Local briefs – August 4

A planned hearing into murder charges ended abruptly on Wednesday before it even started.

Resolution expected in murder

A planned hearing into murder charges ended abruptly on Wednesday before it even started.

Four people charged with the second-degree murder of Gordon Marlice Strawberry last September near Rocky Mountain House waived their preliminary hearings and will have their charges resolved, Crown prosecutor Robin Joudrey told provincial court Judge John Holmes.

In addition to saving tens of thousands of dollars in court costs, the move will spare scores of people from having to testify, including four youngsters between the ages of nine and 14.

The hearing should have been held in Rocky but for security reasons it was moved to Red Deer.

All the civilian witnesses are from the Rocky area and would have to travel back and forth each day.

The four accused will return to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Sept. 12. Terrence Andy Beaverbones, 21, Evan Everest Foureyes, 21, Jenny Olivia Beaverbones, 26, and Malvina Jean Beaverbones, 36, all remain in custody.

They are all charged with second-degree murder.

A fifth accused — Cameron Paul Strawberry, 37, of the Rocky Mountain House area — waived his hearing on Tuesday. He also returns on Sept. 12.

Darcy John Lightfoot, 30, was sentenced to six more years in prison after being credited for time served in a Queen’s Bench sentencing last week.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the killing.

Gordon Strawberry, 45, was beaten with fists and a board, stomped on and stabbed on Sept. 17, 2010, at the O’Chiese First Nation Reserve 53 km northwest of Rocky.

Holmes heard the accused, who have all been in custody since the murder, have been moved all over the province to various remand centres.

Sawfly warning issued

The City of Red Deer Parks section is reminding residents to protect their trees as yellowheaded spruce sawfly populations increase in the area.

This pest attacks Engelmann, white, black and blue spruce, and feeds on the foliage of the tree. The attack may ultimately kill the tree.

Yellowheaded spruce sawflies are active in early to mid-summer and can also be controlled at this time.

Larvae are tiny caterpillars to begin with, often only several millimeters long. They grow to be 16 to 20 mm long with yellowish-brown heads and shiny olive green bodies with paired greyish-green lines down the length of the body.

Management of the sawfly will help to control its spread.

Residents can help control this pest population by using control procedures, including:

• Hand picking larvae off trees and disposing of them in sealed garbage bags.

• Pruning the tips of branches where the larvae live and disposing of them in sealed garbage bags.

• High pressure water spraying of the impacted tree. Small larvae cannot crawl back onto the tree if blasted from it with a high-pressure hose.

• Spraying the infected tree with insecticidal soap from your local garden centre. Follow the directions on the label for mixing instructions.

For more information on pest management in Red Deer, visit www.reddeer.ca/parks or phone the Parks section at 403-342-8234.

More taxis approved

Three more taxi drivers will hit Red Deer streets this year so they can serve a larger population.

The City of Red Deer is seeking additional taxis after the results of the 2011 municipal census showed an increase of 1,793 residents.

The city’s population stands at 91,877.

Potential drivers must take part in a 2011 taxi plate draw on Aug. 31 in council chambers at City Hall.

“A qualified applicant is someone who has been involved in the taxi industry in the city of Red Deer as a taxi driver or broker for 1,200 hours per calendar year for two consecutive years,” said licence/permit inspector Shelley VanSomeren.

Applications are on hand at City Hall’s third-floor Inspection and Licensing Department.

Applicants must pay a $20.83 fee and drop off their form by Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 4:30 p.m.

Only one application per individual or broker is permitted.

Successful applicants must show proof that they are qualified, as defined in the city’s tax bylaw, before 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 9.

They then must have a vehicle on the road by Nov. 7.

For more information, call Inspections and Licensing at 403-342-8182 or licensing@reddeer.ca.

Man charged in alleged sexual assaults reserves plea

An Edson man charged with the alleged sexual assault of four children at a Red Deer swimming pool reserved his plea on Wednesday.

Jamie Aaron Harasym, 32, of Edson was remanded in custody to appear again on Aug. 24 in Red Deer provincial court.

Harasym had a psychological assessment ordered in court last month after four children were allegedly inappropriately touched at Red Deer’s Recreation Centre pool on June 27.

Red Deer City RCMP responded to a 911 call at the pool after the children, who were swimming around 5 p.m., were allegedly assaulted.

The accused was not known to the children, who ranged in age from seven to 13.

Three of the children were female and one was male.

The accused faces four counts each of sexual interference and sexual assault.

Bamford bringing music to golf event

Country singer Gord Bamford will bring a musical lineup to Lacombe as part of his fourth annual Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation Invitational Golf Tournament today and Friday. Bamford, who grew up in Lacombe, will host the invitational-only event at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club, and will feature live performances from Bamford, Patricia Conroy, Beverley Mahood, Aaron Pritchett, Charlie Major, Jake Mathews, Default and Tera Lee Flaman. Last year, the event raised $230,000 benefitting many local groups. “These are dollars that are making a difference in our community, and in how these organizations operate,” said Bamford in a news release. “Most importantly, they help support the kids who these groups work so hard for.” The money generated goes to support Bamford’s Foundation, which provides support for education, music, and health care for families. Designated recipients for 2011 are Ronald McDonald House Red Deer Project, Lacombe Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Lacombe Accessible Park Society, and Make a Wish Foundation. The charity event kicks off on Thursday night that includes dinner, performances by Bamford, Conroy, Mahood and others, and three auctions (silent, live and celebrity).