May 17th, 2024

2020 year in review: September

By Herald on December 31, 2020.

Grade 2/3 teacher Lara Johannsen shows her class a face mask as students returned for the first day of school at Park Meadows Elementary School. 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

Schools welcome back students
Schools across Lethbridge opened their doors to students on Tuesday for the first time since March, with most families eager to return to school to bring some greater sense of normalcy to their lives after months of dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while going back to school was an exciting day for many, it certainly won’t be class as usual this year with complex re-entry plans in place, and masking required for all students Grades 4-12.

Good weather has helped with area harvest
Favourable weather conditions, particularly in the south and central regions, have allowed most Alberta farmers to start harvesting spring-seeded crops, with southern Alberta producers leading the way, according to the latest crop report from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Visitations increasing slowly at mobile OPS
While it has only been able to serve a limited number of clients since coming into operation on Aug. 17, according to Alberta Health Services the mobile overdose prevention unit is slowly gaining the trust of former clients of the ARCHES-run supervised consumption site. Between Aug. 17 and Aug. 31, AHS confirms the new mobile OPS was able to serve about an average of 11 clients per day.

Peaceful anti-mask protest delays start of city council meeting
About 80 people made a peaceful anti-masking protest at city hall just before Tuesday’s city council meeting. The group, led by Lee Mein, owner of Canadian Martial Arts in Lethbridge, began its action outside, but soon went inside where protesters briefly occupied the city council chamber, delaying the start of the public council meeting, before departing peacefully again.

‘Oasis of crime’ closed
The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs office shut down another alleged drug house on Lethbridge’s northside. While there are several suspected drug houses in Lethbridge, this one on the 300 block of 20 Street North may be a bigger win for the community than most, confirmed Lethbridge Police Service Downtown Crime Unit Cst. Ryan Darroch.

Ground is broken for Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre
The shovels went into the ground Friday afternoon at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden for a project that began six years ago. A special ceremony for the new Nikka Yuko Bunka [Culture] Centre took place in front of Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden with members of the Lethbridge & District Japanese Garden Society, City of Lethbridge and honoured dignitaries in attendance.

Raymond energy project receives national award
The Town of Raymond has been selected as a winner of a 2020 Sustainable Communities Award for its work in energy, it was announced by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Raymond was recognized for its Electrical Net Zero Project as the first Canadian community to become operationally net-zero electrically.

Needle debris spreads in city
With still limited usage of the new mobile overdose prevention site by Lethbridge’s most vulnerable, Sage Clan Patrol leader Mark Brave Rock is warning local officials and residents that drug use and needle debris are proliferating around the city in a way his group, which does community outreach and needle and drug debris collection, hadn’t seen before the former supervised consumption site closed.

Terry Fox Run overcomes obstacles
Before a virtual lap was even run, the 40th annual Terry Fox Run was off and running. With pandemic protocol preaching social distancing and a lack of crowds, local organizers Lorien Johansen and Bobbie Fox delivered a live feed from the Lethbridge Terry Fox Run Facebook page to this year’s participants, who were doing their recreational activity live on video instead of the normal in-person format.

Pop-up OPS operators fined for no permit
The City of Lethbridge confirmed it gave the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society a $300 fine after the group failed to comply with a request to remove its unpermitted tent from Galt Gardens. The Lethbridge Police Service didn’t witness any criminal drug activity within or near the tent, so the City was acting under the provisions of local bylaws which require permits to set up any kind of structure or operation in public areas.

Orange Shirt Day ceremony honours residential school victims
Remembering children who died at the two Indian residential schools on the Blood Reserve — St. Paul’s and St. Mary’s and other residential schools — the Kainai Wellness Centre held an Orange Shirt Day ceremony at St Paul’s Anglican Residential School. Each year on Sept. 30, First Nations and other communities coast to coast come together in a spirit of reconciliation and wear orange shirts in honour of residential school survivors and hope for a better future.

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