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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 28, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta li District The LetKbridge Herald Local news SECOND SECTION Lethbndge. Alberta, Monday, January Pages 11 to 20 Cockroaches for roommates How many Lethbridge residents live in conditions that are even worse? By MURDOCH MACLEOD Herald Staff Writer Alfred Brunell lives with the cockroaches in a single room in a house at 504 6th Ave. S He has one blanket, and a hotplate, dresser, table and bed for furniture. The small room has a narrow, tiny closet and so little storage that the occupant's meager possessions nearly fill it. "I'd rather live in a he says. The room is on the second floor On entering the house a visitor is struck by the stench of the place, a fetid odor that seems compounded of urine, coffee grounds and time. A city health inspector visited Mr. Brunell's room late last week and immediately took steps to have it cleaned up. But health and fire department officials admit they don't know how many Lethbndge residents live in conditions that are as bad or possibly even worse. Both health, and fire authorities say they lack a complete list-of rooming houses. Pat Hirsche, a health, inspector for the City of Lethbridge Health Unit, says rooming houses are hard to locate without a complete list and he must wait for a complaint or search them out. The health unit has ajist of .rental accommodation from Information Lethbridge, but it does not have all the available rooms and flats on it, he says .In the hallsjjind on the staTrwajrjrf UwpbuseMt 6th Avg.'S thf wallpaper peels and the plaster has long cracks running through it like rivers on a single1 bulb dangling from the ceiling by its power cord lights the upstairs hallway In the dim light, everything appears at first to be in shades of brown other colors appear later, when the eyes, get acustomed to the light. In the bathroom, at one end of the hallway, a large Alfred Brunell in his "worse than jail" room at 504 6th Ave. S. tub, made of plastic, site over, .the drain of the sink ituck in a corner' is similarly blocked. The toilet is full. The stench is not nearly as great in Mr. Brunell's room'as in the rest of the house. The thin blanket lies in a1 corner of the grey mattress during the day. Food containers are covered to keep the insects out. A frying pan sits on the one-burner hotplate, and a -battered coffee pot beside it. What appear to be cockroaches can be seen to crawl across the open part_ oflhe floor, j- his rent" is a month. Mr. Hirsche says the health unit has not received any complaints about the house, but he did inspect it in a routine housing inspection. "I found cockroaches, I found blocked sinks, I found unsanitary he said. "Action will be taken, or is in the process of being taken to bring it (the house) up to provincial board of health regulations, and ..further action witt be disinfestaSon." Local senior health inspector I. H Potter said the insects in the? house were more likely American crickets than cockroaches. The two species can only be told apart by an expert, he said, but American crickets are much more common in the Lethbridge area than cockroaches. Mr. Hirsche said he did not think this house was at all typical of Lethbridge accommodation. Mr. Brunell is on social assistance but provincial welfare authorities would not discuss his specific case for "ethical reasons." But housing allowances are in excess of a month, and the policy of the health and social development department is to provide the basic necessities of life. Neither Mr. Hirsche nor Mr. Potter could say how many houses are condemned for health reasons or ordered cleaned up hi a year. But the health unit's annual report for 1971 shows 12 unsanitary houses were found and two were condemned for health reasons. The report for the fourth quarter of 1972 shows nine houses were found unsanitary and one condemned. In the second quarter of 1973, six unsanitary houses were found and none condemned, and in the third quarter eight unsanitary houses were found and two condemned. Other statistics were not available. Rooming house inspections are numbers found satisfactory, unsatisfac- tory and condenmned are not. Fire prevention officer Doug Kometz says his office and the health unit co-operate with inspection information. "We have a two-way street he says. The house in question was not in his files, he said, although most rooming houses are. "There is no accurate list of these he told The Herald, "We used to have a list from the city licence department, bill they don't license them any more." And such houses are hard to inspect in themselves, he said, because inspectors can not enter an individual's room. Sink is blocked and useless Bill Groenen photos I Table top serves as storage Blocked tub dram and overloaded toilet add to stench 2 sides of teacher transfer human injustice or just economics By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer The transfer of teachers to Hutterite colonies against their wishes is a human injustice or a matter of economics there is no happy medium for those involved in the issue Teachers'who have been transferred against their will claim school boards are using the transfer as a "big stick" to discipline teachers who are outspoken about administration and school board decisions Trustees argue that dropping student enrolments have left them with a surplus of teachers and a reduced budget so they either have to transfer surplus teachers to Hutterite colonies or lay them off work The transfer of a teacher who taught in Raymond for several years to the Milfred Colony near Raymond last fall is a prime example of the bitterness that can result Delmore Broadhead is not willing to accept his transfer in silence. He feels that he has been done an injustice after 27 years of dedicated teaching and has let a few people know about it including the minister of education. Murray Holt, chairman of the County of Warner school committee, says Mr. Broadhead was chosen as the teacher to fill the vacancy at the Milfred Colony because "we felt he was the best fellow for the job He had previous teaching experience in a multi-grade one-room school, his personality was suitable for "teaching out in the open space" and he had "a fair amount of sickness" so the committee felt he would appreciate being "considered for something that isn't as Mr. Holt claimed in an interview. He also claimed "we try to give the Hutterites the best teachers we can give them. They appreciate good education up to a certain age." The committee does give some consideration to seniority but it isn't a major factor in the final decision on which teachers will be given the transfer, he Mid when it was pointed out to him that Mr. Broadhead had more teaching experience in Raymond than his colleagues "Frankly, we were surprised at the attitude he Mr. Holt sternly said. Mr Broadhead told The Herald he feels the committee transferred him for reasons other than those it admits too. "A new principal came in and he felt my experience was a threat to Mr Broadhead says even though he admits "I didn't have any words with him." He feels the major reason he was chosen as the teacher to be sent to what he calls "Siberia" was the condition of his health during the past two years When he missed a few weeks of school last spring while in the hospital for a stomach operation, the committee had a difficult time obtaining a substitute teacher for his classes. And Mr Broadhead claims the committee thinks he has reached the age, 55, at which illness is likely to occur more frequently so it transferred him to the colony hoping he would retire rather than drive to the colony school every day from his home in Raymond. Mr Holt admitted age was a consideration but. only because the committee felt it would be easier on Mr Broadhead's health to teach in "a less- demanding" school Mr Broadhead disagrees "People have the idea that you don't have to do anything at the Hutterite colony schools, but they're entirely wrong." The Hutterite children have great desire for learning and a teacher has to put more effort into teaching them because of the language problem, he explains He also feels he has paid "his dues" by teaching in small schools early in his teaching career and now should be able to finish out his career in a school with modern facilities "At my age I don't want to go to an outdoor toilet." There is no water in the school, he says Mr Holt refutes Mr Broadhead's claim that the committee had ulterior motives for transferring him to the colony. "We don't hold a whip over any teacher It is a matter of economics and that is all that it amounts to." Mr. Holt also claims all teachers in the Raymond school were asked if they had any objections to being transferred to a colony school and most of them agreed that they would rather be transferred than be out of a job When the other teachers found out who was being transferred, Mr Broadhead says "they all were so happy it wasn't them." He understands dropping enrolments caused the teacher surplus in the school 'and that the transfer of a teacher may have been necessary but he disagrees with the committee's method of handling the transfer issue "If they would have put the names in the hat and given some training in advance of the transfer, I wouldn't have said a Mr Broadhead suggests Anybody transferred to a Hutterite colony should be given special in-service training, he believes. "It is the getting kicked out that bothers the dejected Mr Broadhead said as he glared at the floor. The attitude of school committee members in using the transfer as a method of disciplining teachers has created a situation in which the community and the school looks upon the transfer as expulsion and that is why teachers fear it, he says. Alberta Teachers Association believes some school boards will continue to use the transfei to force teacher it has brought the abuse of the transfer to the attention of the provincial government and is proposing changes in the School Act legislation. It may create a situation in which teachers are layed off work, but then those who have given the most years of service to a school will be the last to go OELMORE BROADHEAD ;