ONE YEAR AGO
• Red Deer had its third worst voter turnout when only 24.8 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots for mayor, city council and school trustees. A total of 14,862 out of 59,941 eligible voters went to the polls, up slightly from three years ago when Red Deer experienced its lowest turnout ever. In 2007, 13,547 people, or 22 per cent, of eligible voters cast ballots. In 2001, 22.1 per cent of voters, or 10,869 individuals, cast ballots. The best turnout occurred in 1992 when 43.1 per cent of eligible voters showed up on election day.
Returning officer Elaine Vincent said she was pleased with the small increase from the historic low of 2007.
• Red Deer’s hospital has the longest average wait time to admit emergency patients of any of Alberta’s regional hospitals.
Red Deer patients waited an median average of 9.1 hours before being admitted, compared to 4.6 hours in Lethbridge, 4.4 hours in Medicine Hat, 4.0 hours in Fort McMurray and 7.3 in Grande Prairie, according to Alberta Health Services Performance Report for the third quarter of 2009-10.
The median average means half the patients waited longer than 9.1 hours in Red Deer and half had shorter waits. Sylvia Barron, director emergency and critical care at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, said the wait time is constantly monitored and the hospital continues to work to reduce the wait.
FIVE YEARS AGO
• RCMP revealed a man gunned down near Eckville had cheated death once already. Brad Weber was killed by unknown gunmen near the Last Hill Golf Course. The previous year, he was shot several times, including once in the head, while he slept in a motorhome about 10 km northeast of Leslieville.
• City staff activated hundreds of parking meters in downtown — but not without some kinks. Several people who fed coins into the meters did not get the proper parking time. At least 300 people lined up to buy magnetic strip Smart Cards, which could be programmed with various dollar amounts and plugged into parking metres.
10 YEARS AGO
• The Wolf Creek and Clearview school divisions cancelled all school trips involving flying in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
• Provincial funding cuts meant the postponement of the planned twinning of Hwy 11 from Red Deer to Sylvan Lake. The redesign of the intersection of Hwy 2 and 67th Street, however, forged ahead because too much was already done to halt it.
50 YEARS AGO
• A brave 10-year old city girl, with the help of a neighbour, saved the lives of her younger brother and sister when fire struck their North Red Deer home. Arlene Austin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Austin of 5808 60A St., was alone in the house with her brother Brian, seven, and sister Jennifer, five, when fire broke out at 2:05 a.m. Arlene told The Advocate she awoke to the smell of smoke. She and Jennifer were in an upstairs bedroom. “I woke up my little sister and went across the room to the window and put snow on our faces.
“I saw it in a movie once where putting water on faces helps so you can’t smell smoke.”
She and Jennifer went downstairs. Arlene said the smoke was thick and the snow did help their breathing.
“I told Jennifer to go down the hall and I looked in the living room. I saw flames coming out of the chair.”
The two girls, clad only in their pajamas, remembered to slip on their snow boots that were in the hallway and they hurried over to their neighbor’s in 16 degree temperatures.
But Arlene was afraid.
And she forgot about Brian sleeping in a downstairs bedroom.
The girls fled to the home of C.E. Luke, 5807 60A St.
“When we got there, Mr. Luke asked if anybody else was in the house and I told him Brian was, I forgot about him.”
Mr. Luke, an employee of the CPR ran over to the smoke-filled house and found Brian still asleep in his bed. But he wasn’t in any immediate danger.
“His bedroom was at one end of the house and the fire at the other,” said Mr. Luke.
• If a nuclear attach launched on North America destroyed Edmonton and Calgary and saturated Alberta with fallout, essential provincial administration would continue, according to government of Alberta operational plan.
The plan, approved by the provincial cabinet, would go into effect in the event of a nuclear alert, a federal government order or declaration by the lieutenant-governor of a state of emergency.
Continuity of provincial, municipal and federal administration and Canadian Army, police operations would be ensured.
100 YEARS AGO
• One man was fatally injured, another hurt less seriously and the Lacombe CPR station damaged by an explosion.
The explosion was said to have resulted from the two men handling a “flashlight apparatus trunk” in the building’s baggage room.
• Buildings valued at $219,000 were constructed in Red Deer during the year. Among them were the Ladies’ College and the Alberta Garage.