The Southern Alberta Ethnic Association (SAEA) brought together nationalities from across the community to celebrate the binding of cultures in which have created Canada, for their annual Heritage Day celebration at the Enmax Centre Aug. 5 afternoon.
Throughout the day, thousands of people took to the Enmax Centre to learn more about the different cultures that make up our country and local communities by watching live dancers and performers share their colours, as well as try the wide range of ethnic foods.
“We are having our Heritage Day celebration, we are marking the day because Canada is made up of different cultures and ethnic groups and because of that we are bringing everyone together at the Enmax Centre to display and show how Canada is diverse with various cultural activities and people,” says Richard Odei-Wontumi, executive director of SAEA.
“The most important reason of why we are bringing all of these cultures together is that Canada is a very diverse nation. We are made up of immigrants and the diversity the immigrants mixed together is what Canada is.”
Fort offers look at history
Fort Whoop-Up brought families down to the riverbottom Aug. 5 to learn more about the local heritage and ways of living when the settlement began, for their annual Heritage Day celebrations.
Throughout the day, families and community members were able to learn more about the ways of living when the settlement was first built, from the covered carriage rides used during the trek to Alberta, livestock, quill writing and much more.
“Today we are celebrating Heritage Day so we are showing off our local heritage,” says Natasha Gray, Fort Whoop-Up site co-ordinator.
“It is important to learn about local heritage. We are a heritage site, so we want to have the hands-on interpretation, and experience a little bit of what life was like back then to understand things such as how difficult it was for simple things such as to write with a quill pen and ink, compared to pens today.”
Sending people back in time with activities such as candle making, black smithing, rope making and axe throwing, Fort Whoop-Up wants visitors to enjoy the original ways of living as well as the local heritage of their site. Throughout the day, people were also able to try traditional Indigenous foods which were made out of the resources found in the area.
City to host town hall meeting
With Mayor Chris Spearman away on vacation, city council voted 7-1 in favour of holding a public town hall meeting in the near future to allow citizens to express their views on the city’s drug strategy, the supervised consumption site, needle debris, or on pretty much anything they want to talk about in the current drug crisis; such was the broad scope of the motion presented by Coun. Blaine Hyggen and adopted at the Aug. 6 public meeting.
Hyggen said he presented the motion because he was listening to concerns and frustrations that people were not feeling heard in the current situation, and he wanted to present an opportunity for people to express themselves and present alternative ideas not already covered by the City’s current drug strategy and policies.
“Any time we can talk with the community and have questions asked and answered, I think it is fantastic,” Hyggen said. “The same kind of things happens at council forums in election time. The moderator has to be quite tight with timing. You have your timing, you can ask your questions and it’s done. I think we can have it done in a well-planned way with a correct moderator.”
Hyggen said frustrations among certain members of the community about the drug crisis have been building for some time, and he was happy most of his fellow councillors agreed it was time to have a public airing.
Hyggen admitted there are polarized opinions in the community, and he said council will certainly be present to answer questions in its realm. But for other issues like the supervised consumption site, policing strategies, supportive housing and needle cleanup, etc., he hoped council’s invitation to attend the town hall to provincial government representatives, police and fire representatives, the police commission, AHS and ARCHES would be accepted.
Insects have role to play
Families from across southern Alberta got to get a closer look at some of the insects found in and around the area at the Alberta Birds of Prey Centres’ Insect Discovery Day.
Visitors and especially children had the opportunity to see, catch and identify a variety of wild local insects Saturday, with the assistance of bug scientists from the Alberta Entomology Society.
“Today is our annual Insect Discovery Day and this is a chance for Entomologists in the community, from the University of Lethbridge and the research station, amateurs, professionals, anyone who has a love for insects can come together and share our passions for insects,” says Hector Carcamo, research scientist and entomologist. “What we have here today is three stations, an aquatic station, grasslands, and we have an indoor exhibition where people will find a display of quite a diversity of insects.”
Throughout the day, people were able to take their nets and run them through the wetlands at the Birds of Prey Centre, or through the fields and grass to see what insects they would be able to easily catch and learn about. The day wasn’t just a way for kids to play with insects, but also a way for entomologists to educate the public about the important roles each insect plays in the environment.
RCMP warn of break-ins
Police are reminding southern Albertans to secure their homes, after several rural break-and-enter incidents were reported near Fort Macleod.
Rural residents are also urged to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles, and strangers knocking on doors or going onto private property. Thieves may use some kind of ploy or cover story when they’re knocking on doors to see if anyone is home, police add.
Fort Macleod RCMP are investigating several rural break and enters to residences in recent weeks, they report. Suspects appear to know that no one is home and they either find an open door, or force an entry to the home. Once inside, they go through the house to steal electronics, cash and other valuable items.
Police are advising homeowners to ensure doors and windows are locked and to record serial numbers on electronics or other valuable items as a way to help police track and possibly locate items. Residents with any information about these break-and-enter incidents are asked to call the Fort Macleod RCMP at 403-553-7200.
Three pot shops open
Nearly 10 months after marijuana became legal across Canada, there are still no legal suppliers in towns across southern Alberta.
But an even dozen outlets are now open in Lethbridge.
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission now lists 256 licensed stores in cities, towns and villages across the province. But apart from High River there are no towns south of Highway 1 where a retailer is open — including larger communities like Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek, Fort Macleod, Coaldale or Taber.
In Lethbridge, however, three more outlets have been approved recently. They are Amsterdam Fog Cannabis Culture on 6 Street South downtown, The Source Cannabis on 13 Street near 3 Avenue South and the Retail Cannabis Store Ltd. on 24 Avenue near 43 Street South.
With fewer product shortages than earlier in the year, the Alberta commission is now issuing new licences several times each week.
U of L projects get funding
The cultural and social history of Japanese Canadians across southern Alberta is one of many University of Lethbridge research projects receiving new federal funding.
Studies involving immigrant teenagers and how sedentary seniors can become more active are also included in a list of recent research grants announced by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
“The U of L’s success rate with Insight Development Grants was very positive, higher than the national average and continues our momentum,” says U of L vice-president (research) Erasmus Okine.
“Our social scientists and humanities researchers are conducting leading-edge research and I heartily commend them for their efforts.”
A new “Insight Grant” from the federal agency will allow kinesiology and physical education professor Carly Adams — a Board of Governors Research Chair — to continue her oral history project, Transforming Canadian Nikkei. She’s working with Darren Aoki, a U of L graduate who’s now a professor in world history at the University of Plymouth and an adjunct professor in history at the U of L.
They’re exploring the cultural and social history of Canadian Nikkei (people of Japanese descent) in southern Alberta from 1950 to the 21st century. Their partners in the project are the Galt Museum and Archives, the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden and the Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge and Area.
Blackfoot artist selected for installation
Well-known local Blackfoot artist Faye HeavyShield has been commissioned to create a new public installation art work for the Lethbridge Public Library’s Piitoyiss-Eagles’ Nest space.
In a rare move the City’s public art committee asked council to agree to sole-source the $65,000 work in this case because it felt it was important to have a local Blackfoot artist complete the work, as it is intended to celebrate inclusion and hospitality between local Indigenous peoples and others in the community.
Suzanne Lint, chair of the public art committee, said committee members had sent out a call for proposals to local Indigenous artists and hadn’t received any replies, so they had held a round table with several of those artists to figure out why. Committee members were told competition in such things is not the Blackfoot way, a way which respects Elders and defers to those who have won great merit already in the community.
Hearing this, the committee decided to turn to HeavyShield, whose national and international credentials as an installation artist are unparallelled.
Hail devastates corn crop
Barnwell area residents and farmers are still in a state of shock after a major storm packing 146 km/h winds and loonie-sized hail roared through the small community and nearby farms just after 7 p.m. Aug. 6.
While the extent of the damage in the region wasn’t completely known on Wednesday, Reeve Merrill Harris of the M.D. of Taber said driving around the countryside it appears the storm cut a long, narrow swath centred around the village of Barnwell.
“Toward Barnwell and Cranford was the worst of it,” Harris confirmed. “It’s always very saddening to see crops wiped out completely from a storm like this. I am sure most people carry crop insurance, so there is some recourse or monies to be able to replace part of that crop loss, but not totally. It’s always economically devastating when these sort of things happen. My heart goes out to all those affected. You just hate to see this sort of thing happen to your neighbours and local communities.”
Jennifer Molnar, owner of Molnar’s Taber Corn and Pumpkins adjacent to Barnwell, said she couldn’t believe the extent of the devastation she was seeing in her family’s crops.
“The hail came in and we were in the direct path of it,” she stated. “It took out our corn, our market garden and all our pumpkins.
“We’re 100 per cent hail-damaged. I don’t know what the total dollar value at this point. We had at least loonie-sized hail. I’d say it was more the volume of hail that did the damage than the size of it and, of course, the wind. It is devastating. That would be my word for it — devastation.”
Molnar said they were only three days into their Taber corn harvest season, and it had been one of the best crops she had ever seen.
“It was looking fantastic. The pumpkins were also looking beautiful and the market garden was the best we had ever had. For this year there is really nothing we can do but to plan for next year.”
Michel Camp of CP Farms Ltd. said the storm also wiped out 80 per cent of his crops.
His sugar beets might have a chance to recover, he admitted, but his corn, grain and potatoes are pretty much a total write-off.
Funding for communications
Fire departments in five Lethbridge County communities will soon be using updated radio communication.
County council has provided nearly $290,000 to allow all of its contracted fire departments to use the Alberta First Responders Radio Communication System.
The two-way radio network, used by many first responders across the province since 2016, is funded and operated by the provincial government. But each municipality is responsible for purchasing the required equipment.
In recent years the County’s fire services have found existing radio systems provide inadequate coverage in the more rural areas, increasing the risk for first responders.
The new equipment will provide better coverage — and can also be used outside the primary response areas, assisting firefighters responding to mutual aid calls from neighbouring municipalities.