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Shields calling auctions for 50 years

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    Long time auctioneer of the Craigmyle area, Johnny Shields was honoured by his peers, and was presented his gold pin for 50 years in the industry.
    On Saturday, January 30, at the Alberta Auctioneers Association Annual Meeting in Red Deer, Shields was presented with a plaque and the gold pin signifying 50 years as an auctioneer.
    Johnny, who just turned 80 on January 5, was born and raised in Oyen. In 1951, he married Merna and moved to a small farm at Chinook. Farming has never been an easy business, and looking for something to help pay the bills, he was inspired in the late 1950’s by the famous Leroy Van Dyke Auctioneers Song. Knowing he could keep up singing the song, he knew he could excel in the industry. He sought out a school to learn the craft.
    In the spring of 1960, he sold two cows that came up dry, and was able to pay for the bus trip and tuition to the Western College of Auctioneers in Billings, Montana.
    While he spent two weeks taking the course, his wife Merna was left at home with her hands full, raising four children, feeding about 100 hogs and milking several cows.
     Johnny returned home and practiced in his tape recorders, perfecting the craft. He worked for the local auction mart at Cereal a few times, but then in the fall, the Shields conducted their first estate auction sale. That was 50 years ago.

Bixby coming home

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    In Jaydee Bixby’s own words, it is going to be a party when his road show hits the Stampede Barn this weekend.
    Drumheller’s own country crooner is set to play in Drumheller Saturday night, February 6. The show is hosted by the Kinsmen Club of Drumheller and is a fundraiser for its ongoing activities for the community. Moreover, it is a homecoming for the singer who first graced the national stage at 17 during season five of the Canadian Idol competition, and has never looked back.
    “It’s going to be good to be back, to have the opportunity to look into the audience and see people I grew up with and familiar faces,” he said. “We’ve been doing a lot of shows where we have never been before. It’s cool to do those shows, but it is always nice to see people you grew up with, and we have the opportunity to see them doing what they love, and they see you doing what you love.”
    Now 19, it seems a lifetime has passed as the blond kid with a twinkle in his eye won judges and fan approval. Since then, he has released Cowboys and Cadillac’s, appeared on a Christmas album beside artists such as Prairie Oyster and Taylor Swift, toured extensively and is ready to drop another album tentatively this spring.
    The twinkle in his eye has never left, but along the way, he picked up a strong work ethic.
    “Road work is the best kind of work. To be out on the road is the reason we make an album,” he said. “We try to do as much road work as possible. Leading into 2010, we are hoping to spend the whole year on the road if we can. We are going to have to go back because we are recording a new album, but everything is just going smooth.”
     As if he isn’t busy enough, he has been working hard on this sophomore effort called Easy to Love.
    “You spend so much time on the road and travelling, and you get a few days off… you get antsy, it’s the most boring thing sitting at home,” he laughs, adding the luster of road life has not worn off.
    “The day this becomes a grind is the day I find a new job.”
    Jaydee tells The Mail from Jasper during his nine-date tour, the Drumheller show will be special. Not only does the bill include rising star Stacy McKitrick of Abbotsford, but the Bixby’s, his parents' band are also on the bill.
    “My parents are playing with me and they are opening the show,” said Bixby. “It’s always special when my parents are there. It’s not going to be anything super formal, like following a set list, it is going to be doing whatever we feel like doing.”
    This includes a few previews of his new album.
    “We’re going to be spending the whole night, and I have some friends coming down as well… It’s going to be a party.”
    Tickets are available at Drumheller Chrysler, Sunrise Auto, Western GM Drumheller, Anderson Drug and UFA Drumheller. This is a licensed function.

Council outlines corporate plan

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 At the January 18th 2010 Town Council meeting the corporate priorities for 2010 were approved.
The Corporate Priorities include:
• Municipal Sustainability Plan
• Master Tourism Strategy
• Develop the Main Street Feasibility Role
• Implement the Downtown Traffic Study recommendations
• 10 year Capital plan
    Each of these priorities included a work program which included communication strategies on each project.
    Once of the main priorities for council in this quarter will be to implement the recommendations from the Downtown Traffic Study. For many years the Town has partnered with the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Merchants to promote downtown revitalization through land use planning and infrastructure improvements.
    The goal was to enhance the appearance of the downtown core and increase its viability as a retail district. It became very evident at these meetings that traffic flow was an issue for the community. Business owners and Town officials recognized the fact that a downtown revitalization plan needed to include a wide range of enhancements and improvements. The first phase of the program was to develop a traffic study.
    The objectives of the traffic study included:
• Current and future traffic patterns in the downtown area
• Additional tourism traffic as a result of the Canadian Badlands initiative
• Additional traffic as a result of the Badlands Community Facility
• Additional traffic due to population growth.
• The most efficient traffic flow for the public
• Current policies and bylaws regarding traffic and redevelopment
    The Town of Drumheller hired iTrans consulting a leading consulting firm specializing in transportation planning and transportation safety to provide recommendations. iTrans conducted traffic counts and reviewed patterns, and then made recommendations based on their findings.
    The research progression was very transparent and public. At the beginning of the process the Town of Drumheller informed the Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Merchants Association about the project. Once the draft traffic study was completed the Town Council and Administration hosted two public meetings. At these open meetings, iTrans Consulting provided 3 alternatives to improve traffic flow in the downtown core. Based on the input received from the meetings, the plans were modified and another alternative was presented.
    The alternate plan provided more parking for the downtown core. After being approached by two land owners Council purchased property which is intended for public parking.
    On November 9th 2009, Council voted to implement iTrans recommendation of alternative #1 which best suited the future plans for the town.
    Mayor Bryce Nimmo said, “The Downtown Traffic Study is much more than a parking issue. The traffic study addresses safety and traffic flow. The traffic study is an integral tool for the vision of Drumheller and ensures that it meets the long term objectives for development plans. The traffic study will be a component of the Tourism Master Plan which will promote Drumheller as a premier tourist destination. The long term goal is to increase consumer traffic in the downtown core and improve pedestrian and cycling options as part of a more sustainable road network”
    This road network will be detailed in the Municipal Sustainability Plan that is under development and expected to be completed by the end of June 2010.


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