The Pulse: Jan. 20, 2022

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  • 3°C: Mainly cloudy. 60% chance of freezing rain late in the morning and early afternoon then 60 percent chance of rain showers in the afternoon. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High plus 3. Wind chill minus 17 in the morning. (forecast)
  • 1,101: Alberta has 1,101 patients in hospital due to COVID-19, including 108 in intensive care. The province reported six new deaths on Jan. 19. (details)
  • 7pm: The Oilers (18-15-2) will play the Panthers (26-8-5) at Rogers Place. (details)

David Haas, enjoying a meal at the Route 99 Café, smiles to the camera

Retired lawyer turned playwright wins screenplay competition

By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

A program to turn an emerging screenwriter's work into a short film has awarded its top prize to David Haas, a retired lawyer who owes his writing career to anger in the courtroom and a penchant for winning competitions.

Haas, 77, had never written a screenplay before. But when COVID-19 put a crimp in his playwriting, he turned his attention to the Alberta Screenwriter Accelerator Program, created by the Edmonton Short Film Festival.

Of the 67 scripts that were submitted, Haas's Stage-Door Johnny won the $20,000 prize, which covers everything from script editing to shooting to post-production and mentorship from writer Neil Chase and director Gilbert Allan. The film will premiere at the festival on Oct. 15.

"I was delighted to win this competition," Haas told Taproot. "At root, I consider myself a yarn spinner, a creator of stories. Screenplays and stage plays are just different ways of getting the story out."

Haas first got the writing bug in 1978 when something in the courtroom set him off.

"When they read the charges to people, they had this legal document that was babble to most people. They didn't know what it was, and they would be asked to make choices that were fairly important," he said.

He needed an outlet for his frustration. And an unusual one emerged.

"I spotted an advertisement in the Edmonton Journal for a one-act play contest," he said. "At this point, I had taken in a number of plays. I read one. I was kind of excited about that."

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By Doug Johnson Doug Johnson

  • Edmonton police smashed in windows, broke tiles, and destroyed the outdoor speaker system of Tzin Wine and Tapas during an arrest made by a SWAT team last summer. Owners Kelsey Danyluk and Glenn Quinn said that the city is refusing to pay the $3,000 in damages after a claims adjuster found no negligence on the part of the city or EPS. The expense comes as the restaurant is seeing 67% fewer reservations during the fifth wave of the pandemic. "So we can keep going but what do you do? Do you use your savings to keep going? When do you decide you don't want to do that anymore?" Quinn told CTV Edmonton. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi told Global News that the city will review how it responds to similar incidents in the future, noting that restaurants "need our compassion and they need our empathy as they deal with these kinds of situations."
  • The city will create 48 safe crossings across streets as a part of its 2022 Vision Zero Safe Crossings Program. The creation of safe crossings can involve various tactics, such as temporary curb extensions and new signalization options.
  • Starting this Friday, the city will trial a windrow pickup program in Griesbach to help it assess the cost get a better sense of the process.
  • Alyaa Ibrahim says her central Edmonton pharmacy has become a refuge for homeless people as they line up to get into nearby shelters. Between the recent bitter cold, the pandemic, and many shelters hitting capacity, the city's homeless population is struggling. "Not a human, not an animal should be in the cold in the street," Ibrahim said.
  • Ice on Whyte will return to Edmonton from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6. This year, the festival will feature 11 prominent Canadian snow and ice carvers.
  • Edmontonian Jeff Nash built a mini hockey rink in his backyard to keep his sons occupied. It is a scale model of the Northlands rink.
  • Stony Plain's Stephanie Labbé, whose safe hands helped Canada to Olympic gold in Tokyo last summer, said that she is retiring. She made the shocking announcement just days after being named the runner-up for The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper award.
  • Suspended Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said that the call he made to Edmonton police chief Dale McFee was to ensure he wasn't being racially profiled. Madu received a ticket for texting and driving in a school zone, and was forced to step back from his ministerial role after criticisms surrounded his call to McFee, with some suspecting he was trying to get out of the ticket. Michael Elliot, president of the Edmonton Police Association, said that he is frustrated with Madu for making the allegations.
A newspaper clipping with the headline "Edmonton Bulletin Ends Publication"

A moment in history: Jan. 20, 1951

By Scott Lilwall Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1951, Alberta's first newspaper was going to press for its final few issues.

The Edmonton Bulletin was established in 1880 by businessmen Frank Oliver and Alex Taylor. It was initially produced out of a tiny 16-square-foot log structure on the site of what is now the Hotel Macdonald. (The original building now stands in Fort Edmonton Park.)

Oliver referred to the publication as "the world's smallest newspaper". It was mainly short updates from other parts of the country and the world, sent in by Edmonton's first telegraph, also established by Taylor. (Aside from the newspapers and the telegraph, Taylor was also known for bringing electricity and telephone service to the city. The Bulletin also served as a booster for both Edmonton as a whole and the political opinions of its co-founder, Oliver.

At first, the Bulletin published every week. Edmonton was growing quickly, however, as was the demand for the paper. Within two years, it was published twice a week. By 1903, it became a daily, and in 1910 the Bulletin published morning and evening editions. Meanwhile, competition was emerging, with the Journal starting in 1903 and the Capital in 1910.

A labour dispute in 1925 led to the end of the Bulletin's morning edition, but the paper continued for the next couple of decades. When the Edmonton Bulletin's demise came in 1951, the owner told the Canadian Press that it wasn't due to lack of readership but rather from being "too successful," claiming an increase in circulation and advertising meant the need for a new printing press and building to keep up with demand and the rising costs of supplies.

The paper's closure came as a surprise, not only to readers but also to employees. Many of them found out about the loss of their jobs through an advertisement in their own paper. The Journal became the city's only daily paper until the Edmonton Sun began in 1978.

The Journal and Sun remained competitors until 2014 when Postmedia, the chain that had owned the Journal since 2010, bought Sun Media. That was followed by the amalgamation of the two newsrooms in 2016, which saw many journalists lose their jobs and prompted the foundation of Taproot.

This is based on a clipping found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse — follow @VintageEdmonton for daily ephemera via Twitter.