Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The rural life is for me

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood were made on my uncle's daylily farm near Orono, Ontario. Henry Lorraine and his late partner Doug Lycett started the business to breed daylilies, and once a summer hold a public open house to debut and sell their new flowers. Several times when I was a child, my mom and I travelled to the farm to lend a hand during the open house and visit family.

I lived in the suburbs but even as a child, I knew I preferred wide open spaces and through these occasional visits to the farm, I discovered I enjoyed working on the land. My cousins and I were "runners" — whenever a customer placed an order at the farmhouse, it was radioed to the gardeners in the fields, who dug up the plants, bound them, and gave them to one of us to run back to the farmhouse.

Daylilies only bloom for one day, so at sundown we would walk up and down the rows of plants, deadheading the day's blossoms to make room for the buds that would bloom the following morning. It seemed to me an idyllic way to live. That may be a little naivety on the part of a city girl, but it inspired in me a lifelong dream to marry a farmer — which, as I've grown up (and fallen in love with a man without a single rural bone in his body), has translated into a dream to at least own land someday.

Until I gather the capital to make that dream a reality, I have to settle for events like the one pictured above: a celebration of the newly-approved carbon-free village in Leduc County. The project is not expected to break ground until the fall, but the designers held a potluck on June 27 to give the project partners — and potential future residents — an opportunity to see the property.

We also helped plant some donated trees on a section of the land designated to become a future nature reserve for all the residents of the village to enjoy.

I may have unnerved Leduc County councillor Reinhold Ortlieb with my enthusiasm for digging holes, as he kept cautioning me not to break the shovel in the hard clay ground. I can't help it — give me dirt and an open field and something green to lavish with TLC, and I'm good to go.

Bobby will have some more photos from the event in the July 3 Rep.

Vacation countdown

It has been years since I have been on a vacation and even though I (usually) really enjoy my job, I just need a break!
I have been working at the Rep for more than a year, with no vacation. The summer before I started I was interning here, with no vacation. The summer before that I was working full time saving up for school, with no vacation.
As of Friday July 3, I can stop complaining, because I get an entire week and one day off. This is the week and one day I have been looking forward to since I called dibs on it about 10 months ago.
I decided to save my first holiday for this exact week for one simple reason: CALGARY STAMPEDE.
Growing up I would go to Stampede every year with my family. I usually enjoyed traveling on the C-Train more than any of the rides, and usually ended the day vomiting thanks to the few rides I did go on, but it was some of the best times of my life.
Since I have turned 18 and been legal to drink I have not had the opportunity to go, but this is my year.
To make things even better I will get to see some friends and family I haven't seen in months and some close friends from Leduc will also be making their way there.
We have some big plans that include beer gardens, midways, shopping, nachos and early breakfasts to help us get ready to do it all again. And the best of all Reba McEntire, a concert I missed out on two years ago because I got the summer position here, with my good friend from SAIT Torie.
Somehow, Torie got us row 7 tickets, and I have been counting down the days since I found out.
So in just a few days I will be throwing all my laundry into a few garbage bags to take home for my mom to wash, putting on my drinking boots (actually flip-flops, boots just sound more appropriate for Stampede) and get my new cowboy hat ready for a long week that I can guarantee will end up with me broke and sleep deprived.
Thinking about it at work I would probably have more time to myself, I would get more sleep, save a lot of money and I wouldn't have any of those mystery bruises I always end up with.
But I cannot wait! 
I should probably take a vacation from my vacation, because my predictions are I will end up coming back to work even more worn out than I am now and I will need a break more than I do now.
The only thing I know I will be able to do when I get back is what I do now, rush to the office after I sleep in, leave all my work to the last minute and beg to go home early. 

Friday, 26 June 2009

Temporary relief?

A rain squall blows over Nisku near the Edmonton International Airport June 26, bringing much-needed moisture to the area. Leduc County council is considering declaring the county a disaster area in order to obtain government relief for drought-stricken farmers. Council will monitor the situation and make a decision at their July 14 meeting.

Photo by Alex Pope

Twittering Anonymous

I am the type of girl who enjoys the simple things in life like my family, friends, my dog and trashy magazines with all the latest Hollywood romours. 
I find myself often going online to check my messages and three hours later know everything that happened that day with my favourite Celebs.
When I first heard of Twitter I was certain I would never join. I felt like Twitter would be replacing Facebook, and in my heart nothing could replace Facebook.
Before my roommate moved out we would talk about everything and she would always keep my updated on Taylor Swifts rapping career, When Kristen Stewart was hanging out with Robert Pattinson and everything to do with Kendra Wilkinson's wedding. 
One week ago, my roommate moved out. And immediately had the urge to join Twitter. Last night I lost the battle and became a Twitterer. 
And in less than 24 hours I have become addicted. 
Sure my little sister had to teach me how to do everything, and I still haven't changed my status once but I absolutely love it!
Not only can I stay updated on what my favourite celebrities are doing but I can follow the news and Perez Hilton!!
The best part is that my editor can't tell when I am online the days she takes of. 
Currently I am following about 57 people. I am pretty sure I know 2 of them.
So if anyone has and idea of someone interesting I should follow or if you have any advise on Twittering let me know, I am LauraFayeRing. 
And make sure you don't forget to follow the Leduc Representative - Leducrep.

Weekly Roundup — June 26

Here's what's making news in Leduc and area this week:

• Leduc County councillors engaged in a little verbal sparring over a Pigeon Lake subdivision approval at their June 23 meeting.

• Meanwhile, confusion about what an area structure plan is temporarily derailed a public meeting in Pigeon Lake last week, with many residents saying they felt awkward about the role of developers in the process.

• Black Gold Kennels are currently overrun with cats in need of loving homes (and it would make Laura's life if you would adopt one).

• The ongoing drought is taking a toll on local farms and U-picks this summer.

• The City of Leduc is planning to bid to host the 2012 National Special Olympics.

• Based on her experience in the aftermath of the Prairie Professional fire, Laura outlines the importance of tenant insurance.

• The ROMPS playplace is looking for a new home after their space was destroyed in the Prairie Professional fire. Also, a fundraiser will be held June 30 for a young family who lost their home in the fire.

• Bobby has a story on what you can find at the Leduc Farmer's Market.

• This week we have two stories on "green" housing developments in the county — the first by Edmonton-based alternative energy consultants Carbon Busters, the second a condominium development near the airport.

• Two residents of New Sarepta have filed a petition for the village to undertake a dissolution study, which could see the village simply become a part of Leduc County instead of a separate municipality.

All this and more in the June 26 issue of the Rep!

(Photo: Five-year-old Danika Manion checks out her face in a mirror after having it decorated by a Boys and Girls Club volunteer at the second annual Soccerfest, a free afternoon of fun and entertainment for youth held by the Leduc Minor Soccer Association on June 20 at Lede Park. About 1,000 people were treated to free meals, activities and goodies. Photo by Carole Morris-Underhill.)

Monday, 22 June 2009

The fluff of dreams — Part 2

I've heard it said that Canada has only two seasons: winter and July.

Well, I've realized that Alberta also has only two seasons: snow and fluff.

I've thanked God every day this month that I don't suffer from allergies, because this is ridiculous:

I snapped this pic in Irene Parlby Park in Edmonton because that is a ridiculous amount of fluff. I could make a fluffball or a fluffman out of those fluffbanks.

There is a certain species of tree that apparently reproduces via fluff:


Weekly Roundup — June 19

Here's what's making news in Leduc and area this week:

• The community is helping the victims of the tragic Prairie Professional apartment fire pick up the pieces, while the fire department continues its investigation into the cause of the blaze.

• A group of young boys raised money for the victims with an impromptu juice stand.

• Laura's life was touched by the fire as well, an experience she wrote about in a column this week.

• The editorial this week also focuses on the incredible generosity of residents in the wake of the tragedy.

• As Bobby blogged last week, Alberta Liberal leader David Swann is critical of Bill 44.

• At the last EDA breakfast before summer, Travel Alberta vice-chair Bob Normand told everyone not to worry for the province's tourism industry.

• Leduc is ready to get co-operative — housing, that is.

• Your life is not complete until you've enjoyed a hot dog from the Leduc Community Living Association's outdoor vending cart.

• Across the county, Calmar is trying to cut down on misuse of its skatepark. The town also enjoyed a very successful diabetes walk. Also, the New Sarepta Municipal Library came in under budget last year.

• A local teen is preparing to showcase her pinup-inspired paintings in the upcoming Whyte Avenue Art Walk.

• Drugs are still bad for you — take it from Mike Ryan of Clean Scene.

This week was stacked with news and events, so pick up a June 19 Rep for more.

(Photo by Kate Hamilton)

Thursday, 18 June 2009

A visit from the Swann

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann, left, stands with his assistant Bryan Wade at the Best Western Denham Inn during his stop in Leduc on June 15.

Earlier this week Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann paid a visit to the Best Western Denham Inn to come talk about some issues to whoever wanted to do.

Myself and five other citizens from Leduc were waiting patiently for the MLA from Calgary to arrive and he finally did around 3 p.m. One of the other people that was waiting for him said something along the lines of "he's late, he must be a politician" and I chuckled a bit. Swann did apologize for being late and being as busy as he is I definitely could let it slide.

We were ushered into the restaurant at the hotel and we all sat down for some coffee and a chance to voice some of our problems that we hoped Swann would have an answer for. The five other people that showed up to meet Swann voiced their opinions on some issues like car insurance and the title word 'Liberal' of the Liberal party. 

When I got my chance to speak to him I wanted to see what his opinions were on the situation with the Conservatives and the economic update. He was very much in favour of Ignatieff and felt that the advertisements against the Federal Liberal Leader were very offensive and not needed.

“Like many Canadians I’m very offended by the attack ads on Ignatieff, and I don’t think these ads show what Ignatieff is trying to accomplish,” said Swann.

The key issue was employment insurance. This whole issue got resolved yesterday and thankfully there will be no election in the summer, but we could be out voting come fall so who knows how good this new panel will be for the government.

The opposition had proposed that the government should lower employment insurance eligibility to 360 hours, which works out to 45 workdays. 

Swann also went on to talk about Bill 44 in which he was strongly against and for a good reason.

“This bill is not only offensive to the teachers but also to young people who want access to have information and be free to discuss it, debate it and get to their own conclusions with their families about what is true and what isn’t,” said Swann, leader of the Alberta Liberal Party.

He was very adamant the Alberta government didn't give a free vote like the premier had said. 

“The premier said it was a free vote yet not a single one of them went against it, so that just shows you how free it is,” said Swann.

Swann also comments about Bill 44 on his blog.

Leduc Comp goes CAR-AZY!!

461 names were entered into the Leduc Composite High School's "Stay in School, Stay on Course" draw. Each time a student had perfect attendance for a whole month of the school year — no absences, no lates — they were entered into the draw. The prize? A souped-up 2007 Chevy Cobalt courtesy of Murray Chevrolet. Check out the video above for the winner's priceless reaction — and Laura's cameo!

And for full coverage of the draw event, check the June 19 issue of the Rep!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Help victims of Prairie Professional fire


Updated: More HERE.

FOOD DONATIONS: Leduc and District Food Bank Association, 4810 49 Avenue, Leduc. Info: 780-986-5333.

CLOTHING DONATIONS: Second Glance Clothing, 5607 50 Street, Leduc. Please no donations until Wednesday.

LARGE ITEM DONATIONS: Register with Leduc FCSS Victim Support Line: 780-980-7181.

MONETARY DONATIONS: ATB Financial Leduc Branch, 4821 50 Avenue under the name Prairie Professional Fire Victims.

Photo by Laura Ring

Mom's muse

Makayla Walchuk, 6, was all too happy to pose for her mom Tricia Moskal at the official grand opening of Moskal's photography studio in Leduc June 13. Photo by Alex Pope.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Weekly Roundup — June 12

Here's what's making news in Leduc and area this week:

• The manager of a local Chevrolet dealership says GM's decision to terminate their sales and service agreement is "unfair" and an inaccurate reflection of the store's recent sales record.

• A new website hopes to bring closure to families of missing persons.

• The children of Southfork finally have a park.

Accessibility is a key issue in the construction of the new Leduc Recreation Centre.

• A local team is preparing for the upcoming Ride to Conquer Cancer in Calgary.

• In county news, Leduc County councillors want residents to be aware that an application has been filed to develop a gravel mining operation on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, Warburg reviewed its financial audit, and Epcor hopes its new project will make its Genesee generating station a world leader in clean energy and carbon capture and sequestration.

• In sports, the LCHS Tiger rugby boys are hoping for redemption in the Tier 2 provincials, the Bantam Ticats football team has wrapped up their spring training camp, the Otters swim team is winding down their season after a strong showing at a recent meet in Red Deer, and it's charity golf season again.

• Alex has an omnibus edition of provincial court briefs, including a man who racked up $4,500 in fines stemming from one drunken ride through Beaumont and a man who stole tip money from a bartender to play the VLTs.

(Photo: Cheryl Agostinho, wife of the late Cst. Jose Agostinho, and Kool Mom Shannon Moroz unveiled the temporary sign dedicating the brand new Southfork park to Agostinho's memory after the park build on June 6. Agostinho, who was killed in the line of duty on July 4, 2005, while serving as a member of the Wetaskiwin RCMP, believed passionately in helping children become good citizens and loved Leduc, friends said. Photo by Alexandra Pope.)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Trouble Dog

Me and my dog Zoey have a love hate relationship.

She loves to chew up everything she can get her paws on and I hate to replace and the random items she destroys.

Don't get me wrong; I think I have a great dog that is very smart. But that’s her problem, she is just too smart for her own good.

It has been months since she tore apart the back seat of my car, and since then she has been sticking to socks and sandals. 

The other day I was preparing for what I knew would be a long day of layout at work.

I noticed Zoey and Twix (my roommates Chihuahua) were being oddly quiet. Usually when they are together Zoey is chasing Twix trying to get him to play with her, or he is growling and trying to attack her.   

I walked into my living room only to see Zoey looking scared to death with my fairly new glasses hanging out of her mouth. She dropped them the second she noticed me and ran to the back door.

I punished her, locked her in her kennel and left for work. 

This was the same day I decided it was time to sign Zoey up for obedience classes.

I was surprised to learn the six-week course would be about $130, which is good since I had to pay $200 to replace my glasses.

When I cam home from work I was still furious, but like usual she was cute, playful and wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I gave in, forgot about all the money I could be saving for a nice trip but instead had to spend on fixing all the stuff she broke, and played with her all evening and told her what a great dog she is and how much I adore her. (What can I say, I am sucker for her one floppy ear and the way she jumps around the second she thinks I am going to play with her.)

June 16 is the big day. She will start classes and hopefully chewing on socks, glasses and car seats will be a thing of the past.

I am not expecting for a miracle, just hoping, and maybe just maybe she will finally learn her name!


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

With the greatest of ease

Ashley Schiewe completes a jump on her horse Twice As Smooth during the open pre-training show jumping at the Beaumont horse trials, held at the Beaumont Ag Fairgrounds on June 6. Photo by Alex Pope.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Weekend madness!

I just had the most intense and tiring weekend workday I've had since I started working for the Rep. It's almost summer in Leduc and the surrounding area, so of course every weekend is stacked with outdoor events, and this one was no exception.

I went to an equestrian show and Timbits soccer jamboree in Beaumont, met some amazing young people who are making a difference in Devon at the Servus Credit Union Leaders of Tomorrow awards, and saw bad fashion and drunken baseball converge at the 37th annual New Sarepta Fair.

It was also an historic day in Leduc: the Southfork Moms (by far the Koolest moms in the city) realized their dream of having a playground in their own neighborhood for their kids to play on. Construction started at 8 a.m. and by 3 p.m. the park was full of kids swinging, sliding, running and climbing. It was inspiring to see how hundreds of volunteers could make quick work of the very labour-intensive building process, all with the best interests of the kids at heart.

It was fitting that the build happened on the anniversary of D-Day, because the park has been named for the late Jose Agostinho, who was not only an RCMP officer who gave his life in the line of duty on July 4, 2005, but also a former commanding officer of the Leduc 831 Black Knights Air Cadets Squadron and a huge proponent of the cadet program. The park is a fitting testament to his commitment to encouraging children to grow into helpful, respectful, active citizens of their community.

Check out the June 12 Rep for full coverage of the build. And also check out the Beaumont News and the Devon Dispatch, our sister papers. We share a lot of content but they also contain exclusives contributed by the Rep's staff. We're all one big, happy family.

And because no one reads this blog, I have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about posting this as a final thought: my very own LOLcat, starring Loki, the baddest tabby in Renaissance Place.

Weekly Roundup - June 5

Here's what's making news in Leduc and area this week:

• We went all Edmonton Sun-esque on our front page this week with this story.

• The International Region has been voted the best place in Alberta to do business by Venture Magazine.

• What's the 211? Our summer intern, Bobby Roy, knows.

• Leduc County councillors are urging the county's subdivision authority to treat all residents fairly after a development was approved in the Wizard Lake area despite the fact that an area structure plan has yet to be completed for the region.

• In other county news, New Sarepta has released an overview of their finances in advance of their 2009 budget, Calmar is cracking down on speeders,

• Leduc's Storefront School is undergoing a change of name and location.

• I am so proud of this cuteness.

• Alex interviewed the retired cop who helped take down an armed robber at CIBC on April 7.

• A provincial court judge had some harsh words for a man who pleaded guilty to dealing marijuana in Leduc.

• The Rep has kicked off its auction to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Leduc.

• Everyone is invited to learn about Leduc's history at the Grain Elevator this summer.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Steer smooch

Sadie Hofstra leans in to give her steer a smooch after receiving the title of Grand Champion Steer at the Leduc 4-H Beef Club's Show and Sale at the Leduc Recreation Centre June 1. (Photo by Alex Pope.)

Bloomin' Leduc

I have this fascination with taking pictures of plant life in its various states of bloom and barrenness throughout the year. I've done frosty berries in the fall, ice-encrusted trees in winter and budding branches in early spring. This has got to be the prettiest season yet, though:

This is a bush right outside the entrance to our office. Not sure what it is, but it's lovely.

I really feel like we've earned this spring, considering two weeks ago another bush outside our office looked like this:

Welcome to spring in Alberta!