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County year in review 2019: Movie stars who came, politicians who left

A look back at a busy 12 months in the district
MVT Kevin Costner in Didsbury
KEVIN COSTNER COMES TO TOWN- Didsbury Municipal Library staff and former staff, from left, Inez Kosinski, Donna Christensen, Nikki Davidson with her three-year-old daughter Harlow, and Monique Fieldler pose with movie star Kevin Costner outside of JD's Restaurant on 19th Avenue in Didsbury on April 17. Residents of Didsbury were out in force checking out the filming of Kevin Costner's latest movie, Let Him Go. The suspense thriller shot scenes inside JD's Restaurant, as well as on the street outside, on April 17 and near the hospital on April 18. Craig Lindsay/MVP Staff


Longtime MP Thompson dies  - Myron Thompson, longtime MP and area politician, died after a battle with cancer. The 82-year-old Thompson was remembered as a consummate politician, mentor and dedicated public servant. “He had a long history of service to the public for sure,” said Mountain View County reeve Bruce Beattie. “Whether it was popular or not, he also took a stand and stood by it,” said Beattie. Thompson served as a member of Parliament, first as a Reform member and then as a Conservative, from 1993 to 2008. He also served terms as Sundre’s mayor and as a town councillor. Area MLA Nathan Cooper called Thompson’s long service to the community commendable. Thompson was also a former school principal and teacher in Sundre.

Past MLA handed prison term - Former United Conservative Party MLA Don Brian MacIntyre was sentenced to prison for sex crimes. MacIntyre, 63, pleaded guilty before Justice Debra Yungwirth to a charge of sexual interference. According to an agreed statement of fact entered with the court, MacIntyre touched the underage female victim for a sexual purpose between five and 10 times in 2010 and 2011 at a rural residence in Central Alberta. In passing sentence the judge called MacIntyre’s actions "long-term, predatory abuse" that had a "profound impact" on the victim. Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon called MacIntyre’s crimes "deplorable” and an offence “to the entire community.” MacIntyre was charged with sexual interference and sexual assault in 2018 after a counsellor become aware of the offences and went to police, court heard. He was handed a three-year prison term.


Open house attracts hundreds -- More than 400 area residents and visitors from outside the district attended a three-hour open house regarding the Bighorn Country proposal in Sundre. The final public information session scheduled as part of the plan’s consultation process, the Sundre event involved participants providing input and feedback on the proposal to government staff taking notes and through submitted comment sheets. The Bighorn Country proposal would create public land use zones and several new parks, including the Ya Ha Tinda Provincial Park west of Sundre.

Conference highlights opportunities - More than 150 people, including many Olds College students, took part in the Ranching Opportunities conference at the Olds College Alumni Centre. Beef producers can expect to be working closely with veterinarians as antimicrobial protocols change in Canada, participants heard. “Dr. Elizabeth Homerosky, with Veterinary Agri-Health Services Ltd., spoke during the conference on the use, resistance and regulation of antimicrobials, which are antibiotics used in animal care. Other presenters at the conference included Michelle Bryan, Holmes Boyd, Tammy Schwass, Brenna Grant and Duane McCartney. The Opportunities in Herd Data producers panel was made up of Nicky Lansink, Doug Price and Doug Wray.


RCMP commend public help - Area RCMP detachment officers told Mountain View County council that public input remains a key part of crime reduction efforts in the region. Didsbury RCMP Staff Sgt. Chad Fournier, Olds RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim MacDonald, and Sundre Cpl. Joe Mandel appeared as a delegation before council. “Public involvement has been very, very integral,” said MacDonald. “The rural crime watch in this area does a wonderful job. They are helping with crime prevention. If an area is less enticing to criminals, they are going to go elsewhere.” Fournier added: “If there is something out of place, something suspicious, always call us.”

Conference well attended - More than 175 people attended the 2019 Alberta Farm Care Association livestock care conference at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites in Olds. The theme of the conference was Partners in Progress: Tools for Success. The keynote address was given by Rebecca Gimenez Husted on technical larger animal emergency result. The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association sponsored her address. Husted talked about the importance of having plans in place to deal with livestock rescue in situations such as flooding, snowstorms, highway accident incidents, and barn fires. “What is really important is how we work together,” she said. “It’s about how we come together to work together.”


MLAs re-elected in region - Incumbent United Conservative Party MLAs Nathan Cooper and Jason Nixon were re-elected in the provincial election vote. The MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Cooper defeated challengers Chase Brown (Alberta Party), NDP candidate Kyle Johnston, Alberta Advantage candidate Dave Hughes and Alberta Freedom Conservative Party candidate Allen MacLennan. The MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, Nixon defeated challengers Joe Anglin (Alberta Party), Green Party candidate Jane Drummond, Alberta Advantage Party candidate Paul Lamoureux, Independent candidate Gordon Francey, Alberta Independence candidate Dave Rogers, and Alberta Freedom Conservative candidate Dawn Berard. Key issues during the campaign included taxes, health care and environmental protection.

Movie star in district - Residents of Didsbury were out in force checking the filming of Kevin Costner’s latest movie, Let Him Go. The suspense thriller shot scenes inside JD’s Restaurant, as well as on the street outside. Although there were some road closures to businesses on 19th Avenue, most folks thought it was well worth it for the excitement of having a big Hollywood production shooting in town. Several locals got the chance to meet Costner and take photographs with the Oscar-winner actor. Jae Teskey, owner of JD’s Restaurant, also got to meet Costner and watch the movie production closely from inside the restaurant. She said she thought having the movie in town was great for Didsbury.


Farm safety event well attended - About 85 high school students from across the region took part in the Young Farm Workers Safety Training event at Olds College. The 14th annual event included lectures and hands-on safety training. Student participants earn high school credits by completing the workshop. The event included lectures on confined space grain handling, machinery handling, power line safety, equine first aid, animal rights, fire extinguisher training, rural road travel safety and mental health in agriculture.

Train derails in county - Emergency crews responded to a train derailment south of Carstairs near the junction of Highway 2A and Highway 580. Carstairs fire department Chief Jordan Schaffer said that crews were called out at about 2 p.m. “Upon arrival we found one service maintenance railcar on its side,” he said. “Fourteen cars sustained minor damage. There was never any danger to the public at any time. CP Rail quickly took care of the issue. Schaffer said he believed the maintenance car collided with the 14 railcars as it was going by.


Riders support cancer research - The 12th annual Rural Alberta Ride for Dad in support of prostate cancer research was a hit with riders and supporters alike. “The dollars raised per rider was good again this year,” said ride president Gil Enns. “We raised just over $10,000 on the ride that day. It was a good day and a good ride. Weather conditions were warm, dry and sunny throughout the day, which was certainly welcome," he said. Money raised goes toward prostate cancer research, helping survivors and families.

First Heritage Festival a hit - The first-ever Heritage Festival and Parade of Kilts, held in Carstairs, was a resounding success, according to organizers. Marty Ratz, town councillor and organizing committee member, said they estimated between 1,000 and 1,500 people came out to see and hear the bands. Ratz added that around 400 to 500 people lined the streets for the Parade of Kilts, which started off at the curling club and wound its way through downtown and back again. “I thought it kicked off well,” said Ratz.


Polyjesters perform for huge crowds - Area musical group the Polyjesters performed for several hundred thousand people at the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show over 10 nights. They also performed for many others at the King Eddy bar during the same time. “A show (grandstand) that size, you really can’t even begin to grasp the capacity of what’s going on or what’s going to happen,” said member Sheldon Valleau. “You rehearse things not necessarily in the same order you’re going to play them on stage. To be involved with something on that stage, it’s amazing.” He called playing at the Stampede a great opportunity for the band.

RCMP musical ride a hit - Nearly 2,000 people came from all around Mountain View County and beyond to watch the RCMP Musical Ride at Carstairs Memorial Park. The ride featured 32 members in red serge on horseback performing a number of intricate figures and drills. Carstairs mayor Lance Colby said the event went even better than expected. “It was a great event and it was nice having Millennium Equestrian put on the pre-show for us,” said Colby. “It was not only informative but fun to watch.” Colby said the ride brought a lot of visitors to the community. “I’m sure some of them had maybe heard of Carstairs but never visited before,” he said.


County gets national airing - Mountain View County’s reeve wasn’t putting much stock in the county’s inclusion on a Canadian magazine’s list of best communities in Canada to live. Maclean’s Best Communities in Canada 2019 ranked 415 Statistics Canada census subdivisions across the country based on 10 categories. Mountain View County was in the 415th spot. “What would you use the list for? If you want to live in Mountain View County that is quite a bit different than if you wanted to live in Toronto. If I were looking for a place to move to, what I would base that decision on would not have much to do with a listing from Maclean’s,” said Reeve Bruce Beattie.

Agriculture advancements showcased - The future of farming, along with the here and now, was on full display at Olds College’s south campus. Robots, thermal imaging, nutrient data sensors and drones were but a few of the technology advancements showcased at AgSmart. More than 2,000 people attended Agri-Trade and Olds College’s new event. The hands-on demonstration and education expo focused on agriculture technology and data across the sector, how to gather it, and how to use it to enhance productivity and profits.


Small plane crash at local airport - The pilot and a male passenger of a small aircraft said they were not hurt when the plane crashed into a wheat field just off the runway at the Olds-Didsbury Airport. The pilot said he was attempting to take off when the aircraft left the runway. The Van’s RV 90 aircraft received damage to its front wheel and one of the wings. Firefighters and police were not called to the scene, and the aircraft was later towed to a nearby hangar.

School of agriculture technology launched - The newly launched Werklund school of agriculture technology at Olds College represents an important step forward for both students and the nation’s agriculture industry, officials said. The school was officially launched during a ceremony at the school, with college teaching and administrative staff, board members, politicians and other dignitaries on hand. The school will give students access to new agriculture technology programs, including the precision agriculture-techgronomy diploma and agriculture technology integration post-diploma certificate.


Hollywood returns to Didsbury - The town of Didsbury was once again the site of a major Hollywood movie production as it stood in for Quincy, Wyo. for a movie called Land. Director and star Robin Wright, who in the past played Jenny in Forrest Gump and Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride, was seen around town during the shoot. The movie shot at several locations in town including inside J.D.’s Restaurant and outside on 20th Street, 19th Avenue and other areas. Keen-eyed residents noticed that there were a number of “new” stores in town: Cowtown Brewing became The Crooked Hitch Pub, Ana’s Tatooing became Big Horn Tack and Saddlery, ATB became Camp’s Country Grocery, and the Didsbury Inn and Saloon became the Wandering Buffalo Inn.

Dreeshen wins again - Conservative incumbent candidate Earl Dreeshen soundly defeated all challengers to win the Red Deer-Mountain View federal riding again. He defeated NDP candidate Logan Garbanewski, Liberal candidate Gary Tremblay, People’s Party candidate Paul Mitchell, and Green Party candidate Conner Borle. Dreeshen took 75 per cent of the votes. Key issues in the election included the economy and leadership.


School expansion applauded - The expansion of the K-2 Carstairs Elementary School represents an important move for future students in the community, Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said during a ceremony at the school. “I know how much this is needed,” said LaGrange. “This is good news for Carstairs to have this addition to their school. I understand it is much needed and certainly had risen to the top of the asks that we get as a provincial government.” The project involves the addition of 10 new classroom spaces to accommodate 250 students, the enlargement of the existing gym, the parking lots and the bus loop.

Jazzercise fundraiser a hit - Jazzercise enthusiasts from Carstairs and surrounding area took part in a fundraising event at the Carstairs Community Hall to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The Speakeasy Soiree featured jazzercise yoga, a burlesque workshop, a photo booth, a silent auction and more. In total, more than $3,000 was raised at the Speakeasy Soiree for the Canadian Cancer Society. “We all know at least one person affected by such a terrible disease,” said organizer Rianna Wackett. “These kinds of events help raise awareness and money to be donated to breast cancer charitable organizations.”


Songs of the Season - Members of the Olds Community Chorus performed for a large audience during the group’s All On A Cold Winter’s Night event at Knox United Church in Didsbury. Made up of singers from across the region, the group’s membership ranges from teens to seniors. They perform folk, show, classical, popular, and of course Christmas songs.