Weekly update: Keyano will soon be bigger than ever, Goodridge hopes for a 2024 election

The news and events of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.

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Happy new year, Fort McMurray!

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  • Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival: A selection of films from the festival in Banff plays at Keyano Theatre. Films take take viewers to the world’s remote corners, discuss environmental issues, and bring an up-close and adrenaline-packed action sports experience. Jan. 11 and 12 at Keyano Theatre. Tickets are online.
  • HeartSpark’s Breaking Barriers: For females 12+. Experience confidence, friendship and learn some self-defence with HeartSpark and Theresa Stanley, black-belt executive director of Phoenix Tae Kwon Do Club and creator of Girls on Fire Confidence Workshops. This is a fundraiser for HeartSpark’s free youth programming. Jan. 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Unifor’s office. Tickets online.
  • Fe Art Exhibition: Fe Art Gallery is exhibiting a tapestry of contemporary Indigenous African Art at the Grand Ballroom of Shell Place. Jan. 27 and 28. Tickets are free.
  • Roller derby try-it night: Anyone 7+ is invited to try roller derby with the Fort McMurray Roller Derby League. No experience needed. Feb. 1 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at MacDonald Island Park. Instructions on what to bring and what to expect are on Facebook.
  • Fort McMurray Oil Barons: January home games at Centerfire Place: Okotoks Oilers on Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 14 at 2 p.m., Brooks Bandits on Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m., Drumheller Dragons on Jan. 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m., Bonnyville Pontiacs on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets and schedule online.
  • Wood Buffalo Regional Library hosts plenty of events every week. These all-ages events can be found online.
  • MacDonald Island Park regularly updates its website with upcoming events and programs.

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Get the news and events of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo in your inbox every Friday morning by signing up for our newsletter. Obituaries can be viewed online.

jay notay
Jatinder “Jay” Notay, Keyano CEO and president, at a ceremony at the college’s Syncrude Sports and Wellness Centre on Friday, February 18, 2022. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network jpg, FM

Keyano applies to become a polytechnic as enrolment booms

Student enrolment will soon be greater than what Keyano College reported during the oilsands boom days.

Much of the growth is from international students, but Keyano CEO and president Jay Notay says at least half of students will always be Canadians.

Notay hopes many of those students will be from Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo. This is a tough sell because about 50 per cent of students graduating in Fort McMurray leave. This rate is expected to grow as students graduate after living through economic uncertainty, the pandemic, the April 2020 floods and the 2016 Horse River Wildfire.

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Keyano is adding 18 new programs and plans to expand into the health fields. As a polytechnic, Keyano can add these programs faster.

adam manah
Fort McMurray Oil Barons head coach Adam Manah during a practice on day two of their 2022-2023 season training camp at Ceterfire Place on Friday, August 26, 2022. Laura Beamish/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Oil Barons fire Adam Manah as head coach and general manager

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons has fired Adam Manah as their head coach and general manager. Assistant coach Carter Duffin has been appointed to fill those roles in the interim.

Manah called the move “an internal thing” and could not discuss details abouthis firing. A statement from Oil Barons president David Fitzgerald was also light on details.

However, the team has struggled this season. The Oil Barons were ranked 13th in the AJHL when Manah was let go. They have 13 victories and 25 losses this season. Manah’s last game was a 5-1 defeat to the Camrose Kodiaks on Dec. 30.

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Manah was hired in Dec. 2021 after coaching the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He was a forward for the team between 2005 and 2008. In 2006, the Oil Barons won the AJHL Championship. Manah said he will spend the next few months resting and deciding next steps.

“I’m thankful to the organization and the community and the support from Dave Fitzgerald and the executives on the board,” said Manah. “Most of all, the town welcomed me back after playing here. I am truly grateful and owe a lot to the city and people of Fort McMurray.”

laila goodridge
Laila Goodridge, Conservative MP for Fort McMurray-Cold Lake, joins members of Fort McMurray’s Indian community to celebrate India’s independence day at Syncrude Athletic Park on August 20, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Goodridge ‘cautiously optimistic’ in election as living cost fears boost Tories

Conservative MP Laila Goodridge is hoping for a federal election well before the expected Oct. 2025 date.

In an end-of-year interview, the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake MP said worries and fears about being able to pay for everything from groceries and heating to mortgages and rents dominated most conversations with people in 2023.

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She does not expect support for the federal Liberals, which have seen their support plunge in major polls for months, to rebound. At the same time, the Conservative Party and Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre saw their support in polls grow throughout 2023 as living costs also stayed high.

“I am cautiously optimistic that there will be an election sooner rather than later,” said Goodridge. “People are making tough choices between eating and heating. They are seeing their paycheques go less and less far as time goes on. They’re looking for a change.”

Trudeau has said in year-end interviews he is not resigning and is optimistic about winning the next election. Goodridge believes the momentum of the Conservatives will continue into 2024.

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A heavy hauler drives past smaller trucks near the entrance of Suncor Energy’s North Steepbank Mine, located north of Fort McMurray, Alta., in this 2014 file photo. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network Photo by Vince Mcdermott /Vince Mcdermott/Today Staff

Suncor shares jump as it reports second-highest quarter ever for oil output

Suncor share price jumped Wednesday as the company reported its fourth quarter oil output was its second-highest quarter ever.

The company announced upstream production in the fourth quarter of 2023 of 808,000 barrels per day. This meets their November 2022 corporate forecast of 746,000 barrels per day annually.

Suncor’s December production averaged more than 900,000 barrels per day, the company’s best single month performance ever.

As part of its wider efficiency push, Suncor completed 1,500 job cuts in 2023, a move the company said is expected to save $450 million per year. Its fleet of automated haulers will nearly triple to 91 by the end of 2024.

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Fort McKay murder
Anton Grandjambe has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Photo courtesy RCMP

Fort McKay man wanted for second-degree murder arrested

Police have arrested Anton Grandjambe, a Fort McKay man who has been charged with killing a 60-year-old man in the community north of Fort McMurray. The arrest ends a weeks-long manhunt by Alberta RCMP.

Police say that on Dec. 5, officers responded to a firearms complaint on Target Road in Fort McKay. All residents were told to take shelter and not go outside. Police later said a man had been killed and confirmed his identity was Russell John Shott. A family member of Shott told Postmedia he was killed trying to break up a fight.

Police believed he was in the Edmonton area. However, Grandjambe was arrested on Dec. 28 on the Gregoire Lake reserve of Fort McMurray First Nation 468.

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Police investigating shooting in Fort Chipewyan:

Wood Buffalo RCMP say that at 11:09 p.m. on Jan. 2, officers were told that someone had fired a weapon at a home on Henry Drive. The shooter ran away before police could arrive.

There were no physical injuries reported at the scene. Police believe the shooting was intentional and the victim’s home was targeted, but do not believe there is a threat to the rest of the public.

Police in Fort McMurray arrest three men, find stolen items after late-night crime spree:

Police say they received multiple reports of alleged property crimes and break-ins between 2:45 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 4.

The first call was the theft of a white 2021 Toyota Tundra from a home on Lindstrom Crescent. Between 3 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., several break-ins at garages, sheds and cars were reported on Rosslyn Street, Rogers Crescent, Starling Street and Falcon Drive.

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Officers located the stolen truck to a home on Killdeer Way. Three men were arrested without incident. Everything from crossbows and generators to keys and gift cards were recovered by police.

A snowboarder takes to the air in the Boulevard Terrain Park at Lake Louise Ski Resort in Banff National Park on Tuesday, January 2, 2024. Photo by Al Charest/Special to Postmedia Network

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