June 16th, 2024

Year-In-Review: Top stories from April – June


By Lethbridge Herald on December 28, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Dignitaries cut the ribbon after ceremonies for the official opening of the new Festival Square Market Plaza downtown. Herald photo by Al Beeber Dragon boat teams race towards the finish during the ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival. Herald photo by Justin Seward Many turned out to the ‘Ditch the Draft’ curriculum protest at City Hall in April. The protest was in hopes of a having a voice heard about the the current curriculum that will be implemented on September. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Departing president of Lethbridge College Paula Burns addresses the graduating class of 2022 during convocation.

As we all prepare to turn our calendars to the new year, we take time to reflect back on 2022 and examine all the ups and downs, highs and lows and leading stories that graced the pages of The Lethbridge Herald. Each day this week will feature the top local headlines with the year split into quarters.

April

‘Ditch the Draft’ rally protests province’s new K-6 curriculum

A crowd of supporters showed up in front of City Hall on Saturday for a province-wide ‘Ditch the Draft’ Curriculum rally. The focus of the protest was to hear the concerns about Alberta’s K-6 draft curriculum. 

In March the provincial government announced that it would be implementing the new K-3 Mathematics, English Language Arts and Literature as well as a new Physical Education and Wellness curriculum starting in September. A new curriculum for Grades 4-6 will be implemented for Math, English, Language Arts and Literature in September 2023. 

E-scooters hit the streets

Neuron Mobility rolled out its fleet of e-scooters and e-bikes in Lethbridge Friday, part of a pilot program approved by Lethbridge City Council back in May. 

The first phase of the program will offer e-mobility devices across West and South Lethbridge, covering 47 kilometres. 

City donations heading to Ukraine

Representatives from Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services and Lethbridge City Council gathered Monday to load five pallets of supplies to be sent to Ukraine.

Last month City council gave the green light to Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services to donate surplus items to relief efforts in Ukraine, after council voted unanimously to support the initiative following a presentation by Fire Chief Greg Adair. 

‘Our Sacred Home’: St. Francis receives Blackfoot name

St. Francis Junior High School has become the second Lethbridge school in the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division to receive a Blackfoot name.

The naming ceremony took place at the school gymnasium where school of offcials, Elders, board members of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and students witnessed Elder Tom Little Bear bestow upon the school the Blackfoot name of Naatowapoomahpis, which translates to Our Sacred Home. 

Raymond council defeats motion over liquor laws

Since November, Raymond town council has been discussing potentially changing the Town’s Land Use Bylaw to allow liquor licenses in their otherwise ‘dry’ town. 

A public hearing was held earlier this year, along with a survey that concluded April 7. 

At their April 19 meeting, Raymond’s council voted to not amend the bylaw, thus keeping the town dry. 

Piikani working with government to resolve LNID water access

The Piikani Nation is denying that it is blocking a water infrastructure project on the Oldman River. 

“Piikani Chief and Council have been working constructively for years to resolve outstanding issues and ensure that Piikani’s interests are preserved as part of what is a massive water infrastructure project on our land that directly affects us. Those discussions are ongoing. Our intention has always been for respectful dialogue. This is why since 2018 we have requested meetings with the Alberta Government to address this important issue,” said Chief Stan Grier of the Piikani Nation in a statement. 

AUPE raises safety concerns regarding Melcor Centre

The Alberta Union of Public Employees says a downtown Lethbridge building is unsafe for workers and visitors. 

The Melcor Centre has suffered three floods in Government of Alberta Offices this year caused by problems with overhead pipes, says the union, which claims there have been eight floods in the building since 2014. 

May

U of L group pass vote of non-confidence in management

Nearly 300 University of Lethbridge faculty members are supporting a non-confidence vote in upper management at the school. In an email to media, the Faculty Members Governance Group said as of April 28 296 faculty members had supported the motion, 25 have abstained and seven have voted against it. The email said 328 faculty participated in the vote, 322 of them being full-time staff. It was also stated that support amounted to 97.7 per cent of those who took a position on the motion. 

Crown looks to fast-track Coutts blockade trials

Four men charged with conspiracy to commit murder at the Coutts border protest earlier this year are being fast-tracked to trial. 

The matter for one of the men, 48-year-old Christopher Lysak, was in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench Monday, where Crown Prosecutor Steven Johnston said he has preferred a direct indictment for the accused and plans to do the same for the other three accused, Chris Carbert, Anthony Olienick and Jerry Morin. 

A direct indictment, which must be approved by the attorney general, allows the Crown to move a matter directly to trial without first having a preliminary hearing. 

Lethbridge Airport takes flight following renovations

The City of Lethbridge of officially celebrated the grand opening of the newly-renovated and improved Lethbridge Airport in the presence of stakeholders and government partners Wednesday. 

Premier Jason Kenney said the grand opening was a big moment for southern Alberta and for the future of the region’s economy. 

Convocation ‘bittersweet’ for outgoing college president 

Lethbridge College graduates had the opportunity to receive their diplomas in the presence of family and friends once again, as this year’s ceremonies were open to the public. 

Convocation 2022 ceremonies were the last for departing president Paula Burns, who had the opportunity to see her own son graduate during the morning ceremony. 

Bail denied for two accused of conspiring to kill RCMP officers

Two of four men accused of conspiring to kill RCMP officers have been denied bail, while a third still hopes he’ll be released after sitting through a lengthy bail hearing Friday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench. 

Anthony Olienick, who appeared in court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, will have to wait several days to learn if he’ll be released, after Justice Vaughan Hartigan reserved his decision until June 9. And co-accused Chris Carbert, who had a bail hearing May 20, will remain in custody following Madam Justice Johnna Kubik’s decision Friday to deny his release. Carbert returns to Court of Queen’s Bench June 13 for arraignment, and to June 14 in provincial court to transfer his charges to the higher court. 

Another accused, Christopher Lysak, was denied bail in March, while the fourth accused, Jerry Morin, has yet to have a bail hearing. 

Pea processing pilot facility promotes agri-processing sector

PIP International has opened a pea-processing pilot facility in Lethbridge after converting a mid-sized craft brewery into a fully commercialized pea processing and testing centre. 

Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney said the provincial government recognizes the significant role and potential of agri-processing in Alberta and the important role that plant-based products play as a driver of diversification. 

CCH graduate recipient of Golden Jubilee Award for work in community

Catholic Central High School graduate Josh Kroker won the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Citizenship Medal Award this year along with several other recipients across Alberta.

The Golden Jubilee Citizenship award honours students who have shown themselves to be community builders and leaders, civically minded, passionate about volunteering and who wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of their cause.

June

Parents pressuring G.S. Lakie to resolve school band issue

Parents at G.S Lakie Middle School were shocked recently to find out traditional band was no longer an option, especially for those already enrolled in the program this year. Some found out by word of mouth while others found out through registration for next year. But the school is trying to help their children have other avenues to explore. The school sent The Herald a statement that reads in part “Fine arts, and music education in particular, is an important component of the student experience at G.S. Lakie Middle School.” 

Court rules Phillips can appeal part of disciplinary decision

The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled a member of the legislative assembly can ask for a review on whether provincial rules allow for a presiding officer to temporarily demote a police officer. 

Shannon Phillips, who represents Lethbridge West for the Opposition NDP, has said two officers from the Lethbridge Police Service should be fired after they admitted to unauthorized surveillance on her when she was a provincial cabinet minister in 2017. 

One of the officers was demoted from senior constable to first-class constable for two years, later resigning, and the other was reduced in rank to senior constable from sergeant for one year. 

Neudorf throws hat back in ring

Nathan Neudorf will be fighting to keep his seat in the provincial election next May. Neudorf, the first-time MLA for Lethbridge East, was acclaimed as the UCP candidate for the riding and is gearing up for the next election. 

However, he told The Herald on Monday he decided Sunday not to make a run for his party’s vacant leadership. 

Willow Creek declares consecutive ag disaster

Two years of dry conditions have prompted the Municipal District of Willow Creek to declare that an agriculture disaster exists.

The M.D. issued a similar declaration last year. 

Chief administrative officer Derrick Krizsan said Friday “what we’re seeing is a low amount of runoff, we’re seeing extremely low levels in our rivers, creeks, some of the reservoir dams” 

City lights up Festival Square

It’s time to party in Festival Square Market Plaza! Years of planning and construction culminated in the opening of the downtown space that civic offcials expect to be a drawing card. 

Square construction was one of two projects including the 3 Avenue Reconstruction which encompassed a stretch from 4 St. to 8 St. 

Paddles up! Dragon Boat Festival returns to Henderson Lake 

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 20th Lethbridge Dragon Boat Festival hit the water at Henderson Lake. 

Innovative pharmacist walk-in clinic launched in Lethbridge

Alberta’s first pharmacist walk-in clinic will officially open its doors Monday inside the Lethbridge Real Canadian Superstore and Health Minister Jason Copping visited it Friday for a ribbon cutting ceremony. 

Minister Copping said during the ribbon cutting ceremony that this pilot project builds on the capacity of community pharmacy teams to improve access to primary care. 

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