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Last updateWed, 26 Jan 2022 2pm

Number two is number one at U of C COVID study

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The Town of Drumheller has joined over a dozen other municipalities across the province to test for COVID RNA in wastewater over time.
Director of Protective Services Greg Peters announced Drumheller was one of the participating municipalities during the Monday, January 17 Committee of the Whole meeting.
“The Town was approached by the Cumming School of Medicine (at the University of Calgary) to participate,” Town of Drumheller communications officer Erica Crocker tells the Mail. “The program is fully funded by Alberta Health Services (AHS) to advance research at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta.”
Both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary are conducting research on COVID RNA in wastewater, though their data is not comparable due to different testing protocols for each facility. It is also difficult to compare the different municipalities taking part in the study as, according to the Centre for Health Informatics website, “...communities have different proportions of residential and industrial water use contributing to their municipal wastewater.”
Samples are collected at the main wastewater treatment plant and sent to Calgary twice a week, with results received within a 24-hour period.
Due to the testing requirements needing a 24-hour composite sample, only the central wastewater plant was eligible for this study; no samples from the East Coulee wastewater plant are included in this study, and the town does not currently have the ability to test further up the line at lift stations.
During the Committee of the Whole meeting, Mr. Peters explained between January 6 and January 12 the amount of COVID RNA found in the town’s wastewater samples had risen significantly.
“The testing is helpful for both the municipality and the province to observe an upcoming spike in cases within communities,” Ms. Crocker said.
To view the data for Drumheller or the other municipalities taking part in the study, visit and view it under the Wastewater tab; municipalities partnering with the University of Calgary are labeled in red while blue denotes municipalities partnering with the University of Alberta.

Drumheller RCMP lay charges in Newcastle warrant execution

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Drumheller RCMP with the assistance of the ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit has arrested a Drumheller man for child pornography offenses.
The investigation began in January 2021 when Drumheller RCMP were contacted by a policing agency in Indiana, USA regarding a male having sexually explicit conversations with a 16-year-old victim. The male suspect had been identified as residing in Drumheller.
With the assistance of the Indiana policing agency and Homeland Security, Drumheller RCMP launched an investigation.
On Wednesday, January 19, Drumheller RCMP and ICE, executed a search warrant at the residence of the accused, Shawn Albrecht, 45, where he was arrested and charged with making sexually-explicit material available to someone under 18, luring a child, possession of child pornography, and accessing child pornography.
Albrecht was released on a Promise to Pay with an extensive list of conditions after a Judicial Interim Release hearing and will next be appearing in provincial court in Drumheller on Friday, February 18.
As these matters are before the courts, no further details will be provided.
Anyone with information about online child exploitation offenses is encouraged to contact Drumheller RCMP at 403-823-7590, your local police, or
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at, or by using the "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

Village maintains current tax rate, completes upgrades and approves new projects

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The Village of Rockyford had a big year as council awarded infrastructure projects, held the line on municipal taxes, and hosted a long-standing community event after a hiatus in 2020.
In February, the village received provincial funding to help offset additional expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council gave back to some community organizations which were unable to operate as normal, delegating some $25,000 to help the ongoing costs for the Rockyford Sportsplex, community centre, and library. Council approved a $90,000 loan to help the Rockyford Ag Society repair the ice chiller at the arena following a special council meeting in September; the repairs are estimated at some $120,000.
Council hosted Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper via video conference during their February council meeting; they spoke with MLA Cooper about the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Alberta Health Service (AHS) 911 dispatch takeover.
While there were some increased operational costs in the presented budget in March, council were able to pass a zero per cent tax increase for residential and commercial properties.
Water and sewer upgrades were awarded in March to ConSite Construction from Calgary and included new tie-ins along with sidewalk and paving repairs; the project was completed within the budget of $645,427 and within the projected time frame. This was one of the shovel-ready projects part of the $500 million Municipal Stimulus Program announced in December 2020 by the provincial government. Repairs for the sewer lagoon were also awarded in September to Knibb Development; council was presented with two options for the repair, both with different warranties and price points, and chose the more expensive option as it carried a higher warranty option.
In 2020 the Rockyford Rodeo and Bull-a-Rama were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; while the decision was made by the Rockyford Lions to cancel the 2021 rodeo, they proceeded with a Bull-a-Rama in July; some 1,200 people attended the event.
Two candidates tied for votes after ballots were counted in the October municipal election and, after a tie-breaker name draw, newcomers Kathleen Morin and Tyler Henke joined returning councillors Darcy Burke, Leah Smith, and Bill Goodfellow on council. Shortly after the election it was discovered an ineligible voter voted in the Rockyford election, and April Geeraert brought the issue before council, Municipal Affairs, and Elections Alberta before finally bringing her case before a judge in December. It was determined the village would need to remedy the situation through a by-election between Geeraert and Morin.
A date for the by-election will be determined at the January 2022 council meeting.
“Our council continues to work in partnership with our community groups and neighbouring municipalities to provide a great quality of life for our residents and neighbours,” Rockyford Mayor Darcy Burke tells the Mail. “On behalf of council, I would like to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2022.”


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