Local briefs – October 8

A man alleged to have been involved in a drunk driving spree that injured a young teenager faces several charges.

Crash spree brings charges

A man alleged to have been involved in a drunk driving spree that injured a young teenager faces several charges.

RCMP said on Wednesday that the incidents started around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday when the suspect driver in an pickup truck hit a mid-size sedan from behind on 30th Avenue in the southbound lane.

The impact forced the sedan onto the grass median between the north and south lanes of 30th Avenue and injured a 13-year-old passenger.

The youth was transported to hospital with undetermined but non-life-threatening injuries.

Two other occupants in the sedan weren’t injured.

The suspect driver fled and was arrested about 7 p.m. when he crashed into a tree in the Clearview area. The truck was reported speeding at a high rate south on 30th Avenue and hit a tree near Crossley Street.

Const. Sabrina Grunow of city RCMP said the suspect driver left the paved road and went over a dirt hill, driving through a chain link fence and a parking lot before hitting the tree.

The 54-year-old suspect is charged with impaired driving, with a blood-alcohol content of more than .08 per cent, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, driving while disqualified and mischief of less than $5,000.

The suspect, Vasile Clement, has been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Oct. 16.

City makes dispatch profit

Alberta Health Services is paying the City of Red Deer $62,000 a month to handle emergency dispatch services, says a report.

Fire Chief Jack MacDonald provided a report to city council that outlines the contract between the province and the city from April 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010.

Although the city will receive $558,000 for the nine months of 2009 that the contract is in effect, there are additional costs associated with increased dispatcher hours. Anticipated revenues from municipalities receiving dispatch service from the city are now gone too, since Alberta Health Services is now paying for these services.

The net surplus is $451,000. On Monday, council approved the transfer of the budgeted net surplus into the tax stabilization reserve.

County examines gravel roads

Red Deer County is investing $314,500 to test the condition of its gravel roads.

Frank Peck, the county’s director of operations, said a 10-year road plan used to determine priorities for maintenance and repairs is nearly expired.

Since the plan was developed in 2000, the county has spent millions of dollars upgrading its gravel roads. But the plan was developed using 1994 data and it’s time to revisit local roads to determine which need fixing first.

An engineering firm will be hired to take core samples on about 1,700 km of gravel roads. That information will be used to develop a road repair strategy that council can use when setting its budget, he said.

“This will give you more credible information to make your decisions on,” Peck told county council on Tuesday.

Councillor David Hoar said the 10-year road program was successful and he fully supported gathering more up-to-date information for the next round.

“Getting this technical data to support our decision I think is absolutely the top priority.”

Councillor Jim Wood was also in favour of the detailed review of the ground underneath gravel roads. There are spots in the east end of the county where the black soil broke through and left them impassable, he said.

Council unanimously approved spending the money to rate the roads.

Weed control draws ire

Alberta Transportation is not doing enough to control weeds along provincial highways, said some Red Deer County councillors.

“It’s really a disgrace to have some of these weed patches right along (Hwy 2) for example,” said Councillor Jim Lougheed on Tuesday.

Council voted to support a resolution from its Agriculture Service Board calling on the province to review its weed control program and improve monitoring and assessment to ensure harmful weeds are not allowed to take hold. The resolution will be submitted to the Central Regional Agriculture Service Board later this month.

Councillor Penny Archibald was also not impressed by some of Alberta Transportation’s weed control.

“We know the government should be darn embarrassed about the highways. They should be ashamed.”

Archibald said the county crews do a good job on their roads, but provincial efforts fall short of that standard.

Council is also backing a second resolution asking the government to ensure two per cent strychnine gopher control poisons be permanently available until there is an alternative available that is just as effective.

The liquid strychnine has been available for the past couple of years and has been useful in controlling gopher populations that were getting out of control. However, the decision to make the poison available is made on an annual basis and agricultural producers want more long-term assurances that it will be distributed.

Gull Lake housing eyed

Plans are moving forward to build a new community complex on the northwest side of Gull Lake.

Bruce Phillips, president of the Westlake Community Society, says a consulting firm, RC Strategies of Edmonton, has been hired to perform a feasibility study for the project. The study would include a look at the population and an inventory of community facilities in the area where the complex is proposed.

The proposed site is located in Westlake Estates subdivision at the intersection of Hwy 771 and the Parkland Beach Road.

Phillips, a realtor involved in developing the subdivision, said a community complex is needed to meet a growing population of both year-round and summer residents. The consultants will be seeking public input as they conduct their study, which should be finished by the end of this year, said Phillips.

Man jailed over weapons, drugs

A 39-year-old man was jailed for six more months on Wednesday after pleading guilty to weapons, stolen property and drug charges in provincial court.

Rodney Irvine of no fixed address pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen camper trailer and all-terrain vehicle as well as possession of a shotgun and a quantity of marijuana.

Irvine, who has been in jail since his arrest on Sept. 14, was busted by RCMP on a search warrant executed at a rural residence near Red Deer.

The warrant was issued after an ongoing investigation, court heard.

Karla Marshall, 24, also of no fixed address, returns to court on Oct. 27 to enter a plea on charges of theft of less than $5,000, possession of a narcotic and unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon.

She was arrested and charged along with Irvine during the bust.

She is free on bail.

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