News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2959
Last updateFri, 19 Apr 2024 5pm

Kitz 4 Kidz distributes 259 Kitz for area students in need

    Drumheller residents came out big for local students supporting Riverside Value Drug Mart’s Kitz 4 Kidz campaign.
    This was the eighth year for the program, which is run in Value Drug Mart locations. It is a community initiative where school supplies  are collected for children who are not able to start the school year with the basic needs.
    Customers could purchase pre-selected school supplies, donate funds, or purchase ready made “Kitz” made up of all the supplies needed. These supplies are then given to local schools, where they are used in the classroom or distributed discreetly.
    In all, Riverside Value Drug Mart store collected 259 kits, and last week they distributed half to Greentree School and half to St. Anthony’s School.
    In all, this year Value Drug Marts have collected and distributed more than $20,000 worth of school supplies across B.C. and Alberta; this equates to 3,000 Kitz, all collected in just four weeks.
    Leading up to this year’s campaign, the program has distributed more than $130,000 worth of school supplies.

Producers optimistic with fall harvest

    Combines have been humming this fall, and so are farmers at the prospect of a very successful season.
    So far, it looks like a positive season for producers as conditions converge for a great harvest.
    “Things are rolling along great,” said Bruce Sommerville, Ag  fieldman for Kneehill County. “Yields are up, quality is good, I don’t know what else to say.”
    Sommerville said Friday, he figures the area harvest was close to 50 per cent complete. He said quality is looking high, but so far, he has not heard how protein content is measuring up, as high protein can fetch a higher price with the exception of malt barley.
    “It is the best malt barley outlook we have had for a few years,” he said.
    While the area received a sprinkle of rain on Monday, for the most part the weather has cooperated with producers. Sommerville said a few low spots have been hit with frost, but nothing that would have great effect.
   “On a 10 year average, this would rank on top,” said Sommerville.
   Al Hampton, Ag field man for Starland is also cautiously optimistic.
    “I think it is going to be a decent year,” he said. “At the end of the day, the frost has stayed away and most of the crops have matured. There is still a ways to go but the fall is cooperating very well so far.”
    He gauges overall, in the area, producers are between one third to one half complete harvest.
    “I don’t think it is as far ahead as most think because we need the first couple weeks of September to try and mature things,” he said, adding crops closer to Drumheller, and areas with lighter soil like Craigmyle might be a little further ahead.
    He adds that feed and hay crops have also been good.
    Along with quality and yield looking positive, he said prices appear to be fairly strong.
    “You probably can’t get much better in a farmer’s world, other than getting it done,” chuckles Hampton.

Atlas explores venturing deeper

    The Atlas Coal Mine is starting to explore a little further underground.
    The National Historic Site in East Coulee is coming off another successful tourism season and it is no wonder. It is a showcase for the valley’s rich history of mining. It is also the year the centennial of coal mining in Drumheller is being celebrated. It is home to the famous tipple and this was the third year of operation with the conveyor causeway open to foot traffic giving visitors an underground experience.
    This summer the mouth of the coal mine was opened. It has been sealed up since 1956. The next question for the Atlas Coal Mine is how far will they go? Or rather, how deep?
    During the last 12 months, the Atlas took the first step in opening the mine. Last  fall, they retimbered the first 35 feet of the mine entrance. The Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce, the World’s Largest Dinosaur Legacy Fund, the Government of Canada Economic Action Plan, the Rural Alberta Development Fund, a Canadian Badlands partnership grant and the Allard Foundation supported this project.
    This spring, the Atlas finished making it visitor ready and this summer visitors were able to venture in.
    “They (visitors) really liked, it, they thought it was a cool, evocative space and they all said ‘when are you going deeper?'” said Linda Digby of the Atlas Coal Mine. “They want us to go deeper, and in fact, that was always the intent of the board - that we would go deeper.”
    “Exactly how we approach it depends on how deep the earth plug is."
    The mine atop the hill was closed in 1956. According to documents, Digby said they went into the mine about 300 feet and blasted down a piece of roof to seal off mine air.  Further toward the entrance they cribbed the mine with wood and then sealed the entrance with earth.
    The question is how thick is the soil plug. To find this out, they are looking at finding a way to probe through to get an idea. 
    “We don’t really know how thick the soil plug is. We have had engineers and geologist thinking about it and making estimates, but we don’t really know. If we could do a probe, that would give us a lot of information to make a good plan. So, when we sit down with our regulating agencies, we have some data to work with.” 
    She adds, that because of the cribbing, they are confident that when they are able to enter the mine further, the tunnel will be stable.
    The plan is to go in about 100 feet total. This, according to local accounts, could get them into a “pit cabin,” an underground office, and a bench carved out of the mine wall. This space will allow visitors to experience underground, but also allow them to see the seam of coal that was being exploited. The project won’t go as far as actual mine workings.
    “We would have to go about a kilometre to get to workings,” said Digby. It will be in the main haulage... I think what will make it neat will be the geology that is revealed and the timbered space and that feeling of going deeper into the earth, seeing that coal seam. That coal seam is the purpose for this whole site.”
    Right now, the Atlas Coal Mine has a call out to the community looking for proper equipment that could help complete a probe for the next step, deeper.


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