July 17th, 2024

Year in Review: July to September


By Lethbridge Herald on December 29, 2023.

As we all prepare to turn our calendars to the new year we take time to reflect back on 2023 and examine all the highs and lows, ups and downs and leading stories that graced the pages of The Lethbridge Herald.
This is the third of a four-part series.

JULY

Piikani Elder Harley Crowshoe has been named a member to the Order of Canada.
A listing of new appointees from the Governor General’s office stated that Crowshoe has been recognized “for helping to improve the outcomes and experiences of Indigenous peoples and communities in his province and beyond.”

The City of Lethbridge has opened multiple Electric Vehicles (EV) charging stations
at four strategic locations across the city to accommodate the increase of electricity-propelled vehicles within the city.
The City of Lethbridge recently in- stalled 22 new EV charging stations and they are now open to the public for use.
Project Manager for Waste and Environment, Stewart Purkis said they placed the stations in locations where people could have something to do while waiting for their cars to charge.

Incoming president and vice- chancellor of the University of Lethbridge Digvir Jayas’ first official day was marked by a welcome walk around campus Tuesday afternoon. Jayas spoke to reporters prior to the welcome walk and said he was excited to take on his first day on the job and was looking forward to meeting the community inside and outside of the university.

Former University of Lethbridge president and vice-chancellor Howard Tennant is being remembered as a respected leader who served not only the U of L but the community.
Lethbridge native Tennant died unexpectedly in April of natural causes and a memorial service is being held at 1 p.m. in St. Martha’s Catholic Church. A celebration of life will be held after for family and friends on the third floor of the Student Union Building of the U of L.

What is the UCP government’s plan for the Canada Pension Plan? The Alberta NDP is calling on premier Danielle Smith to tell Albertans if the government intends to keep the province in the plan or create its own. West Lethbridge MLA Shannon Phil- lips, the NDP finance critic for insurance and pensions, said outside the old courthouse that the CPP is considered the No. 1 asset manager for retirement savings in the world. Changing the plan would impact the appeal of moving to Alberta for Canadians from other provinces paying into the CPP and vice versa, she said.

Australian Michael ‘Mic’ Whitty is on a mission that has him crossing Canada to visit every cemetery wherea First or Second World War casualty is buried.
Travelling the country on a single-speed bicycle from Vancouver, Whitty stopped in Lethbridge on the weekend as he headed east. Whitty is on a six-month visa and he will be visiting as many of those cemeteries that he comes across close to the highway.

When Paquin Entertainment draws the curtains on the Beyond Van Gogh:
The Immersive Experience on Friday at the Enmax Centre, visitors can expect an experience unlike anything they’ve seen before. Beyond Van Gogh will run through Aug. 6. It’s open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Several solar farms in southern Alberta will benefit from a cash injection from the federal government. The announcement was made by Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources for Canada, The federal investment, which exceeds $160 million, will help fortify solar energy production at nine solar power projects across the province.

Jason Nixon, minister of seniors, community and social services, has highlighted the next steps for community partners can take to increase affordable housing throughout Alberta.
Nixon met at the Sundre Seniors’ Supportive Living Facility to announce the opening of a second application intake for the Affordable Housing Partnership Program across the province.

Concerned community members gathered outside City Hall to rally against an official business motion being presented to council that called for administration to look into the feasibility of installing wrought iron fencing around Galt Gardens. arly in its meeting, council voted against the motion which was present- ed, not to have council take action on fencing, but rather to have administration report back with information for a community dialogue on the matter.

Seventy years ago, the bullets fell silent on the Korean peninsula as an armistice was agreed upon between the two sides of a divided nation.
While the war officially remains active to this day, the end of the heavy combat and the installation of the Korean Demilitarized Zone signalled decades of peace, no matter how unstable the politics may be.

Street violence in Lethbridge is at its highest peak in years, says a city businessman.
And had Duane Gurr, president of London Road Market, known how bad it would get, he might have opened his business somewhere else.
“I’ve been here since 1973, I’ve never seen any- thing like it,” Gurr says. “If I had known that we’d be dealing with this nonsense, never in a million years would I’ve gotten into business in Lethbridge.”
General manager David Gurr, also expressed concern about the ongoing issues with the increase of weapons and their concern with protecting their staff.

Two men are dead after a hiking incident in the Crowsnest Pass.
One of the two, Greg Gaudette, was a member of the Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services team. The City announced flags would be lowered at City Hall and Lethbridge’s five fire stations in his honour.
“Greg Gaudette was a valued City of Lethbridge employee and a proud and dedicated member of the Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services family,” said the City in a statement to media, adding it wouldn’t comment any further out of respect to his family.

AUGUST

A memorial fund for two men who lost their lives in a hiking accident last week continues to grow as their family, friends and members of the community grieve their losses.
On Friday a memorial fund page for Jonah Swen and Greg Gaudette was created by Swen’s spouse Grace Garratt with the proceeds being 100 per cent given to Gaudette’s wife Colby to be put into a trust for Gaudette’s son, 13-month-old Kace.

Some people look forward to their retirement, however, with the increasing housing crisis in Canada many seniors are finding themselves left homeless or living out of their vehicles. Lise Souliere is one of those seniors’ experiencing homelessness – she has been living out of her vehicle for approximately nine years now.

A quiet southside street east of Lakeview School on Tuesday became the scene of tension as police dealt with a man barricaded inside a basement suite of a rental home.
The home’s elderly landlord had evicted the man several days ago and was threatened with a gun on Tuesday by his tenant, he told The Herald while standing on a boulevard just south of the grey one-storey home. The landlord said he didn’t actually see a weapon. Late in the afternoon, police took a man into custody and allowed the pub- lic to resume regular use of the area.

With the ongoing inflation crisis and food prices rapidly increasing, more people in southern Alberta are struggling to afford groceries. And the Lethbridge Food Bank is seeing a rapid increase in patrons.
Executive director Mac Nichol said this week that the inflation crisis is pushing more individuals to having to use the food bank.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has begun blocking Canadians from seeing online news content from Canadian publications.
Google will be following suit as the online giants respond to a federal law that requires online platforms to negotiate deals with Canadian news organizations to access their content.
Such restrictions mean readers of the Lethbridge Herald will no longer see the stories we post to our Facebook page.

A father who repeatedly assaulted his baby was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday after the judge reviewed the recommendation of the Crown prosecutor and his lawyer.
The father, who can’t be named to protect the identity of the baby girl, pleaded guilty on June 23 in Lethbridge court of justice to charges of aggravated assault and failure to provide the necessaries of life.
Taking time served into consideration, the man will serve just over six years in prison which will be spent at the Bowden Institution at Innisfail. He is also prohibited from owning a firearm for life.

Increased prices for groceries and the national housing crisis are factors that have increased the demand for low-cost housing in Lethbridge, according to the Lethbridge Housing Authority.
“What we’re seeing is, and what I’m scared that we’ll see, is more of an increase of demand on our housing and on our rent supplements, said LHA chief administrative officer Robin James.
With the rise in interest rates more people will enter the rental market which James said will put more strain on that market.

Kii Maa Pii Pii Tsin deep heal- ing recovery camps began readying for new sessions with an opening prayer and song at Red Crow Park in Standoff.
Founder of Kii Maa Pii Pii Tsin deep healing recovery camps, Alvin Mills, talked about the program and the healing that will take place by returning to the roots of Blackfoot culture.

The doors have opened on the long-awaited and much anticipated Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre.
An official grand opening event was staged on Thursday afternoon for an invitation-only audience at the brand new facility overlooking Henderson Lake. The event, which started at 2 p.m., featured speeches from various dignitaries and an official ribbon cutting outdoors.
The event attracted a whos-who of Lethbridge from politicians to members of the tourism and construction sector who sat through a multitude of speech- es and a video presentation on a giant screen behind the podium.

The provincial government’s six-month moratorium on solar and wind projects has sparked strong opposition but Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf says there are valid reasons for it.
Neudorf, who is also the Minister of Affordability and Utilities, says the province is trying to address the high costs residents pay for electricity – costs in part which include delivery charges.
Neudorf told The Herald in an interview this week that the costs of getting electricity to the grid have to be considered and those costs aren’t cheap.

Construction work has begun along 7 Street downtown with some business owners are
voicing concerns over what they say is a lack of communication from the City and worries over the potential impact the project will have on their businesses.
The downtown project will see 100-year-old watermains replaced along 7 St. S from 3 Ave. to 6 Ave., as well as the construction of protected bicycle lanes along 4 Ave. S. from west of Scenic Drive South to Stafford Drive South and along 7 St. S. and AveS.
A petition on behalf of the business owners was sent to the city, asking for the construction notto take place as they felt it would negatively impact the parking lot and access to customers visiting the stores.

With daytime highs of over 30 degrees Celsius this week, a heat warning has been issued for Lethbridge and most of the southern half of the province by Environment Canada. with cooler weather expected on Friday.

A former Lethbridge College employee was ordered to pay back nearly $60,000 in restitution and serve a two- year conditional sentence order. The case of Emily Campbell, who was charged with fraud and related offences for stealing nearly $60,000. was in Lethbridge court of justice Wednesday.

Fewer entrenched camps are being seen in Lethbridge this year, media was told Thursday during an update on the City’s
encampment strategy.
Matthew Pitcher, Housing Solutions Co-ordinator with the City of Lethbridge, said at City Hall the lower numbers of entrenched camps is one of several trends being noticed this year. Since the start of the co-ordinated response, there have been 384 calls come in for a variety of scenarios including needle debris, biohazard debris related to homelessness and encampment calls, Pitcher said.

With Whoop-Up Days around the corner, Lethbridge and District Exhibition is getting ready
to welcome everyone not only to enjoy the fair, but also their brand new facility. Lethbridge and District Exhibition CEO Mike Warkentin spoke to media Friday and said they could not be more excited about this year’s Whoop-Up Days, having people coming through their brand new facility to reach the midway.

Hundreds braved inclement weather Tuesday morning to enjoy the Whoop-Up Days parade, with many families upholding their yearly tradition despite the rain.
Just before the parade started, as a little drizzle fell, Lethbridge and District Exhibition CEO Mike Warkentin, spoke to media at the staging grounds behind Park Place Mall and said that rain seems to be part of Whoop-Up Days, and it wasn’t enough to dampen spirits.

Members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Fort Macleod say they had to endure hateful actions
while celebrating Pride over the past weekend.
Protesters are alleged to have disrupt- ed festivities, released an odoriferous substance at an event at the Empress Theatre, as well as having cut down and burned the Pride flag pole. The Fort Macleod Pride committee had organized two main events to celebrate Pride in the community, with one public event taking place outdoors and a private event being held inside the Empress Theatre, that required ticket purchases to attend.

A trio of missing rafters were found safe on Tuesday after- noon after family members lost contact with the three the day before.
The Lethbridge Police Service said the rafters were found south of Lethbridge by HALO Air Ambulance who had volunteered their services to help aid in the search coordinated by RCMP.
Earlier Tuesday LPS sent out a release saying they were investigating the disappearance of a mother and son, who went missing after rafting along a southern Alberta river with her boyfriend in search of ammolite.

The Town of Fort Macleod has united against hate with full support from its mayor and councillors after the incidents that took place against the 2SLG- BTQ+ community over the weekend.
Chief Administrative Officer of the Town of Fort Macleod, Anthony Burdett spoke to the Herald on Tuesday and said the community has come forward to express their distaste and anger towards the hateful acts displayed within the town.
“A lot of support came out against the actions that happen on the weekend, and council in like manner in our communications,” said Burdett.

Bicycles can be a great means of transportation, however; they are also a big target for theft in connection with drugs in Lethbridge.
Lethbridge Police Service Sgt. Ryan Darroch said there is a connection between bike thefts and drugs here. “We see a constant flow of bike thefts happening within Lethbridge, especially within the downtown core. Bikes are used as a form of payment at times when it comes to people involved in drug use. That’s the goal to steal a bike to trade to dealer who will give them pennies on the dollar for the value of that bike for drugs in return,” said Darroch.

Multiple local agencies and groups gathered in Galt Gardens Thursday afternoon as part of
International Overdose Awareness Day, campaigning to end overdoses and remembering those who have died.
Moms Stop The Harm joined forces with the Alberta Alliance Who Educate and Advocate Responsibly (AAWEAR), Friends of Medicare and Raging Gran- nies at Galt Gardens to speak loudly against overdoses, provide a meal and clothes to those in need and let them know they do not go unseen.

Schools have filled up once more as summer comes to an end and a new school year begins.
Lethbridge School Division superintendent Mike Nightingale on
Tuesday said everyone is welcome back and encouraged people to be involved with their schools.
“We want you to know that everybody is welcome in our schools. My encouragement would be to just make sure you take the opportunity to enjoy as much of a school experience as you can and connect, be involved in your school, and make sure that you’re connecting with friends,” said Nightingale.

A Lethbridge woman accused of taking a hostage at a city business and stabbing her victim multiple times has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Courtney Louise Shaw, 41, pleaded guilty last month to two charges of pointing a firearm, four counts of using a firearm while committing an of- fence, three counts of unlawful confinement, and single counts of taking a hostage and aggravated assault.
The charges stem from an incident on July 14, 2022 when a woman entered the Lethbridge Legal Guidance office downtown. After being told a lawyer she requested to speak to was unavailable, she returned from a washroom and pointed a black handgun at two employees and threatened to kill them. She then forced a woman into an office and closed the door, allowing the other employees to escape. The hostage, however, was stabbed numerous times and required surgery. Police seized a knife and an airsoft handgun at the scene.

Lethbridge College welcomed more than 1,400 students to campus Tuesday morning for
its New Student Orientation (NSO) to help them navigate their new environment and get acquainted with each other.
Associate Dean of student affairs Lindsay Workman spoke to reporters and said energy around campus was contagious as the students walked in the doors.

A program to eradicate invasive species of fish out of an Uplands lake was expected
to see between 50,000 and 80,000 koi and goldfish killed this week. City crews on Tuesday began efforts to remove the invasive species out of both Chinook Lake in the Uplands and the Elma Groves storm pond at the edge of the Legacy Ridge subdivision.
After water levels were lowered in both water bodies, rotenone treatment was started. Rotenone is a naturally occurring substance that only harms gilled species, not humans, wildlife or pets so only fish will be die after the treatment, said Jackie Cardinal of the City of Lethbridge.

A Lethbridge man previously charged with murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Friday in Lethbridge court of justice and was sentenced to just under six years in prison.
Jade Levi Trotter,38, attended Lethbridge court
of justice in person on Friday, where Calgary lawyer Andrea Urquart in a joint submission with Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox, replaced his second-degree murder charge with a manslaughter charge to which he pleaded guilty.
His charges stemmed from an incident where police responded to a call Feb. 8, 2021 of someone screaming for help and arrived at an apartment building in the 1200 block of 4 Avenue South to find the body of 65-year-old Glenn Lofthouse. Police arrested Trotter the following day at a residence in the 1100 block of 11 Street South.

Nobody knows when an emergency is going to hap- pen, but when one does, we rely on emergency responders to assist. It’s hard to imagine the sights first
responders see on a daily basis here and elsewhere.
Lethbridge Fire & Emergency Services Deputy Chief of Safety, Health and Well- ness Cody Gundlock said in an interview that drug related calls and overdoses have ranked within the top five reasons for EMS to attend scenes in Lethbridge.
Overdoses are ranked third with falls second and patient transfers first.

A new program has been launched in Lethbridge for those living with cancer and for their caregivers, to have a safe space to gather and learn strategies for everyday life while battling the disease.
Wellspring Alberta, a registered charity that began in Calgary in 2007 as Wellspring Calgary and later merged with Wellsprings Edmonton to form Wellspring Alberta in 2022, is now serving the Lethbridge community with their in-person program called Cancer Connect.

Ron Sakamoto and Australian promoter Rob Potts spent six years together on the board of the Country Music Association.
In those years, they developed a friendship that lasted until Potts’ death in a motorcycle crash on the west coast of Tasmania in 2017.
Potts, who ran a company called Entertainment Edge, was one of his home- land’s leading concert promoters with a career spanning more than 30 years. Now his friend Sakamoto is one of four nominees for the Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award that will be handed out by the CMA later this fall.

Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services’ new recruits underwent a training session Thursday where they had the opportunity to learn how to get out of possible tricky situations.
Fire Training Officer Mark Matheson spoke to media during the train- ing session and said they have a very diverse group of nine recruits this time around and the training they were getting was essential for their survival.

The Lethbridge Police Service welcomed three new con- stables after they graduated from 22 weeks of training in an award-winning program that was developed in partnership with Lethbridge College.
The Police Cadet Training program, launched by the Centre for Justice and Human Services in 2017, was designed to meet industry demand and ensure officers are well-trained in both hard skills, such as firearms use, and soft skills, such as interpersonal commu- nication, ethical accountability and teamwork.

In support of reconciliation, a project has been launched by SouthGrow Regional Initiative to sup- port companies, municipalities, and small business across southern Alberta add Blackfoot translations to their signage.
With $40,000 in grants to give away, SouthGrow is accepting applications. For successful recipients, 80 per cent of the cost of the sign will be covered by the grant. Peter Casurella, Executive Director of the SouthGrow Regional Initiative, says the application process is simple and can be completed online.

Tensions were high in front of Lethbridge City Hall Wednesday morning while two opposing groups rallied against each other, where 2SLGBTQ+ community flags were flying under the same wind as freedom fighters and straight pride flags.
Hundreds of people from all ages gathered in front of city hall Wednesday with opposing views.
While one side was protesting the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policies implemented in Alberta schools, as they believe them to be grooming and sexualizing children and diminishing parental rights of making decisions for their children, the other side was highlighting the importance of safe spaces in schools for children who are part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and how all children matter.

Dawn has risen on a new era in addictions treatment in Alberta.
The Lethbridge Recovery Community officially opened on a chilly Thursday morning with government officials speaking at the facility on the Jail Road in the County of Lethbridge.
The Lethbridge Recovery Community, operated by the adjacent not-for-profit Fresh Start Recovery Centre, will provide long-term addictions treatment to as many as 200 people per year. Service is free of charge to Albertans, with funding of the entire operation coming from the province. Those operating costs are expected to be $3.4 million annually at the facility that was opened with a $19 million capital investment.

Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services Jason Nixon was in Lethbridge Thursday for the grand opening of the Lethbridge Recovery Community facility.
He shared his excitement to be in Lethbridge and noted the challenges Lethbridge has faced with homelessness along with addiction after he spoke at the facility’s grand opening. “I’m very proud to be part of a government who has prioritized this type of facility that is going to be now built all across this province… If you had told me many years ago when I used to
work with people with addictions that, I would ever be standing here and seeing the government build facilities like this. I would think you realize this is a signifi- cant change in government policy.”

As part of the week’s events recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Lethbridge College unveiled what the college calls “a sign of the ongoing work to understand traditional cultures and ways of knowing.”
The traditional Buffalo Winter Count Robe serves as a record of major events at the institution and was painted by William Singer III (Api’soomaahka/Run- ning Coyote) a Kainai knowledge keeper and artist who explains “each symbol has a story, and they all fit into each other and form a chain.”

The Alberta Municipalities organization has passed a resolution calling on more provincial funding for local infrastructure.
The resolution passed on Thursday with 98 per cent of the votes cast in favour by 800 delegates at its convention in Edmonton.
The subject was a big one with ABMunis which held two press conferences this week to discuss it.On Wednesday, Cathy Heron, ABMunis president and mayor of St. Albert, told media that substantially more fund- ing is needed.

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