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Wed05272015

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14 area youth earn Duke of Edinburgh bronze rewards

14 area youth earn Duke of Edinburgh bronze rewards

    Wednesday night, 14 outstanding youth were recognized for their initiative and dedication, receiving the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze pins and certificates.
    The first ever Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards ceremony in Drumheller was held at the Badlands Community Facility. The program was introduced to local students last fall and 140 signed up.  Of these youth, 14 from Drumheller and Starland County were the first to meet the requirements for the first level.
    Jack Schneider, division president of the Duke of Edinburgh awards presented the awards.
    “Drumheller is the first of a completely new way to receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Canada. I am really proud of it,” said Schneider.
    He said the awards are universal and about building character.
    “It is a program available to every youth, regardless of physical or mental capabilities, everyone can participate. It is not about winning an award, the key word is achievement,” he said. “The young people set their own standards, gaining something else.”
    He explains that each young person learned through experience by completing the program which includes pursuing a hobby, completing community service work, building a personal fitness component and taking on an overnight challenge, will be pushed outside their comfort zones.
    “They extend themselves and achieve something… and they are proud of it,” he said. “That is what leadership and character building is all about.”
    He says that beyond the personal rewards, is the value of the award in the future for the youth. He explains the award shows others in the community, such as employers or educational institutions, the person has worked hard and achieved something with their own initiative. He adds recipients enjoy an instant international camaraderie.
    “The award is practiced in about 150 countries and this pin is really an amazing pin. When you travel in those countries, someone will recognize you,” he said. “The value is that all of these young people have gone through the same project …and there is a bond there, a connection right away.”
    Schneider himself earned a gold Duke of Edinburgh award as a young person. He said the program tracked the success of former award winners and the results were enlightening.
    “The statistics are significant about how kids further their academic educations. If you volunteer at a young age, you tend to volunteer for the rest of your life, if you are in better physical shape when you are young, this also tends to continue,” he said
    The Duke of Edinburgh’s introduction to the area is part of the Community Youth Challenge. This is a partnership between the RCMP and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. It was piloted in Drumheller and Fort McLeod.  Now it is established in Red Deer as well as other locales in western and northern Canada. Schneider said there is great interest, but they need to completely develop the program before they introduce internationally. The interest is already growing across the country.
    Staff Sergeant Art Hopkins says the Duke of Edinburgh awards have a value in the community as it engages youth.
    “During my 35-plus years service with the RCMP, I have been posted in many different communities, some as small as 140 people and some the size of cities. One of the biggest realizations I have made through my service is that there is less crime in small communities where the youth and adults are engaged within the community,” he said. “The Duke of Edinburgh Awards supports these beliefs.”

Town lobbies province for penitentiary RCMP officer

Town lobbies province for penitentiary RCMP officer
    A recent dialogue between Drumheller elected officials and the Solicitor General of Alberta may help pave the way for a provincially/federally funded RCMP officer to be stationed full time at the Drumheller Institution.
    At the most recent Alberta Urban Municipal Association meeting, Councillor Jay Garbutt had the opportunity to speak with the Honorable Jonathan Denis, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety of Alberta.
    “I got a chance to ask the minister is there an opportunity for partnership here, given that it is in the Province of Alberta’s and the Government of Canada’s best interests a position such as this exist,” said Garbutt.
    From that initial meeting, Garbutt was referred to an assistant who encouraged the Town of Drumheller to send a letter outlining the proposal.
    “He was at least interested in finding out more and one of his assistants was able to follow up,” said Garbutt.
    So far, no response has been received.
    The request came from discussions over the past five years about having an RCMP member full time at the penitentiary, one that would be funded by the provincial or federal governments.
    “We’ve been asking for a provincially funded member for the penitentiary since I arrived here in 2007,” said Staff Sergeant Art Hopkins. “We’ve demonstrated to the various levels of government there is a need.”
    The Drumheller RCMP currently have a member at the penitentiary on a part time basis. The goal is to gather intelligence on activity, such as gangs, in the penitentiary, and handle offenses that occur there.
    Generally, offenses, such as assault, were only punished by removing privileges and is not reflected on the inmate’s criminal record. Due to the presence of an officer part time, crimes at the institution have been prosecuted.
 “There have been an extra 4,470 months of penalties awarded to inmates over the past three years. That’s a significant amount," said Staff Sergeant Hopkins.
    The benefits of having a member at the penitentiary part time comes at a cost. The member is funded by the Town of Drumheller and the time at the penitentiary takes away from duties in and around Drumheller.
    Garbutt added the burden for a federal institution should not fall at a municipal level.
    “I’m just not sure the tax payers of Drumheller should be paying that cost. It sounds like the people of Alberta and Canada would all equally benefit, so why should we pay?” said Garbutt.
    It is hoped a response will arrive shortly and a dialogue will continue so the officers working part time at the institution can focus on other areas, such as school resource officers, community policing, and crime prevention.

Cenovus donates $100,000 to Drumheller Firefighters

Cenovus donates $100,000 to Drumheller Firefighters

    The Drumheller Fire Department was elated Tuesday morning to receive a donation that goes a long way to making members safer.
    Cenovus donated $100,000 to the fire department. The department has directed the funds to be used for a complete change out of their Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).
    “By Cenovus giving us this $100,000 it has certainly helped us and the municipality in a huge way,” said Fire Chief Bill Bachynski. “The taxpayer didn’t bear that burden.”
    The department will be receiving 19 new Scott Air-Pak 4.5 SCBAs. These replace the department’s current equipment, which is roughly 30 years old. The new SCBAs are lightweight and double the capacity, allowing firefighters 45 minutes of air when battling blazes. The new units are also equipped with a Man Down Alarm, which sounds when it detects a lack of activity. The equipment also has Pak Tracker, which allows a downed firefighter to be located in an emergency. The masks have a heads up display, which shows the operator’s SCBA reading right in the mask.
    Leanne Courchesne, Community Investment Advisor for Cenovus said the donation fits its approach of investing in the community.
    “We are happy to make the contribution back to the community of Drumheller. Part of our three focus areas where we give back is health and safety, so it was a great fit to give this money back to the department,” she said, adding the donation will serve the broader area where Cenovus operates.
    Mayor Terry Yemen expressed his appreciation for the donation. He said having state of the art equipment at the ready for emergency responders allows them to work with a higher degree of confidence.