The Pulse: Feb. 6, 2024

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

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  • -7°C: Mainly cloudy. 30% chance of flurries early in the morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 7. Wind chill near minus 14. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • 86: Accident Support Services International Ltd., which is Edmonton's collision reporting company, said 86 people reported collisions on Feb. 5 during a snowy morning commute.
  • 8pm: The Edmonton Oilers (29-15-1) play the Vegas Golden Knights (29-15-6) at T-Mobile Arena. (details)

Amy Quon wearing a Chicken for Lunch t-shirt at The Lingnan

Amy Quon closing Chicken For Lunch after 32 years

By Sharon Yeo

Edmonton culinary institution Chicken for Lunch is closing after 32 years of business. The kiosk, located in the food court in Rice Howard Place (formerly Scotia Place), is known for its long line-ups and Amy Quon, its gregarious proprietor. Its last day of business will be Feb. 29.

Quon, whose family also owns and operates The Lingnan (which just celebrated its 75th anniversary in November), decided not to renew the lease ahead of the food court's planned six-month closure for renovations. Quon also shared that she turned 65 this year and challenges with her knees and hands have slowed her down. By closing Chicken for Lunch, Quon can now work exclusively at The Lingnan.

"Right now I get up at 5am and pick up my staff," said Quon. "I'm at Chicken for Lunch at seven and I work there until 2:30, and then work at The Lingnan until 10:30. Now, I can come at two. So Amy not retiring, only Chicken for Lunch retiring."

Quon opened Chicken for Lunch in 1992 when her youngest son was six (her husband, Kinman, was a partner in The Lingnan at the time, but their family did not yet own it outright). "Chicken for Lunch was my first restaurant," Quon said. "My kids were still young. I wanted a job from Monday to Friday, so after 2pm I can go home and be with my kids. That's why I chose an office building with short hours."

From the beginning, Quon focused on chicken because she observed that many people didn't eat pork and beef. But the menu evolved. "When I first started, I only had chicken burgers, chicken fingers, chicken cutlets, and clubhouse (sandwiches)," Quon said. "But I see people eat more spicy, and went the direction of ginger chicken, Korean chicken, Thai chicken, because I can see the crowd like it. I am not a (trained) cook, but what I do is go to the restaurant to eat, and go home and do experiments. It takes a long time to develop a recipe."

Quon's famous dry spicy chicken was adapted from a more traditional dish. "My husband and me know Canadians like crispy (things)," Quon said. "How can we make it crispy and spicy? Chinese have dry spicy tofu. Why don't we do some similar chicken?"

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Headlines: Feb. 6, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • The City of Edmonton said it will install new pedestrian-activated traffic lights at a crosswalk on Jasper Avenue and 122 Street, where a 25-year-old man was hit and seriously injured on Feb. 2. Residents in the area have had safety concerns about the crossing because of busy traffic and low visibility. The city responded in 2022 with curb extensions and flexible posts. The new lights, which will feature "Walk" and "Wait" signals, will be installed this spring, a city spokesperson said.
  • The 2022-23 feedback survey from Edmonton Public Schools found that while most students feel supported academically, there is a shortfall in promoting inclusion and a sense of belonging. According to the results, 52.1% of students said they saw their identities reflected in course materials, 52.9% said teachers understand individual learning styles, and 56.7% reported support for transitioning to life after high school. More than 61,000 students participated in the survey, which will be discussed at the Feb. 6 school board meeting.
  • The most recent episode of the CANADALAND podcast features a discussion with award-winning Indigenous journalist Brandi Morin and APTN reporter Kathleen Martens about tent cities and the recent efforts by the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Police Service to dismantle encampments around the city. Morin was arrested and charged in January while filming police removing an encampment in central Edmonton. Her arrest prompted calls from press freedom organizations for police to immediately drop the charge against her.
  • The board of the Edmonton Arts Council (EAC) announced Sanjay Shahani will leave his role as executive director in March to take on a new position with the Canada Council for the Arts. Shahani joined the EAC in 2016 and oversaw the development of the City of Edmonton's cultural plan, Connections and Exchanges. Recruitment plans for a new executive director haven't been announced yet. Shahani's last day in the role will be March 22.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are coming off their nine-day NHL all-star break to resume their bid to tie a league record for 17 consecutive wins when they face off against the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 6. Before the break started, the Oilers had gained momentum with a 16-game winning streak, though they remained in third place in the Pacific Division after a weak start to the season. "Usually when you're on a winning streak, you don't want it to break up," said head coach Kris Knoblauch. "But I think it was good for our guys to recharge."
  • The Alberta government's moratorium on new wind and solar power projects, in effect since August, will conclude as scheduled on Feb. 29. Speaking in Ottawa, Premier Danielle Smith said the province remains committed to being a leader in renewable energy investment while ensuring electricity reliability and affordability, pointing to recent severe cold in Alberta that put significant pressure on the power grid. A report from the Alberta Utility Commission on land use and reclamation, which influenced the pause, is due at the end of February and will inform future development of renewable power, the province said.
  • Former justice minister and Calgary MLA Kathleen Ganley became the first candidate to officially enter the Alberta NDP leadership race. Ganley said her campaign will focus on economic strategy and providing competent leadership. University of Calgary professor Lisa Young said Ganley is positioning herself as the Calgary candidate, noting that expanding support in that city will be important during the next provincial election. Other potential candidates in the race include Edmonton MLAs Sarah Hoffman, Rakhi Pancholi, David Shepherd, and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, and former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi. The vote to choose a successor to replace party leader Rachel Notley will happen June 22. Members must purchase or renew a membership by April 22 to vote.
A person in a purple business suit stands at a microphone while raising their left hand to take an oath of office

Smith's policy could push UCP-aligned councillors into open

By Tim Querengesser

So sweeping are Premier Danielle Smith's recently proposed changes to gender-affirming care, treatments, and therapies that municipal politics will be fundamentally shaped by the discussions that follow — including, as discussed on Episode 249 of Speaking Municipally, the 2025 election.

Co-host Troy Pavlek described the sense-making that followed Smith's announcement, where municipal politicians and organizations have voiced their opposition, as the "speaking out phase." He pointed to Coun. Andrew Knack's message to the LGBTQIA2S+ community — "You do matter. You are loved. And we will be with you every step of the way." — as drawing a rhetorical line that many Edmonton voters will expect from city representatives.

"I suspect, given the politics of Edmonton, this is going to become a mandatory statement to make," Pavlek said. "People are going to be looking to their city councillors to speak out both against this and in support of the people who (the proposed changes) would inevitably harm."

Pavlek and co-host Mack Male discussed the oft-unspoken politics that the potential changes could force out into the open at Edmonton's city council.

Councillors Tim Cartmell and Sarah Hamilton, who Male and Pavlek described as UCP-aligned members of Edmonton's council, may now have to concretely say where they stand while considering what any stance might mean if the UCP's push to bring political parties into municipal elections also becomes a reality.

"It will be very interesting to see how we have our more conservative councillors interact with this policy and either stand up or don't stand up for their constituents," Pavlek said. "Because should there be provincial parties in the next municipal election, speaking out against the UCP government may well cost you your seat in a conservative-aligned ward."

Hear more about those issues as well as EPCOR's water trouble and efforts to reopen city hall on the Feb. 2 episode of Taproot's civic affairs podcast. You'll also hear reporter Stephanie Swensrude on proposals to meet council's budget reallocation goals and managing editor Tim Querengesser on the sad state of the Valley Line's shelters.

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A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: Feb. 6, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.