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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 15, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta JO THE IETHMIDOE HE.RAID iitfndoy, Jonvory IS, 1973 TURIN A small town losing the old numbers game By GREG VcINTYRE Herald Sialf Writer In the small community of Turin. 30 miles norii cf Le'Lhbridge. the de- clining rural pppuiau'cn is a first-hare'. experience. It's measured in abandoned build- ings and memories ci neighbors who have departed for the city. In the last 10 years the only grocery stflre and the only service station in the hamlet have seen busuiess drop by roughly Already a community composed mainly of reared people, Turin is now faced niih possible closure of its Grade 1 to 6 school. During the IKOs the Turin School had Grades I to 12. But ac about that fee a modem all-weather highway '.o Lethbridge was completed. I: became easier to go curling in Picture Bune anrf shopping a Leot- bridge. About 12 years ago Grade 1: discontinued. Tee folimt-jjg year the school lost Grade 11. Then sii years ago the jun- ior high grades were discontinued as school authorities in the county ceara- lized junior and senior high school classes frr tie area at Picture Butte. A familiar theme Turin, like many declining rural communities on the Prairies, is a', tie losing end of the numbers game. The department of education pays for schooling c-n the basis of class- room units of "D pupils per teacher. There are 4o students with three teachers and a part-time librarian at tie Turin School The county has written the parent- teacher organisation at Turin warning that the school is uneconomic- While there is no immediate plan to close the school, the matter car; be ex- pected to be reviewed before the start of the fall 1K3 term. If the school closes "Turin is defin- itely finished then" says Amie Kem- rcert who runs the Turin Food Market, the only grocery store. Mrs. Kemraett said raore peop'e move away every year because Turin is "too dose to tie city'' to supper; business. The Kemmetis live on a farm Mrs. Kemmett said the store no longer pays its and she's been thjricin- cf closing it for the last few years. lea Stautb. wife cf the hulk- oil dealer In town, runs th-e pest office which serves about 130 families in the ricoi- ity. If the school closed and people con- tinue to leave Turin, she said the post office would probably stay open but reduce hours. Only community hall ''I'd hare very much to see it hap- pen." she said. "The school is the only place there is to hold any kind of community gathering.'' The community might still he able to use the school building if classes discontinued, she said-, "but ;t would be awfully Mike Trofanenko. of Turin Gulf Service, said he used to run a hardware store "but as soon a.; the blacktop highway came it closed." Although business is declinir.g, Mr. Trcfaneriko said he will keep the ser- vice station open because there will always be some demand for rcecharj- cal repairs. He said he'll be 65 in eight years and will likely retire then. "I don't think closing the s c h o o 1 would kill Turin. Railroad abandon- ment would have a greater effect.'1 Turin is located in a sugar heet and grain area. Sugar beets are taken to a factory at Picture Butte and the grain b transported by rail to Lethbridee and lien to Vancouver for export or to Eastern or the United Sates. Harder on the kids Without a school, Turin area chil- dren would have to go by bus to school in Piclir-c Butic or Mould "make it harder on Ihc kids" said Louis Hrr.cirik, a farmer with a seven-year-old daughter attending Turin schooi. The Sorter trip would mean about an rreur extra ir. tha morning and a night is okay for the older kids, but it's pretty icugh on the younger People niiss the cafe arxi pool rooni ihat s few years ago and a curiizg rr_k three sheets of ice thai used to be open and they would hate to see the school go too. he said. When he came to Turin b. 1936. Mr. Hmcirik said there were several more service statlcrs and a number of stores. With better birth control methods tcdsy. reoo'.e have smaller family he said. Autcnation has decreased the o: people leeded on farms. the old cays oce guy used to be able :o a jo of it on a q-jarter sec'.im. But ycu have to CTAT, three or four sections.'' Student limit Turin principal Ellen Me- Beath said that many teachers enjoy wcr.cng t tr.e smaller roral schcols. L-.ere is a limit to how many grades ore ;eacrer should instruct. "I don't think a teacher can do jus- tice to a class Tvith three grades re- gardless of the number c: students.'' she said. Each cf the three teacners at Turj; take nro grad.3s. While a snail rot have the resources to offer curricular activiiies 2ke a scbcol bard, a fa- closer relarioriship between stu- cettts. teach-ers and the community. Students at Turji have been happier and cone in schcol because of the clceer ties, she said. "When we had the Junior high I dor.'t think we ever a year with- out an horors srjosrit b the depan- tneiital esarris. There is rr.ore rapport between the students L-.erjselves too." There has been mere continuity in the staff a: Turin than at larger city scnccls. she sdd. "I taught here years ago and then quit to raise a rirnily of my own. Then tn-ey needed a teacher so badly that I decided to come back for just a year. That was years The faces of Turin TWO of Ins Icwn's rnain buildings are shewn cf rep. They are boarded. reminden of the di- the tcwn has gons. At right, the cc mm unity sieve tors. Below, teacher Rhonda Shepherd ord her dcss cf Grades 3 and 4 p.-pi's- Rick Enin photos ;