theft happened so close to operating hours, with staff arriving there at around 7:30 a.m.

“We’ve experienced things like this before but not at this magnitude or extent, especially at that time of the morning,” said Hodgson. “I can be thankful my staff was not hurt.”

Fountain Tire’s Damian Boon said the truck is “a rolling billboard” and wondered why anyone would steal it and use it to commit further crimes.

“Who can fathom… In a sense you’d say it’s dumb but in another way they were pretty damn lucky about it.”

If the suspect is located that the public should not approach them as RCMP believe the suspect is armed and dangerous, said Drumheller RCMP Corporal Rachel Pergunas in a release. If anyone has information regarding the truck or suspect, they are asked to contact 911 or your local police station.

Michichi couple rescues injured owl

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    A great horned owl may have a new lease on life thanks to the quick thinking of a Michichi couple.
     Dave Heistad and Janet Stevenson were driving on Sunday afternoon, January 13, when Stevenson spotted an injured owl near the intersection of Highway 849 and Highway 9, north of Michichi. It was pecking at a frozen fox carcass at the side of the road.
    “We could either do one of two things, leave her by the side of the road and let nature take its course or you try to help,” said Heistad.
    They turned to social media for what to do. They follow some Alberta bird pages on Facebook and they were able to get advice on how to deal with the injured bird and where to take it.
    They returned to where the bird was last seen, and with help of another couple and captured the bird. They located the owl in some scrub grass, covered it with a blanket and took it home in a box.
    “One of her wings is obviously damaged, she couldn’t fly away from us. She just kind of flapped  her wings and hobbled away,” said Heistad. “She was able to lift her wings she just couldn’t get any lift.”
They were able to administer a simple mixture of sugar and water delivered through a syringe to temporarily nurse the bird. The owl took to it on Sunday night as well as Monday morning.
    “Sunday she was calm, but Monday she was kind of getting a little more grumpy,” said Stevenson.
    The couple took the injured fully grown female great horned owl to Red Deer on Monday Night. A volunteer in Red Deer took the bird and planned to take it the next day to  Medicine River Wildlife Centre in Spruce View. A further assessment showed the bird has an injured eye and possibly a head injury, indicative of a possible collision with a car.
    The couple says they plan to follow up in the next few days to learn about the bird’s condition.

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