Wacky sporting events STACY WOROBETZ
A life filled with whisker rescues VIBRANT VEGGIES
Local produce shines CREATIVE POTENTIAL
Get involved in the arts
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contents Spring 2014
VOL 4 • ISS 17
9 24 departments 9
food | Veggie might Summer brings a great selection of healthy, locally grown produce
13 People | Heroic heart Stacy Worobetz dedicates her life to helping cats in need
18 OUTDOORS | Oh, the things we do! Wacky sports that take talent and a sense of fun 21 community | Sports celebrities Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s Induction Banquet 24 Culture | Get drawn in Opportunities abound for adults to become involved in arts 27 Health & Wellness | Ahhh-choo! Spring is in the air, and so are seasonal allergens
columns 30 A SLICE OF LIFE | Springtime salute
Planting flowers is the perfect way to welcome the season
items 6 Editor’s message
Follow us on twitter: @RedDeerLiving Like us on facebook: RedDeerLiving
Cover photo by Tanya Lee.
spring 2014 • red deer Living 5
Bring on spring As I sit down to write this editor’s message, I can’t help but notice it’s snowing. Not just a skiff of snow, either: there’s some serious accumulation out there. Seeing the white — pretty though it may be — makes me long for spring. I’ll take the mud and the snow mould that the early part of spring brings, knowing these ugly bits eventually lead to an abundance of colour and fragrance and life. Yup, it seems like time for that kind of colourful change. This edition of Red Deer Living offers a snapshot of the good stuff happening this spring — even if we are a hint ahead of the actual season. We start with “Veggie Might,” where Mike Kozlowski discusses the variety of locally-grown vegetables that are available. With the local markets starting soon, it’s a great time to learn from and connect with producers. Next, you’ll meet Stacy Worobetz, the winner of the Heroic Hearts Pet Service Award and the founding executive director of Whisker Rescue. Her dedication to helping cats in need is sure to inspire the animal lovers out there. The outdoor enthusiasts out there are sure to be inspired by the sports in the Outdoors article. Ever wanted to participate in the Slush Cup? Try your hand (or is it your broom) at Quidditch? It turns out you can. These and other wacky sports are enjoyed by adventurous people throughout central Alberta. Athletes of a different kind are featured in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet article. At this community event, happening at the end of May, 10 sports celebrities from across the province will be honoured for their strong contributions to sport. Next, you’ll learn about another way you can contribute — by tapping into your creative side. Opportunities abound for adults to “get drawn in” to the arts, and you may find that connecting with your creative side is a lot more rejuvenating and fun than you realized. The Health article this edition takes a look at a seasonally-appropriate topic: allergies. You’ll get good tips on medicinal and natural ways to beat these pesky signs of spring. Finally, we round out the magazine with Treena Mielke’s thoughts on adding a splash of colour to your spring by planting flowers with family and friends. Still wanting more Red Deer Living? Check out the digital edition for tasty recipes to accompany “Veggie Might”. It’s all available at https://digital.sourcemediagroup.ca/ RedDeerLiving/spring2014. No matter what your plans are for this spring, one thing’s for certain: there will be lots to see and do and enjoy throughout central Alberta. Bring on spring!
Shelley Newman, Editor email@example.com
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Veggie might Summer brings a great selection of healthy, locally grown produce By Shelley Newman
M Good veggies start from the soil Mike Kozlowski’s research into environmentally sound farming practices has led him to a consistent finding: healthy, nutritionally balanced vegetables come from healthy, balanced soil. “Since the 1950s, soil throughout the prairies has been depleted,” he says. “Producers do put the major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium back into the soil, but there are many important micronutrients that haven’t been replenished well enough over the years.” The list of micronutrients includes calcium, magnesium, boron, iron and more. When soil has a correct balance of these elements, so do the crops growing on it and this, in turn, benefits human health. “When the soil is healthy, the plants we eat are more beneficial to us,” Kozlowski explains. “Even iceberg lettuce, which people usually think doesn’t have any benefits, can be nutritious when it’s grown on healthy soil.” Most consumers are far removed from the soil where produce is grown, so Kozlowski recommends simply to start asking questions. “If you’re buying from a market, ask the producers about their soil and their farming practices,” he says. “It’s a good way to learn more about the food you’re eating, and it ensures producers are accountable. Plus, it builds relationships and connects you with your food, which is a very positive thing.”
any of us are habitual shoppers, particularly when it comes to checking things off the grocery list. A bag of carrots, a few potatoes, a couple of apples. Check. But, with the growing season around the corner, people can soon branch out and choose from a wealth of colourful, fragrant, delicious vegetables — all grown in central Alberta. “It’s amazing how many vegetables can be grown in our climate,” says local farmer Mike Kozlowski. “People often think of the staples like carrots and potatoes, but there are so many options, from bok choi early in the season to squash in the fall.” As the owner and operator of Steel Pony Farm, Kozlowski has become an expert at taking full advantage of the growing season when he produces over 40 different types of vegetables. “In our business, we need a broad variety of vegetables to create weekly food baskets for our customers,” he says. Some of the early season stand-outs for Kozlowski include bok choi, spinach and radishes, as well as the strong, spicy arugula, which works great in salads or stirfries. He also grows many different varieties of traditional veggies, including beans, beets, tomatoes and carrots. “The colours, textures and flavours of vegetables change with different varieties,” he explains. “For example, we’ve grown a type of bean called dragon’s tongue, and it’s purple and white — and really juicy and tender.” When consumers choose local produce, they often get this type of unexpected change from the ordinary. “Grocery store produce is bred partly for its flavour and partly for its need to be preserved for long transportation
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“It’s amazing how many vegetables can be grown in our climate. People often think of the staples like carrots and potatoes, but there are so many options, from bok choi early in the season to squash in the fall.” times,” says Kozlowski. Tomatoes are one example, as grocery store varieties are typically red due to the higher acidity, which also helps to preserve them. Local tomato varieties, on the other hand, may be orange, yellow, black or pink, and they’re sweeter with lower acidity. By eating many different kinds of vegetables, consumers can get a more complete range of nutrients. “I tell people to make sure they’re eating from three main groups,” says Barb Dolynchuk, registered dietitian and owner of Prosport Nutrition Counselling. “First are the dark orange, yellow and red veggies, then there’s the dark leafy greens and, finally, the cruciferous vegetables.” In general, the orange group contains strong antioxidants, which help to fight some types of cancer and heart disease while also promoting eye health. Leafy greens are one of the best dietary sources of folate, and cruciferous vegetables — such as broccoli and arugula — are a good source of fibre. “The exact health benefits that people get change slightly with the colour of the produce, so it’s a good rule of thumb for people to incorporate dark green and orange vegetables every day,” says Dolynchuk. “It’s important to find easy ways to take in a good variety of vegetables.” Local markets provide a wide variety of produce, offering consumers a chance to eat healthy while supporting local producers. “Markets are a great place to learn more and to try out new produce,” Kozlowski says. “It doesn’t matter what producer a person chooses to connect with or support, but when you make that connection, it’s positive for the consumer, the producer and, really, all of central Alberta.” RL
Editor’s Note: Looking for new ways to use your fresh produce? Check out the tasty recipes in our digital version of this article at https://digital. sourcemediagroup.ca/RedDeerLiving/spring2014 10 red deer Living • spring 2014
Mike Kozlowski at the Downtown Market.
Amanda Nhan holding fresh picked radishes at Steel Pony Farm. Photos courtesy Steel Pony Farm.
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Heroic hear Stacy Worobetz dedicates her life to helping cats in need
Story by Shelley Newman / Photos by Tanya Lee
hen Stacy Worobetz found out that she was one of only four people in Canada to win the Global Pet Foods’ Heroic Heart Pet Service Award she couldn’t help but cry. As the founding executive director of Whisker Rescue Society, Stacy has dedicated her life to saving animals, but the award still came as a shock. “I didn’t even know I’d been nominated, so needless to say it was one of the happiest phone calls I’ve ever received!” she says. “There are so many great, deserving people out there doing so much to help strays in need, so to be considered made me speechless.”
What does it take to be recognized for having a heroic heart? For Stacy, a lot of time and effort. Her day typically starts at 5:30 a.m., and she’s soon at work. In her case, work is in the building across the yard on her acreage. Inside the building, there are between 60 to 80 homeless cats that need care, love and, in some cases, rehabilitation before they are adopted into their permanent homes. “The cats need the same level of care every day, 365 days a year, so it can be pretty exhausting,” she says. “But my husband, Peter, and I always say that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing — when we know we’ve saved a cat’s life and it’s in a loving home, that’s pretty amazing.”
Peter and Stacy.
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“...when we know we’ve saved a cat’s life and it’s in a loving home, that’s pretty amazing.”
In 2008, Stacy, Peter and their friend, Amy Lockhart, started Whisker Rescue, a registered charity dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and adopting homeless cats from Red Deer and the surrounding area. In the beginning, Stacy and Peter fostered homeless cats out of their home, with a basement room for kennels and an upstairs bedroom for mother cats and their kittens. “People always say to me: ‘It’s lucky your husband likes cats!’” she laughs. “But really, we’re a good match for each other because we both love animals so much. We both know what it takes to do this work, so we can laugh and cry and share the experiences together.” Fast forward a few years, and their home is still a multiple cat household, with some foster cats and some they’ve permanently adopted. There are a few Whisker Rescue cats living in volunteer foster homes, too, but the majority of the rescued felines live in the cat building on the acreage. “There are free roam rooms, a seniors’ room and areas with kennels, so each cat is housed
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based on its needs,” Stacy explains. With so many cats in one area, health care is paramount, and Worobetz is extremely conscientious about cleanliness, taking great care not to introduce germs to the building. Since Peter works full time, the majority of the cat care is done by Stacy, with some help from a longtime volunteer. “We work really hard to keep the cats healthy and happy, so we don’t allow visitors to this facility,” she says. “Once the cats are ready for adoption, we take them to one of our adoption facilities at Deer Park Vet Hospital, Piper Creek Vet Clinic or PetSmart.” Stacy’s connection to Deer Park Vet Hospital led her to become involved with rescuing homeless cats. She began working as a receptionist at the vet hospital 25 years ago, and she continues that work one day a week to this day. Over the years, she received many
calls at the clinic from people who were moving or had developed allergies or could no longer care for their felines. “In these cases, people wanted to euthanize their cats, and it was really hard to see the disposable value people placed on their pets,” she says. “One day, I said to the caller: ‘You know, I think I could find another home for your cat,’ and that’s how it began.” She found a home for that first cat and then more followed. Before long, the veterinarians provided Stacy with kennel space in the reception area where she could house cats for adoption. Her interest in promoting cat welfare also led her to the Coexisting with Cats group, and Stacy spent 10 years as a volunteer there. During this time, she continued to find homes for unwanted cats, sometimes even rescuing strays herself. “I remember one night when Peter and I were going out to rescue a stray from a shed,” she recalls. “I said to him that we were going out on another whisker rescue. There was just something about that night: it was a defining moment because we were a team and were out there doing something we cared about together.” When the two later became founding members of the society, the name Whisker Rescue seemed a perfect fit. Not many people are willing to spend cold nights rescuing strays: it takes a strong foundation of love for animals. For Stacy, that foundation was established with her family in Red Deer. They had dogs, rabbits, fish and birds, and Stacy has many memories of their tom-cat, Nicky, who used to wear a path travelling around the neighbourhood. “I used to follow him along his path to see where he’d go and other times he’d follow us to grandma’s house,” she says. “Animals were an important part of our lives, and my mother
was so kind to them — she was a great role model.” Those early experiences, combined with her career and compassion, led to her life’s work E helping animals in need. Looking to the future, Stacy is excited to keep working with Peter, Amy and the volunteers as they strive to find loving homes for the cats at Whisker Rescue. She’s also pleased that they’ll be able to offer a variety of cat programs, including the Rural Cat Roundup, which will provide free spay and neuter surgeries for 225 cats in Red Deer County. “We’re so fortunate to have so much community support that allows us to help cats in need,” she says. “It takes a lot of effort to do this work, but when we save a life or hear a story about a cat that’s truly loved in his new home, that makes it all worth while.” RL
“We’re so fortunate to have so much community support that allows us to help cats in need.” A Peter building outdoor cat runs.
C&D Stacy visiting cats in the foster room.
B Peter caring for kittens.
Stacy at the National Cat Day, Oct 2010.
Photos A-E courtesy Stacy Worobetz.
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Oh, the things we do! Wacky sports that take talent and a sense of fun By Jock Mackenzie The crack of a baseball bat and the thud of a football tackle are familiar sporting sounds. Few of us have heard the sploosh of a skier in The Slush Cup or the schplat of a runner in Mud Hero. Not familiar with these events? They’re just a couple of the unique and exciting sports found across the region. This year, the 4th annual Slush Cup is scheduled for Canyon Ski Hill on March 30. In previous years, skiers as young as eight and as old as 60 have launched themselves from the top of the half-pipe toward a 100 foot long pond of slush. The object is to fly over the jump at one end of the pond and glide successfully to the opposite end. Few are successful. But most don’t care. “It’s wild and fun and wacky,” says Robyn Martel, co-owner of Canyon Ski Resort. “It announces the end of the ski year at Canyon.” And what better way to do it than having costumed skiers and snowboarders (and even a kayaker) being cheered on 18 red deer Living • spring 2014
by adoring fans. Costumes? They’re family friendly and have included hula girls, bananas, Mario and Luigi, and more. Judges award points based on style, distance and costumes. To the joy of the crowd, scores are held aloft for all to see. The grand prize is a Canyon season’s pass for the following year. Second and third place finishers receive prizes, and there are lots of draw prizes as well — swag from Canyon and from local sponsors like major sponsor, the Alberta Treasury Branch. Everyone gets to enjoy the barbecue on the deck, radio stations blasting tunes outside and live bands playing in the lounge. If landing in a pond of slush isn’t your thing, how about joining 13,000 mudders? Last year, that’s how
When an opponent shoves you over and you find yourself staring at the bottom of the pool, you might consider another wacky sport… many participants ran, climbed, waded and wallowed over a six kilometre track in Red Deer’s first ever Mud Hero. “It’s not every day we get to channel our inner child,” says Ted McLeod, co-founder of Mud Hero, “to jump in the mud, to swing across this and climb up that, to remember what it’s like to be a child again.” McLeod says that Mud Hero isn’t the grueling challenge of similar events like ones designed by Special Forces personnel or fitness fanatics. According to Anne Hermary, a participant in last year’s event, “if you can walk six kilometres, you’ll be fine. There’s no pressure to do things you can’t do.” But, if you can’t imagine either slush or mud, how about imagining this — the famous Harry Potter game brought to life. Yes, Quidditch. There’s no flying on brooms and no golden snitch hurtling through the air, but students in Vermont created a real-life version in 2005, and it’s been spreading ever since. In Red Deer, Jillian Staniec asked herself, “if I build it, will they come?” And they did! As president of the Central Alberta Quidditch Association, she gathered the equipment and put out the word. In almost a year, she’s gathered interested chasers with quaffles, beaters with bludgers, seekers with a snitch and a keeper per side. “The basic idea,” she says, “is you come, you run around really fast on your broom. You try not to get hit with the bad balls, you try to score with the good balls, and you hope your seeker will catch the snitch to end the game.” Still not interesting enough? How about Kayak Polo? Find a pool (like the public pool in Innisfail where practices are held every Friday night) and begin by using the equipment provided by the Cottonwood Kayak Club: kayak with a skirt and bumpers, a paddle, a caged helmet and a personal flotation device. Get someone like Narsh Ramrattan, president of the club, to introduce you around and get ready to have a blast.
It’s just polo in the pool: use your hands to pass, deflect and shoot the ball at a net suspended at your opponent’s end while they try to do the same. With practice, you can use your paddle for passing, deflecting and shooting. When an opponent shoves you over and you find yourself staring at the bottom of the pool, you might consider another wacky sport — underwater hockey. And, yes, underwater hockey is an actual sport, as is ultimate frisbee and so is cowboy action shooting. All of these new sports are being played and enjoyed throughout central Alberta, so have a look: who knows what fun you might find. RL
A Splashing in muddy water at Mud Hero 2013. Courtesy Ted McLeod. B Kayak water polo. Courtesy Narsh Ramrattan. C Spread eagle into slush at the Slush Cup. Courtesy Canyon Ski Hill. D Real-life Quidditch. Courtesy Jillian Staniec.
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2013 Induction Banquet. Photos on this page courtesy Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
Sports celebrities Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s Induction Banquet By Jenny Spurr With the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2014 Induction Banquet just around the corner, Tom Glass, Honoured Member, has a lot to look forward to. Glass was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013; he’ll join other Honoured Members Alumni in a parade during the banquet before welcoming this year’s inductees. For Glass, the memory of attending his own banquet is still fresh. “Attending the banquet was an eye opener because I thought it would be a small event with a couple hundred people,” says Glass. “You go inside and they have pictures of you and all the other athletes along with about 600 guests — the whole experience was pretty amazing!” An integral part of the Glass family chuckwagon dynasty, Glass has been racing for more than 35 years. His father, Ron Glass, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the year 2000. “When I walked into the Hall of Fame, I saw my dad’s photo on the wall and right beside him is Wayne Gretzky. My dad was a great horseman and, of course, Gretzky is one of my favourite hockey players,” says Glass. “When you see all of the other people you’ve been inducted with, that’s when you realize what an honour it is.” The induction banquet is hosted annually by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to honour 10 extraordinary Albertans who have made an impact on sport in our province, country and around the world. For the public, it’s an opportunity to rub shoulders with sports celebrities. For the sporting world, it’s a chance to celebrate the people who have dedicated most of their lives to excellence.
on racing Tom Glass chuckwag ede. mp Sta ry at the Calga
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“Many of the athletes in the Hall of Fame have reached national, international and Olympic status; winning gold medals, breaking world records, and being the best in their sport across our country while representing Alberta,” says Donna Hateley, managing director of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Established in 1957, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum provides an interactive experience for people of all ages to celebrate the rich sporting heritage in Alberta. As a non-profit society, the Hall of Fame and Museum has two main goals: first, to honour sports celebrities in Alberta and, second, to showcase and preserve the history of sports in our province. “To be recognized in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, you must have achieved national or international status and demonstrated the impact you have made to your sport in the community,” says Hateley. Nominations are accepted from the public until January 31 of each year in three categories: athlete, team or builder. As Hateley explains, builders can include coaches, trainers, volunteers or managers. “Many of the builders in the Hall of Fame have contributed to the success of athletes, the facilities in our province and the work behind competitions and sport associations.”
In addition, there are three special awards. The Achievement award recognizes extraordinary achievement by an individual(s). Honoured Members in this category include the 1982 Mount Everest Climbers, a group of mountaineers who summited the mountain on their first attempt despite one of the worst seasons in the Himalayas. The Bell Memorial Award is presented to a sports reporter or broadcaster who has contributed most to amateur sports in the province. Finally, the Pioneer Award acknowledges an individual(s) who has made an impact to athletic life in Alberta 50 years prior to the current year. After reviewing an average of 70 nominations, a selection committee made up of people from across the province with a “strong sports background and knowledge base” narrows the list to just 10 inductees. “It’s a lot of work for the public to gather the information but so worth it to recognize these men and women,” says Hateley. And Glass couldn’t agree more: “When people recognize what you’ve done and the work you’ve done in your sport, it’s pretty special.” This year’s banquet takes place at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel on Friday, May 30. More information is available at www.ashfm.ca. As for the future of sports in central Alberta, the outlook is bright. “Central Alberta is a leader in sport development, leadership and facilities,” adds Hateley. “With associations like the Alberta Sport Development Centre, volunteer leaders in our community and the facilities within the region, many central Alberta athletes can excel in their sports close to home.” It’s true, chuckles Glass, “where else in the world can a chuckwagon driver be in a Hall of Fame?” RL
“To be recognized in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, you must have achieved national or international status and demonstrated the impact you have made to your sport in the community.”
Inside the Hall of Fame Gallery 22 red deer Living • spring 2014
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Get drawn in By Laurette Woodward
t feels like I’ve come full circle in my life; I’ve come back to my roots,” says Carol Lynn Gilchrist. Having moved to Red Deer as a toddler in the early 1960s and then growing up here, Gilchrist eventually moved away, only to return some years later as a single parent. But her return to Red Deer is only one part of Gilchrist’s return to her roots. “I’ve always considered myself an artist,” she says. Winning an art competition in grade one was Gilchrist’s first inkling she had talent. Although her work as an architectural draftsman allowed her some creativity, Gilchrist did not begin to fully explore her artistic abilities until a few years ago. “I had a scare with my health,” she says, “and that made me put things into perspective.” Taking early retirement, Gilchrist now takes contract work, allowing time to become involved in the Red Deer arts scene. A regular at the Red Deer Art Club, held at the Golden Circle, Gilchrist is able to explore her own love of art often using water colour and three-dimensional effects on paper to produce artwork that combines painting and cartography, or map-making (a nod to her years as a municipal planner). Beyond that, she encourages others to get involved and try their hand in art. “It’s so wonderful from the perspective of personal expression,” she says. “It’s satisfying to explore that creative person inside. The capacity to play is in all of us. Sometimes we get careers and family and we put that away, but the capacity is still there.”
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B Josephine de Beaudrap agrees. As the community and program facilitator for visual arts with The City of Red Deer, de Beaudrap says “part of our role is to make the arts accessible to people.” The City of Red Deer offers entry level courses in a variety of visual and performing arts for people of all ages, but also a significant number for adults. Last year, The City’s Culture Services section ran 84 classes for more than 500 adults; approximately 40 per cent of its total enrolment. There may be additional people who want to be involved, but are reluctant. “We live in a hyper-critical society and that creates a barrier. People think they have to be good at something before they try it,” de Beaudrop says. “But why limit yourself in that way? I tell people to stop judging themselves and try it. Come explore. Enjoy the process because that’s the best part.” She says there is significant research that shows the benefits of taking up the paintbrush, pencil, sculpting tools, or putting on dance shoes, joining a choir or theatre group. “When people are creative, they have balance in life,” she says. “Self expression is good for people, as is socialization. There is also a benefit to keeping your mind
Opportunities abound for adults to become involved in arts A Dance class at Culture Services. B Carol Lynn Gilchrist. C Art class at The Hub with Michael Huyzer. D Art class at Culture Services. E “Racing Home” by Carol Lynn Gilchrist. F “Mapping Home” by Carol Lynn Gilchrist.
active. Also, my observation is when people are doing something they’re interested in, they’re awake and stimulated and, dare I say, happy!” Red Deer artist Michael Huyzer also sees benefits of participating in art. “Art is healing,” he says. “If you’re angry or sad or depressed, it’s an outlet for your feelings. I believe people crave that outlet. It helps them feel better towards themselves.” Huyzer spends his Wednesday mornings at The Hub on Ross, a place in downtown Red Deer where people can go to participate in visual or performing arts. Huyzer runs a class that, like most opportunities at The Hub, is free and open to the public. “I introduce different materials and techniques each week,” says Huyzer, who most recently had participants painting on old vinyl records and pasting magazine clippings on ceramic tiles. “I love watching what people do with what I show them. They make it their own, and that’s good! It gives me so much joy to see!” Bev Randers, one of the staff at The Hub, says there was a real need in Red Deer for
D opportunities in visual and performing arts that welcome beginners. The Hub, which began about 10 years ago in Red Deer’s downtown, receives funding from Persons with Developmental Disabilities. The Hub reaches out to individuals with disabilities, as well as to newcomers to Red Deer, and anyone who is interested in the arts and in creating a strong and caring community. “People are engaged at The Hub. They have an interest in building community and making friendships,” says Randers. “Art here is not juried or judged. There are no hurdles. It is safe and welcoming. It’s the right door to enter.” RL
Photos A& D courtesy The City of Red Deer. Photos B & C by Laurette Woodward.
More information: The City of Red Deer www.reddeer.ca or www.facebook.com/ reddeercultureservices The Hub on Ross www.hubpdd.com
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health and wellness
Spring is in the air, and so are seasonal allergens By Jennifer Blair
hen your nose starts running and your eyes start watering, you can be sure of one thing: spring — and the allergens that come with it — is finally in the air. But treating those pesky springtime allergies may be easier than you think. “Avoiding what’s causing the allergies is the first thing we recommend,” says Medicine Shoppe pharmacist Kevin Bredo. And if you can’t avoid the pollen and snow mould that comes along with the warmer weather, there are plenty of over-thecounter antihistamines that can relieve allergy symptoms. Some antihistamines, like Benadryl, need to be taken more than once a day and can cause drowsiness, so Bredo encourages allergy sufferers to follow the directions carefully when using these products. “The dizziness and drowsiness is particularly concerning for the elderly because they’re more susceptible to fallKevin Bredo ing,” he says. Other products, like Claritin, only need to be taken once a day and come with less chance of drowsiness. “Usually, those are the ones that we would recommend,” says Bredo. Allergy sufferers, especially those with breathing problems, should speak with their pharmacist to find the antihistamine that will work best for their individual needs. “(Pharmacists are) a great resource for selecting one that’s going to be safe and appropriate for you.”
Though over-the-counter antihistamines are generally safe to use, Dr. Brenda Nemeth, a naturopathic doctor at the Red Deer Wellness Clinic, advocates for a more natural approach to treating springtime allergies. “With a more natural approach, you’re going to be treating the reason why you have allergies in the first place instead of just covering up the symptoms,” she says. The first step is eating a hypoallergenic diet by eliminating sugars and processed foods and incorporating more fruits and vegetables. “That’s half the battle right there.” Eating dark berries is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce allergies, she explains. “The darker the berry, the better,” says Dr. Nemeth. “It has more of the antioxidants that will help to combat the allergens.” Alfalfa and nettle tea, probiotic supplements, and vitamin C can also help strengthen the immune system, while neti pots — which flush out the nasal cavity — can “help quite a bit.” “If you keep the mucous layer down by washing it with a neti pot, you can prevent a lot of problems.” Whatever approach allergy sufferers choose to take, Dr. Nemeth suggests getting to the root of the problem before resorting to medications. “(Allergies are) just a warning bell to let us know that there’s something wrong,” says Dr. Nemeth. “If we ignore that warning bell, the condition is just going to get worse.” For more information on naturopathic treatments for allergies, visit www.naturopathic.org. RL
“(Allergies are) just a warning bell to let us know that there’s something wrong. If we ignore that warning bell, the condition is just going to get worse.”
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The final countdown Cottonwoods Meadows is nearing completion
re you looking to build a new home? If your checklist includes a large lot in an architecturally controlled community with easy access to everything you need, then Cottonwood Meadows in Blackfalds may be the perfect fit. While the subdivision is nearing completion, there are still choice lots available to suit your needs. “In Cottonwood Meadows, people have an opportunity to work with a great group of builders, so they can get homes that suit their needs and lifestyles,” says Trent Harder, VP of sales with Cottonwood Meadows. “Buyers can also get larger lots for less money, so it’s a win on all levels.” What types of lots are still available? According to Harder, there are some standard and some oversize, including pie-shaped lots on cul-desacs. “Our premiere lots are private and secluded — and they’re a great price,” he says. “We have south-facing, wide walkout lots backing onto a natural area, and the prices of these top out at $160,000 per lot.”
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With the large lot sizes, you’ll have space for a house and detached garage with room for toys: a holiday trailer, boat, quad or whatever you need to play in the vast outdoor playground that’s a short drive from your door. Plus, you’ll find that Blackfalds isn’t just convenient because it’s close to everything; it’s also a growing community with increasing amenities that make it a destination, not just a stepping stone in home ownership. “There’s a sense of community and value for people living in Blackfalds,” says Harder. “It’s a place where you can set down roots and feel a sense of belonging.” As Harder and the team at Cottonwood Meadows complete the neighbourhood, they want to thank the builders and customers for helping to create such an inviting community. “We simply couldn’t have done this without them,” says Harder. “Now, as we’re approaching completion, we intend to see that same high level of quality, fit and finish through to the last house.” n
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Webster Galleries Inc. showcases local artists
ablo Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” John Webster, owner of Webster Galleries Inc., agrees that art has a powerful impact on people. “You drink this stuff in, or it drinks you in,” he says. For 33 years, Webster Galleries Inc. has been making fine art accessible — and it’s been doing it in the heart of Calgary’s design district on two floors (12,000 square-feet) of gallery space on 11th Avenue SW. To stretch the square footage further, the gallery is filled with wall cabinets that open to show even more paintings. Mini-exhibitions are held in 14’ x 8’ alcoves so artists can exhibit more often instead of waiting to produce enough for a full show. Even more art — big art — is always on display in the common areas of the Westin Hotel. John reminds out-of-towners there’s parking in the back of the store, and he welcomes browsers. “Come as a couple; we’re normal and friendly. It’s an experience.” Whether you are in town on business or want to drive up for the day, he suggests you make an afternoon of visiting the half dozen galleries on 11th Avenue and stopping at any one of the many restaurants or coffee houses. Every Saturday, the public is welcome to chat with a variety of artists who are working in the gallery. Featured in March will be multi-di-
mensional paintings with depictions of Calgary scenes from resident artist Réal Fournier, who has been working at the gallery and connecting with customers since 1996. In April, look for Western landscapes by Ron Parker and, in May, for landscape paintings by Dan Varnals. Also featured in the spring will be abstracts by Lisa Heinricks and paintings by Alain Gagne. One very popular option is the practice of taking a piece of art home on approval. Customers can also put art on hold; corporations can make yearly leases. With prices that range from $500 to $5,000, patrons can choose from Canadian paintings, sculpture, ceramics, hand-pulled prints, watercolours and bronzes. For more information, see www.webstergalleries.com. n
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a slice of life with Treena Mielke
Planting flowers is the perfect way to welcome the season
woke to the soft grey of morning, slowly adjusting my eyes to the half-light filtering through my bedroom window. It was early yet, that in-between time just before dawn when darkness slowly releases its tenacious hold on the world, not yet quite ready to give in to the gentle, but persistent, face of the sun. Burying my face in my pillow, I try to capture the last vestiges of some sweet dream that hovers tantalizing somewhere on the other side of the shadowy veil of reality. Try as I might, I can’t bring it back. I roll over, and my mental alarm clock immediately kicks in, shaming me into reality. “Get up, get up, lazy bones, get up. You have much to do today.” I comply with the mental command, stumbling out to the kitchen, where I carefully measure scoops of coffee into the pot, yawning, not yet quite ready to match the relentlessly quickening pace of the morning, already evidenced by shards of sunlight piercing the eastern sky. “What is it I have to do today, again?” I ask myself, my mind still foggy with half finished dreams. And then I remember. Planting. I am planting flowers today. Actually, not just me, but me and my children and their children, and overseeing us all, is our friend, who brings the promise of smiles, hugs and most importantly, knowledge of what and where to plant, to us all. By the time my workers arrive, it has turned into the kind of day you dream about when you are living through a deep, dark winter. The gentle robins’ egg blue sky is splashed with a butter coloured sun. Lazy fat clouds interrupt the blue with their aimless game of hide and seek but, for some reason, their appearance doesn’t seem to be a blemish on the perfection but serves only to enhance it.
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My helpers come prepared. They bring with them trowels and rakes and shovels and watering cans. And, of course, invisible though it was, each of them carried with them, the most important tool of all. Hope. My brave little bedding plants stand proudly, waiting, already straining towards the nourishing warmth of the sun. I kneel down in the front of my barren and empty flower bed, picking up a handful of soil and letting its dark coolness crumble slowly through my fingers. It feels mysterious and full of promise, like the tiny plants themselves. And so it begins. This year, my planting crew includes three of my grandchildren. My own special seedlings. They get in the way, out of the way; spread the dirt around; in their faces, on their hair, on their hands and all over the sidewalk. They take delight in watching a wiggly worm create tunnels in the dirt and happily let a ladybug climb off the grass onto their fingers. I smile and as I watch them out of the corner of my eye, I am, once again, reminded that planting seeds and showering them with loving care and attention is not always about flowers. Finally, the planting done, I stand up, somewhat stiffly, brushing the dirt off my knees and looking ruefully at my chipped and dirty nails. But I’m not far into my reverie when I feel this little hand patting the region around my knee. “Grandma, you forgot one,” he says, holding up a lost little wilted bedding plant. We plant it together, him and I, and already in my mind’s eye I can see it as it will be, a delicious splash of colour, bringing delight to all who view it. Task done, we walk into the house hand in hand. We are very grubby, absolutely contented and more than a little smug because, after our labour of love, our plants are about to get a final embrace from Mother Nature herself. It’s raining! RL