LETHBRIDGE, AB – The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, two different elections and a local doctor shortage… It might be hard to believe that all that and much more was jammed into the 365 days of 2021.
Taking a look back on the year that was, MyLethbridgeNow.com has compiled a list of our website’s top viewed local news headlines for 2021:
5.) Bigelow Fowler south clinic closing in November; 11 doctors leaving
Sep. 21, 2021; 4,899 total page views
There have been several reasons given over the past year to explain why doctors are leaving Lethbridge and the surrounding region at such a rapid pace. A group of local health representatives told City Council earlier in December that it’s a multi-faceted issue, with everything from early retirements and other life transitions to recent billing changes to financially unstable clinics.
This mass departure and subsequent closure of the south Bigelow Fowler Clinic only highlighted the dire need for more family physicians. In total, six doctors left the south Bigelow Fowler clinic, three from the west clinic and two from the east clinic.
Since then, City Council, Lethbridge’s two MLAs and other officials have said that they’re ready and willing to help recruitment efforts as much as they can.
4.) Cougar euthanized in north Lethbridge neighbourhood
Sep. 11, 2021; 5,607 total page views
It’s certainly not a normal encounter for the city, but it made for an exciting and scary day in north Lethbridge.
One witness told police that they saw the animal – which was about six feet in length – jump a six-foot high fence into the backyard of a home along Bluefox Boulevard. After a call to Alberta Fish and Wildlife to handle the aggressive animal went unanswered, the LPS stepped in to euthanize the cougar since it was an immediate risk to life or injury.
One shot killed the animal, and there were no other injuries reported.
3.) List of federal candidates confirmed for Lethbridge, surrounding ridings
Sep. 1, 2021; 6,133 total page views
After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an early election in mid-August, the race was on for local nominees to secure their candidacy for their chosen party in their riding.
It ended up being another landslide victory for all four of this region’s incumbent Conservative MPs during the Sep. 20 vote. Rachael Thomas was re-elected for a third term in office for Lethbridge, Glen Motz was voted in again as the Member of Parliament for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner, John Barlow won another term in the Foothills riding and Martin Shields was re-elected to a third term as the MP for Bow River.
Nationally, the results went virtually unchanged, as well. The Liberals formed another minority government with 160 total seats, falling just ten seats short of what’s needed for a majority in the House of Commons.
2.) Mother demands answers from Lethbridge YWCA after daughter found dead in her room
Sep. 27, 2021; 8,969 total page views
In an eye-opening story first brought to local attention by MyLethbridgeNow.com, one mother alleged that a Lethbridge YWCA residency program that’s supposed to offer support to women in need is actually failing its clients.
Melody St. Pierre says she enrolled her 25-year old daughter, Krissy, in the program in February 2021 to help her get off drugs. However, Melody would come to find out in September that Krissy had passed away in her room, alleging that on-site staff and nurses failed to properly check in on her.
Acting CEO of the YWCA, Tracy James, says this permanent supportive housing program isn’t monitored 24 hours a day, also claiming that staff couldn’t see Krissy’s body when they did perform checks. Melody has vowed to get to the truth of what happened.
1.) 2021 Municipal Election results from rural southern Alberta communities
Oct. 18, 2021; 9,671 total page views
In first place for 2021, was local interest in southern Alberta’s municipal elections.
Here in Lethbridge, long-time councillor Blaine Hyggen beat former councillor Bridget Mearns by less than two-percent during the Oct. 18 vote to become mayor. Four incumbents – Belinda Crowson, Ryan Parker, Mark Campbell and Jeff Carlson – were all elected back to their council positions, while four others – Rajko Dodic, Jenn Schmidt-Rempel, John Middleton-Hope and Nick Paladino – joined them at the table.
Coaldale, Coalhurst, Lethbridge County and Claresholm were only a few of the rural communities to elect new mayors, while incumbents were elected in Taber, Fort Macleod and Cardston.
A final note to our loyal readers, our team thanks you for trusting us to be one of your credible local news sources. We look forward to working hard and serving you once again in 2022.