The Pulse: April 16, 2024

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  • 5°C: Becoming cloudy in the morning with 60% chance of rain showers or flurries late in the morning and in the afternoon. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 50 in the morning then increasing to 40 gusting to 60 in the afternoon. High plus 5. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Red/Gold: The High Level Bridge will be lit red and gold for the 116th Edmonton Music & Speech Arts Festival. (details)
  • 9-2: The Edmonton Oilers (49-25-6) defeated the San Jose Sharks (19-53-9) on April 15. Connor McDavid became the fourth NHL player to reach 100 assists in a season. (details)

Two people play cards.

Prescribing joy: How Edmonton advocates help seniors age in place

By Stephanie Swensrude

The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council is partnering with medical professionals to help the city's seniors keep living in their homes rather than in long-term care facilities.

The council's Edmonton Age Friendly Alliance — a recent merging of two projects — is recruiting pharmacists, physiotherapists, family physicians, and nurse practitioners who can help connect seniors to services that can improve their lives as well as their health.

The idea behind it all is called social prescribing. At doctor appointments, older adults often bring up nonmedical concerns like, for example, precarious housing or insufficient nutrition, executive director Sheila Hallett told Taproot.

"(With) those type of issues, (medical professionals) always would look to (the) community and try and figure out, 'Where can I send this person? They need rides, they need better housing, they need (to address) those social determinants of health,'" she said. "So this social prescribing provides a pathway for healthcare providers to connect someone who needs these nonmedical things into (the) community."

With social prescribing, the health care practitioner writes a prescription — but rather than medicine, it prescribes the patient to link up with a worker who can help them understand what they need and where to get help. That help could be setting the senior up with Meals on Wheels or finding ways to avoid eviction. These connections can help keep seniors living in their homes and communities as long as possible, as opposed to becoming isolated in a long-term care facility.

That, in turn, benefits the rest of the community, Hallett said. "The amount of knowledge that people hold from experience over the years — we look at things like growing gardens, how to preserve food, how to survive through droughts, how to really make do with what you have, those are the type of things that we forget. People who are in their 80s now have gone through a lot in their life that is valuable life experience that can be shared."

The alliance will also advocate for policy changes to help prevent seniors from needing to move into long-term care facilities, Hallett said.

On this front, Hallett lobbied a city council committee on April 8 for the city to create an assisted snow-clearing program for seniors. "It's the things like the snow removal, the yard help, the minor home repair, the housekeeping, the personal care, the moving support, the meals, the assisted rides, all of those things are what can make a difference for someone when they're aging in their own home," she told Taproot. The city is going to pilot a program next winter.

The seniors council is holding a Senior Sector Solutions Lab on April 29 with Shaun Loney, a Winnipegger who has helped found social enterprises in eight cities and three First Nations. Cheryl Newton-Skirrow, evaluation facilitator at the council, said participants will be encouraged to think outside the box to find ways to improve the lives of seniors.

"We've gotten in (the) habit of only looking at ways that the not-for-profit sector can do things in a really limited kind of scope. But there's another movement across the globe for social innovation and social entrepreneurship, and looking at various ways of using community resources differently," Newton-Skirrow said.

Photo: The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council is recruiting medical professionals to connect seniors to non-medical services that can improve their lives. (City of Edmonton)

Correction: This story has been updated to correct what issues health care practitioners can address with social prescribing.


Headlines: April 16, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • Some Edmonton city councillors said they are concerned by the pace of development in Blatchford as they reviewed a report during an April 15 audit committee meeting that found the City unit responsible for the community isn't adequately tracking progress. According to the City, 84 homes are now occupied in Blatchford, compared to about 20 two-and-a-half years ago. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said that while Blatchford is a "beautiful development," he is "concerned about how slow we are going on this." Coun. Tim Cartmell said that his confidence in the project has always been low, but it is now even lower, noting that council is facing significant scrutiny due to a proposed 8.7% property tax increase for 2024.
  • University of Alberta professor Damian Collins appeared on CBC's Radio Active to argue that Edmonton has too many river valley golf courses. "All of those spaces are off limits for other uses" during golf season, Collins said. Edmonton has 19 golf courses, with six on municipal land. About 20% of the river valley and ravine system is allocated to golf, Collins noted. With the city's population growing rapidly, there will be more demand for recreational space, he added, "especially in the centre of the river valley."
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services responded to a large grass fire that broke out on private property near Hayter Road in east Edmonton in the early morning hours of April 15. About a dozen units responded to the blaze, including four water tankers, due to non-functional hydrants on the property. A spokesperson said crews were also assisting houseless individuals who were camping in the area. No injuries were reported.
  • The Punk Rock Flea Market brought a unique twist to Edmonton's market scene at the Steele Heights Community League, showcasing more than 40 vendors with punk-themed items, alongside food trucks and punk rock bingo. "We're doing 'misfit vendors' – weird and wacky stuff," said organizer Jason Pultz. The market is set to return on Sept. 15 and Nov. 24.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are set to begin their NHL playoffs journey with home-ice advantage, stirring excitement among fans and local businesses. Preparations include fan parks and away-game watch parties at Rogers Place. "It's a great atmosphere. People light up when the Oilers are doing well," said Franco Camminatore, general manager of 1st RND downtown.
  • The Hockey News caught up with former Edmonton Oilers goalie Jack Campbell, who was demoted to the AHL's Bakersfield Condors after performing poorly with Edmonton earlier this season. Campbell initially struggled with the Condors, but has since made significant progress, overcoming his self-doubt and finding his form again. Campbell credits his time in the AHL for teaching him to be less harsh on himself. "I used to beat myself up so badly," he said.
  • Former Edmonton Oilers player Klim Kostin, now with the San Jose Sharks, talked about his enduring connection to Edmonton in an interview with Daily Hive before he faced off against his former team on April 15. "Every time I come here, it feels like home," he said. Kostin, who spent the 2022-23 NHL season with the Oilers before salary cap issues led to his trade, has since found success with the Sharks.
  • Alberta's unprecedented population growth has led to a surge in demand for services and resources in cities across the province. The influx of residents, lured by job opportunities and housing affordability, has spurred economic growth but also brought challenges such as increased real estate prices, rent hikes, and strains on infrastructure and services. The City of Edmonton expects 100,000 people more people will move to the city within the next three years. With the provincial government projecting the population will hit six million people by 2039, experts say Alberta needs invest in housing, infrastructure, and education.
  • The Alberta government touted the success of the province's tourism industry with an increase in international travellers. In the first three quarters of 2023, international visitor spending in Alberta surged past pre-pandemic levels to $2.53 billion, the province said in a release. Alberta has set a long-term goal through Travel Alberta to expand the province's tourism economy to $25 billion in annual visitor spending by 2035.
  • Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is leading in endorsements among NDP caucus members in the Alberta NDP leadership race, securing the backing of nine MLAs. Calgary rival Kathleen Ganley has secured eight, while Edmonton MLA Sarah Hoffman trails with four. The leadership race, which has drawn significant attention across Alberta, will decide on a new leader on June 22. Debates are scheduled in Lethbridge on April 25 and Calgary on May 11.
  • The Alberta Party appointed Lindsay Amantea, a Calgary corporate lawyer, as its interim leader. She takes over the role from former Brooks mayor Barry Morishita. The Alberta Party has struggled in recent elections, including a drop to 1% of the popular vote in 2023 and no seats in the legislature. Amantea said she aims to address "hyper partisanship" in Alberta through "thoughtful, systemic change" on issues like health care, energy, and housing.
Indigenous Box founder Mallory Yawnghwe with an airplane in the background

Indigenous Box connects economic reconciliation and modern gifting


The "Trade Heroes" series highlights Edmonton region companies who have 'exportitude' — the mindset and commitment to think globally when it comes to their business. It's brought to you by Edmonton Global.

Indigenous Box, an Edmonton-based corporate gifting startup, represents a beacon of innovation and social impact in the retail sector. Founded by Mallory and Kham Yawnghwe, the company is on a mission to drive economic reconciliation and promote Indigenous entrepreneurship globally. Over three years, Indigenous Box has grown to serve more than 600 clients.

"We procure products from Indigenous-owned businesses and do our best to champion them in spaces where corporations are looking for impactful, meaningful gifts," Yawnghwe said, noting that her clientele includes major accounting firms, and tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon, in addition to institutional buyers.

"We're serving all three levels of government, a variety of municipalities, and almost every airport across Canada, some in the United States," Yawnghwe said.

The company's corporate gifting solutions emphasize quality, utility, and cultural significance. It also offers seasonal subscription boxes, which ship quarterly and feature new products and vendors. It has an online marketplace as well as a retail space at the Edmonton International Airport, near Gate 64.

Indigenous Box has reached customers in 27 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Japan. This requires meticulous research into duties, taxes, customs, and other legislation that the business might run into while operating globally. And it requires a spirit of cooperation and reciprocity between suppliers, customers, and partners.

"We're in the business of reconfiguring the Indigenous supply network, and part of that is having partners in these positions that already know the landscape," she said.

Yawnghwe studied supply chain management at MacEwan University, graduating in 2018. She went on to earn her Supply Chain Management Professional Designation and worked with Alberta Infrastructure. This experience helped her "properly transition from intern to suddenly CEO," she said.

Indigenous Box has fewer than 10 people on its team, but through their hard work and the network of partnerships the company has built up over the past three years, the company has been able to grow quickly. Edmonton Global, Explore Edmonton, and the City of Edmonton are just some of the organizations that Yawnghwe says have been instrumental in making introductions with people who want to support the business.

As Indigenous Box looks to the future, it remains committed to expanding its network of Indigenous entrepreneurs, with a goal of reaching 1,000 vendors by 2025. This ambition, coupled with ongoing support from their partners, positions Indigenous Box as a leader in the movement toward a more inclusive, culturally aware global economy.

Photo: Indigenous Box founder Mallory Yawnghwe said her growing company services airports across Canada and the United States. (Supplied)

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A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: April 16, 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.