Local briefs – September 15

Federal and provincial governments will share the costs of eight highway projects within MP Blaine Calkins’s riding of Wetaskiwin.

Highway projects in gear

Federal and provincial governments will share the costs of eight highway projects within MP Blaine Calkins’s riding of Wetaskiwin.

Calkins joined MLAs Ray Prins from Lacombe-Ponoka, Verlyn Olson from Wetaskiwin-Camrose and Diana McQueen from Drayton Valley-Calmar in announcing $37.7 million in highway upgrades.

The province will provide $25.09 million, with the balance of $12.64 million to come from the federal government’s Building Canada economic stimulus plan.

The eight projects include upgrades to the following Central Alberta highways:

• Hwy 2A through Wetaskiwin to Hobbema.

• Hwy 13, west of Wetaskiwin, between Hwys 2 and 20.

• Hwy 611, north of Hobbema, between Hwys 2 and 2a.

• Hwy 2, between Hwys 604 at Morningside and 13 at Ponoka.

• Hwy 2, between Hwys 13 at Ponoka and 53 west of Wetaskiwin.

• Hwy 2A, between Hwy 2 north of Lacombe and the south side of Ponoka.

• Hwy 815 at the junction with Hwy 12, east of Lacombe.

• Township Road 422 in Ponoka County.

Scott Deederly, constituency assistant for MP Earl Dreeshen, said applications have been made for highway upgrades within the federal riding of Red Deer. Deederly anticipates an announcement within the next few days.

Cattle fraud trial begins

The trial of a man charged with fraud in the case of cattle transactions in Ponoka opened Monday in Wetaskiwin.

Roberta Dempsey Jackson, 53, of Ponoka started a two-week trial in Court of Queen’s Bench on five counts of fraud valued at more than $5,000 each.

Jackson, who was an employee at Vold Jones and Vold Auction Ltd., was charged following an investigation by Ponoka RCMP and the RCMP livestock section.

The investigation started in early 2007 after missing cattle sale receipts and information couldn’t be accounted for.

Fox Run enthusiasm high

Although participant numbers were down slightly, enthusiasm and devotion remained high, a Red Deer Terry Fox Run organizer said.

The 29th annual run attracted about 200 participants on Sunday, just “slightly down” from last year, Loretta Winia said on Monday.

“All the people there were very enthusiastic,” Winia said.

“The Terry Fox Run has its own following and it’s a pretty keen group,” she added.

As of Monday, the local run had raised about $12,500 for cancer research but more is expected, Winia said.

She said the run isn’t always about the money raised. “Many families participate and the cause they support is important to them. Traditionally, year after year they do it because they believe in it.”

Terry Fox’s story of courage and hope remains a rallying point for old and young alike, Winia said.

The run honours the one-legged cancer victim who died from the disease at 22 after being forced to abandon his quest to run across Canada.

Runs were staged in more than 900 communities across Canada, including 230 in Ontario, and in 28 other countries.

Winia said the fact the run was a week earlier than normal may have had an impact.

In addition, two other fundraising runs were happening in the city.

Trial set in confinement case

A Calgary man charged after a Red Deer man was forcibly confined, beaten and robbed will have a trial in December.

Thon Tor Bul, 29, will stand trial Dec. 7 in provincial court.

Bul is charged with forcible confinement, extortion with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

The charges stem from an incident on Aug. 8 in which a Red Deer man was beaten and robbed.

RCMP said earlier that a 35-year-old man was allegedly confined in a bathroom and robbed and beaten by the suspects who were known to him.

The victim, who suffered undisclosed injuries, was then dropped off in the downtown Red Deer area.

Police obtained a search warrant for a residence in the 4700 block of 55th Street and arrested two suspects without incident.

Gabriel Kuereng, 28, of Calgary and Elia Dominic, 24, of Red Deer also faces the same charges as Bul.

Dominic returns to court on Wednesday while Kuereng is back in court Sept. 29.

Downtown plan wins award

An international award has been presented to officials with the Greater Downtown Action plan, it has been announced.

The award of distinction was presented by the International Downtown Association in the planning category at its 55th annual conference in Milwaukee, Wis., on the weekend.

The organization has more than 850 members worldwide in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

“This award reconfirms that we’re creating and planning for a downtown that is second to none — a downtown that stands out, creates a sense of community and brings people together in Red Deer’s downtown core,” said city Councillor Cindy Jefferies, who is chairperson of the action plan committee.

The city project was one of 77 award submissions.

The plan outlines a vision for Red Deer’s downtown starting today and looking forward 25 years.

The plan will connect Red Deer’s downtown with the Red Deer River in the area of the former civic yards.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling said the plan gives the city a “clear vision for a vibrant, energized space where people can truly enjoy the best of both worlds — urban living in close proximity to nature.”

City council approved 10 key project packages on April 1 that are being explored now.

Budget requirement for specific work will be submitted in the 2010 and 2011 budgets with varied times to complete each package of work.

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

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