Local briefs – September 26

Special event tickets for Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s 16th annual Festival of Trees go on sale on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster.

Festival of Trees tickets on sale soon

Special event tickets for Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s 16th annual Festival of Trees go on sale on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster.

The festival runs from Nov. 27 to 29 at Westerner Park, featuring this year’s theme — Christmas Around the World.

Sixty decorated trees, sponsored by individuals and companies, will be on display throughout the festival.

Net proceeds will go to a new Colorectal Screening Clinic to provide early detection screening for about 300,000 adult men and women in Central Alberta.

Last year, $735,000 was raised for the maternal child program.

Special events include:

• Silver Bells Luncheon on Nov. 27, 1 to 3 p.m.

• Festival of Wines on Nov. 27, 8 to 11 p.m.

• Teddy Bear Breakfast on Nov. 28, 9 to 10:30 a.m.

• Tis the Season Fashion Luncheon on Nov. 28, 12:30 to 3 p.m.

• Mistletoe Magic on Nov. 28, 6:30 to 11 p.m.

• Festive Finale Family Brunch on Nov. 29, 12 to 1:30 p.m.

For more information, go to www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca

Projects get federal, provincial funds

Another round of projects has received funding through the federal and provincial government’s stimulus package.

Around four km of Hwy 12 in Stettler will be given a fresh overlay at a cost of $941,000, which will be split between the provincial and federal governments. Work is expected to begin in 2010.

The Red Lodge Water Treatment Plant has received $300,000 in funding, half from the province and half from the federal government, to do upgrades to the treatment plant system. Work will begin next year and be completed by 2011.

Aspen Beach Provincial Park has received $150,000 to upgrade its lake view shower building and make it accessible, with work starting in 2010.

The funding is part of the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund that has put money towards shovel-ready infrastructure projects as a way to simulate the economy during the recession. The federal government funding has been matched by the provincial government.

Chinook’s Edge recruiting new boss

The search is underway for the next Chinook’s Edge School Division superintendent and CEO.

Applications are being accepted until Oct. 5, with the hope to have a successful candidate in place between April and July 2010.

Current superintendent Jim Gibbons announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down in June 2010, after 34 years as an educator in Central Alberta. Gibbons will continue to contribute his talents to educational pursuits as the new senior education advisor to the Alberta School Boards Association.

Assessment outcome unknown

The case of a man accused of sexually assaulting a Red Deer senior has taken another twist.

Defence lawyer Arnold Piragoff told a Red Deer provincial court judge on Thursday that it appeared his client did not get the psychiatric assessment he was ordered to undergo earlier this month at Alberta Hospital Edmonton.

But on Friday, Piragoff said he had been informed that his client probably had been assessed on an out-patient basis while he was in the Edmonton Remand Centre. However, the lawyer has not yet seen any report to confirm that.

Piragoff said he hopes to have the issue straightened out in time for his client’s next court appearance on Sept. 29 in Red Deer.

Jesse Peter Toews, 25, of Red Deer is accused of robbing and sexually assaulting an elderly woman on July 29. It is alleged Toews attacked the woman in a wooded area near 67th Street and 52nd Avenue and stole her purse and watch before fleeing.

It is also alleged that Toews threw a person into a closet during an Aug. 6 dispute and then smashed a cellphone before running off. He also faces a cruelty to animals charge in relation to the death of a kitten that was allegedly thrown against a wall and killed.

Toews has been charged with sexual assault, forcible confinement, robbery, making death threats and mischief to property. He also faces several other charges, including failing to appear in court.

Piragoff told a judge in an earlier court appearance that Toews’ mother told him her son suffered from a bipolar condition and a split personality. The judge ordered that Toews be examined by a psychiatrist to determine if he is fit to instruct a lawyer or stand trial.

On Thursday, Piragoff said that a provincial shake-up of psychiatric services and bed closures at Alberta Hospital Edmonton meant his client wound up at the Edmonton Remand Centre instead of the hospital.

When other prisoners found out what he had been charged with, he was badly beaten and lost several teeth. Toews has since been placed in protective custody.

Piragoff asked Judge Thomas Schollie that his client remain at the Red Deer Remand Centre until his next court appearance rather than be sent back to Edmonton.

“He’s much safer here than he would be in Edmonton.”

Crown prosecutor Murray McPherson said the court has no say on where Alberta Justice sends prisoners between court appearances.