The Pulse: Feb. 19, 2021

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 1°C: Mainly cloudy. Clearing in the afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High plus 1. Wind chill minus 14 in the morning. (forecast)
  • 7pm: The Oilers (10-8-0) will play the Flames (8-7-1). (details)
  • 58,674: There are now 58,674 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. (details)

'Advanced solar products' to be developed at Edmonton airport

'Advanced solar products' to be developed at Edmonton airport

By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring

Solar LED manufacturer WeFaces Technology Inc. is setting up its North American headquarters in Edmonton International Airport's (EIA) Airport City, as part of a partnership to develop and manufacture solar technology.

“EIA has entered a strategic partnership to help WeFaces begin research and development as well as the mass production of advanced solar panel lighting systems," said a Feb. 17 press release. The plan is for WeFaces to set up a product showroom and begin research by this fall, and start manufacturing by 2022.

Myron Keehn, EIA's vice president of air service and business development, said WeFaces' products could have a wide range of applications, from street lamps and landscape lighting, to heated bus shelters and pumps for water ponds — all solar-powered.

"You'll see those types of products being used here at the airport, and by anyone else in the region that's interested," he said.

The airport's press release also claims the partnership will "generate long-term jobs, drive advanced solar panel manufacturing opportunities, (plus) diversify and grow Alberta’s economy."

Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global, agreed in the press release that WeFaces’ presence will have a noticeable impact on the Edmonton region's economy.

Keehn explained that WeFaces, a subsidiary of China-based Nande Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd., chose Edmonton's Airport City for its new headquarters because of the collection of existing green technology companies, resources, and incubators operating in the area.

"We have worked to develop Airport City as a sustainability campus," he said. "What they were attracted to was the ecosystem this has created on the airport, around the airport, and within the region."

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By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson

Pandemic aid programs under fire

Pandemic aid programs under fire

By Paul Cashman Paul Cashman in the Business Roundup

The Alberta government’s rollout of new pandemic financial aid for businesses and workers is being greeted by demands for more information and complaints about who qualifies.

On Feb. 17, Premier Jason Kenney announced the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit would provide 15% of monthly revenue up to a maximum of $10,000 if businesses can show a revenue reduction of 60% or more. That’s on top of earlier grants of up to $20,000 for small and medium-sized firms that lost at least 30% of revenue.

"It made sense for us to focus future financial support on the hardest hit, those who have lost the most because of these restrictions," Kenney said in defending the higher threshold to qualify for aid.

But some business owners are frustrated details of the program aren’t yet available.

"What's the time period to show the losses? And who has a 60% loss at any point that, first of all, is still in business? And second, is generating the kind of revenue that 15% of that monthly revenue is going to be any sort of meaningful amount of money?" Jess Roos, executive director of mental health practice Cultivate, told CTV News.

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Podcast pick: Earp Chirp

Podcast pick: Earp Chirp

By Karen Unland Karen Unland

Earp Chirp is back in the saddle to nerd out about Wynonna Earp, the supernatural Western horror series shot in Alberta and beloved by fans the world over.

The TV series "follows Wyatt Earp's great granddaughter as she battles demons and other creatures" in a town called Purgatory (a.k.a. Didsbury). Earp Chirp is "a podcast by Albertans, about Albertans, but for all Earpers," hosted by Erika Ensign, Annette Wierstra, and Kirsten Goruk for The Incomparable network.

The hosts were part of the loyal fanbase that campaigned hard to get the show renewed after Season 3. Filming resumed in early 2020, but was interrupted by the pandemic, so the first half of Season 4 aired last summer, and the second half is slated to start in March. The fight is on again to keep it going, not only from fans but also from Keep Alberta Rolling.

Besides the Season 4 return show, you might also enjoy their live show from the Edmonton Expo in 2019, which dives into the #FightForWynonna campaign.

Earp Chirp is a product of Edmonton's own Castria, which produces the venerable Radio Free Skaro, the multi-Hugo-award-winning Uncanny Magazine Podcast, and the audio version of Taproot's Tech Roundup, among many, many other podcasts.

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Quiz time: Film

Quiz time: Film


Test your knowledge with this daily quiz, brought to you by SkirtsAfire:

What is the name of the short film from SkirtsAfire documenting various experiences of the past year?

  1. Covid Collections
  2. In Sickness and In Health
  3. Love in the Time of Coronavirus
  4. Quarantine Chronicles
  5. Viral Variations

See Monday's issue of The Pulse for the answer.

The answer to the Feb. 18 quiz was d — SkirtsAfire artistic director and co-founder Annette Loiselle also co-founded the Freewill Shakespeare Festival.

SkirtsAfire is Edmonton’s only theatre and multidisciplinary arts organization featuring women-identifying and non-binary artists. It’s happening online and outdoors March 4 to 14 — see what's on.

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