Suspended University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall has been reinstated and is back at work.
The university confirmed Hall’s status via email on Thursday. In a joint prepared statement, the U of L Board of Governors and the Faculty Association announced issues around Hall’s activities will be addressed in the context of the faculty handbook.
Hall is a tenured professor in the university’s Globalization Studies program. He is also a conspiracy theorist who promotes the idea that a large number of mass shootings and terror attacks are staged as part of a secret global Zionist plot.
Hall responded by email, stating he was happy to join his colleagues and students and looking forward to returning to teaching next September.
He has maintained the issue is academic freedom for tenured professors, and that he should be allowed to promote the work he does as he sees fit.
“I believe we have a significant public service to perform at the University of Lethbridge by addressing in a properly constituted academic venue some of the contentious issues that have been raised,” he wrote. “Those most attuned to the importance of maintaining existing protections for academic freedom, for tenure, and for the conditions of healthy open debate on all subjects inside and outside of universities will appreciate the significance of delivering this matter to the internal procedures of our own institutions of higher learning.”
Hall was suspended without pay in late 2016 following an investigation by the university into his online activity. His pay was later reinstated.
At the time, the university was being criticized for their perceived lack of action regarding the issue.
The Lethbridge and District YWCA is hopeful the federal government will put its money where its mouth is when it comes to addressing the local need for housing, particularly for women and children.
The federal government revealed its National Housing Strategy on Wednesday, committing $40 billion over a 10-year period. The strategy aims to build 100,000 new affordable housing units, repair another 300,000 and cut homelessness by 50 per cent. The announcement coincided with National Housing Day in Canada.
“We’re very thrilled there is an actual strategy going forward that is recognizing the vulnerable people of our populations, and specifically women and children,” said Lethbridge YWCA CEO Jennifer Lepko.
More than 100 delegates from YWCAs across Canada converged on Parliament Hill on Nov. 2 with one mission in mind. Their request was for at least 25 per cent of the funds of the National Housing Strategy be allocated specifically to women and children.
“They need to recognize that women and children need to be looked after in a specific way and they heard us and we are absolutely thrilled,” said Lepko.
The need for safe spaces and affordable housing for women and children in Lethbridge continues to grow every year.
A father convicted in the meningitis death of his toddler says he and his wife will stay out on bail while they take their appeal to Canada’s top court.
David Stephan and his wife, Collet, were both found guilty last year of failing to provide the necessaries of life in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death.
Their trial in Lethbridge heard they treated the 19-month-old boy with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than taking him to a doctor. The Stephans eventually called 911 but the little boy died in hospital.
The three-member Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the conviction last week but because the ruling wasn’t unanimous, the couple has an automatic right to have the Supreme Court hear arguments in the case.
“I would also love to thank our lawyers for initiating conversation with the Crown prosecution to have me stay out of jail while we are filing a Supreme Court application,” Stephan said in a recent Facebook post from his home in Nelson, B.C.
An apartment complex overrun with drug addicts and crime in the downtown core has been condemned.
The owner of Galt Manor, Doug Cutler, said following the arrest of a man and a woman two weeks ago involving police seizure of drugs, weapons and cash, inspectors came through the building and handed Cutler a long list of repairs that need to be made to the property, located in the 500 Block of 7 Street South.
Expensive repairs that Cutler has no money for.
“I don’t know the cost of renovating these units,” he said. “They’ve flooded toilets for so long, and they’ve smashed fixtures. I don’t know what they cook in the sink, but I’ve never seen pipe go like that in my life.”
The repair demands are ironic, given the cause of the damage — an uncontrolled influx of addicts and drug dealers — is ongoing.
Forced to make repairs to units which would almost immediately be damaged again leaves Cutler shaking his head.
“They walk around and go, ‘Oh, look. Plug covers off. Oh, look at the crack,’” he said. “It would all be back after one of these people moved in.
“I’m going to lose the building. Normally, this time of the year I might have $8,000 in the bank. And you’re facing big heat bills. But I can’t heat it. I have $7.57 in the bank.”
Tree festival lights up
Evergreen branches, sparkling lights and shiny decorations have transformed the Enmax Centre’s Canadian Western Bank Lounge into a Christmas wonderland.
The Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation has revealed this year’s forest of festively decorated trees, wreaths and garlands for its 25th annual Christmas Tree Festival, presented by Stringam LLP.
Some of the themes include a larger-than-life-sized Darth Vader Star Wars tree, an Emoji tree filled with stuffed toys, and a whimsical take on the Harry Potter series complete with a “Sorting Hat” star.
“We’ve got 25 beautifully decorated trees just like last year,” said Jason VandenHoek, CRH Foundation’s Executive Director. “I’m amazed every year at the creativity that the decorators come up with and we’re really happy at the way things have turned out this year.”
Dozens of community members and organizations came together to decorate and sponsor the trees, as they have every year over the past quarter century. And thousands come out to view the trees and/or attend the auction to place a bid.
City hands out grants
A major grant announcement on Thursday will ensure the heart of downtown Lethbridge continues to beat strong.
The City of Lethbridge’s Heart of Our City Committee announced the recipients for the HOC Activity Grants for 2018, awarding $120,000 in grants for 24 events to be held in downtown Lethbridge.
There is a mixture of popular annual events, as well as several new ones, including 13 multiple-day events and 11 single-day events. Grant amounts range from $500 up to $9,000.
“The Heart of Our City Committee, basically a standing committee of city council, recognized that to help the downtown revitalize it’s really important to draw people into the downtown to have something special for them to do,” said George Kuhl, the City’s Planning Initiatives Manager. “There are a lot of business connections and things like that we try to enhance, but it’s really important the citizens overall have a place they can identify with and lots of events downtown that kind of help make a stronger community.”
The grant program has grown since its inception in 2011. So, too, has the number of people frequenting the downtown core.
In 2011, there were about 20,000 participants between about seven different events. Now they’re up to 24 events and they hope to attract about 60,000 people to them.
Soup kitchen open for breakfast
Local residents making use of shelter facilities in the city are getting an opportunity to start their mornings off right with a new initiative at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.
The facility has started a breakfast program to help the city’s homeless get up and going in the morning.
Executive director Bill Ginther said the new program, still in its pilot stages, has been a big success.
“One of the things we realize is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” he said.
He said the facility has not offered breakfast in more than 30 years of operation.
“Given the need for a proper meal for people — particularly for the 111 guests at the shelter — they are awakened every morning and sent to us,” he said. “We also recognize that a large percentage of the clientele at the shelter are diabetic. So they really need to have a proper meal.”
Over the years, the shelter has had coffee, pastries and baked goods for breakfast, but organizers identified a need for a more robust meal.
The program began Nov. 4 and has since served more than 1,000 breakfasts.
Kodiaks helping Streets Alive
Some Lethbridge College Kodiaks are getting a different perspective on an annual holiday campaign.
Athletes and coaches from the college visited Streets Alive Mission for two days this week to help sort donated items as part of this year’s Kodiaks Warm Paws campaign.
This is the fifth year for the campaign, which has traditionally taken place as an on-campus clothing drive. This year the Kodiaks wanted to change it up to get more hands-on in their efforts.
“Normally we have a pretty distant role with helping out,” said Anna Schwark, head coach of Kodiaks women’s volleyball.
“This year, it was important for the athletes, but for us coaches as well to see the differences we can make. It’s giving us a little more perspective.”
A 2016 homeless count, conducted by the City of Lethbridge and Social Housing in Action, identified more than 85 homeless individuals in Lethbridge.
While the homeless population has dropped by 68 per cent from 2008, the work of groups like Streets Alive is important to make sure resources are available for those in need.
Toy drive starting
They’re hoping to build a mountain.
Centre Village Mall and the Interfaith Food Bank are teaming up to collect a mountain of toys for local children this Christmas.
They want to ensure every child — regardless of family income — may have “a special surprise” under the tree this year. People who are able are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys to the mall from now until Dec. 20.
Organizers say all gifts will be distributed through programs operated by the Interfaith Food Bank, the Lethbridge Food Bank and the Salvation Army. They’re asking for gifts of interest to children up to 17 years old.
“We would like to thank all businesses and community groups that will be collecting food and funds on our behalf as we work together to serve those less fortunate in Lethbridge and area,” says Interfaith executive director Danielle McIntyre.
Southern Albertans will be able to help another agency as well. Donations made for no-charge photos of children with Santa will go to the Family Centre.