Students around the city were able to participate in an exciting visit from Katherine Applegate, author of “Wishtree,” the book selected for the One District One Book program.
In March, every student and faculty member received a customized copy of “Wishtree” to read together and understand the book’s message collectively. On Wednesday afternoon, Applegate spent time with students at Lethbridge Collegiate Institute and Chinook High School where she shared her experiences with writing the story and seeing how Lethbridge adapted it into their lives.
“Having Katherine Applegate here is the cat’s meow, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to wrap up a hugely significant community event,” says Michelle Dimnik, One District One Book committee member. “Her story, her words, has brought our community together over the love of an amazing story that has the ability to change the next generation and influence this generation on how we treat others, how we want to be treated, newcomers and welcomers. We all play a role in that and I couldn’t be happier.”
Search to resume
It has been almost two years since a small Piper Warrior aircraft travelling from Lethbridge to Kamloops disappeared, carrying pilot Alex Simons and passenger Sydney Robillard.
During the trip on June 8, 2017, the plane landed in Cranbrook to refuel that afternoon, but it was the last time the plane was seen. Following a 12-day search by the Royal Canadian Air Force and B. C. Search and Rescue nothing was found.
Last Tuesday, a relative of Simons was contacted by a pilot from Kimberley, B.C., who claims to have seen a Piper plane in the area of Lost Dog Lake on June 8, 2017 around 3:15 p.m., when Simons had taken off from Cranbrook airport around 3 p.m.
A private search of the Lost Dog Lake area is planned to take place between May 8 and 10, and relatives are looking for as many people as possible to search the area’s rugged terrain.
Family members of both Simons and Robillard will be travelling to southeast B.C. to lead the private search.
Lethbridge police have charged two people and seized more than $60,000 worth of drugs following a routine traffic stop.
Last Thursday, police stopped a Chevrolet Silverado truck after observing two equipment violations. Upon speaking to the occupants, police say the officer observed a machete in between the seat and centre console and found the female passenger was in breach of the conditions of a recognizance.
Following a search of the vehicle, police say they seized a large quantity of drugs and weapons including: 117 grams carfentanil valued at $46,800; 40 capsules believed to contain heroin valued at $8,000; 10.8 grams of methamphetamine valued at $1,080; 12 hydromorphone capsules valued at $95; 13 amphetamine capsules valued at $260; 1,035 gabapentin pills valued at $2,070; 22 temazepam pills valued at $310; 92 codeine pills valued at $920; 25 oxycodone pills valued at $430; 40 zopiclone pills valued at $245; plus a hatchet, a baton, a machete and brass knuckles.
People across Canada and within Lethbridge stopped to remember workers killed, injured or disabled on the job on recently for the National Day of Mourning.
A total of 162 Albertans’ lives were lost in 2018 due to workplace injury or illness, and the City of Lethbridge, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, unions, organizations and family members of lost ones gathered at the CUPE Local 70 Memorial Site to pay their respects.
“When I first started there were four of us, we would come out here just by ourselves because it wasn’t anything back then, but the people who have jumped on has been considerable and it makes me very proud,” says Burt Green, memorial organizer.
“The most important thing is that we are trying to bring awareness to the youth, awareness for what is happening on the job because what is happening is people are being murdered on the job and nobody is accepting fault or blame for it. I can luckily say with the City of Lethbridge, we have come a long way but I remember those days when you fought for your rights and it wasn’t very nice because there was violence and harassment in the workplace and you had to stand up for yourself or others.”
Senior takes on challenge
A 70-year-old man has taken on the challenge of riding his bike across Canada to help raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease.
Walter Reich and his wife Regula, originally from Switzerland, retired in Ontario after running a motel and cafe since 1995. With dreams to travel across Canada, Walter decided to take his passion for cycling and make a journey across the country and to raise funds for a disease not spoken about often.
“It started as a personal challenge to see if I could do it because it is a huge country. We thought that we would be able to do this ride with something else and that is why we chose Parkinson’s disease,” says Reich. “My wife had two uncles who had Parkinson’s and the journey to Tofino to here, we have met quite a few people who had the disease, and we have learned how they live with the difficulties.”
The ride kicked off on April 12, in Tofino B.C., where the Reichs rode off down the highway, through the mountains and onto the Prairies. On Tuesday, Walter and his wife arrived in Lethbridge where they rested for another long leg of the journey.
Through their time in B.C., they endured the steep climbs over mountain terrain and encountered cold rain, but visitors along the way pushed them to make it to their next destination.
Pie It Forward
The Southern Alberta Individualized Planning Association (SAIPA) is inviting members of the community to attend a special event where they will be able to throw a pie in the face of Coun. Belinda Crowson, who has volunteered for the fundraiser.
Crowson will participate in the humorous event at city hall on May 14 at 10 a.m. to help SAIPA launch Pie It Forward, its third annual fundraising campaign which will send pies flying around the city between June 10 and 14.
“We are excited to be spearheading this one-of-a-kind event again,” says Mark Davids, executive director of SAIPA. “This is a fun and exciting way to let those in your life know you’re thinking about them while supporting skill development for adults with disabilities.”
The light-hearted event will allow people to throw a pie in the face of family, friends, coworkers, spouses or other competitors for a minimum donation of $20. People will have several options of pies to throw at participants to keep the event fun and friendly. Over their last two fundraisers, SAIPA was able to raise $14,000 to help fund their workshops.
Fort celebration continues
A celebration of culture and history in Lethbridge’s river bottom is expected to continue this summer.
Fort Whoop-Up is a popular destination in the city and has been kept up as a resource to teach Indigenous history.
In the annual 2018 report for The Galt Museum and Archives and Fort Whoop-Up to city council on Monday, board chair Vic Mensch said that they have seen an 18-per-cent increase in visitors at the Fort, with just under 10,000 visitors last season, but the importance of their services is not found simply in numbers.
“One of the standards of measurement for success is getting people on their feet; they walk in the door, they come and say ‘wow I didn’t know this existed,’” he said.
Fort Whoop-Up opens to the public for the summer next week and Mensch said there is much to anticipate in the coming season.
New West Theatre and the Fort will be joining forces once again to bring history to life.
The two organizations have doubled the amount of Thursday night shows they will offer since last summer, bringing the fireside event to 16 performances.
Susan Burrows-Johnson, CEO and executive director of The Galt Museum and Archives and Fort Whoop-Up, said the event offers a unique experience where actors are not on a stage but among the audience.
“It’s fun. There are songs, banjos, guitars and characters from the past stepping forward. It’s been filtered through historians so that you’re not led astray, but that you enjoy yourself,” she said.
Burrows-Johnson said the event will also feature traditional food, relevant to the stories being told at the dinner theatre.
Details about upcoming events can be found at the Galt Museum website.
Firehall site approved
Lethbridge City Council has approved the site for a new fire and emergency services facility in west Lethbridge with construction commencing in 2020.
Councillors passed the third and final reading of Bylaw 6163 to rezone two plots of land in the Watermark development from “Low Density Residential” and “Future Urban Development” to “Park and Recreation” and “Public Building” to enable the construction of the new fire hall with an accompanying stormwater pond following a public hearing on Monday.
The new fire and emergency services site will be located at what is today 277 Rocky Mountain Blvd. West and 300 Métis Trail West. The hall will be centrally situated along an integrated group of major roads when Macleod Drive West is extended westward through the site to link up with Métis Trail, council was told. The new road will be called Great Bear Boulevard West when completed.
Although no complainants showed up at Monday’s public meeting to address council or express concerns, Mayor Chris Spearman did express some reservations of his own about the choice of site, which is only about a kilometre from the existing fire hall in west Lethbridge.
Chief of Fire and Emergency Services Rich Hildebrand assured the mayor the site was the best choice available. He said the road system being constructed through the area was the key.