Year-in-Review: October

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Our annual Year-in-Review series continues today with a look back at September and October 2013. We will be publishing two months of review each day during the remainder of our holiday closure here at the Morinville News. The entire Year-in-Review will be published in our Jan. 8 print edition.

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Gazebo dedicated to Mayor Paul Krauskopf’s memory

The gazebo in the St. Jean Baptiste Park was surrounded by a Morinville Fire Department Honour Guard Oct. 6 as Claude Valcourt, Morinville’s Director of Public works played the bagpipes on a morning reserved for the dedication ceremony honouring Mayor Paul Krauskopf, who passed away June 30 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Krauskop’s niece Shawna Ethier spoke to those who assembled for the ceremony. “On behalf of my aunty Linda and our whole family I just wanted to say thank you all for coming this morning. We are very grateful for all the support we have received during Uncle Paul’s passing,” she said. “It is truly a blessing to have so many wonderful people in our lives to help us through the grief and sadness of losing a true hero in our family and our community. Uncle Paul taught us many things; he lead by example and just had this way of making us want to be better people. He did not seek recognition for anything he did; he just did them because it made him happy.”

Ethier went on to say the late mayor displayed true happiness and was rarely seen without a smile on his face. “I am sure he is smiling down at us right now,” she said. “Our family is so proud of Uncle Paul and we want to thank you for this beautiful memorial.

The mayor’s widow, Linda Krauskopf was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec. The Queen’s Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne by recognizing Canadians who have made significant contributions to their province, territory, region or community.

Morinville picks its Council

Polls opened and closed October 21, allowing residents to select their new mayor and council. With an estimated 5,800 eligible voters, turnout reached 41 per cent, which was two per cent lower than the 2010 election.

There were 2,356 votes cast for mayor and at 10:33 p.m. the count revealed that Lisa Holmes had the highest number with 1,034 votes, Sheldon Fingler following close behind her with 1,016 votes. The win would later be confirmed with a recount.
Along with Holmes’ unofficial win, a new town council was revealed as well. The candidates with the top votes were Gord Putnam with 1,452, Nicole Boutestein with 1,205, Barry Turner with 1,145, Stephen Dafoe with 952, Brennan FitzGerald with 801, and Jackie Luker with 689, two votes ahead of Rob Ladouceur. A recount revealed Ladouceur won the sixth seat with a five-vote lead over Luker.

The new mayor and Council were sworn in Oct. 29.

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Church unveiled

After several months of renovation work, the 30,000 pounds of scaffolding that surround Morinville’s historic St. Jean Baptiste Church began to be taken down at the end of October.

The St. Jean Baptiste Parish received a $250,000 Western Diversification Grant Mar. 12, the maximum matching dollars available for the $343,538.97 raised in the community the previous fall during the People for the Steeple Campaign.

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Local career centre forced to close its doors

The Career Employment and Counselling Services (CECS) centre in Morinville announced it would be shutting down after learning that the provincial government will not be renewing their contract, set to expire on Dec. 31. Centre Manager Charmin Rockwell said CECS was not given an extension in their contract due to funding cutbacks. “It is not economically feasible for CECS to operate without government funding, and it is expected that any new contracts would be good for only one year which makes it extremely difficult to offer staff any type of stability,” Rockwell explained at the time.

Opened in 2002, the centre won the Chamber of Commerce Medium Sized Business award twice. CECS records showed that more than 400 services per month have been provided to town residents, including walk-ins, phone calls, appointments and assistance with the resource center. CECS has also offered regular computer courses ranging from basic to intensive training, helping residents develop the comprehensive computer skills needed to be successful in the workforce. Rockwell said whether community members are looking for work or looking for employees, CECS has provided a variety of programs, workshops and services to help them in their search.

The Centre’s last day was Dec. 23.

Economic development coordinator hired

Town of Morinville’s Economic Development Coordinator (EDC) Schaun Goodeve was hired to develop and promote policy guidelines pertaining to municipal economic growth.

The first step in Goodeve’s 25-year plan was to launch a Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program. Phase One of that program was in the form of a survey called the Morinville Biz Pulse. Goodeve said the best way to develop an understanding of the current business climate in Town is to meet business and operators face to face and ask some key questions. “The main objectives are to generate a quantitative baseline that will factor into development of an economic development strategy (including effective marketing campaigns) utilizing a survey tool,” he said. “The long term objective is to demonstrate achievement of Economic Goals, Objectives and Targets established within the MSP and Morinville’s Strategic and Business Plans (e.g. Healthy Economy, Thriving Local Businesses, Thriving Local Agriculture, and Complete Visitor Experience), MDP and Coeur de Morinville ASP.”

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