Headlines: Oct. 25, 2022

· The Pulse
  • Applications are now open for the city's Chinatown Recovery Fund, with a total of $1 million in grants available to projects that align with the Chinatown Strategy. The fund was announced earlier this year as part of the city's broader Downtown Core and Transit System Safety Plan.
  • Coun. Jo-Anne Wright plans to request bylaw amendments that would once again allow shisha lounges, which have been banned since July 2020. Wright said she's been approached by the industry and believes they've made strides in improving HVAC systems and separation of consumption areas. She noted shisha is an important gathering activity for many Arab, African, and South Asian communities. About 45 shisha lounges operated in Edmonton before the ban.
  • Bloomberg reports that Flair Airlines is negotiating a merger with New Vista Acquisition Corp., an American special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by Dennis Muilenburg, a former Boeing CEO who was ousted in 2019 after two fatal 737 accidents. The merger would allow Flair to become a publicly traded company.
  • Wayne Oakes — who took up bird photography when he retired after 33 years with the RCMP — is easy to recognize in Edmonton's river valley because of the camouflage uniform he wears while photographing birds. Oakes has reached minor celebrity status for spending hours a day on the trail, helping others take photos and identify species. "Probably not many people around can say that they've invested 10,000 hours in one location and documenting every aspect of nature they can get their eyes on," said Oakes.
  • Premier Danielle Smith's new and expanded cabinet was sworn in at Government House on Oct. 24. Smith defended her choice to appoint 27 ministers — an increase from Jason Kenney's initial appointment of 23 and Rachel Notley's 12 — and said the ministries will be "really important economic drivers." She eliminated the portfolios of housing, status of women, and labour.
  • Alberta's major public unions — which together represent 122,000 frontline healthcare staff — are insisting on a meeting with Premier Danielle Smith to "develop a plan to deal with the crisis in health care." The group says a staff shortage has thrown the system into chaos. "We're seeing lower and lower staffing levels where the workloads continue to increase," said Raj Uppal of CUPE Local 41, which represents workers at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre and the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. "We need a provincial staffing strategy."