News | DrumhellerMail - Page #5
01242021Sun
Last updateThu, 21 Jan 2021 5pm

Woman sentenced for Carbon vehicle theft

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A woman involved in the theft of a vehicle from the Carbon Curling rink was given a one year suspended sentence.
Darlene Reid, 24 of Red Deer appeared in provincial court in Drumheller on Friday, January 8. She maintained a not guilty plea to robbery, but guilty to theft over $5,000, possession of stolen property with a value of over $5,000, and possession of stolen property under $5,000.
The court heard how on November 21, 2019, she was a passenger in a stolen Hyundai Tucson taken from Olds two days earlier. RCMP was notified that a Chevrolet Cruze had been stolen from the Carbon Curling Rink. A male suspect drove his vehicle repeatedly towards a witness who was trying to intervene with theft.
Both vehicles drove away, and the Chevrolet Cruze was found abandoned near Highway 21. Drumheller RCMP and the Beiseker RCMP engaged in a pursuit for about an hour, which ended when the Hyundai became disabled on a property. The driver and Reid had to be forcefully removed from the vehicle. In the vehicle, they found stolen clothing, along with a passport, a cheque, and mortgage documents.
The Crown and defence proposed a conditional sentence order with a curfew. Judge Fraser told the court he could not accept a conditional sentence if there was not a term of house arrest.
Reid is facing a one-year conditional sentence where she will be under house arrest for the first three months of her sentence and then bound by a curfew. Her co-accused has already been sentenced.


Senior left without power for two days

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Even with the supports in place to protect the vulnerable, amid the pandemic, a local senior had his power shut off for two days and was forced to live with friends until he could rectify the situation.
Alalito Castillo lives and operates his business, Great Music Box, out of a property on 3rd Avenue in Downtown Drumheller. As a performer and a music teacher, the pandemic has hit his business hard, and he fell behind on his electricity bill.

He made payment arrangements with Direct Energy to keep his power connected and to rectify his bill, and made progress. Last week ATCO Electric came with an order to shut his power off.
He went back and forth with ATCO Electricity and Direct Energy on the phone to understand what happened. He was also under the impression that under The Alberta Distribution Tariff Regulation, which is part of the Electric Utilities Act, electricity cannot be disconnected between October 15 and April 15.
“I spoke to Direct Energy, and they said the only way to turn on my power was for me to pay the rest. How can I pay the rest? I made an arrangement,” he said. “My business is shut down and there are no jobs. I have a music store, but there are no music lessons. I can sell the musical instruments, but no one is buying. I am an entertainer, but there is no entertainment. So I am living off my $600 pension.”
There is an Alberta Government program that supports seniors who are facing disconnection, but because his electricity bill is in the name of his landlord, he was not able to access this support.
Castillo went to live with a friend for two days and borrowed funds to rectify his bill. His power was restored but he had a reconnection fee added to the bill. He is grateful this was reduced by half.
The Mail reached out to Direct Energy, and a spokesperson noted the issue had been resolved and a refund has been posted to the customer’s account. Direct Energy also noted this was a small business account. It appears this may be why it was eligible for disconnections and not protected under the Electric Utilities Act.

2020 - A Year in Review Wheatland County

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Wheatland County has managed to undertake and complete several projects throughout 2020, despite challenges and hardships--from administrative changes, inclement weather, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic--and council is looking forward to what 2021 will bring.
With the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic still looming, Wheatland County council and administration are turning their focus toward recovery from the economic hardships and attracting investment.
“2020 was a busy year for Wheatland County council and administration, with several new programs and initiatives being introduced despite the pandemic,” Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link told the Mail.
Reeve Link noted “some capital projects were deferred” due to financial challenges, though there were several other projects the county was able to complete. These include connecting the hamlet of Rosebud to the regional waterline and commencement of a sewage lagoon.
Other projects include construction of a new fire hall in Carseland, which recently began, and, thanks in part to community partnerships and donations, two playgrounds were built in the communities of Cluny and Speargrass.
The county also used 30 per cent less gravel over 2019 to gravel 975 kilometres of roads.
“With the intersection of the global pandemic, the economic downturn, and the oil and gas crisis the challenges faced in 2020 were significant,” Reeve Link said. She adds safety “has always been the greatest importance” and the county implemented several measures to keep residents, staff, and visitors safe.
“The new website launched in June, also aided in supporting the increased demand for online resources,” Reeve Link said. Some of those online resources include virtual learning opportunities and events, moving council meetings and community engagement to a virtual platform, and introducing eBilling to allow residents to view and pay municipal bills online.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on municipalities around the world, it was not the only battle Wheatland County faced. Delays, due to a wet spring and closures due to COVID-19, impacted some capital projects in areas of the county.
To add to these concerns, Wheatland County also inherited the golf course development at the Lakes of Muirfield, which has added significant challenges to the budget and resources. Currently, wastewater at the development is being transported off-site to a secondary location, which has taxed utility resources and impacted the division of maintenance by hamlet crews.
Despite these challenges, the county’s take over of the Lakes of Muirfield development “has resulted in some positive changes” according to Reeve Link.
Looking toward the new year, Wheatland County is hopeful to complete two significant initiatives in 2021: reviewing the county’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP), and creating an Open Space, Recreation, and Cultural master plan.
“Wheatland County will continue to deploy innovative processes across the organization to further improve customer service efficiencies and face any new challenges with ingenuity and resourcefulness,” Reeve Link said. She added, “Wheatland County will continue to work with the community to ensure we remain a true partner with our businesses, industries, community organizations, our neighbouring municipalities, and other levels of government; sharing our expertise and resources for the betterment of the community.”
Wheatland County Council for 2020 is Reeve Amber Link, Deputy Reeve Scott Klassen, and councillors Ben Armstrong, Donna Biggar, Glenn Koester, Jason Wilson, and Tom Ikert.


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