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Merchants assess Parking Task Force recommendations

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    The Downtown Drumheller Parking Task Force delivered its recommendations to Drumheller Town Council on the future of parking changes to the core, however the recommendations are getting a mixed reception from some of those affected.
    The task force made its recommendations, and council unanimously accepted the documents. Some of the recommendations included parallel parking along 3rd Avenue between Highway 9 (2nd Street West) and 1st Street West. The rest of 3rd Avenue will remain angle parking, however the angle will be changed, which will widen the driving lane and improve visibility.
    The formation of the task force came after a groundswell of residents made their voices known to council through a survey published in The Drumheller Mail, spearheaded by a group of downtown merchants.
    Sylvia Madsen owner of Café Italiano was part of the initial campaign. She tells inSide Drumheller she has mixed feelings about the recommendations.
    “It’s a compromise. It’s not the perfect solution, I don’t think there will ever be a perfect solution. I don’t think there would ever be something that everyone could agree on,” she said. “It was a surprise it took so long to get to this point, and I’m surprised the town did the right thing.”
    Another part of the changes is to reconfigure the intersection of Highway 9 and 3rd Avenue West. Under the new plan, eastbound lanes will remain relatively unchanged. There will be two westbound lanes at the intersection; one will be a left turn lane, while the other will be a thru traffic/right hand turning lane. The traffic light cycles will be amended to suit the new configuration.
    Madsen said as a business owner she can see the good and bad points. She understands parallel parking needed to be implemented in order to change the intersection of Highway 9 and 3rd Avenue, but also understands it could impact businesses.
    She does like the recommendation to change the angle of the parallel parking.
    “I think it is better there is a 10 per cent grade (change in angle of parking). People will be able to see better backing out,” she said.
    Of the entire plans, “I think it is better than what they originally planned, when they said ‘deal with the cards you’re dealt with.’ That was harsh,” she said. “At least this was a little more democratic.”
    Barry Fullerton was chair of the task force and said the process worked well.
    “I have said it before, they were really a good group to work with,” said Fullerton.
    He told inSide Drumheller the  work of the group was meticulous and they left no stone unturned when looking for suitable options for the downtown parking and traffic flow issues. He concedes it is a compromise, but also indicates he feels the group was representative of many views of downtown merchants and residents alike. This includes business directly affected by the change to parallel parking to 3rd Avenue.
    Doug Wade, whose business is on the stretch that will now have parallel parking, isn’t as warm to the plan. He has gone from being upset about the issue to being upset about his take on the democratic process.
    “On February 12, downtown Drumheller delivered at great expense of time and money the most important information council needed,” said Wade. “The overwhelming majority of residents, 1,680, wanted parking left as is. Also the 200-plus members of the Chamber of Commerce gave the same message. Democracy has not been served.”
    He said in light of the survey, the task force should have never been struck, and it will have an impact on his business.
    “Now the question is not if there is going to be a loss, now it is how much,” said Wade.
    For Madsen one of the good things that came out of the process was the work put together by downtown businesses.
    “I give kudos to the task force, they did a heck of a lot of work in a short amount of time, they were very committed. At times I think it would be nice to have a committee between the Town and everyone else… I think it would take the pressure off the town, and it would open up lines of communication,” she said. “I think it was awesome to get all the businesses to work together and find common ground and work to a common goal.”

Hey Romeo returns for Dino Derby

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    Hey Romeo, where ya playin?   
    The Drumheller Stampede and Ag Society has announced that Hey Romeo, the country music trio that includes Drumhellerite Rob Shapiro will be appearing at the Richard Cosgrave Badlands Dinosaur Derby. The Society has booked their Saturday night cabaret entertainment and is excited to have the band return to Drumheller. Last time they were in the valley to play was for Canada Day celebrations last year.
    About a year ago when they appeared, their remake of Fleetwood Mac’s Second Hand News was on the radio. Today they have a new single in heavy rotation. Searchin for You has broke the Canadian Top 20, and the band has a new album ready to drop on June 1.
    That’s What I Am will be on store shelves at leading music retailers such as Wal-Mart and HMV as well as iTunes.
    According to a release, Nashville songwriter Byron Hill, who has written scores of hit songs for everyone from Reba McEntire to George Straight, produced the album.
    That’s What I Am is a reflection of Hey Romeo’s commitment to their craft, whether it’s defining a great melody line, polishing a glistening chorus, or putting a new spin on a universal theme.
    “You’re supposed to get better with age, and I think that is exactly what we’ve done with That’s What I Am says singer Rob Shapiro, who was also named Keyboard Player of the Year by the CCMA in 2009. “Better songs and better singing from all of us. Byron’s intense approach to writing and his commitment to getting the best possible performances from everyone has paid off.”
    The album was recorded in Nashville and Saskatoon, That’s What I Am dishes out a perfect balance of vocalist Stacie Roper’s emotive and charged, yet sweet voice, alongside those of the testosterone driven pipes of her pals and partners Rob and Darren Gusnowsky. Those voices are painted onto material that one minute can take the listener on a deep personal ride, and the next provide the ultimate escape.
    The Dinosaur Derby is coming up fast. It is on Father’s Day weekend and features the top drivers of the WCPA Dodge Pro Tour on the aptly christened “Half Mile of Hell.”
    Along with the races, the Stampede and Ag Society has a full slate of events planned including the Hey Romeo’s performance on Saturday night. Downtown Drumheller and local businesses are also getting in on celebrating the chuckwagon races. Keep reading The Drumheller Mail and InSide Drumheller for more details.

Thrill of victory, agony of de-feet

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    More than 50 men made the trek in high heels from Drumheller Co-op to Freson IGA, and along the way raised $17,000.
    The first Drumheller Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on Wednesday, May 12, by all accounts was a success. A greater than expected turnout, combined with a large commitment from walkers and residents who donated to the cause, resulted in the event smashing its goals.
    “Walk a Mile is an international event that goes all over Canada, the US, and also Europe. We brought it here to Drumheller, never dreaming our community would respond so resoundingly,” said Marian Ewing, president of the Big Country Anti-Violence Association. “This is a serious subject, violence and sexual assault, and touches many hearts. Our community rallies against it.”
    Walkers were eager to hit the course, if only to take off the bright red four-inch heels at the finish line. Along with the shoes, some dressed up, some carried signs, some played the drums, and some marched in silence, wearing black shirts with red and white letters simply stating “I am man enough to walk a mile in her shoes.”
    At the end of the road, they were greeted with a barbecue and even the opportunity for a pedicure and foot massage. They also shared the camaraderie of fellow hikers. Despite stubbed toes, swollen ankles and blisters here and there, spirits were high.
    Half of the funds raised by the event will remain with the BCAVA to support transportation, emergency funding and assistance for those in need. The other half will go to support Communities Against Abuse, an organization based in Stettler that serves East Central Alberta. Incorporated in 1988, the organization runs preventive programs for parents, families and students. It also has a treatment service dealing with victims of abuse, both children and adults who were victimized as children, family members of victims and perpetrators of abuse.
    Judy Beebe, program director for the organization, says they have treated victims from the Drumheller area and will use the funds to continue its services.
    She told the crowd gathered at the end of the walk she was encouraged to see so many men participate.
    “I’ve always said until we really get some men on board with us, it’s just a bunch of women fighting the issue,” she said. “This shows me that we really have some men on board and that it’s not just a one gender issue, and that’s really important to me.”
    For Ewing, the walk sent a clear message.
    “Today we are helping a group of people who desperately need our compassion. On their behalf, I thank you sincerely. Your message is strong, ‘stop sexual violence and gender violence,’” said Ewing.   

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