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Oh boy. Here we go again. With COVID surging and more restrictions recently imposed by the provincial government, it appears people are stocking up on toilet paper again. At least that was the report from one of the staff members here at The Leader. One store was almost out on the weekend, she said, and when replenishing our vital supply at The Leader, we were limited to a single package (all we ever buy) at the nearby drugstore.

As reported earlier in this newspaper, truck drivers are in demand in Alberta generally and in the Slave Lake area. People in the haul business always seem to be a few drivers short. So it must be good news that the cost of obtaining certification (I.e. a Class 1 license) just became less expensive. The provincial government announced last week a grant program that will cover 90 per cent of the cost of mandatory entry-level training (MELT). But only for 300 unemployed Albertans! In other words, don’t drag your feet in making up your mind.

As far as we know, the new electric vehicle (E/V) charging device at Revolution Ford is Slave Lake’s first – at least at a commercial establishment. Chad Babiy tells us it won’t be available for use until the dealership has tested it on its own E/V, which it expects to arrive sometime pretty soon. The dealership has plans to install another charging station at the service end of the shop. The capacity of the one that’s in place now is 33 kilometres of travel per one hour of charging time, he says.
It raises an interesting question about charging capacity if E/Vs ever become popular. Babiy says it’s hard to imagine it happening in a place like Slave Lake. Hybrids he can see catching on. With that type of machine you could do your running around town on electric power and then switch to regular fuel when you need to make a longer trip.

It’s not every evening you get a call from a minister of finance. Even a recorded one, which is what happened on Nov. 30. Travis Toews was holding a ‘telephone town hall’ meeting on the budget and some computer program was calling around on his behalf inviting folks to participate. That probably didn’t include newspaper reporters; this appeared to be a randomly chosen call. Your Page 9 reporter did not participate in any case. We’ll wait to see what, if any impact the input of ‘ordinary Albertans’ had on the process of deciding what Alberta spends money on in 2021 or doesn’t. One thing is for sure: Toews has a tough job and we’re glad we don’t have to do it!

We let Dennis and Laurette Woodard get away without interviewing them, which somebody pointed out we really should have done. So the plan is to catch up with them in their new home in Leduc by phone and get ‘er done that way. Dennis came to Slave Lake as a young schoolteacher in 1959 or thereabouts and put in a lot of years in the education field here.

Home delivery of parcels is up, we hear. So you know what else is up – theft of those parcels. RCMP last week issued a warning to Albertans to be careful about it – take precautions and so on. Such as? Consider installing surveillance cameras is one. If you’re going to be away, arrange for neighbours to keep an eye on your front step is another. Designating an alternate pick-up location is a third. So far this year there have been 670 reports of mail theft in Alberta, the RCMP says. That’s actually well down from last year’s 4,000 incidents. But there’s still time! These few weeks in December are the busiest of all.

Northern Lakes College is offering a free online suicide prevention training for anyone in the NLC service region, which includes Slave Lake, Flatbush, Red Earth Creek, Kinuso, etc. To register call 1-888-652-8780 ext. 8641.

On Dec. 17, there is a free online information session about the Rural Mental Health Project, Register on Eventbrite. Slave Lake and the M.D. are listed as interested communities.

Here’s something we didn’t know: between now and Dec. 21, we lose a lot more of our daylight in the morning than in the afternoon. I.e. sunrise happens later quicker than sunset happens earlier. It has something to do with the elliptical shape of planet earth.

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