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First day of school, first frost. Those were two notable things about the Tuesday after the Labour Day long weekend. Another was that it was – or at least seemed to be – free of the heavy smoke that had blanketed the region for most of the previous week. What a relief!

Thanks go this week to Winnie Lehman, for a couple of reasons. One is that she let us know the crossword puzzle in the Aug. 30 Leader didn’t match the answers. The second thing was a history/recipe book called Flavour of Athabasca she gave us. It was published in 2011 to mark Athabasca’s 100th anniversary and contains snippets of local history, plus lots of recipes submitted by local people. Examples are ‘butterhorns,’ by Mary Poloway, which she says is a Fodchuk family favourite. Another is squirrel stew, which may or may not have been supplied by Gus Deisting. A ‘hangover cure’ is crackers with honey, eaten ‘while drinking lots of water.’

There’s family history stuff as well; the Gullions, for example, whose clan started by way of a Scottish Orkneyman coming to work in the fur trade in the mid-1800s. He and his Cree wife had nine children and their descendants are spread out all over the north, including Slave Lake and Wabasca.

RCMP are attempting to revive the case of Stephanie Stewart, the wildfire lookout tower person who went missing near Hinton in 2006. It’s a strange case. According to an RCMP release on it last week, attack by predatory wildlife was ruled out early on. That leaves ‘suspicious’ activity by human beings. Somebody must know something, and the RCMP Historical Homicide Unit would like to hear from anyone with any information. Hinton RCMP, at 780-865-2455, is the number to call. Or your local police station.

On September 6, the Government of Alberta announced an average 10 per cent wage increase for workers supporting people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

Slave Lake, Wabasca, etc. are served by the Northwest Central Alberta FASD Network out of Westlock, with the local provider being WJS Canada in Slave Lake. The Slave Lake WJS office number is 780-849-5111.

The Multi-Rec Centre in Slave Lake will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon on September 14 for a mock disaster. This is for a Health and Safety Stand Down Day.

Everett Evison dropped by The Leader last week to let us know the Griefshare Slave Lake program is starting back up again this month. It’s held at the Community Christian Centre on 6th St. SE in Slave Lake. To find out more, Everett at 780-843-4658 or Anne at 780-843-6159.

Saturday, Sept. 23 is the day the Slave Lake Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds its annual food drive, to support the local food bank. It has been quite successful in past years and organizers are hoping 2023 will be no different. Volunteers will drop off bags at people’s doorstep during the week leading up to the 23rd, then return on or after 10 a.m. on that day to collect those bags, which they hope will contain food items.

Most of what’s donated is canned food, according to Friendship Centre Executive Director Barb Courtorielle. The food bank is busier than ever, she says, and every bit helps. What doesn’t help is canned food that is more than a year past its best-before date. They get quite a lot of that, she says, and it has to be thrown out.

The other side of the food drive story is the amount of volunteer work it takes to sort through all the donations. Last year’s job, for example, took three volunteers three straight 8½-hour days.

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