Alberta place names come up in conversation from time to time.

The other day someone asked if Faust was named after Faust, the protagonist in a play written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and published in two parts. The first was in 1808 and the second in 1832.

The answer, according to The Story Behind Alberta Names by Harry M. Sanders, is ‘no.’ Faust (the hamlet) was named in 1914 after Edward T. Faust, an American railway fireman.

“Faust settled in McLennan and served for years on the local school board,” says Sanders.

Another place name which came up in conversation is Lobstick (an unincorporated community) in Yellowhead County on Hwy. 16, west of Edmonton.

It turns out, back in the day it was a relatively common concept.

The word lobstick comes up on Page 44 of Pioneers of the Lakeland: A Homespun History of Slave Lake and Surrounding Community.

In the book, Julia Nash reflects on her first trip to Dog Island in 1916. It had two lobsticks – “black poplars – really big ones – that had been made into lobsticks … This consisted of climbing a tall tree and limbing it all the way down to the ground, but leaving a nice bushy crown on top. In the case of the lobsticks on Dog Island, the treatment made them visible for miles in summer when they were leafed out.”

Sometimes when freighters, hunters, or trappers would camp together and become (or already were) friends, they would mark the occasion by making lobsticks for each other, says Nash.

Tickets are on sale for the Lucky Duck Raffle put on by the Rotary Club of Slave Lake on October 30. Tickets are available from any Rotary member.

July 30 the Slave Lake Rod and Gun Club is holding a 3D Archery Shoot. For more details and contact information, see the event on the calendar on

August 6 the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Arts Council is holding a Garden Tour in Slave Lake and the southshore. For tickets, contact Julie Sparks at or 780-805-1547.

Applications are open for the Town of Slave Lake Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) grants. The deadline is August 31. For information email Darcy at

You never know what you’re going to catch somebody in the middle of when you make a phone call. They might be attending a baseball game in Toronto, or fishing off the coast of Haida Gwaii. It happens! Last week Saidi Assumani, the M.D.’s new engineering technologist sounded as if he might be on the highway when he answered his cell phone.

“I’m flying a drone!” he said, by way of explaining why it wasn’t a great time to talk.

That was a first for your Page 9 reporter. We’re guessing people flying drones usually don’t answer their phones.

Swimmer’s itch? We’ve been hearing unofficial reports of it from people who have taken a dip in Lesser Slave Lake in the last week or two. It’s not uncommon for unpleasant stuff to show up after a spell of warm weather. No official warnings from the health authorities yet, but it could happen any day. Blue-green algae warnings have started showing up for various Alberta lakes.

Last week’s effort to contact people who served on M.D. council (or administration) during the Duane Kerik years was fun and interesting, as those things usually are. For one thing, we discovered oft-retired municipal administrator Pat Vincent has come out of retirement for the third or fourth time to fill in as CAO – this time for Westlock County. If he keeps this up he could own the record for pinch-hitting in that capacity. He might even give Gordon Lundy a run for his money (Lundy came out of retirement twice to help out the Town of Slave Lake).

Pat always gives the impression he is having fun doing what he does. He served as CAO for the I.D. based in Slave Lake back in the early to mid 1990s, and subsequently with the Town of Slave Lake, before moving on to Beaumont and elsewhere.

We’d never heard of a ‘grid bee unit’ before seeing it in the M.D. of Opportunity council minutes last week. Whatever it is, muskrats are damaging it. So it’s not just beavers that are causing headaches for municipalities around here. We looked up ‘grid bee’ and found a brand of water mixer called ‘Gridbee.’ The units in question are the ‘raw pond storage’ at Red Earth Creek.

This photo, courtesy of Doug Olsen, shows the new right-turn-only indicator on the right-hand land approaching the intersection at the Visitor Information Centre on Hwy. 2.