June 18th, 2024

No council meeting the time to take care of business

By Lethbridge Herald on January 21, 2022.


Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald

January seems like an odd time to take a vacation – unless a person is planning to soak up the sun – but for me this year, it’s a necessity.

I have a few personal appointments that need to be taken care of and rather than interrupt busy work days, I’m going to kill a week to take care of them on my time all at once. When I was younger, killing a keg with some pals on a week off would be a more likely scenario rather than being responsible and going to appointments.

But those days are long gone and so being a real adult, I have real adult things to actually do.

I purposely chose a week with no full meeting of city council planned so I wouldn’t interrupt anyone else’s day here.

 As the person covering those meetings, I feel its my duty to make sure I’m on duty for all of them so this year’s vacations will all be wrapped around council schedules.

And I’m good with that – until last autumn, I hadn’t covered a council meeting of any time since I attended Coaldale’s when Alex Hann was mayor and I’m really enjoying getting immersed into the machinations of City Hall. 

As much as I loved covering entertainment stories and reviewing cars when there was either to do before COVID hit, City Hall is much more interesting. 

How civic government operates is intriguing and I feel privileged I’m getting the chance to cover this beat which has always been considered  the newsroom’s prime one. 

Getting the chance to start covering City Hall with a new council beginning its journey is a great way to start mine on this beat. 

Of course, I’ve known some of the council members for years but my dealings following them at their meetings gives me a new perspective.

 I remember watching Mark Campbell decades ago play exhibition basketball games against the Raymond Comets when he was first starting his radio career at CHEC, I’ve talked often with Jeff Carlson and ran into him many times when I wrote about New West Theatre.

 I occasionally see Ryan Parker at dog parks, usually Riverstone, and I’ve run into Rajko Dodic a few times over the years. 

I know Jenn Schmidt-Rempel from her work at the library and of course, Brenda Crowson through her endeavours as one of Lethbridge’s most well-known historians.

Starting out with a new council with no previous experience dealing with that body will be a benefit for readers because I bring to this beat no established perspective or expectations based on previous dealings with city councils.

Readers are getting from me a fresh take on city business.

With any new role, there may be growing pains as I become familiar with City Hall and how it works. 

But so far since last fall when I took over the beat, I’m confident I’ve covered all the major stories that have emerged thus far accurately and fairly.

With COVID again wreaking havoc upon us, I will be covering more of the meetings remotely until it’s considered safe to physically be inside council chambers. 

Starting last Friday, I started working remotely from home on a part-time basis due to COVID. 

It’s a bit weird admittedly and I’m still trying to find the ideal place to set up a work station. 

The kitchen, facing the fridge, perhaps wasn’t the best because of temptation so I’m playing it by ear on a daily basis. Putting the laptop on my lap puts both of us at risk of a coffee spill so I’m not keen on going down that road.

I also can’t close any doors because one or both dogs will be scratching. They seem to think I’m at home for them and the sad eyes I get when I turn on the laptops and sit down is heartbreaking, especially the looks I get from the lab. I’m his daddy and life is all about him. The shepherd, on the other paw, just wants me around to feed him and let him outside.

Even if I’m not eating out of sight, which I do pretty much all the time, I’m pretty sure they think I am.

Because of the COVID situation, until I’m told otherwise, I’m at the office in the mornings and out of it in the afternoons. So if stories arise, the best time to contact me via my office direct line, which is 403-388-1153, is between 6ish a.m. and 11. Yes, 6. I’m an early riser and lately I feel I’m running behind if I’m not here by 6:30 a.m. Twenty-one year-old reporter me would never have believed that, you can be sure.

 I do check email constantly so that is your best bet if you need to get hold of me for a story. Or you can contact city editor Trevor Busch and have him forward me your information and phone number.

See you in a week.

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