In early March, we learned that a Slave Lake team had won the Smoky River Junior Basketball League for the first time in its 22 years of existence. The team was the St. Francis Falcons boys’ team. They not only defeated Prairie River of High Prairie for the league title, they followed it up with a 1J zone championship on their home court.
Local squad Unique Boring won the 2019 Oilmen’s Bonspiel. The orange-clad foursome skipped by Ryan Norman beat Scott Tradewell’s rink 9 – 1 in the ‘A’ final. Other team members were Carl McRee, Wayne Dastou and Kevin Albrecht.
Winning the Slave Lake & District Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious ‘Business of the Year’ award was Cast & Court, a hairstyling salon owned by Jeff Solis and Josh Friesen. It was one of several awards handed out at the Chamber’s annual gala on March 9. Winners in other categories were Crossfit Slave Lake, Heavy Equipment Repair, Joel Blanchette, Grace & Rhett, Larry Schimpf Law Office, Slave Lake Ice Patrol, Sawridge Travel Centre Café, Rytrue Ltd., Slave Lake Chrysler and Bruce Allarie of Allarie Group of Companies.
The winning continued, with the Slave Lake female Bantam/Midget Thunder winning their league championship series against Dawson Creek on March 9. Kennedy Hartman scored a hat trick in the win.
The impressive wins for local sports teams kept coming. On the last weekend of the month, two more champions were crowned: The Novice 1 Thunder won their league and the Pee Wee 1 Thunder became provincial champions.
The Novice Thunder beat Barrhead to win the league championship. On home ice, the Pee Wees survived a semi-final scare against a Calgary team and went on to beat LaCrete in the gold medal game by a 4 – 2 score. It capped a hugely successful season for the Dwain Hill-coached team.
The field for April’s provincial election shaped up in March into a four-horse race. Incumbent Danielle Larivee of the New Democratic Party would be challenged by Suzette Powder of the Alberta Independence Party, Vincent Rain of the Alberta Party and Pat Rehn of the United Conservative Party.
After much hand-wringing and debate, Slave Lake town council voted in early April to remove the benches from Citizen’s Park in downtown Slave Lake. Since its establishment back in the 1990s it had been a hangout for homeless people or vagrants, drawing many complaints. Not all of council voted in favour, but they did agree the place was an eyesore and something needed to be done to discourage the use it was getting.
Mary Giroux of Slave Lake made the front page of The Leader in April. All she had to do to accomplish that was live to be 101 years old! Mrs. Giroux was pictured with a big birthday cake, surrounded by family members at Points West Living. The cake was donated by MLA Danielle Larivee.
The M.D. of Lesser Slave River lost several million dollars’ worth of assessable property in 2018. As a result, it needed to raise about $218,000 more in taxes than the previous year. It figured about a two per cent tax increase would raise that much.
From the ‘Here’s something you don’t see every day’ department came the story of a young moose that got stuck in a mudhole caused by construction of the regional waterline west of Slave Lake. It took six guys, using straps, to unstick the moose, which then tottered off into the bush.
A ‘blue wave’ swept UCP candidate Pat Rehn into office as the new Lesser Slave Lake MLA. Voters elected Rehn by a wide margin over his three opponents. In Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, Glenn Van Dijken of the UCP was returned to office. They joined a majority of successful UCP candidates from around the province in forming a new government under Premier Jason Kenney.
Slave Lake should be getting a 20-unit ‘affordable’ apartment complex, to replace an equal number of subsidized housing units in the northwest part of town. Grant money from both provincial and federal sources had been secured, assuming the newly-elected provincial government sticks with the commitment made by its predecessor.