On Sunday, August 20, our first Urban Farm Festival was held at Westerner Park. The goal of the Festival, presented by Peavey Mart, was to educate and encourage people to bring aspects of farm living into their urban homes. This was achieved through a trade show style set-up featuring exhibitors, compromised of local producers selling homemade or home-grown products. Admission was free for anyone wanting to attend, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.
There were also free workshops for attendees to participate in, led by local people with experience in the subject matter. Workshops offered included: Urban Chickens, Hobby Bee Keeping, Canning, and Gardening Basics (sponsored by Peavey Mart) and Is Your Home Healthy? (sponsored by Health Canada). The Festival, which fell in line with Alberta Open Farm Days, also offered a petting zoo for children and adults to experience animals up close.
“Opening our doors and allowing people to experience aspects of the farm life that they can bring into their own homes was a way that Westerner Park could share their agriculture roots with the community,” says Christina Sturgeon, Agriculture Event Sales & Production Coordinator, Westerner Park. “We want people to know where their food is coming from and understand the benefits of growing your own or supporting local vendors by buying their natural, homemade and home-grown products.”
In order to better understand how growing one’s own garden can be easy and sustainable, Westerner Park employees, with the help of Steel Pony Farms, planted our own Urban Farm near the racetrack on Westerner Park property in May. These small gardens were grown inside cedar boxes called wicking beds, which collect rainwater and feed the plants from the bottom up as they require hydration. This limits the frequency that the beds need to be watered by hand, and could eliminate it altogether depending on the amount of rainfall the area receives. The planting of the Urban Farm was supported by Red Deer County.
Westerner Park also collected donations from TJ’s Market Garden to donate back to our community through the Mustard Seed and Red Deer Food Bank. A total of 230lbs of produce was donated.
Sunday evening, 60 people gathered in the Holiday Inn Chalet for the “Taste of Home” Long Table Dinner, prepared by Chef Emmanuel of the Boulevard Restaurant & Lounge. The meal consisted of mostly locally sourced organic ingredients, including donations from local producers Rock Ridge Dairy, James Ramsey, Flying Cross Ranch, and the Little Ice Cream & Soda Shoppe. A highlight of the evening was watching Chef demonstrate how to make his honey berry flambe topped with vanilla bean ice cream.
Hosted by Trevor Stoyko from CRUZ 100.7, the event was well received by those in attendance with many looking forward to next year’s event.
With the first Urban Farm Festival and Long Table Dinner being a success, our staff at Westerner Park are already planning how to make next year’s festivities bigger. “We want to grow the agricultural community within Red Deer and Red Deer County’s urban setting and have people be more aware of where they are getting their food and other products. That is our ultimate goal,” says Sturgeon.
For a full list of sponsors, or information about other events happening at Westerner Park, please visit westernerpark.ca.
Gunman kills 19 children in Texas school rampage
By Acacia Coronado And Jim Vertuno in Uvalde
UVALDE, Texas (AP) — An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 children as he went from classroom to classroom, officials said, in the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade and the latest gruesome moment for a country scarred by a string of massacres. The attacker was killed by law enforcement.
The death toll also included two adults, authorities said. Gov. Greg Abbott said one of the two was a teacher.
The assault at Robb Elementary School in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word on their children.
Outside the town civic center, where families were told to await news about their loved ones, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing. “No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced another man.
“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, was still outside the school as the sun set, seeking word on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres.
He drove to the scene after receiving a terrifying call from his daughter shortly after the first reports of the shooting. He said other relatives were at the hospital and the civic center.
Waiting, he said, was the heaviest moment of his life.
“I hope she is alive,” Cruz said.
The attack came just 10 days after a deadly, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that added to a yearslong series of mass killings at churches, schools and stores. And the prospects for any reform of the nation’s gun regulations seemed as dim, if not dimmer, than in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook deaths.
But President Joe Biden appeared ready for a fight, calling for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.
“As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
Many of the wounded were rushed to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, where staff members in scrubs and devastated victims’ relatives could be seen weeping as they walked out of the complex.
Officials did not immediately reveal a motive, but they identified the assailant as Salvador Ramos, a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio. Law enforcement officials said he acted alone.
The attack came as Robb Elementary was counting down to the last days of the school year with a series of themed days. Tuesday was to be “Footloose and Fancy,” with students wearing nice outfits and shoes.
The school has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades. The vast majority of the students are Latino.
Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. He noted that the gunman “suggested the kids should watch out.”
Before heading to the school, Ramos killed his grandmother with two military-style rifles he purchased on his birthday, Gutierrez said.
“That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he said. Other officials said later that the grandmother had survived, and was being treated, through her condition was not known.
Investigators believe Ramos posted photos on Instagram of two guns he used in the shooting, and they were examining whether he made statements online alluding to the attack in the hours before the assault, a law enforcement official said.
Law enforcement officers were serving multiple search warrants Tuesday night and gathering telephone and other records, the official said. Investigators were also attempting to contact Ramos’ relatives and were tracing the firearms.
The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The attack began about 11:30 a.m., when the gunman crashed his car outside the school and ran into the building, according to Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. A resident who heard the crash called 911, and two local police officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter.
Both officers were shot, though it was not immediately clear where on the campus that confrontation occurred, or how much time elapsed before more authorities arrived on the scene.
Meanwhile, teams of Border Patrol agents raced to the school, including 10 to 15 members of a SWAT-like tactical and counter-terrorism unit, said Jason Owens, a top regional official with the Border Patrol.
One Border Patrol agent who was working nearby when the shooting began rushed into the school without waiting for backup and shot and killed the gunman, who was behind a barricade, according to a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about it.
The agent was wounded but able to walk out of the school, the law enforcement source said.
Owens confirmed that an agent suffered minor injuries, but would not provide details of that confrontation.
He said some area agents have children at Robb Elementary.
“We have Border Patrol kids that go to this school. It hit home for everybody,” he said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were wounded, but Uvalde Police Chief Pete Arredondo said there were “several injuries.” Earlier, Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary is in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.
The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and it added to a grim tally in the state, which has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. over the past five years.
In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year before that, a gunman at a Texas church killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, another gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack targeting Hispanics.
The shooting came days before the National Rifle Association annual convention was set to begin in Houston. Abbott and both of Texas’ U.S. senators were among elected Republican officials who were the scheduled speakers at a Friday leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
In the years since Sandy Hook, the gun control debate in Congress has waxed and waned. Efforts by lawmakers to change U.S. gun policies in any significant way have consistently faced roadblocks from Republicans and the influence of outside groups such as the NRA.
A year after Sandy Hook, Sens. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, negotiated a bipartisan proposal to expand the nation’s background check system. But the measure failed in a Senate vote, without enough support to clear a 60-vote filibuster hurdle.
Then-President Barack Obama, who had made gun control central to his administration’s goals after the Newtown shooting, called Congress’ failure to act “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases. One bill would have closed a loophole for private and online sales. The other would have extended the background check review period. Both languished in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome objections from a filibuster.
Eugene Garcia and Dario Lopez-Mills in Uvalde, Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, Ben Fox, Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington, Paul J. Weber in Austin, Juan Lozano in Houston, Gene Johnson in Seattle and Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
More on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings
Defence says man had no choice but to shoot hunters in Alberta roadside confrontation
The two were charged after Jacob Sansom, 39, and his uncle Maurice Cardinal, 57, were found dead at the side of a rural road near Glendon, Alta., about 215 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, on March 28, 2020.
Sansom was shot once in the chest and Cardinal was hit three times in his shoulder.
“There was probably an angel looking down on him,” Brian Beresh said Tuesday of his client, Anthony Bilodeau.
“And it takes the form of the CNRL video,” he added, referring to security video footage from a gas station that shows the confrontation between the two sides the night before the bodies were found.
Beresh said Anthony Bilodeau got a call from his father and younger brother, Joseph Bilodeau, saying they were following a pickup truck that had stopped at the driveway of their property before speeding off.
Joseph Bilodeau, who is now 18 and was not charged in the case, testified last week that he had also seen a truck on his parents’ farm earlier in the day and suspected the one they were following had something to do with it.
Beresh said Anthony Bilodeau, who lived nearby, was asked to bring a gun for protection and catch up with his father and brother. He was still on the phone with them a short time later when the truck with his father and brother and the other truck stopped on the side of road.
A man from the other truck punched in the passenger window of Roger Bilodeau’s Ford F-150 and then tried to pull him out, along with Joseph Bilodeau, Beresh said.
“Things changed very quickly when during the call, he heard the shattering of glass and then his brother Joseph scream, ‘Don’t kill my dad! Don’t hurt my dad!” Beresh told the jury.
“When he arrived at the scene, to his horror, he could see a man who appeared to be strangling or fighting with his father, who was still partially in the truck.”
Joseph Bilodeau has testified that he managed to get himself into the back seat of his father’s truck by the time his brother arrived.
Beresh said one of the first things Anthony Bilodeau did when he got there was to tell the men to stop fighting.
“Despite his attempt to de-escalate the situation, things got worse,” Beresh said.
The man who had pinned his father down in the truck then charged at Anthony Bilodeau while shouting to another man to grab a gun so they could kill him, Beresh said.
“In that short period of time, which the video confirms, Anthony had no choice,” his lawyer said. “He responded to protect himself and his father.”
Last week, Crown prosecutors argued that the killings were in no way justified, as the security footage also shows Anthony Bilodeau shot Sansom within 26 seconds of arriving at the scene, then shot Cardinal as the hunter was walking away.
Joseph Bilodeau also testified that he feared for his life during the confrontation with the two men, but he didn’t have any conversations with his brother and father about calling police.
Anthony Bilodeau is expected to take the witness stand Wednesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.
Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
The Great Reset doesn’t care if you believe it exists and Canada is on the front line
Elon Musk visits Brazil’s Bolsonaro to discuss Amazon plans
A brief history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ Battle of Alberta
Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirms another case of 'bird flu' in B.C.
Alberta2 days ago
Kane, McDavid, Draisaitl lead Oilers over Flames 4-1 to take 2-1 series lead
Disaster2 days ago
Storm leaves at least nine dead, many powerless
Alberta2 days ago
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he won’t run in upcoming party leadership race
Disaster2 days ago
Cleanup underway after storm leaves at least nine dead, thousands without power
conflict2 days ago
Russian soldier sentenced to life at Kyiv war crimes trial
conflict2 days ago
Biden: US would intervene with military to defend Taiwan
Alberta2 days ago
Flames trying to shake off ‘worst’ playoff effort in 4-1 loss to Oilers
National1 day ago
CFL players report to work after rejecting tentative agreement