Local briefs – September 1

An unidentified teenager is being treated for multiple injuries after attempting to get a closer look at Crescent Falls, a popular attraction on the Bighorn River, west of Rocky Mountain House.

Teen injured at Crescent Falls

An unidentified teenager is being treated for multiple injuries after attempting to get a closer look at Crescent Falls, a popular attraction on the Bighorn River, west of Rocky Mountain House.

The 17-year-old girl had climbed over the rails at about 12:30 p.m. on Friday when she slipped, falling approximately eight metres onto the rocks below, said Cpl. James Peck of the Rocky RCMP.

Kananaskis Country Rescue team was called into the pull the girl out of the gorge, Peck said.

She was then flown by STARS helicopter to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.

Rescue crews also included the Rocky and Nordegg ambulance services and Nordegg fire department.


Two men killed in separate incidents

RCMP are investigating two separate homicides in northern Alberta towns after an Assumption man and Spruce Grove man died on the same day.

Michael Joseph McCarthy, 49, of Spruce Grove, died of his injuries on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, police are hoping the public can offer tips into the slaying of 74-year-old Solomon Ahnassay of Assumption, about 900 km northwest of Edmonton.

Ahnassay was found unconscious in his home on Sunday and taken to hospital, where he died.

Both autopsies will be conducted later this week.

On Monday, Jesse James Larose, 25, was arrested in Edmonton in the death of McCarthy.


Sex assault suspect held

A Red Deer man accused of robbing and sexually assaulting an elderly woman on July 29 made a brief appearance in Red Deer provincial court on Monday.

Charges of aggravated sexual assault, forcible confinement and robbery were read out to Jesse Peter Toews, who remains in custody. Toews, also known as Jesse Cave, turned himself into RCMP on Aug. 27.

RCMP allege Toews pounced on an elderly woman and assaulted her about 9:30 a.m. in a wooded area near 67th Street and 52nd Avenue. The woman’s purse and watch were stolen in the attack.

The 25-year-old Toews faces several other charges, including cruelty to animals on Aug. 17. He was also wanted on two charges of failing to appear in court on Jan. 27 and Feb. 5. He also faces charges of making death threats and mischief to property.

Toews is due back in court on Sept. 8.


Woman jailed over body

A Westerose woman was sentenced to 18 months in prison for interfering with a dead body in connection with the death of a Red Deer man.

Gale Rhonda Van Oosterhout, 48, was found guilty of the charge last week in Wetaskiwin Court of Queen’s Bench, said an Alberta Justice spokeswoman.

Charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder and arson were withdrawn.

Van Oosterhout was charged after the badly burned body of Hugh Frank Oswald, of Red Deer, was found inside a burning minivan on April 10, 2008. The van was parked on an oil lease road halfway between Rocky Mountain House and Rimbey.

Carlea Ellen Wetheral, 39, was also charged in connection with Oswald’s death. Wetheral pleaded guilty to manslaughter and committing an indignity to a human body.

Wetheral was sentenced in May to six years in prison.


Arlington site to be parking

The site of the former Arlington Inn will be used for parking until a developer steps forward with an acceptable alternative.

On Monday, Red Deer’s municipal planning commission approved the conversion of the 0.42-acre property into a temporary parking lot. It will contain 50 stalls, with the surface finished with recycled asphalt and its perimeter landscaped.

City land services specialist Liz Soley said after the meeting that construction should begin by the middle of September and take about a month to complete. Cost of the work will be about $100,000, she added, with this amount expected to be recovered from parking revenues.

The commission’s approval is for a two-year period.

Meanwhile, the city continues to market the property. It previously issued a call for proposals, with an asking price of $1.7 million.

The city bought the century-old Arlington Inn last fall and demolished the building in April. It budgeted $1.5 million for the acquisition, which included demolition costs.

The property, which is within the area covered by the Greater Downtown Action Plan, is zoned C1. That would allow for commercial businesses on the main floor and dwellings units above.

“We don’t currently have any negotiations, but we’ve had quite a bit of interest,” said Soley.

In the meantime, she said, parking is a good use.

“We always need parking downtown.”


Roundabout OK

Development hurdles that threatened a proposed traffic roundabout in Red Deer’s new Southbrook subdivision have been overcome.

The transportation feature contained in the Sunnybrook South neighbourhood area structure plan became problematic when the city’s engineering department indicated that nine nearby lots would not be allowed front vehicle access for safety reasons. That prompted developer Melcor Developments Ltd. to seek to remove the single-lane traffic circle from the plan because it feared the affected lots would not be marketable.

Gregg Broks, development manager of Melcor’s land development division for the Red Deer region, confirmed on Monday that his company and the city have reached a compromise. Only three lots will be subject to front-access restrictions, he said, which is the number Melcor had originally planned for.

Broks added that a larger portion of the centre of the roundabout will now be landscaped, which will allow for elements like trees and possibly a major entry feature, such as a wall sign.

He said Melcor is pleased it can include the roundabout, noting that the traffic control system is safer for motorists and pedestrians than is the case with traditional intersections.

“It is a real growing trend in community developments to have these roundabouts replace stop signs.”

Melcor is conducting a lot draw for builders on Wednesday that will include property to be serviced by the roundabout. Consequently, it could be constructed as early as this fall, said Broks.

The Southbrook subdivision is north of 19th Street and west of 40th Avenue.


Man faces gun charges

A Red Deer man facing numerous weapons charges in connection with a confrontation over a debt outside an Inglewood home in May will stand trial.

Devin Funk, 23, was ordered to stand trial on 10 charges in connection with the May 10 incident, in which it is alleged he pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and waved it around in an altercation with residents.

A preliminary hearing was held last Friday. Evidence presented at the hearing cannot be disclosed because of a court-ordered publication ban. A preliminary hearing is held to determine if there is enough evidence to send an accused to trial.

Funk is charged with extortion using a firearm, unlawful use of a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, possessing a loaded prohibited firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm, possessing a firearm, careless use of a firearm, careless storage of a firearm, and failing to comply with a previous undertaking of the court.

Funk is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 14. He remains in custody.


Dawe opening delayed

Students who attend G.H. Dawe Community School will start school one day later because of a renovation project underway at the Red Deer elementary.

Classes will begin on Wednesday, starting at 8:40 a.m.

“While we had hoped to begin school as scheduled, the current major renovation program has delayed the school opening,” said Red Deer Public School District community relations director Bruce Buruma in a news release.

The school is undergoing renovations as part of a much bigger renovation and expansion project at G.H. Dawe Community Centre.

The City of Red Deer is upgrading the school’s original gym for its own programming while a new gym is being built for the school.

Anyone with further questions can call 403-343-3288.


Traffic police busy in city

Red Deer city RCMP were hopping last week with more than 50 vehicle crashes.

During the week of Aug. 24 to 30, RCMP also dealt with: 18 hit-and-run collision investigations, five 24-hour suspensions and 32 reports of impaired driving.

A number of tickets were also handed out: 91 speeding tickets, four liquor tickets, 57 tickets for non-moving violations, six no-insurance tickets, 12 red light and stop sign tickets, 19 seatbelt tickets and 45 miscellaneous tickets.


For more on local events, see “Home Front” and “Switchboard” under the “Community” tab

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