Saturday, May 12, 2012

Caroline Legion salutes women in the military

Photos and story by Helge Nome

The Caroline Legion Branch 177 honoured local women who have served in Canada's armed forces in years past at it's weekly pot-luck supper on May 11. Terry McGuire gave a history of women in the military and Darlene Houlton introduced the invited guests, some of whom have served in Canada's armed forces and others representing family members who served in the past. JoAnne Pope gave a snapshot of military life.

Darlene Houlton introduced the invited guests
Local ladies that have served in the military that were recognized at the celebration are as follows:
Eileen Wilson - Canadian Women's Army Corps during WWII, represented by her daughter, Karen Wilson. Pearl Howe - Royal Canadian Navy as W.R.E.N. during WWII, represented by her daughter Debbie Howe. Wanda McLean - Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, represented by daughter-in-law Teresa McLean. Melba Davidson - Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, represented by niece Debbie Nelson. Gertrude (Gertie) Rhodes - Canadian Military during WWII. Elizabeth (Elsie) Bowden - British Army during WWII, represented by grand daughter Val Brown. Pearl Nickelson - Canadian Women's Army Corps during WWII (anyone with knowledge of Pearl's background, please contact Darlene Houlton). Barb Hirtle - Royal Canadian Air Force as Teletype Operator, June 1952 - March 1954. Rita Stewart - Royal canadian Air Force as Radar Technician, 1954 - '57. Kirsten Collison - 746 Communications Squadron, Calgary, 1992 - '97. Marie Henry - Royal Canadian Air Force as FCO, 1960 - 61. Dolly Moore - Royal Canadian Air Force as FCO Data Processor, 1960 - '65. Audrey Joudrey - Royal Canadian Air Force as FCO Data Processor, 1957 - '63. Elise Labbe' - Canadian Armed Forces as Avionic Technician, 1982 - '88. Nadine Powell - Canadian Military as YTEP, 1986 - '97. JoAnne Pope - Canadian Armewd Forces as Radio Technician, 1981 - '90.

In his address, Terry McGuire noted: "Throughout their long service to this country these ladies have, at home and abroad, shrouded themselves in honour, loyalty, dedication and valour, and unfortunately sacrifice, as just recently we have lost the first woman in a combat role, to enemy action, Capt. Nicola Goddard, in Afghanistan.

This small community has been blessed by having a goodly number of these ladies among its citizenry, and we gather here tonight to honour and pay them a swell overdue homage."

Guests of Honour: Elise Labbe', Barb Hirtle, Teresa McLean, Rita Stewart, Debbie Howe, Nadine Powell,  Val Brown, Debbie Nelson, JoAnne Pope, Karen Wilson.

Nadine Powell,  corporal

Barb Hirtle

Canadian Legion poster

Ed was present at the celebration

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shell hosts community meeting in Crammond Hall

Photos by Helge Nome

Steven Craig - Gave historical notes on the Shell Caroline Gas Plant

Train 1 of the gas plant is getting mothballed

Glen Sine - Shell's Foothills Development Manager gave an overview of future operations

Alice Murray - Sharing a merry moment with the audience

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Speakers from the floor at Hardinell Hall on April 11

Clearwater County Council Reeve Pat Alexander defended his council's decision to re-designate a quarter of land from "agricultural" to "country residential"

Rob Dewling hammered home his points about arbitrary council decision making and the adverse public perceptions of council, created because of this.

Ken Qually expressed his frustration with what he considers to be a complete disregard of its own rules, by the Clearwater County Council.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Newly declared Vimy Ridge Day recognized at the Caroline Legion

On April 9, 1917 – Easter Monday – at 5:28 am the battle was engaged.

Caroline Legion members Bobbi Jo Noirot and Terry McGuire made a presentation to other members and guests.

Photos and story by Helge Nome

The popular Friday night supper at the Caroline Legion on April 6 was combined with the recognition of the significance of the April 9 date in Canadian history:

"On the morning of April 9, 1917 the Canadian Corps attacked the German stronghold position at Vimy Ridge. The ridge, located about 10 kilometres to the north of Arras in Northern France and just south of the mines and factories of Lens and Lille, was a high ground that commanded the entire sector.

The Canadian Corps, comprising of the Canadian 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions united for the first time – over 100,000 men - was attempting to do what the British and French forces had tried from 1914 to 1916. Their attacks had gained little other than 130,000 casualties."
For more details, check out this website

Veteran UN peacekeeper, Terry McGuire, made the following presentation to the audience:

" Ladies and Gentlemen, may I please have your attention for a few minutes. Tonight is not only the Legion's weekly Friday night supper, but is also the Eve of a remarkable event in our country's history.

Allow me to take you back for a while. The place is Northern France and the time is April 1917.

Canada's Declaration of War has been signed for us, in 1914, by the British Government, as she is only a British colony, and her troops are disbursed amongst established British regiments upon their arrival in Europe.

To date, the war has denigrated into a stagnant, trench warfare system, with the allied advances measured in feet and inches, with a great number of casualties.

One of the major stumbling blocks is the 7 mile long stretch of high ground overlooking the Arras valley of France, with its major fortification being the heavily armed and reinforced old French fort of Vimy Ridge, which has been in German hands since the beginning of the war.

Successive attacks by both the French and British armies have met with repeated failures, having amassed 130,000 casualties.

It is noteworthy to point out that about this time, Lt Col John McCrea of the Canadian Army Medical Corps pens his famoius poem: "In Flanders Fields".

So to the Canadians, from falling hands, the torch was thrown: Take Vimy Ridge.

This is the first time in the War that the 4 Divisions of the Canadian Army will fight together in major action.

Employing newly developed and wholly Canadian tactics, on April 9 1917, the Canadians launch their assault. In three days of fighting, they take and hold Vimy Ridge, and in the following weeks also take the surrounding high ground, including Hill 70.

Because of this feat; The Canadians are given the honour of being identified as "Shock Troops", an honour that still applies to this day, as it identifies to the world that the Canadians are capable of handling the worst of situations.

The Canadian Army, from this point on, fights as its own unit, and never loses any major action that it is involved in.

It further elevates Canada from the level of just a British Colony, to that of Dominion, and eventually to that of an independent and sovereign country.

It has often been said that Canada's sons left their homes as young Colonials but returned as Canadians.

So, in recognition of the sacrifices and bravery of our 1st World War Veterans, the Canadian government has decreed that every 09 April will be a day of Remembrance called Vimy Ridge Day, and that all institutions that fly the Canadian flag should lower them to half-mast from sunrise to sunset.

To show our respect and remembrance of these Veterans, I ask you to rise and recite with us "In Flanders Fields" (This was done)

Should any of you wish further information on this, or any of Canada's military history, please talk to any of the Legionnaires, and visit our Memorial Room, where we have put on a special display particular to the First World War, and have memorabilia to that time period for purchase by one and all (See photos below article)

On behalf of the President, and Membership of the Branch, I thank you, and please enjoy yourselves throughout the rest of the evening".

The Caroline Legion will honor the women that have served in Canada's Armed Forces following the Friday night supper on May 11.

Newspaper clipping displayed at the Caroline Legion

Portable and folding lantern used by WWI troops (reproduction). It folds and fits into the metal container on the right. On display at the Caroline Legion.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SPOG hydraulic fracturing public meeting speakers

Clive Mountford from NAL Resources suggested that there are minimal risks to groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing operations because of depth of oil/gas operations of some 2000 meters as compared to ground water wells at depths of 100 meters or less. He did however, acknowledge that interwell communications are a problem, with old wells in the area of fracking operations: 5 incidents have been reported to the ERCB lately, who has issued a directive to oil producers to sharpen up on pre-frack planning

Christa Seaman from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (who is also an employee of Shell) explained the role of her organization and acknowledged a comment from the audience claiming that a number of producers are not members of CAPP.

As a long serving employee of the ERCB, Bob Willard assured the audience that his agency keeps track of all oil and gas wells in Alberta, going right back to the 1950ies.

Questions and answers - Clive Mountford, Christa Seaman and Bob Willard respond the concerns from the audience at the SPOG community meeting.

Return to Alberta West News

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Alberta's Surface Rights Group keeps on trucking

The Alberta Surface Rights Group held it Annual General Meeting in the Innisfail Legion Hall on March 28 with some 50 people in attendance. Outgoing President Don Bester opened the meeting welcoming those present and introducing guests and speakers.
The group advocates for the future of Alberta's land and water and challenges many current land and water use practices in the province. The latest of these on the radar is "hydraulic fracking" which is a highly controversial practice forcing oil and gas out of underground formations using liquids and chemicals under very high pressure.
An important achievement in 2011 was to have the Alberta Court of Appeal direct the ERCB (Energy Resources Conservation Board) to award land owners proper hearing and court cost compensation, keeping the playing field level.
Several speakers dealt with issues encountered and tackled during 2011. Details about activities are available on the group's website

Rob Schwartz did the Year in Review slide presentation, including the image below, which shows a roadside sign used by the Alberta Surface Rights Group to get its message across to the general public.

Popular contrarian Paddy Munroe gave a slide presentation on the dangers of hydraulic fracking noting a glaring contradiction in regulations on his slide below.Paddy has taken the presentation on the road and is reaching a lot of concerned Alberta residents with his message. Just Google his name.

Kevin Niemi spoke about surface lease negotiations with oil and gas companies and his advice is summed up in his slide below: