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Mexico’s Snowbirds

Like many other winter-weary Albertans, I had the recent good fortune to savour a week of sun in Mexico. Our destination was Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa on the Pacific coast.

While large sections of the coastline in this area have been developed into resorts and marinas, there are still pristine beaches and protected mangroves, and a large tract of native habitat has been protected in the Aztlán Ecological Park. We were pleasantly surprised to discover a freshly resurfaced path near our hotel which led through the park. This path enabled us to explore the park’s remarkable lagoon system and diverse forests. READ

Put your body back into proper balance

OK, this may be weird but just do it: go to the mirror and take off your shirt. Don’t look in the mirror! At least not yet. Close your eyes, take a really deep breath, let it out slowly and really relax. Now looking straight ahead, open your eyes and look at your shoulders. Notice if they are level with one another, if they are the same size and shape and if your head is straight, turned or tilted. READ

Coming to understand unsettled spring weather

Back in the frigid depths of March, we visited my sister’s family in Calgary. And as we were about to leave, my brother-in-law took a look out of the window. Knowing my environmentalist sympathies, he couldn’t resist a jab: “Well, it looks like Al Gore is going to have to give us our money back.” READ

What’s in that bag? Soil products examined

Any time now, pallets of bagged soil products will be appearing in garden centres. Deciphering the differences and what they are best used for is a challenge. READ

Hopes, ideas for the garden

After my gloomy April 3 trip west, I’m having a hard time believing how fast those record snows are disappearing. The downside is the reader reports I’m getting of mud in every flowing river and stream, ending any good ice-out fishing. On the upside for another outdoors recreation: green shoots of the garlic cloves we planted last September started showing above their mulch on April 10, the earliest ever; last year, it was May 1. READ

Kids love outings

The sun is finally shining, the birds are chirping their spring time melody and everyone is itching to get outside to enjoy the wonderful weather. Especially the little ones in our lives. READ

When you feel hope slipping, reflect on the good things

“It’s hard to remain hopeful,” he said, “as you grow older.” I thought about the statement and wondered if it could be true. “When you’re young, life is filled with endless possibilities.” I was chatting with an older friend who admitted to feeling his sense of hope and possibility dwindling while anxiety and hopelessness increased as the years advanced. READ

It’s a rotten world; use it, don’t throw it away!

No melon rinds or coffee grinds go into the trash in Brie Guenther’s home. The 28-year-old and her fiancé Nathan Schmidt have been composting for almost a year now, thanks to a program from the City of Red Deer. “It fits with our lifestyle. We’re trying to grow more of our own food and plan to have a big garden one day,” said Guenther, a property manager at Sunreal Property Management Ltd. “Reducing our household waste was another big motivator for us . . . We don’t even fill up an entire garbage bag in a week anymore.” READ

Grandmas on the march

In sub-Sahara Africa, orphans are raised by aging grandmothers — a prevalent generation gap caused by the widespread effect of AIDS. Red Deer grandmother Chris Hume bore witness to the aftermath that this deadly disease has on families in these impoverished nations during her trip to Africa from March 1 to 17. READ

Pride mixed with sadness at the close of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan

There is not a day that goes by that Lacombe native Paul Szabunio says he doesn’t think about Afghanistan. Lt.-Col. Szabunio, currently the commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Artillery’s 7th Toronto Regiment, served six months in Afghanistan in 2011, working extensively with the training program for the Afghan National Police primarily out of Kandahar Airfield. READ

Junior Achievement embracing an online generation

Times are changing and Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta is making new waves so it doesn’t get left behind. “Almost all our programs are going through a major redo this year,” said Paul Pettypiece, regional co-ordinator for the Central Alberta region. “So hopefully by this fall not only will they be more updated but they will also be more digitalized — more in tune with today’s technology.” READ

Loran opens a door to greater potential

When Meagan McLavish left Red Deer five years ago to begin university, there were great expectations for the young leader. She didn’t disappoint. READ

Air cadet camp preparing for last year

For one last summer it will be business as usual at the Penhold Air Cadet Training Centre before it is shut down forever. Sold in the mid-1990s, the centre located in Springbrook has been leased by the Department of National Defence ever since from Harvard Park Business Centre, the company that bought it. That arrangement will soon come to an end. READ

Little monkeys on Mr. Big

Watch out for more tree frogs and little monkeys clambering through the Collicutt Centre again next month. The popular rock climbing programs for tots is continuing to grow, say centre staff. READ

He’s got a fast touch on typing

Nothing — not even his vision impairment — slows down six-year-old Caden Johnson of Red Deer. READ

Hair, when you need it

Long, flowing manes, bobs of bouncing curls and short sleek, cuts all of various textures and colours, can be found in the wig room at the Canadian Cancer Society in Red Deer. READ

Here in Canada to make a difference

When the Central Alberta Refugee Effort’s new executive director was officially appointed late last month, he decided not to move into the former director’s big office. READ

An introduction to hot glass at Red Deer College

Taking on the challenge of a team glass blowing project is usually not attempted by beginners. But for a group of glass students enrolled in the Advanced Glass Blowing for Beginners course, it was a great way to test their skills. READ

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