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From Dalum to Mexico in classic Comanche aircraft

 

plane.jpg Many vacationers fly to Mexico during the winter, but not many get to travel in their own plane. 
    This is what Don and Carol Ostergard, of Dalum, did in January.
    Taking off from their farm airstrip near Drumheller, the couple spent over five weeks flying around Mexico and Central America, all the while in control of the commands of a 1959 Piper Comanche aircraft.
    This is not the Ostergard's  first journey however.  Having owned the aircraft for over 30 years, Don and Carol regularly fly down to Mexico for breaks,  as well as across Canada.
    What was special about this trip was meeting up with 18 other like-minded people flying aircrafts and sharing part of the journey with the group, something Don and Carol had wanted to do for a while but schedules hadn’t allowed.
    Don also highlights, “wherever we went, we found friendly, hospitable, generous and honest people who are trying to make a better life for themselves and for their families.  Regardless of social standing, there is a quiet dignity that shows through.  And that was the most important discovery  we made.”
    Preparing for the trip requires a fair amount of planning to ensure it goes smoothly; appropriate maps and charts need to be gathered, all the relevant paperwork such as insurance, proof of ownership and a temporary importation certificate for the aircraft,  needs to be in order, as well as checking the entry requirements, as some countries, will require advance notice of arrival.
    And of course, the aircraft has to be thoroughly checked to ensure it is mechanically sound to fly, not a major job for the Ostergards as Don explains, “we are fanatic about maintenance and it pays!” Having flown over 15 times to Mexico and also various trips within Canada, the plane has never let them down confirmed Don, which has earned it the nickname of “The Sturdy Bird.”


ATCO Electric outlines 2010-2011 plans for Drumheller

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    A delegation from ATCO Electric outlined the company’s plans for 2010-2011 at the Drumheller Town Council Meeting on Monday, March 1.
    Terry Beaupre, team lead at ATCO Drumheller, explained they will be concentrating their work on a new main power line, north of Drumheller, and looking at upgrading the lines in Nacmine.
    The new power line will start at the Crossman strip at the airport and will include an underground line going from the south end of upper Midland to the Michichi Creek bridge. It will then go overhead to the other side of the highway, then underground again all the way to the Spray park.
    This new line will create a new feed into Drumheller with separate a circuit which will become the service to upper Midland and along Dinosaur Trail. It will underground power for the new Catholic School and the Drumheller Health Centre.
    Part of the reason for an underground feed was to provide a safer environment around the new school grounds.
    Council had asked ATCO to help the town with their effort to beautify Drumheller while they undertake new projects. This underground line will improve the aesthetic at Rotary Splash Park as the overhead electrical structure  will be removed.
    Part of the purpose for the new feeders is to provide a feed for downtown from two locations should there be a flood and the infrastructure were to be damaged.
    It is anticipated the work will start at the airport in May and will be halted during the summer season so as not to cause disruptions during tourist season., Work will resume again in September.
    Longer term, ATCO will also concentrate on improving the infrastructure in Nacmine and other areas such as Rosedale and East Coulee.
    Beaupre explained they will begin in Nacmine as the problem there is larger than in other communities and the development of new houses has brought the problem to the forefront. “Most of the infrastructure was put in by the mining company,” he said, “and it doesn’t meet today’s standard for electrical infrastructure, particularly around clearance issues over roads, back alleys and to buildings.”
    As they will look at relocating the lines underground, there will be costs implications and it will affect other utilities. 
    Beaupre confirmed they will work closely with other services during this project, as well as with customers. ATCO plans this project will take 5 - 10 years to complete.
    Bridget Unland, customer services representative at ATCO, updated council with further ATCO plans for the coming year. 
    Historically, some of the damaged underground feed, which could not be repaired, was replaced by a temporary overhead connection on some of the street lights. ATCO will focus their efforts on cleaning these up and repairing the underground connections.  As this may involve digging up pavement and/or lawns, Unland explained, they would involve customers in the process, as well as the Town of Drumheller.
    Council had previously indicated to ATCO they would like Drumheller to be considered as a location for piloting a new type of street lighting using LED technology which is believed to reduce operation and maintenance costs. Unland explained that ATCO had investigated the feasibility of using LED for street lighting and found that, at present, they did not have the knowledge, nor the equipment required to implement LED street lighting. They have put a team together to investigate the life cycle of LED lights as there are some known reliability issues, particularly in colder climates.
    ATCO will revisit the project on completion of the study.

Facility plan gets “OK” from public

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  Members of the public were pleased with the overall plan for the town’s $23 million Badlands Community Facility, following an Open House Wednesday evening,  March 10.
    This was the first time that an updated plan has been viewed by the public and existing donors for the project. Over 70 people attended the event at the Civic Centre, which was hosted by members of the Facility’s Design Committee.
    Site work has already begun on the location of the old John Anderson Ball Park and adjacent parking lot and, according to David Edmunds of the Calgary architectural firm, Graham, Edmunds, Cartier, the plans are basically complete.
    Drawings will soon be okayed by the Town and the Committee, and a call for tenders will go out in April.
    “We’re pretty happy with the way the building has turned out,” said Edmunds. “It is going to fit into the landscape here nicely and it is going to be a really great mix of spaces in the heart of the community. You are going  to get a lot of use from the building from six in the morning until midnight, as the uses change.”                Target completion date for the project is August of 2011.
    The Drumheller Public Library will occupy the main floor with some 9,000 sq. ft., about 1/3 more space than they currently enjoy in the downtown location. Several rooms on the north side of the main floor will be added for gallery, crafts and multi-use. Above the library will be a banquet hall that will be available for meetings and banquets and can be divided if need be. A servery area will allow for food preparation for catered events. In the west wing of the facility, the main floor will house a field house and fitness centre, along with team rooms and locker rooms, to facilitate the multi-use focus of the building. This area will be used for a variety of sports such as badminton, volleyball, basketball and gymnastics, and accommodate several activities at the same time. Storage areas are included as well as a fitness studio. On the second level, a running/walking track is planned, open to the area below.
    The facility would be constructed east of the Memorial Arena allowing the curling rink to remain in the short term. Eventually, a second rink surface and a curling facility are  to be included on the site.
    Design Committee co-chair Brooke Christianson told inSide Drumheller, “We’re very pleased that we had a great showing from the public tonight at the Open House. There has been some great interaction and questions,” said Christianson. “We’ve been able to thank our donors and the drawings are fantastic.”
    The town is optimistic about greatly improving cost recovery on operations for the facility, once it is built. According to information obtained from the town, “the existing subsidy for the arena and Aquaplex is $477,692, with a recovery on operations of over 40 per cent. The incremental subsidy required to operate the new spaces will be $244,975 and recovery on operations of 77.60 per cent”.
    Town Councillor Sharel Shoff was pleased with what the facility has to offer the public.
    “I think it will serve the people of Drumheller and all types of people; the seniors, the young, the people who want to exercise and become physically fit. I think it will  bring people with the banquet facility, it will be good for the Music Festival and people who can use the meeting rooms,” said  Shoff. “I think it is all around good for Drumheller.”
    The Facility’s Fundraising Committee, headed by Jeff Hall, is currently accepting donations from the public and private sectors, and the total now stands at approximately $1.7 million, out of a total goal of $6 million for the first phase.

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