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This just in from U-Haul: the Winks store in Canyon Creek is now an agent for U-Haul. Business hours are 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays.

According to Service Canada, passport services are now available at more Service Canada offices than ever. The news was announced just before Christmas, and somebody actually called The Leader to make sure we knew about it.
What this presumably means for readers of this newspaper is they can get passports renewed and such at the office in Slave Lake, where once they’d have to go to Edmonton, or send it away and wait for a longer time. But don’t take our word for it, call or visit your Service Canada office in Slave Lake.

Superbowl pool; yes, we’re all over it. Harry Bartlett is selling the tickets but not for the Rotary Club. This one is to support the Midget 1 Thunder hockey team. Two bucks a ticket, for the chance to win some money on the big game, which this year takes place on…. We’re not sure, but it’ll be on a Sunday in February.

‘Broadband moves forward’ says a headline in the High Prairie South Peace News on Dec. 15. This is rural broadband, something the County of Big Lakes has been pushing. The idea seems to be to get better Internet service into the hamlets in the county. Big Lakes has been trying to rally support from neighbouring municipalities. The M.D. of Lesser Slave River is named in the article as a ‘partner.’
The latest news is that construction is to start in the spring, with High Prairie and Joussard being the first communities served. Also named as partners in the story are the three Metis Settlements, the Town of Swan Hills and several communities west and northwest of High Prairie.

So… has anybody been stopped yet for a busted tail light and then been asked to provide a breath sample? That’s what can happen, at least. Whether it is happening… another question. Thanks to Bill C-46, police no longer need probable cause to suspect a driver of impairment before they can demand a breath test. Anything will do; speeding, going too slow, seatbelt, using a cell phone…whatever.

Interesting tidbit from the coffee shop the other day. A fellow from Drayton Valley was visiting. How bad are things over there? he was asked. Not that bad, really, he said. There’s work if you want it. Not like Slave Lake, he added, where things are really dead.

Apparently you can get a star named after you (or the person you designate) for as little as 30 bucks. Heck of a deal. But who’s controlling it? A bit of online searching last week gave the impression more than one outfit is in the business of selling this privilege. So people are probably shelling out the dough to get a loved one’s name on a star that somebody else thinks belongs to them. Well, let them have their fun. There are bigger problems down here on earth, after all.

This could be a big year for news, right here in the Slave Lake area. Or, if you prefer, in the Lesser Slave River area, which includes the Smith and Flatbush areas. Stay tuned.

Yes, we didn’t make it to a lot of Christmas events. Understaffed, distracted, whatever. Not to mention that in that last week before Christmas, with no paper coming out the following week, there would be the usual lack of incentive to cover things that wouldn’t be of much interest come the first week of January. But some of our Christmas-event photos do appear on our website, A few others can be found on Page 28 of this paper.

In case any youngsters were eager to head on back to the library for some fun afternoon activities, sorry, but you are out of luck. There will be no afternoon movie time, story time, or after school club. All library programs will resume the week of January 7th. For more info and for any concerns call 780-849-5250.

The Leader would like to wish everyone a happy new year and plenty of peace, love and joy for the coming 2019 year!

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