Back with the scoop

The Original Birdie  – Community Conversation

By TIM O’ROURKE, Connect Weekly

Santa’s Anonymous promotor Councillor Keith McGrath, The Bouchier Group CEO Nicole Bourque-Bouchier and Connect’s Tim O’Rourke in front of McGrath’s old 1976 Dodge Sports Coupe, which was auctioned for $6,000, outside of the East Village Pub last Thursday. PHOTO: Don Grose, Harvard Broadcasting

Santa’s Anonymous promotor Councillor Keith McGrath, The Bouchier Group CEO Nicole Bourque-Bouchier and Connect’s Tim O’Rourke in front of McGrath’s old 1976 Dodge Sports Coupe, which was auctioned for $6,000, outside of the East Village Pub last Thursday. PHOTO: Don Grose, Harvard Broadcasting

Greetings Connect Weekly readers. The last time I penned a business/gossip column was around six years ago, when I was running the Fort McMurray “Yesterday” – I mean Today. I returned to my newspaper roots on September 1, 2015; when I was hired as Publisher/Sales Manager by the Connect’s new owner, Star News Publishing Inc. of Wainwright, Alberta.

My last weekly editor (Saturday Today) then was Dawn Farrell, and now my managing editor is the same person, but married with three young children and answers to Dawn Booth.

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A little bird told me Alberta Motor Products is changing hands to a large auto group come the first of the New Year. Robert Vargo has been owner of the Chevrolet, Buick & GMC dealership on Franklin Avenue for more than four decades. More Vargoville details to follow.

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Flavors is reopening soon in a new location with new owners at the Tamarack Village Plaza. The longtime convenience store will be relocated to Bay 103 (same Plaza) with Janice and Robyn Gallant as owner/operators. According to a source, the former site of Flavors will be an addition for McDonald’s.

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Tracey Carnochan is retiring from Suncor Energy on December 11. Carnochan has played a major role in Suncor’s Community Investment and a champion for excellence, the social profit sector and the Fort McMurray community. She was always great to deal with in my previous role as manager of Fund Development and Communications at Waypoints (Fort McMurray Family Crisis Society). The Okanagan Valley will eventually be her new hometown.

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Barbara van Vierssen has been named the new Executive Director of the Justin Slade Youth Foundation. She can be reached at ed@jsyf.ca.

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A great time was had by all who attended the 4th annual Santa’s Anonymous fundraiser at the East Village Pub. Almost $30,000 was raised through donations, raffles, silent and live auction items with all proceeds to Santa’s Anonymous at Father Mercredi Community School, a tradition for over 30 years.

Good job by Councillor Keith McGrath and the Aecon Team (who buy items at other charity events, as well as, solicit donations from local businesses). Also, kudos to the East Village Pub owners (Cheryl and Mike) and staff for accommodating the crowd.

Auctioneer Justin Herman was at his finest again. Last year, Father Mercredi students, with some help from staff and community members, were able to fill and deliver hampers to over 550 facilities in need for the Christmas season.

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MLA’s Brian Jean and Tany Yao are hosting a Christmas Reception this Sunday at the Royal Canadian Legion from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

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That’s quite the set up at the Teddy Mountain kiosk in the River City Centre Mall. I saw some happy kids build their own Teddy Mountain creations and a perfect gift for the many kids in this region. The kids I saw were making decisions on everything about Teddy Mountain from the clothes to you name it. This should be a hot commodity for Fort McMurray consumers, especially with the amount of births each month.

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If you hear of a good tip, contact me at tim@starnews.ca.

– Connect Weekly –