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It’s Groundhog Day!

Readers might recall last year, it was a mixed bag of news as far as our northern Alberta groundhog observations went.
Those critter fellas and ladies who slept in were greeted with sunshine breaking out about 10:00 A.M. Those who were up bright and early as dawn was breaking around 8 were greeted with overcast skies. In other words, the early risers did not see their shadows. The late risers did.

The well known story goes, if the Groundhogs (also known as woodchucks)
see their shadows on Groundhog Day, frightened, they scurry back into their dens. There, they snooze away for another six weeks, while winter weather goes on and on outside.
Of course, there are all kinds of predictions, just from groundhogs, right across Canada, North America, and in fact the world……click here for rest of story





JANUARY 21, 2022 – The province is making changes to license plate renewal it says will accelerate auto theft investigations.

As of Wednesday this week, motorists are required to report lost or stolen license plates before requesting a replacement plate from registry agents.

Early reporting of lost or stolen plates allows police to be on alert for licence plates that may be used for illegal purposes, the province said Tuesday.

“A lost or stolen licence plate is not just frustrating for the owner, it can create larger problems if it is used in criminal activity,” said Nate Glubish, Service Alberta minister. “One of those risks is to the safety of law enforcement officers who benefit from having the most accurate, up-to-date information when conducting roadside stops.”


Four major childhood health conditions may be connected to the early development of a kid’s gut bacteria, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital. Kids who develop eczema, asthma, food allergies and/or hay fever may do so because the development of their gut microbiome was disrupted, according to the […] ...More

The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Board (NLCB) has hit popular Iqaluit restaurant the Storehouse Bar & Grill with a $5,000 fine for contravening the Liquor Act, it revealed in a Sept. 7 news release. During a recent show cause hearing, the restaurant plead guilty to one charge of contravening the act by permitting intoxicated persons […] ...More

Canadian nonprofit helps Afghan women share stories of their journeys to Canada

Afghan activist Farzana Sarwari delivered a speech about justice in 2016 that was viewed online by more than 350,000 people. She spoke against the Taliban, calling for an end to the kidnappings and killings associated with the fundamentalist political and religious group in her country. While Sarwari received much admiration for her speech, she also […] ...More

Punkeydoodles residents raise more concerns about traffic safety

Oxford County has made an improvement to one dangerous intersection in Punkeydoodles Corners, but area residents are putting pressure on Oxford County to come up with a permanent solution to make the entire area safer.   Shannon Snyder and her family live right beside the intersection where a young local woman lost her life nearly […] ...More

A disciplinary panel unanimously dismissed a former law dean’s 11th-hour request Monday to delay a public hearing into accusations he embezzled funds from the University of Manitoba. Lawyer Jonathan Black-Branch cited mental-health reasons for the request to delay. More than four months ago, the Law Society of Manitoba — the legal profession’s watchdog — set […] ...More

Sentences were handed down to two people of the four people who took part in the “brutal and senseless” kidnapping and torture that lead to the death of Nature Duperron. On Sept. 11 Justice Robert Graesser sentenced Buddy Underwood and Tyra Muskego at the Court of King’s Bench in Edmonton. Underwood was sentenced to a […] ...More

55 regional KIA soldiers honoured

The Italian Campaign during the Second World War happened 80 years ago, and this past weekend 55 regional soldiers who were killed in the battles during the liberation of Italy were honoured.  The Veterans Memorial Gardens & Interpretive Centre hosted a ceremony on Saturday honouring all who fought and died in the Italian campaign, including […] ...More

People with ‘extreme’ drug addiction should be forced into rehab: minister

New Brunswick is looking at creating a law that would allow police to force people with an extreme drug addiction into treatment, a controversial measure that would upend a decades-long policy of encouraging only voluntary rehabilitation. Public Safety Minister Kris Austin said the Progressive Conservative government had decided it needed to take sharper measures, given […] ...More

Things have gone from bad to worse for Daniel Hillman.  The 58-year-old Iqaluit resident is already homeless, and on Sept. 13, accidentally burned part of his tent he lives in while cooking on his camp stove.  “I’m nervous right now,” he said on the morning his tent caught fire. “I don’t know what’s going to […] ...More

 Southgate Council has endorsed a recommendation by staff to disband the township affordable-attainable housing committee.  Last Wednesday’s staff report said that committee members have been becoming frustrated by the limits of the committee process.   Deputy Mayor Barbara Dobreen thanked council members for their passion and dedication to the cause.  Coun. Jason Rice said he still […] ...More

McDonalds bid farewell to Hudson Bay grocery store after 65 years

The McDonald name is a familiar one in Hudson Bay. For 65 years the McDonald family served the community and operated the local grocery store. Now that era is coming to an end. McDonald’s Family Foods was started by Edna McDonald in 1958. Her son Larry McDonald took over in 1972. Larry’s son Glynn McDonald […] ...More

Whose dam is it anyway?

Dams in Virgil are in need of repairs, but who’s going to foot the bill? That’s a “million-dollar question,” says a Niagara-on-the-Lake councillor. Well, the question is worth closer to half a million.  Darren Mackenzie, the town’s director of public works, told the irrigation committee it would cost about $425,000 to repair the dams. The […] ...More

Boyle Street Community Centre secures new site in downtown Edmonton

Dec 30, 2021 – (ANNews) – Edmonton Boyle Street Community Services has announced that it will be relocating to a new building downtown. 

A mid-December news release from the organization that the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society shared touts a “dynamic partnership” with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and Oilers Entertainment Group for making it happen.

The new facility is located at 107th Avenue and 101st Street in Edmonton — two blocks away from the current location — and will be open within a year. Adjacent to it is Trinity Manor, a 38-unit apartment building that has also been acquired by Boyle Street and will provide housing for its clientele.


Poverty Report charts path out of COVID for marginalized groups

Dec 30, 2021 – (ANNews) – The newly-released 2021 report from the National Advisory Council on Poverty shows a significant decrease in poverty rates, but the report cautions that this is based on data from 2015 – 2019 and thus doesn’t take into account the impacts of COVID-19.

The report notes that the poverty rate decreased from 14.5% in 2015 to 10.1% in 2019, a 30 per cent reduction over four years.

However, “the overall number conceals some of the deep inequities that exist for low-income Canadians,” the report says.





JANUARY 21, 2022 – As Medicine Hat and area dips in and out of extreme cold spells, the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association is sharing tips on how to best care for and protect livestock in frigid weather.


Town won’t renew REP screening contract

Dec 30, 2021 – Frontline staff at the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre will again be called upon to screen for the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) effective Dec. 28 after Town council decided Dec. 21 to not allocate funds for additional help.

Council was presented with a report titled COVID-19 Restrictions Exemption Program Related Security Services as part of the Dec. 21 regular meeting agenda.

It was ultimately decided by a 4-3 vote to accept the report for information, meaning the REP will continue to be implemented, but without additional staff or contracted services. Mayor Marcel Michaels and councillors Brian LaBerge, Stuart Taylor and Ryan Maguhn voted in favour of accepting the report for information put forward by Taylor, while councillors JoAnn Race, Trevor Haas and Albert Ostashek voted against the motion.


Extreme cold temperatures affect the pet population

Dec 30, 2021 – For the past two weeks, the polar vortex has been in full swing across the prairies, with Coaldale seeing temperatures around -30 and wind chills upwards of -40. The cold weather can have a crucial impact on the local pet population, with some rescues already full.

The Last Chance Cat Ranch located in Lethbridge is currently full and is asking people to help stray cats whenever possible. Elizabeth Ginn, the founder of Last Chance Cat Ranch, says it can’t provide the much-needed help because of financial constraints. The City of Lethbridge isn’t providing support to rescues either, forcing the organization to fundraise independently.


High Prairie & Big Lakes County



August 19, 2021 – A longtime High Prairie healthcare proponent is urging town council to lobby government to bring chemotherapy to the local region.
George Keay spoke to Town of High Prairie council at its regular meeting Aug. 10 in response to news that a group in Slave Lake is pushing to get chemotherapy in that community 115 km east of High Prairie.
“We have to start a lobbying group,” says Keay, who was a key leader to persuade the government to build the new High Prairie Health Complex that opened in April 2017.


Town of High Prairie served with court documents

Dec 21, 2021 – Legality of Oct. 18 municipal election challenged

UPDATE: Editor’s note – The Town of High Prairie was served with court documents Monday, Dec. 20 regarding the Oct. 18, 2021 municipal election. Barry Sharkawi says the next step in the process will be dealt with in an Edmonton courtroom Jan. 4, 2022. The story alleging an improper election was conducted Oct. 18, 2021 is below and published in the South Peace News print edition which is on newsstands today [Tuesday, Dec. 21].

A High Prairie citizen’s request to ask Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk to resign amidst improper election allegations is falling on deaf ears.

Barry Sharkawi, who lost the Oct. 18 municipal election to Panasiuk 367-314 votes, attended council’s Dec. 14 meeting to express his concerns and inform council he is considering legal action to contest the election.

“The way it was done, the way it was run, they [Town of High Prairie] have to do it the right way,” said Sharkawi, who later added, “I want to get the rights of the 314 people who voted for me.”





JANUARY 21, 2022 – “In central Alberta there’s a couple of these kind of markets and we had visited a couple of them,” said Kara. “Medicine Hat has so many great local vendors, even Alberta wide, and there’s nowhere to just have everything under one roof. So we got thinking and looking for a building, and it took us a while. I’d say we looked for about a year and then we settled on this building. We loved that it had some great, bright windows and just the location, so we took possession in July and started renos.”
“We just wanted a place where everybody could come shop under one roof and shop local,” said Kara. “We have everything from canned goods and dips, local beef to ice cream to desserts to local artists. We’ve got pottery, we have paintings, we have lotions and lip balms and salsa and locally made soap.”


Fort McMurray production company hopes Spider-Man fan film will encourage growth in local film scene
January 13, 2022 – M’Guphynn Media, a Fort McMurray-based production company, says their latest Marvel Fan Film shows how much the film industry is growing at all levels locally and across Alberta.


The fan film is called Miles Behind and follows Miles Morales, one of the many different versions of Spider-Man inside the spider-verse. Morales rescues Peter (not Parker) from a mugging. But the situation quickly gets out of control and Morales has to peacefully deescalate a tense situation before it gets violent.

The production team is entirely from Fort McMurray but was shot in Calgary to simulate New York. Matt Salem, marketing director for M’Guphynn Media, said the local film scene is a small but vibrant one that is growing. There are also more people working on their own projects and plans for larger ones to be filmed in the region.