The Pulse: Oct. 27, 2022

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  • 15°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 15. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Red: The High Level Bridge will be lit red for Duty Counsel Day. (details)
  • 3-1: The Oilers defeated the St. Louis Blues Wednesday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his 200th NHL goal in the game's third period. (details)
  • 6:30pm: The Oilers (4-3-0) play the Chicago Blackhawks (4-2-0) at the United Center. (details)
  • 5,000: Alberta has surpassed 5,000 recorded COVID-19 deaths. The first was recorded on Mar. 18, 2020. (details)
  • 4.9%: Edmonton's GDP is projected to reach 4.9% in 2022, cooling to 3.3% in 2023, according to research from The Conference Board of Canada. (details)

A collage of photos of various professional wrestlers

Rainbow Visions brings filmmaker back to Edmonton to share wrestling love

By Brett McKay and Karen Unland

Some of Ry Levey's fondest memories involve watching Stampede Wrestling in Edmonton in the 1980s. So it's going to feel particularly sweet to come back to the city to screen his documentary about the hidden history of LGBTQ wrestlers at the Rainbow Visions Film Festival.

Out in the Ring chronicles the rise of queer representation in professional wrestling, from the closeted wrestlers of the mid-20th century to the out-and-proud performers of today.

"I wanted to tell the story of these amazing people doing something that I love," Levey told Taproot in an interview from Argentina, where he is screening Out in the Ring at the Festival Asterisco, an international LGBTQ film festival in Buenos Aires.

His homecoming to Edmonton's own queer film festival will include a Q&A after his film is shown at Metro Cinema, bringing the festival to a close on Nov. 6.

While he's here, he's hoping to reconnect with Dennis Mayhew, a "legendary teacher in the city" who made all the difference in setting him on the path to a creative life.

"He was always about cultivating a student's dreams, mostly artistic dreams," said Levey, who attended elementary school in Mill Woods.

Mayhew's enthusiasm spurred Levey to pursue a career in film, but for a long time, his work was in production and promotion. Then in 2013, he directed a documentary short about a lifelong love affair called The Closest Thing to Heaven. That made him want to do a feature-length documentary.

"What story is going to be my first story?" he asked himself. "I just kept coming back to wrestling."

Continue reading

Headlines: Oct. 27, 2022

By Kevin Holowack and Mariam Ibrahim

  • City council's urban planning committee wants to explore options for redeveloping vacant parking lots in central neighbourhoods, some of which are operating without a permit. Coun. Ashley Salvador said she feels "quite strongly" that phasing out illegal surface parking lots is part of creating a vibrant and safe downtown. Puneeta McBryan with the Edmonton Downtown Business Association agreed that Edmonton could do without the "many unpermitted, poorly maintained gravel parking lots," which she believes landowners often have no intention of developing. Administration will return to the committee in June with a report on the issue.
  • Kids under 12 should ride transit for free even if they aren't with an adult, city council's executive committee decided Wednesday. Coun. Andrew Knack, who proposed the change, said it would allow youth to access more things in the city and "build up that potential for future ridership and continued ridership as they age." Administration is expected to present a revised transit fare policy during November budget discussions.
  • Coun. Tim Cartmell has received hundreds of complaints about drivers speeding through residential and school areas in Windermere, Langdale and Keswick. In a Facebook post, Cartmell said he asked the police to increase enforcement and will ask administration to look into traffic-calming measures, like crosswalks and four-way stops, for Wright Drive, Washburn Drive, and Windermere Boulevard. "Many drivers are not going to like these measures," Cartmell wrote. "But I want you to think about how you would feel if you hit a child with your car."
  • Sonic 102.9 radio announcer Lauren Hunter is back with another Edmonton-themed Halloween costume, this time dressing up as a cracked Valley Line LRT concrete pier. "Just wanted to show my 'SUPPORT!'" she wrote on her Instagram post, which later went viral. In August, TransEd, the consortium building the Valley Line Southeast, announced the project was delayed again after inspections revealed cracks in several piers supporting elevated tracks along the route.
  • According to Statistics Canada's 2021 census data, around 23% of Albertans are or have been an immigrant or permanent resident, an increase of 2% from 2016. More than one in four people in the Edmonton metropolitan area fell into this category, the fifth-highest of Canada's urban centres. Alberta saw a drop in immigration overall, with 193,175 new immigrants from 2016-2021, compared to 207,800 from 2011-2016.
  • Crews broke ground for the Bear Hills Casino and Travel Resort, which is set to begin construction this winter and open by Christmas 2023. The resort, located on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway near Maskwacis, is owned by the Louis Bull Tribe and is expected to create hundreds of jobs for members. It will be the sixth First Nations-owned casino in the province.
  • Long hospital waiting times across Alberta are caused by a "perfect storm" of factors, including many COVID-19 patients, more patients seeking care postponed by the pandemic, and the stress of cold and flu season, according to epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine. Alberta Health Services reported a 15% increase in ER visits in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. An AHS spokesperson said the organization is "aggressively" recruiting frontline workers and has added 270 ER staff in the past year.
Cover art for Taproot Edmonton's Bloom, brought to you by Edmonton Unlimited

Chemical company benefits from a catalyst

By Karen Unland

Episode 35 of Bloom features an interview with Chelsey Reschke, who joined Voran Group Ventures to help bring innovative antimicrobials to market.

Her background is in oil and gas, specializing in corrosion and surface chemistry. She had a good job with Stantec when the Voran Group opportunity came up.

"OK, I'm going to leave a really stable corporate job and go back into the land of entrepreneurship. How do you feel about this?" she recalls telling her husband. But it wasn't much of a negotiation. "He knows this is really my calling, so how can you hold that back?"

The opportunity was to help Voran commercialize a German-invented cleaner and disinfectant called Bacoban, navigating the regulatory processes, figuring out how to manufacture it here at scale, and getting it to customers. That's the kind of catalyzing power that Reschke brings.

"I've never been the inventor," she said. "But I've always been the person that's able to pluck those ideas down from the cloud and find all of the pathways that they need to get through, all the hurdles that need to be overcome, all the dollars that need to be applied strategically, and the right people to bring life to this product and get it into the hands of the end consumer."

Learn more about Reschke's vision for the future of Voran Group and the Edmonton region, as well as what she wants to bring to the world stage as a delegate to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance summit in Germany, in the Oct. 27 episode of Bloom's podcast about innovation in Edmonton.