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RD Polytech Cross Country Running teams anxious to defend ACAC Gold and Silver


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Red Deer Polytechnic Cross Country Running team is grateful for the opportunity to compete in 2021/2022

As expected, the Red Deer Polytechnic Cross Country Running team’s roster has changed since its last formal competition in November 2019 at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championships, but the 2021/2022 squad will be just as enthusiastic and competitive.

“I am excited for this season,” says Kari Elliott, Red Deer Polytechnic Cross Country Running Head Coach. “Over the summer months, we began preparations and trained as a group for a couple of days a week and it was really nice to get together.”

As a new campaign approaches, practices and training have recently accelerated.

“On August 29, we kicked off our annual training camp. We trained two days in Red Deer and then brought 14 student-athletes to Banff for our annual Sulphur Mountain Challenge, where the athletes raced 5 kilometres to the top of the mountain,” says Elliott. “This is always a tough challenge and it is fun to see who is in shape to climb 640 metres in elevation. Veteran Dan Szucs was the fastest male to the top of the mountain and Jenica Swartz, who is a first-year student-athlete, led the women. At the end of July, Dan and Jenica also paced their respective teams over a five-kilometre time trial.”

Szucs finished July’s time trial in 16:14 and Swartz completed the course in 18:28.

Leading the Kings to Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) gold in 2019, Lacombe’s Szucs will once again be an important member of the Kings. Individually, the Bachelor of Business Administration General Management student finished fourth over 8 km (27:48) at the conference championships in Calgary, and this season he is joined by one teammate from that dominant squad, and another very familiar face.

“We are fortunate to have Dan Szucs and Devin Saunders returning, along with Axsivier Lawrence, who was a member of our 2019/2020 Indoor Track team,” says Elliott, who has been the Cross Country Running Head Coach at the Polytechnic since 2016/2017. “These guys are all strong competitors, and they will be significant contributors to our team score.”

The Kings followed their ACAC gold with an impressive showing at the CCAA 2019 National Championships, winning bronze in Grande Prairie in snowy conditions. Over 8 km, Red Deer’s Saunders (29:33) was the Kings’ leader up north, placing 10th in the nation and earning a spot on the CCAA Cross Country Running Men’s All-Canadian team.

Lawrence, a Bachelor of Education Elementary student, brings competitiveness and energy to the team. His athletic versatility was on display throughout the summer when he played for the Central Alberta Buccaneers and won the Alberta Football League Championship.

For Elliott, several new Kings will create friendly intersquad competition and round out a strong men’s group.

“We have also added some amazing talent to the Kings. Notre Dame grad, Ethan Duret, is looking fast and is right in the mix with our top four,” says Elliott. “Also, Jayden Wildcat and Kage Yellowfly, who finished second and third respectively at the Alberta Indigenous Games, are new recruits for us this season. These young men have already shown their speed and will add depth to our top four as well.”

In addition, Hunting Hills graduate O’Tave Edmondson and competitive cyclist Wyatt Grainger will be valuable members of the Kings this year.

Lauren Pasiuk returns to the RD Polytech Running Team

The Queens have one student-athlete returning from the ACAC silver medal winning group in 2019 and Elliott has surrounded her with teammates who have a lot of potential.

“Lauren Pasiuk is our team captain and brings much needed experience to this young team. Even though the Queens collectively lack ACAC experience, we have recruited very well,” says Elliott, who is a two- time ACAC Cross Country Running Coach of the Year. “Newcomer Jenica Swartz has the potential to challenge for a medal at the ACAC Championships on October 30.”

Elliott sees common attributes in all members of the Queens, who narrowly missed a national bronze medal in 2019.

“Strathmore’s Justine Larson has had a strong start to training as well, says Elliott. “We have added Myah Cota, Kammy Park, and Halle Reid, and it is clear to me that all of our ladies are tough and want to compete.”

For its first formal conference competition of the ACAC 2021/2022 season, the Red Deer Polytechnic Cross Country Running team will use Running Room Grand Prix #1 as an opportunity to grow.

“After over two years, we are looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I want the student- athletes to enjoy the experience,” says Elliott. “We want to learn about the level of our competition, to learn how to race again, and to test our fitness.”

As the team prepares for its first grand prix, Elliott is concentrating on the controllable variables.

“Our team needs to focus on what we can control, which is training well and staying healthy,” she says. “We have been talking a bit about goals already, but for now, it is all about getting to work.”

After the cancellation of the ACAC 2020/2021 season and the difficulties that COVID-19 has brought to everyone, including student-athletes and coaches, Elliott is encouraging the team to focus on positivity.

Swartz’s cross country running ability will help fill the void left by standouts Shayla Sklaruk and Jill Stewart, who transferred to complete their academic programs. Swartz is also a dual sport athlete, having committed to the Polytechnic’s Queens Soccer team.

“It has been hard for these student-athletes during the pandemic, but my goal is to focus on the good that we can experience and create together,” says Elliott. “One of the themes for our season is gratitude and I am encouraging one student-athlete each training session to share something they are grateful for that day.”

This optimistic outlook, dedication, and intense training will only help the Red Deer Polytechnic Cross Country Running team excel as it opens the ACAC 2021/2022 season at Running Room Grand Prix #1 North on Saturday, September 18.

Concordia University of Edmonton will host the event at 2 pm.

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Minister LaGrange Protected Charter And Home Schools Yet Is Being Targeted For Her Nomination

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Article submitted by Wyatt Claypool of the National Telegraph

The performance of a lot of Alberta UCP Cabinet Ministers has left a lot to be desired over the past couple of years, but the one Minister that absolutely does not describe would be Red Deer-North MLA Adriana LaGrange.

LaGrange has been genuinely doing amazing work as Education Minister, helping to reform the public education system, and promoting the growth of the charter and homeschooling systems with more support typically monopolized by the public system.

She has also helped focus classrooms back onto straightforward teaching of mathematics and English in grades K-6, as well as started cutting politics out of the social studies curriculum, which she frequently took note of after being appointed Education Minister in April of 2019.


After The National Telegraph contacted both Parents For Choice In Education and the Alberta Parents Union both pro-school choice and education reform groups had almost nothing but good things to say about Minster LaGrange.

Frankly, an even bigger endorsement of Minister LaGrange’s work is just how much the NDP and left-wing Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) hate her.

Regarding the latter, despite how hostile the ATA has been towards the UCP government and the reforms made to the education system, Minister LaGrange was able to wrangle the ATA into signing a new collective agreement with the province while she simultaneously took away the ATA’s arbitrary power to discipline teachers and gave the responsibility back to the province.

This all raises the question of why someone would want to challenge LaGrange for her nomination.

Well, it seems that certain political organizations new to the scene simply want their people in the legislature.

That organization is Take Back Alberta, which originally campaigned to remove Premier Jason Kenney in the leadership review vote has now moved on to trying to take out anyone associated with Kenney’s government, or at least anyone who hasn’t endorsed their preferred UCP leadership candidate.

Ironically many of the people backing Take Back Alberta are the same political insiders that either helped to install Kenney as UCP leader back in 2017, as well as Erin O’Toole in 2020, and who have contributed to the feeling of alienation within grassroots in conservative politics in Canada.

Take Back Alberta is backing a man named Andrew Clews whose claim to fame is founding an Alberta anti-mandate group called Hold The Line (with only 1,000 followers), and predictably his pitch to UCP members in Red Deer North is that LaGrange is not pro-freedom enough.

In an interview with True North, Clews said:

Even to date, I have not heard (LaGrange) voice any type of support for the rights and freedoms that we once had as Albertans, I’m not impressed with how our government has handled the pandemic, how they have so casually given rights and taken rights away from Albertans…we need to elect leaders to go to the Alberta legislature and stand for freedom.

While most people would agree the UCP government did a poor job standing up for Albertan’s civil liberties over the past two years, it would also be wrongheaded to think Minister LaGrange had much to do with it.

Yes, LaGrange did not stand against Kenney in the strong and principled manner that MLA Drew Barnes did, and while what Barnes did was highly commendable and important, LaGrange was not exactly a big supporter of lockdowns and mandates. She mostly just stuck to her ministerial work while Kenney and other members of his cabinet hard-charged on mandates.

Clews himself even tactically admits that LaGrange never publicly supported the lockdowns and mandates by focusing his criticism on the fact she was not publicly against them, not that she was publicly in favour of them.

On the issue of education, Clews basically endorses the job Adriana LaGrange has been doing as Education Minister.

Clews stated that:

We need to reform the funding for our school system so that the funding goes to the child and follows the child as opposed to going automatically into the public school or Catholic school system…

Frankly, unless Andrew Clews believes that LaGrange should be magically reforming the education system overnight, she is doing exactly what he said he wants to be done, but seeing as she is not the premier, she has had to move slower than she would want to.

Part of LaGrange’s support for charter schools has been making more funds available to them in order to reflect the increase in the proportion of students attending charter schools.

We need to actually evaluate our elected officials on their overall performance and not nitpick on one specific aspect of their record in order to justify throwing them out of office.

I, (the writer of this article), was strongly against lockdowns and mandates, and the reporting I did here at The National Telegraph contributed significantly to protecting unvaccinated workers, as well as getting Dr. Verna Yiu removed from her position as the CEO of AHS for incompetence in the management of ICU beds.

Former AHS CEO Dr. Verna Yiu.

With that in mind, I don’t take much issue with anything LaGrange did or did not say over the last two years. She would be close to the bottom of the list of people I’d hold responsible for the lockdown regime, and on issues regarding education, I’d say her record, for the most part, is unblemished.

Very few politicians could ever be reelected if Adriana LaGrange was someone deemed unworthy of continuing her work in government, but the people behind organizations like Take Back Alberta do not seem to care about any limiting principles. Their goals seem to be more based on political ambition than anything truly connected to the conservative grassroots.

If I was a UCP member in Red Deer North I would be voting to renominate Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.


Details on the Red Deer North UCP nomination vote are listed below:

– August 18, 2022
– 11:00am-8:00pm
– The Pines Community Hall
– 141 Pamely Avenue

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City of Red Deer

Process for choosing a permanent site for shelter in front of City Council Monday

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red deer city hall

Potential shelter site list going to Council on Monday

Detailed information about potential sites for the future integrated shelter will be discussed by Council during a closed portion of their meeting on Monday, August 15. Thanks to the support of a commercial realtor, citizens and community partners, 96 potential sites were identified and assessed based on Council’s Site Evaluation Matrix approved on July 4. The following is a breakdown of those 96 sites:
  • 50 market sites recommended by commercial realtor
  • Five unlisted sites recommended by commercial realtor
  • 13 City or Provincially owned land
  • 22 publicly recommended sites from May to July
  • Six sites put forward during the public call for sites from July 20 to 27

From the high-level list of 96 sites identified, administration completed the initial site assessment using the tool that was shared with Council at their meeting on July 18, 2022. Sites that scored more than 70 per cent moved to the next phase of technical assessment. The 12 sites that were moved forward, were put through a more comprehensive technical review, including administrative analysis, scoring and site related details

On Monday, during a closed meeting, Council will receive detailed information about the top 12 sites, as well as the full list of 96 sites. The site locations and detailed information will not be shared publicly at this time to protect the economic interest of potential parties (including site owners) involved.  On Monday, Council will also determine their next steps in the process of selecting a site to recommend to the province, which will include their own site assessment based on their Site Evaluation Matrix.

The current target date for Council to select a site to recommend to the province is August 29, however, if additional technical information is required on the current 12 sites, or additional sites identified by Council, that target date may be pushed out by a minimum of two weeks.

For more information on the future shelter, visit

To view the public Council report, please visit the agenda packet page 102-111 for shelter report.

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