Fourteen years after its first excavation, answers at the Fincastle bison kill site remain elusive.
Why did these ancient people come to this region of southern Alberta 2,500 years ago bearing artifacts from 1,000 kilometres away? Who were they? And why did they create such elaborate upright ceremonial art pieces from the bones of the animals they killed? Why did they plough them so deep into the mud that no human eye would see them again for the next two and half millenia?
It’s a tantalizing puzzle like no other she has struggled with in her career, says Shawn Bubel, a professor of archeology at the University of Lethbridge, who has led excavations at the Fincastle site for over a decade.
“We are pretty confident in our understanding of how the hunters hunted the animals found there, the degree of processing they used, and the time of season they were there,” she says.
“We are also confident about the dating of this site at about 2,500 years ago. We are confident we understand the nitty gritty of the site, but I don’t know if we will ever understand the ceremonial aspects of the site.”
No tax hike in Coaldale
Coaldale homeowners are in for an unusual surprise: Town council has approved an operating budget with a zero-per-cent increase.
The town’s $19,584,999 operating budget for 2019 will cover increased policing, more street lights, longer hours at the library — and planning for the town’s 100th birthday.
Fifteen back alleys will be rebuilt, council agreed, and both the water works and the sewer system will receive funds for important maintenance.
As well, work will begin on revitalizing three blocks of downtown 20 Avenue — from the newly approved capital budget — and an improved “main entrance” will provide better access to the town’s northeast industrial park.
But taxes won’t increase, although families will find a new $10 per month recreation facility levy on their utility bills.
“Council gave us a goal of zero per cent to strive for, and I am pleased our team was able to rise to the challenge,” says Kalen Hastings, the town’s chief administrative officer.
For a home assessed at $277,360 this year, the average for Coaldale, that would mean a property tax bill of $2,902.55 including education requisitions collected for the province.
Recycling plan on track
With the City of Lethbridge’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) still on track for completion by the end of December, and with preparations in full swing for a city-wide rollout of the recycling cart program by the end of next April, City officials are downplaying expectations on the range of products which will meet recycling eligibility under the new program.
“We’re working with different municipalities,” explained general manager Joel Sanchez of the City’s Waste and Recycling Services at a press conference at the City’s landfill on Tuesday morning, “and we are in the process of retaining a (private-sector) broker that will help us to define what are the materials that are going to be included in the program.”
“We want to collect materials we are going to be able to market,” added Sanchez, “and based on that we are going to make decisions (on what to collect).”
Sanchez added the plan is to rotate garbage collection and curbside recycling week to week for Lethbridge residents, with garbage being collected on a bi-weekly basis instead of on a weekly basis. He further stated the pilot project rolled out this past summer has proven to be a success — with a 70 per cent participation rate by those with the carts, and with only a 12-15 per cent contamination rate where inappropriate materials were accidentally thrown in for recycling.
AMA teams with food banks
The Alberta Motor Association and Lethbridge food banks are joining forces to bring holiday cheer to families in need with AMA’s Fill Our Fleet campaign which began recently.
This is the seventh year in which AMA has partnered with food banks across Alberta but the first year where the Lethbridge Food Bank and the Interfaith Food Bank will come together for the campaign.
Danielle McIntyre, executive director for Interfaith, said the partnership with AMA has helped immensely when overseeing their fiscal year.
“The funds that we recruit at this time of year not only help us serve our local families at Christmas time but they determine what we’re able to offer in the year to come,” said McIntyre. “This time of year is crucial for us and having that influx of cash is really valuable because it impacts our budget for the next year.”
For the last four years, the Interfaith Food Bank has received over $9,000 worth of support in food and funds.
Interfaith is appreciative of groups like AMA who do these campaigns on their behalf.
“We really appreciate their help in spreading the word about supporting local charities especially at this time of year,” said McIntyre. “Supporting the food banks financially in addition to the donations of food is always a wonderful thing.”
Jane Flower, vice-president of brand and member experience for AMA, knows how important campaigns like Fill Our Fleet are to those in need.
Waterton areas open in winter
The winter months can offer a time to experience what the wilderness has to offer, especially within Waterton Lakes National Park.
When visiting the park this winter, the public is reminded the Kenow Wildfire of 2017 has affected the park and some areas are still closed due to damage and unsafe areas.
The Red Rock Parkway from Coppermine Creek to Red Rock Canyon, Bear’s Hump Trail, Crandell Mountain Campground, and recreational opportunities associated with these areas remain closed. The Akamina Pass Trail is only open to the pubic until you reach the B.C. border. The McNeely’s and Little Prairie day use areas, Tamarack Trail and Cathew-Alderson Trail will remain closed as well due to wildfire damage.
The Akamina Parkway is open to Cameron Lake, as well as Red Rock Parkway for non-motorized use this winter. Trails accessible from the Parkway include Lineham, Rowe, Cameron Lakeshore, Akamina Pass (only to the B.C. border) and Summit Lake. There are approximately 35 kilometres of reopened trails in addition to areas reopened earlier this year.
Parks Canada is assessing and developing a rehabilitation strategy for these areas before they can reopen. To ensure everyone’s safety, Parks Canada asks people visiting the park to respect all area closures.
Operation Red Nose starts
If you haven’t already, please take a moment to add 403-320-4155 into your phone.
Put it in a contact called Operation Red Nose.
The designated driver program — and major fundraiser for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Athletics department — has launched for the season with phone lines open starting at 9 p.m.
Now in its 24th year, Operation Red Nose involves volunteers in teams of three: one person who drives their vehicle, a designated driver who drives the client’s vehicle and a navigator who looks up the destination and completes the paperwork.
Although there is no fee for the service, donations are graciously accepted.
Hours of operation for the campaign are 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. nightly. ORN will run again on Saturday, plus Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15, Dec. 20-22, and Dec. 31.
To volunteer for Operation Red Nose, visit gohorns.ca or firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer application forms.