News | DrumhellerMail - Page #2145
Last updateWed, 17 Oct 2018 3pm

Vandalism prompts sale of giant Jesus


jesus.jpgWorries about theft and vandalism has the owners of Valley Auto Recycling contemplating selling the statue of Jesus that has watched over Drumheller for years.
     Ken and Andrea Hodgins operate the automobile recycler in south west Drumheller. They have had their share of vandalism and thefts that have cost the business thousands of dollars. To build a fence around the business located at the former Prehistoric Park site is costly, and it may take selling the statue to protect their business.
    “We’re going to sell Jesus because we need the money to build the fence,” said Andrea. “We have to do something to keep the kids out.”
    Drumheller has been known as the dinosaur capital of the world for years, and before the Royal Tyrrell Museum was opened 25 years ago, one of the main attractions was Prehistoric Park. Nestled in the Badlands, the park contained dozens of models of dinosaurs, many designed and created by Tig Seland. When the park was abandoned, the Chamber of Commerce became the guardian of the dinosaurs, and they are now on display throughout town. Today, the gigantic statue of Jesus and a pterodactyl remain in the hills.
    Andrea says the only way to protect their business from the vandalism is to build a secure barrier, which the sale of the Jesus statue could finance.
    “They trespass on the property, throw rocks through all the windshields and they drive their motorbikes over our vehicles in the hills. They smash our headlights and taillights, they root through the vehicles and throw batteries through the vehicles,” said Andrea. “Last weekend alone they probably caused us $5,000 to $10,000 in damage.”
    It is not just vandalism. She says one night thieves took every car stereo on site. Another night thieves were back for car doors.
    "It has been ongoing, but it's getting worse. We are trying everything to get the site barricaded off,” she said. “You put signs up, they tear them down, you put barbed wire up and they just climb through it. They party in our vehicles and we find beer cans everywhere.”
    “The bikers and the quaders are just as bad. They want to see Jesus and the pterodactyl and the are ripping up and down our property".
    Andrea says she plans to keep the pterodactyl, but Jesus will soon be for sale. The natural question is whether there is a buyer out there for the statue.
    “I bet if I go on e-Bay there is,” Andrea laughs.
    She says they are open to offers, or any ideas that would help solve their problem of trespassers.

Hodgson named Mount Royal Female Athlete of the Year


chrissy.jpg    As just a sophomore, Chrissy Hodgson has proven her worth to the team and her school.
    Chrissy, daughter of Jim and Joanne plays on the Mount Royal Cougars women’s hockey team and was selected as the Mount Royal University Female Athlete of the Year and her team’s MVP. She was presented the awards at the 46th Annual Cougars Night on Thursday, March 25. The MVP was selected by her coaching staff and the Athlete of the Year was awarded by the Athletic Association.
    “It was quite the honour, I really couldn’t believe it at first,” said Chrissy.
    She is an assistant captain and plays centre. Chrissy helped her team along to the Cougars’ first ACAC gold medal in five seasons. Known as a playmaker, she had 14 assists and four goals.
    “It is pretty special because there are a lot of great female athletes at Mount Royal,” said Chrissy.
    This was a special season for the Cougars. Chrissy explains the team lost one of their players, and good friend  (Sash Hochlander) in a motor vehicle accident midway through the season. After the tragedy, the team came together.
    “We started clicking,” said Hodgson. “It was amazing because we bounced back from something that other teams couldn’t have, but that was the type of person (Sash) was. She never let anything bring her down.”
    The team dedicated the season to their teammate.
    Chrissy got her start in Drumheller Minor Hockey. She played until the bantam level before she went to Strathmore and then Okotoks to continue her career. She is in her second year of eligibility and is studying Early Learning Childcare.
    It was a special night for Drumheller athletes as Andrea Price, who plays on the volleyball team was selected as her team’s MVP. Andrea was also awarded a league all star.
    “Drumheller girls rules all,” laughs Chrissy.

Trio charged in alleged Ponzi scheme to appear in Drumheller court


    Three men charged in an alleged $60 million Ponzi scheme will be appearing in provincial court in Drumheller on April 16.
    The RCMP Calgary Commercial Crime Section have completed an investigation into allegations of investment fraud and money laundering relating to an Alberta registered company HMS Financial Inc. RCMP believe that HMS Financial provided a series of investments that are believed to be part of a Ponzi Scheme running between 2001 to 2004.
    A Ponzi Scheme is an illegal business practice in which new investor money is diverted to pay previous investors. The operators of such a scheme pretend to mount a legitimate business operation but little, if any, commercial activity actually takes place.  Ponzi schemes require a steady stream of money from new investors in order to pay dividends to existing investors. As the Ponzi grows, so does the exponential need for new investor money.  Ultimately the Ponzi collapses under its own weight, as there are no underlying earnings from any economic enterprise.
    RCMP Calgary Commercial Crime Section launched this investigation in 2004 and believe approximately one thousand victims throughout North America invested more than $60 Million US into various alleged fraudulent investment programs offered by HMS Financial.
    According to an RCMP release, investors allege they were promised a return of 8-12 per cent per month.  The investments were purported to be risk free as one of the accused held millions of dollars in bonds that would be liquidated should the investment not pay out.
    Investigators have not been able to identify the existence of any bonds, and believe this high yield investment program was a Ponzi scheme.
    It is alleged that in order to perpetuate the scheme and entice new investors, HMS Financial paid 10 per cent a month every quarter to those investors who chose to accept a quarterly payout of interest.  The payments are believed to have been drawn from funds provided by other HMS clientele. 
    (Harold) Murray Stark, 73, of Three Hills, Robert Fyn AKA Col Robbie Fyn, 62, of Linden and Garth S. Bailey,  57, of Okotoks are to appear in Drumheller. They have all been charged with Fraud over $5,000, and conspiracy to commit fraud.
    The three, as well as Katherine Rodrique Bailey, 53, of Okotoks have been charged with laundering proceeds of crime and conspiracy to launder proceeds of crime.
    Jay O'Neill, communications officer for Alberta Justice said the case is scheduled in Drumheller because the company involved in the charges operated out of Linden, and it falls within Drumheller's jurisdiction.
    Any victims who have not come forward to the RCMP Commercial Crime Section, or anyone who feels they may have information relating to this matter are asked to call 403-699-2581.