Edmonton Notes for March 29, 2020

As of March 29 at 5:30pm, there are 661 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta including 149 here in Edmonton. That’s up from 259 provincial cases and 60 local cases just one week ago. Three Albertans have died from the disease.

The Government of Alberta’s page on COVID-19 has the most up-to-date information for our province. Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

COVID-19 coverage from Taproot Edmonton

As I mentioned last week, we have launched a COVID-19 microsite to answer questions from our community. Here are some of the most recent entries:

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council unanimously approved the extension of the state of local emergency (SOLE) on Thursday afternoon. By provincial legislation, the SOLE must be renewed every seven days. The Emergency Advisory Committee will meet every Thursday at 1:30pm until the SOLE has ended.
  • "If we don’t get hold of this thing and fast, more drastic distancing orders could come down," tweeted Mayor Don Iveson in response to reports of crowded parks and trails. "Everything is on the table," said Councillor Aaron Paquette in an interview with CBC. "The next step, of course, is more strict control, maybe curfews, maybe even closures, but we don’t want to go there if we don’t have to."
  • Troy and I discussed the state of local emergency and the power it affords on the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • The City of Edmonton also ordered personal service businesses, including hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, and body rub parlours, to close. The order "will affect about 1,000 store-front businesses and 500 home-based businesses and is effective immediately," reports CBC News.
  • The City had earlier in the week closed all City playgrounds, citing the fact that playground equipment is not cleaned or sanitized.
  • Mayor Don Iveson said in a news release on Tuesday that Edmonton "wants to offer the option to defer all property taxes to both residential and non-residential taxpayers" but "would need a substantial commitment from the provincial and/or federal government that they would provide a cash backstop or other measures that makes this relief financially possible for municipalities."
  • Data from the past week shows there are 30% fewer vehicles on city streets but during the same period there has been "a 30% increase in motorists exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h, and a whopping 200% increase in drivers travelling at more than 50 km/h over the speed limit," reports CBC News. Council said on Thursday they’ve been receiving a bunch of correspondence about this.
  • The Downtown Business Association is calling for the Edmonton Police Service to do more patrols due to how quiet the pedway system and buildings have become as more people work from home. “We want to make sure that people that aren’t supposed to be in these buildings [aren’t],” said executive director Ian O’Donnell.
  • "Organizers of Edmonton’s biggest summer festivals worry that COVID-19 may kill their season this year," reports CBC News. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Taste of Edmonton, and the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival are all discussing contingency plans.
  • Linda Hoang has put together Spin the Wheel of Local: Edmonton Edition! to "add to the growing resources aimed at helping you support local businesses, in a fun and slightly different way."
  • Bob and Doug, "two iconic and aggressively Canadian characters on the sketch comedy show Second City TV (SCTV)," have been honoured in bronze in ICE District.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

100th street Edmonton March 22 2020
100th Street Edmonton on March 22, photo by Jason Woodhead

Upcoming Events (March 30-April 5)

The vast majority of upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed. If you’re unsure, just stay home – especially if you’re feeling sick.

Gatherings with 15 or more people have been restricted in Alberta, a reduction from the previous limit of 50 people. "If you violate this public health order and proceed to hold an event with more than 15 attendees, you may be subject to a fine."

There are some online events taking place, however. The latest Music Roundup lists some of the online concerts coming up!

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for March 22, 2020

As of March 22 at 3:30pm, there are 259 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta including 60 here in Edmonton. That’s up from 56 provincial cases and 15 local cases just one week ago.

The Government of Alberta’s page on COVID-19 has the most up-to-date information for our province. Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

COVID-19 coverage from Taproot Edmonton

COVID-19 has been the focus for us this week as it has been for many of you. We’re continuing to curate and publish the news in our roundups, so that’s one way to keep up-to-date on the latest developments.

In the latest episode of Speaking Municipally, Troy and I discussed a number of COVID-19 topics. We recorded the show remotely, and are planning to do so again this week. Social distancing!

On Friday, Taproot launched a COVID-19 microsite. Our objective is to help the local community understand this complex and quickly evolving topic better. To do that, we’re taking a Q&A-style approach. Here’s what I wrote in a blog post about the site:

"We don’t intend to publish the news of the day nor are we trying to be the destination for breaking news. The mainstream newsrooms in our city have that covered, and we are grateful to those journalists for their hard work, much of which we are pointing to in our answers and in our roundups. Our contribution is to simply and succinctly deliver what our readers say they want to know."

Visit the site here, share your questions with us, and send us your constructive feedback. As the pandemic evolves, so will the microsite.

Presumptive COVID-19 case reported in Alberta
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • "An Edmonton man in his 60s has become Alberta’s first fatality in the coronavirus pandemic," reports CBC News. "As heartbreaking as this news is, it was expected. This is a dangerous virus," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday.
  • The City of Edmonton declared a state of local emergency early Friday evening, to help "expedite decision making and ensure City operational decisions are centralized, prioritized and coordinated." This is the first time a State of Local Emergency has been declared in Edmonton. At least 25 other local states of emergency have been declared in Alberta because of COVID-19.
  • Transit and parking are now free in Edmonton until further notice. Council made the decision on Friday to help minimize contact and increase social distancing. Earlier in the week, ETS moved to a reduced service (on the Saturday schedule) but had to add additional buses due to overcrowding.
  • All City Council and committee meetings have been suspended through April 27, with the exception of the meeting scheduled for March 30. All committees of Council, such as Youth Council and the Edmonton Design Committee, have been restricted from meeting in person until at least April 27, though they can still meet electronically.
  • The University of Alberta has eliminated 400 positions and could cut another 600 in the coming year due to provincial funding reductions. "Over the last four months we have received a reduction in government funding in the order of $110 million," said president David Turpin.
  • Bill Flanagan has been named the 14th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta, effective July 1, 2020. "Born and raised in Alberta, Bill Flanagan joins the University of Alberta from Queen’s University, where he served as the dean of law for 14 years from 2005 to 2019."
  • A campaign called #YEGTechCares has launched "asking volunteer participants to donate one hour’s wages a month to Edmonton’s Food Bank," reports the Edmonton Journal. "For the next three months, at least, participants will donate an hour of their salary to the Food Bank."
  • "Edmonton’s Belmont Sobeys is proving that positive thinking and good intentions can go a long way," reports the Edmonton Journal. The store has instituted an early morning opening to let seniors and vulnerable people shop for essentials during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "As a result of the initiative, Sobeys will introduce a seniors shopping hour at many of its nationwide locations for customers who require access to a clean, comfortable, stress-free shopping environment."
  • "Home price trends have ticked downwards in Calgary and Edmonton to start 2020 but have generally been stable since the beginning of last year," reports the Canadian Real Estate Association.
  • The Edmonton Police Foundation is gathering input on its next paid challenge which will be an app for first responders "that supports employees physically and mentally throughout their careers (and perhaps into retirement)."
  • "I think when the economy slows down as fast as it is, every business is going to be impacted by this," said Justin Archer, partner at advertising agency Berlin. "I don’t think government should spare any expense to make sure that, economically, there’s something to come back to."
  • The staff at United Sport & Cycle have "decided to simulate the remainder of the Oilers’ season on NHL ’20 – and livestream the games at the times they normally would’ve aired on Facebook," reports CTV News.
  • "Whether it’s a few weeks from now or a few months from now, we will get back to a normal," wrote Steven Sandor, editor of Avenue Edmonton. "And the kind of city we wake up to when this crisis comes to an end will depend on the actions we take now."
  • A little fun with a downtown landmark: "Self isolate, it’s the most Edmonton thing you can do."
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Upcoming Events (March 23-29)

The vast majority of upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed. If you’re unsure, just stay home – especially if you’re feeling sick.

Gatherings with 50 or more people have been restricted in Alberta. Currently there are some exemptions, such as grocery stores and health care facilities. Restaurants and cafes are limited to 50% capacity to a maximum of 50 people – bars and nightclubs are prohibited.

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for March 15, 2020

As of March 15 at 4:30pm, there are 56 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta including 15 here in Edmonton. The situation has changed dramatically in the last week and continues to evolve rapidly. The Government of Alberta’s page on COVID-19 has the most up-to-date information for our province:

"It is crucial that we do everything possible to contain and limit the spread of COVID-19. The most effective way to do this is by taking a comprehensive, society-wide approach. Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not social distancing alone. All of them, together."

"The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene. This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick."

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

COVID-19 Headlines

COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 15 update)
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, accompanied by Premier Jason Kenney

Other Headlines

  • City Council voted 8-5 to lower the speed limit on all residential streets and main streets such as Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue to 40 km/h. The new speed is expected to be in place by mid-2021, reports CBC Edmonton. Councillor Andrew Knack had pushed for 30 km/h in the core. "At this point, there’s really no denying the fact that a 30 km/h speed limit is the right speed in terms of reducing injuries and death," he said.
  • All 13 eligible municipalities have now voted on the Regional Transit Services Commission (RTSC) with only Strathcona County voting against participation. “The Commission makes good sense, and I’m looking forward to seeing this established for the benefit of every community involved,” said Councillor Michael Walters. A joint application is expected to be submitted to the Government of Alberta in May 2020.
  • "The City of Edmonton posted a $20-million operating surplus in its 2019 budget, in part by holding off on filling vacant staff positions and spending less than expected on snow and ice control," reports CBC Edmonton.
  • Jobber has been named one of the 10 most innovative enterprise companies of 2020 by Fast Company magazine. "This CRM startup has been transformative in how it empowers small home-service industries–such as your local plumber or electrician–to get the same access to enterprise tools as huge companies," they wrote. "We’re proud to be the first home service management software recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies,” said Sam Pillar, CEO and co-founder of Jobber.
  • "Edmonton’s transit service is ramping up efforts for women and girls to feel safe using the system as their go-to choice for getting around the city," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • TransEd says the Valley Line Southeast LRT will be running "as soon as possible in 2021" and gave reporters a first look inside two tunnels beneath Riverdale. “We are really proud of our progress. It’s a challenging job. It’s the biggest job that the city’s ever undertaken,” said Chris Gentile, Valley Line technical manager for the City of Edmonton.
  • "Edmonton must grow in a dramatically different way than it did in its first 120 years, with significant ramifications for how residents live, move and work," writes Keith Gerein in a column on City Plan. "As aggressive and controversial as this strategy is, much of it is also necessary."
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) has been granted international accreditation for the third time, making it one of only nine agencies in Canada to receive this designation.
  • City Council has approved a sliding scale for seniors transit passes. "Eligible seniors with yearly incomes between $28,513 and $32,400 will qualify for an annual seniors pass for $136.50, starting on March 30," reports Global News. That’s far less than the planned increase in the cost of an annual seniors pass to $374.
  • "Tucked against a brick wall in a downtown parking lot, it could be mistaken for a mobile concession that sells hot dogs at baseball games," reports CBC Edmonton. It’s actually a ghost kitchen, a commercial kitchen that exists only to fill orders from food delivery apps. "Alberta Health Services spokesperson said in an email that the health authority has approved nine mobile and five permanent-structure ghost kitchens across Edmonton."
  • Peggy Garritty, formerly ATB Financial’s chief reputation and brand officer, has been named the 22nd chancellor of the University of Alberta. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be chancellor of the University of Alberta, to be in a position where I can connect the university to the community and in turn, represent community views to the university,” said Garritty. Her four-year term begins June 18.
  • Housing sales in the Edmonton CMA were up 8.3% in February compared to a year ago and up 32.29% over January 2020, according to the latest figures from the Realtors Association of Edmonton. “We typically see an increase in activity at this time of year as we head into spring,” said Jennifer Lucas, the organization’s chair.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Upcoming Events (March 16-22)

The vast majority of upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed, and those that haven’t probably should be. CBC Edmonton has an up-to-date list of all of the closures, cancellations, and other notices. If you’re unsure, just stay home – especially if you’re feeling sick.

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #378

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup, written and curated by Linda Hoang:


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Media-related updates from elsewhere

Here are some non-local media links that I found interesting this week:

  • "Twitter has applied a “manipulated media” tag to a doctored video of former Vice President Joe Biden that was shared by White House social media director Dan Scavino and retweeted by President Trump," reports The Verge. "It’s believed to be the first time the platform has used the tag to denote faked media."
  • Based on a sample of 200 news outlets collected by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, just 23% of the top editors are women.
  • "Until 2019, it has been the case that if you come across several paragraphs of text on a consistent topic with consistent subjects, you can assume that text was written or structured by a human being. That is no longer true," reports Vox. Stories generated by AI are improving quickly.
  • "Journalists are overwhelmed by the information they process in their working day and want to explore solutions with third-party providers and management to make it more manageable," reports NiemanLab.
  • NPR recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. "The beginning was rocky. NPR could have a brilliant piece and a poor one in the same program," reports Current. Today of course, NPR is doing just fine. I listen to their podcasts all the time!

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for March 8, 2020

Happy International Women’s Day! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • The first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Alberta was confirmed on Thursday. The first case in Edmonton was announced the next day. There are now four presumptive cases in Alberta.
  • "Edmontonians are stockpiling essentials like toilet paper — leaving few products on shelves at some stores — in preparation for the possible spread of the novel coronavirus to Alberta," reported the Edmonton Journal on March 4. Now all I see in my feeds are photos of empty store shelves that used to be full of toilet paper. It makes no sense.
  • Both Edmonton Public Schools and Edmonton Catholic Schools have cancelled upcoming international field trips amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, reports the Edmonton Journal. "Both school boards will be working with travel companies to try to recoup some costs."
  • Wen Wang, executive director of the Chinatown and Area Business Association, said some businesses in Chinatown have reported a 30% to 50% decline in sales compared to the same time last year, reports Global News. The economy and coronavirus are factors, according to the association.
  • The City of Edmonton has released the latest draft of The City Plan that "pictures how the city can grow and organize itself to attract an additional million people to call Edmonton home." Urban Planning Committee will review the draft on March 16, with a public hearing scheduled for late May.
  • Northlands has cancelled the K-Days parade citing declining attendance and "current fiscal realities."
  • The Edmonton Police Service has confirmed that Clearview AI facial recognition technology was used by three "fairly senior" officers. An internal investigation has been launched and Chief Dale McFee has directed EPS members to cease any further use of the technology.
  • NAIT says it will raise tuition by 7% for the 2020-21 school year and confirmed it will eliminate up to 240 jobs to deal with a 6.8% funding cut.
  • Troy and I dug into Budget 2020’s impacts on Edmonton in the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • Dr. Annette Trimbee will become MacEwan University’s new president and vice-chancellor in August. “I am very excited to return to Edmonton, and to have the opportunity to represent MacEwan and play a part in further defining the university’s identity,” she said.
  • Planet Organic Market has confirmed it is closing all 11 stores citing the company’s "current financial state," reports CTV Edmonton. "We have tried to find a solution for the company but now it has come the time to recognize that despite the best efforts to restructure the business we are at an end," said CEO Alan Thompson. The company operated four locations in the Edmonton region.
  • "The half-billion-dollar 2019 sale of Stantec Tower drove Edmonton’s commercial real estate market to end 2019 on a high note, with a record $1.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter," reports the Edmonton Journal. Overall sales for the year dropped 13% compared to 2018.
  • The Edmonton Police Service has launched a safe exchange zone at the southwest division station as part of a pilot program to "provide a safe space for buyers and sellers of online goods to meet, in response to a growing number of reports of criminal activity in such transactions," reports CBC Edmonton.
  • "Janice MacKinnon, the chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel into Alberta’s Finances, has been appointed by the province as a member of the board of the Governors of the University of Alberta," reports CTV Edmonton. Her three-year term took effect on March 7.
  • "The University of Alberta has charged 40 students from two introductory computing science courses with cheating," reports CBC Edmonton.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Edmonton Skyline from McNally
Edmonton Skyline from McNally, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events (March 9-15)

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for March 1, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • "Budget 2020 cuts operating expenses by about 2.5% over three years," reports Global News. "Alberta is left with an overall debt of just under $88 billion by 2022." For Edmonton, the budget includes $14 million for a train crossing on 50 Street (but not until 2022-23), $60 million for upgrades to the Misericordia Hospital, $230 million over three years for a new hospital in south Edmonton, no change in LRT funding (deferred until 2022-23), and decreases in MSI funding to $191.5 million in 2020-21 and $178.3 million in 2021-22.
  • As part of Budget 2020, funding of $68 million over the next three years for new affordable housing projects is on pause pending a review. "Sadly, reducing social disorder on our streets which we are hearing directly from our business community is critical to attracting investment to Edmonton and remains unaddressed in this budget," said Mayor Don Iveson in response. "We urgently need to build supportive housing for Alberta’s most vulnerable people."
  • After hearing from more than two dozen speakers on Wednesday, City Council’s Community & Public Services Committee chose not to make a recommendation on speed limit reductions. The item will be discussed at the next City Council meeting on March 9. Troy and I spoke all about it on the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • The City of Beaumont, City of Edmonton, and Leduc County have signed a memorandum of agreement to approve the Intermunicipal Planning Framework which "sets the course for the next 50 years with a unified sub-regional vision for land use, transportation, water, wastewater and stormwater servicing across the shared municipal boundaries."
  • The Valley Line Southeast LRT is now expected to be operational sometime in 2021 as the project continues to track behind schedule.
  • The Edmonton Public School Board has voted to "cut five teaching days, extending the 2021 spring break by one day and the May long weekend by two days." The measure will save an estimated $2.7 million.
  • The Italian Centre Shop has announced that its fifth location will open at 8005 Emerald Drive in Sherwood Park’s Emerald Hills in the fall 2021.
  • According to the Realtors Association of Edmonton, total residential sales in the Edmonton area increased 0.5% compared to January 2019. The most expensive home for sale is 108 Westbrook Dr. NW, at $8.5 million.
  • Biera, RGE RD, Uccellino, Bündok, and Corso 32 have been named the 5 Best Overall Restaurants for 2020 by Avenue Edmonton.
  • The Oilers traded Sam Gagner to Detroit, "because he was one of the prices to pay to get Andreas Athanasiou from the Red Wings," reports the Edmonton Sun.
  • The Edmonton Police Foundation and Alcanna Inc. have announced the Liquor Store Theft Challenge, a $250,000 challenge to "focus on finding solutions to address the chronic problem of liquor store thefts in Edmonton." It’s the first challenge issued under the Community Solutions Accelerator.
  • The Edmonton Police Service says it is going to submit "a few" DNA samples to "genetic genealogy services that have helped identify suspects in cold cases across North America," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Upcoming Events (March 2-8)

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #377

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup, written and curated by Linda Hoang:

  • Rebel News Network is counter-suing Edmonton writer Bashir Mohamed with a $150,000 "SLAPP" suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation). The move comes after Mohamed launched legal action against RNN in December for failing to remove a video and articles that he says "contains numerous lies and was intended to harass me and cast me as a violent person." Mohamed has raised over $30,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to help cover legal fees for the suit.
  • "The time is now for the Alberta government to cut its losses and put an end to this experiment," Global News Radio talk show host Rob Breakenridge writes in a column about the Canadian Energy Centre.
  • The Stony Plain Road BIA is launching a new community newspaper called The SPANN: Stony Plain Road & Area News Network. Paula Kirman, editor of the Boyle McCauley News has announced that she will be the new editor/consultant for The SPANN, which will serve Canora, Glenwood, Britannia-Youngstown, and West Jasper Place-Sherwood.
  • Moira Wyton announced that she is leaving the Edmonton Journal. "I’ll make you proud in my next step (more on that soon)," she tweeted.
  • Janet French has moved on from her legislative role at the Edmonton Journal. She is now the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Edmonton.


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Media-related updates from elsewhere

Here are some non-local media links that I found interesting this week:

  • A cross-industry, cross-country group of media companies have issued a joint letter asking for Parliament to address the "threat" against "the future of a vibrant media ecosystem in Canada."
  • The New Yorker is launching a new weekly email newsletter dedicated to climate change. It will be "written by perhaps the biggest name in environmental journalism, Bill McKibben."
  • CJR and The Delacorte Review have published The Year of Fear, "the story of four towns that have little in common but the loss of the newspapers they once knew."
  • Netflix is adding a new feature "that will rank the 10 most popular programs on its service in your country," reports TechCrunch.
  • A new digital magazine called The Current is a publication of Jigsaw, a unit of Google previously known as Google Ideas. The inaugural edition is "mostly a cursory overview of disinformation, alongside brief descriptions of some tools that Google has used to combat the problem, gussied up with a coat of digital paint," writes Mathew Ingram.

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for February 23, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council voted unanimously to participate in a new regional transit services commission. “Today’s decision shows that we are bought into working with our neighbours to find efficiencies that benefit our residents and contribute to regional economic prosperity," said Mayor Don Iveson.
  • Mayor Don Iveson says requiring the Province to sign off on all municipal agreements with the federal government would "create a whole bunch of extra bureaucracy" and introduce a “phenomenal amount of red tape”. The Fair Deal Panel, which is considering the idea, is expected to deliver a final report on March 31.
  • A coalition called Free Transit Edmonton has launched a campaign pushing for free public transportation in Edmonton. "We want to see public transit funded like our libraries, schools, hospitals and other public services — open and accepting of all, regardless of their ability to pay," said Laura Kruse an organizer with the group.
  • We discussed the above three stories and more on the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • The Edmonton Police Service has confirmed it plans to roll out facial recognition technology later this year. “The facial recognition technology we plan to implement will have the capabilities of taking an image or video that we obtained during a criminal investigation and comparing it to a database of official records that we’ve already obtained for a lawful purpose,” said Warren Driechel, superintendent of the Edmonton police informatics division.
  • Erick Ambtman will start as the new executive director of End Poverty Edmonton next week. “We’re very good at sort of treading water when it comes to poverty, keeping the line,” he said. “If we can get everybody involved in this in a meaningful way, we could start going in the other direction, reducing poverty in our community.”
  • Robert Spencer Hospitality Group, owned by chef Paul Shufelt, has been selected to provide food operations at City of Edmonton golf courses starting in April. “We aim to continue the work we have done with Workshop Eatery and Woodshed Burgers to highlight great local ingredients and the flavours of the season while providing warm and genuine hospitality to our guests,” said Shufelt.
  • The Edmonton Petroleum Club will debut the new Edmonton City Club by the end of the year. "The club’s new location is being finalized currently as the Board has identified options within the downtown City Centre area," reads a news release. The organization promises the new club will be "a hub for Downtown businesspeople by offering a business centre with workspaces to host meetings or work sessions," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • St. Albert-based Jack’s Burger Shack was named the winner of The Cut, a $125K pitch competition to attract new businesses to the first commercial building in Rohit Group’s new Stadium Yards development.
  • "Edmonton’s Mechanized River Valley Access, also known as the 100 Street funicular, was recently awarded a National Urban Design Award of Excellence in civic design," reports Global News. “A beautifully-conceived ensemble of built structures, open spaces, and public art that successfully connects Edmonton’s downtown to the river valley,” read a statement from the National Urban Design Awards jury.
  • "Effective March 31, approximately 390 free City-operated parking stalls at Century Park will be returned to the land developer," says the City of Edmonton. "When this transition takes place on March 31, there will no longer be any free parking stalls at Century Park."
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

New funding model for child advocacy centres
Edmonton support dog Wren is retiring from Zebra Child Protection Centre

Upcoming Events (Feb. 24 – March 1)

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #376

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup, written and curated by Linda Hoang:


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Media-related updates from elsewhere

Here are some non-local media links that I found interesting this week:

  • "It’s no exaggeration to say that much of the American newspaper industry is in a death spiral," writes Margaret Sullivan at The Washington Post. "Yet local newspapers are relatively well-trusted — and the vacuum created as they fade allows false information to spread."
  • Publishes are finding that producing less content is leading to growing audience traffic, higher dwell times, and ultimately more subscribers.
  • The Information achieved profitability in 2016 and expects $20 million in sales by the end of 2020, according to a new feature published by The New York Times. "As other online organs have bloated and intermittently fasted, The Information’s reporters have become known in Silicon Valley for sniffing out the industry’s misdeeds and tweaking its powerful."
  • According to a new report from McKinsey & Company, women make up 49% of the total workforce in media and entertainment but hold just 27% of C-suite positions.
  • "The tech industry needs to understand that a challenging press is important component of society," writes Hunter Walk. He includes four things for the tech industry to rethink and three things that reporters should avoid.

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for February 9, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council voted 8-5 in favor of having Administration work with Prairie Sky Gondola to advance the proposed gondola project to the next stage with a more detailed feasibility study. “I know we have a lot of work to do, we’re going to raise our game,” said CEO Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, who hopes to be back at Council in six months.
  • Aurora Cannabis announced that it will layoff 500 workers and replace founder and CEO Terry Booth who stepped down. Executive Chairman Michael Singer has been appointed Interim CEO, while Booth will remain on the company’s board and serve as strategic advisor.
  • Enoch Cree Nation Chief Billy Morin has been appointed grand chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. "Morin, whose nation has a mutual benefits agreement with the corporation behind the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, brings a strong business background to the leadership of Treaty 6," reports CBC.
  • City Council has unanimously approved redevelopment plans for the Jasper Gates Shopping Centre at Stony Plain Road and 149 Street. "RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust and Stantec will lead the redevelopment of new condos, row houses and shops into the area."
  • Neil Herbst, who co-founded Alley Kat Brewing Company back in 1994, has sold the business to Zane Christensen and Cameron French who plan to continue with the local and independent focus. "Alley Kat is Alberta’s fourth-longest operating brewery," reports the Edmonton Journal. This year the brewery is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
  • A new website called the Estimated Time of Arrival Tool "allows Edmontonians to plug in an address, destination, date and time to see an estimated travel time, and how that might change if speed limits were reduced," reports CBC Edmonton.
  • Local companies Darkhorse Analytics and Lift Interactive won a bid to redevelop the USA Facts website by pitching to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “You don’t get to pitch to the 13th richest man in the world every day,” said Micah Slavens, co-founder of Lift Interactive. “That’s not something we run into.”
  • "The loss of public river valley land would be an enormous cost to Edmontonians, especially in this time of climate and ecological crisis," wrote Kristine Kowalchuk, chair of the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition, regarding the proposed gondola project.
  • More than 6,700 employees completed the City of Edmonton’s December 2019 Employee Check-in, a satisfaction survey planned to occur every three months, which found that most employees feel their work is meaningful and their workplace is safe. "This isn’t necessarily about the scores but this is about the feedback," said interim city manager Adam Laughlin. The statement respondents agreed with the least was, "I feel free to speak my mind without fear of negative consequences."
  • Demolition of the Baccarat Casino has begun. The building, constructed in 1996, has sat empty since September 2016. "We’ve heard loud and clear from Edmontonians that the Baccarat has become an eyesore," said Tim Shipton, spokesperson for the Oilers Entertainment Group.
  • Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) will implement mid-winter bus schedule adjustments starting Sunday, Feb. 9.
  • Residential blading begins Monday, Feb. 10. The City’s Know Your Snow Day page can tell you when crews will be in your neighbourhood.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Playful Tracks
Playful Tracks, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events (Feb. 10-16)

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!