Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The spirit of giving is strong in Leduc

Year after year, I am always surprised by the things people do for Christmas gifts. Parents go out of their way to find the specific toy of the season for their child, spouses search high and low to find that ‘perfect’ gift for their significant other. Then there are those who give more than just a gift card by donating their time or making a financial donation to a non-profit group.

Although I am not a fan of the commercialization of Christmas and the need to buy, buy, buy, I do enjoy giving people thoughtful gifts this time of year more so than receiving. I know, it sounds cheesy and has been used before, but I truly do enjoy trying to think of something unique and thoughtful for everyone on my list. Although many revert to gift cards for their loved ones (which there is nothing wrong with), I make it my mission to try to remember a random conversation I had with someone or think of something my parents might have mentioned in passing. I often found it’s the details and putting enough effort into a gift that makes for a good one.

And in recent weeks, I have noticed that many Leduc residents do exactly that. Whether it’s a local business donating time and money or volunteers giving their time during this holiday, I have noticed that Leduc area residents work really hard at making sure others have a great holiday. Businesses donating their time and profits to local organizations, free Christmas dinners for the less fortunate and people collecting toys for children in the area are just some of the examples of Leduc residents’ kindness.

I’m sure many residents are already aware of the community’s collective big heart and take pride in the spirit of giving found in the community, as they should. It’s refreshing to see. It reminds people that everyone adds to the collective generous spirit of a community and it shouldn’t be up to a couple of corporate sponsors to continue to support the local food bank or women’s shelter. It should be everyone that helps out and in my opinion, it seems Leduc overall is a pretty generous community.

Although many wish people would show their generous natures’ year-round, I think it is a good thing the Christmas spirit of giving —whether you celebrate the holiday or not— generally comes once a year. It is a reminder that there is more to life than opening presents on Christmas day and if we are willing to spend a few dollars on a gift card, why not spend the money on something we can all use: happy people this holiday season.

Happy holidays!

Monday, 12 December 2011

It's Tebow Time whether you like it or not


Bobby Roy

The Extra Point

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Denver Bronco’s quarterback Tim Tebow had a section of his own terms in the dictionary by the end of this season.

“Tebow,” “Tebow Time,” and “Tebowmania” are a few of the terms starting to appear each weekly miracle performed by the former Florida Gator, Tebow.

And just when you think the hype, criticism, interest and play surrounding Tebow should start to simmer down, the most talked about player this NFL season keeps giving people reasons to talk, gossip and stare in awe about.

What he and his team have been doing on the field recently are being called miracles and for good reason.

Dec. 11’s 13-10 overtime victory over the Chicago Bears at home is latest, craziest miracle performed by Tebow and the Broncos.

It’s a game they shouldn’t have won, but the Broncos have heard plenty of that talk in their current six game-winning streak.

“He did what?” “Did that just happen?” How is that even possible?”

Those are some of questions I asked watching the improbable unfold in the 13-10 Bronco win.

With his team down 10-0 with less than three minutes to play in the game and with no timeouts, he engineered a drive where he completed seven of seven passes, culminating in an easy touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas to cut the lead down to three.

An unthinkable mistake by the Bears’ runningback Marion Barber gave Tebow and the Broncos the ball back and a chance. A few throws later and the Broncos had a realistic chance. A 59-yard field goal try with three seconds left? No problem. Tie game and we’re headed to overtime.

The Broncos lose the toss and the Bears drive into field goal range. Maybe the miracle is finally over? Wrong. Barber proceeds to do the unthinkable again, fumbling the ball on a third down play to give the Broncos the ball.

It’s Tebow Time.

Two completions later and the Broncos are well within their kicker’s range — a 51-yard field goal attempt.

It could have been good from 70 and the Broncos win their six straight and most amazing win of the streak.

Amazing. Stunning. Unbelievable.

Those are just some of the words that come to mind looking back at the game. But those words have been following Tebow around for the past eight games.

Since taking over for the then 1-4 Broncos, Tebow is 7-1, but his passing numbers have been less than convincing and he still isn’t receiving respect from players, fans and media around the league.

In those eight games he’s only gone over the 200 passing yard mark twice —202 against Minnesota and 238 against Chicago (he was 3-16 after three quarters).

The Bears’ Brian Urlacher called him a good running back afterwards.

His numbers are anything but impressive.

In the first three quarters that is.

Tebow is 18 of 24, 191 yards, one touchdown, and no picks in the fourth quarter and overtime. He is clutch when it comes to crunch time, no doubt about it.

And he’s captured anyone and everyone who follows the NFL. There’s just something about Tebow’s aura that has accrued him more and more followers every week.

He was criticized before he got the job, while he has the job and will be, no matter how the Bronco’s fairytale season ends.

And he should be, because I’m (and I’m sure there are plenty of others) not convinced he is and will be a great quarterback in the NFL.

The Broncos’ defense, timely offense and special teams are the reason why they are on a six game winning streak and in control of the AFC West.

But maybe people expected too much on what kind of player Tebow would be when he was drafted. He’s been compared to the likes of John Elway and other great quarterbacks, but he doesn’t share the same qualities.

He has shown he is a running quarterback first and foremost, but he comes up big with his arm in the fourth and overtime quarters. Tebow doesn’t strike fear in opposing teams like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees do, but he does share a similar quality with those three —he wins.

And that’s all that matters in the NFL. If doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win and Tebow has done that, even though all those wins haven’t been the most convincing. The Broncos have won all of those seven games by six points or less.

It may be only a matter of time until Tebow Time is over in Denver or maybe not, but what everyone can agree upon is that it is fun to watch, read and talk about Tebow and the Broncos are doing right now.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Mo reasons this month to raise money for prostate cancer

Bobby Roy

When the calendar flips over from October to November, the days get shorter, the temperatures start to plunge, Christmas commercials start popping up and things start to get a bit harrier.

A bit harrier? What does that have to do with November, you ask?

That’s what November, or what is now commonly known as Mo-vember is all about. Some men around the world sacrifice their usually clean-shaven upper lip for a hairy little buddy to promote awareness and help raise funds for prostate cancer research this month.

As the midway mark of November is now behind us, I’m sure you’ve begun to notice men sporting their own unique moustache, whether they be thick, not so thick and maybe not so physically attractive.

While these mustaches may cause some women to cringe, chuckle or smile and for some men to doubt sporting a ‘stache is really worth it, what each unique mustache represents is the most important aspect of what Mo-vember is all about.

The global movement of Mo-vember has been growing steadily since its humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia in 2003, and adding up last year’s figures, the movement has raised $176 million for prostate cancer research.

The amount of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, the nickname given to the men and women who sign up online, involved in the cause has exploded exponentially each year with more than one million taking part as of last year.

Last year, I decided to do my part for the cause and signed up online, created a profile, grew a mustache (attempted to anyways) and tried to fundraise for prostate cancer.

This is now the second year I’ve decided to take part in Mo-vember and, although my mustache was called “pathetic” by my editor, continues to lack in darkness and thickness, is itchy and is less than physically appealing, what it represents is worth the lack of female attention I’ve received so far (and probably will continue to until the end of this month).

I’ve never had a family member who has been affected by prostate cancer, but since it is the number one cancer that affects men, taking part in Mo-vember is a good way to help fundraise and have a little fun while doing so.

Men who are taking part in their Mo-growing efforts are walking, talking billboards for prostate cancer awareness. Don’t forget about the Mo-Sistas either, who may not be taking part in the mustache growing, but are doing their part to help raise awareness and cash for prostate cancer research.

Like any other fundraising effort for cancer research, it should be a yearly focus and not just for one month, but having the month of November dubbed, Mo-vember does provide more exposure on prostate cancer and its affect on men.

The real winners are the ones who have donated and raised awareness this month, have in the past and will continue to do so in the future. No amount of mustache can compete against those who are truly dedicated to helping raise money for prostate and other cancers.

But, if you can, donate to a Mo-Bro or Mo-Sista for the remainder of this month.

And I will continue to campaign for donations for prostate cancer even in my mustache continues to lack in every other department.

Visit http://ca.movember.com to donate or for more information.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Getting gutsy in the name of IBD

Did you know Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is about three times more common than multiple sclerosis and HIV amongst Canadians? According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, it is and November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month. To mark the awareness month, I decided to share my experiences—good and bad — with Crohn’s Disease over the past four years in hopes of explaining the disease to people.

It was back in 2007 when I was diagnosed with the disease (after many misdiagnosises), given numerous new prescriptions and released from the hospital after spending more than a week there. But what the busy doctors failed to explain to me in detail was, what is Crohn’s Disease?

I like to describe Crohn’s to people as speed bumps in your intestines. When you eat something the intestines find difficult to digest (strawberries, high fibre foods, or nuts for example), your body rejects the food. When you have Crohn’s, your intestines become spoiled brats: They decide what they want to digest, when they do it and just how much pain they are going to inflict.

The docs out there give it a little bit more of an elegant explanation. Crohn’s Disease is an IBD and like I mentioned before, it affects the intestines but can target anywhere from your mouth to your well, um, ‘exit.’ One website gives a pretty good summary, saying “People with Crohn’s disease have ongoing (chronic) inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease may occur in any area of the digestive tract. There can be healthy patches of tissue between diseased areas. The inflammation causes the intestinal wall to become thick.”

And I know what some of you are probably thinking: “Wow, this sounds gross.” And really it is. But I am a firm believer that unless people start talking about it, nobody will know what the disease is or want to find a cure. I have met a lot of ‘closet’ Crohn’s sufferers over the years, people who are afraid to talk about this chronic, painful and sometimes humiliating disease. Many people are often surprised to discover that I have Crohn’s but when I tell them, nine times out of 10 they are interested and surprised to learn what I have to do to avoid pain.

Eating with Crohn’s Disease

Since it’s a gastrointestinal disorder and since I assume everybody has taken biology, that means Crohn’s has to do with digestion, making dinner parties and staff lunches a nightmare for people like myself who have IBD.

Since the body reacts different to all types of food, I have to be very selective with what I eat, otherwise I will be suffering with bad cramps, a migraine and just overall exhaustion, sometimes lasting days. Luckily, my Crohn’s overall has been going well in the past few years, thanks to the two needles I take every week. It’s tough, I admit, but it needs to be done and I am just happy to be able to go home to my own bed every night and not a hospital bed.

Although I try to keep a positive spin to the cards I have been dealt, sufferers of IBD share my pain and know just how much of an impact this disease has on your everyday life. I would love to eat whole wheat bread, strawberries and spinach, but instead I’m stuck with white bread, green beans and a muffin top.

My goal is to educate as many people as possible on the disease, since it impacts so many Canadians. I don’t do it to complain about my trials with the disease, but I do it so when people are diagnosed with IBD, they’ll know what it is and won’t have to go through the months of confusion and battles with food I did. As painful and frustrating as it can be, I look forward to the future of IBD research, with discoveries about this little-known disease developing each day. And that is something worth talking about.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Gauging all the NHL's suspensions

Bobby Roy

The National Hockey League's (NHL) newest disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan, has been busy for the latter part of September, handing out eight suspensions in eight days.

The question is: Has the NHL's new whip-cracker, Shanahan, been handing out too many suspensions on some questionable calls this preseason?

Having seen all of the hits and video of the players who have received the suspensions, they are warranted for sure, but eight suspensions in eight days?

I hope this is not a sign of things to come in the regular season, which is less than a week away.

Of the eight players who have received suspensions, only James Wisneiwski and Jody Shelley are repeat offenders, which may be a good sign players are starting to learn what is a legal hit and what hits have gone too far.

The difference between the preseason and the regular season are the amount of different players teams put out on the ice in each game. Some of these players aren't going to be top line players, who are counted on to score or provide highlight passes game in and game out.

The players who don't have a guaranteed spot on an NHL team's roster are looking to make their mark. And what better way to show the coaching staff they can play at the NHL level than making a big hit and playing with their heart on their sleeve.

Unfortunately, as we've seen in some of the hits resulting is suspensions already, these players looking to make their mark went a little too far. It's tough to fully blame them, because some of these players aren't used to the NHL game speed and they get caught up in the emotion of the game.

What they will learn from these suspensions is the NHL and Shanahan are going to suspend players for a lengthy period for any kind of hit to the head. And that's a good thing.

But it also seems like some players aren't playing the game like they were in the past. A lot of the time players are turning into the boards before a hit or they're not keeping their heads up as they glide across centre ice.

Hockey is a physical game and players are taught to finish checks and punish those for watching their beautiful pass.

I'm not saying players should be looking to destroy each other with a hit to the head, but players should be more aware as they skate through the middle of the ice or near the boards. They should be prepared to get hit and that seemed more apparent back in old days when padding wasn't as near protective as it nowadays.

Be more aware is all I'm saying. Turning into the boards may turn into a powerplay chance, but it also may result in an injury, or even worse, paralysis.

When the regular season begins, there probably won't be as many suspensions in such a short period of time (hopefully), but only time will tell.

The one thing that is for sure is that Shanahan is doing a great job trying to get as many of these cheap hits to the head out of the game as possible.

The short video explanation on each suspension is also great for the NHL and its fans too. More information the better.

Last season proved to be a new era for the amount of suspensions handed out for head shots in the league, so it will be interesting to see if this season follows suit.

Hopefully it doesn't mean suspension after suspension will be handed out this year, resulting in players not playing like they usually would.

Players, fans, coaches and anyone else connected to hockey shouldn't see NHL stand for the No Hitting League.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Psyched to see my first psychic


Kidney stones, a strong career and surprise surprise, money in my future were all of the things talked about by the psychic I went to see during the Leduc Psychic Fair.

I’ll admit, I was quite skeptic about going to a psychic and what they would tell me that I didn’t already know, but I left there with a little bit more optimism and a little bit less money.

First off, I didn’t expect two psychics to say the same thing to me. I only paid for one reading but apparently the fact that I have a Vitamin B12 deficiency ‘radiates’ from my aura and compelled one of the psychics to stop mid-interview just to tell me.

“It’s not a really bad thing, but I do see something to do with your kidneys and it is something you should watch out for,” she said in a slightly ominous tone.

“Ummm,” was my only response. I mean really, she knew something about me that 1) I did not tell her 2) Was bang on. She didn’t know which Vitamin B but she did know I was lacking it, which I have to admit, impressed me.

And it only got better from there. After I finished talking to the clairvoyant medium, I moved on to another clairvoyant who did my tarot card reading.

As he fanned the cards out on the table, I couldn’t help but think of the several movie scenes where this exact situation plays out, only to see the psychic lift the ominous Grim Reaper card to signify death. Luckily, there was no Grim Reaper card for me this time as I chose 11 cards at random.

The first thing he noticed was fast movement. He told me “You’re not a couch potato are you?” I wanted to say to him “Well, it depends what night of the week it is. If it’s Jersday, then ya, I like to lounge around,” but I decided to stick to a simple “no.”

He then told me that he was feeling a ‘pulse’ of a large sum of money in my future. He emphasized that it wasn’t a big lottery win where I could quit my job and retire tomorrow, but it would be a lump sum that could get rid of my debt. Sure, I can’t buy a jet in the near future, but I’ll take some money to get rid of those pesky Visa bills.

But there was still a part of me that wondered if he always said that to his clients. I couldn’t help wonder if that was just a scam on his part so I would pay up and get more readings done, but I figured he probably wasn’t lying. He seemed like a nice clairvoyant.

As the reading continued, he asked me to pose a question to him and I decided to stick with health. He had told me earlier in the reading that he, too, could detect something in my kidneys, nothing life-threatening, but an issue like kidney stones. Yikes, two for two.

But when he looked at the three new cards I had picked out and was deep in thought, he started to talk about how my mother had something wrong with her ovaries, like a cyst or something. That was really when I started to believe. About three years ago, my mother had one of her ovaries removed because it had a cyst and I was shocked to hear, that I, too, would have that issue later in life. It wasn’t the greatest thing to hear, I’ll admit, but when he mentioned by mom, that was just too creepy for me not to believe.

He also talked about my personality too, which I won’t bore you with, and how it will tie into my future. He mentioned that I have a long lifeline (yes, he did do a brief palm reading), and that I am an empathetic person, a trait that will continue to be seen for the rest of my life. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I thought it was a nice, uplifting way to end the reading.

My friend asked me if I would go to a psychic again and I think maybe I would. I may not be a religious person but I do believe in karma and that everything happens for a reason. So, if I am supposed to get kidney stones, fine so be it. Money in my future? Yes please! But I also believe that by knowing money and kidney stones are in my life trajectory has made me look at things a little differently. Maybe I’ll start eating more magnesium-rich foods to fend off the stones, and maybe I’ll start buying a lotto ticket here or there. Either way, I admit I feel a little bit more enlightened into my future than I did yesterday. I would encourage people to try a psychic at least once in their lives, skeptic or not. I mean even if you do get some so-so news, chances are money is in your future and I didn’t even need a crystal ball to tell you that.

Check out the Leduc Psychic Fair this Saturday and Sunday at the Days Inn and Suites in Leduc.

Weekly roundup forSeptember 16, 2011


• The community mourns as the body of Larry Majeski was pulled from Pigeon Lake

• The skatepark is improving math skills

• More people are mounting pressure about a possible spray park in Leduc

• The city's Community Report is now online

• A new home, beginning for Leduc family

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The last days of the great season

Bobby Roy

When the September long weekend finishes up, in my mind, that marks the end of summer and it's a little depressing when you think what's ahead.
Thankfully I got to spend the September long in Calgary with my buddies and got to come home happy after watching the Eskimos give the Stamps a good ol' beatdown in Cowtown. It was a fantastic way to end summer.
I think the best quote a Stamps fan gave us was, "head onto the QE north and go home!"
A classic and satisfying way to end the weekend I'd say.
But back to real life.
Luckily this week, it looks like Mother Nature is giving us Albertans an extended summer, even though at some points (especially July), it didn't feel like we had summer at all.
It's a nice little bonus and gives us some extra time to spend time outside at the parks, beaches, lakes and anywhere we can soak up the sun and heat.
So enjoy it if you can, because it'll all be over before we know it.
It's only a matter of time before the cooler days and nights, the dark and dare I say it, the snow, starts to creep in.
What I hate the most are the dark nights and mornings fall and winter bring us.
The snow, cold and terrible driving conditions compound my dislike for winter here, but there are plenty of places around the world that have to deal with the more serious of problems Mother Nature hands down and the other problems life brings (political unrest, domestic, societal, etc ).
So I guess it's not all bad here when you look at the grand scheme of things.
But I'll likely still complain at moments this fall and winter.
For now, I'm going to enjoy these days of beauty and hope they last for as long as possible.
Once they're over then it's time to start finding hobbies that don't include watching copious amounts of television for the fall and winter months, but I'll worry about later.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Belak's suicide opens up even more questions



Bobby Roy

The Extra Point

Former Nashville Predator, Toronto Maple Leaf and enforcer Wade Belak’s sudden suicide sent chills throughout the NHL community and world this past week, and as the third NHL enforcer to pass away in less than four months, the NHL has got some serious investigating to do.

As does the rest of the sports world and its numerous athletes.

Belak was found dead in his Toronto apartment on Aug. 31, where he allegedly hung himself.

The news circulated around the NHL hours after reports confirmed he was found dead and I’m sure many, including myself, thought, ‘it can’t be suicide, can it?’

For those who watched Belak over the years, he was always seen as the guy who was cracking jokes, smiling, laughing with teammates, standing up for teammates on the ice as his role as enforcer, or getting involved with some crazy sort of skit.

He seemed like he was having the time of his life and why wouldn’t someone believe that?

He finished up a 14-year NHL career this past summer where he played for five different NHL teams and was working on getting into the broadcasting business.

For any prospective, young hockey player, is that not a dream come true?

So why would a seemingly happy, accomplished and gregarious Belak commit suicide, never mind hang himself?

It’s tough to ask that question and hope for an answer when you don’t know anything more about the man other than what you see on television, read in the news or hear on the radio.

But a lot of people are asking it and the NHL is going to have to seriously delve into research efforts on how or why this sort of terrible occurrence happened to not only one NHL enforcer, but three in such a short period.

Maybe it’s a bad coincidence since there are no clear patterns of NHL enforcers committing suicide since the league came into effect, or maybe the cause of these actions are much more complex than we think.

It’s more than likely, the answer is the latter.

But I’m not a doctor, a psychiatrist or someone who knew these three players.

Unfortunately, the best I can do is speculate.

On May 13 former Minnesota Wild (and New York Ranger) tough guy, Derek Boogard was found dead after taking an accidental mixture of alcohol and oxycodone.

On Aug. 15 former Vancouver Canuck, Rick Rypien committed suicide.

What the three do have in common was their role on the ice — they were enforcers who, for the most part, took and threw punches for a living.

It’s also been reported, Boogard, Rypien, and now Belak, were all dealing with depression during points in their life as an NHL player.

It’s understandable the pressure of being a professional athlete can get to someone, but they’re living a life many can only dream of and it's hard to think it could ever get to point you would consider killing yourself.

How bad was it that these three decided to end it all?

It doesn’t make sense to me when I think about it on that level, but maybe it was a factor they couldn't control as well as they would have liked to.

No one knows for certain what the human brain is capable of, so maybe there were some chemical unbalances that played a part in the threes' decisions.

The topic of concussions and what the consequences are to the human brain have never been more prevalent today than ever before in hockey and other contact sports.

The diagnosis into the consequences of a concussion to a person is still in its infancy in the world of medicine, so it’s hard to determine how exactly a concussion affects each person mentally and physically.

Watching, listening and reading about professional athletes who have had concussions, the consequences for each are inherently different. Determining what kind of effect and for how long it will have on each person is no doubt one of toughest jobs a doctor has to do.

That couldn’t be truer for Austin Trenum, a young football player who committed suicide out of the blue, days after suffering a concussion. In the article by Metro Edmonton, Trenum was by all accounts, a normal teenager, who didn't have a history of depression and neither did his family.

He had friends, went to school, lived in a great house, had a great family, loved playing sports, was destined to go to university, and lived a seemingly normal life.

It was one Sunday afternoon after suffering a supposed concussion a few days before that he ended it all.

It doesn’t make sense on the surface, but Trenum isn't the first promising athlete to commit suicide. If you search athlete suicides on the web more and more stories like this one pop up.

That's the sad part, because there are so many questions left unanswered for families like the Trenums.

The same goes for Belak's, Rypien's and Boogard's.

So, maybe after taking years of hits and punches to the head, the effects of the abuse on Belak, Rypien and Boogard’s brains had taken their toll enough to play a factor in the decision making to commit the unthinkable.

There are so many factors at play when it comes to determining why a person commits suicide and more times than not, there isn’t one answer.

But there will be plenty of eyes watching the NHL to see how they can create outlets for players who may be in the same boat as these three.

Depression is a tough issue and being tough guys, the three probably put a fa├žade to protect that image.

The NHL is definitely not to blame, because, like everyone else they didn’t know these three players were going to do what they did.

Now it’ll be about making sure players have as many outlets as possible to talk about what's bugging them in their NHL and personal life.

It will also be paramount to continue investigating and researching what concussions and contact to the head does to the mental state of players.

Hopefully Belak’s passing will be able to shed even more light and open even more discussion on problems NHL and professional athletes are dealing with.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Reporter Bobby Roy traded in his camera for a chef hat and apron today after receiving the outfit made by Leduc County's Summer Cooking Camp staff.

The roads in Alberta are paved with slow drivers

With the new distracted driving law coming into effect yesterday, I fear it will only make Alberta drivers that much worse.

Not allowing people to text, talk on their phone and the overall hands-off-the-wheel legislation will mean that some drivers will be coming up with ways to scoot around the law, thus concentrating less on their already slow driving skills.

I admit, I have a moderate case of Quebec road rage, and that does translate to me already being upset with other drivers, but I find Edmonton area drivers to be the most frustrating drivers that I have ever encountered.

Slowing down to below the speed limit in the fast lane, failing to use their flashers and an overall lack of knowledge on how to merge onto a highway never fails to surprise me during my daily commute.

Since moving to this province, I have come to realize that driver stereotypes are true. In my opinion, Ontario drivers are known to be painfully slow, Maritimers are known for their lack of signaling usage and B.C. drivers are known for their slow pace. Yes, Quebecers are known for their lead foot and angry tendencies, but I have come to realize that some Edmonton drivers must be known for their lack of common sense when it comes to simple driving techniques.

I’m not saying every Edmonton area driver is bad and they all lack common sense when it comes to driving, but I do think there are definite discrepancies when it comes to driving schools of thought.

Personally, I was taught by my driving school instructor to always drive in the left lane if I wanted to go faster than the speed limit or if I wanted to pass someone. Apparently, the same can’t be said for all Capital City drivers who believe that the left lane is place to idle along well below the speed limit. My main beef with drivers, whether it is in Alberta or any province, is that most aren’t courteous to other drivers. Most drivers are only thinking about how late they are for work or content with driving at their speed, but that’s not how it should be. It should be about sharing the road and moving over if someone is tailgating you or allowing someone to merge into your lane. There have been countless occasions that I have had to drive in the right lane in order to pass someone, only to be copied by several other drivers. It’s not right. If you are going to travel at turtle-slow speed, then move over for the rest of us who are willing to put the pedal to the metal.

Although it may seem that I am a speed demon, I don’t drive extremely fast and in fact have never got a speeding ticket, I mean c’mon, I drive a four-door Saturn.

I do however, like to have the option of speeding and there is nothing more frustrating than people who don’t obey the general rules of the road.

I do have to give Edmonton area drivers some credit though where deserved. Most drivers in the area are very courteous in letting pedestrians cross the road at non-intersections and rarely use their horn. It’s polite and I do respect the nature of local drivers, which is a refreshing change. As a result of the composed commuters in Edmonton, I realize that I have rarely used my horn since being in this province, which is great. My theory is that the few times I have used it here was probably at another Quebec driver who has since changed his license plate for Alberta’s.

I don’t have a suggestion as to how Edmonton area drivers can improve their skills — because I think good driving techniques are acquired through experience and common sense — but I do think that drivers should be considerate.

So drivers, look in the review mirror every once in a while for speedy driver, and if you do happen to see a blue Saturn tailgating you, I apologize, but please move over.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Community comes together

After the devastating fire in the Suntree neighbourhood, messages started popping up all over Facebook regarding donation collection and fundraisers.
The Leduc Rep posted a note on their Facebook page, encouraging those fundraising and collecting donations to contact us so we could put the info in the paper.
Here is some of the info we had as of press time Wednesday, Aug. 24 as well as some new ones as well.

NOTE: City of Leduc resident Kelly Willner baked more than 450 cupcakes in hopes of raising money for the Suntree fire victims. The mother of four sold the baked goods out of her home for $20 a dozen on Aug. 24. Just under $1,900 was raised. Way to go!

Fire trust fund account
Donations will be accepted at the ATB Financial in Leduc under the name of Sunrose Lane Fire Trust.
Ask to donate money to the “Sunrose Lane Fire Trust.” Cheques will be accepted. For more information on the trust fund contact Michael White at 780-980-4285.

Fundraiser at Kosmos
There will be a fundraiser at Kosmo’s Restaurant and Lounge on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. Feature acts will include Owls by Nature and Cory Dee.
There will be a silent auction set up in the restaurant and cash donations will also be accepted. The six families who lost their homes due to the fire will also be present at the event. For more information on the fundraising event visit www.leducrep.com and for updates visit the Leduc Rep’s Facebook and Twitter page.
Contact Rosemary Kuntz to donate items for the silent auction or for more information on the upcoming event at 780-938-9495.

Donation drop offs
Donations can be dropped off at Rosemary Kuntz’s home at 97 Sunrose Lane. Contact Rosemary Kuntz at 780-938-9495 if you would like to help those affected by the fire. You can also email her at roscosafety@yahoo.ca.
Donations can be dropped off at Paws in Paradise (located beside Herber’s Auto Body). If there are questions about things to drop off call 780-739-3647. Hours are Monday- Friday 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Minuteman Press Leduc will be accepting donations. Minuteman is located at 4922 51 Ave. The phone number is 780-986-8873.

Get active to raise funds
Yolo Bootcamp is offering two weeks of bootcamp in Leduc for donations starting at $25 per person. Help out the victims of the Suntree fire and come get a work out in. Go to www.yolobootcamp.com for details.

There will be a Suntree Fires Benefit Swim at the Kinsmen Alexandra Outdoor Pool on Wednesday, Aug. 31 from 6 - 9 p.m.
All proceeds from admissions will be donated to the families affected by the fires. For questions regarding this event, please phone 780-986-6021, email manager@alexpool.ca or visit www.alexpool.ca

NEW

There will be a BBQ fundraiser for the victims of the Suntree fire on Sept. 3 and 4 in the Brick parking from 12 – 5 p.m.

Brendan Guy is holding a concert in the park in Suntree on Sept. 10 starting at 7pm with special guest Payton Klassen. There will also be a donation drop off bin for people to drop off items for the Leduc and District Food Bank.More info on the Brendan Guy Facebook page or www.brendanguy.com.



Monday, 22 August 2011

That’s a big 10-4 on an interesting ride along experience

Bobby Roy

The Extra Point

For most of us civilians, what we read and see on the news and television on a daily basis regarding what the police do is usually the best source of information.

Most of us don’t know the intricate details of what an RCMP or police officer does during a day or night shift.

On Aug. 20 I got a closer, but short, look at what the job of a Leduc RCMP officer entails during a ride-along.

The purpose of the ride along wasn’t an investigative expose on a certain police case or anything of that nature. I wanted to see and experience the process of the justice system from the grass roots. When we read, see or hear about murders, accidents, incidents or anything the police have to be involved we usually see the end result and only some of the details of what happened.

Anyone can do a ride along and after doing one, anyone interested in what an officer does for a living should definitely go and do one.

I wanted to learn and experience what it was like to initially receive a call, do research on the person or persons involved, respond to the call, see how the officer or officers interact with the people in question, see how the situation evolves and if it is resolved or other steps must be taken.

It’s the little details that make a police officer’s job so interesting, dangerous and important.

I got a little taste of that during my ride along (and if you’re wondering, we did stop at Timmy’s for coffee, but no donuts).

I figured a Friday night would offer up some pretty interesting situations across Leduc and the county. For some, Friday nights usually mean party time and more times than not, there is alcohol involved.

Unfortunately, the influence of alcohol on some people’s systems can result in interesting, but volatile situations.

The night started off pretty bland, but the Leduc RCMP officer said the problems and calls don’t usually start until later in the night.

He was right to some extent on that night.

During the happenings of the night, we ended up investigating a possible drug pick-up, which didn’t come to fruition, dealt with a couple of speeders who smartly took their lumps and responded to a domestic assault.

Throughout the night, talking and listening to stories from the officer, the RCMP are not out to get everybody, hand out as many tickets as possible or try to ruin one’s night.

They want to make sure people in their community are safe and don’t have to worry about driving on our roads, walking down our streets during the night or who they’re going to run into.

That also doesn’t mean if someone gets pulled over or questioned by police they will automatically receive a severe penalty. We all make mistakes and the police recognize it and give people breaks when they deserve.

It’s when people don’t get the message they’re doing something wrong is when the police have every right to make sure that message gets home. Tickets, charges and jail time are an officer’s best friend when it comes to making sure criminals get the message.

So, although the night wasn’t too crazy in terms of the calls we responded to, it was still a very interesting night, I learned a lot and gained even more respect for the boys in blue.

No one likes getting tickets or dealing with the police when it looks like you’re in trouble, but more times than not they’re looking out for your best interests.

Police officers wouldn’t be spending hours upon hours with paperwork, speaking with people, investigating and patrolling if they didn’t care about people’s safety.

They deserve the respect that their uniforms represent and I’m glad I got the opportunity to experience the night with Leduc RCMP Const. Fox and Const. Bannerman. A big thanks to them is needed.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Being vegetarian is as cool as a cucumber

Stephanie Dubois

news@leducrep.com

Having been a vegetarian for almost six years, I’ve definitely got used to getting weird stares, odd comments and been made fun of for skipping out on the chicken pot pie or medium rare steak.

But you know what? I think it is catching on.

Laugh as you will, but I do think that people are starting to become more aware of their veggie counterparts who are usually stuck eating salad because some meat eaters don’t really know what to feed us. (We do enjoy a good salad but we do/can eat other stuff just for future reference)

And sure, I guess I deserve to be made fun of for moving from the poutine capital to a province known as the beef capital of Canada. But what I have noticed is the joke making is just people being generally misinformed about vegetarians. Since I moved here almost two years ago from La Belle Province, I have encountered some people who think that vegetarian is a synonym for vegan, that I still eat beef and that I share the same diet as a rabbit. But I want to clear that up right now, right after I eat this carrot. Being vegan means eating nothing from an animal and that includes no cheese, milk, eggs and sometimes honey for some hardcore vegans. For the record, I personally enjoy cheese and a good milkshake way too much to stray away from that food group so I am not vegan.

And just to give some facts about vegetarians, there are several different types or degrees of vegetarianism. Due to health reasons, I’m the type that still eats fish. Yes, they are alive and I have received flack from fellow vegetarians but hey, it’s doc orders.

I know I said that vegetarianism might be catching on and I still stick to that statement. So Albertans might not be giving up their meat as willingly as others, but I have noticed that more restaurants, hotel menus and hot dogs stands (yes, Fat Frank’s in Edmonton has a veggie dog) are becoming more accommodating towards us veggie lovers. I’m not sure if it’s because restaurant owners want to profit on this untapped market in Alberta or if it’s because we complain and moan too much but either way it is refreshing.

When I became a vegetarian almost six years ago, coworkers, family and friends became frustrated with me when it came to dinner parties or going out for a bite to eat because they thought I was a picky eater. Maybe I am, but I would tell them that almost every restaurant has a vegetarian option and above all else, take me into consideration. That’s all I ask. So when you meet a vegetarian, know this: We’re not that different. We all eat fruits and vegetables, but some of us just choose to not accompany them with a piece of meat.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

One of my childhood regrets


Bobby Roy

newsone@leducrep.com

Having worked as a full-time journalist for more than a year and a half, I've had the opportunity to take pictures and report on minor football in several communities in Alberta.
At this time of the year as summer begins to wane, I can only think about the NFL season ahead (I'm a CFL fan too, but it's just not the same).
I love following everything a new NFL season offers and on many occasions I've thought to myself how great it would be to be a professional NFL player.
Obviously, that dream is long dead, but for those who love the game as much as I do, how great would it be to suit up in front of thousands of hardcore fans, run out onto the field on opening day and get paid millions to play the game you love?
There's no need to answer since the answer is so obvious, which brings me to one of my childhood regrets.
I never played minor football at any point in my youth and I really regret it.
I've played plenty pick up games with friends over the years, and on a warm, fall afternoon I can't of many better things I'd rather be doing.
Watching, talking with and taking pictures of youth practicing or playing football games brings back that regret every time.
Thinking back, I contemplated trying out for my high school team every year, but I never thought I was big enough or in good enough shape to make the team.
Looking back at it now, even if I didn't make it, at least I wouldn't have anything to regret if I would have tried out.
Football provides kids with so much more than learning the game.
It provides them exercise, confidence that can be used in other aspects of life, a new group of friends, a hard-working attitude (for most) and so many other important life skills.
Obviously most of these kids won't be able to make a career out of football, but until it's time they realize they won't make the big show, the game has so much to offer them.
At 5 foot 9 and not in incredible shape, I doubt I would have even had a chance at any professional career in football even if I did play throughout my childhood, but at least I would have had the opportunity to enjoy everything else the game of minor football offers.
At 24-years-old now, at least I'll be able to live my NFL fantasy through my fantasy football team for many years to come.
If you have any comments please post them or email me!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Weekly roundup for August 12, 2011


• Leadership candidate Gary Mar stopped by the Executive Royal Inn to talk about the issues important to him

• Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith visited Calmar, Devon

• City of Leduc issues blue-green algae advisories for storm ponds

• Leduc getting ready to rock the rails

• Leduc County's new website

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Loving everything the NFL has to offer

Bobby Roy

The Extra Point

On July 25 National Football League (NFL) fans across the world breathed a sigh of relief as the news surfaced the lockout was finally over.

It wasn’t the most surprising news the sports world has ever seen in its history of lockouts in professional sports, but it meant the most successful professional sporting league in North America will return to action for its 92 regular season this September beginning with the New Orleans Saints travelling to the hallowed Lambeau Field to take on the Super Bowl champion, Green Bay Packers on Sept. 8 as the kick off to week one of the new NFL season.

When the lockout first began I was pretty optimistic the players and the league would get a deal done before any real damage would be done to the 2011-2012 season, but the thought of not having any NFL action to watch during the fall and early winter months made me shiver.

As a huge NFL fan (and rabid Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan) I wouldn’t know what to preoccupy myself with on NFL Sundays, the week leading up to the great all day NFL filled action Sundays, who I would start/sit for my fantasy football team and all the analysis, news and reactions that wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t a season.

Now that the lockout is but a piece of forgettable NFL history and preseason action has already started NFL fans are smiling from ear to ear with renewed optimism for each of their teams.

The free agent frenzy was exactly that this year — a frenzy.

Big free agent signing changed several team’s rosters, trades restructured how opponents will view each other and rookies full of potential have fans and teams plenty to look forward to once the regular season kicks off in less than a month.

For anyone who has lived in Alberta, the end of August may not mark the end of summer on the calendar, but it is usually a time that means summer is nearing its regrettable end.

That means darker days, cooler nights and the unmistakable signs that winter is coming.

For me, having everything that an NFL season brings to the table is a reprieve from the sometimes depressing fall and winter seasons.

Once the season begins I usually try and make sure my Sundays are free to get amped up for Buccaneer action and all of the other games that start at 11 in the morning and end at 8 p.m.

Whether if you’re counting on a quarterback, runningback, receiver, defense, special teams, or a surprise pick to win your fantasy matchup each week, an upset pick to win a juicy sports select or you just want to sit down and watch some great football games, each Sunday provides an opportunity that something special can happen.

So for now I’ll enjoy the last weeks of what summer has to offer Alberta, but come September long live NFL Sundays and all the glory they have to offer its many fans.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Here we go!

After being absent for way too many months, the team at the Leduc Rep will be blogging once again!! Look for blog posts from Bobby Roy, Stephanie Dubois, Dave Lazzarino and myself, Michelle Minnoch, er Clarke - I should probably change my last name ........