RCMP searching for Bjorkdale man following drug bust

The RCMP are looking for a man wanted on drug trafficking charges after a search warrant led to a drug bust at his home in Bjorkdale.

Tisdale RCMP raided the home of 54 year old Rudi Betthel on March 16 where officers seized 252 grams of methamphetamine and 237 hydromorphone pills. They also found a large sum of cash, items related to drug trafficking, and a loaded firearm and ammunition. 

Betthel now faces charges for two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime, four counts of failure to comply with release order condition, unsafe storage of firearm, possession of weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of prohibited weapon knowing possession unauthorized, unlicensed possession of a restricted firearm/prohibited weapon with ammunition, and two counts of possession of weapon contrary to order and fail to surrender authorization. 

Officers are actively searching for Betthel and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. 

He is described as approximately 5’10” tall and of medium build, with brown hair and blue eyes. Police say a photo of him is unavailable at this time. 

Anyone with information on Rudi Betthel’s whereabouts should call their local police detachment or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Police asking for public’s help locating missing youth

Police have located Alicia Sewap. — Updated Tuesday, March 22, 2:55 p.m.

Prince Albert Police Service are requesting the public’s assistance in locating 12-year-old Alicia Sewap. The missing youth was last seen around lunch time on March 21st.

She is described as being approximately 4’9” tall and 80 pounds, she has short brown hair and brown eyes. Sewap was last seen wearing jeans, a navy blue cargo-type jacket with multiple pockets, and dress boots. 

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Alicia Sewap is asked to contact police at 306-953-4222.

Parkland Ambulance seeing increase in ‘man down’ calls

Parkland Ambulance would like to encourage the public to take extra time to ensure help is actually needed when calling 9-1-1 on behalf of others. 

Paramedics responded to 122 incidents over the weekend, with a significant increase of those described as “man down” calls. A “man down” is a call for help for someone sitting in public who appears out of place for the time and area they are in. 

“A normal amount of calls we see during the week is two or three, recently we have been seeing two or three times that.” says Lyle Karasiuk, Director of Public Affairs for Parkland Ambulance.

Karasiuk says these incidents could be due to someone slipping and falling, or someone who has fallen asleep trying to hide from the cold.

“You just happened to be driving by and without knowing what happened, you call for help and keep on driving,” Karasiuk said. “Many times, folks just need a hand up and not paramedic’s assistance.”

Parkland Ambulance is asking the public that if they see someone they believe needs help, to pull over and ask if the person is okay from the safety of their car. They would like to encourage the callers to stay at the scene if possible, as sometimes paramedics arrive and find no one present. 

“We all want to feel safe in our community. We aren’t saying to look the other way and ignore them. We are saying help us so we can better help other people,” Karasiuk said.

Karasiuk added people need to phone 9-1-1 immediately if they are going to call for help. He said they often respond to calls only to find no one present because the caller drove away from the scene before making a call.

“Giving a vague description to paramedics of what’s wrong when you might have passed the scene two, three, or even five minute ago is not helpful,” he said.

Tax bylaw being considered for properties in the Business Improvement District

The City of Prince Albert is considering a new bylaw to impose a special tax to properties benefiting from services in the Business Improvement District. 

The purpose of the tax will be to fund services provided by the Business Improvement District. Details of the new bylaw will be taken into consideration at the Prince Albert City Council meeting on March 28th. 

“We have a choice as a city to implement taxes in different ways”, says Ward 2 Councilor Terra Lennox-Zepp. “We can tax based on the value of people’s properties. It isn’t perfect, but it does attempt to take into consideration a person’s proportionate ability of means to pay based on what their property is valued. The other option is we could tax at a flat rate, [which] causes hardship on people who have smaller values of property or barely making ends meet”. 

The Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District (PADBID) is a non-profit corporation established in 2004. Their goal is to encourage development to the downtown area by promoting and undertaking projects that facilitate rejuvenation. Their board is made up of volunteer individuals that own properties and run businesses within the district. In 2016, City Council created PADBID as a statutory board of the city. 

Those that wish to appear before City Council regarding the PADBID special tax can provide a submission to the City Clerk by 4:45pm on March 22nd. Requirements to appear can be found on the City of Prince Albert website or by calling the City Clerk’s office at 306-953-4305. Information regarding the matter may be directed to the Financial Services Department at 306-953-4320. 

Little Red to close sporadically while City completes construction projects

Little Red River Park will be getting some new upgrades this year, including the replacement of three pedestrian bridges.

Users of the park should expect sporadic closures in certain areas during the month of April while crews prepare to work on the installation. Construction is expected to be finished by June.

The three bridges that will be replaced are the Sliding Hill Bridge across from the toboggan hill, ‘Lion’s Bridge’ at the Cosmo Lodge, and the ‘Sport’s Council Bridge’ located below the upper plains of Little Red. 

“All three bridges will be replaced with prefabricated steel structures arriving in April and the installation process will mandate closures to give the construction crews safe access.”, says Nykol Miller, Capital Projects Manager for the City of Prince Albert. 

The Kinsmen Ski and Snow Board Centre will close on Monday, March 28th, to allow crews to plow open roads for construction access to the ‘Lion’s Bridge’ from both sides of the river. 

The Installation of Rotary Adventure Park and Zip Line; and major parking improvements, including accessible parking and lighting improvements, are a few of the other upgrades approved during the 2022 City of Prince Albert budget deliberations. 

“There will be some disruptions during all phases of the construction period this spring/summer,” City of Prince Albert Parks Manager Tim Yeaman says. “We ask users and visitors to be patient as we work through the process to deliver lasting legacy infrastructure upgrades for Little Red.”

Users of the park and residents of Prince Albert are encouraged to subscribe to the City’s news updates and follow the City of Prince Albert’s Facebook and Instagram pages where more details and timelines about closures will be posted.

Melville RCMP warns public about scam calls

The RCMP would like to remind the public to be vigilant when receiving unexpected phone calls, text messages, and emails due to an increase in fraudulent activity.

In early March, Melville RCMP investigated a report of fraud where an individual was contacted through the phone, claiming they had been randomly selected to win a large cash prize and a vehicle. 

Some incidences of fraud may include:

  • Persons claiming you have won a prize, but needing to be sent an urgent payment for taxes and fees
  • Scammers sending multiple emails to convince you they are legitimate – The emails may seem real even if they are not
  • Scammers asking you to send gift cards in lieu of payment – It is important to deny their requests
  • Scammers trying to convince you that money will be deposited into your bank account, but it will not appear for several days

If you or someone you know have been a victim of fraud, you are not alone. These scams can reach anyone, anywhere, at any time. It is important to talk with those you care about, so they know what to do if they receive a similar contact.

In 2021, Melville RCMP received 59 reports of fraudulent activity. These investigations ranged from fake items sold over social media and local buy and sell sites, to scammers claiming to be reputable businesses and Government agencies. 

Some steps you can take to protect yourself include:

  • Asking yourself or your loved ones if they entered a contest. If the answer is no, chances are high you were not a “randomly selected winner”
  • Never give out personal information such as your name, address, Social Insurance Number, or banking information over calls or emails
  • If someone is asking you for money, research if they are who they say they are. Always verify the company to check if they are legitimate before taking further action
  • When purchasing items from online sellers, make sure to inspect or test the item before you buy. If not possible, ask for more information such as several pictures or receipts
  • Don’t be afraid to say no! Do not be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics or requests to send money. Walk away or hang up the phone
  • Government agencies will never contact you by the phone to demand immediate payment, especially in the form of gift cards. Always be cautious if you receive communication that requests personal information

If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, report it to your local police detachment. If you receive a phone call or email that you believe to be fraudulent, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can report by phone (Toll free: 1-888-495-85010) or online at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm

Government announces investment in technology to protect livestock against disease

On March 18th, the Government of Canada announced they would be investing in the development of biosecurity technology to aid farmers in mitigating the risk of disease outbreaks. 

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, declared an investment of up to $113,575 for Be Seen Be Safe LTD. to determine and promote an innovative technology system to help protect the livestock industry in the event of disease outbreak. Disease outbreak threatens the ability for farmers to maintain operations, but innovation technology is playing a key role in addressing these challenges. 

“Agricultural producers care about the health of their animals. This investment in Be Seen Be Safe Ltd. supports the development of a data analysis tool that will help contain potential outbreaks to stop the spread of disease. This type of innovation means producers can better protect their animals and their business and continue delivering high-quality food to Canadians and consumers around the world”, says Bibeau. 

Funding will be provided through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program, a $50.3 million, five-year investment to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.

Be Seen Be Safe Ltd. is an animal health technology provider founded in 2013 that works to identify, contain, and prevent disease. They strive to protect the health and sustainability of the livestock industry through disease monitoring and response-technology platforms.

Building on its existing farm health technology platform, the company will be using the funds to research, test and develop the best hardware solution that will allow real-time tracking and tracing of trailers. After the trials are complete, the company will publish and widely distribute recommendations on the best-fit technology along with information on deployment. By using data to monitor the movement of these vehicles, farmers can rapidly contain an outbreak, limit losses and reduce the time it takes to return to normal business.

“Livestock and poultry disease outbreaks cost millions of dollars”. Says Founder of Be Safe Be Seen Ltd., Tim Nelson. “Pathogens move on both people and vehicles, so the value of a robust vehicle track and trace system in managing outbreaks cannot be underestimated. Asset tracking devices are designed to provide real-time data on vehicle movements and this AAFC funded project is testing the efficacy of asset tracking devices in preventing disease spread and reducing costs”. 

The Government of Canada is determined to support the development of biosecurity technologies to help farmers manage the risks produced by disease outbreak. It can have major impacts on animal welfare, food supply, productivity and producer mental health, and can result in significant economic losses. They are committed to supporting the innovations of small businesses as they develop solutions to ensure Canada’s agricultural sector can adapt and remain competitive. Be Seen Be Safe Ltd.’s innovative product will help the livestock industry improve its resiliency and allow producers to react quickly and limit impacts if disaster strikes.

Battleford RCMP seeking public’s assistance in identifying two individuals

Battleford RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying two suspects caught on camera stealing surveillance equipment from local businesses.

The two separate incidents occurred in the early morning hours of March 1st in the City of North Battleford. 

Anyone with information on this incident is urged to call the North Battleford RCMP at 306-446-1720 or Saskatchewan Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Photos courtesy of the RCMP
Photos courtesy of the RCMP