The year that was in Cowtown and Alberta
chris bolin/for metro calgary
1 - The big news story in January coming into the new year was the province-wide smoking ban in workplaces falling into place in Calgary. For many it was a long time coming but for many others it was something they vowed to fight. Calgary was the last major city in Canada to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
20 -In a tragic incident, a two-year-old girl died after getting her head stuck in her mother’s car window. The mother left her daughter and her son in an SUV while running into her work for a minute to pick something up. When she came back her daughter appeared asleep. When she dropped her son off she realized her daughter was unresponsive and she brought her to hospital where she died.
5 - STORY OF THE MONTH - Metro Calgary made its “Flaming Debut” on March 5th of 2007 with Calgary Flames much-respected captain Jarome Iginla gracing the first cover. Already established as the world’s largest free daily and making a mark in each of Canada’s major cities, Metro Calgary was a fine addition to the Calgary newspaper scene.
6 -Another first for Calgary in March saw the Guardian Angels, a controversial crime-fighting group which got its start in New York, come to Calgary to help curb violence in the city. The group had both supporters and critics but have since instilled themselves in the downtown core of Calgary and working with the Calgary Police Service as another source of information.
22 -A local chef was named “The Next Great Chef” on a popular reality TV show that saw contestants from all over Canada fight for the gourmet food title. The fresh-faced 22-year-old Marc Schoene from The Catch restaurant downtown dazzled the judges to bring Calgary to the forefront in culinary expertise.
23 - STORY OF THE MONTH - The beloved Calgary Flames lost in the seventh game of the first playoff round against the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1, then lost the entire series on April 23. It was a disappointing finish for a team that made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals the season before, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
24 -In what turned out to be a heartbreaking turn of events, a senior citizen with severe Alzheimer’s disease killed a fellow elderly man in the facility they shared. The 81-year-old man beat the 76-year-old victim in apparent confusion. He was initially charged with second-degree murder but the charges were dropped later in the year due to his condition.
27 -April 17th marked the bloodiest shooting rampage in US history when a gunmen opened fire at Virginia Tech University and killed 32 people, injuring another 15. The University of Calgary Mount Royal College and SAIT joined the rest of the world in grieving those lost at the school for the month of April. All three schools held vigils for the students and Calgarians felt the tidal wave of emotion after the massacre.
16 -The driver in a hit-and-run fatality was finally sentenced to 30 months in jail for his role in the death of 20-year-old Lindsey Giaccomelli. It was determined he had lied about the accident, tried to cover it up, and was even attempting to leave the country. Later in the year, 50-year-old Colin Jones makes headlines again when he is released from prison only seven-months into his sentence.
24 - STORY OF THE MONTH - Calgary police made the biggest cocaine bust in the history of the city on May 23rd after a five-month investigation. Cops seized 40 kilos of cocaine worth more than $4 million, $90,000 in cash and two BMW’s among other things. Police charged several men with numerous drug and weapon offences in the bust.
12 -Two men from Quebec drowned in the Bow River’s notorious “drowning machine” when they went over the weir in a raft. The men only lived in the city for a week when they got caught in the weir and drowned. Only one man’s body was recovered from the drowning and the search continued for the summer. Three rafters escaped alive when they were saved by the Calgary fire department.
15 - STORY OF THE MONTH - Ending 35 years of Tories reign in the city’s southwest Elbow riding, voters elected a Liberal MLA. Craig Cheffins defeated Conservative Brian Heninger for the title but it was more than a byelection. Calgarians were sending a message to newly appointed Premier Ed Stelmach for ignoring them since his arrival as Alberta’s leader.
15 -Calgary Flames appoint notoriously controversial coach ‘Iron’ Mike Keenan to take over the reins of the fire houses. Some people saw this as a great move and others were worried how stars Jarome Iginla and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff would respond.
5 -The Calgary Stampede jacks up all party-going Calgarians once again, as more than a million people clicked the turnstiles and put their butts in the seats of rides, rodeo and grandstand show.
10 - STORY OF THE MONTH - In what is becoming political tradition, newly minted premier Ed Stelmach dodged an attempted pie-ing at the hands of a homeless activist. Stelmach, who was attending his first Premier’s Stampede Breakfast, was not hit by the pie.
24 -In a controversial move, Calgary city council rejects the idea of allowing “Support the Troops” stickers on city vehicles. Instead, council later decided to sell the stickers to citizens with money going to military families.
26 -A baby boom in Calgary led to a record number of children being born in the city in 2006-07. Over 10,550 babies were born to city parents over the year.
7 - In a series of gruesome slayings, Calgary experiences a string of six unrelated murders in one week. It would be a busy summer for Calgary police with a number of murders plaguing the downtown and beltline areas.
16 - A massive fire triggered by a trouble light in the garage of a Royal Oak home spread to two other homes, destroying all three homes — worth nearly $2 million. Questions over the narrow distance between houses and the use of vinyl siding were raised after this blaze and a similar one that gutted dozens of houses in Edmonton.
17 - STORY OF THE MONTH - A one-in-13 million event shone the spotlight on Calgarians Karen and J.P. Jepp. The Jepps brought home four new bundles of joy as they became parents of the world’s newest naturally conceived quadruplets — Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia.
20 - In one of the province’s biggest stories of the year, officials at the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board are accused of spying on landowners involved with the construction of a new power line in Alberta. The spy scandal results in the firing of the security staff of the AEUB, a change in the organization’s leadership and plagues the Stelmach government for the rest of 2007.
dave buston/for metro calgary
6 - Four Stamps fans got all dressed up in their birthday suits before streaking during the annual Labour Day game against the Edmonton Eskimos. Despite a series of great jukes to elude field security staff, all four were captured and eventually charged.
11 - Outgoing Calgary Police Chief Jack Beaton introduces 30-year veteran of the city police force, Rick Hanson, as the city’s new police chief. Hanson would take over reins of city cops later in the month.
15 - A month-long campaign for city council began with incumbent Mayor Dave Bronconnier — a heavy favourite to win again — began his quest for a third-straight term. This election would see four incumbent councilors replaced. Find out in October which ones they were.
19-A series of black bear sightings around the city — Rockyview Hospital, Glenmore Reservoir and in the community of Discovery Ridge — had Fish and Wildlife officers scurrying to protect the public. Several wild animal sightings occurred throughout the summer, including bears, cougars and even a moose at the airport.
26 - STORY OF THE MONTH - An emotional memorial service was held for Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, a soldier who grew up in Calgary and was stationed with the Calgary’s King Own Regiment. The 24-year-old Hornburg was the 71st Canadian serviceperson killed in Afghanistan. He died while his unit was under attack and he was repairing the tracks of a tank.
dave buston/for metro calgary
2 - October didn’t get off to a great start, as 17-year-old Matt McKay was killed after being hit with a pick axe at a house party in the community of Queensland. A 19-year-old youth was charged with his murder.
15 - Mayor Bronconnier wins his third straight mayoral race, and has four new city alderman on council. Brian Pincott replaced retiring Barry Erskine, Joe Connelly replaced Craig Burrows, John Mar took Madeline King’s seat, and Jim Stevenson ousted Helen Larocque.
17 - Billionaire thrill-seeker Richard Branson announces the Virgin Music Festival to be held at Fort Calgary in the summer of 2008.
19 - In one of the year’s most tragic events, a school bus carrying Students from the Third Academy and Mountainview Academy struck a parked dump truck killing nine-year-old Kathelynn Occena and injuring several others. Questions over the actions of the bus driver immediately prior to the crash go unanswered.
25 - A Hepatitis A scare sent thousands to vaccination clinics after a McDonald’s employee at a city fast-food joint is diagnosed with the disease.
26 - STORY OF THE MONTH - Under industry threats to pull investment in the Alberta oil and gas industry and pressure from opposition to maximize the money collected from multibillion-dollar resource companies, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach announced a new oil-royalty regime for the province.
Intense discussion over oilsands royalties and the effect the new rates would have on future oil and gas exploration raged on for the rest of the year. Some companies, such as Encana, which pulled $500 million of capital spending from the province, were disappointed by the move, but most experts suggested that the full impact, if any, would not be known until the royalty scheme is implemented in 2009.
31 - Three-year-old “Super Kate” was found amongst the wreckage of an airplane that went down in British Columbia. The Edmonton girl was found alive in a crash that killed her grandfather and his colleague.
6 - A brutal sexual assault on a 23-year-old woman prompts city police to warn the public of a possible sex attacker on the loose.
7 - STORY OF THE MONTH - City council approves the first $370 million in a $900-million LRT package that will continue work on the northeast and northwest legs of the C-Train and begin land acquisition and construction of the long- awaited west leg of the LRT.
14 - A 37-year-old Calgary man died and his 45-year-old Winnipeg climbing partner was injured when the two men fell 200 metres after an ice cornice gave way on Mount Sparrowhawk — west of Calgary.
22 - “Speed on green” traps, hooked to red light cameras, get mixed reviews by the public. The province would later approve the use of these cameras, which are attached to red light cameras and give speeding tickets to those drivers speeding up to beat yellow lights and those just speeding in general.
29 - A mumps outbreak hits post-secondary institutes and leads to a province-wide vaccination program. More than 60,000 people are vaccinated against mumps before Alberta Health and Wellness suspends the program due to a handful of allergic reactions to the vaccine.
2 - Newly appointed police chief Rick Hanson makes controversial comments on raising the drinking age in Alberta to “at least 19” from the current 18.
6 - Eight people are taken into custody in connection with a “bawdy house” in the city’s northeast. City cops say a “trick pad” is a very rare find in Canadian cities.
7 - Pittsburgh Penguins phenom Sidney Crosby makes his first-ever pro appearance at the Pengrowth Saddledome to play the Flames. The Penguins defeated the hometown Flames in a shootout.
16 - STORY OF THE MONTH - After a dismal start to the NHL season, the Flames enter the record books as the third team ever to win six straight on the road — on a six-game road swing — after beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. The victories catapulted the Flames to top spot in the NHL’s Northwest Division. Jarome Iginla was player of the week in the NHL during the streak.