Local briefs – November 17

Three Red Deer men charged in a major provincewide cocaine bust last month reserved their pleas Monday.

Cocaine suspects reserve their pleas

Three Red Deer men charged in a major provincewide cocaine bust last month reserved their pleas Monday.

Brent Mark Cyr, 21, Matthew Earles, 23, and Cameron O’Connell, 20, reserved their pleas when they appeared in Calgary provincial court.

They are scheduled to return to court Dec. 8 to enter pleas on charges of possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking and production of a controlled substance which is turning powder cocaine into crack cocaine.

Five other men also charged in the Oct. 21 bust also return to court next month.

Police alleged earlier the men were involved in supplying several criminal organizations and Alberta street gangs with large quantities of cocaine.

Alberta government officials called the busts a major blow to organized crime in the province.

Police said the sting took $1.5 million worth of cocaine off the street.

The police allege the drug network spread across Canada and supplied drugs to various regions of the country.

Police searched residences in Red Deer, Calgary and Lethbridge seizing 11 kg of cocaine.

Cyr also faces several unrelated Red Deer charges.

He has a Jan. 28 trial set on the alleged incidents between May 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2008.

Cyr is charged with assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, two counts of assault and single counts of failing to comply with previous court ordered conditions and intimidation.

Government grant awarded for emergency response plan

A regional emergency response plan for the Lacombe area has received a $150,000 grant.

Julian Veuger, Lacombe County Emergency Management Director, said the money was provided by the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs.

The county regional emergency partnership will implement a regional emergency response plan, develop a support system and deliver training to partnership members with the grant.

The partnership includes the towns of Bentley, Blackfalds, Eckville and Lacombe as well as the villages of Alix and Clive and four summer villages in the county, Veuger said.

“Recent world events have shown us that numerous agencies, levels of government and volunteer organizations may be called to action at any time for a potential emergency,” Veuger said.

A co-ordinated effort through pre-planning is the most effective way to manage a response, Veuger added.

Emergency Management Alberta encourages and supports a regional response to an emergency, especially as transportation, weather and environmental incidents threaten large areas and are not restricted to political and municipal boundaries, Veuger said.

The county created a customized, functional emergency response plan in 2001 and has worked with its partner municipalities to strengthen their ability to respond to emergencies such as the 1988 floods and the Pine Lake tornado in 2000.

City of Red Deer issues winter safety reminder

Although snow hasn’t started flying yet and open water isn’t frozen, the city reminds people to practice safe procedures when skating and sliding this winter.

Steve Davison, parks amenities supervisor, said when sliding, young children should be supervised, ideally on a one-to-one basis.

The hill should first be checked for obstacles and people should slide in safe areas free of trees, playground areas, lanes and streets.

Scarves and gloves should be tucked into clothing and equipment such as sleds and toboggans should be equipped with handles.

When venturing onto ice, people should check for warning signs.

If a thin ice danger sign is up then avoid the area, Davison said.

If someone falls through the ice, immediately call for help or send someone to call emergency.

The person on the ice should lie down and be safe before trying to assist someone who has fallen through the ice.

The person giving assistance should crawl toward the person in the water and use a scarf or belt if possible to hand the person in the water.

The person in the water should be encouraged to kick hard and reach up as far as they can.

If the person in the water can be grabbed, the assisting person should crawl backward, pulling the victim toward them.

People should also take extra caution when walking with pets near ice. The animal should be on a leash and watched at all times.

Calls for police assistance down lately in Red Deer

Calls for service from RCMP have plunged an average of more than 200 a week for the last couple of weeks, statistics released Monday indicate.

Police report they received 635 calls for the week ending Nov. 15 compared with 626 the previous week.

However, those numbers are down dramatically from the average of about 825 per week for September and October.

Assaults jumped but domestic violence calls decreased for the week compared with the previous week.

Police received 35 assault calls compared with six the previous week while domestic violence calls fell to 26 compared with 40 the previous week.

Thefts remained steady at 50 reports last week and 46 the previous week.

There were also four robbery reports last week compared with just one the previous week.

Other calls for the week included:

• nine auto thefts;

• 17 business and residential break-ins;

• 22 drug investigations;

• three frauds;

• 56 mischief;

• 21 suspicious persons, vehicles or activities;

• 92 bylaw calls;

• 92 victim services assistance.

Many speeding tickets issued within city

Red Deer city RCMP clamped down on speeders last week, handing out 95 tickets, according to statistics released Monday for the week ending Nov. 14.

There were no speeding tickets handed out the previous week.

Statistics don’t include tickets for photo radar violations.

In the week ending Nov. 14, police also investigated 4 motor vehicle crashes which was a decrease of nine from the previous week.

Police also nabbed 16 drivers who didn’t have insurance compared with nine the previous week.

Other traffic statistics included:

• 18 hit-and-run collisions;

• 25 impaired driving;

• four 24-hour suspensions;

• eight liquor tickets;

• 85 non-moving violations included suspended drivers and equipment violations;

• 23 red light and stop sign tickets;

• six seat-belt tickets;

• 85 bylaw, Environmental Protection Act tickets.

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