North Delta ringette players bring home gold at B.C. Games

(Left to right) Delta ringette players Alexandra Zed, Makayla Anderson, Abbigail Krzysztofik, Keeley Willams and Madison Maichin and coach Lisa Cadeau won gold at the 2018 B.C. Winter Games. (Wendy Stevenson photo)

Mar. 1, 2018

By Jake Wray

Three young ringette players from North Delta and their teammates brought home a gold medal from the 2018 B.C. Winter Games last weekend.

Madison Maichin, Abbi Krzysztofik and Keeley Willams were part of a composite team consisting of 15 players from various local ringette associations in the Vancouver-Coastal zone.

The girls were joined by fellow Delta Ringette Association players Alexandra Zed (Ladner) and Makayla Anderson (Richmond), as well as coach Lisa Cadeau (North Delta) as the team traveled to Kamloops and faced off against seven others in the under-15 age category between Feb. 22 to 25.

Vancouver-Coastal won the gold medal in a close final match against a team from the Fraser River zone.

The team’s success, Maichin said, was largely due to the bonds they forged with one another, despite having only five practices together prior to the tournament.

“We had a really good connection,” said the 15-year-old centre. “I think it showed in the end, in the final score.”

Maichin said it was hard to say goodbye to her teammates once the trip was over.

“It’s really sad,” she said. “Everyone plays for their own teams in the area, and some people might not see each other in a while, or ever, so it was kind of bittersweet.”

Krzysztofik, 14, who played defence for the team, said ringette is an integral part of her life as it fuels her personal growth and is a chance for her to make new friends.

“[Playing ringette] allows me to make new friends from, not just Delta but, say, from Burnaby or Vancouver,” she said. “It allows me to have connections between multiple girls around the Lower Mainland.”

The team enjoyed bonding with players other teams at the tournament as well, Krzysztofik said, particularly at a tournament social event where players stayed up dancing until 11 p.m.

“We all kind of enjoyed having a chance to mingle around with the other [teams] and talk, and sing and dance,” she said, noting that many of the players enjoyed singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the theme song for the tournament.

Krzysztofik said she made an Instagram post after winning the gold medal where she reflected on her coaches and the many lessons she has learned from them over the years.

“Work hard. Never give up. Push through it. Focus, and believe,” she said, reading aloud from the post. “Those are the words that made me the player I am and got me to where I am.”

Lisa Cadeau, the team’s head coach, said she was impressed the team managed to gel with one another so quickly.

“It’s a hard thing to do with the format that we’re given, with the limited ice time that we have,” she said, adding that she particularly enjoyed watching her players forge those new bonds.

“That’s probably the best part about it is just watching them develop friendships with players they don’t really know but they’ve maybe played against for quite a few years.”


Article originally appeared in the North Delta Reporter


Former Conservative leadership candidate seeks nomination for Sturgeon River – Parkland by-election

rick peterson
Rick Peterson has moved back to Alberta after approximately 30 years and is seeking the Conservative nomination for the Sturgeon River – Parkland by-election. Photo by Jake Wray Reporter/Examiner

Aug. 14, 2017

By Jake Wray

Rick Peterson, former leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, has announced he is seeking the Conservative nomination for the Sturgeon River – Parkland by-election.

The riding is facing a by-election after former Conservative MP Rona Ambrose vacated the seat. Jamie Mozeson, a Spruce Grove local who worked at the Prime Minister’s Office during Stephen Harper’s tenure, has already announced her candidacy for the Conservative nomination in the by-election. Now, Peterson, a businessman and investor who has lived in British Columbia for approximately 30 years and is in the process of moving with his family to Spruce Grove, has arrived to challenge Mozeson.

“Our choice of coming here to Spruce Grove is just a fundamentally good choice for our family and we’re going to live here win or lose the nomination race,” Peterson said in an interview with the Reporter/Examiner. “Whatever we do in politics is ancillary to establishing roots in the community, to living here, to being here, and we’re thrilled.”

Peterson said he believes he is the right type of candidate to replace an influential MP like Ambrose.

“The party members here aren’t going to be satisfied with anything less than somebody who is as strong as she was,” he said.

Peterson said one of his biggest priorities if elected as the MP for Sturgeon River – Parkland would be to make the riding the “economic engine of Canada.”

“This riding is the epitome of the best of what Canada is. We’re urban, we’re suburban, and we’re rural, so as the MP for the riding, I would be pushing hard for policies that, number one, lower taxes for everybody here in Sturgeon River – Parkland,” he said.

One of Peterson’s key platform planks in his Conservative leadership campaign was a promise to lower corporate income taxes to 0 per cent. He said that if elected he would push to be an influential voice within the Conservative party on matters of policy, in part to advocate for his tax policies.

“Canada right now is uncompetitive on a corporate income tax level, and I will be, as the MP in the riding, a strong voice inside the Conservative caucus, keeping in mind that we have a convention next August in Halifax, and the policy platform that’s decided then will be the one that we take into the 2019 election,” he said. “I want our voice and our riding to be there driving down taxes, zero corporate income tax and a 15 per cent flat tax across the board for every individual in Canada. We’re going to see Sturgeon River – Parkland to be a strong voice for driving down taxes, creating jobs, creating a strong economy.”

Another way to strengthen the local economy is to ensure the construction of new oil and gas pipelines to the coast of British Columbia, according to Peterson.

“I’m going to be the strongest proponent for pipelines supporting our economy, getting our oil to foreign markets,” he said.

Peterson said another priority of his is to keep Sturgeon River – Parkland safe, citing the fentanyl crisis and current handgun regulations as pressing safety issues for the area.

He said he would like to see a “bounty system” for turning in fentanyl dealers.

“Turn in somebody who is a dealer in fentanyl, turn in somebody who is distributing fentanyl, have a high bounty on that and share the rewards with everybody who helps turn them in,” Peterson said. “Young kids have to understand that recreational drugs right now are dangerous, and as a father of four children I can tell you that I will be a vocal proponent of whatever it takes with the membership here to raise that up. This opioid crisis is one of the biggest things that is sweeping across Canada right now, and we’ve got to be on top of it.”

Peterson said he would relax handgun restrictions.

“We need to have a farmer who’s out farming near Onoway or Morinville, and he’s out in the fields, he needs to be able to carry a handgun if he comes across a grizzly bear. A recreational hunter needs to be able to carry a handgun, a concealed handgun, and they can’t,” he said.

No date has been set for the by-election, but according to Elections Canada rules a date for the by-election must be announced by Dec. 31.


Article originally appeared in the Spruce Grove Examiner

Beer, whiskey event draws crowd in Stony Plain

Dave Gardner (top right), representative of Yukon Brewing, delivers a beer sample during a tasting event on Aug. 3 – Photo by Jake Wray Reporter/Examiner

Aug. 10, 2017

By Jake Wray

Spirits were high at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain on the evening of Aug. 3.

People travelled from as far as St. Albert and Edmonton to attend a beer and whiskey tasting event hosted by the Yukon Brewing craft brewery.

Dave Gardner, a salesperson for Yukon Brewing, lead the event.

“I tried to do a little bit of beer education. How’s beer made? Craft beer vs. multinational beers. What hops do, what malt does, yeast and all that kind of stuff. The real basic stuff. And we tried some different styles of beer, and we tried a couple of the single malt whiskeys,” he said in an interview.

Gardner said the brewery started making whiskey because there are a number of similarities between beer-making and whiskey-making processes.

“I explained to (those who attended the event) how making whiskey and making beer, basically, for simplistic terms starts off to be basically the same thing,” he said. “We use brewing malts in our whiskey, so basically what we do is we make a 9 per cent beer, the only thing we don’t do is we don’t put any hops in it, and then it goes through the still … You just skip a couple processes and the go straight into distillation. It’s really pretty simple when you look at it. That’s why we did it, because all we had to do was buy a still. We had all the other equipment in place, and all the raw materials.”

Gardner said their first whiskey was only released last year because Yukon Brewing had the financial flexibility to age their whiskey longer than other distillers.

“We installed the still in 2009, and, by law, you have to let whiskey sit for three years in wood. We waited for seven years before we brought anything out. Most distilleries can’t do that because they’re under the gun to make money, and they’ll sell their whiskey at three years old,” he said. “Our whiskey, we believed, wasn’t ready to be sold at three years old. But because we’ve got a brewery making money, it was easy to sit on the whiskey for seven years.”

Lisa Gilchrist, who attended the event with her husband, said she learned a lot there.

“We’ve done some wine tastings but we’ve never done a beer tasting or a whiskey tasting or anything like that, so all the stuff that Dave (Gardner) was talking about was new information for us,” she said. “The different styles of beer, the way that they can add the hops in and get the different beer flavours, some of the size of production of the microbreweries compared to the big breweries, it was kind of interesting.


Article originally appeared in the Spruce Grove Examiner

Growing conditions strong this year

An average amount of rainfall has created ideal conditions for crops this year. – Photo by Metro Creative Graphics

Aug. 3, 2017

By Jake Wray

It’s been a good season so far for crops in the tri-area, following problematic growing seasons in the previous two years.

In 2015, Parkland County declared a state of agricultural emergency due to insufficient rainfall. In 2016, the country declared a state of agricultural emergency because there was too much rainfall. But this year, rainfall levels have been average and no state of emergency has been declared.

Laura Duncan, rural extension co-ordinator for Parkland County agricultural services, said the average amount of rainfall this year means crop growth has been steady.

“How it’s affecting crops is we’re looking to have a pretty normal year crop-wise, but that is also dependent on what happens in August and September,” she said. “If we get a lot of rainfall in the next couple months, it will affect the crops’ ability to dry up and be ready for harvest, and it also could affect the ability of the farms to get into the fields, so the soils could be too wet or that kind of thing.”

Duncan said other factors that can threaten crops, such as insects, are also not having a big impact this year. She said the grasshopper forecast for 2017 shows only “very light risk” for Parkland County.

Tyler Buba, who works in the grain operations at Lewis Farms in Spruce Grove, said the farm’s crops of barley, wheat, canola and potatoes have been doing well this year.

“The first half of the growing season was phenomenal,” he said. “Rain is everything when it comes to farming, for growing crops.”

Buba recalled the dry season in 2015 and said the start of that year was rough, but things did eventually recover.

“That was pretty early in the season. A lot of seed didn’t germinate because there was not enough moisture in the ground, so then things looked really patchy. Some crops came up and some didn’t because it was so dry. We ended up actually getting decent rain for the rest of the year and everything ended up good there,” he said. “It definitely looked grim and then turned out to be an okay year. Things can change pretty quick.”

Buba said a bad growing season can have a tremendous negative effect on a farming operation.

“If production is down you’ve got less crop to sell so it’s kind of a trickle-down effect on the whole farm. If you’ve got a weak year, some guys might not have enough feed for their cattle. It’s a million different negative effects that it can have,” he said.

“Everyone is at the mercy of the weather.”


Article originally appeared in the Spruce Grove Examiner

Enoch Cree Nation elects chief, council

chief morin
Chief Billy Morin will serve for a second term. – Photo submitted

Aug. 3, 2017

By Jake Wray

Leadership of Enoch Cree Nation remains mostly unchanged after a chief and council general election on July 25.

Chief Billy Morin and eight out of nine councillors retained their positions once the ballots were counted, providing them with another two-year term.

Morin said he is eager for the opportunity to continue building partnerships he fostered in his first term as chief from 2015 to 2017.

“We’ve created a lot of external relationships with the municipalities, obviously with the City of Edmonton, Parkland County, a little bit with Spruce Grove. With the federal government and the provincial government, our relationships are solid again,” he said.

Morin said building relationships has brought significant benefits to his community.

“In particular where (those relationships) helped us a lot is infrastructure, so we have an influx of about $60-million in infrastructure projects that were started last term. We want to see those through and create even more economic development,” he said. “The two major ones in particular are a $12-million waterline from the City of Edmonton to our core village area, and that’s pretty cool because it has business implications and beyond into Parkland County going south on Highway 60, so maybe we’ll kickstart those talks this term. Another major one is a new K-12 school, $20-million, and that’s in partnership with the federal government of course, and that’s slated to begin construction later this fall.”

Morin, who is 30 years old, said he will face challenges in his next term because he is a young chief trying to lead a community through difficult reconciliation discussions.

“Even within our own community, we have to reconcile between a few different generations, and I have to be better at bringing the community together and bringing them along when I make decisions and better informing them,” he said.

Morin said that his community has, for a time, been able to avoid working through some difficult internal issues because they were enjoying the spoils of their successful business at the River Cree Resort & Casino.

“We weren’t doing things sustainably for a long time, and those tough conversations come with looking at some of the deeper foundations on why we don’t necessarily get along the best when we can’t take steps forward as a community in terms of governance and our own legislation and self determination,” he said. “We’re getting there slowly. But those (tough conversations) have to happen as we reconcile within different families and different community members, and really come together as a community as opposed to just looking at the financial success of the casino.”

For the next two weeks, Chief Morin and the rest of the council will be on holiday. They will start their upcoming term and discussions when they return.


Article originally appeared in the Spruce Grove Examiner

Parkland County mayor seeks third mandate

Aug. 3, 2017

classic shaigec
Rod Shaigec is running for the mayor’s seat again this fall. – File photo

By Jake Wray

Rod Shaigec, current mayor of Parkland County, is seeking re-election in the upcoming election this fall.

He was first elected as mayor in 2010 and has held the position for two consecutive terms. Now he is making a bid for a third term, amid an uncertain economic climate and a lawsuit with the Spruce Grove Gun Club.

Shaigec said one of the biggest challenges he will have to lead the County through, if re-elected, is navigating the fallout of decreased oil and gas prices.

“The challenge that we’ve seen across the province here with the downturn in the oil and gas commodity prices (has) had a significant impact on not just people who are employed in oil and gas, or those companies in that sector, but it has a ripple-down effect. So we have to find new opportunities and we have to start thinking more regionally and globally,” he said. “One of the key priorities for myself is to work with the other 13 members of the Capital Region Board. We now have a mandate to move forward with an economic development entity, so we are starting some positive movement on that front, and I think we’ve got tremendous opportunity to make an impact to get the Edmonton region out there as a place to invest, as a place to locate businesses in. And Parkland County I think has a lot to offer to that as well.”

Shaigec said he believes he and council have enacted solid policies for attracting businesses.

“We’ve implemented some new programs in the last couple years. We’ve got a new Land Use Bylaw allowing cottage industries. So these are smaller home-based businesses. We provide opportunities for individuals to start their own businesses on their own property. Could be in their homes, or a shop,” he said. “We also introduced a major business attraction program. That was started about eight or nine months ago, and that has already paid huge dividends. It certainly, I think, was paramount in us attracting both Pinnacle Renewable Energy to Entwistle and Champion Petfoods into Acheson.”

Shaigec said rapid population growth will present another hurdle for the next mayor of Parkland County.

“One other challenge Parkland County and all of the Edmonton Metropolitan area will face in the coming years is the significant growth that is being projected — it’s estimated that by 2042 the region’s population will double. This will require a strategic, holistic approach that gives consideration to economic, social and environmental outcomes. For me, I believe one of the more important issues will be the protection of prime agricultural lands,” he said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to grow and diversify our agricultural sector. With an ever-growing global population and an expanding middle class we need to give considerable thought to both where and how we grow.”

Gun club decision not influenced by election

Shaigec said he voted in favour of amending the County’s Land Use Bylaw to disallow outdoor shooting ranges in land zoned country residential, a move met with resistance by the Spruce Grove Gun Club (SGGC) because he felt it was the right thing to do, and he doesn’t see it as an election issue.

“Municipal councils, one of their first and foremost responsibilities is land use planning, and (the gun club issue) is a matter that has been before our Subdivision Authority Board for a number of years now, and I felt that it was time to bring this forward to all of council,” he said. “I don’t base my decisions or my actions on being re-elected or on the election cycle. If I feel there’s an important issue, I’ll address it. It doesn’t matter if it’s right before an election or right after an election or mid-term.”

Shaigec said he has been asked whether it was a good idea to move forward with the gun club issue in an election year.

“I’ve been questioned whether I thought that was a prudent move, and I said it’s the responsible thing to do. So our council will have an opportunity to listen to the gun club during the public hearing (on Sept. 12) and the residents, and we’ll have an opportunity to make a decision, and that will give certainty, one way or the other, to both the gun club and the residents,” he said.

The SGGC has filed a defamation lawsuit against Shaigec, alleging he made defamatory statements about the club in an email. Shaigec said he did not defame the club.

“I’m very confident that, at the end of the day, I’ll be vindicated and look forward to the opportunity to present in court,” he said.


Article originally appeared in the Spruce Grove Examiner

Couple weds at grain elevator museum

Samantha Pereira and Derek Moore are the first couple to ever get married at the Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum. They married on July 22, 2017. – Photo by Jake Wray Reporter/Examiner

July 27, 2017

By Jake Wray

Samantha Pereira and Derek Moore made history when they tied the knot at the Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum on July 22.

They were the first couple to ever marry at the grain elevator since it was built in 1958. On a quiet sunny afternoon, they stood outside the doors beneath the towering green building and said their vows with friends and family beaming from a gallery of folding chairs placed on the lawn.

“Best day of my life,” Moore said in an interview.

Pereira said the grain elevator fit the theme she wanted for the wedding.

“I wanted (the wedding to be) kind of bohemian, kind of chic. I wanted rustic, elegant, and earthy in a way,” she said. “Spruce Grove has a lot of history (at the grain elevator.) It’s kind of unique.”

Moore said the couple originally approached the Spruce Grove & District Agricultural Society, which manages the grain elevator, about having their wedding photos taken there, but once they took a tour they decided they wanted to have the ceremony there as well.

“Once we got an opportunity to tour the venue, there was no other choice. We jumped right at this,” he said. “Plus (Spruce Grove & District Agricultural Society) were so accommodating and so polite. It was fantastic.”

The newlyweds left for a weeklong honeymoon in Las Vegas the day after their wedding.

“We’ll play it by ear, maybe see a few shows. Pitbull is there at the same time, so we’re going to see him. Especially in Vegas, how could you not?” Moore said.

Shauna Willoughby, facility manager and events co-ordinator for the Spruce Grove & District Agricultural Society, said she is confident nobody else has gotten married at the grain elevator.

“Not that anybody has ever recorded. I even asked at the Spruce Grove Archives and they didn’t know of any weddings held at the Spruce Grove grain elevator before,” she said.

Willougby said the train tracks that run by the grain elevator posed the biggest challenge to hosting a wedding there, and that a noisy train passed by just before the ceremony began.

“Like I told (the couple,) I had booked the train to come at 4:28 p.m. and it actually came at 4:30 p.m. and so when it comes two minutes late, it’s always a setback,” Willoughby said.

“Actually it was a big joke because I didn’t book the train to come at 4:28. They come randomly whenever they want. It was pretty amazing that it came exactly at that time, and not during their ceremony.”


Article originally appeared in the Spruce Grove Examiner