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News Stories

Listed below are some of the projects worked on, activities participated in, and speakers appeared at the club throughout the year. We try and ensure that there is a good mix of great speakers, volunteer effort, fellowship and business networking by all members.

Our guest speaker this evening was Mike Hook, from the St. Albert BMX Association. Mike provided us with a very interesting presentation on BMX racing and outlined the plans his club has for expanding St. Albert's current track and hopefully attracting a world competition in a few years.  Mike was accompanied by his son Jack, who is a BMX racer.
Another Rotary year is coming to an end. Our club held its annual Changeover Dinner yesterday evening at the University Club. We were delighted that DG Donna Barrett could join us for the event.
During the evening Linda Perras was presented with her PH+5 pin, husband Leo with his PF+3, daughter Julie with her PH+2 and son-in law Warren with his PH+1. It was also a special evening for Julie as she received our club's Integrity Award for her community service.
Nonie Buski was named Rotarian of the Year, honouring her dedication to working with our Interact Youth as well as many hours applying for and securing funding for our other projects such as the Amarok Society and Project Amigo.
Three of our SACHS Interact members (Evan Jamieson, Mapy Barba and Avalina Zenari) were in attendance and gave an excellent presentation on some of their projects.
Diane Ellis was presented with the Saint of the Month Award and incoming president Chad Hierlmeier received his president's pin. Chad distributed the theme pins for the new Rotary year (Imagine Rotary) to members present.
It was a wonderful evening at which we celebrated our accomplishments this year and looked forward with anticipation and commitment to another great Rotary year coming up, under Chad's leadership.
Our next meeting with be on July 12 at Rotary Park.
Al Henry (president) and Tony Druett (vice-president) of BLESS (Big Lake Environment Support Society) spoke to our club this evening about the Society's goals, achievements and priorities. The Society is currently focused on
Expanding the BLESS stewardship activities to cover the entire Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park
Working with the Parks Dept. and lobbying for funding for trail improvements and additional signage in LHCPP
Working with the City of St Albert to accomplish the following:
· Raising the Red Willow Trail under the Ray Gibbon Drive bridge
· Preserving the wildlife corridor on the north side of river under the bridge
· Installing replacement trees adjacent to the NE corner of LHCPP
Revising the City’s Municipal Development Plan to delete the Employment Lands designation on two areas of St Albert adjacent to Big Lake
Providing and supporting environmental education programs
A very interesting presentation.
Kathleen Soltys thanked Tony (left) and Al (right) on behalf ot the club.
FOIP Follies was the title of an interesting and at times humorous presentation at our club this week by Mary Golab, Director of Information and Privacy at the University of Alberta, and our own club member Dr. Maggie Shane, Privacy Officer for the Alberta Teachers' Association. In their presentation our guests outlined the provisions of the FOIP Act (1995) and the PIPA Act (2004), as well as some prognostications of what may be coming down the pike. A great and educational presentation - thank you Maggie and Mary!
Lyn Reynolds, president of the St. Albert Botanic Park, spoke to us this week about the many beautiful aspects of the park and its programs. It was interesting to learn that while St. Albert bills itself as the Botanical Arts City, the city does not provide any support or funding for this beautiful gem, which is operated completely by volunteers. Thank you for telling us about he park, Lyn!
You can learn more about the park on their website:
Nicole Urbina, from St. Albert Further Education, spoke to us today about the centre's Family Literacy Program. The program is designed to assist:
  • Parents/caregivers who did not complete high school
  • ELL or ESL Learners
  • Newcomers to Canada, and
  • Individuals look for extra help with literacy, numeracy, conversation and language skills.
Thank you for your interesting presentation, Nicole.
Past president and the club's youth services director, Nonie Buski, thanked Nicole on behalf of the club.
The St. Albert Public Library is much more than books. That was the theme of an eye-opening presentation to our club by Stephanie Foremsky, the library's Public Services Manager. Stephanie outlined how the library has something for everyone: support for educators and learners, for families, for job seekers and for the community. The library even has a seed repository.
Thank you for this most interesting presentation, Stephanie!
Muna Abdulhussain, from St. Albert Further Education, spoke to us this week about the council's Newcomer Connections Program. The program is designed to welcome newcomers and provide them with information about various resources and referrals for health, education, support and services, as well as job search and resume writing. Assistance is offered in a number of languages, including Arabic, French, Spanish, Hindi, Tagalog, Russian, Ukraine and more. Thank you for sharing with us the information about this valuable community resources, Muna. Ross Algar, Saint City's Community Services Director and past president, thanked Muna on behalf of the club.
Our speaker this week was Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack. Lana is a multidisciplinary artist, writer and researcher known for her work exploring experiences of Cree identity in Western culture. She gave a very interesting presentation on We Are the Medicine - An exploration of the Cree 13 lunar moon cycle. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and rich heritage with us, Lana.
Toss 'Em Into the River: Vigilantes in Edmonton and St. Albert in the 1880s and 90s was the title of an interesting presentation at our club meeting this week by Tom Long. Tom related several stories of how vigilante groups deals with unauthorized (and sometimes authorized) buildings in early land claim disputes.
Kevin Royle and Ihor Kruk spoke to our club at our Tuesday meeting about the work that was being done in Ukraine through this program. This was on the eve of the Russian invasion of the country.
As described on the organization's website (https://www.firefighteraidukraine.com/) the mission of the Firefighter Aid for Ukraine (FAU) is to collect unneeded/unwanted firefighter bunker/turnout gear, personal protective equipment (PPE), life rescue equipment, and medical supplies from fire departments and vendors in Canada.  FAU also aims to raise the necessary funds to send these goods to first responders in various locations of Ukraine who are in desperate need of equipment and supplies required to fulfill their duties to serve and protect citizens, while ensuring one's own safety.
The organization came about as a result of Kevin Royle taking part as a team member of the 2012 Rotary Club Group Study Exchange focusing on emergency services. During the exchange Kevin visited several cities and rural areas in Western Ukraine including; Lviv, Kiev, Odessa, Ivano Frankivsk, Ternopil, Uzhgorod, and Vinnytsia. While there, the team visited several fire stations, hospitals, clinics, training facilities, ambulance dispatch centers, and other medical facilities. In each visit, the recurring observations were:
  • underfunded emergency medical responders attempting to fulfill their duties with worn out tools and equipment
  • missing or inadequate PPE
  • broken down, archaic apparatus and vehicles
  • working out of dilapidated and crumbling facilities.
The deficiencies are the result of under funding due to a magnitude of reasons. As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the situation for front line first responders and medical workers worsens, placing both first responders and citizens in jeopardy.
Obviously the good work of this organization is suspended until Ukraine is safe to travel to again. The Saint City Rotary Club will be working with other clubs in our district to raise the necessary funds to continue this important project.
Our speakers this evening were Len Gierach, Guy Blood and Karen Gill, from the Edmonton Interfaith Center for Education and Action. They told us about the wonderful educational work being done by the Center and showed us an exceptional video, "Building Bridges" produced by the group. The video is available to watch on the Center's website: https://www.edminterfaithcentre.ca/
It is a wonderful and inspiring production.
A Valley of Darkness was the theme of the presentation to our Rotary Club this week by Dr. Phil McRae of The Alberta Teachers' Association. Dr. McRae shared with us the results of several longitudinal studies on the effects of not only COVID but other factors on the quality of teacher work life and their concerns about the present and future. The ATA has been undertaking the only systematic research in North America relating to this topic.  Among other findings was that almost one in three teachers are planning on leaving the profession! Thank you Phil for sharing with us this comprehensive overview and eye opening analysis of the current situation in our schools.
Project Amigo - helping disadvantaged and marginalized children of west-central Mexico achieve their highest potential by enabling education, and by providing material support, enrichment activities and healthcare services not otherwise available to them. PDG Elly Contreras-Vermeulen attended our meeting via ZOOM this evening to provide us with an update on the good work being done by this project in Colima, Mexico. Thank you Elly and Ramiro for your eighteen years of dedication to this outstanding project. Saint City Rotary is a proud supporter of Project Amigo.
Our program this week was about SAGA - a weekly safe space for queer, trans, non-binary and gender diverse youth to engage in fun activities, make friends and find support at Paul Kane High School.  Renee LeClerc, the teacher in charge of the program, assisted by one of the student members. outlined for us the importance of this program.   Thank you both for sharing this wonderful story with us.
Saint City Rotary Club has for many years been a proud supporter of the Amarok Society and its schools for mothers in the slums of Bangladesh. At our meeting last week, Tanyss Munro, co-founder of the society, brought us up to date on "our" school and shared stories of how teaching mothers to read and pass on the knowledge impacts the behaviour of many others. Thank you Tanyss and GEM for the amazing work you do!
Shelley Passek, Executive Director of St. Albert Family Resource Centre was our speaker this week. Shelley told us about the many programs offered by the centre, as well as the mentoring provided. The centre continues to be a lifeline for many during these COVID times. Many thanks to you and your staff for the work you do, Shelley!
World Polio Day was October 24th and in celebration of that event, Past District Governor Linda Robertson, regional coordinator for End Polio Now Coordinator for this and several other Rotary districts, spoke to our club and provided an interesting update on this worldwide program of Rotary. The exciting news is that there have been only 2 polio cases from the wild polio virus in the world in this calendar year!
Our program guests this past week were Zohreh Saher and Janette Bishop, who spoke to us about the InterVivos organization and the wonderful mentorship programs offered by it. Thank you for this most interesting presentation Zohreh and Janette and for the good work done by your group.
Brett Morey, Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee Director spoke to our club from San Diego via ZOOM at this week's meeting. Brett told us how the floats are constructed, the many hours of volunteer work required and the great publicity Rotary receives from the float. Rotarians and clubs can support the float financially and in other means. We are lucky to have Diane Ellis, our past president, as a Rose Parade Float Ambassador. If interested in helping out, please contact her.
That was the message from our guest speaker this evening, John Strembitsky, principal of Elmer Gish School in St. Albert. John outlined some of the challenges he, his staff, and students have been facing in keeping the school operating during COVID times. He also highlighted how the school had been overcoming these challenges and continuing to deliver quality education to the students. Thank you for sharing this story with us John, and for the dedication of you and your staff. Teachers matter!
Our speaker tonight was Jackie Wiebe, Program Manager of CAMTA (Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad). CAMTA volunteers (orthopedic surgeons, nurses and support staff) travel at their own cost each year to Quito Ecuador, where they perform around 40 surgeries free of charge, over a two week period, for needy individuals. Thank you CAMTA for the amazing work you do and thank you Jackie for your visit. Kathleen Soltys (on the right), Saint City's International Service Director, presented Jackie with a cheque for $2,000 as our annual contribution to this amazing organization.
We were treated to a wonderful upbeat and informative presentation by DG Donna Barrett at our first in-person meeting of this Rotary year tonight. Among other things, Donna shared with us that the District Conference, in person, will be held at the Fantasyland Hotel on May 27 and 28, 2022. A great line up of speakers and special early bird registration rates.
Thanks for sharing the news, Donna, and reminding us how Rotarians Serve to Change Lives.
Our next meeting will be on August 31, with Jackie Wiebe talking about CAMTA, one of our favourite projects.
Saint City Rotary, the little club that can, the little club that does!
Upcoming Speakers
Upcoming Speakers
Diane Ellis
Oct 04, 2022
Inclusion Alberta
Michael Hrycun
Oct 11, 2022
YESS - Youth Empowerment and Support Services
John Donner
Oct 18, 2022
Indigenous Inclusivity
Mark Dixon
Nov 01, 2022
My Grandma's Polio Story
Joe Dwyer (Tentative)
Nov 08, 2022
Morinville Rotary Club Activities
Nov 15, 2022
Nov 22, 2022
PDG Ingrid Neitsch
Nov 22, 2022
Our Rootary Foundation
Board Meeting
Nov 29, 2022
Blanket Exercise
Dec 06, 2022
Club Assembly/AGM
Dec 13, 2022
Christmas Party
Dec 20, 2022
Past Speakers
Caitlin North
Sep 27, 2022
St Albert Arden Theater
Mike Hook
Sep 20, 2022
St Albert BMX Association
Board Meeting
Sep 13, 2022
Denise Belley
Sep 06, 2022
Outreach High School
Brett Lamoureux
Aug 23, 2022
St Albert Father Lacombe Chapel Tour - Fieldtrip