When CTV Lethbridge moves out of its longtime location on 13 Street North by Dec. 31, it will be the end of an era. But the station’s focus on producing local television news will continue, says CTV Lethbridge news director Terry Vogt.
Last Wednesday, Vogt was packing up archive Beta tapes from the 1980s as part of the process of moving to their new location within the Miracle Channel building on 5 Avenue and 31 Street North.
The building that had housed CTV Lethbridge has been sold. The original structure was built in 1928, and it was a former grocery store before half of it was converted into a place to house then-CFCN Lethbridge.
Vogt said the building downsize has been some time in the making, with changes in the media landscape during the past few decades. In the 1980s, more than 30 people worked out of that office.
When their doors close on 13 Street officially on Dec. 31, the six current local staff in Lethbridge will make the move. Vogt says the decision at the corporate level was always to keep their local broadcast.
“There was never any discussion about not having a station here,” he said.
“That makes all of us happy. The Miracle Channel building became an option right away. As soon as our engineer Darren Kronlund looked at it, it had everything we needed. It was perfect for a TV station. Hopefully it will start another 50-year run.”
Local radio stations sold
Lethbridge’s only locally owned radio stations are being sold to a broadcast chain.
The two Clear Sky Radio outlets — 94.1 CJOC and 98.1 The Bridge — are being acquired by Vista Radio. The Vancouver Island-based group, which already owns 40 stations in three western provinces and the Northwest Territories, is also picking up Clear Sky’s recent venture, Summit 107 in Cranbrook.
“We are thrilled to add these well-loved stations to our portfolio and to continue to serve listeners and advertisers in these excellent markets,” Vista president Geoff Poulton said in a prepared statement.
“Our fundamental belief is that local radio makes a difference, and we will apply that philosophy to maintain and enhance the programming for listeners.”
Clear Sky president Paul Larsen, confirming the agreement to sell, said Vista would be able “to compete in an industry featuring a number of large national players.
Fire safety a Christmas concern
Watering your fresh Christmas tree is a good start.
But provincial officials have issued a list of additional ways to keep Alberta families safe over the holiday period.
“With the busy holiday season upon us, I urge folks to keep fire safety top of mind,” says Shaye Anderson, Alberta’s minister of municipal affairs.
“Nothing is more important as we gather with family and friends than making sure we all stay safe.”
Extension cords — like the ones powering the Christmas lights —can be one of the dangers. Check their rated capacity and avoid overloading them, safety officials say.
And to avoid tripping, place the cords under a rug if they’re crossing a hallway or room.
Before plugging in those cords, they add, check to see if they’re cracked or frayed. Dispose of any cords or lights that aren’t in good shape. The old practice of putting candles on a tree is very dangerous, but candles used in other ways can prove hazardous as well. Make sure to blow them out at the end of the day.
In a cold snap, space heaters may keep things cozy. But they should be located at least one metre away from furniture, curtains and decorations. Unplug them when they’re not being used.
Stoves and overheated kitchen appliances can pose further dangers, as meals and snacks are prepared for guests.
And as always, carelessly tossed cigarette butts are a household danger during the holidays as throughout the year. Providing a safe place to dispose of them can avert disaster.
Study finds local drivers among the safest
Take a bow. But watch the road!
For motorists, Lethbridge is ranked as one of the nation’s safest cities.
But here and right across the country, late December can prove the most dangerous time of year.
And Fridays are the worst, according to results from the Allstate Canada Safe Driving Study.
The insurance company’s 10-year study showed Lethbridge is the safest city in Alberta — and the fifth-safest in Canada. The number of vehicle collision claims in Lethbridge has dropped 18 per cent over the last decade, it adds.
But Alberta’s collision frequency is one of the highest in Canada, the report showed‚ with drivers in Edmonton the most accident-prone.
“It’s hard to suggest why Alberta is worse,” says Anthony Chan, an Allstate branch manager. “We all get snow, we all get different temperatures.”
But it’s not so difficult to see why accident rates climb at this time of year, snow or no snow.
“A lot of people are going to a lot of Christmas parties,” where liquor is readily available.
Police dogs guests at SACPA
They work long hours, facing danger and protecting others.
But when they retire, these highly trained policing assistants get their just reward.
Part of their pension, says Const. James DeMone, is a lifetime supply of dog food.
The officer and Police Service Dog Arco were guests of the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, before heading out Thursday on their daily patrols.
Arco is one of four members of the Lethbridge Police Service’s Canine Unit, DeMone explained. Service dogs have been part of the Lethbridge force — and many of its Canadian counterparts — for many years.
Their intelligence, their ability to learn and obey, and particularly their sense of smell prove invaluable in a number of situations, DeMone said. Arco demonstrated that later by detecting several objects hidden before he was brought into the room.
The dogs’ reward-based training also equips them to track suspects, to find evidence and to perform specialized duties with border services and the military, he added. At night they can readily locate those escaping from the law, while their handlers and other officers can take cover.
Sentenced to secure custody
A 21-year-old man who spent nearly four years in custody before he was even sentenced, will spend at least one more year behind bars before he’s eligible for supervised release.
The man, who can’t be identified because he was only 17 when he attacked a woman and sexually assaulted her May 3, 2015, was sentenced Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court to at least one year of secure custody under IRCS, the Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Program. Then, depending on his conduct during that time, he could for the remaining two years of the program, live in the community under conditional supervision.
The man could have been sentenced as an adult, which could have resulted in a life sentence. However, the Crown, defence lawyer and judge agreed, after numerous assessments, the man and society would be better served if he was sentenced under the IRCS program, which provides the delivery of specialized therapeutic programs and services for youth with mental-health needs who are convicted of a serious violent offence.
“The potential for this form of sentence may serve to save this young man’s life, and if he avails himself of the supports necessary, significantly improve the likelihood he will not harm others in the future,” Judge Gregory Maxwell said.
The accused was found guilty last March of break and enter to commit an indictable offence, unlawful confinement, aggravated sexual assault, and two counts of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.