Local briefs – September 22

A High Level man was sentenced to a federal prison term Friday for murdering a former Red Deer man in early 2008.

High Level man sentenced for killing former Red Deer man

A High Level man was sentenced to a federal prison term Friday for murdering a former Red Deer man in early 2008.

Richard Allen Pfaff, 25, was jailed for four and a half years in an Edmonton court for the second-degree murder of Michael Berube, 25, who grew up in Red Deer before moving to High Level.

Pfaff will serve another year in jail after being credited with 20 months for time served in pre-trial custody.

Berube was found dead on Jan. 16, 2008.

While the exact cause of death was never determined, Justice Adele Kent accepted that Berube died of asphyxiation from Pfaff sitting on him.

Pfaff was initially charged with second-degree murder, but in August was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Berube’s relatives submitted nearly 40 victim-impact statements.

They told of confusion and emotional torment trying to understand why he had died. They talked of sleeplessness, depression, how their trust had been shattered and how they had become reluctant to meet new people out of fear of the unknown.

During trial, Pfaff admitted he fought with Berube before an alleged blackout and when he came to, his hands were around Berube’s throat.

Pfaff said Berube had become loud while the two were outside an apartment for a cigarette following some time drinking.

Pfaff said when he told Berube to leave, the victim instead returned to the residence.

One of them grabbed the other, resulting in a tumble down a flight of stairs.

Heritage Ranch plans available at open house set for Wednesday

Residents can discover what improvements to a Waskasoo Park ranch are in the works during a meeting on Wednesday.

The open house is set for 6 p.m. at the West Park Middle School at 3310 55th Ave., says Dave Matthews a City of Red Deer spokesman.

The Heritage Ranch concept plan features improvements for a regional playground, and day and group use facilities.

Trail enhancements and landscaping are also in the works, as are building and operational improvements.

Expansion and renovations to the existing ranch visitor centre, along with parking improvements, are also planned.

Visual representations and concepts will be presented at the open house for review.

Seminars tackle green cleaning, water

The Kerry Wood Nature Centre has an interesting series of Lunch Bag Seminars planned for the Red Deer Public Library’s downtown branch as part of the library’s Rediscover Green project.

On Wednesday, Angela Niemi-Ouellet and Kathryn Huedepohl will talk about green household products and actions. The session will outline chemicals to avoid, offer product recommendations and a resource list.

On Thursday, Donna Trottier, water conservation specialist with the City of Red Deer, will give residents ideas of how they can reduce their water consumption to help contribute to the city’s goal of reducing water usage by 20 per cent by 2012. Also on Thursday, Rene Michalak, with ReThink Red Deer and founder of Garbage-free February, will talk about the modern landfill and the choices residents can make to lessen their household impact.

On Friday, Trevor Gamelin, of Avalon Central Alberta and a certified Green Built Alberta builder, will give green ideas for home renovations.

Doors will open at 11:45 a.m., with the session running from noon to 12:50 p.m.

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