The Sunny South News looks back on the year that was in 2011 with our annual Year in Review pages, to recap the top news events from each month.
In Picture Butte 2011 began with a delay in the Picture Butte High School modernization project that would drag out over several months.
Budget cuts were proving challenging for Palliser Regional Schools and a Kate Andrews High School graduate, Kalen Hastings, took on a new role with the Town of Coaldale as Director of Community Services.
Blizzard conditions cut short the Sugar Queens basketball tournament and the Coaldale Copperheads were sitting in first place in the South Division of the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
A major water line project, to hook Picture Butte up to City of Lethbridge water, was also in the works early in 2011. Development of a Recreation Master Plan for Coaldale was also on the schedule for the new year.
Drifting snow was proving to be a challenge for the County of Lethbridge with crews on the job long hours clearing rural roads. Coaldale bid farewell to former mayor Bill Holmes who passed away in January of 2011.
Development in both Coaldale and the County of Lethbridge was reported to be down in 2010 with less permits issued for new construction and business expansion.
In Picture Butte the Chamber of Commerce honoured Everett Tanis as Citizen of the Year for 2011. Coaldale Fire Chief Andy Van Rijn was recognized for 35 years of service to the department.
Warmer weather conditions were creating drainage problems throughout the County of Lethbridge. The Picture Butte Sugar Kings took their home basketball tournament title. The Coaldale Cobras Atom A team advanced to the provincials. A number of archers from the region captured medals at the Canadian 3D Nationals.
Coalhurst’s Rick Potvin received his 20 year Fire Services Exemplary Services Medal during a special ceremony attended by both MP Rick Casson and MLA Barry McFarland.
Coaldale was gearing up for Community Fest. Nobleford announced it had issued $11.5 million in development permits in 2010 with residential development holding steady in the community.
A snowdrift study was launched in the County of Lethbridge that may eventually help predict problem areas. Coaldale student Amy Kanzen, after five hours and 29 rounds, takes the 2011 Southern Alberta Regional Spelling Bee title.
Support for an anti-bullying message is found in Picture Butte through the program Between Friends, which brings together students and seniors.
The Town of Coaldale launches two major construction projects, expansion of the industrial park and the building of “The Hub”, a new community facility.
The North County Health Foundation provides funding to purchase a $28,000 defibrillator for Picture Butte’s ambulance service.
As part of an arena expansion and upgrade project in Coaldale, accessibility will be improved through renovations to the main foyer. Picture Butte, Coalhurst and Barons work out an agreement to share a bylaw enforcement officer between the three communities. SouthGrow honours the Village of Nobleford and Coaldale Food Market during their annual awards presentation.
Coalhurst and the County begin annexation discussions as the town seeks to expand its land base for new residential and commercial development.
In Coaldale the local hockey school goes looking for summer ice when construction slated for the Sportsplex will take the arena out of commission for the summer.
Picture Butte’s Sugar Kings take provincial 2A basketball championship. Coaldale’s Paul King named a Top 10 finalist in Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec competition along with his partner Kelsey Cole. Kate Andrews High School band sets its sights on performing in California. Spring flooding brings road closures in the County.
In approving its 2011 budget, the Town of Coaldale launches a review of its policing costs and considers future options for policing services for the community. Picture Butte’s Rick Casson looks ahead to his post-election plans after he declines to run for another term as Lethbridge MP after serving almost 14 years in Ottawa.
A pair of Palliser Regional Schools staff members help save a life when they provide emergency first aid to a driver who collapsed following a minor collision with a school bus. Coaldale approves its 2011 budget with plans for a number of capital projects. Scotiabank staff in Picture Butte get a little wet for a good cause, raising funds for the annual Cactus Cancer Fundraiser through a car wash.
Children in Coaldale begin looking ahead to summer after a sod turning takes place on the site for a new spray park. Palliser Regional Schools undertakes a reconfiguration of its administration staff. The Cactus Cancer Fundraiser in Picture Butte raises over $87,000.
The County of Lethbridge receives grant funding for Park Lake Road to cover upgrading and paving. Election forums in the region heat up as local residents prepare to vote in the up coming federal election. Cor Van Raay is recognized with a lifetime achievement award at the 2011 Alberta Beef Industry Conference.
Support for the Conservative party on the local front mirrors the support on the federal level leading to a Conservative majority government. An abundance of spring moisture creates concerns for some Coaldale residents. A former Town of Coaldale employee, Kevin Viergutz, takes on a new role as Director of Municipal Services for the County of Lethbridge.
The County approves the 2011 mill rate with an increase on farm land. Kate Andrews High School students compete in the Skills Canada Competition. Young baseball players in Picture Butte benefit from financial support provided by the local Lions Club.
Picture Butte moves a step closer to a major upgrade for Factory Drive. Noble Central students sign on to support anti-bullying message. Coaldale’s Jami Wiebe commits to play for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
A group of Coaldale curlers set a new world record for longest curling game. Caprice Hogg is named to St. Joseph School’s Wall of Fame. Coalhurst Class of 2011 celebrates its graduation.
Picture Butte High School celebrates its Class of 2011. A local Scout troop in Coaldale launches a Canadian flag project to promote unity in the community. Coalhurst’s Delin Watmough is named Coach of the Year by the Alberta Target Archer’s Association.
The 2011 budget for the Town of Picture Butte is approved with a slight increase over last year. Noble Central School graduates its Class of 2011. The future of Coaldale’s handibus is in limbo due to a shortage of funding.
Rotating Canada Post strikes doesn’t initially affect rural mail delivery. A reserve fund, set aside to address extreme winter conditions, was called into service this winter in the County of Lethbridge. The Lions and Elks in Picture Butte provide much needed financial assistance to help purchase a thermal imaging camera for the local fire department.
In a quarterly report to the County of Lethbridge the Picture Butte RCMP raise concerns over flash mob parties initiated through social media contacts. Coaldale athletes are honoured at Kate Andrews High School awards night. Picture Butte High School surprises retiring Principal Hank Heerze with a farewell assembly.
Barons School awarded $28,000 grant to support literacy programs. The expansion of the Coaldale Sportsplex moves ahead on schedule. County road conditions raising concerns for local residents. Coaldale’s Alison Lee captures a silver medal at the National Science Fair in Toronto.
Picture Butte council and its CAO part ways and the search begins for a new administrator. Coaldale gears up for Settler Days celebration. Shaughnessy celebrates Canada’s 144th birthday.
A major shift in administration staff at the school level will mean some new faces in place for the September start of the new school year. Kate Andrews High School celebrates its graduating Class of 2011.
The County of Lethbridge approves $126,000 in grant funding from its land trust reserve for local projects. Picture Butte Grade 4 student Mackenzie Bowes sees her artwork selected as a winner in ATB Financial’s Young Artists Competition.
Road repairs in the County of Lethbridge delay this year’s dust-control program.
Eagles at the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale benefit from fish pulled from the Town of Picture Butte’s raw water reservoir. A new eagle atrium is unveiled at the Centre in Coaldale.
The County of Lethbridge’s Eugene and Virginia Wauters family is honoured as a Calgary Stampede BMO Farm Family. Swimming pools in Picture Butte and Coaldale offer a break from a July heat wave.
A $3.4 million paving project begins on Highway 845 heading north from Coaldale.
After months in limbo work is finally slated to resume on the Picture Butte High School modernization.
Coaldale’s Anthony Malinowski and Austin Gurr head to South Carolina to play in the Big League Baseball World Series with the Lethbridge Giants.
Increased oversized loads and speeding on Highway 845 through Coaldale are raising concerns for local residents.
The County of Lethbridge is tapped for economic development tied to water resources. Nobleford officially opens its spray park to wild enthusiasm during its annual Heritage Days weekend.
Coalhurst celebrates Miners Days. Picture Butte names Michael Derricott as the new CAO. The Class of ‘61 visits Picture Butte High School before their part of the old school is demolished to make way for the modernization of the school. In Picture Butte the Factory Drive paving projects gets the green light. Coaldale hosts Community in Bloom judges.
Picture Butte celebrates Jamboree Days. Harvests in Coaldale and Picture Butte once again benefit the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The County of Lethbridge invites the U.S. Consul General to visit the region.
The much anticipated spray park in Coaldale opens to a crowd of young water fans. Provincial Conservative leadership candidate Gary Mar visits the region and praises the potential for sun to power initiatives in agriculture. Palliser Regional Schools names Ronald Greene, Joy Kogawa, Kesha Crapnell and Siksika Nation Chief Fred Rabbit Carrier to its Wall of Fame.
Alberta Health Services receives ministerial approval to demo the old hospital building in Picture Butte. The County of Lethbridge awaits news on disaster funding through the province to help cover road repairs made necessary by two major snow storms in the past year. Coalhurst participates in Canada-wide day to honour Afghanistan veterans.
Palliser Regional Schools reports students numbers are right on target for the fall start of classes. With warm fall weather sticking around harvest was in full swing throughout the region. Coaldale launches a business-retention project aimed at helping to determine future plans for business growth in the community.
Picture Butte Elks mark their 75th anniversary serving in the community. Nobleford opens lots in its new industrial/commercial subdivision. Coaldale celebrates Heritage Walk which allows local residents and visitors to the community to learn about the history of the town.
Coaldale emergency crews respond to an explosion in a garage that sent at shock wave through the community. Coaldale wins Communities in Bloom provincial award.
Huntsville School in Iron Spring launches new English as a Second Language Intervention Program. County fire ban could be lifted by the weekend if Mother Nature co-operates. Picture Butte students take to the road for their annual walk-a-thon.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes a surprise appearance in Lethbridge to help pay tribute to retiring MP Rick Casson. The County of Lethbridge holds its organizational meeting and returns Reeve Lorne Hickey and Deputy Reeve Henry Doeve to their posts. Nobleford archer Ann Neumeyer serves as team captain for Team Canada at the 3D Archery World Championship in Austria.
Palliser Regional School students exceed provincial testing averages. A regionalized approach to emergency services is now under review.
Coalhurst Elementary is named a School of Distinction in the Improvements in Academics category. County of Lethbridge wins financial reporting award for its budget presentation. The Town of Coaldale is one of eight communities to share in the Minister’s Award for Municipal Excellence.
Picture Butte RCMP raise concerns to the County of Lethbridge over reduced fines and withdrawn tickets by the Crown Prosecutors’ office.
Mayors in Coaldale and Picture Butte see the potential in fixed provincial election dates. Coaldale’s Bethel Windows and Doors Ltd. wins Business Ethics Award. Readymade Community Centre prepares to host Harvest Gala as a fundraiser for its building project.
Alberta sugar beet growers post a banner year with harvest wrapping up right on time and with a high sugar content. Picture Butte’s Chamber of Commerce adds business awards to its annual banquet. Coaldale welcomes a new head librarian to its public library.
Communities across the region mark Remembrance Day. County of Lethbridge officials to cut the ribbon on Turin water and wastewater projects. An area farmer speaks out in support of the Canadian Wheat Board. Coaldale opposes an increase in its policing costs as the City of Lethbridge prepares to debate its 2012 budget. Kate Andrews High School football player Connor Chartier is selected to play for Team Canada in San Antonio, Texas. Factory Drive project finalized in Picture Butte and slated for spring paving. The Barons School receives $15,000 from the Lethbridge Community Foundation to help build a new playground.
County of Lethbridge residents, evacuated from their homes west of the City of Lethbridge, return after firefighters throughout the region bring a major grass fire under control. Little Bow MLA Barry McFarland announces his decision not to seek another term in the provincial legislature. Coaldale celebrates annual Country Christmas Night of Lights.
The potential for cornering the Canadian market for pain medication derived from poppies is highlighted at a County of Lethbridge council meeting. Picture Butte hosts annual Midnight Madness activities. Palliser Regional Schools uses extra provincial funding to increase teaching staff. Over $5,000 is raised for the Canadian Cancer Society after nine staff members and 11 students at St. Joseph School in Coaldale shave their heads.
Winter driving conditions hamper a Monday morning commute resulting in more than one multi-vehicle collision. Picture Butte’s Greg and Judy Hoffarth named 2012 Citizens of the Year. Coaldale Cares Campaign launches to encourage local residents to donate blood over the holiday season.
Kate Andrews High School teachers lose 108 lbs. in order to raise $5,000 for the local food bank. Connie and Jacob Adserballe donate $5,000 to help start a school library in Coaldale.
Interest-free loans made available in Coaldale to help businesses in the downtown core make improvements. The County of Lethbridge begins the process of looking at ways to help fund recreation facilities in the region. Picture Butte town council supports GIS enhancement project.