Headlines: Aug. 17, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Pet rescue facilities across Alberta are experiencing a capacity crisis as frontline workers say more owners are abandoning their pets instead of finding shelters for them. Edmonton-based Infinite Woofs Animal Rescue said it gets about 30 calls a day from people looking to surrender pets, while Second Chance Animal Rescue Society has seen a 300% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels. Rescue workers say improving the situation requires enforcement against backyard breeders, subsidized spay and neuter programs, and education about responsible pet ownership.
  • Edmonton Unlimited is accepting applications from Edmonton-based companies to be showcased at the 10th annual Launch Party, the annual flagship event of Edmonton Startup Week, which runs Oct. 10-14. This year, Launch Party will celebrate 10 startups and award one a $10,000 prize. The deadline to apply is Aug. 27, and the event will happen Oct. 12 at the Edmonton Convention Centre.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi was caught off guard by a letter released by the provincial NDP calling on "Alberta's two largest cities to join the fight against the UCP's ban" on renewable energy development. "I am at a loss to understand why deputy leader Sarah Hoffman would send out this media advisory without once talking to me, my office or our administration," Sohi said in a statement provided to news outlets. In the letter, Hoffman calls on Sohi and the rest of council to "consider a resolution to condemn the UCP for the reckless harm they are causing." The UCP government introduced the six-month moratorium on new wind and solar energy projects on Aug. 3, citing rural and environmental concerns. Premier Danielle Smith later said the temporary ban was necessary because no companies are proposing backup plants powered by natural gas, blaming the federal government for creating "so much uncertainty in the market."
  • The University of Alberta received its best showing in the 20-year history of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, this year placing 91st in the world and fourth in Canada. The university improved its rank by one spot in both categories over last year, when it placed 92nd in the world and fifth nationally. The position is "a reflection of the outstanding research and teaching happening at the U of A," said university president Bill Flanagan. More than 2,500 post-secondary institutions across the world were evaluated as part of the rankings.
  • Several people were attacked by a dog in the Abbottsfield area on the afternoon of Aug. 12, and one woman required surgery due to bites on her face, legs, and hands. Police said the owner fled the scene and described the dog as a tan pit bull or a cross between a pit bull and a Doberman. Anyone with information can contact police or Crime Stoppers.
  • The Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area reported a 67% increase in total housing starts in July, seasonally adjusted at annual rates. Nationally, the housing trend line increased for a second consecutive month, from 235,819 in June to 242,525 units in July.
  • About 600 people who fled wildfires in the Northwest Territories were registered at the St. Albert evacuee reception centre as of Aug. 16. The evacuees were first told to go to Grande Prairie, but St. Albert was asked to open a reception centre at Servus Place as resources became limited. Meanwhile, Yellowknife residents were ordered to evacuate by noon on Aug. 18 as a wildfire continued to threaten the city, which is home to about 22,000 people. "The window of opportunity right now is going to allow us to evacuate everybody safely," said Northwest Territories Environment Minister Shane Thompson.
  • The second annual Muslim Heritage Festival is scheduled for Aug. 19 at Churchill Square. About 7,000 people are expected to attend the event, which aims to educate the public about the Muslim faith. "There's a lot of misconceptions about Islam that we need to eliminate," said Fawwaz Hameed, an organizer with the festival.
  • Edmonton Riverhawks starting pitcher Halen Knoll was named the West Coast League's 2023 Pitcher of the Year. The Edmonton-born 23-year-old led the league in innings pitched, was second in strikeouts, fourth in earned run average, and third in wins.
  • Edmonton Elks quarterback Tre Ford will be the starting quarterback for the second game in a row when the Elks visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 17. Last year, Ford led the team to a 29-25 win over the Tiger-Cats in his first CFL start. The Elks have yet to win a game this season.