Almost 4,000 teddy bears were tossed onto the ice and collected at the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ Teddy Bear Toss game last Friday at the Enmax Centre.
Hurricanes players were at the Chinook Regional Hospital on Tuesday to visit patients in the Pediatrics Unit and gave them stuffed teddy bears. The Canes brought 200 bears to the hospital which will last throughout the year, and will be given to different departments in the hospital.
One lucky patient got a signed mini hockey stick and a jersey from the Hurricanes along with a bear. Seventeen-year-old Avery Hennessey, who has been a fan of the Hurricanes for a long time, was excited to get a visit from them.
Hennessey appreciated the players going around the hospital visiting patients. He said it was nice and thoughtful of them to take time out of their day to be part of such a great thing.
Ryan Vandervlis, Hurricanes centre-forward, knows firsthand how important it is to have extra support that can help give you strength while in the hospital. Having been seriously injured this past summer in a campfire accident along with other teammates, visitors stopping by can make a big difference to someone.
Coalhurst man hailed as hero
A Coalhurst man is being praised as a hero by local fire officials after entering a burning home to help wake an elderly couple and bring them out to safety.
Coalhurst fire chief Mathew Conte said no one was injured in the early morning blaze. But it might have been different without the quick action of the couple’s neighbour, verified by The Herald on Monday as building contractor John Van Vliet.
“For sure, had he not done that the chances of getting out uninjured would have been drastically reduced,” said Conte. “Smoke inhalation is responsible for more fire fatalities than the actual fire itself. So quick action on the part of this neighbour prevented what could have been a more tragic situation.”
Conte said the fire department received a call of a garage on fire at a home on 8 Street in Coalhurst just before 5 a.m. on Monday morning.
“The residents were at home sleeping in bed (when the fire began),” confirmed Conte. “The neighbour (Van Vliet) was one of the first to notice the fire. He went in through the back of the residence, and was able to go into their bedroom, wake them up and brought them out.”
Fifteen members of Coalhurst Fire Department arrived on the scene shortly thereafter.
Judas Priest coming here
If you’re a local heavy metal fan and thought you had your Christmas shopping wrapped up, well — “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’.”
On Monday morning, the Enmax Centre announced that metal pioneers Judas Priest will perform a concert at the Lethbridge venue on June 10.
The legendary band, which has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide in their nearly 50-year career, is known for such radio hits as “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” as well as classic albums “British Steel,” “Screaming for Vengeance,” and “Painkiller.”
Judas Priest’s latest studio album “Firepower” was released earlier this year.
Classic metal band Uriah Heep will open the June 10 show.
Tickets are available online at http://www.enmaxcentre.ca, by phone at 403-329-7328 (SEAT), or in person at the Enmax Centre and Yates Theatre box offices.
New name in UCP ring
A longtime Conservative board member is seeking the United Conservative Party’s nomination in Lethbridge East.
Kimberly Lyall, who was founding president of the constituency association, is the second person to file papers as a candidate for the nomination. Earlier this year, project manager Bryan Litchfield announced his candidacy.
Party officials have yet to announced the date for a nomination meeting.
Lyall, citing her experience in tourism, community development and strategic planning, cites a number of issues to be raised during her campaign. They include maintaining safe, healthy communities; creating a climate where businesses can be successful, and operating government efficiently.
“So many systems in this province are broken right now,” Lyall believes.
“Health care is costing more while wait times increase,” she says.
Foundation hands out grants
The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southern Alberta has handed out $290,000 in grants to help mainly rural communities and community groups to pay for much needed programs or infrastructure work. The funding represented an early Christmas present for many of the recipients, who expressed their gratitude with heartfelt speeches and expressions of appreciation at a gala event at the Community Foundation offices in Lethbridge.
“The $25,000 grant we received today is 25 per cent of what we have had to raise,” said Rick Clark, president of the Pincher Creek Elks, who accepted one of four Community Foundation “Henry S. Varley Fund for Rural Life” grants to build two Habitat for Humanity homes in his community. “That’s big, and we’re as happy as a pig in poop. This project will mean a better life for two needy families, and hopefully we will go on to build more.”
Campaign helps food banks
Save-On-Foods hosted Stuff A Bus again this year where pre-packaged food hampers will go to those in need.
The entire day Dec. 4 was designated for the food drive in the parking lot of both Save-On-Foods locations in Lethbridge.
The Lethbridge Food Bank Society and the Interfaith Food Bank have been operating for more than 30 years and will be splitting the donations again this year.
The Food Bank Society sees approximately 700 households per month that require their services. Last month, they exceeded their usual amount with over 700 households.
Maral Kiani Tari, executive director for the Lethbridge Food Bank Society, said it’s important to show families who are in need that the whole city is supporting them through events like Stuff A Bus.
This time of year is the busiest for both food banks, even after Christmas and into January.
“The demand doesn’t go down in January, so this is really important, not only for us to be able to provide our Christmas hampers but to also be able to stock up for January and to support those clients.”
Distribution of the food hampers starts Monday until Dec. 21. Save-On-Foods will still have hampers available to be donated to the food banks until they run out.
“We’re grateful to our community and to Save-On-Foods to be able to do this every year,” said Kiani Tari. “Lethbridge is one of the most giving communities out there and we really do appreciate all the support that we get.”
Canes help soup kitchen
Lethbridge Hurricanes and Subway partnered up for the second year to serve warm lunches to those in need at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen on Monday.
Kathy Hong, community outreach liaison for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, said their community involvement is important to the Hurricanes, especially being a community-owned team.
“We wanted to be there to support the people who support us,” said Hong. “For us to be able to help, along with Subway’s help to feed those who are less fortunate, is very important to us.”
Subway has a long-standing partnership with the Hurricanes, supporting them and being one of their corporate sponsors.
When in talks with Subway, the Hurricanes wanted to do something to help the community and thought this would be the perfect fit.
Dylan Tgornborough, Hurricanes sales executive, said community involvement has been a major focus for the hockey club. Also being community-minded, Subway saw the connection the Hurricanes have with the community and wanted to help where they could.
Transit terminal work under wraps
The gigantic crane is gone and all the pre-cast concrete blocks are in place.
And construction of the city’s downtown bus terminal and parkade is under wraps.
But behind the plastic weather wrap, there’s plenty of work underway.
“Our mechanical and electrical trades have almost completed installing the under-slab utilities on the lower level,” says project manager Ric Johnston.
“In the bus drive-thru lane they have installed scaffolding, which will be tarped to keep the area from freezing,” he adds.
Workers are also bringing the main level up to grade, in preparation for pouring the concrete floor.
“Windows will begin to arrive between now and the end of the year, which will close off the lower level,” Johnston says.
That will allow workers to begin framing the office space for Red Arrow, he explains. The inter-city carrier — linking Lethbridge to Calgary and points north — is now the only scheduled service out of the city.
Daily bus service from Lethbridge to Highway 3 communities and Medicine Hat, underwritten by the provincial government, is planned to start in the new year.
Lethbridge Transit support space and public areas will also be enclosed in weeks to come, he says.
Get ready to blow
The Lethbridge Police Service is warning local motorists that due to new federal mandatory alcohol laws coming into effect later this month officers will have sweeping new powers to perform roadside breathalyzer tests.
“Effective Dec. 18 the federal government has introduced (with Bill C-46) a number of new initiatives to combat impaired driving,” said Traffic Response Unit commander Sgt. Wade Davidson at a press briefing on Wednesday. “One of the big initiatives coming out of it is mandatory alcohol screening. What that is going to mean is in the past officers have been required to have a reasonable suspicion that a person has alcohol in their body before they can make a roadside breath demand. As of Dec. 18, an officer who has an approved road screening device with them will be able to make a demand of that person to provide a sample as soon as they are stopped.”
Further, explained Davidson, it will also now be against the law to refuse to comply with such a test.
“If there is refusal to provide a sample on the roadside device, we’re not bringing them back here (to the station) to give them another shot at it,” Davidson said. “Refusal to provide a sample to a roadside device is a criminal offence, and it is treated the same as if the person were double the legal limit; so it’s a very high minimum penalty that’s going to be in place for a refusal.”
One step further
The Lethbridge Soup Sisters have been supporting local organizations in need for many years with fresh homemade soup, but one of their volunteers took it one step further, creating a new campaign to give back to the clients of the organizations this holiday season.
Genie Hartwick, an elementary school teacher in Lethbridge specializing with visually impaired students, wanted to get involved with a volunteer organization, and found a home with Soup Sisters. Following a presentation for Lethbridge YWCA Harbour House, she thought there was something more she could do to help women trying to transition from the abusive situations they were previously in.
“People from Harbour House came to speak with us about the struggles that these women have and I felt like soup was one thing, but I felt that I needed to fill a need where I believe every woman should feel like they are pretty and worthy,” says Hartwick. “I think these women tend to be forgotten. Children always get looked after around Christmas because they are children and we want it to be a happy time for them, but I feel like the mom needs a lift, too, and to not just feel like mom, but to feel like a woman.
Detox facility in works
Work has begun on a drug-use withdrawal facility on the Blood Reserve.
Provincial government officials say a 24-hour care centre will be open early in the new year.
“The Blood Tribe has developed a community-based solution to help ease the current overdose crisis,” said Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, announcing the $2.2-million project Thursday.
“We will continue to work with the Blood Tribe to ensure they have the support they need to provide treatment and care for people affected by substance use.”