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Last updateFri, 12 Apr 2024 11am

Tipple Restoration Project recognized by industry professionals

    The tipple at the Atlas Coal Mine is a landmark of the valley, and is recognized not only by locals but the scores of visitors who make their way to the eastern points of the valley.
    It is also now recognized by building professionals in winning two 2011 Alberta Wood WORKS! Prairie Wood Design Awards.
    The Atlas Coal Mine Restoration won the Jury’s Choice Award. The Restoration project undertaken by Cascade Engineering Group was also awarded Engineering Advocate.
    Linda Digby, executive director for the Atlas, says the tipple is representative of the history of the valley.
    “It is important because the tipple is the icon representing Drumheller’s roots as a mine town, where every community was overshadowed by coal tipples. It is a rare and important structure, toured by thousands every year, designated at the national level, and unique in Canada,” said Digby. “We hold the tipple in trust for the people of Canada, and this project is a big step in preserving it for the long haul.”
    The Atlas has been busy with the restoration of the tipple to make sure it lasts into the future. It was made possible by funding through Canada’s Economic Action Plan and Alberta Lotteries. The Jury’s Choice Award was to recognize this work.
    “The jury wanted to give a special acknowledgment to the entire team involved in the restoration of the Atlas Coal Mine Historic Site. There was unanimous support of this project because of the respect given to the original structure. They felt the team’s approach to the project was humble and inventive, their philosophy gave equal respect to all the materials used in the restoration and in their attention to details. New did not mean better than old, but created a fusion of the two that will carry the past into the future,” stated a press release. “The jury felt the entire team worked well together to come up with smart and effective solutions without undermining the original beauty of the structure. They also wanted to applaud the funders and the museum society for the integrity of the project and recognizing the importance of preservation.”
    The awards were presented in front of 150 design and building professionals at a gala on November 7 at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton. The event included architects, engineers, project teams and industry sponsors along with Minister of Infrastructure Jeff Johnson. There were 40 projects nominated in seven different categories from across western Canada.
    “It is an honour because Atlas is a small organization with a big job to do. Although we are stretched to the limit, we try to fulfill our mandate to the highest possible standards.  This is only possible because everyone involved is passionate about the value of our work, and pulls together,” said Digby.

Badlands soon to be alive with The Sound of Music

    The Kaleidoscope Theatre will soon be presenting a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic musical The Sound of Music. The  production runs November 24-26 and December 1-3, 2011. There will be both matinee and evening performances on Saturdays.
    At the moment the entire cast and crew are busy putting the show together. Typically parts are rehearsed individually, but now is the time when everything is practised as a whole.
    “For a musical it’s probably the hardest part to direct,” said Megan McLauchlin. “It’s the most fun time, but it can be the most stressful too.”
    The Sound of Music is set in Austria just prior to World War II, and the events are influenced heavily by Anchluss, the German annexation of Austria.
    The musical follows the story of Maria Rainer as she is sent forth from an abbey to be the governess for the seven children of World War I veteran Georg Von Trapp.
    “If you dig deep it’s at a very difficult time in our history,” said McLauchlin. “What we think of as a light hearted musical grows deeper and darker near the end.”
    The musical achieved widespread fame when it was adapted for film in 1965. The film starred Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as Georg Von Trapp.
    The stage production is different from its big screen counterpart. A few songs and characters are different. “If you’re used to the movie this will be a neat change,” added McLauchlin.
    The Kaleidoscope Theatre production is directed by Dianne Bertsch and stars Amy Burks as Maria, Lewis Frere as Georg Von Trapp, and Becky Neuman as Mother Abbess.
    The cast and crew are excited to get back on stage. “It’s the next big show and everyone is really excited to get back on stage in the Kaleidoscope’s original home,” said McLauchlin. “They’re ready to bring this esteemed musical to Drumheller.”
    For tickets and information call 403-823-PLAY (7529), or purchase online at

It’s a dog’s life for newest RCMP member

    The youngest member of the RCMP arrived at her new posting in Drumheller last week, and one day hopes to take a bite out of crime.
    Derbie, an eight week old German Shephard, is biding her time at the detachment under the guidance of Constable Rachel Pergunas. Derbie arrived on November 10 and the cuddly bundle of fur is certainly turning heads. Constable Pergunas assures inSide Drumheller it won’t be long until she begins to look a little more intimidating.
    Pergunas herself is a newer arrival in Drumheller, coming most recently from Banff.  This is the second dog she has helped raise and train. Her first dog Kailin is in service.
    The RCMP police dog program covers every detail of the process from breeding to training to service. The Innisfail facility is the national centre for the program. Pergunas explains the dogs are tested soon after they are born and graded on their very basic natural instincts. After that, they are graded continually throughout their development.
    Derbie will be with Pergunas for about a year. During this time, Derbie will live at her home. The dog will be socialized and come along with Pergunas during her day-to-day activities to experience of different environments and interactions.
    The dog will receive informal obedience training. She explains unlike typical dog training, Derbie will not be trained to be subservient to her master, rather she will be raised to be the dominant dog. Her basic instinctive traits of aggression, prey drive and tracking will be encouraged in a playful way.
    After her time in Drumheller is through, and if Derbie meets her developmental goals, she will be fully trained into a service dog at the Innisfail facility.
    Pergunas explains that all dogs are trained in apprehension and tracking. They will then be trained either in drug or explosives detection.
    Because the job can be demanding on the dogs, they have a working life of about 6-7 years with the RCMP.
    Derbie is a rarity, as most often male dogs are trained for service. Pergunas said Derbie scored high in her natural abilities. Time will tell if she makes the grade.
    There are not many female canine handlers either, but that is Pergunas’ goal.
    She said it is about a five-year commitment to become a handler and it includes raising the pups.
    Pergunas is grateful the detachment is supportive of raising Derbie as all of her work with the dog is volunteer, and it does take time.
    To become a handler there are intense physical requirements. In some cases, the handler may have to carry or lift the dog, and have to run the same gamut as the animal in the case of tracking.
    “You never know if it is going to be five minutes or three hours,” she said.
    Don’t be surprised to see Derbie about town. Pergunas said in the near future she will be introducing her to schools, and will be out and about on her beat.


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