The Pulse: May 17, 2022

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

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  • 13°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 13. UV index 6 or high. (forecast)
  • 59%: The percentage of Albertans who believe UCP members should vote to remove Jason Kenney as party leader, according to a survey by Common Ground. (details)

The covers of three chapbooks from Glass House Press

'Serve the artists': Glass Bookshop launches small press

By Emily Rendell-Watson

The co-owners of Glass Bookshop have now become publishers to encourage and elevate the kind of work they want to sell in their independent bookstore.

Glass House Press launches this week with the publication of three chapbooks: Bellow by Shima Robinson, aka Dwennimmen, Notes on Digging a Hole by Zachary Ayotte, and Ancestors and Exes by Emily Riddle.

"It was always something that my business partner, Jason Purcell, and I wanted to pursue together because our mandate is to support queer and racialized authors and independent presses," Matthew Stepanic said, adding that he and Purcell know many talented local writers who don't have their work published in book form.

Glass House Press will benefit from promotion through the bookshop, but it will exist as its own non-profit entity. Stepanic describes it as "two different businesses that work together naturally and makes sense to be contained in cohesion," similar to House of Anansi in Toronto. By setting it up that way, the press will be able to access grants and funding to remain sustainable.

That element of sustainability is integral to ensuring contributing artists are paid fairly for their work, said Stepanic, who has a background in publishing and co-founded Glass Buffalo magazine. Chapbook presses within Canada don't often pay their authors, he explained, instead opting to use the funds generated from sales to pay for future chapbooks.

"I think artists should be paid for their art ... that's really the only way that they can continue to make and create new art," Stepanic said. "With the press, there are no plans for it to make a profit other than to keep reinvesting in itself ... to serve the artists that it's working with."

He and Purcell have worked to strike a balance between operating a viable business and doing good with Glass Bookshop as well, where they pay staff a living wage and aim to build a better literary ecosystem in the city and across Canada.

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Headlines: May 17, 2022

By Karen Unland and Kevin Holowack

  • City council's community and public services committee will continue to discuss the proposed Community Safety and Well-Being Strategy after Monday's meeting saw more than 20 speakers responding to the report. Part of the strategy lays out how to spend the $8.4 million remaining from the portion withheld from the Edmonton Police Service budget last year. Puneeta McBryan of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association called for more visible police patrols to deter violence and protect outreach workers. Chief Dale McFee told Postmedia after the meeting that a plan is in the works to increase police presence downtown. But activist Haruun Ali told the committee that's not the answer for those who don't feel safe interacting with police, and Rob Houle asked why so little has been done to implement the recommendations of the Safer for All report from the Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force that he sat on.
  • Alberta is gearing up for the first Battle of Alberta since 1991 as the Edmonton Oilers will face the Calgary Flames in Round 2 of the NHL playoffs. Mayors Amarjeet Sohi and Jyoti Gondek agreed to a friendly bet where the losing city's leader must appear in the winning team's jersey with full face paint and make a charitable donation. "The Battle of Alberta series is a dream come true for hockey fans," Sohi said. "Not only does it give us something to look forward to, but it will help our province's economic rebound." Game 1 is set for 7:30pm on May 18 in Calgary.
  • More than 250 construction projects are ongoing across the city, with a price tag of around $1.9 billion. Pointing to City Plan, the city announced that this year will see active construction on 110 km of roads and sidewalks, 11 km of alleys, 10 neighbourhood renewals, seven trail renewals, and 19 park and playground projects on top of major LRT expansions and projects on Yellowhead Drive and Terwillegar Drive. "We know construction can be disruptive and frustrating," said deputy city manager Adam Laughlin, "but it also provides much-needed jobs for Edmontonians and local companies. Whenever you see construction, you're seeing the future of Edmonton being built, piece by piece, kilometre by kilometre, by the hard work of thousands of people."
  • A new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which followed 46,412 adult patients in Alberta and Ontario, suggests that socio-economic status and sex are significant factors in determining if someone will be hospitalized more than once with COVID-19. Researchers found that 91% to 95% of people readmitted were unvaccinated and tended to be older and male with comorbidities. People living at postal codes considered low on "deprivation" indicators also saw higher readmission rates. U of A medical professor Dr. Finlay McAlister, who co-authored the study, says the numbers align with what we've seen "over and over with COVID: that socio-economic deprivation seems to be even more important for COVID than for other medical conditions."
  • Edmonton saw a small increase in the number of newly listed homes in April, while the national average dipped by 2.2% on a month-over-month basis, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Calgary, meanwhile, saw a "notable decline" in the number of newly listed homes. The CREA reports that homes sales across Canada declined by 12.6% in April, reaching the lowest rate since summer 2020.
  • Edmonton housing starts saw an upward trend in April of 36% year-over-year, or 64% seasonally adjusted at annual rates from March to April 2022, according to the latest numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
  • The federal government is spending $2 million to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70th year on the throne with events and projects across Canada. Recipients from Edmonton are 700 (City of Edmonton) Wing, Royal Canadian Airforce Association, the Canadian Art and Leisure Association, the Explore Edmonton Corporation, and St. Michael's Extended Care Centre Society.
  • A life-sized woolly mammoth rolled through downtown Edmonton en route from CO*LAB to the Royal Alberta Museum on Monday morning. The statue, which can be lit up from within, was made by lantern artist Gabrielle "Gabs" Degouw for the Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival last January and now lives in the museum lobby to greet guests.
Cover art, featuring a triangle on top of a maple leaf, surrounded by the words "EPIC Podcast: Current - Relevant - Canadian

Podcast pick: Emergency Preparedness in Canada (EPIC) Podcast

By Karen Unland

The folks behind Emergency Preparedness in Canada (EPIC) Podcast believe that "disasters are everyone's business," an idea that may not have been as evident when the podcast started in 2016 but has become undeniable throughout more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing extreme weather induced by climate change.

The founding co-hosts are Dr. Joshua Bezanson, an emergency planner and physician in Edmonton, and Grayson Cockett, a health-care disaster manager based in Calgary. Emergency planner Gillian Wong joined them in 2021. So this podcast is the work of subject-matter experts who have highly informed conversations with other specialists in the field. But the intention is to transfer that knowledge to the rest of us, with a view to "improving preparedness for all Canadians."

It's worth noting that although EPIC is about preparedness, the hosts are not doomsday preppers or survivalists. This podcast is a calm, non-apocalyptic source of valuable information and interesting insights on being ready for whatever may come.

Every year, EPIC celebrates Emergency Preparedness Week with a multi-episode blitz, and this year's ensemble would be a great place to start getting into the podcast, with episodes on the #NoNaturalDisasters campaign, the logistics of connecting community resources, the social determinants of health, assessing buildings after a disaster, and "the very Canadian concept of caremongering."

You can find this and the rest of Taproot's podcast picks in our Listen Notes list.