Looking back at July - good, bad and otherwise

August 2, 2017 - 10:03am

Red Deer – what a month we had, eh?

Canada 150 drew out huge numbers of people, we experienced one severe weather event after another and ultimately, the world kept on turning. But what made us pause and reflect?

Here are my thoughts and observations on our city and community for the month of July:

1) One Saturday this month, I was driving my family southbound on Taylor Drive in the north end where the limit is 60 km/h. We were passed by a swerving motorcyclist going at least 90. Excessive speeding, especially on a motorcycle in the city, is complete buffoonery. Thank you for putting my family in unnecessary danger.

2) Don’t read the comments – I know. But I wasn’t happy to see in some local Facebook comments that drug addicts were being referred to as degenerates and as folk who should be sent to an island, “like they did with the lepers.” To those commenters, hopefully someone you love never becomes an addict.

3) I would say this any time, election or not. City Councillor Ken Johnston deserves huge praise for his yeoman’s work in raising the issue of a new hospital for Red Deer. The fact the man lost his life partner because of the problem makes his work that more impressive.

4) The government actually has announced funding for some very worthwhile things, including helping with Elder Abuse, new state of the art lifts for ambulances and restorative justice efforts.

5) High-five to the City of Red Deer Parks department, Trevor Poth and Ken Lehman, specifically, for employing goats to clear out noxious weeds in the Piper Creek Gardens area. It’s not every day a municipality gets that innovative.

6) Four utility boxes downtown have been wrapped with works of art by local students from Central Middle and Notre Dame. The boxes look great and add more vibrancy downtown where before, they were just banal street corners. Credit goes to the City, Downtown Business Association, business owners, CARE and Red Deer Public Schools.

7) It was heartwarming to read stories of Albertans, and more specifically Fort McMurray residents giving back to those displaced by wildfires in BC in the name of paying it forward.

8) Watching the fires has undoubtedly been hard for a great deal of us. For me, BC is home and in fact, I moved to Red Deer from 100 Mile House. Thank you to all the emergency responders for doing what you do.

9) Pokémon Go is alive and well. I was recently part of a group of 35 people who took down a massive raid in City Hall Park. That’s the power of community right there.

10) Just kidding (sort of) – The real power of community was shown in July by Fargey’s Decorating. I don’t know the people who own the store, but props to them for donating all the paint and supplies needed to bring rainbow crosswalks back to downtown Red Deer for Pride Week in August.

11) Fort Normandeau, one of the few notable City parks I had yet to visit, is a hidden gem tucked away on the west side of the QEII. Check it out.

12) I’m as huge a sports nut as they come, but have never really been a fan of race car driving – until now. Parker Thompson is going places and the fact he’s got Drive to Stay Alive going on the side only makes the kid more remarkable.

13) Two thumbs up to the Red Deer Kinsmen who announced they are donating $30,000 to KidSport Red Deer over the next three years, which will help keep young Red Deerians in minor sports.

14) Being in the Westerner Days parade was something I’ll never forget. Playing street hockey was fun, but seeing all the smiling faces was even better. Also, the fair food is DELIGHTFUL. Expensive too (just like at any fair), but it is what it is. Pro-tip: Don’t stick an entire deep-fried Oreo in your mouth.

15) ‘Aroo’ to everyone who completed the Red Deer Spartan Race. A friend and I had been registered for it since January, but had to bow out due to respiratory problems from the smoke that week. Here’s to next year.

16) Did you know if you can’t find a book you want in the Red Deer Public Library system, they can bring a copy in from anywhere in the province? Also, don’t forget to pick up your free RDPL card any time before December 31 (with proof of local address). AS WELL – this year’s RD Reads winning title is very good.

17) If you’ve never attended the monthly Social Media Breakfast Red Deer, put it on your to-do list. The free tickets do get snapped up quickly, but if you are a community minded person (and have Twitter and like free breakfast), this is the event for you.

18) We’re just 11 months away from legalized marijuana – I can’t be the only one who is okay with that, but really isn’t looking forward to the increased odour.

19) I finally had the chance to meet Brian Sutter, having done past phone interviews. From the Sutter Fund golf tournament, he said, “It’s really special,” of the event’s support. “You talk about the times in our economy – it’s absolutely incredible. It’s for such a needed cause, helping families and kids. The support is unrelenting.”

20) I also can’t stick a nose up at meeting HHOF broadcaster Peter Maher, also at the Sutter Fund tournament. Maher told me, “The money that is raised from this event, it’s all going to go to local needy people and groups. The Sutters are a class people, salt of the earth type people.”

21) Red Deer’s Canada 150 legacy project officially reopened on July 21. Sadly, wind and rain washed the event out after an hour. During the City-hosted event, 500 rubber ducks were let into the waterway. Naturally, people (including myself) asked why 500 instead of 150, because you know… Canada 150. Tara Shand with City Communications says, "The reason there were 500 ducks versus 150 ducks was essentially that they were a takeaway for some of the kids playing in Discovery Canyon that day. There were more ordered for that reason alone."

22) People need to stop complaining about speed on green. Yes, it’s about both revenue AND safety. Here’s how to avoid getting a ticket:  DON’T SPEED.

23) Parties aside, Alberta politics are never ever dull. You’ve got to love democracy.

24) Head nod to city council for not cancelling two meetings scheduled to take place during the upcoming election’s nomination period. While scrapping the meetings would not have meant they’d be free from performing other duties, it was still an admirable decision.

25) We’re seven months into 2017 and slowly inching towards another frigid winter (and that fall election). Have you accomplished the goals you set out at the onset of the year? It’s not too late to set goals and get going on them. Have you volunteered? Have you been a good neighbour? Have you been a good steward of the environment? Have you sought the help you need? Keep those things in mind as 2017 winds down.

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