Local briefs – August 25

The City of Lacombe will look at whether it would be better to phase in the transfer of ball diamonds to a new site that must be moved because of a cemetery expansion.

Gradual transfer of ball diamonds studied

The City of Lacombe will look at whether it would be better to phase in the transfer of ball diamonds to a new site that must be moved because of a cemetery expansion.

Council had considered building four new diamonds at Michener Park as one project. However, councillors questioned on Monday whether it made more sense to construct the new diamonds only as the four Kinsmen Ball Park diamonds are lost to expansion of Fairview Cemetery, which is running short of plots.

It is expected that it will be many years, if not decades, before the cemetery needs all the ball diamond land.

The new diamonds will be built once soccer fields are relocated to a new site in the northwest corner of the city. The new fields are expected to be ready in 2013 or 2014.

There was some suggestion that the previous council’s decision to do all four diamonds at the same time was meant to cut down on costs.

Councillor Grant Creasey said he wanted more information on why that decision was made. A motion was passed directing administration to bring back a report.

Meanwhile, work on the skateboard park in Michener Park continues and the $545,000 facility is expected to be ready in October. An $80,000 playground will also be built this year next to the skatepark. Future additions could include lighting.

An off-leash dog park was completed last fall at Michener Park, which is located south of Hwy 12.

A bandshell was proposed for the park, but a motion to prepare a development plan and budget forecasts for the facility was defeated by council.

Lights installed

Street lights have been installed at 39th Street and Douglas Avenue in Red Deer.

Red lights will be flashing at this intersection to alert drivers of the new signals. This will continue until the signals are fully operational today.

Drivers and pedestrians are asked to be aware of these changes.

Burn planned

The Alberta government will deliberately burn a total of about 1,700 hectares in two Clearwater Forest Areas this fall to provide a landscape level fuel break and a barrier to the spread of wildfire.

Barry Shellian, a forestry information officer for Alberta Sustainable Resources, said that the prescribed fires will get underway this fall, pending favorable weather conditions.

The prescribed burns will occur in the Upper Clearwater and Hat Mountain units, Shellian said.

The Hat Mountain burn is designed to between the Clearwater and Red Deer River drainage along the east side of Scalp Creek.

This burn will also provide a stand conversion effect, taking the mature forest cover back to an earlier stage of grass and shrub cover.

This will create desirable habitat for ungulates like elk and bighorn sheep, Shellian said. The Hat burn is 1,215 hectares and located immediately north of the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch.

The burn unit is on a generally west mountain side slope and has natural containment features on all four sides. The existing forest cover is mature spruce and lodgepole pine, Shellian said.

This burn is designed to create and improve ungulate habitat on the mountain slopes above the Clearwater river valley and will involve 467 hectares.

It’s located 75 km west of Sundre.

Pre-sentence report sought

A convicted cocaine dealer who failed to have a pre-sentence report prepared in three months was given almost four more months to get his act together in Red Deer court on Wednesday.

Naji Ismail, 25, of Edmonton, was given until Dec. 19 to have the report prepared when he appeared in Court of Queen’s Bench before Justice Paul Belzil.

Ismail and two other men were charged on March 10, 2009, by RCMP in Red Deer with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking during a bust. Police seized about 450 grams of cocaine worth an estimated value of $40,000 to $50,000.

Ismail pleaded guilty on May 24.

Charges against Rasheed Salman Salih, 36, and Benwar Hussein, 23, are expected to be withdrawn once Ismail is sentenced.

Federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis argued strenuously against allowing Ismail to remain at large while the report is prepared.

Inglis said taking him into custody would assure the report is prepared.

He also said the starting point for cocaine trafficking is four and a half years in jail in Alberta and he would seek a federal jail term. Ismail was released earlier on $500 bail.

Inglis said the Edmonton probation officer wrote Ismail a letter instructing him to report for preparation of the report. Inglis also said the officer phoned Ismail’s lawyer Jake Chadi of Edmonton to tell him to report.

Chadi’s associate Mona Karout said Ismail will post $5,000 cash bail today and could lose it if he fails to report to the probation officer.

Karout added that some clients rely too much on their lawyers to take care of everything even though it’s the client’s responsibility to report to the probation office.

One-way for lane

A two-way laneway directly south behind the Millennium Centre will become one way.

Red Deer city council decided on Monday to change the traffic flow after receiving a request from the building owner. The owner had received support from all property owners adjacent to the laneway.

The applicant said there were problems with the two-way lane. They included collisions between vehicles; collisions between vehicles and buildings; and, during the snow months, the unplowed laneway was reduced to a single lane.

The owner was also expecting a lot more pedestrians because the new Red Deer College Donald School of Business was moving into the Millennium Centre. Signs will be erected and will be paid for by the operator.

Terry Fox run Sept. 18

Red Deer’s the annual Terry Fox Run on Sept. 18 will be among the 120 planned across Canada.

The 31st annual run in Red Deer begins at noon at the Heritage Ranch.

The 10-km event on the Waskasoo Park trails welcomes everyone to run, walk, bicycle, jog, rollerblade or skateboard. The walk is also dog friendly.

Last year’s Red Deer run saw about 200 participants collect more than $16,000. The 2009 total was about $13,000. ºThere is no entry fee or minimum pledges to collect.

In 2010, the run raised more than $3.2 million across Canada at 118 runs and 1,200 school events.

Rhonda Risebrough, provincial director of the Terry Fox Foundation for Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, said volunteers such as Grant and Brenda Hemming of Didsbury, who work tirelessly in their community, are a testament to the longevity of the run.

“We are proud of the fact that 85 per cent of all funds donated by Canadians and others around the world go directly to research into treatments for all forms of cancer,” Brenda Hemming said. “The foundation is a leader among charitable causes in terms of low administration and fundraising expenditures,” she added.

Fox’s dream of raising $1 million for cancer research was surpassed long ago. The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $500 million for cancer research during the last three decades.

For more information, contact 1-888-836-9786 or visit terryfox.org on the Internet.