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Around Red Deer May 16th…..


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2:52 pm –  In support of Crime Prevention Week, Red Deer RCMP are hosting a public presentation on Wednesday to assist interested members of the public in learning to recognize counterfeit currency; this hour long presentation will take place at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, May 17 at the downtown Red Deer detachment, located at 4602 51 Avenue, in the Community Room off the lobby. Read More.

1:10 pm – Red Deer RCMP are looking for two men who assaulted and robbed a man and stole his van after he gave them a ride the morning of May 14th. Read More.

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11:21 am – Red Deer motorists can expect some minor traffic delays along the southern tip of Taylor Drive as crews continue work on roadway improvements in the area. Read More.

10:44 am – Officials with the City of Red Deer say it’s not too late to register for the Green Deer Campaign! Read More.

10:40 am – Stettler RCMP would like to remind those living in rural areas of a scam commonly known as ‘Gypsy Pavers’. Typically, a contractor will attend a residence in the rural area telling the property owner that their paving company has extra material from another job and would be willing to pave on the property for a discount. The work is completed but to a poor standard that doesn’t last as expected. When the property owner attempts to confront the company or get their money back, they are unable to track the company rep down. Mounties urge rural property owners to use discretion in dealing with unknown contractor’s offering ‘deals’. Seek out references and previous clientele to ensure you’re dealing with an upstanding company/contractor.

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9:18 am – Residential street sweeping continues in Lacombe today: on Woodland Drive, from 58 St to North West Rec; Burris Pt; Westview Dr; Tee Rd and Valley Cr. Don’t forget to move your vehicles!

9:11 am – Blackfalds Firefighters and Emergency Services workers were honoured during a special gala ceremony over the weekend. It was a much deserved Thank You to the community’s heroes. Read More.

9:00 am – Street sweeping continues in Red Deer today, including the Highland Green, Highland Green Estates, Oriole Park, Oriole Park West, Fairview and Riverside Meadows. Read More.

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8:56 am – Street sweeping continues in the Town of Penhold today:

• Windsor Avenue (From Grey Street to Windsor Crescent)
• Windsor Crescent
• Fleming Avenue
• Emma Street

8:29 am – The Red Deer Public Market is opening for another season on Saturday, May 20th. This means there will be some road closures in the area of the Memorial Centre for drivers to make note of. See them here.

8:05 am – As Canada prepares to celebrate its 150th year, Canadian Blood Services will be honouring residents in Central Alberta and recognizing their commitment to giving life to patients across the country. Honouring Our LifeBlood is an annual recognition ceremony for those who have achieved significant milestones in blood, platelets and plasma donation. The event also celebrates partners, volunteers and stem cell donors. Donors at the event will have made 2,376 donations collectively. The event starts at 6:30 pm tonight at the Radisson Hotel, 6500 67 Street, Red Deer.

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Top Story CP

ZZ Top: Bearded bassist Dusty Hill dies in his sleep at 72

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HOUSTON (AP) — ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, one of the Texas blues trio’s bearded figures, died at his Houston home, the band announced Wednesday on Facebook. He was 72.

In their post, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard said Hill died in his sleep. They didn’t give a cause of death, but a July 21 post on the band’s website said Hill was “on a short detour back to Texas, to address a hip issue.”

At that time, the band said its longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, would fill in on bass, slide guitar and harmonica.

Born Joe Michael Hill in Dallas, he, Gibbons and Beard formed ZZ Top in Houston in the late 1970s.

The Associated Press

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Access requester told to wait five years for public health agency head’s email, texts

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OTTAWA — A requester seeking access to a week’s worth of emails and messages from the head of a federal agency embroiled in controversy has been told to wait five years or more for a response under Canada’s information law.

The applicant recently asked the Public Health Agency of Canada for emails, texts and messages that president Iain Stewart had sent or received from June 14 to 21.

The Access to Information request was prompted by curiosity about Stewart’s refusal to provide a House of Commons committee with unredacted documents about the firing of two scientists, which touched off a battle with Speaker Anthony Rota.

The Canadian Press granted the requester anonymity because they are concerned about the possible implications of publicity for their employment as an Ontario public servant.

Under federal access law, agencies are supposed to answer requests within 30 days or provide reasons why more time is needed.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently informed the applicant that an extension of up to 1,950 days — over five years and four months — would be required. It said the request involves a large number of records, the original time limit would unduly interfere with agency operations and another government institution must be consulted.

The Public Health Agency had no immediate further comment.

The requester and experts in freedom of information said the lengthy extension defeats the purpose of the access law.

“Transparency is only a lame catchphrase,” said the applicant, accusing the agency of obstructing access to the records.

“Justice delayed is justice denied.”

The requester has complained to the federal information commissioner — an ombudsman for users of the law — in the hope she will remedy the delay.

“She has the chance to take bold action and finally hold federal bureaucrats to account — especially on such a pressing issue of public interest.”

Fred Vallance-Jones, an asssociate professor of journalism at University of King’s College in Halifax, said the extension amounts to “something like eight months of additional time for each single day of messages, which seems absurd on its surface.”

“It’s important to note that Stewart is a very senior official, and there is every expectation that his communications would be preserved and accessible,” Vallance-Jones said.

“Access to information loses any meaning if information cannot be retrieved in a reasonable amount of time and I think that is doubly true for people at this level who should be able to anticipate such requests.”

When Sean Holman, who studies the history of freedom of information, first saw the extension notice, he thought: “This must be a joke.”

“This is nothing but delaying access to effectively deny access and another example of how the Trudeau government has broken the Liberals’ election promise to be open by default,” said Holman, a journalism professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

The latest extension comes shortly after New Democrat MP Charlie Angus learned it could take the Justice Department more than six years to process his request for documents related to a new regulator that will handle child pornography and exploitative material.

The federal government is currently reviewing the Access to Information Act and how it is administered.

In a submission to the review, the group World Press Freedom Canada said federal institutions have little incentive to abide by reasonable time-frames.

“There is no clear limit to the length of extensions they can unilaterally invoke, and blowing past deadlines has no material consequences. The playing field is tilted in their favour.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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july, 2021

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