The Pulse: Nov. 24, 2021

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

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Essentials

  • -5°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 5. Wind chill minus 20 in the morning and minus 9 in the afternoon. (forecast)
  • 10: Alberta reported 10 more COVID-19 deaths on Nov. 23, including a child under two years of age. (details)
  • 4-1: The Oilers lost to the Stars. Connor McDavid's 17-game point streak to begin the season has ended. (details)
  • 8pm: The Oilers (13-5-0) will play the Coyotes (4-13-2) in Arizona. (details)

Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, a smiling man in a suit wearing glasses

Virologist Lorne Tyrrell wins Hepatitis B Foundation's highest honour


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson in the Health Innovation Roundup

Dr. Lorne Tyrrell of the University of Alberta has won the Hepatitis B Foundation's Baruch S. Blumberg Prize for his contributions to advancing the science and medicine of hepatitis B.

"The hepatitis B community owes a tremendous debt to Dr. Tyrrell for his pioneering work on the basic science and clinical development of new therapeutics for chronic hepatitis B," said foundation president and co-founder Timothy S. Block in a news release.

"Most notable are some of Dr. Tyrrell's initial studies with lamivudine and his role in the development of critical experimental systems that have become essential to developing and understanding the biology and virology of the hepatitis B virus and development of new antivirals."

The foundation said the award is considered to be the "Nobel Prize for hepatitis B research" and a committee of past Blumberg Prize recipients selects the next scientist to honour each year.

Dr. Tyrrell, who is also the founding director of the U of A's Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, told the foundation that he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in 1976 when Dr. Blumberg (for whom the award was named) won the Nobel Prize for discovering the hepatitis B virus.

Dr. Tyrrell, now 78, attended both the Nobel lecture and award ceremony, which influenced his decision to focus his research on hepatitis. His work led to the licensing of lamivudine, the first oral antiviral agent to treat hepatitis B, in 1998.

"For that reason, the Blumberg Prize has always been special in my view, so this is a tremendous honor and I'm extremely pleased and proud and humbled," Dr. Tyrrell told the Hepatitis B Foundation.

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Headlines


By Mack Male Mack Male

  • According to Cameron Martin, a senior leasing manager with Epic Investment Services, downtown's office vacancy rate is just below 20%. But NAIOP, Edmonton's commercial real estate development association, said things could turn around when work-from-home order is lifted. The organization is hosting virtual tours and Q&A sessions throughout the week to highlight positive trends.
  • The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has launched Canada's first animal cruelty investigation unit (ACIU), noting a link between animal cruelty and other violent crimes. In 2021, a majority of the 400 animal cruelty investigations exposed some sort of criminal activity.
  • Postmedia reports that 46.8% of all 911 calls received by EPS' emergency communications and operations management branch between Jan. 1 and Sept. 1 were not emergency calls. This year, EPS has charged 17 people under the Emergency 911 Act for making non-emergency calls.
  • Outreach workers in Edmonton are calling on the province to address the lack of family shelters for families experiencing homelessness. Calgary has two family shelters, which sometimes support Edmonton families seeking emergency housing.
  • A new report from ATB Financial and MNP estimates the Indigenous economic contribution in Alberta was $6.74 billion in 2019 (2% of provincial GDP).
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A portrait of Cathy Heron, a smiling woman with a rose in her lapel

St. Albert mayor elected president of Alberta Municipalities


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson in the Regional Roundup

St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron was elected president of Alberta Municipalities at the newly renamed organization's annual three-day convention in Edmonton last week.

Heron, who previously served as the vice-president for cities with populations up to 500,000, pledged to "bring rural municipalities into the fold," reported St. Albert Today.

"I'm going to make sure that municipal issues are heard loud and clear, so we can get a government that will understand and work with us," Heron said at the convention after being elected to a two-year term.

The organization rebranded from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) to Alberta Municipalities on the first day of the event, when it also launched a new website and logo. Legal changes to the name will be put to a special resolution at the Municipal Leaders Caucus next March.

According to the Edmonton Journal, interim president Angela Duncan said the association refreshed its name in part because many of its members don't relate to the term "urban" and want to define themselves as municipalities and communities.

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