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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.”


Crime was up marginally in 2022 from 2021 for the Peace Regional RCMP. “Officers in the Peace River region responded to 6,370 calls for service in 2022,” says Const. Mitch Guenette, community liaison officer. “Overall, there was a slight uptick of around one per cent from the previous year.” He notes police value partnerships with […] ...More

BC island says ‘feed everyone’ is answer to climate change

Quadra Islander Ramona Boyle is rummaging through cardboard boxes when her friend lets out a triumphant shout. “Look at this!” exclaims Dood, known by a single moniker similar to Madonna, plucking a package of thick-cut bacon from a box and waving it in the air. “This normally costs at least 15 bucks.”  Boyle peers into […] ...More

A Manitoba bill to create a virtual registry of teachers — resumés and disciplinary records included — has been touted as a step towards transparency, but the profession’s largest union says it must be tossed to protect its members’ rights. “Absolutely, we need to keep kids safe, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of […] ...More

Both the Government of Alberta and a rural municipality’s lobbying group seemed to agree with the oil and gas industry this past week that unpaid property taxes in industry are becoming a problem. The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) which lobbys for rural municipalities in Alberta Mar. 7 released a statement titled, “Another year, another […] ...More

Northern housing program ‘A good program, we would like it back’

“We moved in here September 28, 1989,” says elder Martha Hickes, sitting beside her husband, elder Robert Hickes, at their dining table on a fall Saturday afternoon in Rankin Inlet. She lets out a giddy laugh, smiling at the memory and her ability to recall the date without hesitation. Nearly 35 years later, their home […] ...More

Grey Highlands council cost $210,285 in 2022. At its meeting on March 15, council received the annual remuneration report that documents all pay and expenses received by members of council in 2022. Total remuneration paid to the 10 members of council who served during the year was $181,304 and total expenses were $27,322. Some members […] ...More

Nunavut website on poverty promotes gambling after hijacking

Searching the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction on the internet will quickly lead one to The first headline on the site reads, “Nunavut Roundtable on Poverty Reduction Through Online Gambling.” It goes on to explain that one of the biggest challenges in Nunavut is poverty and that the territory is coping with high unemployment […] ...More

A 10-year-old girl from Markham, Ont., is taking aim at one of the tiniest, most ubiquitous bits of plastic pollution — the stickers on fruits and vegetables. Maya Thiru is the face of a campaign lobbying for Canada to find another way to identify produce. While the small, plastic labels attached to fruit and vegetables […] ...More

Acknowledgment of the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people of Canada should be included in the municipal oath of office, Peterborough County council decided at its Wednesday meeting. But a suggestion that allegiance to King Charles be removed from the oath, made by Joe Taylor, mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, was not approved. […] ...More

Prince Rupert BC fisherman gets almost $50,000 for illegal catches

A four-time convicted commercial fishing offender is on the hook for $49,704.68 in fines and banned from fishing for eight months, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced on March 14. Adrian Slavko Kern pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in Prince Rupert Provincial Court on Oct. 31, 2022, the DFO stated in a press […] ...More

​The Radical Stitch contemporary exhibit is currently on display at the Art Gallery of Hamilton until May 28 and will be scheduled to tour at various locations throughout Canada until 2025. Organized and circulated by the Mackenzie Art Gallery, the exhibit showcases Indigenous beadwork ranging from traditional items, including clothing and jewelry, to more contemporary […] ...More

Immigration ‘trainwreck’ possible as Canada has jobs but no housing

Canada’s plan to open its doors to hundreds of thousands of immigrants will be a “trainwreck” if the Trudeau Liberal government does not come up with a comprehensive housing solution for the newcomers who are needed to fill jobs in the country, experts say. Housing affordability and availability are the key issues of concern for […] ...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.