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Last updateSat, 01 Oct 2022 10am

MAX Campus hosts first youth animation workshop

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    The drawings produced at MAX Campus’ first ever youth animation workshop was startling.
    In one day the 9-15 year old group were given a look behind the scenes of animation, while creating a portfolio of work in classical animation and cartooning.
    Computerized films like Disney-Pixar’s Up! and Toy Story may appear to be the new wave of animation, but class instructor Janelle Hilchey says classical animation (hand-drawn) can never be replaced.
    “It’s definitely not dead,” Hilchey says, finishing up teaching the class of  10 who attended Saturday.
    “Behind the Pixar products is thousands of drawings... you can’t get into the animation world without being able to hand draw.”
    The youth animation program saw students sketching 3D objects from different angles, combining shapes and creating their own characters.
    MAX Campus, which is preparing to see its first graduates in September, has seen strong numbers and student satisfaction.
    The next workshop will be held August 21 at their downtown location.
    Enrollment has doubled since last year, from six to 11.
    “The best response we get is the small class sizes we offer,” says the school’s business manager and registrar, Angela Moreau. “That makes the biggest impact on our students.”
    Students finished their final semester on Friday, July 30, in what Moreau calls a huge success.    
    A showcase of the student’s work will be available on the MAX Campus website after their informal graduation ceremonies on September 2.

Morrin farm takes lead in new farming technique in Alberta

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    A farm north west of Morrin is trying out a new farming technique in Alberta on their crop this year, which has the farming community watching closely.
    The technique is Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF), where farm vehicles go down the same tracks spaced every 30 feet across the field,  in exactly the same place year in year out.
    This reduces soil compaction by confining it to the smallest possible area, leaving the remaining soil undamaged for cropping, thus improving its yield.
    Running over the same tracks also reduces fuel costs as the wheels of machines are always running on compact traffic lanes and so rolling resistance is minimized.
    Farmer and agronomist Steve Larocque, a graduate from Olds College and the University of Lethbridge, converted part of a family owned farm to Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF).
    The CTF method of farming is hoped to increase profit and improve sustainability, especially with the soil and weather conditions found in Alberta.
    Larocque, who runs a consultancy service called Beyond Agronomy, told The Mail he came across this method of farming when he was travelling New Zealand and Australia on a Nuffield Scholarship he was awarded in 2008 and also England when he returned to study the technique further.
    “I chose New Zealand and England because of the wet climate and Australia for the dry climate, and that’s exactly Canada, it’s either too dry or too wet!” he explained.
    Impressed with what he saw, Larocque decided to try the technique himself.
    Helped by his brother-in-law and his father-in-law, he converted the Morrin farm this year and he believes this is the first fully converted farm in Alberta.
    Larocque said it was a difficult system to put in place for them as they chose to modify all their wheeled equipment themselves, from tractor, drill, sprayer to combine.
    “Every sort of axles that run across the field would have to have 10 foot centres.”
    The biggest investment they had to make was the technology he said.
    Technology-wise, Larocque invested in Real Time Kinetics (RTK) guided autosteer.
    RTK give sub-inch accuracy and allows the equipment to keep to the exact same path year after year, whereas other technology available, such as EGPS, can vary up to eight inches.
    So far, the results are looking good.
    “The results are going to be a little more prevalent to our benefit, given that we farm heavy clay soil and we have minimized our compaction.”
    Fuel economy could be up to 50 per cent said Larocque.
    “We measured fuel consumption during seeding this year. Because over time, the tracks will be like cement, and not soft clay which adds a lot of rolling resistance. The producers in Australia were seeing 30 to 50 per cent reduction in fuel use across the farm,” explained Larocque, adding that they should start seeing this economy next year.
    There is a couple of drawbacks to the system Larocque is conscious of.
    One being residue management in the fall.
    “You really have to spread the residue evenly across the combine, because if you are going over the same tracks every year, you can’t keep piling up all that straw and chap on the same rows year after year.”
    Harvest logistics is another one to watch as the grain cart will need to run all the way down the field on the head land and then onto the approach.
    “I think that’s what everybody is going to struggle with. That will be hard...It’s going to take a little more time so if your capacity is already maxed out, when you’ve got one grain cart and three combines, that grain cart trying to keep up is going to be a little challenging.”
    Larocque said dealing with residue management is the next project he will be looking at.
   

Russell Brothers etch new CD

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    A Drumheller act which made it into the top 14 of 400 at the Calgary Stampede Youth Search has a new album out to accompany it's success.              The valley’s Russell Brothers launched their CD last month, July 11, and have big hopes of getting into the business.
    Alex, 18, and Matt, 16, form the two man group.
    Self-described as being of the “roots-pop” genre, younger brother Matt says the demo All I Know contains almost all loves songs.
    “It’s mostly about love, girls...  the daily joys in life.”
    He compares their music to that of acoustic soft rock contemporaries Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz.
    In the past year the band has being working on their promotion: finishing their demo (recorded in musician Bryan Adam’s studio in Vancouver), doing photo-ops, and working on their website (www.russellbrothersmusic.com).
    The business end of the industry doesn’t take backseat to creating good music.
    “We’d love for it to be a bit of both, but it’s nice to get paid,” says Matt.
    Currently, they are booked weekly at Waves Coffee House in Calgary. They perform every Thursday in the month of August.
    In case it doesn’t work out, Matt plans on pursuing studies in engineering, and Alex wants his private pilot's license.
    Their music can be listened to on their website, and demo orders can be made there as well.

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