2017 Year in Review: January – March

January

Jan. 1, 2017: The new carbon tax prompts a price increase of three per cent at Smitty’s Restaurant, owner Greg Raadstak says. Freson Bros. manager Matt Lovsin adds prices at his store are expected to rise.

Jan. 2, 2017: The High Prairie Canadian Sesquicentennial Swim Challenge begins at the indoor pool.

Jan. 2, 2017: The High Prairie and Area Dental Centre opens in a new location in the Super A Building with Dr. Nikhilesh Roy as principal dentist.

Jan. 4, 2017: South Peace News publishes a photo of Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee presenting a $20,138 cheque to the Triangle Pioneer Threshermans Association for upgrades to the veranda and security fencing at the new hall.

Jan. 5, 2017: High Prairie RCMP Sgt. George Cameron tells South Peace News that police enjoyed a quiet New Year’s. Only six impaired complaints were received resulting in one charge.

Jan. 7, 2017: Tamara Strebchuk wins a traditional Ukrainian dinner and special private performance from the Zirka dancers after winning the Ukrainian Cultural Society of High Prairie’s draw.

Jan. 11, 2017: Big Lakes County Reeve Ken Matthews fears the Lesser Slave Lake riding will be lost as the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission studies the province’s ridings.

Jan. 11, 2017: High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce president Tracy Sherkawi says she would like to see more businesses join the organization in 2017.

Jan. 11, 2017: The High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce announces plans to publish a new business and tourism brochure.

Jan. 11, 2017: Big Lakes County denies a suggestion for councillors to take Cree lessons.

Jan. 11, 2017: Big Lakes County calls for requests for proposals to expand water reservoirs in Joussard, Grouard and Enilda.

Jan. 11, 2017: Big Lakes County gives $5,000 to the High Prairie and District Golf Club to help with operations.

Jan. 11, 2017: Big Lakes County scraps a census planned for 2017. Council cited a previous census completed as not being effective in its decision.

Jan. 13, 2017: Larry Lamouche’s house at Grouard is gutted by fire, driving a Grouard couple and three young children from their home. The cause is unknown.

Jan. 13, 2017: The Burger Baron re-opens across from the post office with Reza Akbari and Seemen Ali as owners.

Jan. 14, 2017: Jeff Gladue is murdered at Atikameg. Charged in connection with the murder are Ivy Laboucan, 40, Blake Anderson, 21, of Slave Lake, and Patrick Letendre, 24, of Atikameg.

Jan. 14-15, 2017: The High Prairie Novice team wins four straight games and first place at a tournament in Whitecourt. The team is coached by Lee Barton ad Al Anderson.

Jan. 18, 2017: South Peace News reports the Lesser Slave Watershed Council moves to a new location by Lawrence Apartments. They were in the Moostoos Building for nine years before the move.

Jan. 19, 2017: Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee is appointed Alberta’s new Minister of Children’s Services. She was formerly Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Jan. 20, 2017: Tolko’s Bob Fleet, vice president of environment and forestry, says the company’s plan is to re-open the mill but no firm date is set.

Jan. 20, 2017: High Prairie RCMP announce that Edna Jean Smith, 58, of Grande Prairie, is charged with criminal negligence causing death, and criminal negligence causing bodily harm, from an accident May 1 at Driftpile which killed three.

Jan. 20, 2017: Tape for Tyra at St. Andrew’s School raises $3,555.39 for Tyra Auger, who suffers from a rare blood infection MSSA bacteremia. Auger required treatment at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

Jan. 20, 2017: Charles Joseph McLeod passes away at the age of 94 years. He was a fisherman, grader operator, logger and Department of Highways employee.

Jan. 21, 2017: Sucker Creek’s Leonard Willier wins $102,900.60 in the Lotto 6/49 draw after matching five numbers and the bonus. He says he will use his winnings to pay some bills and take a trip to Las Vegas.

Jan. 21, 2017: About 12 women make 20 quilts during Quilt-Till-U-Wilt at the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre.

Jan. 24, 2017: The High Prairie Elks and residents at Pleasantview Lodge celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with special cupcakes.

Jan. 24, 2017: A reluctant High Prairie town council refuses to give the High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce free rent in their building citing there was no plan. In 2016, council decided to waive rent to give the chamber a chance to increase membership and revenue.

Jan. 25, 2017: South Peace News features the new High Prairie Health Complex and its tentative date to open in late spring.

Jan. 28, 2017: Lisa Zabolotniuk wins the High Prairie Ladies Bonspiel after defeating Marilyn Stevens 8-3 in the A Event Final. Kay Savill wins the B Event and Maureen Butterfield the C Event.

Jan. 30, 2017: The Metis Nation of Alberta and federal government conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to Advance Reconciliation.

February

Feb. 1, 2017: Dr. Eve Kazachenko and Andrei Piatrashka begin managing the High Prairie Core Dental Centre.

Feb. 1, 2017: The Government of Alberta and Metis Nation of Alberta sign a new 10-year agreement to ensure discussions occur between Alberta Metis and the provincial government on issues affecting Metis.

Feb. 1, 2017: High Prairie realtors predict an increase in population and housing sales in 2017 due to the impending restart of the Tolko mill.

Feb. 4, 2017: A lacrosse camp attracts 45 participants at Driftpile School.

Feb. 8, 2017: Big Lakes County agrees to put aside $230,500 to fund the Big Lakes County Economic Development authority.

Feb. 8, 2017: Big Lakes County gives first reading to a bylaw which would limit landowners to owning only three dogs.

Feb. 8, 2017: Big Lakes County awards a $1.3 million tender to Alberco Construction Inc. of St. Albert to build a new water reservoir and pumping station at Kinuso.

Feb. 8, 2017: Big Lakes County passed the first two readings to a bylaw to create a new bylaw officer position.

Feb. 8, 2017: Big Lakes County refuses to pass first reading to a proposed cemetery policy, which would have provided funding for county cemeteries.

Feb. 9, 2017: Blake Francis Giroux, 24, is sentenced to six years in Peace River Court of Queen’s Bench for the death of Dallas Belcourt on Dec. 31, 2013. Giroux will be released in about 17 months after being given credit for time served.

Feb. 10, 2017: Fried circuits in computers at South Peace News results in the loss of hundreds of photographs.

Feb. 10, 2017: South Peace News receives word that Northland School Division is considering closing East Prairie Hillview School. After public consultation and meetings, the school remains open.

Feb. 10, 2017: Glamour and Gear opens in a downtown location, formerly Tru Hardware. Formerly called The Attic Effects, the store increases its retail space and line of products.

Feb. 10-12, 2017: An electronic speeding sign is stolen from its north end location. The sign costs $3,500.

Feb. 11, 2017: Frederick Allan Rusaw passes away at the age of 72 years.

Feb. 13, 2017: A High Prairie man is deemed fit not to stand trial on a sexual assault charge. However, the matter is delayed until it is determined the man might be able to stand trial at a later date.

Feb. 13-14, 2017: Mailboxes are damaged at the High Prairie Post Office prompting new limited hours during the week and weekend closure. The new hours are temporary.

Feb. 14, 2017: High Prairie town council agrees to support the $2 million High Prairie Airport runway expansion project, if grants are received and private industry helps pay the cost.

Feb. 14, 2017: High Prairie town council denies a request from Freson Bros. to waive $6,673.03 in taxes and a further $1,311.58 in penalties. Council says the late payment was not their fault.

Feb. 16, 2017: The Big Lakes County Transportation Program officially opens. The service transports seniors and disadvantaged county and area residents to medical appointments.

Feb. 17, 2017: High Prairie Zirka Dancers perform at Pleasantview Lodge.

Feb. 22, 1017: St. Andrew’s School ends its collection of Campbell’s soup products. Starting in 2004, the school collected 132,409 labels, which were redeemed for educational materials.

Feb. 23, 2017: The High Prairie Regional Business Support Network holds its first session at Christie’s Gardens and Greenhouses. The network brings a new resource to help local businesses grow and improve.

Feb. 23, 2017: The E.W. Pratt High School Mixed curling team skipped by Zale Zabolotniuk wins its second straight Peace Zone High School title at Valleyview.

Feb. 25, 2017: The Medicine Hat Tigers retire the No. 9 of former High Prairie resident Tom Lysiak. “Tom is definitely considered to be, by many people, the greatest Tiger player of all time,” Tigers president Darrell Maser said in a statement after Lysiak’s death.

Feb. 25, 2017: The Prairie River Raiders win the Smoky River Junior High School Basketball League girl’s title after defeating the St. Andrew’s Saints 36-30 in the final. It is the team’s 12th title in the 20-year history of the league.

Feb. 25, 2017: The St. Andrew’s Saints win the Smoky River Junior High School Basketball League boy’s title after going undefeated all season. The Saints defeat last year’s champions, the Gift Lake Hurricanes, 77-76 in the final.

Feb. 25, 2017: Al Butterfield’s rink wins the High Prairie Town and Country Bonspiel after defeating Jim Zabolotniuk 6-5 in the A Event Final. Claude Smith wins the B Event and Ashley Smith the C Event.

Feb. 28, 2017: High Prairie Mayor Linda Cox says council and the High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce may partner on hiring an economic development officer and chamber executive director.

Feb. 28, 2017: Town of High Prairie Councillor Brian Gilroy announces he will be resigning as the council rep on the Sesquicentennial Committee at the next meeting.

March

March 1 2017: High Prairie RCMP arrest a man, 18, and charge him with uttering threats toward E.W. Pratt High School. Police do not release his name.

March 1, 2017: Random drug testing for Big Lakes County employees will not be part of a new substance abuse policy, council agrees.

March 1, 2017: Jeff Burgar is elected president of the High Prairie and District Sports Complex Society at their annual general meeting.

March 1, 2017: Big Lakes County denies funding for the 2017 Business Visitation Program sponsored by Community Futures, Lesser Slave Lake Region.

March 2, 2017: A new $106,725.10 Olympia ice resurfacer arrives at the Sports Palace.

March 3, 2017: About 900 fans attend a game featuring the Montreal Canadiens alumni and local hockey stars. The event is named the Byron Konelsky Memorial Hockey Classic in memory of the long-time hockey fan.

March 4, 2017: Zale Zabolotniuk’s E.W. Pratt High School curling rink wins the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association provincial title at Lethbridge. Other rink members are third Jessica Smith, second Morgan Beamish and lead Zoe Blacha.

March 4, 2017: Bert Daly’s rink wins the High Prairie Men’s Bonspiel after defeating Jim Zabolotniuk 13-2 in the A Event Final. Bernie Poloz wins the B Event and Charles Simoneau the C Event.

March 4, 2017: The High Prairie Figure Skating Club holds its annual Ice Carnival with the theme Good Old Country Fun. The event wraps up the club’s 54th season.

March 4, 2017: About 30 volunteers make 487 pies at a Pleasantview Lodge fundraiser.

March 6, 2017: Chantal Lina Bonenfant, 46, of Kinuso, is sent to prison for 12 months for fraud over $5,000. She earlier pleaded guilty to frauding the Kinuso branch of ATB Financial and was appearing in court for sentencing. She illegally transferred funds from three seniors’ accounts totaling just over $102,000.

March 7, 2017: A Forestry Fair is held at E.W. Pratt High School to allow students to examine career options in the industry.

March 7, 2018: Peter A.V. Dalton passes away in Salmon Arm, B.C. at the age of 83 years. He worked in the military all his life.

March 8, 2017: Charles Edward Bleakley, 42, is charged with 24 crimes after leading police on a high-speed chase near Kinuso.

March 8, 2017: Christine Feschuk passes away at the age of 96 years.

March 10, 2017: Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee presents a Community Facility Enhancement Program cheque for $19,013 to the High Prairie and Area Football Society. The grant will help the society purchase equipment.

March 10, 2017: Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee presents a Community Facility Enhancement Program cheque for $80,803 to the High Prairie and District Regional Recreation Board to replace the slide tower and repair structural beams due to corrosion at the indoor pool.

March 10, 2017: Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee presents a Community Facility Enhancement Program cheque for $40,876 to the Prairie Echo Community League to enlarge the kitchen and upgrade it to commercial standards.

March 11, 2017: The E.W. Pratt Lady Chargers win bronze medals at the Peace Zone Basketball Tournament held at Pratt. The Chargers defeat the Valleyview Hillside Cougars 52-30 in the bronze medal game.

March 11, 2017: The E.W. Pratt Chargers men’s basketball team places fourth at the Peace Zone Basketball Tournament held at Pratt. The Chargers lose the bronze medal game to the top-ranked High Level Bears 72-64.

March 15, 2017: South Peace New publishes a residential mill rate comparison which shows High Prairie is decreasing its mill rate, and trending more toward the middle compared with other towns in Alberta its size.

March 15, 2017: Lakeland Eagles co-founder Ron McKenzie passes away at the age of 79 years.

March 15, 2017: Olga Mildred Wright passes away at the age of 79 years. She was a sister to Anne Shantz of High Prairie.

March 16, 2017: Long-time Kinuso area farmer John Wasylyk passes away at the age of 83 years.

March 16, 2017: St. Andrew’s Schools holds its Oratorical competition. Danielle Beaver wins Top Junior High Overall while Kelly Cox wins Top Overall Elementary.

March 17, 2017: Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee presents a Community Facility Enhancement Program cheque for $40,162 to the Kinuso Playground Society for new playground equipment.

March 18, 2017: Tyson Billings’ rink wins the High Prairie Mixed Bonspiel after defeating Rod Marx 5-4. Kalen Savill wins the B Event and Al Butterfield the C Event.

March 19, 2017: The High Prairie Bantams lose the semi-finals at the Alberta Bantam Female Provincials. The team posts a 2-1-1 record in round-robin play and advances to the semi-finals, where they lose 12-0 to the eventual champion Irma Aces.

March 19, 2017: Former Joussard resident Germaine Marie Goutier passes away from cancer at the age of 53 years.

March 21, 2017: Mark Zahacy’s rink wins the High Prairie Men’s League title after defeating Bernie Poloz 6-5. Al Butterfield wins the B Event and Jim Zabolotniuk the C Event.

March 22, 2017: South Peace New publishes a non-residential mill rate comparison which shows High Prairie is third on the list for largest decrease compared with other towns in Alberta its size from 2014-16.

March 22, 2017: Bernie Poloz’s rink wins the High Prairie Mixed League title after defeating Janet Lemay 7-1. Tyson Billings wins the B Event, Pat Monahan the C Event, and Gary Adams the D Event.

March 23, 2017: Kay Savill’s rink wins the High Prairie Women’s League title after defeating Kellie Haggett 10-2. Marilyn Stevens the B Event and Lisa Zabolotniuk the C Event.

March 23, 2017: David Shmyr and Lori Chalifoux catch a 33-pound, four-ounce pike at Snipe Lake.

March 24, 2017: Margaret Ruth Pratt passes away at the age of 88 years at the High Prairie Health Complex. She was long-time community booster and long-time Royal Purple member, Women’s Institute member, and High Prairie Figure Skating Club.

March 26, 2017: Onoway wins the 2017 Hockey Alberta Female Midget B Championships in High Prairie after defeating Irma 5-2 in the final. The High Prairie Timberwolves win one game and lose three.

March 26, 2017: The High Prairie Legionnaires midgets win silver medals at Provincials in Rocky Mountain House. The team won five straight games before losing the final 5-4 to Barrhead.

March 26, 2017: High Prairie loses all four games at the Alberta Peewee A Provincials in Lloydminster. They are outscored 33-12.

March 27, 2017: Funding of $21.6 million is announced for a new Northern Lakes College Campus in High Prairie.

March 27, 2017: Chester Lysiak passes away from cancer at the age of 66 years. He was brother to former NHLer Tom Lysiak.

March 28, 2017: High Prairie town council donates $1,000 to the Treaty 8 First Nations Cup hockey tournament, half of what was donated the previous year.

March 29, 2017: South Peace New publishes a residential mill rate comparison which shows Big Lakes County had the third highest mill rate increase in northern Alberta form 2014-16.

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