Saturday, November 11, 2017

Disappointing Remembrance Day Turnout

I had the honor of once again attending the Remembrance Day Ceremonies at the Acme Hall this morning.

I was very disappointed at the attendance this year.  From where I was sitting, it looked like less than half the seats were occupied!  In many years past it was standing room only!

The members of the Royal Canadian Legion in Acme work very hard to present this ceremony every year.  I'm sure they were disappointed at the low turnout, too.  I don't know the reasons for the small crowd this year.  Perhaps folks were attending a larger event elsewhere.

I'm asking the Legion members not to be discouraged.  I'm sure this was just a glitch and attendance will be up again next year.

Lest We Forget.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thanks and Congratulations

First; Congrats to Jason Kenney for winning the leadership of the United Conservative Party.  Now his work really begins!  First he has to win a seat in the Legislature.  We're all hoping that Premier Notley will announce a by-election very soon so that process can begin!  Next he'll have to rally his troops to come up with a plan other that just "Dump Notley's NDP"!  They'll have to outline a plan to get Alberta rolling again!

Second; And Congrats to Al Henuset who is Beiseker's new Mayor!  Having worked with Al for many years, I believe he will make a very good mayor for our little village.  I was pleased to hear that Warren Wise was chosen as Deputy Mayor, too.  Also a good choice!

Third;  I was most honoured to be presented with my Senators Contribution Award at a celebration at the Community Center a few weeks ago.  It was humbling to be included among such worthy recipients during the ceremony.  Member of Parliament Martin Shields made the presentations. A big thanks to Jeanette Richter and her volunteers for organizing the celebration!

Fourth;  Where's her spelling textbook?  I noted that one of my Junior High teachers passed away recently.  She was almost a hundred years old!  I remember her and her very strict rules on manners and politeness.  For example, at junior high dances she used to march around the Gym with a spelling textbook.  If she thought a young couple were getting too close during a slow dance, she would place the book, flat side between them.  That was the distance they had to be apart!  Oh have times changed!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Coals to Newcastle!

Back during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century, the British city of Newcastle was the coal supply and exporting hub of the country!  Thousands were employed loading coal bound for the hundreds of new factories around the country.   If you needed coal, go to Newcastle!  Thus any foolish idea which came up was compared to "sending coals to Newcastle."

Yet the same foolish idea occurs here in Canada!

Eastern Canadians vehemently oppose the import of Alberta oil into their provinces yet they happily buy oil from overseas markets! To me that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't think that it is environmentally safer to bring oil into the Maritimes with these huge oil tankers. A pipeline from Alberta could do the job more safely and more efficiently. Maybe Arab oil is easier to refine or maybe it's cheaper right now.

To me sending oil to a oil rich country like Canada is akin to "sending coal to Newcastle"!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Retirement from Municipal Politics

Yesterday was Nomination Day for municipal offices across the province.  I did not submit nomination papers which makes it official:  I am retiring from municipal politics.

This retirement comes without any malice!  It is simply time.  I have had the honor and pleasure of working with some great people over my almost thirty years as a village councilor in Beiseker.  We have accomplished some great things for this tiny village!

Beiseker is not out of the woods yet as far as our finances go, but we have survived one of the biggest economic down-turns this province has seen!  The provinces answer to our fiscal issues is simple; just raise property taxes!  Council has resisted that, and I hope they will continue to do so! 

Here's some things this Council can take credit for:
  • We have been very successful at reducing the amount of back-taxes owing. This was  accomplished through many different programs, one of which is the monthly pay system.  Unfortunately, we still have a ways to go here!
  • We have reduced the amount of "lost water" by the village so that Beiseker is selling most of the water it buys.
  • This council has spearheaded a program to upgrade the streets.  So far, Fourth Ave., Seventh Street and First Avenue have benefited.  Our sidewalk replacement continues, too!
  • We have created a program to replace faulty water valves around the village also saving lost water.
  • We have our Public Works Department running extremely well.
  • As a member of the Aqua-7 Regional Water Services Commission we have seen that organization become much more viable.  We survived the provincial government reneging on a deal to help us out, and we are now "in the black"!
  • We started a "Building A Better Beiseker" project by upgrading the first block of our Main Street business district.  Hopefully as the economy picks up the project to revitalize the rest of Main Street will resume!
  • We finally will see some action on dismantling and removing the now defunct railway museum.  We were unable to convince the federal government get a good accounting on where that half million dollars went! Hopefully that site will be cleaned up soon.
  • I think we finally have our fire department woes solved.  The Beiseker Fire Department in the envy of many small municipalities and it continues to thrive. 
  • We are in the process of subdividing and selling lots at the airport.  This will ultimately generate even more funds for our airport and village!
To mention a few!

To my fellow councilors and the village's Chief Administrative Officer with her staff;
thank you for your support, your advice and your candor.  All have been most valuable to me over the past years.

Ray Courtman
Mayor; Village of Beiseker

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Great Decision!

Last week we heard of a young hockey player refusing to wear a team jersey because it has an image of an indigenous warrior featured on it.  I thought the image was very similar to that of an NHL hockey team.  People lined up on both sides of the argument.  A solution had to be found.

Images of warriors appear on many sports teams' uniforms.  They could be Spartan warriors, Roman warriors or in this case Native warriors.  I've always regarded these images as a tribute to the bravery and tenacity of these ancient warriors.  Most, especially the indigenous and Spartan warriors were faced with incredible odds against them as their lands were being invaded by foreign armies, yet they fought on gallantly.  Their bravery has been celebrated for years.

A solution has been found!  The hockey team in question has engaged the help of the Chief of a local First Nation to help them update the image on their jerseys.  Hopefully this process will include an education process which will address the sensitive issues of the image on their jersey.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sir John A. Takes a Hit

The Ontario Elementary Teachers' Federation have decided that the name of our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald should be removed from all schools. He, along with most of the Fathers of Confederation agreed with the creation of residential schools for our native population.

This is getting ridiculous!  We cannot judge past history by today's standards.  We will all agree that residential schools were a terrible failure and caused suffering and death to many, but those who set up those schools thought they were doing the best for our indigenous population!  I don't believe they were being vindictive!  Removing their names from history won't change the past and I think it will give Canadians a better chance of forgetting these horrible indecencies!

I do concede that the statues of Cornwallis in Nova Scotia be removed from places of prominence and put in museum grounds.  Cornwallis actually put a bounty on heads of indigenous people living there, but that was hundreds of years ago.  That fact cannot be erased from history but his statue is causing quite a bit of consternation in Halifax.  I say decide on a new location for his statue along with a sign describing reason for its move.  We must not lose this history!

We need to examine each situation like this with cool heads!  If we don't, this whole process can get really silly!  When you read the writings of Winston Churchill, it's not hard to notice that he was a chauvinist and a bit of a bigot!  Is he next on the hit list?

How about William Van Horne and the rest of those who built Canada's national railway!  They promoted the importation and exploitation of workers from China!  Shall we zap them?

Why stop there?  You do know that the Roman Emperors Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus both promoted slavery and gladiator games fought to the death!  Will we soon be changing the names of the months of July and August?  That's how silly it could get!

LED Lights & Seventh Street

Street Lights;  I was very pleased to see that our new LED street lights are being installed!  These new lights are far less expensive to operate and their light is less glaring thus cutting down on the light pollution.

I'm hoping that they'll be installed throughout the village soon!

Seventh Street;  I'm sure you've noticed that we began work on Seventh Street.  We're trying something different, there.  We are removing the top layer of surface and replacing it with chipped asphalt, then sealing it with a special material.

It's not as good as pavement but it is considerably cheaper!  By my calculations, far less than a quarter the cost fresh asphalt.

You will recall that when we planned to pave Seventh and Eighth Streets some years ago, the folks along Seventh took up a petition to stop that work along their street,  Provincial municipal acts dictate that council must agree to their wishes.  Seventh Street was dropped from the project.  That project included a Local Improvement Tax (Frontage Tax).

The residents along Eighth are partially paying for their pavement through that frontage tax.

Council decided that since this Seventh Street project is significantly cheaper and it's an experimental procedure, we would not reinstate the Local Improvement portion of that project.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

No Water From Beiseker?

A couple of you mentioned to me that you were concerned that the Rocky View Fire Services was recently refused water to fight a fire outside the village.  Last night at our council meeting, we got the whole story from our fire department.

A while back our firefighters and the Rocky View Fire Services responded to a fire east of the village.  The Beiseker Fire Department arrived at the scene first (they were closer) and started work on the fire.  The RVFS soon arrived from Irricana, took over command and joined in fighting the fire.  It was decided that more water might be needed, so water trucks were dispatched to the closest water source which was Beiseker.

Standard Operating Procedures dictates that the municipality providing the water be informed so that adjustments can be made to the pumps and pumping capacity of that municipality's water system if necessary.  Beiseker has one of its pumps in for repair.  Caution must be taken so the people of the village don't completely lose water pressure.

Due a communication glitch, the Rocky View firefighters were unable to contact village staff so they decided to proceed to Irricana to get the extra water.  As it turned out, the extra water was not needed and the water trucks stood down and returned to their fire hall in Irricana.

Beiseker Fire Chief Martens reported to council that the communication glitch has indeed been rectified.  Fire apparatus fighting fires in this area (whether inside or outside the village) are once again able to get water from our hydrants here in the village.  There is also another source of water in Beiseker, the old reservoir behind the post office which has well water and it is untreated.  Unfortunately the pumping capacity there is quite low and filling up one of those huge tanks would take a very long time!

I hope this clears up some of the misunderstandings around this incident.

I'll take this opportunity to give shout-out to all of our firefighters both from the Beiseker Fire Department and from Rocky View.  You folks do an incredible job protecting all of us!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Gas vs. Electric Cars

I think it'll be just a matter of time before our governments outlaw gasoline as a propellant for cars,  Other jurisdictions have already done it!  Britain is the most recent, saying it will outlaw gasoline in 2040!  my question is; why?

A little over a hundred and ten years ago, the automobile was just coming into being.  Engineers and scientists experimented with different ways of fueling and propelling these new contraptions.  There were steam powered cars, methane powered cars, electric cars and gasoline powered cars all roaring around,

Eventually the gasoline powered cars won out, and the others faded away.  There were no laws outlawing them.  Gasoline just happened to be the most efficient and least expensive way of powering these new machines!

Now, environmentalists say we must stop using gasoline because it creates too much pollution.  Major car companies have all joined the race to create cars using other fuels, mostly electric powered though batteries.  These vehicles are becoming more efficient in every new model coming out but they are still more expensive then their gasoline powered equivalents.  Some of the processes making components and power for those electric cars create huge amount of pollution!

Why don't governments just stay out of it?  Gasoline won out in 1910 because it was the cheapest and most efficient.  When electric cars are the cheapest and more efficient than gasoline powered cars, they will win too!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Volunteer Lawn Mowing?

Hauling equipment and personnel out to the Beiseker Airport to mow the large expanses of grass, there, is expensive for the Village.  A group of hangar owners out there have volunteered to mow the grass themselves.  So far this year, Public Works has yet to go out to our airport to mow yet the grass is all mowed and tidy!  We owe a huge vote of thanks to those volunteers.

I was thinking; if it works out there, could it work here in the village?  Residents and businesses are responsible for mowing the grass on the Public Reserve area (boulevard) in front of their home and the area behind their property to the middle of the lane-way -- but are there other public spaces which could be kept tidy, voluntarily?

Areas around the fire hall, the medical center, the ball diamonds, the public flower beds,  and other places within the Village might benefit from this kind of volunteerism!  I know there are some folks who already volunteer to tidy up some of these areas, but I think we could use more.  Just an idea!

If you think you'd like to help out somewhere in the Village, please check with the Village Office first.  And - thank you!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Last Monday night, just before we convened our July Council Meeting, I was most honoured to be presented with a Senator's Contribution Award!

The award was presented to me through the office of the Honourable Doug Black, Q.C., an Alberta Senator.  I was very pleased and honoured to accept this award.  My wife and I have always enjoyed volunteering.  It is one way we can give back to the community we enjoy living in so much!

Thank you to our CAO Jo Lambert and our village staff for nominating me for this most appreciated award.  To be sure, our volunteer efforts will continue after I retire from Council this fall.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Quacking of Ducks!

Just over a hundred and fifty years ago, U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Perry visited the east coast of Asia.  I understand it was an introductory meeting to introduce the United States of America to that part of the world.  For the most part, the Asian nations he met were friendly and interested in this new nation across the Pacific,

One thing the Asians did comment on was the American language.  They said it sounded like the quacking of ducks!

I fear that trait has returned!  Many young people I meet (especially young women) speak with a very nasal accent.  Instead of speaking in bold round sounds through their mouths, they add a nasal twang to their speech!  I don't know if it's taught or just learned through social interaction.  Maybe they speak like that to get people's attention, but I personally find it quite distracting. 

Or maybe my generation gap is showing again! ;)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sad News About Stage East

It is with much sadness that I must report that the Stage East Dinner Theatre Society has cancelled this year's performances.

The reason is quite simple; we just don't have enough people to put on a production this year.  We have lost some of our major cast members and with no one to replace them, we can't continue again this year.

Stage East was started more than thirty years ago to raise funds to save and restore the last remaining station building in Beiseker.  We were successful in raising enough to save the building which now serves as the Beiseker Village Office and the Station Museum!  It was started up again in 2005 to celebrate Alberta's 100th Birthday.   Since then we have donated funds to many community groups and projects but over the last few we've supported improvements to our community hall.

The Stage East Dinner Theatre Society will continue on.  It is an active society and is registered.  We will continue meeting on a regular basis.

It has been suggested that we hold a theatre workshop in the fall, to show people how much fun theatre and Stage East can be.  We are planning to have a full production in the fall of 2018!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Admiral Notley of the Albertan Navy

You might recall the old joke about a gentleman claiming to be an admiral in the Swiss Navy.  Switzerland is of course a landlocked country.  Save for a few lakes, it doesn't have access to enough water to float a navy!

The Province of Alberta is landlocked, too!  Our natural resources must be shipped to customers overseas, yet we have no deep-water, ocean ports.  We must rely on our neighbors to provide those facilities.  It is absolutely necessary that Alberta's petroleum products, grain, coal, forest products and other products be able to be sold on the international market.  Without that ability to sell its products, Alberta will stay on the list of "have-not" provinces forever!

Premier Notley (or should I say Admiral Notley) is desperately trying to make sure that Alberta has and continues to have access to seaports for its natural resources.  That's not an easy task! 

The way I see it, we have three directions to go;  West through B.C., South through the U.S.A. and East through Saskatchewan.  Each direction presents challenges.  There are environmental concerns, indigenous peoples' concerns, and economic concerns in each direction!  B.C.'s Green Party leader says there is a simple solution; no movement of Alberta's resources through British Columbia.  Quebec's city mayors have the same solution!  And the on-again-off-again-on-again Keystone project shows me that the U.S. has a similar attitude.  How does Premier Notley convince these folks that that is NOT an option?

These access corridors must be created!  We need some kind of a commission or board to deal with each and every issue in each direction.  Our environment must be preserved and the rights and concerns of everyone must be addressed.  All options must be explored!   Everyone must be treated fairly!  Saying "no" just because you can is not an option!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Clear Skies, Terry

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend of mine.  I've known Terry McDonough for many years.  We met while volunteering at Calgary's Aerospace Museum (now, the Hangar Flight Museum)

While talking we discovered that we were also both long time volunteers at the Calgary Stampede!  Last year Terry proudly accepted a Calgary Stampede Honourary Life Membership!  Our connection to aviation and the Stampede proved most beneficial!

Terry was a life-long aviator!  Flying with him was a real treat!  He was out to promote aviation any way he could!  With Terry's enthusiasm and drive, we were able to take a museum plane, the Cessna Ag Wagon aerial applicator plane, to both the Stampede July show and to Aggie Days!  Through Terry's efforts, we were able to put to rest many misconceptions and outright falsehoods about aerial application in agriculture!

Terry was a hard worker and a practical joker!  I fell victim to a couple of his jokes over the years.  His schemes were never hurtful and always generated bushels of giggles and laughs!  Terry's city of Calgary will miss him.  And so will many of the rest of us!  Clear skies, Terry! 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Silly Things!

Here's a few silly things which I have trouble understanding.  Perhaps my generation gap is showing, or perhaps I've seriously lost my sense of humor.
You could just accept these things as a "sign of the times," but I think they're just silly!

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 6th Water Line Break

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 6, our Fire Department was testing various fire hydrants in the village.  While being tested, the valve on one of the hydrants at the corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue began leaking quite considerably. 

The village water supply was shut off, the valve was excavated and replaced.  The water lines were flushed during the night as water pressure was resumed.  Provincial regulations dictated that we issue a boil water notice for a specified length of time after the water was opened to replace the valve. 

The water was tested and the boil water notice was lifted Sunday afternoon.

There is no good time for a major water main break, but for me these last few days was really bad timing:  I was doing my part as a volunteer at the Calgary Stampede Aggie Days! 

Fortunately, we have an extremely competent Public Works staff and Gail at the office who took charge and dealt with the issue at hand!  They got it done and answered questions!  My thanks to those hard working folks.  I also want to thank everyone in the Village for your patience and understanding during this past weekend.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy St. David's Day!

Saint David is the patron saint of Wales.  St. David's Day goes by here with barely a mention, but in Wales it is still celebrated.  The Welsh celebrate by wearing a leak on their collar and wishing all they meet good fortune.   The wearing of the leek comes from a story where the Welsh warriors were fighting for their independence in a fierce battle with the English.  To identify the Welsh warriors from their opponents, they pinned a leek (related to an onion) to their collars. 

My Dad's family have been in Wales for many generations.  They settled around the town of Ruabon in North Wales, which is near the famous town of Llanggollen where the renowned Eisteddfod music festival is held. 

I still have many relatives in that area.  We (my family and I) emigrated from Wales to Canada many years ago, when I was a baby.  We're 99% Canadian now, but we still keep a little Welsh with us.  My Grandchildren call me Taid (pronounced "tah eed"), which means Grandpa in North Wales.  We still make leek soup (very occasionally) and we have visited Wales a couple of times.

When visiting Wales, you'll notice that most signs are bilingual in English and Welsh.  I think everyone speaks English and a bit of Welsh.  The Welsh have their own National Assembly in Cardiff, but still are a proud part of the United Kingdom.  There might be a lesson there for us Canadians!

Happy St. David's Day!

Clarifications on the Fire Engine

In my last blog about the problems with our fire engine, I'd indicated that we had problems keeping the engine's water pump warm during our winter months.

You will recall that our truck originally came from the southern United States, where freezing temperatures like ours are unheard of.  When the truck arrived here, our Fire Department set forth to address the problem of protecting the water pump from freezing.

After a while, a solution to the problem was designed and installed.  I am told now that the water pump NEVER froze, and functioned as it should every time.   But like everything, the pump just "wore out!"

I have also avoided mentioning exact figures for the repair of our truck, or its replacement, because we don't have those figures available yet.  Council is in the process of getting more information on the repairs and more accurate costs of another used fire engine.  After all that is in, we than need to decide what to do.

We will have three choices;
  • Fix our existing truck and hold on to it until 2020 when the Village's finances and provincial and federal grant money may make it possible to replace it.
  • Get rid of the existing truck and purchase another used, surplus truck.
  • Continue to rent a fire truck until Village finances and grants may make it possible to replace it. 
It is highly unlikely that the Village of Beiseker could ever afford to purchase a brand new fire truck!  We have a small population and a debt load of that size would be unmanageable, in my opinion.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fire Engine Woes

Last night, Beiseker Village Council started the process of temporarily halting repairs on our fire truck until we have a clearer picture of what the truck needs to become serviceable again.

photo by Bill Church, via Flickr
We have been renting a replacement truck until ours is back. You will recall that our truck was purchased a few years ago to provide Beiseker with a reliable fire engine for its hard working fire department.

It turns out that our new truck was built specifically to service auto racing tracks in the southern United States.  When it arrived here it had no block heater and no cab heater but it did have a huge air conditioner!

Fitting our new fire engine out to survive in our sometimes-less-than-hospitable weather has proven a challenge.  Fire engines pump water.  Water freezes!  Keeping water lines and the big pump serviceable during the winter months is very difficult.

What to do?  Some councilors want to cut our losses and sell our new truck and buy another one more suitable to our climate.  Others want to repair and continue to "winterize" our existing truck and keep it for a few more years, or until a suitable grant presents itself to replace it.

As a rate payer, what do you think we should do?  Let me, other councilors, and/or the Village Office know what you think should be done to solve our latest Fire  Engine Woes!

March 1/2017:  I've posted an update for this post, here - Clarifications on the Fire Engine.

Monday, February 27, 2017

MADD's Difficult Road

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) are leading the push to stop drunk driving.  They are joined by police services and authorities across the country to convince those who drink to "take a cab or phone a BFF" instead of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Here in Alberta we've all been stopped by a Check Stop as the authorities try to get drunk drivers off the road.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find any sober person who would say it's OK to drive while drunk!  The problem is, that reason and logic go out the window when those same folks have a few drinks!  How often have you heard, "Oh, I'm OK to drive" when you suspect the opposite is true?  Trying to convince those who have been drinking not to drive is the huge task presenting itself to MADD!

The campaign has been quite successful in reducing the number of drunk drivers on our roads but we still get many reports of vehicle accidents where drivers had a high blood-alcohol level.  A recent incident during the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans brings the problem front and center once again.

I don't have a solution outright to this problem.  Maybe breathalyzers at exits to bars might help.  Maybe we could encourage the wider use of those devices fixed to a car's ignition switch which disables the vehicle it the proposed driver blows a specific blood alcohol level. Maybe a larger campaign to encourage people to declare a designated driver or leave the car at home if you plan to drink would help.

Whatever the answer, I applaud MADD for their work and wish them even more success in their fight against drunk drivers.  Their message is an important one and we need everyone to heed it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Future of First Avenue

Beiseker village council has been pondering over what to do about the "back road" into the village.   The back road is an extension of First Avenue, south past the Public Works yard, and connecting with Range Road 261 after leaving the Village limits and entering Rocky View County.  The county's section of the road connects with Highway 9 south of the Village.

This road is a pothole breeding ground!  We've spent lots of money patching and re-patching that short stretch of road, running from the bridge to the CN rail tracks.  The County paved their portion of the road south of the railway tracks, but the village can't afford to do that.

It has been suggested that we remove the battered and pothole-ridden pavement and return the road to a gravel road.  I'm concerned about the dust blowing into town from a graveled road, but this may be our only option going forward.  Environmental concerns and rules prevent us from using many dust proofing products that we may have in the past.

We already have a dust problem along the extension of the Beacon Heights Road, south past the Grasslands entry.  Almost half of the complaints I receive are about the potholes on the back road and the dust along Beacon Heights Road.  It has been a hot topic at Town Hall meetings, too!

Quite frankly, I don't have a solution to the problem.  The back road is one of many entrances to the village.  Maybe we can live with one dusty one!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Things Happening Around Beiseker

I'm sorry that I haven't written here for a while.  Here's some catch-up:

Fire Chief Bob Ursu Retires

Council reluctantly accepted Chief Ursu's resignation at our January 23rd council meeting.  Bob has pulled our fire department together and made it a well oiled machine!

Our Fire Department is the envy of many municipalities.  I think I speak for all of Council when I say that we are very proud of Bob Ursu's work and our Fire Department.  In retirement, I hope Bob is able to spend more time with his family and doing other endeavors he enjoys.  Thank you for your service to the Village of Beiseker, Bob!

The Bassano Station Fiasco

I am again on the warpath regarding the burned-out Bassano Station.

It's been sitting there for two years with little or nothing done to it.  It's time for something to happen!  I don't know what that might be, but we can't leave it the way it is!

I've written to our Prime Minister because it was the Federal Government who gave the Centennial Railway Museum society almost $500,000 to simply restore the station building;  the building was actually moved to its current site by a moving company, free of charge!  More on this later.

New Fire Chief

John Martens, our new Fire Chief has assumed his duties in Beiseker.  We hope to see him at our next council meeting to give us his very first report.

Congratulations John!  We look forward to working with you in keeping the Beiseker Fire Department the envy of a large number of municipalities.

Irricana recreates its Economic Development and Tourism Committee 

I was pleased to read that Irricana has started taking steps to get its economic development and tourism committee going again.  This incentive will prove a bonus to that community.

We have seen the affects of Beiseker's economic development groups.  They have had a very positive influence on our business community!  We also have to remember that what's good for Irricana is also good for Beiseker!

Beiseker Village Council's Strategic Plan

Village council met to discuss plans for 2017 a couple of weeks ago.  No surprise that our plans concentrate on repairing our water valves and upgrading our streets.  We have limited funds available so we must be very careful we get the biggest "bang" for everyone's tax buck!  Stay tuned here, too.

Fargo continues on

I'd like to personally thank you all for being so patient and cooperative with the Fargo production team.  They busily turn Beiseker into Eden Valley - and then turn it back to Beiseker just as quickly when filming is completed for that time around!  Well done everyone!

That's all for right now.  I promise to write here more often!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Jane Fonda's Visit to Alberta

Last week, actress Jane Fonda came to Alberta to tell us how to manage our petroleum resources!  She said flying over the oil sands extraction areas made her physically ill.  She told us to stop this terrible industry, right now!

I wonder how much actual research she did on the problems of oil extraction in the Athabasca Oil Sands.  Did she base her comments on strong scientific evidence?  What qualifications does she have to tell us what to do?  I personally don't think she has any right to come here from California (which isn't known for it's pollution free environment) in a private jet fueled by petroleum products to tell us we're all going to heck for what we're doing to the environment! 

I have doubts that she understands the situation!

Wasn't it Jane Fonda who went to North Viet Nam during the war, sat in an anti-aircraft gun and pretended to shoot and kill American airmen?  My case rests!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Tired of Climate Leadership Plan Ads

I'm totally sick and tired of those Government of Alberta adds on TV touting the wonderfulness and the benefits of our new carbon levy and the Climate Leadership Plan.  I don't know if they're trying to convince us or them!  I also find them somewhat insulting!

I've worked hard and paid taxes since I was about seventeen.  I figure that I've earned a few comforts in my life.

Instead, I'm being asked to drive less, turn my thermostat down, shower in cooler water, buy expensive local groceries, pay more for less recreational facilities, and pay more for doing all those things!  Yes the world has to lower its carbon footprint, but are we going about it the right way?

I'll just be glad when the Alberta Government runs out of our money, and can't afford these commercials any more!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Welcome to Eden Valley, Minnesota!

Photo by Elvis & Donna Chow, via Facebook
Beiseker is now acting the role of Eden Valley as they film (or tape, or whatever they do nowadays) the upcoming third season of FX Networks' award-winning TV show, Fargo.  Some changes have been made to our Main Street as it's made up to look like the show's setting of a small mid-western town in North Dakota.

I haven't been 'round to see the production crew at work, yet, but I see the evidence of their labors all around.
I am very pleased that parts of Fargo are being shot here!  For me, it's just one more way to show everyone that Beiseker is here, we're friendly and we're open for business!  See you on TV!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Volcanoes and the Carbon Levy

Boy, did I ever kick up some dust with that comment about carbon dioxide and volcanoes in my last blog!  

I stand by what I said!  There are scientists who agree with me and probably an equal or greater number of scientists who say I'm full of it!  And they don't mean CO2!  The argument is something akin to arguing who left the barn door open after the horse escaped.  

In my opinion, the truth of it is that the carbon levy will do nothing for the environment.  It will however, make friends for our Premier in some circles, so she can push for the pipelines!  Maybe that's a good thing!  And even if the new tax did work, the affect on overall carbon dioxide levels in the earth's atmosphere would be negligible at best!

Ah well, I guess the Premier can say that she tried!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Here we are on the second day of 2017!  How's it going for you so far? 

As of yesterday morning we've all started paying the NDP carbon levy.  According to my unscientific calculations, it could cost us living in rural Alberta over $100 a month extra!  I'm looking forward to applying for the rebate.  I expect that most rural Albertans will be eligible for a full rebate, after all we do not have the luxury of public transit and services "around the corner"!  We have to use our vehicles to get around!

Next year at this time it will be interesting to hear our Premier's  report as to the success of the new sales tax on fuel in the province.  I wonder if she'll mention the following;
  • Most of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere comes from volcanoes which are exempt from the NDP tax.
  • Alberta is responsible for less than 2% of the man-made carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
  • There is no suitable replacement available for fossil fuels, and likely won't be for many years to come.
  • The simplest and easiest carbon dioxide recovery system are plants, especially trees!
  • More and more states in the world are giving up on carbon taxes in favor of other more sensible ways of curbing carbon dioxide emissions or recovering carbon dioxide..
This year will  be an interesting year in Alberta.  Happy New Year!