Proponents of a four-lane Highway 3 across the province have hired an advocate and administrator.
Victoria Chester has been named director of advancement for the Highway 3 Twinning Development Association.
“We are committed to this vital project and its construction, and Victoria is the perfect person to help us achieve that vision,” says association president Bill Chapman.
Chester brings 25 years of experience in property management, home building and related fields, he says.
As shown by a recent University of Lethbridge study, Chapman says, government investment in the project would be sustainable.
“The project would provide assurance of over 90 per cent to the public that it would generate more benefits than it costs,” he adds.
“Twinning Highway 3 is a tremendous goal, and I am excited that we have a great group of municipalities who see the Highway 3 corridor as the lifeline for economic development, tourism and recreation — and in particular for safety,” Chester says.
Formed in 2001, the association has a membership of 20 municipalities and counties along with Members of Parliament and Alberta MLAs representing the region.
Still no trial date
A man and woman who pleaded not guilty two weeks ago to numerous criminal offences relating to stolen mail and personal documents have yet to set a date for their trial.
The lawyers for Kyle Anthony Blakely and Tammy Judy Kotowski were expected to schedule a trial Friday during a brief appearance in Lethbridge provincial court, but the matter was simply adjourned. Court was told the lawyers had intended to meet with the judge in a pre-trial conference before Friday’s hearing, but the conference was never held.
A PTC provides an informal setting for all parties and the judge to identify facts that are in dispute or might be agreed upon, clarify the issues between the parties, or even reach a resolution by way of voluntary agreement.
Lawyers hope to arrange a PTC before the next court hearing May 31, when they may finally be able to set a trial date.
Blakely and Kotowski each pleaded not guilty May 3 to multiple charges of mail theft, possession of credit cards and identity cards belonging to other people, fraud under $5,000 and possession of stolen property under and over $5,000. Blakely also pleaded not guilty to charges of housebreaking, forgery, using a forged document, identity fraud, attempted false pretenses, obstructing peace officer and mischief.
Blakely faces a total of 90 charges, which include two charges under the Highway Traffic Act, while Kotowski faces 52 charges, including three under the Traffic Safety Act.
Study will look at refugees
Refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti will be the focus of a new study led by a University of Lethbridge research chair.
Geography faculty member Julie Young, a Canada Research Chair in Critical Border Studies, is heading “Remembering Refuge: Between Sanctuary and Solidarity.”
The oral history project, to be conducted over the summer, will involve refugees from those three nations who crossed into Canada at the busy Detroit-Windsor and Plattsburgh-Lacolle ports of entry.
Researchers are seeking refugees from those nations who arrived since the 1980s.
“At a time when the public is inundated with a ‘crisis’ narrative about migration and borders, the oral histories in Remembering Refuge remind us that it is urgent to step outside this story of ‘crisis’,’ says Young.
Instead, Canadians should “focus on the experiences of people wo have been displaced multiple times, who now face being stranded by shifting policies between Canada and the U.S.” Supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society, the study will be conducted by Young and two research assistants in eastern Canada. The three — Johanna Reynolds, Grace Wu and Young — have previously worked on a number of projects related to borders and migration.
Gas prices proving a pain
Despite the rain, many southern Albertans were hitting the highways for the holiday weekend.
But with gasoline prices rising, many Canadians planned trips closer to home. And others were enjoying a “staycation” in their own community.
According to a new survey conducted by the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, most Canadians have witnessed gas prices going up where they live. And about one-third who drive say they are struggling to keep up.
Prices are highest in British Columbia, due largely to the limitations of the aging TransMountain Pipeline.
Motorists there are paying $1.619 per litre this weekend in Victoria, or $1.579 in Vancouver. By comparison, Alberta prices range from $1.259 in Lethbridge to $1.129 in both Calgary and Edmonton — with a low of $1.047 in Vegreville. In B.C., where 90 per cent of those who responded said they’ve seen a “major increase” in prices, about 60 per cent say the provincial government isn’t doing enough to address the issue.
Exhibit showcases local artists
Lethbridge-area images are featured in a new exhibition at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. “Of Surroundings,” showcasing the work of five local artists, is on view alongside two exhibitions of artworks by young people.
Opened Friday in the upper gallery, “Of Surroundings” presents selections by artists working within the current landscapes and traditional Treaty 7 territories, home of the Blackfoot, Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina. Open until June 23, the show includes works by artists Tyler Muzzin, Bryce Singer, Roy Caussy, seth cardinal dodginghorse and Hali Heavy Shield.
Their art focuses on the ways in which people relate to place, and the artists’ varying experiences within the region. It offers “observations of interiority, relationships to proximity, personal experiences, and awareness of surroundings.”
“For many of us, our sense of identity is associated with geographical locations,” says co-curator Kylie Fineday.
“Where we live, places we have been and where we are from become a part of who we are and how we see ourselves.”
The five artists, she says, “address the notions of surroundings, particularly focusing on this region and their experiences within it.”
They’ve expressed that through ceramics and sculpture, photography and performance, installation and poetry as well as drawings and mixed media.
Birds of Prey centre opens
The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale is now open and looking forward to putting last year’s West Nile tragedy behind them as it starts a new season.
The Birds of Prey Centre lost 15 birds last summer to the disease, a third of the birds used in its environmental learning programs. Colin Weir, managing director of the centre, says the visitor experience will likely have a different vibe this year than in previous years.
“It’s a work in progress for us and it will be for a few years,” he admits. “It was quite devastating for us to lose the birds we did. But we do have a few other birds — we have an eagle named Lincoln who has been with us for about 15 years. We’re having to rely on him a bit more. And we are probably going to have to train some new hawks as well to replace some of the old ones we lost. So people might notice a bit of a difference in our environmental learning programs this year.”
What won’t change this early in the season, says Weir, is visitors coming out to the centre will still be able to interact with birds of all kinds, including baby Great-horned owls.