By Herald on December 31, 2020.
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
Claresholm mayor says town split over masks
The Town of Claresholm defeated a proposed face coverings bylaw during a special meeting of town council but is asking residents to continue to be diligent and follow all public health protocols in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Claresholm Mayor Doug MacPherson said the defeated bylaw has been greeted with a split reaction locally.
Ultimate act of kindness
Rhonda Dawes simply wanted to give someone a better 2020. So she gave a bit of herself. Dawes recently returned to Lethbridge following surgery to donate a kidney to an anonymous recipient in October.
Another alleged drug house shuttered by SCAN unit
The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs shut down another alleged crack house on the city’s northside. The house, located at 71 Stafford Rd. N., will be closed and locked up for 90 days, and the property will remain under supervision until October of next year.
Triple M fined $135,000 for workplace accident
A Lethbridge home manufacturing company has been fined $135,000 after one of its employees was struck and seriously injured while working more than three years ago. Triple M Housing was fined in Lethbridge provincial court, where the company’s lawyer pleaded guilty to one count under the Health and Safety Act of failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker.
Weekend blizzard brings closures, traffic chaos to local areas
Lethbridge and area continued to dig out from the weekend’s blizzard which dumped 24 centimetres of snow over the area, which was then blown into drifts by strong winds while causing whiteout conditions.
Veterans honoured for their sacrifice
Despite smaller numbers, veterans were honoured at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph at city hall. Due to COVID-19, people were urged to avoid crowds and instead view this year’s ceremony via the General Stewart Branch No. 4’s Facebook page, but little more than 100 socially distanced spectators gathered at the Cenotaph to pay their respects.
‘Jeopardy!’ contestant fondly remembers Trebek
Sharon Lawson’s appearance on the popular TV game show “Jeopardy!” last spring has become even more special to her since the death of the show’s longtime host, Alex Trebek. Lawson noted a Facebook page for former “Jeopardy!” contestants has been abuzz with reminiscences about the show’s well-loved host.
Family loses everything in fire
A family of four was left homeless following a house fire early Monday morning in the 3000 block of Blackfoot Road West which caused an estimated $400,000 damage. The sister of the tenant said the family lost everything and did not have renter insurance as it expired in September. A GoFundMe page has been established.
Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army teaming up to keep needy warm
The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen and the Lethbridge Salvation Army have teamed up to not only feed those in need, but clothe them for the winter months as well. The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, patrons not only got a hot meal, but were also sent away with a winter care package containing clothing essentials for the winter months ahead.
YWCA working at expanding shelter space
The Lethbridge YWCA is hoping to secure a new, larger space for its women’s shelter by December. While final negotiations on the real estate purchase have not yet been concluded, YWCA CEO Shannon Hansen says if all goes according to plan they will be able to more than double their current capacity to help women and families fleeing domestic violence and to secure permanent supportive housing for women in need in the community.
Council grants one-year grace period for condo recycling
City council will allow a one-year grace period to local condominiums over 45 units before implementing mandatory recycling as long as they can meet the same recycling standards as the City’s blue bin program through alternate private recycling options.
Council, mayor to take 10% pay cut
The Finance Committee of city council unanimously passed a resolution to reduce city council and the mayor’s pay by 10 per cent in 2021 with a zero per cent increase to follow in 2022. The motion was brought forward by Coun. Blaine Hyggen during the Finance Committee meeting, and is expected to save the City about $77,000.
Poppy campaign exceeds goal
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lethbridge Royal Canadian Legion General Stewart Branch 2020 Poppy Campaign has exceeded expectations. While the final numbers are still trickling in, this year’s campaign has received $98,823.63, said Glenn Miller, co-chair of public relations for General Stewart Branch 4.
After a difficult week of deliberations, the Finance Committee of city council was able to meet its target of a zero-per-cent municipal property tax increase for 2021 and 2022 while holding the line on fees and utility rates. While city council cannot guess what the provincial government may do in terms of its portion of the rate of taxation on local property taxes next year, at least from the City’s perspective, stated Deputy Mayor and Finance Committee chair Rob Miyashiro, councillors found ways to absorb previously budgeted municipal tax increases largely by finding spending cuts within City departments and the police service.
Roy Fox re-elected Chief of Blood Tribe
Roy Fox will return as Chief of the Blood Tribe, according to official results from the Blood Tribe election. Fox garnered 628 votes, according to chief electoral officer Wilton Good Striker, to outdistance runner-up Vernon Chief Moon Jr., who received 551 votes. A total of eight people were in the running for chief.
Mask bylaw extended
City council has extended its temporary Mandatory Face Covering and Masking Bylaw until Feb. 23, and will hold a public consultation to debate the wisdom of extending the bylaw into even later in the new year at the Feb. 11 Community Safety Standing Policy Committee meeting.