Headlines

· The Pulse
By Kevin Holowack
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  • Some experts are forecasting a sixth COVID-19 wave this spring, pointing to a rising infection rate driven by the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant and loosened health measures, Global News reports. At his weekly briefing, Health Minister Jason Copping acknowledged the rising prevalence of COVID-19 in wastewater in Edmonton and Calgary, saying increased transmission was not unexpected given the lifting of most public health measures. "There are simply more opportunities for the virus to spread as more and more people work from the office, return to travelling, socialize in various settings and resume their regular routines," he said.
  • Albertans are generally more stressed, angry, lonely, and depressed than the rest of Canada, suggests a Canadian Mental Health Association survey that assessed the impact of COVID-19. The survey found that around 46% of Albertans have experienced a decline in their mental health since the start of the pandemic. Around 10% of respondents said they have had recent thoughts or feelings about suicide. Meanwhile, 64% of respondents were concerned about new COVID-19 variants.
  • The city's new Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) pilot has seen "incredible interest" since it launched, the city announced, with all the funds now allocated to residential projects and some applicants joining a waitlist. The city is now looking for ways to expand the program.
  • Four Edmonton police officers fired their guns at a 55-year-old man who suffered fatal wounds near the LRT tracks on 95th Street on March 25, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said in a news release. "Two potential improvised firearms and a modified imitation firearm were located at the scene," says the release, showing pictures of two of those objects. A spokesperson declined to provide further details to CBC about whether those items were considered functional. The man was the fourth person killed by Edmonton police this year.
  • Edmonton police have arrested and charged three Ontario men in relation to a string of Ford F-150 thefts that police first warned about in February. The police say the thieves were using "sophisticated technology" to breach the trucks' anti-theft systems but provided no further details. EPS's most recent investigation found that more than 40 F-150s were reported stolen in Edmonton and only seven have been found.
  • Lucy the elephant is getting a permanent therapeutic wading pool, Postmedia learned a day after international advocacy group In Defense of Animals said Edmonton Valley Zoo was North America's worst zoo for elephants. The pool is a recommendation made last year by an animal health expert who said it would be an "enriching experience" for Lucy.
  • Prairie Sky Gondola, the company planning to build a gondola across Edmonton's river valley, announced it is working on an "urban ropeway" in Red Deer. The $25-million project would connect a development to a recreation area on either side of the Red Deer River. President Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson said this won't derail Edmonton's gondola project, which is aiming for completion in 2025.
  • "A community rich in spirit turned my starter home into my forever one," writes Cheryl Whiskeyjack in describing the Lymburn neighbourhood for The Henday Project, CBC Edmonton's ongoing series about Edmonton's suburbs. Whiskeyjack is the executive director of the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.