Looking back at highlights of 2014

A man who lost his entire family in a farm fire east of Castor just weeks before Christmas is devastated about the deaths

  • Dec. 31, 2014 3:00 p.m.
Stettler Mayor Dick Richards (with scissors) prepares to cut the ribbon in front of the Hub

Stettler Mayor Dick Richards (with scissors) prepares to cut the ribbon in front of the Hub

Jan. 1: Farm family deaths suspicious

A man who lost his entire family in a farm fire east of Castor just weeks before Christmas is devastated about the deaths and tired of the suspicions.

Jan. 7: New Year’s baby arrives

Stettler’s New Year’s baby didn’t arrive right at the dawn of the New Year, but was still the Stettler area’s first baby of 2014. Saphira Nola Hofer made her way into the world one minute before midnight on Jan. 2.

Jan. 15: Town’s CAO to end long run

Longtime Town of Stettler CAO Rob Stoutenberg is stepping down after 27 years at his post. After June 2 of this year, he plans to go on to experience new adventures.

“It wasn’t easy to make the decision, but you have to take a look at your own circumstances and say, ‘At what point in your life do you want to switch gears?’ ” Stoutenberg said Tuesday in announcing his decision.

Jan. 22: County: ‘We do feel vindicated’

The County of Stettler welcomed Elections Alberta’s ruling Tuesday that it didn’t violate election financing bylaws in the 2012 provincial election.

The Wildrose Party accused the county of contravening the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act by using staff time or county vehicles for former PC MLA Jack Hayden’s campaign.

Jan. 22: Stettler entry among Alberta art stolen from Las Vegas competition

When Andrea Hatch of Stettler’s Cabinet of Curiosities went to Las Vegas last week to compete in a picture-framing contest, she didn’t think her visit would end in a police station.

Hatch and Cathie Antoniuk of Onoway both submitted pieces in an international competition put on by the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA). And out of all the pieces in the competition, their works were the only ones stolen.

Feb 5: Hip-Hoppin’ to tackle bullying

Josh Blumhagen is anything but a bully, but the Halkirk native played the role to perfection in a music video released online last weekend.

Blumhagen, 17, also showcased his smooth hip hop dancing ability in the anti-bullying video, which features Edmonton urban-pop vocalist ESMA.

Feb. 12: Students chart healthy course

The Clearview school board is meeting with school councils Thursday to discuss education issues.

School board chairman Ken Checkel said the board tries to meet with the school councils at least once a year, though sometimes there’s not enough interest to plan a joint meeting.

Feb. 19: Winnie’s world marks milestone

For 25 years, children and teenagers bursting through the doors of the Heartland Youth Centre’s doors have seen many different faces, though one has remained the same. This year marks the 25th year for Winnie Bissett as the centre’s executive-director.

Feb. 26: Switenky to take over as town CAO

The Town of Stettler didn’t have to look far to find a new chief administrative officer. Assistant CAO Greg Switenky has been chosen to replace current CAO Rob Stoutenberg, who plans to retire in June.

March 5: Budding scientists showcase puzzling projects

Students from Stettler Elementary School’s Grade 5 Science Club gathered in the entrance foyer and adjacent hallways last Friday to put their hard work on display for the annual science fair. Twenty-eight projects were completed by almost 50 students, science club teacher Rob Howell said.

March 12: Internet shortage snags town

Town council and local businesses are trying to find a solution to an Internet shortage affecting Stettler.

“Obviously, I want the problem fixed yesterday, but that’s not going to happen,” Mayor Dick Richards said Monday.

March 19: Stettler police officer bound for RCMP musical ride

This May, Const. Sarah MacQuarrie will leave the Stettler detachment for Ottawa, where she’ll take her place as one of the riders in the RCMP’s legendary musical ride.

March 26: Bailey prepares to bid farewell to Clearview

Clearview school division superintendent John Bailey will remain a member of the “Clearview family” for only four more months.

“He’s done great, he’s been a great superintendent,” said board chair Ken Checkel. “We wish him well as he moves on to Foothills.

April 2: Music festival underway

Stettler-area performers are ready to show off their talent at this year’s Stettler and District Music Festival.

“We hope it will go really well,” said festival committee president Sherry Rempel. “I guess it just depends on how prepared the students are.”

April 9: Hard work celebrated at SRC Grand Opening

If there was a theme that was constant on Saturday, April 4 during the grand opening ceremonies at the Stettler Recreation Centre, it was that everyone involved contributed hard work, extra hours, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

It was a beautiful spring day, full of sunshine and warm breezes, as people gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the SRC, the Hub and the Library.

April 16: Exhibitors show off their stuff at annual trade show

The recently opened Stettler Recreation Centre was buzzing with activity April 11 to 13 as exhibitors from all over western Canada showed off their wares over the course of the three days.

April 22: Full house for annual music festival

After a week of performances and competitions, the top acts brought their shows to the Performing Arts Centre in Stettler on April 15.

The show saw the best acts in the various categories – speech, vocal, band, piano, musical theatre and dance – performed before a packed audience.

April 30: Points West Living celebrate grand opening

After opening its doors last July, Points West Living officially opened on Monday, April 28. Points West residents greeted the guests at the door, and juice and snacks were on offer.

May 7: Stettler Rotary Club gearing up for 90th anniversary

For the past 90 years, members of the Stettler community have donated their time and money through the Rotary Club to help better the local community, province, and international community and next week, the club is looking to celebrate its past.

May 14: Transparency, cost-cutting big issues at school board meeting

The school board’s transparency was a divisive issue at the May 8 meeting, with trustee Yvette Cassidy opposing the majority regarding the level of openness adopted by the governing body in the face of public interest.

May 21: Late start to seeding unlikely to affect crops, says county

Spring has been a slow time coming, but now that it’s here, farmers are out seeding their fields, working at times around the clock just so they can have a bit of breathing time before starting on weed control.

May 28: Club members learn work ethic, respect at beef show and sale

4-H members from around the area congregated in Stettler for the Stettler District 4-H Beef Show and Sale on May 19 and 20 with many kids being rewarded for their hard work.

June 4: Flames devour Stettler structure, vehicles

In just the few minutes it took Brandon Thompson to go from his father-in-law’s garage to the house and then back to the garage, the few flames licking at the door of the garage across the alleyway had turned into a raging inferno.

June 11: Awesome Auction brings in the bucks

It was the best evening at the beach to be found indoors at the Stettler Community Centre as the community gathered for the Heartland Youth Centre’s annual Awesome Auction on June 7.

June 18: Main Street becomes home to painters, musicians at annual Art Walk

Main Street Stettler became one big art gallery over the weekend, with local artists showing off what they do during the town’s annual Art Walk.

The event, which was organized by the town and Cabinet of Curiosities owner Andrea Hatch, took place on Saturday, June 13, and Hatch hopes that the event will get the word out about Stettler’s many artists.

June 25: Pedestrian bumped, bruised, but OK

A few bumps and bruises is all a Stettler pedestrian has to show after being struck by a 2014 Dodge pick-up truck on Thursday, June 14, at the intersection of 50 Street and 49 Avenue.

Part 2 will be published next week.