Local briefs – October 5

A Lacombe man charged with going on a five-day crime spree resulting in an estimated $20,000 in damages, was remanded in custody on Tuesday.

Lacombe man charged in window breaking spree

A Lacombe man charged with going on a five-day crime spree resulting in an estimated $20,000 in damages, was remanded in custody on Tuesday.

Ryan Hackney, 23, returns to Red Deer provincial court on Friday to enter a plea on 23 charges.

The suspect faces 17 counts of mischief in connection with a window-breaking spree.

The charges include 17 counts of mischief of less than $5,000, one count of possession of stolen property valued at less than $5,000, three counts of crimes against persons, two counts of breach of probation and one count of obstruction of justice.

Lacombe Police Service said earlier that 16 vehicle windows and one house window were broken with large stones during a five-day period beginning last Thursday in Lacombe.

On Sunday, the suspect was brought to police attention after he allegedly assaulted an individual and left the scene. Later police found the man, who when confronted, smashed a vehicle window in front of the officers and fled.

Around midnight on Monday, the police received a 911 call about a loud sound in residential area. The police responded with several members of the RCMP traffic unit. They cordoned off the area and apprehended the suspect.


Two charged in robbery

Red Deer City RCMP have charged two individuals in connection with the Sept. 17 robbery at Sproule’s Mountainview IDA Drugs.

A man concealed his face and brandished a knife to steal prescription narcotics from the pharmacy at 3757 43red Ave. in Red Deer. The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle driven by an older woman.

Brian Jones, a 24-year-old from Red Deer, has been charged with one count of robbery and one count of wearing a disguise. He has been released from custody and is to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Oct. 20.

A 33-year-old female from Red Deer was charged with one count of robbery.

The woman, who cannot be named until information is sworn, was released on a recognizance and is to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Nov. 8.


County completes rural road study

A 10-year rural road study has been completed to help Red Deer County set priorities for repairs.

Tagish Engineering Ltd. was hired to undertake the study, which involved reviewing the state of county roads and giving each a score.

The review, which is an update of another study done in 2001, will be used to help determine which roads should be included in the annual list of capital projects.

The county has annual and five-year road upgrading programs, although council makes its final decisions on which roads get done at budget time.

Among the factors taken into account are the availability of federal and provincial funding, developer contributions, and traffic patterns.

Councillor Dave Hoar applauded the initiative to put science to work in helping council decide which roads should top repair lists.

Engineers used core samples and other methods to develop the score for each road and Hoar said he hoped the study was “not left in a back room.”

Councillor George Gehrke also emphasized the importance of the Gravel Road Inventory and Assessment Report, noting roads are the “backbone of the county” and represent a huge chunk of annual budget expenditures.


Union plans rally for care-home workers

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees will hold a solidarity rally on Thursday as part of its campaign to secure better wages for staff at a local seniors home owned by a Toronto corporation.

AUPE represents about 110 employees at Masterpiece Aspen Ridge in Red Deer and the union says these individuals are not receiving a fair wage.

“The hard-working staff at Masterpiece Aspen Ridge are paid far below the industry standard,” said AUPE negotiator John Wevers.

“That’s why they turned to us. This is a first contract and we’re determined to get these employees the respect they deserve.”

Reasonable pay, benefits and working conditions at all continuing care facilities across the province will ultimately lead to better quality care for Alberta’s seniors, said AUPE president Guy Smith.

“With a fair collective agreement, there will be less turnover. The longer employees stay, the more experienced they become at their jobs. And the residents get to know them personally. This all adds up to better quality care.”

The solidarity rally will be held on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the facility, located at 3100 22nd St.

Masterpiece Aspen Ridge is owned by Symphony Senior Living, a Toronto-based corporation that has expanded into Alberta.


Timcon wins contract to build reservoir

Red Deer County council has awarded a $2.3-million tender to build a new reservoir in Benalto to Timcon Construction.

Timcon was the lowest of five bids on the project that ranged as high as $3.2 million.

A new reservoir is needed because the existing 300-cubic-metre is not big enough to serve the community. The 1,800-cubic-metre replacement will provide enough water to meet future growth and ensure there is enough water for firefighting.

The county set aside $2.26 million in its 2011 capital budget for the project. The actual cost will be $2.55 million, including engineering and consulting work, which was approved by council on Tuesday.

Sixty per cent of the cost will be covered by offsite levies charged to new developments as they occur and the county will pay for the rest using provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding.

Construction is expected to begin in March for a September completion date.


Man airlifted following hit-and-run

A 19-year-old male was airlifted by STARS air ambulance to an Edmonton hospital after a hit and run in downtown Red Deer on Monday night.

The man was skateboarding near the Cenotaph on Ross Street between Gaetz Avenue and 49th Avenue when he was hit by a vehicle after 10 p.m., said Const. Chris Kosack, media liaison officer for Red Deer City RCMP.

The driver of the vehicle left the scene.

STARS responded to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre shortly after midnight and transferred the patient to the University of Alberta Hospital, said spokesperson Cam Heke.

The patient’s injuries and name have not been released.