The Pulse: Oct. 26, 2022

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  • 9°C: Mainly sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High 9. Wind chill minus 8 in the morning. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Red/Blue: The High Level Bridge will be lit red and blue for World Thrombosis Day. (details)
  • 6pm: The Oilers (3-3-0) play the St. Louis Blues (3-1-0) at the Enterprise Center (details)

Tents and camp chairs in a circle around a pretend fire pit, surrounded by projections of a forest

Simulation centre helps entrepreneurs get products into expert hands

By Brett McKay

NAIT is looking to open its Centre for Advanced Medical Simulation (CAMS) to more entrepreneurs and innovators for product development and testing, six years into its existence as a place to provide immersive spaces for health and sciences training.

CAMS was part of the initial intake for an Alberta Innovates program called Health Innovation Platform Partnerships (HIPP), which provided $200,000 to develop a pilot project's proof-of-concept. It received an additional $1.2 million in the second phase announced in January.

Edmonton startup MACH32 was among the first companies to make use of this arrangement, and it was something of a "guinea pig for NAIT and the CAMS" in the HIPP program as the company tested both its Aerosol Containment Tent and its IMSAFE intramuscular autoinjector in the simulation spaces in the summer of 2021, said COO Kelly Mottet.

"Feedback during product development from end users is so important — it helps make sure that we're designing the right product for the market, as well as identify any sort of user errors that we can easily and cost-effectively address early in development," Mottet said of the value of simulated testing environments like CAMS. "If we learn those things after we go to market, then they can be very expensive to address and very damaging for ultimate commercialization of the product."

So far, CAMS has been focused on devices, products, and processes related to health and life sciences, said business development lead Diana Shaw. The facility has broad potential uses, but importantly, it lets developers get their device "into the hands of an end user, whether that be a physician or a respiratory therapist, and get them to test it in as close as possible to a healthcare environment without actually being in that environment, so you're not putting patients at risk."

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Headlines: Oct. 26, 2022

By Kevin Holowack and Mariam Ibrahim

  • The city has wrapped up its 2022 capital construction season, calling it "one of the most ambitious capital seasons in history." This year, Integrated Infrastructure Services worked on 302 projects, 70% of which are on schedule and 92% on budget. The city also expects to complete three neighbourhood renewal projects by the end of the year. More details are available on the city's fact sheet.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault on Oct. 24 to "discuss key areas for cooperation" including reconciliation, housing, emission reduction, and international investment. Trudeau mentioned recent federal support for Edmonton including funding for zero-emission busses, investments in the hydrogen sector, and help for affordable housing through the Rapid Housing Initiative.
  • Today, Explained, a daily podcast from Vox, released an episode on Oct. 25 about the recent use of DNA phenotyping by the Edmonton Police Service. CBC journalist Taylor Lambert said the case has raised questions internationally about how police view the Black community. "Another big question it raises is: what does it mean that the police are turning to unscientific means in their police work ... and do the police understand that forensic DNA phenotyping is not considered valid science?" (13:11)
  • Edmonton is the one of the most affordable major cities in Western Canada to buy a home, according to the real estate firm Zoocasa. The average home price in September was $382,610, with an income of at least $62,213 needed to purchase an average home. The median household income in Edmonton was $107,450. The most affordable city on the prairies was Regina.
  • Chris Jones, head coach and general manager of the Edmonton Elks, thinks the team's awful 4-14 record this year was partly due to an operations cap the CFL implemented in 2019 to equalize spending across the league. In an interview on TSN 1260, he said the cap means Elks staff have taken a "backseat money-wise." However, Jones said the team is "very confident" about next season thanks to the quarterbacking duo of Taylor Cornelius and Tre Ford.
  • Duncan Kinney — who regularly publishes reporting critical of Edmonton police — has been charged with mischief after a statue of a controversial figure outside an Edmonton Ukrainian centre was vandalized, Postmedia reports. The statue of Roman Shukhevych was spray-painted with the words 'Actual Nazi' in the summer of 2021. Kinney reported on the incident for The Progress Report. His first court date is scheduled for Nov. 10.
  • Const. Samuel Sanson with the Edmonton Police Service has been convicted of sexual assaulting another officer at a police headquarters gym on Jan. 20, 2021. Sanson's sentencing is scheduled for Apr. 14. His lawyer told the court his client should undergo a forensic assessment before sentencing because he has a PTSD diagnosis.
A portrait of Chelsey Reschke

Summit-bound CEO sees promising future for Edmonton region

By Karen Unland

A Sherwood Park-based business leader is headed to Germany this week with a delegation of young entrepreneurs eager to put energy transition and supply-chain security on the agenda of global leaders.

Chelsey Reschke, CEO of Voran Group Ventures, is one of 47 Canadians attending the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance summit in Hamburg from Oct. 27 to 28. The summit is "an incredible opportunity" to share with leaders of the G20 nations "what they should be thinking about to help enable young entrepreneurs to do better and to be more successful," she told Taproot.

Voran Group manufactures and distributes Canadian-made antimicrobial solutions. One such product is Bacoban, a disinfectant cleaner that the company has licensed from Germany. It recently obtained Health Canada's clearance to claim a SARS-CoV-2 kill time of 30 seconds, putting it on a list of disinfectants with evidence for use against COVID-19. The company has customers in the aviation industry and is ready to scale up to sell across Canada and eventually the U.S.

Voran also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Calgary's Biosenta to explore commercializing its Tri-Filler anti-microbial products, which can be used in manufactured building materials. Reschke puts the market for low-cost filler at about $60 billion per year. "And we have the ability to substantially transform that market through bringing this unique Tri-Filler product to market successfully."

That's just the beginning of what Reschke hopes to accomplish with Voran Group, and the Edmonton region is a great place to do that from, she said, given the logistics and transportation infrastructure available and the proximity to talent at the University of Alberta.

Beyond her own business, Reschke sits on the board of directors of Alberta Innovates and she considers herself "an unofficial champion" of Alberta's Industrial Heartland. The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line and the Hydrogen Centre of Excellence are signals that the region is poised to seize "a key opportunity of our lifetime to really build out a world-class centre for carbon capture utilization," she said.

"We're right here, front row, watching all that happen from Sherwood Park," she added. "And so I don't foresee any need for us to move for a very long time (as we) see a lot of interesting projects and global players come to Edmonton and Calgary and Alberta."

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A newspaper clipping with the headline "Smart New $450,000 Cromdale Hotel on 118 Ave. Opens For Guests: 44 Rooms Equipped With Bath, Telephone"

A moment in history: Oct. 26, 1954

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1954, the Cromdale Hotel opened its doors.

While the hotel would get a notorious reputation in later years, the Cromdale's opening was welcomed with great excitement. The "fully modern Cromdale Hotel" offered 44 rooms equipped with baths, telephones, and "soft luxurious wall-to-wall carpet," the Edmonton Journal gushed. The three-storey structure also housed a banquet hall, men's and women's beverage rooms (each decorated by a mural painted by a pair of University of Alberta students), and a coffee shop.

The Edmonton Gardens was the city's arena and main concert venue at the time. Alberta Avenue (as it is now called) was lined with nightclubs, cafés, and other establishments catering to those looking for a night out. Located at 81 Street and 118 Avenue, the Cromdale soon became a cornerstone of that vibrant nightlife. In the 1960s, the Cromdale's business was booming, mostly thanks to beer sales, leading the hotel to build an expansion.

The good times did not last forever. While business at the hotel remained strong, the '70s marked the start of a decades-long decline for both the Cromdale and the surrounding area. The working-class residents who had made up most of the neighbourhood were moving to the suburbs, leaving many homes and buildings abandoned. Long-established businesses were replaced by empty storefronts and pawnshops. During that time, the Cromdale remained a favourite drinking spot for students, as Grant MacEwan College had a campus only a block away.

By the '80s, the once-vaunted Cromdale Hotel had a new reputation as a hotspot for substance abuse and violence. Brawls and assaults seemed to be a daily occurrence, and deaths at the hotel were all too common. Some problems spilled out into the surrounding area, prompting a decades-long battle to shut down the hotel.

Those fighting for the Cromdale's closure would have to wait for the next millennium to get their wish. In 2004, Capital Health closed the hotel down after a failed health inspection. But the influence of the Cromdale would continue, as it would sit derelict for another eight years. The hotel's demolition in 2012 is seen as a major step in the efforts to revitalize Alberta Avenue.

It's an effort that still continues to this day, driven mostly by a dedicated group of residents, volunteers, and organizers. Events like September's Kaleido Family Arts Festival are bringing back some of the energy that infused the area back in the Cromdale's heyday. While great progress has been made over recent decades, problems still remain. Earlier this year, Alberta Avenue residents called for action on derelict buildings, and city council put some money toward the problem after seeing a report calculating the costs of problem properties.

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.