Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on January 3, 2009 · 19
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Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada · 19

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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, January 3, 2009
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19
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it Win J LJ LLa VUy Kevin Taft won't go quietly into the night Darcy Henton B3 w EDITOR: THERESE KEHLER, 780-429-5399; citythejournal.canwest.com EDMONTON JOURNAL SATURDAY, JANUARY 3, 2009 n P j to STO tHwy EDMOMTOfJ 20O3 HOullClfE LOCATIONS A 4 195th Ave. L Proposed Anthony Henday Dr. ToSt. . 167,hAve- if- Albert ? 153rd Ave. -a fc v137thAve. s V LL-ss J YellowheadTr. f I Yellowhead Tr. v2 I j 118th Ave. ) nsthAve. i7 f Hwy.16 1 I i i 111th4 - X 0 mthAvA Lfa s t " mth Ave. v 1. J ? " 107th Ave. I $ff ':r-' XVr 5 Stony Main Rd. jf-O jasper Ave. B 101st Avefl l. Baseline Rd., : i . (T v f ! 1 t (6) 5 9 I I Sherwood I i " b 82ndAve- L I park WhitemudDr. M t 1 K Sherwood Park Fwy, v J - s , V i.. mi. J m j c tOX - 63rdAve. V 2 2 l s " - I ) 45,hAve. VjJ 51StAVC' - K " VVhitemud Dr. 1 1 f " 5 34thAve s (5) 2 J' 23rd Ave. " QT s! I ? i in SS Anthony Henday Dr. K 0 Ellerslie Rd. (9th Ave. SW) & tn tn ffi tn & 5 o io r- f t Miii'm wi'iin rm. j 41StAVg ' 'tYtim't RICK COLVILLE, THE JOURNAL H omicide unit battles rising tide Acquiring strong evidence and truth priorities of department nr BEN GELINAS Journal Staff Writer EDMONTON Four retirements and a reassignment have forced the city police homicide unit to bring in "fresh eyes" to stare down a persistent problem, the heads of the unit say. Among the experienced officers brought into homicide in 2008 is Staff Sgt. Bill Spinks, a 23-year force veteran who used to work undercover on major crimes and most recendy ran vice and missing persons. Spinks started his new job two months ago, sharing supervisory duties with Staff Sgt. Lome Pub-antz, a unit mainstay and former homicide detective. An additional detective position was added to the unit in 2008. "Fifteen are operational detectives and two are dedicated to historical homicides," Pub- Homicide list B2 antz says. They sought detectives with diverse backgrounds and a history of dedication to policing. "Being a homicide investigatorinmany respects is a lifestyle as opposed to a career," Pubantz says. Spinks says: "That's an understatement, not just for you, but for your family." The new officers inherit an uphill bat-de. By last count, the unit's case clearance rate dipped from 35 per cent in 2007 to an estimated 31 per cent in 2008. While the supervisors do feel pressure from the public and higher-ups to put in a complete case as soon as possible, securing strong evidence is priority. "The numbers will speak for themselves after a good, thorough investigation," Pubantz says. "It's not like a salesman who's got a performance goal that he's got to go out and sell so many widgets. We're not in the widget business. We're in the search-for-the-truth business. And there are so many diverse circumstances that can either present the truth to us or prevent the truth from coming out that we have no control over." The New Year's Eve stabbing death of an 18-year-old man in the middle of 51st Avenue will likely nudge the city's homicide count to 35, up two from 2007 but short of the record 39 homicides set in 2005. Eight men were apparendy slain in 2008 because of their involvement in gangs. Eight more had links to organized crime that may have played a role in their deaths. Charges in gang-related homicides have largely eluded investigators, who struggle to glean info from people who won't talk to police. "We don't know what's going on within their groups," Pubantz says. "Just be cause they have the right to silence doesn't mean silence is the right thing to do." Certain cases tended to rise above others in the public eye. That's the case with Johnny Altinger's alleged death. Police allege he died at the hands of an Edmonton filmmaker who scripted and made a movie that police said played out similarly in real life. "Every time we talk about a high-profile case, I truly believe it should not detract from those that may be such as an inner-city killing," Pubantz says. "No one deserves to die a violent death at the hands of another. You have one opportunity to live on this Earth and it's not anybody's right to take that away." Of lastyear's city homicides, 14people were shot to death, 15 died of stab wounds, two people were fatally beaten and two were strangled. The cause of death in two cases was not released. bgelinasthejournal.canwest.com J J Man drowns in dugout clearing snow for hockey game RYAN CORMIER journal Staff Writer EDMONTON Moments after Jason Matthew Shank disappeared beneath the icy surface of the family dugout, his children made a frantic dash for help. Shortly before, they had watched as he cleared snow off the ice with a BobCat for the traditional family hockey game. Around 5 p.m. Thursday, the ice cracked and the small front-end loader with Shank inside fell through. The children ran screaming to the nearest house. "They came here because we're just a hop, skip and a jump away," said Meghan, a neighbour who did not want her last name used. " 'Help our dad,' they yelled. 'He went in the water. He's in the water.' " The next few minutes were chaos on the farm southwest of Drayton Valley. Neighbours ran to the dugout to see a gaping hole in the ice, but no sign of the 33-year-old Shank. His children had seen him surface once, but there was six metres of freezing water under the ice. Someone called 911. The children yelled for someone to get their dad out of the water, but no one knew if any of the ice was safe. "Get him out. Get him out." Shank's wife Linda, a prison guard, kept repeating. "There was nothing to do," Meghan said. "We were pretty helpless at the time. Everyone was frantic. All we knew was Jay was in the water." The children said it seemed as though Shank had become caught on a part of the machinery as it sank. Police, firefighters and paramedics arrived, but it was two hours before an underwater diver found Shank beneath the water. See DEATH I back of section Food satisfies cravings, offers comfort JENNIFER FONG Journal Features Writer EDMONTON Sobeys employee Jeff Haswell was restocking a heart-stopping display of Ferrero Rocher chocolates when he was asked what must have been a no-brainer kind of question. What do you crave? "Ice cream," the 25-year-old answered. "Strawberry cheesecake." What? No interest in the gold-wrapped spheres of roasted hazelnut, silky chocolate filling and delicate wafer smothered in sigh more milk chocolate? "I love chocolate. I just don't like Ferrero." Impossible. No one says our cravings have to make sense, but dietitians, food psychologists and researchers all take shots at cracking the mystery today in LifeStyle. See CRAVINGS back of section U Constant cravings LifeStyle G4-5 edmontoniournal.com Tell us what foods you absolutely can't resist! Post your comments at edmontonjournal.comopinion Of A 1 b e r t a mm James H.Brown (a "" m k ' W W W h '1 W i'a v' HHP, -yb i -i- dv Wj v . WRONGFUL DEATH QUADRIPLEGIA PARAPLEGIA BRAIN INJURY SPINAL CORD INJURY FRACTURES WHIPLASH NECK & BACK INJURIES TMJ INJURIES NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE ELDER ABUSE SEXUAL ASSAULT MOLESTATION CASES PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS ALL VEHICLE &ATV ACCIDENTS v '$ TOLL FREE 1-000-616-0088 ram tea m msm GEnaanrtr m mm cm cm CM

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