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Last updateFri, 02 Jun 2023 7am

DNA evidence leads to conviction of Drumheller man sentences for break-ins


A Drumheller man was given a 12-month suspended sentence after DNA was used to identify him on two break and enters.
Brian Douglas McHugh appeared in the Alberta Court of Justice in Drumheller on Friday, May 12. He pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a curfew and guilty to break and enters and theft.
McHugh was sentenced to two years in prison for property-related crimes stemming from a residential housebreaking and break-in to industrial sites near Carbon and the Wintering Hills in March of 2021.
As part of his sentence, a DNA sample was taken.
His DNA was tied to a break-in from March 2019, when a home in Newcastle was broken into and guns, fuel cards, and currency were taken. A cigarette butt left at the scene matched McHugh’s DNA, and he was charged in January 2022.
This also tied him to a break and enter which happened in February 2019 where a resident came home from out of town to find currency missing.
A cigarette butt in a litter box matched McHugh’s DNA.
The Crown and defence agreed on a joint submission of a conditional sentence order. The Crown noted while the aggravating factors included a related record, there was a substantial quid pro quo in coming to the agreement.
McHugh was a serving inmate at the time the charges were laid, and there was an error in swearing the information which caused the immediate revocation of his parole eligibility.
Alberta Justice Keelaghan imposed a 12-month conditions sentence order where McHugh will spend a portion of time abiding by house arrest and then a curfew.
There is also a restitution order.

Exhibition commemorates Liberation of Netherlands

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A new exhibition at the Western GM Gallery at the Badlands Community Facility wants to open a dialogue between historical and contemporary concepts of freedom.
The exhibition featuring works by artists from the Burns Visual Arts Society (BVAS), Canada’s oldest artists’ studio cooperative, opened on Friday, May 5. Liz Sullivan, one of the artists featured explains members of the BVAS were invited by a Dutch artists’ cooperative called Platform Edese Kunstennars to collaborate and coordinate simultaneous art exhibitions that commemorate 75 years of the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War II. This was about three or four years ago.
“Seven of us were really excited to be part of this project, so seven of us created work for this,” said Sullivan. “My parents are Dutch and immigrated in the 1950s. They were children in World War II living close to the German border. My mom was 10, my dad was 15.”
Her contribution was about a half dozen works telling her parents’ stories.
She noted that May 5 is Liberation Day, and in the Netherlands, they are still celebrating liberation and expressing their appreciation of the Canadian war efforts.
Beyond marking the liberation and the role Canada played, the works of the seven BVAS artists, embody a broader concept of freedom.
According to an artists’ statement, “Today, defining freedom is as difficult as achieving it, keeping it relevant and remembering it all comes with responsibility.
The main idea behind this exhibition is to create a dialogue between historical and contemporary concepts of freedom. We wish to challenge and celebrate the concept of freedom from both the personal and societal levels.”
Viewers are invited to contribute their thoughts on what freedom means and leave their comments on cards provided at the gallery.
They have created a video that has been shared with the cooperative in the Netherlands and as shown in their exhibit.
The art was shown at the BVAS gallery in Calgary, however, just a week later, the pandemic hit. A year and a half later, it was shown at a gallery in Calgary with the Alberta Association of Artists.
“This is our next stop, and we are waiting to hear of other places to be shown around Alberta,” said Sullivan.
The gallery is open and on display until May 30.

Wheatland County approves budget adjustments for project overages

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Wheatland County council approved adjustments to its 2023 Capital budget during the regular Tuesday, April 18 council meeting, after quotes for two Capital projects which were included in the budget came in higher than the proposed budget amount.
Council had previously approved the Capital budget of $25,351,448 during its April 6 meeting; however, quotes for the two projects-installation of carbon monoxide detectors in the Public Works building, and design services on the Carseland NE Storm Water Management project-came in above the approved budgeted amounts of $30,000 for each project.
McElhanney Ltd. were previously requested to submit a proposal for design services on the Carseland NE Storm Water Management project. Council had allocated $30,000 for the project based on work completed by a third-party consultant in 2020; however, the proposal from McElhanney included some costs which had not been included in the approved budget.
This included coordination of crossing agreements with CP Rail, estimated at $9,500, and land administration costs of $3,600.
It was determined the proposal from McElhanney was “representative for the required scope of work” and it was recommended to council the approved budget be increased by $20,000, to a total of $50,000, based on the proposal.
This increase will also include some contingency to accommodate any “potential unforeseen charges from CP Rail.”
Installation of multiple carbon monoxide detectors was required in the Public Works building as part of code requirements. After receiving quotes for the project, it was determined the approved budget would need to be increased by $10,000 to a total of $40,000 for the project.
Council approved adjusting the previously approved budgets to accommodate increased costs based on quotes received for both Capital projects.


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