January 18th, 2021

2020 year in review: June


By Herald on December 30, 2020.

A group watches from an outcrop overlooking the St. Mary River as an RCMP helicopter continues the search for a missing Hutterite girl who was one of three lost in the river the evening before. Herald file photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

The Herald takes a look back at the Lethbridge stories that made headlines in 2020 in a month by month series running through this week to New Year’s Eve

JUNE
Upgrades approved for Correctional Centre
The province will be giving $3.3 million in maintenance grants to enhance security features at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre. The $3.3 million is made up of two grants. The province will spend $1.5 million for security door upgrades on the centre’s holding cells while $1.8 million will be spent on installing an upgraded video security system.

Man lands 130-pound sturgeon in Oldman River
After endless hours of fishing along the Oldman River with no results, a Lethbridge man finally landed his catch of a lifetime when a large sturgeon took the line and forced him and two other young men into a 30-minute battle. The final result was a 70-inch, 130-pound sturgeon at the end of his line.

Special day for Indigenous grads
Over two days, local graduating Indigenous high school students celebrated their accomplishments with a special ceremony from the Indigenous Educational Team at the Lethbridge School Division. As part of the division’s way to support and celebrate with the graduating class, the FNMI Education Team put together a special drive-through graduation ceremony for their students and their families.

Protesters take a knee for Black and Indigenous lives
Taking a knee for nearly nine minutes, many with a raised fist, hundreds of Lethbridge residents gathered in front of city hall to say Black lives matter and Indigenous lives matter. The peaceful protest was inspired by recent events in the United States surrounding the killing of African American George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.

City taking cautious approach to Phase 2 relaunch
While the province announced municipalities would have the go-ahead to accelerate the relaunch of the economy by opening more facilities an amenities earlier than previously planned, the City of Lethbridge will continue to take a slow and steady approach, said Director of Emergency Management Marc Rathwell.

Two teens drown, one missing in river accident
Two teen girls are confirmed dead and one is missing after a boat they were in overturned in the St. Mary River near Spring Coulee. Three girls from the Spring Valley Hutterite Colony had been out of the river with a group of friends when the boat they were in encountered difficulty. As they were trying to exit the boat, it overturned, dumping the three girls and others into the river.

Lethbridge media pioneer Fooks passes away
Georgia Green Fooks, a media pioneer in Lethbridge and who sent numerous journalists into the media industry over her 23 years as an instructor at the then Lethbridge Community College, has passed away at the age of 91.

City to support Brier bid
Despite some strong voices in opposition on city council, the City of Lethbridge will be making a $1-million bid to host the Tim Hortons Brier in 2022. The $1-million total includes $355,000 from its major event hosting fund, $245,000 in cash from council contingencies reserve fund and $400,000 in “in-kind” donations.

City cancels Six Mile Coulee project
City council has voted to cancel $1.75-million Six Mile Coulee pathway project and has asked City staff to go back to the drawing board to work with user groups to come up with an acceptable alternative to improve the safety and sustainability on the popular trail system.

State of Emergency lifted
The City of Lethbridge has lifted its State of Local Emergency after 13 weeks and will move to reopen almost all recreational facilities in the coming two months. However, Director of Emergency Management Marc Rathwell cautioned residents not to let their guard down in the coming weeks and months as the virus is still active in the province and the region.

Provost family hopes sentence brings closure
It was a sombre gathering outside the Lethbridge Courthouse as family members of Barney Paul Provost cried in each other’s arms only minutes after a judge sent the man who killed the well-loved and respected Piikani Nation counsellor to prison. Madam Justice Johnna Kubik sentenced Douglas Wilbur Bagnall to five years in a federal penitentiary after he pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing death in a head-on collision with Provost’s vehicle after driving on the wrong side of Highway 3.

Show of support for police
A group of Lethbridge residents, mostly mothers with their children, came out to make a heartfelt show of support for local law enforcement at Lethbridge Police Service headquarters. About 30 people came out to give tokens of appreciation for the work the police service does in the community, particularly in light of recent negativity directed toward police officers across the country due to a recent series of high-profile incidents involving officer violence on both sides of the border.

RCMP superintendent new LPS Chief of Police
The Lethbridge Police Commission has chosen RCMP Chief Superintendent of the Central Alberta District, Shahin Mehdizadeh as the new Lethbridge Police Service Chief of Police. Mehdizadeh has served as an officer for over 30 years with the RCMP. He has extensive experience with major crimes, drugs and organized crime and is considered a subject matter expert in the field of crime reduction.

$27.8 million for Exhibition
The Exhibition Park Evolution upgrade got a super charge from the province to help transform it into a world-class agrifood hub in Lethbridge. Premier Jason Kenney ad Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshan announced $27.8 million in funding for the project at a special press conference at the park’s Heritage Hall. The $70-million Evolution project would create a new premier conference centre on site which is hoped would serve as a driving engine of agrifood development in the region for decades to come.

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