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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 17, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta New minimum wage: Few Lethbridge businesses pay as little as per hour anyway, they claim By MURDOCH MacLEOD Herald Staff Writer An increase in Alberta's minimum wage officially took effect April 1 but it doesn't seem to have affected many people in Lethbridge. The minimum wage for persons 18 and over was raised to an hour, but few businesses contacted in a Herald survey paid that little. "We try to stay a step ahead of the said John Loewen, manager of Simpsons-Sears' Lethbridge store Mr Loewen said the starting wage for inexperienced clerks was an hour plus one per cent commission That worked out to about an hour, and good sales lately meant a lot of work for the staff. The increased minimum wage would not affect prices, but other costs might force them up, he said. Percy Weighill, owner-manager of Star Taxi, said the increased minimum wage would not make any difference to his company. "I wish they would make the minimum wage 50 and get it over he said Mr. Weighill said he had been paying an hour for some time, but with commission the drivers did better. He thought the minimum wage should be increased because it wasn't fair to have drivers working for so much less than other skilled trades. Taxi fares might have to be raised in any case. He said the last fare increase was approved last May Sven Ericksen, owner of Sven Ericksen's Family Restaurant, said he had no sympathy for food service operators who paid the minimum wage "They shouldn't be in the food business." All his employees got more than the minimum, the lowest being an hour plus tips, in the dining room, and the tips were good, he said. In the take-out operation, employees started between an hour and an hour, said Mr. Ericksen. The restaurateur said employers got what they paid for in the food service industry. If they paid minimum scale they got people with minimum skill and minimum motivation. Another Lethbridge restaurant owner said the increase could affect prices. The restaurant operator, a franchise owner in a fast-food chain, said most restaurants, operated on the basis that a percentage of the sales should go back to the staff. If sales were down, prices would have to go up and if sales held steady or increased, prices might remain the same Leo van Breda, manager of Riverview Gas and Oil, said he already paid gas pump attendants an hour. The increase would affect neither wages nor prices immediately, he said. Chick Macintosh, of the Lakeview Texaco Service Station, said an hour had been the starting wage for pump attendants for some time. Mr Macintosh said he was willing to pay an hour" if the employee brought in the extra business, but he viewed wage increases in terms of productivity. He also said wage costs were the only cost item a service station leasee had control over Most prices were set by the oil companies and just passed on to the consumer, he said. The wholesale cost of motor oil and fees for garbage container service also went up April l, he said Margaret Metz, personnel manager for GTE Automatic Electric (Canada) Ltd said the company will not be affected by the increase. The factory, which manufactures telephone equipment, is unionized and the lowest rate in the contract is an hour. Mrs. Metz said it would stay at that level until the contract expires next February, unless the minimum wage was raised above an hour. Nor will City of Lethbridge employees be affected by the increase. Personnel officer Gerry Hopman said all city employees are under a union contract. Everyone in the same job classification, including casual and part-time workers, gets the same pay, he said. All are well above the minimum wage. The minimum wage for all persons 18 and over is an hour, and they must be paid for at least three hours work. Persons under 18 not enrolled in a school term must also be paid for three hours work, at a minimum rate of an hour. Persons under 18 working part-time while attending school must be paid for two hours work, at a minimum rate of an hour. Frank Besplug, manager of the Lethbridge Canada Manpower Centre, said he didn't think the new rates would affect hiring of students for the summer. Most people were worth an hour when a lot of trades were getting or an hour, he said And many students worked harder than the regular labor force, since they had definite objects in mind for earning and saving money District The LetHbtidge Herald SECOND SECTION Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, April Pages 13-22 Honored by Jaycees Alex Johnson, professional agriculturalist and amateur historian Historian named Citizen of Year By KEN ROBERTS Herald Staff Writer Alex Johnston, a range management specialist at the Lethbridge Research Station and a local historian, has been named citizen of the year by the Jaycees. Mr. Johnston was presented with a plaque from the Jaycees at a ceremony held at the Holiday Inn Tuesday night. "I look upon this honor as coming to the Lethbridge Historical he told the Herald All "my public activities have been associated with the Lethbridge Historical Society." He said he was very pleased about receiving the honor and although he had heard of the Jay- cees' citizen of the year he certainly didn't expect he it. Mr. Johnston has been president of the Lethbridge Historical Society since 1962, is past president of the Alberta Historical Society, is a board member of the Kinsmen Historical Society, is general chairman of the RCMP historical conference to be held in Lethbridge in May and is a member of the Alberta RCMP Century Celebrations committee. He has written two 80 pages pamphlets "Battle of the Valley River" and "Boats and Barges in the Valley." Both deal with Lethbridge and regional history. He has also edited and provided photographs for "Railways of Southern Alberta" written by Patty Bowman Mr. Johnston, 54, was born in Webb, Sask. where in 1941 he attended the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, and received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture. That same year he came to Lethbridge and in 1942 joined the Canadian Army and went overseas until 1945. He returned to Lethbridge that year and was employed at the Lethbridge Research Station where he has been since. Mr Johnston attended the University of Montana in 1954 where he obtained a master of science degree in range management. In 1962 he went to Pakistan for one year with the Food and Agricultural Organization. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal and Range Management and the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. He has written approximately 50 research papers on range management and 50 miscellaneous publications on applications of research information at farm and ranch level. His current activities centre on fescue grasslands. Mr. Johnston, a bachelor, lives at the Marquis Hotel. South vegetable growers will get 75% higher prices Southern Alberta vegetable growers will receive 70 to 75 per cent more for their produce this year but the entire increase will not be passed on to the consumer, says the chairman of the Alberta Vegetable Marketing Board Jim Tanner told The Herald in a telephone interview from Barnwell Tuesday canners increased the price of canned vegetables last fall much more than the increased price of the raw products in 1973. To compensate for this Crawford declines doctor's assistance Alberta Health Minister Neil Crawford has turned down an offer by three Lethbridge psychiatrists to help with psychiatric assessments of patients in the Raymond Home. Lawrence Kotkas, the psychiatrist who proposed the plan, received a letter from the minister saying the offer of assistance was appreciated but not necessary. The department of health has decided to use both physicians from Raymond and psychiatric assessment teams from Alberta Hospital Edmonton and Ponoka, Mr. Crawford said. The physicians in Raymond until now have had responsibility for mental health of the patients so they have been involved in assessments. Because most of the patients in Raymond have been transferred from the mental hospitals in Ponoka and Edmonton assessment teams from those areas have been called, the minister said Dr Kotkas, was assured by the minister that everything possible is being done for the patients at Raymond and they are receiving "humane and good quality" care. The government decided last month to carry out patient assessments at the home following publication of criticisms by two former patients and a volunteer worker at the home. Dr. Kotkas had offered to do the assessments in the psychiatric unit of the Lethbridge Municipal Hospital because, he said, he and two other psychiatrists felt the assessments done in the home would not be adequate. The patients surroundings "are very much a part of their he said. Beet worker needs sought Farmers interested in hiring sugar beet workers through Canada Manpower should apply to the CM office immediately, according to Manpower officials. CM needs to know how many workers are required so it can contact its offices in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan about getting these workers. There is also an urgent need for tractor drivers for all types of farm operations. Those interested may apply at CM. It's only a phone call but 'it breaks the monotony" By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer It doesn't take long when you're a shut-in to become a forgotten person. Not that friends and relatives cease to think about you, but once you're no longer a functioning member of daily human commerce, the visits somehow taper off and the phone doesn't ring for hours, then days on end "You feel all of a sudden that the four walls are closing in on says Dorothy Houltem, a north-side resident who temporarily became a shut-in after a brain tumor operation that left her partially paralysed for a time She's fully recovered now, but the experience left an indelible mark on her. It also gave her a new direction in life Mrs. Houltem now spends a good part of her time working for Phone-a-Friend, a modest self-help operation started by the Volunteer Action Centre. It's purpose is to prevent the very experience Mrs. Houltem suffered through "You can see outside, but you can't be outside... people are living out there, going somewhere, doing things." "Before the operation I used to babysit here and the house was more or less busy all the time. When I came back I found myself wanting any noise at all. "I wanted anything to break the monotony of the day. "Contact with someone else, even if it's just a voice on the phone means something." That voice on the other end of the phone is what Mrs. Houltem is now to some dozen shut-ins. She another woman phone the 25 people who have been contacted by Phone-a- Fnend on a regular basis. "We gab about anything and says Mrs. Houltem "It doesn't really matter what; it's just that you're able to talk to someone." Having, as she puts it, been there herself, Mrs. Houltem is sensitive to the paradox shut- ins live they're perhaps desperately wanting to talk to someone but are, too proud or lacking in self-confidence to initiate the call themselves. "It's like a floodgate that opens says Mrs. Houltem. "They really welcome the chance to talk to someone Most of the people now involved in Phone-a-Friend are either senior citizens living alone or people like Mrs. Houltem who have been in hospital. Diana Briley, Volunteer Action Centre co-ordinator, says there are undoubtedly far more shut-ins in the city than the 25 or so Phone-a-Friend. is reaching But she says it's very difficult to find them, with the main avenue now being referrals through other agencies such as the hospitals and the Victorian Order of Nurses. "We're asking the public for she says. "The magic word is contact That contact can mean more than relieving a mental condition. "When we first got started we heard comments from a couple of the people we talked to like: 'I fell downstairs and hurt my head and no-one found me for a couple of Ms. Briley said. Phone-a-friend works on a mutual need basis. "It's not a case of being sorry for these says Mrs. Houltem. "I got into it because I needed someone to talk to." canners will not pass on the full increase of the 1974 raw products to the consumer. "We don't think the total amount growers have received (this year) should be reflected in 1974." It "has already been partly reflected in he said Mr. Tanner said the price of beans will go from per ton (1973 price) to per ton (1974 Processed corn will almost double in price from per ton to per ton. corn on the cob will more than double from between and a ton to and a ton Grade 1 and 2 beans for processing and freezing will go from and per ton to and a ton respectively. He said increased seed prices and increased cost of harvesting necessitated the price increases. There would have been no Alberta vegetables if prices hadn't gone up, he claimed. He didn't think predictions by M D. Booty, president of the Canadian Grocery Distributors' Institute, of 50 to 100 per cent increase in retail vegetable prices or 10 to 11 per cent per tin were astray. "It couldn't be less than 50 per cent to keep abreast of things." he said. Mr. Booty said in Winnipeg Tuesday in'addition to higher prices paid to growers, the cost of cans has increased 12 per cent and the cost of cardboard cartons six per cent Mr Tanner told The Herald the price of the raw product is about one-third to one-quarter of the final retail price Mill rate bylaw conies up Monday City council will pass a bylaw Monday setting the city residential tax rate at 50 mills and the commercial rate at 78.26 mills Other than a brief public session of council last Monday, which passes a resolution approving the 1974 budget as amended it will be the only appearance of the budget in a public meeting. And the three readings council will give the bylaw Monday is simply a formality giving the city the necessary authority to go ahead with tax collection. In accordance with council meeting procedure, any public comment on the budget would have to have to have been submitted to the city clerk by today in order to get on the agenda for 's meeting ;