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Tyrrell speaker series showcases unexpected and rare fossil

    The Royal Tyrrell Museum speaker series, after taking attendees on a balmy trip to Australia, is bringing things back home with  presentation about one of the major finds of 2011.
    The Suncor ankylosaur, an armoured dinosaur, made international news in the spring of 2011. Workers at the Suncor Mine noticed rocks riddled with odd textures and patterns.
    The workers sent photos to the Tyrrell Museum, where scientists initially thought it was a plesiosaur, a marine reptile, flipper. Dr. Don Henderson, curator of dinosaurs, and Darren Tanke, technician, flew north and found something unexpected, an ankylosaur.
    “It was unexpected to find a dinosaur in this location because the (rock) formation was laid down in the sea and dinosaurs are land animals. As well, ankylosaur finds are rare, so this was a significant find,” said Dr. Henderson.
    The Tyrrell team and Suncor had the difficult task of removing the 110 million year old fossil. Now, the fossil is at the Tyrrell Museum and is currently being prepared.
    Dr. Henderson will present the story of removing the fossil from the oilsands at the third speaker series talk of 2012. The talk will be held on Thursday, January 26, at 11 a.m. in the museum auditorium. For more information visit www.tyrrellmuseum.com or to view previous talks, youtube.com/user/RoyalTyrrellMuseum.


STARS Lottery launches with $5.2 million in prizes

    The 19th annual STARS Lottery officially launches today with 3,200 prizes worth over $5.2 million retail.
    The STARS Lottery raised over $10 million net during the 2011 campaign and continues to be the single largest source of funding to keep STARS in the sky.
    “STARS flies an average of four missions a day in Alberta, and we could not continue to do this without your support of the STARS Lottery,” says Dr. Greg Powell, CEO of STARS. “Thank you for helping make a difference in many lives, every day.”
    The STARS Lottery includes five grand prizes worth over $3.7 million retail, including four beautiful show homes in Calgary, Sylvan Lake, Sherwood Park and Lethbridge, in addition to a home away from home truck and fifth wheel worth over $129,000.
    There are also two exceptional early bird packages to be won: a $100,000 cash prize, and a 2012 Mercedes ML350 with four-night Las Vegas vacation package for two at Mandalay Bay, plus $5,000 cash.
    In addition to the grand and early bird prizes, there are 10 vehicles, 35 vacations, 2,223 electronic prizes and 850 other great prizes, including cash, furniture, jewellery and luggage. Two lucky winners will also enjoy a flight of a lifetime aboard a STARS helicopter.
    STARS is a charitable non-profit organization that provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week from bases in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.
    Tickets are available by visiting www.starslottery.ca or by calling 1-888-880-0992. Ticket buyers are eligible for all 3,200 prize draws. After each draw, winning tickets go back into the drum for the remaining prize draws. There are 25,000 single $25 tickets for sale, 25,000 sets of 3 for $60, 106,000 sets of 6 for $100, and 20,500 sets of 18 for $250 for a total of 1,105,000 tickets.
    The early bird draw is March 15, 2012, with ticket sales cut off February 29, 2012 at midnight. The final draw is set for April 12, 2012 with ticket cut-off at midnight on March 21, 2012. If tickets sell out early, all prizes will be drawn on the early bird draw on March 15, 2012 with permission from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. The lottery license number is 321298.
    The faster the STARS Lottery sells out, the greater the net return will be to help someone in need.

Family Literacy Day promotes love of reading

    Drumheller Family Literacy is asking parents in the valley to take some time on Saturday, January 28 to participate in Family Literacy Day, a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the importance of reading.
    Literacy in Canada is generally assumed to be at or near 100 per cent. However, there are studies that show about one quarter of Canadians would not be able to completely read this article.
    Those who are in this minority, especially those well into adulthood have great difficulty doing basic tasks, like reading warning signs or medical instructions.
    “They still, in this day and age, can slip through the cracks and you wouldn’t know they couldn’t read until push came to shove. They’ve learned to adapt and cover very well,” said Louise Henrickson, coordinator for Drumheller Family Literacy.
    Family Literacy Day began on January 28, 1999, and has been held on the same day every year since. The goal of the annual event is to impress upon Canadians the importance of reading and engaging in literacy related activities as a family.
    It is the belief of Drumheller Family Literacy that the best time to begin learning is with a baby and that parents are the most valuable means to teach these essential skills. Even reading to a child for 15 minutes a day can dramatically improve a child’s literacy skills.
    “We’ve even said to start at zero, reading to a baby,” said Henrickson.
    Recent research into child development has suggested that to be among the best readers by the age of eight, children must hear at least 1000 stories by kindergarten and memorize between four to eight (some research suggests even more) nursery rhymes, songs, or prayers by the time they are four.
    Drumheller Family Literacy will be celebrating Family Literacy Day on Saturday, January 28, starting at 2 p.m. in the Drumheller Public Library. The theme this year is “Journey to Learning.”
    Kids will make their own version of the popular Cat in the Hat game I Can Do That!. Snacks and reading stories will follow.
    “Literacy needs to be fun and engaging for the little guys to learn,” said Henrickson. The philosophy for family literacy is to make the learning process enjoyable for everyone to promote lifelong literacy.
    Parents are encouraged to register by Wednesday, January 25 to ensure there are enough copies of I Can Do That! for everyone to take home. To register, parents are asked to call 403-823-7969 or 403-823-1660.


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