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Newsmakers – for Oct. 10, 2011

Blair Vold,the owner of the Vold, Jones and Vold auction market in Ponoka, was abducted from outside his home south of Ponoka September 15 by a gun-wielding man who demanded a large amount of cash. After forcing Vold to approve a large cash withdrawal on his credit card the perpetrator drove to the parking lot of the ATB Financial branch in Lacombe. When he got out of the truck Vold managed to get his hands untied and escape to a gas station to call police as the abductor fled. At press time the man was still at large. The police released a photo of him wearing dark glasses and a touque as he left a bank in Wetaskiwin. He is described as slim, about six feet tall, 45 to 50 years old, with a white moustache and goatee. Anyone recognizing the suspect is asked to call the RCMP in Ponoka at (403) 783-4471 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

The CCA has contractedHolly LaBrieas program administrator of the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS). LaBrie holds a diploma in computer programming from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and has considerable experience with database and technological project management and training.

Hollyand her husbandSeanrun a 120-head Anguscross commercial herd and custom graze another 80 head each year northwest of Didsbury, Alta. As the daughter of Longview-area rancherJohn Cartwright,LaBrie grew up on a commercial operation and has a good understanding of the Canadian cow-calf industry. As program administrator, LaBrie will manage the design and function of the BIXS portal and database including reporting, system queries and user liaison and system monitoring.

Walt Browarny,the man who brought livestock photography to a fine art, passed away in late August at the age of 75. Originally from Calgary he got his start doing technical photography in the oilpatch later branching out into freelance work. In 1970 he attended the Denver stock show and the rest, as they say, is history. He spent the remainder of his life travelling the world taking memorable photos of cattle. His work can still be seen on the website www.browarny.com and is still available from the Walt Browarny Legacy Collection at www.showchampions.com/.

Keith Robertsonthe CEO of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen s Association returned from medical leave on September 1.Jamie Blacklock,the SCA bookkeeper and former manager of the Saskatchewan Cattle Feeder s Association served as interim CEO while Keith was away.

On September 15 Alberta stopped paying producers a $150 top-up incentive payment to submit suspicious animals for testing under the Canada and Alberta BSE Surveillance Program. Producers still receive the $75 federal payment and veterinarians are still being paid a fee to harvest the sample. Provincial chief veterinarianGerald Hauersays the top-up has basically served its purpose in that most producers in the province are now aware of how important it is to submit older suspicious animals for testing.

Integrated Traceability Solutions (ITS) completed the purchase of ComputerAid Professional Services fromRalph andYvonne Tollensof Okotoks, Alta., in late August. ComputerAid was started in 1986 as a part-time venture by the Tollens to assist family and friends in the cattle business who were looking for ways to collect and manage data. ITS is the company that supplied the equipment and expertise for the Alberta traceability study in several auction markets around the province.

The government of Alberta has confirmed it will provide a grant of $5 million to fund the Calgary Stampede Centennial celebration July 6-15, 2012. This matches the $5 million pledged by Ottawa earlier in the year. The stampede attracts more than a million visitors from across Canada and around the world every year.

XL Foods Lakeside Packers met all the federal protocols last month to begin using the German e+* camera to augment beef grading at its Brooks, Alta. plant. The graders at the plant are using the camera to confirm their visual inspection of the carcass. Cargill uses the same equipment to sort carcasses for fabrication.

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