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winter 2013/14

Is Airdrie






Heroes From puppies and

parades to speed and strength

PLUS Special Report:

Aging in place in Airdrie

in your new Sabal home, every room is a living room both uncommonly stylish and truly liveable, Sabal Homes in Heron Pointe at Reunion, Airdrie is designed to fit your lifestyle Sabal’s uncommonly stylish floorplans are just the beginning — we build in value, care about the details, and offer the opportunity to personalize your home at our designSense Studio.


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Your smile says a lot about you. We can help it say all the right things.

Smile More. New patients welcome 403-912-9378

Thayne Blunston DDS, General Dentist ďƒś 1, 620 1st Ave NW Airdrie, AB


new lots



There’s a lot more to love in Hillcrest IT’S THE HEIGHT of FAMILY LIVING NESTLED on a SCENIC AIRDRIE HILLSIDE MAKE YOUR MOVE TO HILLCREST IN AIRDRIE • Ideal Airdrie location offering quick access to Calgary • Featuring character homes with spacious and stylish floorplans • Close to schools, shopping, parks and pathways




Prices & terms are subject to change without notice.

SHOW HOMES OPEN Monday to Thursday – 2-8pm • Weekends & Holidays – 12-5pm • Closed Fridays


Cody Nixon 403.948.9359

Jeff Brodowski 403.536.2316

Dan Cryderman 403.980.8510


winter 2013/14


What will you remember the most about the subject of your story? Carl Patzel

(assist dog trainer Samantha Edgar, pg 68) “Forming a dedication and unconditional love for and from a cherished pooch is no surprise to most pet owners, but to willingly give up that dog after two years takes further dedication. That kind of devotion is what makes assistance puppy raiser Samantha Edgar stand out from the crowd.”

exploring the good life in Airdrie for 10 years! Group Publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt




Anne Beaty Vanessa Peterelli Kim Williams

CONTRIBUTORS Sergei Belski, Michelle Carre,

Leslie Davies, Alex Frazer-Harrison, James Froese, Ellen Kelly, Kurtis Kristianson, Jeff MacKinnon, Tina McMillan, Carl Patzel, Kristy Reimer, Kent Rupert ADVERTISING SALES

Corey Wine

PRINTING Print West Distribution manager

John Pirzek

Contact Us

Editorial Advertising Where to find us

airdrielife is delivered to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. If you do not receive an issue please contact

Jeff MacKinnon

(teacher Brian Jackson, pg. 70) “It became obvious to me after talking with Brian Jackson that there are a lot of lucky students at Ralph McCall School who enjoy a science experience that most other students don’t. His enthusiasm must be contagious with his kids.”

airdrielife is also available at more than 50 locations around the city. You can also find airdrielife in every showhome in the city and at more than 100 locations in Calgary. airdrielife is published quarterly by Frog Media Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.


ISSN 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2013 by Frog Media Inc. May not be reproduced without permission. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher.

Alex Frazer-Harrison

(Youth Justice Committee, pg 66) “I was impressed with how the volunteer members of the Youth Justice Committee help keep alive the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, by offering kids alternatives to incarceration and, hopefully, a chance to get back on the right track in life.”

Editorial Policy

airdrielife editorial is not for sale. Editorial is completely independent from advertising, and no special editorial consideration or commitment of any kind can form any part of the advertising agreement. All editorial inquiries must be directed toward the editor. A copy of Frog Media Inc. Writers’ Guidelines can be downloaded from the editorial page on our website. airdrielife does not accept unsolicited submissions. Freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with samples from at least three published magazine articles, to airdrielife is produced from well-managed forests, printed with canola-based inks, and is 100% recyclable.

8 | winter 2013/14

10 Things To Enjoy When We Open Southwinds In Airdrie.

1 2 3 Abundant park spaces Neighbourhood playgrounds Walking trails and natural throughout the community. where you can hear pathways winding through children’s laughter daily. the community.

6 Community events all year ‘round.

7 Natural wetlands to enjoy.

4 5 A wide variety of distinctive Streets built in progression home styles. to minimize construction noise and traffic.

8 9 10 Visually pleasing streets with Access to popular Chinook Schools near the community. a mixture of contemporary Winds Park and the Mattamy and classic styles. Splash Pad in Windsong.

Southwinds Is Coming Soon. To register for information visit:

All illustrations are artist’s concept. All dimensions are approximate. Prices, specifications, terms and conditions subject to change without notice. E.&O.E.

editor’s note

Every fall, as I gear up for the football … excuse me, the yuletide season, I think about the heroes whose faces are plastered all over every form of media, who receive enormous amounts of recognition for what they do (on the playing field or off), their ability to inspire, the difference they make through their selfless acts. These people whose faces we all know deserve recognition but so, too, do those people who quietly carry on making a difference in their world, be it at home or halfway around the globe. In Airdrie, I am constantly amazed at just how many people in our community volunteer, support worthy causes, give of themselves and their time, donate financially. Whether it’s reading to a senior at a local assisted-living facility or travelling to Asia to build a school in a remote community, helping out with a school field trip or stocking the food bank shelves, organizing a community event or sponsoring a summer program for children, teaching newcomers English or mending a much-used library book – people here make a difference every day of the year. This issue is one of my favourites (OK, they’re all my favourite) because it gives us a chance to present some of these incredible people to the community. We know that we can’t fit everyone into one issue, but our subjects are certainly representative of the community as a whole. So please enjoy your reading, think about the people around you (family, friends, neighbours) who make a difference in your world and have a great winter. (And Go, Seahawks, Go!)

Anne Beaty, EDITOR

10 | winter 2013/14

70 On thebrianCover Jackson

educational hero inspires all ages

exploring the good life in Airdrie for 10 years!





Columns and regular features 30



Makeover with leslie Davies




Petlife with James froese


Parentlife with Vanessa Peterelli



life in the moment 18

Living Each Day – Band’s music has deep roots Winning Ways – Musician looks ahead


lifetimes with ellen Kelly



lifestyles with tina McMillan


Expressionism – Artists follow different paths


livemoves with Michelle Carre


Fine Dining – Golf course offers great food


Businesslife with Kent rupert


Holiday Tradition – Gingerbread houses delight

last look


Unique Events – Volunteers march to a different beat


12 | winter 2013/14


life in the community



Fond Memories – Museum marks anniversary


Cultural Activities – Filipino community gathers


Community Heart – Lionesses create Christmas cheer


Strength Training – Bodybuilder provides role model


And Justice for All – Youths benefit from direction


On Ice – Speedskater overcomes adversity


It’s a Dog’s Life – Young canines live and learn


Up in the Air – Teacher brings science to life


Young Hero – Jayden Phaneuf was an inspiration


Home for Life – Age in place in community

life at home


Clean Sweep – Companies provide break for homeowners


Showmanship – Homes offer unique features


By the Creek – Condos offer great lifestyle


Crystal Clear – Builder makes mark in Airdrie


Good Neighbours – Families connect in Ridgegate

life at work


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100 High-Tech – Company expands to meet needs

102 SMARTstart – Economic development initiative kicks off

106 Safe and Sound – Businesses safeguard community

108 Ready and Willing – Program prepares young people

109 Think Tank – Airdrionians take the challenge

in Airdrie

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Glowing Nightly Dec 1 - 31 6pm - 9 pm Nose Creek Park Airdrie Admission is by cash donation, parking is FREE!

Train Rides Firepits Hot Chocolate Santa Visits Live Music & Food Trucks

moment life in the 28 sweet surrender

18 family ties 33 new you

life in the moment|band of brothers



or Airdrie’s de Jong brothers, music is not only a family affair, it’s a lifelong love that has its roots in their church. Building on their love of music and their abilities as individual musicians, Allen, Chris and Colin de Jong, along with good friend Leroy Cassell, came together to form Race the Sunset, a rock/pop band that has been part of the local and Calgary music scene for the past three to four years. Both the de Jongs and Cassell grew up in families where church and church music played important roles. “We were raised in … Christian gospel music,” Allen says, adding that he and Colin played piano for several years until their musical tastes changed. (Chris never did take piano lessons.) Cassell’s father was another lifelong musician in his church. “My dad always played guitar,” Cassell says. That musical background is just one thing that ties the four band

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members together, even though their sound is a long way from organ hymns or gospel. But it’s the structure of that church music that forms the basis of much of what they create and play, says Allen. Growing up, Cassell had another musical passion, one far removed from his church roots.“I listened to a lot of metal,” he says. He and the de Jongs also continue to listen to some classic rock bands – such as Van Halen, Nirvana and U2 – for enjoyment and inspiration. When it comes to the band’s own original work, Allen is usually the lyricist and provides the arrangements. Then it’s a matter of working it through, with each musician adding his own unique touch.“We all kind of jam out,” Colin says. The four musicians had known each other for years through their church, but they had not thought of creating a band. But something clicked when the three brothers added Cassell to the mix. “(Leroy) just blended … really well,” says Colin.

Race the Sunset – left to right, Chris de Jong, Colin de Jong, Allen de Jong and Leroy Cassell – gets in a bit of practice before the snow falls.

the Sunset story by Anne Beaty | photo by Sergei Belski

The plan was for them to join up for a one-time event – “We got together just to play [a song] for a fundraiser for a friend,” says Chris – and the rest is history. As for the band’s name, Race the Sunset came from the lyrics of another musician’s song, and it seemed to fit right into their take on life.“It’s just … living every day to the fullest,” says Colin. Race the Sunset’s special mix is making waves. Along with playing such local events as Airdrie Fest and Banded Peak Musicfest in Springbank, the band was also a finalist in the 2013 SLAM on AIR contest with their original song The Comeback, penned by Allen. As for the future, Race the Sunset would like to be able to up the ante a bit. While Cassell has a music studio at home – as a hobby, he says – that doesn’t quite allow the musicians to get the professional sound they would like to achieve, so they’d jump at the chance for time in a pro studio.

“It would be nice to do more local shows, too,” adds Chris. And although the band members would love to spend more of their time creating and fine-tuning their music, all are married with families and have other commitments, as well. (For example, Allen, who is a pastor at his church, recently returned from a mission trip to the Philippines, where he and his co-members worked at an orphanage.) For now, though, they are happy to be able to share their music with their audiences, and they are also passing along the love of music to the next generation. Colin’s three-year-old son already “rocks out” on his toy guitar, enthusiastically accompanied by his one-and-a-half-year-old brother on drums. And the community support for Race the Sunset and other local musicians is heartening. “Ever since SLAM started up it’s been awesome,” Chris says. life

winter 2013/14 | 19

life in the moment | musician Q&A

Songwriting ED NOTE: airdrielife was pleased to be a sponsor of the SLAM on AIR competition. One of the perks for the winner is a feature in airdrielife! Rob Dawson was featured in our June issue – we are delighted to follow up with him as the recipient of this profile.

story and Photo by Carl Patzel Airdrie vocalist and firefighter Rob Dawson put his songwriting talents up against 19 other entries to earn top spot at the original music SLAM on AIR competition held this past September. airdrielife caught up with him after the victory. AL: This was your second time around at SLAM on AIR. What made the difference this session? RD: Last year may have helped me because there were a couple of judges [who] were familiar with me. I’m not sure if they saw a wider range in my music or a difference in my performance. I didn’t think I was going to win this year but I was definitely excited to ... because there were a lot of good acts there. AL: You won with the song Waste Your Time With Me. RD: I finished writing that song a week before the competition last year and didn’t plan on playing it. I really wanted to write something that was up-tempo and had a two-step shuffle beat to it. I just had this phrase ‘waste your time with me.’ It doesn’t really have much of a meaning. I thought it was very catchy and developed that theme. AL: You won a nice prize package including some studio time. How will you use that? RD: We only have eight hours. I’m hoping that we can get two songs done, but it has to be really well-rehearsed. I’m going to do the acoustic guitar, bass and all the vocals. I’m so excited that I can actually get some real good professional recordings done. AL: Where will we be able to hear these new recordings? RD: I will put them up on iTunes, etc., and get them out there. I’m trying to record an EP record right now. We’re trying to put something small together to get it out there and see if anybody likes it. life

20 | winter 2013/14

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Nose Creek Dental Centre • #1-409 1st Ave NW., Airdrie, AB T4B 3E2 403-948-6684 (tel) • 403-948-6691 (fax) • winter 2013/14 | 21

life in the moment|artist profile Potter rylee Petkau’s art is infused with her life experiences.

Rylee Petkau and Randy Bates held art shows at Airdrie Public Library this past fall. Their artistic interests are very different but both appreciate the opportunity to show Airdrie their work. Meet the artists.

Different story by ellen kelly | Photos by kUrtis kristianson

Strokes A tale of two artists 22 | winter 2013/14

RYLEE PETKAU, POTTER “I love creating. I love seeing what’s been created in me come out and how I can release it,” says Rylee Petkau, local artist and potter. She has been experimenting with various art forms since she was three years old, but was drawn to pottery in high school and has returned to it as her favourite form of artistic expression. Petkau, who has lived in the Calgary-Airdrie area her entire life and in Airdrie for the past 20 years, has travelled extensively, absorbing the colours and textures of the cultures she’s visited. She has been to Africa three times and has been immersed in the culture during her visits. “The art stands out for me,” she says, impressed with the ability of Africans to make art from simple materials. While visiting India, Petkau learned henna and studied symbolic meaning so she could be artistically authentic. “I don’t want to misrepresent,” she says. “When I find something I enjoy, I research it to understand.” After an absence of 15 years, Petkau has returned to her obsession with clay and pottery. She makes cups, mugs, bowls, platters and dinnerware on the wheel, as well as hand-formed items such as jewelry. “I never tire of working with clay,” she says. “I like making things that are a little bit different, like taking what’s traditional and putting my own spin on it.” Shortly after acquiring her own wheel, Petkau was offered a position with Clay for Kids, a company that contracts clay instruction to elementary schools. “Children are so wonderful to work with,” she says. “It’s fun going into class when they’re so excited to see you.”

It’s our 11th annual Toy Drive for the Alberta Children’s Hospital

We want to thank the community for your continued support with our Toy Drive for the kids at the Children’s Hospital. If you are able to donate a new unopened toy, game, book or puzzle, we will be collecting for infant to 17 year old boys and girls from now until December 18th. We will also be accepting cash donations, which we will use to buy toys and games just before we make our delievery to the hospital the week before Christmas. Please help make Christmas ‘Special’ for those little ones that are at the Hospital over the holidays.

Photos from 2012 Butcher Shoppe Toy Drive for the Alberta Children’s Hospital

Towerlane II - 705 Main Street Airdrie, AB Phone. Fax. 403.948.9572

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life in the moment|artist profile Petkau admires the pottery of Hsin-Chuen Lin (U.S.) and Dan Unsworth (Ingleton Pottery, North Yorkshire, U.K.). Her inspiration comes from the love, determination and artistic encouragement of her talented family. “My aunt bought me my first paint kit and canvas because she knew I liked painting. She’s a phenomenal painter,” she says. “My sister does theatre and short films. She’s so determined. I am so proud of her. “I believe that I was created with my skills, my talents, my passions and it just takes a while to find what it is,” Petkau adds. “I find inspiration in the things around me because I’ve been given the ability to do so. It’s the release of creativity that I like the most.”

RANDY BATES, ARTIST/ILLUSTRATOR Originally from Savannah, Ga., Randy Bates moved frequently with his family while growing up. A brief stay in Airdrie during the 1970s when Bates was in junior high school inspired him to move to Airdrie from Calgary with his wife and two daughters 11 years ago “because it was a smaller town, a nicer place to raise my kids,” he says. Bates, who has drawn all his life, still favours illustration (the act of graphic drawing, typically a clear visual representation of recognizable subject matter) and chooses pencil crayon as his favourite medium. He enjoys oil painting and studied with Ed Martinuk several years ago. He illustrator randy bates finds inspiration all around him.

24 | winter 2013/14

has also worked with water-based paints and pastels but returns to drawing with pencil crayon because of the fine detail he is able to achieve. Bates’ artist mother was his first mentor and, he says, “Some of my friends growing up were really good artists and they encouraged me.” He draws artistic strength from the constant support of his wife, daughters and extended family and enjoys watching his daughters draw and develop their artistic talents. “Inspiration comes from almost anywhere,” says Bates. “I’ve moved around a lot and the different places I’ve lived have inspired me.” He draws both from real life and from pictures and while he doesn’t have a favourite subject, he does like drawing people, mountain scenery and scenes taken from nature. “I draw whatever moves me at the moment,” he says. His creativity extends to his job. He installs custom leather interiors in vehicles at Wright Restyling and enjoys working with the choices of styles, textures and colours. He also works for Subaru/Jaguar. Bates aspires to paint like his favourite artist, Robert Bateman, but also enjoys fantasy art. Some of his pictures have been adapted into tattoos by his friends.“My art is part of me,” he says.“When I’m done something, a part of me is in it. “I draw because I like to draw,” he adds. “It’s my hobby, my passion when I can find time to do it.” life



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life in the moment|fine food


story by Jeff MaCkinnon Photos by sergei belski


A 2,200 square foot log-cabin-like building, it was known as a place Like most people who work at a golf course, chef to refuel during a round over the summer. Five of Apple Creek’s 18 holes Richard Daoust loves the game and wishes he converge at the building, making going hungry or thirsty during a round could play more, but can’t. Time won’t let him. “Since I left the golf course world in 1999 I started to lower my score because I actually had time to play,” Daoust says.“Now that I returned to my passion of working at a great golf course, my playing time is limited and my handicap has started to climb back up because of the work required to run the clubhouse.” Daoust came to the Calgary area in 1999 after starting out in the restaurant business while attending cooking school and working at the prestigious Beaconsfield Golf Club in Montreal. When he relocated to Calgary he moved from fine dining to chain restaurants. Returning to the golf business, Daoust is now the chef/restaurant manager for Airdrie’s newest facility, Apple Creek Golf Course, which opened in May. Daoust and his hand-picked staff – former coworkers from his 11 years working in the industry in Calgary – spent the late summer and early fall getting the club’s snack shack ready to become a fine dining establishment.

26 | winter 2013/14

there a very difficult thing to do. Looking ahead, the chef is excited about the dining possibilities. “I want everything local and all natural,” says Daoust, who also does some private catering on the side in the Bearspaw area. Daoust is back at a golf course at the behest of Apple Creek’s principal owner Rick Skauge of Calgary, whom he’s known for 11 years. Fourteen years ago, Skauge bought the property, located six kilometres northeast of Airdrie on Township Road 275, and ran it as a tree farm until flooding wiped out that business seven years ago. Plans to build a driving range expanded and construction began on a 5,000- to 7,000-yard public course six years ago. Living in the Sage Hill community in north Calgary, Daoust is right next door to the new farmer’s market at Symons Valley Ranch. He’s working to establish relationships with suppliers there to provide the clubhouse with all natural meats and vegetables, following along with the current trend among restaurants to serve organic fare.

Mango Chipotle Lime Roast Chicken Ingredients 3 whole chickens 1/2 oz. fresh rosemary 1/4 oz. fresh thyme 3 fresh limes, cut in half 5 fresh garlic cloves, rough cut 10 tbsp kosher salt water to cover chicken spice (see recipe below) Chef Richard Daoust (with cook Mike Phenix in the background) prepares and serves some of his specialties for the Apple Creek crowd.

While the kitchen was being put together, Daoust and his staff worked out of an ATCO kitchen trailer over the summer serving typical golf course fare to the clients, using fresh food. “It’s been a challenge but it’s been fun,” he says.“A lot of people didn’t know we were here yet, so we actually grew with the business. We’re looking forward to next year.” Course general manager Bob Choma believes they were lucky to land Daoust to run their food services. “He was a hidden gem,” Choma said. “We were very fortunate to find someone like him.” life

Tie chicken with twine. Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Place chicken in a 20-litre cambro and add water mix to the chicken. Make sure to add water to the brine if there is not enough boiled to cover the chicken. Cover the cambro and brine for 12 hours. Remove chicken from water and place on a lined baking tray. Place chicken in a 375 F oven until chicken temperature reaches 165 F, about 25-30 minutes. Take out and let cool. Once cooled enough to handle, cut chickens in half and evenly spread with chicken spice. Bag the chicken and store in the fridge. Chicken Spice 9 tbsp mango chipotle spice 7 tbsp paprika 1 tbsp onion powder 3 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped zest of three fresh limes Mix all ingredients and spread over prepared chicken. winter 2013/14 | 27

life in the moment | holiday fun

The house that Kristy built (and later ate) story and photos by Kristy Reimer

A fun look at a holiday tradition


y first impression when I walked through the door at 4Cats Arts Studio was: “This looks like fun!” The walls were covered in colourful art, giving that warm, inviting feeling. We were greeted by owner Cheryl Webster at the front door and each of us received a name tag, hung up our coat and settled in for an evening of creativity. Everything we were going to need to make a gingerbread house was set out and prepared for our class. There were little muffin liners filled with candy, bowls with icing and tools for the job. Hot chocolate was steaming in the corner and the kids were eyeing the colourful candy! After Cheryl gave us a little intro, we were taken into the splatter room for stretches – really just some fun games to get everyone excited. The splatter room is used to create art at splatter parties for birthdays and stagettes. What a fun idea. It’s a room in which you’re allowed to make a big mess! Next we went back into the main room, sat down and got right into building our gingerbread houses. I really didn’t have a plan for my design and I feared that a two-year-old would make a much nicer house than mine. I grabbed some graham crackers, scooped up some icing and started to wing it.

28 | winter 2013/14

The Tree of Hope During the month of November The Airdrie & District Hospice Society is taking pledges to honour the memoriy of loved ones passed, or to offer greetings of hope to those suffering. All proceeds from the pledges support the programming needs of the Airdrie & District Hospice Society. Please join us Saturday Dec 1 at 5:30 pm in Nose Creek Park for a special non-denominational service and lighting of the Tree of Hope. The tree will remain lit every night during the 2013 Airdrie Festival of Lights Dec 1 - 31 from 6 pm - 9 pm Please check airdriefestivalo for details and how to make a pledge

Bringing You Home For 75 Years Well, I should have thought a bit more before creating a structure that had nowhere to attach a roof! My walls were two squares by two squares of graham crackers, with a large hollow in the middle of the structure. I ended up having to make internal rooms so I would have load-bearing walls to support my roof. It worked! The next task was decorating. Cheryl made the great suggestion of rolling icingcovered ice cream cones in sprinkles to make trees. Brilliant! While I was working away, I overheard a couple of the dads discussing the structural integrity of their “home designs.” It was so awesome to see the men take a technical approach. I know that the parents were having just as much fun as the kids. As far as structural integrity goes, I could learn a thing or two. Part of my roof caved in from the weight of my ‘Christmas lights’ (a border of Smarties). Apparently I need some training in engineering. One of the dads created a curved barn roof, with an overhang atop a wrap-around veranda. My gingerbread house certainly wasn’t that spectacular, but it sure was fun to play, create and decorate! At the end of the evening, the youngsters got to take the excess candy home in baggies. One little girl’s eyes really lit up when Cheryl handed her the candy bag. I love that look of excitement in a child’s eyes. It’s just how a child should look at Christmastime. life winter 2013/14 | 29

life in the moment | events

Arts & Culture Winter Calendar Assorted Dates Nose Creek Players Christmas Plays A small crew will be performing a short Christmas play called After the Special free of charge for residents of various nursing homes around Airdrie. Dates include: Nov. 16, 2 p.m., Bethany Care Centre; Dec. 5, 7 p.m., Luxstone Manor; Dec. 14, 2 p.m., Cedarwood Station.

Nov. 15 The Fugitives in Concert Bert Church Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss this group of musicians, poets and multi-instrumentalists from Vancouver. The quartet features the songs of novelist/musician and former Canadian SLAM poetry champion Brendan McLeod, and musician Adrian Glynn, recently nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year at the Canadian Independent Music Awards. Together with their band, they create “dizzying, Arcade Fire-ish crescendos, replete with parallel melodies, complex harmonies and brimming torrents of emotion.” (Uptown, Winnipeg). Admission is $26.50; custom ticket package price is $24.50. Nov. 17 Christmas Market Best Western Regency Inn, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Looking for a great place to discover some really unique gifts and get a jump on your Christmas shopping? Spend a few hours browsing the Christmas Market sponsored by Airdrie Women in Business Association. Admission is free. Donations will be accepted for Airdrie Food Bank. E-mail for details. Nov. 17 Dufflebag Theatre presents Cinderella Bert Church Theatre, 2:30 p.m. Since 1992, the “Nearly World-Famous” Dufflebag Theatre has become one of the most celebrated companies at festivals and schools across the country. The Dufflebag actors begin the retelling of original adaptations of select fairy tales and Shakespearean classics full of wit and humour. Just when the audience becomes enthralled by the story – a twist is created! Before your very eyes, audience members are asked to come onstage and join in the action. This unpredictable performance is hilarious for all ages and a truly unique interactive theatrical experience where the dream of living a fairy tale actually does come true! Admission is $12.50; custom ticket package price is $11.45.

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Nov. 23 Front Porch Roots Revue presents Up on Cripple Creek: Songbook of The Band Bert Church Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Front Porch Roots Revue is a shifting group of western Canadian roots musicians who stir up a hearty gumbo of sounds that include blues, swing, gospel, folk and country. Ron Rault, J.R. Shore and Crawdad Cantera more often than not are at the core of any given Front Porch show. Over the past three years, the group has won over audiences at such major festivals as the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, established folks clubs and theatres. Admission is $29.75; custom ticket package price is $26.60. Nov. 29 to Jan. 15 ‘Sense of Christmas’ Exhibit Nose Creek Valley Museum Engage all five senses in an interactive setting centred around enjoying the holidays. Use smell, for example, to figure out which Christmas scent is your favourite. Hours are Monday to Friday 1-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Nov. 30 Airdrie Artisans Holiday Market Town & Country Centre,10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy jewelry, clothes, ceramics, paintings, photographs, woodwork, textiles, drawings and more, uniquely made by local and surrounding-area artisans, at this seventh annual event. Nov. 30 Mall in the Hall Best Western Regency Hotel, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Carter’s Quest for a Cure is pleased to be hosting this fourth annual event featuring Christmas shopping and family fun. Choose from vendors selling jewelry, artwork, clothing, candles, food and more, while helping raise some much-needed money and awareness for hemophilia. Be sure to bring the youngsters for a picture with Santa (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and to enjoy the kids’ secret shopping section, where they can buy a gift for Mom or Dad (all items under $20). Don’t miss the bake table, which will include the most delicious cheesecakes in a jar!

Nov. 30 Bids for Bruisers Best Western Regency Hotel, 7-11:45 p.m Join Carter’s Quest for a Cure for an evening of fun and fundraising. Enjoy music, pictures, raffles and excitement, cocktail-party style, at this live auction of many local items. Come and support a great local non-profit organization and help raise money to fund a cure for hemophilia and other related bleeding disorders. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Contact Jen or Lisa at or visit for more information. Dec. 1-31 Airdrie Festival of Lights Nose Creek Park, 6-9 p.m. nightly It’s the 18th year Airdrie has played host to the largest outdoor walk-through lights display in Western Canada. Look for the complete guide inserted into this issue of airdrielife or get all the details online at

Dec. 6 Jimmy Rankin Bert Church Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Get in the holiday spirit with a favourite Canadian star. One of the East Coast’s hottest exports, Rankin is a critically acclaimed master musician and the creative force behind the Rankin Family’s stratospheric multi-platinum career. Performing original songs from his brand-new Christmas album mixed with a good dose of beloved hits, Rankin serves up a night full of fun and yuletide cheer. Admission is $40.75 in advance, $44.95 at the door; custom ticket package price is $37.10. Dec. 7 Airdrie Santa Claus Parade Main Street, 5 p.m. The parade will start at Fletcher Park, then proceed down Main Street South, ending at Ridgegate Way at about 6:30 p.m. City Hall and Airdrie Public Library will be open, allowing citizens to warm up and also access the public washrooms. Note: There will be road closures along Main Street between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 8 Singfest Grace Baptist Church Airdrie Community Choir hosts performances from various community choirs.

deC. 12-14 Grease is the Word bert Church theatre bert Church high school Drama presents Grease at 7 p.m., Dec. 12-14, with an extra matinee performance Dec. 14 at 2:30 p.m. deC. 18 bert Church high school Music Program Christmas Concert bert Church theatre, 7 p.m. deC. 31 new year’s eve fireworks show east lake Park The park will open at 8 p.m., with the show to follow at approximately 8:30 p.m. spectators are encouraged to walk to the park.


Jan. 11 Chris gibbs presents Like Father, Like Son? Sorry. bert Church theatre, 7:30 p.m. on June 30, 2007, a Canadian was born, and british comedian Chris Gibbs stepped into the world of horror that is … fatherhood! Veteran one-man show creator Chris Gibbs returns with a show that playfully explores the fears, worries and surprises of being a new father, and the absolute terror of wanting to be a good one. NoTe: May contain some mature subject matter. Admission is $12.50; custom ticket package price is $11.45. Jan. 18-19 airdrie original one-act Play festival bert Church theatre Nose Creek players is once again hosting an original one-act play festival! registration is now open. participants are encouraged to submit their original work. All plays must be under an hour in length. Nose Creek players is not responsible for casting these plays, but we can assist in connecting you with interested actors. All participants must find their own time and location to rehearse. Details available at

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feb. 7 blackie and the rodeo kings bert Church theatre, 7:30 p.m. Now into their second decade and with one Juno Award and several Juno nominations under their belt, blackie and the rodeo Kings have organically evolved into one of the finest roots-oriented bands in North America. The performers have released seven CDs and gradually developed a feeling of brotherhood manifested in a sense of groove, timberal blend and melodic and rhythmic play that is distinctive, mystical, energizing and constantly evocative. blackie and the rodeo Kings remains one of Canada’s greatest musical treasures. Admission is $44.95, $50.20 at the door.

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life in the moment | events feb. 15 Outerbridge: Clockwork Mysteries bert Church theatre, 7:30 p.m. prepare to be amazed! From the minds of Canada’s most popular touring illusionists – and the recipients of the b.C. Touring Council’s 2010 Touring Artist of the year award – comes a sensational new show. Ted and Marion outerbridge have taken the art of illusion to new heights by combining it with dance, theatre and day-to-day life. The outerbridges’ world-class illusion show has played to sold-out houses and standing ovations from coast to coast and in europe. Don’t miss this masterfully orchestrated, high-energy magical adventure filled with breathtaking new illusions. Admission is $19.25. feb. 22 sass Jordan – acoustic bert Church theatre, 7:30 p.m. Juno Award-winning artist sass Jordan has made a living singing, performing, writing and recording music for the past 30 years. she is an internationally recognized singer/songwriter who has sold more than one million CDs worldwide. Winner of Billboard’s best Female rock Vocalist award, the bilingual Montrealer has toured and/or worked with many music heavyweights, including Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Van halen, Carlos santana and Joe Cocker. Admission is $37.10, $41.80 at the door; custom ticket package price is $33.35.

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MarCh 1 abrams brothers bert Church theatre, 7:30 p.m. The Abrams brothers are a teenage bluegrass/Americana family band from Kingston, ont., featuring brothers John (vocals/guitar/mandolin) and James (vocals/fiddle/guitar) along with cousin elijah (bass). The brothers, fourthgeneration musicians, have been touring the folk/bluegrass circuit in Canada and the u.s. extensively since they were children. Their latest CD, Blue on Brown, was produced by Chris brown and includes guest appearances from bruce Cockburn, Justin rutledge and Amy Milan. Admission is $28.70; custom ticket package price is $25.55. MarCh 8 Calgary opera’s Hansel and Gretel bert Church theatre, 2:30 p.m. The story of hansel and Gretel and their encounter with the witch of the magical gingerbread house is retold through beautiful melodies from engelbert humperdinck’s well-known opera of the same name. This 45-minute opera, sung entirely in english, is fully staged and performed by Calgary opera’s professional emerging Artist ensemble with keyboard accompaniment. Fun for all ages. Admission is $12.50; custom ticket package price is $11.45.

life in the moment | makeover


magine – you’ve recently lost 65 pounds and are wearing clothes that are at least two sizes too big, hand-me-downs from friends, and haven’t had anything new in quite a while. You’ve started a new job within the last month after being home with the kids for six years, and donate all your ‘outside-of-work’ time to the Sea Cadets and your child’s Beaver’s group. Do you really think you have any time to think about yourself and what to wear? Not likely. And this is exactly where Jodi Hunter is at. Our makeover team consists of Sasha from Sass Couture Salon; Kendall Wallis from Beauty Culture by Kendall; Pharmasave and The Store Upstairs for all clothing, shoes and accessories; Apple Wellness Center for a teeth whitening kit; Kristy Reimer of Kristy Reimer Photography; and me, Leslie Davies, IMPACT Image Essentials, for clothing selection and wardrobe styling. All of us are thrilled by the privilege to help Jodi experience her beauty in a way she’s never dreamed. We get to transform her look and, best of all, her outlook! Days before the hair, makeup and photo shoot, Jodi and I begin with a consultation. I discover that she’s a super busy young mom who has a new body she’s getting reacquainted with – and doesn’t have much in terms of clothing that fits her well. Jodi’s attracted to very comfortable, layered, easy-to-wear, no-fuss clothing that accentuates her new shape and brings out a little bit of her ‘sneaky sexy’ and fun side. She likes red, black and grey but is open to bringing a little more colour into her life. And with that knowledge we make our way to The Store Upstairs to select her outfits. My goal with Jodi is to provide her e with some pieces she can easily wear in befor a business-casual work environment yet also transition to her after-work activities with ease. Mix and match is the name of the game for intelligent women who want the most out of their wardrobe and investment. For Jodi, we used a narrow-leg black pant and ‘third pieces’ as the cornerstone. When I work with clients to help them create wardrobes that flatter, are super-functional/mix-and-matchworthy and support their credibility at work, I always encourage that we build

On the Hunt for a New Look story by leslie davies Photos by kristy reiMer

our winter makeover winner Jodi hunter discovers her inner fashionista winter 2013/14 | 33

life in the moment | makeover around jackets, cardigans and vests. (I call these “third pieces.”) A third piece balances the shape of the body, flatters all figures, camouflages and highlights strategically, gives us lots of flexibility to create other outfits and elevates the look of professionalism. Here are the outfits that made the cut on the day of the photo shoot: Our first outfit features a long, shapely teal cardigan that buttons just at the bust. Underneath, I’ve layered a sorbet multi-coloured print blouse that peeks out from the cardi, giving a fresh, face-flattering boost of colour. Our cranberry ballet flats in one of Jodi’s favourite colours complete the look right down to her toes! The deep V of the necklines and necklace create the illusion of a stronger shoulder and more whittled waist. Jodi loves nature and fell in love with our next outfit, featuring a silky exotic botanicalprint top! Both elegant and comfortable, this key piece works beautifully with the narrow-leg black pant you see here (by Tan Jay) or a pair of dark-wash jeans. A little bit of polish has been added with the blush-coloured, unstructured blazer and super-comfy grey flannel wedges. Preparing for chillier days ahead, we were inspired to create a stylish outdoor look that Jodi can feel great wearing on weekends! A terrific leopard-print, grey-and-black zip-front tunic has a high collar that frames her face, is fitted through the bust and rib cage, flattering all the right places (wink, wink) AND is super roomy and feminine around the bottom and hips, with pleated pockets.

34 | winter 2013/14

I’ve wrapped a scarf around Jodi’s neck to add a kick of rosy colour to her cheeks and chic leather gloves. The pants (not shown) are a little different from the other pair selected for the shoot. Also by Tan Jay, these feature a subtle and fun black-on-black leopard print. Jodi went wild over them! The day of the photo shoot begins with Sasha at Sass Couture Salon. Sasha is keen to make sure Jodi is completely at ease and on-board with her new hairstyle and after an in-depth consultation, she learns that Jodi wants to keep the length of her hair the same but is open to adding some sparkle by enhancing her colour. Various shades of copper, caramel and red are woven into Jodi’s natural warm brown to flatter her skin colour and bring out her eyes. Sasha refines Jodi’s current cut by trimming up her ends and giving her a face-framing fringe. The end result is a versatile style which has movement, fun-yet-sophisticated colour and can be worn up (essential for Sea Cadets) or down. Finally, the finishing touch to Jodi’s transformation is a trip to the private studio of Beauty Culture by Kendall. Kendall begins with a face primer and then applies CoverGirl/Olay Simply Ageless compact foundation to Jodi’s skin – blending into her jawline and down her neck. (Kendall shared that this is her new favourite product!) She warms up Jodi’s skin tone with a sweep of bronzing powder. Next, Kendall enhances Jodi’s pretty green eyes by first defining her brows and then using neutral-coloured shadows in cream and brown. (Ladies, if you don’t already define your brows with either a brow powder or pencil, try it! It’s the easiest way to bring focus to your face.) A pretty coral lip stain and cheek colour brings a glow to Jodi’s newly whitened smile. Last but not least, it’s off to the photo shoot at Kristy Reimer’s studio to capture Jodi’s final transformation! life Know someone who is deserving of his or her own makeover transformation? Want to nominate yourself? Contact us at And don’t forget to send a full-length photo.

Jodi’s entire Makeover transforMation exPerienCe inClUded: a great new colour and trim from sasha at sass Couture salon and an offer to style Jodi’s hair when she and her husband plan a special night out! a makeup how-to session from kendall of beauty Culture by kendall, plus insider makeup artist tips a gift certificate valued at $350 from Pharmasave and the store Upstairs

a teeth-whitening kit from apple Wellness Center a list of what to wear and what to avoid to make the most of her new body and style, plus recommendations on must-have wardrobe items from leslie davies, iMPaCt image essentials a celebrity-for-a-day photo shoot and experience from kristy reimer Photography and airdrielife magazine

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winter 2013/14 | 35

Photo courtesy of Stewart McLeish

life in the moment | community spirit

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus Parade


t has taken a lot of faith and even more work to bring a community tradition back to life. Airdrie’s Santa Claus parade, which ran in 2012 for the first time in six years, is set to roll down Main Street again this year, thanks to the efforts of a group of community members who were willing to step up to the plate. The newly revived yuletide event has its roots in an annual summer celebration. In May 2012, the longtime organizers of the Canada Day parade had to pull out because of a lack of volunteers, so the City of Airdrie stepped in and put out a call for volunteers. As a result, a committee came together and, with support and direction from the former organizer, managed to get the parade up and running. “The committee was made up of a group of dedicated Airdrie people and a core group of City [of Airdrie] people,” says committee member Stewart McLeish. Because of the Canada Day success, Mayor Peter Brown suggested bringing the Santa Claus parade back to life, and the plans began for a parade for that year. Thanks to the dedication of the committee and plenty of time and effort from the volunteers, the Santa Claus parade 2012 was also a hit, with 25 floats and many thousands of people in attendance.

36 | winter 2013/14

“It was quite amazing,” McLeish says.“We thought it was very successful. We got lots of positive comments.” While the event did not go off without a hitch, it was a learning experience for the committee, and plans began for 2013.“We’re learning parade by parade,” McLeish says. During the following six months, the City presence on the committee lessened, with decision-making for both parades becoming a responsibility of the volunteers. Canada Day 2013 was another stellar success, and now McLeish and his fellow committee members are eagerly looking forward to December. “We’re excited to be putting it all together,” he says. This year’s Santa Claus parade will be held Dec. 7, 5-6:30 p.m. The parade will start at Fletcher Park and proceed south down Main Street to Ridgegate Way. Both City Hall and Airdrie Public Library will be open, so parade-goers can warm up and use the public restrooms. The Lions Club will be organizing the staging and 20 floats had preregistered by the end of October – but McLeish says that more floats, sponsors and volunteers are always welcome. Community response to the tradition’s return has also been positive.

by anne beaty

How the community saved a traditional event “They obviously missed the parade and were glad to get it back,” McLeish says. For now, the Airdrie parades and fireworks committee – which is also responsible for both Canada Day and New Year’s Eve fireworks displays – is looking forward to the years to come. “We do think it’s going to be better and better,” McLeish says. And he invites everyone to keep up with the latest news on Twitter and Facebook. “We’ve got quite a following on Facebook,” he says. life

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life in the moment | healthylife

Dr. Monty Gaur, of Nose Creek Dental Centre, explains an upcoming dental procedure to patient (and airdrielife editor) Anne Beaty.

All Smiles

story by Anne Beaty | photos by Carl Patzel

Good oral health is a lot more than just a dazzling smile.

A good oral hygiene routine includes not only brushing twice a day to fight tartar, reduce plaque (the biofilm on teeth where bacteria grow) and prevent gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), but also flossing every day. This practice breaks up plaque and keeps teeth healthy below the gum line, as these areas and between the teeth aren’t reached by brushing alone. Topical fluoride, in the form of an oral rinse, is also an important part of an oral health routine, especially where water is not fluoridated. Fluoride mouthwash helps in strengthening and protecting teeth.“We recommend it to patients,” says Dr. Monty Gaur, of Nose Creek Dental Centre. “It’s a good way to remineralize the [surface] of the tooth.” Regular visits to your dentist are a must. While it may be tempting to skip that yearly appointment, the long-term results can be unpleasant. Without regular cleaning that goes above and beyond brushing and flossing, bacteria can continue to grow and, untreated, eventually cause tooth decay, both on the surface and in the root. And while it’s not abso-

38 | winter 2013/14

Dental health is essential to overall health

lutely horrible, having a bacteria-ridden tooth extracted is not a top-ofthe-bucket-list experience. Good oral health is an essential part of your overall health, and your dentist is an important caregiver in that regard. “Dentistry is not just about teeth any more,” says Gaur. “We’re treating people for sleep apnea … the result is quite amazing!” In this day and age, dentistry is not practiced in isolation. Dentists are able to diagnose other health issues during a routine examination. Early signs of oral cancer can be detected; indicators of airway issues, which can cause sleep apnea, are evident; problems with tonsils and adenoids, blood sugar and cholesterol can pop up during a routine dentist’s visit. As such, dentists are working together with doctors to ensure their patients’ optimum health. “Medicine and dentistry are starting to talk to each other now,” Gaur says. As for when to start seeing the dentist, the earlier the better. Pediatric dentists want to see their young patients by the time the first tooth comes in. For Gaur, children at three or four years old are the perfect age, as they can begin to understand why they are at the dentist’s office, which helps make it a much more enjoyable experience.

“It makes it a lot easier for us,” Gaur says. Getting in the habit of seeing the dentist on a regular basis is the start to good lifelong oral health, and Gaur even recommends having checkups every six months. Because most oral diseases do not immediately show symptoms it’s important to see an expert who can detect these diseases and begin treatment right away. “A lot of problems that we see are preventable and treatable at a very early stage,” he says, adding that these problems are also much easier and less expensive to fix if caught at the early stages. And how about that dazzling smile? Well, your dentist can also offer a variety of whitening treatments, either in-office or for at home, that will have you sparkling in no time. With oral health, a few simple steps are all it takes, and the Alberta Dental Association and College offers the following preventative tips for maintaining good oral health. • Brush, floss and use mouthwash on a regular basis. • Visit your dentist regularly. • Ensure your dentist is fully informed of your medical history. • Reduce the frequency of sugar intake. • Do not smoke. • Protect your teeth: Use mouth guards for sports; always wear a seatbelt; do not use your teeth as tools.

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Prevent painful urinary crystals

Is your cat spending a lot of time in the litter box, urinating more frequently, or urinating in all the wrong places (i.e. all around your litter box or on your clean pile of laundry)? Your cat (and therefore you) may have a urinary crystal problem. Crystals can occur when your cat’s urine pH is anywhere other than between 6.1 and close to 7.0. Struvite crystals form when pH is near 7.0 or higher. Oxalate crystals form when pH is around 6.0 or less. Nevertheless, no matter the type of crystals you are dealing with, you have a problem! Some factors that may result in crystal formation include low water intake; eating low-quality foods, which creates a pH environment that is too high or too low; having inflammation in the lower urinary tract; and obesity and/or limited exercise. One of the most important steps you can take to protect your pet is to increase your cat’s water consumption. This can be done in several ways. Make sure the cat always has access to fresh water; having more than one water bowl around the house can help. Water fountains are also a great way to keep the water cool and filtered, and possibly of more interest to your cat. If your cat still isn’t drinking, try some chicken broth in the water. Discuss with your vet as to whether or not it should be sodium-free. Another way to keep a better-hydrated cat is to make some adjustments to the food. Dry cat foods are convenient for us, but only have about 10 per cent moisture. This places a heavier burden on cats to seek out water, which is not as natural for them as it is for dogs. Frozen raw foods contain about 70 per cent moisture, and cats on this diet do not have to drink as much to maintain

the urine in a consistently more diluted state. Consider feeding a prepared raw food diet, which either comes frozen or dehydrated/freeze-dried (just add water). If feeding a raw food diet is not for you, canned food with a dry kibble is another solution. Canned foods also have moisture levels around 70 per cent. Choose brands that don’t have mystery meats (i.e. byproducts from unknown sources) or use flavour enhancers to compensate for poor-quality ingredients. If oxalate crystals are the problem, limit the amount of fish, as it is usually higher in magnesium, which can result in more acidic urine. Whatever you decide, a good-quality food is key. Low-quality foods, rich with grains, can push the pH towards 7.0 and above, placing the cat in danger of struvite crystals. Foods with too much soy can result in an acidic pH, increasing the risk of oxalate crystals. The best bet is to find a food with a specific meat/meat meal listed as the first ingredient, without a large variety of grains listed after it. Reducing your cat’s stress is also important. When a cat has elevated stress, pH levels rise, bringing on an increased risk of struvite crystals forming. Stress reducing products as well as cat treats with stress reduction supplements are also available. So save that pile of clean laundry from a second washing with a few changes to your cat’s routines and quality of life. Your healthy cat (and ultimately your wallet) will thank you. life – James Froese is owner of Global Pet Foods in Airdrie winter 2013/14 | 41

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diet | fitness | health

Airdrie Yoga&Fitness How would you like to get in shape for free? airdrielife is looking for six eager people to take part in the ultimate fitness and lifestyle challenge. We need three teams of two to compete in losing the greatest percentage of weight over a 12- week period, January to april 2014. Your custom-designed nutrition, fitness and wellness program by the experts at Simply For Life and anytime Fitness will whip you and a buddy into the best shape of your life! tWo WaYS to eNter: oNlINe – register your team at IN PerSoN – pick up a registration form at: Simply for Life, 302 Station Crossing,191 Edwards Way or Anytime Fitness, 122, 85 Railway Avenue This is a 12-week challenge running from Jan.13 to April 14, 2014. There are three teams of two participants each. The winning team will be declared based on total percentage weight loss.

eaCh team CommItS to the FolloWINg: • • • • • • • •

Initial, weekly and final weigh-in with Simply For Life; Weekly meeting with Simply For Life nutrition consultant; Maintaining daily food journal; Following food preparation and menu plans; Weekly attendance at one group workout with Anytime Fitness; Three weekly meetings with a certified personal trainer from Anytime Fitness; Teams are encouraged to wear their Challenge T-shirts to workouts; Team weight loss will be posted at Anytime Fitness, Simply For Life and on Facebook each week; • Team members will be contacted by e-mail each week to report their biggest challenge and biggest achievement for the week (to be shared on Facebook); and • Attend wind-up party on Friday, April 18, at which winners will be announced, prizes awarded and final photos taken to be published in airdrielife magazine.

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Each member of the winning team (as determined by combined percentage weight loss) will receive: • three-month consult with Simply For Life; • three-month unlimited pass from Anytime Fitness; and • $100 haircut and product package from The Hair Lounge.

total PrIZe PaCKage value oF $3,400 For the WINNINg team!

We wish all participants success in meeting their fitness and weight-loss goals. You are all winners in our books.

All teams must commit to donating their weight loss in food to Airdrie Food Bank

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winter 2013/14 | 43

life in the moment | column


with Vanessa Peterelli

Winter Woes to



inter can be an interesting time of year for moms or dads at home with active youngsters. As I write this, my threeyear-old son is taking today’s 14th death-defying lap around the kitchen island on his plasma car, missing the dishwasher door by a hair for the umpteenth time. When she was his age, his older sister would happily join me to colour, paint, do puzzles, read stories, bake ... the list goes on. Whether it’s due to a difference in personality, gender, birth order or a combination of all three, days at home with my son have been a more challenging – and humbling – experience. Life has become a roller-coaster ride of creation and destruction (with great emphasis on the latter). I’m seriously beginning to wonder if ‘boy’ might not in fact be the root word for ‘boisterous.’ It had seemed like a good decision to hold off on preschool till next year. Our son had spent so much time shuttling our daughter to and from school and various activities that we’d reached the point where we could barely get him in the car.“I just want to stay home,” he began repeating with determination as soon as he could form the words. Apparently, he longed to have a bit more control over his weekdays, with his toys and his mom to himself. But try as I might to be the Mary Poppins of mothers, I just can’t seem to keep up these days. Clearly time to engage Plan B: Get out of the house! Thankfully, there are many options for Airdrie parents looking to keep those cold-weather stir-crazies at bay. After all, burning off a little steam and/or engaging your youngster’s mind is bound to be fun in the supportive company of others! Genesis Place offers parented programs for children as young as 18 months which include dancing, playing games or sports, swimming (starting at four months) and sharing stories. Independent preschoolers can enjoy a variety of creative classes (swimming included) sure to keep them entertained for about an hour each week. Airdrie Public Library offers popular registered programs for preschoolers from birth to age five. Drop-in classes, a monthly

44 | winter 2013/14

evening program and once-a-month weekend options are also offered, ensuring something to suit every schedule. Discourage your little one from bouncing off your walls or furniture and let them develop their inner gymnast at The Little Gym instead. Parented programs are offered for children aged four months to about three years; older youngsters can participate in classes without mom or dad. Be sure to ask about Parents’ Survival Night, too. Offered every second Friday, this three-hour camp will ensure your little one comes home all tuckered out. Check out Airdrie Skating Club for parent-and-tot classes for three-year-olds and skating programs for four years and up. Community Links offers a variety of interactive play opportunities and can help you develop your parenting skills along the way. There is a parented program, for ages 18 months to three years, focused on key school readiness areas such as numbers and counting; language and literacy; science and nature; music and movement; and creative art. A good dose of fresh air is always in order, too. With so many different parks, pathways and outdoor rinks from which to choose, there’s no stopping a dressed-for-theweather Airdrie tot and his or her parent from beating the winter blahs on all but the coldest of days. After today’s well-timed outing, my son and I arrive home refreshed, my passion for stay-at-home parenthood rekindled and the furniture saved from demolition for yet another day. Did my husband and I make the right decision to hold off on preschool? Maybe. But things can change quickly in the life of a three-year-old. He and I definitely need to venture out a lot more. And Miss Kim? If you’re reading this: still have that spot open for the new year? life

– Rocky View County resident Vanessa Peterelli is a freelance writer and editor who has been working with Frog Media Inc. since 2008

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life in the moment | contests

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community life in the 68 Dog-matic

67 Cold Comfort 72 heartfelt

citylife | all systems go

Airdrie Fire Department members Stacey Farquharson (left) and Edwin Situ go over the department’s emergency preparedness plans.

When Disaster Strikes

How ready are we? A look into Airdrie’s emergency preparedness.


story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photos by Kurtis Kristianson

train derails and explodes, levelling much of a Quebec town. Floodwaters inundate downtown Calgary. Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. And you have to be prepared. Airdrie has an emergency response plan in place to deal with the unexpected. Last activated in full during a train derailment in 2010, the plan is regularly updated and practised, so that from the fire department and RCMP to City administration, if a major incident happens a response is ready. Lorri Laface, emergency management co-ordinator with the City of Airdrie, explains how such a response might play out. “First, a response agency, whether it is public works, fire, police … they look for ‘trigger points’ – is this something we can handle [by ourselves] with our current response plans?” Laface says.“If it is scaling up and they feel they can’t handle it … and if it will likely get wider-thanAirdrie media attention, that triggers it to the next level.

52 | winter 2013/14

“(The response agency) department head calls me, and I call our director of emergency management, giving him a brief and my recommendation as to whether to activate our Emergency Operations Centre. We send out activations electronically to primary staff … one of my first calls will be to Lynda Phelan [the City’s team leader for corporate communications], who will issue an emergency alert. “We can be activated in minutes,” she adds. During the June 2013 floods, Calgary’s Emergency Operations Centre was ground zero for the municipality’s response to the rising waters. In Airdrie, Laface says, there are actually three locations that can be utilized for this purpose (although the City of Airdrie doesn’t publicize where they are). The City’s emergency response plans have to take into account any number of contingencies – even though, fortunately, it has rarely been needed in full. Aside from the 2010 derailment (“There were a lot of lessons learned from that,” Laface says), it was also activated for a


If an emergency strikes, it helps to be prepared, says Lorri Laface, City of Airdrie emergency management co-ordinator. For example, Laface says, what if you work in Calgary, a blizzard hits, schools in Airdrie close and the QEII Highway shuts down? “What are your plans? Where can the kids go?” she says. “If you have a good emergency plan for your household, it makes everything go smoother if something happens.” A good rule of thumb is that you should always be prepared to take care of yourself for up to 72 hours. Public Safety Canada ( recommends assembling a basic emergency kit, including: • two litres of water per person per day; • non-perishable food, such as canned goods and energy bars; • wind-up or battery-powered flashlight and radio; • first aid kit; • extra keys; • cash (don’t rely on ATMs working); • special-needs items, such as medication, pet food and infant formula; and • other necessary items, including a small fuel-operated stove and fuel, garbage bags, utensils, toilet paper, candles and matches, and basic tools (hammer and pocket knife). Many retailers sell emergency kits, but you can also order them from St. John Ambulance ( or the Canadian Red Cross (

blizzard in the 1990s, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a binder on a shelf. During the 2013 floods, for example, members of Airdrie’s emergency management team provided a support role in swamped High River. Laface says that keeping disaster plans in place is important because you never know what might happen tomorrow. “It’s not just floods,” she says. “We look at hazardous goods, man-made [incidents]. We look at what could happen, then historically at what has happened, and we look at how we’re set up to react to all these things.” There are several scenarios that could play themselves out locally.“We’re on a flight path – a plane could crash,” Laface says. “People have no idea what’s going down our highway and down our rail. There’s a pipeline just east of our airport and jet fuel goes down there. There’s a chemical plant here, high-pressure gas lines.” Weather hazards, such as tornadoes, blizzards, and heavy hail, also have to be taken into account, she adds. An important aspect of the plan is making sure that the emergency responding agencies – such as police and fire – are speaking the same language. “We’re all talking common terminology,” Laface says. Social media has also come into its own as a major tool in disaster response – the Calgary Police Service literally overloaded Twitter during the June flood. “Ten years ago, we’d have laughed at that – you can’t use

that in an emergency,” says Laface.“Now we look at all the social media pieces.” Co-operation between different agencies is crucial, says Staff Sgt. Gordon Sage, acting officer in charge of Airdrie’s RCMP detachment. “I’ve worked as an incident commander and it’s nice to have a system that is finetuned,” Sage says. “We play an important role – safety and security. We assist where we need to be. Everyone’s there to help and make it work.” Although emergency preparedness is seen as being reactive, there is also a huge proactive element – helping people avoid emergencies in the first place. To that end, the Airdrie Fire Department recently partnered with Chestermere Fire Services, Cochrane Fire Services and Rocky View County Fire Services to form the Regional Fire Safety Education Coalition, funded by ConocoPhillips. “Because we’re all small fire departments without public education branches, we struggle to offer public education programs,” explains Airdrie Deputy Fire Chief Linda Masson. “We’re moving more into prevention of fires, prevention of loss and possible injury, rather than just focusing on responding.” Three programs have been launched under the coalition. One is a home safety program through which fire crews offer home safety checks and help install smoke alarms and batteries. “They go through areas of the home, talk about storage of hazardous chemicals in the garage, access and egress, fire escape plans,” says Masson. “It’s more than just smoke alarms.” The other programs are After the Emergency, which aims to have fire crews visiting door-to-door in an emergency-affected area within 72 hours to provide information. Fire crews will also be outfitted with community care packs to help them provide information and resources to the public when they’re on non-emergency duties. citylife winter 2013/14 | 53

life in the community | history

nose Creek valley Museum curator laurie harvey loves her job of historian/teacher/caretaker/explorer.

25 Years of

History story by ellen kelly | Photo by kristy reiMer

Museum celebrates the past, present and future “Our goal is to preserve the past,” says Nose Creek Valley Museum curator Laurie Harvey. “History provides a foundation. If you don’t know where you’ve been, you can’t figure out where you’re going.” This past September, Nose Creek Valley Museum celebrated a quarter century of preserving the past. A member of the Canadian Museums Association and recognized through the Alberta Museums Association, the Airdrie facility’s collections concentrate on the history of the Nose Creek Valley, an area that stretches from the Calgary neighborhood of Beddington to north of Crossfield, from Irricana to Madden. The museum, built with funds raised by the Nose Creek Valley Museum Society, opened in 1988 at its current location. In 1992 an addition, recently named the Walter Bushfield Annex, was added to house farm equipment, tractors, antique cars and pumps. Local history from approximately 1790 to the present is contained in displays, archives, collections and outdoor exhibits. Photographs record Airdrie’s beginnings in the early 1900s, while others from the 1940s and the 1960s depict a growing community. Filling the large time gaps in the photo collections is an ongoing focus and donations from the public are welcomed and appreciated. Increased technology is another immediate focus. “Even though we’re a museum and here to house old stuff, it doesn’t have to be boring and it has to be accessible,” says Harvey, who would like to add interactive components to the exhibits.

54 | winter 2013/14

But it’s more than simply exhibits that make the museum come alive. “We have a great group of volunteers who help out in many ways,” says Harvey. Tours for school groups, seniors and organizations are led by volunteers who often provide individual attention. The Travelling Trunk program – which is either accompanied by a volunteer or stocked for a teacher to use as a teaching aid – provides handson access to artifacts. “It’s a fun program because it makes history more real,” Harvey says. The board of directors of the Nose Creek Valley Museum Society governs the museum and makes policy, while approximately 70 members host the museum on weekends and help out with special events. Membership ($10 per year) includes newsletters, invitations to events and voting privileges at the AGM. Two meeting rooms, one accommodating 50 to 80 people and a smaller conference room, can be rented and provide the museum’s main source of revenue. Harvey is passionate about history and Airdrie. “I love Airdrie,” she says. “I like seeing where we’ve been and the road that has taken us to where we are now. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.” NoSe CreeK valleY muSeum IS LoCaTEd aT 1701 MaIn ST. SW. HouRS aRE MondaY To FRIdaY 1-5 p.M.; SaTuRdaY and SundaY 1-4:30 p.M. FoR MoRE InFoRMaTIon, vISIT noSECREEKvaLLEYMuSEuM.CoM


life in the moment | column


WitH ellen KellY



s if being a woman of a certain age and having lived a somewhat June Cleaverish lifestyle, at least in the 1960s, isn’t enough, my generation fits into that recently despicable segment of society known as the baby boomers. The Government of Canada defines a baby boomer as someone born between 1946 and 1965, so why, when the first boomer celebrated his/ her 65th birthday in January 2011, did the media proclaim that our economy would plunge immediately because a huge burden had suddenly been dropped on every self-serving 30-something, give or take 10 years either side? Considering we’re healthier, wealthier and better educated than previous generations, and that most of us will continue working for many more years, there’s no need to get so excited. After all, isn’t 60 the new 40? Baby boomers were welcomed after the Second World War – cuddly bundles of joy in a world at peace. The Depression was over, jobs were plentiful and our parents raised their families in an increasingly affluent society. The boomers thrived, schools were as overcrowded then as they are now, moms went to work, TV became the babysitter and the Cold War scared the socks off everyone. The boomers grew up, forsook their

parents’ sensible shoes, wore sandals and beads and went to Woodstock. Then they became responsible adults and earnestly strove to create a better world. Honest. We did our best. After the party that was the ’60s for many of us, we settled down. We were good providers and we had great expectations for our children, whom we fully expected would do better than we did. We worked hard to ensure that happened, and … it did. The world we created has flaws, major flaws. Some would say we messed up. But we also made enormous strides in human rights, technology, communication, health care, transportation, infrastructure, comfort of living and quality of life. Simple benefits, such as maternity leave, mental health days and more than two weeks summer vacation to name a few, were imagined, fought for and achieved during the baby boomers’ tenure. So, now we’re getting older – off to the ice flow we go. We may have gray hair and some wrinkles and, let’s face it, our eyesight and our hearing are challenged, but we didn’t suddenly become dumb. We offer love, support, experience, wisdom and the occasional handout. And most of us are still excellent drivers. life winter 2013/14 | 59

life in the community | multiculturalism


mong the five people seated at the table at Good Earth Coffeehouse in Airdrie on this night are two men and a woman who were high school teachers in the Philippines. The third man at the table was an electrical engineer there, as was his wife who is seated next to him. They all came to Canada in recent years to take jobs that had nothing to do with their professions. They will tell you they don’t regret doing so. “From teaching to stacking lumber,” says Edwin Inocando. A high school music teacher, Bal Pascual was part of a group of 57 men who came from the Philippines to work at Palliser Lumber Sales in Crossfield in 2006 when the sawmill was experiencing a labour shortage and needed hardworking, reliable employees. Each year, 200 or so people from Alberta’s Filipino community all return to Crossfield – for many of them, the town in

which they first worked – for a big party to celebrate Christmas and the new year and to reminisce. “It’s where we all meet,” says Edwin’s wife, Jovelyn. Those original 57 jobs were arranged by a man from Pascual’s hometown of Laur, Ferdinand O. Gamboa, who was already working at Palliser. He was the lone Filipino there at the time. Pascual, who set foot in Canada for the first time on Nov. 26, 2006, recalls being taken aback by the weather. There was no chinook in town, but rather a blast of winter chill.   “It was very cold,” he says, illustrating the point with a shiver. “It was minus 40.” Pascual originally lived in Linden and commuted to Crossfield, moving to Airdrie in 2010. A lot of families have arrived in Airdrie since then, although Pascual’s wife and youngest child – age seven – remain in the Philippines, with plans to eventually move here.

Filipino Family Airdrie is a second home for many from the Philippines

60 | winter 2013/14


story by Jeff MacKinnon photos by Kristy Reimer

Airdrie’s Filipino community shares friendship and a meal.

Inocando estimates there are as many as 800 Filipinos in Airdrie now. That includes himself, Jovelyn and their three children. They came to Calgary in 2007 and moved to Airdrie in October 2009. Canada is such a draw that they were all willing to give up everything they knew to come here and battle through the drastic change in lifestyle. “There was culture shock,” says Alex Martin, who moved to Airdrie in May 2010. “When you go to a fast food chain here there’s no rice. In the Philippines they serve rice,” he adds, to the laughter of the group at the coffeehouse. Martin and his wife, Daisy, were electrical engineers in the Philippines. Now, though, he has moved on to work as a quality control inspector for SNC-Lavalin in Medicine Hat. Martin works 10 days on and four off and remains a resident of Airdrie. Despite the challenges, the five at Good Earth are all in agreement that Canada is a good place to live. “We don’t like Canada, we love Canada,” Martin says. “This is the country that allowed us to change our financial condition and our lifestyle.” Since arriving in Airdrie, the Filipino community has formed an organization called Filipino Overseas Grateful Workers Association (FOGWA), with Pascual as president. According to the website (, more than 40 members of the association have permanent resident cards. The association opened up a business side in 2011 that originally was created to facilitate the wiring of money back home. It is now a corporation – with Edwin Inocando as chairman and wife Jovelyn as secretary/treasurer – that lends money to Filipinos at a low interest rate to help them in emergencies. The group agrees that they miss their home country a great deal. But, Martin says, stacking lumber at a sawmill in Canada pays the same as what an executive would make in the Philippines, and opportunities exist here that simply don’t exist there. “We’re also blessed in Canada because our kids can go to college and get a loan from the government and then they can repay it,” he explains. “In the Philippines we don’t have a program like that. “It’s not that we don’t love our country,” he adds, “but for our kids, it’s better to be in Canada.” life winter 2013/14 | 61

life in the community | giving

The Real Christmas

“We started in 1977 in church basements and it’s progressively grown over the years,” says Crystal Adamo, program manager and president of the Airdrie Lioness Club Hamper Foundation. “Last year we helped almost 900 people.” Santa’s elves – a.k.a. the approximately 25 Airdrie Lioness Club members – are all volunteers. Families are referred to the program through such social agencies as Community Links, Alberta Mental Health and Airdrie Seniors Outreach or are screened by the Lioness Club.“We have guidelines from the provincial government and the Airdrie Food Bank has given us guidance. We are very protective of our program,” says Adamo, who stresses that fairness is a key objective.

62 | winter 2013/14

A hamper, personalized for each family, includes food for a week, a gift card for a turkey or ham, a gift for each family member and wrapping paper. Hampers are filled either by sponsors who ‘adopt’ a family or through donations of food, toys and gift items to the Lionesses, who assemble hampers for unsponsored families on the list. Donations are gratefully accepted – watch for the Lioness red toy boxes throughout the community. Hampers go out Dec. 22 this year and anything left over goes to the food bank. Anyone who sponsors a family is given guidelines to ensure consistency. “When a hamper comes in, we ask if they were able to provide everything. If not, we add from our supplies,” says Adamo.“And we ask everyone to stay within the dollar limit – we try to keep everything as equal as possible.”


story by Ellen Kelly | photos by Kristy Reimer

The Airdrie Lioness Adopt-a-Family Christmas hamper program is approaching its 36th year of making Christmas merry for many local families.

Having long since outgrown church basements, the biggest challenge faced by the program is space. Adamo says that there is great corporate support for providing hampers, but finding available space large enough to accommodate 400 of them for a month is becoming more difficult each year. At press time the Lioness Club confirmed the 2013 location as the former Frog Hollow building at 73 East Lake Ramp. She stresses the importance of preserving the privacy and dignity of recipients and hopes that families can continue to pick up hampers or have them delivered by volunteers to ensure anonymity. Between 250 and 300 volunteers from the community make the program a success, and new volunteers are always welcome. “It’s a lot of hard work and at the end you’re glad it’s done, but you can’t wait for the next year, as well,” says Adamo. “We have sponsors who have been e-mailing us since summer to adopt a family. The community support is amazing.” The foundation, which is a registered charity, also operates the Birthday Closet (which provides birthday gifts for families in need) and Supplies for Success (which, in co-operation with Staples, provides backpacks and school supplies). life For more information on the Christmas hamper or any other Lioness programs, visit

10 most-needed hamper items: Juice Peanut butter Pancake mix Syrup Canned vegetables Soups Crackers Toiletries Cereal Coffee

*Gifts for teens are always in short supply. winter 2013/14 | 63

life in the community | inspiring


muscles story and Photos by Carl Patzel

Drug-free bodybuilder makes a point 64 | winter 2013/14


s a motivational speaker, Mitch robinson puts his muscle where his mouth is. blending a passion for a drug-free lifestyle and inspirational speaking, the international Natural bodybuilding Federation (iNbF) Team Canada member promotes a message of positive thinking in life and athletics. regardless of the audience, be it a management group or cluster of fresh-faced high school students facing teenage social pressures, the drug-free bodybuilder relates his early struggles of everyday life. As with many pursuing excellence, robinson has had to overcome obstacles on the road to personal success. “Growing up i was surrounded by a fair amount of drugs and violence. i certainly didn’t have a whitepicket-fence upbringing myself,” says the 30-year-old robinson. “i can completely relate to where a lot of [young people] are at and where they think they have to stay.” becoming one of the top drug-free bodybuilders in Canada didn’t come easily for the now ripped robinson. born and raised in an athletic, military environment, the muscle sculptor became serious about lifting after selling his motocross bike for college tuition. “Genetically a lot of it comes easy for me,” he says. “i’ve had to work hard over the last few years, but even when i started out i grew very quickly and it seemed like i had potential to make an impact in the sport. “The huge part of it for me is the mental challenge of it all – the discipline that it takes to stay on your diet or do all the things that get a bit harder as you get closer to a competition,” he adds. regardless of his inherited physiology traits and some early positive results in the gym, robinson was soon introduced to the somewhat shady bodybuilding drug culture. The poster child for performance-enhancing drugs, the sport of bodybuilding had a backroom acceptance of the practice, unlike other professional sports such as baseball, hockey and cycling, which do regular drug testing. “The sport does have a stereotype to it, and for a good reason,” robinson says. “As a younger person getting into the sport, i was pretty naive regarding how prevalent (drugs) are in the sport. it’s pretty overwhelming.” robinson estimates that 90 per cent of gym-goers are on some type of enhancement drug or steroid, whether they look the part or not. The natural athlete was informed on several occasions that without pharmaceutical assistance, he wouldn’t gain the muscle mass and definition needed to compete. but that didn’t deter robinson from following his own path. “i can distinctly remember telling one of my brothers, ‘i’m going to prove to everybody that you don’t have to take anything to get somewhere in this sport,’” he says. “My philosophy about it has always been ‘you say i can’t; i’m going to show you that i can.’” robinson turned professional in 2012 at the iNbF Canada Calgary Cup and earned the right to represent the nation at the world championships this past fall in boston, Mass. When he’s not pumping iron, the athlete is using his clean lifestyle to motivate high school students with free talks; address management and physical fitness groups; and inspire young athletes. robinson combines his personal athletic training and life experience to promote positivism for people dealing with limitations put on by themselves, their environment or social pressures. “They don’t generally believe they are going to be able to achieve success or do anything great,” says robinson. “i have gone through and faced the same obstacles … but [they] don’t have to stay there. “A huge part of it for me as well is chasing your dreams,” he adds. life

winter 2013/14 | 65

Youth Guidance

life in the community | volunteers

Helping troubled teens turn things around

story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photo by Sergei Belski

YJC board members (left to right) Patti Norton, Marie Stang and Donna Norndon are happy to volunteer their time to help youths get on the right track.

The YJC might require the youth to do some community work, such Everyone makes mistakes when they’re young. as helping clean up Iron Horse Park, working at the fire hall or getting Sometimes these mistakes run afoul of the law. The Airdrie, Crossfield & District Youth Justice Committee (YJC) was formed in 1995 to help get young people who break the law get back on the straight and narrow. “We’re volunteers and we want to get youth on their first offence so we can steer them in the right direction,” says Marie Stang, director of training for the 10-member committee. “We didn’t want them getting into prisons or young offender centres where they might learn more of ‘the trade.’ We wanted a community-based program where we can try and get kids to go the right way.” The YJC deals with minor offences, not those considered summary offences, says secretary-treasurer and president Donna Norndon. “They have to be remorseful, it has to be their first offence and they have to be between the ages of 12 and 17,” Norndon says. After a court refers a young person to the YJC, the committee meets with the youth and his or her parents. “We try to find out where their strengths are,” says Stang. “Some kids have low self-esteem, so we try to build it up a bit. We’re about turning a negative into a positive.”

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involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie. For some, it might be a case of writing an essay or even coming up with a five-year plan. Stang says that after a youth goes through the YJC process to the satisfaction of the court, his or her file is closed, although it’s held for two years in case the youth reoffends. Between April 2012 and March 2013, the YJC worked with nine youths ages 14 to 17 in trouble for theft, assault and possession of a controlled substance. In past years, Norndon says, the YJC has had a 95 per cent success rate in keeping the young people from getting in trouble again. “Some kids are so traumatized by this brush with the law, it’ll happen once and once only,” says chairperson Bailey Jacobsen, who says the YJC – which receives about $5,500 a year in provincial funding and also donates to local programs such as Army Cadets, the Boys & Girls Club and the Airdrie Lionesses – is in need of volunteers and more local venues where youths can put in community service. life

For more information or to volunteer, leave a message at 403-948-7110

Ice Dreams

life in the community|sport hero

story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photos by Kurtis Kristianson


Airdrie’s Brianne Tutt turns icy nightmare into renewed passion

ometimes it takes an accident to make you appreciate the things you love. Brianne Tutt is a living example of this. Last December, during a warmup at the Olympic Oval, the Airdrieborn speed skater was hit from behind by another athlete. “I don’t remember getting hit,” she says.“Apparently, I went over the top of the kid – I flew in the air and he slid underneath me. I landed on my left shoulder and I hit my head. “Apparently, I screamed a lot,” she adds.“The only part I remember is I woke up and some random guy was holding my head and I was freaking out … he turned out to be a firefighter.” The other skater suffered a concussion, but Tutt’s injuries included a fractured skull, two fractured vertebrae in her neck, broken collarbone and rib, and hearing loss in her left ear. Still, she was able to go home after a few days in hospital – just in time for an unpleasant surprise. “It came on really slow. In the morning, I was OK … then later that night I went to drink some water and I said, ‘Oh, it’s not staying in my mouth,’” Tutt says.“I went to the mirror and when I saw it, I said, ‘How come no one told me about it?’” “It” was Bell’s palsy, a condition that paralyzes one side of the face; for some, it goes away naturally, while for others it never goes away. Tutt faced a regimen of medications to correct the palsy, but she doesn’t like taking medications. Fortunately, she met a woman who practises traditional Chinese medicine, and the palsy was corrected via acupuncture.“The doctors said for three months I’d have this, but with her in four weeks it was gone,” Tutt says. Tutt’s accident caused her to miss the rest of the 2012-13 speed skating season, putting her dream of going to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in jeopardy, but she spent much of 2013 rehabilitating herself – she was back on skates by spring, although she wasn’t ready to compete yet. Tutt, whose family all comes from Airdrie, moved to Calgary when she was 18 so she could be closer to the University of Calgary campus where she trains. She began skating 12 years ago after trying her hand at figure skating, and attended the National Sport School in Calgary, so it was hard for her to be out of racing for so long as she recuperated. In late September, Tutt took part in her first competition since the accident. Ironically, she says, she found the accident actually renewed her interest in the sport. “My crash, as bad as it was, I’m happy it happened because I wasn’t liking skating, I wasn’t skating well … I was in a rut and mentally wasn’t into it,” she says.“The nicest thing about the race [in September] … I had fun with the sport.” And this newfound enjoyment paid off. “On the Friday [for the 500-metre race], I was really nervous, really shaking, ‘OK, don’t screw this up,’” Tutt says.“On the Saturday, when it was time for my 3K, it felt kind of natural again to be racing.” In fact, Tutt scored her second-fastest time in the event. Now, she’s back to training 50 to 60 hours a week getting ready for more competitions in hopes of making the national Olympic team (she won’t know until the new year). Looking ahead, she hopes to become a firefighter and has already taken some paramedic training at SAIT, but for now her focus is on her sport. Her advice for everyone? “Enjoy what you’re doing,” she says. “And keep positive people and energetic people in your life.” life Follow Tutt’s road to Sochi at

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life in the community | pet heroes

WELLHEELED story and Photos by Carl Patzel

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S G O D O ‘N WED’ ALLO pply doesn’t a ’s to Airdrie gar a Ed Samanth


aking puppy love to the extreme, the young canine crusader lives with her Labrador retriever, Rosemary, 24 hours a day – whether at work, school, the movie theatre, the grocery store, the doctor’s office or any other public place. But unlike most dog devotees, Edgar is licensed to heel as a puppy-raiser through the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS). Leading Rosemary through a shopping mall where four-legged friends rarely go tends to turn a few heads. “We have to explain to them this is an assistant dog in training and they are allowed to be here and we have certificates for them,” says Edgar. Puppy-assist trainers receive their furry friend at around eight weeks and the dog remains in the home between one-and-a half and two years. With help from PADS and weekly training sessions, it didn’t take Edgar long to bone up on needed puppyraising skills. As with raising a child, it’s a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs during the education process, which focuses on both socialization and obedience skills. “You’re trying to teach the dog something,” she says, “and you’re in a mall and there are a thousand different smells, they’re trying to eat stuff off the ground, they’re trying to sniff everyone around you. “Sometimes it’s frustrating, but you just take a breath and start this over. I have to work on my patience,” chuckles the 21-year-old. A total volunteer venture, puppy-raisers provide food, shelter, leashes and collars, as well as any costs arising from emergency medical fees, vaccinations, tattooing and X-rays (which can be recouped at the end of training through a tax receipt for a charitable donation). Volunteers agree to no compensation except the unconditional love and affection found from a loyal canine. “They’re so good about loving everyone,” says Edgar. Edgar’s puppy-raising began two years ago, when her family – mom Michelle and dad Mike, with whom she lives – decided to become involved with PADS. Along with training, the Edgars also puppy-sit for other raisers, taking in a blond Labrador named Roma this past summer. PADS encourages puppy-raisers to introduce their dogs to loud noises, crowded areas and other distracting environments on a daily basis. The prominently yellow PADS coat is used to identify the pooches as working dogs, as well as raising awareness.

samantha edgar opens her doors and heart to Pads trainees roma (blond lab) and rosemary (black lab).

“As much as people want to pet them, we’re trying to train them to only focus on the trainer,” Samantha says. “If they’re with someone with a disability, they need to be focused on that person and can’t be distracted by other people calling them or whistling or trying to pet them.” PADS graduates go on to assist people with all physical disabilities except the blind. Apart from teaching her canine companions such common commands as“sit,” “down” and“heel,” Samantha focuses on special skills of standing, heeling beside wheelchairs, and advance training for taking off socks, opening and closing doors and even picking up keys or a credit card. “We have to work really hard on stands,” she says, “because if they go to someone [who] needs them for stability … when they get pushed they have to stay in their stand.” It takes a special breed of person to live, love and train a dog literally 24 hours a day, then say goodbye after two years. This is the second PADS venture for the Edgar family members, who helped graduate their first dog, Tully. Even through that anxiety, hesitation and a few tears about giving up Tully, Samantha says the consolation is seeing the dog go to a good cause. “It was a little sad because I’ve had her since she was a puppy. I didn’t want to really give her away, but she’s going to help someone [who] needs her more than you do,” she says.“This is pretty much the best way that I can help people with what I really like doing.” life winter 2013/14 | 69

life in the community|cover story

Rocket Man

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Brian Jackson’s teaching methods are out of this world


story by Jeff MacKinnon photo by Kristy Reimer

rian Jackson recalls his first year teaching science in 1991 as being a truly horrible experience. He taught the subject mostly out of a textbook and spent the year in survival mode. He regrets it to this day. “I was bad,” Jackson says.“After the first year I decided that I couldn’t do that anymore. There were so many neat things the kids had the opportunity to do. My first-year kids didn’t get any of that. “I realized it had to be more fun. There had to be more discovery,” he adds. “Kids need to get their hands on things. Once their hands touch things their minds start working.” Jackson’s students at Airdrie’s Ralph McCall School now get to experience true hands-on learning. In 2012, they built robots using Lego Mindstorms. They also operate their own ham radio station that is connected to the Internet. Jackson is no longer a bad science teacher. In fact, he is considered one of the best in Canada. Earlier this fall he received a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence for his work. “He’s always excited and interested when he’s working with kids, and his love of teaching and working with people really shows through all the time,” Ralph McCall principal Jim Forrest says. Jackson began his teaching career in Chestermere in 1991 and moved to Ralph McCall, a K-8 school, eight years ago. He was born and raised in nearby Kathyrn and was a farm kid who spent his childhood outside doing stuff totally unrelated to science. That farm kid became a teacher who formed the Airdrie Space Science Club and in 2010 had his students launch a high-altitude weather balloon that took a photo of the earth from 33 kilometres above its surface. It’s funny, but the one thing Jackson’s students are exposed to that seems to resonate with them the most is the good old amateur radio. (An antenna is attached to the roof of the school.) One day the question was raised in class about the existence of the northern lights and whether or not there was something similar in the Southern Hemisphere. Rather than pick up a phone and call

Australia or do a simple Google search, the students switched on their microphone and found a man ‘down under’ who stepped out onto his porch in the pre-dawn hours and described the Southern Cross constellation to some eager kids 16 hours behind him in Canada. “It’s 80-year-old technology but it’s something they don’t have experience with and it captivates them,” Jackson says. For Jackson, when his students “talked to the astronauts” in 2005 via their radio, it was possibly his most memorable year as a teacher. As a result of that, he became a volunteer with Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) and now helps link school groups with astronauts, as was done with Chris Hadfield last year. The avid teacher’s newest interest is in social science and the study of democracy. Ralph McCall students make trips to the Alberta legislature each year to see government in action and Jackson greets the experience with the wide eyes of a student. “It’s really got a fire in me right now,” he says.“The more that I look at what our government does – all three levels – [it] fascinates me. I see a place for kids to become involved and become educated about democracy and become the kind of citizens we need.” Jackson has been recognized for his work before. In 2012 he was among 20 educators across the province chosen by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta as someone who ‘makes school cool.’ Everyone has an elementary school teacher they remember fondly the rest of their lives and Jackson is the kind of teacher former students will cross the street years later to greet. “What really charges my battery is running into kids and they say, ‘Remember the day we did this?’” he says.“That’s exactly what it’s about for me, creating those memories so that kids go ‘That is something I’ll always remember’ or ‘That was really fun and I enjoyed that.’” life


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life in the community | remembering

An unlikely The Phaneuf family – (left to right) Loralie, Nicky, Megan , Jayden and Doug – celebrates life and love.

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As part of our issue dedicated to heroes in the community, Airdrie’s Doug Phaneuf, pastor at Living Springs Christian Fellowship, graciously shares his family’s journey through heartache and hope. winter 2013/14 | 73

life in the community | remembering


hen people use the word “hero” many different thoughts come to mind. Some people think of comic book and action movie characters, such as Ironman, Superman and Batman. For others, their minds go to real-life heroes, such as firefighters and police officers. These images are all valid, but there is one definition of the word hero that causes me to think of someone quite unusual. That definition is: a person who is admired for courage or noble qualities. The person I think of when I consider those words is my late son, Jayden. Jayden lived quite a normal life for his first few years. Shortly after turning four, he began showing some unusual symptoms that were initially diagnosed as minor medical problems. On Dec. 3, 2010, when Jayden woke up and tried to get out of bed, he was unable to walk. On that day an MRI showed that he had multiple cancerous tumours throughout his body. Two of the tumours were inside his spine compressing his spinal cord. The damage from these tumours caused a spinal infarction, which resulted in his being paralyzed from mid-chest down. But it wasn’t the illness or complications surrounding it that made Jayden heroic in my eyes. It was the way that he handled his illness and all the unfair results of it. Not only was he forced to spend days and weeks at a time in the hospital, but beyond that, when he was home he could not run and play like other kids his age. For most of us, having our lives turned so upside down would result in anger, bitterness and self-pity. For Jayden, though, this illness only refined the noble qualities we would expect a hero to have. Every day was a new adventure that began with a smile. Each morning, after Jayden lost his ability to walk, we would wake to the sound of him ‘army-crawling’ down the hallway to our room. The sound would continue until his little head poked through our doorway where he would look at us, smile and declare,“I’m awake.” Even when he got too tired to get out of bed, Jayden would call us over the monitor and when we went into his room, he would begin enthusiastically talking to us. The conversation would vary from what his plans for the day were to what app he had discovered on his iPod that needed immediate downloading to whatever other random thought had passed through his imaginative mind before we could get into his room. Jayden loved and embraced life. Even when he was in the hospital for days at a time getting chemotherapy, each day was something to savour. He would entertain nurses and doctors with crazy stories of dinosaurs and superheroes, and they would tell us they were amazed that after five days of treatment, he would still be smiling, laughing and joking around with them. One time when we were heading home after seven days in the hospital, Jay asked me what I was going to do when we got home. I replied,“I’m going to have a nap, the hospital makes me tired.” His response was,“Not me. I’m going to go play with my friends.” I know that one reason Jayden embraced life so fervently was because he always looked at the positive, even though life had thrown him more than a few curveballs. He was probably the most “glass-half-full” guy

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I have ever known. For Jayden, there was always hope. He would talk openly about what he was going to do “when his legs started working again.” He would share with family and friends all the things that he was going to do when he was a teenager. The limitations of his body were no reason to stop dreaming of all that could be. That hope was something that made him such an inspirational person to be around because hope doesn’t just prepare us to receive the good things that may be in our future. Hope also frees our heart to notice and enjoy the blessings that surprise us every day. Last December, Jayden was invited to Irricana to spend the day at the fire station and meet the firefighters there. On the day of the event, he woke up really not feeling well and not wanting to go out or even get out of bed. We contacted the people at the fire hall to let them know that the plans were going to have to be cancelled. The firefighters decided that they were not going to let the opportunity pass and, instead of us going to them, they came to us. Firefighters from many communities across Southern Alberta met in Airdrie and had a huge parade down our street, passing in front of Jayden’s room so he could see each engine with its lights flashing and firefighters waving to him. It was incredibly surreal to stand in Jay’s room with him and watch this amazing processional pass by our home. Everyone could have been upset about what didn’t happen on that day, but it was an incredible lesson to me that there are unexpected blessings coming our way each day. We can walk in hope with our eyes open to see them or live cynically and miss out on most of them. On Jan. 2, 2013, Jayden passed away. For many reasons, it seems so wrong that a person who lived life so fully would live for such a short time. He never got to do many of the things that he dreamed of doing and hoped for. Yet I know he is in a far better place, where he no longer has to deal with pain or sickness. In the dark days after his death, I asked myself if living with hope was worth it. For just over two years, we had prayed, believed and hoped for a miracle that never came. I wondered if it was right to live that way or if it would have been a much better course of action to simply embrace reality and not dare to hope. After all, cynicism is easier because there is little danger of being disappointed when one never expects anything. As I thought about that, I couldn’t help but look at Jayden’s life and the difference hope had brought him. It inspired me to make the decision to live with hope no matter how challenging or difficult current circumstances may be. His life has changed mine. The time that has passed since Jayden’s death has softened the grief and helped bring greater perspective. What I have realized is that with Jayden (as with most things in life), what I gave was not nearly as much as what I received. If I had been given my way, Jayden would never have been part of our family. My wife wanted a third child but I was adamant that this was not going to happen. We had two children already and my thoughts regarding an additional one were more focused on how that would impede my

life than help someone else’s. Watching a country music video at a conference one evening, I was surprised to feel as if God was challenging me with this thought: If there is a child who needs a father, will I be that man or will I be too comfortable to step out to help? The result of that divine moment was that my wife and I made the decision to open our home to a child who needed a family. Once we completed the paperwork required with the province, we began waiting to be matched with a child. Obviously, that child was Jayden. I can remember him sitting on my lap the day we met him, thinking about how his life was going to be different; thinking about the effect I was going to have on his life – all the things that I would do for him and what a difference those things would make. The thoughts centred on the normal things parents do for their children. They never included tapping the limits of my imagination to find ways to fill boring hours in a hospital room, administering countless amounts of medication and needles or holding his hand while he passed away. Those are just not the types of things that go through your head when you meet your child. But even more than that, I know that the thought of the profound impact his life would have on mine never crossed my mind. I don’t believe I could even have imagined how his six years of life, sickness and death would change me. The way he faced the challenges life threw at him showed the noble qualities that made him such a unique person. That is why one of my heroes is a boy whom I had the great privilege and honour of being a father to for six great years. life

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life in the community | live long and prosper

story by ellen kelly | Photos by sergei belski

Age in place in Airdrie Amenities and service are here for seniors – and everyone else Patricia and Michael atchison have ‘downsized’ to airdrie because of all the community has to offer.


estled among young families in Airdrie is a supportive community of Airdrionians 55 and older who feel included, safe and engaged. “It’s not just youth-focused,” says Leona Esau, City of Airdrie economic development officer.“There are amenities for everyone here.” Approximately 14 per cent of residents are over 55 and 5.5 per cent are 65 and older, according to the 2012 census. For newcomers or those wishing to downsize, Airdrie housing choices are unlimited. With starter homes, large family dwellings, smaller bungalows, duplexes, condominiums and apartments included in a single neighbourhood, one could conceivably live in the same locality for a lifetime. Patricia and Michael Atchison, who have recently downsized from their acreage, chose Airdrie because “it’s a quiet community but still vibrant,” says Patricia. The Atchisons love the recreational opportunities at Genesis Place and the promotion of the arts, as well as the bikeways, walking paths and dog parks. “The parks department does a great job. Everything is always so clean,” she says. Although the couple is happy with their decision to move into the city, Patricia suggests that a higher profile for public officials and more fine dining-out opportunities might make Airdrie even more pleasant. Local artist and woodcarver Ken Vickets and wife Louise moved here from Ontario six years ago because the small-town, friendly atmosphere was what they were looking for. Both agree that being near grandchildren is a bonus and Ken appreciates the opportunity to showcase his art at various venues around the city. Echoing Patricia Atchison’s sentiment, Ken says that an upscale restaurant would be great in Airdrie. Despite some perceived gaps in what people want, Airdrie has evolved into a good community in which to ‘age in place.’ When it comes to home

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airdrie is home for three generations of the oneil family: dan and vivyan oneil, daughter Meaghan kernaghan and granddaughters aidan, 6, and reece, 2 1/2.

choices for the older demographic, the list is long and varied. The Woodside retirement community offers single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes and condominiums close to assisted living accommodation and Bethany Care Centre, Airdrie’s only extended-care facility. Fletcher Village offers privately owned condominiums; Luxstone Manor is a seniors’ residential rental property with assisted living services; Cedarwood Station is a full-service assisted rental retirement community; and Diamond Jubilee Manor is a self-contained affordable housing option managed by Airdrie Housing. A future retirement neighbourhood is proposed for Reunion, as well.

Out and about Airdrie’s growing business base provides employment opportunities, too. Airdrie Employment Services offers the Work Wise program (Service Canada and Alberta Human Services) designed to help mature workers sharpen their basic job search and computer skills. “Airdrie is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity,” says Esau.“We see folks who have retired and are taking their skills and creating home-based business to do what they love to do on their own time.” There’s no shortage of activities and exercise programs, either. At Genesis Place, where wellness programs appeal to participants over 55, there is growing interest in programs specifically for older adults. Current offerings include a pickleball league, an older adult walking and exercise program, a dryland fitness program and older adult aquafit. Airdrie Curling Club manager Hank Geddert, 70, has been involved with the club for 20 years. “Leagues aren’t specified ‘senior’ but there are many seniors curling,” Geddert says. “The Sturling League attracts a lot of seniors because it’s an afternoon league.”

The Over 50 Club provides members with such activities as shuffleboard, billiards, card nights, morning exercise classes, potluck dinners and a choir. Club member Honora Thubron, 71, moved to Airdrie two years ago to be near her husband who lives at Bethany. For Thubron, Airdrie has much to offer for seniors. “Bert Church Theatre is wonderful,” she says, adding that while she appreciates the friendly assistance she’s received from the City of Airdrie, she’d like to see more park benches and picnic tables along the pathway system. Fellow club member Val Ouellette, 69, who has lived in Airdrie for the past seven years, adds that the city’s sidewalks and pathway system are well-kept and scooter-friendly. Airdrie Public Library also offers numerous programs and services attractive to seniors – book clubs, author visits, genealogy club and the popular one-on-one technology tutoring sessions. Library membership for seniors is offered at a reduced rate. Airdrionians 55 and older play a large part in filling volunteer positions, from serving on boards to helping at the food bank, from participating in health care roles to fundraising. “On any given day, you go into our public schools and grandparents are volunteering in those classrooms,” says Esau. “I think people just want to give back.” Volunteer positions can be accessed through the Seniors Outreach Program, and Volunteer Airdrie maintains a list of volunteer positions. As for getting around, Airdrie Transit has several options that appeal to seniors. “All of our local buses are wheelchair/walker accessible,” says Esau. Local-route buses run on an hourly rotation, halfhour during peak times; Dial-A-Bus is a convenient option outside regular hours; and ACCESS Airdrie offers curb-to-curb service both in Airdrie and to Calgary.

Family-friendly As Airdrie appeals more and more to seniors, seeing multigenerational families living here is not unusual. Three generations of the Oneil family are proud to be Airdrionians. Dan and Vivyan Oneil moved to Airdrie in 1979, but for Dan it was a return to the community where he was raised. He graduated from George McDougall High School, left to go to university and spent several years in Calgary driving back and forth to help on the farm. “I saw moving back out here as a way to become involved in the community again,” says Dan. The Oneils have made an ongoing commitment to the community they love ever since. Dan, who was Airdrie’s mayor between June 1992 and October 2004, chaired the bid committee for the 2014 Alberta Summer Games. He now sits on the board of the games committee and is chairman of the fundraising committee for the Airdrie Food Bank building. “There are lots of volunteer opportunities for seniors and lots of things for seniors to join,” Vivyan says. Adds Dan:“If you can’t find something to do to keep yourself engaged and interested and interesting, it’s your own fault because there are lots of things to do.” Both agree that Airdrie is a great place to live. Dan sees more choices in

terms of social opportunities, athletics and the arts, including opportunities for seniors, but regrets the growth of anonymity and less connection with community.“Certainly,” he says,“having family in the area is a big attraction.” The Oneils’ daughter and son-in-law, Meaghan and Dave Kernaghan, are raising daughters Aidan and Reece only a short distance away.“As long as family is here we’re not going anywhere,” Meaghan says. “It’s absolutely important that the girls see their grandparents often.” She has great memories of visiting her grandparents on the farm when she was a child.“It was way out of town when I was a kid. Now I live about a kilometre away.” As with many Airdrie families, roots run deep. Husband Dave was also raised in Airdrie; his parents are long-time Airdrie residents, and his grandmother recently moved from Airdrie to Crossfield.

Health and welfare When it comes to the needs of local seniors, the Senior Outreach Program at Community Links offers a wide range of interconnected services for residents over 55. Needs are determined through an initial assessment. “We cover everything,” says Senior Outreach co-ordinator Charlett Hedman, who also administers educational presentations each month at the Over 50 Club. Assistance regarding basic needs, safety, finances, housing, health, social and emotional support, and transportation are tailored to each client’s needs. A caregivers support group meets monthly. The most widely used service is assistance in filling out government financial and resource applications, specifically pension forms. Income tax assistance is available for those who qualify. A recently established Friendly Visiting Program supports isolated seniors. Also recently added is non-medical respite service for caregivers of adults over 65. A volunteer-run transportation service helps Airdriebound seniors attend doctor’s appointments in Calgary. For other health concerns, the Airdrie Health Foundation is working to attract doctors and to ensure 24-hour health care, and is fundraising to provide specialized equipment so residents don’t have to travel out of the community for treatments. Emergencies are always a concern but, says Esau, “Our emergency services meet and exceed their desired response times.” Home care, accessed through Alberta Health Services (AHS), offers nursing, therapy, rehabilitation and personal care, and AHS also administers the adult day-support program. Several private services are available which meet a variety of in-home care needs and Meals on Wheels provides nutritious, low-cost meals to seniors and those in need. It only takes a quick overview of the community to see that Airdrie is a wonderful location in which to ‘age in place.’ Regardless of age and/or abilities, Airdrie provides older residents with a complete live, play and stay environment. life A comprehensive guide to opportunities, supports and services can be found in the 2013/14 seniors resource booklet available at the Community Links north office, 105, 104 Main St. NW.

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home life at 90 state-of-the-Art

82 spic ’n span 92 home sweet home

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life at home | home help

Cleaned your light switches lately? Door handles? No?

House Heroes story by Jeff MacKinnon

Professional cleaners are a treat for those with busy lives

“Regular cleaning of light switches and door handles is important, as this helps keep the germs away,” says Jacqui Jepson, owner of Airdrie cleaning service The Pink Wand. The tip is one of several of top cleaning recommendations Jepson has for homeowners: 1. When mopping hardwood floors, always run the mop with the grain of the hardwood to ensure a streak-free finish. As you go, be sure not to place hot buckets of water on hardwood as this can leave a mark on your flooring. 2. Don’t place mats back down on wet hardwood floors; this can damage the mats as well as the hardwood flooring. 3. Try using warm water and a capful of vinegar as a cost-effective alternative to hardwood floor cleaning products. 4. Dust the top of your fridge on a regular basis if possible, as dust loves to accumulate there and will build up in a short amount of time. 5. Always keep the door of your front-load washing machine open when not in use. This will prevent all mildew and mould from accumulating. 6. Stainless-steel appliances are best cleaned with a soft damp microfibre cloth, then dried with a dry microfibre cloth. No cleaning product is required – warm water will do. 7. A quick wipe of the interior dishwasher liner on a regular basis is a great way to keep your appliance running well. 8. Regularly hand-washing the baseboards in your bathrooms is an efficient way to keep your bathroom looking clean and crisp. Guests will notice this! MaidPro’s Dave Buckler offers advice on ‘green’ cleaning in a blog posted to the company’s website, and he dispels the myth that using water alone is enough. “Dirt is complicated – a mix of particles, dead bugs, skin cells, germs and oils, to name just a few,” writes Buckler. “Since water and oil don’t mix, oily solids get left behind, darkening and scratching surfaces and making them appear dull. The water itself can also leave mineral deposits, increasing complexity of the dirt and making it even tougher to clean over time.” Mark Cochrane and Belinda Hebb, of Molly Maid, offer a suggestion on which everyone can agree. “Recruit your children to help with a basic house-cleaning routine,” they write on their website. “Regularly following a routine will develop good organizational habits in your children and will reduce the stress caused by reminding your children to tidy their rooms.”

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acqui Jepson began her cleaning business with a vacuum she bought on EBay in 2007. Jepson was the sole employee of The Pink Wand Cleaning Services Ltd., and had two clients at the start. Now, with 22 part-time staff, the Airdrie businesswoman has a client list of more than 150 throughout the city and is big enough that she has a customer service representative whose job it is to make sure clients are happy and the schedule runs smoothly. “The goal for me was to work around my kids’ schedule and to provide opportunities for other moms to do the same,” says Jepson, who has three children now aged seven, 10 and 13. “I wanted other moms to be able to get the days off they need and be able to volunteer and stuff and also make a decent wage,” she adds.“So I started paying a little bit more than other cleaning companies so I could maintain my staff.” As neighbourhoods continue to expand in Airdrie, so too does the need for cleaning help. The city of nearly 50,000 is now serviced by Jepson’s company, as well as Molly Maid and MaidPro. Molly Maid is a franchise owned locally by the husband-and-wife team of Mark Cochrane and Belinda Hebb, who have been in business here for five years, although the couple doesn’t live in Airdrie. Their 12 employees also clean homes in Crossfield, Irricana and other nearby communities in Rocky View County. “(Airdrie) keeps growing so there’s a good amount of interest,” Cochrane says. “Everybody seems to be pretty competitive in [this] market, too.” MaidPro opened in Airdrie in April 2009. It is a franchise based out of Boston, Mass., but owned locally by Dave Buckler. Buckler had two employees in 2009 and now has 27 – 20 part-time and seven full-time – servicing a recurring client base of about 300 for Airdrie and a second office in Calgary, with the split about 40 per cent in Airdrie and 60 per cent in Calgary.

life at home | makeover contest

Meet our makeover room!

The master bedroom of holly and Mike sousa is in need of a rescue. holly admits her effort to “bring a vibrant flair to the room” has fallen flat. Thanks to Airdrie paint and Decor and interior designer lisa lavertu, the sousas are getting the chance to give their own bedroom a new look. As an added bonus, exciting lighting has thrown in a $200 gift card for new lights! His manager, Monica Munro, has been with the company since the beginning.“The employee base in Airdrie is great,” Buckler says. “I find it way easier to get employees in Airdrie than in Calgary. I think more than anything Airdrie people are still close enough to the country that they still know how to work.” Although her business has expanded considerably, Jepson continues to run The Pink Wand out of her home. “Cleaning is not an easy job; it’s hard work,” she says.“That’s kind of why I always hire part-time. “I’ve been out with the girls and I know how tired you get. It’s almost impossible to do a good job of cleaning eight hours a day,” she adds. “Having started from the beginning and having to clean on my own I knew that I didn’t want to put that on other people and expect them to do eight hours of cleaning.” Jepson explains how she chose her business’s unique name: “It was just me at the time and I’m female,” she says, “so my idea was that you go to people’s houses with a magic wand and make their home and business pristine and beautiful again.” life

The sousas, who moved to sagewood in July, are a busy, high-energy family experiencing what holly refers to as “controlled chaos” living with three girls, aged 2, 5 and 9, and a sixyear-old bichon. holly tells us more, below. Although we love the new home we’ve been creating, we have ignored our personal space. We chose this room as it needs help. We have hit a roadblock in choosing the right textures and colours that work. We have procrastinated about the design of this room for long enough. Neither of us loves this space so we are looking forward to having a master suite that is, well … sweet!

What we love: We love the look of damask walls. We love a tidy, crisp, clean, relaxing atmosphere. We enjoy that resort feel to a room, but i fear in an attempt to create this look, i will derail and relapse into my old-world ways and end up having a reboundrelationship feeling with my bedroom. A little romance, a little glam, some shine are on my wish list. My husband craves masculine, clean lines and function. We both would love a relaxing feel. i haven’t really had a bedroom that i really loved since i was about 15. My husband testifies he has never loved or loathed a bedroom. his interest lies in function. bed? Check. everything else is just a bonus. except the TV. he’d like that to stay.

What we’d like to learn: We’d like to learn how to choose a colour that is bold without being abrasive. how to create a relaxing space in a family that is so outgoing. how to find a bit of Zen in a space that is essentially a blank slate. These are things i want to know. how does one choose a neutral that blends without making a home look like a sad sandcastle? We are up for learning; i hope your designer is up to the challenge. i can honestly say i’ve never gone as far as tinfoil to dress my windows, but i cannot vouch for my spouse. life next UP: Watch this space in the spring issue of airdrielife as holly and Mike learn to transform their master bedroom into a retreat space they will both love! winter 2013/14 | 83

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Raving about Ravenswood The new showhome parade in Ravenswood has everyone talking. Featuring homes by NuVista, Pacesetter, Broadview and McKee, there are plenty of options including semi-estate, garaged and laned homes, all full of Ravenswood’s legendary style. Large lots, charming architecture and more than 20 acres of parks and pathways – there’s much to rave about. Page 84: top – Broadview Homes; bottom – Pacesetter Homes • This page: top – NuVista Homes; bottom – McKee Homes

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life at home | column

Don we now our lifestyles


home apparel W

e, as humans and Albertans, typically wear many layers of clothing in the ever-changing winter months. As you know, the standard advice given to anyone who doesn’t like the current weather conditions is: “Wait 15 minutes!” This recommendation remains true for our homes. By using our sense of style, personality, practicality, functionality and colour we create a ‘layering’ of these elements, forming the foundation of our living spaces.

Here are the top three latest home interior decorating tips for this winter season: Gadgets, gadgets and more…. The list is almost endless on how to incorporate the new technology: smart home automation, home security systems, camera monitoring devices to track family members, home theatres (literally), wireless router vases (seriously?), portable light switches, clean air filtration units and more accessible solar-powered technology. To boldly go…. The primary colours aren’t just for the kindergarten class anymore. Adding a small splash of red, yellow or blue can heighten an otherwise neutral mood in any room. All that glitters…. Metallic finishes found in furniture, accessories, cabinet hardware, light fixtures, appliances and artwork are especially attractive when juxtaposed with wood and other natural elements. Chrome, iron and burnished bronze feature prominently. “Consumers are becoming increasingly colour savvy and colour aware,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “With consumers seeking distinctive styling and considerable substance more than ever before, it is critical that retailers and designers be aware of future colour trends. To successfully entice consumers, colours and colour combinations must be appealing, evocative, transformative and most importantly, on target.” That said, you as the consumer have all the power to ultimately decide what trends you will accept, reject or embrace into your home. Always remember to maintain and reflect the integrity of the design, consider the scale of the room and what pieces will ‘fit,’ and keep focused on how you can best express your unique personality. life

– Tina McMillan (a.k.a. the Decorating Diva) is a local interior designer, a mother of two and a wife of one

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winter 2013/14 | 89

life at home | builder profile

Up the Creek ... story and photos by Carl Patzel

in very good style

Having started out small, Crystal Creek Homes is now making a huge impression in the homebuilding market.

The award-winning builder is branching out from its starting-point backyard of Calgary to the Airdrie and surrounding market. Owned by Justin and Michelle Bobier, the close-knit company started out several years ago constructing only a handful of homes each season. With Crystal Creek’s showhome The Hartford in Cooper’s Crossing and plans for expanding into the new community of Canals Landing in Airdrie, the company will put up 70 houses in Calgary and area this year. “We are super excited to be in Airdrie and we are family owned. Justin actually used to be a cabinetmaker as a tradesman,” says Krista Kerth,

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vice-president of marketing with Crystal Creek Homes. “Our philosophy is high quality and excellent customer service,” Kerth adds.“A lot of our homes are very luxurious. One of the things we pride ourselves on is the home specifically made for you.” Fitting a niche between production homes and complete custom models, Crystal Creek Homes focuses on customizing floorplans and designs to specifically fit the homeowners’ wants and needs. “Although we do have a lot of pre-existing models that are already designed, you can come in and make changes or start from scratch,” says Kerth of the company which garnered the 2013 estate home over $1.5 million CHBA Alberta Award of Excellence in Housing, and was a finalist for small-volume builder of the year.

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Homes in Cooper’s Crossing will vary in size from 2,500 to 3,200 square feet and are priced in the mid $600s to mid $800s, with the Canals Landing homes measuring between 1,800 and 2,500 sq. ft. With a state-of-the art design centre, which includes several vignettes of suites and kitchens, Crystal Creek offers customers a hands-on approach to selecting all finishings, from cabinets to flooring to marble countertops. “We have a really good base specification, so you are going to get all those things you are looking for,” Kerth says. “We’ve some very popular items in our design centre and that’s really helped people make those really tough decisions.” Focal points still remain on the entertainment areas, such as gourmet kitchens complete with upgraded appliances and huge granite or quartz islands; popular developed entertainment-space basements; and large bonus rooms on the upper floors. “This is fantastic if you have two or three kids – they can each have their own bedroom still on the upper floor, but you also have that recreation space to watch movies and hang out,” Kerth says. life

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life at home | neighbourhood


Calling ridgegate home are rob ing and deanna hunter (front) and the hopman family (left to right) sterling, silas, mom valerie, sarah, dad terry and seth.

Ridgegate is all about family story by alex frazer-harrison | Photo by Carl Patzel

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ob Ing and Deanna Hunter moved from Calgary to Airdrie 11 years ago, and their community of choice was Ridgegate, a quiet enclave southwest of downtown Airdrie that was developed in the 1980s. “The area is like a little nook,” says Hunter, who commutes into northeast Calgary for her human resourcesrelated career with a communications company. “It’s essentially fully surrounded by green space and it’s one way in and one way out. You’re in your own little space.” With Nose Creek Park to the south, open area surrounding the rail line to the west, and Main Street’s amenities a few blocks away, the area was perfect for the couple, who converted their 24-by-24 square foot detached garage into a recording studio for Ing, who launched a career producing corporate videos and commercials when he relocated here. Although the home itself was the No. 1 selling feature for the couple, the neighbourhood was “a bonus,” Ing says. “We did the walking paths and saw there was a beaver dam, a blue heron – those are kind of cools things to find.” Ing and Hunter can often be found taking photos of the wildlife they see around the pathways that wind through the community. Hunter says that the Festival of Lights, hosted in Nose Creek Park, has become a Christmastime destination for their family (they have three grown children who live in Calgary and Moose Jaw). From Ing’s perspective, the enclave has developed a real sense of community. “Everyone watches over each other’s property, even if we don’t necessarily know their names,” he says. Terry and Valerie Hopman, parents of four, already had a connection to the home, built in the mid-1980s, that they bought in Ridgegate 11 years ago. “Terry had room-and-boarded in this house before we were married,” says Valerie, a stay-at-home mom (Terry works as a pipefitter in Crossfield).“We were renting a place and … the man who lived here was moving and selling the house. We ended up buying it.” The Hopmans also like to think of Nose Creek Park as their backyard. “I’m a farm girl, so when we stand out on our deck, we [joke], here’s your acreage – you just have to share it with the rest of Airdrie,” Valerie says. Over the years, the couple has developed a special relationship with the neighbours on their cul-de-sac. “We have a special-needs daughter and now we have five neighbours, all of our houses on the same street, and all have special-needs children,” she says. “All our neighbours are looking out [for each other’s children].” life

life at home | column

Be your own home hero lifemoves

with Michelle Carre

For the most part, homes that have been taken care of have better resale value so it’s fiscally re-

Be respectful of your home. Don’t dent the walls and scratch paint because ‘it’s only paint.’ Instead, think of it as the envelope that protects you and your sacred place from the outside world. I have a friend whose home is full of the colour she loves, purple. Each wall in her home has artwork, whether it be the work of a local artist or an enlarged photo that just spoke to her. She’s spent the time surrounding herself with things she loves, so it only makes sense that she would take the time to protect it from the outside world. It doesn’t take much to do the small things that will make a big difference. There are thousands of books, blogs and pins – so just find something that you can relate to and get inspired to be your home’s hero. Sometimes being a hero is about doing the job that needs to be done despite how much you don’t want to do it or how uncertain you are. It’s the little things that add up in this world – you don’t have to do it all, just check a couple off of the list! life – Michelle Carre is a Realtor® with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Airdrie

sponsible to take care of your home. However, there is much more to it than just economic considerations. I believe you and your home mirror the state of each other. If your home has stacks of dirty dishes, rotting decks and leaky windows, your life likely has unfinished business, things that are falling apart and places where important things are slipping through the cracks. In order for your home to be a place of rest, family unity and connection, you have to do your part. You may have an older furnace, but if you change the filters and have the ducts cleaned regularly it can last a long time. I remember one time when I was showing a client different homes; we noted that in one house the hot water tank was spotless, not a spec of dust on it. It wasn’t brand new by any means but it was taken care of. That experience came with a message: If you can take the time to keep your mechanical room clean, it will take better care of you.


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Airdrie Showhome Map and Guide Check out more than 30 showhomes in Airdrie. Use this handy reference map to help you find the showhome parades featured in this issue. For a complete list of all developments and builders in Airdrie go to Single-Family Homes N





McKee Homes and Sabal

Bayside featuring Genesis Builders and McKee Homes


Canals Landing – featuring Genesis




Heron Pointe at Reunion featuring E

Builders and McKee Homes

Windsong by Mattamy


Cooper’s Crossing featuring Harder Homes and McKee Homes












Estates at Cooper’s Crossing



featuring Harder Homes, and Crystal Creek Homes


Hillcrest featuring Shane Homes Greenway at Williamstown featuring Vesta Homes




King’s Heights featuring McKee


Homes, ReidBuilt Homes and Shane Homes



Reflections at Wiliamstown


featuring Vesta Homes













Ravenswood featuring Broadview Homes, McKee Homes, NuVista Homes and Pacesetter Homes



Multi-Family Projects Bridges at Williamstown


Creekside Village Bayside featuring Genesis Builders Chinook Crossing Waterscape by Vesta

HILLCREST Gardenwalk in King’s Heights

Townhomes 94 | winter 2013/14

Shane Homes

Sovereign Court featuring Emerald


Single-Family Homes

Gardenwalk featuring Creations by


New Homes

The Edge

Built with distinction in Cooper’s Crossing. Cooper’s Crossing is one of Airdrie’s premiere estate communities, and Crystal Creek Homes is proud to offer our uncompromising focus on design innovation, attention to detail and top level customer service to the Airdrie market. With you every step of the way, we are committed to quality craftsmanship and exceptional customer service. We invite you to take a tour of our beautiful new show home and begin your journey with us.

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Single-Family Luxury Estate Homes Starting from the $700’s

• •

work life at 108 helping hands

100 award-winner 102 entrepreneur skills

life at work | column


with Kent Rupert

A Disaster Plan for Business O n June 20, our neighbors in the Calgary region experienced devastating floods, the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations. An estimated 40,000 Albertans were forced from their homes, and in many cases residents have still not been able to return home. In Airdrie, we were fortunate to experience only minimal damage. Our role in the aftermath was to support our neighbours in the Calgary region with staff resources, volunteers and much-needed supplies. Over the weeks and months following the flood we saw Airdrie businesses, community groups, families, friends and even strangers come together and get involved in the cleanup recovery in these communities. As the disaster played out in the media, with photos and footage of homes being washed away, less attention was paid to the more than 1,500 businesses directly affected by the floods throughout the region. In the hardest-hit communities, many of those businesses may never reopen or have been forced to relocate. Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths said to CBC: “These small businesses are the lifeblood of their communities. In order to bring community back, you [have] to bring the business back.” The impact of the loss of business is both human and financial. Economic costs are estimated at more than $1 billion, and much of this cost is reported due to business closure. Even a week of being closed can be devastating to a business, in addition to any repair and recovery costs. The impact has a ripple effect, from the owner to the staff, the suppliers and the entire community, which suffers from limited access to services and supplies. Several provincial and regional programs are in place to assist businesses in returning to full operations after disasters. In addition, new programs have been developed to better prepare us for future disasters. One such program is the Economic Disaster Recovery Project initiated by the Economic Development Association of Alberta. This project focuses on ensuring that when disaster hits Alberta communities, those communities and businesses are prepared for it and have a plan to ensure a speedy recovery. Every community is prone to disaster, and in the past few months we have all seen the importance of having a disaster recovery plan for our municipalities and our business right here in our own backyard. By partnering and collaborating, we can ensure that when a disaster happens, we can get local businesses up and running as soon as possible so they can assist the community to get back on its feet. Through the floods of 2013 we saw massive destruction; we saw people’s lives and hopes washed away. We also saw how the human spirit can rise, how we can come together to get through it and support each other. We saw how communities in the Calgary region united to help each other. We hope that no community ever has to go through a disaster like this again, but can take comfort in knowing that if it does happen, we will be more prepared and have the support we need. life – Kent Rupert is team leader with Airdrie Economic Development

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life at work | business profile techmation president derek Polsfut is justifiably proud of his company and its employees


Photo CoUrtesy of derek PolsfUt

story by alex frazer-harrison


Airdrie business gains national recognition

here’s much more to extracting oil and gas than just digging a hole. Each site requires complex electrical systems and instrumentation, and an Airdrie-based company has been installing and maintaining these important tools for 18 years. Techmation Electric & Controls Ltd. started in 1995 in Whitecourt and has since expanded to 24 locations across Western Canada, from Estevan, Sask. to Fort St. John and Dawson Creek in B.C. Since its inception, the company has worked on projects for nearly all of Canada’s major oil and gas companies, and in May 2001, Techmation established a new headquarters in Airdrie. “The focus or core of our business has been providing electrical and instrumentation service, construction and maintenance,” explains company president Derek Polsfut. “We do shop repairs, rental of equipment like pressure recorders and pumps … we focus on providing good work and we have good safety programs, and the quality of our employees is very important.” According to Polsfut, Techmation relocated to Airdrie in 2001 to take advantage of a superior site than what was available in Calgary. “We had a bay and a warehouse in the northeast [of Calgary] – and

100 | winter 2013/14

we moved out here because we had an opportunity to get into a shop with a warehouse and a yard,” he says, adding that ease of access into Calgary and onto the QE II Highway were major selling features in choosing Airdrie. By 2012, Techmation had outgrown its original site on East Lake Crescent. “We grew out of that location and were leasing a couple other places in town. But we wanted everything under one roof,” says Polsfut. So a year ago, Techmation relocated into a new 40,000 square foot headquarters on 3.82 acres of land off Kingsview Road SE, overlooking the highway. “We were able to add in our own mechanic services; we’ve got well over 400 trucks in the fleet and we service our own vehicles here,” Polsfut says, adding that there’s also more room for such behind-the-scenes work as inventory control, business development, safety and quality control, and payroll for Techmation’s approximately 1,100 employees, of which some 250 work in Airdrie. Polsfut joined Techmation in 1996. His brother, Roland, is vice-president of operations alongside vice-president Glenn Rideout and vicepresident of business development Victor Witzke.


Last February, Techmation was named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, presented by Deloitte, CIBC, the National Post and Queens School of Business – an honour that has left Polsfut and his staff proud. “You get respect out there in the industry … not only with all the associated people [who] work for us and our clients,” he says, “but it’s certainly a big attraction for employees to know they’re coming to work for one of the best-managed companies in Canada.” Safety is also a major focus for Techmation, which was also named one of the top 40 companies in Alberta for safety performance this year, a recognition bestowed by the health minister. As a longtime Airdrie-based business, Polsfut says that his company is also focused on supporting the community, whether through supporting other local businesses (“We buy all our vehicles here with Airdrie Chrysler,” he says. “We like to buy as much as possible locally.”) or supporting minor hockey, soccer and ringette, as well as charity events such as cancer runs. And Airdrie has been more than welcoming since Techmation put down roots in the community. “[Mayor] Peter Brown and his group at City Hall have been awesome,” says Polsfut. “Peter made a mandate to visit with all the local businesses and get a pulse for what’s going on. With us developing this property and growing here, [the City] sure helped us along the way.” Being a “best-managed company” is about far more than bragging rights, says Polsfut. “It’s all about the people,” he says. “Whether it’s our clients or employees, there’s an excellent group of people who work here and who we work for. I look forward to continuing those relationships.” life

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life at work | training for success Things get off to a SMARTstart at the program launch with (left to right) Dr. Leslie Roberts, GoForth Institute; Bruce Tannas, CFC West; Tara Levick, Airdrie Economic Development; Mike De Bokx, Airdrie Chamber of Commerce; Leona Esau, Airdrie Economic Development; Lorna Hunt, Airdrie Chamber of Commerce; and Jodie Eckert, CFC West.


story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photo by Kristy Reimer

Airdrie businesses have the chance to get a

It’s not easy to start and maintain a small business. Indeed, statistics show that only 70 per cent of entrepreneurs can expect to keep the lights on after five years. SMARTstart, a new program launched this fall by the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership (ABRP), aims to improve these odds by providing small business owners access to training, mentorship and support. “We’re trying to offer a comprehensive training course for new businesses, and owners with fewer than three years [experience],” says Leona Esau, economic development officer at the City of Airdrie, a partner in the ABRP with the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures Centre West. “We’ve developed a whole wheel [of programs] from March to October 2014, with in-person training sessions that will give entrepreneurs a chance to meet with local experts,” Esau says. “That will complement webinars, and we have a mentor program built into SMARTstart which

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will allow each entrepreneur to pair up with a local businessperson who has experience in either owning or managing a business here in Airdrie.” The program includes mentorship, small-group training seminars and networking opportunities. A major component of SMARTstart, which officially launched during Small Business Week in October, is an online component incorporating GoForth Institute’s 100 Essential Small Business Skills program. “Why is it businesses fail? Do they get tired, run out of money? Can we as educators do something to help them?” says GoForth president Dr. Leslie Roberts. “Really, it comes down to lack of education in business and lack of experience in business.” GoForth created Canada’s first high-definition video education program for small business. “Airdrie, though, is wrapping some value-added features around it like mentorship, access to workshops,” says Roberts. “Education is only one

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life at work | training for success

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In association with the Carre Group of The Carre Group Sotheby’s International of RE/MAX Rocky View

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part of the success story. It takes a community to raise an entrepreneur; it takes education, access to capital and mentorship.” Roberts says that many budding entrepreneurs underestimate what it takes to run a business full-time. One might, for example, be a wizard at making pies. “The issue is [that] running a business of selling pies requires an entire different skill set that they don’t have,” she says. A goal of SMARTstart is to “get to [business owners] and help them before they need it,” says Jodie Eckert, community economic development co-ordinator with Community Futures Centre West. “Businesses often get into trouble after the first year … with coaching from mentors, you have some resources to fall back on.” Eckert says that all eyes are on SMARTstart – if it works well for Airdrie, the program could be adapted in other towns and cities. “It’s a much-used [term], but it’s a ‘one-stop shop’ – it’s got something for everyone,” says Eckert. “There’s online training so you can work from home, the mentors are there – as

an entrepreneur, your time is precious; you don’t have time to go searching.” Chamber of Commerce executive director Lorna Hunt says that SMARTstart fills a gap for the city’s business community. “[These entrepreneurs] are not working in isolation,” Hunt says. “What’s encouraging with this program is there are meetings, online work, classroom work … the mentorship is a great component.” The aim, Esau says, is to have 20 entrepreneurs sign up the first year, each matched with a mentor, with the hope of it becoming an ongoing, annual offering. The first year is being funded through a grant from the Community Initiatives Program and money raised by partner organizations. “It’s really encouraging for entrepreneurs to be able to take advantage of a made-in-Airdrie training program,” she says. “We’re hoping the business community will step up and see the value in it and embrace it and help us carry on the training program, by supporting it not only with their time, but also with their dollars.” life

Are you new to the neighbourhood? Having a baby? A new business? Employment Opportunity Available: Business Program Representative Contact Welcome Wagon Today! Call: (403) 829.1773 Website: Welcome Wagon has been a Canadian Tradition for over 80 years.

All the visits are free free gifts and information. No obligation. Compliments of local businesses Founded in 1930, Welcome Wagon is a Canadian-owned, FREE greeting service for families experiencing a lifestyle change. We greet people who are undergoing lifestyle changes with a friendly visit

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life at work| safety

erCo safety owner betts Passmore practices what she preaches at work and at home.

Safety Works Businesses put safety first for others story and Photos by Carl Patzel

Safety comes in many shapes and forms, whether it pertains to an industry or an individual. In Airdrie, two companies are providing the community and beyond with their own brands of safety expertise. In Betts Passmore’s world, slow and steady wins the race, or at least gets you home at the end of the day. Safety comes first for the owner and president of ERCO safety, whether on the job site or in life and as a mother of two. “I go home at the end of the evening safe and so [do] the management guys, but (we want) to make sure everybody goes home safe,” says Passmore, a member of the Canadian Registered Safety Professionals and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.

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Far beyond steel-toed boots, safety goggles and a hard hat, Passmore says that in many cases protecting the well-being of the worker begins and ends with the employee and supervisors. “The different ways the employers or employees identify the hazards (is key),” she says.“They need to have it documented so there’s a followup process to make sure it’s dealt with.” A safety consultant since 2000, participating in the Manufacturers’ Health and Safety Association steering committee, Passmore also performs external audits for the Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association and the Alberta Safety Council. Her company also supplies hazard assessments, program audits and incident investigation, as well as program revisions and review and verification services. Regardless of the industry, be it construction, plant work or oil and gas, Passmore strives to instil responsible safety practices from the top

the best of the latest technology allows airdrie alarm owner devon leinweber to offer his clients peace of mind.

management to supervisors, workers, contractors and new employees. “If they have a safety program it means going through that program and … then going out and seeing if they are doing what they said they are doing,” she says. The safety expert also speaks with employees to ensure company policies are being followed and the on-site behaviour and culture allows unsafe practices to be reported. According to Passmore, most causes of worksite incidents stem from complacency, day-dreaming or taking workplace safety for granted. “(The workers do) this over and over again and they don’t take the time to look around to see what’s different this time. It could be just a little thing: a frayed cord or something left on the floor that they’re not used to being there,” she says. Injury reduction begins with regulations and prevention and a good safety plan. Although policies differ from province to province, Passmore says, safety legislation is written as an evolving, living document that can change with the work environment. “Unfortunately most of the reasons they evolve is because somebody seriously got hurt,” Passmore says.“It’s important to have safety programs and in line with the organization.”

‘Don’t leave home without it’ takes on a whole new meaning as business and homeowners can now monitor innovative security systems from the convenience of a cell phone, tablet or computer. Advancements in automated protection ensure those looking for property and personal safeguards can become involved in their own frontline measures. “A lot of people are using it just for verifications. If the alarm goes off cameras are going on, they’re verifying that their kids are at home,”

Devon Leinweber, owner of Airdrie Alarm and Surveillance, says of modern-day sophisticated camera and alert security systems. “Now when that door lock comes open you get a notification e-mail that your door is unlocked, your system is disarmed.” As much as it sounds like a Big Brother state, smartphone access to security systems through apps can ensure peace of mind when monitoring home and property. For businesses it means up-to-the-second notification of possible break-ins or deterrent from theft. “You get a picture or a video to see who is coming in your house, when they came home, how many were there, if your dog walker came home,” Leinweber says.“Everything is verified.” Leinweber, who offers interactive and automated systems as well as guards and other security applications, has seen a rise in security measures on the home and business fronts in the growing community. “Security is definitely taking on a different role in people’s lives. Property is also life,” says Leinweber, who has been at the helm of Airdrie Alarm for five years. Easily accessed, real-time long distance monitoring systems have a multitude of uses. Fully automated systems can turn on hall entryway lights and even control thermostats for travellers away from home concerned about a furnace failing in the dead of winter. Offering the ultimate in peace of mind, cameras and alarms commonly monitor garage and patio doors, basement windows and property perimeters. “It’s all there right in the palm of your hand; you know what’s going on in your system and can pull up cameras any time,” says Leinweber.“It’s becoming more affordable and economical. “The cute thing,” he adds, “is some of these cameras are actually used for people [who] go up north (for work) and want to tap in and see their kids play.” life winter 2013/14 | 107

life at work | economic heroes

Junior achievement co-ordinator rebecca Mckay (standing) enjoys a laugh with her young charges (left to right) taylor Cey, tatiana topolnicky and hailey hill.

YOUNG ACHIEVERS story by Jeff MaCkinnon | Photo by sergei belski


hildren may be able to teach grown-ups how to download an app so they can do their banking on a smartphone, but grown-ups can still teach kids about money. For more than 50 years Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta has been mentoring some of the region’s young people in ways of finance, business and career readiness with programs that link education to the working world. It just so happens that Junior Achievement’s co-ordinator for elementary and middle schools in North Calgary and Airdrie is former Airdrie student Rebecca McKay. “We just got into Airdrie three years ago and it’s going well,” says McKay,” who attended George McDougall High School and joined Junior Achievement in March 2013.“I’m looking to step it up this year and build the relationship out there and get Airdrie excited about Junior Achievement.” Junior Achievement is a worldwide organization that was founded as a non-profit entity in 1919. In Southern Alberta it reaches more than 18,000 students each school year relying on 1,000 volunteers to teach the program. Locally, Junior Achievement is expected to visit at least 15 classes at the elementary, middle and secondary school levels this winter. Students may in fact find McKay standing before them, since she has taught the program in Calgary schools and will likely do so in Airdrie.

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“Most of the time for volunteers it involves a four-hour class commitment, which could be one hour at a time or four hours one morning,” McKay explains. “We go into the classroom and Junior Achievement will supply the materials volunteers will need and the training. We teach the students with PowerPoint and videos. It’s a lot of fun for the kids.” Among the offerings is the popular Investment Strategy Program, which is a six-week stock simulation project in which students start with a mock $100,000 account and attempt to build their portfolio with savvy stock moves. The Economics for Success program is already familiar to Grade 9 students two of Airdrie’s high schools. It involves them being bused to Mount Royal University to experience a day of campus life and learn of the importance of staying in school and the value of pursuing a postsecondary school education. “They look at how career planning impacts the rest of their life,” explains Bert Church High School career advisor Dorothy Smith. “They look at life goals they might have and post-secondary options and they look at budgeting for the rest of [their] life and how much post-secondary costs. It’s a good program.” life For more INFormatIoN on JunIoR aCHIEvEMEnT oF SouTHERn aLBERTa, vISIT SouTHERn-aLBERTa.JaCan.oRg

life at work | taking initiative

by anne beaty



he momentum continues and the community is still talking about the first-ever Think Airdrie 30-Day Challenge. The initiative – which asked people to record what they did in Airdrie each day of September, as well as answering questions about their community – drew an impressive response, with more than 600 people taking part, along with online participants and the numerous businesses and organizations that donated prizes. “It worked really well,” says Think Airdrie’s Janice Ware.“People loved it. The feedback was very, very positive.” The aim of the 30-Day Challenge was “to try and rekindle the fire, the passion that is inside of Airdrie,” says Think Airdrie chairman Wade Cormier. With a goal of getting people to think about what is here right in their own community, and the organizations and businesses that make Airdrie such a vibrant place, the challenge was a roaring success. Daily and grand prizes were donated by local businesses and not-for-profit organizations, and Think Airdrie organizers were overwhelmed by the generosity of those who donated. “We had an amazing, generous response from the business community, the City and non-profits,” Ware says. “We couldn’t do this without the buy-in from the business community,” Cormier adds.

Throughout the campaign, participants also used video, the web, Facebook and Twitter to share why they love Airdrie. “It was cool,” Ware says, adding that she thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments. “I loved that people recognized how much is in this community.” Daily activities and comments included everything from discovering Airdrie’s totem poles to touring the new ice surfaces at Genesis Place to playing a round at Woodside Golf Course. “It was really quite remarkable,” Cormier says. Now, plans are in the works for more Think Airdrie initiatives. “(People) are already saying they can’t wait for next year,” Ware says,“and they’re asking what’s next!” And Cormier encourages everyone to stay up to date on Think Airdrie’s Facebook page or website (, as there are exciting plans in the offing. life edItor’S Note: Think airdrie was formed three years ago by a group including the Chamber of Commerce, airdrie Economic development and some of the local business leaders. The purpose of the organization was to find a way to get newcomers and residents to feel more passionate about their community and all that airdrie has to offer. airdrielife is proud to be a supporter.

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life | last look

Northern Delights I captured this image on Nov. 23, 2012, north of Airdrie, just before reaching Crossfield. It was a cold night but in spite of the temperature, I decided to follow my intuition and head outside to see what the sky had to offer. The show was stunning – not too long (about 20 minutes altogether) – but the reds are not very common so it was really worth it! Driven by this passion and this little black box and lenses, there are not a lot of conditions that will stop me from doing what I love. Going out at night, watching the dancing sky and sharing these emotions is part of my life. – Laurence Subra-Bieusses,

Settings : Canon 1D Mark4, lens EF 15 mm 2.8 fisheye , ISO 800, 8 seconds at 2.8    Have an image you think is worthy of a last look? Send it to

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