By Lethbridge Herald on December 28, 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 second of a four-part series.
Two years to the day a groundbreaking ceremony was staged, Lethbridge Exhibition CEO Mike Warkentin and Blair Grier – project manager of new construction of the Exhibition on the new Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre – who has overseen the project from the beginning gave city media a tour of the expansive facility.
NDP MLA for Lethbridge West Shannon Phillips is calling for an independent investigation into Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s interference with in the courts on behalf of Artur Pawlowski.
“I am joining our leader Rachel Notley and calling for an immediate independent investigation into Daniel Smith’s meddling in the courts. This investigation must be led by a judge, it must have access to the premier and her staff and to emails reaching back to the first days of the Smith’s government, and it must be complete within 30 days,” said Phillips.
Lethbridge city council is giving the Lethbridge Curling Club a chance to secure another major event for Lethbridge. Council on Tuesday approved a request to provide $900,000 from the Major Community Event Grant budget so the club can make a bid to host the 2025 Canadian Curling Trials.
Mayor Blaine Hyggen has hand-delivered on behalf of city council and the city a letter to Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, asking for the support of the Alberta Sheriffs to help deal with encampments here this year.
The West Lethbridge constituency of the UCP has a new candidate to run in the May 29 provincial election. Cheryl Seaborn, a former president of the of the Lethbridge West UCP Constituency Association, was named the party candidate by premier Danielle Smith.
The riding lost its first candidate when Torry Tanner resigned after videos surfaced of her making inflammatory comments about Alberta students being exposed to pornography and being helped to change their gender identity by teachers.
Lethbridge is getting a cardiac catheterization lab at Chinook Regional Hospital. The announcement was made on Wednesday by the provincial government. The lack of such a lab being specifically included in the recent provincial budget was a sore point with mayor Blaine Hyggen who last month made an announcement at City Hall citing his disappointment with that element of the budget.
Blood Tribe chief and council are taking new actions to address drug trafficking and the opioid crisis. Chief Roy Fox, in a special announcement on the tribe’s YouTube channel on Monday, said more than $1 million is being invested in two new initiatives.
They include funding for a police task force and renovations to abandoned houses that are being used for drug purposes so those homes can be utilized by needy members without housing.
The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce hosted a lunch with Premier Danielle Smith
Monday where she outlined her government’s vision for a strong and prosperous economy in Alberta, and the role the business community plays in Alberta’s future. Smith said she hopes that shows the importance the UCP places in the mid-size cities which are really coming into their own.
Minister of Infrastructure and MLA for East Lethbridge, Nathan Neudorf announced an investment into the enhancement and expansion of the renal dialysis program at the Chinook Regional Hospital. He said when complete the renovation will provide 28 dialysis treatment stations and two airborne isolation rooms for a total of 20 treatment rooms, as well as five home dialysis training rooms, a biotechnical room that will support nighttime dialysis and additional space for family consultations, training staff and supplies.
The Lethbridge Wellness Shelter and Stabilization Centre has been in operation for almost four months under the Blood Tribe Department of Health and shelter coordinator Tim Heavyshields says it has been an exciting and successful venture so far. “We’ve established great partnerships with such stakeholders in the community as the Lethbridge Police Service, Fire and EMS and Alberta Health Services. We have re-established a lot of those partnerships and working relations as far as working with the marginalized population of Lethbridge so it’s been really positive just reconnecting with those folks,” said Heavyshields.
Lethbridge Police have charged a 51-year-old man in connection with two armed robberies at the same bank. The incidents occurred March 17 and April 11 at the CIBC on 13 Street North.
Mayor Blaine Hyggen is among provincial mayors advocating a return to local dispatch of Emergency Medical Services.
The province two years ago transitioned EMS dispatch from Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and mayors want local dispatch returned for “a stable and integrated service.”
A release sent to media Monday says “regional monitoring shows consistent data that substantiates original claims that centralized EMS dispatch has resulted in a degradation of service to Albertans.
Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski has been found guilty of mischief and breaching a release order stemming from his involvement at the Coutts border last year.
“I am satisfied Mr. Pawlowski intended to incite the audience to continue the blockade, intended to incite protesters to commit mischief,” Justice Gordon Krinke ruled Tuesday in Lethbridge court of justice.
After the province declared a state of emergency on Saturday due to wildfires burning throughout the province, many municipalities have been put on standby in case they are required to help.
The City of Lethbridge is sending three city staff to the northern part of the province, including Luke Palmer, City’s Emergency Planning and Risk Manager to help support actions in emergency centres.
NDP leader Rachel Notley has promised her party, if elected to govern Alberta after the May 29 election, will set up a new Lethbridge Teaching Clinic here to serve southern Alberta families with their healthcare needs. The clinic would bring seven new medical students as well as 20 new family medicine residents here to increase healthcare access for families.
The UCP has announced a plan to make cities safer if the party is re-elected to govern Alberta on May 29. The Safe Streets Action plan consists of comprehensive measures aimed at improving safety in Alberta communities and on public transit.
The plan would increase monitoring of dangerous offenders who are out of custody on bail, “keep hard drugs and guns off Alberta streets and protect women and children facing abuse,” says the UCP.
Your new green bin is about to receive its initial test as the organic processing facility officially opened at the Lethbridge Waste and Recycling Centre on Wednesday.
Casa is turning 10 years old with many reasons to celebrate, the most recent one being the installation of sun shade sails in the Rotary Square.
Lethbridge city council has voted unanimously to approve the implementation of harmonized school and playground zones. The change will see school zones turned into playground zones, with both in effect between 7:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day.
The Lethbridge School Division has appointed a new superintendent who has more than 20 years of experience in various roles within the education system.
Board chair Allison Purcell announced that Mike Nightingale has been appointed as superintendent of the Lethbridge School Division. She said the search for a new superintendent started in February when Cheryl Gilmore announced her retirement.
The votes are counted and the voters in Lethbridge have spoken. Shannon Phillips has been re-elected as MLA for Lethbridge-West, while in Lethbridge-East a major delay in polling results meant voters had to wait to find out Nathan Neudorf had also retained his seat.
Promises have been made and now it’s time to see if the province will cash the cheque. Mayor Blaine Hyggen on Tuesday said during a break at city council that the City will be following up on promises made during the election campaign by both the UCP and Opposition party members.
Residents of Cardston have voted in favour of allowing limited liquor sales in a non- binding vote of electors that was held by the town during Monday’s Election Day. The matter of allowing alcohol to be sold within the town is one that has been discussed since 2019, after the government passed the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act.
The University of Lethbridge celebrated its graduates in the 2023 convocation and welcomed the installation of their new 15th chancellor on Thursday morning at the 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness.
Five days of search and rescue training by the 435 Transportation and Rescue Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force began here Monday. A total of about 100 personnel from elements of the Canadian and American military will be operating out of the Lethbridge airport for the annual search and rescue exercise.
Lethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf has once again been named a member of premier Danielle Smith’s cabinet.
Neudorf on Friday was named Minister of Affordability and Vice-chair of the Treasury Board. In the last cabinet, he served as Minister of Infrastructure and Deputy Premier. Joseph Schow, MLA for Cardston- Siksika, was named Minister of Tourism and Sport. Schow will also serve as House leader.
A ceremonial smudge kicked off several events to commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day at the University of Lethbridge. The ceremonial smudge was followed by a variety of activities, including medicine bag making, a round dance, Indigenous games and a teepee raising.
Napi’s Run for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Men and Mother Earth 2023 has been crossing the country for 70 days. Johnny Bare Shin Bone says he had a dream in 2019 about the run and now it was just time to finally do it.
Tensions were running high during a Lethbridge School Division Board of Trustees meeting this week where dozens of people gathered to protest a policy that has been in place for over five years. During the meeting there was an opportunity in a public forum where members of the community were given a chance to speak regarding policy 502.2 which refers to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression (SOGI).