Yet another honour has been bestowed on a Lethbridge man for his lifetime of service.
On Thursday, Gary Bowie was one of eight recipients of the Alberta Order of Excellence, presented during a ceremony in Edmonton.
Described as “an early builder” of the Lethbridge College Kodiaks and the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns basketball teams, the longtime physical education professor has also been recognized in recent years as “citizen of the year” in Lethbridge and been given the “Key to the City,” along with the Alberta Centennial Medal and the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal.
Bowie, now in his 80th year, has also been presented an honorary degree by the U of L.
For his latest recognition, Bowie is cited for “a lifetime of service to the community” which has “improved the lives of others by promoting and celebrating sport and wellness for all” along with his efforts to reduce homelessness.
In response, Bowie said he’s not satisfied to leave community improvement to others.
“Good things happen to you and others when you follow the rule of serving others in the community, church, work and family,” he said.
Ammonia safety questioned
A retired safety expert says ammonia should no longer be used to cool hockey arenas and curling rinks. Far safer materials — like compressed carbon dioxide — can do the job.
His warning came after three workers were found dead following an ammonia leak in a Fernie, B.C., arena.
“It is very deadly. It is very toxic,” said Lou Roussinos, a former chief inspector with the B.C. Safety Authority.
But recreation officials in Lethbridge say the gas — used in all of the city’s arenas — has been used safely for many generations. Over more than 30 years, only two non-serious leaks have been encountered here.
The city’s ice-making systems are systematically maintained and replaced, points out Robin Harper, general manager of the City’s recreation and culture department. And employees at the arenas are well trained.
“We’re pretty stringent with our policies and procedures, and our safety measures,” he said.
An ammonia-based system was installed at the ATB Centre arenas in The Crossings, Harper adds, because it’s the only proven technology currently available.
Roussinos, who spent 50 years as a refrigeration engineer and inspector, describes ammonia as “300,000 times more dangerous” than freon.
Injection site approved
Health Canada approved the first few supervised consumption facilities in Alberta on Wednesday, including a site in downtown Lethbridge.
ARCHES and Edmonton-based coalition AMSISE received an exemption from federal drug legislation, allowing them to operate supervised consumption sites.
Four sites are slated to open, three in Edmonton and one in Lethbridge, which will operate out of the former night club Pulse.
The application process for Lethbridge moved quicker than most and Jill Manning, the managing director of ARCHES, feels that may be a result of the unique issues Lethbridge is facing around substance use.
“Our emergency room visits relating to opioid use is higher than anywhere else in the province; our prescriptions of opioids are higher,” she said.
In addition, ARCHES deals with a demographic that expands past Lethbridge.
Earlier this summer, Manning estimated Lethbridge was home to 3,000 drug users and double that within southwest Alberta.
Those who choose to access the facility will be provided with a clean and safe space to use drugs, under the supervision of health-care professionals, keeping them as safe and healthy as possible in their given practices and lifestyle.
LC given Blackfoot name
Lethbridge College was honoured with a Blackfoot name during its Indigenous Celebration Day on Thursday. Kainai Elder Peter Weasel Moccasin named the college Ohkotoki’aahkkoiyiiniimaan, which means Stone Pipe.
Stone pipes are used in sacred ceremonies of the Blackfoot people to make an offering to Iihtsipaatapi’op, the Source of Life, Weasel Moccasin explained during the ceremony. The pipe, he said, kept and keeps the Blackfoot people at peace.