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Last updateTue, 23 Oct 2018 1pm

Historic mining truck donated to Atlas Coal Mine

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Staff at the Atlas Coal Mine are celebrating the donation of a historic mining truck.

Kent Walker donated a 1935 Ford truck was used by Alberta’s Department of Mines and which had been in his family and used as a farm vehicle for at least 70 years. The truck would have been used by department officials to inspect Drumheller’s once-booming coal industry.

“What’s the point of it sitting in our quonset where no one can see it?” says Kent Walker, who started driving the vehicle on his family farm when he was just seven years old. “At least now 30,000 people a year can see it.”

Walker can’t recall when his father purchased the vehicle, but ‘that it was just always in my life’.

Atlas Coal Mine curator Jay Russell is thrilled to have the piece as it opens them up to interpreting for visitors both Drumheller’s coal mining history as well as farm history. During its use for the department, he says the truck was most likely used here in Drumheller.

“A lot of Canadians, when they hear about coal mining history, they think ‘Nova Scotia,’ but golly, no, Alberta was a huge coal bin for the country. The number one reserves in Canada is in Alberta and the largest coal deposit is the Drumheller coal deposit. It makes sense the department of mines would be inspecting the mines here and making sure laws were upheld,” Russel says.

The truck certainly bears the marks of an 80-year-old working vehicle, with bumps and dings all over and a beautiful tarnish to its metal, and Russell says it just adds to its character. On the steering wheel are etchings of carved names, scratches marking bushels per acre harvested, and even a maple leaf carved by a young Kent Walker to mark Canada’s centennial in 1967.

“Every dent, every scratch has a story. Like with any old truck, they get banged, ripped, torn, and dented, but what I like with this one is its classic ‘farmers fix,’ where someone, instead of replacing the fender, they took a piece of metal and bolted it to the frame. It totally adds to the character.”

The Atlas will be placing the truck on display for visitors, with plans to put it on concrete blocks to preserve the tires.


Last minute catch wins Annual Starland County Fishing Derby

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In total 31 anglers braved the frigid temperatures to take on the great Michichi Dam in the Starland County Fishing Derby last Saturday, September 30.

The annual event is popular for the fishing crowd, although last year, nary a fish was caught.

It appeared this year participants might see the same fate as they cast their lines at  7 a.m., but youngster Zanny Hunter caught a 4.5-ounce fish to break the stalemate at 1:05 p.m.

It looked like her catch was going to win but at 3:46 p.m.  Mike Fisher, who is a long time participant of the derby caught a beautiful 2.33-pound rainbow trout. It was a keeper.

Despite the cold, spirits were high at the annual event.

Changes coming to Drumheller Library

 

Library Layout 2023

The Drumheller Public Library will be doing some rearranging in the coming year in hopes of making the library a more teen-friendly space, as well as hoping to position itself as more of a hub for the community.

The library recently released their plan of service for 2019 to 2023, and identified a number of objectives including rearranging the space so youth have a place for socializing and studying, using and promoting a central Drumheller events calendar, increased opportunities for adults to socialize, and having the library become involved with school and other libraries in the valley.

Library services director Emily Hollingshead says the library will be rearranged by June next year, when the space towards the back of the library will be turned into a dedicated youth space, instead of being next to the computers as it is now. They also will be moving a staff office into their existing staff area, allowing for another program room to host events and programs.

“We have found that a lot of people are happy with the space as it is, but we do have some people coming to the library for quiet space to concentrate on things which require focus. We would like to move the teen area to the back so they can freely make noise with their friends, but people who need quiet space can have their own area,” she says.

The library is embracing a new branding tagline of “Drumheller Connected,” and aims to increase its role as a community hub for people to socialize, attend workshops or events, and to stay connected with goings-on in the community through an events calendar. The library board and staff also plan to work with school libraries in the community to pursue grant funding to enhance the schools’ collections and technology. The library also plans to fund and stock ‘little free library’ boxes in Drumheller and outlying communities, similar to what other municipalities and neighbourhoods have done.

The library board has also been determining what new technologies can be brought into the space, including media recording booths and possibly a 3D printer.

“As we have appropriate space available we’ll be looking into what people are interested in here and what sort of things they’re making available. What’s popular in 2018 may not necessarily be what people want in 2020. We have plans to make more things available to our community, and we’re really excited about that,” Hollingshead says.

But while libraries elsewhere have been pushing their focus on technology and devices for patrons to use, Hollingshead says traditional print books are not going anywhere.

“What the research is showing is that people still want print books and that is an important part of what people are looking for when they come to a library. Because the library is connected through Marigold and the TRACK system to 180 other libraries, it’s not necessary to try and have all the books available right here in town. We have plans to condense how we store them – it’s more about ‘let’s make the best use of space,’ she says.

The library and board will be looking for patron feedback on what users want in the library in their annual survey.