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Last updateThu, 21 Nov 2019 5pm

Helping Hands celebrate 20 years

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Helping Hands Home Support Services is celebrating 20 years of filling a need in the community.
     They are hosting a celebration on Tuesday, November 12 at the Badlands Community Facility. It is a homegrown success story originating in Delia and now serves Central Alberta.
    “Helping Hands was started by my mom Penny in 1999,” explains Jessica Holmes. “My parents live in Delia, which is why we started our service in Drumheller. Mom was an LPN for years at the hospital and she worked in Home Care and at the Sunshine Lodge and then she started Helping Hands.”
At the time it filled an important gap in Care.
   “In the early 1990s we experienced health cutbacks with the Klein government, and at that time she was seeing more people applying to come into the lodge, who prior to that had been receiving home care,” she explains. “When those supports were cut it was leaving folks not able to maintain their independence at home. Mom was before her time so to speak, before aging in place and that sort of thing wasn’t a catchphrase like it is now.”
    Her business took off, serving Drumheller and area. In 2009 Jessica began a division of Helping Hands in the Red Deer area. She left her nursing job and took on the new challenge. It began as a partnership, but then Jessica purchased the Red Deer service. They have since remerged.”
    They currently serve 11 communities in Central Alberta and now have over 50 staff.
    “Seniors are our primary focus but have done things for older adults with physical limitations, even got younger folks as well. Part of that is in their home, part of that is in a facility and a lot of it is working with a team of primary caregivers, family supports or whatever socials supports they have,” said Jessica.
     Jessica credits her mother for her foresight in developing this business and the relationships with their clients.
    “She always had an entrepreneurial spirit but had no formal education in business and has created something that has been able to sustain for 20 years and continue to grow and be healthy. It would be very difficult to count the number of lives you have touched,” said Jessica.
    The celebration is at the Badlands Community Facility with a “come and go” between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m with a cake cutting and short program at 3 p.m.

Red Rose Campaign kicks off Family Violence Prevention Month

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November is Family Violence Prevention Month and the Big Country Anti-Violence Association (BCAVA) and volunteers kicked off the month of awareness with the annual Red Rose Campaign. On Tuesday afternoon, November 5, they hit the street delivering roses to businesses in the area to raise awareness of domestic violence. Once again, the campaign was supported by sponsors Home-Town Realty, which provided a donation to purchase the flowers. Susan Kolenz and the crew from Home-Town Realty present the donation to members of BCAVA and volunteers from Grace Hous

Open house today for solar/battery hybrid project

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    Longspur Developments is hosting a public open house to discuss a proposal of a hybrid solar/ battery storage development within the town of Drumheller.
    The company is proposing a 13.5 megawatt installation with battery storage near the water treatment plant ponds on town land. Robbie Donaldson managing director for Longspur developments says they have a partner and they have developed a similar one near Innisfail that should be up and running next year.
    “Shortly after that we were looking for another town that might have similar land they might not have plans for or getting income for and Drumheller had some land and were keen to do something,” said Donaldson. “I think it was the town’s desire to try and embrace some sort of renewable project.”
    He said the development will be beneficial for the town in a few different ways. The town will be able to realize revenue on a long term lease to house the facility as well as tax benefits on a piece of land that was vacant. Longspur is also looking at setting up a community benefit fund.
    “From land that was giving them zero could make them in excess of $100,000 a year combined,” said Donaldson.
    Their view is to set up a fund that is managed arm’s length away from the town that will provide about $15,000 a year that residents can apply to for activities or equipment that provides benefit for the wider community,” he said.
    He says the project will be located on about 60 acres, and while 13.5 megawatts is relatively small compared to some of the other local projects, that is more than enough to provide power to a town the size of Drumheller. They will be selling directly to the grid.
    The solar project is self-funded and competes on its own merits, however, the battery storage side of the project is funded by a grant from Emission Reduction Alberta.
    “What is exciting about this project is the battery piece of it,” said Donaldson.
    “Batteries being co-located with generation projects is happening a lot in other parts of the world, and certainly as more renewable generation comes online it does lead to grid stability problems, which can be solved by having a battery,” he explains.
    The open house is to solicit feedback from the community before they go to the Alberta Utility Commission with an application. He says interested parties are welcome to come out and learn more about the project, as are local contractors who might be interested in providing services during the construction.
    The open house is on Thursday, November 7 at the Badlands Community Facility from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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