A group trying to bring the biggest junior hockey tournament in the country to Lethbridge is now $1 million closer to its goal.
On Monday, Aug. 20, city council voted 6-1 in favour of granting a request by the 2020 Memorial Cup Bid Committee to provide $750,000 in cash plus $250,000 in in-kind funding should they be announced as the winning on Oct. 3.
“We’re a community-based team,” said Bill Reddick, committee chair, Lethbridge 2020 Memorial Cup Bid.
“We have to come with the community in mind. We don’t have deep pockets, we don’t have an economy that will support big-ticket packages.
“We’ve got to keep it for local. We’ve got to keep it for Lethbridge.”
“It’s really about community pride,” said Spearman following the decision.
Council voted 6-1 in favour of supporting the request, with Coun. Joe Mauro voting against. Coun. Jeff Coffman was absent.
Mauro said he could not support the request due to a number of factors, including lack of details in the budget council was provided with. He also said he was uncomfortable with the idea of making decisions on future budgets before they have been set.
“We’re talking about a lot of money here,” he said. “I don’t like spending money on future budgets we don’t have.
Bison moved to Waterton
Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park has been captured and relocated to a paddock in southern Alberta.
Officials said they killed one of two bison bulls that wandered out of the park last week.
They say they were able to capture and immobilize the second bull Sunday.
It was flown by helicopter to a nearby horse trailer and transported to Waterton Lakes National Park, where there is a paddock.
They say they weren’t able to capture the first bison last week because it was too smoky and there were no helicopters available due to forest fires.
Officials say the two animals were moving toward private grazing land and posed a safety risk to the public and to livestock.
The herd of bison in Banff was allowed to roam free on July 29, and the two bulls wandered off on Aug. 5.
City, Coaldale honoured
Lethbridge and Coaldale have been recognized with provincial minister’s awards for their efforts in reconciliation and public safety, respectively.
Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson presented the awards Tuesday at Lethbridge City Hall.
He said it is important that the efforts of communities to improve or protect the lives of their citizens be recognized.
Lethbridge was presented this year’s “Partnership Award” as a result of its new Traditional Knowledge and Use Agreement with the Blackfoot Confederacy Nations.
The initiative identifies and understands places of traditional land use, ecological knowledge and spirituality within the boundaries of the city.
“Working with the Blackfoot Confederacy, I think is incredibly important,” Anderson said. “Truth and reconciliation–Lethbridge has taken the lead on this in the province and it’s nice to see.
“(First Nations) are our neighbours, our friends and family, and we need to make sure we have partnerships with them.
“Lethbridge is doing that. They are listening to the First Nations, they are working with them and wanting to understand traditional knowledge, and help the rest of the community to learn that, too.”
Mayor Chris Spearman called their efforts to this point a “first step.”
“There’s a lot of work to be done.
“When we begin addressing social issues that have existed for decades and have permanent supportive housing — when people are getting housing at an equal level, and people are being employed at the same rates — then we’ll know we have arrived.”
Restored building draws interest
There’s a flashy new storefront on 5 Street South. And — for the first time in years — a store operating in the historic Oliver Building.
More businesses are expected to follow soon, says Lethbridge entrepreneur Hunter Heggie.
Restoration work is also continuing in the basement of the 118-year-old structure, as well as the second-floor space that once accommodated medical and insurance offices. But the once-endangered building now sports a sparkling copper accent on its facade.
“It’s taking a lot longer than we thought,” says Heggie, partner in a local group that convinced City officials the once-derelict building should be restored, not demolished.
Previously owned by a Calgary businessman, it had been boarded up for some years. And a slightly newer section added at the rear was collapsing.
But now a candy store has opened in one of the four street-level retail spaces, and Heggie says he’s been speaking with other retailers who might move in.
“There are two smaller ones kind of book-ending two larger ones in the middle,” he says.
They could be ready for business this fall, he says, once a lease is signed.
U of L facing lawsuit
Four former Pronghorns women hockey players have filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the University of Lethbridge’s board of governors, the university’s athletic director Ken McInnes, and its women’s team hockey coach Michelle Janus over alleged bullying and harassment.
The lawsuit was filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Lethbridge by players Olivia Alexander, Alannah Jensen, Chelsea Kasprick and Brittney Sawyer. The players are seeking $1 million in general damages, $120,000 in punitive damages, unspecified additional damages due to loss of scholarships and other expenses related to their time on the team, aggravated damages in the sum of $50,000, and compensation for all the legal costs associated with the lawsuit.
The players allege Janus subjected them to humiliation and verbal abuse over prolonged periods which have caused mental, emotional and physical distress. The players also allege when they reported the harassment to the university their concerns were either ignored or turned back on them by those they complained to.
The players further allege they either quit the team, were kicked off the team or forced to take the abuse levelled at them by Janus out of fear of losing their places on the team when the university failed to take action against their former coach.
The lawsuit follows a report in early August when documents obtained by the Lethbridge Herald showed current and former Pronghorns players outlined 21 complaints against Janus. They included claims the coach told a player she had to do mandatory counselling because of a suicide attempt; that bullying was allowed; and that players had to pay between $2 and $20 into a fine jar for broken rules, some of which involved their sexual history.
TSN filming Boulet documentary
Following the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash which killed 16 people in April, TSN is filming a documentary about Lethbridge’s Logan Boulet, who inspired people to become an organ donor following his death in the crash.
Only days before the fatal crash Boulet had made the decision to become an organ donor. As a result, his memory and legacy lives on as his organs helped save six people’s lives and inspired hundreds of thousands of people across Canada to sign up as an organ donor while bringing awareness to the need for donations.
“We are really proud,” says Toby Boulet, Logan’s father. “It makes us feel good that Logan chose what he wanted to do. He told me last summer that he wanted to do it, and we feel proud because our son is going to have a legacy.”
Toby says the response from people across the country to sign organ donor cards has been truly amazing. Ontario saw a large increase in people signing up from around 10,000 to more than 100,000 applicants in April.
The short documentary, called “The Logan Boulet Effect,” was inspired by the heroic act by Logan resulting in a large number of people who followed in his footsteps to provide organs for thousands of people in need every day.
“Logan has always been a giver and knows those services are needed for life,” says Toby Boulet. “For that to happen is amazing and when we decided to donate as well we had no idea that this would happen.”
Local animal top dog
Walking along the streets of west Lethbridge is an owner and her dog who proudly hold Canadian and world titles in dog show competitions.
Larisa Salay has loved the world of dog shows since she was a little girl and has dreamed of showing her own dogs in international competitions. She received her first dream dog in 2015, a Samoyed named Lada which won Canadian Champion, USA Winners Bitch and soon to be completing her Grand Champion of Canada title.
Salay’s second dog came when she found a post on Facebook from a famous kennel in Russia which had puppies from the Vice World Champion winner, along with many other wins internationally, and she knew she needed one of the puppies.
“My dog Romeo, his father is vise-world champion and his sister is double world champion, which never happens,” said Salay. “I was very excited for them to send me this puppy on two planes from Russia, and now I am very happy because I have very beautiful dog.”
Following the long trek from Russia, two-year-old Romeo has now gone on to claim the titles of Canadian Champion and placed third in the international World Dog Show last year in Amsterdam. With Romeo coming from the strongest bloodline in the Samoyed breed, he holds the perfect structure, colour and personality for the breed.
Council looks at drug problem
City council could soon be exploring ways for the community to get involved in policing drug users and dealers in the community.
A notice of motion titled “Safely Identifying Drug Dealers” was part of Monday’s council agenda. Discussion on the motion, which was brought forward by Mayor Chris Spearman, was originally placed on the Aug. 7 council agenda but was delayed another two weeks.
A notice of motion presents a motion to council to be resolved at a later date. It allows council members an opportunity to learn about an issue or subject prior to addressing it at council.
“We want to have the whole community working on the drug issue,” Spearman said on Monday.
He noted there are a number of people on social media and in the community asking for more involvement from community partners.
“Petty crime is rising,” he said. “Some people witness drug use and drug deals. How can we involve everyone in the solution?”
He pointed to a program such as CrimeStoppers, where police pay for tips on crime that lead to arrests, as a possible vehicle for more public input.
“How do we encourage people to be more forthcoming in a safe way, in identifying crimes and illegal activity taking place?” he asked.
The motion features two actionable parts, including one requiring council to facilitate a process for the public to safely identify drug dealers and share that information with LPS.
Residents welcomed home
Residents of the Seasons Lethbridge Gardens raised a glass on Wednesday to officially welcome back those displaced by a serious fire last July.
The facility hosted a “Home Sweet Home” event to celebrate the end of construction on the building and to greet residents who have been waiting to get back into their homes.
“It’s been a long journey for the families and the staff,” said company CEO Mike Lavallee. “Today is a culmination of that. It’s a great opportunity for us to come together and say, ‘welcome home.’”
Alicia Zoeteman, general manager at Seasons Lethbridge Gardens, said residents were anxious to get back to their residences, but that the area needed to be safe for them to do so.
“Ultimately, they were all grateful they were all safe and unharmed,” she said. “We are very happy to be welcoming them back this month. Today is really about celebrating those residents that chose to stay living with us, and thanking them for their patience in sticking it out this year.”
Burgman building designated
The city’s northside now has its second historic building.
On Aug. 20, during their regular meeting, city council passed final reading on a bylaw to designate a property located at 418 13 St. N. as an Municipal Historic Resource.
The building, identified as “The Burgman Building,” is a two-storey brick commercial building located in the Senator Buchanan neighbourhood of north Lethbridge.
This is the first designation on 13 Street North and only the second in north Lethbridge to become part of the designation process.
“Thirteenth Street North has historically been the main street of the northside,” said Coun. Belinda Crowson. “This is a very important area that has businesses, churches and organizations. The Burgman building has been part of that for more that 105 years. This building has such a connection to the community. It’s nice to see it designated.”
The building was constructed in 1912-1913 and was known for years as Burgman’s Hall or Burgman’s Block. It was also known as Donaldson Block after a previous owner.
The building is significant for its connection to Richard Burgman, a bricklayer and builder who has left a legacy in the city with a number of significant buildings in north Lethbridge.
The building features “exceptional” brick patterning on its facade, noted as a demonstration of Burgman’s skills, interest and creativity.