The Enmax Centre is rocking.
Over on the westside, so are the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
World-class curling draws into the Enmax Centre and stays there all week at the World Men’s Curling Championship.
The Enmax Centre transformation has been underway with the replacement of hockey ice with the pebbled surface needed.
Overlooking that process is world-class local ice technician Jamie Bourassa.
“We’ll come into the building and the hockey ice is here,” said Bourassa, who grew up in Fort Macleod and has travelled the world installing curling ice at major events. “We come in and make sure that we’re fairly level with ice to start. Then we put our water down with the flood, let it get hard and then we paint it white. Everything underneath is hockey ice and then we start to build our ice up from that. Once we have it painted all white and sealed in, we mark everything out and figure out where our houses are going to be. We scribe those in and we hand-paint all of those and mark out all our spots for logos and hoglines and get all of that done. Then we put the perimeters on and start building the ice.”
While the ice will freeze level, Bourassa said it won’t necessarily freeze even.
“You look at it and you’re level, but little pieces freeze more than others, some may be a little lower or a little higher. (But) I’m talking minute differences. But we have to level and scrape that off and we’re filling in the low spots. So when we look at the ice it’s all shiny and you can’t see any differences. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Once the ice is in, maintaining through the event is the next step.
“That’s where you really have to work and control building temperatures and ice temperatures and make sure everything is good,” said Bourassa. “It’s April in southern Alberta, you never know what you’re going to get. You’re probably sure it’s not going to be cold, but it could be wet, it could be windy or it could be warm. This building is actually pretty good. For as long as it has been here they’ve done some really neat improvements and it’s still a good building. All the equipment we need is really good. The people in the building are fantastic to work with.”
In addition to the ice, rock maintenance is also paramount.
“We paper the stones to make sure we have sufficient curl throughout the event,” said Bourassa. “If you just had a flat running surface with nothing to bite and you threw it down the ice, it would just basically run its own course with what it wanted to do. You need something underneath to bite the pebble and actually make it curl. We put scratches in to make it curl. So that grabs the pebble. It’s like a reverse glacier. So as you do that, the rocks start to fill in their cracks and start to wear down and start to lose their curl. So that’s something we have to do continually.”
Teacher not guilty
It was with sobs of relief that family members of Jentry Jack Salmon reacted to a judge’s decision finding the Raymond high school teacher and coach not guilty of sexual exploitation and child luring.
Justice E. C. Wilson said Thursday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench he was left with substantial doubt that Salmon and a female student met numerous times in 2016, often late at night and early in the morning, for secret liaisons. And while he said credibility was a key aspect of the trial for both the Crown and defence, he accepted the testimony of the accused’s wife, Annalise, who said her husband was always home with her and their young family at night.
“Under oath she swore that it was impossible for these meetings to have occurred, because the accused wasn’t absent from the house or the matrimonial bed during any of these times,” Wilson said.
She was not shaken in her testimony during cross-examination, Wilson noted.
No comments on cop issue
The Lethbridge Police Commission will no longer publicly comment on recent criticisms of Police Chief Rob Davis made by the Lethbridge Police Association.
“The Lethbridge Police Commission is aware of the Lethbridge Police Association survey that was made available to the media last week,” said Police Commission chair Peter Deys in a statement read out after Wednesday’s Police Commission meeting. “We believe the documents were intended for internal use and not for public consumption. As such, it is not appropriate to comment publicly on something that is internal and deals with human resource matters.”
A confidential survey of LPA members criticizing Chief Davis was leaked to the media last week.
“There is a lack of trust and confidence right now within our organization,” said LPA president Jay McMillan at the time the survey went public. “It’s a morale issue, and that is due to a lack of confidence, a lack of trust in the leadership of the organization. I don’t think it is a stretch to say there is a bit of a toxic culture right now. Almost one-third of our members have been directly bullied and intimidated by the chief. And 54 per cent of our members indicate their co-workers have been bullied and intimidated by the Chief of Police.”
Project to slow traffic
A railway yard project will slow down Highway 3 traffic through Lethbridge for about half a year.
Additional rail car sidings are being built to serve the large Cargill terminal north of Canadian Pacific’s southern mainline.
To facilitate construction, westbound lanes on the Crowsnest Trail have been narrowed. The westbound exit to 13 Street North has been closed. And the maximum speed has been dropped to 50 km/h.
“We’ve worked hard with the province to keep two lanes open,” says Ahmed Ali, the City’s traffic engineering and transportation planning manager.
While it’s part of a provincial highway, he explains, the expressway also carries a significant amount of traffic linking various parts of the city.
“It’s a long project,” Ali reports, with workers expected to be on the site into August. “And there’s also landscaping to do.”
While the Cargill facility is located north of 28 Street South, the Crowsnest Trail lane restriction will be limited to the section between Mayor Magrath Drive and 13 Street. Newly painted lines will guide motorists through the restricted zone. Ali says there is still sufficient space for most wide loads. The project may also affect parking along that section of 1 Avenue North, he adds.
Piikani vote challenged
An unsuccessful candidate is appealing the results of the recent Piikani Nation election.
Patsy English has launched the appeal, charging irregularities when Piikani members voted for chief and council in early January.
The band’s “custom election code” calls for just one day of voting, she says, but the band held advance polls in both Lethbridge and Calgary.
There was also insufficient notice given of the polling station locations, English says.
And it was Piikani chief executive officer Byron Jackson who opened the advance poll ballot box, not chief electoral officer Angela Grier as the election code requires.
The notice of appeal, being handled by the Peterson and Purvis law firm in Lethbridge, gives the elected chief and council until today to respond.
Fundraising goal exceeded
Five Lethbridge firefighters spent the weekend on the roof of Hudsons Tap House to camp out and brave the elements all to help raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
For 72 hours, Alex McIntosh, Brent Nunweiler, Andy Houthuys, David Skilling and Chris Ponce camped on the roof and encouraged the community to come out and fill a boot with funds to help people suffering with different types of muscular dystrophy in our community. This year, the Lethbridge Fire Fighters Charity Association was able to beat their goal of $10,000 and were able to donate a total of $17, 630.
“I am glad to be on the ground, I could see my girls on the ground, but I am really looking forward to having a shower and start preparing for next year,” says Nunweiler. “It was a good time but I could use a shower, 72 hours is a long time to be away from the family, but we raised a lot of money so we are pretty happy.”
Over the weekend, firefighters hosted a community pancake breakfast and a barbeque lunch to encourage people to come to the tap house, donate if they were able and learn more about muscular dystrophy — a disease which increases weakening and breakdown of skeletal muscles over time. Although the weather at times was a challenge for the firefighters, they say whatever they endured was worth it for supporting the charity.
All of the participants in this year’s fundraiser were new to the cause.
Fraud charges laid
A former employee of King of Trade has been charged with defrauding her employer of more than $47,000 in cash and property.
Melanie Dawn Vaillancourt, 38, of Lethbridge, is charged with fraud over $5,000, theft under $5,000, falsification of documents, possession of the proceeds of crime over $5,000 and possession of the proceeds of crime under $5,000.
Earlier this year the Lethbridge Police Service initiated an investigation into alleged fraudulent activity at the King of Trade after inventory discrepancies were identified by staff. Video surveillance was reviewed and an employee was subsequently observed stealing property and cash from the till on numerous occasions.
According to the LPS Economic Crimes Unit, the employee is accused of stealing money from the till and subsequently falsifying inventory and store records in an effort to hide the activity. The alleged crimes occurred between April 2017 and December 2018, police confirmed.
Exhibit inspired by other artists
When they’re checking out an art gallery, how do visitors respond?
How do other artists respond? That’s the question put recently to a group of University of Lethbridge students.
Rather than replying verbally, however, they were asked to create a new artwork inspired by an earlier work of art. The result is “Stories for the Collection,” a one-of-a-kind exhibition on view in the Marmie Hess Gallery.
The show’s creator, Jaylyn Potts, explains it was the recent Hess bequest — about 1,100 items including a number of prized works by Indigenous and Inuit Canadian artists — that became the starting point. Potts, a museum studies intern, says art faculty member Jackson 2bears challenged students in his Indigenous Art studio class to select one of those works as a starting point, then to create a new work.
“They could respond in any way they wanted,” so the exhibition includes welded iron rod, a hand drum, a quilt-covered easy chair and a group of weaved willow medallions suspended from the ceiling.
Potts selected 40 works to start the process.
“It was important to select a range of different artworks, given that what may inspire one student may not interest another,” she says.
Alberta Party candidate for Lethbridge-West Zac Rhodenizer is married, a father of two with a third on the way, a school counsellor and a psychologist. He says like many Lethbridge residents neither the NDP or UCP appeal to him, and he feels the Alberta Party represents a new way forward for Alberta politics.
“For awhile I thought I was politically homeless,” Rhodenizer told The Herald in a recent interview.
“I am not super conservative. I am not super liberal. I kind of take things one issue at a time; so sometimes I might lean more left and sometimes more right. The main thing for me is I have been disappointed both provincially and federally when we have elected officials who are supposed to represent us here in Lethbridge, but in the end just go on to toe the party line.”
Rhodenizer hopes the Alberta Party message of steering a broad course through the political middle will be appealing to voters.
A special book to read
Students in every grade across Lethbridge School District 51 have received a special book to read and share the ideas expressed for the One District One Book program.
During the last year, the One District One Book Committee has worked to collect funds and support for providing a book to every single student, staff and faculty member in the district. On Monday morning, 13,000 copies of Katherine Applegate’s New York Times Bestselling book “Wishtree” was distributed throughout the community.
“One of the most amazing things about this project, even though One District One Book has been done before in North America, it has never been done with high school students,” says Michelle Dimnik, One District One Book committee member. “It has typically been a project that has been targeted towards elementary schools and we are the first district ever to do it K-12. This is a dream come true for me.
The story is told from the perspective of an ancient oak tree, Red, who has overseen everything in the neighbourhood. When a Muslim family moves into the neighbourhood, the tree can’t understand why they aren’t being accepted. Wishtree was originally published in 2017, but the publisher developed a special copy of the book, with a custom paperback cover, special to the program.