February 22nd, 2024

Year-In-Review: Top stories from July – 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.”

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 was held in July at St. Martha’s Catholic Church.

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.

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. Early in its meeting, council voted against the motion which was presented, not to have council take action on fencing, but rather to have administration report back with information for a community dialogue on the matter.

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.”

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.

AUGUST

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 public 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.

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.

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 healing 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 for an invitation-only audience at the brand new facility overlooking Henderson Lake. The event attracted a whos-who of Lethbridge.

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 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 Ave S.

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 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.

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 disrupted festivities, released an odoriferous substance at an event at the Empress Theatre, as well as having cut down and burned the Pride flag pole.

SEPTEMBER

Schools have filled up once more as summer comes to an end and a new school year begins. Lethbridge School Division superintendent Mike Nightingale said everyone is welcome back and encouraged people to be involved with their schools.

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 to two charges of pointing a firearm, four counts of using a firearm while committing an offence, three counts of unlawful confinement, and single counts of taking a hostage and aggravated assault.

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 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.

Jade Levi Trotter, 38, who was previously charged with murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Lethbridge court of justice and was sentenced to just under six years in prison. His charges stemmed from an 2021 incident where police responded 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.

Ron Sakamoto and Australian promoter Rob Potts spent six years together on the board of the Country Music Association. The late Potts, who ran a company called Entertainment Edge, was one of his homeland’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.

Tensions were high in front of Lethbridge City Hall 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 with opposing views over the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policies implemented in Alberta schools.

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.

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/Running 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.”

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