June 22nd, 2024

Year-In-Review: Top stories from July – September

By Lethbridge Herald on December 29, 2022.

CANADIAN PRESS photo Queen Elizabeth II, seen during a 2010 visit to Canada, died in September at the age of 96. Herald photo by Ian Martens Lethbridge police tactical officers walk from the scene of a hostage situation at a downtown law office in July. Herald photo by Justin Seward A pilot leaves a trail of smoke as the Lethbridge Airshow got set to return to the skies. CANADIAN PReSS photo Pope Francis adjusts a traditional headdress he was given after his apology to Indigenous people during a ceremony in Maskwacis, Alta., as part of his papal visit across Canada in July.

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.


Hostage drama downtown

With a loud bang and the sound of what seemed to be gunshots, a hostage situation in downtown Lethbridge ended abruptly an hour and a half after it began. 

A female employee of Lethbridge Legal Guidance at 423 5 St. S., who was taken hostage by another woman, was rushed to hospital by ambulance with life-threatening injuries. Police have taken a 40-year-old woman into custody. 

Lethbridge gymnastics coach charged with sexual assault

Lethbridge Police have charged a local gymnastics coach in connection with the sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl. 

On July 5 police responded to a report that a seven-year-old girl was sexually assaulted while attending a session at the Lethbridge Gymnastics Academy along the 3200 block of 32 Street North. Police say further investigation by members of the Violent Crimes Unit determined the child was sexually assaulted by her coach during sessions at the gym between May and June 2022. 

The 33-year-old male coach was arrested without incident on July 12. Jamie Ellacott, 33, of Lethbridge, is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference. 

Waterton officially opens new visitor centre

Waterton Lakes National Park celebrated the official opening of its new visitor centre Tuesday with a ceremonial planting of white bark pine trees, joined by the Kainai and Piikani Nations. Although the Centre opened back in February, the event served as a ceremonial thank you to those involved in the creation of the facility, including Parks Canada and the Blackfoot Confederacy. 

First Nations prepare mentally for Pope’s Alberta visit

Pope Francis arrives in Canada this Sunday for a week-long trip across Canada working towards reconciliation and apologizing to Indigenous Peoples for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the operation of residential schools. 

Seven years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action called on the Pope to issue an apology to survivors and their families, many Indigenous people are preparing for old wounds to re-surface. Thursday, in a media address, Treaty 6 leaders and survivors spoke about the impact of the Papal visit and re-building as a people. 

Grand Chief Arcand Jr. spoke on the gravity of the visit. “I believe this apology is a beginning, a way forward, for our people’s road to healing.” 

Airshow gains altitude following pandemic break

The Lethbridge International Airshow is set to take fight this weekend for the first time since 2017. 

Airshow president Dallas Harty, among several organizers who have been with the show since its beginnings, said Thursday fans can expect a wide range of performers and a unique static display. 


Lethbridge No. 1 on StatCan Crime Index

Lethbridge is ranked No. 1 on the 2021 Statistics Canada Crime Statistics Index but numbers are dropping from 2020. 

Lethbridge topped the nation with an index rating of 128.65 but that’s a 7.13 per cent drop from 2020. 

Kelowna, B.C. was second on the national list at 122.3 but that city experienced a 10 per cent increase. Winnipeg, Man., Regina, Sask. and Thunder Bay, Ont. followed. 

“I shouldn’t have survived”: Hostage recounts her story

Kathryn Lindner credits her faith and ability to stay calm for helping her survive a hostage-taking that left her in hospital for eight days.

Lindner was stabbed multiple times in the neck by a woman who held her hostage in an office at Lethbridge Legal Guidance on July 14. 

“There were angels in that room. I couldn’t see them but I sure know they were there. I shouldn’t have survived that,” said Lindner. 

Council votes to secure approval for temporary sober shelter

The Civic Curling Centre could be the temporary new home of a sober shelter. 

Council passed by a 6-2 margin in a special meeting Tuesday morning to approve a three-part resolution calling for administration to apply for development approval for the shelter. 

Gym coach faces additional sexual assault charges

A local gymnastics coach accused of sexually assaulting a young girl earlier this year, is now facing charges in relation to three other young girls. 

Jamie Ellacott was charged last month with sexual assault and sexual interference. Police reported that three more girls, ages 10, 12 and 14, were alleged to have been sexually assaulted during sessions at the gym in May 2022. 

Ellacott was arrested Wednesday and charged with three additional counts of sexual assault and sexual interference. 

Provincial police could cost much more than estimated, argues NPF

After the United Conservative Party government outlined its blueprint for more police in rural Alberta on Tuesday, the National Police Federation reiterated the fact that many municipalities are opposed as shown in recent research conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights. 

Hyggen takes heat over climate change tweet

Lethbridge mayor Blaine Hyggen is taking heat over a tweet he reposted on his personal Twitter account from an organization that disputes climate change, an opinion he says doesn’t reflect his own beliefs. 

The tweet is not on his official mayor’s Twitter account, which is a separate entity. 

The article from The Daily Skeptic states in its opening paragraph “The political fiction that humans cause most or all climate change and the claim that the science behind this notion is ‘settled’, has been dealt a savage blow by the publication of a ‘World Climate Declaration (WCD)’ signed by over 1,100 scientists and professionals.” 


Enmax Centre paid parking begins

Residents and students were reminded that paid parking at the Enmax Centre is now in effect.

The City says  to a user pay system means funds will be collected by those using the parking lot – both local residents and out of town visitors.

Blood Tribe study examines impact of racism

The Blood Tribe is releasing a study addressing racism in the area. The study was conducted by Dr. Gabrielle Lindstrom of Mount Royal University and a Kainai member. It was achieved through the tribal government application for funding from the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Education and Multiculturism Fund to conduct a research project examining the effects of racism on members of the Blood Tribe Community. 

The study was conducted over a two-year period with Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from southern Alberta with assistance from tribal government staff. 

Overdose Awareness Day remembers those lost to crisis

Alberta Alliance Who Educate and Advocate Responsibly, AAWEAR, held an event in Galt Gardens Wednesday for International Overdose Awareness Day, uniting to try to bring an end to the overdose crisis and remembering those who have lost someone with support and education on the topic. 

“We are here to remember, without stigma, those who have died and acknowledge the families who have gone through grief and loss. We’re calling for an end to the punitive drug laws that have cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives in the fight,” said Heidi Reinke, outreach coordinator for the Lethbridge chapter of AAWEAR. 

Death of Queen Elizabeth II end of an era

On her 21st birthday in 1947, Princess Elizabeth went on the radio and made a promise to Britain and its Commonwealth nations: She pledged that “my whole life, whether it be short or long, will be devoted to your service.” Over her very long life, Queen Elizabeth II fulfilled that vow. 

The longest-reigning monarch that Britain has ever known, Elizabeth died at 96 at Balmoral Castle, her beloved summer home in Scotland, after having steadied and modernized the royal institution through seven decades of huge social change.

Lethbridge MP Rachael Thomas was among those who expressed their feelings when contacted by The Herald. 

“It was with a sad heart that I learned of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said Thomas in a written statement. “I have always held her in high regard. She has modelled for so many what it looks like to live with integrity and lead with courage. Her life was one marked by service, resilience, fortitude, and strength.” 

Phillips back on the ballot for Lethbridge-West

NDP MLA for Lethbridge West Shannon Phillips has secured her party’s nomination to run in next year’s provincial election. 

Phillips first was elected to serve the riding in 2015 and was Minister for the Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for Climate Change in Rachel Notley’s government which lost power after the 2019 provincial vote. 

Former city councillor Rob Miyashiro is the NDP candidate in Lethbridge East. 

Victim strangled before body dumped in 2021 homicide

It was a long drive from Kelowna, B.C. to Alberta, so when Melissa Martens-Lagasse and her friend Megan Eekma reached Fort Macleod on Nov. 18, 2021 and waited for Martens-Lagasse’s mother to arrive from Medicine Hat, Eekma fell asleep. While she slept, Martens-Lagasse wrapped a rope around her 34-year-old friend’s neck and strangled her to death. 

Martens-Lagasse, 27, pleaded not guilty last April to a charge of first-degree murder and elected to be tried by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury, but this week during a hearing in Court of King’s Bench she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and the matter was adjourned to schedule a date for sentencing. 

Tough financial times for YMCA of Lethbridge in 2022

The YMCA of Lethbridge is forecasting a loss of $165,385 for 2022, according to a report submitted to the Economic Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council on Wednesday. 

The report was contained in a submission made by YMCA CEO Jennifer Petracek-Kolb to the SPC as it heard budget requests for the years 2023-26. 

The report states that once the 2022 audited financial statements are available, the YMCA may have a need to en- gage in further discussions with the City for funding support if there is indeed a loss.

Share this story:


Comments are closed.