Last updateFri, 28 Aug 2015 3pm

Former Drumheller student wins provincial entrepreneurship award

    At six foot seven, Anthony Merkel is used to towering over other players on the basketball court, but now he is also towering as a student in the business world.
    Merkel, son of Cheryl and Darryl, was a standout for the St. Anthony’s Sabres basketball team and has spent the last two years as a Medicine Hat Rattler.  The business student founded the aptly named Elevation Landscaping and last week was named a 2013 Alberta Provincial Champion of a student entrepreneur national championship.
    Anthony, along with another student from the University of Calgary were named champion by Enactus Canada, and the John Dobson Foundation. He will be competing this week in Calgary to be regional champion, hoping to move on to the National contest.
    The 20-year-old student began his company with a partner in the winter of 2012 and quickly learned perseverance when the pair had a falling out. He continued with a successful season targeting high-end customers in Medicine Hat. The same drive that propelled him on the basketball court drives him in business.
    Last spring he was awarded the Medicine Hat College Johnston Morrison Hunter and Co. Entrepreneurship Award and received up to $10,000 in start-up funding plus mentorship opportunities.
    According to a press release from Enactus, Anthony was awarded the provincial prize because he is “striving to make a difference in his community and enjoys working directly with his clients to realize their vision. Elevation Landscaping provides full-service landscaping services to customers throughout the greater Medicine Hat area. They help clients put their property’s best foot forward by providing world class service and unique landscapes.”
    If Anthony is successful in the regional competition, he will win $1,000 plus a chance to compete at the national competition in Toronto. The national prize is $10,000 and to represent Canada in an international competition.
    Whatever happens in the competition, one sure thing is Anthony will have a busy summer landscaping before hitting the books and the basketball court in the fall.

Drumheller couple warns of potential parking scam

    Editor’s Note: Before Drumheller Mail staff interviewed the victims in this story, they had asked for anonymity, citing not wanting to provide the ticket issuers with any more information than they already had obtained. This happens on a rare occasion, hence their identity is withheld for this story.

    A Drumheller couple was left dumbfounded recently after receiving an overdue notice for a parking ticket apparently received when visiting Calgary on January 17.
    However, the couple, who did not wish to be named, claim they were not even in Calgary that day, or for the whole month of January for that matter.
    The late notice, received on February 26, was sent from Diamond Parking, a parking company operating in Canada out of Surrey and Edmonton. The notice claims the couple received a ticket while parked at 104 street and 80 avenue northwest in Calgary on January 17. It also states they owe $105.
    The couple did recently go to Calgary, but on February 21, over a month after the parking ticket was dated. It was then, they suspect, someone took their licence plate number and later found their mailing address.
    After receiving the notice, they headed online and found similar stories.
    “We didn’t even get a ticket, we got a letter saying we were late paying for a ticket,” said one of the couple. “I had a bad, gut feeling that something wasn’t right. I went on the internet and that’s where I found other stories.”
    What they found recommended to keep an eye on your credit rating, if necessary, only contact them by letter, ask them to physically prove you were there, and, most importantly, do not pay.
    CBC in British Columbia reported similar occurrences to motorists in Vancouver in September of 2012.
    Diamond Parking Regional Vice President, David Potter, admits mistakes do happen, but is willing to work to resolve any issues.
    “It happens infrequently and, when we do, we immediately correct it. Sometimes it can be as simple as someone writing down a zero instead of an ‘O’,” said Potter. “People can go to our website and call me and we can straighten things out. They can also send an email, fax, or phone our parking services offices in Surrey. We are very open to listen to and settle any issues as fast as possible.”
    Diamond Parking operates parking lots in Edmonton and is contracted to patrol the lots of various businesses who only allow customers to use their parking. They find a few common mistakes.
    “It’s usually people who are surprised they are not allowed to park some place. For example, they didn’t see the signs. For pay parking lots, people decide to not pay or overstay their time,” said Potter.
    For the Drumheller couple in question, they received their ticket in Calgary. However, Potter admits they do not operate in that city.
    “No, we are not in Calgary,” said Potter.
    The Drumheller couple hope other residents who have had the same experience come forward and contact the RCMP and be skeptical of similar notices appearing in their mail.
    “There are a lot of people from Drumheller who go into Calgary to see a doctor or just shop,” said one of the couple. “It’s better to get it out there, so if anyone else runs across this, they know it’s not just them.”
    If anyone has a similar experience, contact the Drumheller RCMP at 403-823-7590.

Valley featured on CBC’s Ron James Show

    Drumheller was in the spotlight recently on CBC’s The Ron James Show.
    Last summer the iconic Canadian comic was through the valley to film a segment for his show called “Ode to the Road.”
    James told The Mail he owes his career to the road. While he has a successful television show that is now in its fourth season, he still puts on a travelling show.
    “It took me a long time to get busy at this gig. Once I did and got some wind in my sails, I embraced it,” said James. “That is the load stone. I have a major cross Canada tour planned for this fall coming up… from B.C. to Newfoundland.”
    “This is how I built my brand, one town at a time touring this country. I built a great appreciation for people and places and that is what we are trying to do with these little “road odes,” is to tip my hat to these places that I have put my bags down in.”
    James was busy when he was in Drumheller in July. He visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the hoodoos and the little church to name a few.
    “What I admired was that brilliant museum you have, that is where the majority of my material is,” he said. “They took us behind the doors where they keep everything, it was incredible, a 12-year-old’s dream.”
    He adds that he enjoyed the Homestead Museum during his visit.
    “It’s the kind of museum that represents the personality of the people,” he said.
    One museum he tried to visit but was unsuccessful was the Big Valley Creation Science Museum. He said the operators of the museum went online to learn more about Ron James and saw a clip of one of his routines where he poked fun at Sara Palin.
    “I think I said her womb was as fertile as the green valley of Canaan,” he laughs.
    Suffice to say his invitation was declined.
    This was James’ first time in Drumheller and said he enjoyed the landscape and was all set to trek through Horse Thief Canyon when the weather turned cold. He envisions enjoying cycling through the valley.
    “I would like to bike through there to tell you the truth, because when you come over that rise  and you see the river below you, it’s gorgeous I love that little ferry (Bleriot) too. I would definitely come back.”

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