Politics, elections, and kids – the newsmakers of the first half of 2015

Twelve months can go by quickly, and before you know it another year has come and gone.

Twelve months can go by quickly, and before you know it another year has come and gone. On the cusp of 2016, the Stettler Independent looks back at the first half of the year’s top stories.

Say hello to Tanner, Stettler’s New Year’s baby – Jan. 14After nearly two weeks of waiting, Stettler has the first baby of 2015, a baby boy named Tanner.

MLA welcomes public to Stettler open house – Jan. 21Nearly a month after a mass defection to the Progressive Conservatives left Alberta’s official opposition with just five MLAs, Rick Strankman said the Wildrose Party is still rebounding from the blow.

Athabasca woman wins trip to Hawaii as Alberta’s Most Loving Person – Jan. 28Madena Reimer has survived two bouts with cancer and just recently lost her best friend and mother to the disease, so when her name was drawn from the hat as Alberta’s Most Loving Person, she was reduced to tears.

Trustees approve new configuration for Stettler schools – Feb. 4Trustees have approved a motion that is expected to result in major changes for the distribution of grades in Stettler’s public schools for September 2015.

Stettler teens challenge town to meet vital need – Feb. 11It’s easy for Canadians to take water for granted – living in a land that’s home to one of the largest supplies of fresh water.

Kids taker charge as SRC host Family Day activities – Feb. 18Today’s kids are surrounded by electronics from an early age, with strollers being outfitted with iPad holders and schools working to incorporate new technology in their curriculum.

Local group headed to Guatemala on service – Feb. 25In the New Testament, James appeals to Christians to “look after orphans and widows in their distress,” calling that the essence of “pure and faultless” faith. A group of Christians from Stettler is taking those words to heart as they prepare for a week-long trip to Guatemala City in July.

Worst collision in 20 years, says fire chief – March 4There were no deaths or serious injuries in a multi-vehicle pile-up on Highway 12 on the bridge between Stettler and Erskine on Monday, March 3, but RCMP Sgt. Duncan Babchuk said that was luck.

Mayor returns to council – March 11For the first time in 2015, the mayor’s chair at the council table was taken by Mayor Dick Richards. Richards, who has been sick since the start of the year, said he was glad to be back, and took the time to thank everyone on council for making sure his absence didn’t impact the work of the town.

County passes contentious bylaws – March 18The county council chambers were full to the brim for the public sessions regarding two Buffalo Lake bylaws on March 11, one which passed unanimously and one which split council down the middle.

Dancers and singers take the stage at CARS – March 25It was a busy weekend at the Stettler Performing Arts Centre as more than 600 dancers took part in the Catch a Rising Star festival.

New county office consistent concern in town hall meetings – April 1The new county office and shop project came up at each of the county’s town hall meetings last week as residents expressed concern that the money spent on building a new county office and shop would be money not-best spent.

Trade Fair introduces kids activities for 35th anniversary – April 8When the annual Stettler Board of Trade’s Trade Fair takes place this coming weekend, it’ll include a wide variety of children’s activities on each day of the event.

Annual tradeshow a boon for kids – April 15The 2015 edition of Stettler’s annual Trade Show brought a lot of activity and fun, mostly for kids coming to see the prehistoric special guest, alongside new businesses to many vendors and exhibitors.

Province, school boards fight over reserves – April 22When school boards found out access to reserve monies was now available to the boards — monies squirreled-away or fundraised by the schools — by ministerial approval only, they reacted immediately.

Candidates grilled over budget, education – April 29The three candidates vying for the responsibilities of MLA for the Drumheller-Stettler riding were in attendance at the Stettler Community Centre on Monday, April 28 to present their platforms and defend their parties.

NDP wins landslide, to form majority government, Strankman re-elected – May 6Voters in Alberta awarded the New Democratic Party of Alberta a resounding victory and demoted the Progressive Conservatives to the position of the third ranking party in the provincial legislature in a historic shift of political fortunes.

Town and county agree on long-term recreation funding – May 13The Town of Stettler and County of Stettler signed an agreement on Wednesday, May 6 resolving their differences over the funding of the recreation facilities to allow continued access to rural communities of the county in Town of Stettler facilities.

Byemoor hosts regional 4-H Show and Sale – May 20Big Knife’s Kathryn Dolliver swept the major awards at the heifer show at the 4-H Beef Show and Sale in Byemoor this past Monday, May 18.

Town formally approves budget – May 27At their May 19 meeting, Stettler town councillors approved the final version of the 2015-16 budget.

Gas line construction replacing old, outdated system – June 3Construction adjacent to Main Street will be wrapping up later this month, and will see old and outdated gas lines replaced by newer, more resilient versions.

Awesome Auction rocks around the clock raising money for kids – June 10It was a trip back to the ’50s for supporters of the Heartland Youth Center at the annual Awesome Auction on Saturday, June 6, as people opened their wallets and their hearts to boost Stettler’s youth programs.

Date change boosts stampede numbers – June 17The wet and windy weather and drop in temperature couldn’t offset the boosted attendance, both in competitors and audience, at the annual Steel Wheel Stampede.

County celebrates its history at 60th anniversary party – June 24The rusty old steel box, the vault at the original County of Stettler building, isn’t an exciting sight until one takes a moment to look at the inside door. The vault was removed when the old office was torn down, with the reeve and council of the day taking a moment to leave inspiring messages written on the inside of the door.

Part II of the 2015 in review will be in next week’s edition.

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