Local briefs – March 27

A woman has been fined for her part in the theft of several thousand dollars worth of clothes from Central Alberta businesses.

Clothing thief fined $1,000

A woman has been fined for her part in the theft of several thousand dollars worth of clothes from Central Alberta businesses.

Kandice Rose Scheller, 26, was fined $1,000 after she pleaded guilty to a single count of theft of less than $5,000 when she appeared in Red Deer provincial court earlier this week.

Several other theft and possession of stolen property charges were withdrawn by the Crown.

Scheller and Michael James Rac, 34, of Red Deer were charged last Aug. 15 after they were caught with stolen merchandise in their vehicle.

The merchandise had been stolen from the Bargain Shop in Lacombe.

Rac was sentenced to 90 days in jail when he pleaded guilty to theft and possession of stolen property charges last fall. He had been in custody for more than a month before he pleaded guilty.

Also found in the vehicle were clothes stolen from Fields Store, Thyme Maternity and La Senza in Red Deer.

The stolen property was valued at about $1,400.

Fraud suspect gets court date

The preliminary hearing for a man charged with bilking seniors out of thousands of dollars won’t be heard for 10 months.

Larry John Vollendorf, 59, of Winfield will have the hearing lasting a week beginning on Jan. 21, 2010, in Red Deer provincial court.

Vollendorf was charged with eight counts of fraud and theft, which totalled about $52,000, in late 2005.

The alleged frauds occurred in the Red Deer and Rimbey areas.

He was charged after elderly people complained they were duped by claims they had won a prize or a lottery.

The case has been to court about 15 times, dating back a year when the charges were first laid.

Vollendorf switched lawyers, which prompted a delay.

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

Date set for murder hearing

A man charged in a downtown stabbing death has a new preliminary hearing date.

Blair Andrew Neill, 41, of Red Deer will stand trial from April 30 to May 1 in Red Deer provincial court on a first/second-degree murder charge.

The hearing had been set for earlier this week but was delayed because of witness problems. A preliminary is held to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant the accused stand trial in Court of Queen’s Bench.

Neill, who remains in custody, was charged last Aug. 26 with stabbing Nathan Casey, 27, to death.

Police and emergency personnel were called to an altercation in the 4700 block on 54th Street of Red Deer and found the accused with a stab wound.

They later discovered the victim with a stab wound in a vehicle parked near 55th Street and 47th Avenue.

Red Deer man granted bail

A man alleged to have assaulted a woman in a lengthy standoff with police has been granted bail.

Gene Levasseur, 37, of Red Deer remains in custody until he can either post $4,000 cash bail or an $8,000 surety.

He was charged last week with two counts of forcible confinement, two counts of assault, and one count each of strangling or choking, assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.

Levasseur made his first appearance on Thursday in provincial court and reserved his plea until April 7.

Police were called to a townhouse at 3508 48th Ave in Red Deer, just before 7 a.m. on March 18 after receiving a report of a possible domestic dispute.

RCMP said a woman had fled the scene safely but a man remained inside. It was feared he had a gun.

Police also allege that the woman owner of the home was kept against her will during the standoff.

During the standoff, several homes in the area were evacuated and students were directed away from École La Prairie School, which was locked down. Buses bringing in students were sent to a nearby hotel.

Numerous attempts were made to communicate with the suspect in the townhouse without success.

Shortly after, RCMP emergency response team members forced their way into the townhouse, guns drawn.

Seniors study begins this week

A study to understand the mobility and transportation needs for city seniors starts this week.

Linda Healing, community facilitator, says the study will help better meet the needs of seniors into the future.

The Red Deer-based research project runs until June.

It aims to identify the needs and options that seniors require for transportation.

The Seniors Transportation Committee is asking seniors to complete a mail-in survey as part of a study that also includes focus groups, interviews with transportation providers, and direct observation.

Members of four local agencies that serve senior citizens will receive the survey by mail over the next two weeks.

“The information collected will form a base for community advocacy and decision-making for seniors’ transportation,” Healing said.

Community researcher Franklin Kutuadu says “we will be looking at changing demographic and social trends, as well as what seniors feel is lacking in the current system so we can prepare for the future.”

The number of people 65 and older is expected to reach 14 per cent of the population within seven years.

It now stands at 10 per cent.

Any senior who wants to participate in the study and who has not received a survey by Wednesday can register their interest in participating in the study by calling 403-342-8100.

Kidnapping suspect to stay in jail

A Red Deer man who allegedly kidnapped a Red Deer woman and assaulted her will remain in jail until at least May.

Kenneth Robert Deck, 36, was denied bail in Red Deer provincial court this week and will have a preliminary hearing on May 8 on charges of kidnapping, assault, three counts of uttering threats, criminal harassment, two counts of mischief and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

The preliminary hearing will determine if there is enough evidence for Deck to stand trial.

Charges resulted after a complaint to RCMP at 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 10 from a distraught woman who had been assaulted at the intersection of Taylor Drive and Hwy 11A.

Police allege that the suspect phoned and harassed the woman previously and rammed her vehicle several times that day. The woman was then forced out of her vehicle and forced into the suspect’s vehicle.

Shortly after 1 p.m., a witness reported seeing a man attacking a woman inside her vehicle at a Taylor Drive intersection.

The witness managed to get the woman out of her vehicle and the suspect drove off. He was arrested later that day in Calgary.

Parenting expert will speak in city

The author of Positive Discipline will be keynote speaker at a early learning and child care conference at the Capri Centre on Saturday.

The key to positive parenting is not punishment, but respect, says Jane Nelson, who is author, psychologist, educator and mother of seven.

Her book has been a reference guide for parents and educators for 25 years.

She coaches parents to be both firm and kind to children whether they are toddlers or teenagers.

Nelson has now written a revised and expanded edition of her popular book.

She is speaking to a professional development conference that includes members of the Central Alberta Family Day Home Association and Central Alberta Day Care Directors Association.

More than 300 people are attending the sold-out conference that runs until Sunday.

Social Credit meeting in Red Deer

Party roots and monetary policies will be discussed at the Alberta Social Credit Party’s policy convention in Red Deer on Saturday.

“With the world in turmoil over the current credit crisis, it’s time to consider the Social Credit alternative to the credit systems promoted by banks, mortgage . . . and credit card companies,” said Socred Leader Len Skowronski.

The convention will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge in Petrolia Park, south of Westerner Park.

Social Credit party members and those interested in joining are welcome to attend.

For more information, call 1-888-762-7331.

Water restrictions possible

Communities served by the Stettler water treatment plant could see some water restrictions this spring.

Major upgrades to the treatment plant will not be complete until late next year, which means water supplies could be limited, especially during spring months when the water is full of debris from runoff, said Keith Boras, Lacombe County’s manager of environmental and protective services.

The capacity at the treatment plant is being boosted with some stop-gap measures, but it’s not known exactly how much water will be available until all the work is completed and has been tested.

It is also too soon to say if any rationing will be required. A number of communities being served by the new water line had to ration in past years because of shortages in their well systems. The new water lines are expected to improve the quantity and quality of water.

A pair of water lines serve communities in the Stettler area. One line heads to Mirror and Alix and another line goes towards Consort and Coronation.

Work on modernizing and expanding the capacity of the treatment plant is already underway. When the first phase is completed, it will nearly double capacity to 12,000 cubic metres per day. Further upgrades could boost capacity to 20,000 cubic metres.

The start of the $21-million project was delayed when tenders came in well over budget last year. The work was re-tendered and the cost was reduced by $5.1 million.

Alix fire hall to be expanded

The Alix fire hall will undergo a $500,000 expansion this year.

The facility, which houses two pumpers and other equipment, is no longer big enough to meet all local needs, said Keith Boras, Lacombe County’s manager of environmental and protective services.

The county and town plan to split the costs of renovations, expected to start in June or July and be completed by the end of the year.

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