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On The Streets of Red Deer…


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Comic book panels

We welcome stories from our readers.  Here’s a thought-provoking submission from local writer Tim Lasiuta

On The Streets of Red Deer…

By Tim Lasiuta

The streets of Red Deer are teeming with life…

There are the sounds of children running with their parents to school and activities.  Parents and grandparents’ homes echo with the joy that can only come with the sounds of a newborns first cry, first roll over, first steps and first words.

Gathering places resound with the sometime deafening volumes of cheers for athletic contests, the sounds of applause as the musicians among us gift us their talent, there are sounds of silence as we mourn the lost among us at funerals and remembrances of life.  Songs of praise fill local places of worship as well as words of truth.

Our administrative houses can be filled with discussions on greater good, or lesser evils.

However, the streets of our city, or any city, can often be places of deadly silence!  Cries for help echo through the streets and can be read in the eyes and heard in the voices of our lost youth and homeless.

With the legalization of marijuana products such as vape, pot sales and edibles and the establishment of ‘safe injection clinics’ for harder drugs, our society has acknowledged the problem that has existed for decades.  Yet in that admission of a problem, we often deal with the symptom of a greater issue.

Close to 50 years ago, comic book writer Denny O’Neil and artists Neal Adams and Dick Giordano (above) dealt with the issue of drug addiction as did Stan Lee and Gil Kane (below).  No other panel of comic book art expresses the sorrow of social issues better than the cover of issue 86…and a corresponding panel from another classic issue.

The truth is that while our streets and homes often do reflect the sounds of joy, they often do not and with that the dark side of our society’s obsession with pleasure and selfishness hides a moral issue that is at the core of addiction that leads to destruction at so many levels.

There is no moral high ground in our pursuit of pleasure.  We are all guilty of selfish behaviours; some call it sin and a relationship with God is the answer, while others accept our weakness as part of who we are and dance on the edge of the sharp sword hoping we do not fall across the blade that can separate bone from marrow.  Some escape from their self imposed hell yet may never experience true freedom without seeing death first hand.

The result of addictions are many.  If we are addicted to food, we gain weight.  If we are addicted to alcohol, we live unhealthy lives with major health complications and damaged personal lives.  If we are addicted to smoking, we may often experience respiratory issues.   Addiction to pornography will destroy personal relationships relentlessly. Drug addiction at any level, as well documented leads to fractured lives that may include homelessness, criminal activities, broken family relationships and sometimes ‘accidental’ death.

The cost to society is incalculable.

What is the value of a human being?  What is the value of a positive future in present day dollars?  What is the price of joy and fulfillment?  What is the cost of the criminal activities perpetrated by addicts in pursuit of their fix to their victims in terms of insurance increases and peace of mind?

Why do we allow ‘entertainment’ into our lives that glorifies the very behaviours we know to be destructive to healthy lives?  Why do we accept behaviours in our own lives, often justifying it with utterances that decry responsibility for our poor choices?

There are so many variables that a simple solution is never available, save one…

Good choices..

They are never easy, but the more you make good decisions consistently, the easier the positive path becomes.

If you make a bad choice, next time, make a good one…

Every time we make a decision to go left, or to go right, there are consequences.  If we decide to take that first drink, cigarette, or toke or hit of acid, engage in sex or sex related activities in a dangerous environment, crystal meth or fentanyl we set ourselves on a path that may lead to where we don’t want to go.  Often, all it takes is ONE bad decision to end our lives or to start a downward spiral that drags our families down with us.

No good decision is ever regretted while poor decisions compound very quickly.  Every decision we make impacts everyone around us; our present and future families, those we work with, those we interact with as we drive to and from our activities, team-mates.  There is no such thing as a decision that affects no-one else.

We are all human and born with a selfish heart.

As a society, we cannot expect roses from a Caragana bush so we should not expect good results from allowing and legalizing substances that are proven to lead down a path marked with damaged and dying users.

However, once the garden path is made, we often cannot go back and re-do our past.  We must pursue personal choices and government policies that reward the better road that may or may not include those sewn with desperation in the past.  Making decisions based on economic factors for behaviours with human consequences is not a sound process.  You can only solve economic problems with economic solutions, spiritual problems require divine intervention and human problems demand human solutions no matter the cost.

Decide well, the future is waiting…Your choice which one.

Tim Lasiuta

Tim Lasiuta is a local writer with interests in history preservation, from environmental to pre-contact native archaeology, faith and telling stories that matter in Central Alberta.  His work has appeared in Canadian Cowboy Country, True West Magazine, Mad Magazine, Alberta Venture, in published anthologies and Comic Buyers Guide.

You can contact Tim at [email protected].

Here is another of Tim’s recent stories:

The Little Red

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Winners announced for Red Deer Hospital Lottery

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The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has announced the winners of the 2024 Red Deer Hospital Lottery Dream Home and Tiny Home prize packages, as well as the Mega Bucks 50.

The Mega Bucks 50 jackpot reached $607,200.00, which makes Carolyn Pelerine of Cochrane, Alberta the winner of $303,600.00.

In addition, the luxurious Tree Hugger Tiny Home Prize Package, complete with accessories by Urban Barn and valued at $163,798.00, is now owned by Mary Vincent of Red Deer.

The coveted Sorento Dream Home Prize Package, which includes furnishings and accessories by Urban Barn and boasts a total value of $1,072,624.00, has been awarded to Maxine Rumohr of Sylvan Lake.

The highly anticipated draw took place at 10:00 a.m. Thursday at the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation office, located within the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, with an announcement following live on Facebook, allowing participants and supporters to join in the excitement virtually.

“We are delighted to congratulate the winners of this year’s Red Deer Hospital Lottery,” said Manon Therriault, Chief Executive Officer of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. “The funds raised from this lottery will significantly contribute to enhancing patient care and services at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated and supported this important cause.”

Proceeds from the Red Deer Hospital Lottery and Mega Bucks 50 will contribute to acquiring critically needed, state-of-the-art equipment for several units at the Red Deer Hospital.

This year’s lottery will fund equipment such as a phototherapy system, which allows parents to hold and soothe their infant while undergoing phototherapy, a cardiology case cart to monitor cardiac rhythms during stress testing, and other equipment to help provide excellent care for patients in the emergency and operating rooms at the Red Deer Hospital.

The winners of a variety of electronics were also drawn today. A full list of winners will be available in the coming days on the official lottery website at Prize winners who have not already been notified will receive a letter in the mail with instructions on how to claim their prizes.

The keys to the Sorento Dream Home and the Tree Hugger Tiny Home will be presented to the winners at a special ceremony this summer.

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The Grand Opening is TODAY!

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A Day Filled With Hope – Years in the Making!
For years the CACAC has been walking hand-in-hand with many different partners, community members, donors, policy makers, and leaders in research and advocacy towards this moment.The Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence now stands in the heart of Central Alberta, the first Centre of its kind in North America, creating space for different strategic partners to operate alongside one another in the best interest of children, youths, and families who have experienced any form of abuse.

Now, during this momentous chapter in our history, we invite you to join us for the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. 

We’re excited to welcome you and your family to the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence today!

Today’s events are family friendly, and there’s something for everyone!

From Noon to 5:00PM the public is welcome to come and see everything the building has to offer at the SKCOE Open House! Staff from every organization from within the SKCOE will be there to answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn about why this Centre is so important for Central Alberta.

Beginning at 7:00PM, the public is also invited to the formal program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, which is the building immediately North West of us across the parking lot. The formal program will have many messages and presentations from dignitaries, and you can pick up our Champions of Courage pin, which was minted for the Grand Opening only! Following the program there is a ribbon cutting ceremony.

There is a lot to celebrate, so come out and say hi!

When: Thursday, May 16

Where: Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Main Campus of Red Deer Polytechnic, Red Deer, AB.

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Open House

7:00 PM – Formal Program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to follow.

How to get to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

Please note that there will also be parking available at the lot directly North of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Detailed RDP Parking Map

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