April 23rd, 2021

City Notebook: Sometimes a joke is just a fool’s game

By Medicine Hat News Opinion on April 3, 2021.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

Beyond some morons on social media, it seems few took advantage of April Fools to try to score laughs about the coronavirus, which is something that shouldn’t be miraculous, but is these days.

One notable exception was the City of St. Albert, which announced residents should watch the early television broadcasts where they would be selecting via lottery ball machine which birth years would be eligible for additional doses of vaccine. Talk about brainless.

People are sick of the pandemic, and probably could use a laugh, but that’s not it.

Sherwood Park did the old motorized-trash-bin gag.

For the record, the News stopped April Fools in 2016 after a certain president of the United States made the idea of a fun, false and frivolous story in the media no fun for anyone.

But, who knows, it might start up again when you least expect it.

What’s in a name

This week, the News revealed that nothing will be revealed about the naming rights deal for Co-op Place, as both the city and South Country Co-op claim commercial sensitivities that are protected under Freedom of Information rules.

Exactly how this is propriety information is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps the City of Medicine Hat doesn’t want some other city, say Lethbridge, to arrive in town and sell the rights to some other municipal building from under them.

Similarly, we get very little information about price forecasting and price sensitivities from the city’s electrical department even though they literally have zero competitors in the franchise area, but we digress.

Interesting side note here is that we’ve never been able to pry the value of the Tigers lease out of the city despite a long mummified FOIP request.

A lawsuit launched by the City of Cranbrook this year states it lost $177,000 per year in average fees and payments from the Kootenay Ice when the team broke their lease and moved to Winnipeg.

Record wheat crop

As farmers in the region are preparing to seed, harvest is concluding in the southern hemisphere.

That brings word that New Zealand producer Eric Watson brought in a 258 bushel per acre yield of feed wheat, breaking his own three-year-old world record.

The item was included in the latest edition of “GrainsWest” magazine that states tackling the “yield gap is possible.”

For the record, 2020 featured a higher than usual average yield in the south and across Alberta for spring wheat on dry land of about 54 bushels.

There were some eye-popping totals on irrigated parcels… nothing quite that eye-popping, however.

A look ahead

Scuttlebutt is that the city, Cypress County and Redcliff town are in the late stages of developing a joint pass system for recreation facilities. A longstanding pet peeve of Mayor Ted Clugston’s has been city taxpayers floating the budgets of facilities open to residents outside city limits. The county already pays a grant to both the town and city to denote joint use, but we’ll have to wait for more details on a pass system.

That item isn’t on Monday’s city council agenda, but there is a report due on tourism efforts.

100 years ago

An editorial lamenting new rules to register rifles, but also a lack of attention by local “nimrods,” appeared in the April 1, 1921 edition of the News.

“While the regulation that requires these permits is undoubtedly a very foolish piece of legislation, yet as long as it is in force it is very necessary to comply with its provisions,” the opinion stated. (A classic definition of nimrod is “hunter”)

Municipalities across the province were left reeling by recommendations of a new provincial assessment board that reduced property assessments for taxation purposes across the board.

Medicine Hat’s fell from $9.2 million to $5.3 million, while Redcliff saw its decimated to $330,000 from $3.2 million. Mill rates would have to rise to cover budgets.

A new item of notes from the region of “Red Rock” remarked “the whist drive was partially frustrated by the attempt of a snow storm to keep people at home.”

Progressive whist at Red Rock School would resume next week, followed by a debate, then a dance staged by Adolph Carlson and his Red Rock Orchestra.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com

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