Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good Bye Chimmey (and the Gold Star Restaurant)

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to a longtime restaurant owner here in Beiseker. Chimmey Wong and his family have sold the Gold Star Restaurant and he will retire to Calgary.  They had their farewell luncheon yesterday at Noon.

The Gold Star has been an institution here in the village for almost twenty years.  Many an evening when it was my turn to cook, Chimmey came to the rescue.  I thanked them for that.

The Wong kids grew up here and went to Beiseker Community School.  They have many friends in Beiseker.  The whole family was at the farewell luncheon yesterday to bid Chimmey and his wife all the best in their retirement.

The Gold Star has been sold and will continue on as a restaurant, but the new owners will certainly have a big role to follow here in Beiseker!

Best wishes to the Wong family.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Terrible Loss at the Hixt Farm

Condolences go to Larry and Ruth Hixt after a fire destroyed much of their private museum and historical village east of Beiseker.   The Hixts have spent a lifetime recreating the early years of Beiseker through buildings and artifacts built and collected from the area.  Visitors marvelled at the little historical village set up at the Hixt farm. Some even compared it favourably to Calgary's Heritage Park

I haven't been out to the Hixt's for a few years, but from all accounts Larry and Ruth have never stopped collecting and building!  The "Ranche" has become one of those iconic parts of this area.

Lightning appears to be the culprit in starting the fire. The Hixts could do little to fight the blaze while they waited for Rocky View County firefighters.

What's next?  I say it's too early to say.  Larry is asking for help in the clean-up and assessment - if you want to help, please call (403) 947-2143.  We'll see where it goes from there.  But I for one hope that Ruth and Larry's incredible project survives in some way to delight future visitors!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"The Friendly Village"?

I was forwarded an email from a tourist who'd passed through Beiseker a week or so ago.  His daughter had to use a washroom, so he stopped at a local restaurant.

His daughter went in to the restaurant and asked to use the washroom.  According to the writer, the person his daughter addressed was, "rude, ill-mannered, and boorish."

The person yelled at his daughter and told her that she should visit a gas station down the road - but offered no directions. The person in the restaurant was so agitated, the writer's daughter was quite taken aback and left the establishment immediately.

The writer vowed never to return to Beiseker, promising to tell all his acquaintances to do likewise.  He has also informed Travel Alberta that Beiseker is anything but "The Friendly Village"!

Is this the kind of image we wish to promote? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Congratulations go out to Warren Wise who was elected as Beiseker's new councillor, yesterday. I and my fellow Councillors look forward to welcoming him to the Council Table tonight at his very first council meeting!

I will also congratulate the two unsuccessful candidates.  Your dedication and interest is a tribute to our village!  You have shown that involvement can make a difference!  I hope to see your names on future village public endeavours. Well done!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Up, Up, and Away!

Last Saturday a group of balloon enthusiasts called Project Phoenix launched a unmanned High Altitude Balloon from the Beiseker Airport.  The balloon climbed to over 108,000 feet, snapping photos all the way up!

There's a beautiful shot of the Beiseker Airport taken moments after its launch, and an incredible shot taken at 105,000 ft. showing the curved Earth and the blackness of outer space.  At over 108,000 ft. the balloon exploded and the payload dropped by parachute into a pea field south of here.  And it snapped photos all the way down, too!

The balloon and payload were recovered and the group is getting ready for a future launch!

Congratulations Project Phoenix on a project well done!  I hope to see you folks again at our unique little airport.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


After ten hectic days at the Calgary Stampede, I've recovered and I'm back driving and walking  around Beiseker. 

I've noticed that we're under attack!  Actually, our trees are under attack!  We appear to have caterpillar infestations on some trees around the village, including one of our new trees on Main Street.  These little critters are munching up the leaves, preparing to make a cocoon and turn into a moth or butterfly. 

A few caterpillars are a normal part of summer - but hundreds or thousands are not good.  Trees will usually regrow damaged leaves but they can only regenerate so fast.  And some of these little critters actually wait for the new growth to feast on!

If one of your trees has more than its fair share of these little munchers, I advise you to watch the situation very carefully.  An easy way to control them is to knock them out of the trees and to the ground with a water stream from a hose, then subdue them before they can climb back up.  You can step on them, but please wash the dead bodies of the public sidewalk! The more you can kill now, the fewer caterpillars you'll have later this summer and/or next year!

If you notice a Village tree with an caterpillar infestation, please call the Village Office at 403-947-3774 and give the location of the tree to them, and they will look after it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fly-way Robbery!

The other day my wife and I saw a friend off at the Calgary International Airport.  We parked in the parkade.  We had a coffee, said our "good byes" and returned to our car.  We had been there for a little over an hour.  The parking fees were almost $17.00!

The young lady taking my money said I should have just dropped our friend off and then skulked off in 30 min or less!  That way it would have been free.

That's crazy!  It is obvious that the Calgary Airport Authority does not want casual visitors or folks coming in to see people off or welcome them back.  I will reluctantly comply!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Great Candidates' Forum!

I was very pleased to be able to attend the candidates' forum this past Monday evening.  I decided before I left home that I would listen and not speak at the forum.  I stuck to that.  All of those who came needed to hear from the candidates; not me!  I was very impressed with all three candidates.  They stated their cases well and explained their positions clearly.

One point mentioned was that of the high mill rate in the Village.  The insinuation was that a lower mill rate was preferable.

As explained in a blog post I made about a month ago, the reason our mill rate went up was that the total value of all our properties is lower this year than last!  If  the total value of all our properties had risen or stayed the same, our mill rate would have actually dropped.

The mill rate is set by council using these steps:
  • After careful budgeting, council decides on the minimum amount of money needed to operate the Village for one full year.
  • Council then looks at the total assesment and basically divides that figure by the amount required based on so many dollars taxed per thousand dollars of assesment.
Another point was that of providing recreational and cultural facilities in the Village.  One should always be aware that every public arena, library, swimming pool, playground, splash park, skate board park, art gallery - or any other cultural or recreational facility - built in Calgary is meant to serve, be maintained, and be funded by thousands of people (taxpayers)!  

Overall I was very impressed with the responses from the candidates and I am looking forward to having one of them join us around the council table!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Really Big Show!

This Friday starts one of the biggest parties in Alberta for 2012; the Calgary Stampede!  As I've mentioned before, I have been involved in the Stampede for many years now.  My main interest is Aggie Days, held each spring.  Aggie Days is primarily a teaching event.  We try to teach urban Calgary elementary students where their food comes from in these parts.

I help out at the "big show" too.  I usually volunteer a few days at the Agrium Ag-tivity in the City area between the Agriculture Building and the Grandstand

The area can be best described as an agricultural "edu-tainment" area.  We strive to entertain visitors while showing them a little bit about where Albertans get their food.  Almost all Ag-Tivity people are volunteers from smaller communities around Calgary.  We have fun milking cows, shearing sheep, herding ducks, making rope, saddling horses, milling grain, and a host of other agriculture related activities.

If you're at Stampede Park, why not drop around and say "Hi".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Low Turnout at Canada Day Celebrations

I was disappointed to hear of the relatively low turnout at Beiseker's Canada Day celebrations over at the arena this past Sunday.  Previous commitments prevented my attendance.  I guess others had the same problem.

I would like to thank the organizers of the event and ask them not to be disheartened.  Those who came had a good time!  We'll have to advertise it a little more next year. 

ps;  I look forward to looking out on each Canada Day morning and seeing that little Canadian flag at the side of my walkway.  It is so Canadian: not big and flashy but hugely appreciated!  Thank you to the flag people for that!