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Last updateThu, 30 Mar 2023 3pm

Delia woman publishes novel

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A Delia woman has realized a dream goal and has written a book, a romance novel set within the gritty backdrop of the Russian Mafia.
Writing under the name SJ Magnolia, Sarah Assman has self-published The Fall of Baba Yaga.
“It is very gritty, I did a lot of research on it. It is very authentic to what the Russian mob would be involved in. It is set in Las Vegas,” said Assman. “It is not the typical romance where girl meets guy and falls in love, and it’s all sunshine and rainbows. It is a lot harder and grittier.”
She undertook this project when she faced health issues. In 2020 just before the world was faced with a pandemic she faced a daunting health diagnosis.
“I used to write poetry in high school and writing was always an escape for me creatively,” she said. “I was diagnosed with lupus and inflammatory arthritis in 2020. When you get such a big diagnosis, everything in your life has to completely change. I realized that a lot of dreams and goals I had put off because I wanted to be present while raising my kids. I always assumed I had all of this extra time to do all these things. With everything I put on the back burner, I thought why not now?”
She started ticking off the goals she wished to accomplish, including learning how to hike and she hiked a mountain. Another goal was to write a book.
“Instead of spiralling down I thought why not now?”
The book took about two years to complete, and now that it is finished she has self-published the book.
“I wanted to send it out originally to see if it would be picked up, but ultimately I wanted full creative rights to my story. I didn’t want someone to come in to change it,” she said.
“I wanted my story to be very much what it is, a romance to be a choice, not a need.”
“Romances follow along the same lines. Everything is just she’ll change to be with him or she falls in love and gives up everything to chase after him with this idealistic love. I didn’t want that. I wanted it to be more realistic, and messy and needed to be a choice, not just a foregone conclusion.”
She has just published the book and has arranged her first signing at a winery in Calgary at the end of April.
She and her husband have lived in Delia for about a decade where she has been raising her children. With her first book out she has plans for more writing. She says book two of what she coined the Bratva Assassin Duo is slated to be complete this fall. She also wants to do some more personal writing about her life.
The Fall of Baba Yaga is available through the author at author_s.j_magnolia on Instagram or SJ Magnolia on Facebook. It is also available on Amazon.

St. Anthony's students prepare for European trip


International travel can broaden a person’s horizons, create understanding and change worldviews. A group of students at St. Anthony’s School are getting that opportunity over Easter Break to explore Europe.
Student international travel took a blow during the height of the pandemic, but it is slowly coming back. Last year, a group of DVSS students were able to travel to Peru. This year, eight St. Anthony’s students, along with about 50-60 from Christ the Redeemer School Division, through its Centre for Learning, are heading to Europe.
The tour is of the Swiss Alps and Mediterranean Coast. They will fly into Barcelona and continue on to Provence, taking in Nimes and Avignon. From there, they will head on to the French Riviera and Monaco. Then on to Italy, where they will travel to Cinque Terre and Lake Cuomo, and then to Lucerne in Switzerland.
Humanities teacher Kurt Phillips will be joining the excursion as a chaperone. The last trip through the division was in 2019.
“The reason I run international trips is because it allows the student to get an expedition not just outside Alberta but the valley as well. It is a safe environment where there is a lot of supervision. There is also a chance to experience different cultures they have never experienced before,” said Phillips. “From a historical point of view, some of the sites are ones they have only seen in history books up to this point. And for them to see them first hand, it brings the history alive.”
He adds it changes their worldview.
“I always find world travel, or any kind of travel, allows students to have a wider frame of vision and a wider point of view. They are able to experience the world through different lenses. I think it creates more tolerance, more understanding,” he said. “We have a way of doing things and maybe a worldview, but it isn’t always the same as others and those others are not necessarily wrong.”
As an educator, he also finds it rewarding to watch students experience the world.
“One of my big thrills is when I get to see the looks on students’ faces when they are experiencing something completely out of their realm, something that is completely new to them, seeing those places they have only seen in a history book. It makes it much more alive.”
Students also expand their comfort zone.
“This is sometimes the first time some of these kids have been away from home for a long time, not just way from home, but off the continent. They have to learn how to get along with each other, and room with two or three other people. They meet new people,” said Phillips.
The trip is 11 days, and students depart on April 4.

Alberta government signs support to restore rail line

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The government of Alberta has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Special Areas and Oyen Development Corporation, Oyen Regional Rail Company, and Canada Infrastructure Bank to support their assessment of whether the rail line between Oyen and Lyalta should be restored.
Shortline rail is widely used in western Canada to enhance access to Class 1 rail lines, providing a rail option for shippers. Shortline railways expand access to export markets for agricultural products and other goods, helping to improve the competitiveness of Alberta businesses in supplying goods to other markets.
“This proposed rail development will unlock the economic potential of all communities in the region,” stated Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, and Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner in a press release. “The goal of restoring shortline rail in Oyen is to provide access to critical export markets for Alberta products, including agricultural and agri-food products, fertilizer, and energy products.”
This initiative supports the Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan.
The five-year plan's strategic directions and corresponding initiatives and actions support rural capacity building in the key areas of entrepreneurship, skills development, small business supports, marketing rural and Indigenous communities, promoting tourism, and rural economic development interconnectivity at the regional level.
Alberta’s government will work and proactively partner with Indigenous communities to plan economic corridors for the economic benefit of all.


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