Local briefs – June 17

The provincial government is looking at twinning Hwy 11A and converting already-twinned Hwy 11 into a freeway.

Hwy 11A might be twinned, government says

The provincial government is looking at twinning Hwy 11A and converting already-twinned Hwy 11 into a freeway.

The public can learn more about possible long-term plans for these roads that run between Sylvan Lake and Red Deer. An open house takes place on Thursday, June 25, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Winspear Room at Red Deer’s Holiday Inn at 6500 67th St.

McElhanney Consulting Services will do a planning study on upgrading Hwy 11 to freeway standards, including possibly improving the Hwy 2 and Hwy 11 interchange.

If this road was to be a freeway, there would be no at-level intersections.

Instead, drivers would have to use interchanges to get off the freeway.

Alberta Transportation spokesman Trent Bancarz said this change isn’t anticipated for another 30 years, when traffic counts would warrant it.

“A freeway not only moves things better, it’s much safer,” Bancarz said.

The province is converting Hwy 2 into a freeway, one section at a time.

New interchanges are built and at-level intersections and median crossovers are closed, Bancarz said.

MMM Group Ltd. will undertake the Hwy 11A functional planning study between Hwy 2 west of Red Deer and Hwy 20 east of Sylvan Lake.

Bancarz anticipates twinning this road will come sooner than 30 years.

“Typically, we look at twinning when we reach about 10,000 vehicles a day,” he said.

Existing traffic counts are showing 6,000 to 7,800 vehicles daily on the road.

The study will help identify additional right-of-ways needed and any environmental issues such as wetlands protection.

Bancarz said it’s important to get these studies, considered first steps, underway.

“The process can be lengthy because you are dealing with multiple landowners,” he said. “You are helping municipalities so they can adjust land uses.”


Marijuana dealer sentenced to house arrest

A man described as a mid-level drug dealer was sentenced to house arrest for 10 months followed by a 10-month curfew in Red Deer court on Tuesday.

In February, Daniel Adam Peterson, 24, of Red Deer pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and being in the possession of the proceeds of crime, which was $53,800 in cash.

During sentencing in Red Deer provincial court, Judge Monica Bast said aggravating factors were the size of Peterson’s drug operation and that it was run in a residential area that put residents at risk for crime associated with the illegal activity.

She warned Peterson the 20-month conditional sentence is jail — he’s just allowed to serve his sentence in the community.

In addition strict conditions he must abide by, Peterson must also complete 100 hours of community service within 12 months and was given a 10-year firearms prohibition.

Federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis argued against a conditional sentence because Peterson had a large-scale, ongoing marijuana business.

Edmonton defence lawyer Rod Gregory recommended a conditional sentence of about 18 months for reasons that included his client’s candid disclosure in the pre-sentence report and his good behaviour since being released from custody.

Charges were laid after RCMP received a tip that a residence at 782 Lancaster Drive was a source of pot distribution.

Collisions and impaired drivers keeping local Mounties busy

Red Deer City RCMP dealt with 46 motor vehicle collisions during the week of June 7 to 13.

Other traffic charges, tickets or actions by police included:

• 22 hit and run investigations;

• 28 impaired driving charges;

• four 24-hour driving suspensions;

• 14 liquor tickets;

• 31 speeding tickets;

• 23 no-insurance tickets.

Crime statistics included:

• 41 assaults;

• eight auto thefts;

• 10 residential break-ins;

• four business break-ins;

• 46 domestic violence complaints;

• 42 drug investigations;

• three robberies.

Sexual offender gets 28-month prison sentence

A Red Deer man was sentenced to 28 months in prison on Tuesday on charges of sexual interference with two girls — one of them 12 years old.

Kyle Robert Roselle, 23, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual interference in Red Deer provincial court.

Both offences occurred in the morning on July 31, 2008, when Roselle was in bed with his 15-year-old girlfriend and her 12-year-old friend.

Judge David Plosz sentenced Roselle to two years in prison for the charge concerning the 12-year old.

Plosz said while there was no evidence of coercion or psychological trauma, Roselle did take advantage of the girl.

Roselle was given a six-month custody sentence the other charge, with two months credit for time served.

Sentences are to be served consecutively.

Plosz ordered Roselle provide DNA for each offence and his name will be included in Canada’s sex offender registry for 20 years.

Roselle has been in custody awaiting a Queen’s Bench trial in November on separate charges.

Children’s Festival well attended, despite inclement weather

Miserable weather didn’t prevent more than 6,500 people from attending the Central Alberta Children’s Festival on June 5 and 6.

Organizers are calling the event, which was staged with the help of 400 volunteers, a big success.

Planning has already started for the 2010 children’s festival, which will feature internationally known children’s entertainer Fred Penner.

Next year’s event, to be held on June 4 and 5, is in need of more performers, volunteers, and sponsors. Anyone interested is welcomer to call festival co-ordinator Judy Scott at 403-309-8222 or email iscott@fsca.ca

Program designed to help students learn to ride buses safely

A program is helping first-time bus riders learn more about how to be safe.

The First Rider program targets students in kindergarten and Grade 1, along with other students riding the bus for the first time.

The 45-minute program has four activity stations to help children learn about getting on and off the bus and how to stay safe during the ride.

The event starts with a Winnie The Pooh video.

Children will then learn about safety priorities at the bus stop, discover the danger zone around the bus and go for a 10-minute ride to learn about loading and exiting the bus properly.

Multiple sessions starting every 10 minutes are set to take place on Aug. 25, between 1 to 3 p.m. and between 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Westerner Park in Red Deer.

The event is free and open to all families who have students in Chinook’s Edge School Division, Red Deer Pubic School District and Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division. Each participant will receive a goodie bag and have the opportunity to win a door prize.

Information brochures and registration forms are available at every elementary school in the three school divisions. Families are asked to pre-register by June 25.

Advocate outdoors columnist places second and third in contests

A Red Deer Advocate outdoors columnist won two national communication awards at the Outdoor Writers of Canada annual conference in Peterborough, Ont.

Bob Scammell has written a column for the newspaper for 43 years.

He won second place in the Ron Miller Storytelling Awards for the column Lamenting Old Friends, published in the Advocate on Dec. 18, 2008. He won third place in the National Fishing Week Writing Awards, sponsored by the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association for Fishing With Pop, published on July 17, 2008.

“The column has been honoured many times by my professional peers since it started in the Red Deer Advocate 43 years ago, but this is the first time I have won a National Fishing Week Writing Award,” said Scammell.

“I am particularly honoured to win in the competition named after my old friend, the late Ron Miller, who was a master outdoors storyteller. Once again, I thank my readers, whose overwhelming positive response convinced me to submit the entries I did this year.”

The Outdoor Writers of Canada is an organization of professional writers, broadcasters and photographers who specialize in stories about outdoors activities and concerns.

The awards are designed to encourage excellence in outdoors writing.

The 34th annual communications awards attracted entries from all across Canada and the United States this year.

Last year, Scammell won first and second place in the newspaper column category.

Red Deer County subdivides land for proposed gasification plant

Red Deer County council has subdivided seven acres at its Horn Hill Waste Transfer Site to make way for a proposed gasification plant.

The seven-acre site east of Penhold will be leased to Ottawa-based Plasco Energy Group, which plans to build and operate the $90-million plant to take garbage and convert it into electricity. Council unanimously agreed to subdivide the 40-acre Horn Hill site on Tuesday.

Plasco expects to begin work this year on the waste-to-energy plant, aiming for completion in late 2010.

The plant would use intense heat to turn up to 200 tonnes of garbage a day into a gas that can be burned to create power.

Red Deer County, the City of Red Deer and seven other Central Alberta municipalities have signed agreements to supply the plant with garbage.

For more on local events, see “Home Front” and “Switchboard” under the “Community” tab

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