Headlines: June 10, 2022

· The Pulse
  • A Healthy Streets Operations Centre in Chinatown is part of the public safety plan for the downtown core and transit system announced by the city on June 9 in response to demand from Justice Minister Tyler Shandro. The hub will provide services similar to the many other outreach teams that currently patrol downtown streets and transit corridors. Coun. Tim Cartmell told Postmedia the hub has resources to run for about three months, and he'll be seeking another $5 million at a future council meeting. The city also acted on its promise of a $300,000 grant for increased security for Chinatown businesses. After announcing the plan, Mayor Amarjeet Sohi made five requests to the provincial government regarding police funding, homelessness, shelter standards, addictions, and mental health. "If our provincial government is really serious about the safety and well-being of Edmontonians and they've asked us to step up — we have stepped up — and I hope they will step up as well," Sohi said. "Because a lot of the areas, the root causes of crime are houselessness, mental health, addictions, crisis, and those are provincial areas of responsibility."
  • Ambulances in the metro region responded to more calls in Edmonton than they did in their home municipalities last year, according to Alberta Health Services data obtained by the Alberta NDP. The figures show ambulances from St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Fort Saskatchewan, and Strathcona County were diverted hundreds of times because of a shortage of ambulances in Edmonton. That's the opposite of what should be happening, Mike Parker of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta told Postmedia. "Edmonton should actually be the hub to back up those other communities … the one that has the available resources to support outlying areas," he said.
  • Design students from MacEwan University came up with some design solutions to transit safety issues as part of a partnership with Edmonton Transit Services. Third-year student Vik Chu conceptualized an app that lets trusted contacts know when a trip is completed successfully, while fourth-year student Lisa Cox developed infographics about existing safety tools that will soon be implemented by ETS.
  • Alberta has reported 1,247 COVID-related deaths this year compared to 1,038 over the same period in 2021, an increase explained by two damaging Omicron waves that hit harder than Delta. "I think the amount (of deaths) is still staggering for those of us in health care to see," said Dr. Neeja Bakshi of the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Health Minister Jason Copping said the sixth wave seems to have passed.
  • The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital has spent 20 years helping trans and gender-diverse Edmontonians develop a voice that aligns with their gender expression. The voice and resonance program used to get about five referrals a year, but it now receives up to 60 clients annually. "Globally, we're seeing that the need for service outstrips the resources," said Teresa Hardy, a speech pathologist with the program. "But thankfully, more and more people are getting trained to provide the service."
  • A jester statue from West Edmonton Mall, one of many the iconic decorations removed from the Mardi Gras-themed Bourbon Street when it was rebranded as BRBN St. in 2011, is now owned by northwest resident Marlene Alexander, who bought it at a garage sale. Matthew Dutczak, a self-proclaimed mall historian who runs the YouTube channel Best Edmonton Mall, talks about the decorations in his episode on Bourbon Street.
  • Global News spoke to exhausted Albertans trying to renew their passports at Canada Place in downtown Edmonton, including a family that drove in from Leduc four times. Service Canada is struggling to keep up with the post-pandemic demand for passport services.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi posted a photo of himself in an Avalanche jersey, having lost a bet with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock after Colorado swept the Oilers out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.