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If the number of people running in an election is a sign of a healthy democracy, Driftpile Cree Nation is in great shape. According to the list of nominees posted on, 11 people are running for chief and a whopping, almost unbelievable, 86 members are going for a seat on the band council. We’re not sure if that’s a record, but it’s certainly the most since we’ve been paying attention. Bigstone Cree Nation, with a lot more members, typically has fewer than half that many running for council. Not to mention a place like Slave Lake, which out of 3,000 odd eligible citizens is lucky to get 10 people running for seven council positions. Competition is good, they say, and Driftpile certainly has a lot of it going on!

We notice Cenovus has sold off its operations in the Marten Hills to a company called Headwater for $35 million in cash, plus some shares. What it means we have no idea. The asset produces approximately 2,800 barrels of oil per day, says the news release.

Is stealing farm tractors now a thing? RCMP last week said one had been stolen recently in eastern Alberta, and it was no small operation. The thief or thieves used a big truck and a stolen trailer to haul off the machine. It’s hard to imagine what you would do with a big tractor after you’d stolen it, but what do we know.

Here’s a good news story just in time for Christmas. A young woman, thanks to hitting a moose on the highway about a year ago, needs a wheelchair to get around. A friend of hers started a fundraising campaign for motorized device for her wheelchair, the Lesser Slave Lake Firefighters Society got involved and the upshot was she got what she needed without having to pay for it. That’s the thumbnail version, as shared with us by fire chief Alex Pavcek.
“It’s a feel-good story,” he says.

“I don’t like that article in the paper about the MLA!” Somebody shouted that from a car window the other day as we were crossing the street. Fair enough, but which article was it? What did it say? Write a letter to the editor and we’ll publish it!

It turns out we’ve had an Edmonton White Pages phone directory propping up our computer monitor here at The Leader since 1996 or thereabouts. The other day we took it out, dusted it off and had a look. Right off the bat you notice the cover art, which is colourful, but kind of weird. It shows five red-headed and not particularly pleasant-looking chubby babies, playing around with various items representing technology and industry.
Inside in the introductory pages, Ed Tel president Allan Scott predicts “tremendous change over the next decade,” in telecommunications. He doesn’t get specific, but says new technologies “are going to give people capabilities that seem to come straight from the pages of science fiction.”
The book would have come out early in that year, which was just when people in Slave Lake were slowly becoming aware of a new thing called the ‘World Wide Web.’
There’s no mention of Ed Tel (or AGT) getting into that game. Instead, the new phone book was promoting exciting new services, such as ‘Call Answer,’ for only $4.95 a month, and something called ‘Call Display’ for an extra five bucks per month.

A Slave Laker suggested The Leader put a plug in for a social distanced Christmas celebration – The idea is that on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. people come out on their door step and ring a bell for two minutes. The goal is to spread Christmas spirit and help Santa fly his sleigh.
So ‘Come on Ring Those Bells’. Not everyone has Christmas bells, but bear bells and bike bells might work.

Good news for people wanting to stock up on books for lockdown.
The Slave Lake Library offers curbside pickup while it is closed for COVID-19 restrictions. It will be Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., except when closed for Christmas (Dec. 24 to Jan 3).
To order a book call or sign into your TracPac account. To arrange a time call 780-849-5250.

The Christmas Bird Count fits within the new COVID restrictions. People can:
· Bird alone or with household members
· Record the birds at in their own yards and bird feeders
The training session is Dec. 16 online.
The bird count is Saturday, Dec. 19, people can do it whenever they think they’ll see birds.

What do ‘Av, Be, L, Sz, V, Z’ and ‘A, I, Ke, U, X, 0-9’ have in common?
The answer they are the start of surnames and businesses which have to renew their vehicle registration in the same month.
A Google search showed a few X last names. One page had 12 in the 1940 U.S. census. These ranged from Xavier to Xinos. More recent U.S. data had 29, from Xa to Xuereb.

Dec. 11 was the deadline to apply to Santas Anonymous. The day before, 10 to 15 more applications were handed out, which means that the number of people needing the Christmas hampers was growing.
Santas Anonymous provides the ingredients for a Christmas dinner and presents for kids to families in need.
Donations of money and new toys will be accepted until the hampers are made on Dec. 21. To donate contact the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre at 780-849-3039.

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