The Camrose Booster, April 3, 2012

Page 21

The CAMROSE BOOSTER April 3, 2012

Letters Continued from page 16 Question 1

We invest $5 billion each year in public education in Alberta. What are effective ways to demonstrate: • to parents how their child is doing? • to taxpayers how their schools are doing? • to Albertans how their public education system is doing? Question 2

About 25 per cent of Alberta students don’t complete high school. How can Alberta improve on its graduation rates? Question 3

Rural depopulation; booming suburbs; long distances to schools and aging schools. How and who should make decisions about where schools are built and or repaired in Alberta? Question 4

Students come to Alberta schools with a wide range of diverse, individual needs. What must change about Alberta’s school system to meet the needs of all students? Democracy, eh?

So every Alberta school child is taught the wonderful form of government called democracy was started in Greece. Its predominate procedure was participatory. The procedure now is indirect participation by ceding an individual's rights to a designated elected person. Sadly, that is where good old democracy ends in the present-day system. To debate, describe and discuss the present-day systems and objectives hereby is futile. However, to correct the ills quickly, as loathsome as they are, and to end the millions of dollars spent and wasted on election propaganda, let us add another voting line to the ballot: none of the above. This line would be ongoing, ad infinitum. Only the best of truth and honesty and trust deserve respect and applications by likewise worthy lawmakers. Get it? Got it! Good. Herb Holt, Camrose Kudos to Community Theatre

I want to extend kudos to every individual involved with the Churchmice production of Oliver! Every aspect was so professionally done: the directing, the stage sets, the band, the costuming, lighting, acting and singing – resulting in a superb performance. My gratitude to the myriad of talented people in our community willing to devote endless hours of preparation to create such pleasure for us, the audience. The same may be said for About Time Productions, which presented the fabulous Back to the '80s recently. Our young people are receiving excellent training. It's good to see some of these same youth being included in Oliver! creating a truly wonderful mix of all ages. Congratulations on exceptional work and thank you to both theatre groups. Cathy Brown, Camrose

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VINTAGE FARM PHOTOS circa 1953 – 1993,

on display at Duggan Mall, April 10th and 11th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. With a library of 700,000 taken at very low altitudes, photographs the chances are the quality of the images is excellent that Kim Bessette and usually striking and the scene nee his wife Eileen Deringer might – always irreplaceable. have an irresistible keepsake of Kim Bessette notes: your farm, general store, service “These historic photos are station or church. The couple, very meaningful for people who operate Homestead Aerial who were raised, or had Photos Ltd., bought the remarkable relatives, on family farms. Alberta, B.C. Manitoba and P.E.I. It’s fascinating for people collection from Superior Air Photo to see the changes that of Kelowna about nineteen years have occurred on farm ago. The pair now travels the sites over the years. And, country selling these moment-inoften looking through time memories at trade fairs and our pictures is a moving temporary displays. Bring your site’s legal land description, During the summer or some photographs can also be searched months the couple by referring to the landowner’s name capture the look of at time the photo was taken. farms and acreages – typically in the Calgary area with specialized and emotional photographic equipment mounted experience for on a helium blimp). folks, too. Imagine The high-quality reliving the moment photographs were taken over a of time when your three-decade period and provide grandparents or parents are on a nostalgic look at farms and the ground visibly waving at businesses from a much different the pilot-photographer who was period in time. Jumping out capturing that shot”. from these captured mementoes If you are interested in are images of small mixed seeing if the scene you want is farming operations, typically in this amazing photographic with windmills, wooden grain collection, bring your site’s bins, small barns, and plenty legal land description. Some more livestock. Visible In the photographs can also be searched background of these cherished by referring to the landowner’s pictures are often more cultivated name at the time the photo was fields and significantly more trees taken. than in rural areas at this point in time. Because the photos were

If you’re looking for other areas in the province, please contact us in advance so that we can bring them in. Ph. 403.253.9282 email: homesteadaerial@telus.net

Ph that yo otos un though ever existed t !

April 12 in Viking, Caledonia Motor Inn April 13, 14 at Wainwright Trade Show

Alberta needs a moratorium on fracking Recently, I watched Gasland by Josh Fox, an academy award nominee and Emmy Winner. It is a disturbing movie on what some see as the “energy renaissance” or the clean “bridge fuel” to more sustainable forms of energy, namely, natural gas that is forced to let go by hydraulic fracturing, fracking for short. Water wells were contaminated and watersheds and families put at risk. I was shocked to discover that there are already 170,000 fracked wells in Alberta. Industry and government web pages assure me there are no documented cases of water contamination in Alberta, fracking only takes place far below our aquifers and all wastewater is injected deep into old wells to keep our water safe. I like to trust people and believe that everything is fine. I’m an Albertan; I don’t like conflict. But, as a professor I have a responsibility to search out as much truth as I can and speak it. This industry makes billions and our government collects a small percentage (between 9% and 13%) of the revenues. This gives me “second thoughts”. Here are some truths I found:

Second Thought

Dittmar Mündel, Religion, Global and Development Studies and Associate Director of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life, Augustana Campus, University of Alberta.

Alberta does have documented cases of water and soil contamination, and methane leaking to the surface. Historic records in Alberta Environment’s water well data base stated no gas present; after fracking, methane is present to such a high degree that you can burn the water, animals get sickened drinking it and

peoples’ health and safely is at risk. You can check this out by Googling Burning Water and www.ernstversusencana.ca (the statement of claim available there reads like a thriller). Man-made toxics used in the energy industry such as hexavalent chromium – a known carcinogen - were found by Alberta Environment during their investigation at Rosebud. Other documented drinking water contamination cases in Alberta include the Zimmermans near Wetaskiwin, Jacks at Spirit River and Campbells at Ponoka. I worry there are more – sealed by settlements and confidentiality agreements. How safe are we here? Nexen drilled “experimental wells” northeast of Camrose, but is not currently fracking because of low natural gas prices; Enerplus plans to frack. I have three big concerns about fracking. 1) My first is the migration of methane after industry forces it to let go from the formations they frack. The National Energy Board reports that only about 20% of fracked gas makes it up industry’s wells. Where does the rest go? Nobody can predict where industry’s meth-

ane – fracked from “natural” (shallow) and deep depths – will end up: whether in our aquifers, or seeping to the surface via soils killing vegetation or drifting up old well bores. Methane is 20 times more serious a greenhouse gas contributor than CO2. 2) Another concern I have is that fracking is an energy intensive process. If you consider all the methane leaks and fossil fuels required to run the crews and facilities, this supposedly clean “bridge fuel” is dirtier than burning coal! 3) My third concern is the millions of gallons of water used to frack, and forever contaminated with chemicals. Where is the water going to come from when farms are already hurting from low groundwater levels? And where will the toxic flowback and wastewater go? Humans have lived for millennia without fossil fuels. They live a few days without water. My concerns and the billions we give this industry in subsidies leads me to conclude that we need a moratorium on fracking in Alberta until it is carefully studied and proven safe, clean and economical.