MOST VIEWED STORY
The most viewed story on The Stettler Independent website in 2018 was “Red Deer RCMP investigate suspicious death in Stettler” in April.
A deceased male was found inside a home and police asked the public’s help in locating a white 2008 Ford F-150 truck, which belonged to the victim.
On April 7 at about 8 p.m. the suspect vehicle was located near Wetaskiwin. Two adult males and two adult females in the truck were arrested at the intersection of Hwy 13 and Range Road 254. They were taken into custody in connection with possession of property obtained by crime.
John Roland Savage, 51, appeared in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench via CCTV from Red Deer Remand Centre
Sept. 10 facing charges of aggravated assault stemming from 2016.
A trial is set for May 16-17, 2019, in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
MOST COVERED STORY
The issue most reported on in the Stettler Independent in 2018 was Paradise Shores RV Resort along Buffalo Lake.
In January the County of Stettler received a permit application from RV Sites Canada to rezone and develop an area located between Buffalo View Estates and the Summer Village of White Sands. The proposal was for 800 RV lots and about 370 stalls for Phase One.
The summer villages of Rochon and White Sands filed a dispute against the development. In addition, both the County of Lacombe and Camrose filed letters of concern over the proposed RV park. A petition by a grassroots group of county ratepayers against the developed collected about 1,000 signatures. They opposed the size, scope, density, and land use planning of the RV park.
The summer villages later dropped their dispute after they agreed to a reduced density of 750 RV stalls at the Paradise Shores development.
In March, about 400 people attended a public hearing in Stettler for the proposed high-density RV development. Twenty people spoke against. Only the developer spoke in favour. The county received 32 letters of support and 121 submissions against. Opponents say the development will destroy their peaceful area, create safety issues and lower their property values.
In June Stettler County approved their development permit application for the proposed 800 RV site project on 110 acres of land.
About 80 people attended Stettler County’s Subdivision Development Appeal Board (SDAB) merit hearing Aug. 16 to give opponents of the development one last chance to appeal the development permit application the county approved in June. It was adjourned until Sept. 18-19. The SDAB closed the appeal hearing Oct. 24.
In November, the SDAB made its decision, reducing the size of the lots from 750 to 168.
In response, in November the developer of Paradise Shores filed an appeal with the Calgary Court of Appeal into the SDAB decision to slash the size of its development.
David Hamm filed the appeal citing lack of procedural fairness after the SDAB reduced the number from 750 to 168 sites last month. In his affidavit, Hamm said Paradise Shores “has already invested several million into the acquisition of the lands for the RV park the production of environmental and other reports and site preparation costs” and added that they will lose “half to two-thirds of the expected revenue from the loss of rentals of RV sites as a result of the reduction.”
STETTLER – A TOURIST DESTINATION
• Stettler Board of Trade’s 10th Annual Steel Wheel Stampede kicked off June 7 and ran until June 9 with lots of family entertainment on the
Stettler Agriculture grounds. Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Jerry Sinclair was honourary parade marshal.
|Aaron Mercer, 26, fighting a bull during the freesylte event at Stettler’s Steel Wheel Stampede June 7. (Lisa Joy/Stettler Independent)|
|Sydney Windack of Maple Creek, SK, gets 18.73 in the Ladies Barrel Racing event during a rodeo event at Stettler’s Steel Wheel Stampede June 8. (Lisa Joy/Stettler Independent)|
|Ladies of the Heartland at Stettler’s parade June 8 during the 10th Annual Steel Wheel Stampede. The Ladies of the Heartland are an eight-member team based out of Central Alberta. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)|
• All aboard! Climbing onto Stettler’s Alberta Prairie train for a five-hour journey you immediately sense you’re venturing into the past, a simpler time. The railway excursion has become a major tourist attraction drawing thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.
|Dora Franzke, from Rostock, Germany, right, along with other passengers, relax in the lounge passenger car during the train excursion July 29. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)|
• Stettler P & H Elevator Preservation Society’s hosts its annual fall supper Aug. 25, which attracts people from the region and Central Alberta.
|A threshing demonstration during Stettler P & H Elevator Preservation Society’s annual fall supper Aug. 25. The Little Giant is a hand-fed machine and only one of three known left in North America. It was originally powered by horse treadmill. It was restored to operating condition in 2014 using eastern hard Maple. Its threshing capacity is up to 20 bushels per hour and has a cylinder speed of 1,000 rpm. The threshing maching is powered by a 1912 International Harvester engine. It is a 10 horsepower gasoline engine with a single 300 rpm cylinder. It was restored in 2014 and weights 3,700 pounds. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)|
• The 2018 Provincial Masters Curling Championships were held in Stettler in February. Eight men’s teams and seven ladies’ teams competed to see who would represent Alberta at the Masters National Championship.
• The Stettler airport celebrated its 50th anniversary as part of its 42nd annual Fly-in Breakfast on Sept. 3. Residents watched as the planes came in, had breakfast, and got rides in a plane. Commemorative mugs were sold to mark the 50-year anniversary. The airport has been in its current location since March 13, 1968.
|Delaine Stewart of Big Valley flips eggs during Stettler Airport’s 50th Anniversary Fly-in breakfast Sept. 3. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)
• The magical Polar Express continues to draw thousands of tourists to Stettler. More than 10,000 visitors rode the train during the 2018 Christmas season. This is the third year for Stettler’s Polar Express. Alberta Prairie Railway in Stettler has rights to re-enact Tom Hanks fantasy/adventure Christmas classic The Polar Express.
THE ARTS ALIVE AND WELL IN STETTLER
• In May Rosie and the Riveters, who had released their latest CD, Ms. Behave depicting a woman’s struggle in a man’s world, performed in Stettler during their North American tour.
|Rosie and the Riveters perform in Stettler at the Performing Arts Centre May 6. The group consists of Allyson Reigh, Alexis Normand and Farideh. (Lisa Joy/Stettler Independent)|
• Stettler’s Renegade Station toured Canada after releasing its fifth album Along for the Ride June 8. The group – all from Stettler – consists of Kent Nixon on lead guitar and vocals, Luanne Carl on bass and vocals, Scott McKnight on drums and vocals and Russ Carl on guitar, mandolin and vocals.
• The Alberta Estonian Heritage Society (AEHS) celebrated 100 years of the first independence of Estonia at an all-day event in Stettler County.
About 300 people from across Canada attended the St. John’s Day Celebration on June 23 at Linda Hall complete with dancers from Estonia.
Many Estonian emigrants came to Stettler County in the early 1900s.
|Dancers Janne and Toomas Kuuskla from Estonia for the AEHS Estonia 100 Jaanipaev Celebration in Stettler County on June 23. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)|
• Stettler and Old McDonalds Resort were the location of a macabre comedic television and web-based series, Abracadavers, airing in the fall. Alberta filmmakers Griffin Cork, Morgan Ermter and Josef Wright started production May 7 of season one of their road-tripping, comedic series filmed on location across Alberta and B.C. They filmed in Stettler May 14-15.
In July a Stettler woman, a mother of five and grandmother of 11, has won the Red Deer Hospital Lottery dream home worth $874,895.
I’m just ecstatic,” said Debbie Greiner from Stettler.
|Stettler resident Debbie Greiner won the Red Deer Hospital Lottery dream home this year alongside her husband Miles. The $874,000 Red Deer dream home is located in Lancaster neighbourhood. Photo by MAMTA LULLA/Advocate staff|
STETTLER PRODUCES ELITE ATHLETES
• Two-time Canadian Champion Bullrider Scott Schiffner, 38, gets the final salute at the Calgary Stampede. Schiffner is from Stettler and now lives in Strathmore. He was the highest money earning bull rider in Canada. Schiffner announced his retirement from the rodeo circuit during the Calgary Stampede.
On July 12 the professional bull rider announced he was retiring at the end of the 2018 rodeo season.
Schiffner was called the “winningest” bull rider in Canadian rodeo history who had more wins than any bull rider in the country.
• Hometown Stettler cowboy Riley Warren was the 2018 Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) High Point Champion after an exciting week of competition. Warren tied for first place in round one of the tie-down roping, catching his calf in 7.8 seconds, winning him a $10,530 payout.
The 45th annual CFR was held in Red Deer this year for the first time, at the Enmax Centrium at Westerner Park from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4.
The title of high point champ goes to the competitor with the most earnings in two or more events.
• Curtis Cassidy of Donalda had a 3.6 second run on his first go-round winning $26,230 at the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cassidy went to the NFR as the number one ranked steer wrestler in the world.
• Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston scored 90 points in saddle bronc riding at the NFR. Thurston, a three-time World Champion, won $11,000
and is fourth in the aggregate and seventh in the world. Halfway through the NFR Thurston,
in a press release, said he was happy with his performance so far.
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo went from Dec. 6 – 15 in Las Vegas.
• Stettler’s Elizabeth Morton, 10, won gold at the Northern Alberta Long Course Swimming Provincials.
About 270 swimmers attended the meet at the Kinsmen Sports Centre in Edmonton from June 15 to 17. Morton was the only qualifier from the Stettler Tsunamis Swim Club.
• Stettler Wildcats went their entire season undefeated. The Wildcats defeated Drayton Valley Warriors 28 – 7 during their last game of the season Oct. 19.
The Wm. E. Hay Secondary Campus Wildcats football team defeated the Sylvan Lakers 45-12 on Nov. 3, to win the Central Alberta
High School Football League Rural Conference Championship title.
“It was a very good feeling,” said Norbert Baharally, head coach. “I’m very happy for our guys and our whole organization.”
Baharally credited the team’s success to the players, parents and football community.
“We couldn’t do it without their support and encouragement.
• The Heartland Youth Centre (HYC) held its 26th Annual Awesome Auction, with about 310 people attending and about $85,000 raised. The HYC is home to Stettler and area Boys and Girls Club and the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs.
• Stettler Festival of Lights committee raised $109,558 with the money going towards the Stettler Hospital.
“The generosity of this community is always overwhelming,” said Amy Roberts Chairperson of the Stettler Festival of Lights Committee.
The Stettler’s Festival of Lights fundraiser went from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1. This year’s donations brings the 21 year total raised by the Festival of Lights for the Stettler Health Services Foundation to $1,160,646.
• On Sept. 12 about 50 people celebrated the kickoff of Stettler’s Community Orchard in the green space east of the mall. The Stettler community orchard was a work in progress over the last several months and features more than 200 trees and about 1,200 perennial flowers.
Robert Spencer, chair of the Heartland Beautification Committee, spearheaded the project.
CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Stettler Waste Management Authority (SWMA) held a grand opening for its mattress recycling centre at the waste transfer site on June 5 giving Stettler and area residents somewhere to dump their unwanted, old mattresses.
HONOURING THE VETERANS
• Stettler IODE held its first annual No Stone Left Alone Ceremony Nov. 6 at the Lake View Cemetery.
The procession was led by bagpiper Stuart Somerville, Stettler RCMP Sgt. Phil Penny and Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry Cpl. Dane Graham, as well as many local IODE members and local dignitaries including Mayor Sean Nolls, Reeve Larry Clark and UCP candidate Nate Horner.
• The sacrifice of the veterans in Stettler’s Lake View Cemetery won’t be forgotten and to make sure, the IODE Stettler Frontenac Chapter placed white crosses near the tombs of more than 120 soldiers. The project was spearheaded by IODE member Peggy Duncan.
• The Regimental Pipes and Drums participated in Stettler’s Remembrance Day Service at the Performing Arts Centre Nov. 11.
TOWN AND COUNTY OF STETTLER TACKLE ARISING ISSUES
• Smoking cannabis will only be allowed in private residences in the Town of Stettler.
During its regular meeting on Oct. 2 the Town of Stettler council voted in favour of banning smoking cannabis in public places.
• Stettler County council voted against a lenient cannabis bylaw in favour of more restrictive regulations. A smoking bylaw dealing with cannabis presented by administration was defeated. Instead, a revised and more restrictive amended bylaw proposed was passed. The amendment included a change in the definition of public space. The definition will be expanded to include streets, sidewalks, green spaces, walking trails and outdoor recreation areas. The current definition defines a public place as sports fields, recreation facilities and outdoor areas.
Sign, sign everywhere a sign
The issue of whether or not to allow signs along Hwy 12 and 56 through town has been an issue in Stettler for almost a decade and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
In 2010 and 2014 looked at survey results. In 2010 and 2014 the majority – 86 percent and 81 percent respectively – were in favour of portable signs.
But the opinion of town residents seems to be shifting against allowing signs.
Stettler town council approved a bylaw re-designating land along Hwy 12 through town identifying it as parkland, meaning no portable or inflatable signs allowed from 5804 – 47 Ave. to 5100 – 47 Ave.
The town had complaints that the signs may distract drivers. Council reviewed the bylaw after getting numerous complaints about the dozens of signs within the town’s boundaries.
An agricultural disaster area
• In October Stettler County declared the county an agricultural disaster area after seasonal dry conditions and bad weather have affected crops and delayed harvest. This not only affected grain farmers but also cattle producers.
Coun. James Nibourg brought the issue to council during their regular meeting Oct. 10. Coun. Nibourg said he had numerous ratepayers call him asking why Stettler County isn’t on Alberta Agriculture’s prescribed list of drought and flood regions. Being on the list allows farmers, through the Federal Livestock Tax Deferral program, to sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding and defer a portion of the money to the next year. In addition, many farmers can’t get their crops off the field because they were under snow.
• On Oct. 31 the federal government stepped up and listed the county as a prescribed region for the Livestock Tax Deferral Provision, which means farmers can sell part of their breeding herd because of drought or flooding and defer a portion of the money to 2019. This reduces the producer’s tax burden. To defer income the herd has to be reduced by at least 15 percent.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY ABOUT AREA POLITICS
• The United Conservative Party (UCP) disqualified UCP Drumheller – Stettler candidate Todd Pawsey as a candidate for making jokes about transgender people, making extremely sexual/ sexist comments and calling Premier Rachel Notely a queen beyotch.
Pawsey said the UCP had access to his social media from the start of his nomination. He appealed but the Nominations Committee unanimously agreed not to hear the appeal.
• Nate Horner won the United Conservative Leader (UCP) nomination for Drumheller – Stettler, beating current MLA Rick Strankman.