The Pulse: Nov. 30, 2021

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

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  • 4°C: A mix of sun and cloud. High plus 4. (forecast)
  • 156: The number of recently returned travellers from southern Africa that Alberta is monitoring for the omicron variant of COVID-19, which has not yet been detected here. (details)
  • 77: The age of Jules Owchar, the Edmonton-based coach of Team Brad Gushue, which won the right to represent Canada in Olympic men's curling in Beijing on the weekend. (details)

Llearner is a new educational app

New startup Llearner aims to bridge social sharing and learning

By Emily Rendell-Watson

The local entrepreneur behind recruitment tool Zept and email newsletter service Mailout has launched a venture called Llearner, a new way to keep track of and share your books, podcasts, courses, training, and more.

Gregg Oldring, CEO and co-founder, said the idea was born out of discussions within Zept while the team was looking for innovative ways to connect with students.

"We were thinking about just how annoying it is to find podcasts, how we really like Strava as a gamification app that rewards positive, healthy activity, and we noticed that there isn't something like that for education," explained Oldring.

The concept of Pinterest-style curation also appealed to him, he said.

"There's this really great opportunity to create, to discover, and to share what we're learning with each other."

Whether its users looking for the next book or podcast or employers tracking employee training, the goal of Llearner is to enable people from all over the world to connect, he said.

While the idea initially was to target Llearner to students, Oldring and fellow co-founders Jon Larson and Kevin Horek quickly realized they wanted to be able to use it themselves and open it up to others for a multitude of purposes.

Oldring and Horek built the program using a no-code development platform, which enabled them to create the software without using traditional computer programming.

"We're just seeing if people use it. We're spending maybe $500 a month on software, rather than having a team of developers that are building and maintaining a platform, and that difference is really substantial," Oldring said.

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By Madeleine Stout

  • The City of Edmonton announced a Phase 2 parking ban effective at midnight on Nov. 30 to allow crews to groom and sand residential streets after freezing rain and fluctuating temperatures created icy conditions. It is the first time a Phase 2 parking ban has been called since the policy was created last year.
  • Advocates are asking the Edmonton Public School Board to recognize significant religious and cultural holidays, such as Yom Kippur and Diwali, by aligning scheduled days off with those dates. The board will vote on the 2022-2023 academic calendar on Nov. 30.
  • The Community Investment Operating Grant program, which provides about 300 annual grants to Edmonton social programs and sports groups, is not currently funded in the 2022 budget. The $3.8-million program was initially slated to be cut in the 2021 budget, but was granted a one-time funding adjustment from the reduced Edmonton Police Service budget. Community groups are concerned that the termination of the program will seriously restrict their operations.
  • Residents are frustrated with the absence of signage along the new bike lane on 88th Avenue between 109th and 110th streets, resulting in cars parking on the raised lane. The city has said that temporary no-parking signs will be installed on Nov. 30, but has not indicated when permanent signage will be installed.
Chef Doreen Prei's wild mushroom dish

Restaurant May opens at the Art Gallery of Alberta

By Sharon Yeo in the Food Roundup

May is the newest restaurant to open at the Art Gallery of Alberta, occupying the space that formerly housed Zinc, which closed permanently last fall. May's soft opening comes about five months after the AGA announced that Prairie Catering would exclusively operate its food service, events, and facility bookings.

The name of the restaurant links back to owner Jimmy Shewchuk's own family heritage. "Both of my grandparents were farmers in Vegreville," said Shewchuk. "I remember getting our hands dirty in May, and the name celebrates the start of the work instead of just the harvest."

That connection to farmers underlies executive chef Doreen Prei's approach to creating the menu at May. Specifically, she took advantage of the restaurant's proximity to the Edmonton Downtown Farmers' Market.

"We visited the market every weekend in the process of opening. We wanted to ensure things were available for us but also needed to be flexible with what they have," Prei told Taproot. "Planning a menu around farmers was super fun."

Among the local producers that make up 80% of the menu, May sources from Ocean Odyssey Inland, Lacombe Fresh, Four Whistle Farm, Reclaim Farm, Mo-Na Food, and Purple Gate Haskap Orchard. Because it is producer-driven, Prei anticipates the menu will change every three months.

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