New project on rails

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:24

For now, the massive Styrofoam sculpture is in three parts in the city’s northside industrial area, waiting to be put together. It’s made with a steel frame that’s covered in precision-cut Styrofoam and coated in polyurethane for a tough outer shell, similar to a truck bed lining. Its design borrows heavily from the historic train located behind Lethbridge’s downtown health unit, with the addition of a working LED light shining through the front of the locomotive, which will rest on railroad tracks donated by CP Rail. All told, the sculpture is expected to weigh about 2,500 pounds — a fraction of the size of a real train, but still the largest project Mosaic Industries has ever built, according to company president Alan Epp.
“This is one-of-a-kind,” he said.
“It’s been great all winter, just locked up in the shop for three months doing this.”
Usually, the company constructs foam mouldings or projects destined to be shipped to other parts of Canada or the United States. But this time they’ll be able to see the impact of their work locally, Epp said, explaining work on the train comes with a six-figure cost. Pending approval from the City of Lethbridge, it’s set to be installed later this month.
“It’ll be more exciting, I think, once it’s sat there and I can stand back and go ‘OK, it’s done,’” Epp said. “It’ll be a pretty proud moment.”
Hillyer breaks a leg
Lethbridge MP Jim Hillyer has cancelled all meetings and public events for the foreseeable future as he recovers from a badly broken leg.
Hillyer was skiing with his son in Fernie, B.C. on Easter Monday when his ski got caught in slushy snow.
“My leg was broken in numerous places and will require reconstructive surgery once the swelling is substantially reduced, which could take approximately two weeks before the operation can occur. Following, rehabilitation will be required,” Hillyer said in a news release.
His Lethbridge constituency office will stay open and Hillyer will have ongoing contact with staff and government colleagues during his convalescence.
14 years for manslaughter
A Lethbridge man sentenced Friday for killing two other men in a botched drug deal last year, apologized to the victims’ families.
“I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” Cody Blue Favel told the families, who crowded into a small courtroom to hear Judge Eric Brooks deliver his decision.
“I’m taking responsibility for my actions. Yeh, I’m sorry.”
Favel, 28, said he doesn’t expect family members of Aaron Thacker and Marty Steele to forgive him, but added he hopes they can find closure now that he’s been sentenced.
Favel pleaded guilty last November to two counts of manslaughter, and Friday he was sentenced to 14 years in a federal penitentiary with no chance for parole until he has served at least half his sentence.
The victims’ families, while still visibly distraught with the violent deaths of Thacker and Steele, expressed relief the case is finally over, but dissatisfaction with the sentence.
“This is not justice,” said Steele’s aunt, Lillian Steele. “Fourteen years is like a slap on the wrist.”
She said, however, she’s relieved the matter is over and that family members can finally move forward and begin healing.
“It’s taken a lot out of the family.”
Thacker’s mother, Dana Kons, is also upset with the sentence, and said she’s disappointed deals were made to downgrade the original charge of second-degree murder.
“It was murder, not manslaughter,” she said.
Rough ride for master plan
It’s official: Lethbridge has a new master plan for transportation. But it doesn’t deal with dangerous goods routes, city-owned rail lines or access to the airport. And those are just some of the criticisms levelled against the consultants’ report, delivered to city council last fall.
After months of deletions, amendments and debate, council has given reluctant approval to the plan — which replaces one put in place in 2004. But some council members asked if anything substantial will come from the plan. . . other than meeting provincial highway officials’ reporting requirements.
And several voted against a variety of amendments to the document, which won majority approval through a lengthy series of resolutions and debates.
“Master plans are meant to be visionary and to provide leadership,” Councillor Bridget Mearns said, opposing attempts to remove more specific recommendations from the report. “It makes no sense to water it down further.”
But Coun. Faron Ellis insisted some parts of the report, particularly those dealing with transit, are “too aggressive.” It’s up to council to set service levels, he said, not some outside consultant.
Council did, however, accept the concept of more direct bus routes with three main-line runs: northeast to southwest, northwest to southeast, and the existing north-south service (once called “The Link”) on the east side of town. Feeder routes would serve specific neighbourhoods.
Clean-up in high gear
They’re a welcome sign of spring: Street sweeping crews are busy ridding Lethbridge roadways of a winter’s worth of sand and grime.
“We’re two weeks ahead of schedule,” reports Lee Perkins, transportation operations manager for the city. “Our night crews are taking on the arterial roads.”
Residential streets are next on the list, he says, likely starting about April 15.
Thanks to this year’s early start, Perkins adds, painting crews will also be getting to crosswalk and driving lane projects sooner than usual.
“We’ve already been downtown, and given it the first pass,” he says.

Man pleads not guilty
A Fort Macleod man charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident nearly a year ago has pleaded not guilty.
An agent for Joshua Van Herk’s lawyer entered the plea Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court, and elected for his client to be tried by a provincial court judge.
Van Herk was charged a year ago after police responded to a report of a woman lying in the westbound lanes of Crowsnest Trail west at the Scenic Drive overpass. The woman, who was dead when police arrived, was identified as 17-year-old Feather Love Grassy Water, of Missoula, Mont. Evidence at the scene indicated she had been struck by a motor vehicle.
An investigation led police officers to Fort Macleod with a search warrant where a man was arrested and a 2007 Dodge Ram truck seized.



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