Local briefs – October 22

A Red Deer caregiver accused of sexually assaulting a disabled man still doesn’t have a lawyer.

Sex assault suspect still doesn’t have lawyer

A Red Deer caregiver accused of sexually assaulting a disabled man still doesn’t have a lawyer.

Leo Denis Ducharme, 57, asked for more time to secure a Legal Aid Society of Alberta lawyer when he appeared in Red Deer provincial court on Thursday.

Ducharme told court he was originally denied coverage by the society but appealed and now is trying to wait for a lawyer to be appointed for him.

He was told by the judge to return to court on Nov. 18, accompanied by a lawyer.

Ducharme, who now has appeared eight times in court, was charged in early August with one count of sexual assault.

It’s alleged that the mother of the disabled man came home about 10 a.m. on Aug. 11 to find her adult son being sexually assaulted.

Ducharme was previously released on $1,000 bail and was ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victim and stay five blocks from his house. There are several other restrictions regarding avoiding areas where children are typically present and he is not allowed to possess a computer.

County recount holds seat

A recount in Red Deer County’s Division 5 did not affect Monday’s municipal election outcome.

Richard Lorenz will remain the newly elected councillor for the division that covers the west side of the county.

The recount on Wednesday afternoon at Red Deer County Centre saw his margin of victory drop by one vote to 342, compared with nearest rival Rod English’s 340. Incumbent Jim Lougheed was only four votes back at 336 in the tightest race among the county’s six divisions.

Alix-area bridge repaired

Motorists can expect minor delays and disruptions on a highway near Alix until the end of the month, an Alberta Transportation official says.

Bridge deck joint replacement started Wednesday on the bridge carrying Hwy 12 traffic over the CP Rail tracks about six km east of Alix, transportation bridge technologist Chris Black said.

Traffic may be periodically reduced to alternating single lane during the project with a minimum lane width of five metres being maintained at all times.

The project is expected to be finished by Oct. 31, weather permitting, Black said.

Motorists should use caution in the area and obey all signs and flag people.

Motorists are reminded that speeding fines are doubled through construction zones when workers are present.

Saturday drive for food bank

The Mormon Helping Hands Community Food Drive will be held in Red Deer on Saturday.

The event is being sponsored by the Red Deer Food Bank and the local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yellow bags were distributed to homes in the city’s west and north ends, requesting that food bank donations be placed on household doorsteps by 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Church members wearing yellow vests will pick up the donations between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Donations collected during this time will be delivered to the church’s Kentwood Chapel, where a Red Deer Food Bank truck will be standing by ready to load.

The church and food bank have sponsored annual food drives over the past two years.

Because of generous residents, the church is now expanding its efforts to include two food drives annually — one held in the fall for residents of the north and west districts, followed by another in the spring for residents in city’s east end.

African aid promoted

Thandeka Carol Motsa was 14 when her mother died of AIDS, leaving the teenaged girl on her own to look after three little brothers.

At 56, grandmother Tsabile Simelane is now looking after 30 orphaned children, including six of her own grandchildren, of whom two have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

On Monday, the two women from Swaziland will speak to audiences in Red Deer about the challenges facing grandmothers from across Africa who have been left to care for an entire generation of children who lost their parents to AIDS.

Founded by Swaziland Positive Living with support from the Stephen Lewis Foundation, participants in the AfriGrand Caravan — including Motsa and Simelane — are on a tour of 40 communities across Canada in hope of turning the tide on AIDS.

Speakers with the AfriGrand Caravan open their Red Deer stop at noon on Monday with a presentation to the Red Deer Downtown Rotary Club. They plan to visit with the Aboriginal Dance Troupe at Oriole Park School and will wrap up their visit with an information session and potluck dinner at the Hub, 4936 Ross St. from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in joining the dinner is asked to contact Shirley Challoner by Saturday at 403-347-5958.

Man admits to drug charges

A 23-year-old Red Deer man will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and a related drug charge in provincial court on Thursday.

Bryce Meecham will be sentenced on Jan. 13 after pleading guilty to drug trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime.

Two other drug charges, including producing a narcotic and possession of a narcotic, are expected to be withdrawn once the accused is sentenced.

Meecham is free on bail and will have a pre-sentence report prepared.

The federal Crown and defence are also working out how much of the money seized in the mid-March bust was drug money and how much belongs to Meecham.

RCMP earlier said they seized a “significant” amount of marijuana when they raided a house in the 5800 block of 53rd Avenue.

Two males were in the residence and a 19-year-old was released without charges following the raid by Red Deer city, rural and Sylvan Lake police officers.

Police seized quantities of marijuana, hashish oil, cash believed to be from the proceeds of crime and other drug-related goods.

Woman faces more charges

A woman already facing a drug trafficking charge is back in jail after she was arrested and charged with another drug trafficking offence earlier this week.

Velma Umperville, 46, reserved her plea on Thursday on trafficking in a narcotic and breaching conditions of her bail release twice when she appeared in Red Deer provincial court.

She returns to court today.

She was charged this summer when RCMP raided a room in a low-cost housing unit at a former downtown hotel.

She has pleaded not guilty to possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of drugs and possession of the proceeds of crime.

She was set to stand trial on March 18.

RCMP said earlier they seized a quantity of drugs on July 25 from a room at the former Buffalo Hotel.

They seized quantities of hydromorphone, oxycodone and about $2,000 in cash, plus an assortment of tools used for taking drugs.

Big prizes at Rotary gala

A trip to the Super Bowl in Dallas awaits a lucky entrant during this year’s Downtown Rotary Club of Red Deer Black Tie Bingo.

Melody McKnight, executive director of the bingo committee, said the 18th annual event goes on Oct. 28 at the Capri Hotel and Convention Centre, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Super Bowl draw includes tickets, airfare and accommodation.

Other items listed in the $20,000 worth of prizes offered include a hot tub, private box at an Edmonton Oilers’ game, guided fly fishing and golf package and a week in Sun City, Ariz.

More than 150 silent auction items will be up for grabs.

Proceeds from the night will benefit the Parkland Community Living and Supports Society, Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter and the Ronald McDonald House of Central Alberta.

Last year, the event raised $127,500. Tickets are $175. For information, phone 403-340-9110.