The Pulse: Nov. 4, 2022

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

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  • 2°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind up to 15 km/h. High plus 2. Wind chill minus 8 in the morning. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Red: The High Level Bridge will be lit red for Project Red Ribbon Campaign Launch. (details)
  • 3-4: The Edmonton Oilers (7-4-0) lost to the New Jersey Devils (8-3-0) on Nov. 3. (details)
  • Nov. 5, 2pm: The Edmonton Oilers play the Dallas Stars at Rogers Place. (details)

Wyvern's Chris Robson with Edmonton's downtown skyscrapers behind him

Wyvern secures more funding, gets set to launch satellites

By Brett McKay

Edmonton-based space imaging company Wyvern has raised another US $7 million, setting it up to launch its first satellites in early 2023.

The seed-plus round led by Uncork Capital, with participation from previous investors MaC Venture Capital and Y Combinator, brings the total amount raised to about US$15 million.

Wyvern's first three satellites are now fully funded, and the company is waiting to set a launch date for passage aboard a SpaceX transporter from Cape Canaveral in February, said CEO Chris Robson.

"We're incredibly excited, and we're incredibly excited to build a space industry in Alberta. And we've got an excellent team behind us," said Robson, who co-founded the company with Callie Lissinna, Kristen Cole, and Kurtis Broda in 2018.

Wyvern's high-resolution hyperspectral imaging provides information-rich imagery that the company anticipates will be a sought-after source of data for agriculture, government, resource extraction companies, and defence.

"There definitely are other satellite companies that take images of Earth, but if you compare it to other markets, there's really not that many competitors for hyperspectral imagery, the kind of imagery that we're producing," said Robson.

"There are others that, over the last decade, have gone through the very beginning of a startup phase, that haven't made it to the point of launching something into space," he added. "There's quite a high barrier to do that. It is capital-intensive."

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Headlines: Nov. 4, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

  • City administration released its proposed 2023-2026 operating budget, the second of four budgets council will finalize over the next six weeks. City manager Andre Corbould said the budget "balances the needs and aspirations of Edmontonians with economic realities and pandemic recovery." An accompanying report by administration says passing the proposed budget would result in property tax rates going up 3.9% four years in a row, due in part to staff wage increases, the rising cost of debt for already-approved projects like LRT expansion, higher energy costs, and the return of a police funding formula.
  • Pearl Gambler, a member of Bigstone Cree Nation, is suing Covenant Health, alleging she was forced to deliver her baby alone at the Misericordia Hospital while being subjected to racist and dismissive treatment. Gambler's baby girl died in the hospital following her delivery. Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta has released a list of demands including a review of anti-Indigenous discrimination at the hospital and a public inquiry into anti-Indigenous discrimination in Alberta's healthcare system. "I can guarantee this would not have happened to a Caucasian woman," said Grand Chief Arthur Noskey. "What happened to Pearl and her daughter proves that Indigenous lives continue to be less important than others in Alberta's healthcare system."
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Stephanie McCabe, deputy city manager of Urban Planning and Economy, will attend the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from Nov. 8-12 as part of a provincial delegation. Sohi will participate in a panel about municipal leadership in reaching net-zero emissions. The conference runs Nov. 6-18.
  • In response to a request from Coun. Michael Janz in May, Edmonton Police Commission chair John McDougall sent a letter to council with details about public relations and communications spending by the Edmonton Police Service. The letter revealed EPS has 19 full-time staff working in leadership, media relations, public affairs, and digital media. It also spent $70,500 this year to retain an external consultant for "strategic communication and engagement support." According to McDougall, the police service's largest public information campaign expenditure related to cannabis legalization, amounting to nearly $266,000 between 2019 and 2021.
  • The Edmonton International Airport rolled out a new tool called YEG EXPRESS that allows passengers to pre-book their spot in central security if they're travelling in the domestic and international terminal. Passengers who book a time slot can jump to the front of the line, which the airport says will reduce wait times.
  • The Office of the Correctional Investigator, a federal prison watchdog, has once again singled out the Edmonton Institution in its annual report, citing the maximum security prison's oppressive confinement conditions, staff shortages, lack of meaningful work opportunities for inmates, and more. The report also mentioned the institution in a section about discrimination, which cites claims of pervasive racism towards Black prisoners and staff. James Bloomfield from the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers said the watchdog report reveals "just the tip of the iceberg," adding that 20-30% of management and officers at the Edmonton Institution are currently on leave due to work-related physical and mental injuries.
  • The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) released its decision regarding a police shooting on Boxing Day 2018 that left one man dead after police fired 37 rounds in 11 seconds in response to a shot fired toward officers at the scene. "Viewing the situation as a whole, the subject officers' uses of force were reasonable," concluded ASIRT in its report.
A mariachi band with four guitars, a violin, and a trumpet, clad in sombreros, stands in front of a wheat field

Weekend agenda: Nov. 4-6, 2022

By Debbi Serafinchon

This weekend offers chances to celebrate one of Mexico's greatest traditions, experience classical South Asian dance, explore the diversity of First Nations and Métis peoples, support rescue dogs, learn about backyard homes, or hear music in honour of those who have served in the armed forces.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup.

Photo: Mariachi Borealis will perform at the Dia de los Muertos celebration presented by the St. Albert Latin Cultural Association at the Arden Theatre on Nov. 4. (Facebook)