May – The Year In Review

Sturgeon Foundation restructures for future

Four seniors lodge managers found themselves out of work at the end of April as part of an organizational renewal taking place within the Sturgeon Foundation, a seniors housing organization that operates facilities and housing units in St. Albert, Morinville, Legal, Gibbons, Bon Accord and Redwater. The organization employed seven facility managers prior to the restructuring. Four of those were dismissed to allow the foundation to position itself to meet future challenges and opportunities.

Sturgeon Foundation Executive Director Dennis Magnusson said during a press conference the restructuring decision was not about individual personas but about what is best for the organization and the people it serves. Magnusson said the unanimous board decision was based on recommendations from an independent consulting firm who did a complete review of the Sturgeon foundation’s operations.


Smokin’ Elk Ranch barn goes up in flames

A mid-morning fire May. 8 destroyed a tin barn at the Smokin’ Elk Ranch just outside Morinville and caused an estimated $600,000 to $700,000 in damages. Crews were called in from Morinville, Sturgeon County, Legal and Namao to combat the fire.

Morinville Fire Department Captain Brian Johnston, incident commander on the fire call, said the department was called to a non-residential outdoor structure fire around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and arrived to find the building fully in flames. “When we arrived on scene the roof had already collapsed in,” Johnston said. “There wasn’t a whole lot we could do. Once everything was collapsed in, we didn’t really have access to any of the burning contents inside.”

Lost in the fire was the structure itself as well as a large quantity of equipment and some livestock. Johnston said the structure contained a gravel truck, tractors, quads, a track hoe and 40 chickens. Additionally, the garage contained a walk-in freezer that contained a large quantity of the company’s product.

Enforcement will be pursued with Champion

Despite what Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun said was the best efforts on behalf of the Town to reach a compliance agreement with Champion Petfoods over outstanding odour issues, such an agreement had not been possible. Reading from a prepared statement to Morinville Town Council May 8, Oyarzun said it is no longer recommended that the Town continue its ongoing forbearance on the matter and that enforcement avenues with Champion should now be pursued. The Town of Morinville had not been enforcing any of its available bylaw options with the pet food manufacturer while the negotiations were underway; however, now that those negotiations have reached a stalemate, Oyarzun said Community Peace Officers and the Development Officer would use the tools at their disposal in enforcing bylaws with Champion. That decision resulted in several tickets being issued over the summer prior to the company’s new stack being installed and fired up.

Johnson working on Morinville school infrastructure issue

Newly-minted Alberta Minister of Education and Athabasca – Redwater MLA Jeff Johnson said he hoped to announce a decision on the Morinville school infrastructure issue around the beginning of June. Speaking to the Morinville Rotary Club May 16, Johnson said it was one of the first things on his agenda as Education Minister. Johnson was scheduled to meet with the boards of Sturgeon School Division and Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division later that day to discuss the matter further.

Town employee conquers Grand Canyon

Working for the Town of Morinville’s Public Works Department can be a test of endurance from time to time, but it is nothing like the endurance Donald Fairweather needed Mother’s Day when he and nine friends ran 45 miles through the Grand Canyon. Called the Rim-To-Rim-To-Rim run, the path took the runners over terrain that varied by as much as 20,000 feet from one elevation to another.

“It’s not something the Grand Canyon encourages,” Fairweather said of the endurance run. “There have been a number of deaths in the Grand Canyon because of the heat and because of dehydration, people not being prepared enough. Of the 10 of us who ran, five have done Ironman and two have done the Death Race. Even out of them, they were saying this was much harder than any of that.”

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