News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3310
Last updateThu, 30 Nov 2023 8am

False alarm calls out emergency services


Drumheller RCMP, Drumheller Fire Department and Badlands EMS were dispatched to the Gordon Taylor Bridge after a report of a person jumping into the Red Deer River. Shortly after noon on Tuesday, September 15, a witness reported a girl in her late teens jumping from the bridge fully clothed. The Drumheller Fire Department did a visual search of the area before launching its department’s water rescue boat from Newcastle Beach to continue its search. The boat searched the water and shoreline, but came up with no sign of a person in the water. It was later discovered it was a false alarm.

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.


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