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Last updateTue, 23 Jul 2024 1pm

Family navigates Red Deer River on homemade raft

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Newcastle Beach has become a popular place for locals and visitors, but last Thursday, it looked like a construction site on the west end of the boat launch.
In fact, it was the conclusion of a family adventure on the high seas– well, the Red Deer River.
The Smith family of Camrose spent three days on the river on a homemade raft, christened the G.O.A.T. boat (Greatest Of All Time). Julie Smith, the matriarch of the family, tells the Mail her husband Gary hatched the idea of putting together a raft.
“Gary got the idea of a river raft float from some friends of ours that had done it on a bit of a smaller scale,” she said, and the idea took shape. “All year Gary collected free lumber from Home Hardware and repurposed worn-out furniture from friends of ours and the city’s kick-it-to-the-curb weekends.”
The plastic barrels used as floats came from his brother, who scavenged them from his job, and this left Gary only needing to purchase a bit of hardware and plywood. He assembled the boat in the garage, and in the end, it was a double-decker raft equipped with tarpaulin walls to use at night as a sleeping area. It was outfitted with a table, camp stove, homemade flag, hammock and storage.
The boat was disassembled, trailered, reassembled and launched, untested, from Tolman Bridge on Tuesday, July 9. On board were Julie and Gary, as well as their daughters,
Paige, 16 and Shelby, 14. Their eldest Avery, 19, was unable to go on the the three-day cruise.
The family spent the days lazing onboard, swimming, fishing and enjoying the scenery.
“I’ve lived in Alberta my whole life and never been able to experience those views. It was breathtaking. Our daughter Shelby even celebrated her 14th birthday aboard the ship! We made good time, and the raft floated very smoothly. We enjoyed meeting other canoe groups as we passed each other on the river.”
At night, they would beach, make dinner, set up their walls and bed down. They enjoyed great weather for the trip, and landed on Newcastle Beach on Thursday afternoon.
“It was a perfect place to dock and celebrate our successful trip. We worked as a family to disassemble the craft and load it back into the trailer. We were met with lots of friendly people on the beach as we worked. After all our hard work, we stopped for some McDonald’s and then drove home,” said Julie. “We really appreciated Drumheller for being a great end point to our adventurous journey. It was a great time to spend bonding with our family, away from technology and the busy lives we have the rest of the year. We hope to go again next year!


Extra Foods changeover to No Frills underway

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There have been some big changes in the grocery market in Drumheller as Extra Foods on Highway 9 is in the midst of changing over to a No Frills.
Nick Linterman and his wife Meare the owner/ managers of the No Frills grocery store, a franchise of Loblaws. This will be the third store Nick has operated. Currently, the facility is being reconfigured with changes to shelving, organization and branding.
“It’s called No Frills because it sort of strips away the frills,” he explains. “Unfortunately, there are no prep-deli or roasted chickens and stuff like that.”
At the same deli fare, for example, is pre-packaged but at a better value.
Some other changes he says shoppers will see are a greatly expanded produce section, a larger meat wall, and expanded dairy and freezer sections.
“Grocery aisles will be relatively close to what they are. As you can see, everything is moving, but there should be a little more natural food products,” says Linterman.
Linterman has managed stores in Vegreville and Grande Prairie before coming to the valley. So far, he is enjoying the valley and hopes to explore more after the store is up and running.
He expects the official changeover to come in the last week of September.

Dates set for Fatality Inquiries

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There are four Fatality Inquiries related to deaths at the Drumheller Institution scheduled for Drumheller sittings.
According to the Alberta Government website a Fatality Inquiry is a legal proceeding before a Court of Justice judge that helps clarify the circumstances of a death. They can also provide insight and recommendations to prevent similar deaths.
These are ordered by the Minister of Justice and occur after all investigations and criminal charges are completed.
The Inquiry for Jason Claude Tremblay, 42, is slated for August 9, 2024, in front of Justice G.S. Dunnigan. On August 19, 2019, Tremblay was stabbed multiple times by two other inmates at the Drumheller Institution. Giovanni James Alexis and Richard George Paul were charged in relation to his death.
Three Fatality Inquiries have been scheduled for April 14-17, 2025, to be heard by Justice K. Molle.
Cody Derek Osterland, 23 was found unresponsive in his segregated cell on September 21, 2016.
Anatoly Leonhard Eichmann, 29, was discovered on February 17, 2018 unresponsive in his cell. Just three days later Brandon Lee Mirva, 26 was also found unresponsive in his cell.
After an inquiry is complete, the judge releases a report to the public and to the Minister of Justice. The report identifies the deceased and outlines the date, time, place and circumstances of death. The report may make recommendations about how to prevent similar deaths. Fatality inquiry reports can’t make any findings of legal responsibility.


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