News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3388
Last updateTue, 23 Jul 2024 1pm

Local bylaw first call in case of rat sighting


    They’re creepy, crawly, dirty, and very resilient. So far, Alberta remains relatively free of the pests.
    Worries about rats in the province became known in the media following the discovery of two of the spiky-furred rodents in Calgary, and the reports of an infestation in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  This week rats were sighted in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, about 80 kilometres from Medicine Hat.
    While common ways for the animal to be transplanted is often through cargo, or in personal trailers such as RVs or boats, director of Community Services Paul Salvatore, head of the town department that oversees bylaw enforcement, says Drumheller is in no greater risk of seeing the spread of these rodents in the valley.
    Alberta has taken vigilant efforts to control rats in the province since the 1950’s, and it has remained a successful program. Before this latest flurry of reports over the last two weeks, Phil Merrill, an inspector for Alberta Agriculture, says there is usually only a handful of reports.
    He says the recent reports are not necessarily a sign there are more rats, but a heightened awareness of the threat on the part of Alberta residents who are reporting what appears to be either rats, or their nesting areas.
    “Since the media attention to it, we have found 10 other individual animals that have proven to be rats, which is a high number. We usually get about two reports a month,” said Merrill. “I don’t think it is any more than usual, it is just that people are really watching. Many times a rat will come in and jump off a truck and a dog will eat it, no one will see it, and that’s the end of it. There are a lot that no one sees.”
    “There might be a little bit to do with the influx of rats to Swift Current.”
He says for residents who think they have spotted a rat, their first action should be to call the local bylaw enforcement office.
    “You go directly to bylaw if you see something suspicious, or if you see something you are worried about,” said Merrill. “He, (Salvatore), will do an investigation to see if it is a rat or if there is rodent activity. If he has a carcass, he can identify it. If he only has tracks, diggings and dropping it is harder. If we identify it as a rat, I quickly call him back and tell him to check for signs of another rat.”
    Often, Merrill says, a report of a single rat or rat carcass is not reason to be concerned. If more than one rat or a family is discovered, the inspection service will typically be called in because of the animals ability to reproduce. According to the Alberta Agriculture website, a pair of breeding rats can lead to upwards of 15,000 rats in a single year, if left unchecked.
    Merrill said he was in Drumheller about three years ago for a report of rat that was deemed not a threat. Most calls they receive prove to not be a concern.
    “Usually we get two calls a week, and usually by talking to the person, we can tell if it is a rat or not,” said Merrill. “We get lots of reported sightings, and 95 per cent turn out not to be rats.”
    Part of the responsibility of the Alberta Agriculture rat program is education for frontline workers on how to detect and deal with rats. He said the department is implementing a new program.
    “We are starting a program where all towns and cities will be invited to a training session. We are starting with larger towns first, and we’ll do another round of training for pest control officers and animal damage control officers,” Merrill said.

Mary’s Wedding brings true love to Rosebud

 The constant battle between love and war have been at the core of many entertaining stories throughout history.  This fall, the Rosebud Opera House comes come alive with a story that’s certain to quicken your heartbeat on both fronts.
    Award winning Canadian play, Mary’s Wedding, by Stephen Massicotte vividly captures the heartache and pathos of a World War I love story. Mary’s Wedding opened Friday September 11 and runs until October 23.
    Despite its historical context, Mary’s Wedding is very much a modern story for today. Whether it is the excitement of finding our first love or the heartache of leaving home or seeing someone we love leave us, Mary’s Wedding strikes a deeply personal chord, and that is what makes it such a modern masterpiece.
    As Artistic Director, Morris Ertman describes, “I am in love with this play! It takes a sad story of two people having to leave each other and masterfully weaves the story of their spirits together in a way that is so universal - so true to what true love looks like in any guise. We feel like we know Mary (Heather Pattengale) and Charlie (Karle Sine), and we know Flowers, a Cavalry officer based on an actual World War I soldier.”
    “Massicotte understands the human heart. He understands the emotional rollercoaster that is the tension between love and impossible events in impossible times. The play is visceral and immediate. Massicotte takes you into the heart of a young man caught in a WWI trench when he should be on a horse.”
    “He captures the spirited life of the girl Charlie is head-over-heels about, but can’t quite reach. He understands the heartache of unresolved words spoken between people. But most of all he understands, and shows vividly, the unfettered craziness of those first days when we think we may really be in love. This play is exciting, and that should be no surprise. Take two people who have discovered they love each other in that crazy head-over-heels way and pull them apart by a world war: now that’s an age-old plot that gets a stunning treatment in this play and on our Rosebud stage.”
    Mary’s Wedding is a heart wrenching story about the excitement of finding something, losing it and having the courage to move on. Even with an ocean between them, Mary and Charlie inhabit each other’s dreams. They seem to be everywhere and everyone to each other. Set against the backdrop of the Canadian Cavalry in WWI, this moving and magical play lives at the threshold between fact and fantasy, where nothing is exactly as it seems, memory slips easily into romance, and love and loss intermingle forever... a love story for the ages that will leave your heart aching and your imagination racing.
    Mary’s Wedding plays September 11 - October 24 at the Rosebud Theatre Opera House, Wednesdays thru Saturdays. Book your tickets at 1-800-267-7553 or visit for more information.

Derby rolls out another year


The roar of engines and smell of exhaust greeted spectators walking into Dinosaur Downs to watch the 26th annual Demolition Derby on Saturday, September 5.
    The lively crowd watched the destruction of vehicles, cheering as metal crushed metal in the fight to be the last car running. No fear is the motto for this exhibition of will as drivers battle their vehicles to the bitter end.
    With bumpers hanging and deflated tires, they continue to crash into one another for the ultimate glory of bragging rights and a first place cash prize of $1,600.
    The addition of two new events brings this competition to a total of 39 experienced competitors making this year a fierce fight.
    Driver Jesse Sieppert said this was his third year for the car he entered. He admits it’s the adrenaline rush that gives him the drive to maintain the vicious cycle of fix and destroy.

    While watching the second heat of the eight cylinder competition, James Martin was pinned against a retaining wall at the mercy of his opponents. He was repeatedly rammed but he made a great recovery and retaliated with a vengeance that put him in the top three, qualifying him for the final event. James chuckled about his sticky situation saying he thought his goose was cooked, but obviously, his strategy to take out the biggest car gave him the cutting edge to win the heat.
    The all girl heat had four competitors this year. The lady's motto for the match was “We’re all out here to have fun!” as they took to the pit for the Powder Puff event. With engines revving they start the heat with a vengeance, jam packed with action the ladies fearlessly bash one another cars to pieces. Frustrated, Eliza Groenveld sits this one out because her car wouldn’t shift in to gear.
    Christie takes a powerful blow high centering her on a retaining block. As her engine leaks out the remaining radiator fluid she gives her engine one last disastrous rev, popping a belt twenty feet in the air, she finally admits defeat. With death comes glory as Terra Lawrence wins the title in the Powder Puff event.
    In the end, the battered shells of once ferocious vehicles are being towed or dragged out of the ring. The crowds disperse and the real work begins as decisions are made concerning the fates of the demolition cars; start the repairs needed for next year’s derby or retire their hopes and dreams to the junkyard and start over?


The Drumheller Mail encourages commenting on our stories but due to our harassment policy we must remove any comments that are offensive, or don’t meet the guidelines of our commenting policy.