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Alberta

Lloydminster RCMP looking for suspect after weapons and drugs seizure

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From Lloydminster RCMP

Lloydminster RCMP: search warrant leads to multiple charges

Lloydminster RCMP General Investigative Service (GIS) with the assistance of the Lloydminster Crime Reduction Unit (LCRU) executed a search warrant on a residence in the 5600 block of 53 Avenue. Five long rifles and a restricted pistol with ammunition, several debit and fuel cards were retrieved. Numerous knives and swords were located. Multiple stolen cheques from local businesses were also recovered. In addition, 12 grams of a substance suspected to be fentanyl and 25 grams of a substance suspected to be cocaine were seized.

As a result of the search warrant Korey Douglas Long (34), Kimberly Dawn Mason (26), Shane Edward Riley (34), and Reena McCallum (38) all of Lloydminster were charged with multiple offences including:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose

In addition, Long was charged with:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Possession of property obtained by crime
  • Failing to comply
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose
  • Fraud under $5000
  • Forgery;

Long was recently arrested, and is currently being held for Lloydminster Provincial Court on March 3, 2020. McCallum and Mason were released after a hearing for Lloydminster Provincial Court on April 14, 2020.

Riley’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and he is currently wanted. Riley is considered armed and dangerous. If you know of his whereabouts, please contact the Lloydminster RCMP at 780-808-8400 or your local police. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

‘No crying’: Venezuelan refugee Kenney cited says interaction was less dramatic

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EDMONTON — The Venezuelan woman who believes she was used as part of Jason Kenney’s argument not to lockdown restaurants in the province remembers her encounter with the premier as less dramatic than he suggested.

Carolina De La Torre says Kenney got her central feelings correct, but she said she did not break down into tears the way Kenney recalled.

“No crying,” the 57-year-old woman said with a laugh during a phone interview Thursday.

She also said it was Kenney who approached her Calgary food court booth called Arepas Ranch for lunch in October, not the other way around as the premier told it.

After weeks of mounting COVID-19 cases, as more than 1,000 new cases and 16 deaths were reported on Tuesday, Kenney announced new rules that included making indoor private social events illegal.

During the news conference, Kenney gave an example of how much a lockdown would hurt businesses by telling the story of a Venezuelan refugee he met. 

“A couple of weeks ago, I was in my constituency, at a little food court thing and a new Albertan, a refugee from Venezuela socialism, came up to me,” Kenney said.

“She had just opened a little food kiosk, she recognized me, she came up to me, and she broke down in tears in front of me saying, ‘sir, I put my entire life savings as a refugee into this business, we’re struggling to pay the bills, if you shut me down, I’m going to lose it all, everything, and I’ll be in abject poverty.'”

“For some, perhaps, it is a little bit too easy to say just flick a switch. Shut them down,” Kenney said.

“I would ask people who have people who have the certainty of a pay cheque to think for a moment about those individuals whose entire life savings are tied up in businesses.”

De La Torre and her husband run the booth, which is located a 10-minute drive from Kenney’s constituency office. 

Born in Venezuela, De La Torre said she and her husband came to Canada with refugee status in 1989 when it became no longer safe to live there. They settled in Montreal for 25 years before they packed their bags and moved to Calgary to follow their daughter who was starting school at the University of Alberta.

They have been living in Alberta for seven years and have been running Arepas Ranch for two years. They are known for making specialty arepas, which is a cornmeal patty, filled with a choice of shredded beef, chicken salad, black beans, ham, cheese, or other vegan and veggie options.

At first, De La Torre said she didn’t recognize Kenney when he stopped to order food and then someone from another booth told her it was the premier.

De La Torre doesn’t recall exactly what Kenney ordered, but she remembers the “very short” conversation they had when he came back to let them know the meal was “fantastico.” She posted a picture of the premier on her Instagram. 

De La Torre said Kenney got her feelings right.

She said it’s true that the couple put their money into the business and closing the economy would be bad for them. But she understands it’s about people’s health, which is what she told Kenney.

“What I said is, ‘There has to be a balance between the economy and the health. There is not only me in this food court, we are more than 40 small businesses in the court that need to be open to make a way of life’.”

No one from Kenney’s office immediately responded to a request for comment. 

De La Torre said when she heard Kenney mentioned her during a news conference, she was at first surprised.

But now, “I didn’t know what to think about it,” she said.

“I don’t know. What can I say? It’s OK.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

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Alberta’s spike in COVID-19 infections and the virus’s infiltration of Canada’s team is concerning for the world junior hockey championship in Edmonton, according to a health and law expert and an epidemiologist.

The 10-country tournament, scheduled from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5 ,is modelled on the same “bubble” used by the NHL to complete the Western Conference playoffs and Stanley Cup final at Edmonton’s Rexall Place in August and September.

But active cases of infection in Alberta are over 10 times higher than when NHL playoffs began Aug. 1. Lorian Hardcastle, an associate professor in the Faculty of Law and Cummings School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, said that makes the optics of hosting the world junior tournament difficult.

“A lot of people’s recreational pursuits have been taken away and people were very happy to have sports to watch on TV,” Hardcastle told The Canadian Press.

“We do need to give people some satisfaction and happiness where we’re able to, but I am concerned with this tournament. With Alberta’s numbers as high as they are, it’s difficult to endorse this.

“The number of cases that we now have is completely different than what we had then.”

Alberta had 1,386 active cases Aug. 1 compared to 14,052 on Thursday. Of the 510 deaths in the province attributed to COVID-19, 221 were in the Edmonton area.

The provincial government has banned all team sports until at least Dec. 15, but leagues can apply for exemptions if they have “well-developed COVID safety plans,” according to Premier Jason Kenney.

“I think it’s just all-around a bad idea to be bringing people into this region and this province when we are already facing a situation where our health-care system is overwhelmed and is going to have difficulty coping with those individuals that are here,” said Ilan Schwartz, an associate professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alberta.

 “The NHL showed that it can be done, but the stops that were pulled out in order to create and maintain a bubble for the NHL playoffs were enormous. 

“It’s not safe for the players to be coming into a place where there’s a surge in infections. While the players themselves are going to be young and healthy and low risk of serious complications from the virus, they are still very much able to transmit it to those people around them.”

Despite screening for the virus upon arrival at Canada’s 46-player selection camp in Red Deer, Alta., two players and a “non-core” staff member who didn’t have direct contact with them have tested positive for the virus.

The host country’s players, coaches and staff are quarantined at the team hotel until Dec. 6. 

The three are asymptomatic, according to Hockey Canada.

The nine other international teams are scheduled to arrive by charter flight Dec. 13. Exhibition games are planned for Dec. 20-23.

Hockey Canada’s vice-president of events insists stringent protocols and testing required for international players to enter Edmonton’s “bubble” will make the world junior championship safe to proceed.

“We are putting in place in Edmonton what I’m going to call a more secure bubble environment for the event,” Dean McIntosh said Thursday on a conference call. 

International players will be required to test negative in quarantine for seven days before travelling to Canada.

They’ll be quarantined and tested daily for five days in their individual hotel rooms after arrival. 

Personnel in the “protected zone” will be required to use apps for daily self-assessment as well as providing their location.

“We know where everybody in the bubble is at all times,” McIntosh said. 

“That may sound a little high level, but our goal is to ensure that we know the athletes, administrators of teams and well as people delivering the bubble are in a very safe environment and are following the protocols we put in place.  

“That, combined with the support we’ve had from both the federal and provincial governments, we feel strongly about our ability to deliver a great event in Edmonton in December.”

The tournament for the world’s top male players under the age of 20 would include 250 players, plus staff, for a total of 400. 

That cohort is slightly smaller than the dozen NHL teams that started the Western Conference playoffs in Edmonton.

No personnel tested positive for the virus from the time players entered the bubble July 26 to the hoisting of the Stanley Cup on Sept. 28, according to the NHL.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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