May 11th, 2021

City Notebook: Lend a hand, fill the gap

By Medicine Hat News Opinion on October 17, 2020.

The United Way’s payroll deduction program is about as easy as it gets, so easy that most donors probably overlook the monthly outlay that adds up to a whole lot for the local agency.

You may have forgotten about it in a time of seemingly shrinking budgets where every paycheque counts.

What you may see, plain as day, is the lack of bodies around your workplace.

It’s rough out here, and with layoffs, not to mention tighter corporate budgets for charitable giving, it’s easy to see the potential for this year’s United Way payroll campaign to fall short while nobody notices.

What will be noticed is that support among the two dozen or more community groups that depend on United Way support to do their work in supporting our community.

There’s always a double-whammy in that when times are tough, and services are needed most, money is tightest.

Combatting that since the late 1950s, is the paycheque campaign and Medicine Hat’s working people. They and community minded employers who match donations know that little bits add up to a whole lot, and they make the system works.

But the coronavirus has thrown a lot of kinks into a lot of systems.

But we can get this straightened out if we pitch in to cover donations for a laid-off friend, neighbour or colleague.

Lend a hand and we’ll fill the gap.

Plastics causes spastics

Alberta and Ottawa coming to apparent loggerheads over single-use plastics is a controversy four years in the making.

Alberta, even during the NDP’s term, was exploring the idea of boosting plastic production as a way to insert value added manufacturing to the energy sector output that was constrained by export routes.

For just as long, environmentalists and a friendly government led by Justin Trudeau have been considering a plastics ban.

Those details were released last week, just as the Kenney government again provided a broad outline of its hope to make Alberta a plastics-producing powerhouse.

But, why the big surprise this month when the two plans finally pulled up broadsides to each other?

Local environmentally minded citizens, namely Uwe Krickhahn, have been advocating for a single-use ban for two decades.

Politicians have to this point left it to a matter of personal choice of paper, plastic or reusable.

The whole thing could probably be sold better if government had the will to force companies to make the types of plastic they produce more easily recyclable. Alberta’s cities are pushing this as a way to reduce costs of recycling programs, and therefore bills.

As for Alberta’s recently announced goal to make the province a word-class recycling leader, Krickhahn is skeptical.

“Talk to me in five years and we’ll see where we are,” he said.

A look ahead

City council convenes on Monday night to discuss the city’s mid-year financial statements that the News reported on in-depth last week. As well a land-use change will be introduced to allow for another up-down duplex development in Southlands one month after the first of its kind in the city was allowed in Ranchlands.

100 years ago

The drive to sign on 400 new members of the Board of Trade would result in a “Modern Chamber of Commerce” attendees of a smoker were told, according to the Medicine Hat News in October 1920.

New members who committed to pay a $25 annual fee for three years could expect greater voice and greater benefits to local business circles and a stronger promotional campaign of the city, organizers vowed.

Medicine Hat’s public school board considered offering evening classes for adults on the topic of steam engineering.

In the region, Mrs. Anne Derrit was named to the executive committee of the Alberta Press Association. The owner and editrix of the Pincher Creek Echo was the first female to hold such a position and only one of two female publishers in the Canadian Press Association.

The Last Chance Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon, was lost in a fire that destroyed the saloon that had been a famous reminder of the gold rush 20 years earlier.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News, Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at

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