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Rimbey Motorcycle Fatal, Break-Ins & Riverlands Redevelopment

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3:49 pm – A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has now ended for Clearwater County near Nordegg and the Big Horn Reserve, as well as for the Ya-Ha-Tinda Ranch. However, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in place. Read More.

3:21 pm – Officials with the City of Red Deer say eligible voters are now able to request a Special Ballot for the 2017 Municipal Election to cast their vote by mail. Details Here.

2:45 pm – Lacombe County Council defeated a request last week from the Village of Alix to the County for long-term CAO support to the Village of Alix. Find out what else happened at Lacombe County Council July 6th.

For more local news, click here!

12:05 pm – Free disposal of trees and branches at the Waste Transfer Site in Sylvan Lake has been extended until 5:00 PM this Saturday, July 15th. Read More.

11:20 am – Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify a group of thieves who stole five vehicles from a car rental company in the early hours of July 3rd. Read More.

11:07 am – Red Deer Mounties say they are no longer looking for 15 year old Terrylle Rain. He has been located and RCMP thank the public for their assistance.

For more local news, click here!

10:44 am – Red Deer’s Heritage Ranch will be the site of the Spartan Race on July 22nd and 23rd. The obstacle course race will put the athletes involved to the test and see what they’re made of while they battle mud, rope, barbed wire and fire! Details Here.

10:02 am – RCMP are investigating a pair of Industrial Park business break-ins last week they think might be linked. They happened on July 6th at Lafarge’s work site located at the Blindman industrial Park and at Knelsen & Gravel Ltd at Clearview Industrial Park. At Lafarge’s work site, 10 cement trucks were damaged and their exhaust systems taken apart, while the same thing happened to 2 cement trucks at Knelsen & Gravel.

9:45 am – One man is dead after a head-on collision between a motorcycle and pick-up truck west of Rimbey on Saturday, July 8th. RCMP say it happened along highway 53 at the junction of Range Road 21 just before 5 pm. The occupants of the truck were not seriously hurt.

For more local news, click here!

9:34 am – The City of Red Deer is in the midst of a major redevelopment of Riverlands, one of three key districts that will become focal points in Greater Downtown Red Deer. Here is the latest update on how things are going.

9:27 am – Blackfalds RCMP are hoping you can help them identify a man accused of breaking into the Airsoft Shop located on Lantern Street in Gasoline Alley. Mounties say the suspect smashed through the front door around 4:30 am and stole numerous airsoft pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotgun and accessories.

9:17 am – Looking to avoid traffic disruptions while driving throughout Red Deer today? Click here to see where today’s road closures are.

For more local news, click here!

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Disaster

‘If there’d even been five minutes’ warning’: Woman questions storm alert system

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Bethany Armstrong watched as the sky turned a tint of green on Saturday afternoon.

The Peterborough, Ont., woman was out camping with friends in Lakehurst, Ont., at the time, so she checked a weather app on her phone and noticed a thunderstorm warning.

That was the only indication she said she had that a vicious storm was about to hit.

Armstrong said she never received the emergency alert that many Ontario residents got on their cellphones, warning them to seek shelter ahead of severe weather that ultimately killed 11 people.

One of those who died was a close friend of Armstrong’s family – Armstrong says that friend didn’t get the alert either.

“If there’d even been five minutes’ warning … she would have gotten inside,” Armstrong said of the woman she likened to her second mom.

Joanne Labelle, 64, of Cornwall, Ont., was among those killed as a result of the storm. She had been staying in a trailer on Armstrong’s parents’ property in the Peterborough area when the intense winds and rains hit.

Labelle’s husband and Armstrong’s father found Labelle struck by a tree – Armstrong said the family thinks Labelle had been trying to get from the trailer to a house on the property when she was hit.

Armstrong said her family and Labelle’s husband later checked Labelle’s cellphone, which was with her during the storm, but found no evidence of an alert.

“I just think like, ‘Wow, you know, if she had got the alert, we wouldn’t maybe be in this situation,'” Armstrong said, describing Labelle as a “smart” woman who loved the outdoors and would have taken a severe weather warning seriously.

Emergency alerts are issued in Canada through the Alert Ready system, which delivers critical alerts to Canadians through television, radio and LTE-connected and compatible wireless devices.

The system was developed with many partners, including federal, provincial and territorial emergency management officials, Environment and Climate Change Canada, weather information company Pelmorex Corp., the broadcasting industry and wireless service providers.

Cecelia Parsons, a spokesperson for Environment Canada, said “broadcast immediate” alerts are sent through the Alert Ready system for tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings involving wind gusts of 130 kilometres per hour or greater and hail that is at least seven centimetres in diameter. Saturday’s storm was the first time such an alert for a thunderstorm was sent through the system, she said.

However, some residents may not have received an emergency alert on their smartphones for a number of reasons, including their phones not being “compatible,” Parsons said.

“This may occur for a variety of reasons: the phone is turned off or in silent or airplane mode; the phone is not physically in the specific area targeted for the alert; device compatibility, connection to an LTE network, cell tower coverage and device software and settings,” she said.

Martin Belanger, director of public alerting for Pelmorex, said smartphones need to be in the area where an emergency alert has been issued in order to receive an alert and also need to be connected to an LTE or 5G network — a requirement established by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

As of April 2019, the CRTC requires that new phones sold by Canada’s wireless carriers be compatible with the emergency alerting system, Parsons added.

Belanger said Environment Canada was responsible for issuing the emergency alerts on Saturday and Pelmorex received those alerts and made them available to broadcasters and wireless service providers.

He added that Pelmorex received “some” reports from the public about not getting an emergency alert during Saturday’s storm. When the company receives such reports, it shares that information with its partners, he said.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said that with 11 people dead, the early warning system didn’t work as well as it could have to protect residents from last weekend’s storm.

“I think there needs to be improvement,” Blair said on Friday from Indonesia, where he was attending international meetings on disaster risk and mitigation.

“When (there’s) information that Canadians need to take the steps in order to be safe, we need to make sure that they get that information.”

Blair said public education is also needed so Canadians know what to do when they receive such an alert. He also said the country’s public alerting system, controlled by provinces and territories, is applied “inconsistently.”

“The tragic loss of life and the damage that occurred in Ontario and Quebec over the past several days demonstrate to us that there is still more work to do, and we’re committed to doing that,” he said.

Armstrong, who made it through the storm last weekend by taking shelter in a nearby home, said she would like to see the Alert Ready system improved.

“I just hope that things can improve for the future and that they can get either a better system in place or adjust the criteria that has to be met,” she said as she remembered Labelle as a beloved matriarch and a mainstay at the pharmacy where she worked. “So we can try and help save other people.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2022.

– with files from Stephanie Taylor in Ottawa.

———

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

Noushin Ziafati, The Canadian Press

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Economy

Federal government posts $95.6 billion deficit for 2021-2022 fiscal year

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OTTAWA — The federal government posted a deficit of $95.6 billion for its 2021-22 fiscal year.

In its monthly fiscal monitor report, the Finance Department says the tally for the April 2021 to March 2022 period compared with a deficit of $314.0 billion a year earlier.

Program expenses, excluding net actuarial losses, totalled $457.3 billion, down from $577.6 billion a year earlier due in large part to lower transfers to businesses, individuals, and other levels of government.

Public debt charges rose to $24.8 billion compared with $20.5 billion a year earlier.

Revenue for the fiscal year totalled $396.8 billion, up from $299.5 billion, due to higher tax and other revenues.

Net actuarial losses were $10.3 billion, down from $15.4 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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