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Theresa Wells

Writer

Theresa Wells is a long-term resident of Fort McMurray Alberta, and proud to call that northern city her home. She is passionate about writing, family, community, and shoes, but not necessarily in that order.
Michael Melford via Getty Images

Turbulence in the Fort McMurray Skies

The residents Fort McMurray and region are reliant on specialized emergency services - and in situations where minutes do matter and where lengthy transportation delays can result in poor medical outcomes, including death. We are a region of remote communities, work camps, isolated roads, industrial sites and thousands and thousands of people for whom these night flights can mean the difference between life and death. It's a pretty stark reality - and it is time for everyone to recognize it and come back to the table.
05/23/2014 03:27 EDT

An Open Letter to Neil Young on Oilsands, Fort McMurray, and Home

Welcome to Fort McMurray, Neil. This is not the place you think it is. Oh, sure, it is the home of the oil sands, and that is our major industry - but it is, as the ads say, so much more than oil. This community is home to thousands of people who live, work, and play here. And some of them, like me, love it. In fact some of us love it so much it feels more like home than anywhere else we have ever lived, and we work every single day to try to make it a better place - and that includes the industry.
09/12/2013 05:45 EDT

The Difficult Path of Politics and Parenthood in Fort McMurray

It is hard to describe what happened after I heard our local MLA had been charged in a prostitution sting. I cried when I was first told, cried for what it meant on every level, and cried because I - and my 13-year old daughter - have spent time with Allen. I was there when he announced his nomination for the PC party. I was there when he won the constituency in which I reside - my daughter and I were there for his victory party. I was there when he participated in announcements on the twinning of Highway 63.
07/26/2013 03:05 EDT

What the Hell is Going on in Fort McMurray?

What the hell indeed is going on in Fort McMurray, you might ask. How did I get to spend time talking to Malcolm Gladwell, and Bill Cosby? What is bringing these people so far north? Well, what is bringing them is the Northern Insights speaker series from the Fort McMurray Public Library - but I think what is really drawing them in is the narrative of this community.
05/17/2013 02:49 EDT

Boston Bombings: Don't Look For the Helpers

I remember a day in September, 2001, that shifted my world. I watched it unfold in front of me, two planes crashing into two towers, and all the pain and grief and disbelief that followed. I remember watching my daughter, just two days before her second birthday, and thinking that even though she was far too young to realize it her world had forever been altered.
04/17/2013 12:38 EDT

Have We Doomed Ourselves on Highway 63? Traffic Infraction Stats Frightening

On occasion I like to believe that people can change their behaviour. I suppose I am an optimist in that regard, at least until I am proven wrong. This past week I was deeply troubled by the report about some recent statistics as they do not bode well for our ability to change our behaviour. Those statistics? The traffic infraction numbers for February to March 27 2013 on Highways 63, 881, and 69.
04/03/2013 05:57 EDT

Not Your Father's Fort McMurray

In my life as a community blogger I occasionally get emails and messages from those curious about where I live. Sometimes they come from those who have been to northern Alberta, and sometimes they come from people from countries far away, wondering if this is the place they have been looking for to change their fortunes.
02/28/2013 01:19 EST

Freedom From Fear In Fort McMurray; Women Targeted In Car Robberies

There are topics I wish I didn't have to write about, because I wish they didn't touch our community. I don't feel it is right to ignore them when they are happening, though, because it is only through frank and open dialogue that we can resolve some issues, and educate on others. It can be troubling to write about them, but it is also honest, and I think the most important thing we can do in this community is to be honest, and not only about what is great about us. We also need to be honest about the problems we encounter, too.
01/28/2013 02:52 EST

Presenting The Fort McMurray Twitter Top Twelve Of 2012

I present to you the YMM Twitter Top Twelve of 2012 - and yes, there are twelve categories but more than twelve accounts, so deal with it. I never was good at making decisions, people. These are in random order as I have chosen to not select one as the "top" account overall - there is just no way for me to do that because I happen to think these ones would all deserve top spot. And if you don't like it? Make your own damn list ;)
01/17/2013 06:53 EST

The Plight Of The Homeless By One Who Is Homeless

It is with a heavy heart that I sit to write this, because it was inspired by a recent incident in Calgary. In that incident a homeless man was eating in a local restaurant, having had a meal paid for by others. The story is a bit murky, but apparently he became a bit disruptive, and an employee at the restaurant asked him to leave. While I understand asking any disruptive patron to leave it was the words apparently used that troubles me. The employee told him to leave because he was dirty, smelly, and "looked offensive".
12/05/2012 05:05 EST

The Alberta Legislature, Sleep Deprivation And Bad Decision Making

I woke up this morning and checked into Twitter to discover some very self-congratulatory tweets coming out of the Alberta Legislature. The tweets weren't really about passing good legislation or having a good debate, though. No, they were about the heroism of politicians staying up all night long to debate that legislation and govern our province. And my response? I'm not impressed by that "heroism".
11/24/2012 02:06 EST
Alamy

Why Playing Doctor in Fort McMurray Is No Fun

It is the sign I have come to dread in this community. It is the one that has all too often greeted me when I walked into the office of my family doctor, the sign that states: "As of date such-and-such this office will close and Doctor So-and-so will no longer be practicing in Fort McMurray. Please ask for referrals to another family physician." I despise this sign.
11/14/2012 01:08 EST
Commons

Fort McMurray Newsflash- Culturally Diverse but Zero Igloos

Ever watch one of those shows that make fun of Americans and what they think of Canadians? I mean, ha ha, they think we all live in igloos, or ha ha, they think we all drive snowmobiles in July. Except I find I am not doing much ha-ha-ing when I realize that my fellow Canadians - and Albertans - know so little about my region. I find myself saying not "ha ha" but rather "what the hell?"
11/01/2012 12:29 EDT

Why "My" Highway Needs "Your" Money

Why should their money go to pay for my highway? Well, why should my tax dollars go to pay for their hospitals? Why should my tax dollars pay for anything in their region or community? Because that's just how it works, folks. My tax dollars might be allocated to your regional needs just as your tax dollars might be to mine. But there is a far larger reason at work here. Where EXACTLY do people in this province think the money in our economy is coming from? Who is the economic driver of this province? What is the economic engine?
10/26/2012 02:55 EDT

Embracing 'Steve:' The Fort McMurray Dating Scene

You see, there is a gender imbalance in this region. There are a lot of men compared to women, and many women come here with their significant others, so single women can be a bit more rare (although they do exist, as I know several). This means men might have to work harder to impress those women, although some, like Steve from site, have a tendency to lose focus on what really matters when it comes to interpersonal relationships (and it isn't how many twenties you have in your wallet, incidentally).
10/16/2012 11:07 EDT
Commons

Why Fort McMurray Hates Journalists

It's gotten to the point where people in this region are wary of journalists. I've had some visiting journalists comment to me that they were surprised at how reluctant people have been to speak to them, how they have expressed alarm at the idea of speaking to a journalist from the outside media. And my only response is "Well, if somebody came to your house, visited you, ate dinner with you, laughed with you, talked with you, and then went away and wrote a story about how filthy your house is would you throw open the doors to speak to them again?"
10/10/2012 01:13 EDT

What We Really Fight About in Fort McMurray

Sometimes reading the national press makes me giggle. From those news stories one would get the impression the residents of my community fight about things like lack of parking, high rental costs, and our shortage of women. The funny thing is that we certainly have boomtown issues of just that nature, and other ones, too. But that isn't what gets Fort McMurray residents all hot and bothered. What gets people going here are issues that arise over where this community is headed - and one of those issues raised it's head recently over a little body of water in downtown Fort McMurray, a body of water called the Snye.
10/01/2012 12:39 EDT

The Power of Dirty Oil Money

Many things are written and said about the oil sands, and one of the allegations frequently made is that the oil derived from the naturally occurring bitumen is "dirty", tainted with the stain of environmental destruction. While that debate rages on one rarely hears about what happens to some of the money generated by that so-called "dirty" oil. One may hear about corporate profits, and royalties, and high salaries - but one very rarely hears about philanthropy.
09/17/2012 11:05 EDT