On Friday evening at 8:50 p.m., Pincher Creek Emergency Services and RCMP responded to a two-vehicle collision on Highway 3, one kilometre west of Cowley.
A pickup truck and a pickup towing a holiday trailer had a head-on collision, where the 59-year-old female passenger of the truck towing the trailer was deceased, and the 60-year-old male driver of that truck was transported to hospital with undetermined injuries.
The 39-year-old male driver of the other truck fled the scene on foot and was arrested several hours later at his residence in Cowley. The RCMP are continuing to investigate the collision, with the assistance of specialized traffic units analyzing the scene and the vehicles to determine the possible cause of the collision.
Highway 3 at Cowley was closed for approximately nine hours to allow for police and emergency services to respond and investigate the collision. The road conditions were wet with rain falling at the time, and criminal charges were pending at press time against the driver who fled the scene.
Early fall snowstorm
Fall didn’t last long across southern Alberta as the first winter storm brought in two days of straight snow, making road conditions difficult and bringing chills to households all over.
Starting early Saturday morning, the cold movement brought in heavy snow amounting up to 50 centimetres, with some parts of Alberta exceeding 100 centimetres of snow. For many residents, the warm weather of the two-day fall season was cut too short.
“I enjoy the snow but I wish it would have come later in the year when it’s supposed to,” says Karrie Houler. “I was really hoping to enjoy the fall a little bit longer before I had to break out the shovels and snow gear, but this is Canada and you can’t be too surprised.”
The damp and heavy downpour of snow wasn’t sticking to the roads until Saturday evening when driving conditions worsened and Whoop-Up Drive speed was reduced. The City of Lethbridge was out with plows trying to clear the roads for drivers, but the consistent blowing snow followed behind where they plowed.
The north end of Lethbridge received a chilly Sunday morning as power went out for over 1,100 homes, before being restored later in the day.
Stair climb honours fallen
In honour and recognition of the selfless work done by first responders during the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attacks, is the annual Memorial Stair Climb in Lethbridge where dozens of participants walk the distance the firefighters did to save lives that day.
On Sunday afternoon, around 70 participants from local and area fire stations, other first responders and community members walked up and down the Melcor tower 10 times to take in the distance of the 110 storeys the first responders took on 9/11.
“This is my third year doing the Memorial Stair Climb. The first year I did it on my own with my husband, but last year I joined the committee and help them out and I do this now because I enjoy doing it as it is a memorial for 9/11,” says Kira Kinahan, firefighter from Carmangay. “They were climbing for us and so we are here climbing in memory of them and everyone before me and everyone after me as well.”
Every year, dozens of people take on the intimidating challenge of conquering the tower 10 times for either a personal achievement and/or to understand the effort it took for first responders to get to the people who needed help. Many of the firefighters participating in the stair climb take the challenge even further by gearing up in their over 60-pound equipment and climbing the stairs. Kinahan says it is a difficult challenge no matter how many times you do it but it is always an interesting task.
Climate Strike rally attracts
With images of prominent climate-change activist Greta Thunberg present on signs, and her words being quoted on many lips, more than 200 people took part in the Lethbridge Global Climate Strike rally in front city hall on Friday.
Those who took part were not all of one stripe. Some were young children inspired by Thunberg’s words and example. Ten-year-old Kian Robinson insisted his father drive him down to city hall so he could take part in the Climate Strike.
“The reason I want to be here today is because I worry about the climate,” he said, “and I don’t want our future to be just an endless hell. The thing that concerns me the most is Andrew Scheer (if elected) isn’t going to do anything about it. The Green Party, the NDP and the Liberals are all in for this climate strike.”
Veteran climate activist and politician Shannon Phillips came with three generations of her family for the strike. Referencing Thunberg’s words about world leaders’ ongoing inaction on the climate change issue, Phillips took square aim at Premier Jason Kenney.
“What Jason Kenney has done is worse than inaction,” Phillips stated.
“He tolerates climate-change deniers within his caucus, and has taken us backwards. This is not only a flagrant disregard of science, but also of his responsibilities to future generations.”
Community leader dies
A memorial service will be held in early November for a community leader remembered for her teamwork and her sense of humour.
Dr. Barbara Lacey, a five-term member of Lethbridge City Council, also served as the region’s Medical Officer of Health for nearly 20 years. She died Sept. 21 at age 81.
“We were fortunate to have had her in our city,” says former mayor Bob Tarleck, a council colleague for many years. First elected in 1995, Lacey retired from office in 2010.
She was always well prepared for council deliberations, Tarleck said. Lacey was articulate and well-informed, “but she was compassionate.”
And she worked well with other elected officials to reach a consensus, Tarleck adds.
“Because of people like her, people worked together.”
Born in Coventry, Lacey earned her medical degree in London before she and her late husband Ron — also a family physician — moved to Lethbridge. She brought that training to bear on public health issues like fluoridation, Tarleck says.
“She made sure we adhered to science,” not public sentiment.
While Medical Officer of Health for the City-run Lethbridge Health Unit, Lacey was instrumental in initiating a local response for such issues as the 1980s “AIDS crisis.” Earlier, as one of just a handful of women serving as a doctor in southern Alberta, she was named to a provincewide task force on daycare.
Chambers of Commerce across Canada will be responding to a resolution from Lethbridge.
The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce was joined by its counterparts in Sherwood Park and London, Ont., in proposing a statement calling for changes in the “stress test” that’s faced by home buyers across Canada
The statement, “The Impact of the Mortgage Stress Test on Local Economies,” was adopted as a new policy statement from the nation-wide organization after debate. One impact, Lethbridge members pointed out, has been a slowdown in new-home construction.
The newly endorsed policy calls for a review of the “one-size-fits-all” nature of stress test requirement and providing “more flexible benchmarks.”
They should include “real time” market conditions, regional and community risk assessments and an allowance for regional adjustments as unique community risks arise.
The test should also be waived for buyers who are acquiring a mortgage in the same price range as their original mortgage, it says, or who are trying to switch lenders to lower their interest burden.
The Lethbridge resolution also recommends a 30-year amortization option for first-time home buyers.
A second Lethbridge resolution, “The Economics of Addictions” was referred to the national board for approval.
It seeks “an evidence-based, co-ordinated approach to intox, detox and supportive housing that supports access and has limited barriers to entry. It also urges “national, provincial and local business support in providing access to employment opportunities that will help both prevention and recovery/reintegration efforts.