The Free Press, Morinville/Gibbons – September 19, 2017

MLA Colin Piquette (centre) and mayor Tom Flynn present Jock Archer (left) with the 2017 Alice Modin Award for Seniors Service. This is the first year of the award, which is given to a senior 65 or older who has provided 20 or more years of service. The 6th Annual Seniors Workshop was held Sept 14 in Redwater. The event is put on by the Sturgeon County Seniors Advisory Council.  The event featured information about financial assistance programs, healthy eating and cholesterol. Jock Archer has contributed to the community of Gibbons since the early 1970s.  He was involved in the creation of the Dew Drop Inn seniors’ facility and has served as president of the Gibbons Seniors Twilight Club since 1999.  Jock also organizes events including pancake breakfasts and holiday dinners for seniors.

Athabasca Advocate – August 22, 2017

Prosvita Hall celebrates its 70th anniversary in the community July 28

By Jessica Caparini

Located on a gravel road 10 minutes from the hamlet of Grassland, the community-run Prosvita Hall has hosted dances, funerals and sports events for 70 years.

Community member Eli Cholach remembers ball games and summers spent eating nickel ice cream outside the building. He was two years old when his greatuncle Nick Cholach senior donated the land.

On July 28, he celebrated the hall’s 70th anniversary with about 200 others.

“All my lifespan was around that hall,” he said.

The event was co-ordinated by the Prosvita Community Association. Cholach’s granddaughter, Crystal Holdis, said the event included cocktails, perogies and music. She said members of the association showcased recent renovations – new floors, a new bar and a casing protecting a large mural of a Ukrainian village an artist painted when the hall was built.

Vice president of the association, Penny Stewart, said the event “was fabulous. It was a sell-out.” Her highlight was the dinner, prepared by Minnie Skiba and Nellie Cholach.

“It was just a good old Ukrainian meal,” she said. “Like, you just can’t go out and buy that somewhere.” Stewart has been an active member of the association for several years.

“Whether we’re celebrating anniversaries or birthdays or just a good old Halloween dance, it’s just a place of gathering. We enjoy our community and our company and I think it’s important to keep that going. A place for our kids to do that,” she said.

Holdis said Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs, Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette and Athabasca County councilor Jack Dowhaluk made speeches at the anniversary.

“It was wonderful,” said Piquette. “It felt like being at an event hosted by an extended family … it’s actually really nice to see a healthy association like that. It kind of reminded me of what hall parties used to be like around this area 20, 30 years ago.”

Cholach explained that a 70 year anniversary is a big feat. “Local halls – all those old halls are gone by the wayside now, ours is still functioning. It’s a lot of pride.”

His family’s long history with the land continues through his daughter-in-law, who fulfills his old roll as the secretary of the association and Holdis, who is the treasurer.

“Roughly the same families that pioneered it are the same families that are still on the executive and running it,” Holdis said. “It’s been passed down through generation to generation.”

Cholach said the hall opened in 1947 after its founding members donated $960 and months of hard work to create it and that in those days, a gathering place like the hall was quite the accomplishment. Cholach also said that Prosvita means “enlightenment,” or “education without prejudice” in Ukrainian. It now provides event space for Athabasca County.


Jail N’ Bail – Athabasca Citizens on Patrol – July 18, 2017

I had been arrested for charity! Citizens on Patrol held myself and Councilor Clarence Cardinal at the Athabasca riverfront until we reached “bail”.

Had some fun today courtesy of Citizens on Patrol Athabasca. Luckily, I got bailed out by Colleen Powell, and my old colleagues at Piquette Insurance Services Athabasca. My wife Suji even pitched in- which was reassuring, as did James Good, my assistant. Thanks for not leaving me to rot in jail and raising money for an important group at the same time:

Namao Canada 150 Celebration – May 27, 2017

My great grandparents homesteaded in the St. Albert settlement in 1880. I was very pleased to bring greetings from the province at the Namao Canada 150 Celebration on Saturday. It was a delight to  see all the hard work the Namao Museum and Archives has achieved. I know our ancestors would be very proud.

Rochester’s Willing Workers club celebrated their 70th anniversary May 6

Athabasca Advocate – May 16, 2017

 “The most rare and precious commodity I think you can have would be your free time. And to spend that working to better your community rather than bettering yourself, I think really speaks well to you as individuals standing up.” 

Town & Country – May 16, 2017

“To have an organization like this last so long is pretty rare. If you don’t have volunteers, you don’t have community.”