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My Weekly Crime


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Last week, at Deer Parks Drive-In church service, it was announced that Alberta Health Services was considering not allowing the drive-in format for congregations as it was still ‘risky’.

In pondering the statement, I was struck by a number of thoughts.

During the Covid 19 crisis internationally, we have seen the future, and it is rule by fear.

In my lifetime, I never thought I would see a day where a strong democracy like Canada would turn so rapidly to what functions like socialism in response to what may potentially be a man-made virus designed to decrease world populations.

In this time, we have seen the integrity of the WHO being questioned.  We have seen the best laid plans of governments worldwide set aside in order to fund citizens and businesses short term survival.  We have seen businesses and individuals labeled essential or non-essential and as a result become paid to stay home.  We have seen self isolation and the rise of Science as our saviour more than we ever have before!  The rise of social distancing has created fear between people, has created a frustration that we cannot meet together for coffee, meals, worship services, movies, sports events, camping, fishing and anything that improves our mental, physical and spiritual health.

But we can go to Walmart, Superstore, Coop, Safeway, liquor stores and marijuana outlets, hardware stores and banks.

The fact that we believe a N95 or KN95 mask will protect us, or that a plexi-shield will save us, or that a 2 meter zone between carts is reasonable is incomprehensible in light of decisions that do not allow a drive-in-church service with six feet of dirt, inches of steel and glass between people, declaring it risky!

This is a time when national parks which contribute to physical and mental health are closed.  If any zone is easier to maintain social distancing in, it is the Rockies or parks around the province.  While we stay home to protect our country, we breathe in stale air instead of clean, crisp air cleaned by our nearly endless forests!

Any good therapist or mental health professional will tell you that an individual needs a balance between physical, spiritual and mental attributes.

Any practising Christian will tell you that being banned from church services, even while watching streamed ones, is damaging to our congregations.  We need the support-prayer and friendship, of our fellow believers.

Denying any sector of the community, sports, spiritual or hobbyist contributes to a poor balance which will lead to long term negative side effects.

In conversation with a senior recently, I was told that “Tim, a new normal is coming and I don’t know what it will look like but I don’t like it already.  I am afraid for my grand kids.”

That is the price that our future generations will pay for the global response to this virus and efforts behind the scenes that we are not privy too.

Good decisions are made with the best available evidence.  Great decisions are made with future results taken into effect from the road we take today.

Looking ahead, I can see the following:

  1. Greater powers given to Health Departments for disease control
  2. Incredible public debt which will pass onto our children and grand children
  3. Policies that have been enacted will be suspended but not stricken from the legal record for use in future crisis.
  4. Fear of people and increased mental disorders worldwide
  5. The possibility of a guaranteed national income
  6. A slippery slope towards socialism
  7. Conditioning of a generation that believes society (and the government) owes them everything-legislated entitlement

However, in conversation there is a shared belief that this crisis will pass and the draconian measures imposed will mostly fade away, but in the meanwhile, the spirit of people to wander and engage in meaningful conversation will not be put down.

People will gather to worship any way they can.  They will meet in small groups under 15 and nourish their souls.

And as Rush wrote in “Red Barchetta,”


“My Uncle has a country place, That no one know about

He says it used to be a farm, Before the motor law

Now on Sundays I elude the eyes, And take the turbine freight

To far outside the wire, Where my white haired uncle waits


I strip away the old debris, That hides a shining car

A brilliant red Barchetta, From a better varnished time

I fire up the willing engine, Responding with a roar

Tires spitting gravel , I commit my weekly crime.”

So, in full comprehension of what may come if the Sunday gathering is allowed I will go. Who will join me in committing our weekly crime, being fully obedient to the Lord!


Tim Lasiuta is a Red Deer writer, entrepreneur and communicator. He has interests in history and the future for our country.

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Every day is a new day!

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Every day is a new day!

Life was challenging for Steven after a series of 5 heart attacks that have affected his physical and mental health over the last 10 to 12 years. Steven became quite isolated and had little interaction with anyone.  He was on a number of medications which changed over time, yet he never felt good. He also tried different doctors and finally ended up with one who referred him to the RDPCN. He has taken both the Happiness program and the Moving on with Persistent Pain program twice, and also taken Health Basics, Anxiety to Calm, Quit Smoking, and used the services of a pharmacist and mental health counselor.

The PCN staff has connected him with other community resources such as the Golden Circle. His medication has been decreased and he has gained perspective on different healthy solutions to his challenges.

Steven says the PCN has made a tremendous difference in his life. He has gained social skills and confidence which started through interacting with the PCN staff.  Gradually he has put his foot forward and used the skills he learned to connect with other people and programs.  He is a very different person than he was two years ago. It is much easier for him to talk to people. He does lots of walking using his walker. And he has a much healthier perspective: Every day is a new day and he makes the most of it!

Steven’s wife and daughter have attended PCN programs on his recommendation and loved them. Steven says every connection with the PCN has been is very positive and very educational!

Click here to learn more about the Red Deer Primary Care Network.

Cick here to read more success stories from the PCN.

Health Basics is a Very Good Program for Overall Health

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History of Red Deer’s Second Courthouse

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It has been witness to a great many events and stories in the 90 years it has stood on the corner of Ross Street and 49th Avenue in Red Deer.

The Gaetz Company building as seen in 1912. It was the courthouse for the region from 1916-1931. It is the current site of Mason Martin Homes. Canada’s first female juror served in this courthouse in 1922.  Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives photo.

As the solidly constructed anchor for both provincial and the Court of Queens Bench for 52 years, this sturdy structure has also been a sanctuary for artists, the setting for movie productions and most recently home to numerous professional offices. It also was the backdrop for the last murder trial in Alberta which saw the defendant sentenced and hanged under capital punishment in the province.

Construction of the new courthouse well underway. City of Red Deer Archives photo P2610

This readily recognizable icon celebrated the anniversary of its official opening earlier this month and is showing no signs of retiring any time soon.

View of the Lyndall Limestone columns in the Palladian Style entrance. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

This was the second courthouse for the steadily expanding central Alberta city. The earlier one had opened in 1916 after having been converted from a coverall factory. Talk about being adaptive and creative!

Construction of the “new” courthouse was significant for many reasons. The Great Depression was in full swing so this project provided a much-needed injection of both money and jobs into the community along with a sense of pride that such a fine building would bring to the region.

Brick exterior with Lyndall Limestone detailing. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This would be the last courthouse built in the province until the 1950s, the final version  of a series of Alberta courthouses built in the classical revival style. Both Wetaskiwin and Medicine Hat received similar structures during this era.

Testament to the quality of the design and materials used in construction of the building is the fact that it remains steadfast after more than 8 decades of use.

Constructed using hot riveted steel beams, brick and mortar, then graced with pillars shaped from the legendary Lyndall Limestone from Manitoba, this grand historical resource will stand for a great many more years to come.

Original 1912 era boiler. Converted from coal to natural gas.
Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

In the spirit of the type of practicality and resourcefulness often seen during the depression, heating for the building would be provided by a boiler built in 1912 and  repurposed from a ship!

It was converted from coal burning to natural gas in 1949 and has since been replaced by modern, efficient boilers yet it still remains in the building as evidence of a different era.

Every building of a certain vintage usually carries a story or two about otherworldly spirits or energies. Why not the old Courthouse? It was thought that the ghost of Robert Raymond Cook inhabited the building.

On one particular evening, the caretaker for the courthouse was heading into the boiler room to grab some tools. When he flicked on the lights, they popped briefly and went dark. Despite this, the caretaker walked alongside the boiler in the direction of his tools when suddenly he was slapped in the face by an unexpected soft force! Was it the apparition of the hanged murderer?

When he had regained his composure a time later, the caretaker investigated the boiler room once more to discover the source of the slap in the dark. A frightened pigeon had flown up in his face when startled in the boiler room!

Judge bench in the original courtroom. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This magnificent building was the home of the judicial branch of the province for the Red Deer region from 1931 to 1983 when its replacement was constructed just down Ross Street to the east.

A law office has made good use of the original architecture. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

The courthouse was the venue for a great many legal tales over the years but probably none more famous than the 1959 murder trial for 21 year old Robert Raymond Cook of Stettler, AB who was accused of murdering all 7 members of his family in a most violent manner.

RCMP mugshot of Robert Raymond Cook, 1959. Photo used with permission by Legal Archives Society of Alberta.

His trial began on November 30th, 1959 and Cook was found guilty and sentenced to hang for his crimes. His defense appealed the conviction and a second trial was held in Edmonton but his conviction was upheld on June 20th, 1960.

On November 14, 1960, Robert Raymond Cook was hanged. His death sentence was the last ever carried out in the province of Alberta.

the actual witness bench where Robert Raymond Cook would have sat Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

Numerous books were written about this trial as the murders captivated and horrified the population who followed the course of the investigation and trials.

Even a dramatic play was created, called “The End of the Rope”, reenacting this historic trial which was developed and was even staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago.

exterior of the courthouse while it was home to the Community Arts Centre in the 1980s. Photo courtesy Red Deer Archives.

In 1983, the  building was sold to the city of Red Deer for a dollar and turned into the Old Courthouse Community Arts Centre. The grand structure housed painters and potters among numerous artistic pursuits for 18 years

An artist displaying his works during a Christmas arts fair in the courthouse, 1987. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

The old courthouse has seen real life dramas and reenactments of legal dramas including being the location for filming  scenes from the TV Movie, “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd in 1994.

Even a dramatic one-man play was created by Aaron Coates called “The End of the Rope” in 2003, re-enacting this historic trial. It was developed and staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago. Cook’s lawyer, David MacNaughton even answered questions from the crowd after the performance.

Promotional ad for the TV movie “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd. Photo from IMDB

The old courthouse made its most recent transformation in 2001 when it was purchased by Jim Dixon and Dick McDonell.

Interior details.
Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

The new owners invested close to a quarter of a million dollars in upgrading the building including installation of new boilers, restored doors, energy efficient windows and new flooring  throughout. 1930s era lighting was sourced to replace fluorescent fixtures, giving the rejuvenated structure a proper historical feel.

Today this 90-year-old icon of downtown Red Deer proudly carries on as the home to numerous professional organizations from lawyers to architects and with its new owners and numerous upgrades, this beautiful structure should be proudly welcoming people to downtown for a great many more years to come.

Red Deer’s old courthouse sits as the centrepiece of Red Deer’s historic downtown and is celebrating its 90th birthday. Come spend some time downtown. Visit the city’s unique Ghost Collection, many of which are within a few blocks of the Old Courthouse.  For more information on leasing opportunities in this beautiful building, please email Davin Kemshead or phone 403-318-6479.  


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