Local briefs – November 28

Council has decided not to endorse by a provincial plan to improve safety at an intersection near Blackfalds because the issue is outside county jurisdiction.

County won’t OK intersection change

LACOMBE COUNTY — Council has decided not to endorse by a provincial plan to improve safety at an intersection near Blackfalds because the issue is outside county jurisdiction.

The intersection at Secondary Hwy 597 and Hwy 2A has been a concern of many residents in the area because northbound and southbound traffic tends to back up.

Left turn signals had been in place but were removed in 2005 when the intersection was changed.

But 700 names have been collected on petitions asking the left turn signals be returned.

Alberta Transportation is now proposing the left turn signals be returned as an interim measure. The province wants to create a one-lane roundabout there later and expand that to a two-lane roundabout when the highway is twinned.

The county was asked by Alberta Transportation to endorse this plan.

County commissioner Terry Hager said the county had no legal authority to do that. Hager said the intersection is the province’s responsibility and it has the experts to determine what is the best way to deal with traffic volumes.

Council voted unanimously to pass on residents’ concerns but not formally endorse any proposed intersection changes.


Vets may get free parking at meters

The City of Red Deer may honour war veterans with free year-round parking at meters.

City council will be asked on Monday to support a Veteran Recognition Program that recognizes all former Canadian Forces members, both regular and reserve.

“A parking fee exemption sends a strong message that Red Deer citizens are grateful for the individual sacrifices veterans have made and still make for all Canadians,” said Inspections and Licensing manager Paul Meyette in a news release.

If approved, anyone with a veteran’s licence plate will be eligible for a parking pass to identify them as exempt from on-street parking meter fees. They will still have to pay in parkades.

Cities like Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Prince Albert and Windsor, Ont., all have similar programs.

Veterans will also be honoured with a commemorative plaza in downtown Red Deer.

Earlier this week, city council approved the spending of $1.3 million on a cenotaph plaza. This plaza would incorporate the cenotaph in its existing historical location.

The theme and design of the plaza, just west of 49th Avenue on Ross Street, hasn’t been decided.

It’s expected construction would begin in early 2010 if the project is approved.


Man Tasered after officer struck

GULL LAKE — A central Alberta man was Tasered by the RCMP after he became violent with officers and allegedly struck one of them.

RCMP say four officers went to a rural property about eight kilometres northeast of Gull Lake after getting word that a 45-year-old man was about to injure himself.

Police say they used a Taser electronic stun gun on him when he became violent and struck one of the Mounties.

Neither the man nor any of the officers was injured.

Assault charges are pending against the man, whose name has not been released.

RCMP say the officer who deployed the Taser had been trained on the device and had recently completed a refresher course on its use.


No curfew change recommended

A recommendation is being made to keep Red Deer’s youth curfew bylaw the same.

Administration will suggest to city council on Monday to maintain the night curfew from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. and not change it to 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The city’s crime prevention committee had extensive discussion about the issue on whether youth under 16 should face an earlier curfew.

The input came after the Northwood Estates Neighbourhood Watch committee collected 651 signatures of residents who support changing the time to 11 p.m.

The committee expressed concern over youth violence and vandalism in the city and believed making the curfew earlier would give RCMP more powers to get youth off city streets during late hours.

The staff recommendation also suggests seeking more stakeholder input on whether other changes might be necessary in the Community Standards Bylaw so that youth issues and community safety and security concerns are further addressed.


Fireballs likely meteors: scientist

EDMONTON — Two fireballs were spotted in the Edmonton area this week, prompting an investigation by local astronomers.

Dan VanKeeken of the Telus World of Science says a bright fireball was seen Thursday morning about 7:15 a.m. travelling low along the horizon from northeast to east.

A second fireball was spotted Friday at 5:50 a.m. in the west. VanKeeken says while the sightings would seem to be bright meteors, there’s no indication yet that meteorites may be recovered.

He says more records are needed before an analysis can be conducted to determine whether and where fragments of space rock might have fallen.

This past week, fireballs have also been spotted in Utah, Fort St. John, B.C., and in South Africa.

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