Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 7, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Visions of cabinet posts should spark Tory nominations By AL SCARTH Herald Staff Writer Visions of victory and even cabinet posts are prodding Lethbridge Progressive Conservative circles into lively speculation about nominations for the next provincial election. Lethbridge East Conservatives will nominate a candidate Oct. 9 to oppose incumbent Socred John Anderson. Association officials' hopes for as many as five candidates appear to be well-founded. With more than two months to go before the nomination meeting, candidates are beginning to gear up their campaigns or are seriously considering a run for the nomination. Three aldermen have at least thought about moving to the provincial scene. The storm of activity is in sharp contrast to the last nominations in 1971, when Conservative candidates in both Lethbridge East and Westwere elected by acclamation. Premier Peter Lougheed, who will address the meeting, undoubtedly will hint at cabinet posts for the Solid Social Credit South if it will swing to the government side. There is no Conservative MLA south of Calgary to mar a Socred landscape of 12 sitting members. "A good, intelligent candidate is an absolute certainty for the cabinet in either riding (Lethbridge East or a long-time Conservative party supporter says. This supporter says two or three cabinet ministers from the south out of a 22-man cabinet would not be unreasonable. Lethbridge West Conservatives will wait until after the east city constituency nominates to choose an opponent to incumbent Socred Dick Gruenwald. At the top of the list of possible candidates for Lethbridge East are Rex Little, 41, administrator of the Campbell medical clinic, and Walter Mitson, 52, city optometrist. An alderman from 1966 to 1971, Mr. Little has also been active in the Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Mitson is a former president of the The Lethbridge Herald SECOND SECTION Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, August 7, 1974 Pages 17-32 Transit grant expected Aug. 15 Lethbridge will get the first of six annual payments from the provincial government to boost urban transportation Aug. 15. The amount of the grant will be made public in next week's council agenda. According to a letter received Tuesday at city hall from Highways Minister Clarence Copithorne, the money can be used for any public transportation projects that get his department's approval. Announcement of the program, which will see Calgary and Edmonton get several million dollars worth of aid for their public transportation systems, was made in early June. While there have been no formal decisions yet on how the money will be used here, suggestions have included cutting the annual transit system Operating deficit in half, putting up a much needed addition to the city bus barn, and buying more buses to extend city transit system routes. Provincial funds sought to cover damage from flood Compensation for damage to Barnwell district farmland and buildings when millions of gallons of irrigation water poured out of a main canal Thursday has been requested from Alberta Disaster Ser- vices. Jake Thiessen, manager of the St. Mary River Irrigation District, told The Herald this morning he has had dis- cussions with disaster ser- vices officials in an attempt to get provincial funds for farmers affected by the sudden flood. Insurance adjusters for the SMRID and the Taber Irriga- tion District are judging damage claims submitted by farmers. Both districts affected by the main canal break have some insurance that covers property damage, "that will help cover some said Ken Anderson, manager of the TID. Blame for the break in the main canal, owned and operated by the SMRID, 1V2 miles west of Barnwell, has been attributed to a water tur- nout installed in the canal about five years ago by the provincial government. Mr. Thiessen said about five years ago the TID decided to abandon its main canal in favor of a program which would allow the district to take water for various smaller canals and uiicnes from various locations along the SMRID main canal. The break in the canal wall occurred when water started to go around the turnout from the main canal to the TID lateral ditch instead of going past it and continuing downstream in the main canal. Mr. Anderson said the damage can't be attributed to a decision by the board of directors for the Taber Irriga- tion District to complete'y shut off water service to farmers for four days just prior to the canal break. Before the break, the TID had made a decision to shut down the district water supply in order to allow its two main water storage facilities Horsefly Reservoir and Taber Reservoir to be filled to capacity. A long dry spell which required continuous irrigation had drained the reservoirs faster than the water level could be main- tained. Mr. Anderson said operating crews from both SMRID "and TID rode the main canal from the large Chin Reservoir north of Chin past the two storage facilities in the Taber district. The report from the operating crews stated the Taber storage facilities .could be safely filled. However, the canal wall developed a small hole, which in a short time spread to become 100 feet wide. Mr. Thiessen said the irriga- tion system in Southern Alberta has been used to max- imum but the water flow in the main canal at the time of the break wasn't overloaded. The capacity of the main canal in the original construc- tion plans was cubic feet of water per second. At the time of the break, about cubic feet per second was running in the canal. But the water level was still three feet from the top of the canal the level designed into the system. The break was noticed at about p.m. Thursday. Within one hour, four land scrapers and three bulldozers had been hired and were on the way to the site. I At the same time, members of the operating staff of SMRID had adjusted four major gates in the Chin Reservoir. Some water was diverted from the canal through an alternate spillway that leads back to the Oldman River. The hole in the canal bank was blocked with a earthen coffer dam by 2 a.m. Friday. By Tuesday morning repairs were complete and the SMRID main canal was runn- ing at capacity. Walking the dog WALTER KERBER photo Although Tuesday's maximum temperature of 78 fell well below the 1949 record high of 96 degrees, it was plenty warm enough for this frisky two-year-old, who shed her clothes while walking her dog. Kenyon Field weathermen are forecasting another 80-degree day today, with isolated showers in the late afternoon. Theft of horse nets jail term A 19-year-old private in the United States army was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to two charges in provincial court here Tuesday. Glen Thomas Whiteman, originally of the Blood Reserve and on leave here, was sentenced to two con- current six-month terms. Court was told he was to report back to his base in Washington today. He was in his fourth week of basic training. Whiteman was charged July 27 with possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, and Aug. 3 with theft of a horse. Court was told there were a number of shots taken at a pickup truck. Three bullet holes were found in the back of the truck. Whiteman said, "I only took one shot in the air." The horse was stolen from a Glenwood district farm belonging to Bert Thomas. Whiteman said he had been drinking and was walking along the road when he took the horse. Court was told he rode the horse to the Blood Reserve and then let it go. Provincial Judge A. H. Elford said, "I can't give you a sentence so that you can return to the States. You weren't too concerned about what laws you broke while on leave." Alderman to attend air conference Aid. Steve Kotch, chairman of the city's transportation com- mittee left this morning for the first Canadian World Conference on Aerospace and the Com- munity of Man in Van- couver. Aid. Kotch, who is representing the city, said he hoped to talk to Air Canada. CP Air, Canadian government of- ficials and others at the conference concerning the city's application for east-west air service and an expanded airport bas- ed on air cargo shipments to Pacific Rim countries. After the conference, Aid. Kotch will attend the Abbotsford Air Show. Cable TV firm preparing to serve Taber TABER (Staff) Taber Cable Television Ltd. will proceed with its plans to establish a system here to provide four channels and some local programming following approval Tuesday by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission of its June 25 application. "We expect it will take three months to get the system said a company official today. The. firm will provide Channels 7 and 13 from Lethbridge and will pick up two Great Falls, Mont., channels from East Butte, Mont. It will also pick up two radio stations and short wave from Lethbridge as well, said a company official. Lethbridge Cablevision also applied for a licence to serve the Taber area. It planned to provide the same four stations as well as programming from Medicine Hat. Taber Cable Television Ltd. presi- dent is Kenneth M. Greentree of Ed- monton. He is negotiating with Alberta Government Telephones to- day for use of its poles here for provision of the service. The proposed installation fee is and the monthly charge has been set at Local programming will be most- ly news and the system will provide local schools with a connection for educational television, a company official said. Other company principals are Thomas A. McLaren of Coalhurst, H. George Meyer and Roscoe F. Gibb, both of Taber. William W. Armstrong is vice-president. There are 400 class A preferred shares at each and class B common shares at In addi- tion to this financing, the firm has been assured a bank loan of for interim financing, ac- cording to company officials. Lethbridge Lions Club. Mr. Little was not immediately available for comment and Dr. Mitson says he is not prepared to comment on a possible candidacy for the moment. A second former alderman, Jim Anderson, 38, now principal of Winston Churchill High School, is said to be considering the contests. He served on council from 1966 to 1971, topping the polls in the 1969 election. Vera Ferguson, an alderman since 1969, is keeping her options open, although she says she has not been approached to contest a nomination. Aid. Steve Kotch, 31, is keeping his options open too. A "no comment'' from Aid. Cam Barnes, 46, that "there might never be a comment and there might be" could put a third alderman at the edge of the provincial ring. Michael Sutherland, 31, manager of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, is giving the nominations serious consideration. He says he has not decided to run but discussed the matter with Premier Lougheed when the premier visited the city recently. Gary Bowie. 36, chairman, of the University of Lethbridge physical education department, is an outside possibility. Dr. Bowie, past president of Lethbridge East, says he has not given his word one way or the other. He is quite certain he will not run unless something changes his mind at the last moment. Gordon Colledge, 31. information officer at the Lethbridge Community College, is also reported interested in becoming a Conservative MLA. Mr. Colledge helped manage the successful campaign in the Macleod constituency by John Walker for the Conservative nomination this summer. Mr. Colledge was not immediately available for comment. Richard Barton, 38. defeated by 967 votes in 1971 by Mr. Anderson, says he is "not particularly interested" in running again. Dick Gray. 54, defeated by Mr. Gruenwald by 1.418 votes in 1971, has been mentioned as a candidate but was not immediately available for comment. Stan Maciura. 45. owner of North Plaza Books, says he is interested in contesting the Lethbridge West Conservative nomination. But he is not well- known in local party circles. The former RCAF" member says one of his concerns is the amount Of pornography available to youngsters. Lab technologists seek cost of living raise from hospitals CUPE watching By MURDOCH MACLEOD Herald Staff Writer A request by laboratory technologists for a cost-of- living bonus is under con- sideration by both Lethbridge hospitals. But, if successful, it could lead to a request from another group. The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) has approached both St. Michael's Hospital and Lethbridge Municipal Hospital and presented a brief to the administrations, an association spokesman said Tuesday. Irene Scarth, HSAA representative for St. Michael's, said the request was "a tentative approach at the local level." Some other public service unions had received cost-of-living bonuses, and the technologists' last wage increase had been wiped out by inflation, she said. The increase, in a contract negotiated with the Alberta Hospital Association was 21 per cent over the two years between April, 1973, and April, 1975, said Mrs. Scarth. The base rate for a registered technologist is a month, scheduled to go to a month in October, she said. Laboratory personnel are near the top of the scale for the association, which also includes medical records, dietary, x-ray and respiratory technicians. Sister Clarissa, ad- ministrator of St. Michael's, said the hospital would con- sider the presentation, but no decision had been made. "We agree with what they said, in she said. Dwight Jensen, personnel officer at LMH, said the re- quest would go to the hospital board for a decision. But an AHA letter received earlier had said the association was opposed to re-opening wage contracts, he added. Ian Downey, a Lethbridge field representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, whose members perform a wide variety of ser- vice jobs in hospitals, said CUPE had earlier been turned down for a cost-of-living bonus by the AHA. "If the board opens the health sciences agreement, we'll be in there the next day." he said. The public employees will hold a wage conference in Calgary next month and staff members involved in hospital co-ordination will recommend an attempt to gain British Columbia wages, he said. That would be a big jump, since a maid makes about 700 a year in Alberta and about a year in B.C., said Mr. Downey. The health sciences brief said the average increase from 1973 on The Herald's 54- item Lethbridge food basket was 15.3 per cent. The 21-per cent wage increase averaged 10.5 per cent a year, but the June-to-June increase in the cost of living was 11.4 per cent, it said. FRANK MERKL Veteran makes bid for council seat By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer A 43-year-old disabled navy veteran who feels city council has been too concerned with making Lethbridge a big City, has become the first officially declared candidate for the October civic election. In announcing his candidacy for alderman, Frank Merkl, 2711 20th Ave. S.. described himself "a not-so-young angry young man." Among subjects that make him angry is the treatment of the disabled and elderly in the city, which he says is an in- dication of council's lack of concern for ''human'' matters. "There's a tremendous need for change." he says. "They're not concerned with the public at all they seem mostly concerned with mak- ing Lethbridge grow in- dustrially like other large cities." Mr. Merkl says there's been no attempt to make public buildings in the city more accessible to the handicapped and elderly people who get around with difficulty. Only two civic buildings the Stan Siwik Pool and Henderson Lake Stadium are completely accessible to the handicapped, he says. "I can't go into any govern- ment office in Lethbridge federal provincial or civic." he says. "It's ridiculous." "Renovations that would make buildings more accessi- ble are not prohibitively cost- ly and we can prove says Mr. Merkl, who is chairman of a local group called Disabled on the Move. "Handicapped people are quite capable of doing things for he says, "but society says on the one hand it wants to help and on the other puts up roadblocks." Mr. Merkl is concerned not only with improvements for the elderly and handicapped, although he does feel Lethbridge is far behind other cities in this regard. "I just think the members of the city council are not con- scious that Lethbridge is still a small city and the majority of citizens not just the han- dicapped and elderly don't want it to become a large sprawling industrial centre." "If I was on council." said Mr. Merkl. "I would would vote against expansion of large industry, especially any that are major polluters because we are very dependent on our water resources in this area." He also favors "totally open" council meetings. "I can't see any reason for clos- ed meetings. The business of the city should be open and anything to do with public spending, especially large public spending should be well publicized." Mr. Merkl says he was against the sale of the city power plant and didn't like the way city council handled the issue. "It should have gone to a plebiscite." he says. "No city council should have the right to get rid of something like that without going to the public." Married with four children. Mr. Merkl is a fourth-year psychology student at the U of L. He's working on a summer project called Lethbridge Aid for the Disabled and Elderly Citizens which is surveying Lethbridge and Southern Alberta on the accessibility of public buildings, businesses, and sports and recreation facilities. Born in Regina. but raised in the Taber-Lethbridge area, Mr. Merkl was in the Royal Canadian Navy for 10 years before the accident that put him in a wheelchai.- and left him with only partial use of his arms and hands.