The city is reeling from a disturbingly violent crime where a masked individual severely beat an elderly woman after stalking her for hours in her own home.
The Lethbridge Police Service investigation determined a male broke into a 75-year-old woman’s home on the 3000 block of Fairway Street South during the early morning hours of May 21.
The male allegedly spent the night in a basement bedroom while the elderly female was asleep upstairs.
Over the course of 18 hours the male remained in the woman’s home while she went about her business unaware of his presence.
During the evening of May 22, while the woman was watching television she heard a noise and when she went to check on it, that’s when police say she was confronted by a masked male. The male repeatedly punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground then dragged her to the garage and struck her multiple times in the head with a bicycle before fleeing in her vehicle.
Adam Hall Hobkirk-Onate, 21, formerly of Ottawa, is charged with assault causing bodily harm, housebreaking to commit robbery and being disguised with intent.
New artist kiosks
The Lethbridge Allied Arts Council and Community Foundation of Lethbridge & Southwestern Alberta have invested in two new artist kiosks for Rotary Square at Casa, for artists to use to sell their items in a welcoming outdoor space.
To show off the new kiosks, Casa hosted a kick-off barbeque with live music and entertainment, as well as local cartoonist Eric Dyck setting up shop in a kiosk with live drawings, and the other kiosk filled with fine craft and art from a new art retail store on 7th street. The idea of bringing kiosks to Lethbridge came from an idea within the arts council to bring more vibrance to the downtown.
“In many other cities, there are pop-up shops or little kiosks for artists to bring their work out into the community. Our executive director was on a trip to Montreal and saw these and thought it would be a great addition to our outdoor square here at Casa,” says Dawn Leite, community relations manager for Allied Arts Council.
“The kiosks are converted shipping containers, they are outfitted with slat-walls so people can hang shelving and hooks, they have gallery lights inside as well. So while we are having events happening on the square, or other organizations are renting the square, we can place the artists and their artwork there and they can be doing demos, selling, activities, and it is just a way for us to have the artwork out in the public and out in the open.”
Funding for the kiosks was provided by the Community Foundation and the Allied Arts Council, with the interior modifications being provided by Destiny Homes, and external wrapping by Warwick Printing.
Métis Trail officially opens
A Red River cart pulled by a large chestnut horse moved down Métis Trail near Garry Station followed by a diverse procession of people led forward by a fiddler who played a merry jig.
Bright red sashes adorned waists and a giant blue banner emblazoned with a white infinity symbol caught the wind and unfurled itself over the crowd, a crowd who came to remember and celebrate the history of the Métis people in southern Alberta.
The May 24 procession and ribbon-cutting marked the official grand opening of Métis Trail, and, it was hoped, a new chapter for all of southern Alberta’s peoples, said Blackfoot Elder Roland Cotton.
Cotton also said words of blessing for the new roadway, and spoke of the innate purpose of roadways and trails in general.
“All new things become old after,” said Cotton. “We hope that this trail will serve us in its rightful way, and our children can meet one another. Before there was never a trail for anyone, but today there is a trail for all of us so that we can greet and be able to have a brotherly love; so there will be no more racial discrimination.”
It was in 2008 council first voted to name a future major roadway to acknowledge the importance of the Métis people to Lethbridge’s history. Mayor Chris Spearman said he was proud to see that past directive of council finally carried out in his time as mayor.
Traffic woes addressed
The City has heard complaints about greater than usual traffic congestion on University Drive due to road construction in the area and has responded to alleviate those concerns.
“Everybody doesn’t like a delay period, but this one was exceptional,” said City of Lethbridge road infrastructure manager Richard Brummund. Brummund was addressing the multiple complaints received from the public earlier this week of extended delays along University Drive.
“I think we have listened and opened it up,” he added. “I think the complaints that came in were justified, and I hope we have reacted fast enough to help people get to where they need to go to. With construction there is always a delay, we can’t help that; however, we have to do the best we can to get the job done.”
The City announced Thursday afternoon it would be delaying improvements at McMaster Blvd. West, Macleod Dr. West and Mt. Burke Blvd. West to ease congestion on University Drive. On Friday, the length of the north/south green lights along the drive were also extended to help foster better traffic flow.
The City also announced additional signage will be added and dedicated flag people will be in place on University Dr., particularly around Community Stadium, during upcoming events.
Recycling program on track
Lethbridge’s curbside recycling program is going according to plan two weeks after blue cart collection first started city-wide, says the City’s Waste and Recycling Services general manager Joel Sanchez.
“During these two weeks, we have been able to collect 192 tonnes of materials, which is really good, and probably what we were expecting,” he says. “Out of the 192 tonnes we have received at the (MRF) facility, we have processed 171 tonnes. The quality of the material so far we have received from residents is really good. Less than 10 tonnes have been rejected from the facility — so that’s probably less than eight per cent contamination. During the Phase 1 (pilot program), we saw contamination between 10 and 14 per cent, and now our city-wide roll out is consistent with that number.”
There was about a 50 per cent participation rate from Lethbridge residents in week one, a lower number which Sanchez attributes mainly to general confusion as residents were still getting used to this new service. By week two, Sanchez says, nearly 70 per cent of residents were taking part.
“We know it is going to take a little bit of time for people to get used to and to adapt to the program,” Sanchez concedes, “but we are already starting to see that increase in participation.”
Spray parks open for season
Lethbridge’s two outdoor spray parks, Rotary Centennial Fountain and Gyro Spray Park, are now open for the season.
Rotary Centennial Fountain, located in the southeast corner of Galt Gardens, and Gyro Spray Park, located behind Nicholas Sheran Arena, are free of charge for all visitors. Both spray parks will remain open until the September long weekend, or as summer weather permits.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily for the Gyro Spray Park, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for the Rotary Centennial Fountain.
Tax notices in the mail
The City is reminding residents that property taxes are due by June 28. Notices went out in the mail today reminding residents to pay on time or face potential penalties.
Anyone who does not receive a 2019 Tax Notice by May 31 is encouraged to log into MyCity and registering your property using your roll number and access code located on your Assessment Notice sent Jan. 4, 2019.
Cash, cheques, and debit cards are accepted by cashiers at City Hall on the main floor. If you have online banking, you can pay your taxes electronically using the 13-digit roll number located in the top right section of your tax notice.
For more information on this option visit http://www.lethbridge.ca/tipp.