Staff Blogs
Always pay attention to who and what are around you PDF Print
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Tuesday, 08 October 2013 18:09

By Jamie Rieger
Schools in Saskatchewan did the right thing in recent days by locking down when news that a high-risk sex offender may be in their area.
The news came about after 48-year old Michael Sean Stanley, who had been living in Edmonton for the past two years after being released following a 32-month sentence for assault and forcible confinement.  Stanley had been abiding by the terms of his parole up until last Tuesday when he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet in Lloydminster.
Since that time, there have been unconfirmed reports of sightings of him in Rosetown, Kindersley, and Saskatchewan and at the time of this article going to print, Stanley had not yet been apprehended.
Because Stanley has a history of taking children from playgrounds and of sexual offenses, numerous schools locked down and communities placed on high alert.
Parents were required to pick up their children from school directly and were following police instructions, with schools and parents discussing with their youth about how to keep safe.
And no doubt, until he is apprehended, people will be keeping their doors locked and will be sleeping with one eye open.
Schools, parents, and law enforcement are taking the situation with all the seriousness it requires in order to keep their young people safe and I believe it comes as a reminder to us all to be vigilant about our surroundings and who is in our environment.
Alberta Police Report immediately sent out alerts with Stanley's picture through social media and it quickly went viral with people sharing the warnings to their friends and families.
It is all well and good to share the information, but one must take it one step further by taking a good, long look at his image, study the description of him that was provided and that of the vehicle Stanley may be using. (It is a purple 1996 Trailblazer with license plate number BHD1954.)
Stanley's 46th and 47th convictions involved the unlawful confinement and assault on two mentally impaired Edmonton boys and he also served nine years in prison for raping an elderly woman in a wheelchair, so it is not just our children we need to ensure the safety of, but also our elderly and the most vulnerable in our society.
At this point, all indications are that he is still in Saskatchewan, but if he has access to a vehicle, he can be mobile day and night and could be anywhere.
Therefore, even people in southeast Alberta should have their senses heightened and pay attention to their surroundings until this man is caught and put back behind bars.

There is just something about orange and black PDF Print
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Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:43

By Cassie Weiss
The green leaves slowly take their leave, turning from that summer shade to one quieter, darker, softer. Shades of yellow, red, brown, they light the crisp morning air.
I knew it was fall about a month and a half ago. My friend texted me with two words; “They’re back!”
Of course I immediately knew what she meant, preplanning my next outing to take a quick stop by Starbucks.
Pumpkin Spice Lattes, God’s greatest gift to man, are a classic sign of fall. You know the cold is coming once people start ordering the lattes, wrapping their mitten-ed hands around the warm white grande-sized cup.
Although it was still too warm to order one, it was the simple fact that the word pumpkin was starting to pop up on menus across the city.
Pumpkin spice beer, pumpkin spice M&M’s, pumpkin scones, pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.
About two weeks after the latte showed up the first cool night occurred. It hit our house with a bang. The windows were wide open and I felt a shiver. The night grew cold, and multiple blankets were piled on the couch for us to cuddle under, watching a movie as we drank Chi tea.
The next day was hot, but the night dropped and the promise of fall was a reachable vision.
Then the days got cool, and out came my favourite sweater, the one I wear that features one large, black, cat, fitting if you know my animal situation.
Oxblood became my colour, as I delved into the fall clothing line, and the spare bedroom closet was looted for all other things fall.
I pulled out my red jacket, pleased to see the beautiful Cameo in place, the one Katlyn bought me for my birthday.
I received my boots, I looked at my Ravenclaw scarf, and the world was at peace.
It was fall time in Medicine Hat once more, and gosh darn was I going to make the most of it.
Today I could have predicted snow, feeling the chill as the wind blew the failing leaves to the ground.
Lady and I walk in the dark now, simply not able to get out before the sun starts to set.
We grab a flashlight, and we crunch our way through what is the beginning of the fall leaves.
People curse the weather, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “It looks miserable out there.”
I could not disagree more. It is beautiful out there, and I know it will only be here for a short while before the snow falls and the world becomes white.
I look forward to that event too.
Most enjoy the hot days of the summer months, but give me orange and black any day of the week. Finally, as the days end and my friend and I settle into the nights with horror movies and our Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the wind blows and the cold creeps in, winding its shivering fingers deeper into the dark.

From worst to first, time to fear the beard PDF Print
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Tuesday, 24 September 2013 16:37

By Jamie Rieger
Any true sports fan knows that no matter what, win or lose, you will cheer for your team and always be hopeful that there will be a winning season. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't. During the losing days, a fan will sit and curse at their TV when poor plays lose their team the game and they sit in celebration when a winning rally carries the team to the top of the leaderboard.
As a decades-long Red Sox fan, I have seen the good, the bad, and ugly, have watched them struggle through many seasons with no hope whatsoever for a playoff berth.
Well, having your team make it to the play-offs quite quickly wipes away all the moments of heartache and frustration. (I want to say sports fans have short memories, but I can still remember when the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's feet in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Mets).
But for as many lowlights, there have been just as many highlights and this season's Red Sox team is reminiscent of the Team of Idiots that went on to win the World Series in 2004 and 2007. With their scruffy beards they have grown throughout the regular season, this year's Red Sox have the camaraderie, spirit, and grunt to take it all the way and thus far, they are certainly on the right track.
On Thursday, the Red Sox earned a playoff spot (the team did not celebrate this night) and the next night, clinched the American League East division (this night they did).
A lot of the team's success can be accredited to general manager, Ben Cherington, who, after a major implosion of the team, put together a group of players with a lot of determination and hard work. Kinda reminds me of the Dirt Dawgs of previous years. (Do you understand why you never fit in Boston, Carl Crawford? Baseball is a team sport.)
Manager, John Farrell has also had a lot to do with it with his at-ease guidance and almost calm demeanor.
The most credit, though, has to go to the players, who have grunted it out with every at-bat. Sure, there have been some frustrating moments, especially with the lack of run support for starter, John Lackey, but that seems to have ironed itself out with his last couple outings.
Watching Thursday and Friday nights' games reminded me of how unique the Red Sox are. Call them Dirt Dawgs, Idiots, the Cowboy Up team, whatever. The beards they are all sporting are a symbol of the teamwork and dedication the players have to winning.
From here to the end, it's not autumn, it's Fear the Beard season. Go Red Sox!

Moving forward through the past PDF Print
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Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:18

By Cassie Weiss
People really do take a lot of things for granted, excelling on medical advancement, better qualities of life, and so much more.
Recently Kat and I started watching a Canadian TV show based on World War II. The show centralizes around a core group of girls, bomb girls, girls who worked in an ammunitions factory.
The show starts off with rich-girl Gladys Withum wanting to do her part in the war, having just begun months before the show started. Continuing on as she fits into the work scene, deciding she would rather work the hard job on the floor than sit comfortably in the office, the show depicts the dangers that come to these girls.
As faulty bombs explode back on testers, as equipment catches onto another girls scalp and tears her hair off, the reality is something not many remember when honouring those who fought and died for the war.
From the attack on Pearl Harbor to the loss at Dieppe, Bomb Girls gives you a taste of romance, heartbreak, anger, but most of all, it brings forward the importance of these girls’ role in the factories.
Every year for Remembrance Day, the paper completes features on the different men and women who served in the war, and I’ve heard many tales from these folks that I interview.
Hearing these stories, and watching them through the screen of my TV, is something fascinating.
Never the biggest history fan in school, there is nothing better, in my opinion, than hearing the story from the source.
Hearing about WWII from a man who fought in it? History class doesn’t get more real than that.
To see, in person, what the war can do to a man, how some grow, but how others never return, though their body may be physically sound.
September is only half over, but Remembrance Day will be here before you blink, and again it will be time to remember those long since passed away.
Those who fought overseas, facing death and fear in the eyes, those who worked in the hospitals and medical tents, trying to keep the soldiers alive, and those women, who filled casings of Amatol and carefully sanded to remove sharp medal spears from the bomb exterior.
They all had a part to play all those years ago, and they all played their part well. Thanks to them I can be sitting here on my computer, spending more time on Facebook than any human really should.
We take a lot for granted, and sometimes we just have to stop and realized how things have changed, and how thankful we are to those who had a part in that change.

Autumn is right around the corner PDF Print
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Tuesday, 10 September 2013 19:05

By Jamie Rieger

Here it is September already. Where does the time go?
The young people are back in school all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager for another year of learning. (Right?)
So far, the weather has been more like mid-July than early September, but I don’t think people are complaining too much about that.
And because the weather has been so warm, there is merely a hint of the leaves starting to turn from green into their autumn array of oranges, yellows, and reds.
I love autumn...when the world becomes so much more colourful. As long as there is no white in the spectrum, I am totally fine with it.
The air becomes brisker and the nights become cooler  and much easier for sleeping at night for those who don’t have central air conditioning.
As soon as the school year commences, the stores are filled with not only Halloween items, but also Christmas decorations. Okay, the marketing gurus are really pushing their limit on that one!
Farmers are working like crazy to get their crops harvested and it seems like everybody is busy with ‘stuff to do’ before autumn turns to winter before its scheduled arrival.
Autumn is often brief in southern Alberta and maybe that’s why I like it so much. It never overstays its welcome.
And, there is always Thanksgiving Day to consider. As the barbecues get used less frequently, the warmth and scents from the oven on Thanksgiving is comfort to me. Time spent with family and over-eating is always a pleasure from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Some people may not like autumn because they know the snow and cold are not far behind, but I for one, will enjoy it to its bitter (hopefully not too bitter) cold end.

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