News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3256
Last updateThu, 22 Feb 2024 3pm

ATCO crew still working to restore power



While most of the Drumheller area power outages have been resolved, ATCO Electric is still working on restoring power in the southern area of Hanna such as Pollockville and Wardlock. 
    Gerhard Schwarz, ATCO Electric customer service supervisor, told The Mail that there is still a lot of cleaning up work to be done but most of the emergency and customer critical items, such as residential and farm customers, have been completed in the Drumheller area.
    The ATCO staff is now concentrating on restoring power in the south of Hanna area, where a large crew and equipment are working hard at restoring power.
    “It was the hardest hit area for us, we lost a lot of poles and wires and, as we are getting things repaired, more problems are showing up so the power is unfortunately still out in parts of that area and we are working at getting things repaired today. We have just about all available crew and equipment there, we have almost 50 people down there working and a lot of the equipment.”
    Mr. Schwarz is anticipating having power restored there before sunset today.
    “Accessibility is causing a problem,” explained Schwarz “because of the wet snow, the terrain is quite muddy, making it hard to get the equipment where it is needed.”
    What was unusual about this winter storm was the mix of heavy snow and high winds.
    “We don’t usually get both at the same time at this time of year. It’s a bit of an unusual combination and it caused lots of wires to break. We are getting a pretty good handle on at this stage.  Fortunately, we have a lot of experienced staff around here so we have a bit of an advantage.”

Casino night to support family's battle with cancer


    In the spirit of community, friends, family and co-workers are rallying around the family of Mark and Margaret Bouchie to support them in a time of need.
    The family has racked up some very serious medical bills, and to help them a Dinner Funny Money Casino night is being held at Rosedale Hall on Saturday, April 24.  The event includes supper by Double D Catering and lots of gambling fun. As they fight their battle with cancer, Mark Bouchie is grateful for the support his family has received.
    Mark, a corrections officer at the Drumheller Institution, and his wife Margaret, who many will remember as previous owner of Acute Barber Shop, were dealt a blow in 2002 when Margaret was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer. Emergency surgery was performed to remove most of the tumor, and was followed up by chemotherapy and radiation.
    She was stabilized.
    The cancer recurred in October of 2008. After 10 months of chemotherapy, the treatment was not having its intended effects, and she was scheduled for surgery. There was a 6-7 week wait to get her in for her operation. Doctors along the way cited that allowing the chemotherapy drugs to clear from her blood as the reason for the delay.
    “We had a difficult time understanding the long wait for surgery, as this was an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme which was spreading very fast,” said Mark.
    Margaret’s health deteriorated waiting for the surgery, which was finally performed on November 16, 2009. In talking with the doctors following the operation, they were alarmed at how large the tumor had grown. When Mark pressed again about the wait, he was told there was a problem with bed spaces between oncology and the Foothills Hospital.
    Margaret was put back on the same drugs she was using before the surgery, that were ineffective.
    Losing faith in the Alberta health care system, and learning the tumor had grown back, and was affecting even more of her brain, a family decision was made to travel to Germany to seek a treatment called local hyperthermia and arterial chemo perfusion. After two trips to Germany, it was unclear if the treatment made much difference, and Margaret continued to deteriorate. On March 23, doctors in Calgary made the decision to stop all treatment, and refused to try a new drug called Avastin.
    “Calgary wanted to immediately check Margaret into Palliative Care the next day,” said Mark. “A prognosis of three weeks left to live was given. It was a shock to hear such a poor prognosis and we refused to give in.”
    The decision was made to try the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. They flew to Chicago and then St. Paul. Once they rented a car, they drove immediately to the Mayo Clinic after being lucky enough to book an appointment. A number of examinations and discussions later, the professionals at the clinic went ahead with Avastin. She was treated on April 2, and after consultation with doctors from the Mayo Clinic and Calgary oncology, Calgary would now administer the same drug they initially refused.
    “Now Margaret has another lease on life and continues to fight against cancer and the other ailments from side effects,” said Mark.
    Mark is thankful for friends and family that have been so supportive through their time of great need. He says his employer, the Drumheller Institution, has been supportive and compassionate during his leave of absence, and his colleagues organized the casino night fundraiser.
    Through all of this, the family is facing a huge economic burden. The travel, lodging and medical expenses continue to add up. While Avastin is approved by Health Canada, Alberta Health Services at this time will not cover it for treating cancer in this situation.
    Organizers hope they can cover some of these expenses for the family with the casino night on Saturday, April 24 at the Rosedale Hall. Tickets include dinner, a late night lunch and the participant’s first buy in of funny money. There will also be a silent auction where the funds will be dedicated to the family.
    Bob Nimmo, who is helping organize the evening, said they have received great support from the community and from volunteers wanting to help on the night of the event.
    For more information, to purchase tickets, or to donate an item to the silent auction, contact Bob or Leann Nimmo at 403-823-5160 or email Bob asks that those interested in coming let him know as soon as possible, as they need to confirm numbers with caterers by April 19.

Alliance's Smith hears voter concerns



    In a road show spurred on by voter discontent, Danielle Smith, new leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party made her way through the valley to garner political and financial support.
    Smith was in Delia on Thursday night, April 8 to speak at a fundraiser dinner. Before that, she was in Drumheller and then Hanna, to hear some of the issues on the minds of voters. The momentum the party has gained in such a short time surprised her.
    “I certainly didn’t expect there would be this kind of interest, but I think that is a reflection of the level of discontent,” said Smith. “We’re talking today about some of the ways people are feeling disconnected from the government. People want to be consulted about the direction the province is taking in legislation, regulation on policy, more than once every four years during an election, and that’s the message we are getting loud and clear.”
    “Every time I go to a new community, I hear of new issues, but the same problems keep coming up again and again, we have a tired, arrogant government that isn’t listening. They are making mistakes; they are refusing to admit it. They’re changing course and making more mistakes. I think part of the reason is they are not consulting properly. We’re going to correct those problems. We are interested in hearing what people have to say because we trust that an average Albertan has generally a good idea of the direction their government should take.
    Her observation on political culture in Alberta is that politicians have lost a sense of public service.
    “People used to have this sense of going into government so they could make a few important changes, represent their constituents and then get back out into the private sector,” said Smith. “That’s the type of person we are hoping to attract to run for our political party. There will need to be people of course that have experience in government, that have been in cabinet, but generally speaking we want to attract people from the private sector and all walks of life that don’t look at this as a career, but as a public service and want to get back as soon as they can after making some important changes.”
    While these are the qualities the party is looking for in a candidate, that search has not yet begun.
    “We’re trying to do things in the right order,” she said. “One of the things that  (Peter) Lougheed did when he began, was he realized you have to build your grassroots constituency associations.
    “When I became leader, it was a priority for us to establish that party infrastructure. We had 15 constituency associations when I became leader, we are now close to 65, and we are hoping to have all 83 in time for our June AGM in Red Deer. And then we begin the process of holding our candidate nominations. We are hoping to start our first candidate nominations in the fall and have a number done in the spring.”
    On her recent travels, one issue that has come up is the realignment of electoral boundaries.
    “I am hearing it a lot, especially in the smaller municipalities that tend to be rural. There’s a concern that the rural communities are being lumped in with some of the towns and creating an imbalance in their representation. I think there is reason to be concerned about that. When I go into the rural areas, they really feel like the centralizing decision making under the dome in the legislature is impacting the services in their communities and that is only going to get worse if they don’t have a electoral boundary drawn in a way that is going to preserve the rural character of some of those ridings,” she said. “At this point, how much can be done to change it is an open question. I think that we have to see it wind its way through the process.”


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