Headlines: Sept. 19, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The city closed its emergency reception centre for wildfire evacuees on Sept. 18 after evacuation orders for Hay River and Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories were lifted. The centre provided temporary lodging, food, clothing, and other support to more than 7,500 evacuees and 1,300 pets since opening a month ago. Other services provided to evacuees, such as transit and recreation centre access, also ended on Sept. 18.
  • The federal government announced $111.4 million in funding to seven organizations across the country to support training and job opportunities in the green economy. Among the recipients was Edmonton-based non-profit Iron and Earth, which will receive $16 million for its Resilient Communities Empowering Worker Transitions project. The initiative will provide training in clean economy and renewable energy practices, and is expected to help more than 3,655 workers gain new skills.
  • A convoy and protest against trans and queer inclusive school curriculum being planned outside the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) offices in Edmonton on Sept. 20 is among a series of similar events expected to happen across the country the same day. Edmonton organizer Benita Pedersen told PressProgress the "one million march for children" is protesting "sexual education" that doesn't allow parents to opt out. ATA President Jason Schilling said he is "troubled" by these types of protests and that the association is "taking steps to ensure the safety and security of all staff, visitors and the building." A counterprotest under the banner "United for Change" is planned in response.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations increased 73% between July 24 and Sept. 8, from 242 to 417, according to an update from Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange. LaGrange also said the province has recorded 28 cases of flu and five cases of RSV since Aug. 28. "This is consistent activity for this time of the year," she said. The province is updating its COVID-19 dashboard to include information on influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • Smoke-filled skies in Edmonton have many parents worried about the effects of poor air quality on their children's health. "Wildfire season started in May, it's almost October — that's six months of exposure to wildfire smoke — that's not a rare occurrence, that's half a year," said parent Amanda Hu. This year was Edmonton's smokiest on record, with 291 smoke hours so far, beating the 2018 record of 229 hours. Edmonton Public Schools said students are kept indoors during recess when the air quality is rated seven or higher.
  • Housing starts decreased by 1% nationally in August compared with July, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The seasonally adjusted annual rate in August was 252,787 units compared with 255,232 in July. Edmonton was on par with the national rate, with the seasonally adjusted annual rate decreasing 1%, from 17,076 in July to 16,984 in August.
  • The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards will return to Edmonton in 2024, according to association president Amy Jeninga. Edmonton most recently hosted the award show alongside Country Music Week in 2013 and 2014. "This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our national pride, and to showcase some of the finest homegrown talent in Canadian country music today," said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
  • Edmontonians gathered at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park on Sept. 17 for the annual Walk for Valour fundraiser in support of Valour Place, which provides a place to stay for military members, veterans, and first responders receiving medical treatment in Edmonton. Valour Place relies on private donations and is hoping to raise $50,000 by Sept. 20, with donations accepted online. By Sept. 17, more than $36,500 had been donated.