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Institution supervisor charged in theft

    A supervisor at the Drumheller Institution is facing charges of theft and profiting from the sale of items taken from the institution.
    The RCMP began its investigation on September 26 after receiving reports of the theft of money and property from the institution.  The investigation reveals video cameras matching the description of the stolen cameras were listed on eBay by the suspect. The cameras were purchased and confirmed as being the stolen items.
    Nathan Shandera, 37, of Drumheller has been charged with possession of stolen properly, possession of proceeds of crime and theft under $5,000.
     Shandera was employed at the Drumheller Institution at the time of the alleged offences. His access to the facility has been removed.
    He is to appear in provincial court in Drumheller on November 18.
    Police say the investigation continues and more charges are anticipated.


By-election in Big Valley after mayor resigns

    The Village of Big Valley will soon be heading to the polls after its mayor resigned at the beginning of September.
    Mayor Rick Kargaard tendered his resignation at a special meeting of Big Valley Council on September 2. Representatives from Municipal Affairs were at the meeting.         
    According to council minutes, his resignation came out of an exchange over an invoice from Bill Haldane Appraisals.  Mayor Kargaard gave a letter to administration advising he would be resigning from council immediately.
    Councillor Art Tizzard made the next motion at the meeting to return the invoice received from Bill Haldane Appraisals along with a letter advising invoice should be directed to Rick Kargaard, as council had not approved the expenditure.    
    Councillor Tizzard explained the bill was for an appraisal on the fire hall property.  Recently the County of Stettler had taken over fire protection services.
    “It hadn’t really come up to be sold, but he had taken upon himself to get another appraisal done, and we already had one,” said Tizzard. “It was kind of the third time this has happened, where he has done stuff on his own and we had to cover for him. It was decided that we weren’t going to keep doing this.”
    Tizzard said the village was looking at renting space in a county owned building to act as their village shop. The property is no longer available, and now they are planning to use the former fire hall for its village shops. 
    “The price of the appraisal was ridiculous. The price for one building was nearly $4,000,” said Tizzard.
    The Mail called a listing in the phone book for Kargaard and was met with a message saying the number was no longer in service. The Village of Big Valley office was not able to provide a contact for Kargaard.
     The Big Valley by-election on October 24 is to replace Kargaard. Big Valley has  council of three with seats currently held by councillors Tizzard and Gail Knudsen.  Advanced polls were on Monday, October 17.
    There have been two candidates step up in the by-election. Walter Stefanik previously served as mayor but came in sixth place at the general election last October with 52 votes. His competitor in the race, Lois Miller, also ran last October and garnered 63 votes.

Cost of East Coulee water project released

    Residents of East Coulee and Lehigh may have difficulty swallowing the latest estimates for the cost of adding municipal water lines.
    In May of this year, the Town of Drumheller was approved for a $3.4 million grant to extend water from Cambria to East Coulee.
    For years residents have relied on water wells. The quality of water varies dramatically between households, from the crystal clear to the clear as mud.
    The grant would not cover the entire cost however, and residents would foot 10 per cent of the bill through a local improvement tax.
    Until now, East Coulee residents have been kept in the dark as to what the cost will be.
    It was announced in the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, October 17, the price per connection would be $15,768.94.
    This is significantly higher than previous estimates, which had placed the cost at roughly $11,000.
    The cause of the dramatic increase is more accurate determination of how many lots need water. The number of parcels of land that need water has dropped from 295 to 206. Less parcels means the total cost of the project is divided amongst fewer people.
    Two ammortization periods were brought to council, 20 and 25 years. In the 20 year scheme residents would pay $1,095.32 per year in taxes. The 25 year plan would have taxes of $942.08, but at a cost of just over $1,500 more in interest.
    To ease the blow, council believes house insurance will drop, and residents will no longer have to spend money on maintaining their wells.
    East Coulee residents were already divided on the issue, with many reserving their judgment until numbers were given. The higher cost could exacerbate the issue and cause those waiting to reject improvements.
    Council is going to send information to residents regarding the proposed scheme and will soon schedule a meeting with residents to discuss the proposal.


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