Local briefs – April 12

Electrical workers with the City of Red Deer are threatening strike action after being without a negotiated contract for more than a year.

City electrical workers vote in favour of strike

Electrical workers with the City of Red Deer are threatening strike action after being without a negotiated contract for more than a year.

Thirty-two employees are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 254.

Julia Harvie-Shemko, communications and strategic manager with the city, confirmed on Monday that a strike vote took place last Tuesday.

The workers voted in favour of strike action.

“They’re in a legal position to strike if they want,” said Harvie-Shemko. “They have to give us 72 hours notice.”

The contract expired on March 4, 2010.

Harvie-Shemko said the city continues to work towards a negotiated settlement and dates are being set up to continue talks.

She said the workers plan, build, operate and maintain electrical transmission and distribution facilities for Red Deer homes and businesses.

A union spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday.

Green Deer starts April 18

It’s time to show litter bugs who’s boss. Red Deer’s annual anti-litter campaign Green Deer runs from April 18 to June 19.

Join neighbours, co-workers, and friends in keeping Red Deer clean by registering for Green Deer at the Recreation Centre, Collicutt Centre or G.H. Dawe Centre, or by calling recreation staff at 403-309-8411 (course code #48429).

You can also register by coming out to the Green Deer kickoff barbecue at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre (6300 45th Ave.) on April 18 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Registered groups will be given cleaning supplies and organizers will track the areas they have cleaned to recognize their volunteer work.

Every group to register will automatically be entered into a draw to win a barbecue event.

Once you have your team assembled, you are encouraged to challenge another group to see who can clean their area the best.

Large amounts of garbage can be arranged to be picked up by calling Suzanne at 403-309-8411. Those registering in person will also be provided Green Deer garbage bags, which can be put out with regular garbage at no additional charge.

For more information, including a list of Green Deer community cleanup events, visit reddeer.ca.

Drug accused gets bail

One of two men charged in late March with drug trafficking after a routine traffic stop was freed from custody on Monday.

James Clark, 46, of Red Deer was released on $750 cash bail and several conditions, including a nightly curfew, when he appeared in Red Deer provincial court on Monday. He can be outside his curfew hours for work purposes only, court heard.

Clark adjourned his charges of possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking, possession of the proceeds of crime and obstructing police by providing a false name, until May 5.

Jesse Sumner, 26, of Red Deer makes his first court appearance on April 21 on charges of possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime. He was released from custody shortly after he was charged.

Red Deer city RCMP said on March 29 they stopped a vehicle about 1:30 p.m. when it failed to stop for a red light.

Arresting officers noticed drugs in the vehicle and a search turned up a quantity of cocaine and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Preliminary hearing starts

A three-day preliminary hearing started on Monday for a woman charged with aggravated assault on a baby.

Desiree Hansen, 28, of Blackfalds was charged in early 2010 after Lacombe emergency service personnel responded to a call.

The male infant was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Jan. 6, 2010. A ban on publication of evidence heard at the preliminary was ordered by provincial court Judge John Holmes at the request of defence lawyer Gordon Yake.

The hearing is held to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant the accused stand trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

The hearing was expected to wrap up this week but has been extended until May 2 to hear from a medical expert on shaken baby syndrome.

Shaken baby syndrome is a form of physical child abuse that occurs when an abuser violently shakes an infant or small child, creating a whiplash-type motion that causes acceleration-deceleration injuries.

Break-in case to court

Two Calgary men charged with breaking into five Red Deer homes last week return to court later this week.

Ryan Callahan, 29, of Calgary faces five counts of break and enter and one count of resisting arrest.

He remains in custody and appears in court again on Thursday after reserving his plea last Friday.

Brett Whitehill, 34, of Calgary, also faces five counts of break and enter. Whitehill was also remanded into custody and appears again on Thursday.

Police said earlier that an Inglewood homeowner arrived home last Tuesday afternoon to find someone had broken into her home and was still inside. At about 1:22 p.m., she called Red Deer City RCMP from a neighbour’s home and saw three males exit her home.

Suspects fled on foot. One suspect was seen leaving the backyard by police and was caught after a short foot chase near Living Stones Church on 40th Avenue. The vehicle driven by the suspects was found by police. Property stolen from four other residences was found inside.

The other residences broken into were in Rosedale, West Park and Fairview. Cash and jewelry were reported stolen.

Free screening of Gasland

Can natural gas removal be attributed to earthquakes?

Oil shale fracturing (fracking) is a controversial method of natural gas extraction practised in the U.S. and Canada, and researchers are investigating if the process can be linked to a series of small earthquakes in Arkansas, New York and Texas.

Gasland, a 2011 Oscar nominated documentary, looks at the science behind fracking and the potential dangers this process has on the rural landscapes it is used in.

Join the Council of Canadians and the Surface Rights Group on Monday at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre (6300 45th Ave.) for a free screening of Gasland, followed by a discussion regarding the current and future use of fracking in Canada.

For more information, contact Ken Collier at 403-342-7989 or kcollier@shaw.ca.

Idol singers selected

The top three singers have been selected in the first-ever Central Alberta Idol competition organized by the Knights of Columbus.

About 350 people crowded into Molly B’s in the Red Deer Legion on Friday night to watch Amanda Sweet, Joe Gauman and Hailey Ginter beat out 21 other competitors vying for the opportunity to open for Shane Yellowbird at the end of the month.

“There’s so much talent around and we just got a bit of it,” said Gerry Girard, who organized the singing competition. “We just got a little piece of what really is going on out there.”

The trio will each perform two songs before the country singer takes to the stage on April 29 in a Knights of Columbus benefit concert at Exhibition Hall at the Capri Centre.

One of the finalists will be selected as the inaugural Central Alberta Idol following the show and will receive $1,000 as well as a recording session.

The runner up will receive $600 and the second runner up will receive $300.

A local panel of judges well versed in music narrowed down the 24 competitors, who advanced to the semifinals from contests held in eight municipalities across the region.

Tickets for the benefit concert featuring the three finalists and Yellowbird can be purchased at Ticketmaster. Proceeds will benefit local charities regularly sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $38 online or $45 at the door.

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