July Year in Review

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald. Blacksmith John McCann gives a demonstration of his craft at the 41st Annual Vintage Power Machines Threshing Festival in July 2023.

Prince Albert residents celebrate Canada’s 156th birthday with ceremonies in Kinsmen Park and at the riverbank. The Prince Albert Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 2 and Prince Albert Multicultural Council organize the events.

The Prince Albert Outreach Program is forced to juggle its services after two of its vans are engulfed in flames. Executive director Bill Chow says the vans were used five days a week. Without them, the organization will have to cut back services.

RM of Prince Albert reeve Eric Schmalz is acclaimed as the Saskatchewan Party candidate in Saskatchewan Rivers. Schmalz, a former RCMP officer, says he his campaign will focus on economic opportunity heading into the 2024 election.

A group of residential school survivors walk from Wahpeton to Duck Lake and the former site of the St. Michael’s Residential School. The 2023 walk is the group’s third. Organizer and former St. Michael’s student Linda Buffalo says they’re doing it for the students who died while attending residential schools.

Prince Albert City Council submits a provincial eligible assistance application to help property owners facing damages from three storms in June. The storms occurred on June 1, 5, and 25. City of Prince Albert acting Director of Public Works Jeff Da Silva says they’re still working out how residents will be able to apply for aid, but they want to make sure the opportunity is available.

A 21-year-member of the Prince Albert Police Service is charged following an in-custody death that occurred in 2021. The unnamed officer is accused of criminal negligence in the death of 33-year-old Saul Laliberte, who died in a police detention facility on Nov. 7. The charges lead to the Prince Albert Grand Council issuing a statement calling for reform among the Prince Albert Police Service.

Friends, family, and City of Prince Albert dignitaries gather to honour the memory of veteran and boxer Thomas Settee with the opening of Thomas Settee Park on July 15. The park is in the Crescent Heights neighbourhood of Prince Albert. Several generations of the Settee family are in attendance, including Thomas’ son Tim, and daughter Liz.

Friends and family of Charlene “Charlie” Welch host their final Charlie’s Angels Golf Tournament, and donate the proceeds to the Prince Albert SPCA. Roughly 60 female golfers tee off at the tournament, raising more than $26,000 in the process. The tournament raised more than $10,000 for the SPCA every year since it began in 2013.

The provincial government releases 45 recommendations following an independent review of the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS). The recommendations revolve around a number of factors, such as having a strategic plan, refreshing its discipline policy and defining the duties of members and the board. Prince Albert interim Police Chief Patrick Nogier accepts the recommendations, but the provincial government says they have no plans to release the full report.

Jessy’s Garden receives an improved play structure thanks to the Prince Albert Optimist Club. Club vice-president John Truba says supporting Jessy’s Garden was an easy decision. “We were actually pretty excited to become involved in this project because that’s exactly what we do,” he says. “We help where there’s a need, and especially when it involves kids.”

The annual fishing tournament in Struthers Lake Regional Park is renamed in memory of West Petterson, who was murdered in the mass stabbing event that took place in Weldon and James Smith Cree Nation over the Labour Day weekend in 2022. Petterson was a former park manager, and was actively involved with the board of directors until he died. The park is located roughly 28 km southwest of Kinistino.

Friends and family gather with Prince Albert veteran Ed Laird to celebrate the naming of Edwin G. Laird Park on July 28. The new Laird Park is the fourth such Prince Albert park to be renamed. “It’s a feeling you can’t express,” Laird says when asked about having a park named after him. “It’s wonderful, something you’ll never forget.”

The long-awaited Rotary Adventure Park officially opens at Little Red River Park on July 31. The Rotary Club began making plans to build the park five years before. Former club president Keith Fonstad says they had some delays due to COVID, but otherwise the project ran smoothly. “It’s just fantastic,” he says. “I can’t wait to see it full of kids.”

Arts

A Prince Albert business begins leaving writing and art supplies outside their downtown location where residents living on the streets tend to gather. Jam Street Shared Arts Spaces spokesperson Adreanna Boucher says they wanted to do something that would help make someone’s day better “in some small way.”

Prince Albert musical duo Cupid’s Heart releases their debut EP on July 14. Band members Stacey Dunn and Emma Jean released their first single in January, followed by another in May.

Back to Batoche sees a record number of attendees as the annual Metis cultural celebration returns in 2023. Close to 45,000 people from across North America attend the four-day event. Premier Scott Moe makes history as the first sitting premier to attend the event.

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